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tech 2 stilettos

Posted in Uncategorized on April 20, 2010 by cailais

A new dawn rises over ‘the hydrostatic capsule’ as we enter the mythic halls of CKs ‘Blog Pack’.  It’s all gravy from here on in and no doubt CKs lined up a nice easy Blog Banter for us so I can demonstrate my creative wit and insightful comment with devilish skill and a plomb – lets have a look…

“What could CCP Games do to attract and maintain a higher percentage of women to the game. Will Incarna do the trick? Can anything else be done in the mean time? Can we the players do our part to share the game we love with our counterparts, with our sisters or daughters, with the Ladies in our lives? What could be added to the game to make it more attractive to them? Should anything be changed? Is the game at fault, or its player base to blame”?

Wut?!


Not so easy after all then.  First off I have a confession to make, you see right at this point in time I already have a nice long rambling post about ‘the women of eve’. It’s a carefully scripted piece of work that essentially offers no real ideas and lays its somewhat shaky foundations on the premise that EVE is a sci fi game, girls dont like sci fi and really dont bother to change anything and there’s a chance more women will play anyway.

And truth be told – it’s a cop out. The reason being is that, well I’m not a woman and like most men trying to ‘think like a woman’ is really pretty hard to be honest.  Equally difficult is trying to write up some new ideas that don’t pander to the stereotypical image of ‘woman gamers’ who like nothing more than playing tennis on the Wii or anything that involves ‘dressing up’.  However I stubbornly refuse to be shackled to the belief that woman kind are indeed from Venus and therefore utterly unintelligible – I shall strive on regardless.

Which really got me thinking about what EVE already offers to the female gamer that other games don’t offer and how CCP could, potentially capitalise upon that?

Foremost in my thoughts is that EVE is a universe, a separate microcosm replete with its own market forces and political conflicts and intrigues. It operates quite unlike our ‘real world’ however and the preconceptions we have applied here do not necessarily apply in New Eden.  In RL women are, rightly or wrongly, most often faced with certain barriers to progression and like men are trammelled into certain careers or lifestyle choices.  You can call it the infamous ‘glass ceiling’ or what you will – they key is that these ‘rules’ do not apply in EVE.

Within New Eden anyone, male or female, is free to pursue their ambitions unrestrained by societies typical judgements.  Want to run your own multi billion ISK corporation? Go right ahead.  Fancy tyrannising some hapless miners in High Sec? Feel free.  Spend some time with a glass of wine chatting and exploring a star system? It’s all yours.

EVE offers that unconstrained world environment where you are judged not by your gender but by how swiftly you can adapt to change and face adversity. So the question should be how does CCP maximise on these elements and subsequently market them in such a fashion to appeal to women gamers?

Straight off we can be sure of one thing; any woman coming to EVE is going to be a new player, so our game features most be both relatively straight forward and accessible to new players.  Secondly we can be reasonably sure that the latest additions and features have, so far, not been particularly appealing – perhaps because they don’t offer sufficient freedom to ‘build your own success story’ or to define yourself within EVE.

Much of EVE requires, even demands, a significant amount of co-operative play.  Again our new female player is going to be at an initial disadvantage.  Predominantly male corps and activities (faction warfare for example) are likely to be intimidating to any player.   Our we then looking for a non-risk carebear’s paradise of fluffy bunnies and rainbows then?

Almost certainly not.  Recall that EVE offers the chance to ‘win’ and succeed in environments that otherwise women may find themselves at a disadvantage in.  The answer in my view lies in a perhaps unlikely area:

Trade and Business.

Although not overtly “pvp” the cut throat world of marketing, trading and management of a business enterprise offers both freedom of action and the potential for progression while maintaining the ‘game’ element of competing with others. The trouble is its extremely difficult to differentiate yourself from the crowd in what is a relatively 2 dimensional game element.  While pvp pilots can spend hours customising their ship, selecting modules and fittings there is no such analogy for the ‘business manager’ – it’s almost purely “buy low sell high”: at least for the new player.

