Tuesday, 29 November 2011

(Recital) Mark726's 'Twas the Night Before Crucible

The hours before an EVE Online patch-day makes its players write and behave strangely. This "re-imagining" of a traditional Christmas Carol is a joyously cheesy celebration of the anticipation felt across the cluster by the eager and impatient inhabitants of New Eden.

The poem was written by Mark726 of EVE Travel and performed by Arydanika and Seismic Stan for Episode 30 of the Voices From the Void podcast.


Also available on iTunes.

Crucible Screenshots: The New Raven and Other Ships Examined

For the last few weeks I've been indulging myself in the glorious visuals of the Singularity server. Within hours (and probably by the time you read this) the visual feast will spill over into New Eden proper.

The breathtaking beauty of the nebulae backgrounds has been well documented elsewhere (Interstellar Privateer), however it is the revitalised Caldari and Gallente ships that I wanted to focus on. As part of their ongoing V3 project, CCP's art department is in the process of reworking every ship skin in EVE Online. It is my understanding that this will enable custom skins in the future.

In many cases the difference between the new textures and the old are subtle, being a reworking of a two-tone colour scheme to make the different colours more distinct. In the following screen-caps I have attempted contrast the old with the new by taking this last opportunity to compare with the old Version two textures.

The new-look ships, already framed by the stunning starscape, are further enhanced by the impressive new shading and lighting effects. This serves to increase contrast, enhancing colour and picking out detail whilst allowing for menacing silhouettes and atmospheric vistas. Read on for a small selection of examples.

[Note: Where old and new versions are viewed from the same angle, the ships are in the same system at precisely the same point and attitude in space. The only visual difference is the textures and lighting.]

The Caldari Raven


Perhaps the most eye-catching change is the Caldari Raven battleship which is not only sporting new skins, but an entirely reworked model. Whilst staying true to the original design, the hull has been subtly re-worked, elongating the shape and streamlining the once clumsy chassis. Whilst still asymmetrical, it now looks far more like a menacing weapons-platform and less like a plucked robot turkey.


Significant structural differences can be seen in the Command Section, with the forward observation deck no longer being quite so exposed.


Conversely the aft section has been extended, allowing for more prominent thrusters.


More attention has been given to the upper observation towers, with the rear V2 block being replaced by a far sleeker design and the starboard tower being made less fragile and exposed in appearance.


The Raven Navy Issue and T2 Golem have also been reskinned. Personally, I'm not a fan of the pixelated urban camouflage livery of the Caldari Navy, but then taste and style has never really been a Caldari strong point judging by the ship designs of yore.


The Osprey

Another in a long line of exceptionally unattractive Caldari ships, the Osprey has been significantly improved  with the addition of bolder, dark panels. As with most of the re-skinned ships, note the Faction livery.


The Tech II Basilisk variant sports the new paint-job of its Lai Dai megacorporation creators, having done away with the desert camouflage effect for a simpler black-and-brass colour scheme.


Another visual improvement is the inner glow of the thrusters, complete with heat shimmer. Although not an effect exclusive to the Osprey hull, it is as good as any model to show it on.


The Caracal

The Caracal, already one of the more appealing Caldari designs, has found further style and panache amongst its peers with some more refined colour schemes. Shown below with old and new Caracal skins and new Cerberus skin.


The Ferox

The Ferox battlecruiser has long been overshadowed by the tougher, more effective Drake, might now find new respect on the battlefield in light of the new hybrid buffs. Even if it doesn't, it certainly looks the part.


The Tech II Command Ships; the Ishukone Vulture and the Kaaliakota Nighthawk have the new livery of their manufacturers also.


The Federation Navy Comet

Sadly, the blue police light and US cop-car black and white is gone, breaking the hearts of sham CONCORD officers across the cluster. Perhaps a bootleg blues-and-twos kit will be available on the NeX store one day.


The Gallente Myrmidon

Much bolder and more distinct colours are the order of the day for the Gallente colour scheme. Gone is the washed-out and faded scheme with the new shaders casting the Federation vessels in a much more attractive light.



The Rookie Ships

Even the freebie crap-buckets have got some love. The Ibis is still the mobility scooter of New Eden, but it's nice that the Caldari State have finally admitted ownership.


The most powerful (lol) of the Rookie ships, the Velator, is now a much slicker looking hand-held appliance.


