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View Full Version : Thrusters to full burn! Let's achieve Escape Velocity Nova!


Lucas
03-22-2009, 10:19 PM
The Escape Velocity series is well known among Macintosh users, who had an exclusive hold on it for many years - I learned about EV (all of Ambrosia's games, really) through a classroom Mac, and not having access to it has always been the one thing I regretted about having a PC. The games are adventure-RPGs set in space with Asteroids-esque mechanics – all action takes place in starships, and while things do happen on the ground, they are purely descriptive.

I have to warn you, this first post will be all background information on the displays and the history of the game (both in the game and in the real world). If that doesn’t interest you, skip down to the last section where I ask for some player input.

Escape Velocity finally came to Windows machines in July of 2003 with the release of a port of Escape Velocity Nova, the third game in the series. EVN’s life began, as I understand it, as a total conversion plug-in for EV: Override, the second game in the series. However, the people at Ambrosia Software noticed the project and decided to make it an official installment in the series. That may have been a bad idea.

Don’t get me wrong, EVN is a great game, and I’ve sunk more hours into it than into either of the other games. The fact remains that it isn’t exactly the shining light of the series; for example, the overall challenge and breadth of the game is lower than in the first two and the player will often feel railroaded by the game's descriptions of their actions (kind of like playing a tabletop RPG with a controlling, mediocre GM).

That said, one of the reasons I love the game (and that I’m doing this LP) is that the sparse and generally bad writing of the game gives my imagination a springboard and my games generally end up with me keeping a mental diary for my pilot. My plan for this Let’s Play is to have it be mainly narrative, told from the point of view of our pilot as a counterpoint to the second-person PoV of the game’s text.

Lucas
03-22-2009, 10:27 PM
And now, on with the game’s introduction!

http://www.sixmeans.com/lets_play/evnova/intro/history1.jpg
http://www.sixmeans.com/lets_play/evnova/intro/history2.jpg
http://www.sixmeans.com/lets_play/evnova/intro/history3.jpg

The year is 1177NC (roughly 3940AD). Humanity has splintered into many groups, but the six most important (read: the six that have a main storyline) are the Federation, the Aurorans, the Rebels, the Polaris, the Vell-os, and the Pirates.

The Federation is pretty a bog-standard sci-fi (sorry, I meant “SyFy”) large space government centered on Earth. They're supposedly a democratic government, but the real decisions are made by its Bureau of Internal Investigation. If you guessed that the BII is essentially a secular space-Inquisition, give yourself a cookie. Fed ships are pretty balanced, and in major systems they’re almost always found in packs led by a carrier or destroyer. Single fighters and gunboats patrol less important systems.

The Auroran Empire is the largest government in the game, by both population and real estate. They are divided into five Houses, one of which is voted to rule the Empire at any one time, and give respect to their warriors above all else. Auroran ships are brutish, with heavy armor and relatively weak shields. Their weapons take up a lot of mass (upgrade space) and have trouble breaking down shields, but have some of the longest ranges in the game and can chew through armor quickly.

The Rebels control a couple of systems to the north of Federation space. They specifically oppose the BII, but are willing to fight the Fed navy to get to their masters. Rebel ships are generally civilian ships given some nice upgrades and a coat of green paint, but the Rebels have acquired designs for destroyer-class vessels from both the Feds and the Polarans and have done some very interesting things with those ships.

The Polaris are the utopian race. They live with a caste system, with each Polaran being placed in one of the six castes based on their SAT2 scores. Their ships are grown as much as built, and are generally the most powerful vessels in the game. This is in large part due to the fact that they use beam weapons, which are more accurate and deal more damage than the projectiles used by other groups. All their outfits are superior to other factions’ equivalent outfits.

The Vell-os are psychics descended from an ancient Indian prince. They are currently under the control of the Federation, but in the past they beat the Feds to a bloody pulp over the question of Polaran independence and sued for peace only to prevent more death. Their ships are basically one huge shield with only a tiny amount of armor beneath, but are fast with powerful beam weapons and a huge reserve of energy. While they have very little technology per se, Vell-os ships are arguably the most powerful in the game.

There are numerous pirate factions in the game, but the main one is the Association of Free Traders. These men and women are actually a combination of militia and mercantile guild, but are called pirates by the Federal government because, the Feds claim, their “free trade” is just a euphemism for smuggling. The Association are enemies of other pirate groups and will attack them on sight, especially the aggressive pirates and smugglers of the Associated Guild of Free Traders. Pirate ships are mostly more maneuverable and heavily armed versions of civilian ships, but high-level AFT members will have access to many unique upgrades and some rather powerful ships.

Lucas
03-22-2009, 10:34 PM
http://www.sixmeans.com/lets_play/evnova/intro/navigation_web.jpg

This is the main screen. The green arrow is pointing to our ship, a lowly shuttlecraft, which is just approaching a planet. (If you look closely, you’ll see that our running lights are blinking.) On the right side of the screen, from top to bottom we have:

1. The minimap. It doesn’t tell us much right now, but for most of the game we’ll have upgrades that will color-code ships and ports as friend or foe and show us whether other ships are large or small.

2. Our gauges. On top is our shields, which regenerate (but too slowly to be useful in pitched battles); in the middle is armor, which doesn’t regenerate. You can survive running out of shields, but if your armor hits zero you’re space dust. The bottom line is our energy. Energy is technically measured in energy units, but most people measure a ship’s max energy by how many hyperspace jumps the ship can make without refueling because every jump, no matter how large the ship or long the jump, takes 100 units of energy.

3. Our destination. The port or system we have selected is displayed here.

4. Our armed secondary weapon. Missiles, rockets, torpedoes, and the more powerful energy weapons must be selected here to be used. Fighter bays are also considered secondary weapons, so fighters have to be selected here to be launched.

5. Our current target. At the top is the ship type, below that is the ship variant. At the bottom right is the ship’s affiliation. At the bottom left is the state of its shields; on most ships this will change to its current armor value if its shields are destroyed, but this isn’t always the case! Our target is bracketed in the main screen as well; the brackets are yellow here (or are supposed to be, anyway) because the ship is neutral/friendly to us.

6. Last but not least, our money and freight. Since this pilot file is brand new, he hasn’t picked up any cargo yet and he still has his starting savings of 25,000 credits.

Lucas
03-22-2009, 10:41 PM
At last, time for some player input so I can start our game:

http://www.sixmeans.com/lets_play/evnova/intro/wade_web.jpg

http://www.sixmeans.com/lets_play/evnova/intro/scooter_web.jpg

First, we need a pilot name, nickname, and gender, none of which really affect anything. Feel free to pick the “Strict Play” option, but be warned that this will probably be a very short LP if you do so; among all the other gruesome fates that might await us it’s very possible to leave a planet and end up in the middle of a heated battle. If that happens to us before we can afford to change ships at least a couple of times, we’ll be dust. And that’s just the earliest and most random death available to us. Other deaths are much more certain.

Next we need a name for our ship. We can name every ship we buy, so I think it’d be cool if you guys came up with a theme for ship names. However, I guess if everyone wants to just yell out random names I could just go through them in order of popularity.

Finally, I need to know which main storyline you guys want to see. If you’re wondering, there are sidequests with useful rewards or interesting bits of sidestory that don’t affect the main story; I’ll be doing as many of them as possible before starting the main mission string because they can be hard to move along once the main mission string has started.

I’m going to start playing Wednesday; the first gameplay update should be Thursday night and after that I hope I’ll be able to post on each Monday and Thursday.

Edit: Please add personality suggestions as well. I want this to be a Talking Time pilot, and there's several things I couldn't easily put up to votes (like when and how exactly to upgrade ships) that will be influenced by the personality of the pilot.

Bongo Bill
03-22-2009, 10:55 PM
Captain Aloysius J. "Peg-Leg" Ahab of the Stupid Piece of Crap Shuttle.

Mazian
03-22-2009, 11:03 PM
Your ships should be named after consoles, starting in the primitive era and getting newer as you upgrade. I look forward to reading the adventures of the shuttlecraft Colecovision.

Bongo Bill
03-22-2009, 11:32 PM
How many kinds of ships are you likely to have throughout the course of this game? I like the console idea, but I also like the idea of having a ship called the Difference Engine.

Lucas
03-22-2009, 11:43 PM
It really depends on which of the main storylines we take. Some of them make you change ships more often than others and/or give you a ship with a predetermined name (I think all of them except for the Polaris and maybe Rebel strings make you take a named ship at some point). I'll need names for probably six ships and maybe as many as eight.

Torgo
03-22-2009, 11:44 PM
How many kinds of ships are you likely to have throughout the course of this game?
If he goes down the Vell-os path, not many!

(But oh man will you slaughter everyone around you.)

Lucas
03-22-2009, 11:49 PM
The Vell-os Javelin is like unto a mighty blue whale, gliding merrily with its young through an ocean of exploding starships.

I love the Vell-os so very much.

Azzyquemint
03-23-2009, 01:09 AM
I like the name Captain Aloysius J. "Peg-Leg" Ahab.

However, I think you should name all your vessels after Tom Waits songs (God's Business, The Drinking Piano, Creampuff Casper Milktoast).

Pombar
03-23-2009, 08:51 AM
The Vell-os story is frickin' awesome. EVN is pretty much the gate-way game to the rest of the series - it's prettier, easier/more forgiving, the stories are to varying degrees more on-rails than the previous games (the Vell-os story is as rigidly on-rails as can be), and it does a good job of selling the style of game.
The older games allow more freedom within storylines, but this comes at the price of a less pretty game, and a much harder one.

...And after all that, I don't have a name for your Shuttle. Though I'd third the console-naming idea.

Lucas
03-23-2009, 10:01 AM
I like the name Captain Aloysius J. "Peg-Leg" Ahab.

I knew this would happen if I told you the LP was starting.

rockintomordor
03-23-2009, 01:57 PM
Name: Donovan Bailey
Ships: Consoles

dwolfe
03-23-2009, 07:50 PM
Honestly Deadpool (and playing AS Deadpool) sounds like the most entertaining option possible.

McDohl
03-23-2009, 11:44 PM
The Escape Velocity series is one of the few times I ever wished I owned a Mac.

And EV: Nova is awesome.

No idea for a name though. Sorry. :p

Brickroad
03-23-2009, 11:56 PM
Your ships should be named after consoles, starting in the primitive era and getting newer as you upgrade. I look forward to reading the adventures of the shuttlecraft Colecovision.

Thumbs way up!

Torgo
03-24-2009, 12:00 AM
The Escape Velocity series is one of the few times I ever wished I owned a Mac.
EV Nova is available for Windows. Ambrosia also released plug-ins that turn the game into the original and Override, as well.

You know, just a heads up in case you didn't know.

dwolfe
03-24-2009, 12:06 PM
Your ships should be named after consoles, starting in the primitive era and getting newer as you upgrade. I look forward to reading the adventures of the shuttlecraft Colecovision.

Two thumbs up. Although your end-game ship might be an Atari depending how many upgrades you go through :-/

Lucas
03-24-2009, 12:42 PM
No one has a an opinion on which story line to follow? If no one cares, I think I'll do Polaris for the mad creditz you can make in that territory.

