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Evochron Legends

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  • Evochron Legends

    Hi, I'm afraid I am new here, but I thought I'd share my review of a space combat simulation game, that has recently been released.

    E V O C H R O N L E G E N D S

    Evochron Legends (EL) is a space combat, mining and trading simulation set in the Evochron Universe. Since it is a simulation, it will take you time to come to terms with the mechanics of basic space flight, navigation, mining and trading - but the investment of effort early on will pay out later. The demo of the game is time limited, but the tutorials for the game don't count against this. So it is encouraged that you play through the tutorials one by one, taking in the information presented. Although they can be daunting at first, with the 'wall of text' presented to you, that text is accompanied with spoken word, which helped me ease into the cockpit. I can see that without the tutorials, just diving in may leave you lost and abandoned. I can also see why people try to skip over the tutorials, their enthusiasm and impatience egging them on to get flying and fighting, but since the finesse of combat and all other matters are derived from your basic skills as a pilot in a void using Newtonian physics, I'll stress it again, these tutorials and the information they impart is the key to opening the wonders of the Pandora's box that is EL. Once you "get it", you'll uncover the depths that the game offers.

    The Evochron Universe is a seamless experience, once you are in the cockpit, there are no zones or loading screens to bother you. You have a fulcrum warp drive which you can use to jump through space, and there are connected jump gates between systems, but it is equally possible to use your fulcrums to get to any system if you are a good navigator. Another plus is the ability to Planet fall and switch to normal flight avionics, and drop through the atmosphere and land on planet based stations. You can even land gently on the planets surface and go strip mining by focussing your mining laser downwards. The Universe is distributed about systems and they all have their points of interest and anomalies, as well as a main storied mission that you can choose to follow throughout the game. At space stations, you can enter the shipyards, or trade in precious goods, or re-fuel and re-arm, or take on local missions, such as cargo drop offs, ship protection, enemy ship destruction, races, solar panel cleaning, and asteroid clearance. You can even read the local news, and market changes, as well as get a feel for your standings with the various system wide factions, whether that be with the military, or the rebels. Your reputation amongst system factions influences equipment and costs, and how various other craft will react to you. To gain very good reputation with one faction, you may need to actively lower reputation with another by hunting and destroying their ships.

    The game is an evolution of the StarWraith series of games, dating back many years, particularly Legends is a sequel to the Evochron Renegades (ER) game, with updated graphics, and many features requested by the previous games players. In fact one of the key selling points of this game is that you're not just buying into the dry downloaded software, you're actually supporting the StarWraith community, you're enabling the developer to continue evolution of the series. Uniquely, we have a dedicated person as the games sole developer, Vice, who takes a very active part in his community. He is willing to listen, to evaluate and to modify the game based on ideas and suggestions presented by his player base. A sort of symbiosis exists whereby the developer nurtures his players through his game, with hints, tips and advice, and they feedback, enthuse and cultivate his community and popularity by word of mouth.

    The game is a simulation and as such, you are encouraged to master inertial flight, and the use of the IDS (Inertial Dampening System) which ultimately controls where you're going and how fast, and how much fuel you will expend. Firing your afterburner with IDS off, and zero thrust, will hurtle your craft in a particular direction at maximum velocity, cutting the burners will maintain that velocity without expending any fuel. Meanwhile you can spin on your axis and take in the sights, or gun down incoming missiles, or perform those 'flip on a sixpence' Viper turns you see in the likes of Battlestar Galactica. Switching on the IDS, engages a whole array of thrusters and compensators to maintain your position and direction set by your steering and your main engines. Learning to take advantage of inertial flight and its manoeuvring possibilities, especially in combat, is the key to being a good pilot in EL. Combat can be very hectic and you'll spend a while getting used to missile interception or avoidance (with countermeasures) as well as utilising beam weapons to drain your enemies shields, and particle cannons to blast holes in their hulls. I'll warn you now, the game can be quite brutal and unforgiving in terms of there are so many ways to die, my advice would be quick save often and learn from your mistakes.