The Impairor, one of only two Amarr ships that got V3'd (the other being the Apocalypse battleship which doesn't look much different), is the only Rookie ship that doesn't look crap, and now it's got blingy headlights to top it off. Shame its thrusters and belly got covered in soot though.



The Gallente Shuttle

Once a shining happy sunshine bus of interstellar joy, the Gallente shuttle has gone all morose and thinks it's a ninja CovOps ship. Maybe it is, why don't you try it?


Guristas. F#*k Yeah!

Everything else, as cool as it is, pales into lukewarm insignificance when you look at the Guristas faction ships the Worm, the Gila and the Rattlesnake. It's just a simple addition (the skin has also changed but not noticeably), but that little rabbit-eared skull is my kind of ha-ha-bonkers-menacing.


Oh yeah, come to Daddy. Still the baddest-looking ship in the cluster.

And good work art dudes. You are legend.

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Mark726's 'Twas the Night Before Crucible


‘Twas the night before Crucible and all through New Eden
Not an alliance was stirring not even Pandemic Legion.
The ships were all docked in their stations with care
Except for the supercaps that couldn’t go there.

Each capsuleer was nestled all snug in their quarters;
While they dreamed of session changes that soon would be shorter.
And I also settled in, with my creepy pod pilot cap
Thinking how nice it would be for a long New Eden nap.

When all of a sudden there arose such a clatter;
I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter!
Away to my balcony I tried to run fast!
But my Incarna legs meant that I got there last!

The station lights gave an effervescent glow,
And gave illumination to whatever might show.
When, what to my wandering eyes should appear!
But a hooded pod pilot spreading good cheer!

With a swish of the hood, I could see he was Amarr;
Then that must be our own CCP Hellmar!
More rapid than dramiels his developers came.
And he messaged and posted and called some by name!

“Now Soundwave, now Punkturis, now Affinity, now Navigator!
On Greyscale, on Nullarbor, on Tuxford, on Guard!
From the center of high sec to the depths of W-space,
Let’s clean up this mess and make EVE a better place!”

He flew through the station, like a stiff wind with some sails,
Leaving gifts where he went, including engine trails!
They sprinkled some dev dust, fixing this and fixing that.
The new BCs alone will certainly change our combat!

But new ships were not all that CCP had in store.
The new font and UI scaling might make your eyes less sore.
New modules were coded, yes more things are tech 2!
And hybrids are buffed to breathe life to Gallente pew pew.

Even industrialists can be thrilled with their newfound fuel blocks;
Alas the poor miner is stuck still just staring at rocks.
Stargates now align to the star where they shoot
Ships across lightyears when they are en route.

New pretties have been added to make space more exciting;
The new nebulae alone are almost beyond describing.
New cyno effects can give cap pilots some bliss…
Especially now that they see how often their shots miss!

With one button you can now warp and jump through a gate
And finally, new warp tunnels, goodness, this must be fate!
Time dilation will slow down big battles in null sec;
And a ‘loot all’ button will speed up looting a wreck.

With gifts of all kinds for us good capsuleers
Hellmar and team have finally fulfilled wishes from past years.
As they flew off, I heard his voice rattle
“EVE Online is back, to each a good battle!”

by Mark726 of EVE Travel

Download the audio reading as heard on Voices From the Void podcast here.

DIRECT DOWNLOAD

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Blog Banter 30 Review: Crucible 1.0 Patch Notes

Build 306979 to BB30 addresses Patch Notes for Crucible 1.0

Released Saturday, November 26, 2011. The following are the relevant file sizes for client updates:

- Windows from Incarna 1.1.3 to Crucible 1.0 is Lotsa Meg
- Windows full client is a Fuktun o' Gig.
- Mac from Incarna 1.1.3 to Crucible 1.0 is unknown, but we're sure it'll be fine.
- Mac full client is YOUR ENTIRE HARD DRIVE.


Table of Contents

CRITICAL
FEATURES
CHANGES
FIXES


CRITICAL

The regularity of wormhole spawns will be gradually decreasing to a much lower frequency. This will occur progressively over the next few weeks. Make your plans accordingly.


