Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Blog Banter – Ambulation

Blog banter is a project that was proposed a little while ago where a lot of the blogs post about something specific, just to get everyone's feelings on that topic together at the same time to promote discussion and see where people's opinions lie. The first of these are to be published on the following subject: Ambulation. What are your hopes for your avatar and new functionality of stations?

If I'm honest, the prospect of Ambulation was what brought me back to Eve after all those months away after reading about it on a few gaming websites. I'm sill looking forward to it, but I'm struggling to see just how it would fit in with the world we have all been used to for so long.
I like exploring, seeing something new as much as possible, so the thought of finally getting to see the inside of those stations rather than just the docking bay had me salivating, especially as I had been playing Mass Effect recently before coming back to Eve, and the indoor scenes in that were very well done.

I do believe that it will just be a testing ground for CCP's 'real world' MMO (possibly something in conjunction with White Wolf in their World of Darkness theme which are what all the rumours seem to be pointing to) but on the other hand, if it adds something and lets them get the kinks out of the system by offering the Eve players something for free, then who am I to argue, after all you won't be forced to get out of your ship if you don't want to as far as I'm aware.

To answer the first part of the question – what are your hopes for your avatar. I want to see a nice and varied list of clothing, I definitely don't want to see everyone looking the same, and whilst I expect the avatars to appear different in line with their racial look that you can pick up from the current portrait avatars we have, I would have hoped that you could dress in a clothing style entirely to your own liking, for example to dress in Minmatar style clothing whilst being a Caldari avatar.

To answer the second part – functionality of stations, I would prefer it if there were no big yellow exclamation marks anywhere. I can't stress this enough. It seems to be the defacto way to announce that someone has something to say to you, but it's been overused. It would be nice if you have a terminal at the docking bay which acted as a mail client which also let people speak to you directly if you didn't want to meet them in person, or alternatively give you notice they wanted to see you – then you could go and speak to them directly. A portable system could be used to announce new messages (basically just increasing the functionality of the current eve-mail system in game)

I want to definitely see lots of eye candy – not the big boobed under-dressed variety (though I'm sure there will be options out there for this for anyone who's interested) but plenty of variety in the rooms you can visit. I'm not sure how possible that's going to be with system limitations, but I dont want to see every Minmatar station being generic for instance.

Casinos should make an appearance. There are systems in game at the moment to play casino games via third party applications, but it would be nice to get those programmed into the game properly, and CCP should work in conjunction with the better known casino operators to get the systems they use in game, perhaps linked across all systems to a central server which handles all the games going on at once.

As for communicating with others, that's my main hope for Ambulation. It would be nice for each room in a station to have a local voice chat channel where you could log into the Eve voice system and chat openly with others. NPC's in rooms should speak to you using voice acting, but due to limitations in bandwidth it would have to be saved to the hard drive during the install, so conversations will be limited of course. Open chat using text will exist of course, but I'm not sure how 'spammy' that will be in order to maintain the feeling of a real environment where there could be hundreds of people on a station, and maybe 10-20 of them are player controlled – of course in the thriving player populated systems where there are 300 or more players active, then transmitting all that data to that many clients will be very lag-inducing.

I can see there being a lot of system limitations in comparison to the ideal in my eyes, but if CCP can include all of these, in my eyes they will have created the perfect first person aspect of the client.

I know that some people will want combat in stations. I don't believe it will happen in the first iteration of the system, but it would be nice to include it in some way. Of course, you should be safe in the dock in your ship if you really want to avoid that opponent of yours, but as long as wars are sanctioned then it should be possible to attack opponents. If you carry out a criminal action without sufficient call to do so, you should also be attacked by the authorities. I'm not sure how to incorporate this, as I don't think an Eve FPS game is the way to go, but on the other hand, it does work quite well in Mass Effect so it can be something to think about in the future.

To see what the other participants have said about this subject (at the time of writing, some of the posts are in the planned stage so may not all be visible yet) check out the info below:


PsycheDiver said...

Interesting take. I think Mass Effect is a great example of station interiors done right.

IMHO, I think CCP will blow Age of Conan out of the water for the highest "hotties" factor.

I don't think FPS-style would be a proper way to do in-station combat. I'm betting it'll be cool when they figure it out.

System limitations eh? Well they better be on that or Jita is going to go right back to its old node-crashing ways.

Great post. I hope you liked the topic!

Mynxee said...

I'd like to see some kind of hand to hand combat in stations well as the ability to temporarily kidnap/restrain people for purposes of interrogation or ransoming, perhaps through the use of electronic restraints that rely on a battery or something carried on one's person. LOL but the mind boggles at how that might be abused. So...never mind.