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PostPosted: Sat May 02, 2020 6:09 am 
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Hey, if you've still got some money in these precarious times, maybe consider supporting this remaster of Escape Velocity Override. I did!

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/co ... r-override

Apparently it will have some kind of support for plugins from the original, which is cool.


Last edited by ClockWise on Sat May 02, 2020 6:12 am, edited 1 time in total.
 


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PostPosted: Sat May 02, 2020 3:40 pm 
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Does the kickstarter cover how they dealt with the copyright issues? EV:N was a complete rewrite because AmbrosiaSW didn't have the full rights to the original game -- however, they DID have the rights to the assets and game data itself, meaning EV and EVO modules could be distributed and imported into EV:N.

So this is coming at it from the other side: these guys have the rights to the original code in EV and EVO... but they can't distribute the original assets without permission from whoever owns those now -- and figuring out who that is could be rather difficult.

We've seen clashes with other games from this era, where multiple people step forward once the code is all complete and claim that the game can't continue because THEY own the rights. I really don't want this project to fall to that fate. The risk is why I haven't backed it yet and am sticking with Endless Sky, the not-so-elegant knockoff engine/universe to slake my Escape Velocity thirst.


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PostPosted: Sun May 03, 2020 4:14 am 
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I don't know. I only just learned about it from a Twitter yesterday. Maybe I should have read a bit more before sending my 11 bucks!


Last edited by ClockWise on Sun May 03, 2020 4:22 am, edited 1 time in total.
 


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PostPosted: Sun May 03, 2020 7:26 am 
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Thanks for sharing this, ClockWise!

To comment a bit regarding the background and permissions, this remaster is coming from Peter Cartwright, scenario designer of Escape Velocity: Override. He gladly discusses details on his Discord, and some info is also covered in Richard Moss's excellent book, but my understanding is that he owns all the content associated with EVO except the name and game engine. Matt Burch owns those, and of course, Ambrosia had exclusive publishing rights, although those have expired since they no longer sell the game. He has obtained permission from both Matt Burch and Andrew Welch to re-release provided he change the name from Escape Velocity and use a new engine, which this Kickstarter is intended to help fund.

---

A little more general background about EV which I think is quite interesting:

- College student Matt Burch wrote the original engine and scenario based on what he thought Elite might be, having lost the anti-piracy code for his copy. Ambrosia offered to publish, and so the franchise was born!
- Years later, Peter Cartwright was making a total conversion plugin, but there were some limitations with the game engine (e.g., armor-heavy ships would disable too early so Vionian ships didn't work properly). He asked Ambrosia about the possibility of patching the engine; they liked the plugin; it became an official sequel with Matt Burch agreeing to update the engine.
- Then, years later the same thing happened with EV: Nova. A young group of EVO modders wanted to update the engine for their plugin. They got offered a sequel, formed ATMOS, and worked with Matt Burch to make significant enhancements to the game engine (for instance, supporting movies and adding ship lighting / engine effects).
- Matt Burch, a full-time software engineer at Garmin by this point, swore off all future involvement with the franchise, ATMOS dissolved, and although Ambrosia continued to sell and occasionally update the EV games, no new sequel was ever released. When Ambrosia shuttered its online doors for good and took their website down last year, PAC decided it was time to self-publish a new version of EVO, leading to "Cosmic Frontier: Override."

So in this case, it's that he has permission to the assets but not the code, and he's bypassing that, with Matt Burch's permission, through a new engine. He also has his original Ambrosia contract with the nullifying clause that they lose distribution rights if they cease to act as publisher, and taking down their web store has voided the contract. He did contact Andrew Welch for his blessing regardless, which apparently he was given. I'm guessing this nullifying clause means that Ambrosia doesn't really have much content left, even if Andrew were to revive the company at some point. Matt Burch could release a new EV game, and ATMOS could release a new version of Nova (again changing name and engine), but neither of them have interest in doing so. ATMOS is particularly messy, the IP being split amongst a group of once-friends who don't seem to be on great terms anymore.