FEATURES

Rise of the Pirate Factions
  • Corporations and Alliances can now declare allegiance to pirate factions.
  • New pirate faction Incursion events will be occurring across space; Gurista Blockades, Serpentis Enterprises, Angel Cartel Rackets and Blood Raider erm... Blood Raids.
  • New Faction Supertechnologies will be revealed.
  • Roaming NPC encounters now mean there is a chance of discovering a Sansha deadspace complex in Angel Cartel territory, or a Blood Raider outpost in Guristas territory. Perhaps even a CONCORD patrol in low-sec...
  • Pirate NPCs will now respond appropriately to pilot standing with their faction. If a pilot has positive standings with the appropriate faction, the NPCs will not engage unless fired upon.
More details on these changes can be found in the following (not) Dev Blogs; Diary of a Pod Pilot, 2nd Anomaly From the Left


Faction Warfare
  • NPC Navy response in 1.0-0.7 systems has been reduced (Customs and CONCORD remain unaffected)
  • A Navy Officer may spawn to defend threatened Complexes. These have a chance to drop Navy modules.
  • Bounties have been added to Navy NPCs for collection by opposing Faction capsuleers.
  • Command bunkers now give grid-wide minor buffs to the owning faction.
  • Incursion effects are now inflicted on systems being conquered, reducing benefits for the defending force.
  • Conquered systems give system-wide cost reduction to owning faction pilots for repairs, insurance and medical clones.
  • Instead of Loyalty Points for enemy pilot kills, successful PvP kills will now be rewarded with an ISK bounty.
  • Loyalty Point rewards for missions has been reduced to encourage a change of focus from PvE to PvP.
  • Remote repairing a fellow Faction Warfare pilot with a GCC flag or -5.0 security status no longer results in a hit to faction standings.
  • It is now possible to influence the true-sec of a system by up to 0.09, meaning 0.5 systems can be reduced to 0.4 and 0.4 systems can become CONCORD protected 0.5s. 
Read more about the above features in these (not) Dev Blogs, Sand, Cider and SpaceshipsA Scientist's Life in EVE and Interstellar Privateer.


Backstory

Storyline-driven live events will be forthcoming to re-invigorate the conflict as tensions between the Empires and the pirate factions escalates. For further details on the backstory, check out the following perspectives;

Exploration

Directional Scanner
  • The cone of scan coverage is now displayed both on the ship view and the solar system map.
  • The solar system cone can be dragged to determine range and width of scan.
  • The range can be toggled between AU and Kilometres and can be changed with a slider bar.
  • A new UI interface allows for control of granularity and custom presets.
  • Introducing Deep Space Exploration Ships (Tech II variants of Tier 2 Battlecruisers).
  • Exploration is no longer restricted to the heliosphere of solar systems. Deep Space Exploration ships are capable of striking out into the unknown and unexplored deep space between systems. Who knows what might be out there...
  • To lead the rag-tag fleet into the unknown or to hold the line on the escalating factional frontlines, behold new non-combat capital ships:

The Capital Interdictor (Zeus)

Originally developed by ORE as a mining fleet guardian, the Zeus capital class interdictor whilst not designed to mount any direct-fire weapons, has nonetheless been subverted for military application. Officially classified as a non-combat vessel, the Zeus is capable of high-sec travel, although pilots should be aware that CONCORD will respond as normal to the uncontrolled use of area-of-effect modules.

Multi-harmonic pulse emission technology allows the fitting of specialist modules that can enable the following functions:

The Mothership (Athena)

Designed to accompany the Zeus in deep space operations, the Athena is non-combat capital originally designed to support colonisation and deadspace outpost construction, but has been adapted to support remote fleets on the front lines. As such it functions as a mobile starbase and provides all of the same facilities (manufacture, research, refine and repair). Further details here.


Market Improvements


Standings Mechanics
  • Global Criminal Countdown has been reduced to 5 minutes.
  • Attempts to remote repair a ship with an aggression flag will no longer be hampered by a warning message.
  • If a pilot with an active aggression flag joins a fleet, all fleet members are notified.
  • Declaring War is now decided by a "first past the post" voting system and the voting timer has been removed.
  • Custom war declarations allow for a objective-linked costs.
  • It is no longer possible to remote repair an unaffiliated neutral. The repairer and repairee must be in corp, alliance, fleet or Faction Warfare allies.
  • In addition the Ship and Captain's Quarter view, there is now a Station Exterior View allowing pilots to visually monitor the undock.
  • Station docking perimeters have been reduced to conform to the actual size of the station. All stations are now "kick-out" stations.
  • Stargate security protocols have been improved and it will no longer be possible to enter a system if a pilot's security status is too low.
  • Positive faction standings now give a discount on the following station services: repairs, office rental, clones.
  • Standing increases are given for coming to the assistance of neutral pilots with less than 10m SP.
Further information about these changes can be found in the following (not) Devblogs:  Haberdashers Run Amok, Diary of a Pod PilotUrziel's EVE ChronicleBeyond Space, Mabrick's Mumblings.


