by Cameron "Aelryn" Sorden
When I sat down with CCP representatives Valerie Massey (PR and Communications Director) and Noah Ward (Lead Game Designer for EVE Online) at PAX this Sunday, I wasn't even quite sure what I was going to talk to them about. I'm not really our resident EVE expert and I hadn't seen any big announcements from CCP lately, plus it was my last interview at the convention and I was exhausted from the long weekend of work. Since I didn't really have a topic in mind, I asked them if there was anything they'd like to talk about. Noah grinned at me and said four magic words: Sure. How about ambulation?
Valerie and Noah chatting with me about all the cool things coming with ambulation.
Ambulation, according to a quick wikipedia search, is a fancy way of saying walking. That's literally what they're going to be implementing when this content goes live: player characters walking around the decks of their ships, characters walking around space stations, characters walking through shopping venues, et cetera. Calling it ambulation is a deliberate choiceyou won't be able to run, only walk.
Noah explained that the development team felt that the unrealistic pace of movement in most games is distracting. Everyone is charging all over the place like hyperactive chipmunks with ADD, and you can't even get someone to stand still for the length of a conversation. Since ambulation is intended to be an immersive social tool, they want to have players walk around like normal people in the spaces they're inhabiting. Faster movement for traveling can be achieved by taking advantage of strategically placed moving walkways (like in the airport) and escalators (like in the mall).
Characters will have a huge variety of choices when it comes to clothing and accessories. Why mess with a classic look, though?
Of course, when you have movement for your avatars, you need to have places for them to move to. There will be a number of places for your new avatars to walk around and strut their stuff. First, corporations will be getting meeting rooms. These will be large conference areas where they can sit at tables, look at computer displays, chat about strategy, and generally hang out. The meeting rooms will have a private corporation-only part and a public foyer where potential applicants can come and meet with current corporation members. Also, an NPC can be set up with simple corporation information and answers to commonly asked questions in case no one is handy to talk to them. Players will chat with this NPC by navigating scripted dialogue trees that the corporation can create.
Players will also be able to walk around the interior of their own ships. Noah didn't say whether it was just your personal quarters or whether more of your ship would be available, but you'll definitely have access to at least a bedroom and a dressing area. The size of this space will depend on the size of your ship. He used the TV series Battlestar Galactica as an example of what players might expect. Small, sparse, cramped ships would likely have a very simple bunker like the enlisted crew members have access to, whereas someone with a much larger vessel would be able to hang out in a palatial suite on the same scale as Commander Adama's.
With access to a dressing area, you can probably guess what else will be available: clothes! Players will have access to a huge variety of clothing and accessories to wear on their characters and be able to swap between as many different outfits as they care to buy, as often as they like. All of these clothes will be carefully designed by CCP (sorry, player-generated content fans) and be available in the third place that player avatars will be able to ambulate aroundvenues.
View the Ambulation video from GDC 2007.
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