Fanfest: Developments in Art

Some of the biggest changes coming to EVE online in terms of art were announced at the keynote, including a revamp of stargates and changes to the UI. However, the art panel went into greater detail, as well as detailing some of the art team's plans for the future of EVE.

The first reveal were concepts of a Crucifier redesign. It was stated that as the Crucifier is not one of the most iconic ships, CCP felt free to redesign it completely. This they have certainly done; the new design is more compact, looks blockier and more aggressive, and is also now symmetrical. Of interest to non-Amarr pilots was the demonstration of a short animation in which plates on the ships extended out and then retracted back in again. This will not be a part of the model when it is first released, but apparently new designs will often feature parts that are designed around animations to be added at an unspecified point in the future.

A new ship asset was teased. The well-informed will recognise it as a complete version of the destroyed ship featuring in the archaeology portion of the keynote.

CCP did not confirm if it would be flyable, and it could simply be that they have put a lot of effort into an archaeology element. However, there are reasons to suspect this might be the tip of something bigger. CCP also showed off well-developed concept art of the ship when it was brand new, so clearly a fair bit of work has been put into this design compared with the average anomaly background asset. Numerous suggestions have been made as to what the ship might represent. The design, which isn't immediately linkable to any race or faction, combined with the age of the ship and Odyssey's emphasis on exploration makes me put my money on a derelict Terran ship, but that is pure speculation at this point. A new structure was also shown for hacking sites featuring a large number of animated parts.

Star gates were revisited with all races except the Gallente's new effects being shown; the glow within the gates will match the faction's dominant colour. The transition effect received loud cheers from an audience apparently still unsatiated by the keynote reveal. In the Q&A at the end of the presentation, it emerged that CCP intends to extend these transition effects to titans and jump bridges as part of a move to eliminate transition screens. Undocking, however, was specifically pointed to as something which would still be handled by a fade to black. Vague plans to develop hangers so that multiple ships could be viewed simultaneously were revealed to cries of "do it!" and it was suggested that undocking animations could be a part of this.

For those more interested in function than shiny graphics, the UI presentation had something to offer. Concepts for the new radial menus that are being added were shown, and a move towards a more organic, modern UI was discussed. Mocked-up concepts for UIs that changed based on situation, including combat, fleet commander and industry UIs, received loud cheers and more cries of "do it!" These, however, appear to still be on the drawing board.

The new hacking minigame graphics were shown, and while some have already derided it as a "Facebook game" its inclusion fits with CCP's ethos of making activities require player input beyond the pressing of a button.

Announcements were made regarding the direction lighting will be taken in the future. Stars were singled out as a particular focus. The distance to a system's star will play a more significant role in the level of illumination of both player ships and other assets, with the fringes of systems becoming truly dark and ships glowing when warped to a star. Binary star systems were also labelled as a desire and the colour of stars should eventually have a greater effect on the colouration of your ship in space. Explosions and possibly also weapons fire were pointed to as things that could change ship lighting effects in future. CCP also recognised complaints about certain ships currently being too dark, but said they wanted finish revamping the lighting system before addressing this.

Missing was an image of the redone Apocalypse, which appeared only as a silhouette, a strange choice considering its appearance in the keynote the day before. One member of the audience queried the panel on why female characters give the appearance of wearing high heels even when wearing flats ,and therefore appear to "hover." A strange response about female characters needing to reach as high as males, and how it was not the art teams decision was mumbled in reply. Finally, the existence of ship textures at much higher resolution was discussed. The Art team indicated they would like to release their original textures as a download for community members with particularly powerful computers to improve the appearance of their ships. These textures were said to be four times the size of the existing ones, and fears of CCP's higher ups over breaking subscribers' computers was given as the reason for them not having been made available. The art team encouraged the community to petition CCP for their release.

(No longer!) Perpetually broke pilot for Fidelas Constans. Send me an ingame mail if there's a book you think I should review.