Welcome to Jester's Trek.
I'm your host, Jester. I've been an EVE Online player for about six years. One of my four mains is Ripard Teg, pictured at left. Sadly, I've succumbed to "bittervet" disease, but I'm wandering the New Eden landscape (and from time to time, the MMO landscape) in search of a cure.
You can follow along, if you want...

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Baby steps

So, there's a new devblog out regarding the first iteration of Incarna.  It's quite long, but Herbicide on SHC has summed it up quite admirably:
  1. When you dock, instead of seeing your ship all alone, you see your ship, and you see yourself looking at it.
  2. You can do all the current station activities the same way you do them now.
  3. You can also walk into your captain's quarters, and do all those same things much more slowly!
  4. Nobody else can come into your captain's quarters. But don't worry, you can still interact with other pilots in chat channels!
  5. We'll add more later, this is all we've thought of so far.
We know from reading the summit minutes from June and December that number two was a point of contention between CCP and the CSM.  CCP wanted you to jump directly into the Captain's Quarters, with no view of your ship.  What we've got in number two is a compromise.  You'll presumably be able to select the Captain's Quarters (or undocking) as an option once you're standing on the "balcony" looking up at your starship.

EDIT (18/Feb/2011): And the compromise wasn't enough for TeaDaze, who is quitting EVE over this issue.  :-/

So, come summer, ship spinning will be a thing of the past.  Instead, we'll have toon spinning.

Once you're in your Captain's Quarters (which will apparently be made of modular pieces, but which you might or might not be able to move around), the interface will... well... let's let the devblog speak for itself on this one:
Captain’s Quarters will offer interactions in the 3D space like slouching on your sofa and clicking an interface on the wall to bring up the planetary interaction (PI) interface, customizing your appearance through a vanity mirror and adjusting your fittings through a holo-model of your ship.
3D buttons aren’t an impressive technological feat, yet the interactions in the Captain’s Quarters allow us overcome some old, persistent problems newbies currently have with the complexity of the EVE UI and goal setting. For example, by placing a Corp Recruitment console on the ammo crate you rest your feet on, we can explicitly tell a new player how important it is to find a good player corporation in EVE.
In other words, it sounds a bit like Microsoft Bob.  Actually, no.  It sounds a lot like Microsoft Bob.

The team is driving toward giving us a demo of this in time for Fanfest in a couple of months, so I'll be very interested,
(a) to see what this looks like; and,
(b) what your average capsuleer on the street thinks of it.

I'm a little worried, though, because EVE players sometimes pride ourselves on how hard EVE is, and wear the pain of conquering its learning curve like a badge of honor.  The relevant Scrapheap thread is growing at 15 posts an hour as I write this.  Emotions are running high...


  1. I'm relieved to see CCP take the sensible step of staging it though. For the past 4 years expectations have been hyped and have hyped themselves beyond measure and sensibility.

    So it IS good to see an approach of baby steps and good communication.

    Sure, it does raise the question "what have they been doing for the project for all that time", but at this point this is largely irrelevant.

    What is more pressing, is the question how (well) CCP is going to produce a roadmap for balanced attention on both "spaceships", "avatars" and "polishing". After all, sales is one thing, retention another. And sales depends heavily on not letting the divide between presentation and delivery grow too big or too long.

    Another point of concern is the obligatory state of Incarna. Aside of raising severe concerns over the temptations that may introduce (for example delusions like "something cannot be compelling unless it is enforced" which all too easily leads to taking technical shortcuts in dealing with long standing UI challenges as well as Usability) there is the matter of forcing the loading of the Incarna environment on players with a primary focus on "spaceships".

    I am sure CCP will make efforts to keep the loading of that engine and its UI practical. But we have had bad experiences with FPS and station environment changes in the past, often as a result of issues with textures and their rendering at different qualities. But aside of that, the notion that Incarna may "add" to the process of docking & undocking quickly with new stuff or ship is not unrealistic.

    Valve statistics are not very useful for where it comes to EVE, as the GPU data often has very little meaning to the performance of the complete system. Keep in mind very common things in this regard such as on the one hand CCP's methodology of snapshot metrics & benchmarks (regardless of whether outsourced or internal), and on the other hand the strong presence among EVE players of Family and OEM pc's as well as notebooks for on the road. Not to mention the continuing dependancy challenges on Apple machines, and the rising trend of IGP's versus GPU's among both Family, OEM and Notebook PC's.

  2. I'm kind of wondering how well it's all going to work anyway, given the complex environment, baby steps or not. Heck, even the Character Creator crashed at least a half dozen times on my more than adequate machine, AND Mynxee's dreadlocks were clumsily and in fact incompletely rendered due to the angle of her head in one of the iterations of her new avatar that I did. If even the Character Creator can't deal with that, what's the CQ going to be like? Guess we'll see. I'm a card carrying member of the New Eden Skeptical Society until CCP proves me wrong.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.