Planetary Interaction


Controls and Camera
  • Ship controls are now possible with a joystick interface allowing vessels to pitch, yaw and roll.
  • First-person perspective cockpit and third-person tailplane views are available.
  • All ships now have preset internal cameras allowing a variety of fixed views.
  • The advanced camera interface allows for custom anchorpoints and fixed direction views.
  • Picture-in-picture functionality allows for more accurate target monitoring.
  • Multiple actor tracking allows for squads, fleets and goodfites to be viewed in all their glory.
Read more about the above features in these (not) Dev Blogs; Shall We Not Revenge... and Freebooted.


Miscellaneous
  • New Launcher animations.
  • Guided missiles now launch from the missile silos visible on every launcher-capable ship.
  • Unguided rockets/assault missiles/torpedos now have launcher models that mount on hardpoints and track targets just as turrets do.
  • All weapons-fire animations have been revisited and are now so pretty they'll melt your eyes.
  • Ships can now be "prepared for transport" in the right-click context menu, allowing the transport of rigged ships without the need for an alt.
  • Complexes, anomalies and signatures now spawn randomly throughout the day rather than all at once after downtime.
  • A new rig type allows rig slots to be used as additional fitting slots.
  • A new ship upgrade system with weapon modification upgrades such as the Ammo Revolver.
  • Bounty system revisions.
  • Easy character switching (no need to log out and log back in any more).
  • Further social media integration (EVE Gate/Facebook/Twitter/G+)
  • Null-sec gates can now be tolled by the Sovereignty holding alliance.
Further information about these changes can be found in the following (not) Devblogs: Rants From New Eden, Inner Sanctum of the Ninveah, Sand Cider and Spaceships, Finders & Keepers, Voyager Spirit, Omnis Arcanum of EVE, MuppetNinjas.

[This is the final review of Blog Banter 30, thanks to everyone who took part.]

Monday, 21 November 2011

The Throwdown Showdown in Blogtown

The EVE metagame is a bizarre circus and every so often something wonderfully odd happens. Even more rarely, I'm lucky enough to get caught up in the middle of it. Following the apparent critical success of my self-indulgent audio reading of Mord Fiddle's Fever Dream, the author himself challenged me to a kind of write-off, a blog-duel or as Arydanika puts it; the "Throwdown Showdown in Blogtown". Or something.

So a set of rules were drawn up; no more than 1500 words to be written in 24 hours on the receipt of three trigger words as set by a Tweetfleet adjudicators Duncane Feldane and Adainy Gwanwyn. Following that 24-hour period, our submissions would be exchanged and we would have a similar time period to record a simple audio version with no special effects (boo!).

The results would be aired on Voices From the Void and a public vote would be opened, inviting listeners to grade both the content and the reading quality of each piece.

I know what you're thinking; utter madness, it'll never work. But it did. Somehow, we both managed to pull it off (although Mord's English accents and my female impersonations may disturb some).

The trigger words were: Post Capsuleer Graduation

What follows is the script I wrote for Mord to read. You can find his story at Fiddler's Edge and listen to both in Voices From the Void Episode 29.

Enjoy.



Searching For Pod”

or

The Accidental Capsuleer”

or

Earnest Learns to Fly”

or

Monty Python's Lock Stock and Two Red Dwarves”

(a short EVE Online narrative based on the trigger words: Post Capsuleer Graduation)
by

Mathew “Seismic Stan” Westhorpe




INT. SPACE STATION, MISSION AGENT OFFICE - DAY


CAPSULEER FRANK enters the office of professional Mission AGENT BRYAN.

AGENT BRYAN
Welcome to 'Capsuleer Missions For You' - efficiency and discretion guaranteed. Please take a seat. I am your mission agent Bryan, how can I help you?

CAPSULEER FRANK
Hello Bryan. I need a job.

AGENT BRYAN
Well you've come to the right place, Mr...


