Escape Velocity (video game)

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Escape Velocity is a single-player role-playing space trading and combat game series first introduced in 1996 by Ambrosia Software for the Apple Macintosh. Two other similar games based on the original, EV Override and EV Nova, followed in 1998 and 2002 respectively, the latter of which is also available on Microsoft Windows. In addition there is a trading card game available based on the storyline of the EV Nova universe.

The series was created as a joint effort between several people and groups. Matt Burch programmed all three games in their entirety except for the registration system and various libraries. He also devised and created the scenario for the first game. Ambrosia Software, headed by Andrew Welch, managed marketing, registration, and distribution, as well as providing several external libraries used by the games. Early test versions of the game went by the name 'Merc' (short for 'mercenary'). Peter Cartwright wrote the scenario for EV Override and the Australian company ATMOS created the scenario of EV Nova; both originated as plug-ins for the preceding games before being picked up by Ambrosia as sequels. The fighter pilot voices in the original game were provided by Patrick Delahanty. A plug-in of additional phrases was also created and later included as part of EV Override.

While there have been no announcements regarding the future of the series since the 2002 release of Escape Velocity Nova, the extensible plug-in system allows users to continue developing new third-party content for the game. Additionally, several community projects have arisen to build spiritual successors to the series, of which NAEV is one of the better-known.

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Licensing and technical features

The first two Escape Velocity games are only available in their original forms for the Apple Macintosh and are Classic-only. EV Nova is a Carbon application and runs natively on both the original Mac OS and Mac OS X, and has been ported to Windows. Version 1.1.0 of EV Nova, released in December 2008, is a Universal Binary, and runs natively on Intel-based Macs. Adapted versions of the scenarios of the first two games that run natively in EV Nova are available for free.

This series follows the general licensing rule for Ambrosia Software. All three games are shareware. Ambrosia's shareware system allows most distribution of unregistered games. Copies of the first two Escape Velocity games will work without limitation for 30 days. Afterwards, the player is simply reminded at startup that they have not registered, and told how many times they have run the game, as well as for how many hours it has been run. There is also the character called 'Cap'n Hector' (named after Ambrosia's mascot and office parrot) who reminds the player to register. During the trial this is done by flying by the player's ship and sending a message. After the trial period has expired, the character starts attacking the player, but in EV Override, Cap'n Hector also steals the player's credits. Players can not damage Cap'n Hector directly, though in the original game it was possible for splash damage to disable or destroy his ship.

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