Red Hedgehog
03-24-2009, 03:25 PM
Your ships should be named after consoles, starting in the primitive era and getting newer as you upgrade. I look forward to reading the adventures of the shuttlecraft Colecovision.

I like this idea. As for storyline, I vote non-Polaris since that's the one storyline I completed (I might have done Rebels to, so not that one either).

Pombar
03-24-2009, 04:05 PM
No one has a an opinion on which story line to follow? If no one cares, I think I'll do Polaris for the mad creditz you can make in that territory.Dude, the Vell-os story is totally the one you're meant to do to introduce you to the game, since it gives a nice run-through of most of the major factions and their place in the grander scheme of things.
But personally? I'd say each time one of the missions comes up that you can accept or turn down, you should put it to Talking Time whether or not to accept it, and see which mission string we end up on. Some of them are hard to see in their initial stages (Vell-os for example) and go unexpected places.

Lucas
03-24-2009, 05:01 PM
I wanted to do that originally, but I don't see an easy or simple way to pull it off. Every decision you have to make is made on a planet, there's no way to delay making a decision, and your game is auto-saved whenever you leave a planet.

I am considering LPing a Vell-os game (they're my favorite anyway, and I can run through the storyline in only one or two afternoons) so everyone can get a taste of the gameworld and the different factions, then - if there's interest - throwing open the voting again so one of the other story lines can be picked.

(I'd save a copy of the pilot file before the Vell-os trigger so the LP could just be rewound instead of starting over completely. I guess I could conceivably use copied pilot files to try and put every decision to a vote, but that would be a lot of copies to keep straight and the randomness of the game could still easily throw a monkey wrench into the whole idea.)

Pombar
03-24-2009, 05:16 PM
Ah, good point. Yeah, the Vell-os is a short (and easy!) enough campaign to be a general intro (and a good enough one to give us momentary glimpses at all the other factions) before letting us make the big campaign decision, so I'd say if you're up for that, it'd be a good way to go - and also give us two campaigns for the price of one!

...But this is me loving EV Nova enough to read through more than one campaign. If you think you can keep it interesting beyond the Vell-os campaign, and would like to put that much time in, I say you should go for it, but it's totally your (or the rest of TT's) call.

Egarwaen
03-24-2009, 06:01 PM
(Auroran) weapons take up a lot of mass (upgrade space) and have trouble breaking down shields, but have some of the longest ranges in the game and can chew through armor quickly.

And by "some of the longest ranges in the game", you mean "across an entire fucking planetary system and through my ship while I'm just trying to fly around getting some trading done you bastards."

This is in large part due to the fact that (the Polaris) use beam weapons, which are more accurate and deal more damage than the projectiles used by other groups.

Beam weapons are also, if memory serves, absurdly short-ranged. So while they can massacre huge, slow ships, something like a Starbridge or various other light, fast ships are capable of avoiding them practically forever. (IME) And there's a couple of models of light, fast ship that are just big enough to mount some really nasty guns, so a beam weapon on a big ship - like the Polaris CPU likes to use - isn't really very good. Projectile weapons are much harder to dodge, thanks to their longer range and the fact that an enemy can throw out waves of projectiles.

Beam weapons on fighters, however, are a thing of beauty. Mmm... Polaris fighter bays...

IME, the hardest enemies in the game are the Aurorans - because of their sheer range - followed by a Polaris fighter swarm.

No one has a an opinion on which story line to follow? If no one cares, I think I'll do Polaris

I'd be inclined to say do the Vell-Os as an introduction to the gameplay and setting, then do whatever major plot lets you get as many subplots as possible. One thing Lucas didn't mention about this game (I don't think) is that while there's six main plot threads in this game, there's many more subplots. These tend to be triggered randomly, by visiting various out-of-the-way worlds, or by completing certain seemingly-random missions. Some of them are fairly cool. I think I've played through most of them, but I can't remember if I got them all.

Another thing I really like about EV: the sheer number of weird crap that's out there in its galaxy map. A grand tour of the anomalies and just plain unusual planets could be a lot of fun.

Torgo
03-24-2009, 11:04 PM
Oh man why can't I have a computer that runs this right now.

I think the only stories I've done to completion are the Rebel and Vell-os. I might have done the Auroran as well.

dwolfe
03-25-2009, 09:52 AM
If you're willing to do a second faction afterwards, go Vell-o since you say you can do that in just a couple afternoons.

Better yet: try to ask some questions for feedback for the next round during this first playthrough, so you can make those decisions when the time comes.

Lucas
03-25-2009, 11:14 AM
Alright guys, soon as I've finished watching Meet the Robinsons with my niece I'll start up a Vell-os playthrough. The first update will hopefullycover the tutorial missions, the first few side missions, and end before our second ship upgrade.

Right now Aloysius J. "Peg-Leg" Ahab is the winning pilot name, and the ship names will have a video game console theme. I'll check one last time before starting the game proper though, just in case.

Edit: Alrighty, it's playtime. First update should be tonight.

Lucas
03-25-2009, 05:52 PM
I'm doing a lot more explaining of things than I expected, and even without pictures my first update is already about four and a half pages in Word. I'm only about half as far as I planned to get in my first update, but it's so many words that I think I'll post what I've got so far and see how long it is on the screen before deciding whether I want to write any more for one update.

If you're willing to do a second faction afterwards, go Vell-o since you say you can do that in just a couple afternoons.

Well, I can play it in only a day or two, but playing it and writing about it will take quite a bit longer...

dwolfe
03-25-2009, 08:19 PM
Well, I can play it in only a day or two, but playing it and writing about it will take quite a bit longer...

I guess I meant that more as "If you won't let this LP die like the last 30+ mostly have" sort of commitment to the game.

Cause it really sucks when they die and you were just getting into the LP.

By picking the vell-o first, one that sounds easy and you know well, you can call it quits if it was too much work before starting the second one.

Lucas
03-25-2009, 10:49 PM
Alright, enough dithering about, it’s time for


Let's Play
http://www.sixmeans.com/lets_play/evnova/ud01/nova_titlescreen.jpg


June 23, 1177 - Ryll (http://www.sixmeans.com/lets_play/evnova/spobs/ryll.jpg)
I’ve been dreaming of this day for a while. All the piloting lessons and paperwork and everything have finally come to an end and I’ve got a ship of my own. The Colecovision is just a small shuttlecraft, but it’s a start, and thanks to having an old classmate in the shipyard offices I even have a bit more of my savings left than I expected.

Of course, the jerk also put his high school nickname for me down as my call sign. Why can’t he just let it go? It was an accident, and it never hurt him.

Anyway, one quick walk around the spaceport, one last look at my home planet Ryll, and then it’s off to space for me.

http://www.sixmeans.com/lets_play/evnova/ud01/barry01.jpg

This seemed kind of shady to me, really, but he seemed sincere and his experience could be a real asset.

http://www.sixmeans.com/lets_play/evnova/ud01/barry02.jpg

[[ITT, Barry gives you advice that will get you killed. It’s stupidly easy to end up drifting in an uninhabited system with no fuel if you start jumping willy-nilly and don’t watch your energy like a hawk. It’s especially bad in EV Nova, since you starting shuttlecraft only has three jumps (in the older games, as I recall, you have four jumps). Granted, it’s hard to get lost between any of the starting systems and Sol if you take the most direct possible routes, but in general this is a good way to get killed.

In case you’re curious, if you do end up drifting, your only choices are to exit the game and reload the pilot (hope you didn’t land on a deserted planet in the uninhabited system, saving your game with you stranded) or to hope a friendly ship jumps into the system and will sell you some of their energy cheap. And the CPU pilots are assholes about selling you energy.]]

http://www.sixmeans.com/lets_play/evnova/ud01/map.jpg

[[This is our hyperspace map. The little blue dot is where we are and the red arrow points to where we need to go for our mission. The blue circles are friendly systems, white are uninhabited, and grey are unknown (there are three other possible colors: red for hostile, green for owned, and orange for forbidden). The thick green line in between is the multi-jump route I’ve laid out. With such a route once I jump I can just continue to hold down the jump button and I’ll automatically begin the next jump in each system, until I either reach my ultimate destination or run out of energy.

You’ll notice there’s plenty of information about our selected system. I almost never find this information useful, honestly – you don’t need to know the ports someplace because the red arrow tells whether you have business in the system or not, the system marker’s color gives you more pertinent information than the gov’t and legal status do, and navigation hazards only make it a little harder to see things in the system or to have a battle.

Right now goods traded and services are unknown because I haven’t been to Sol yet. Goods traded can come in handy if you want to be a trader. However, it doesn’t give you any information about the prices at which they’re traded, which I think kind of defeats the purpose. Knowing where different services are available can sometimes be handy, but they’re pretty ubiquitous and without knowing which specific ships and outfits are available, it’s really a wash.]]

June 25 – Pollux system
Barry fell asleep in hyperspace, but I was staying up so I could re-enter hyperspace as soon as we reached the Pollux system. Nothing here to see anyway. No, I’m writing this entry because I want to know what Barry’s angle is. We talked a bit and I’m certain he really was a captain for a while and he’s retiring now, but still, retiring in his fifties? Is he rolling in credits, or does space really get that boring in just a few decades?

[[Maybe I’m nitpicking, but I consider this the game’s first plot hole. Other bits of story will mention that people are much longer lived at this point – the Polarans commonly keep working into their 200s and see nothing odd with reaching their fourth century; if we give the other races even half of that lifespan, then Barry’s “early fifties” seems pretty early to be moving to the galactic retirement villa.]]

Lucas
03-25-2009, 10:56 PM
June 27 – Earth (http://www.sixmeans.com/lets_play/evnova/spobs/earth.jpg)
As soon as we came out of hyperspace our warning systems went crazy. I slapped the hostile button by the sensor and the screen displayed a damned manticore. How’d a pirate ship like that get so far into the Sol system? Fortunately it couldn’t fire off more than a couple of small missiles before a Fed gunboat distracted it.

http://www.sixmeans.com/lets_play/evnova/ud01/ambush_manticore.jpg

[[Yep, that little grey box in the middle is the Colecovision. Glowing red down at the bottom is the manticore that attacked us while the gunboat that rescued us is the blue glow up near the top. Both ships are glowing because they’re ionized, reducing their stats. The manticore has just launched a pair of infrared missiles, the weakest guided missile in the game (two of which hit our shuttle a moment ago).

By the way, this happens a lot, and I probably won’t detail (or even mention) “ambushes” like this again. It’s pretty common to jump into a system and have randomly spawned pirates or other enemies instantly go hostile. As long as your ship is in ok shape and you keep your cool, they’ll rarely be a problem. Later on we’ll be in worse non-story encounters, but by then we should have at least a heavy fighter.]]

I was shaking a bit when we landed on the Kane Band around Earth, but Barry seemed totally unfazed by the experience.

http://www.sixmeans.com/lets_play/evnova/ud01/barry03.jpg

http://www.sixmeans.com/lets_play/evnova/ud01/barry04.jpg

http://www.sixmeans.com/lets_play/evnova/ud01/barry05.jpg

We were just hit by missiles, Barry! I could see his point that diving back into the hum-drum of space travel would help calm me down, though, so I bought ten tons of medical supplies and set a course for the Kania system.

June 30 – Port Kane (http://www.sixmeans.com/lets_play/evnova/spobs/port_kane.jpg)
http://www.sixmeans.com/lets_play/evnova/ud01/barry06.jpg

http://www.sixmeans.com/lets_play/evnova/ud01/barry07.jpg

http://www.sixmeans.com/lets_play/evnova/ud01/barry08.jpg

http://www.sixmeans.com/lets_play/evnova/ud01/trade_screen.jpg

Alright, I bought these medical goods at 600 credits per ton, so I’m making a total profit of just under 3400, minus fuel costs. That’s… ok, I guess. I hope this equipment idea works out better. [[I just thought I’d let you guys see the trading screen. Exciting, isn’t it?

By the way, this is the system we’re in right now:

http://www.sixmeans.com/lets_play/evnova/ud01/kania.jpg

Above us is the space station Port Kane, below us is the Kania hypergate. If all goes well we’ll have access to the hypergates later (random sidequests in this game can be a bitch), but for now you just need to know that they’re very convenient for traveling in Federation and Auroran space. At the edge of the play zone is the front of a Fed carrier – as we left the system we were followed by a Fed viper scanning us for illegal cargo and outfits.

In our status screen, you can see we have no free cargo space, but we’re carrying ten tons of equipment and, under “Special,” Barry. Any mission cargo and junk commodities are listed in the special slot; you’ll often have several missions going at once, in which case the special slot just says “Multi.”

While I’ve got this screen up, let me explain a bit about the mechanics. Most of the ships in this game use a semi-accurate 2D inertia system – you point your ship in a direction and accelerate for a bit, and you don’t stop until you turn your ship around and accelerate in the opposite direction. (Helpfully, holding the down arrow will rotate your ship so you’re facing directly away from the direction you’re travelling).

This makes landing tricky for beginners, since you have to be within a certain distance of the spob (“space object” or “port”) and moving at no more than a certain speed to successfully land. Further complicating matters is that a pilot will have to make at least one landing under fire in his career and weapons fire will smack small and medium ships around.]]

Lucas
03-25-2009, 10:58 PM
July 4 – New England (http://www.sixmean.com/lets_play/evnova/spobs/new_england.jpg)
http://www.sixmeans.com/lets_play/evnova/ud01/barry09.jpg

http://www.sixmeans.com/lets_play/evnova/ud01/barry10.jpg

http://www.sixmeans.com/lets_play/evnova/ud01/trading2.jpg

…And this equipment run got me a profit of not even 2500 credits, with even higher fuel costs. I’m not sure commodities trading in a little shuttle like this is a bright idea. And Barry’s right, those Rocket-Boards are junk. [[As you can see, this junk commodity is one of those cheap toys Barry was talking about. Others, especially opals and weaponry, have better margins.]]

July 6 – Earth (http://www.sixmean.com/lets_play/evnova/spobs/earth.jpg)
http://www.sixmeans.com/lets_play/evnova/ud01/barry11.jpg

http://www.sixmeans.com/lets_play/evnova/ud01/barry12.jpg

http://www.sixmeans.com/lets_play/evnova/ud01/barry13.jpg

http://www.sixmeans.com/lets_play/evnova/ud01/outfitter01.jpg

I didn’t bother looking at the weapons, since I’m pretty sure adding more weaponry to my ship would only shake it apart. However, I did buy a map like Barry suggested, and I looked at some of the other things available. It’s convenient that they’ll let you buy tech licenses right here at the outfitters.

[[I always buy a map when it’s available. It gives you information on every system within one jump as if you’d actually visited that system. A thousand credits is a significant chunk of cash right now, but soon enough it won’t even be a drop in the bucket. The actual most important upgrade here is the Exotic Ships & Weapons License, however. For only a hundred thousand credits, you will be allowed to buy and use pretty much any ship and tech made in Fed space that isn’t a military boat. None of this “requires missile weapons license” nonsense for us! Both maps and licenses are actually pilot upgrades which aren’t lost when you change ships but don’t increase the resale value of your ship.]]

July 9 – Nesre Primus system

As soon as we jumped into the Nesre Primus system, the Colecovision’s sensors picked up a distress call. I was surprised that no one else seemed to be trying to help them, but I disabled the automatic hyperdrive and went to see what was wrong. It was a little tricky, but I managed to match airlocks with the disabled ship.

http://www.sixmeans.com/lets_play/evnova/ud01/derelict_boarding.jpg

[[Three things about boarding disabled ships: Firstly, it has all of landing’s difficulties on steroids. You have to be right on top of the ship, have almost nil velocity relative to the ship, and be oriented either the same way as the other ship or 180 degrees from that orientation. If you can board a coasting disabled ship while under fire, you’ve got all the piloting skills you’ll ever need for this game.

Secondly: Be aware of what will happen when you board a drifting derelict like this. A drifting derelict like this one will either have a crew in it that needs rescuing, which will require a ton or two of space but pay off, or it will be trapped and will call in a pirate fleet to attack you while you’re standing still. Be ready to jump out of the system when boarding a derelict for this reason. Derelicts are usually on the edge of the system and if you’re in a shuttlecraft and try to do anything but jump away the pirates stand a good chance of smooshing you before you can land or find reinforcements.

Thirdly: I can see the game reasons for this, but story-wise it bugs the hell out of me: drifting derelicts are never boarded by anyone else, despite almost always being found in the most heavily populated systems. I’d say at least a third to a half of the derelicts I see are in either Nesre Primus or Tichel, both of which are one jump from Sol and full of ships.]]

http://www.sixmeans.com/lets_play/evnova/ud01/rescue.jpg

I’m more than happy to help out a fellow captain, so I welcomed him and his crew aboard after warning them it might be a few weeks before I could swing out to Altia. They brought some personal effects and their business papers, and took a small area of the cargo hold to themselves for the duration of their stay. I don’t mind, though. Hopefully they’ll be more personable than Barry – he gets eerily quiet while we’re in space, sometimes.

The crew I just rescued is understandably kind of space sick right now, so we’re going to set down on New Babylon for the night for a decent meal.

Lucas
03-25-2009, 11:07 PM
And that's all for tonight. Hopefully the next update will show us the end of Barry. I would say it will, but right now I don't feel confident promising anything about the LP's timeline.

Looking back on the thread, the pictures are possibly even huger than I thought they would be, and I think I really need to crop them down more. What do you guys think: should I cut them down until they're only the active window (the dialog, the map, the outfitters, whatever), not crop them at all, or something else?

Also, next update should have us getting a heavy shuttlecraft - it's an incremental step up from the Colecovision, but it's definitely a step up. What would be a good name for it?

Red Hedgehog
03-26-2009, 02:09 PM
Also, next update should have us getting a heavy shuttlecraft - it's an incremental step up from the Colecovision, but it's definitely a step up. What would be a good name for it?

Depends on which story you chose to do and thus how many upgrades you think you'll get.

Though chronologically, the NES would be next.

dwolfe
03-26-2009, 02:45 PM
Vectrex please, or Atari 5200. But I think Vectrex is a neat name for a ship.

Or Microvision (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microvision)since it's a shuttle?

Lucas
03-26-2009, 10:28 PM
Depends on which story you chose to do and thus how many upgrades you think you'll get.

Though chronologically, the NES would be next.

I'm doing Vell-os first, so there'll probably be only two more nameable ships in this playthrough. If I don't get burned out on LPing and there's interest, I'll do another story, so don't burn through the chronology too quickly.

Lucas
03-29-2009, 10:08 PM
[[Sorry this took so long. Uh... I was too busy reading the other LPs?]]

July 12 – Rauther (http://www.sixmeans.com/lets_play/evnova/spobs/rauther.jpg)

http://www.sixmeans.com/lets_play/evnova/ud02/barry14.jpg

Well, a little lonely, at least. Still, the outfitter here was very impressive, and that took my mind off the loneliness.

http://www.sixmeans.com/lets_play/evnova/ud02/rauth_outfitter.jpg

[[The light cannon I’ve got highlighted here is essentially the Rauther special. Like the description says, they’re expensive and weak, but with their better reach and small mass they’re superior to the light blaster. In practical terms, however, the smaller mass doesn’t make a huge difference because each ship can have only a certain number of guns mounted on it anyway and in terms of general usefulness the light cannon will be outclassed by other weapons just as quickly as the light blaster.

The gravimetric missiles, on the other hand, the most powerful commonly available missiles in the game – the only ordinance more powerful are either Polaris-specific or illegal. Their tracking systems can’t be defeated by anything less than Vell-os or Polaris military jammers and one shot will destroy a small craft like ours. These missiles are so large that, unlike smaller weapons like the raven rocket or IR missile, each missile takes up mass in addition to the mass needed for the launcher.]]

http://www.sixmeans.com/lets_play/evnova/ud02/barry15.jpg

Oh, this sounded like fun.

http://www.sixmeans.com/lets_play/evnova/ud02/barry16.jpg

I guess boarding ships wasn’t part of pilot school curriculum when Barry was young? Anyway, I was eager to get off this dead rock and do some target practice!

On my way out, I took one last look around the bar.

http://www.sixmeans.com/lets_play/evnova/ud02/rauther_bar.jpg

http://www.sixmeans.com/lets_play/evnova/ud02/hyper_news_net.jpg

[[This is the bar dialog. Hiring escorts can be important for some tasks: fighters and warships will increase your offensive potential while freighter escorts will increase your cargo space, which is vital for making a profit at trading commodities. Be warned that hiring escorts will require thousands of credits for a signing fee, then 10% of that fee each day. (A day passes every time you land at a spob and take off again and - depending on the size of your ship - up to three days passes for each hyperjump.) Boarded and captured escorts don’t have this expense, obviously.

Checking out the holovid will show you two little blurbs. Usually one is news of some activity that will temporarily affect commodity prices, like a bountiful harvest on one planet lowering their food prices or raiders increasing the cost of medical supplies, and one the other will be a news story giving a bit of story-related flavor, but this time they’re both just flavor.

Gambling isn’t really worth it. You put down your credits and bet on one of the four viper racers. After a short video, if the viper you picked won you get four times your bet back. The winner is totally random, as far as I know; for simple credits you’re far better served by the mission BBS.

The real reason to hit up bars is because of the back-room business Barry mentions Almost every mission that isn’t simply moving freight around for credits start in the bar – two of the primary mission strings branch off from a mission you’ll find in the mission BBS and one of the secondary mission strings starts from the Kane Band shipyard, but pretty much everything else of note starts in the bar.]]

http://www.sixmeans.com/lets_play/evnova/ud02/jerkface.jpg

I blasted off Rauther, but I couldn’t pick up the derelict that Barry had described. I did see the blue flash of a railgun, however, and the flaming wreckage of a viper falling into the gas giant Rauther Prime. I shrugged my shoulders and set a course for Tichel, with a short layover at Sol to refuel.

[[The selected valkyrie shot down our disabled ship in the time it took for the game to go from planet mode to space mode. Because the viper target Barry gets for us for this segment isn’t a derelict but simply a pirate ship spawned in a disabled state, any other ships in the system will fire on it. It takes the system generating with no other ships when you take off and a minor miracle to get the time to board the viper and shoot it down yourself.

