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Monday, November 10, 2008
 

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EVE Online: Next Expansion, Shooter Plans, Station Avatars
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 3 comments

Eurogamer has published a series of articles about CCP Game's sci-fi MMO, EVE: Online. The articles provide details about a major expansion planned for next year, the status of the company's Walking in Stations 3D avatar project, and early plans to develop a first person shooter set in the EVE universe.

The Next Major Expansion:

Developer CCP has unveiled the biggest-ever expansion for the space MMO, which will be rleased on March 10 next year (not in the summer, as was originally stated).

The focus of the expansion will be "true exploration", with players using new skills and modules to travel through wormholes into all-new, unconnected space. There they will find unique stellar phenomena and the resources and artefacts that will lead to the third level of technology in the game universe, Tech 3 - the first such update since Tech 2 was introduced back in 2004.

The star feature of Tech 3 will be modular, customisable ships. Instead of providing each faction with one or two new ships each, CCP will provide each with a template that comes in five sections, with five options in each. That's a total of 25 possible basic ships for each faction, with many more thousands of smaller modifications possible (7776 permutations possible, to be exact). This announcement was received rapturously by the Fanfest audience.

Epic, branching mission arcs will provide hierarchies of missions, organised in trees, that will provide a varying experience depending on success or failure. These missions will cover the storyline introducing the wormholes to the universe.

Additionally, the new player experience will be made more accessible. It will take less time to get a new character flying in space, with more of the character creation process spread over the first few days in the game (although Olafsson also promised that creating alts would still be as streamlined as experienced players expect).
Walking Around The Station:
Olafsson claims that they always wanted to do this, but that PC graphics simply weren't advanced enough in 2003 to portray characters in the serious, hard-sci-fi mode - comparable to film and TV - that they wanted. Disingenuous that may be, but the first live demonstration of the game proves it was worth the wait. As far as realistic human avatars (and their clothing) goes, Walking in Stations is right up there with Quantic Dream's Heavy Rain. There's still a certain plasticity to faces, and you can expect the rather stiff animations to improve, but in anatomy, shadowing, lighting - even light reflections on PVC and leather clothing - these characters are second-to-none.

Walking in Stations will also make EVE the first game to take advantage of a new lighting technology called Enlighten from Cambridge's Geomerics. In technical terms this means real-time radiosity - the bouncing of light from surfaces to other surfaces. In practical terms, it's supposed to allow games to take advantage of the kind of dynamic mood lighting of film, and especially film noir. A Geomerics representative showed clips of Alien and Blade Runner as well as a deeply impressive tech demo. Enlighten wasn't built into the demo shown, but regardless, there were some stunningly subtle lighting and shadowing effects on display already - ambient occlusion (softer darkening of obscured areas, as opposed to hard shadows) was spectacular.

You'll be able to rent a "socket", buy a bar blueprint and insert it. Set your own restrictions on the clientele, hire NPCs to populate the bar (including dancers), even craft dialogue rules for them to create your own little quasi-missions and adventure storylines. Then sit back and watch the beer money roll in. Maybe.

Crafting clothes will be another new source of income in Walking In Stations, although it's likely to be done via the regular market than clothing boutiques. Crafting and trading in general are going to be left out of Walking In Stations at first, as well as agent missions. CCP reasons that what you can do with a few mouse-clicks now, you're unlikely to want to spend five minutes walking around to do later. "It's important that we don't create gameplay mechanics that are just there for realism and are hugely annoying," Olafsson says.
EVE: Online Meets Halo:
EVE Online developer CCP has hinted that an FPS based on the EVE universe is in development.

Footage was shown of a Halo-like shooter on a daylit, Earth-like planet surface. The architecture and gun designs were clearly redolent of the space MMO's art style.

There was also a third-person view of a land vehicle driving across the surface.
Click over to the links below to read the rest.

Eurogamer: EVE's Biggest Ever Expansion
Eurogamer: Walking In Stations For EVE
Eurogamer: CCP Hints At EVE Shooter
CCP Games
TransGaming
EVE Online


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Archives  News  EVE Online: Next Expansion, Shooter Plans, Station Avatars