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Naevnote  (previously NAEV, or Not Another/Neutron Accelerated Escape Velocity, depending on who you ask) is a freeware PC game and an open-source Escape Velocity clone, set in an After the End scenario in which the sun has exploded in an event known as "The Incident" and created a vast, impenetrable nebula. With the loss of Earth, The Empire (founded out of The Federation) is shattered, unable to keep the Houses under control. Now it's every man for himself as Space Pirates run rampant despite everyone's best efforts.

Currently in development. To get more exposure, it was added to Steam Greenlight on September 2012, and in July 2017 Naev was released on Steam. It was then added to itch.io with the 0.8.0 release on December 2020.

See also Endless Sky, another open-source Spiritual Successor of Escape Velocity.

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Naev provides examples of:

  • Absent Aliens: Despite the large setting, there are absolutely no aliens present in-game or in the backstory. So far as can be discerned, humanity is the sole sapient (or otherwise spacefaring) species in the Naev universe. However, over hundreds of years of separation and countless light-years of distance, and compounded by the creation of specialized societies to fulfill various Imperial functions and the weakening of Imperial control following the Incident, humanity has its share of rather alien cultures. Even the seeming crack in the complete absence of aliens, the Collective, who are a hostile mechanical Hive Mind, are man-made. And they are actually controlled by rogue Imperial officials.
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  • Accidental Misnaming: Baron Sauterfeldt can't really be bothered to remember your name (or at least the first two letters of it) and routinely misnames you.
  • Ace Custom: Aside from the obvious results of equipping your own ship, Great House versions of standard hulls (eg. Empire Hawking and Dvaered Phalanx) are just plain better than their standard counterparts, with larger beneficial modifiers. Pirate versions tend to be more distinctly different (most commonly featuring increased stealth capabilities, but weaker armor) and less closely follow the capabilities of their civilian counterparts.
  • After the End: After a massive incident in Sol system.
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: The Collective, a vast swarm of hostile drones that has been terrorizing the Galactic west, are the result of an Imperial project gone wrong. The trope is however subverted as the drones are actually functioning exactly as intended and instead it was the humans running Project Collective who went rogue, hid the completion of the project, bode their time knowing the Empire would still crush them if they acted immediately, and took the Incident as their time to strike.
  • All There in the Manual: Wiki and forum, mostly.
  • Apocalypse How: Sol suffered Stellar/Physical Annihilation in the backstory, with Planetary/Total Extinctions and Partial Extinctions to most other planets in systems within the blast radius. Ouch. Plus the plagues on Sorom.
  • Arbitrary Maximum Range: Projectile/energy weapons fade out, missiles presumably run out of fuel... yep, limited ranges all around. Justifiable with everything except kinetic energy weapons like gauss guns.
  • Attack Drone: House Za'lek either doesn't have the manpower to waste on the classic Space Fighter, or otherwise finds them wasteful. So instead, they use squads of small attack drones. Also, the Collective.
  • Authority in Name Only: In theory, nearly all of human space is lawful territory of the Empire. In practice, the Empire proper only really controls an admittedly quite large territory in the galactic west and all of the houses except Goddard are de facto independent states that the Emperor has little to no ability to exert meaningful influence over. House Za'lek keeps sending in their obligatory reports on their project even though the Empire is functionally unable to process them anymore and Za'lek mostly does as they please, House Sirius is focused almost entirely on their own internal religious matters, House Dvaered is largely busy with infighting and trying to conquer the Frontier worlds but is on broadly amicable terms with the Empire, and there are a smattering of Pirate and Independent worlds that answer to no particular overlord. The Soromid are an actual independent state that emerged from a people the Empire thought long dead and in their current form were never actually part of the Empire (though their ancestors were). The Frontier League is a loose alliance of worlds from a wave of pre-FTL colonization and which has never actually been part of the Empire, though Dvaered warlords have been seeking to change that. House Thurion is an independent Hidden Elf Village in the Sol Nebula that emerged from a "failed" Imperial project to make better humans and have actually existed as a functionally independent state even since before the Incident. House Proteron is a rogue project that was intended to create better galactic government and decided to instead conquer the Empire and bring all of humanity under their "superior" government and in so doing, inadvertently caused the Incident. The Collective are a project to create a next-generation military force that would put fewer humans at direct risk, but the project leads went rogue and decided to instead turn their drone army on the rest of humanity.
  • The Battlestar: Most ships with a significant number of large weapon mounts have some that are either optionally fighter bays, or in the case of carriers, mandatorially fighter bays, with battleships and cruisers can often become firepower-biased battlestars and carriers tend to be fighter-biased battlestars.
  • Beam Spam: Possible with beam weapons, which hit instantly. These tend to have quite short range and track targets slowly, so it's not exactly wise to use a pure beam outfit.
  • Big Bad: House Proteron. They're the Empire's one of four Grand Experiments (the other being House Za'lek, House Thurion, and Project Collective) on new forms of government that went TOO successful, resulting in a faction that is trying to take the Empire over, after it starts viewing the Empire's shrinking due to House Dvaered and Sirius emerging as the sign that the Empire's time has ended and they, as the ultimate form of government, need to take over. They sabotaged the Sol Hypergate in an attempt to link it to their gate instead so they can launch the invasion right onto Earth, but end up causing the Incident. This being said, the plan is that eventually the player character will be able to help them take over the Empire, assuming you want that.
  • Bio-Augmentation: Soromid's drastic answer to The Plague. Eight out of ten who underwent the augmentation died as a result of the breakthrough, but ten out of ten who didn't died of The Plague. In more modern times, they offer less drastic augmentation, which is much safer, but the more complete Soromid augments are still very risky for outsiders to undergo.
  • Boring, but Practical: The Quicksilver qualifies. Few weapon options, but some amazing passive bonuses. It saves 25% on jump time, and it's fast in-system once you have the Zephyr II drive and two stabilizers, and there's still room for a cargo pod. The time saved means that even most "emergency" cargo deliveries become a breeze, and you can run away from most fights.
  • Brain Uploading: House Thurion did this, though not all Thurions are uploaded.
  • Church Militant: House Sirius. They're not zealous fanatics (and in fact have a fairly healthy cultural elite) but, as the wiki puts it;
    "To the Sirii, faith is what air is to other people. You don't see it, you don't pay attention to it, you often don't even think about it. But without it, you can not live."
  • Crapsack Only by Comparison: Most of the Frontier Worlds are marginally habitable podunks settled by sleeper ships before hyperdrive and efficient terraforming were invented and would probably be considered pretty decent places to live in a harder sci-fi setting. While many of them are not truly awful places or could be made into much more pleasant places to live with newer technology, they have no interest in joining the Empire, which holds such technologies, and as such, their standard of living is far behind that of the rest of the galaxy and they have no capacity to fabricate ships larger than transports or suppress piracy beyond the systems in which they have planets of their own. Making matters worse is that expansionist Dvaered warlords have started thinking that the Frontier looks like easy pickings, and odds are that they'd probably have conquered the Frontier by now if they weren't so busy fighting each other, too. Even if they were brought under the Dvaered banner, and thus nominally into the Empire, most worlds under the Dvaered wind up as Polluted Wastelands, strip mined to fuel the constant fighting between warlords.
  • Death World:
    • The world of Sorom seemed pretty hospitable at first... but it would constantly throw bigger, badder and more lethal variants of The Plague at it's inhabitants, until one day, The Big One came along. It seemed like nothing could cure it. To prevent this extremely infectious airborne disease from spreading offworld, The Empire enforced Lockdown and wiped out the spaceports from orbit, preventing any and all ships from landing or taking off. The people who would become the Soromid only survived thanks to a breakthrough in LEGO Genetics that allowed for Bio-Augmentation of their immune systems. And then The Incident sterilized it. Oops!
    • In general, Class X and Y worlds tend to be awful, inhospitable places defined by extreme heat, extreme atmospheric pressure, and/or toxic/corrosive atmospheres, and are only inhabited because of some combination of staking a territorial claim, valuable resources (which is what distinguishes Class Y from Class X), specialized troop training, bullheaded stubbornness, or being forced between settling a Class X world and drifting space forever. Only the Soromid really deliberately choose to inhabit such worlds, and even that seems to be almost as much to flex their Bio-Augmentation technology as anything else.