If CCP re engineered the trading system to allow for players to quite literally “set up shop” I think more women could be attracted to EVE.  Whilst bespoke manufactured items may be beyond the database I see no reason why collective groups of products couldnt be packaged together.  For example a trade bazaar that sold certain minerals,  pre built and fitted ships or POS Fuel Packs.  Couple this with a means to market these products (say through EVE Gate) and sufficient tools to do so (purchasable graphics packages, emblems, logos and the like – remembering we’re talking about new players here).

“oooh we’re half way there!”

Indeed we are.  PI and Incarna at least sow the seeds of possibility for women players to manage their own retail markets, something which could be done even as a comparative new comer.  The activity itself could lead towards other professions (exploration, missions, manufacturing) which in turn would lead to greater amounts of social interaction.

I should think that around about now you are probably asking why such an idea would make sense or how I can justify it.  Well the premise of my thoughts stem from a fellow blogger and a female Capsuleer Mynxee.  While some might see Mynxee as unusual in that she has flown the flag for women pirates & pvp’ers what is far more interesting is how she so carefully and brilliantly ran and managed HellCats and subsequently marketed it as a ‘corporate business’ – in many respects the fact that it was a rather heavily armed and aggressive corp is incidental.

Of course all of this can only achieve so much, and it will largely fall to CCPs marketing department to throw some illumination on the gears that churn under the myriad of conflicts that span EVE.  Rather than videos focusing on Russians in Titans of hapless miners being rescued by brave Rifter pilots perhaps we need to see more of those women who already direct, manage and lead the corporations of EVE.  Therein lies the key.

C.

Editors note: any presumption that my comments on women being able to rise to the top of corporate or alliance affairs in EVE is due to my current alliance commander being a woman is entirely baseless. 😉

Additional posts in the Blog Banter:

Ombeve

Garhead

I am Keith Neilson

The Ghost Report – great new blogger

Evoganda – hilarious 🙂

Astral’s Eve’s Trial By Fire

The Cataclysmic Variable

EVE Sob

Starfleet Comms

*Edit for CK confirming Cailais will be receiving the ISKies!!

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The Inquisition

Posted in Uncategorized on April 13, 2010 by cailais

“We interrupt this broadcast for a public service announcement…”

Well it’s exciting times for ‘the hydrostatic capsule’ with the welcome news (for my many debtors) that this blog was amongst the winners of Crazy Kinux’s contest over at ‘CrazyKinux’s Musing‘ on Planetary Interaction.  I could enter now into a long winded acceptance speech thanking various member of my family, friends, corporation and so forth but I wont – instead let me direct you straight away to my fellow bloggers sharing the podium:

keithneilson.co.uk – “Thus always to Tyrants”.  Quite why Mandrill isn’t in the “Blog Pack” I dont know, but what I do know is his post are always informative and so is his entry here.  That and he bagged the best title!

Eve Illectrocuted – “It’s not just about the planets you know”.  Illectro’s post has some great detail in as well as some useful insights into how PI will effect the denizens of EVE, but Illectro goes that yard further by looking at other changes Tyrannis will bring such as the fixes to insurance fraud.

.5 or higher – “Abyssus in Terra”.  David E Talvoces breaths life into the future of PI with his fictional work here, balancing the rabid enthusiasm of Dr Amiel the scientist with the despair of an unknown soldier who suffers the eventual war PI brings.  A great short story in the EVE tradition.

costolle-mac.com KailJoric also entered the fray with a short piece of fiction. Many pirates have leaped with glee at the thought of ganking industrials orbiting planets and KailJoric’s wry observation that pirates are also hunted to brought a smile to my face.

Those lucky few shared the PLEX prize pool, but don’t be fooled into thinking there weren’t other great posts – there are plenty more great blogs which can be found on Crazy Kinux’s site here, so get on over there and read just a few!

