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EVE: Carbon Avatar based gameplay as a separate game

Author
Ai Shun
#1 - 2012-04-20 04:06:11 UTC  |  Edited by: Ai Shun
Concept :
Developing an avatar based game that joins EVE and Dust 514 in the EVE Universe.

Motivation :
Avatar based games are familiar to MMO players and are a well-established style. By providing an Avatar based game this opens a new market for CCP that can compete with other science fiction based Avatar games like Star Wars – The Old Republic, Entropia Universe or similar.

It extends the EVE Universe and creates the potential for more subscribers while introducing them to EVE and the other games in the Universe.

It satisfies the long term vision from CCP to have an ambulation based experience as a part of EVE Online.

My reasons:

  • It re-allocates the WoD team to WiS so we can see faster results
  • It allows for it to be funded on its own so it has more stability and can be worked on independently
  • It follows a new model CCP is introducing to introduce different game types into the EVE Universe, like Dust 514 which gives us a safety net which still gives us interaction with EVE FiS (I included the concept of cross-over characters) with a modular build so the content transition can be seamless for EVE FiS players and separate for pure EVE WiS players
  • It compromises between different groups of players and creates more opportunity as it can target players not covered under the current EVE Online target market


Funding:
Development funding for the World of Darkness team to be re-appropriate to extend the EVE Universe. Scope exists for a crowd-sourced form of funding as described here.Future funding will be handled primarily through a mixed model of subscription and PLEX. The intent is to provide social gameplay on a free to play basis with a limited set of skills available while a combination of PLEX and subscription extends the skills and gameplay options available.

This does create segregation in terms of content available to subscribers and non-subscribers; however the common, social aspects will be available to everyone.

Account Management :
This will utilise the Master Account plans raised by CCP / CSM 6 in the December 2011 summit. The Master Account will have flags for content from EVE Online and Avatar. If a flag is set all sub-accounts under the master account will have access to content from both. If a player is a current subscriber to EVE Online through PLEX or a normal subscription they receive access to Avatar as part of their subscription payment. If a player is subscribed to Avatar only, either through PLEX, a normal subscription or as a free player, they do not gain access to EVE Online except for the built in interactions. They will not be able to pilot a ship or move themselves between solar systems.

Deployment :
Design and development of the concept should be handled in such a way that it can be added as a modular component to the current EVE Online client. Current EVE Online subscribers should not require this modular expansion if they do not want access to the Avatar based content beyond their locked door captain’s quarters.

It must, however, have a stand-alone client available for customers that do not subscribe or participate in EVE Online. This client can be structured similar to the EVE Online client with modular expansion packs for the Ambulation content.
Ai Shun
#2 - 2012-04-20 04:06:21 UTC  |  Edited by: Ai Shun
Gameplay concepts:
Core gameplay is focused around social interaction and the various mini-games surrounding this. To facilitate this it would need locations for players to congregate. Examples of this include:


  • Bars
  • Shopping areas with displays
  • Meeting rooms (Corporate)
  • Personal quarters
  • Common areas within stations and on-planet
  • Other


Mini-games can include games like Poker and games of chance; arcade style games that leverage some of the concepts of EVE Online or other games that have been suggested for WiS. Examples include games that allow players to duel each-other using a simulation of EVE FiS, Pod Racing style games and others. These would be predominantly available from Bars, Meeting quarters or Personal Quarters where one would expect to find this.

The various social spaces will be defined statically by the corporation and nature of the planet they are found on. There will be a basic set for each type of entity, drawn from random names with an appropriate theme for the various corporations and racial predilections.

It will be possible for a character, corporation or alliance to purchase a location and rent it; similar to renting a corporation office. They will gain the ability to decorate the environment with items from the standard asset library or those from the Blue-print section below. They will be able to rename the environment. For example: I could open Shun’s ****** Ales, decorated in 1800’s teak and English fashion for the more discerning capsuleer. I would open membership to other players, charging a 100ISK entry fee.

Industrial gameplay would be available. This would allow for resources to be farmed from planets in a mechanism similar to planetary interaction. The yield of this would be lower than for a capsuleer mining in space. There will be a cost in terms of ISK associated with the resource gathering to reflect the lack of risk an Avatar based player is engaged in. This can be adjusted if Dust 514 players are allowed to attack or otherwise disrupt the mining activities of planetary colonies.
The normal interaction with industrial facilities with similar restrictions to the number of laboratory slots will be available. Thus, blue print research, copying, manufacturing and other Industrial functions continue.
Ai Shun
#3 - 2012-04-20 04:06:30 UTC  |  Edited by: Ai Shun
Blue-prints can be generated in Avatar based gameplay. These blue-prints will initially be done for social and decorative items that can be used in Avatar based gameplay. This is for decorations to be used in WiS, items of clothing and so forth. It is envisaged that cybernetic limbs and other accoutrements that suit the appearance of a capsuleer will enter into the market. The production results of the blue-prints will be visible in the Shopping areas and through the standard Market interface of EVE Online. They will be available to capsuleers, Avatar and Dust based characters.

These blue-prints will need to be vetted through Team Avatar or similar for suitability with a sufficiently high ISK cost to ensure that unacceptable designs are not spammed upon the vetting team. This leaves scope for CCP to run contests for designs, for avatar based players to establish themselves as a designer label and to have a source of ISK through manufacturing.

This allows for corporations or alliances to have blue prints or exclusive items for their members that can range from logos to custom skins for their ships or other equipment. Part of this will be the embedding of a manufacturer / designer tag on each item, similar to the tags associated to NPC corporations on various hulls.

This helps the manufacturer / designer to build a presence within the universe.

In future incarnations, depending on the development of EVE Online, it might become possible to extend this to allow for blue print development of components used in other aspects of the game. This would preferably use a point based system from which various attributes can be configured to create an object such as a module, a ship, a piece of equipment or vehicle for Dust.

For example:

An Artillery Cannon is allocated a bucket between 1000 and 2000 points. Each point spent costs 100,000,000 ISK or similar. To create a Small Artillery Cannon you require 200 points, a Medium Artillery Cannon requires 400 points and a Large Artillery Cannon requires 600 points. A Tier 1 Artillery Cannon costs 0 points; a Tier 2 Artillery Cannon would cost 500 points; etc.
This would force a player to operate within the bucket with their budget governing how much of the bucket they can consume. Different attributes would cost points while reducing attributes or accepting a negative penalty would increase points available.

The final points cost determines how much it will cost to create the blue print and research it.


Note : Any such a system would need to be very carefully considered and balanced to ensure that the trade-offs in terms of penalties outweigh the ability to min/max the statistics of an item.
Ai Shun
#4 - 2012-04-20 04:06:36 UTC  |  Edited by: Ai Shun
Planetary Interaction: will continue to function as normal. Skills and potentially mini-games could be developed to create a better yield for planetary colonies where there is active management of the extraction and manufacturing process. A design and build concept similar to the SimCity series of games was considered, but was discarded because of increased complexity for an existing system.

Other concepts include items like:

  • Stock market for NPC and player corporations
  • Ability to influence the security status of a system from Avatar based players (Either downgrading it by creating appropriate establishments or by paying CONCORD more)
  • Ability to purchase and put up stations and other in-space locations.
  • Interaction with Customs offices
  • Handling of smuggling and factoring stolen goods
  • Other
Ai Shun
#5 - 2012-04-20 04:06:43 UTC  |  Edited by: Ai Shun
For Capsuleers:
This is an important section, because Avatar based gameplay is considered to be a part of EVE Online. To avoid breaking the immersion of capsuleers and their unique position within the universe of new Eden all interaction that falls outside of their home station should be through a simulacrum or mechanically controlled device.

In the example raised by CCP where a capsuleer engage in exploration of an abandoned complex it should be achieved by a remotely controlled robotic device that can be used to explore the station while the capsuleer remains within their pod and within the safe environment of their ship.

Within stations and when transferred to a planet they should have their normal avatars.

This may change once the lore has been updated to Dust 514 levels as there may be new cloning technology available.

It is important to note that for EVE FiS subscribers that elect to use Avatar based gameplay the transition between the two must be seamless.
Ai Shun
#6 - 2012-04-20 04:06:49 UTC  |  Edited by: Ai Shun
Restrictions:

Pure Avatar based characters would be restricted to a single solar system with transfer costs payable to travel between stations and between planets.

Capsuleer based characters would have freedom of travel with a fee to transfer to a planet. The potential exists to use shuttles rather than a fee if the capsuleer has one readily available.

Trade and manufacturing skills for Avatar based characters will be restricted to their home solar systems. They will have viewing rights across an entire Region but would need to setup Contracts and Buy Orders to have capsuleers deliver those items.

Free to play Avatar players will be restricted to the Avatar only skill-sets. Certain skills may be made available to them, but they will never be trainable beyond Level 1.
Ai Shun
#7 - 2012-04-20 04:07:02 UTC  |  Edited by: Ai Shun
Skills :
Certain skills used in EVE Online under the following headings will be available in Avatar.

  • Industry
  • Planetary Interaction
  • Social
  • Trade


Some of the skills need to be updated to work with both in-space refining stations, etc. to working with in-space and planetary based environments.

New skills need to be introduced for Avatar based characters. I am still working on this section.
Ai Shun
#8 - 2012-04-20 04:18:51 UTC
Footnotes: I personally see the EVE Universe as a complete science fiction universe. We have the depth of an EVE FiS MMO that is stunning and fun to play. We are getting FPS gameplay in the form of Dust 514. I would like to see Avatar based gameplay, world building and RTS type games added to the universe to further diversify CCP's holdings and to create a compelling, lore linked world that we can play whatever takes our fancy. In the same virtual sandbox. With castles and kicking them down.
Flamespar
WarRavens
Imperium Eden
#9 - 2012-04-20 05:29:50 UTC
Lots of really good ideas. The only point I disagree with is having it as a seperate game to EVE.
Ai Shun
#10 - 2012-04-20 05:47:50 UTC  |  Edited by: Ai Shun
Flamespar wrote:
Lots of really good ideas. The only point I disagree with is having it as a seperate game to EVE.


Care to explain why? I'm honestly curious, because I've been thinking this through and I think it can be made seamless so an EVE player that wants WiS can have it without being aware it comes from a separate library of assets.

Oh, and the ideas aren't all mine. Most gameplay concepts I lifted from previous discussions on WiS because I liked them. My main contribution is to push for a separately funded, cohesive game that can be integrated AND/OR standalone.
David Estarra
Starside Lost
#11 - 2012-04-20 08:53:11 UTC
A very well thought out post. I approve of this! +1

[IMG]http://go-dl1.eve-files.com/media/corp/ChrisW73/DSigFinal.jpg[/IMG]

Ai Shun
#12 - 2012-04-21 08:19:10 UTC
David Estarra wrote:
A very well thought out post. I approve of this! +1


Thank you, appreciated. Do you want to add to it? Oh, and if you see DMC - point him at this please P
Francisco Bizzaro
#13 - 2012-04-21 11:32:02 UTC  |  Edited by: Francisco Bizzaro
I like the idea of a separate account type for WiS-only and FiS-only players, and a WiS game which seeks to stand on its own feet to some extent.

My idea of the gameplay might be a somewhat tighter integration of the two games than you've outlined here.

I'd like to see most of the station services which are currently run by NPCs replaced by player run businesses. For instance, WiS-only players could set up ship repair shops in a station. For the FiS player who is ship spinning, the interface might look identical (i.e. minimize existing player rage), but the repair fee would go to the WiS player. Hopefully there would be some gameplay aspect on the WiS side to make running a repair shop "fun". Maybe you have to gather some in-station resources via a different minigame to keep it going. And maybe multiple repair shops within a station could compete with each other based on quality/price. If "quality" of the shop depended on some skill-based minigame, all the better.

This would require FiS players to choose a repair shop (from their spinning ship), but hopefully that extra step would not provoke rage, especially if the prices were improved over current NPC rates or if they could define a "default" shop to use whenever they dock.

And the same applies to other station services, like running a lab or refining station, etc. These could all be re-cast into neat little mini-games which would be completely under-the-hood on the FiS side, but an integral part of the WiS game.

Some socially-oriented gameplay might be attractive to bring in some new customers. I don't really understand those, so don't have any ideas in that direction. In my opinion the whole fashion thing was a red-herring, and unfortunately seems to have lead to technical requirements which gimped the engine for other purposes. (my interpretation from reading between the lines, but maybe there are other reasons why the engine is so heavy.)


To feel integrated in the Eve universe, it might be good if WiS accounts had some limited space-flight ability, e.g. able to fly a shuttle. This would require an FiS-capable client, though. Otherwise an FiS transport service would do the job. It would be great if that could be player run (new ship class) with all of the usual FiS dangers and appropriate consequences attached. But timing might be a problem, in the sense that you don't want to wait a week for the next transport to visit your remote system.


If CCP want to add some kind of in-station combat, they will have to raise their technical game quite a bit. Currently avatars walk (slowly) and sit, via a clumsy point-and-click interface. That would have to change; not sure if their engine is up to it. (But please, no guy with exclamation mark over his head saying "The station is infested with tribbles! - Kill 10 and collect 10gp".)


I don't know how flexible CCP are about moving the WoD developers to a new project. There may even be contractual reasons from the purchase of the IP which prevents this. In any case, it seems to me that the WoD IP is under-utilized in CCP's hands, and they'd be best off selling it for a good price to someone who's more willing/able to exploit it while it is still worth something.

The unanswered question is how well suited the incarna engine is for more advanced gameplay. Can it handle environments larger than a room, or more than one avatar? How much work will it be to make that happen? My fear is that it is not at all ready for prime time. Otherwise they wouldn't have shelved WiS so emphatically, but rather would have rolled out some of the simpler suggestions already. Unfortunately, if that's the case, speculation and planning for WiS may be somewhat pointless except for the very long term and yet another generation of engine.

tl;dr: Some ideas, probably none of which are original ... Ugh, look at me, I'm posting in a WiS thread. Must take shower. Ugh.
FoxFire Ayderan
#14 - 2012-04-21 14:00:22 UTC

Some good ideas here.

But just so long as I can land at a station and seamlessly be in WiS content that'd be great.

If this were a separate game, I think certain Station social areas ought to be at least in part be open to the FiS game players.

Ai Shun
#15 - 2012-04-21 19:36:43 UTC
Francisco Bizzaro wrote:
tl;dr: Some ideas, probably none of which are original ... Ugh, look at me, I'm posting in a WiS thread. Must take shower. Ugh.


You should post in them more often. Those ideas are good. I like that! P
Francisco Bizzaro
#16 - 2012-04-22 09:10:06 UTC
Ai Shun wrote:
Francisco Bizzaro wrote:
tl;dr: Some ideas, probably none of which are original ... Ugh, look at me, I'm posting in a WiS thread. Must take shower. Ugh.

You should post in them more often. Those ideas are good. I like that! P

Ah, well, WiS threads tend to be ... difficult to read. Signal to noise ratio and all that.

On the other hand, since you didn't put enough inflammatory language in the OP, you didn't attract the flames. So your thread never gets a *bump*.
oldbutfeelingyoung
Perkone
Caldari State
#17 - 2012-04-22 10:20:29 UTC
Francisco Bizzaro wrote:
Ai Shun wrote:
Francisco Bizzaro wrote:
tl;dr: Some ideas, probably none of which are original ... Ugh, look at me, I'm posting in a WiS thread. Must take shower. Ugh.

You should post in them more often. Those ideas are good. I like that! P

Ah, well, WiS threads tend to be ... difficult to read. Signal to noise ratio and all that.

On the other hand, since you didn't put enough inflammatory language in the OP, you didn't attract the flames. So your thread never gets a *bump*.