CAPSULEER FRANK
Um... Bryan?


AGENT BRYAN
Really? That's a coincidence.


CAPSULEER FRANK
What?


AGENT BRYAN
Well, that's my name too.


CAPSULEER FRANK
Oh, right. Okay, I'll be frank then...


AGENT BRYAN
Okay, please do... [AWKWARD PAUSE] ...so what is your name then?


CAPSULEER FRANK
Frank.


AGENT BRYAN
Hah, very droll ... that's not your real name.


CAPSULEER FRANK
It isn't?


AGENT BRYAN
Well, I...


CAPSULEER FRANK
No, really. Frank's the name, spaceships are my game.


AGENT BRYAN
I'm less than convinced.


CAPSULEER FRANK
Trust me. Frank N. Earnest, that's me. Honest to goodness capsuleer. Sorry - brain's a bit scrambled from the implants and the cloning activation and stuff.


AGENT BRYAN
Oh I see. You've just cloned in? I hope the nature of your transfer wasn't too harrowing.


CAPSULEER FRANK
Dunno. Not got much too compare it to – never done it before. It was a bit gooey... and are you meant to hear voices?


AGENT BRYAN
Only if people are speaking I suspect. Although I'm not entirely certain, I'm a “baseliner” myself.


CAPSULEER FRANK
Good for you. Well I'm a capsuleer. Proper pod-jockey, me. Holes in the back of me head and everything. So? Where's my spaceship?


AGENT BRYAN
You don't have a ship?


CAPSULEER FRANK
Course not, you're going to give me one aren't you? That is what you do... Bryan. Isn't it?


AGENT BRYAN
Well no, I provide the missions. Typically, our clients supply their own ships.


CAPSULEER FRANK
Oh right. News to me.


AGENT BRYAN
You've not done this before, have you?


CAPSULEER FRANK
Erm... no. Not really.


AGENT BRYAN
Exactly how long have you been a capsuleer?


CAPSULEER FRANK
Ooh I dunno... about twenty-five minutes now.


AGENT BRYAN
I...see...


CAPSULEER FRANK
That's not going to be a problem, is it?


AGENT BRYAN
Well, I'm not sure. When you say you've only been a capsuleer for twenty-five minutes, I assume you mean you've just acquired your licence. You have, or course, had all the necessary training?


CAPSULEER FRANK
Training? Don't you show me a quick holovid or something then just give me the keys?


AGENT BRYAN
No, Mr. Earnest. Flying space-going vessels is serious business, this isn't a hover-car rental service.


CAPSULEER FRANK
Oh don't be such a square. How hard can it be?


AGENT BRYAN
Hard? Mr. Earnest, even the smallest starships require years of training for a non-capsuleer crew. For a single podder to take over all the duties of the entire command crew requires intensive assessment and rigorous conditioning before being pod-bound. To attempt otherwise will result in brain-injury, mind-lock or death.


CAPSULEER FRANK
Meh, I think you're pimping it up a bit. It's just sitting in a bath-tub and playing a holo-game.


AGENT BRYAN
[SIGH] So am I understanding correctly that you have not graduated from any of the certified Capsuleer Institutions?


CAPSULEER FRANK
Like where?


AGENT BRYAN
Well any of the State Military Academies, the Education Institutes like Caille or Hedion University, or any of the other Civilian Authorities?


CAPSULEER FRANK
Naah. Sound like a headache. I came third place in a holoquiz once though.


AGENT BRYAN
I'm really at a loss Mr. Earnest. I can see by your implant sockets that you have indeed been prepared for hydrostatic capsule interfacing, but I don't think I can in good conscience provide you with any assistance.




CAPSULEER FRANK
Hmmm. To be brutally Frank (pun intended), I couldn't care less about your conscience. What if I said that if you didn't help me, I could snap your neck like a weak snappy thing. Being snapped.


AGENT BRYAN
Well there's no need for threats Mr. Earnest. I'm sure we can come to some arrangement.


CAPSULEER FRANK
Good man.


AGENT BRYAN
Let me see what we've got in the database for you. Hmmm.


CAPSULEER FRANK
I need a gig that provides the transport, remember.


AGENT BRYAN
Yes, yes, I'm just looking. Whilst I'm searching, satisfy my curiosity - how did you come to be a capsuleer?


CAPSULEER FRANK
Heh, funny thing. It was sort of a happy accident.