Galileo facing the ‘Roman Inquistion’

One such announcement would have been enough but ‘the hydrostatic capsule’ has also had the good fortune to get picked randomly from the pile to join CK and the crew on The Drone Bay Podcast and join them in interrogating *cough* sorry interviewing a CCP Dev.  That’s probably too much luck for one capsuleer, but don’t worry I’ll almost certainly get ganked on a gate in the near future which will redress the balance of the universe….

I would imagine that, given half the chance, most EVE Online players could pin a Dev to a bar for a good few hours with an exhaustive list of questions, so you might be wondering what’s on my list to ask?  Well first and foremost I think it’s worth acknowledging that no one single Dev works on ‘all of EVE’ so my questions will be based really on who the poor victim is.  Secondly it’s not my podcast, so if Crovan, CK, Al and Maeve have got the show themed around ‘Veldspar – is it good for your skin?’ I will have to go along with that…

All that said this blog is about the future of EVE so I can be pretty sure that’s where my line of thought will be going.  If you’re after someone to strap a Dev to a wrack and demand answers to the lacklustre performance of blasters, or why ship “X” should have 22 high slots  then sorry I may well disappoint you there.

If you have got a burning question that’s gnawing on your soul regarding EVE then by all means drop a comment in here and I will try and squeeze it in.

That’s all for this post (I’ll get back to editing the original post that was going here) – my thanks to CK for running a great comp 🙂

C.

jonathandelf@me.com

The Drone Bay…..its BACK!

Posted in Uncategorized on April 9, 2010 by cailais

Exciting news capsuleers – Crazy Kinux, Crovan and Alsedrech are coming back to the Pod casting scene with their ozom Drone Bay Pod Cast.  If you’ve never listened to the show you really should tune in as its always jam packed full of useful info, insightful comments and general banter.  Good times 🙂

“Recorded late last night, the 25th episode of  The Drone Bay marks our return to the EVE Online podcast scene. Better yet, not only are@Crovan@Alsedrech and I (@CrazyKinux) back together, but we’re now privileged to have a new co-host, none other than Blog Pack member@MaeveTrinity from a Wench with a Wrench blog.

Crovan will be working on editing the podcast over the next 2 days, and we’re hoping to have it out by mid-day Saturday! I’ll have the full show notes available by then, with the links to what we’ve discussed during the show!”

C.

Tyranny in Tyrannis

Posted in Uncategorized on April 7, 2010 by cailais

We have learned now that we cannot regard this planet as being fenced in and a secure abiding place for Man; we can never anticipate the unseen good or evil that may come upon us suddenly out of space.” HG Wells, War of the Worlds

For some time I have been mulling over what the current incarnation of Planetary Interaction holds for us.  In some respects I must hold my hand up and say I am a little, well disappointed, in what I see.  Sure, there is plenty of fine level detail in terms of Industry to delve into.  Routing networks, extracting materials, processing and constructing, and hurling your finished product into space on the back of a booster rocket.

What is missing for me is the sense of conquest, a sense of building a society.  I cant think I am alone in this view, brought up as I have been on such games as Risk, Axis & Allies or Sid Meir’s Civilisation series.  Why have the Devs neglected this – it seems such a crucial consideration for anything ‘planety’ (that’s not a real word, I just made it up 🙂 ).  Whilst chewing this over in my head I was reminded of that other management game, Sim City.  You may recall carefully laying out your infrastructure, electricity, pipelines for water and so forth.  Often it made sense to do this first, before you even started dropping asphalt all over the place. And then that’s when it hit me.

PI, in its current format, is those ‘utilities’ – it’s the guts and veins of PI: in short its the bottom layer.  So what will go over this? What would be the second layer?

