EVE TV Episode 1, Live Today

Well, EVE TV’s first episode went live today! I posted my thoughts on this thread earlier in the day, but I’ll repost it here for you all to read, to save you the trouble of sifting through the EVE forum. It’s a bit of a book, so I apologize in advance. 🙂

I’ve just finished watching Episode 1. I’ll get the issue of delivery out of the way right now.

Playback proceeded without a hitch, there was no buffering or stuttering of my stream at all. Playback was smooth, quality on the 1000k stream was pretty decent, as far as streaming video goes.

I whoopsied once and hit the refresh button on my browser by accident, and ended up having to skip through to the portion I was watching. This act ate up a J:credit or two, which is to be expected of course, but of course these are free ones given when I signed up and not ones I paid for. Still, disappointing that we’d basically pay for things like mistakes by us, or any buffering/stuttering that occurs. Essentially that means, if the delivery method fails us, we pay for it — not the provider. In fact the provider gets rewarded for a period of poor service delivery, again, at the expense of the viewer. That would be a concern of mine.

On to the EVE TV content itself.

I was expecting a lot from EVE TV given the people involved in it, and I have to say content-wise the episode went above and beyond my expectations, which is great for a pilot episode. I’m very, very pleased with it overall. There was a great balance between in-game and out-of-game news reporting. Very very good.

The Hilmar Interview was very impressive. It addressed a major issue with the community that has seen a lot of negative focus lately, and I think Hilmar carried himself very well with some “from the heart” answers. One thing I appreciated was that the interviewer (spiralJunkie) pulled no punches, and asked some very direct questions about the issue. Definitely didn’t feel like some rehearsed PR move, where the questions were agreed-upon prior to the interview occurring, and I hope we can come to expect that more on EVE TV.

Ignoring my own bias, I though the Mercenary Coalition segment was also extremely well done. The segment itself was edited together *extremely* well (I’m going to guess that it was a Loxyrider piece), and Seleene’s statements about MC are honest and to the point. Most alliance profiles are propaganda filled messes, this one was most definitely not.

The Player Meet segment was another standout one, as a community-oriented person myself I always love seeing footage of meets like this. I liked the inclusion of “outtake” footage (FortunaFive’s “can you hear me?” bit). I wish I’d been there, but alas the Atlantic Ocean is a fearsome adversary. It’s also cool seeing Laythun again, I met him last year at Fanfest and the guy is a riot to hang around. 🙂

Now then, on to some issues (you knew this was coming, heh), and I’ll try to be as honest as I can with this.

I’ll start with a minor one, which is that I would love it if the player would allow me to quickly jump to a specific segment while watching the show. Have a button which zooms in a segment list and let me quickly hop to that index.

Separate highlights. Ok, so just when I’m getting into the Hilmar interview, it cuts out and I’m told to watch the whole thing in the Highlights area, at an additional cost of J:credits. I didn’t watch the full version, but does it include the footage I just watched in Episode 1? If so, then sad panda. I’d hate to be repaying for something I just watched part of. That aside, I was expecting to see the full interview during EVE TV. Perhaps break a long segment like that into two parts and show part 1 in the first half of the show, part 2 in the second half?

I realize either way I’m still losing J:credits to watch it, but… it fits better than ending a segment like that. All that was missing was a sound cue of a playing record abruptly having the needle pulled off. In fact, do that next time, at least we’ll get a chuckle or two.

StevieSG and spiralJunkie are great, but the main part of a news show is that the newscasters are speaking to the audience. There was far too much reading off the paper, which drastically depersonalizes the entire experience and the connection with the viewers is lost. A *huge* amount of the presenters’ personality is lost when all they do is just read off items, and even moreso when they are not speaking to the viewer.

I think everyone’s had experiences with people who don’t speak directly to you, making eye contact. It can be distracting at best, aggravating if kept up.

This leads me to a related issue — spead of delivery. Far too often I found the presenters were speaking too quickly. Those who aren’t going to be as adept at understanding UK accents might be a bit thrown off, feeling like they need to back up the stream to listen to what someone just said (costing J:creds *sad panda*). spiralJunkie’s the main offender here. Maybe one less can of Jolt pre-taping?

The two issues are related somewhat, and I think the best way to address it is with the use of a prompter system similar to how normal newscasts do it. The speaker is always looking at the camera, and above all the *pacing* of the delivery is managed somewhat by the speed at which the prompter moves. Slower delivery + eye contact with the viewer = connection with the audience and a more enjoyable experience overall.

Lastly, again I have to come back to this, but the pay per view model has to go. Why? After I watched this, I wanted to watch it again. But I can’t, because I’m sitting at a measly 49 J:creds.

Now, I have an Xbox 360, and one of the biggest gripes people have about the Live service is the micro-transactions. It feels dirty. As good as the content is or could be, I can’t shake the feeling that every time I click that 1000k button, there’s some person somewhere lighting up a big fat cigar, pondering which of his yachts to take sail to the Riviera this year thanks to a video delivery method which constantly sticks its hands in the pockets of EVE TV’s customers. (to take money from, sicko)

I understand streaming is expensive, I understand streaming events like Fanfest and the Tournaments doesn’t cost someone zero dollars. But I also understand that I prefer to own the content I pay for so I can watch as many times as I’d like. I buy music from iTunes, so I can listen to it over and over again. I’m more than willing to drop money on content, if the result is a file that sits on my computer that I can watch again if I want. And as previously indicated earlier, if any problems occur with the stream then I’m charged again per minute of footage I have to rewatch to get back to where I was.

