Monday, November 14, 2011

Dreams of Control (BB 30)

"With the Winter expansion possibly being named 'Crucible', it certainly is a melting pot of refinements and tweaks aimed at making the EVE experience smoother and more wholesome. If the developers suddenly found themselves some spare resources and approached you for an additional feature to include before release, what single concept would you pitch them and how would you implement it?

For bonus points, the one thing lacking from this "patchwork" of iterations is a cohesive storyline to package "The Crucible" together. How could this expansion be marketed to potential new customers?"

Entry: six hundred seventy-three, supplemental one.

"Computer: playback dream capture."

Computer: "Playback, dream eleven thirteen twenty eleven, proceeding."


I found myself in a modified version of the standard capsuleer pod. It had been enlarged on the interior, for starters, and the inside had been completely redone. Instead of the normal version where I'd be interacting with a ship via neural communications, where my hands would drop out there were two stick-like protrusions.

Blood Raider Engineer: "...will allow you to act more intimately with your vessel, giving you better control over your vector."
Me: "What were these called again?" I asked, nodding at my right hand while moving both hands experimentally in the grips.
Blood Raider Engineer: "Joysticks. They allow for more a more tactile sense of your movement as opposed to the standard interface, thus greater freedom of movement, allowing you to complete maneuvers not loaded into the standard code base, such as barrel rolls, spiral dives, flat spins, etcetera."

I cast a questioning glance at him, peering over the top rim of my shades at him with a raised eyebrow.

Me: "Perhaps we should find out."


Blood Raider Engineer: "Welcome back. Did the interface live up to your expectations?"
Me: "Yes and no. I was unused to the first person locked ahead view as opposed to the normal omniscient view of my vessel and surrounding grid. It was both exciting and frustrating, especially with the guns being locked to my camera view. Shooting while piloting in this fashion was somewhat strange, but I think I could come to love it."
Blood Raider Engineer: "Your praise is most gracious."
Me: "Would it be possible to acquire vessels with this new interface?"
Blood Raider Engineer: "Not yet. However, when they do become available, they'll only be available to members of The Blood Raider Covenant, as this is what one would call 'top secret software'. Any vessels not piloted by a member of the Covenant will result in automatic self destruction.

I left the modified pod and walked towards my guest quarters, pondering the possibilities.

As the ritual hall in 1DH-SX III - Moon 1 emptied out, I stood up from my lounging position against the way near the hall entrance. I watched as the sect members departed to their various sections of the station. The history behind each of the sects intrigued me, but it wasn't something I was about to ponder right then as I had a meeting with a Bishop of the Covenant.

When the doors began to shut to the hall, I kept one door open while I made my way towards the back, where the offices were.

I entered the office of the Bishop I was planning to meet and shut the door behind me, pricking my finger in the ritual offering of blood in true Blood Raider custom whenever entering another's domain. My fingertips were developing some serious scar tissue in just the few days since I'd last been killed.

Bishop: "What can I help you with, Capsuleer?"
Me: "I wanted to speak with you about joining the Covenant, Bishop.

I pulled a up seat on the other side of his desk, artistically crafted to resemble a blood letting altar. The Blood Raiders took their religous beliefs to a whole new level of serious compared to every other faction in the galaxy, of that there was no doubt.

He cast a look at me, serious and contemplative, but clearly there was some influence to be gained upon my recruitment judging by the hard calculation within his eyes. I could practically see the futures unfold as he played out the scenarios suddenly put before him.

Bishop: "Have you taken the lifeblood of an enemy in a Blood Raider death ritual?"

I thought back to my first day at this station, where I'd sacrificed a True Sansha recruiter and ended up drinking every ounce of his blood, leaving only a dry husk behind, quite literally. 

Me: "Yes, I have." 

I retold my relocation from LGK- to 1DH-, and after he verified my story with the priests that had been present before I began the ritual, he looked back to me, naked greed and glee in in his eyes.

Bishop: "Welcome to the fold, Brother."

There was a curious contraption being attached to the station in 1DH-. "What is that?" I asked a nearby Blood Raider, apparently supervising the operation.
"Have you not heard, Brother?" he asked. Apparently members of the Covenant were known via proximity, as he hadn't so much as looked in my direction while his fingers flew over a control screen on the window before him overlooking the scene.

"No, Brother, I haven't. I'm only recently entered into the fold."

"I see. Well, keep this information within the Covenant then, as we have no plans of letting this technology slip out among the capsuleers basing in and around our space." A new screen flittered to life before him, detailed drawing plans and demonstration videos in progress.

