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Escape Velocity Nova Title
EV Nova Escape Velocity Nova
Developer(s) Ambrosia Software
Release date(s) March 2002
Genre CRPG
Mode(s) single player
Platform(s) Mac OS (Classic and X), Windows






Edit

Escape Velocity Nova (EV Nova) is a computer game by Ambrosia Software, in collaboration with ATMOS. It is the third game in the Escape Velocity series.

OverviewEdit

GenreEdit

Escape Velocity (affectionately known to fans as 'EV') is a third-person space-adventure / RPG set in the future. While EV Nova is an RPG, it is not an open-ended RPG unlike the previous games in the Escape Velocity series; EV Nova has a clearly defined ending, but lets you continue playing if you wish.

SettingEdit

EV Nova takes place in the future, when humanity has colonized the galaxy via 'hypergate' technology which allows instant travel between star systems. However, terrorists destroyed the Sol hypergate, destroying the metaphorical space-roads which held civilization together. The galaxy thus fell into a dark age, and during this era multiple sub-races of humans evolved on their own, until finally 'hyperjump' technology (faster-than-light spaceships) allowed humanity to rediscover the galaxy they thought they once knew -- a galaxy now consisting of almost-alien evolved humans, space pirates, and strife.

Game conceptEdit

Stuff you can doEdit

The player starts as a freelance space pilot in a shuttlecraft, out to make a small penny in the vast and unforgiving galaxy. The first thing to realize is that there are many ways to play Escape Velocity; this is one of the big appeals of the game. For example, a starting player who needs to worry about cash can:

  • Become a trader, acquire a freighter fleet, and trade goods between planets (one has to watch out for pirates though...)
  • Become a courier, delivering cargo from system to system

A more advanced player can explore the more amusing ways to play EV:

  • Make a living off of disabling pirate ships and boarding them to steal cargo, perhaps even become a professional bounty hunter -- or conversely, become a pirate.
  • Conquer the galaxy and subjugate all worlds

Almost all players though will:

  • Become involved in an epic storyline (of which there are 6) -- these are the main feature of Nova

Missions, Storylines, and PlotEdit

The game has six epic storylines (or 'mission strings') that the player can participate in, one for each of the factions (Federation, Rebellion, Auroran, Polaris, Vell-os, or Pirate) listed in a later section.

These epic storylines are the bulk of the game. Each storyline is a long and involved set of plot-filled missions which feel very much like a short story written in second person. By virtue of being a grand adventure, storylines force pilots to align themselves with a particular faction, restricting the player's ability to play the game, but giving them access to more powerful ships and technology. A single storyline can take anywhere from a few hours to several days to play to completion, depending on the player's level of experience and preferred pace.

There also exist a few shorter (< 20-30 minutes to complete them all) side-missions, which are difficult (like easter eggs) to find but have great rewards, such as the ability to use the hypergate system. Any main storyline can interweave with other storylines and side-missions; for example if you become disillusioned with the Federation you can join the Rebellion. Side-missions can also lead into main storylines, and certain storylines might block access to side-missions. EV Nova has significantly fewer freelance missions (perhaps 20-40x fewer) than previous games in the Escape Velocity series.

It should be noted that only a single epic storyline can be played per pilot, as opposed to previous Escape Velocities where one could play all missions as one pilot while gathering ever more powerful ships and weapons, except through the use of a plug-in workaround called "Multiple Strings" which lets one fulfill all mission strings using one pilot while keeping technology and ships from other storylines.

Becoming more powerfulEdit

Escape Velocity is a game about self-improvement: about rising up from a simple shuttlecraft pilot to become a hero of the galaxy. With the right connections and credits, one can pilot bigger and better ships with one's own controllable escort fleet. One can even pilot an epic ship (for example, a capital ship upgraded with alien technology) as the bonus for completing an epic plotline.

