EVE Online

There are a few things on which I invest a significant amount of time. On and off over the last seven years (yes, seven years) EVE Online has been one of them. It's a game, clearly a game I do enjoy playing; but EVE Online represents a little more than that in technical terms. It's a ground-breaker on a technological front too.

I haven't really done reviews on this blog, a couple of books (one or two at time of publishing, depending on which order I decide to queue the weeks posts. This review I've decided to do in part because I've been playing again and in part because I'd like to introduce a little more of this 'hobby' into the blog. The hard part with a mature and expansive game like this is where to start! I won't be able to do the game justice, but I should be able to impress upon you some of it's cooler features.

Easily the most immediately striking feature of EVE Online is it's graphical quality. It's stunning, but it's not cutting edge. Direct X 10 and 11 are unsupported, but a lot of the more interesting graphical tricks available to the artists have been employed, the game makes extensive use of pixel shaders and bump mapping - it really does look even better in motion, with the games predictably static light sources and slowly rotating/moving objects. I've picked a couple of screenshots here in an attempt to convey the drama of the planetary vistas. Something that when playing you tend to fly past without much regard. They are beautiful though.

The real majesty of EVE Online though is not the spectacular graphics, it isn't it's relatively basic physics simulation. The thing that makes EVE unique is that it's 60,000 concurrent users (which is estimated to account for 600,000 actual subscribing players) share the same world where everything is competitive. It's economy is 100% player driven, every ship you ever buy and fly around the beautiful solar systems was created by another player. The materials it was built from were harvested by other players. Everything you buy and sell forms part of an actual economy with an exceptionally complex value system that is entirely dependent on the whims and actions of the players. Every time you lose a ship in combat, willingly or otherwise, the damage is to your wallet - the real limiting factor of your gameplay. Where in other games it may be arbitrary resources in EVE it is your personal economic might that matters.

Increasing that economic power may involve taking it from other players.

Aside from this the game has an unparalleled level of depth, some of which you can choose to gloss over, delving into which will offer you increased granularity and customisation, and more and more ways to tweak out some advantage over your competitors, be they your enemies in space combat or other item producers. Some players just log in, grab a spaceship and go, some chart market fluctuations and pour over spreadsheets. It really is up to you.

I love it, and if you ever played Elite, or just love a game that you can get seriously involved in then you might love it too.


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