Eve, Night 1.

Firstly – Laccy, stop reading now. I know you were playing with Frontier/FirstEncounters recently, and… Well, one of my first "thoughts" was "coo, the map is *just* like First Encounters, only you can't zoom in to the planet level".

It doesn't have the cool system maps that Frontier/First Enc had. But still… So, anyone but Laccy

They've definitely polished the tutorial since I last played. A big gripe of mine back then was that it was easy to get distracted and then find you couldn't get back onto the tutorial track. Their English is a little weird – they keep using "comfortable" where I think they mean "convenient" or probably "handy".

Creating your character…

Don't spend a lot of time on your first character. Until you've played for a while, you're not going to understand the effects and implications of all the stuff. The manual gives up on explaining it part way through, just shy of saying "you aren't going to understand all this and you've probably gotten bored of reading in-character story-like descriptions so sod it. Just click randomly, m'kay".

But that's fine – theres a lot of depth here, and it would just get in the way. Don't worry about, just create a character, call him "Izretard" or "ieatdick" so you won't stick with it. And then when you're thinking "crap, I actually ought to read this stuff" – don't. Not until you reach the tutorial. Yes, even after the 7th page. Keep going.

The UI is a little … X-Windows like. And a little sluggish too, but in a slightly predictable way that longer term players probably stop noticing. I think it also sets out to cater to multiple tastes. You can right click stuff for context menus, you can left click stuff for something else, left click and hold stuff for a graphical menu, and if you left-click select things there is an "overview" window which provides access to commands in a slightly different way.

I played waaay too long last night. I finished with a 20 gate jump to pick up something I'd bought, and then had to log because the servers were coming down as they do once a day.

I'd forgotten almost everything about EVE from my first experience, although I do now remember why they don't have the "vis limit" issues we do – the vehicles use less polys than we do relying largely on textures, and they have a physics model crafted for performance rather than having to worry about, oh, realism.

But mostly its because you don't fly your ship in EVE like a traditional space-trader. It's all navigation. So they have vastly less numbers of updates for vehicles – all they need to do is provide the current planned travel vector for each vehicle and then periodically tell you how far along it they are (if that). And it really doesn't matter how accurately you see Fred's position because there's very little to measure it against in space, and its not like there are collision physics.

There's no first person view from inside your ship, coupled with the lack of any social space where you become your avatar and the fact you never "fly" your ship, just give instructions to its flight computer… I dunno – it makes for a very lonely game. The chat system is nothing special, and sure you can talk to other people on chat while waiting 5-15 minutes to complete a series of jumps, the way I used to enjoy bsing with the other bomber pilots in Warbirds.

But there's nothing to give you that warm vibe.

I had fun, though. I started off stripping the "Reaper" ships that had been left outside my home space station, which I quickly worked out I could board, dock, remove all the good stuff from, return to space and further abandon.

There's a lot of stuff I like about it – the addition of a notepad at last (how does a FTL spaceship not have the ability to run notepad anyway?), the map and its Brabeness. The controls aren't so difficult (due to a general lack of them), and although I found the interface to be a little too … techno at first, I like the way you can merge windows so they just become tabs.

I think the trouble is I've already satiated on space games. I've had enough of the Egosoft X games, and I've been playing various space games since Elite… And Eve is sooo much of a rip-off of First Encounters and Frontier that I kinda feel I've already played it. At least in Frontier you could go down onto planet's :)

Anyway. EVE is an excellent space trading/exploration game. I'm getting the impression there's some good group play in there too, but I can't find motivation. I'll probably play it for a few more nights, but I will probably wind up asking Laccy to send me his Dosbox setup for Frontier/FE if he ever got them working :)

EVE seems a little bit too nebulous and impersonal the way I found Privateer and FOFT to be so compared to Elite… I feel just too detached from the game, and I can't help wondering "if the computer is doing pretty much everything, what is the guy on the ship doing?". And if you've read Iain M Banks' culture books, you're going to wonder why the ships don't save the humans a whole lot of hassle and travel without them.

I'm off to download Oolite. I notice that neither Ramp nor Gophur have told me their characters' names. I'm guessing Gophur will probably be in EVE for at least a few more weeks, Ramp will probably last until mid next weekn when he finds something else to play, and I'll probably last into the weekend until I've been distracted enough that the coding urge kicks in again.