  • Determinator: The Soromid:
    "Sorom was caught in the blast and was rendered sterile. But elsewhere in the galaxy, the Soromid persisted. All Soromid knew the history of Sorom, and they would not suffer to be destroyed, no matter what the universe threw at them."
  • Disk One Nuke:
    • Pirate Bases - provided that you can afford the bribes to get in, which is more time-consuming than difficult, often sell a wide array of outfits and, since they're criminals anyway, don't care if you have the licenses for what you're buying. It's entirely possible to have a Pirate Kestrel or a get a mission to steal a Dvaered Goddard and arm it to the teeth with Railgun Turrets before starting any major mission string.
    • The Za'lek home system - it has four starbases and a planet (plus the Za'lek HQ, but you can't land there outside of their string), which frequently have cargo missions between them. The pay is relatively low, but the trips are short and there is absolutely no risk involved. Put in some time, and you can easily afford high-end ships.
  • Earth That Was: Earth, along with the entire rest of the Sol System and most systems within several light-years, was incinerated during The Incident.
  • The Empire: Subverted, as the Empire seems to be the stablest and nicest government in the setting. Za'lek is a bunch of ivory tower intellectuals who are too stuck in academic arguments and bureaucratic red tape to get much done and have one of the worst piracy problems of any house, Dvaered are constantly fighting each other in internal wars, Sirius is fine if you can handle their pervasive religion, the Frontier Alliance is a textbook case of We ARE Struggling Together, Soromid governance is unclear but regardless to function on most of their worlds requires extreme gene therapy with an 80% mortality rate, the Independents aren't really a government so much as a collection of unaffiliated planetary governments, House Goddard is more or less insignificant and more than any other house, basically just part of the Empire, and the Pirates are, well, pirates. Even if some clans are better than others, it's still essentially gangster governance. Compared to all of these, the Empire proper has little infighting, is generally prosperous, and is able to keep its trade routes mostly safe. And then Thurion is decent enough if you're willing to live your whole life with the plan of eventually being uploaded, which greatly limits what you can do before then as, for example, even minor alcohol exposure can cause the process to fail fatally. And Proteron society sees people as little more than cogs, albeit cogs that get much better maintenance than in other societies with the his perspective.
  • Fan Sequel / Spiritual Successor: Meant to be what Escape Velocity 4 might have been if Ambrosia Software hadn't stopped making games.
  • For Science!:
    • The Empire established three great Projects to advance science - House Za'lek, charged with advancing the Empire's overall technological prowess, Project Thurion, charged with advancing the Empire's people, and House Proteron, charged with advancing the Empire's governance. All failed in some capacity. House Za'lek became increasingly bureaucratic and insular while creating a brain drain on the Empire at large that has meant that by now, they submit vast amounts of paperwork and scientific papers to the Empire that scarcely anyone outside of Za'lek has the time or ability to actually read. Project Thurion failed to deliver results and was shut down without ever being made public. House Proteron developed an authoritarian system of governance that was rejected as a model of governance by the Emperor and was shortly after wiped out in the Incident. Project Thurion actually did produce results, developing Brain Uploading shortly after being officially shut down and its leaders sentenced to death, and persists to this day in the galactic north and has reclaimed much of the Sol Nebula as the only faction that has developed any significant resistance to the harmful effects of the nebula. House Proteron planned to usurp the entire Empire after their results were rejected and hacked the Sol Hypergate to link it to their own as an invasion corridor, which caused the Incident. While much of Proteron was destroyed, they did survive and have been rebuilding and planning to take over. Additionally, there was a secret fourth Great Project, Project Collective, which was charged with advancing the Empire's military. Project Collective developed a very powerful drone fleet that could keep Imperial crew out of harm's way and punch well above their weight, but the officials running it turned rogue and saw this robot fleet as a chance to take power themselves, and thus hid that they had a working product until the Incident, at which point they unleashed the Collective on the galactic west and scoured several systems before Imperial forces were able to hold the line at Fortitude.
