Kicking ass and making games.

The Goings On, February 1st

As usual, I haven’t had a ton of time to play lately, however I do have my HDD situation resolved, a fresh (clean!) install of Windows, and a new 32″ monitor setup.

Despite not actually playing anything lately, I have found a wealth of time to invest in Eve. In-game this has mostly been training up my new toon, my first Caldari pilot, to competently fly frigates, run some simple AFK mining, some low-level missioning for SoE, and dabble in an aspect of the game I’ve never really looked at before: Manufacturing.


Let’s take a small step back first. When I started this character I didn’t have any real plan, other than I thought it might be fun to try some ships that were mostly ignored by me in the past, and I had wanted to see how the updated new user experience fared since my last venture as a noob pilot. Turns out, CCP’s done quite well and their efforts here should be applauded. Is it perfect? Absolutely not. Are there some major improvements still to be done? You bet. But the tutorials are focused, relatively clear, provide some decent rewards, and invite the player into the game by sprinkling the various styles of play and profession options it has to offer across a series of mostly-fun missions. It’s a big leap from my experience back in 2010-ish, and a far cry from what I was presented with when I had created my first character back in 2003.

As a game developer and designer primarily working in the kids market I spend a great deal of time thinking about, discussing, implementing, and iterating on tutorials for a group of players that range from no hand-eye coordination, nor ability to read, to the expert player that tops the kill board with my deaths in Call of Duty while spamming the voice comms with high-pitched smack talk. And this range of player is regularly encountered within just one game’s target audience. This has taught me a good deal about studying how players approach their games, how to streamline the learning process so that it remains fun without its tutorials creating even more of a barrier to entry, and allowing for individualization of the experience that can be catered to each player’s needs.

In Eve the career agents, which allow players to run through a series of missions relevant to a particular gameplay focus available within the game, do just this. At least from a high-level standpoint. Before making the choice of career agent (or, if you are wise like me, all career agents) players are introduced to core mechanics through a series of basic tutorials presented as both missions and as multi-page popups. Some of the popups are accompanied by Aura voice over, which is a nice touch. It’s a shame there isn’t more of that. The UI callouts — hovering arrows and text labels guiding players through the requested interactions — are probably the weakest point of the tutorials as they currently stand. It’s a good idea, but the look doesn’t really match the rest of the game and the fact that they are often misaligned and generally see inconsistent usage quickly becomes a source of frustration. Let’s face it, Eve is a UI-heavy game, a game that can be played solely through the UI, and a game that allows some level of UI customization for each player. If the player can’t really figure out the UI they will rapidly become lost and disinterested. If the player becomes disinterested their trial account never advances to a full account. When that happens we lose valuable space comrades, and CCP loses valuable cash.

One day I’d really like to sit down and design out my own set of tutorials for the game in hopes that more players advance past the initial learning curve/wall and discover the enjoyment that Eve has to offer. But until then, I hear Rubicon 1.1 introduces further improvements to the tutorials, so I may just have to create another new toon soon to see what’s changed.

Eve Online

So… back to manufacturing. If it weren’t for the career agent tutorial I never would have realized that the process of creating my own items, or items that I can turn around and sell on the market (hopefully at a profit), could be so easy. And now that my mining alt’s corp is finally out of its war I’ll be looking to spend some time feeding minerals towards my manufacturing opportunities. On the other hand, I’m thinking perhaps I’ll join Brave Newbies, where I can continue my flight training, manufacturing, and mining… only this time it will be outside of my high-sec safety net, and hopefully alongside a friendly group of fellow players.


In other news…

Sometime in the past week or so I took two hours to run through the first of Alan Wake’s DLC, The Signal. I’ve already played through all of the game and DLC, twice, on 360, but am enjoying revisiting what is one of my all-time favorite games on PC, with the improved graphics and immersion. Until this go around I had forgotten how much tougher The Signal was compared to the main campaign.

Encounter with Thomas Zane.

Encounter with Thomas Zane.

Also, I’ve finally started Batman: Arkham Origins. Though I’ve only played the introduction, up through the point of defeating Killer Croc (spoiler alert!) I’ve found the adjustments in art style to provide a feel that’s closer to the comics, even if it is taking me a while to get used to. The story and premise for gameplay so far is a bit disappointing, but I hear it gets better. I’ve also heard that the game is relatively linear, closer to the original Asylum than City, which is a relief. I’m really looking forward to playing more of it, to the point that I can find myself comfortable in the game and its story.

The defeat of Killer Croc.

The defeat of Killer Croc.

, , , ,

Comments are currently closed.