    Graphically speaking Evochron Legends isn't at the front of the pack, however, what it lacks in bloated textures, it makes up for in disk space conservation (the is a 45Mb download, with a 130Mb footprint) and artistic beauty. Some of the scenes available in the game are simply breathtaking.

    In customising your spacecraft, EL surpasses most other space combat sims in the flexibility of your ships overall appearance, with many of the upgrade able parts (engines, wings, cargo holds, fuel tanks, shields) having distinctive looks, but also in that you can change the positioning of the parts, and their scale in all dimensions by using the custom slider bars. So you can build a truly unique vessel, symmetrical or not, with components you place and size up. Your craft's hull for instance has a specific form, but what you do with the components attached to it, is completely up to you. All of this, and the spaceships look like space travelling craft, some space combat simulations struggle at delivering believable vessels, but EL manages to give you flexibility and integrity. The game's visuals are also scalable so that you should be able to get the game running on quite a low specification machine and still enjoy it.

    Both the multiplayer and the single player experience are interchangeable, meaning you can load a pilot profile and play offline, save it and then take the same pilot profile onto one of the player hosted dedicated servers. The servers can host 32 players online at any one time, and the software and configuration files are available for download, so you can run your own private Universe if you want to. Knowing that you can log onto a server, and continue your gameplay, only be able to chat to other pilots, or have them join you in some co-operative missions, or even go head to head against them in Player versus Player (PvP) combat, is extremely exciting. The StarWraith Community forum is a considerate, mature, friendly and very helpful place to converse about the game, and to organise meets and match ups online. So you're never far away from someone who wants to impart knowledge about the game, or who is willing to give you a coaching session online. In fact there are a number of clans there that have grown together through the development of the StarWraith games and who like to take part in organised leagues. Theres even a Capture the Flag style setup in one of the systems for players to experience more than just your normal deathmatch style PvP game. The main difference between the multiplayer and single player game, is that the multiplayer game doesn't affect your faction reputation.

    As much as possible the developer has built the game to be mod-able. You can change a lot of the HUD and interface, textures and ship models, you can customise all manner of gamepad controllers and joysticks, and you can even set the game up for TrackIR's 3d head control mechanism for managing you in cockpit viewpoint.

    The game has a few rough edges, it is a labour of love, and it has a number of idiosyncrasies ("close up" low textures, quirks in the interface etc), however, if you are willing to be a part of the StarWraith community, your suggestions can help forge the future for this game. Imagine being a part of the process of something so inspiring and so exciting... that is what EL opens up to you. For example, since launch last week, and ultimately down to many suggestions on the forums, the game has gone through 4 or 5 patch iterations, including function changes to the Nav console itself, and more multiplayer information linking and optimising. This is community based 'hands on' gaming at its best.

    Overall, you just can't find a more compact and elegantly evolved space combat simulation game. If Elite had a cool big brother this would be it.

    Some points to note:

    * affordable and very re-playable
    * large explorable universe with factions
    * freeform open gameplay, exploring, trading, building and customising, racing, fighting, mining, transporting, protecting
    * the space flight physics (inertial flight actually helps you reduce the cost of fuel)
    * planet fall, and switch to gravity based flight model
    * the ability to customise your ship uniquely, by adding, placing and scaling parts
    * the ability to play as a twitch pilot doing missions, and combat and mining (asteroid and planet surface) and trading, fuel scooping from stars and nebula
    * the small download (45Mb) and install footprint (130Mb)
    * single player profile can be used interchangeably on a multiplayer server and play co-operatively or competitively with up to 32 other players
    * run a dedicated server of your own
    * part of the StarWraith community

  • #2
    Re: Evochron Legends

    that sounds like a good idea trooper.


    • #3
      Re: Evochron Legends

      Originally posted by Trooper View Post
      Sorry, since I'm new here, I have to have posted 15 posts before I can include a URL, otherwise I would have put the link in, and some screenshots I took..

      You can get to the site via, starwraith dot com.

