Escape Velocity Override (abbreviated EV Override) is a Macintosh computer game by Peter Cartwright, published by Ambrosia Software. It is the second game in the Escape Velocity series. It is also available as a Total Conversion mod for EV Nova, the third game in the series.
The game is set in the future, in space. The player assumes the role of an independent starship Captain making their way through the galaxy.
EV Override's primary setting is a cold war between humans as the "United Earth" government and an aggressive alien species known as the "Voinian Empire". However, the player is not obligated to involve themselves in this war and is free to fly their spaceship where they please, doing missions and assisting or harming factions that are completely unrelated to the main conflict. In this way, EV Override is an example of an open world game.
The game involves the player as an independent space captain making his way through the galaxy. There are several governments which control different sectors of the galaxy: United Earth at the south of the known galaxy, the Voinians to the west, the Miranu to the north, and the Strand races: the Igadzra, Zidagar, and Azdgari. The player has the choice of aiding any of these governments through doing missions and completing different plotlines. However, like the rest of the Escape Velocity series, it has no real ending and the player can play the game without ever getting involved in the politics of the galaxy.
Although Escape Velocity and EV Override are written for the classic Mac OS, and therefore run natively only on Mac OS 9 and earlier, plug-ins for EV Nova that simulate the first two titles using the new game's engine have been released with Ambrosia's authorisation. Because EV Nova runs natively on both Mac OS X and Microsoft Windows, virtually anyone can now play the stories of all three games regardless of their operating system.
The player starts out in United Earth territory with a small shuttlecraft, the weakest ship in the game. The player can land on planets, where he can buy different outfits for his ship, buy a new ship, buy and sell commodities on the Commodities Market, and get missions in either the Mission Computer or the Spaceport Bar. Missions generally available in the Mission Computer are simple shipments and cargo runs that pay a fair amount of money, whereas missions in the Spaceport Bar are generally connected to a set of missions or a story line that will change the galaxy should you choose to accept.
The player can travel to different systems in the galaxy, controlled by different governments, each with their own planets. Missions usually involve traveling to other systems and either landing on a planet or destroying an enemy fleet or ship. In EV Override, some systems change in response to missions, and often times after completing one of the main plotlines systems will have been conquered and/or destroyed.
One of the principles of the Escape Velocity series is that the player does not have to participate in special missions or politics. Any player can make a living by simply doing the missions in the mission computer or buying and selling commodities. Though many of the ships in the galaxy are only available after completing different sets of missions, there are a huge selection of ships available to the player, allowing a simple trader to get stronger and richer as he becomes more powerful. Players who are powerful enough can even force planets to pay tribute by defeating their defence fleets (though this will, of course, render them highly unpopular with the planets' governments and allies).
United Earth is centered around its capital, Earth, in the Sol system. It was founded in response to a sudden invasion by the Voinians, a cruel, warlike race to the galactic west who were bent on bringing total annihilation to humanity. Despite the humans uniting against a common foe, the Voinians continued to decimate their outer fringe colony as they were pushed farther back towards Sol. All signs suggested that humanity would succumb to the seemingly unstoppable invaders. Miraculously, the Battle of Sol changed everything. Desperate for survival and on the edge of annihilation, humanity became defiant and armed with their ingenuity, they constructed fast and agile warships that easily exploited the weaknesses and flaws inherit to all cumbersome Voinian warships. The Sol System was to be humanity's last stand against a merciless race who wanted enslave the human race with sheer arrogance and brute force. UE forces used the asteroid belt to their own advantage to stage an ambush attacks against unsuspecting warships. With speed and maneuverability on their side, it was a matter of time before UE forces had completely decimated the enemy armada. By the end of the battle, the Voinian Empire lost over a third of their entire navy. Yet, the conflict would not end there. The UE used their momentum of victory (along with throwing as much of their resources) to continue production of warships and established outposts along their borders to keep the Voinians at bay.
At the beginning of the game, the UE continues to battle out skirmishes with the Voinians using the combined cunningness and ingenuity to their advantage. Unfortunately, both sides are taking a toll on each other. On the UE side, resources are being taxed heavily out on distant colony worlds to cover the war expense. Some planets have already seceded from the union due to lack of support by the government. Sadly, this has left them to the mercy of the renegades who have continued to wreak havoc on independent worlds as the war continues to grab much of the UE's attention. The whole situation has left all sides in a virtual stalemate.