"This device that we're attaching to the station is a wormhole generator. Recently, W-Space has become nearly inaccessible throughout the known galaxy, and contact has been lost entirely with capsuleers known to make their living in W-Space. Since W-Space is no longer accessible by probing, a new method must be invoked." A video played showing the rapid decline in registered wormhole spawns across the galaxy across the past few months until spawning ceased entirely. The last wormhole spawn was noted as two weeks prior to the current date. "Essentially, we plan to use this device to open a connection to W-Space."

"Is there a reason it's so large though?" I asked.

"We're planning to push the station through into W-Space," he replied. The idea blew my mind. I'd heard that the Sansha had staged in W-Space, taking over ancient structures as their base, but moving current starbases into W-Space, that was something else entirely.

"We'll send in one station at a time, dropping automated relay beacons back in the systems the stations came from. These beacons will relay the locus signatures to the other stations, which can then go through and repeat the process. As each station goes through, those stations, starting with the second will open a portal to the previous locus, and a joint effort between stations will construct a device within the portals to keep them open once the generators have spawned wormholes. When the last station enters W-Space, the W-Space network will be complete."

"But, how will we return to known space?" I asked.

"We already know the locus signatures of our systems in known space, so we can easily use the first station to create a bridge to any of these systems," he replied.

"Would it be possible for a group of smaller ships, or even a POS to generate a wormhole?" I asked, still intrigued at the possibilities.

"Perhaps for a dedicated capsuleer ship, and most assuredly for a POS."

"That's extremely intriguing, Brother," I said. I was having a hard time seeing him just stand in front of me because the possibilities were running through my mind so vividly.

Computer: "Playback, dream eleven thirteen twenty eleven, complete.
"Computer: terminate recording."

(For those who missed it: joystick controls for dogfighting, the ability to join a pirate corp, the end of random wormholes spawning and the start of players generating their own wormholes)

List of other Blog Banters:
CCP Ninveah - Ship Transport, D-Scan Improvements, Exploration Ships
CCP Madhatter - Stalemate Unleashed
CCP FakeDevBlogger - Faction Warfare Redesign
CCP Truen1ght - Joystick Control, Pirate Factions, Wormhole Changes
CCP Cozmik - Global Criminal Countdown Changes
CCP NinjaHoneyBee - EMP Blasts, New Rigs
CCP BadStudent - Market-Linked Navigational Tools
CCP Haberdasher - War Dec' Changes, Hi-Sec PvP
CCP Ranter - Launcher and Turret Animation, PI Improvements, Motherships
CCP Anomaly - Incursion Interations


  1. The reason they do not use joystick controls for EVE is due to the server queuing up client events and responding to them at 1-second intervals. You would not get the real-time flight control feel you might want. There would be much rubberbanding.

  2. Bah, screw the technical details. I want it now. Perhaps the "rubberbanding" could be softened by making the 1st-person control a realistic physics-based system (see Frontier: Elite II). Although that'd bring its own set of problems.

    Also, I'm loving the Blood Raider Wormhole Pioneer packaging.

  3. Even if there is rubberbanding (I'm not real sure what the term means), the controls would be no worse off than they are now. Worst case, you still have to pilot ten seconds in the future as you do now to pilot effectively. It'd sure feel a hell of a lot more awesome having a cockpit view and using double joysticks to pilot though. Clamp some wireless joysticks to your captain's chair at your desk while locked into a cockpit view, now there's some immersion for you. Pretty soon you'll start wiring up your computer room to resemble a pod...oh, maybe this is going too far...

  4. Rubberbanding happens when the client thinks your character/spaceship is in one location, while the server has your character/spaceship in another location. The server informs the client, the client updates, and you appear to jump to another nearby lcoation.

    You can see this happening sometimes in EVE when you approach gates. It will look like you're almost on top of the gate, then the client will update with new info from the server, and suddenly you're reapproaching the gate again.

    I made the comment with respect to joysticks, because the client may update your joystick piloting in real-time, whereas the server would do it at 1-second intervals ... thus the client and server positions would often be out of sync.

  5. Ok, I get your drift now. Yeah that would make sense. Joysticks would send a continous stream of signals that the discrete server implementation couldn't handle. So basically we'd need at least a dedicated server for handling joystick events, but it'd probably be too far gone to handle in EvE. I bet it'd be possible in DUST though since that server would have to handle continuous events.