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Walking in Stations as a Social Hub: Business vs Pleasure in Incarna

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Author
Black Dranzer
#1 - 2013-06-16 22:41:00 UTC
WARNING: THIS PROPOSAL IS LONG AND RAMBLING.

Disclaimer: Flying in Space should always take development priority. This idea rests on the understanding that Walking in Stations is, to some extent, inevitable, and that the only question is when and in what form. In addition, I recognize that "CCP" is not a singular entity; I merely use "CCP" as a collective term for all applicable employees of CCP in a given context, because I lack a superior alternative.

First, a retrospective.

When Incarna hit a couple of years ago, it was met with near universal damnation. I have no desire to relive the drama in its entirety, but I want to actually look a bit further before that: At the driving narrative behind Incarna.

At some point, CCP had a vision of sorts for Incarna. Well, there was sort of multiple visions. I remember a few things.. a real time ambient occlusion demo, an animation of a guy falling ungracefully out of a pod, a little apartment in the station, a bar with pole dancers and this little hexagon-based board game..

Somewhere along the line within CCP, the question was raised of why a player would ever want to leave their ship. In a ship, they're immortal Gods. As a human, they're all soft and fleshy. So the idea was raised that perhaps the reason a ship is left is in order to "get things done"; That they don't want to do it, but they had to. Smuggling. Boosters. Implants. Off-the-books seedy transactions.

Of course, this ran into another issue: Players can do a lot of seedy things without ever leaving their ships. How do you deal with that, from a design standpoint? Stripping players of existing functionality and placing it exclusively behind a wall of avatar interaction would seem abrupt and abrasive. Probably because it would be abrupt and abrasive. There were quiet hints that perhaps new content would be developed for this. In the meantime, they plugged away at a prototype. A very pretty prototype of a man walking around a rusty Minmatar apartment.

Within all this, the question of alternative clothing and cash shops and whatnot probably came up. A changing industry trend which was seen as necessary to adapt to, whilst somewhat forgetting that Eve largely discarded industry trends in the first place.. but I'm getting a little off topic here. There's a lot of conjecture. I know nothing of CCP's internals. All I can give is an educated guess: That a well-meaning group of game developers lost their way.

Indeed, perhaps the reactions of the players was based on limited vision; Incarna appeared as a very lazy attempt to collectively **** us up the ass. In reality, I doubt it was anywhere near this malicious. It strikes me more as a sort of bumbling case of tunnel vision than the product of focused malice.

So where am I going with all this?

Somewhere along the line, CCP took a wrong turn in the development of Incarna. I'd like to suggest the exact point of that wrong turn: The question of why a player would leave their ship.

Let me propose a different question: Why do we spin our ships?

Because sometimes, we need downtime. Sometimes, we don't want to be madly flying in space and shooting or mining or hauling or whatever it is you personally choose to do. Sometimes you just want to relax and stare at your ship, mull over your skills, speak to your corp or do whatever else without pressing matters like looking over our shoulder at every turn. The answer to "Why would a player leave their pod?" is the same as the answer "Why do we spin our ships?"

We do it to unwind.

Which brings me back to Incarna. The design of the station interior felt like a desperate half-breed; There were interfaces attempting to be useful. The constant notion that your ship was there, waiting to be used. Information on the TV screen. Like they were trying to have an easing transition from the ship world into the human world. It was ugly, jarring, and most of all, unnecessary.

So here's the actual proposal:

Let Walking in Stations be a purely social affair.

For starters, separate it from the ship world. Lose the walkway. Lose the agent finder and the little holographic ship UI. Make the apartment a sealed-off box with little to no references to the ship world except maybe that you can look out your window and see it.

Eve lacks area-localized social hubs. Local chat barely counts, and you only occasionally run into people when sitting in an asteroid belt.

Abandon the idea that we leave our ships for business purposes, and look into the idea that we leave them for social purposes. There's a lot of potential here. Viewing balconies where we watch ships float by. Bars. Casinos. Maybe even things like little museums or libraries filled with chronicles. Recreational activities. Gambling in a bar. Watching pole dancers. Just sitting and talking with the local pilots who also want to relax for a bit. It might not be an incredibly used feature, but it would be an important one.

The fact is, I may be an immortal demigod, but I'm still human. From time to time, maybe I want to step out of my pod. Maybe I want to breathe the closest thing Eve has to fresh air. Maybe I want to watch the world with my own eyes, rather than hyper-realistic synthetic camera augmentations. Maybe I want to stretch my legs and see faces instead of ship hulls.