I think this is the closest to an official EV re-release we're ever going to get. If the new engine supports the original scenario structure as promised, there will be tons of content available! I do enjoy Endless Sky too but am hoping this project yields an updated and more authentic EV experience.

(Apologies for the long, rant-like post; I'm perhaps a bit of an Ambrosia superfan :razz: )


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PostPosted: Mon May 04, 2020 4:50 pm 
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Thanks; that's an excellent outline of where things stand! And the big confidence booster is that Peter is spearheading it and has Matt's blessing. Because I think we couldget something better than EV:N today based on the EVO underpinnings. Maybe even enhanced mods that improve/enlarge the graphics while keeping the same galaxy structure :)

The other thing I'd love to see a re-do on is Avara, but I'm not holding my breath on that one.


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PostPosted: Tue May 05, 2020 8:46 pm 
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After all these years it's nice to finally see something happening with this game again. I might just chip in.


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PostPosted: Thu May 07, 2020 6:09 pm 
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Yes! This is truly exciting. In fact, it is fair to say that my desire to play EV as high school student around 2000 on my old pentium 200 is what drew me into emulation all those years ago.

After a lot of experimentation and effort I was jaw dropped to have a working System 7.5 system but also get EV up and put in several hundred hours of play time with some friends. Or more precisely— I was the studious one and did homework while my friends took advantage of my computer. But it still got me into the game. I still have a copy of EV installed on a system 7.5 setup in basilisk (along with spectre challenger). In fact, I still use basilisk all these years later for the same reason: to play EV on whatever system I am on. Though with adult life my pilot might get only a few hours of play a year.

I just installed Override to get into that game with the excitement of this (hopefully) successful campaign. It may be nostalgia in part but I made a major pledge as I want to see this game around in the future for my kids to play and others to discover. Just such a unique mix of exploration and adventure— and the Bryce landing graphics were great.

I kept thinking someday this game would see a successor that would meet my approval but I have never quite clicked with them. EV and its successors (Override and Nova) are pure gold and close to my heart. Classic mac gaming goodness, and the game that moved me from Wintel to Mac! If anyone is interested, I would say back this. This is a great investment in making a great piece of mac gaming history available to new audiences and breath life into old plug ins.


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PostPosted: Thu May 07, 2020 8:21 pm 
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So... can they re-create Maelstrom as a stretch goal? :D

The one game that really felt to me to be an extension of the EV idea and styling, and that I've played almost as much as the EV series is Galaxy on Fire for mobile devices. Same basic concept elegantly translated to a 3D perspective. Well, GoF, GoF2 and the GoF2 expansion packs anyway; Alliances and Manticore didn't feel right; they seened like generic multi-platform spinoffs with microtransactions instead.


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PostPosted: Thu May 07, 2020 8:48 pm 
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Hi,

I am one of the developers of the remaster project (Cosmic Frontier) and was also the scenario designer of the original Escape Velocity: Override.

I'm happy to answer any questions anyone here might have about the project.

I'm just going to take a look over the existing posts now …


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PostPosted: Thu May 07, 2020 8:54 pm 
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adespoton wrote:
Does the kickstarter cover how they dealt with the copyright issues? EV:N was a complete rewrite because AmbrosiaSW didn't have the full rights to the original game -- however, they DID have the rights to the assets and game data itself, meaning EV and EVO modules could be distributed and imported into EV:N.

Hmm, I have never heard that version of the story. As far as I know, Ambrosia, ATMOS and Matt Burch were all collaborating in the Nova project. You might be thinking of the PC port, which Matt Burch did not do, but I think Ambrosia did in-house.

Quote:
So this is coming at it from the other side: these guys have the rights to the original code in EV and EVO... but they can't distribute the original assets without permission from whoever owns those now -- and figuring out who that is could be rather difficult.

We've seen clashes with other games from this era, where multiple people step forward once the code is all complete and claim that the game can't continue because THEY own the rights. I really don't want this project to fall to that fate. The risk is why I haven't backed it yet and am sticking with Endless Sky, the not-so-elegant knockoff engine/universe to slake my Escape Velocity thirst.

We have a fairly clear-cut case here:

• Ambrosia Software were the publishers of EV:O, but since they are defunct their rights (distribution, sale) have reverted to the authors.
• One author is Matt Burch — we contacted him, and wanted to re-release all 3 games, in fact, under the 'Escape Velocity' title, but he decided he didn't want to be involved. He was happy to give us the go-ahead though, provided we use a new main title.
• The other author is me!


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PostPosted: Thu May 07, 2020 8:57 pm 
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adespoton wrote:
Thanks; that's an excellent outline of where things stand! And the big confidence booster is that Peter is spearheading it and has Matt's blessing. Because I think we couldget something better than EV:N today based on the EVO underpinnings. Maybe even enhanced mods that improve/enlarge the graphics while keeping the same galaxy structure :)

Improved and enlarged graphics are things that are definitely happening. It's not clear yet just how much improvement we will be able to do within our budget, but enlargement for modern displays is essential.


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PostPosted: Fri May 08, 2020 2:37 am 
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A Maelstrom remake in the new engine would be very cool, but I'd be surprised if they did it officially — likely more of a fan mod project.

I talked to Peter after they launched the project. He's really passionate about getting this remaster done and, hopefully, moving on to the sequel he'd planned in the old days, back around the time Ambrosia made their deal with ATMOS for Nova. Haven't checked in with Matt yet on his thoughts (though I'll probably do that now, since I've just reminded myself), but I know from Peter that he was hoping for all three games to get remastered — which sadly isn't possible because of the ATMOS complication (my understanding is that a couple of them won't even talk to each other).

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PostPosted: Fri May 08, 2020 5:00 pm 
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I'm really happy that Andrew set up the licenses such that when the company closed, rights reverted. That sure works better than the ATMOS version, or even most of the other licensing agreements of the time.


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PostPosted: Thu May 14, 2020 6:27 am 
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The campaign received a one-week extension! I made a small video about some of the important aspects (at least, to me :smile: ) of Cosmic Frontier: Override. Hopefully, we can continue to generate interest and excitement as the goal nears.

https://youtu.be/J40ysi2e0fU


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PostPosted: Fri May 15, 2020 1:20 pm 
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Well, I upped my pledge by a couple of bucks to help the game inch forward a bit. Is there anywhere else to post the link? I'll toss it up on Macintosh Garden later today, but has anyone tried sharing it on 68kMLA or whatever?


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PostPosted: Fri May 15, 2020 2:54 pm 
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I haven't put it on 68kmla; I was going to stick it on a few Reddit channels, but other than the one it's already on, the announcement tends to go against subreddit rules.

I posted it on MacScene, but it's not like a lot of people still read that.


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PostPosted: Sat May 16, 2020 1:31 am 
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I notice that it was already discussed on Macintosh Garden. I dunno how many people use the forum there, either.

You should stick a note on 68KMLA. That place is still pretty popular.

Maybe also Mac OS 9 Lives, too: http://macos9lives.com/smforum/index.php


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PostPosted: Sat May 16, 2020 4:57 am 
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Actually, it has already been discussed on 68KMLA.

I posted a link on a Facebook group for emulator fans that looks to have generated a few bucks.

One dollar at a time, I guess...


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PostPosted: Sat May 16, 2020 5:36 pm 
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Great ideas and thanks for sharing! I'll plan to take a look at MacOS9Lives too. That community has interested me for a while, but I haven't yet joined.


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PostPosted: Sun May 24, 2020 3:37 am 
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Hey, just $760 bucks to go with two days left. If anyone here has a few dollars left now is the time!


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PostPosted: Tue May 26, 2020 12:27 am 
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The project reached its main goal! Now they're working on getting to 1000 backers and a little extra money to incorporate some additional graphical updates.

The sequel stretch goal is a bit far off with this being the last day, but if the game does well upon release, I'm sure Peter Cartwright still has interest in the sequel. I'm really excited for this!


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PostPosted: Tue May 26, 2020 10:38 am 
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We did it!


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