So to make a thread worthwhile we must let in the almighty troll ,sad.

to Ai Shun there is no need for WIS to be separate ,maybe working on a second server cluster ,yes.
A lot of people want WIS to be meaningful ,if you make WIS meaningful to EVE ,there is no use to make WIS a seperate game.
WIS would be part of EVE as the spaceships are.
If WIS only is used to be a social aspect of the game ,then its only an addon ,so its not needed to make a game of it

R.S.I2014

Ai Shun
#18 - 2012-04-22 19:42:36 UTC
oldbutfeelingyoung wrote:
to Ai Shun there is no need for WIS to be separate ,maybe working on a second server cluster ,yes.
A lot of people want WIS to be meaningful ,if you make WIS meaningful to EVE ,there is no use to make WIS a seperate game.
WIS would be part of EVE as the spaceships are.
If WIS only is used to be a social aspect of the game ,then its only an addon ,so its not needed to make a game of it


I think there is. How long have we waited for WiS now? According to DMC ambulation has been a concept and in planning since 2006. That is 6 years.

Next to nothing has been developed as a pure addition to EVE FiS.

However, if it is built as a full game that is fully integrated to EVE - so an EVE FiS player has a seamless experience (If they want WiS) and it has a secondary market like Dust 514 - I think we have a chance of getting something done.

P.S. Separate means it can run standalone. In EVE terms, if you have FiS, you won't know it is separate.
oldbutfeelingyoung
Perkone
Caldari State
#19 - 2012-04-22 20:31:47 UTC
Ai Shun wrote:
oldbutfeelingyoung wrote:
to Ai Shun there is no need for WIS to be separate ,maybe working on a second server cluster ,yes.
A lot of people want WIS to be meaningful ,if you make WIS meaningful to EVE ,there is no use to make WIS a seperate game.
WIS would be part of EVE as the spaceships are.
If WIS only is used to be a social aspect of the game ,then its only an addon ,so its not needed to make a game of it


I think there is. How long have we waited for WiS now? According to DMC ambulation has been a concept and in planning since 2006. That is 6 years.

Next to nothing has been developed as a pure addition to EVE FiS.

However, if it is built as a full game that is fully integrated to EVE - so an EVE FiS player has a seamless experience (If they want WiS) and it has a secondary market like Dust 514 - I think we have a chance of getting something done.

P.S. Separate means it can run standalone. In EVE terms, if you have FiS, you won't know it is separate.



Buts what is the use to make it a standalone ?
The only ones who benefits form possible WIS gameplay is the EVE community
Dust consolecrap has its targets on another crowd

R.S.I2014

Ai Shun
#20 - 2012-04-22 20:56:21 UTC  |  Edited by: Ai Shun
oldbutfeelingyoung wrote:
Buts what is the use to make it a standalone ?


From my original post - just read the underlined bits for an overview. I summarise at the bottom, but I tend to be verbose.

Ai Shun with highlighting wrote:

Motivation:
Avatar based games are familiar to MMO players and are a well-established style. By providing an Avatar based game this opens a new market for CCP that can compete with other science fiction based Avatar games like Star Wars – The Old Republic, Entropia Universe or similar.

It extends the EVE Universe and creates the potential for more subscribers while introducing them to EVE and the other games in the Universe.

It satisfies the long term vision from CCP to have an ambulation based experience as a part of EVE Online.

My reasons:
It re-allocates the WoD team to WiS so we can see faster results
It allows for it to be funded on its own so it has more stability and can be worked on independently
It follows a new model CCP is introducing to introduce different game types into the EVE Universe, like Dust 514 which gives us a safety net which still gives us interaction with EVE FiS (I included the concept of cross-over characters) with a modular build so the content transition can be seamless for EVE FiS players and separate for pure EVE WiS players
It compromises between different groups of players and creates more opportunity as it can target players not covered under the current EVE Online target market


In the main though, what WiS has been targeted at being is not being delivered by CCP. No matter how many teams they put together or promises they throw out; 6 years of effort gave us new avatars with less customisation than before and one room where we can do nothing except walk around in.

I feel that by creating a new game focussed on WiS gameplay we have a better chance to get something done than we have in posting on the forums for it to be developed in EVE FiS for another 6 years. I also think it extends the EVE Universe more and makes it accessible to players that are interested in it, but do not like the idea of FiS and the ganker mentality. A new client creates a separation for them which may just see them try the game.

I can illustrate the code required to make it an integral part of EVE and able to run as a stand-alone game. It is not difficult from a logical development perspective. Might be complex depending on how well the EVE code is structured though. I can't speak for that.
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