The transition between ship and pilot does not have to be gradual. You can leave the ship and its interfaces outside. It's still going to be there when we get back. If it sounds like I'm trying to sell Incarna as little more than a glorified chatroom, it's because I am. Because I think Eve needs that.

Oh, and make it first person. With occulus rift support. And technology that lets the game read my facial expressions with a webcam and deform my avatar's face based on them.
Alvatore DiMarco
Capricious Endeavours Ltd
#2 - 2013-06-16 22:56:44 UTC  |  Edited by: Alvatore DiMarco
This is probably the least-terrible WiS thread in F&I yet. In fact, I might even go so far as to call it good.

Anyway, CCP has come up with a "three pillar" model around which to design their MMOs, which they detailed during the World of Darkness keynote at Fanfest 2013. You can watch the keynote on their YouTube channel if you like.

The first pillar is "The Sandbox". This is where players interact with the world and with each other via game mechanics. For EVE, this is sov war, gatecamping, freighter ganking, mining permits and building outposts. Things like that.

The second pillar is "The Themepark". This is where players interact with NPCs. Agent missions, running anoms, belt ratting, exploration, incursions, things of that nature.

The third pillar is "The Coffee Shop". This is where players interact with each other in a more social setting, where game mechanics aren't necessarily involved. It's what they were more-or-less (originally) trying to do with WiS and it's something that they're building into WoD starting from the very beginning. Your proposal sounds very, very much like revitalizing the attempt to build a "Coffee Shop" into EVE.


With regards to "why would a pilot leave their pod and lose their immortality", all I can say is that the question was asked prior to DUST and prior to the discovery of an implant that allows for consciousness to be transferred even without being in a pod at all. It's something that could just as easily be "implemented" (as much as lore ever has to be implemented in a game) into the capsuleer segment and remove that annoying gap in our immortality.

Now as for when you can start to hope that CCP will talk about WiS again, I wouldn't plan on that before WoD is released. They're letting the WoD team do all the heavy lifting at the moment, working with the CARBON engine and finding ways to improve and optimize it. Maybe after WoD is released we'll finally get a patch for CQ that optimizes it better and lets my GTX 570 stop spinning up to 90% fan usage.

All in all though, +1 from me - although I rather like the walkway. Can we keep that?
Black Dranzer
#3 - 2013-06-16 22:59:26 UTC  |  Edited by: Black Dranzer
Alvatore DiMarco wrote:
All in all though, +1 from me - although I rather like the walkway. Can we keep that?

Hey, why not make it your own personal viewing balcony, and let players invite each other to each other's personal rooms and viewing areas?

You could invite female pilots to come and inspect your enormous Thorax and I'm sorry I had to make that joke.

Edit:

Oh man, now I've got this idea of a public viewing balcony that actually shows ships fly past when they dock or undock.
Ruze
Next Stage Initiative
#4 - 2013-06-16 23:51:40 UTC
Props to the op. I'm now going to flood this post with similar concept ideas that support CQ and WiS on a social level, without sacrificing the option for future functionality:

- First Person Viewpoint
- Observation deck to see space, possibly not even in real time (distances too vast for the unaided eye ... 1km is over half a mile away, in the middle of a starry sky).
- The ability to invite others on a one-by-one basis into our personal CQ.

I'm covering the usage of the screens in CQ.
- Any tasked 'window' that we open up in captains quarters needs to have an option to be assigned to one of the three screens in our room. This means that if I open up a conversation with an agent ... it needs to appear there. If I open the market, it should appear there. Through a simple radial option (hold left mouse) allow us to 'port' any window into the screens, or 'unport' any screens into a window.
- Allow normal windows to be more functionary in CQ. If I open the market, as an example, and allow it to take up all three screens, then display different data on each. On the main screen it displays our group list. On the left it displays market statistics for the items we're viewing. And on the right, it displays the full show info on the item we're highlighting.
- This can carry over to all task windows we normally open from the neocron. If I open dialogue with an Agent, put their face and identifying information on the left screen (name, division, location, standing), the conversation at hand on the center, and possibly some intel imagery on the right (known ships, factions, etc). If I'm doing industry, the side screens can reflect images of production lines turning on and statistics on market value of the item.

The idea is simple. Incorporate functionality that is already in the game, but do so in a manner that can make it more appealing to those focused on immersion.

As well, add a control panel with check-box indicators, allowing us to turn on/off individual screens in our room.

Important to add: Functionality for the hangar control panel by your ship (out in the hangar proper).
- Give us popup 'screens' while we're standing at the hangar that respond and react much as the screens in our CQ do. While we could effectively do all the same tasks from these screens, they disappear as soon as we take a step back from the control panel (and the ship hologram, as well), giving unfettered view of our ship.