In addition, there are many more 'toys' to play with called outfits; each ship can be equipped with special devices, such as:

The game engine also supports a rich diversity in weapons; for example, weapons can have:

  • different damage to shields and armor
  • different knockback, range, and falloff
  • different types of sprite animation, including homing missiles, drones, solid ammo, jagged laser beams

Extensibility (plug-ins)Edit

Like the other games in the Escape Velocity series, Nova allows registered users to create their own plug-ins thus giving them the power to drastically change, or even completely replace, the default game and gameplay style. There is a large community at the official Ambrosia forums where players can trade tips, get help, and swap favourite plugins and pilots.

Of particular note are two official plug-ins available to registered users which replace EV Nova's scenario with those of the first two games, allowing EV (original) and EV Override to be played natively on both Mac OS X and Windows.

GameplayEdit

MechanicsEdit

Gameplay takes place in two realms: In space, and on planets. Gameplay in space is done in a top-down 2D view (with some 3D effects). Gameplay on planets consists of popup windows full of graphics and options that let you take on missions or buy ships or weapons.

Combat rating and recordEdit

Based on the number of kills one has gotten, pilots are given a score which is reflected as a combat rating (e.g. "Little Ability" through "Worthy of Note" and beyond). Killing more opponents, and defeating tougher opponents, will raise a player's combat rating. A high combat rating can open the door to more dangerous but more rewarding missions, where the employer would not want to recruit a novice pilot.

Navigating the galaxyEdit

Planets Edit

At the heart of EV Nova are planets; there are usually 1-2 planets in most star systems. Each planet can have a bar (a good place to find missions or hire escorts), a trading center, a mission bulletin board, an outfitter to buy ship upgrades, or even a shipyard to buy your own ship.

Planets can also be dominated and will pay you tribute, but doing so requires a credible combat rating to trigger a battle with giant planetary defense fleets.

Star Systems Edit

Planets reside in star systems, which are giant, 2D, toroidal maps that can be navigated with a spaceship.

Each star system is owned by a faction and has its own notion of your legal status; if you're a criminal, you may need to bribe the port authorities in order to land. There'll also likely be a few stellar objects floating around: other planets, moons, space stations, unlandable gas giants, hypergates, wormholes...

A star system can have varying degrees of radiation (which interferes with sensors), of visibility (which obscures objects in the distance), and of asteroid density (asteroids block weapons and can break into pieces).

HyperjumpingEdit

Star systems are linked together on a galactic map, where systems are connected by road-like lines that represent the ability to hyperjump.

The main method of locomotion in EV is called hyperdrive technology, whereby a ship makes a hyperjump. A ship sufficiently far from the system center may engage hyperdrives, whereby the ship takes a moment to orient itself, and then starts flying quickly in the direction of the destination system. This process takes from one to three in-game days, depending on the mass of one's ship, and uses up one unit of energy. Overall, hyperjumping is remarkably similar to the Star Wars mechanic by the same name.

Since the universe is very large, it is often difficult to traverse without a high-energy-capacity ship; it is usually necessary to stop on planets to refuel. However, some outfits, such as battery packs and solar cells, can make it possible to go longer without refueling, or even eliminate the need to refuel altogether.

Alternatives to hyperjumpingEdit

Hypergates Edit

Hypergates are stellar objects in orbit around planets. Completion of the Sigma Shipyards missions available at the shipyard on Earth allows players to land on a hypergate and travel instantly to connected hypergates. The hypergate network works almost exactly like the galactic hyperjump map, except only certain star systems are reachable and the hypergate paths are invisible (but not hard to memorize). It is possible to make a U-turn and re-enter a hypergate/wormhole within less than a second on most ships.

Wormholes Edit

Wormholes are easter eggs: they act like a hypergate system which anyone can access, but randomly teleport one to any other wormhole. Like hypergates, one can re-enter the wormhole he just left and travel to another place. There exist about a dozen wormholes in all, located in major star systems, and can be found by flying one's ship either directly North, South, East, West, NE, SE, NW, or SW of the center of a star system; note that it may take up to a minute to reach a wormhole because they are so far from the center of the star system. Both hypergates and wormholes are good for traveling when time is of the essence; many missions have time limits and hypergate/wormhole travel is instantaneous.

Inter-ship communicationEdit

Players can hail other NPC spaceships. Via this mechanism, a player can beg for mercy (if the ship is hostile) in exchange for a bribe, ask for repairs if the player is disabled, ask for assistance in fighting an enemy, or contact ships which are offering missions.

One can also hail escort ships to upgrade or discharge them.

The player can also hail planets to offer a bribe in exchange for landing permission (if the planet is hostile) or even demand tribute (which triggers the defense fleet battle [or at low combat ratings the player will simply be laughed at]).

EscortsEdit

A fleet of up to 6 escorts can be either hired at the bar (requiring a daily upkeep fee), or made up of captured ships.

Game SpeedEdit

The game has a 2x-speed option, controlled via the caps lock.

DeathEdit

One can equip one's ship with an escape pod, so if the ship is destroyed, one will be able to live to fight another day. Players who do die can still restart the game by opening their last pilot file.

For the masochistic, there is an option when creating a new pilot to play in "Strict Play"; this mode prevents the pilot from ever reloading a pilot file. If you die, you're dead permanently.

Backup pilotsEdit

Some players who enjoy exploring different storyline options enjoy keeping backup copies of their pilots; to do so, open the 'pilots' folder in your EV directory and duplicate your current pilot file.

The EV Nova Universe: setting & plotEdit

Spoiler warning: Plot and/or ending details follow.

The Galaxy Edit

Half of the galaxy is colonized by the three main factions: Federation, Auroran, and Polaris. The remaining half of the galaxy consists of uninhabited systems with no place to land and little if any game content whatsoever.

FactionsEdit

Detailed information about factions can be gathered from the various "preambles" in the EV Nova "documentation" directory in the main game directory; these PDF documents contain miscellaneous roleplaying information about the races, including a timeline of the history of humanity.

FederationEdit

HistoryEdit

At the start of the game, the Federation is the latest in a line of Earth based governments. The first explorers from Earth to go faster than the speed of light used devices known as hypergates, developed by Omata Kane. Humans settled other habitable planets and quickly formed an organization known as the Colonial Council. The Council made first contact with the Vell-os, a group of telepathic humans who had left Earth centuries before and benefited from their advanced technology. Eventually a breakaway group of humans left the Colonial Council and settled planets beyond the star Polaris, taking that name for their people. When the Council recontacted the Polaris, it became clear that they would not tolerate any interference from the Council. When the Council sent a diplomatic delegation, it was never heard from again, prompting the Council to declare war on the Polaris. The Vell-os opposed this war, and destroyed the Council's invasion fleet before it reached Polaris space. A fifty year long war then broke out between the Council and the Vell-os. The Vell-os, being peaceful in nature, eventually surrendered to avoid further bloodshed and were enslaved by mainstream humanity. It should be noted that until they decided to sue for peace the Vell-os were undefeated.

After the war ended, many of the colonies to the south seceded from the Council and formed a loose confederation known as the Auroran Empire. Once again the Council was thrust into war, this time to regain the lost colonies. Although they did not defeat all of the groups which made up the Aurorans, one group known as Armetis eventually turned to terrorism. One former council member, disenchanted with the Colonial Council gave Armetis the codes to the hypergate system. Armetis destroyed Earth's hypergate, which sent shock waves throughout the system, enough to isolate many of the former Council worlds.

It took two hundred years before Earth based ships were capable of exceeding the speed of light. They recontacted many of the former worlds, which formed an alliance with Earth due to their fear of the expanding Auroan Empire. Earth forces attempted to invade the Aurorans, with little success. As a result they decided to pool their resources and form the Federation.

The Federation created an investigative body known as the Bureau of Internal Investigation. The Bureau, as it is known, was created to investigate and remove subversive influence in the Federation, but also pursues the goal of reunifying humanity under the Federation. The Bureau uses illegal and unconstitutional means to accomplish its goals. They also use the help of Vell-os slaves. Based in the Wolf 359 system, the Bureau is so pervasive that some Federation citizens charge that it runs the government. Many of the Federation's leading citizens have started a rebellion against the Bureau.