Note that, like many systems in this game, despite there being multiple spobs in this system, there’s actually only one place to land: Rauther, the small grey moon above and to the left of the gas giant. Trying to land on a gas giant like Rauther Prime gives you a message that the environment is too hostile for your ship, and the chunk of metal to the right of Rauther Prime is a damaged hypergate. Even if we had authorization to use the hypergate system, this is one of many inoperable nodes. Also, the rail gun mentioned above is the signature Auroran gun, but upgraded civilian ships often have them.]]

Lucas
03-29-2009, 10:13 PM
July 18 – Viking (http://www.sixmeans.com/lets_play/evnova/spobs/viking.jpg)

http://www.sixmeans.com/lets_play/evnova/ud02/tichel_battle01.jpg

http://www.sixmeans.com/lets_play/evnova/ud02/tichel_battle02.jpg

http://www.sixmeans.com/lets_play/evnova/ud02/tichel_battle03.jpg

http://www.sixmeans.com/lets_play/evnova/ud02/tichel_battle04.jpg

When we jumped into the Tichel system, I was so stunned by the fireworks ahead of me that I took too long to try and change course. By the time I was decelerating, I realized that I’d waited too long and, at the rate I was going, I’d come to a full stop directly in the crossfire. Fortunately, changing my vector instead of just slowing down helped me avoid most of the fire. Something still hit the Colecovision, but whatever it was it didn’t penetrate our shields.

There was only a single Federation carrier holding off two Auroran cruisers, but fortunately a small fleet f Federation reinforcements showed up. That fleet must have entered hyperspace from Sol several days ago, so it was a great stroke of luck they’d appear just when they did. One of the reinforcements was one of those beautiful ships the Vell-os create.

[[Look carefully at that first battle shot. None of the three ships firing all that ordinance are actually in the picture. Remember what Egarwaen and I said about the range of Auroran weaponry? There you go. Also, since every attack leaves some sort of a trail, you can see that almost all the weaponry is Auroran railgun fire (the blue shots) flying from the bottom up. I also caught Spacedock II firing its heavy blaster at one of the Aurorans. That’s right, this game has space station- and planet-based weaponry.

The bright blue bursts you see in those shots are the effect made when a railgun hits something. Each kind of weapon has its own such effect, but considering that Auroran weaponry loses its glow as it travels and can actually hit targets beyond the range that it’s completely invisible, being able to identify what’s hitting you is important. I should also mention that all damage you take, both shields and armor, is fixed whenever you land.]]

The sensors picked up a disabled shuttlecraft. I assumed it had gotten caught in the cross fire like we almost did, but…

http://www.sixmeans.com/lets_play/evnova/ud02/derelict_trap.jpg

http://www.sixmeans.com/lets_play/evnova/ud02/failed_ambush.jpg

Fortunately, with all the military forces in the system, the pirates had more on their plate than they could handle, and we set down on Viking.

http://www.sixmeans.com/lets_play/evnova/ud02/barry17.jpg

http://www.sixmeans.com/lets_play/evnova/ud02/barry18.jpg

As we walked to the shipyard, I briefly wondered if the “new group” in the galactic north that Barry mentioned was the rebels I had heard about on the HNN in that bar on Rauther.

http://www.sixmeans.com/lets_play/evnova/ud02/barry19.jpg

http://www.sixmeans.com/lets_play/evnova/ud02/viking_shipyard.jpg

The pirate ships available were all very impressive, but it was obvious that they were mainly small modifications of civilian ships. Even the manticores; imposing as they were, I could see built from the cargo pods of one of the leviathan freighters I saw at the Kane Band.

July 21 – Altia (http://www.sixmeans.com/lets_play/evnova/spobs/altia.jpg)

http://www.sixmeans.com/lets_play/evnova/ud02/merchant_thanks.jpg

I finally returned the merchants I’d rescued to their home planet. They were very generous. Afterwards I visited the outfitter to purchase the star map for this area, and there were many shady offers there.

http://www.sixmeans.com/lets_play/evnova/ud02/altia_outfitters.jpg

I beat a hasty retreat to the Colecovision and planned out a course for Sol.

[[If you have illegal equipment on your ship and are scanned by a Fed or Auroran ship, they’ll go hostile, even if you have the license for legal version of the weapon. I think illegal weaponry is slightly cheaper than the legal versions, but a missile weapons license and a legal radar missile launcher aren’t exactly expensive either. If aren’t happy unless you carry illegal weapons, at least go big and get a polaron or ion cannon, or some EMP torpedoes.]]

Lucas
03-29-2009, 10:17 PM
July 26 – Earth (http://www.sixmeans.com/lets_play/evnova/spobs/earth.jpg)

http://www.sixmeans.com/lets_play/evnova/ud02/barry21.jpg

Barry had piqued my curiosity, so I logged into the spaceport network and checked out the mission BBS. It seemed mainly to be different people and groups putting out requests for ferry or delivery services from space captains, but I noticed one that seemed… tailored for me.

http://www.sixmeans.com/lets_play/evnova/ud02/barry22.jpg

http://www.sixmeans.com/lets_play/evnova/ud02/barry23.jpg

I accepted a request from several people who also wanted to go to Dunroamin, since I had the space and I was going there anyway.

[[Seriously, always take passengers if you’re even thinking of going in the same direction as they want to go. They don’t pay much, but they don’t take up space either and the missions never expire. I’ve carted some groups of passengers around for nearly a year.]]

http://www.sixmeans.com/lets_play/evnova/ud02/forbidden_map.jpg

While planning out my route, I noticed the Kerella system was marked orange by my astrogation computer. When I asked Barry, he explained that the map would automatically code a system that color if I was allowed in the system but there weren’t any ports that would let me land without some business there. Most such systems, like Kerella, weren’t hostile to me but the ports were military and reserved for navy ships.

This route was a risky pair of jumps, since I didn’t know what was – or more importantly, what was not – in that grey system at the end of the second jump, or whether it actually connects to the Journey’s End system. With only three jumps to my ship, and not having bought generators or batteries, I feared being marooned in space with Barry and these other passengers if the system was uninhabited and didn’t have that connection. Barry assured me the connection was there, however, so I made the jumps.

[[Really, this is precisely the kind of risk I warned you against taking in the last update, but I know this area well enough that I’m not worried. The unexplored system is actually uninhabited, but the hyperspace connection to Journey’s End is there. If you thought the presence of that connection is obvious because of how close the systems are, you should see some of the weird connections made in Auroran space.]]

July 30 – Dunroamin (http://www.sixmeans.com/lets_play/evnova/spobs/dunroamin.jpg)

http://www.sixmeans.com/lets_play/evnova/ud02/barryfinally.jpg

http://www.sixmeans.com/lets_play/evnova/ud02/passengers.jpg

It… it’s quiet in the Colecovision now. This is the first time since the shakedown flight that I’ve been alone on the shuttle for this long. It’ll take me some time to get used to it, but I guess I’ll have to. I’ve taken a mission to deliver some food to Kinike, which should take me about a week, including a stop at Earth to refuel. Maybe I’ll have gotten used to the quiet by then.

[]

August 10 – Tau Prime (http://www.sixmeans.com/lets_play/evnova/spobs/tau_prime.jpg)

After dropping off the food, I decided to head to the Tau Ceti system, just to see what was here. I set down here on Tau Prime, found an acceptable mission delivering some luxury goods, then headed to the bar. That’s when things got interesting.

http://www.sixmeans.com/lets_play/evnova/ud02/tau_prime_bar.jpg

http://www.sixmeans.com/lets_play/evnova/ud02/kontik01.jpg

Even more than the fifty thousand credits, when I was a lad I dreamed of adventures like this. Really, there’s no way I could turn these guys down.

http://www.sixmeans.com/lets_play/evnova/ud02/kontik02.jpg

I came back to the Colecovision and canceled the mission I accepted previously. Tomorrow I the scientists will load their probe, then we’ll be off for the ride of our lives.

And to think I was worried my life would be boring without Barry around.

[b]Next time: Is Peg-leg really stupid enough to attempt this mission in a vanilla shuttlecraft? If he isn’t that stupid, does that mean we’ll finally see him actually buy a ship upgrade instead of just window shopping?

dwolfe
03-30-2009, 07:50 AM
Wow that is a ton to read. Will slowly work through it, but hooray! so far, it looks good (and just barely fits on my laptop's 1280x800 screen fortunately!).

Egarwaen
03-30-2009, 08:52 AM
Next time: Is Peg-leg really stupid enough to attempt this mission in a vanilla shuttlecraft? If he isn’t that stupid, does that mean we’ll finally see him actually buy a ship upgrade instead of just window shopping?

Ah, the memories! I think I did this mission in a vanilla shuttlecraft with a bunch of jump upgrades the first time I played! Or was it a Heavy Shuttle? Something utterly inadequate, I know that!

StriderDL
03-30-2009, 09:11 AM
I had heard of this game before, but seeing it played makes me want to play like mad. Must add to the future acquisition list. Then to the backlog list.

Lucas
03-30-2009, 11:50 AM
Wow that is a ton to read. Will slowly work through it, but hooray! so far, it looks good (and just barely fits on my laptop's 1280x800 screen fortunately!).

I wish I could say that with Barry gone, it would be less to read, but I can't. It really just means that the things I'll have to screenshot will be fewer and more far between for me. Hopefully things'll be more interesting now that I'm out of the tutorial and starting some real story bits.

Ah, the memories! I think I did this mission in a vanilla shuttlecraft with a bunch of jump upgrades the first time I played! Or was it a Heavy Shuttle? Something utterly inadequate, I know that!

I think this mission is actually impossible to in an un-upgraded shuttle. You would need a lot of luck, patience, and credits to pull it off, because you would have to depend on buying energy from Auroran traders and pray the Houseless, who are all over that area of space, don't come after you. However, I usually do this mission in a heavy shuttle loaded with solar panels. That's probably still considered inadequate, but I have some excellent running away skills in this game.

Egarwaen
03-30-2009, 06:09 PM
However, I usually do this mission in a heavy shuttle loaded with solar panels. That's probably still considered inadequate, but I have some excellent running away skills in this game.

Yeah, that's what I managed it in! Man, that was awesome and painful.

Hm. Solar panels over batteries? Don't you need absurd amounts of them to recharge even a single jump of energy in reasonable time? Or can you not buy enough batteries to get there and back from a friendly system?

Lucas
03-30-2009, 06:32 PM
I think there's a friendly Auroran spob three jumps away from Kontik, meaning a heavy shuttle with two batteries can make it (with no room for error!), but I've been marooned in the middle of uninhabited systems with empty fuel tanks enough that I'll always take fuel regen over fuel capacity.

(I remember one time in... EV Override, I think it was. I miscounted jumps and ended up marooned in a system with a dead planet in it, one jump away from my destination that was out in the middle of nowhere. Did I buy fuel from a random passersby? I damn well tried! When that didn't work, I turned to piracy. It took me quite a while - it wasn't a well-traveled system and I didn't have good piracy weapons - but I managed to eventually build up the fuel I needed and leave. I think it actually took me multiple play sessions to do.)