I have suggestions for ship and inventory management in CQ.
- Increase the functionality of the ship hologram item in CQ. Add three 'buttons' along the base of the hologram that we can interact with. The first two are a left and right scroll button, which would allow us to cycle between ships in our ship hangar bay without opening a window to do so. As you cycle the ships, their 'name' and class pop up in holographic text for a few seconds above the ships. If you are at the hangar control panel, the 'real' ship floating in space would do a session change as well.
- The third button would be to open the ship hangar bay on one of the main screens. Keeping this immersion without throwing windows up. Right clicking the hologram would allow the default access to windows that we're used to.
- Switch the 'mouse over' options to radial options. Allow the 'left click and hold' radial menu to maintain immersion and use screens, and the right-click and sort menu to open new windows.
- When selecting the 'ship cargo bay' option and drone bay options, go straight to our inventory screen, not the 'active ship' screen. This could be in windowed form (if you right clicked) and screen form (if you used the radial options).
- Allow us to rotate our ships by grabbing the hologram.
- Turn off the hologram near the hangar bay until we approach it.

Some one-off suggestions:
- Agent Tablet: Give us the ability to scroll through agents in that station by adding little buttons to the tablet itself (or radial and right click options). Three buttons, left, right, agent finder. Could also incorporate EvE Mail into this tablet to allow us to read mail by pulling it up on one of the screens.
- Another customizable tablet near your bed would be awesome.
- A control panel that allows us to turn on/off screens, adjust the lights by color and intensity, control who can come in or is invited into your CQ (later functionality), etc.
- Sleeping: Allow us the option to lie down in our bed. Then pop up the log off or quit game options.
- Port Cam: Give us the ability to access a camera feed of outside the station's docking port, especially on one of the screens. This doesn't have to be enormously powerful like the overview. It could simply be a camera, showing a live feed of what's undocking and what's docking, but not going into detail on who is out there or who they belong to. Show the feed from one of the turrets or the doorway or from points on the outside of the station. And allow those in hangar to see this feed as well in a mini-window.

- Let us place small objects that cost aurum to get. Decorations only. I have in mind a golden Armageddon on the shelf by the wall. No effect on gameplay, merely for personal decoration.
- Let us watch the CCP live streams from in WIS. Probably a more difficult change, but would be a seriously enjoyable addition.
- Obviously, give us multiple 'formats' and layouts for each CC. Allow us, when we dock, to either keep the default CC for that race and station, or one of our modified CC's. I think a servant can setup a room for us, considering how much we're worth.
- Allow the addition of 'rooms' for further nefarious purposes, such as bedrooms, or trophy rooms, or something to meet in.

If you're driven to threaten others with harm or violence because of what they do in game, you can't separate fantasy from reality. That "griefer/thief" is probably more sane than you are. How screwed up is that?

Black Dranzer
#5 - 2013-06-17 00:00:32 UTC  |  Edited by: Black Dranzer
Ruze wrote:
clipped

I like first person, I like the port cam, I like the idea of inviting people over, and the idea of using the TV in the CQ as an actual TV (native synctube or livestream support please).

My main problem is that most of what you've suggested is relating to how we can cram the existing interface into CQ. Some of those ideas are good, to be sure, but the problem is that I feel that's what got us into this mess in the first place. What I'm proposing is not to better integrate gameplay and UI into WiS, it's to separate them as much as possible.

What I'd be more in favor of is pressing a key to have your character put his finger behind his ear to push a button which basically just gives you the standard neocom overlay and a mouse cursor.

I'm proposing not proposing integration, I'm proposing segregation.
Ruze
Next Stage Initiative
#6 - 2013-06-17 00:05:48 UTC
Black Dranzer wrote:
Ruze wrote:
clipped

I like first person, I like the port cam, I like the idea of inviting people over, and the idea of using the TV in the CQ as an actual TV (native synctube or livestream support please).

My main problem is that most of what you've suggested is relating to how we can cram the existing interface into CQ. Some of those ideas are good, to be sure, but the problem is that I feel that's what got us into this mess in the first place. What I'm proposing is not to better integrate gameplay and UI into WiS, it's to remove them as much as possible.

What I'd be more in favor of is pressing a key to have your character put his finger behind his ear to push a button which basically just gives you the standard neocom overlay and a mouse cursor.

I'm proposing not proposing integration, I'm proposing separation.


Fair. My argument for integration is to use existing art elements already available in CQ and stepping around the 'hologram in our eyes' that currently exists. I think we're working towards the same environment. I see tony stark throwing graphics from his phone onto the TV screens in Iron Man 2 as the way to go .. only without needing the phone and letting our implants do the rest.