    • The Soromid had little choice but to pursue advancement at the cost of morals. With the certain danger of the plagues of Sorom, experimental medical and genetic treatments were tried with essentially all moral limitations waived as the alternative was death for everyone. Barely anyone objected due to how high the stakes were. Eventually, they developed genetic treatments that rendered them immune to the plague, albeit at the cost of an 80% mortality rate.
  • Future Imperfect: An archaeologist in one sidequest theorizes that a skateboard might be a religious artifact.
  • Game Mod: The game is quite moddable, and while there are very few mods yet (in addition to the relatively obscurity of the game there is the fact that it is an open-source fan game in development — stuff that might have been mods for other, basically finished games have a decent chance of just ending up in the official game), that doesn't mean there aren't any (though, obviously, even less finished than Naev proper). Nox Imperii, for example, is set in an expy of the Flandry setting and features a mostly randomly-generated universe.
  • Gatling Good: Several types of Gatling weapons, most of which are quite useful in combat. A decent build for the Pacifier destroyer is two Mk3 Laser Turrets and a Turreted Vulcan Gun.
  • Geo Effects:
    • Nebulae significantly reduce sensor range, with how much depending on how dense the nebula is.
    • The Sol Nebula (which extends for many systems) is intensely radioactive and causes Damage Over Time, with the effect being most intense in Sol itself at 242 MJ of damage, which is enough to overwhelm any ship's shields in only a few seconds. Even the more restrained unstable nebula effects in the nearby Tide and Polaris systems are more than the strongest shields can sustain for more than very short periods.
    • Asteroid fields get in the way of combat, with asteroids eating projectiles but otherwise being harmless. They can also be mined for commodities,
    • Several systems in the galactic northwest, beyond Soromid space, contain a haze that, while posing no interference for sensors, reduces shield strength and regeneration by half.
  • Gone Horribly Right: House Proteron was a project to create newer, better (or at least more efficient) modes of governance for galactic-scale administration. As deadline pressure caused freer systems of governance to fall by the wayside in favor of stricter, more authoritarian ones that met the metrics laid out by the project, the project eventually created a strictly-regimented society in which each human was to be little more than a (well-maintained) cog in a vast governmental machine. Once Proteron felt their project had achieved fruition they planned to rather than let the Emperor choose whether or not to implement it Empire-wide, take over and implement it themselves. They'd start with Earth using the secret Sol Hypergate and take the Empire in one swift stroke, but when they hacked the Sol Hypergate to let their own fleet through, the hypergate failed catastrophically and destroyed not just Sol but every surrounding system and created a vast nebula that engulfed everything within several light years, including much of Proteron's own space.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: House Za'lek despise the Soromid because House Za'lek prides itself on being the most advanced and always on the cutting-edge of technology. Pushing the cutting edge of science is, after all, the entire reason their house was formed. As such, that the Soromid have such advanced genetic augmentation technology, technology that Za'lek lacks and does not understand, infuriates Za'lek. It is perhaps for the best that Za'lek is in the deep galactic south and Soromid in the far galactic north with the Imperial core worlds in between, thus usually keeping them from coming to blows.
  • He Knows About Timed Hits: Many NPCs in bars mention keys, as if they used the same keyboard as the player to control their ships.
  • Hero-Tracking Failure: A consistent flaw of beam turrets, along with short range - while projectile turrets have instantaneous tracking and lead their shots perfectly (assuming their target is moving in a constant manner), beam turrets track painfully slowly, offsetting their instantaneous beams and making them ill-suited for point-defense. Instead, beam turrets (and cannons) are mostly meant for getting up close with capital ships and tearing them apart with their overwhelming power (eg. even the best projectile turrets only have half the DPS of the Ragnarok Beam).
  • Hidden Elf Village: House Thurion, the result of an Imperial project researching the creation of "better humans", which culminated in Brain Uploading, is largely unknown and cut off from the other Houses due to the massive, highly damaging nebula in Sol and the surrounding systems that results from the Incident, as well as that they were officially shut down for failing to produce results in time. The only ways to reach (or leave) their space are through one-way jump points or directly through Sol, the latter of which is meant to be impossible without cheating due to the extreme Damage Over Time in Sol and the surrounding systems being far more than any combination of ship and core system can withstandnote . Generally they quite prefer the isolation as it keeps them from having to explain their existence to the Empire, who tried to have their project shut down due to a perceived failure to deliver results and at least as importantly, it shields them from House Proteron.
