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Official FAQ

General - Back to Top

Q: What is Escape Velocity Nova?
A: Escape Velocity Nova is a shareware sprite-based spacefaring game with arcade-style combat, trade and economics, missions, storylines, and a plug-in architecture that allows for modifying various aspects of the game, including reworking the entire stock scenario to create entirely new universes. It is published by AmbrosiaSW and can be found here.
Q: What is SFA?
A: SFA stands for Starfleet Adventures, a Total Conversion for the shareware game Escape Velocity Nova, set in the Star Trek universe during the time that Captain/Admiral James T. Kirk commanded the Constitution class starships U.S.S. Enterprise, NCC-1701 and NCC-1701-A.
Q: I have plenty of webspace -- would you be interested in letting me host or mirror SFA's downloads?
A: The offer is appreciated, but Uncle Twitchy prefers to go entirely through the ASW Add-Ons pages for the permanent download locations so that he can keep track of the download numbers easily. One location = no arithmetic.

Setting - Back to Top

Q: Why is SFA set during the original series?
A: Starfleet Adventures is set during the career of Captain Kirk for several reasons.

1) Uncle Twitchy likes the original series best, even though he agrees that The Next Generation was the better show of the two. I mean, how can you go wrong with mini-skirts and go-go boots?

2) The first game mod Uncle Twitchy ever did was of a Star Trek game written in BASIC back in the mid-'70s when even The Motion Picture wasn't even dreamed of yet. In a sense, this Total Conversion is the game mod that Uncle Twitchy dreamed of having back when he was 13 years old.

3) Back when Starfleet Adventures was first being conceived, a different Star Trek TC, focusing on DS9 and the Dominion War, was in development, and he didn't want to step on any toes.
Q: Why not make a Next Generation/Deep Space Nine/Voyager/Enterprise plug?
A: Each of those eras in Star Trek history is certainly valid and worthy of its own plug (although, Uncle Twitchy assures us, Voyager less so than the others). However, Uncle Twitchy has said that, with the amount of time and energy devoted to creating a TOS/Movie-era TC, he is not interested in developing any further into the Star Trek universe after SFA is released. "After all," he says, "I have other more original ideas for Nova that I'd like to pursue."

However, Uncle Twitchy has specifically set up SFA to be easily modified to play in any of the other Star Trek series, and plans on releasing a graphics package that will provide TNG/DS9/VOY-era ships, outfit graphics, and interfaces to help someone make a plug-in for SFA set in that time period. While there is not, at this time, any plan to do a variant of SFA set in the time of Enterprise, there are members of Uncle Twitchy's testing team who are pursuing the development of such a TNG-era plug that will be released hopefully soon after SFA's final release.

Also, for those interested in the TNG/DS9/VOY era, please check out FunkMaster's upcoming TC, "Star Trek Nova: The Final Frontier". Uncle Twitchy says he likes FunkMaster's ship sprites better than his own.
Q: Will the Borg be in SFA?
A: No. Captain Kirk never fought the Borg. However, Borg ships have been included in the TNG Graphics Pack.
Q: Will the Dominion be in SFA?
A: No. Captain Kirk never encountered the Dominion, and the Bajoran wormhole was not open in the 23rd Century. However, the Dominion's ships have been rendered for the TNG Graphics Pack.
Q: Can I play Captain Kirk?
A: At the moment, Captain/Admiral Kirk appears as a prs in all four of his incarnations (TO, The Motion Picture, Wrath of Khan, and Undiscovered Country/Generations). Uncle Twitchy has toyed with the idea of providing a chr resource that would allow the player to "be" Captain Kirk that would guarantee access to the Enterprise crew members and a Constitution class vessel as well as de-activating the Kirk prs resources that appear in the game.
Q: Can I play a Klingon/Romulan/Cardassian/Tribble/Whatever?
A: Currently, the game is set up to only allow players be Starfleet officers. There are storyline missions in which your character will go undercover and fly Klingon and Romulan ships, however, so in a sense you have the opportunity to "play for the other side." Additionally, Uncle Twitchy has hinted that he's toyed with the idea of making a plug for SFA that would allow players to play Klingon officers instead of Starfleet officers.
Q: Can I fly [ship type]?
A: Except for storyline missions in which the player is assigned specific ships (including some espionage missions in which the player will fly stolen Klingon and Romulan ships), the player will have access to the wide variety of Federation starships available during Captain Kirk's career. Which ships are offered to command is determined by your rank in Starfleet -- by the time you are a Captain, all ship classes are available to you.
Q: What does 'canon' mean?
A: "Canon" refers to those elements of SFA that are "officially" part of the Star Trek universe... in this case, it refers to people, places, things, events, etc. which have been referred to or seen in aired episodes and in the movies. So, for instance, since we never saw any Gorn ships in any incarnation of Star Trek to date, any Gorn ship designs cannot be considered canon.

Take note that many canon sources conflict or contradict one another (i.e. the Romulan ships from ENT contradict much of the spoken dialogue of the first episode in which the Romulans appeared on TOS). In this case, Uncle Twitchy has made an effort to use TOS and TOS-based sources as the primary canon source (i.e. in the previous example, the ENT Romulan ship has been resized and used as a later rather than earlier Romulan ship design).

Mechanics - Back to Top

Q: How do I install SFA [Mac]?
A: Because of its size (which rivals, if not surpasses, that of the original Nova scenario), Starfleet Adventures is a Total Conversion that replaces all of the default Nova data files with its own. When you download SFA, be sure to read the Read Me file and follow the instructions on how to properly replace your data files.
Q: How do I install SFA [Windows]?
A: While Uncle Twitchy intends the final release of SFA to be a simultaneous Mac/Windows release (though this may change), at this moment in development SFA is only available in the Mac format. As such, there are a few more steps you must go through to get SFA working on Windows, all of which are detailed in the PC Plug-in Conversion Tutorial (every step counts!). But don't place the .rez's in the Plug-ins folder! Replace the original files with the .rez's and then follow the install instructions in the SFA Readme.

Differences - Back to Top

Q: How do I upgrade my weapons?
A: You can't upgrade weapons or change the outfits of your ship in SFA as you can in the ordinary EVN scenario. Starfleet vessels come in stock configurations, and since it's a highly structured organization, there isn't much room for individual tweaking of ships.

So, customizing your ship's performance is based more on the crew that you select.
Q: Why are all the ships inertialess?
A: This is to accurately simulate how ships perform in the Star Trek universe. The classic example that this is the scene from "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan" where the Enterprise approaches the Regula I station and slows to gradually match the station's rotation. Not all ships are inertialess, however -- most shuttles and some enemy ships are affected by inertia.
Q: How come nothing costs money?
A: This TC is not based around the economics of space travel like normal EV:N, but instead on simulating the Star Trek t.v. series and its emphasis on exploration. You are playing an officer in Starfleet, one who is given command assignments and opportunities. These are based on merit, on how high ranked you are in Starfleet.

As such, the only need for money is for refueling (which is hardcoded into the EV:Nova engine) and for the occasional bribe of civilian ships or planets.

Playing - Back to Top

Q: My Hermes class ship blew up after the Kobayashi Maru scenario, and when I loaded my pilot, I was in a Constitution class. Now I can't _______________. (fill in the blank)
A: There is a problem with the Kobayashi Maru mission, combined with the fact that the Hermes class doesn't seem to have any escape shuttles. Your pilot file is therefore corrupted, and you will need to start a new pilot file.
Q: How do I get better ships?
A: More choices of ship classes are offered to you the higher rank in Starfleet you have. Lowly lieutenants only command weak scout ships. Captains command the top of the line ships, like the Constitution, Constellation or Excelsior class Cruisers and Explorers.
Q: How do I go up in rank?
A: Your rank in Starfleet is based on your performance, which means you need to do plenty of missions offered in the Ready Room as well as build your combat experience against the Federation's enemies.
Q: What are the best missions to take to go up in rank?
A: All missions are good to take. In particular, it is good to take missions that involve planetary surveys, interactions with alien races (both friendly and hostile), and rescue missions.
Q: Why are all the missions to systems so far away?
A: The Star Trek universe is big. Really big. Uncle Twitchy has done his best to include every canon system of the Alpha and Beta Quadrants mentioned in every live-action Trek incarnation up to and including Season 2 of Enterprise. Additionally, several systems were created to give some of the hostile alien races (the Klingons, the Romulans, and the Tholians in particular) more than just the few systems mentioned on air or on film.

The result is that there are a lot of systems in the Trek universe, making the map gigantic by EVN standards.

Some steps to reduce some of this traveling has been implemented -- the warp conduit system, for instance, assists with this as well as addressing some of the inconsistencies of distance that have cropped up in the Trek universe over the years (how, for instance, could the NX-01 Enterprise travel from Earth to Qo'noS in four days at Warp 4?) -- and Uncle Twitchy has divided up Federation space with duplicate gvt resources in order to give missions a shorter travel time.

However, it's generally a good rule of thumb to not accept a mission if, after zooming the map out twice from the default, you still can't see the destination.
Q: What do officers do?
A: Depends on the department and the rank. Each officer is different, with different strengths and weaknesses which are discussed in their descriptions. These descriptions can be pretty vague, but those who stand out will be obvious.

For instance, a Lieutenant communications officer may have spent some time serving monitor duty on one of the Klingon Neutral Zone outposts. Odds are, this Lieutenant has the ability to jam Klingon torpedos to some degree. A Lieutenant Commander communications officer who's spent time on a Miranda class Frigate patrolling the Klingon Neutral Zone most likely has better jamming abilities plus, possibly, the ability to jam their reinforcement calls.

Basically, though, it breaks down like this:
  • Helmsmen will increase turn rates, acceleration, and possibly increase maximum speed.
  • Navigators reduce the distance to travel from system center in order to jump, as well as help acceleration.
  • Engineers reduce travel time, add extra energy, increase fuel restoration rates, and in some rare cases even do small multi-jumps.
  • Communications Officers, as stated, jam various missle weapons, can inhibit fleet reinforcement calls, and send false transponder information.
  • Science Officers decrease the murk and interference factor of nebula and other interstellar hazards, as well as detect cloaked ships. Vulcan Science Officers are capable of granting hull regeneration.
  • Medical Officers decrease the length of time a ship is ionized, increase ionization tolerance, and occasionally add to the hull strength of the ship (to represent morale -- it's a stretch, but it kind of fits)
  • Security/Tactical Officers increase shield refresh rates, can occasionally increase shield strength, and, very rarely, increase hull strength.
  • First Officers are general catch-all officers who can perform a variety of tasks. Since each is unique, it's best to try to guess what they can do through their descriptions and paying attention to your ship's statistics. In addition to their other capabilities, Vulcan First Officers will usually grant hull regeneration.
Q: How do I get escorts?
A: Escorts -- that is, commanding a fleet -- are reserved exclusively for high-ranking officers, so you will need to become at least a Commodore before you can command escorts.
Q: What are those swirling things that jump in as fleets and always are hostile but I can't target them?
A: That, my friend, is an Ion Storm. Avoid it -- the damage Ion Storms can do will more than likely destroy you before you have a chance to react. Fortunately, they're pretty slow and not very maneuverable.
Q: Why do Starbases and planets sometimes fire at Ion Storms?
A: Starfleet has figured out a way to recalibrate the frequency of their station's defensive phaser arrays to remodulate the ion storms, thereby neutralizing the damaging affect they have on starship hull plating (how's that for Trekbabble? Pretty good, if I say so myself -- Uncle Twitchy). There are a few science officers who have managed to figure out how to recalibrate starship phasers in the Stun setting to duplicate this, so if you find you can suddenly target an Ion Storm, you have one of these science officers.
Q: What good are the medals, citations and decorations?
A: Starfleet grants these awards to let you know you're doing a good job. For instance, each time you go up a Combat Rank, Starfleet will give you an award. Similar awards will be given for exemplary service in the fields of exploration and diplomacy as well. And successfully completing certain mission strings also can also result in medals and awards. They do not have any other game affect other than looking nice on your service record.
Q: Why aren't all phaser settings beam weapons?
A: There is precedent in both the original series and in the movies of phasers being represented as both beam weapons as as pulses of energy. For game balance, Uncle Twitchy decided that the latter was the better choice for representing the primary phaser settings.

Galaxy - Back to Top

Q: Where do I find Vulcan?
A: Vulcan is in the 40 Eridani system, about two jumps south of the Sol system.

TNG Graphics Pack - Back to Top

Q: What is the TNG Graphics Pack?
A: Despite the fact that Uncle Twitchy has no intention of creating a plug-in for SFA set in the time of Captains Picard, Sisco and Janeway, he wanted to allow others the opportunity to do so and to do so easily. Therefore, he has created the TNG Graphics Pack, which is a series of graphic resources compatible with those of SFA to assist anyone who wishes to make a TNG/DS9/VOY-era plug-in for SFA.
Q: Why make the TNG Graphics Pack? Why not just make a full TNG-era plug?
A: Uncle Twitchy enjoys the ship modeling, texturing and rendering aspects of the plug-in making process the most. However, he considers the weapon/outfit creation, mission-coding and debugging process to be just shy of pulling teeth as far as painful experiences are concerned. The process of bringing SFA to life was enough of that kind of pain to last a lunchtime.
Q: What ships are in the TNG Graphics Pack?
A: Federation
  • Galaxy class
  • Nebula class
  • Intrepid class
  • Defiant class
  • Sovereign class
  • Prometheus class
  • Akira class
  • Steamrunner class
  • Sabre class
  • Danube class runabout
  • Type 9 shuttle
  • Nova class
  • Norway class
  • New Orleans class
  • Cheyenne class
  • Peregrine class
  • Freedom class
  • Delta Flyer
  • Federation fighter
  • Non-Canon Vigilance class
Klingon
  • Vor'cha class
  • Negh'var class
  • Ty'gokor station
Romulan
  • D'Deridex class
  • Valdore class
  • Science Vessel
  • Scout Ship
Cardassian
  • Galor class
  • Hideki class
  • Terok Nor station
Ferengi
  • D'kora class Marauder
Jem'Hadar
  • Attack ship
  • Battlecruiser
  • Battleship
Bajoran
  • Nu'bari class Freighter
Borg
  • Cube
  • Sphere
Miscellaneous
  • Tamarian Cruiser
  • T'Lani Cruiser (Just a smaller version of the Tamarian Cruiser, actually)
  • Mondor Class Pakled Vessel


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