16 Comments

ELITE RAWKED!! Used to play it on my C-64. Every space trading game I play is compared to Elite! And all have since been disappointments. :[ I would love to find an Elite type MMO space game that is actually like Elite! :]

Did you ever play Frontier or First Encounters?

I don’t have a lot of experience with space games (Elite, Descent and Wing Commander), but I always thought the one that got “flying” right was Renegade. Crap, all of those are DOS games. Maybe I should try something recent.

Never played Frontiers. Any good?

Somehow those games on the C-64 seemed better than these fancy schmancy games. Elite was just a damn good game and they accomplished it with 64K memory. To this day I don’t know how they crammed 8 Galaxies in just a few thousand bytes. If someone could get an Elite like MMO going I would subscribe to that immediately. Space battles should be twitchy. Eve bothered me because there was no real time action. I would expect Elite to be real time space battles. I loved trading on the Markets in Elite. I used to always deal in the illegal narcotics trade and that got you in trouble with the cops a lot so you had to be a good pilot. The only thing I would add is planet side activity. :]

loved elite on my 386sx. Docking was difficult until you were able to buy the auto pilot. Still have the manual and 3 1/2″ disks. Tried playing it under win98 a few years back it was a no go. I still have that 386 maybe I should try getting it to work, I think the cmos battery is dead. It’s only 15 years old.

There was an “Elite II” released on the PC, but “Frontier” was the actual “Elite II”. You started out in the same ship as you do in Elite. But instead of being wireframe, the world was in color and quite solid. And instead of starting inside Lave… You started sitting out on a pad on the surface of a planet. So before you could start your familiar space trading gameplay, you had to request permission to take off and launch from atmosphere.

It used newtonian physics, more or less, so your speed was always relative to something, and there was a sort of auto-pilot that compensated for that, which was just somehow cool – you would turn up the thrust, turn time acceleration on, and you would soon be clipping across solar systems.

And the solar systems themselves were cool – there were asteroids, moons, rocky planets, planets with atmospheres, habitable planets, planets with cities, planets with domes, planets with mining colonies in craters, there were assorted gas giants, ringed planets etc.

And as you broke the atmosphere of the first planet, the gas giant it was orbiting slowly hoved into view, which was quiet something.

It was a very cool game, kinda buggy tho, and I dunno if it holds up to much if you go back and play it now. I had a blast playing it recently but not nearly as much as the first time I played it when it was pretty hot visually :)

Yep Frontier was great. Bugged as you say, but still fun to play.

Check out Ian Bell’s sight. http://www.iancgbell.clara.net/elite/

Has links to David Braben’s sight, which has Frontier on it.

Cue the Blue Danube …… :-)

so does anyone know of an MMO space game that is actually good? How about rumors of one in the works?? And I mean Good, as in not Anarchy Online. :]

so does anyone know of an MMO space game that is actually good?

Someone (cof… bilton! cof!) says the best space MMO game out there is MECHWARRIOR 1942 (also known as WORLD WAR III ONLINE: MECHGROUND EUROPE)

“I dunno – it makes for a very lonely game”

Best summation of Eve possible.

I have been to the new Star Trek site, where they are developing a Star Trek game…but I thought I got the link from KFSONE’s old blog site…? mebbe?

Wing Commander rokked, and that game needs to be a MMOLG, with the Cats as AI foes.

Babalyon 5 would be a great setting for an Elite type open universe.

So… Could the unity engine be used in a space combat simulator? Or is the value for gravity hard coded?

Kfs1, when you are done with WWIIOnline I think I have an idea for another MMO. ;]

Is there a market for a classical space combat flightsim game where you *fly* your ship, rather than navigate it?

you need enough of a market to help cover operating costs and your paycheck.

Anyone played starflight, or starflight II?

Mid-late 80s PC game?

I play Oolite at work when I need to take a break from coding, fly some stuff between a couple of planets then back to work.

TradeWars 2002
Planets (TEOS)
Galaxy2
Starflight
StarflightII

Sounds like same game really, not much new cept has 3d graphics.
Still have tw2002 and teos, and a digiboard. anyone want to play.
LOL think id have to install majorBBS though.
Ah doorgames, sorta massive multiplayer textfests.

Starflight series is single player only, kind of too bad, it was fun.

Still like my m.u.d. best

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