United Earth technology is fairly advanced, in many ways more advanced than that of the Voinians. While Voinians have more armor than UE ships and rely heavily upon it for defense, UE warships have better shield technology in comparison to Voinian warships. Most human ships usually have an equal ratio balance of shield and armor power.
UE ships also make heavy use of the Blaze Cannon, a fast-firing energy cannon that can be easily installed in mass numbers on most ships. It is quite inaccurate, although this makes little difference since it is fairly short-ranged anyway in comparison to other weapons. That's not to say that this inaccuracy is useful as a scattering weapon against fighters who can dance around slow-moving vessels.
So far, the only weapon not of human design used by the United Earth is the rocket launcher. The rocket launcher was reverse-engineered from a Voinian weapon that was simple in design and easy to replicate; the engineers, however, did not stop there. Guidance system were installed on rockets to track targets, giving birth to Hunter Missiles which Voinian warships had no way to counter. Both the rocket and Hunter Missile became exclusive weapons for all UE warships.
Frontier Express is the only known non-military human faction to employ such weapons as they help aid the war effort. In the United Earth storyline, the player can actually help the humans to gain access to more Voinian technology (the Paaren Station missions).
The ships used by the United Earth Government are:
- UE Shuttle
- UE Cargo Transport
- UE Freighter
- UE Scoutship
- UE Fighter
- UE Destroyer
- UE Carrier
UE combat vessels can be acquired by the player after completing certain United Earth missions. A fourth ship, the UE Cruiser, can be acquired, but only after completing a separate, optional set of missions.
Some weapons used by the United Earth are:
- Blaze Cannon and Turret
- Rocket Launcher
- Hunter Missile Launcher
Before the Voinians came and brought destruction, many worlds colonized by humans were not always united. Yet, even with the hastily formation of the United Earth government when the war began, much of the Eastern region of human colony worlds continued to maintain their sovereignty. These independent systems have either seceded from the union due to a lack of support, or have never joined the union at all. When it was apparent the war against the Voinians would carry on longer than anticipated, the UE was forced to divert more resources from their Eastern region of space leaving a security risk for renegades to exploit. The independent systems were left to fend for themselves. However in some cases, UE warships have been known to travel deep into the independent territories to help out exterminate troublesome renegades. Unfortunately, for one UE warship to deal with a renegade problem, means one less ship out in the battlefield. This led to a desperate policy to encounter renegade threats in the most expedient fashion. All UE pilots and commanders are granted the power of judge, jury, and executioner to eliminate any renegades on the spot so that they can return immediately to the UE frontier of space.
Independent traders sometimes use UE merchant-based ships such as the freighter, cargo transport, and the scoutship. But some worlds have designed ships of their own, the versatile Helian clipper that is controversially semi-legal in UE space, and the small Krait fighter. Both of them are utilized by independent traders plying the routes and by local militias to drive out renegade incursions. Unfortunately, the renegades also uses these vessels as well to prey upon unsuspecting merchant vessels, but the only advantage the renegades have to fight the independent militia forces are the exclusive Turncoats which has marked the beginning of the renegades' reign of terror within the Proxima Nebula region and the beginning of the first major inter-renegade war. Although it's the most powerful warship in the human civilian ship market, these ships are still considerably weaker than those used by the UE navy.
When it comes to weapons, the blaze gun continues to be the primary weapon of choice by all human factions. From there, the difference is noticed. Rockets and Hunter Missiles used by UE warships are generally not available to independent worlds. Instead, independent worlds employ Needle Missiles as primary ordinance weapons. While these missiles, an origin of renegade design, do not deliver extensive amounts of damage compared to the Hunter Missiles, they have powerful guidance system that is more resistant to the natural potent interference given off by the Proxima Nebula. However, later in the game, there is an option to play a particular minor UE string that allows for a UE-exclusive outfit to counter the Needle Missiles called, a Needle Jammer.
The Voinians are an aggressive race to the galactic west, controlled by the government on their capital of Voina in the system of the same name. They once invaded and attacked the United Earth, the unified human race located east of the Voinian empire, without warning, pushing them back all the way to Earth. The human race would have been destroyed had it not been for the salvation of their ingenuity and defiance. Even though the Voinians have finally got a taste of a major defeat against a race they failed to annihilate, they stubbornly continue to fight the humans with sheer determination to conquer them at any cost. However, not only has their major loss forced the Voinians to spread their resources thin, but the United Earth force took advantage of the Battle of Sol to grow strong enough to prevent the Voinians from being able to encroach on their space. The two sides still fight bitterly over their territories, though at the time of the game both sides have reached a virtual standstill.
