Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Ambulation and Her.

Welcome to the first installment of the EVE Blog Banter, the monthly EVE Online blogging extravaganza created by CrazyKinux. The EVE Blog Banter involves an enthusiastic group of gaming bloggers, a common topic within the realm of EVE Online, and a week to post articles pertaining to the said topic. The resulting articles can either be short or quite extensive, either funny or dead serious, but are always a great fun to read! Any questions about the EVE Blog Banter should be directed here. Check out other EVE Blog Banter articles at the bottom of this post!

This month's topic comes to us from PsycheDiver: Ambulation: What are your hopes for your avatar and new functionality of stations?

So I was lying in bed with the wife having a conversation about the more obscure pieces of X-Men trivia and how it's superior to Heroes, when I began to think about the concept of ambulation in EVE. My wife really enjoys RPGs and has observed me playing EVE, but seems to have a problem getting interested in it. Beyond the intimidation factor that excel-in-space presents, it occurred to me that ambulation would have the most profound impact on a player exactly in her position, so I decided to get her thoughts.

I started with something like, “Hon, what does ambulation in EVE mean to you, as a newcomer looking in?” At this point she looked confused and I realized I'd have to explain what ambulation is and what it means in terms of EVE gameplay.

In EVE, your character is your ship. You have that funky profile picture but that has no real impact on the universe. You interact with the galaxy through your ship, while in every other RPG you interact via a humanoid character or characters. It's easy to create a bond with a person or simulation of a person because humans are social creatures and we're programmed at a base level to gravitate towards anything that resembles us. Because of this, making an initial emotional connection to your EVE character and the universe it exists in is difficult because all you see is ships and no people. This is an inherent problem in EVE RPing.

Ambulation (which literally means walking) is the name of a CCP project that will allow the player to create a complete virtual body or “avatar” for your EVE character that can interact with the interiors of stations and other players' avatars via a virtual interactive environment. This means your avatar will leave your pod (which is in your ship) and be able to do everything a player would normally do in a station like access agents and markets, and also have other options like meeting rooms and other social venues open to them. This will pave the way for a variety of new player-run business options.

This is how I explained it to her. “So players will have to leave their ship to do all the things they normally do in stations?” she asked.

“Nope.” I replied, seeing this was a basic fear of the ambulation project. “You'll still be able to do all the things you do now from your pod, but leaving your ship will allow for more social options and business opportunities.” I gave her a quick explanation of how a meeting room would help plan operations via displays that can be viewed communally, and how a player-run business like a bar or other storefront would be extensions of a player's options in how they live in EVE. She seemed intrigued.

“What about PvP? EVE is a heavy PvP game right? Will there be PvP in stations?” She asked.

“Well that's a real possibility for the future, but it's probably the most difficult aspect for CCP to get right.” I answered. “PvP on stations would require a whole new skill set, items and a system to use all of them effectively. Then all of it needs to be properly balanced, with in itself could take years. It does hold a lot of tactical possibilities though.” Her interest was growing.

“Would my avatar have a home? I want to decorate.” She said in a slightly bubbly fashion that she knows I find adorable.

“Maybe. I've heard people asking for that on the forums and there's very few negative aspects to it. It would have to have some sort of functional purpose though.” That got me thinking about all the new items that would pop up on the market to facilitate all of this. Items to customize your store, meeting room and home. Items to fit to your avatar for fashion and function. The marketplace could easily grow by a third. “Also, since they're trying to push for industrial individuality in storefronts, this will open up manufacturers to creating a real customer base, which will lead right into a demand for unique items that players will design, patent and sell.”

That last bit about customizable items went a little over her head. I'd just shown her the basics of buying and selling earlier that week. “So would ambulation draw you into EVE?” I asked.

“Well, it's a definite plus. I like the idea of not having to always stare at a ship when I'm not flying.” She said. She brought up Gaia Online (which makes me shiver in revulsion) and explained that the simple act of an avatar looking and emoting exactly the way you want it to will draw in more players than EVEers think.

Well, there you have it. Out of the mouth of (hot) babes.



# CrazyKinux's Musing: Exotic Dancers, Corporate Meetings & more
# The Wandering Druid of Tranquility: Ambulation - what I hope to see
# Semper EVE: Ambulation and Me
# Roc's Ramblings: Blog Banter #1 - Ambulation
# The Ralpha Dogs: Ambulation/Walking in Stations: A "Second Life" for EVE?
# Drunk in Space: Look at how much weight he put on…
# Inner Sanctum of the Ninveah: Eve Blog Banter - Ambulation
# I am Keith Neilson: Going For A Stroll Through EVE
# Shahirs Journey: Hopes for Ambulation
# A Mule in EVE: Ambulation
# One Man, One Ship: Ambulation
# Achernar: Avatars in a spaceships game
# The Shard: Ambulation
# Mad Rant: Saturday Night Fever
# Life in Low Sec: Ambulation Fantasies
# Achernar: Avatars in a spaceships game
# Protosolus: EVE: Gawking in Stations
# I May Find Peace Within The Emptiness…: Walking Around…
# ombeve: Blog Banter: Ambulation


Mynxee said...

I agree...I want to be able to customize my clothing and my personal environment to some degree. But more importantly, I hope ambulation brings mechanics that enhance and support the politics, intrigue, market madness, and other forces already so much a part of New Eden culture.

YoMma said...

I for one hope they don't introduce PvP on stations. Yeah EVE is a PvP heavy game but, it's not Tabula Rasa or Planetside. In Stations, being able to just walk around shooting would ruin it. On planets...that's a whole different story :P

Good read and interesting style to it. I like! Great topic also :)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for such a great start to the banter! I for one appreciate it! TC :)