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: