Speculation post! What if…?

When Retribution was still in beta, I’ve noticed that there are new easter eggs in the game: items that exist in the db, but are not necessarily existing on Tranquility.

Later in one of the dev-blogs, CCP has admitted that we will be getting these items as a Christmas Gift on 20th of December:

So what are we giving you above and beyond Snowballs? Well honestly, some completely random stuff. I am not going to say what we are giving you here as there are those of you who look forward to the surprise; if you wanted to know though I am pretty sure with a little looking around you could figure it out… well part of the gift anyways. 😉

“Part of the gift”? So the Easter Egg items are not the whole gift?

While talking to my corp mates we’ve came to a conclusion, that CCP might have added more features to Retribution, than the patch notes say, kind of a hidden surprise feature. I’m pretty sure you will guess it yourself, once you read the description of one of the easter egg items:

Key Pass to Open The Door

Name: Key Pass to Open the Door
A very special and valuable key pass that uses some of the rarest elements known to humankind in order to create the most secure access card possible.

These passes are so rare and valuable, they are only ever used by capsuleers, to protect their quarters on board stations where they are docked. Without one of these keys one would likely not have a chance of getting in, or out, of a capsuleer’s private quarters.

I wouldn’t be surprised if tomorrow the big red button will not be stopping you anymore from having a walk on the station promenade. It wouldn’t use much coding to create a bigger in-station environments, really: the “building blocks” for station environments have been created for Incarna and then subsequently for Crucible, when three more CQs have been added to the game. It’s just matter of making bigger maps from the existing building blocks.

Of course all the above is just pure speculation; I’ve been using ship spinning hangar view for years and only visit the CQ once in a while. But since Retribution is CCPs third expansion to make up for the Incarna blunder, I wouldn’t be surprised if CCP finally gave players some meaningful “walking in stations” which they have promised us so long ago.

To know if the above is true (or not), we will have to wait until tomorrow gifts have been seeded!

UPDATE: Racial Captain Quarters on SiSi

Yestarday CCP t0rfifrans has posted a dev-blog about racial Captain Quarters being already available for testing on the Singularity test server. If you can’t wait to see them before your client is patched to the Singularity level by the trusty SiSi Launcher, feel free to watch this youtube movie. All CQ’s reflect their races distinct culture and style: Caldari are cold and “made from steel”, so their quarters have a strong utilitarian look. Gallenteans value freedom and pleasure, so gallente CQ are IMHO the best looking ones at the moment. Amarr, the most religious race, have many statues and other religious accents in their quarters. And of course you already know the Minmatars: rust and duct tape (as if they don’t know how to smelt stainless steel, even though they are able to fly in space. It might have something to do with the legendary strength and durability of Minmatar duct tape).

T0rfi also mentioned that the inital spawn point after docking has been moved, so you can immediately access the ship’s console, rather than having to turn around and walk towards it. Oh, yes, you will now be facing your ship when you dock. And no, it does not work on Singularity yet.

Eve Sans Neue
Eve Sans Neue

One thing not mentioned in the dev-blog is the new font. It looks just like on the screenshots in this dev-blog (or on the screenshot on the right).

And yes, ship spinning is back, too. Just click on your ship in CQ and select “Enter Hangar”. The ship spinning UI is almost the same as it was before Incarna, but it seems not to be the final version: Station Info panel on the right is missing.

I've broken it
I've broken it

Unfortunately I can’t get on to Singularity thanks to this nice red error on the left. This is why I don’t didn’t have the usual bunch of screenshots from the current SiSi build – I am was stuck at accepting EULA. Hopefully CCP has published a few screenshots so I will link them below instead. And I won’t give up trying to get it working.


Reinstall of the Sisi client did not help. My guess is, since I’m running polish version of Windows 7, EVE tries to find polish version of EULA. It fails, and cannot load its contents, so it becomes stuck on EULA window. Bug reported #117055. Here is the solution: how to get past the EULA window.

PS. I consider moving from my quiet home system to a new one with a Gallente station. Why? See for yourself.

What players (really) want

Pattern Clarc has written an excellent post on EVE Online forums regarding how players would like to see the solution for the current issues in EVE. It is a “fake” dev-blog, which adresses all of the below issues players see in EVE:

  • Players know that CCP is currently developing two other games: Dust 514 and World of Darkness,
  • Thus, the amount of manpower available to develop EVE has been reduced,
  • Players also see lots of known issues, which are not being addressed (hybrids, dreadnoughts, COSMOS, etc.),
  • Instead, players see new, mostly unwanted content (100+ pieces of clothing, aka space-barbie),
  • CCP not being transparent to the playerbase – resulted in the ‘monoclegate’

Post is really insightful, and the general feedback in the forum thread is rather positive. My opinion is no different – Dear CCP, listen to this guy; or even better: hire him to write dev blogs for you. By the way, the Tick-Tock approach mentioned in Clarc’s post has really worked well for Intel.

The Door.
The Door.

Personally I think we should listen to Zulu’s statement for now, and see if CCP keeps their word. CQ/WiS is not bad in itself, it just lacks the usability of the ship spinning interface (takes time to load, no context menu on ships, no way to open Ore bay/Fuel bay/Corp Hangar/Ship Hangar without opening “Ships” window first; no drag and drop from hangar to ship; no doubleclick on the ship to open cargohold). Another thing is lack of environment: instead of Walking in Stations we’ve got Walking in One Rusty Room. I’ve got a paddle, and a bucket but there is no sandbox to play in – there is only a big mysterious door instead.

Seismic Stan's hat by Rixx Javix
Seismic Stan's hat by Rixx Javix

PS. Dear CCP, we want a new ship for christmas; snowballs and launchers will work, too. AUR and clothing is a no-no, unless it’s a classy, black pirate hat:

The closer it gets, the better it looks

The closer it gets, the better it looks

EVE Incarna is only three weeks away from now, and another public beta was just deployed to Duality.

What’s coming?

On fanfest 2011, the Devs have announced a long-awaited overhaul for gun turrets. Hee they are! All turret models have been remodeled, have their animations updated, and their icons are actually pretty renders now (just like ships). You can easily tell the difference between Tech I, Tech II and Faction just by the look at it – their models and textures look different. Turret animation has also received an upgrade: most guns will now hide, when the ship starts aligning for warp. Fear not, they will pop back out the instant you begin to target something. If you switch targets, turrets will smoothly move on to it, as if they were really there. Once a target has been popped, guns will smoothly return to their resting position.

* small side note: gun icons are not being cached in the current Duality build, so every time you open a hangar full of guns, it will take a while to load all icons (the game is rendering them one-by-one).

Players asked and CCP listened.

The initial feedback about Incarna was that there is no obvious connection between the avatar and the ship – the missing link in the chain is what makes pod pilots different from other mortals – the capsule. Now every time you dock you will have it just behind your back, so you know where you came from.

The ship placement inside ship hangar has been changed, and now depends on the ship size. Frigates are parked just next to “the balcony”, while battleships have their place much further away.

Performance still isn’t perfect.

An old GTS 8800 does just fine in Full-HD scenes in space (up to 90 fps all the time, 60 with 4x FSAA), but Incarna pulls it down by three nothches – down to 27 fps (22 with 4x FSAA). Personally I feel no problem with Incarna mode being slower than in-space, because it has no impact on the main gameplay. Loading times, however, are not much longer than currently existing station environment. Mainly because there is a placeholder texture which is displayed just after docking, and before the station environment fully loads. Dear CCP: please change the “Docking…” window from modal to a normal window, so players can immediately start interacting with the client, without the need to wait until avatar and CQ completely loads.

The animation on the logon screen is just perfect. A ship exits out of warp into the lower left part of the screen, slowly prowls before the camera, when suddenly its turrets pop out like claws and start melting something in the upper left corner. Great job, Devs!

Incarna Wallpaper #4 (c) 2011 CCP h.f.
Incarna Wallpaper #4 (c) 2011 CCP h.f.

*) did you notice the ship on the wallpaper is unlike any known Amarr ship? Looks a bit like a redesigned Sacrilege, but fires lasers. Curious, isn’t it?


Walking in stations finally in EVE!

Walking in stations finally in EVE!
EVE Online: An Introduction to the Captain's Quarters
EVE Online: An Introduction to the Captain's Quarters

That’s it, no more talking, no more promising, no more whetting appetite: Walking in stations will come to EVE Online in less than a month! On 21st of June CCP is planning to deploy EVE: Incarna, which offers the first room for your character to explore: the Captain’s Quarters (I have written about the last work-in-progress preview here).

By the end of 2011 the devs will roll out more content, more rooms and more functionality. Yes, it will be possible to run your own bar in EVE!

Personally I feel that EVE is a game set in space, and walking-in-stations is not the most important thing in it, but on the other hand I was waiting for this for the past 6 years (watching EVE evolve is one of the main reasons, which kept me hooked to EVE for so long). For example, ST:O is rather dull compared to EVE Online, but offers the ability to get out of the ship and do some stuff in person.

Update on Captain’s Quarters

Update on Captain’s Quarters

EVE Online: Incarna is closer than one might expect. CCP released a statement, that Incarna will be deployed in June 2011, so there is about a month until the final build is going to be deployed on a server near you. It seems that the developers took the croudsourcing ideas very seriously, because most of the features mentioned in the forums after the first public Incarna test made it to the current build.

Proposed GUI for Incarna (C) CCP, hf. 2011
Proposed GUI for Incarna (C) CCP, hf. 2011
  • Movement: left+right button makes your character walk
  • Ship fitting: there is now a holo of your ship in the CQ and on the balcony console
  • Gfx: lighting has been adjusted, most of the textures is already there
  • Protein Delicacies + Quafe!! Dear CCP: Please make it possible to eat and drink those 😀 Quafe would have some meaning other than just trading commodity
  • The big three monitors got some overhaul, they don’t look so useless now and display some useful information
  • Animations are much smoother and the collision models have been updated – character doesn’t get stuck anymore
  • Whole performance (FPS) is much better than the previous build. Loading times are still longer than the current station environment.
  • Micropayment interface has been added – it will be possible to convert PLEX to a special currency

The GUIs are still incomplete. Developers have posted a screenshot with the proposed solution in a recent dev blog – you can see it on the right (current Duality build requires you to right click an object and select options from menu).

As usual, I have posted a couple of screenshots from the current work-in-progress version:

Feedback on Incarna’s CQ

Feedback on Incarna’s CQ

Dear CCP PLEASE make CQ optional. Station spinning environment already exists, so it costs no additional development. No cost – more happy customers, a win-win situation.

CQ is great to have on high end computers, and I will definitely use this when playing at home. Unfortunately, sometimes I have to do some HALF-AFK style tasks, and I do it from a laptop I can’t replace (as it is not mine in the first place). CQ is quite demanding on my home computer, so I think this laptop will probably die the moment I log on with CQ on.

Feedback on the early CQ build on Duality:

  • Market – if PI can be managed from CQ, Market should, too. It would mean some pilots are going to spend 99% of their time in front of this.
  • Fitting – a holo-interface (re-use of current ship models, just give them ghostly holo-textures) and some nice 3D interface to fit modules would really rock! Please keep the old fitting windows for in-space/in-hangar-no-cq fitting. Maybe wrap the current fitting window around a holographic projection of the ship in CQ?
  • Movement – please add middle mouse/both buttons as a shortcut for walking. Most known MMOs have this, and it’s VERY convenient when moving around. Also characters seem to have trouble walking down stairs and move around between furntiure. Just make the collision model a bit smaller, that should fix it.

Also, there is a lot unfinished things (missing textures, poor performance, stuttering animation) – I will wait with my opinion until a more complete build is available for testing.


You can also read what other players think about CQ in this post.

Captains Quarters test on Duality

Captains Quarters test on Duality

Incarna is slowly taking shape.

First Incarna tests: April 20-25th on Duality test server

CCP has released information about Captains Quarters test on the Duality server, which is beginning this afternoon (an update to original dev-blog mentions start on April 20th at 12:30 UTC; tests will end on April 25th). Players who log on to the Duality test server during this period will have the possibility to firsthand experience Minmatar Captains Quarters. Other races are said to follow, but will not be available in this first test.

Along with the new in-station environment players will have the ability to check how the tutorials and new player experience has been changed. To participate in this test, it is necessary to create a new Amarr character who is a member of the Royal Amarr Institute school (it can be selected on the last page of character customization)

As mentioned earlier, Incarna is not going to be just an eye-candy; it will be an immersive 3D interface for EVE Online. In the test build players will be able to access this new in-character interface to:

  • Planetary Interaction
  • Corporation management/recruitment
  • Character re-customization
  • Ship fitting

Devs also remind that this is a work in progress rather than a final product, so players still have influence at this point, and are encouraged to send feedback. Two chat channels will be created for the test:

  • “CQ Info” will be moderated and for instructions and information from CCP only.
  • “CQ Testing” will be for discussion, questions, comments, etc.

All bugs should be reported according to this evelopedia article about bug reporting.

First Incarna screenshots: