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GDC 2007 - EVE Online Voice Chat and Upgrades


EVE Online

RPGamer had a chance to stop by the EVE Online booth and talk about some of the exciting things coming up for the spacefaring MMORPG. Magnus Bergsson led off with the most immediate improvement. EVE Online will be receiving an integrated voice chat client. The client takes a step beyond that of the likes of Ventrio or Teamspeak, by letting users call in from a normal phone. This way, they can join meetings with the rest of their corporation, so that they can issue commands or advise tactics, even if they’re not near the game.

The next bit of news is that there are plans of a port to non-windows operating systems. The port will be taking advantage of TransGaming Technologies' Cider and Cedega products to bring the game to OSX and Linux respectively. So with voice chat and os ports, are there any planned gameplay changes?

The answer is a resounding "yes." EVE Online plans to add a whole new element to the game: the ability to get off your ship and walk around stations. RPGamers playing EVE will finally be able to see their avatars as they walk around stations, engage in trading, and go to meetings. At this time, there are no plans to visit planets, only stations. Current EVE players will get a chance to recreate their character's appearance, as until this point, it didn't really matter.

Magnus assured us that the station-based gameplay would not result in EVE becoming a clone of other MMOs. RPGamers will not be able to attack each other in the stations. Stations will only complement the trading and recruitment aspects of the game. However, if a station comes under attack, those inside will likely find themselves defenseless unless they're able to get to their ships. So guarding stations in border territories will likely become a very important aspect of the game.

One of the best parts of this gameplay addition is that it will be delivered as a patch to the game and not as an expansion or sequel. CCP Games prefers to continually upgrade and expand EVE rather than making its loyal subscribers shell out money beyond the monthly fee. But that's only one of the best parts. The other is that this gameplay will be accompanied by a new graphics engine.

A DirectX10 engine is currently being worked on and hopefully will release at or before the expected release of the station-based gameplay in 2008. Now, a DX10 engine means that Vista is also a requirement for the windows version. But XP users don't need to despair, as they will still be able to play the game. They will not, however, have access to the station-based gameplay. Also, at this time, it's unknown if the DX10 graphics and station gameplay will be ported to the OSX and Linux versions mentioned earlier. It seems that, on that front, the ball is in TransGaming's court. RPGamer will keep you posted on those details as soon as we receive them.

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