The Voinians have expanded Eastward in space over the centuries and forced many alien races they had encountered into slavery. Out of all those who had been conquered, only one, the Emalgha, located to the galactic North of Voinian Empire, have actually succeeded in gaining their independence by driving Voinian occupation force out of their own home world.
Voinian technology is somewhat cruder than that of the rest of the galaxy. Heavy dense armor plating is used instead of conventional energy shielding to protect warships (due to the Voinians' low tech shielding technology), making Voinian ships and even fighters very slow and cumbersome. They rely on bulk and brute strength for their power, unlike the fast, mass tactics used by the United Earth. Their weapons reflect this strategy, and trade firing speed for raw power and long range. The prime example of this is their Neutron Cannon: it shoots far, is very accurate, and packs a great punch, but it lacks firing rate and speed. One-on-one, most Voinian ships can easily defeat their UE counterparts. However, UE ships have a huge advantage in numbers, better shielding, and using long range missiles that the Voinians cannot match easily, making both sides more or less fairly balanced.
The ships used by the Voinians are:
- Voinian Fighter
- Voinian Interceptor
- Voinian Frigate
- Voinian Cruiser
- Voinian Supply Ship
There is also another ship the Voinians have, called the dreadnaught. It is perhaps the most powerful ship in the entire game. However, it is not available for purchase as it will appear in only two UE-related missions.
Some weapons used by the Voinians are:
- Neutron cannon and turret
- Rocket Launcher
- Turreted Rocket Launcher
Races Enslaved by the Voinian Empire
The planet was once dominated by local warlords who forced the simple-minded peasants to toil the fields. The arrival of the Voinians deposed the warlords and took over. The peasants did not care enough to notice the change of masters and continue to work the farm to serve the empire.
The Voinians have invested heavily in establishing an industrial center on the world of Dieram. Unfortunately, the Dieri have launched a deadly guerilla warfare against the occupation of their home world. Those captured were executed in mass numbers or deported to other worlds in the empire. This, however, has not stopped the Dieri's cause at all.
Now a ghost planet. Long ago, it was a host to one of the most deadly revolts in Voinian history unleashed by the natives of Irid. The Voinians decided to release deadly gas into the atmosphere which wiped out all traces of their existence. The planet was later abandoned.
The native inhabitants of both the moons of Dur and Ala warred on one another, but the Voinians came and took advantage of their "petty squabble". Now the only common goal these natives share is being forced into hard labor by their Voinian masters.
The majority of the Hinwar race can be found on their home world of Liadon (renamed Gualon by the Voinians) and are closely watched by the Voinians. Amazingly, the Hinwar slaves outnumber their Voinian masters many times over but have not engaged in a deadly guerrilla warfare against their masters. The reason being is that the heavy guns, pointing at the planet's surface from an orbiting station, are ready to fire at a moment's notice should the Hinwars decide to turn against them.
An alien race located far in the galactic North of the Voinian Empire to which they were formerly occupied by. Long ago, when the Emalgha had achieved space-flight, the Voinians decimated and quickly conquered their world. Nearly a century of occupation has lead to their home world of Emalghia of being strip-mined of precious ore used to expand the empire. During the Voinians' humiliated defeat at the Battle of Sol, many of the warships throughout the empire, including ones occupying the Emalghion system, were recalled to help reinforce their losses. This gave the Emalgha the opportunity they needed so desperately to gain a victory over the Voinians. They used rocket weapons stolen from the Voinians to arm their converted primitive ships of war to quickly drive out the occupation force once and for all.
After they had gained their independence, the nearly exhausted supply of natural resource on their home world forced the Emalgha to look to other places for alternatives to replenish what was lost. Only one planet was found outside their home system but the ore quality mined there is not sufficient. Still, it is the only alternative source for the Emalgha. Some of those materials however, are used for the production of ships used to defend their system from Voinian incursions. Fortunately, the Emalgha guns have proven to be the greatest advantage they have to counter the Voinians' dense armor plating found on all their capital ships.
In the waning days of Voinian occupation of their home system, the resourceful Emalgha had to improvise by converting many of their old freighters into warships and build small fighters out of parts they could scavenge from the scrapyard. While still inferior to Voinian warships in every way, they were armed with mass drive weapons. Primitive by many standards, they proved to be very effective against Voinian armor. Rocket weapons were also used by the Emalgha and like the humans, they were able to steal the design and easily replicate them due to the simplistic designs. With the lack of resource depleted by the Voinians, the Emalgha are still limited in many ways as their ships cannot travel far from their home system and they do not posses superior armor plating or shield strength to withstand brutal firepower of Voinian fleets.