Aeonus
03-30-2009, 07:27 PM
Am I the only one who abuses the Luxury Goods run between Earth and Mars? If you get a fast ship and ever-larger freighter escorts, (and abuse the fast forward button) you can get enough cash to buy and pimp out pretty much any ship you want in about an hour (maybe two, I haven't played in a long time). It doesn't help much if you're doing the Vell-os campaign though. And wouldn't make for a particularly exciting LP either.

And yes, always solar panels. Or reactors. Even if it's only one. It will be faster to regenerate a jump with a lone solar panel than to wait for someone to come along you can buy energy from. At worst case, you can accelerate off in some random direction, and put something on the fast forward key while you go watch TV or something.

Lucas
03-30-2009, 08:36 PM
The Europa-Earth luxury goods run is pretty handy (the most easily abused trade route outside of Polaris space, as I recall), but I've never really seen a need for grinding money like that. There's no ships that really cost enough to make it worth it, at least for my play style. For my time, pirating pirates is almost as good a way to make money and much more fun. Of course, I'm thinking of abusing trade routes anyway for this LP, because if I can't get a Kestrel for Talking Time...

Egarwaen
03-30-2009, 09:30 PM
There's no ships that really cost enough to make it worth it, at least for my play style.

Particularly since the Starbridge variant you get over in Wild Goose territory is so awesome, and not overly pricey either.

Lucas
04-06-2009, 05:29 PM
[[Man, I don't update for a week and I get pushed back to the second page? Maybe we do have too many LPs running at one time... Anyway, just a short one today, guys.]]

August 11 – Earth (http://www.sixmeans.com/lets_play/evnova/spobs/earth.jpg)

I’d heard stories of travel to Kontik before, and I knew there was no way the Colecovision could make it there and back, so I stopped at the Kane Band shipyard. Unfortunately all they had in stock in my price range was some used and abused shuttles and a viper, which has even less range than my shuttle.

Not seeing much of a choice, I retooled the the Colecovision for range by selling its one cannon and covering it with as many solar panels as it could hold. I also upgraded the sensors somewhat, so that I could at least know a little about the ships nearby.

http://www.sixmeans.com/lets_play/evnova/ud03/colecovision_extras.jpg

[[This screen of the personal information dialog should be self-explanatory, but just for the sake of not having an unexplained screen I’ll tell you that it shows the add-ons we’ve bought for our ship and how much it’ll be worth when we trade it in for another ship. The General tab tells you little things like your name, details on ship status, and your social standing. Cargo is what you’re carrying, and Honors will list things like military rank, titles, psychic power level, and anything like that that we accrue throughout the game.

Also, I’m honestly not doing this as a special challenge for the LP. I’m doing this because the game is being really stingy with what ships it spawns. Quite often I’m in a heavy shuttle before I’m rid of Barry; I’ve never gone this long without seeing a new heavy shuttle in the shipyards.]]

I’m really worried that this won’t be enough, but… let’s do it.

http://www.sixmeans.com/lets_play/evnova/ud03/kontik_trip.gif

August 19 – Gotim system

We’re in Auroran territory by now, but here at least no one’s hostile to us. We’re taking a day to recharge our energy supply before heading deeper into Auroran space. We’ve got just over two jumps’ worth of energy now, so I’m restarting the hyperdrive; hopefully we’ll find a civilized planet soon.

August 20 – Tekel LP (http://www.sixmeans.com/lets_play/evnova/spobs/tekel_lp.jpg)

It’s not quite a planet, but the Tekel listening post in the Reer system us to dock and recharge our cells. They aren’t exactly encouraging us to stay, however, and one of Jerry’s scientists almost got into a fight with a Tekel warrior. To be safe, we’re taking off again now.

August 24 – Kymonthia (http://www.sixmeans.com/lets_play/evnova/spobs/kymonthia.jpg)

We’re getting close to Kontik, but something tells me this last leg of the journey will be the most dangerous. We also got hit by some ordinance when we jumped through a crossfire in the Tekel Reeva system, so we’re putting down here on Kymonthia for a bit to recharge our shields and energy. It’s actually quite beautiful here, even if the highest forms of native life are bacterial molds.

Jerry and his science boys didn’t seem to appreciate it as much. So close to Kontik, they don’t want to stop even if they appreciate the necessity.

August 28 – Kont (http://www.sixmeans.com/lets_play/evnova/spobs/kont.jpg)

Upon entry to the Kontik system, an automated message buoy alerted us, telling us that anyone who tries to stay on Kont for any length of time have disappeared. Jerry assures me that we won’t be there longer than a day or two, however.

The sensors are practically useless in this system – some sort of interference is making everything show up under a green haze. We can’t even pick up anything very far away because everything fades into the haze at about half the sensor’s nominal max range.

http://www.sixmeans.com/lets_play/evnova/ud03/outside_kont.jpg

[[It didn't come out well in this shot, but the background the entire system is tinted green. Stupid jpegs. That small asteroid is actually just on the very edge of how far you can see in this system.]]

http://www.sixmeans.com/lets_play/evnova/ud03/kontik03.jpg

The giant ring around this planet is very similar to Earth’s Kane Band, making this planet look eerily like a dead version of humanity’s home. I’ve heard people say before that Kont is one of the wonders of the known galaxy, and now that I’ve seen it in person I have to agree. Who built this place?

More importantly right now, who or what keeps killing the researchers that come here? Now that the probe’s been launched, we need to get away from here.

Lucas
04-06-2009, 05:34 PM
September 11 – Earth (http://www.sixmeans.com/lets_play/evnova/spobs/earth.jpg)

http://www.sixmeans.com/lets_play/evnova/ud03/kontik04.jpg

It was interesting talking to Jerry and his men. I’ll be honest: despite all my hours, now months, spent in the pilot’s seat of a space ship, I still don’t know a lot about astrophysics. On the other hand, despite all the math Jerry knows, he still doesn’t know much about actually flying, and it’s been interesting talking to him, each of us filling in blanks in the other’s knowledge.

Still, the Colecovision is a small ship, and after the last month it’s nice not to be sharing it with seven other men anymore.

…And I just realized that those fifty thousand credits they paid me barely cover the modifications I made to my ship to fulfill the mission. Maybe I should be angrier about this, but considering the things I saw on the trip that I probably would never have seen otherwise, merely breaking even on credits doesn’t seem like such a bad thing. Hell, I’m sure there are plenty of people out there who would pay money to have taken such a trip. And besides, I still have just enough credits to apply for an exotic ships and weapons license.

[[Oddly enough, that was by far the least trouble I’ve ever had with the Kontik run. That’s because I cheated.

See, usually I’m flying blind to Kontik, with only a general idea of heading south and east to get there. This leads to a route with a huge dog-leg in it. Even worse, it’s a dog-leg that puts you through several lawless uninhabited systems where four out of five people you’ll meet are Houseless, the Auroran pirates.

Knowing that a shuttle didn’t stand a chance going through there, I opened up a different pilot file, one that has a much more complete map (even after completing a major storyline, it’s very possible you’ll have fleshed out half or less of the total map) and plotted out the shortest route I could find between Fed space and Kontik:

http://www.sixmeans.com/lets_play/evnova/ud03/kontik_cheat_map.jpg

This route has the major advantages of being shorter than the route I usually end up taking and being mostly within civilized space. Also note that this mission is impossible to complete in an unmodified shuttle; because the only to get to Kontik is through Smada and there’s no way to fuel up in either of those systems, you need either energy regen or a minimum of four jumps energy capacity (Eguit/Tekel Kymon --> Smada --> Kontik --> Smada --> Eguit/Tekel Kymon). There is a chance you could get a neutral ship to help you in Smada or Kontik, but even if one spawned the cost would be prohibitive.]]

September 16 – Herald (http://www.sixmeans.com/lets_play/evnova/spobs/herald.jpg)

After the long haul of launching the Kontik probe, I decided cool down a bit by running a an equipment delivery from Earth to Herald. After I got the cargo unloaded, I decided to hit the spaceport bar.

http://www.sixmeans.com/lets_play/evnova/ud03/uns01.jpg

I’d heard people say that United Shipping pilots are paid pretty well, so I agreed.

http://www.sixmeans.com/lets_play/evnova/ud03/uns02.jpg

I was so bemused that I wandered back into my ship and buttoned up before I realized I’d never gotten the drink I wanted.

September 22 – Snowmelt (http://www.sixmeans.com/lets_play/evnova/spobs/snowmelt.jpg)

http://www.sixmeans.com/lets_play/evnova/ud03/uns03.jpg

September 29 – Kerensky (http://www.sixmeans.com/lets_play/evnova/spobs/kerensky.jpg)

http://www.sixmeans.com/lets_play/evnova/ud03/uns04.jpg

I went to the mission BBS to see what the more standard Un. Shipping missions were like, and was surprised.

http://www.sixmeans.com/lets_play/evnova/ud03/un_deliveries_bbs.jpg

After the initiation mission netted me a rather standard ten thousand credits, seeing a job worth fifty thou was impressive. Needless to say, I accepted it and laid in a course back to Snowmelt.

I think I’ll like working with United Shipping.

[[You’re not guaranteed to always have 50KISC jobs available from UnS, but they pay well enough that these jobs will be my bread and butter until starting the major storyline. Because UnS jobs never require more than one or two tons of cargo space and must be completed before a certain date, they’re actually optimized for smaller ships (which you’ll recall take less time in hyperspace than bigger ships).

Energy regen is also handy here – staying idle in space to let solar panels or a power plant work, while boring, doesn’t take up in-game time but landing on a planet to recharge does. The time limits are fairly generous for a small ship, but once we bulk up a little some of these missions will probably be on time only by the skin of my teeth, and every little bit helps.

Anyway, that’s all for the LP today, but one last thing. Between these UnS jobs and how hard a time I’m having finding a heavy shuttle, I think I’m going to just skip that upgrade. That means it’s time for a vote: which should our first “powerful” ship be, the Ruatherion Lightning (http://www.sixmeans.com/lets_play/evnova/ships/lightning.jpg) or the civilian Thunderhead (http://www.sixmeans.com/lets_play/evnova/ships/thunderhead.jpg)?

These two ships are really pretty well balanced, but the lightning will be a better ship for running cargo around, but the thunderhead is a bit more powerful weapons-wise because it uses a pair of beam weapons (even if they’re beams with suicidally short range). Also, if you pick the thunderhead, I'll try and get the pirate version too before the next planned upgrade.]]

Egarwaen
04-06-2009, 05:57 PM
I've never managed to actually use beam weapons effectively. If you can show me how to do so with the Thunderhead, I say go for it!

dwolfe
04-06-2009, 10:19 PM
Did I hear one of those ships is suicide? I choose that one!!

Can you only have one ship at a time? (sorry if I overlooked this before) It seems like it'd be swell to dock a shuttle and a battleship and switch between them as you feel like it.

We have WAY too many damn let's play's going at all times, but I think that's because we've diversified into very narrowly focused LP's, where only a few people love the game/genre enough to follow it. If I ever ran one* and got more than 10 people to comment on it, ever, I'd be thrilled.

*Not running one since Nethack was taken.

