Designing Features Part II

Following on from my last post: I’m conducting a little experiment in game design – designing a feature for EVE Online.

Actually being forced to choose between a range of possibilities has actually proved slightly harder than I at first envisioned.  I knew what I wanted to see added, but would that be a “popular” feature amongst players? Some of the features certainly seemed to favour a particular type of player (industrial for example) over others, whilst others seemed so broad I wasnt sure what audience (if any) I could expect to reach.  I’m starting to see at least a glimpse into what CCP Devs must have to face at even the earliest stages of a project: so many ideas not enough time.

I’ve settled on Bounty Hunting & Smuggling Vers 2.0.  Ok, ok these are exactly ‘new’ features but as far as I’m concerned the current iteration are so useless as to be non-features at any rate (at least that’s how I justified it to myself 🙂 ).

So, starting from a blank sheet Ive decided I need to do some research and generally ‘throw down’ a whole pile of ideas.  Well “ideas” is perhaps the wrong term – more a case of broad concepts: what are bounty hunting & smuggling? Do my pre conceptions differ from others? What sources of inspiration are out there and how well do they translate into EVE’s Universe?  No stats or figures here as I see this as an exploratory stage hopefully if I get this nailed Ill be saving myself some extra work at a later date and again help me channel this broad concepts into some thing more focused.

First off bounty hunters…like this one?

K. Moving swiftly on.

Visually both bounty hunters and smugglers have been quintessentially defined by Star Wars – think of a sci fi smuggler and his nemesis and Han Solo vs Bobba Fett are pretty much inescapable.

But there are a few historical examples out there:

Forerunner of another well known ship?

Broadly speaking then bounty hunters hunt criminals – although quite how extreme the crime has to be is open to debate.  And they expect to get paid for doing so.  What’s also quite apparent is that Bounty Hunters operate on the very fringes of the Law, theyre Mercs for want of a better term and simply because they bring the criminal to justice does not necessarily imply that they are the ‘good guys’.  Smugglers on the other hand are criminals but, as is the case with their alter egos the bounty hunters, its not completely a black and white picture.  Some smugglers deliver contraband – but its contraband people want and to them at least they could be seen as the ‘good guys’.

That ambiguity seems important somehow, and if possible I need to consider how that translates into EVE and what it means in purely “Game Play” terms.  Equally Bounty Hunters dont just hunt smugglers a la Star Wars.  They’ll pursue just about any criminal if that means they get a pay check at the end of the day.  Again that’s something to consider in detail.

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