Thursday, June 23, 2011

Incarna: full body avatars in Eve Online

On June 21st, CCP released their next expansion called 'Incarna', which - after talking about it for years - allows New Eden's pod pilots to get out of their ships and stretch their legs. Full body avatars in New Eden, finally! Of course I took my women out for a walk:

 Eve Online: Incarna 1.0

Eve Online: Incarna 1.0

Eve Online: Incarna 1.0

To be honest, I also have snapshots of my male characters, but the women just look better! More pictures available here on Koinup.

Functionally, Incarna is quite limited at the moment; there's not much to do in your captain's quarters, besides watching the news and accessing some ship functionality. But as a first step towards a full blown virtual universe - with avatars living and fighting in space ships and stations, but also on planets - it is a very important release nonetheless.

In the hangar, ships are still spinning! Obviously it isn't the same as the old 'ship spinning' that capsuleers used to do, but for me this is sufficient: you can stand on the bridge of the captain's quarter and see your ship from all sides. 

Improvements to Incarna could be made, of course, and I expect they will. Camera movement, although praised by Kirith Kodachi, is counter intuitive to me: I want the camera to turn with the avatar. As a human, you also tend to look in the direction you walk, and's weird that this does not happen in Incarna. The lighting is still missing a bit: it's too dark in my quarters, to my taste. But, I have to admit the dark atmosphere does fit - visually and mood wise - in Eve Online. Finally, CCP succeeded in delivering a vastly better tuned Captains' Quarters when compared with the previous test version on Duality: this one is actually playable on my laptop. But I suspect more improvement in this area is still needed: the performance is not what it should be, yet.

I am happy with this first step, and I look forward to the coming Incarna releases which will hopefully fix some issues but also expand the number of accesible spaces. I still want to visit that seedy space bar!

Oh - before I forget.. I am aware that there's a lot of controversy between CCP and a part of their customer base, surrounding this release. Some pilots just hate Incarna on principle; others are angry because of the way microtransactions are currently implemented (too expensive); others are raging mad about stuff said in a PDF that may or may not have come from CCP.  For now, even though some of the microtransaction stuff worries me - no game changing mt please! - I'm not going to wade into that lynch mob until I have heard from CCP themselves.

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