Egarwaen
04-07-2009, 12:03 AM
Also, looking at your jump maps, I'm almost positive that even a vanilla Shuttle loaded with batteries can manage a run to Kontik starting from either Tichel or Kania and passing through Reer. I know you can recharge at some system within two jumps of Kontik, and I think you can get to that one within four jumps of Reer. I'm tempted to say it's Tekel Kymon, but I can't remember for sure.

Lucas
04-07-2009, 12:05 AM
Yeah, it's one ship at a time. You can be given, hire, or capture escorts, and you can have fighter bays, but to switch ships you either have to buy a new one or disable, board, and capture a new ship.

On the plus side, there's a good number (read: two) of versatile ships that can actually do quite well at being both a cargo hauler and a warship. Granted, you won't have the cargo space to run the very large missions or make a lot of money on the commodities market, but the Valkyrie and Starbridge, when upgraded well, can make totally vicious courier ships.

"What's that? Your planet is blockaded? Don't worry, I can take on a carrier or two. You'll have your twenty tons of food by the end of the month!"

Also, looking at your jump maps, I'm almost positive that even a vanilla Shuttle loaded with batteries can manage a run to Kontik starting from either Tichel or Kania and passing through Reer. I know you can recharge at some system within two jumps of Kontik, and I think you can get to that one within four jumps of Reer. I'm tempted to say it's Tekel Kymon, but I can't remember for sure.

Actually, one battery on a shuttle would let you do it with stops at Reer and Tekel Kymon. I still prefer energy generation to storage, though.

For that matter, a vanilla (in the sense of "unmodified") heavy shuttle would be able to do it, too.

Lucas
04-10-2009, 08:06 PM
November 9, 1177 NC – Enlightenment system

Today was an adventure.

While performing a standard Un. Shipping job – picking up some art on Helen to deliver to Trishka, I decided to coast through the Sol system a bit in order to recharge my fuel cells. I must have dozed off for a bit [[OK, I was reading a book]] because next thing I knew I was far away from the system center and the sensors’ anomaly alert was going off. A quick scan showed me something off to starboard that I’d heard about but never seen before: the Sol wormhole.

http://www.sixmeans.com/lets_play/evnova/ud04/sol_wormhole.jpg

I knew I really should have continued on with my paying job, but curiosity got the best of me. Besides, wormholes are supposed to be ninety percent safe, aren’t they? The Colecovision and I dove in.

When we emerged, my sensors identified the system as Kipa, deep in Auroran space.

http://www.sixmeans.com/lets_play/evnova/ud04/map_near_kipa.jpg

Although they didn’t seem to care about me, the only port listed was Houseless, the Auroran pirates. Combined with the horrible visibility in the nebula, I decided to dive right back into the wormhole to return to Sol.

It turns out wormholes don’t work like that.

http://www.sixmeans.com/lets_play/evnova/ud04/map_near_telluer.jpg

When I emerged I had no idea where I was, but the map identified the system as Telluer, far to the galactic west of civilized space. I’d never heard of it before. I have no idea how the Colecovision’s astrogation systems identified it either, but I guess that’s why ship computers are such a high percentage of the ship’s cost.

Worried about my shipping job, I look at the ship’s calendar. It claimed that no time had been passed when I traveled through the wormholes. This left me with two options: the wormholes were playing havoc with the computer or wormhole travel really was instantaneous. Either way I thought it would be faster and (hopefully!) safer for me to travel through wormholes trying to find my way back to Federation space than to try and travel by hyperspace routes.

Gritting my teeth, I dove back in. And out. And in and out…

http://www.sixmeans.com/lets_play/evnova/ud04/telluer_wormhole.jpg

http://www.sixmeans.com/lets_play/evnova/ud04/map_near_chirt.jpg

http://www.sixmeans.com/lets_play/evnova/ud04/map_near_ganutomes.jpg

http://www.sixmeans.com/lets_play/evnova/ud04/ganutomes_wormhole.jpg

http://www.sixmeans.com/lets_play/evnova/ud04/map_near_evlei.jpg

http://www.sixmeans.com/lets_play/evnova/ud04/enlightenment_wormhole.jpg

Finally I emerged from a wormhole in the Enlightenment system, only a couple of hyperspace jumps from Sol. After six trips through seven wormholes, I decided not to push my luck trying to get closer to Helen and simply resolved to spend a couple extra days en route.

As I laid out the hyperspace route, I realized my map looks kind of funny with so many systems so far away from any other parts of the map I’ve filled out. I resolved to some day work out the routes to connect them to the rest my map.

Some day.

http://www.sixmeans.com/lets_play/evnova/ud04/map_post_wormholes.jpg

December 10 –Kerensky (http://www.sixmeans.com/lets_play/evnova/spobs/kerensky.jpg)

While trying to pick up some art on Kerensky, it turned out that the seller didn’t actually have the shipment ready yet. Having some time to kill, I wandered down to the shipyard. There I saw her:

http://www.sixmeans.com/lets_play/evnova/ships/thunderhead.jpg

She cost a pretty penny, but once I got inside her I knew she’d be worth it. She’s not laid out like the shuttle I’m used to, but then she’s more than just a small airtight box with engines. The two biggest improvements, so far as I’m concerned, is the thunderhead lances that give the fighter her name and the pilot’s chair. The one gives me much more confidence in my survivability out in the back and the other will make long stays in the cockpit for more comfortable.

I named her the Vectrex.

http://www.sixmeans.com/lets_play/evnova/ud04/vectrex.jpg

http://www.sixmeans.com/lets_play/evnova/ud04/vectrex2.jpg

Lucas
04-10-2009, 08:44 PM
December 25 – Georgia (http://www.sixmeans.com/lets_play/evnova/spobs/georgia.jpg)

http://www.sixmeans.com/lets_play/evnova/ud04/cunjo1.jpg

http://www.sixmeans.com/lets_play/evnova/ud04/cunjo2.jpg

Maybe it’s just the thunderhead lances making me feel pumped up. I’m not really sure why else I would agree to transport a bunch of heavily armed Aurorans and their clients for a safari. Well, either way, time to set off.

Also, as much as I loved the Colecovision, the Vectrex is a single-man fighter and it can fit ten people far more comfortably than my first ship. That doesn’t seem to say much for shuttlecrafts.

January 4, 1178 NC – Hourglass (http://www.sixmeans.com/lets_play/evnova/spobs/hourglass.jpg)

http://www.sixmeans.com/lets_play/evnova/ud04/cunjo3.jpg

I thought about trying my hand at the hunt, but most of the “hunters” complained loudly if I left the ship. They obviously thought we should be able to lift off at a moment’s notice. In any case, none of the hunters would dare let go of their weapon for even a moment, and I doubted it would be wise to ask one of the Auroran security men to relinquish their weapon so I could try out the hunt.

Oh well, maybe we’ll roast up some of the cunjo meat on the trip back to Earth.

January 8 – Earth (http://www.sixmeans.com/lets_play/evnova/spobs/earth.jpg)

http://www.sixmeans.com/lets_play/evnova/ud04/cunjo4.jpg

It’s kind of a shame that I can’t expect to ever go cunjo hunting myself, but I wouldn’t pay for it and I don’t really want to be Charengo’s usual ride for the hunt. That would require me to work from a base, practically be a regular merchant, but already space is calling me again.

[why in another update, but for right now just know that I’m planning to get into a pirate thunderhead as soon as I’ve got a couple hundred thou in my wallet and an excuse to go to Viking. Would you guys rather I give our ship a new name then (if so, what?) or just keep it as the Vectrex?

See you next update. Here’s hoping that soon I’ll have an actual combat-capable ship and can finally show you some action!]]

Egarwaen
04-13-2009, 08:57 AM
One other little thing: I’ve never actually used a civilian thunderhead before and I kind of underestimated how much they stink. I’ll get into why in another update, but for right now just know that I’m planning to get into a pirate thunderhead as soon as I’ve got a couple hundred thou in my wallet and an excuse to go to Viking. Would you guys rather I give our ship a new name then (if so, what?) or just keep it as the Vectrex?

Honestly, most of the general-availability ships suck, particularly the fighters. IIRC, I tend to skip straight from a Heavy Shuttle (affordable and worthwhile upgrade, and can handle any trade mission you want to throw at it) to a Starbridge (the first thing I consider actually fight-able).

Lucas
04-13-2009, 09:27 PM
February 19, 1178 NC – Sirius Prime (http://www.sixmeans.com/lets_play/evnova/spobs/sirius_prime.jpg)

I’d just completed a tiring couple of jobs – one carrying a mercenary rep across too much of the galaxy for too little money, the other running a rush delivery in too little time – and I was winding down in the spaceport bar. I didn’t much care for the music, but at least the drinks were strong.

http://www.sixmeans.com/lets_play/evnova/ud05/rock1.jpg

http://www.sixmeans.com/lets_play/evnova/ud05/rock2.jpg

And just a couple minutes ago a hundred thousand credits for two stops sounded good. Combine the crap these guys play, the crap they smell like, and the crap they say happened to their last security guy, and suddenly I’m wondering if it’s really worth it. And now that I’m thinking about their last security guy, who was he and how did he know me?

Oh well, a deal’s a deal.

[[Get it guys? Rock musicians are disgusting slobs whose very presence can make you physically ill! Modern music sucks! It’s funny! Sigh.

Thanks to the game’s simple narrative structure and its second-person POV, there’s a lot of story points that are dictated to you without you getting any choice whatsoever. Your pilot will do a lot of things outside their ship, but you never get a choice about it. This includes being cruelly spiteful towards bumbling scientists, fighting in gladiatorial arena combat, getting tattooed… you get the idea.

Nova has (rightfully, in my opinion) been criticized for all the things you’re railroaded into. I’m not saying that, say, this mission should give you the option of whether to be grossed out by the band Debris Field or not, but in some of the more egregious examples of railroading it would have been nice if some work had been done to make the game more open to other actions. That would also have reduced the (also much criticized) simplicity of the game and paucity of missions.]]

February 24 – Cornwall (http://www.sixmeans.com/lets_play/evnova/spobs/cornwall.jpg)

http://www.sixmeans.com/lets_play/evnova/ud05/rock3.jpg

[[Ok, that’s a pretty tasteless album name, I’ll admit. It feels like ATMOS was going for a Spïnal Tap vibe with Debris Field. The problem is that people love Spïnal Tap, so that’s a move of questionable wisdom. Oh well, time for a little trip to the other side of Fed space.]]

February 25 – South Manchester system

As I lifted off from Cornwall, the sleek shape of a Vell-os dart glided past. Then alarms blared as a small fleet of pirates entered the system and targeted the Vectrex. My mind raced – they were directly on the route I’d have to take to hyperspace out of the system, but they were also just modified freighters and my ship could probably survive a close encounter with them.

As I weighed the benefits of avoiding them, running past them, or fighting them, the decision was taken out of my hands. I saw the Vell-os dash toward the pirates.

http://www.sixmeans.com/lets_play/evnova/ud05/rdvp.gif

The pirates… didn’t last long. I gave a grateful tip of an imaginary hat to the Vell-os, then set out for the Lalande 21185 system.