AGENT BRYAN
Really? How does one become a capsuleer “by accident”.


CAPSULEER FRANK
Well, me and the lads move in some... colourful circles. We were hired to get a poor, falsely accused gentleman out of custody.


AGENT BRYAN
Oh, a terrible miscarriage of justice, I'm sure.



CAPSULEER FRANK
Yeah, right. Aren't they all. Anyway, The problem was it was a very high security facility. Getting in was easy, we just had to commit the right sort of crime. Smuggling in the portable transneural burning wotsit was the real challenge. But we had a very well-funded sponsor who greased the right wheels.


AGENT BRYAN
A burning scanner? Like the device in capsules that transfers the consciousness?


CAPSULEER FRANK
Yep.


AGENT BRYAN
They make them portable now?


CAPSULEER FRANK
Oh yeah, if you know the right people. Of course, they're only as good as the technicians at the other end of the line. It's all very well “rescuing” some mob boss... er, I mean innocent gentleman... by microwaving his brain, but his brain image needs to land in the right body at the other end.


AGENT BRYAN
But presumably your rescue operation was a success.


CAPSULEER FRANK
Erm... to be honest, I don't know. I did my part and brain-scanned the target, so his mind got transferred somewhere. But I don't think my survival was part of their plan. Fortunately, me and the lads saw that coming and came up with a little insurance clause.


AGENT BRYAN
Which was?


CAPSULEER FRANK
Well, you're looking at it. This is my new capsuleer body. What do you think?




AGENT BRYAN
So... you aren't a capsuleer, but you're... you've stolen a capsuleer's body!?


CAPSULEER FRANK
Yeah, it's amazing what the lads can pull off with access to a cloning lab. I'd have been happy with any old normal body, but since these capsuleers just leave clones laying around in the care of others, they're not gonna miss one. To be honest, I'm not entirely happy about the face, but I can always steal a different clone later. The priority now is to get disappeared before the wrong people figure out what happened. I thought I may as well take advantage of my new pod-pilot status. Which is where you come in.


AGENT BRYAN
Right, yes. Well we've got a few clients requesting services that are fairly... indiscriminate about who carries them out.


CAPSULEER FRANK
Sounds magic. Wotchya got?


AGENT BRYAN
Well, let's see... the Damsel is in distress again, but I wouldn't bother with her. She'll only have got herself back in trouble by tomorrow anyway. Or there's...


CAPSULEER FRANK
No, no, that's fine. Damsel it is. Might be able to get myself some action whilst I'm there. I can find out how hi-tech my capsuleer plumbing really is.


AGENT BRYAN
Charming. Well, that's all arranged for you. My contacts in Docking Management will be able to source you a capsule and a Reaper-class ship.



CAPSULEER FRANK
Right then, nice one Bryan, I'll be off to the ship hangar right now. Thank you, you've been very helpful. See you never, pencil-neck.


AGENT BRYAN
A pleasure, Mr Earnest. Goodbye...

[WAITS UNTIL THE DOOR IS CLOSED]

...enjoy your wetgrave.




Please don't forget to vote at Voices from the Void



Thursday, 17 November 2011

BB30: EVE Online Director Mode

EVE is beautiful and with Crucible's additional art, it is only going to get more so. We are about to be plunged into a universe of stunning nebulae, pulsating warp tunnels and criss-crossing inaccurate weapons fire.

Even now, prior to the incoming visual improvements, I often find myself attempting to find the perfect camera angle to admire a new ship or to orchestrate that perfect flyby shot. During combat I try to find the ideal camera perch from which to enjoy the action.

But alas, even with to so-called 'advanced camera options'* the viewing controls are limited. With some effort, it is possible to engineer some vaguely cinematic angles using the 'set as parent/interest' options. Also, use of the right mouse button does allow some additional rotational control, but this rubber-bands on release of the button and is essentially only a 'quick glance' function. [On a related note: Exploding ships, please let the camera linger on them rather than home back immediately.]

The existing camera interface could be vastly improved with only some minor control tweaks. The simple functionality of being able to anchor the camera to a specific point and direction would allow a multitude of functions. These could be provided as defaults or the player could simply be given the toolset to make custom camera anchors if this would reduce development demands.

The following are examples of what could be possible.


Static Ship Viewpoints
[eg. CNC Deck, Observation Towers, Views: fore/aft/left/right/up/down.]

