EVE University graduate. Drama Llama. Covert operations pilot. Poetic Stanziel has been very active in the blogging community bringing views from seasoned high-sec pilots, we please to share his stories and views on current Eve Online events and invite you to read more stories from his Poetic Discourse blog.
Poetic Stanziel: WTFiS
WTF in stations? Walking in stations, a thing?
Maybe this demo and discussion about walking in stations [WiS] development has been a thing and I’ve just not been paying attention. Something this potentially massive for EVE Online, usually this gets talked about, on the Team Speaks, on the Mumbles, and in the blogs. Especially in the blogs. I haven’t seen much of anything written about it. And the forum thread has been a discussion thing since June.
Again, maybe I’m just living under a rock.
This does seems massive though. Granted, it’s a very rough demo, and even if CCP management greenlit it for development, it wouldn’t see beta testing on SiSi for at least a year, and likely wouldn’t see gameplay for another six months after that.
I realize walking in stations excites nobody. Especially after Incarna. But this demo, this work by Team Avatar, this is exactly what Incarna should have been. Not just a static room, but an actual game within the game.
Here, watch the very rough video first. It’s recorded with a handheld, at some player meet in Russia. The devs are speaking English though, so no fear that it’ll be incomprehensible angry talk (i.e., Russian.) Afterwards, I’ll discuss some of the things CCP Bayesian and CCP TorfiFrans have been talking about on the discussion thread (up until the point they were squelched by their bosses.) I’m hoping the video starts at the 9m6s mark, if not, fast forward to that point.
Yeah, that demo is rough as hell, but that’s of no matter, given that they’re demonstrating some actual gameplay concepts. The point of all this work is to demonstrate to CCP management (and to the players) that fun avatar gameplay is possible. Granted, that’s an odd thing to be demonstrating, considering there’s a plethora of fun FPSes on the market that already demonstrate that fun avatar-focused gameplay is possible. To be fair, they are demonstrating an aspect of FPS play within the context of EVE, that of exploring a deadspace complex for the module loot. Dock your ship, head on inside.
Leaving your ship does bring up a few questions. What happens if you die? What happens to your ship if you die? Team Avatar is not at that stage of development, not in the slightest, but they are thinking about these design issues:
We do have various ideas regarding death within a site as there will indeed be dangers for you to overcome, including other players. (if we, Team Avatar, get our way.)
Here are some:
1. Death will be like the standard pod kill death but then that leads to the issue where your ship is still docked at the site.
2. You enter sites with a clone rather than your actual avatar.
3. You enter sites with crew members rather than clones.
These are just a few as there are multiple ways we can address this issue, but the actual designing of these features is obviously still to be started in earnest.
So before jumping to any conclusions about design and development, remember that the video is purely conceptual, there is no development path, this is not on the development radar, nothing has been greenlit.
It’s great to see everyone debating how these sites would fit into EVE. I’d like to take a moment to reiterate that our focus was on the minute-by-minute gameplay rather than looking at the idea holistically. We wanted to make sure there was some fun gameplay to come out of the concept before we started deep diving in how it might be integrated into EVE proper, which is a question worthy of serious consideration.
Lots of people are off making assumptions about how the gameplay would fit into EVE as if it were decided and implementation was already in progress! We’ve definitely talked about this subject within Team Avatar and with others in the company in much the same fashion you guys are here but there is nothing set in stone. There are a lot of ways this could work that complement what exists already.
So keep that in mind. Don’t start getting all frazzled with thoughts of “They’re doing it all wrong!“
Concerning death and betrayal. Remember that EVE: Future Vision trailer? It was released a couple months before Incarna. Whereas we all knew at that point that Incarna was going to consist of not much more than captain’s quarters, the ending of that trailer is what everyone wanted WiS to be. The potential for betrayal. The potential for violence. To be able to stare your adversary in the eye from three meters away and maybe shoot the hell out of them.
Technically, shooting an avatar is no more personal than shooting a spaceship from 15km away, but psychologically, avatar to avatar gameplay has a more personal impact. If WiS is going to be a part of the EVE Universe, then it has to incorporate EVE concepts. Walking around a single room is not the EVE we play.
Roaming deadspace exploration structures on foot. We’d want to do that with our buddies, be all cooperative and such. But we want to shoot people in the back when the moment demands, too.
Frying Doom wrote:Tags Incarna OMG Poetic Discourse Poetic Stanziel
I must ask that, Please for the love of God. Keep the true nature of EvE.
And let us shoot our own team members in the back.
This has already been happening in our playtests.
Hell, if CCP wanted to give Team Avatar another 10 developers, plus a few artists, I’d have no problem with their concept of WiS going forward into development. Granted, it would be another long wait, and giving up developers for WiS would set back some development for FiS, but the Team Avatar dudes seem to have a good grasp of where WiS should head. Unlike Incarna, which seemed more of a technology demonstration than anything related at all to EVE, these guys seem to know how to put EVE into WiS. I’d give them the 12 – 18 months to put something together:
I’m not saying soon. I’m saying we’re working on a prototype and that it is down to the EVE Project Management group, the executives and investors as to what actually happens to make this a reality. To emphasis what that means, if we were green-lit to continue tomorrow and we could staff it as planned without impacting FiS development I doubt players would be running through these structures on TQ for over 12 months. I’d sincerely like to get any in-development work into the hands of the players early though and that must be part of any pre-production and production plans we make. It’s definitely not soon however much I wish it could be.
The basic point in terms of timescale is that It’s not an expansion, it’s making another game to sit inside the EVE universe. I think that’s a fact that has not been addressed in the past and why WiS has always been a unfulfilled wish on the part of CCP. It’s not on the scale of DUST514 or World of Darkness but it is more significant in terms of effort required on technology and gameplay development than any previous EVE expansion.
Unfortunately, the long-awaited devblog, showing us all the headway they’ve been making with WiS, the updated graphics, the proper avatars, further gameplay examples, none of that is going to see the light of day anytime soon. Management has put the kibosh on showing the public anything. (Only the CSM know what’s happening and have seen the progress.)
I’ve got bad news about the devblog we promised. It’s been swallowed by the black hole of corporateness and won’t be seeing the light of day for the foreseeable future. The team have been as vocal as we can about the merits of putting it out but to no avail. We’re continuing to try and work out a way of showing you work we’re proud of and think you will like but for now our hands are completely tied.
That’s a crying shame. No devblog, and the discussion thread is more or less dead, with respect to developer participation. The tone of the apology obviously shows Bayesian is more than a little annoyed at the decision, and kudos to him for taking a chance and expressing that annoyance. Shows he cares not only for his project, but for the community.
But on the flipside, given what happened with Incarna and the player response to it, it’s not hugely surprising that CCP is going to be especially cautious presenting anything to the community concerning WiS.
For the time being, Team Avatar will continue their work, and we’ll just have to wait to see it at a future date. What we do know, seems promising, and if WiS ever does go forward, Bayesian and Torfifrans seem like more than able architects. They understand EVE, and they understand what WiS must be if the players are to accept it.
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