We have already seen perhaps a small glimpse of the possible in the hexagonal layer that lies across the surface of each planet (although not currently visible in the most recent build on SISI).  My feeling is, is that it is his hexagonal tiling that will determine ‘ownership’ over a planets surface.  I use the term ‘ownership’ with caution however – influence may be a better term.  I can certainly envisage a system where by you can build your network of industry well, pretty much anywhere, but the successive layer over that will determine how efficient it is.

If the hexagon your industry passes through, or exists within is your own, all well and good – however, if it does not then we could expect the efficiency of that network to suffer as a result. Perhaps links and routes will be taxed? Or will the workers in your extraction plant actually have their loyalty “politically” with whom ever controls the upper layer of PI? These influence zones I expect will be dictated by placing additional structures onto them – habitats, communication towers, governing buildings that sort of thing.  These in turn will require an upkeep (no doubt PI resources) to maintain, and may potentially be upgradeable.

Ultimately these ‘zones’ will contest with other zones held by other players and – voilà: we have the structure in place to enable DUST 514.

So, we are watching now the plumbing going in, and of course in the process seeing ourselves invest into that – become reliant upon it.  But before you rub your hands in glee at the thought of all that carefree AFK ISK……

Drilling down into PI

Posted in Uncategorized on April 5, 2010 by cailais

In my last post I talked about the ‘futurescape’ of Planetary Interaction as part of Crazy Kinux’s competition.  Today however Im going to look at some interesting new data from EVE’s test server, Singularity.

FroeverTrade has produced a useful Excel spreadsheet that helps to explain the relationship between the various resources that can be extracted from a planet, or manufactured at a processing facility.  You can find the spreadsheet here.

Here’s a short excerpt:

Basic Industrial Process –

Heavy Metals -> Toxic Metals

Toxic Metals + Reactive Metals -> Construction Blocks

Advanced Industrial Process –

Construction Blocks + Livestock + Nanites = Biotech Research Reports.

We can see that the first stage of our process in manufacturing Biotech Research Reports will be to extract Heavy Metals, and in turn process this into Toxic Metals. SXYGeeks’s forum post here his spreadsheet shows that we can find Heavy Metals on I, L, P Planet types (Ice, Lava, Plasma). Justin Othertoon has a similar spreadsheet.

Once we have our Toxic Metals we will need Reactive Metals which may be found on G, S, I, L, P (Gas, Storm, Ice, Lava, Plasma) worlds.

As a rough indication of how common theses planets are these are the figures for the entire EVE Universe (including W Space):

Planet (Ice) 11251
Planet (Storm) 8170
Planet (Barren) 8113
Planet (Temperate) 7284
Planet (Lava) 6473
Planet (Oceanic) 1256
Planet (Plasma) 943
Planet (Shattered) 9
This is all very nice of course, but what does it tell us that’s meaningful?  Well the resources per planet type and their interactions might well change, so we can’t look into those too carefully or draw to many conclusions there.
However, what we can see is that manufacturing anything under PI is going to be a complex and protracted multi stage affair.  Locally to you there will almost certainly be opportunities to find a niche market to extract even basic ‘tier 1’ goods into.  I cant see everyone partaking in PI – no matter how strong their inner industrialist screams to do so.  Equally, as no one planet type offers a significant ability to produce any end product, trade of intermediate resources will be paramount.  I’d like to think this would happen across the cluster, but sadly I think we can expect even more volumes of trade goods to spill into Jita.  Prices for any transport vessel may well rise under the demand to physically move these goods whom, by their very nature, will really only achieve a market in massed quantities.
The big question is are there actually enough industrially minded players to take up the demands of just ‘making’ all this stuff? Im sure you’re thinking ‘oh sure!’ – so let me pose that another way.  Bearing in mind that High Sec System Planets will offer diminishing returns as more and more players harvest them – are there enough Low and Null Sec Industry Players out there??
My guess is (and this is almost certainly a controversial one) is that the answer is “no”.
Instead, because at least some of these processes will be financially viable, we will see more PVP orientated players dipping into PI to provide a soft ‘afk’ income stream.  Once so embroiled in this type of game play we may see a shift of player opinion on all sorts of subjects (such as high sec suicide ganking) as more PVP players start to see a totally new element of EVE?
So is that it? PI all nicely wrapped up and we can go on our merry way to manufacturing Construction Blocks? Well no, not quite.  You see whilst there are plenty of listed items you and I will be familiar with there is also a plethora of items that simply do not currently exist:

Wetware Mainframes?
Cybergenetic Catalysts?
Psychosocial Telemetrics?
Placeholders? Or something else entirely?
C.

Let the Gods be Gods!

Posted in Uncategorized on April 3, 2010 by cailais

Tyrannis will see some new industrial and planetary interaction opportunities like we’ve never seen before in New Eden. It’s a step in linking EVE Online and DUST514 as well. So I need you to write what you believe are the short and/or long term consequences of this development, in terms of the new industrial capacity in presents to players, in terms of the opportunities for pirates, for industrialist, for sovereignty, etc. Surprise us!” – CK

Indulge me for a moment.

“Olin III fills your screen, its dark mass flickering with the tumultuous storms that wrack and shudder over its service. Via your neo-com you launch a cluster of low orbit satellites which sweep out and report back with a steady stream of data; surface temperature, wind speeds, mineral content, humidity – the list goes on.  Amongst the static your satellites pick up the faint signal of an abandoned extraction facility, perhaps worn down by the incessantly punishing weather than torments this planet, and a few ruined accommodation modules.  The facility bears the mark of Heavy Metals Mining Corp, but there are no signs of any of their number in the local communication channels….”

Where will Planetary Interaction (PI) lead us in EVE Online?

Does our short tale suggest the fall of an Industrial Corp to pirate attack, or the ravages of a long war? Perhaps this short lived colony succumbed to the pressure of market forces its inhabitants shipped of world or even abandoned as more lucrative deals arose elsewhere?

Or does our tale point to a game mechanic abandoned as a uninteresting and irrelevant past time, pursued for a brief period before being tossed aside by players who have found their entertainment elsewhere?  What can we see of the future as we drift in orbit over Olin III?

In the first instance we should expect that PI will almost certainly not meet everyone’s expectations.  Now this might sound a rather negative view point so early in our discussion but we cannot escape the fact that the suggestion of PI means many things to many players.  Some will hope for expansive riches, an AFK income beyond comparison – the end of the dominance of Level IV missions as the “care bears” profession of choice.  Other’s will expect PI to provide an exhaustive supply of Iteron Vs to gank and ransom, a new dawn for the savage pirate and clear admission that EVE is the harshest of all Universes.

Planetary Interaction will not meet these expectations, nor will it fit snugly into our personal preconceived ideas of what EVE is, or should be.  And for some this will be a source of great angst and much gnashing of teeth. Someone will almost certainly type ‘epic fail’.

The reason why this reaction will almost certainly arise is that PI will have a subtle but remarkably powerful effect: PI will allow players to extend upon their characters and Avatars into EVEs Universe.  Not only will we define what a Planet is, in turn they will define us.

Like our ships, some worlds will become martial and ridden with strife and wars,  others will be bastions of peace, or hubs of trade and industry.  The planets of EVE Online will become an often beautiful, some times dark and tragic, tapestry of all of EVE.  The majority will be mixtures of all these things of course, just as our Corporations and Alliances are mixtures of the plethora and playing styles that evidence themselves in EVE.

Industrial worlds.  Religious colonies.  Martial fortresses.  Trade worlds.  Pirate enclaves.

All of these things will, in time, become a reality.  How do I know these things? How, as we sit over the glittering and sparking atmosphere of Olin III can we know that such things will come to pass?