[[The Vell-os know how to do beam weapons - their most basic beam has about twice the range of our thunderhead lances (http://www.sixmeans.com/lets_play/evnova/ud05/thunderhead_demonstration.jpg). It also helps that their ships are actually built for combat: compared to our current pokey, papier-mâché “fighter,” the dart has a higher speed, much higher maneuverability, and shields that recharge almost before you can blink. Of course, they also break the laws of physics, but that can wait until we have a dart of our own.

Incidentally, letting someone else kill them is basically how I usually handle enemies at this point in the game. These pirates, like most of the groups of enemies that get sicced on you now and then, will follow you from system to system, always just a few seconds behind you. It was not an option here, but when it happens later in our game we should be able to take them apart ourselves.

If you aren’t equipped to handle them yourself you have two options: run for your ultimate destination, because their destruction often isn’t vital to the mission and finishing the mission will get rid of them, or run them into a navy somewhere and let the gov’t finish them off for you. The Sol and Kania systems are good for this – they’re both likely to have Fed Navy ships just hanging out and doing nothing.]]

March 5 – Syracuse (http://www.sixmeans.com/lets_play/evnova/spobs/syracuse.jpg)

http://www.sixmeans.com/lets_play/evnova/ud05/rock4.jpg

[[Uh, I mean, yeah! I totally kicked those pirates’ asses! It gives you this same message if you just run away from the pirates, as I recall. I’m also amused that for as often as the game tells you how you’re feeling in a situation it doesn’t give you any justification for saving Styles – no humanitarian feelings, nothing about honor as a hired bodyguard or knowing you won’t get paid if the crowd kills him, nothing.]]

April 23 – Viking (http://www.sixmeans.com/lets_play/evnova/spobs/viking.jpg)

A few run-ins with pirates and Aurorans have taught me that my fancy thunderhead really isn’t a very good fighter. I’m convinced that I should get a larger ship yet, so I followed up on some advice Barry gave me way back when and decided to check out the shipyards on Viking.

An engineer there promised he could do wonders with the Vectrex, a couple of days, and two hundred thousand credits. I was a little leery of it, but after thinking it over and seeing how busy his spaceship lot was I decided to trust him.

That trust was tested a little bit when he called me in the morning: “You said you never use your missiles, right? Mind if we take your launchers for a bit of extra space, then? If you don’t want them, we can exchange them for some parts with the guys across the way, save you a little scrillah.” I let him do it.

When I returned, the Vectrex (http://www.sixmeans.com/lets_play/evnova/ships/thunderhead.jpg) was… very different (http://www.sixmeans.com/lets_play/evnova/ships/pirate_thunderhead.jpg). They’d solved my issues with her speed by simply bolting a spare engine from another, junked thunderhead between the two regular engines. They solved my issue with the weapons’ range by slinging three of some sort of gun with Auroran markings under the nose. I was afraid to look closely, but I think they even left some wiring exposed.

Oh well. They swear she’s still spaceworthy, and at this point I’ve got nothing to lose by taking her out.

[[Pirate thunderheads are much better in battle than their civilian equivalent. They handle a bit better, they can take more damage, and they’re a skoosh harder to knock around (though it’s still pretty easy). Additionally, the problem of range is addressed by giving them an Auroran Fusion Pulse Cannon. FPCs have a pretty good range and deal decent damage, but like every non-beam gun its rate of fire isn’t so good with only one installed. Their lower cargo space isn’t too big a problem since I’m making most of my money off courier runs and rescuing distressed spaceship crews.

Of course, Vectrex Mk.2 was a standard pirate thunderhead for all of three seconds before I tossed a trio of solar panels on it. It took me a while to find a place that deals in radar missiles to take those launchers off her, but once I did that freed up the space for a fourth solar panel and another pair of FPCs. Now we’re ready for combat. We’ll have to pick our battles, and we won’t be taking on destroyers soon or anything, but at least we don’t have to fear enemy fighters anymore.

By the way, we’re going to need a ship with more cargo space soon, so unless anyone really wants to see a Valk (http://www.sixmeans.com/lets_play/evnova/ships/valkyrie.jpg) in action I’m going to pick up a Starbridge (http://www.sixmeans.com/lets_play/evnova/ships/starbridge.jpg) at some point before too long. Suggest a name and whether you’d rather see a Wild Geese or pirate mod of the ship.]]

Lucas
04-13-2009, 09:33 PM
And now that that's been posted, I realize it's... kind of skimpy. If you'd like some extra images, why not check out my space object (http://www.sixmeans.com/lets_play/evnova/spobs/) and ship (http://www.sixmeans.com/lets_play/evnova/ships/) directories?

Bongo Bill
04-13-2009, 11:26 PM
Heh heh, "spacies" instead of roadies.

Egarwaen
04-14-2009, 05:45 PM
I personally lean towards the Wild Geese mod - I find their upgrades more useful than the Pirate version. Interpret that as you will. ;)

Lucas
04-17-2009, 04:42 PM
I meant to have something up today, but it looks like updates will be [even more] sporadic for some time as I've suddenly found myself with very pressing needs to find a job and a new place to live. Please, try not to wail and gnash your teeth too much - it's not healthy.

Red Hedgehog
04-28-2009, 07:48 PM
For a ship name, I say we continue our chronological march forward. Atari 5200 it is!

Lucas
05-09-2009, 08:02 PM
So there I was, just having watched Starship Troopers, MiB, and MiB2 and making dinner while I went over what I want to do tonight in my daily Fallout 3 marathon when it struck me that it's been... what, a month since I updated? and the guilt was crippling. I'm breaking out the irfanview now, and should have an update up late tonight.

Lucas
05-10-2009, 12:57 AM
July 21, 1178NC – Earth (http://www.sixmeans.com/lets_play/evnova/spobs/earth.jpg)

http://www.sixmeans.com/lets_play/evnova/ud06/sigma01.jpg

http://www.sixmeans.com/lets_play/evnova/ud06/sigma02.jpg

Sigma Shipyards is one of the biggest companies in Fed space, if not the biggest. There’s no reason for them not to use independent contractors, but it never occurred to me that I’d be approached for work while browsing their sales lot. I’m happy to join their team, though.

[[Boo-yah. The Sigma missions (or more accurately, their rewards) are arguably the most useful sidequests in the game, and they aren’t even all that difficult or dangerous. The downside about them is that getting them isn’t easy for newbies – I was on at least my second playthrough before I even knew they existed.

There are four conditions you need to fulfill to get offered this mission: you must have at least ten tons cargo space, you need to enter the Earth shipyard (it’s the only mission offered in a shipyard), you need to have some combat experience, and the Random Number Gods must be kind to you. It’s not the hardest mission to get by any means, but it is a bit obscure. The payoff’s worth it, though.

It’s for the later missions in this string that we’ll need the starbridge’s extra cargo space, by the way.]]

July 24 – Kolan (http://www.sixmeans.com/lets_play/evnova/spobs/kolan.jpg)

http://www.sixmeans.com/lets_play/evnova/ud06/sigma03.jpg

July 27 – Earth (http://www.sixmeans.com/lets_play/evnova/spobs/earth.jpg)

http://www.sixmeans.com/lets_play/evnova/ud06/sigma04.jpg

http://www.sixmeans.com/lets_play/evnova/ud06/sigma05.jpg

Interesting. Looking over the information Rodney gave me, I see some things that I really don’t think I’d be able to get anywhere else. This relationship should be very useful for me.

[[The star liner lets you take special charter missions, moving large numbers of passengers around the galaxy. The missions give you a minimum of 50K each, but aren’t too exciting. The pegasus and leviathan are both large cargo movers – the leviathan in particular has the largest cargo space in the game. This lets you either move a lot of commodities easily or convert that cargo space to free mass and load up on weapons and armor, making a decent warship.

Sigma also offers several rather interesting upgrades. Each one is pricy, but provides a significant boost to your ship’s performance without using up cargo space or mass. They can increase your free mass, tune up your wiring to decrease sensor interference and boost shield capacity and regeneration, give you extra gun and turret mounts, and increase your engine power. They can also provide complete refits for one or two ships.

There is one other rather major reward for the Sigma missions, but we’ll see that one soon enough.]]

August 08 – Syracuse (http://www.sixmeans.com/lets_play/evnova/spobs/syracuse.jpg)

I dropped off a shipment of business papers at the UN office on Syracuse, then decided to hit the bar while I decided whether or not my engine needs to be tuned up.

http://www.sixmeans.com/lets_play/evnova/ud06/bounty01.jpg

http://www.sixmeans.com/lets_play/evnova/ud06/bounty02.jpg

OK, I think I can do this. I’ve taken out an Auroran abomination before, don’t need to worry just because this pilot’s good enough… to get a bounty put… on his head… shit. I just need to remember to get him in range of my lances.

Maybe I’ll work on my engine first to calm me down. Let’s have another drink while I decide.

http://www.sixmeans.com/lets_play/evnova/ud06/temmin01.jpg

http://www.sixmeans.com/lets_play/evnova/ud06/temmin02.jpg

Shit shit shit. I didn’t want to turn this shady guy down, but I’m honestly kind of nervous about this. I mean, I’ve defended myself and my cargo on a few occasions, but mostly it was my lucky shots against the thin shields and thinner armor of pirate vipers. I definitely never even imagined two separate and total strangers would approach me in one afternoon to recruit me for bounty hunting and privateering. What the hell am I doing?

[could be given two missions in one trip to the bar. This should be interesting; I just hope I can get enough screenshots.

Oh yeah, one annoying thing about bounties I just remembered: you really do have to find them. Instead of being polite and easy to spot and just hanging out in the system where you get the mission, instead they’re in one of the systems connected to that system. Fortunately there’s only one system connected to Galvan, so this won’t be very difficult.

It also shouldn’t be very hard because Temmin Shard is following us in the Shard, a class E starbridge (possibly the most powerful ship of its size).]]

August 10 – Altair system

http://www.sixmeans.com/lets_play/evnova/ud06/gjinchar.gif

That… wasn’t what I was expecting my first bounty to be like. Somehow I’d imagined it would be a heated battle between two ace pilots, or at least an ace and myself. Instead I jumped into Altair and found a bunch of Feds ready and waiting for combat. When the Gjinchar jumped in, it was greeted by a volley of missiles from a Fed destroyer. It was vaporized before it could do more than fire a couple missiles, which just splashed on my shields anyway; I’m not sure he did any real damage to anyone. Then again, I only got off a few shots with my FPCs myself, so I don’t know if I did any damage either.

The Feds will pay twenty thousand for something like this?

[[This took me totally by surprise, and that pic is the only screenshot I could get of the whole thing. The one time I want a bounty fight to be epic, it’s over in maybe two seconds, with no help from me. All I can do is shake my head, sigh, and hope the next fight turns out to be more exciting.

Also of note in that shot, you can see a missile that had been following me being decoyed into an asteroid. While it’s not a given, it’s quite possible that by leading a missile near an asteroid it’ll lock onto that instead of its intended target. Minimizing this effect is one reason why missile users (that is, people not me) pay the good money for good missiles.]]