But I'll also agree that the right step is to get away from trying to make CQ and WiS some type of essential-but-not-necessary addition to FiS. Make it a social environment, and we're golden. Let us socialize. How happy would many of us be to just get corporate offices that DO NOTHING SPECIAL but allow us to see each other?

As far as the fundamentals go ... that's lightyears ahead of where we are at. And it's just one room.

If you're driven to threaten others with harm or violence because of what they do in game, you can't separate fantasy from reality. That "griefer/thief" is probably more sane than you are. How screwed up is that?

Black Dranzer
#7 - 2013-06-17 00:13:26 UTC
I actually had a thought of, when in CQ, hiding the UI entirely. Like, it's just first person view. Holding a button brings up a radial menu or the neocom, and you've got a text chat for those who don't have eve voice (although I'd like to see voice synth before that, even). But beyond that, I'd really aim for a feeling of "here you are". CCP has an entire fictional justification for the third person camera when in your ship. They have justifications for sound when you're in a ship. Yet you step into CQ and it's a third-person affair with the neocom overlaid.

This is dumb.
Nike Andedare
Diamond Command
#8 - 2013-06-17 02:50:59 UTC  |  Edited by: Nike Andedare
Black Dranzer wrote:


I'm proposing not proposing integration, I'm proposing segregation.


I think you are close to what ambulation (WiS) should be... but really it needs to go one step further...

Be its own game!

Just like DUST 514, this could be another Free-to-Play model game that is all about the social experience and doing what you want. Have it as a social game where it is all about living and or working in New Eden in space stations; then we as Capsuleers and Mercenaries can enter from our "rooms" and walk around in station with them and all three games share the same social network. The best thing I can think of is Star Trek: Deep Space 9 meets Second Life.

The sky is the limit and I will leave the rest of the design and ideas to others but one thing I want to suggest, design a new station model for all trade hub stations of each region, and make sure they are bigger (much bigger) models than current stations. And have these as the starting station for new... regular humans?

Anyways, if people want to play this "EVE WiS Game" they will want to become part of the community, so let them have a chance to work in a corporation office, on a manufacturing line, research BPOs or invention tech. Maybe have it so that all the mini-games can be run from an app... oh the ideas!

And anything that is considered passive income, like say R&D agents or Planetary Interaction, that don't focus on "spaceships" can be moved into the realm and control of the New Eden Residents! Therefore becoming a key part of the economy! Contracts for Planetary Resources, Research, Production and more!!!

I better stop now.
Ruze
Next Stage Initiative
#9 - 2013-06-17 03:15:57 UTC
Nike ... why would the stations have to be bigger?

I mean ... how big do you feel they are currently?

If you're driven to threaten others with harm or violence because of what they do in game, you can't separate fantasy from reality. That "griefer/thief" is probably more sane than you are. How screwed up is that?

Nike Andedare
Diamond Command
#10 - 2013-06-17 03:43:14 UTC  |  Edited by: Nike Andedare
First off it was just a suggestion, I don't expect CCP to look at it like I do;

I like when things visually represent the importance and scale to the people using them, visual stimulation is the strongest and easiest to relate to, which is also why I believe a lot of the recent UI changes have been to more simplistic visual displays and not lists or tables (But list and tables do have purpose and function! I love them too! And so do a lot of other Capsuleers).

With that said, I feel none of the station models are to scale, which is fine. I just think about the amount of increased traffic and ships and cargo that is held in a regional trade hub over other stations... they deserve to have a trade hub model, that's all. Another way to look at it; Tokyo, New York, London, Los Angeles, Paris etc. are cities with unique looks and culture around them more than your average city.
FoxFire Ayderan
#11 - 2013-06-17 07:29:46 UTC  |  Edited by: FoxFire Ayderan
Great ideas here (particularly from the OP), although we should keep the CQ, it's really just a waiting room prior to launch where we can take care of some quick business. It's not really a proper living space. We still need to be able to obtain apartments or massive suites on station.

Nike, the stations in this game are massive. I flew my Tristan up to one of the tiny square windows of the Gallente station and the little square window was probably twice the size of my Tristan. That station is 40 km wide! I can only imagine that there is also a great deal of empty space inside them as well to accomodate ships, and the massive industrial facilities, but the population of the stations is probably in the 100's of thousands if not millions of people, with basically everyone and everything you would expect to find in a large city.