      Once I've been here and posted a bit more, I'll be able to edit the original review article and fill it with the links and screenshots.


      • #4
        Re: Evochron Legends

        hope that works.
        that sounds like a good idea trooper.


        • #5
          Re: Evochron Legends

          Thanks for the link, Trooper, much appreciated.


          • #6
            Re: Evochron Legends

            Some interesting new features on the horizon for Evochron Legends, the developer has posted this information about a patch coming next week, including the abililty to store ships in hangars in stations, create ship design templates for swapping and sharing, and the ability to use multiple joystick/gamepad control devices.. heres the info he posted:

            Ship hangars, templates, and multiple control devices...

            Ok, I am nearing the test stage for the next update and wanted to post some information on what it adds and changes for review.

            Multiple Control Devices
            First, I'll cover the changes to the control system. For the first time, Evochron will support multiple simultaneous control devices without the need of an external configuration file. It will also support for more than 2 devices (up to 10 are supported). To accomplish this, much of the control system (input and mapping) needed to be re-written to accomodate multiple devices. I have tried to keep the transition as familiar as possible though, so the same configuration menu will still be available, it now simply includes support for switching devices during the binding/mapping process.

            Obviously, this means changes in the configuration files. The game will automatically update the old file formats for the new one the first time you launch the new version. However, you may need to rebind your controls for the new system if you have more than one device attached to your system and/or if the axis channels do not match between the old system and new.

            When you enter the configure controls menu, you'll see a new option at the top that lists the current device. Use the <<<< and >>>> arrows to switch the current device to a different one to select an input for a given control function. When binding buttons, select the device you want to map the control to before clicking on the control to map. You can switch between different devices when binding axis channels at any time.

            All of the same functionality should remain available with the exception of channel 7 for X52 users. For some reason, this signal just isn't picked up (even though it is on X36 and X45's). I am in contact with the author of the multijoy DLL I'm using to see if support for it can be added. Most X52 users may not even use the top rotary dial, but I'd like to make sure it's included at some point (if you need it in the meantime, SST should work)

            I've implemented both the template option and the hangar option. The new options should line up well with the game's design and challenge. Much of the feedback helped establish these goals:

            - Templates will use a 'global' system, so all profiles will be able to access the templates.

            - The external file system will let you share your templates with other players.

            - You will be able to store up to 10 unique template designs.

            - Each saved template will display the frame, engine, shield core, cargo bay limit, fuel tank class, and wing/thruster class.

            - Each primary trade station will allow a pilot to rent one hangar. Each hangar can store one complete ship plus up to 5 bays worth of cargo. This limit has been applied to keep storage options limited enough to keep players moving and storing items throughout the game's universe rather than throwing everything in one location, potentially giving them exploitable advantages. It also keeps things fairly realistic by limiting the storage space for each pilot to leave room for others. With all of the stations available in the game, the player can still store many different ships and a lot of cargo, even in the same solar system.

            - Each hangar rented will cost the player credits for as long as they store items or a ship at each location. You won't get hit with multiple charges all spread out, instead, fees will be charged on a common billing cycle and all hangars you own will be consolidated into a single payment per cycle.

            - If you have a ship in a hangar you're at, you can swap it with your current ship. You cargo and equipment will transfer from one ship to the other automatically. If the new ship doesn't have the space for cargo, fuel, or weapons, you'll give them up to the station upon transfer unless you store them or sell them first. This is an intentional part of the design for players to prioritize and plan ahead (rewarding players who plan ahead being one of the strategy elements the game includes). Those who plan their ship-swapping in advance can be rewarded by not only keeping more of what they acquire, but also profiting from it.

            - If you do not already have a ship in a hangar at a location, you will be given the option to store the ship you have and will need to duplicate another so you are never without a ship. If you have the money for the procedure, it will be done for you automatically. You can then change your duplicate ship to whatever else you want once you've placed your original ship in storage. Currently, I'm letting the system allow the duplication of any ship at any trade stration, rather than restricting it to only stations that support the design. The reasons for this are to allow the storage of any ship at any trade station and to operate with the option not being available at constructor stations or carriers (trade stations exclusively).