August 13 – Earth (http://www.sixmeans.com/lets_play/evnova/spobs/earth.jpg)

http://www.sixmeans.com/lets_play/evnova/ud06/bounty03.gif

Their terms sound fair enough. Still, I don’t know how many of these missions I’ll be doing if every bounty is twenty thousand credits. After the Guild’s fee, that’s only eighteen thousand, and the average UN Shipping run pays better than that and is much safer (the bounty being caught in a storm of Fed missiles notwithstanding).

[[Actually, the standard pay for a bounty is 25K before the Guild takes its cut. They still aren’t really worth it unless you really have nothing else to do or you’re taking the mission in a system like Galvan or Wolf 359 where there’s only one connection so you can guarantee where the bounty will show up.

Also now we have an interesting conundrum on our hands: the bounty hunter mission string. I’m not sure why I blanked on this one’s significance, and I should probably have just refused it. See, if you carry it out to completion, it pop you into one of three different storylines, none of which is the one we want to do. Unlike the Wild Geese string, this one will not prevent you from starting a major storyline on your own, but it is something of a time bomb, just waiting for me to slip up and make us Feds or something.]]

August 16 – Boral I (http://www.sixmeans.com/lets_play/evnova/spobs/boral_i.jpg)

http://www.sixmeans.com/lets_play/evnova/ud06/temmin03.gif

http://www.sixmeans.com/lets_play/evnova/ud06/temmin04.gif

This guy and his mission are shady as all hell, but I don’t see any real reason to refuse him. To tell the truth, after the fiasco of that bounty hunt, I kind of want to do this mission just to prove I can really fight, to see if I can do this.

http://www.sixmeans.com/lets_play/evnova/ud06/temmin05.gif

I can do this.

[[And that’s it for tonight. I need to stop here if I want to have any chance of getting this done before midnight (ed. note: AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA); also, I tried the upcoming fight five or six times already and the only time I finished it satisfactorily I didn’t take any screenshots at all.

Anyway, I’m not sure when the next update will be, but it hopefully won’t be a month from now. Also, I think it’s a given now that I won’t be doing any other story strings after finishing the Vell-os. What I will do, if anyone’s interested, is be sure to save Aloysius’ pilot file before starting the Vell-os line, when we should be well-equipped, rich, and set up to start five out of the six major storylines. Then, I’ll put it on the web where anyone who’s interested can download it and send Ahab off in their own direction.]]

Pombar
05-10-2009, 03:48 AM
Fair enough. I'd be tempted to pick up the file and do one of the more plot-interesting stories at some point.
I find your ship progression very strange, though. It usually takes me about 2 ships (including the shuttle) to get to a Starbridge, the first does-everything frigate. However, it's making for a much more interesting playthrough, so there's that.

I got the Sigma shipyards people approaching me pretty early on in all my early playthroughs, but the last few times they've not approached me at all. Strange how that works out.

Lucas
05-10-2009, 01:49 PM
Yeah, the pirate thunderhead is really a glass cannon. Get your enemy into range and it'll be obliterated,* but pick a fight while outside the range of your lances or with something that has backup and you're screwed.

It's not a planet conqueror by any means, but play it right and it'll keep you alive easily.

*That's actually the problem I'm having with the Temmin Shard mission. Between not being able to activate guns individually and the small disabling window leviathans have (seriously, it feels like half the window I would expect a ship that size to have), it's hard to disable the target ship without blowing it up.

Egarwaen
05-10-2009, 02:06 PM
the small disabling window leviathans have (seriously, it feels like half the window I would expect a ship that size to have), it's hard to disable the target ship without blowing it up.

IIRC, all the civilian ships have short windows between being disabled and destroyed. It's because they're not as well-built as the military models or something.

Lucas
05-10-2009, 02:28 PM
That makes sense. I thought that the disabling window was supposed to be based more on the ship's total mass than anything else, but I could be wrong. It's been a long time since I played around with modding EV (since, um, EVO in seventh grade? yeesh) so I've had plenty of time to forget some of the finer points of the game's mechanics.

Egarwaen
05-10-2009, 02:46 PM
That makes sense. I thought that the disabling window was supposed to be based more on the ship's total mass than anything else, but I could be wrong. It's been a long time since I played around with modding EV (since, um, EVO in seventh grade? yeesh) so I've had plenty of time to forget some of the finer points of the game's mechanics.

I haven't played the game in ages, but I seem to remember that it is - smaller civilian ships are really tricky to disable without ion weapons, aren't they? They tend to explode.

Lucas
05-17-2009, 08:52 PM
I am working on a new update, guys! Just to prove it, here's a gif of when the screenshot key got stuck during my thirteenth or so unsuccesful run at the damned leviathan:

http://www.sixmeans.com/lets_play/evnova/strafing.gif

(I had one beautiful run - disabled the big jerk, got screens of the whole thing, everything... then I noticed the mouse pointer was in the middle of all the action and had to start all over again.)

EDIT: Woo, finally managed it, even if looking over the screenshots you can't... see me firing... in a single one... Dammit. Good enough though. Maybe now I'll be able to finish an update tonight.

Lucas
05-18-2009, 12:35 AM
August 17, 1178 NC – Arcturus System

http://www.sixmeans.com/lets_play/evnova/ud07/success.gif

My part in the combat was fairly simple: I disable the cargo ship and grab the boxes labeled “Psychics’ Old Stuff,” then get out of the system. Temmin’s job was to make sure that the Fed guards never got close enough for me to see them.

He succeeded there, which was fortunate as I had a delicate job. The leviathan had heavy shields, but once I’d worn those down my thunderhead lances started cutting through its superstructure like it was made of butter. I backed off a bit so I was out of range of my lances and peppered him with FPC shots until his engines died (after the Viking mechanics cut up the Vectrex, I couldn’t find any controls to fire my guns separately; it’s a huge pain in the neck sometimes).

It was a tense few minutes waiting for the loader to get the crates from the leviathan to my ship. Two tons of artifacts don’t move quickly, and I didn’t know how long Temmin could keep the Feds off my back. Still, it went without a hitch, I radioed Temmin, and we booked it for the Tidbinbilla system.

August 18 – LPAD (http://www.sixmeans.com/lets_play/evnova/spobs/lpad.gif)

http://www.sixmeans.com/lets_play/evnova/ud07/welcome_party.gif

The Feds were waiting for us. I don’t know how many vipers and anacondas jumped on Temmin as soon we were in system. They didn’t seem to care about me, however, and I didn’t see any large ships nearby, so I quietly slid into the abandoned LPAD station and let Temmin take care of the mooks.

http://www.sixmeans.com/lets_play/evnova/ud07/temmin06.gif

http://www.sixmeans.com/lets_play/evnova/ud07/temmin07.gif

God, I don’t know how I feel now. I don’t have any special love for the Feds and I’ve got nothing against the poor Vell-os, but I’m still a citizen with some patriotism. Doesn’t this make me a traitor? Even if the state will never know what I did, I know, and I feel kind of sick. Shit, maybe I’ll spend some time alone here on LPAD, see if I can sort this guilt out.

[[Danger follows him like a ghost! Oo-oo-oo! Sorry, that line just strikes me as really corny.]]

August 19 – LPAD (http://www.sixmeans.com/lets_play/evnova/spobs/lpad.gif)

After just one night I’m going crazy sitting here alone. I need distractions. Leaving now, first stop is Sigma Shipyards to see if I can afford a shiny new ship or if Sigma has a new dangerous job for me.

August 22 – Earth (http://www.sixmeans.com/lets_play/evnova/spobs/earth.jpg)

And they had a perfect distraction.

http://www.sixmeans.com/lets_play/evnova/ud07/sigma_starbridge.gif

Her lines were beautiful, she had three times the cargo capacity of the Vectrex, all her wiring was in the right place… I had to have her, and had more than enough cash in my account to buy her right then and there.

http://www.sixmeans.com/lets_play/evnova/ud07/atari.gif

The only thing is this is my first ship that’s so large I can’t pilot it on my own. Who the hell am I going to get to help me fly, Barry? He’s the only other spacer I know without a ship of his own right now. I brought this up with the salesman before I signed the contract, and he had a solution.

Apparently I’m not the first person to have this problem; the shipyard maintains a waiting list of people of various levels of talent, training, and experience who want to sign to a ship’s crew. The salesman called up shortlisted a few that the computer said would make a good copilot and I whittled it down to people I thought I could stand to share a ship with for an undetermined amount of time.

The second one on the list didn’t laugh when I gave him my name over the phone, so we met and hashed out a deal where he helped me in exchange for experience, a small percentage of my profits, and a good reference if he ever needed it. I warned him it would be dangerous, but he seemed to accept the risks. I didn’t mention the whole “occasional theft from the Federation” thing, though.

That’s how I started flying with Matthew Jackson.

[[EV Nova will never ever mention your crew. Pretty much all narration assumes that you fly alone (understandable, because it can technically be true at almost any point in every storyline), you don’t have to pay the crew of your own ship, doesn’t help you fight off pirates if you’re boarded, nothing. As far as I know, the only thing crew changes is that higher crew equals better chances of capturing a ship.]]

August 30 – Misfire (http://www.sixmeans.com/lets_play/evnova/spobs/misfire.gif)

Matt and I had just dropped off a rush delivery of equipment on Misfire and we hit the outfitters. In all the excitement of buying a new ship and finding a copilot, I didn’t outfit the Atari on the Kane Band like I should have.

http://www.sixmeans.com/lets_play/evnova/ud07/fed_story01.gif

My stomach flipped when I saw this guy. Not so much because I thought Temmin had been wrong and I was about to be apprehended, but because I still hadn’t eased my own conscience about my treachery. I was flustered, and refused the Fed with a story about a previous engagement. Matt couldn’t have known what was going on, but he just stayed quiet. Didn’t even ask me about it later, thank God.

To calm my nerves I showed Matt the basic sensor upgrades I was ordering, even though his resume said he knew about that kind of thing already. I let him pick a Sigma delivery for us off the mission BBS, so we’re off on that trip now.

[[
http://www.sixmeans.com/lets_play/evnova/ud07/itsatrap.jpg

That was the starting point of the Fed story mission string. Apparently I’ve been taking too long to pick a story and the game’s trying to choose for me. Interestingly enough, I didn’t leave out a dialog box or anything like that. You refuse this mission and nothing happens, you’re just sent back to outfitting your ship.]]

Lucas
11-18-2009, 02:05 PM
Well, it's the six month anniversary of my last update, and I've got nothing new today. I do have plans for a format change that would incorporate video and hopefully make the Let's Play a little more exciting while also making the creation of the LP somewhat easier on me. To make the change, however, I'm a little deficient on three fronts: I don't have any video editing software, I'm light on editing skill, and my computer just doesn't quite have the muscle to run the game and capture video. I don't really expect the first two to be too much of a barrier,* and I am planning to get a new computer soon that will hopefully take care of the third.

However, that could be a month or two away, and this LP has already laid idle for half a year. That's just too long, and for that reason, as much as it pains me, I'm opening up the LP to anyone who wants to adopt it. I do still hope to pick it up again some day, but I'd rather see it completed sooner by someone else than force it to stay in LP limbo by refusing to give up the reigns.

If you're interested, send me a PM and I'll send you Aloysius' pilot file.

*Assuming I can find a fairly simple, free video editor...