Evochron is a series of Wide-Open Sandbox singleplayer/multiplayer space simulators.
- Riftspace (2004)
- Evochron (2005)
- Evochron Alliance (2006)
- Evochron Renegades (2007)
- Evochron Legends (2009)
- Evochron Mercenary (2010)
- Evochron Legacy (2016)
Players create a profile, which is shared between singleplayer games and multiplayer servers - if you were to buy a ship in singleplayer, it'd be taken with you in multiplayer. If you were then to upgrade the ship in multiplayer and save, you could use the upgraded ship in singleplayer. Ships are customizable by swapping frames (the cockpit and body of the ship), engines (acceleration), wings (strafing power, turning power), shield generators, fuel storage, and cargo bays.
It has gameplay similar to Freelancer, another space combat simulator. However, it also supports planetary exploration, Newtonian physics, and is much more wide and open.
Oh, and did we mention this series was developed by one man? (in his spare time!)
The Evochron series contains examples of:
- Adam Smith Hates Your Guts: As you move outwards from Sapphire (but especially "south"), everything becomes progressively more expensive, though more advanced technology is available the further out you go.
- Air Jousting: Due to the lack of friction, and the low acceleration of most ships, fights often turn into ships boosting at each other, firing their guns and missiles, then spinning around and firing their boosters again. The frictionless environment of space allows for different tactics, however.
- Artificial Stupidity: NPC Ships can sometimes have a cavalier attitude to navigation, often taking the most direct route in spite of obstacles.
- Taken up to Eleven in the Sol System. The only direct route back to the main quadrants is via a wormhole that sits right in the corona of the sun. Ships will happily make a beeline through the sun getting burned up in the process. If you're lucky, they may drop cargo for you to scoop!
- Artistic License Economics: Buying a license at a station gives you a 25% discount, but also cuts 25% off the sell price of anything you sell to them. Self-built trade stations automatically come with a license and follow the same rules.
- Asteroid Mining: You can mine metal, gold, platinum and silver, but it's a random mix and you have to constantly jettison the ones you don't need. Until that is you buy the specialist mining/tractor beam to harvest just one type.
- Asteroid Thicket: Played straight and averted; Most asteroids are clumped together, with 10-20 asteroids in a 10x10x10 KM area. Some solar systems however, have asteroids very thinly spread out across the system.
- Call That a Formation?: Fleet formations typically end up as disorganized and constantly shifting, but compact, groups of ships. This is deliberate: by shuffling constantly, it is difficult for a lone pilot to pick on ships one-by-one without eventually ending in weapon range of the other ships.
- Cool Spaceship: The military fighters, the Leviathan civilian ship.
- Crazy Enough to Work: It takes a special kind of crazy to see a black hole and say, "I'm gonna jump that." But if you plot your course just right, you can do it. It's hell on your ship, but it'll take you further than you could ever go on a normal jump.
- Design-It-Yourself Equipment
- Diegetic Interface: Almost all the HUD is projected onto the various screens in the cockpit◊, except for the interface controls on the top and the artificial horizon display, which appear to be helmet mounted.
- Frictionless Re-Entry: Averted. You can enter at any angle but too much speed and your cockpit will start to glow, followed by your front shield failing then your hull.
- Hyperspace Is a Scary Place: Entering or dropping out of warp in the atmosphere of a planet, too close to a star or in the path of an asteroid results in your ship going bang. Doing so to a black hole will crush you, unless you land yourself so precisely close to the core that you jump halfway across the galaxy. Oddly, doesn't happen if you warp into a trade station; you just bounce off.
- "Instant Death" Radius: Go ahead, try to land on Earth in Mercenary.note
- Descending too deep into a gas giant, black hole, or star, while not instant death, is so fast as to be virtually indistinguishable. In some cases, you can actually use the latter as jump points; doing this requires plotting an in-system jump with such precision that you hit the wormhole within almost immediately and jump to the destination before the forces involved turn your ship into particulate matter.
- Inventory Management Puzzle: You only get up to 5 cargo bays. Equipment that is not in use goes into them, and you cannot swap it until you are docked in a station. And then you have to have an empty cargo bay (as swap room), or sell the equipment piece to be swapped out. Sometimes commodities will not stack (i.e. picking up a container found in space while having another cargo bay with any amount of that commodity), and again you cannot redistribute loads unless you are docked in a station. And like almost everything else in this game, renting a hangar to store your stuff is very expensive.
- Item Crafting: "Constructor" stations in Mercenary are a sort of public space workshop where you can turn some trade goods into other trade goods or even into ship equipment. A cheap way for both earning said equipment and generating value. Mercenary also has a Weapon Lab where you drop an amount of various components and turn it into a customized weapon, fine tuned to your liking down to the rate of fire, range, damage potential, energy consumption...
- Macross Missile Massacre: Some of the high end missiles do this; launching volleys of 8 Roboteching rockets that home in on the target, and change targets when their main target is destroyed.
- No Hero Discount: Not only do you not get discounts, fuel costs increase in line with fighting rank.
- Old-School Dogfight: Combat on planets play this straight, as players need to maintain a constant forward speed otherwise their wings lose lift and then plummet. In space, it only works like this if you've got your Inertial Dampening System active.
- Our Wormholes Are Different: Black Holes can be used as short cuts from distant systems back to the main space lanes. Navigating them though...
- Portal Network: Jumpgates linking the main systems.
- Ram Scoop: With the correct item fitted the tractor beam can be used to siphon helium from the coronas of stars for conversion to fuel. Watch out for the gravitational pull!
- Subverted in that oxygen can be collected from a planet's atmosphere, as well as bio from plants and water from seas and if present, their ice ring.
- Nebulas also serve as a source of helium; safer too.
- Scifi Writers Have No Sense Of Scale: Planets are tiny; maybe 20km in diameter, and the distance between them is fairly small, in planetary terms. Though the planets are tiny, they take a while to explore.
- Probably justified, however, if you think about how much processing power, memory, and general computer usage a game that allowed exploration of a galaxy's worth of properly sized planets would take...
- Selective Gravity: Some asteroid fields can be found floating above the surfaces of planets
- Space Friction: Averted. There is no friction in the game, except on planets. Firing your boosters when in inertial flight will cause you to drift forever. Spacecraft have a speed limit, however. The Inertial Dampening system will use your maneuvering thrusters to make your ship act like there's friction, but it slows you down and wastes fuel.
- Space Is Air: Fighting with the Inertial Dampening System will cause your ship to handle like a fighter, at the cost of lower speed (automatically slows you down if you go past its max), increased fuel usage, and slower strafing.
- Space Is Noisy: Rocket boosters, missiles, and lasers can all be heard inside your cockpit, along with explosions in space.
- Stealth in Space: Comes in two varieties: a one-use stealth generator that goes in a missile hardpoint, and as reusable (and very rare) equipment.
- Story-to-Gameplay Ratio: Nearly zero plot! There's a back story (some aliens invade the colonies of Earth or something), but you get barely any of it in-game.
- Subsystem Damage: Player ships have 3 main subsystems; sensors, engines, and weapons. Damaging the sensors seriously screws with the pilot's Diegetic Interface, damaging the engines prevents them from using the afterburners and slows their acceleration and turning rates, and damaging the weapons causes the weapons to jam up after firing, dramatically lowering their rate of fire.
- Tron Lines: In the upcoming expansion to Mercenary, all ships will have these.