Inside with Incarna

I couldn’t resist.  New stuff in the Incarna expansion made me want to peek back into EVE Online.

Incarna - June 2011

Incarna looking at you…

The patching took a while, so I haven’t had much time to poke around, but I did get a view of one new feature, the captain’s quarters

Gone are the hanger views of your current ship.

No more ship view…

Instead, when you log in, you are in your new quarters.

Your new home

You can move around, but the controls are… wrong… in my opinion.

They use WASD to move, but they keys are for absolute direction, not relative.  So A doesn’t turn to you or make you strafe right, but turns your body and moves you West, while W moves you North, and so on.

Not a totally outlandish idea.  If I recall my short time there, it is the way that you move around in Dream of Mirrors Online.

Coming from an EQ/WoW/FPS background it felt awkward in DOMO and it feels awkward in EVE.  And while you don’t have to move around a lot, you do have to walk a bit when you return to your station and dock.

When that happens, you get placed at the far end of a walkway and must walk to your quarters.

I just got these legs, I don’t want to wear them out

Not a long walk, but you have to do it.  You can see my quarters through the hatch.

In your quarters you get access to the same things that used to have buttons on the side bar, hanger, drones, storage, and the like.

Access to controls

Then there is that big screen TV flashing stuff at you.  A little more useful than the CONCORD billboard you see at every gate, but not hugely relevant.

And so there you are in your room, a little hologram of your currently select ship in front of you, standing there, wondering what the big deal is.

Well, I am out of that damn pod at least!

I redid my avatar… tried to make him a little more Michael Westen-ish.

I guess the new quarters are cool.

I am not sure it adds much to the game yet.  And, like any change to a user interface, it feels awkward and less functional when you first start using it.  We shall see if it grows on people as time goes on.

And this will lead to walking on stations and seeing other people some day.

And /dance emotes… I bet we get those as well.  You just wait.

Addendum:

Per Soliloquy’s comment below, I did managed to sit down.  You seem to have to get yourself and the camera in the right position to get that option.

Sit or Stand, your option

However, once seated, the camera pulls in too close to see much unless you rotate it around to look at the back of your head.

What is on Space TV today?

I cannot seem to get a decent screen shot of my character sitting.  I can get his whole body in if I move the camera practically up to the roof, but to look into his face, the camera positions itself so you can only see him from the waist up with about 2/3 of the screen showing stuff behind and above his head.

You can also see your pod.  I did not turn around when I docked, it was right there behind me.

<make Pod Bay Door joke>

And you can see your ship docked as well.

Behold the mighty Sushi Boat!

The ship rotates very slowly.  I would guess it rotates about 1/10 the speed of the wireframe model you see as well.  So waiting for a profile screenshot can take a bit.

And you cannot scroll the camera into first person view, so any screenshot would include you as well.

(And there is Stargrace in her quarters staring at her Domi.)

17 thoughts on “Inside with Incarna

  1. Telke

    Absolute direction is the standard in every FPS; I play MMOs with it as well, rebinding a/d to move left/right as soon as I can, turning solely with the mouse.

    It’s probably much like inverted or non-inverted mouse controls, dependent on how it feels to each person.

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  2. Telke

    I can’t believe I accidentally hit reply after talking about mouse control :|

    Isn’t there a balcony or something, where you can look out and see your ship?
    Quite impressed with the quality of that interior though, I’m feeling a slight urge to resub and take a look as well.

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  3. Galaji

    I’m seeing a few problems.
    1. I can’t run. All I can do is slowly saunter around. Am I suffering from muscle atrophy from being in a pod so long? Are they going to sell us one of those fat people chairs from the Wall-E movie so we can get around at a decent speed?

    2. You can’t steer with the mouse. The change in camera angle only takes affect AFTER you release the movement key and press it again.

    3. I can’t seem to get my camera back far enough to feel comfortable with it. I feel cramped.

    In the end I just disabled the station and now stare at a bland non-animated background. Why couldn’t they have left in the option to keep our station view the same as its been for years? *sigh*

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  4. Anonymous

    It did just what I feared–merely added a couple layers of further movement (read button mashing) in order to do what took a mouse click or two before. EVE is pretty heavy in this regard already, and now it takes much longer to do what you need in station for the “ambience” I guess.

    The balcony view is pretty cool–the first time. Your pod is all opened up below you and your ship floats above. Neat effect, but I get the feeling I’d rather be in it still and click the buttons to the right to do the station chores.

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  5. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Telke – You do not understand what I mean by absolute direction if you say it is standard in every FPS. For me, in every FPS, the W key moves me forward, it does not turn me to move north. Unless FPS games have changed a lot since I played them, they keys are always relative to your orientation.

