The Second definition of Immersion is stated simply as, "Deep mental involvement." But what does this mean to us as gamers? To me it means that developers have to push the envelope in ever increasing ways to "Immerse" us in their games. To bring their worlds to life, make us care about them and make us feel like we are truly involved in something grand. In no other game has this principle been re-defined and shown in spades, then in Eve Online. That's what we're here today to talk about, one of the largest expansions to the world's leading space MMO and largest online universe. Lets get started shall we?
"The First Step"
The first step in this process was the addition of a full-body avatar creation system that launched several months ago. With this system players had the ability to still select race, gender, and bloodline as they had done before..but to move forward and create a real avatar was something new, something grand. With a designer the likes of which the industry has never seen, fidelity that was near realism, and the ability to "Morph" any part of the avatar by simply holding your mouse on that area and dragging it around, well suffice to say it was a most welcome addition.
However with all things new there is resistance, especially when the developer is still iterating and creating content for the new system. Though it's become widely accepted lately and CCP Games has continued to iterate and expand on the "Carbon Creation" system. Still CCP Games has added to, refined and made this new character creation system into something to be proud of and something that is beyond anything on the market currently. With new clothing styles added in each iteration, the ability to add body modifications such as tattoos, piercings and scars the new Incarna character creation system allows players to truly create a personality all their own. Something that others will see, remember and associate with them.
Below is a short video that attempts to showcase some of the features of the creator, not all just some. I would recommend you watch it in HD if you can. In this video you'll see a glimpse of the Race Selection screen, that shows off a short intro video to each race as you select it. Then the bloodline screen which allows you to choose between the 3 bloodlines of each race and a gender. Then we move into the creator itself and showcase the drag manipulation, clothing, both male and female avatars and body modifications. I hope you enjoy watching it as much as I enjoyed making it. Now lets move on to the next step in the process of Immersion and what's been brought to us with "Incarna".
Captains Quarters is step two in the Incarna Immersion process, bringing us a full blown avatar environment and experience like nothing we've had before. A brand new UI known as the "Carbon UI" built from CCP's Core technology base has brought 3D UI elements that bring yet again another layer of immersion into the system. With this as one walks around their quarters and other areas when they are released, 3D buttons and UI interfaces will pop up from hologram projectors. This along with a great dynamic lighting and shadowing engine and an animation system that brings life like movement to each character has made this a welcome addition to the Eve Universe. Though as it stands it's a single player environment only. Why is that you ask? Mainly because CCP was rolling out the largest technology upgrade to Eve Online since the Trinity Expansion rebuilt the graphics engine and they wanted to test it step by step. Even though there's only one race's quarters and no multi-player "Yet" there will be. How do I know this? Stay tuned for an interview with CCP Soundwave, Lead Designer for the space section of Eve Online and his partner in crime CCP Flying Scotsman the Lead Designer for Incarna. Below is another video showcasing captains quarters features, I'd also suggest viewing in HD if at all possible. The video is roughly eight minuets long and shows off the basics of what I've written about so far.
What else has Incarna brought us?
As this picture shows a complete rebuild of all the turrets in the game, absolutely lovely aren't they? Now they say pictures are worth a thousand words, and this one speaks volumes. As CCP is prone to doing, the art department needed a way to view the turrets animating in a 3D space. As it stands they used this piece of code slash technology to allow us to see the turrets in an in-game preview window. The same as the way we preview ships in the market browser. It's a fantastic little addition that has no real baring on gameplay but serves to continue down the immersion road. The more we can see, the more we can view and understand scale, size and scope of the universe the more it pulls us in. Along with the animations and new models we have new weapons fire animations as well. Below is yet another short video that shows this all off, I think it's fantastic. Enjoy,
Now you're more then likely wondering "What about Missile launchers?" and I can tell you that you'll have to listen to my interview to get the answer, trust me you wont be disappointed with it. I know I wasn't and there are tons of other additions, upgrades and gameplay feature revisions coming this winter when the second leg of Incarna launches. "What are they?" you ask, and I can tell you plenty of juciy things for those of us that love this game. Some re-balancing to Super Capitals, mainly Supper Carriers. The other 3 racial Captains Quarters and Establishments which will be our full blown multi-player environment. Now incase you're wondering what Establishments are, I can tell you everything we were told we were getting. Bars, Corporation offices, etc. Though there wont be tons of stuff at the start you can rest assured that CCP wont let us down and will bring much more content.
Before we end I'd like to inform everyone that reads this that TG has an active presence inside Eve Online, not with in a single corporation mind you, but still active. Don't forgot to stop by the Eve Online Forums and introduce yourself! The forums are Moderated by myself, so don't hesitate to ask questions, ask for help, or just PM me with anything Eve Related.
Below is also the latest trailer for Eve Online entitled "I was There":
Now for your Listening pleasure the interview I promised you with CCP Soundwave and CCP Flying Scotsman, enjoy!
Feeling Immersed yet? I know I am.
TG-18th Damion Rayne