Sunday, May 29, 2011

New Eve Online Incarna test on Duality

Duality, the still new test environment for Eve Online, is once again open for a new round of testing, and, as before, we get to try the new Incarna feature 'Captain's Quarters'. Yesterday I spent some time on it, and while I am happy to finally see more of Walking in Stations Ambulation Incarna, it doesn't look like it's finished yet.

On the first login, my avatar was awkwardly positioned with his arms wide. Walking didn't work, he more or les slid over the floor. Logging off and on fixed this!

The second session proved to be better, as my avatar worked as expected. As I walked towards the bridge, I noticed an issue with camera movement. Usually, in other virtual worlds, the camera moves with you (the avatar), meaning that if you turn to walk in a different direction, the camera point of view also automatically moves. The camera is, at all times, automatically looking in the direction where you (the avatar) is moving or facing. That doesn't currently happen on Duality! This makes walking a bit awkward, until you manually switch the camera point of view again. I wonder if this will be fixed when Incarna goes live.

Visually, the whole environment looked distinctively grainy. It was like watching an old color tv, at times! An other tester advised me to set the graphics setting for the interior environment to 'low', and this indeed fixed it. With the grainyness out of the way, I have to say the captain's quarters themselves looked better than the previous test run. There was more light, and more little details that made it look like someone was really living there: random stuff strewn here and there in the room. And, compared to the previous Duality test, the ship sizes in the hangar have been adjusted. Even a frigate is now a real presence in the ship hangar.

Eve Online: Incarna - the ship...

Very nice: the holograpic menus which appear when you click on the holographic ship models. We've seen similar menus in CCP trailers for quite some time; good to finally see them playable on Duality:

Eve Online Incarna: new menus

One of the other things I noticed, is that the Duality client is quite the memory hog. I am using an ATI HD Radeon 3800 series GPU on a Windows 7 machine with 2 GB RAM, and the Duality client maxed out at 995 MB RAM.. mainly because I simply didn't have more RAM available. Other testers reported seeing memory usage of up to 2 GB. I know very well that the current Duality release is not optimized yet - as CCP has repeatedly stated - but if they want to release this on June 21st, they have a lot of optimizing to do in this regard.

Finally, there's still some work to do on the avatar themselves. Especially in the neck and face, sometimes the textures show. It may have to do with a memory shortage though.

There's real progress visible on Duality today, but CCP still has a lot of work to do. Incarna should be released on June 21, which is in about three weeks.. My guess is some CCP devs will be burning the midnight oil before then!

All snapshots of this second Duality tests can be found on my Koinup page.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Eve Online Agents: now with 25% less annoyance!

..and why this is actually a bad thing, in my opinion.

For the most part of my Eve 'career' (2008-2010 actually) I have been a highsec mission runner. I didn't like mining or courier stuff, nullsec was impenetrable (or so I thought) so I remained in highsec, gradually working my way up the agent standings ladder, shooting Serpentis and such. Every now and then, I'd run out of suitable missions, as my favorite Gallente agents provided me with missions against Caldari or Amarr which I rejected in order to keep a positive enough standing with them, or mining missions which I rejected on principle.

In some ways, this was a good thing. Not having a 'Damsel in distress' to run, forced me out of my comfort zone into trying new stuff such as exploration, trading, or joining corp mates for more difficult missions or complexes. New Eden is a harsh and often unpredictable, volatile universe; suck it up and try something else!

Now that agent divisions will be removed, however, pilots such as myself around 2009 can remain safely and snugly within their comfort zone, running the same missions over and over again without surprises. And reading from the earlier devblog on the subject, I gather that the payouts may even become slightly higher as well, so permanently cuddling up to that special agent of yours is looking more and more attractive. So - more predictability and less surprises, less incentive to change and evolve, and higher rewards.

In the short term, this may look like a positive development for the PVE pilots, but with one incentive to change your habits every now and then removed from the game, boredom might become a real issue, real fast.

Where I live in nullsec, there's no Sanctums, after the last nerf. We're still doing ok, but there's a real loss of income for some. And highsec just became a much more predictable, with stable sources of income guaranteed.. To be honest, I'm not sure what CCP is trying to accomplish here.

Thursday, May 12, 2011


It's been a while since I mentioned my whereabouts here. After leaving Saints amongst Sinners alliance, NOFAD went searching for a new place to stay. Highsec is fine as a temporary residence, but nullsec is where we want to be! It took us a while and we contemplated several options and offers, before we applied for membership of LEGIO: the Legio Astartes Arcanum alliance, which is part of the -A- environment.

NOFAD has never been much of a politically aligned corporation, although it seems most members are no big fans of the NC or DC. In Querious we belonged to the IT bloc, and here in Catch we are part of the -A- ecosystem - we don't really mind. The weird coincidence is, that our old stomping grounds in Querious - B-7DFU and surroundings to which we lost access when IT fell apart - are now again blue to us!

Life in Catch is different from Querious, but we're having fun and are happy to be out of highsec again!