Naga: port-side forward view.
A simple forward facing view from wherever the ship's bridge/command capsule is positioned would provide a static ships-eye view. This would ensure that casual travellers could always see what is ahead and get a better sense of movement and scale rather than the camera defaulting to a random view of the ship hull after each jump. It would also provide some hilarious motion sickness during tight-orbit frigate fights.

Naga: port-side aft view.
Alternative fixed camera angles, although not especially functional, would provide a degree of immersion and a sense of scale as you look out of your battlecruiser observation deck, along the hull and at the station from which you've just undocked. Aside from camera drones, there must surely the odd basic security camera attached to the hull. Failing that, just have a camera pointing out of one of those many twinkling portholes.


Fixed Tailplane View

Rifter: fixed tailplane view of incoming fire.
The majority of combats play out without pilots really enjoying the visual effects, as there are too many factors demanding the pilot's attention during a firefight to be concerned with finding an engaging camera angle. Being able to secure the camera to a viewpoint behind and above your ship would allow the pilot to see what he is heading into (and how quickly) and would provide another tool to judge approach vectors. Plus, it would look cool.


Weapons Tracking View (Turret & Missile)

Naga: Turret view to target.
Having a camera view of a specific weapon turret as it tracks the target could be achieved if a camera anchor point could be fixed to and aligned with the barrel of the weapon. Previously, with adequate ninja mouse skills it used to be possible to 'look at' missiles as they travelled to their target, however having tried during the research for this article it is either no longer possible or my reactions are no longer good enough. My point is tailor-made missile cameras would be much easier anyway.


Picture-in-Picture/Zoomed Target Window

Drake: Visual target tracking.
Although much of these proposed camera functions are purely cosmetic, there are some aspects that could be useful tools for pilots. During combat, having the camera anchored on your own ship whilst being focused and zoomed on the target would give the pilot a visual aid to maintaining or reducing transversal velocities, assessing target behaviour and weapon loadouts. This view could be displayed in a window to aid the combat pilot, or even used as a replacement for the existing static target icons.


Multiple Actor Tracking 

Try maintaining this shot manually.
Rather than having a single ship designated as the focus of the camera, this function would force the camera to zoom and rotate automatically to keep two or more ships in view. This would enable the viewing of spectacular 1v1 combats and provide a visual aid to squad, wing and fleet management. By optimising the use screen real-estate in this way, it would allow small- and large-scale combats to be enjoyed for the magnificent spectacle that they are whilst providing a visual tool for Fleet Commanders to monitor grouping and ranges.

The selection could be managed via a checkbox interface as follows:

Select camera focus:
  • Self
  • Primary Target
  • All Targets
  • Drones
  • Squad
  • Wing
  • Fleet
[I note a similar function is already present in the Carbon Character Creation, wherein both eyes are tracked and the camera is restricted from allowing either eye to disappear from view. Could this code be adapted to function in space?]


Implementation and Summary

In conclusion, this feature would comprise three elements.

1. Custom camera toolset (anchor and point)
This would perhaps be the easiest to implement as it requires modification of existing functionality rather than the introduction of entirely new elements.

2. Multiple Actor Tracking
There is evidence to suggest that this functionality is entirely plausible with the Carbon engine and it could be a useful client-side tool.

3. Picture-in-Picture Functionality
Presumably a fairly non-trivial endeavour, this would require the most significant adaption of the existing user interface. However, it could perhaps be considered as part of a general UI overhaul.

A versatile and truly advanced camera suite would be a fantastic and useful toolset to further increase immersion and appreciation of EVE's arresting visuals. There's little point in CCP's artists spending so much effort making EVE look so good if no-one is really looking. Keeping the viewing tools as they currently are is like being at an art gallery but being forced to view everything through binoculars whilst spinning around.

Community spectacles like the Alliance Tournament would benefit greatly from these tools, making the experience far more engaging for the casual spectator. I have covered this in greater depth in Fanfest Flashback: The Spectacle of Combat, and the argument is as strong as ever.

Most players spend a lot of time traveling through the stunning New Eden environments, why not give them the tools to better enjoy the journey.

EVE is definitely ready for its close-up now Mr DeMille.


*Select the tickbox under miscellaneous in 'Display & Graphics' Escape menu to activate.

[This post was an entry in the EVE Blog Banter community discussion.]