Venues are simply stores within the game where players will be able to socialize, browse, shop, and gamble. This is where you'll be purchasing clothing for your avatar and items for decorating your venue, ship, and corporate offices. Yes, you read that correctly. Your venue. All venues will be player owned and operated. These aren't just stalls, either. These are full size stores that other players will walk into, wander around, and hang out in. You'll be able to control the look of your store, the color scheme, and even the placement of your merchandise. When asked how that would work exactly, Noah explained that there are hooks throughout each venue that different props can be attached to, which will allow you to give your venue a unique look and feel. Four clothing stores might be side by side and all look totally different.
A character stands at a computer terminal in a shot from the demo video for ambulation.
Everything available for sale in the stores will be player crafted items made from the same materials that are currently traded in EVE. If you want to be a successful clothing vendor, you'll need a steady supply of materials from a reliable supplier. If you want to run a successful bar, you'd better have someone supplying you with beer, cigarettes, and pretzels. There will only be a limited number of venues at any given space station, and there will be a routine upkeep to pay if you want to keep them. This upkeep will increase as the number of available venues at the station decreases, so if you want to hang on to your venue, you'll need to be good at business. Although Noah didn't give too many details on all the different possibilities for stores, he did mention that you would be able to have bars, casinos, and apparel shops. Non-player characters (like the informational corporation ones) can be placed in these venues with set dialogue trees to cater to customers when the proprietor is offline or away on business.
When creating any kind of social space, the developers recognize that the players will need something to do. Shopping and talking aren't enough by themselves. That's why they want to implement games of chance for use in the bars and casinos. Noah described a group of ship captains gathered around a table in the back room of a bar, playing a hand of poker. Credits, goods, and even ships might change hands in a high stakes game. While they haven't yet decided whether they'd like to bring a concept like a standard deck of playing cards into the game world, they're working on developing a system which will allow players to create and modify their own games of chance. They're also looking into implementing some large social gambling, like craps, which players can gather around and watch in big groups.
A character salutes to her superior in another shot from the ambulation demo video.
In addition to gambling, there will be a variety of liquor and other alcoholic beverages to drink and tobacco to smoke. Although there are drugs available in EVE Online (which are called boosters in-game), the developers haven't decided whether players will be able to actually use them on their avatars. They also haven't decided whether drinking or smoking will have any actual effect on your character's perception or on the actions they take within the game.
Emotes will play an important role in character interaction. CCP would like to allow characters to do complex things like shake hands, pat each other on the back, and hug, in addition to more common emotes like waving and bowing. Don't expect to break into dance, though. Noah made it clear that silly emotes or emotes which break immersion have no place in EVE Online. If they do allow dancing, it would only be in the proper contexton a dance floor in front of a DJ or band, for example. Characters will also be able to set their mood, which will affect their facial expressions, emotes, and idle animations. If you're angry about losing your ship at the gambling table, you can let everyone around you know it with your expression.
View the Ambulation video from GDC 2007.
Make sure you check out all of our PAX 2007 coverage!
To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our EVE Online Game Page.