collapse

Author [EN] [PL] [ES] [PT] [IT] [DE] [FR] [NL] [TR] [SR] [AR] [RU] Topic: Emergent Roleplay (aka TL;DR)  (Read 23996 times)

Offline _username

  • Got Stront?
  • Antediluvian
  • *****
  • Posts: 6732
  • Reputation: +881/-7
Emergent Roleplay (aka TL;DR)
« on: October 06, 2011, 01:08:35 PM »
A recent conversation in the City Discussion thread got me thinking about emergent roleplay in the context of territory, trust and perma-death.  For security reasons, in the following account I have omitted the names of people, corporations, alliances, star bases and solar systems.  My purpose in writing this is just to share a little bit of what CCP has been doing to bring together player interactions, game mechanics and settings to create a stark mood, which leads to emergent roleplaying.

Partly as an effort to explore some of these concepts in Eve, I joined my corporation's expedition to establish a permanent settlement in the wild lands beyond known space (k-space).  It was an idea that a few of the saltiest, most experienced members had been kicking around for several months.  Keep in mind that much of this is considered "end game": an experience that can only really be accessed once a player has cobbled together a fair amount of experience, skill, capital and connections.  The logistics of such a move would be daunting, and many well-funded, experienced settlers have taken the plunge only to meet with disaster in very short order.  However, it was through sheer luck that one of us stumbled upon a series of unstable wormholes which led to the secluded oasis of Class 4 solar system in wormhole space (w-space).

About 2/3 of Eve can be found on a map.  Everything from the hi-security Empires, low-security faction and pirate havens, and the sprawling kingdoms of 0.0 space can be found on this map.  W-space -- the other 1/3 of reality -- does not follow these rules.  I'll spare you the details on how exactly such a system is found, how a route is mapped to it, and how people and supplies are shipped.  Just think of w-space as a massive, ever-shifting maze.  There are thousands of solar systems of varying levels of accessibility; they might exist elsewhere in the New Eden galaxy, and they might not.  Nobody knows for sure, and it doesn't really matter anyways.  There are no maps; building one would be impossible.  In k-space, you can always tell if you are alone in a solar system.  This is not the case in w-space.  There are no subspace communications beacons, so there is no "local" comms channel.  It is possible to wander into the hornet's nest without realizing it until it’s too late.  In this maze there are hundreds of hostile and crafty organizations whose members can appear from nowhere.  Due to the nature of unstable wormholes, only small and medium sized ships can be brought through.  Once inside our C4, new routes back to k-space had to be continually discovered and researched.  A couple times every day, the old routes would collapse and disappear, stranding anybody en route who lacked the skill and equipment to find their own way out.  If this happens, self destruction and suicide is the only practical option.  Sending out a distress signal is possible, but if anybody responds to it -- and it may take months -- the would-be rescuers are more likely to kill a stranded pilot anyways, and salvage what is left of the ship for their own survival.

Our chosen C4 solar system itself is binary: a yellow K5 star and a red giant orbit one another, and 9 planets orbit the two of them.  About a lightyear away, a pulsar warbles violently, wreaking havoc on the targeting and shield systems of any unprepared visitors.  Two suns, a pulsar and a wormhole -- in view all at once -- makes for a screenshot that very few Eve players will ever take.  This arrangement also makes the system uninhabitable to planet-side colonization.  Before our arrival, the closest thing to life was on an oceanic planet that our preliminary research indicates having multi-cell life forms in its vast oceans.

Because of the potential for sabotage and the difficulty involved in transporting vital supplies to our C4, absolute discretion is required of all corp members.  No new recruitment applications are accepted.  Nobody joins without multiple personal references (preferably a real-life recommendation).  Too many organizations have been stabbed in the back: starbase defenses sabotaged, ships stolen, and sensitive plans/locations sold to adversaries who would invade the system and destroy any vulnerable colonies in their way.  Through of all of this, I have re-learned a few things that I have always known, but have begun to appreciate in completely new ways:

Space is lonely

Far from the safety of CONCORD, the civil system of Empire war declarations, and supply/demand markets, your friends are all you have.  That’s it.  Without them, you are a tin can floating in an eternity of nothing.  Naturally, this is a two-way street.  If anybody betrays the corp, fails to contribute in meaningful ways, or otherwise becomes a liability, they’re gone.  This is a simple matter of an officer evicting them from the corp (cutting off their access to our star bases), interdictors blocking any exits that may exist at the time, and the rest of us hunting them down.  In a lonely solar system, a person with this kind of death warrant can run, and can hide for a while, but is essentially a walking dead man.  Eventually they will be found, their ship will be destroyed, and their frozen corpse will be retrieved from the other floating debris.  You can actually do that in-game: pull a person’s mangled corpse out of space and into your cargo hold, to keep as a trophy, ransom, or worse.  It’s true that the offending player will simply respawn in a new clone back in k-space, but that’s just it.  There are no cloning facilities in w-space.  Although they are still alive, they have been very effectively (and permanently) prevented from accessing the w-space system that had been their home.  To the remaining w-space residents, that person is effectively gone forever.  It is impossible to return to a specific area of w-space without the coordinated aid of somebody who is already there.  There are thousands of w-space systems, so the odds of stumbling into the same system twice is negligible.  The bottom line is that everybody in the organization gets and gives respect because it is a matter of survival.  Sure, anybody COULD kill anybody else for no reason, but the consequences make such an action almost unthinkable.

Space is dangerous

Every new Eve player learns very quickly that there is always a bigger fish.  Most people think of C4 w-space as extremely remote and dangerous, but there are places far more remote and people far more dangerous.  Sometimes those places and people come into alignment with our home system.  A few days ago, an unstable wormhole opened, leading to someplace deeper in w-space.  I happened to find it before anybody else in my corp, and as I approached it, I caught a glimpse of another covert ops ship slipping through it, into whatever lay beyond.  I waited a few minutes, coordinated with other nearby people in case I needed help, then followed the unknown ship into what turned out to be a C5.  After 10 minutes of recon, I was humbled to see the vast assortment of terrible things that they had built from scratch: multiple “Death Star” faction starbases (nearly impregnable facilities for research, manufacturing and logistics), dreadnaughts (whose sole purpose is to destroy other starbases) and carriers (designed to mop the floor with battleship fleets).

I quickly returned to my own system and went about "crashing" the wormhole connecting their system to ours.  It can be a cumbersome process, and halfway through it I was interrupted by four of their battleships dropping out of warp, nearly on top of me.  Combat tactics in w-space tend to be fairly cautious: nobody wants to get podded, since even at the best of times it is a considerable inconvenience to divert other corp members toward the effort of guiding the fallen member back home.  In any case, they must not have realized that I had destabilized the wormhole, because after half an hour of chasing me around, they inadvertently collapsed the connection between the C4 and the C5, stranding one of their own battleships in my system.  Leery of the possibility that they had begun setting up a star base in our system while I was distracted, I began poking around for any evidence of a clandestine invasion.  An hour later I chanced upon the wreckage of the lone stranded ship.  He had limped away to die, eventually coming to rest near the warp-in point to Planet 2 (a volcanic planet in a low orbit around our yellow sun), some 16,850km at a 80 degree downward angle, heading 085.

Space is scary

The only way to get to the wreck was through the use of a microwarp drive.  Along the way, my speed indicator fell to zero.  I checked my propulsion systems, and they appeared to be fine.  To trouble shoot the problem, I turned off the microwarp, killed the impulse engines, offlined several related modules, then brought them back online one by one.  It didn’t fix the problem.  The rest of the trip was in eerie silence, with my engines indicating 2476 meters per second, but my flight computer showing no movement.  As I closed in on my target, directional scanner indicated that the name of the fallen invader’s ship was Russian.  It was likely a Widow, a Scorpion class Caldari battleship, heavily modified by pirate factions for use as a Black Ops infiltrator.  A frozen corpse drifted near the mangled wreck.  I don’t know who he was.  As I approached the invader’s corpse, I planned to have it shipped back to Jita, a prominent trade hub in k-space.  From there, I was going to set up a public contract to whoever may have owned it, with a simple message: "please don’t litter our solar system."  However, before I could get within visual range of the wreck and the corpse, they both vanished.  It has been a long time since I’ve docked… gotten out of my pod and walked around…seen my own face in the mirror. There is no physical evidence that the Widow was ever there.  In my formal report to the corp, I half-joked that I was seeing things.  That is must have been Pandorum…the "space crazy."