    It feels like avatar motion by people who haven’t done avatar motion before. Or by the same people who felt that the scroll wheel should work the opposite from every other application I own.

    I hope somebody else is designing the Dust 514 interface.

    @Soliloquy – Managed to sit down, but where you have to stand and mouse to get that option seems kind of finicky

    @Galaji – No running in stations! And yes, getting the camera to pull back to a point to where I could take a decent screen shot was a challenge.

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  6. Orkanen

    The walking around UI doesn’t seem all that intrusive. The neocon and the station services windows are still there, so you can always use those to do whatever you want. All that’s happened is that station spinning is now replaced with station pacing. And you can walk around the same way you fly around under manual control: Double-click, and your avatar will go there.

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  7. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Orkanen – I don’t know if “intrusive” was my biggest worry, though they did take the part of the game that put the highest stress on my system, the hanger, and replaced it with something that takes even more resources. Not that it is a big deal for me, my current system has horsepower to spare, but for some people it will sting.

    But the “bang for the buck” measurement requires more than it simply not be worse than before. A lot of work went into the captain’s quarters and avatars. And while it may lead to something cool in a future expansion, what we got in Incarna is somewhat underwhelming. You start to wonder if there wasn’t something else they could have spent time on that would have had a more positive impact on the game.

    I did not try click to move, but that is also the other way you move around in DOMO, along with the absolute directional keys. Heh, now I am worried that they are copying Asian MMOs for avatar movement.

    So I get that it is an investment for the future, it just doesn’t deliver much today in my opinion.

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  8. Kodoru

    “copying Asian MMOs for avatar movement”… they have a China lab, right? Perhaps it was that group that wrote this horrible walking control system, I kept turning incorrectly while trying to walk around. I agree, it’s like they’ve never played any other WASD control game (that I’ve played at least).

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  9. Telke

    @Wilhelm – oh, I see. goodness, that is a strange control scheme.

    @Kodoru – yeah, CCP Shanghai is doing Dust 514.

    I wonder if CCP ever saw the presentation from Bioware about how the studio did a huge amount of research on control schemes, what makes a game feel smooth and so on, between Mass Effect 1 and 2. It’s quite a good piece:

    http://prezi.com/6xe1ucvy8egf/where-did-my-inventory-go/

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  10. pockie

    That is the standard control scheme for a lot of Asian / Japanese games. E.g. Parasite Eve on the PS used this method too. It’s a bit jarring if it’s the first time you’ve experienced it, but it’s already been pointed out that you can left-click to move which is a lot easier :)

    Unfortunately the new fancy schmancy station interior seems to increase performance requirements dramatically, especially if you run multiple clients on the same (lower-end) machine. I used to be able to run both accounts with no lag, but with Incarna I freeze for more than 5 minutes when I first load into the station with both clients. In the end I decided that there was no new functionality and I disabled the station interiors, and now I’m stuck looking at a brown wall in the station instead of my beautiful ships…

    The one good thing that I love in Incarna though that I think you forgot to mention… the Agent Finder! Maybe people will finally stop coming to your blog through searches on how to find an agent in EVE.

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  11. Aufero

    I’m a bit puzzled by this post. The WASD keys aren’t absolute direction for me when moving around in captain’s quarters – they’re relative to the direction the camera is facing. (Left click and hold to move the camera.) I assumed this was the default option, since it worked that way the first time I tried it. Maybe you’ve got something set differently in the escape menu?

    (@Galaji – if you hold down W while moving the mouse, you’ll steer in the direction the camera moves. If you just tap W, you get the behavior you describe.)

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  12. Spam Just To Confuse Things

    Another easier way to say it is applying your leg to get the horse to move laterally away from your leg pressure……………So even though you are moving forward you are adjusting the horse laterally at the same time. Not to mention getting a better balanced frame on your horse while moving around the field…………….Frame is referencing your horses positioning.

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  13. Soliloquy

    @Wilhelm – agreed, the window for the sit/stand option to appear is ‘incredibly’ small…

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  14. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Aufero – You are correct, movement is not absolute, but relative to the camera rather than your avatar. But since the camera does not move without you getting on the mouse to move it around, it seems like an equally awkward/bizarre state of affairs for an avatar movement paradigm.

    I remain puzzled that somebody thinks, “Yes, this is the way to handle movement controls!”

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  15. Aufero

    No disagreement about it being awkward – It took me several minutes to figure out how to move around without bumping into the walls. Everyone in the corp channel was making jokes about training new skills for leg movement and personal agility.

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