  • Hyperspace Arsenal: The equipment that isn't currently mounted will follow the player around, without even a weight penalty. However, without an easy way to switch equipment back and forth, the game would be less fun. The following NPC line lampshades it:
    "Your equipment travels with you from planet to planet, but your ships don't. Nobody knows why, it's just life, I guess."
  • Hyperspace Lanes: As in Escape Velocity, hyperspace travel is restricted to explored links between nearby systems. Naev further restricts travel to jump points (which often have to be found, which may be time consuming in nebulae), whereas in EV you could jump anywhere in a system as long as you were far enough from the center.
  • Hyperspeed Ambush / Hyperspeed Escape: Made respectively less and more complicated by the fact that you have to jump at specific jump points, which act as choke points.
  • Infinity -1 Sword:
    • Railgun Turrets can be acquired with relative ease if you have the financial resources necessary to bribe your way to and from certain pirate bases, and are nearly as powerful, if not as long-ranged, as the Hyperlaser Turret, which is the most powerful non-beam weapon in the game.
    • Similarly, the Pirate Kestrel - it's no match for a Goddard or most House cruisers and carriers in a straight-up fight, and it isn't quite as potent as its non-pirate counterpart, but you can buy it without a license and its special engines (shared with the civilian version) and relatively low hull mass with which to use said engines that aren't rated for larger cruisers make it much faster than its most credible threats. Also, it has an incredibly cool paint job.
  • Jack of All Stats: Unicorp offers mid-range components that are neither particularly good nor bad and offer balanced stats.
  • Kinetic Weapons Are Just Better: The Dvaered certainly believe so, and thus use lots of Vulcans, mass drivers, and railguns. From a gameplay perspective, they're not entirely wrong - kinetic weapons are reasonably powerful for their CPU and power demands, but in terms of raw performance, directed energy weapons tend to come out on top.
  • Klingon Promotion: Combined with retirement. Dvaered Generals take a small contingent with them when they retire and become a Warlord governing one or more planets that they 'acquire' themselves, usually by knocking off an existing Warlord.
  • Legacy Character: The Kestrel appeared in Escape Velocity and EV Nova, and now in Naev. Similarly, EV Nova's Starbridge returns as of patch 0.9.0.
  • Lightning Bruiser:
    • Downplayed - the Kestrel and its Pirate counterpart are very fast for cruisers, especially when loaded up with engine reroutes and stabilizers, and packs firepower no destroyer could hope to match, but it still lags behind other cruisers in firepower.
    • In general, this is Krain Industries' speciality - they make the Kestrel, which is essentially a cruiser that handles like a destroyer, and they make the Strabridge, a destroyer that handles like a corvette. Neither is likely to win against their own weight class, but excel at hunting down the next size down by matching their performance with much greater firepower.
  • Macross Missile Massacre: The Ancestor bomber is meant to do this: with space for 4 launchers and 50% bonus to ammo capacity and launch rate, it's a surprisingly deadly "small" craft. However, it's the slowest small craft, too.
  • Master of All: Milspec Orion-series central systems offer above-average stats across the board at the cost of slightly higher mass.
  • Master of None: Previous-generation central systems, makeshift hull plating, and cobbled-together engines have balanced, poor stats. The only "upside" is that they're light and cheap, not that their cheapness matters much, since ships tend to come with standard Unicorp core components. They're mostly used by pirates who can't get or maintain better systems.
  • Mighty Glacier: Battleships, cruisers (except the Kestrel) and carriers tend to be mighty glaciers by default. They can mount massive, powerful core systems that can control and power large and powerful weapons and they can have thick slabs of armor plating that shrug off almost anything lesser ships can throw at them, but only the largest engines can haul their massive bulk, but even the top-of-the-line, costs nearly half as much as the entire hull its mounted on, Tricon Typhoon II engine won't get a cruiser or carrier anything resembling the handling of destroyers or corvettes, and while it's the highest performance large engine, the most powerful carriers and battleships may overload it and have to use the slower, less nimble Melendez Mammoth XL engine.