There may not have been anything left of the recent encounter with the residents of that C5, but there is abundant evidence that we were not the first ones to settle this C4.  Our first star base was built at a strategic point near the outskirts of the system.  Its defenses were slightly concentrated along the most likely angle of attack.  On the opposite end of the system, a graveyard orbits the 7th moon of Planet 9.  This graveyard consists of a control tower, several ship hangars, a research lab, an ore refinement factory, several support structures and an array of formidable defenses: laser turrets, jammers, webbers and other devices intended to make mincemeat of anybody who wanders too close.  This star base looks eerily similar to ours, except that it is empty.  There are no industrial ships coming and going; there is no dreadnaught parked nearby, and there is no defensive shield in place.  It was built by people unknown, it thrived, and it eventually died long before our arrival.  Real people did this.  It isn’t some kind of spooky artifact put in place by CCP.  Real people – just like me – worked very hard to build an empire in this forgotten corner of space.  Where they failed, we hope to succeed.  But we don’t know why they failed.  All we know is that it was not outright destroyed, which means that they probably starved.  The control tower would have run low on fuel, and its residents would have had to turn off the star base’s components one by one: the factories, the labs, then the defensive weapon systems, and finally the station’s all-important shields.  Then they would have run out of isotopes: plutonium, helium, so forth down the line, and then finally oxygen.  It would have been weeks of misery before the end.  We don’t know how long ago this all happened.  It might have been months, or even years since it was abandoned.  Among the derelict structures, they also left behind a handful of locked storage containers.  We are currently (and discreetly) in the process of hiring an archeologist who can get into these locked containers.  We need to know what happened out here.  If we don’t unravel this mystery, the same fate might await the rest of us.
« Last Edit: January 26, 2012, 08:18:00 PM by _username »
LUNA NOBIS PROVIDET

Offline Radical21

  • Antediluvian
  • *****
  • Posts: 3023
  • Reputation: +-1344/-52
Re: Emergent Roleplay
« Reply #1 on: October 06, 2011, 02:11:15 PM »
Two suns, a pulsar and a wormhole -- in view all at once -- makes for a screenshot that very few Eve players will ever take

And where is that screenshot?

I mean you have us reading this long exciting account that sounds almost too good to be true for an MMORPG, would be nice to have some related eye-candy.

Also how would DUST514 relate to this? would players be able to colonize these planets lost in uncharted space?

I also wonder about this from a Network standpoint since Valamyr claims that in WoDMMO it would be impossible to have hundred of cities that differ from one another and yet in EVE it sounds like each Star System is its own thing(which can be considered the equivalent of a city as I understand it) 
« Last Edit: October 06, 2011, 02:20:08 PM by Radical21 »

Offline phonixor

  • Methuselah
  • ****
  • Posts: 409
  • Reputation: +24/-27
Re: Emergent Roleplay
« Reply #2 on: October 06, 2011, 02:35:37 PM »
I also wonder about this from a Network standpoint since Valamyr claims that in WoDMMO it would be impossible to have hundred of cities that differ from one another and yet in EVE it sounds like each Star System is its own thing(which can be considered the equivalent of a city as I understand it) 
No, as pathetic as it may sound, a galaxy is much easier to procedurally generate then a city.
As we have way more expectations of what a city should look like.
Also the travel mechanism between has to be different, as we can imagine things being to far to possibly travel without a wormhole... much more artificial barriers have to be put in place, to separate cities.
please help me attain a negative reputation
i love RPing the jerk :)

Offline Radical21

  • Antediluvian
  • *****
  • Posts: 3023
  • Reputation: +-1344/-52
Re: Emergent Roleplay
« Reply #3 on: October 06, 2011, 03:02:56 PM »
I also wonder about this from a Network standpoint since Valamyr claims that in WoDMMO it would be impossible to have hundred of cities that differ from one another and yet in EVE it sounds like each Star System is its own thing(which can be considered the equivalent of a city as I understand it) 
No, as pathetic as it may sound, a galaxy is much easier to procedurally generate then a city.

Are you trying to say EVE's server procedurally generates these Galaxies in real time? but according to what skyra describes , these Galaxies do get stored in memory as much as the position of procedurally generated City Tiles would so how is that different?.

To clarify,AFAIK for the most parts only the Client actually reads the complex CGI stuff(3d geometry and the likes) and interacts with it, to the Server these do not really matter, it cares more about the XYZ coordinates of each players and the State they are in.
Location-wise I think it would treat cities in a similar abstract fashion,  as area blocks arranged in some specific way since it really doesn't need to bother with the small details that each client handles individually(Where a player's avatar can go or where they can't go). This is speculation on my part but as I see it if a server had to constantly monitor the visual information as well it would be impossible to have an MMORPG to begin with.

« Last Edit: October 06, 2011, 03:06:14 PM by Radical21 »

Offline phonixor

  • Methuselah
  • ****
  • Posts: 409
  • Reputation: +24/-27
Re: Emergent Roleplay
« Reply #4 on: October 06, 2011, 03:43:28 PM »
Are you trying to say EVE's server procedurally generates these Galaxies in real time? but according to what skyra describes , these Galaxies do get stored in memory as much as the position of procedurally generated City Tiles would so how is that different?.
I have never played eve, and am not referring to this.
I could imagine they have something like a W space generator depending on player amounts, but i think they don't have it, as the growth in EvE is manageable.
I think they have pre generated galaxies, and have semi random wormholes popup (i have no idea, but this is what i get from _usernames story).

