Gen Con 2002: EVE: The Second Genesis impressions

We get up close and personal with CCP's upcoming space-based online game.

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We visited with publisher Simon & Schuster Interactive at Gen Con 2002 and got a good look at the upcoming massively multiplayer online game EVE: The Second Genesis. EVE will be a space-based game that will let you pilot various kinds of starships, including frigates, freighters, battleships, and cruisers--the game currently has about 70 different ship models implemented. More new players may be able to try these ships out firsthand when the game reaches its beta phase in about two to three weeks.

You will begin the game by choosing to be a male or female specimen of one of four playable races, though if your character becomes accomplished enough, he or she may actually be able to evolve into a fifth, more-advanced race. Since all of EVE's gameplay will take place inside the cockpit of a spaceship, you will be able to customize your character's appearance in your ship's cockpit by adjusting the lighting behind your character's face and torso, by adjusting your character's posture (which can, for instance, be tilted downward to make characters peer down menacingly at their communication screens), and by changing the hairstyle and hair color, facial features, and tattoos. All new characters will also belong to one of two racial bloodlines, which comprise part of the game's 15 political factions. New characters may choose to be one of 15 professions, including pirate/rogue, mercenary, bounty hunter, or miner, but these choices simply determine a new character's starting skills. You can develop any kinds of skills you wish simply by earning enough money to buy skill packs.

Money within a player-built economy will be the focus of EVE. The game will feature an intriguing market system that will let you buy and sell your ships' cargo and any other resources, weapons, or ships you may possess by placing them up for sale in the game's marketplace. As we saw, this can be done simply by clicking and dragging any saleable items into the marketplace menu, setting the price (the marketplace menu will actually have a graph that will indicate the average price of the item in question, including recent fluctuations in market price), choosing how long you wish to wait until retracting the sale, and hitting the confirmation button. Likewise, you can buy new resources, items, weapons, and ships--the game will have about 900 different items to buy or sell--by searching for the best price for your desired product and clicking on the confirm button. EVE will have broker-bots that will let you automatically sell large quantities of goods without having to constantly manage your business, but that's the only time you will see any computer-controlled activity in the market. EVE will have no nonplayer character merchants or similar money sinks, so the richest characters won't always be the ones that fight and bring back the best loot--you can amass wealth by being the best at wheeling and dealing.

We also got a chance to watch EVE's interstellar travel in motion. All ships fly through 3D rendered space decorated with colorful lighting effects. They can travel quickly between planets using warp drives and can also travel quickly between the game's star systems by means of jumpgates. CCP intends to have a whopping 10,000 different star systems available at launch, which should allow plenty of elbow room for the company's estimated server load of up to 100,000 people at launch. EVE is currently scheduled for release this winter. For more information on the game, check out our previous coverage .

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