  • Mistaken for Profound: One exchange in a bar:
    "It's one of life's great mysteries, isn't it?"
    "What? No, I mean why are we in here, in this bar?"
    • The last sentence is a Wall breaker, too: it hints at the player's actions that made the player character enter the bar.
  • More Dakka: Most of the kinetic weapons (mass drivers, miniguns). Many other weapons (lasers etc) fire several times per second, too - leading to an energy equivalent of this rather than Beam Spam. Furthermore, weapons of the same type ripple fire, thus creating a constant stream of shots.
  • More Criminals Than Targets: There are a literally infinite supply of pirate ships (to be fair, there are also an infinite number of all other ships due to ship spawning mechanics), and the pirates command ships up to and including Kestrel light cruisers. In many systems, they vastly outnumber legitimate traffic that they might hope to raid. Justified in their home systems, as they're coming and going from their base of operations in an area, but they will travel far from there and swarm systems of little raiding value.
  • Multi-Platform: The game is playable on PC, Mac, and most Linux distros, and it can be downloaded through Github, Flathub, Steam, and itch.io.
  • Multiple Endings: Not currently, but the plan is that once the campaigns for the major factions are in properly (as of December 2015 only part of the Empire campaign, and a smaller part of the Dvaered), they'll be mutually exclusive after a cut-off point, leaving the galaxy looking differently depending on which faction you joined up with. The stories are supposed to be mostly separate from one another (with Empire/Proteron being an exception as having mostly the same basic story as the other side of the pair, but from a different perspective and with a different outcome), although this is hampered by the interconnectedness of the setting and the intended plans for some of the factions (everyone would have to at least acknowledge the Proteron invasion, for instance).
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: After the Incident, Imperial governance is done from an enormous vessel called Emperor's Wrath while a world central to the Imperial core territories is being terraformed and has been renamed Emperor's Fist. Neither is exactly the kind of name that one associates with gentle or hands-off governance.
  • New Work, Recycled Graphics: A large portion of Naev's assets, especially Imperial, Dvaered, Proteron, and Civilian ships, are lifted either wholesale or with minor alterations, from fellow open-source project Vega Strike. Sirius, Za'lek, and Soromid and Collective ships, however, are original to Naev.
  • Obvious Rule Patch: The limited Space Friction is obviously a counter to the incredibly cheesy "Monty Python" strategy from Escape Velocity (accelerate to full speed, turn around, and start firing at all your pursuers, who are flying into your shots while you fly away from theirs). By being unable to maintain full speed without actually running your engines, kited enemies will eventually catch up to you. It's still sort of possible with turreted weapons or a very fast ship, but it's less convenient, and turreted weapons tend to require a powerful ship CPU, and most ships that can carry a core system powerful enough to drive a decent battery of turrets are slow enough that they'll be overtaken by enemy warships anyway, while ships fast enough to actually do it with fixed weapons lack the firepower to take down cruisers before overheating.
  • Overheating: Activated outfits, including weapons, build up heat with use, and eventually start to transfer the heat to the ship's hull. When the outfit overheats, it will either shut down or lose performance, depending on the outfit, and if the ship builds up too much heat, it will shut down and have to enter a vulnerable "Active Cooling" state.
  • Proud Warrior Race Guy: House Dvaered. They were originally workers, miners, outcasts and low-ranking soldiers fed up with how things were being run, so they rebelled until they were acknowledged and given what they wanted. Now they fly around in bright red ships and start fights. Usually when it's least convenient for you.
  • Red and Black and Evil All Over: Pirate-customized ships always have a black and red paint scheme. Some like the Pirate Starbridge even have Jolly Roger and stylize the red as flames.
  • Regenerating Shields, Static Health: For all ships that don't have Biometal Armor or a Droid Repair Crew installed, armor damage is only ever repaired when the ship lands, while shielding regenerates so long as it isn't actively under fire.
  • Repressive, but Efficient: House Proteron was tasked with developing new systems of government to create a more stable and efficient Empire. The result is a rigid, authoritarian society in which every citizen lives a tightly regimented life as little more than a cog in the machine of governance, if a well-maintained cog. House Proteron upon completing their project, or at least seeing it as complete, sought to impose this new government on the rest of the Empire but their plans were thwarted by the Incident. In actuality, their attempt to use to Sol Hypergate to invade Sol caused the Incident.
  • Required Secondary Powers: House Thurion lives in the nebula near Sol, which does Damage Over Time to ships, so all of their ships take reduced damage from the nebula and have an outfit that further reduces this damage.
  • La Résistance: The Frontier Liberation Front is a militant, illegal (but with suspected backing from at least some individual Frontier governments) group aimed at trying to keep the Dvaered from taking over the Frontier. The Dvaered could have crushed the FLF and overrun the Frontier anyway without a miracle for the FLF, but in-fighting and manoeuvring within the Dvaered High Command have kept the Dvaered from properly focusing on it (as every general wants to be the one to benefit the most from the conquest). Unfortunately, the FLF campaign sees them deliberately provoke the Empire, leading to their destruction. The Frontier War can only be seen by helping the Dvaered conquer the Frontier.
  • Padded Sumo Gameplay: Battleships, cruisers and carriers are astonishingly durable, even under sustained fire from another cruiser or carrier unless someone is getting in close with a Grave or Ragnarok Beam, which will likely bring them in range of other ships, such a fight can take quite some time, even if all shots are connecting.
  • Sci-Fi Writers Have No Sense of Scale:
    • The Kestrel, a cruiser, has 700 megajoules of shielding with its default equipment. That's approximately the amount of energy released by burning five gallons of gasoline.
    • Ships are generally very small for their classifications. For example, the Goddard, one of the most iconic battleships in Imperial space, has a mass of 2300 tons, comparable to a late-WWII destroyer. Even after the mass of a heavy arsenal of weapons and heavy arsenal, only the largest ships break 10,000 tons, putting them around inter-war cruisers in mass. Similarly, the Mule is a heavy freighter and has a mass of 800 tons and a cargo hold of 250 tons.
    • Crews for carriers are often unreasonably small unless the amount of automation involved in maintaining their fighters and helping keep their crews in fighting shape are absolutely incredible - the massive Empire Peacemaker has the largest crew in the game at 65, and it can operate up to 16 four-crew Lancelot fighters, meaning its fighters may have almost as much crew as the ship itself.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: House Proteron. They're cut off from the rest of the universe by the Incident's nebula, but since they posses a functioning hypergate, the appearance of newer hypergates leads to the can being unsealed. House Thurion doesn't count since they can get in and out of the nebula just fine, due to their superior armor and shield technology designed to withstand the nebula's condition. They only isolate themselves out of the need for secrecy.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Sleeper Starship: The means by which the Frontier was colonized in the First Growth. This is the main reason for the Frontier being a relative backwater, as without the convenience of hyperspace the First Growth colonizers could only rely on telemetry in the Solar System, leaving most of the twelve successful colonies (there were twenty ships sent out, one blew up, two veered off course, three disappeared and two arrived but their destination planets were later found to be barren and without human life) on harsher planets with less resources than those of the hyperdrive-powered Second Growth.
  • Slow Laser: Laser weapons shoot slow, Star Wars-esque pulses, which may have slower travel time than physical projectiles, such as railgun slugs.
  • Space Is Cold: Averted. Management of weapons heat is part of combat. As your weapons heat up, they lose accuracy, and when an outfit or weapon maxes out in heat, it fails and has to cool off. Weapons and outfits transfer heat to your ship, which radiates it into space. The hotter your hull gets, the more visible you are (which plays out as enemies shooting at you more). You can enter a rapid cooldown mode if need be, which radiates all your heat at the cost of you being immobilized for the duration.
  • Space Is Noisy: Very noisy. If you can't hear gunfire at any given moment, then you're either in the starting systems or the Nebula.
  • Space Friction: As with Escape Velocity we'll have none of that Space Is an Ocean nonsense, thank you. That said, the trope is present in a downplayed form. You can drift in one direction with thrusters off at about 80% speed, but to maintain full speed you need to maintain thrust. (Let go of the accelerate button, and you'll slow down a little and then stay at that speed.)
