What exactly is the connection between this game and Ambrosia Software’s Escape Velocity: Override?
One of the developers, Peter Cartwright, was the scenario designer of Escape Velocity: Override, published by Ambrosia Software. Since Ambrosia Software are no longer a going concern, Escape Velocity: Override has fallen out-of-print and so its publishing rights have reverted to the developer.
Matt Burch (the author of Escape Velocity) was also involved on the engine side of the development of Override. After negotiation with him, he has indicated that he has no objection to our remaking the game, but would prefer that we do not use the title ‘Escape Velocity’. Matt Burch has no personal involvement with this project.
Cosmic Frontier: Override will at base be a re-release of Escape Velocity: Override. This is no different from printing a new run of a book that has gone out of print. However, the technical problems of ‘reprinting’ a computer game are somewhat larger than those of reprinting a book: changes to the file architecture of modern systems mean that an entirely new game engine has to be designed. In view of that necessity, it also makes sense to update the look and UI of the game for modern norms and displays.
I have a registered copy of Ambrosia Software’s Escape Velocity: Override. Can I get this new version for free, or at a discount?
We don’t have access to Ambrosia’s registration records, so we are unable to check whether any given individual has a registered copy of the original or not.
However, we are aiming to offer a low price point of no more than $10 to all, compared with the $15 or $25 charged for the original! In addition, Cosmic Frontier: Override will feature brand new content and be thoroughly revamped for modern machines and displays: we’re confident that purchasers of the original Override will feel they’ve got their money’s worth.
What about the other Escape Velocity games? Will you be re-releasing them?
We would love to do so, but are not able to at this time.
The original Escape Velocity was created by Matt Burch. Escape Velocity: Nova was created by ATMOS, a team of developers from Australia. We have had discussions with both, but for a range of reasons they were not interested in re-releasing their games at this time. However, since we intend to retain compatibility with the old resource structures, it would be a fairly straight-forward matter for them to be adapted to the new engine in the future. We will keep the door open to both Matt and ATMOS to reconsider.
What systems will Cosmic Frontier be released on? Which download platforms? What about consoles? Mobile? What will the system and graphical requirements be?
Cosmic Frontier: Override will initially be released on Mac, Windows and Linux. We intend to make it available via digital platforms such as Steam, GOG, Epic, etc.
There has been a lot of discussion and controversy in recent times about platform exclusivity deals. By the time our project is in a position to consider any such deals, the competition between download platforms may well have moved on such that they are no longer an issue, but it’s worth addressing the question anyway. We do not rule out accepting such a deal if it met our conditions related to sales guarantees and duration of the exclusive period. As a small fledgling team, we can’t afford to rule out accepting support that could enable us not only to complete this project as successfully as possible, but also plan with confidence for future ones.
On to the other parts of the question …
We are very positive about and open to the possibility of ports to console or mobile gaming, but our first focus will be a successful initial release.
We don’t yet have specifics on system and graphics card requirements, but we certainly won’t be making those restrictive.
Why are you creating a new engine rather than releasing the scenario as a mod for a similar existing game, such as Endless Sky? Isn’t this way creating much more work for yourselves?
Endless Sky has surface similarities to Escape Velocity — a lot of them — but it is in fact a completely different engine that works totally differently under the hood. In essence, while Endless Sky looks a lot like EV, it’s simply a different game in the same genre that has gone for a very similar aesthetic to EV.
One of our project’s goals is backwards compatibility with Escape Velocity resources. This is not possible with Endless Sky, however much like EV it might look, as it is structured completely differently. The Override scenario content would have to be completely rewritten from the ground up, as would the past work of any Escape Velocity plug-in author looking to bring their work across to the new engine.
In addition, Endless Sky is a free project and we don’t believe that its creator(s) want to compromise that. This project is a commercial one, as there’s a lot of work to do to make it happen, which will take time and energy away from our regular work-lives.
I’d like to know more about the game engine. Will it be open source?
I loved the Escape Velocity games, but there are certain features I always wish they’d had. And I wish they’d been multi-player!
We aren’t accepting feature requests at this time. Our initial goal is to match the features and capabilities of the Escape Velocity games and achieve a successful re-release of the Override scenario. Following that, new versions of the engine may indeed include new features beyond those detailed on the main Kickstarter page, and that may well include inviting feature requests from players.
A multi-player EV-like game has been much wished for since the release of the original game in the mid-90s. It’s a lovely idea, but well beyond the capacity of a two-person team like ourselves for the immediate future.