PopulationEdit

Population-wise, the Federation lies somewhere between the Polaris and the Aurorans. Few references to the populations of Federation worlds are ever given. Yet Snowmelt in the Fomalhaut system, with 10 billion people, is described as being the most populous planet in Federation space after Earth, if Earth's artificial ring of spaceports and shipyards, the Kane Band, is included in that figure. It can therefore be assumed that the Federation population is somewhere in the high billions.

RebellionEdit

The Rebellion is in the middle of a war against the Federation, particularly the Bureau. The Rebellion claims that the Bureau has committed heinous crimes, and controls the Federation itself and that the Bureau should be removed from power. The Rebellion hates killing the puppets of the Bureau, but knows that there is no way of fighting the Bureau without destroying Federation ships. The Rebellion is vital in all of the major storylines, and the outcomes of all of them affect the Rebellion, and their war against the Bureau in one way or another.

The Rebellion is more of an ideological faction than a political one; as such it only has control of two systems, Evlei and Koria, to the Galactic north of the Federation. Merrol in the Aldebaran system is the only Federation planet that is in open rebellion, but it is under permanent blockade by the Bureau.

AuroranEdit

The Auroran Empire is one of the main political blocs in the game. They are the most populous of the blocs, but, since they remain largely disinterested in technology, are also one of the least technologically advanced.

The Auroran population numbers in the trillions; most planets have at least one arcology that can house tens of millions of people, and the "homeworlds" of the six different Auroran factions each average a population of around 175 billion. As a result, many Auroran worlds suffer from severe pollution and overcrowding problems, and the colonization of new systems to relieve the burden of overpopulation is a major agenda.

The Auroran Empire consists of five "Families" or "Houses" (Moash, Heraan, Tekel, Dani and Vella). Each of the five families fight with each other constantly. Additionally, there are systems governed by the "Auroran Empire". These systems do not belong to any family. They are governed by the central Auroran government. Their warriors love to tattoo themselves and engage in "honorable" combat, and their ships have very heavy armor. The Auroran weapons are very heavy but they deal a lot of damage. You can help the Aurorans by either passing through the Bounty Hunter storyline, or by having a high combat rating and entering any bar in Auroran (and sometimes Federation)space.

PolarisEdit

HistoryEdit

The Polaris are a race of technologically, and in some cases telepathically, advanced humans who broke away from the Colonial Council in 480 NC. The first expedition that ventured in the direction of the North Star was arranged by Kerrell Polaris, who unfortunately died 3 days before it was started. Over the next century, the Polaris encountered the Wraith, a space dwelling race of creatures that can utilize hyperspace. Nearly all encounters the Polaris had with the Wraith ended in bloodshed, which caused the Polaris to maintain an isolationist position.

The isolationism of the Polaris, in turn, caused problems when the Colonial Council attempted to re-establish contact with them by sending in a diplomatic fleet. The Polaris misinterpreted this as an act of war, and destroyed the fleet. Outraged, the Colonial Council sent out an invasion fleet, which was stopped by the Vell-os — a cousin race of humanity with advanced telepathic abilities, who have always supported the Polaris. This sparked the Vell-os/Colonial Council war, which did not affect the Polaris.

After the destruction of the Council hypergate system, the Polaris hypergates were still operational, allowing the Polaris to advance technologically. Just over 500 years later, the Federation (successor to the Colonial Council) sent a military task force into Polaris space, which the Polaris destroyed quickly.

TechnologyEdit

In the 500 years after the hypergate system's destruction, the Polaris advanced towards more organic technology. Much of their biotechnological knowledge was gained by reverse engineering the Wraith. Polaris scientists discovered how to utilize polarons (a type of high-energy particle) to create practically massless torpedoes which cause great damage. They have also harnessed nuclear fusion and antimatter annihilation as reliable, high yield power sources.

