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.