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.
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Thursday, March 22, 2012

Internal communication

I was looking over the new missile launcher turret models and admiring how nicely consistent they are, both internally and externally, when it reminded me how ridiculous I feel some of the gun turret models are.

Now, don't get me wrong, I think the art team -- overall -- did some great work on the gun turret models when they were introduced last year.  They look nice, the animations are a treat, and they show off how far ahead EVE is when compared to competitors, particularly Star Trek Online.  I might also bitch about turret placement on some of the ships (particularly the Ferox), but the turrets remain one of EVE's graphical strengths.  They really help make EVE ships look more dynamic and consistent.

Still, there's always room for improvement.

I fly a lot of Minmatar ships, and one of the things that really impresses me about the Minmatar turret models is their internal consistency.  You can tell that the same person worked on all of the models, or at least the same couple of people, and they talked to each other, showed each other their work, and collaborated.  Take the 425mm AutoCannons.  On the left is the single 425mm AC used by cruisers and battle cruisers.  On the right, the dual 425mm AC used by battleships.

There's no question about the family relationship.  The two guns could have come out of the same factory.

Even Minmatar guns that could otherwise safely claim to be completely unrelated share design cues.  On the left, the cruiser-sized 650mm Artillery Cannon.  On the right, the battleship sized 650mm Repeating Artillery (which is actually an AutoCannon):

Again, nice clean lines, nice symmetry, and nice internal consistency between the two, even though one is a long-range weapon and one is a shorter-ranged one.  You can tell that either the same person worked on them, or the team that worked on them talked.  That's not to say all the Minmatar weapons are perfect in this regard, of course.  The 1200mm Artillery and 1400mm Artillery cannons look nothing like each other, nor do the 125mm and 150mm AutoCannons, two things I always find amusing.  But overall, the Minmatar guns are great in this regard: really good internal consistency.

Compare and contrast to the railguns.

On the left, the frigate-sized 150mm Railgun.  On the right, the cruiser-sized Dual 150mm Railgun:

You would be forgiven for thinking these two weapons, ostensibly directly related, were in different games, much less on different size ships.  They look absolutely nothing like each other and share no design cues whatsoever.  It would have been the easiest thing in the world for the guy working on the frigate model to just copy-paste one of the two cruiser gun models, downsize it a bit, and fit it on his emplacement.  Not only did he not do that, he didn't even wander over to look at the sketches given to the guy working the cruiser model.

The gun the next size up isn't much better.  On the left, the cruiser-sized 250mm Railgun.  On the right, the battleship-sized Dual 250mm Railgun:

Not only do they look almost nothing alike, they don't even share design cues with their smaller cousins.  You see this right across the railgun line.  At least three people were involved in the art, and none of the three of them even close to talked.  Look at the 125mm Railgun, the 250mm Railgun, and the 150mm Railgun.  Three totally different design aesthetics at work with few or no commonalities between them.  The people that worked on the blasters did a much better job, nearly as good as the work done on the Minmatar guns; the only thing I'd change about the blasters is to make them more visually interesting.  They're kind of dull.

But as poorly thought-out as the railguns were, they're wonderful work when compared to the lasers, which are just ridiculous.  On the left, the frigate-sized Dual Light Beam Laser.  On the left, the cruiser-sized Quad Light Beam Laser:

Again, other than the color scheme, you would be forgiven for thinking that these are two completely different weapons.  First, I realize that there is some question about whether lasers will produce recoil.  And honestly, I don't care how the artists decide on this question.  But please, decide that question first for all of your lasers, one way or the other.  ;-)  Because it seems clear that again, at least three people were involved in the laser design and the three of them all had different ideas on this question.

In particular, one of the artists really wished he had been working on the Minmatar guns and so produced Minmatar lasers instead.  ;-)  His work was good enough to be showcased in the Incarna log-in art, so good on him there, but if that was going to be how lasers were going to look and work, I wish the decision had been consistent.  Instead, we've got some guns that keep their workings internal while others have these ridiculous-looking siege gun style barrels.

This is really shown off in this pair.  On the left, the cruiser-sized Heavy Pulse Laser.  On the right, the battleship-sized Dual Heavy Pulse Laser:

The cruiser-sized weapon says "laser" to me.  The battleship weapon says "World War I" to me.  ;-)  At least the same person that worked on the one battleship-sized pulse laser worked on the other (the Mega Pulse) as well.  Still, it would have been nice had this person talked to the two people that were working on the cruiser-sized weapons.  And we know it was two different people because all we have to do to confirm that is compare the Heavy Pulse Laser to the Focused Medium Pulse Laser (which itself looks almost nothing like the frigate-class Medium Pulse Laser).

But the internal consistency of the pulse lasers is fantastic compared to the beam lasers.  Oi.  On the left, the cruiser-sized Heavy Beam Laser.  On the right, the battleship-sized Dual Heavy Beam Laser:

Do I even have to talk about this one?  I guess I don't.  The barrels on the latter spin.  They spin.  And the battleship-sized beam lasers only become more grotesque and ridiculous as they get bigger.  ;-)

Anyway, it's a great argument for getting your people to talk to each other from time to time.  If you ever need proof that CCP sometimes has a communication problem, you have visual proof right in the game.  That's why it was really nice to see how internally consistent and well-done the missile turrets are.  I really look forward to seeing more finished versions, presumably at Fanfest.


  1. I have always felt bad for the artists because I play the game zoomed all the way out so I can hopefully see relative positions on the grid. For me, the game is a series of blinking crosses and icons. The most time I spend looking at my ship is when it is in my hanger.

  2. You misspelled "Infernal" in the title

  3. In my oppinion, it shows that CCP was lazy to do custom models and recycled them over, and over, and over.

    Additionally, I wonder how most of the minmatar turrets even work *cough*250mm arty*cough*. They just look absolutely unrealistic.

    Rails are not much better, tbh, but I like Blasters and Lasers, they make at least remotely sense.

  4. I don't like that the small 150mm autocannons a single barrel and the 200mm variant has dual barrels.

  5. The real question regarding turrets is why must I destroy the entire titan when I could just send a kamikaze stealth bomber to take out the turret. Even if it didn't destroy it, maybe it would damage it enough to disrupt it's tracking!

    And LASERS wouldn't need a barrel; a focal lens blister would suffice, keeping all the delicate machinery nestled safely deep in the ship.

    Ah well its what you get when you let liberal arts majors designing ships instead of engineers.

  6. The real problem with turrets is why if your exposing your weapon system to hostile fire you have to take out the entire titan when a kamikaze stealth bomber/interceptor could kill the individual turret. Even if it didn't destroy it entirely it should do enough damage to disrupt the tracking!

    A LASER wouldn't need barrels; only a focal blister that would quickly close to protect from counter battery fire.

    Ah well it's what you get when you let liberal arts majors design your ships instead of engineers.

  7. One thing I don't understand is why lasers only fire in short burst. They would be a lot more effective if they could concentrate the light over a long duration.

    The lasers deal heat and em damage, and I'd like to compare them to a blow torch. If you pulse a blowtorch, you won't generate as much power as a continuous stream.

    1. The first reason is that you want the laser to hit the material for so short of time that the material does not have time to carry heat away from the target location. The second reason is that the lasing medium (crystal) heats up, creating a heat-lensing effect that demodulates the laser beam.

      But I am with you, after so many sci-fi shows that had continuous laser beams slicing through ships, I was saddened to not see them in EvE.

  8. Is this a mislabeled garth post or a troll? Turrets are like the in station walking rubbish, you look at them once then zoom back out to 1 pixel = 1 ship range.
    Did jester get out of the wrong side of the bed today?

  9. Or maybe those turrets were [in-game] designed by different companies, with different aesthetic and design requirements. Why does everything in EVE have to look as though it was designed in a completely rational manner by a single gestalt mind? I'd rather have more variety than less. Seems like a rather silly thing to complain about.

  10. Well the guns are like they are, some are worse then before, some are better. A little more consistency and realism would have been nice, and could have made them more memorable. Sadly i don't think they will be redone in the near future...

    BUT! Have u seen some of the turret models on smaller craft? Like the 425mm AC fitted on a Stabber? The model is just too big for that ship, also some of the turret placements on the ship are bad with this big of a weapon. It looks comical, and sad that the desingers didn't think of this before. At least they could have made the turret models scale a bit with the ships.

    Also i think the Battleship sized weapons are still SMALL! Way too small compared to any other ship size + appropriate turret combo.


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