The last day of Fanfest 2012 saw the last of the three keynotes for the event. This last one was a forward look at CCP over the course of the next year. Not surprisingly Dust 514 takes up a lot of that bandwidth and the keynote reflected that. Once again Hilmar, Jon Lander and Torfifrans spent a good portion of their segments reinforcing the message that spaceships and the core space game was central to CCPs strategic planning. Despite this Fanfest’s focus on Dust, CCP are making very sure that Eve fans get the message that their game is front and centre going forwards.
Amongst other things we were treated to a presentation with NVidia showcasing a new technology that dynamically generates meshes up to an incredible level of detail. The specific ship model that we were shown ballooned to around 500 million pixels when all the systems were turned on and, in addition there are new fracture physics and dynamic lighting systems being implemented so that things like asteroid collisions and actual ship damage can be modeled in a more accurate and visually exciting manner.
Torfifrans returned to some of the topics that he touched on in yesterday’s keynote – avatar based systems and avatar customisation. He was quick to reassure the audience that the avatar gameplay would have to complement core space-based systems rather than replace or obsolete them. Some of the scenarios he was throwing around like avatar-based exploration sounded exciting and I hope that implementation doesn’t drop the ball.
Finally Dust. This is CCP’s big thing for 2012 and they are clearly very excited about the integration of two separate games not only into the Eve universe but with overlapping and co-mingled systems. The new server technology that allows multiple devices and systems to access core Eve functionality has opened up a world of possibilities and the plan is that the things we saw on Thursday with shared comms, markets and space-to-ground strikes will just be the beginning. Now that I’ve seen it in action I’m sure that CCP can pull it off, the question that remains is whether the console FPS players will find themselves invested enough in Dust to keep it as a significant feature once the next Battlefield or Call of Duty is released.
World of Darkness
There was a short presentation on the World of Darkness project and it turned out that there wasn’t much to say beyond ‘it’s really not cancelled and we are still making it’. The team has been gutted back to core staff and there is no launch date yet. CCP say they’ll have more to say about it towards the end of this year when Dust is out of the way but it appears that there really isn’t much to show. We saw a fully rendered trailer, some concept art and a quick in-engine fly through of a static level – no 3d models, no in-engine animation and no gameplay at all. I got the opportunity to ask why there was so little to show for a project that had been in development for around 6 years and the CCP guy just shrugged.
There were some rather pointless questions about game mechanics where the CCP producer just repeated that there were no mechanics properly defined yet but he did say that there would be permadeath (at least in certain situations). Somewhat unsatisfying and I think that CCP would have done better to leave it off the schedule altogether for this show rather than come with a product that they weren’t able to showcase at all.