  • Space Pirates: Complete with black and red spaceships and pirate talk... and Suicidal Overconfidence. Arr matey!
  • Standard Human Spaceship:
    • The Rhino transport and Hawking cruiser are pretty much the standard relatively uniform-thickness, geometric, bulky, slab-sided human sci-fi ships.
    • House Proteron mostly uses geometric slab-shaped ship, with their carrier being essentially a long, flat hexagonal prism with engines on one end and a flight deck sticking out the other and their battleship being much the same except with a bridge sticking out the front instead of a flight deck.
  • Standard Time Units: Minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, and years are no longer used to tell time, with all time instead being a metric system of seconds, periods, and cycles, which can be further modified with metric prefixes. A period is 10,000 seconds (~2 hours, 47 minutes) and is generally idiomatically comparable to an hour. A cycle is 5,000 periods or 50,000,000 seconds (~579 days) and is idiomatically comparable to a year. Other common units are the hectosecond (100 seconds, idiomatically comparable to a minute) and the decaperiod (10 periods or about 28 hours, idiomatically comparable to a day).
  • Suicidal Overconfidence:
    • The AI has no meaningful capacity to assess threats, and so if you're on bad terms with a faction, they'll always attack you, no matter how outclassed they are or how fearsome your reputation. Even if you command a battlecruiser armed with railgun or hyperlaser turrets that can shred their ship in half a volley, hostile AIs will press the attack.
    • Pirates will attempt to raid much further into well-policed space than would be sane, often resulting in pirate fighters getting vaporized by Imperial patrols the instant they come out the jump gate. For example, Pirates often try to raid Gamma Pavonis with nothing heavier than Admonisher corvettes and up-armed Rhino transports, while Gamma Pavonis tends to be patrolled by Imperial Peacemaker carriers and Hawking cruisers.
    • While the AI does have protocols for breaking off an attack and trying to retreat at about 30% hull remaining, that's often too late to save their ship, and especially in the case of smaller ships, may well mean that there's enough shots in flight to finish the job.
  • Super Soldier / Übermensch: Soromid don't exactly get along too well with the rest of humanity due to their enhanced capabilities and appearance. Or more accurately, the rest of the galaxy doesn't get on too well with the Soromid. The Soromid could care less.
  • The Teetotaler: House Thurion eschews alcohol and other mind-altering substances as even minor brain degradation from such substances can cause the Brain Uploading process to fail.
  • Terraform: The Empire possess terraforming technology, but extreme terraforming is relatively rare due to other means of habitation like domed cities, as well as the relative ease of just searching for other worlds due to fast and ubiquitous Faster-Than-Light Travel. There are however noteworthy examples like Emperor's Fist, which is a project to tailor an ideal new Imperial capital after the Incident destroyed the entire Sol system. The Soromid do not seem to possess this technology, nor do they particularly need it as they can tailor the people to the planet instead of the planet to the people.
  • Unusable Enemy Equipment: There are several ships that are simply not obtainable in normal gameplay, including the Za'lek Haephestus, Thurion capital ships, the Soromid Vox, and any and all House Proteron vessels. Unlike similar games like Escape Velocity and Endless Sky, ships cannot be obtained by boarding and these ships are either not sold at any market, are only sold at markets where it is impossible to legitimately obtain a high enough reputation with their faction to land at them, or where you can land but cannot obtain a high enough reputation to be permitted to make the purchase. Generally speaking, these ships are also better than those that can be obtained and are unobtainable precisely because they are Purposefully Overpowered.
  • Wide-Open Sandbox: Much like its inspiration, Escape Velocity, the galaxy is wide open as soon as you start, and it's up to you to find something to do, work with or against a faction, and survive the persistent scourge of Space Pirates.
  • Xtremely Kool Letterz: An interesting visual variant, the title "naev" is written in a way which would look the same after a 180° rotation.
  • You Have Failed Me: When Project Thurion was deemed a failure due to a lack of results, not only was the project shut down, but its leads were to be killed to avoid embarrassing the Empire that they had a major project fail. The project leads instead completed their Brain Uploading project and fled, often existing under the nose of the Empire until they were able to recruit enough sympathetic organic humans to create a self-sufficient society of their own.

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