SocietyEdit

The Polaris have six separate castes, set up so that the skills of an individual can be best utilized by the caste he or she becomes a member of. The six castes are as follows:

  • Nil'kemorya — The warrior caste. Members of the Nil'kemorya consider their lives to be already forfeit, and await the day they will fall in combat protecting their society.
  • Mu'hari — The multi-purpose caste. They must assist any member of any other caste when asked. All Polaris judges and espionage personnel are members of the Mu'hari.
  • Kel'ariy — The leadership caste. All members must be at least 100 years old, and may come from any other caste.
  • Tre'pira — The worker caste. Members of this caste are considered the purest of all the castes.
  • P'aedt — The scientist caste. Members of this caste research to improve current, and develop new, technology.
  • Ver'ash — The healer/engineer caste. At one time the healers and engineers belonged to separate castes, but the distinction between the two shrank as the Polaris became increasingly bio-technologically oriented, until there was no need to separate them.
PopulationEdit

Despite being spread over 30 systems (including two giant ringworlds), the Polaris are fewer in number than the Aurorans or Federation. In the Polaris Preamble included in the EV Nova documentation, the former Nil'kemorya leader Iusia expresses his regret for having to fight a civil war to end a conflict between the castes. That war resulted in the deaths of three million Polarans, or slightly less than one percent of the Polaran population. Going by those numbers, it can be assumed that the Polaris population is a little more than 300 million, about the population of the United States of America today. The low Polaris population compared to the Aurorans or the Federation is made up by their advanced levels of technology.

Vell-osEdit

The Vell-os are a telepathic race. They were led out to space, united by their telepathic powers by the Indian prince Vell-os in around A.D. 980. The Vell-os don't exactly have "ships". What they fly are simply psychic projections made by the Vell-os inside. They classify humans and Vell-os who have telepathic abilities into six ranks, or "T"s. The lowest rank possible is T6 (all normal humans are at this level with no actual telepathic ability), and starting with actual telepathic powers at T5, continues downward until T0, the highest rank a telepath can ever achieve. No Vell-os in recorded history has reached the rank of T0. The Vell-os were originally part of the Colonial Council (which preceded the Federation) but seceded when they protested the Colonial fleet trying to invade the Polaris. Following a devastating war with the Colonial Council, they were enslaved by the Bureau of Internal Investigation, a shadowy group which effectively runs the Federation.

The Federation later evacuated the enslaved Vell-os to Federation space and proceeded to raze every inhabited Vell-os world via intense orbital bombardment, leaving dead planets with dangerously high radiation that will endure for millennia. The leaders of the Vell-os ruling council, the Krypt-tokh, escaped enslavement by fusing their bodies with their nanite-producing organs, becoming immense, immortal, telepathic space-roaming beings which ply the ruins of Vell-os space. The Krypt await the liberation of the Vell-os race as foretold in the so-called "Korell Prophecy."

Reduced to a life of slavery, if the player plays the Polaris or Auroran storyline they get to free the Vell-os, or they can play part of this race, eventually freeing the Vell-os from the wicked enslavement of Commander Krane, the head of the Bureau.

OutfitsEdit

The Vell-os cannot buy any 'normal' armaments (apart from Marine Platoons). They do, however, have natural senses that make up for this. They have a hostility sense (analogous to an IFF Decoder), a physical size sense (gravimetric sensors), an ability to distract sensors (missile jamming), an ability to divide minds (able to create Vell-os Darts as fighters), the Vell-os Area Map (gives the player information about the surrounding systems) and four psionic "weaves" that are powerful weapons, as described below.

ShipsEdit

Vell-os 'ships' are not ships in the common sense. The psionic power of the Vell-os pilot forms the shell of the vessel. The ship is also powered by the pilot's mind, and all defenses come from the pilot. In essence, the ship is literally an extension of the pilot within. Vell-os 'ships' are usually very fast, with high shields and very low armor.

PiratesEdit

Pirates represent the criminal side of the universe. There are many different branches of the common Pirates that mercilessly plunder and kill ships. In the game, they can actually disable and steal your goods and money, and leave you stranded in open space.

There are the common and normal Pirates, who are strong and dangerous raiders who either wish to kill traders, or to disable them and steal their money and goods. They are most prominent in the north of Federation space, as this space is policed little.