So i don't really care about the storage issue, thats relatively easy stuff.
What i meant to say is, that its very hard to procedurally generate a city, that would not feel being procedurally generated.
Cause it is very hard to procedurally generate a city!
Cities are designed by men, galaxies are a random process (or designed by god if you believe that crap)

There is no game (as far as i know) that has been able to pull this of! Even on the graphic side!
Not to mention the actual content!

Simcity games have many copies of the same buildings at random locations
Way to easy and unbelievable road networks (unless you live in new york, where the streets really are that straight)

Diablo 3 has default building blocks, to make a level...something like this is much harder to pull of for a city
not to mention the fact that if cities look to much like one another people will get lost!
because you use buildings/landmarks to determine your position, and if they are reused, then your screwed!

To clarify,AFAIK for the most parts only the Client actually reads the complex CGI stuff(3d geometry and the likes) and interacts with it, to the Server these do not really matter, it cares more about the XYZ coordinates of each players and the State they are in.
Location-wise I think it would treat cities in a similar abstract fashion,  as area blocks arranged in some specific way since it really doesn't need to bother with the small details that each client handles individually(Where a player's avatar can go or where they can't go). This is speculation on my part but as I see it if a server had to constantly monitor the visual information as well it would be impossible to have an MMORPG to begin with.
Yeah, you don't want the game client to be thin clients, and have the game steamed to you by the EvE servers.
Though that would also be cool, but would seriously increase the monthly fee :P
(not to mention probably cause lag, and be an unnecessary attack on your bandwidth)
please help me attain a negative reputation
i love RPing the jerk :)

Offline Valamyr

  • Kindred
  • Antediluvian
  • *****
  • Posts: 1321
  • Reputation: +395/-17
Re: Emergent Roleplay
« Reply #5 on: October 06, 2011, 04:02:25 PM »
Quote
Are you trying to say EVE's server procedurally generates these Galaxies in real time?

Yes, much of space in EVE is procedurally generated, and given the very low density and simplicity of points of interests, it scales up easily and indefinitely. EVE space can literally contract and extends based on demand. Two points in space placed randomly will look good, all the more since we have little to no expectation of how deep space is supposed to look at all. In contrast, a randomly generated city block will almost assuredly both look bad and be much less functional and fun to be in than one designed by hand. A city environment simply -must- be handcrafted if they want to design a quality game, and it takes (quite a bit of) time. Its the huge difference here.

EVE's space and environments are awesome, but from a design standpoint, it was EZ-mode to create compared to what WOD will require. This is the big leagues for CCP now. Its really not a matter of storing or distributing content, it's purely a design issue. You dont have the manhours to realistically build an entire world worth of believable cities. Either way, it seems they've chosen to clone their basic city and link them together, and that's a model that can work. It may not be my favored solution but its easiest, and it's scalable in the sense that cities can be added or merged in the same way other MMOs add separate shards as population increases or contracts.

But anyhow, we've gone through this topic before and I should get back on topic and say: Awesome story, Username :) Thanks for sharing. I'd like a screenshot of your little corner of space too! Its such an awesome depiction of what EVE can be that I kinda feel bad we got side tracked. Scariest I've seen is Nullsec, but I get how the security of your own little corner of space can be a good thing to have. What did you mean by 'Hire an archeologist' to investigate the abandoned station you found? Is that an actual feature in EVE? If you meant a player archeologist, how would be manage to find out?
« Last Edit: October 06, 2011, 04:42:15 PM by Valamyr »

Offline _username

  • Got Stront?
  • Antediluvian
  • *****
  • Posts: 6732
  • Reputation: +881/-7
Re: Emergent Roleplay
« Reply #6 on: October 06, 2011, 04:50:36 PM »
A lot of the screenshots have to be heavily censored, but I have a few good ones that I'll post in a little while.
LUNA NOBIS PROVIDET

Offline Valamyr

  • Kindred
  • Antediluvian
  • *****
  • Posts: 1321
  • Reputation: +395/-17
Re: Emergent Roleplay
« Reply #7 on: October 06, 2011, 05:13:45 PM »
Quote
To: Goon
From: Field intelligence

Standby for imminent visual confirmation of enemy system stop
Obtained spatiolocalisation data by triangulating suns' positions relating to wormhole intensity and pulsar disturbance field from screenshot obtained on obscure subforum stop
Begin orbital strikes in five minutes stop

Above is what must be the primal fear in the mind of someone who feels the need to censor pretty pictures of internet space   :taunt:
« Last Edit: October 06, 2011, 05:16:25 PM by Valamyr »

Offline _username

  • Got Stront?
  • