If you're a Star Trek fan at all, a book that is pretty much required reading is The Making of Star Trek, by Stephen Whitfield. Published in 1986, it is a behind-the-scenes overview of Trek from its very beginnings roughly through the release of the first movie. Filled with internal memorandum, interviews, budgets, schedules, and commentary, it's a fascinating insight into the beginnings of this series.
This week, I'm reminded of a quote in this book. Before the TV series debuted, an early science adviser to the Star Trek producers was sent a number of draft scripts and asked to provide scientific comments and suggestions on how to make the series appear more realistic or use more realistic language. The science adviser provided this information, but opened his letter with an amusing comment. I don't have the exact quote in front of me, but the gist of the quote was "I can see already that my association with you is going to cost me $400, because when your TV series debuts, I will need to buy a new color television set..."
I could say much the same thing to the producers of DUST 514 in regards to the Playstation 3 console. I didn't own a PS3 until I was sent a DUST 514 beta code. So, testing DUST has already cost me about $220 U.S. Maybe I'll buy a copy of Little Big Planet too. ;-)
So, yes, I'm currently testing DUST 514.
And that's just about the last thing that I'm going to say about DUST 514 game play until I'm released from the rather restrictive NDA. I say this so my regular readers will understand why I'm not talking about DUST 514 more. Hell, I'm informed that very technically, just revealing the fact that I'm testing DUST is in itself breaching the NDA. Given that so many people have made this fact public about themselves and given how many people have revealed it on Twitter and IRC, I think I'll take the small risk involved.
Per the NDA, I'm not allowed to make my impressions of the game public, nor am I allowed to talk about the game's feature set, except so far as to repeat things that have already been made public by others. Again in a rather circular technicality, I'm technically not allowed to repeat things revealed by others if those others reveal things that were not already public. I might dance around this one from time to time, too: if someone else writes a blog about their impressions of DUST game-play and I agree with those impressions, I might link to such a blog... but I won't comment on it. ;-)
But there are a few things about the game that I do feel completely comfortable telling you. Call this stuff public knowledge.
First, if you're like me and you have never played a PS3 FPS, the controls on the PS3 will take a lot of getting used to. The button you believe should fire your weapon doesn't. The button that does fire your weapon is somewhat inconvenient. I'm told that Killzone 3 is a good game to use as "practice" to get more familiar with the PS3 controller. As an Xbox 360 gamer, this is going to put me at quite a disadvantage during my DUST testing, I suspect.
Everything you think you know about using an analog controller against people who are clearly using a mouse and keyboard as their controller is probably completely accurate. I'm sure there are a few people that are better with an analog controller than KBM (I know one such person personally, for instance). But for the rest of us...
No matter how good a pilot you are, if you're flying an Ibis, you almost certainly can't solo someone flying a battle cruiser. So there's (a) not much point in trying, and (b) not much point in getting annoyed if you die if you do try.
My DUST 514 character is not named Ripard Teg, nor any variant of any of my EVE character names. I did this specifically so that people wouldn't seek me out on the battlefield and try to kill me just because they want to shoot Ripard Teg in the face. Sorry about that. ;-)
And finally, free to play games aren't. Not really, anyway. It's best if you keep that in mind.
And for now... that's all I have to say about DUST 514. I will continue to comment on the game from an outsider's perspective, or when talking about how it's going to interface with EVE, or how it will affect CCP at a company level. But for the time being, don't expect any opinions from me about game play or anything related to the beta.