MaraudersEdit

Next are the Marauders, who are small raiders and pirates who plunder in a small scale, and are usually nothing to worry about to well armed merchants. Their ships are usually normal civilian ships, slightly upgraded, although sometimes a Starbridge or Valkyrie joins in the fleet. The Marauders are independent raiders who have no real leader or government, and therefore make very easy foes, though they should not be underestimated. The Marauders are weaker than the 'normal' Pirates, though they attack within Federation space. They are also universally despised, even by other Pirate factions, so they will be attacked by any warship or interceptor of any faction in a system.

Association of Free TradersEdit

The Association of Free Traders is a proud but dwindling organisation, and they are not usually classified as Pirates. They are actually guardians of Federation space, and their main enemy is the Associated Guild of Free Traders. They have created their own class of ships, which are civilian ships that have been thoroughly upgraded and tweaked, and fitted with a vast array of weaponry and Pirate technology. They also have ships that they built themselves, like the Manticore and the Pirate Carrier. The once-proud Association met its decline in power after a very strong Bureau fleet helped by the Guild of Free Traders attacked the Association. The Bureau invited the Association leader, Morgan, to a peace-treaty, which turned out to be an ambush, helped by the Guild of Free Traders. The main ship of the Association, the Unrelenting (a very powerful Pirate Carrier) was destroyed along with other capital ships. Morgan, his crew and his wife met their death there, and the leadership of the Association has been replaced by Olaf Greyshoulders. The Association has ever since been an enemy of the Bureau of Internal Investigation, though they are not in open war with the Federation.

Guild of Free TradersEdit

The Guild of Free Traders are the most worrisome and dangerous group of Pirates. They have their own government, and their current leader is McGowan. They are far more organized, and frequently smuggle illegal drugs and other goods. They have many secret bases scattered in Federation space, and commonly do strikes and raids among traders and merchants. They do not use civilian ships, and instead they use Association ships that are heavily upgraded. The Guild of Free Traders, though enemies of the Federation, have ties with the Bureau of Internal Investigation.

Houseless WarriorsEdit

The other Pirate branch consists of the Auroran Houseless warriors. They are equivalent to the common Pirates in the Federation, and have similar strength and methods. Their fleet consists of Auroran civilian ships, gun ships and fighters. They normally attack in the center of Auroran space, and have their own base hidden inside an asteroid field.

Gameplay Criticisms and ComparisonsEdit

Criticisms of EV Nova Edit

EV Nova, despite being a popular and acclaimed game, has been criticized for many things:

  • Being "too forceful" with storylines: for example, the Vell-os storyline (SPOILER) makes the player a slave, preventing them from changing ships or doing sub-missions.
  • Forcing vision upon a player: EV Nova story lines attempt to "tell a story" (via mission text) about the player's character which may not agree with the player's vision. Blatant examples include: your character declaring that "Death is release from the bonds of honor and duty," having tattoos and sex, abandoning civilians under blockade because it's "none of your concern", following a Klingons-from-StarTrek lifestyle, deciding to pick fights, using lethal force, making snap judgments against characters, showing mercy, not showing mercy, destroying empires, committing genocide (albeit under duress), drinking at bars, etc.
  • Forcing story lines upon a player: The player usually has no idea what sort of plot line they're "signing up for", since each plot line's first mission has no warning, and quickly locks the player out of the other mission strings. A player might, for example, dislike the concept of (SPOILER) becoming a near god with unstoppable psychic powers, but there's no way to know that before starting a storyline.
  • Random variations in the storyline over which the player has no control, and which have permanent effects upon the game. For example, (SPOILER) a player in the Polaris storyline can be permanently locked-out of extremely useful "multi-jump technology" outfits by a random variation in the mission string, over which the player has neither control nor forewarning. Despite that these outfits are Polaris technology, and despite that by the end of the storyline the player is a legendary hero among the Polaris and adored on all Polaris worlds, the player will never be able to access those technologies without the use of cheats. (Obviously, players not following the Polaris mission string are also locked out of this technology, despite that it removes the most tedious aspect of the game: long treks back and forth across the galaxy.)
  • Making snap judgments about a character: for example, telling the player that a few thousand credits was the most money a player had seen in his or her life, when the player might have had 20 million credits.
  • Not being 'balanced': If one were to hop over a few systems and capture a high-tech Polaris ship, and slowly amass a fleet of them, one would be almost unstoppable. Likewise, if one were go over to the Polaris home world and hire the standard Polaris freighter escorts, one would be able to acquire 18 million credits per minute by going back and forth between planets in the Sol (Earth) system; to put this into perspective, the most powerful ships in the game only cost a few million credits. Some consider this the just reward of shrewd players, while others might consider it nonsensical.
  • Missions that are too easy to fail permanently. For example, (SPOILER) in order to access the Hypergate system, the player must complete a mission to cross more than a dozen Federation and Auroran systems, defeat a heavily armed fleet of pirates to collect a contraband cargo, and then turn around and return to Earth across Auroran and Federation space without encountering any Auroran or Federation vessels (who scan the player's ship for contraband cargo). If the player is scanned, the mission is failed permanently, forever locking you out of access to Hypergates

