Tuesday, April 28, 2009


Okay… another Eve post. About 2 weeks ago Eve released an update called “Apocrypha” which introduced many new game elements. The most exciting of these was the creation of wormholes. These holes potentially link any system to any other system with an uncontrolled 0.0 system in the middle. The concept is development brilliance. CCP can basically change the game rules inside a wormhole system to experiment with new game elements—more on this later. They also re-vamped Exploring (scan probes) to help find these wormholes. Lastly they introduce a new ship type called a “Strategic Cruiser” based on the lost technology now uncovered in the wormholes. Can you see the theme?

The wormhole systems are populated by new bad guys called Sleepers. The systems themselves are considered null security (no rules PvP), but they lack a Local channel. In Eve all “civilized” systems have a Local chat channel that you are forced to join that lets you chat with everyone in that system. PvP junkies complain that being forced in to Local gives away too much info to other pilots in the system. From the Local channel you can see who is in the system and check each pilot’s history and bio. While this gives no information about the ship the pilot may be flying or the location of said pilot, it does tell you when that pilot was created and what security status they are, and their work history. Since raw pilot potential is a function of time spent training skills, older pilots have more potential to be experienced and deadly. Security status tells you if they’ve been a bad boy. Killing other pilots drops your sec status and generally indicates you are a pirate. So the wormhole allows CCP to see what happens when you take local away. Now it used to be that scanning down a ship was very difficult, but read on…

Scan probes have been completely redone. It used to take a base of 10 minutes to deploy a probe to scan a system. So once you saw a bad guy in Local you knew you had a few minutes to hide, dock, or run. In addition, scanning was hard to do and only light combat ships could do it. But that’s all changed. Now any ship can effectively fit a Core Scanner. This won’t scan down a ship, but it will quickly scan down “cosmic anomalies”. These are what the game calls all the special hidden sights in a system and they are typically where you want to be if you are a non-PvP pilot. These spots will be hidden complexes, archaeology sites, or hidden asteroid belts. They are all places to find a profit. Now any ship and pilot can scan these down in seconds. If you happen to be there, you’re easy pickings. The new scan probes have a scan radius of 32 AU… far exceeding what your normal ship scanner can detect. In short, a bad guy can drop on you inside a cosmic anomaly at any time and you’ll have no warning (in a wormhole). This is less than ideal…

Lastly the bit I now the least about—Strategic Cruisers. Why don’t I know about them? Well, anything new in Eve hits the market at ridiculous prices. These cruisers are selling for about a billion ISK. The special feature of the ship is that they are modular with each containing 4 components. These each modify the appearance of the ship. Each race has its own model, thus we have 16 visual combinations per race. This is completely new flexibility for Eve which already has about 100 ships types. Other ships, however, are static in appearance—some ships are “copies” of other hulls with slightly different colour schemes. The new Strategic Cruisers are thus fairly exciting. But until they get cheaper, I won’t see many of them…

Monday, April 6, 2009

Armageddon Expo

Armageddon Expo was pretty cool. I got ample time to really check out all the booths several times and then make some strategic purchases. This was good for me as I often get to these things and either buy too much or nothing. I walked away with just two comic book volumes—Watchmen and Transmetropolitan.

Watchmen was an obvious pick as it was cheaper (only $40 NZD) than any where else I had found it. Transmetropolitan was an impulse pick as it dealt with advanced digital living and a very cyberpunk vibe. I’ve been looking for additional cyberpunk inspiration to help me write more on a 60k word project I stopped around Christmas. It was fun and I’m glad I picked it up, but no writing has occurred yet.

The Expo was very crowded. It was pretty much always elbow-to-elbow. I really do not like crowds like that. Many of the stalls were hard to even browse for the constant throng of folks in front of them. Many vendors didn’t mark their goods with prices and having to push up to the front and then shout over the crowd noise didn’t make the event more appealing.

I did walk away from some cool buys. I really wanted Ghost in the Shell 2nd Gig, but even at the bargain price of $95 NZD, I just couldn’t justify spending the money on DVD’s. I also passed over some cool tshirts with beat meter LED’s built in to them. I was particularly fond of the version that had Wi-Fi detection. But these were $50 each. Again… I limited my self to just the two purchases.

I like these types of events in Wellington, but I must say, I wish they’d pick a larger venue or organise the layouts better to have more room for the crowds.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Day of Darkness II

A fantastic video... part of the player driven story of Eve that keeps me watching. Watch this video in High Def. The parts with ships in space are "in game" shots with the ship interface hidden.

Minor Facelift

I'm experimenting with blog themes and customization. This seems to be a key area of "differentiation" for blog sites. The end results are your blog chunks on a web site, but the tools you use to get them there are vastly different.

I am using 3 blog sites at the moment. Multiply has almost no layout editing tools, but does use CSS. If you were a web-coder, you could do about anything with this. I am not (yet). Blogspot has easy to use tools that offer quite a bit of flexibility, but there are still limits. Blog spot also lets you edit the code directly. Finally, I'm using Wordpress to capture my writing on a private blog. Wordpress has a huge selection of options. They range from ultra cool to rather puzzling. But it is easy to see that Wordpress has put the most effort in to user tools.

I don't know how you'd qualify which is best. It depends on how much you want to do.

Anyways... I've changed the look. Hope you like it.

Game On!