I've seen illustrations of looking out of massive windows in huge interior spaces as ships fly by. I'd love to see that realized in game. I'd also like to stroll around in those large landscaped terrariums that look directly out into space from massive windows overhead (you've seen them on some stations). In any case we need some green spaces to get away from the bleakness of our dreary inky-black space lives.

The idea of a secondary free-to-play game connected to EVE, that would be something similar to 2nd life (though far more restrictive), is interesting. If it became popular you could have millions playing that game, using microtransactions for that game alone, and the elite EVE capsulleers (fewer in number) connect to it when they dock and leave their ships.

The possibilities are endless.
Kirimeena D'Zbrkesbris
Republic Military Tax Avoiders
#12 - 2013-06-17 08:41:18 UTC
Quote:
The question of why a player would leave their ship.

Players do not actually leave their ships: image of CQ is projected into brains (same way sound is created in space for guns firing, ships exploding etc.) while capsuleer is still in capsule. You're not walking in your room, you're dreaming of it.

Opinions are like assholes. Everybody got one and everyone thinks everyone else's stinks.

FoxFire Ayderan
#13 - 2013-06-17 08:59:15 UTC
Kirimeena D'Zbrkesbris wrote:
Quote:
The question of why a player would leave their ship.

Players do not actually leave their ships: image of CQ is projected into brains (same way sound is created in space for guns firing, ships exploding etc.) while capsuleer is still in capsule. You're not walking in your room, you're dreaming of it.


Hadn't heard that one before.

I've decided that I don't even pilot from inside my pod most of the time.

Actually that was one of the concepts that turned me off of EVE many years ago. Even though it was just a concept, because I found this whole existing in a pod surrounded by pod goo so intellectually stupid and unappealing, AND it was actually part of the written lore, I was turned off of the game altogether. It's true. Even though it's just an idea and has no real gameplay ramifications.

But when I decided to give EVE another go, I had to ditch the whole idiotic (sorry CCP) pod goo idea, if I was to enjoy playing this game. The technology I use to pilot and interract with my ship, even outside of a pod and its 'goo', is far more advanced than what most capsuleers have available. No sorry I can't tell you where I obtained it, but if you're interested I could perhaps hook you up with the technology. Blink
Xeraphi
Perkone
Caldari State
#14 - 2013-06-18 06:35:09 UTC
You know what would be cool for Incarna? Corp Offices with a smaller private room and a big alliance room that any blue could walk in to if they're docked there.

Also, trade hubs should have public areas with entertainments that reflect the local culture of the hub - Jita would have all the sleazy stuff, Rens would have the biggest underground booster bar, Hek would be a bunch of small seedy dive bars, Amarr would have a Royal Heritage Museum and a few underground posh bdsm clubs, and Dodixie... a biiiiig dance hall with a few small brightly lit glittery cafes on top. I'm imagining one big room for local and several instanced small rooms you could invite a few friends to hang out in.

New target lock death animation problem #1 ^ eye strain and pain Temporary workaround found to one of these.

Stand4Incarna
#15 - 2013-06-20 00:59:33 UTC
Walking in Stations needs more attention from CCP.

Stand4Incarna

FoxFire Ayderan
#16 - 2013-06-20 01:12:34 UTC
Stand4Incarna wrote:
Walking in Stations needs more attention from CCP.



As does running in stations. Blink
Gorgoth24
Aliastra
Gallente Federation
#17 - 2013-06-20 06:51:23 UTC
I skimmed your post, tbh. Idea seems solid. We need bars in WiS, which shouldn't be much to ask for to let players congregate.

+1
Muad 'dib
The Nine Nine
#18 - 2013-06-20 10:02:38 UTC
Black Dranzer wrote:


Disclaimer: Flying in Space should always take development priority. This idea rests on the understanding that Walking in Stations is, to some extent, inevitable,



Its not inevitable jim,
Its a spaceship sim

Cosmic signature detected. . . . http://i.imgur.com/Z7NfIS6.jpg I got 99 likes, and this post aint one.

Malcanis
Vanishing Point.
The Initiative.
#19 - 2013-06-20 10:03:57 UTC
At this stage I think Incarna is better off being viewed as an opporrtunity to create a seperate game in the EVE universe rather than an expansion of EVE itself.

"Just remember later that I warned against any change to jump ranges or fatigue. You earned whats coming."

Grath Telkin, 11.10.2016

Malcanis
Vanishing Point.
The Initiative.
#20 - 2013-06-20 10:04:28 UTC
Actually I've thought that for the last 3 or 4 years, so not a surprise, I guess.

"Just remember later that I warned against any change to jump ranges or fatigue. You earned whats coming."

Grath Telkin, 11.10.2016

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