Evochron Mercenary features a new graphics engine that supports most 3D video cards with at least shader model 2.0 support. The new planetary engine offers a much higher level of detail along with new effects including a cloud and haze system that renders clouds you can see in the distance from space then descend and fly through while in planet atmospheres. New gas giant planets feature moving cloud layers and powerful winds that can disorient even the best pilots. The game also includes new solar systems to explore.
The sound and music has been enhanced significantly and includes dynamic music by Rich Douglas that changes with the level of hostility around the player. Higher sampling rates and new sounds enhance the audio effects in the game.
The new fleet command system lets the player issue orders to AI ships in single player and to human controlled ships in multiplayer (kept private for only the other players who have matching clan ID tags in their callsigns). The player can order ships to form up, attack hostiles, defend them specifically, mine asteroids, or reload and refuel.
Mercenary features twice as many ship frames to choose from, both civilian and military. Players can now also change the number of crew compartments, countermeasures, equipment slots, and secondary weapon hardpoints. Up to 8 equipment slots can now be installed on a civilian ship, which helps to support installing more of the new equipment items available.
Particle cannons now have unique ranges and several also have new attributes including kinetic effects, shield array damage, and energy depletion. New equipment items include 5 different mining beams, most of which are optimized for recovering specific materials, an anti-missile system, shield array recharger, cannon heatsink, afterburner drive, and automatic CM launcher.
The game also features smarter AI with more advanced tactics and greater challenge in war zones and high level systems. Capital ships fight more aggressively and are equipped with anti-shield torpedoes that deplete the shield arrays of an opposing capital ship. They also now carry flak cannons which inflict kinetic effects and can damage the player's ship if they remain in range.
Players can now deploy temporary energy stations, repair stations, sensor stations, fuel processors, shield arrays, and mining probes. Temporary deployable objects can be tactically useful on the battlefield, aid in exploring for hidden items, harvest resources, or to assist players who are stranded or in need of repair. Permanent trade stations, constructor stations, research stations, energy stations, and ore processors can also be built. Permanent stations allow players to dynamically expand the game's universe with new trade locations, resources, populated AI regions, and economies.
The new lobby mode is available at stations, cities, and carriers. Players can now enter a lobby that gives them access to full chat controls (voice and text), inventory management, the shipyard, and storage hangars. Once inside a station, city, or carrier, a player is safe from attack. A new 'quest' system features multiple objectives spanning many solar systems throughout the game's universe. The quest further trains players for the game, teaches them details on the history of the game's universe, and provides information on secret locations and hidden benefits in the game.
The new multiplayer system features far better performance along with several new options. In multiplayer, station building by players is tracked and stored by the server program, letting them expand and customize the universe of a server that other players can use and share. The new integrated voice chat lets players talk to each other using their PC's mic. The new gun turret binding mode in multiplayer lets a player to link their ship to another player's ship. One player controls a 360-degree gun turret attached to the player's ship they've linked to.
In Evochron, a player is free to seek their fortune as an independent mercenary in an adventure directed by their choices, abilities, and accomplishments. Each player can bring their unique skills and interests to the game, forming clans for cooperative goals or remaining solo to complete objectives on their own in true freeform space-sim gameplay.
Evochron Mercenary runs on the PC platform, including Windows XP, Vista, and 7. The recommended minimum system configuration for the game includes a 2.0 GHz processor, 128 MB 3D video card, and 1.5 GB of RAM. The game supports keyboard, mouse, joystick, and gamepad control options with remapping capability. It also supports NaturalPoint Inc.'s TrackIR head tracking system and up to 10 separate control devices simultaneously.
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