            - I've decided not to require a station license to use hangars. This lets early players get access to hangars sooner. Licenses will still help you by reducing the access costs for a hangar in a hostile or moderate system. They just won't be required to rent a hangar (their repeating costs will likely be plenty sufficient for most players).

            - You'll have the option to sell a ship in storage, in case you want to empty your hangar later on.

            - Hangars must be completely empty of a ship and cargo in order to remove the storage fees.

            - To accommodate the required profile changes for the new hangar system, your profile will be automatically saved as you make changes to hangar storage.

            I plan to have a test build available some time next week.


            • #7
              Re: Evochron Legends

              Nice interview by the dev on Rock, Paper, Shotgun

              www rockpapershotgun com/2009/03/11/interview-starwraith-on-evochron-legends/


              • #8
                Re: Evochron Legends

                From the developer (Vice), notice of a new build to EL..

                Launch of the next build...

                Just wanted to post a few details in advance of the next build, which should launch by Friday for testing. The next build will have some changes to the game's universe. When this happens, the multiplayer system is changed to accommodate the new universe and older versions need to be updated to be compatible so that all players are in the same universe. When the next build goes live, you will be prompted to update your copy of the game when you check for servers. Simply download and install the version available available at the top link in the downloads section of the game's website (once it becomes available).

                I will send out advanced notifications to server operators including a direct link to download the latest server program with the updated universe data file. 1.058 listings will be cleared and 1.078/1.088 versions will need to relist their sessions when the time comes.

                I'll post again here and/or in the announcement section once the new version is ready for download.


                • #9
                  Re: Evochron Legends

                  Vice has posted a preview to the Evochron Legends Strategy Guide (although it may contain spoilers)



                  • #10
                    Re: Evochron Legends

                    New EL build is out today!

                    Test build 1.078 ready for download...

                    Build 1.078 is ready for download. This build adds the following:

                    - New 'War Zone' added to upper Sierra solar system.
                    - Race course boxes for ship-vs-ship races doubled in size.
                    - Message text better highlighted and moved for improved legibility.
                    - Positioning options added to cusomizing kit for message text system.
                    - Support for rear and above camera views added when TrackIR is enabled.
                    - Support for multiple texture images added for background nebulae option.
                    - New reward to discover at the end of the 'Arvoch Artifact' beacon quest.
                    - Support for using custom cockpits for each ship frame type added.
                    - 'Cinematic' style shaky camera view option added (default Alt-\).
                    - Wider range of movement available for TrackIR.

                    Note: due to changes in the game's universe data file, this is a required update for multiplayer. The server list has been cleared of older versions to prevent universe data file mismatches. As server operators update their copy of the server program and relist their sessions, the servers will re-appear on the list.

                    For server operators: Before installing, make sure to backup your original text2.dat file with any settings may have saved in that file. After installation, copy over the lines you have edited in that file, but do not directly over-write the file as there are new options that the server program needs to have access to. So just transfer the custom lines you may have entered into that file and adjust the new ones for any settings you want to apply.

                    Once the build proves solid, an official update should become available soon.


                    • #11
                      Re: Evochron Legends

                      I've just stumbled across this game and am really impressed. Got to be the best space sim ever and blows Eve right out the water. Takes me back to my days playing Elite II, same idea but the ability to play online and a great flight model makes it so much better. Its a great challenge during your first combat encounters, I think I will be playing this for quite some time.


                      • #12
                        Re: Evochron Legends

                        Doesn't even come close to EvE.
                        "There are two kinds of people in this world. Those with guns and those who dig. You dig."
                        EvE Online: Jintu Xi, Bandu McWilly
                        PLAYSTATIONŽNetwork & Steam = "TrickyTerp"


                        • #13
                          Re: Evochron Legends

                          yeah im sort of thinking the same. Its to arcade and to cartoony. This is no where near eve.
                          that sounds like a good idea trooper.




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