Fanfest 2007: Ambulation

New Facial TestsOne of the long talked-about features coming to EVE is ambulation, and this one has the player base pretty polarized. Some additional information was given at this year’s Fanfest by the uber Torfi Frans.

Historically EVE’s motto has been “you are your ship”. When you log in, you’ve got a character portrait, but your presence isn’t your person, it’s the big hunk of tritanium you see rotating around in the station. Ambulation is set to change all of that, letting you step out of your ship and wander around in station.

First, some new bits. And a note that hey, Ambulation’s not final, so these details are probably subject to change as CCP evolves the design.

To begin, station areas are limited to 65 characters as a maximum. That means you won’t see fifty thousand Goons blobbing a particular station, or doing the galaxy’s biggest line dance. This is a start, and would be raised at a later date. One would hope, because a 65 character limit is pretty useless if this is to be anything interesting.

One idea presented at the Fanfest seminar about Ambulation was how you as a player could create items for people. You’d rent a slot of some kind at a station, and build yourself (or get one built) a store, for instance. Install it, then go put your wares in it for sale, even having a NPC avatar standing there hawking your stuff to passers by. Items such as clothing, accessories, facial reconstruction, you name it. Imagine becoming a famous plastic surgeon.

More details stated that your captain’s quarters can be used to store items including your uniform or whatever you want on your character. The point was made that if you lose your ship, you lose those items you’ve got stored on it, just like you currently lose modules, etc. If you want to keep it safe and sound, don’t take it with you.

CCP’s hired an architect to translate the amazing concept art to workable livable spaces, and even a costume designer to make sure all the guys don’t look like storm troopers while the girls don’t all walk around in thongs and white t-shirts. Clothes will be practical, stylish, no doubt a bit risque, but nothing that looks like it’s done by a bunch of sex-starved otaku.

You can change your body shape, refining what kind of character you’d like to be. Beanpole or beanbag, and everything in between. You can set your current emotion, which affects the visual emotes. Wave while sad and you’ll wave in a sad way. Set yourself to happy and you’ll wave all enthusiastic like.

At some point CCP’s going to have to bridge the gap between our current stylized looks and the new more realistic looks (think Mass Effect’s character generator). Presumably when ambulation goes live we’ll be presented with a converted avatar and have the ability to tweak as we see fit, then start life as a new and improved resident of New Eden.

Sounds pretty nifty, but the seminar was pretty light on the point of why we would jump for joy for this just yet. None of this affects the pewpew, or does anything for our current internet spaceships. I like social interaction in EVE, but typically have done this at the end of a gun or some shrewd market dealings. It’s obviously looking at the Second Life market, seeing if it can snag that segment which likes to have their MMO grounded by something with two legs and a /dance emote.

I’m still iffy on this. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s amazing the level of attention and detail that’s going into the design of this thing. There’s a passion there that we see in the current EVE. I like the approach they’re taking – it doesn’t support people running around like idiots dressed like clowns. And I for one would love to not only fly around in the world of EVE, but also to walk around in it. Only time will tell whether Ambulation will be a worthwhile addition to the game when considering it’s intended to have no impact or direct benefit to the systems currently in place.

4 thoughts on “Fanfest 2007: Ambulation”

  1. I don’t think it’ll be that difficult to come up with reasons to integrate it into the game’s fabric.

    They could eventually include Ambulation as part of an agent mission. Or say, create mission that only happens within stations.

    The RPGers would have a field day giving out examples, but I don’t think this would apply to the majority of the player base.

    It’ll be interesting to see where this goes.

  2. 65 people?

    ewww…

    no way they wouldn’t do that and if they did… then…. session change in progess in jita station anyone?

  3. I read long ago before the project was even granted the name Ambulation Project that small ship classes will be able to fly above the surface of planets. In fact there was a video of a Condor doing this.

    It was also suggested that perhaps at some future point, if/when Ambulation develops, that Corporations will be granted planetary domain in conquered systems. Your Corporation could/would be the governing entity of entire planets that have been colonized for the purpose of harvesting Tech III components … or these planets/populations somehow influence industry and trade. Perhaps this would be an expansion on the Sovereignty Skill.

    Walking in station, if successful, may eventually develop to walking on planets. That could lead to a whole lot of wondrous “what if?” ideas. These could be probably the most innovative game expansion that no one else but CCP would have the balls or vision to pull off.

    Let’s not forget, World of Darkness is eventually coming. That is a MMORPG based on White Wolf’s personal horror fiction world that will definitely have Avatars and will be published by CCP. It is reasonable to suspect that the work being developed in the Ambulation Project for EvE will carry over into WOD, which will be set in a world similar to our own real world.

  4. ambulation sounds cool as long as it doesn’t some how affect space :)

    If I cared terribly much about ambulation id be playing a different game :)

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