Allowing the purchase of a downloadable file could lead to piracy of the content, sure. The same could be said of an iTunes store purchase. But having people pay per minute to view it over a streaming solution pretty much *guarantees* piracy will occur. Don’t make the mistake of thinking it will happen on a small scale, either.

Anyway I’m going to end my assessment there as I think I’ve said all that I’d like to. To summarize, the show is far more impressive to me than I was expecting, and I was expecting a lot. 🙂 To the EVE TV cast and crew, you’ve created something amazing here. I know that I myself would have no problems supporting the endeavor in whatever way I can.

Revelations II, IGB issue?

Revelations II went in yesterday with almost no problems for me, other than my overview settings getting wiped (again). The only main issue which may affect WDA readers is for some reason the site no longer functions within the in-game browser. I’ll be looking to see what I can do to fix it from my end tonight, in the meantime I’ll wait and see what CCP says in the patch feedback thread on their site.

Sorry for the inconvenience, the out-of-game version still works fine (of course there’s no ability for users to post comments).

EVE 4th Anniversary

Congratulations are in order for the fine folks at CCP Games, as this weekend they celebrate the 4th anniversary of EVE Online! As someone who’s been playing since the beta, I have to say this is the longest I’ve ever played a single game in my entire life. Longest by far.

Following up on the EVE Voice launch, CCP’s asked me to do a splash screen for the game. For those who don’t have access to EVE, here’s what went online this morning:

EVE 4th Anniversary Splash

Congratulations again, CCP! Here’s to another four awesome years. Hope you guys get a chance to party hard this weekend!

EVE Fanfest 2007 announced!

Here’s a link to the announcement post on the EVE forums.

For those who haven’t made it to one of these, they’re absolutely incredible. They gave some great advance notice this year, so plan ahead with vacation and cash. It’s well worth the effort, Iceland’s a beautiful country, and it’s amazing visiting with a ton of people who share the same passion for EVE.

My gallery’s still online, so hit this link and take a look at what you missed last year.

EVE Voice Splash

Many people noticed a new splash screen that came up when launching EVE, something which CCP tends to do when they have something to announce such as a new product or service. Today’s was something a little special, to announce the availability of EVE Voice, the in-game VOIP service provided by the fine folks at Vivox. 🙂

It’s entirely surreal to log in and see your own stuff at the front end of a MMO’s login screen. Thanks a bunch for letting me help out, CCP!

New Comic, just like riding a bike

Finally got back into doing comics after returning to playing EVE. It’s so great to be back into the general swing of things after two months. It’s been neat to come back to the player politics, especially with the “everyone pile on BoB” thing that’s been going on.

Been playing a ton of Crackdown on the Xbox 360 as well, which has proven to be a great way to pass a lot of free time. It’s incredibly light on the main “plot” missions, but more than makes up for it with the free sandbox gameplay. Finding new ways to jump around the city rooftops and such is more fun than most games of the genre.

Also had a chance to play the new GRAW2 demo, which is basically like saying I’ve been playing GRAW again but with prettier graphics. It’s the same game. Almost exactly the same, and I can’t see why this is being marketed as anything other than an expansion pack at best. The shadowing is very impressive, but only really showcases that the AI cheats more.

Other than gaming, today was an interesting milestone: I finally got a chance to take my car out for a spin, after two months of it sitting all nice and clean in my garage. I seriously missed it, and ended up missing out on some prime AWD conditions. 😦 But such is life, and there’s always next year.

Home at last

Finally home, got in last night.  Got released from the hospital a few days ago though, but stayed at my parents’ place, since you have to be under observation for a period afterwards.  What an ordeal.

Stone’s been removed, no complications or anything, so it’s just recovery time now.  Thanks to everyone who sent supportive emails, evemails, chocolates, and other items. :)  I expect I’ll be back to my regular routine in the next couple of weeks, providing recovery moves forward at a decent pace.

That includes getting back to EVE and comic making (yay!).  I’ve been missing that a lot.

Oh and if anyone’s curious, I managed to satisfy my gaming itch while in the hospital, with my PSP and Wipeout Pure.  Love that series, and that game still continues to be amazing.

One day to go…

Well, there’s just one more day to go, and I’ll be (finally) going under the knife to get this accursed kidney stone out. After what I hope will be a short post-op recovery period, I’ll be happy to return to work, driving, EVE, and well… life.

I still can’t believe it’ll be two months since this stupid thing’s symptoms got acute, and only now do I get to have it dealt with. It’s a complete waste of my productive time, and it’s been the polar opposite of anything resembling time off. Not fun, not recommended by me to anyone at all. And I can’t wait to get back to doing comics again.
So this is me signing off for a few days. See you all on the other side of the gate.