The reason is simple.  Because when we  looked down on Olin III and saw the ruins of failure like Gods we judged; we judged the character and perseverance of that Mining Corp.  Where they saw futility or defeat we might see opportunity, where they saw hopelessness we see prosperity.  Where they failed we could succeed, and in doing so, place our mark on the tapestry of EVE Online for all to see.

C.

Today’s blog is in reply to Crazy Kinux’s latest competition the details of which can be found here 🙂

A new archetype: The Socialite

Posted in Uncategorized on March 24, 2010 by cailais

I have now had a chance to try out EVE Gate (Alpha) and broadly speaking I’m pretty impressed by it.  I think it’s real functionality became clear,  for me at least, was bringing it up on my mobile, scanning through my evemails and posting a couple of broadcasts.

As I travel quite a lot with work commitments the ability to stay at least partially connected to EVE whilst mobile is a welcome one.  Admittedly accessing these elements of EVE Gate through a regular browser isn’t all that effective or practical but I am reasonably confident some clever mobile apps (like Capsuleer) will integrate EVE Gate as a mobile friendly format.

Provided asset and trading management comes swiftly on the back of the current iteration Eve Gate has the potential to be a remarkably powerful tool (not with standing some of my reservations in the blog below).  But its much more than just a few evemails and a contact list…

We are now standing on the brink of a social explosion for EVE Online and, with the eventual “soon tm” introduction of Incarna and DUST 514, that social explosion will become a reality.  But what will this mean for EVE Online?

Currently we have two broad and often stereotyped ‘player types’ in EVE.  The “PVP’er” and the “Carebear”.  Both stereotypes occupy the extremes of the total spectrum of player types – look out though because the mixture of EVE Gate/Incarna/DUST suggests a new player type will emerge:

The Socialite.

Now of course ‘social players’ already exist in EVE, and you could well count Bloggers, PODcasters, forum trolls and E-ON journo’s amongst their number.  These social players are essentially commentators though, broadcasting their views in a ‘loud speaker’ format rather than purely networking “in game”.  But with EVE Gate this “in game” networking will become intensified if only for the reason that it will be possible “out of game”.

Will we see the Socialite player – the character seen walking the halls in Incarna whilst communicating expansively with a  far far wider social circle than previously?  How will these Socialites be perceived by the community as it exists now?

You might be wondering what Im rambling about, so I will try to provide as close an example as I can:

Colonel Roc Wieler. Roc, a well known blogger is I think his player would agree almost a “persona” in and of himself. Roc’s player has developed a carefully described persona / avatar replete with ‘in character’ tales, recipes and even an album (not to mention those tasteful briefs….).

Now place this type of character into the immersion of Incarna, add a splash of EVE Gate contacts, mailing lists etc etc and we can start to see the emergence of something new.  The Socialite? The cult of a Celebrity? Could we even see Players whose characters operate exclusively in the Political spectrum?

Imagine for a moment a Socialite who never undocks (they exist already I assure you), running a bar or shop front so they become far more visible than just say a forum presence. Consider also that this Socialite is now multiply connected through EVE Gate, blogs, podcasts, forums through all elements in the game (trading on the current EVE market, managing a bar, communicating with Dusties) and out of the game.

It seems likely that these players could potentially wield considerable influence.  By nature of their near continuous contact with the EVE Online Universe they would inevitably accrue a considerable wealth of information: becoming hubs of knowledge. And knowledge as we all know means power.

Will these Socialites become loved and respected by the players who broadly sample every aspect of EVE? Paragons of that uniquely EVE pursuit of intrigue and social engineering. Or will they become vilified? Held up to ridicule as some sort of ultra carebear divorced from the “real” game of shooting ships and sucking up ‘roids?

The answer you have probably already guessed will be a mixture of the two.  Some will be astonishingly successful, others will stumble and fall into ignominy or worse mediocrity.  What is clear is that EVE Online will have a new type of player emerge as a result of the small steps we are living through now.

C.