ATMOS was in charge of the EV Nova storyline and missions.

EV Nova vs. EV and EV:Override Edit

Additionally, EV Nova has been criticized for falling behind with respect to its predecessors, EV and EV: Override:

  • Lack of challenging missions: The vast majority of storyline missions simply consist of travelling across the galaxy and landing on a distant planet, or destroying ship or small fleet. There are occasionally more complex objectives, such as disabling a transport and boarding it, but those are extremely rare (1 or 2 small missions per storyline; one such good example is (SPOILER) having to disable a pack of Auroran fighters without killing any, while they're all ganged up on you). Since the entire data of all Escape Velocity games is easily readable using resource editors and the like, it is measurable fact (by hacking game data) that there were many more non-trivial missions in the older EV games (at least 5x-20x more, depending on one's definition of 'trivial'). This is not to say that EV Nova has no strategy, but previous games exploited the game mechanics better than EV Nova. Nevertheless, EV Nova's successful plug-in system allows players to import missions (and ships/outfits/planets) made by other players; thus, challenging missions can be artificially added to the game to make it more pleasing for some.
  • Odd NPC behavior: in previous games, attacking a ship of one faction (e.g. a Federation ship), would make all ships of the same faction in the system turn hostile. In EV Nova, one is able to blow up a Federation cruiser and often no other Federation ships will mind.
  • Bugs: In some cases, there are a few bugs which make the game unplayable (the player cannot proceed further); fixing these bugs requires downloading unpublicized 3rd-party 'patch' plug-ins from Ambrosia Software's website.

New Features of EV Nova Edit

While there have been some problems with EV Nova, there are also numerous improvements:

  • 'Intuition': many things do what you expect; for example, if a player boards a disabled escort or fighter, the player automatically repairs the damaged escort, or recaptures the fighter.
  • Graphics: EV Nova 're-skinned' the user interface to be more aesthetically pleasing; for example, the buttons and windows are different, and the sidebar theme changes depending on the ship you're in. The sprites for ships and weapons and stellar bodies were also greatly improved (for example, one can see the Starbridge fire different thrusters when it turns different directions, and also most ships have a '3D' feel to them since the sprites are not rendered from directly overhead).

The planetary graphics for the entire Escape Velocity series were done mostly in Bryce.

Miscellaneous Facts

  • EV Nova was first released for the Macintosh in March 2002. In June 2002 work began on a Windows version, which was released in July 2003.
  • ATMOS designed the scenario for EV Nova, which was originally intended to be a plug-in for EV Override; Matt Burch returned to upgrade his game engine to suit when the project was taken on by Ambrosia.
  • During the long development, there was a picture of the day which showed a ship or planet picture from the game, partially obscured to avoid revealing too much (except in the case of the earliest pictures). The final picture was a quote by Hector, Ambrosia's parrot mascot.
  • The theme music is Gustav Holst's Mars, the Bringer of War from The Planets (Lorin Maazel, L'Orchestre National de France recording from the album Holst: The Planets, Op. 32, Ravel:Bolero), but the theme music is also played in the Space 1999 series (aka. Moonbase Alpha).

External linksEdit

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