The ships used by the Emalgha:
- Emalgha Fighter
- Emalgha Freighter
- Emalgha Warship
Although Emalgha warships are not available for purchase, there is an outfit that supposedly can convert a freighter into a warship by changing the ratio of cargo and weapon space.
The Crescent Strands
In the northern and eastern areas of the galaxy is an area known as the Crescent, inhabited by aliens. At the start of the game the races are mostly unknown to humankind, but the player can help establish human contact with them or join one of them. The three alien races, known as Strands, are at war with each other, but there is evidence that they once formed an alliance based at Council Station, but later went to war. One notable thing about these three strands is that their names share the same letters. There are also many powerful renegade groups in the Crescent, the largest being the Strandless.
Not only are the Azdgari nomadic by nature, they are also fierce raiders whose territory reaches along the outer rim of the Strand. While they employ their own modified versions of both Crescent Warships and Aradas, the definitive Azdgari craft is the Azdara, a blazingly fast quad-winged fighter mounted with swivel phase cannons.
The Zidagar have an emotional flare for the dramatic but they comprise one of the three major Strand races and are located in the northern area of the Crescent. Their Zidara "Pocket Warships" are small and fast, but carry a fighter bay with a complement of two Zidagar fighters, variant versions of Crescent fighters. One of the most deadliest weapons found amongst the Strand is the powerful Phase Disruptor Beam, a signature weapon exclusively armed on all Zidagar fighting vessels giving them a standing reputation force to be recognized by all the other Strands in the Crescent.
The Igadzra are a paranoid race in the southern Crescent. They are commonly seen flying their own variant of the Arada. They also fly a ship that is unique in their design called the Igazra, one of the most powerful ships in the game. What makes all these ships deadly is the deployment of deadlier versions of standard SAD (Search and Destroy) modules called SAE's (Search and Eliminate). Not only can they do more damage, but they are faster and are less prone to interference.
The Miranu are a peaceful merchant race who live west of the Zidagar. They have peaceful relations with all other races in the known galaxy, except for the Voinians and Emalgha. With the exception of the Northern regions of Miranu space, standard Crescent Fighters are often used to patrol systems throughout the rest of their territories. As they have an interest in trading with other alien races of the galaxy, the Miranu have commissioned three types of freighters of their own design and can be found traveling throughout the galaxy. These are:
- Miranu Courier
- Miranu Freighter
- Miranu Heavy Freighter
Although the Miranu are generally pacifistic and do not posses a standard navy, they fund a special defense organization called the Zachit, which is dedicated to defending Northern Miranu worlds from renegade incursions. While it has started as a Miranu force, the Zachit warriors (Zacha for short) are actually comprised of mercenaries representing many alien races from the Strand region. The ships employed are modified and equipped with missiles signature of the Zachit, the Pursuit Missile. Despite their success, the Northern region continues to remain under constant attacks. The struggles the Zachas face have gone from a policing operation to an all-out war. Only two kinds of vessels are currently used by the Zachit.
- Zachit Fighter
- Zachit Arada
They also use a third kind of ship called a Miranu gunship, a converted Miranu courier fitted with weapons design to give support to Zachit force. This ship is only available if the player chooses to play the Zachit string and change the outcome of the war against the renegades.
- EV EVO EVN Plugin Complete Collection - Archive of all Escape Velocity Plugins from ambrosiasw.com on archive.org.
- A searchable, sortable library that supposedly contains every EV add-on available on Ambrosia's site, for every EV game at appcraft.
- EV Override's page on Ambrosia Software's Site [dead link]
- Guy's EVO port for Nova on Ambrosia Software's add-on files for EV Nova [dead link]
|Nova Mods||PlugPack • ARPIA2 • Anathema|
|Tools for Plugin Creation|| Mac: MissionComputer • ResEdit |
Windows: EVNEW • RezEditor
|Bugs||Patch Notes • Dithering Bug|
|Guides||Nova Bible • Windows Plugin Conversion Tutorial • Nova Control Bits|
|Total Conversions|| Major Completed: Polycon EV (2002), Escape Velocity, Escape Velocity Override, Ashen Galaxy, Colosseum|
Minor Completed: EVN Paintball, Miners, Teacup
Blank Slate: Absolute Minimum
Aborted Yet Released: Acheron, Starfleet Adventures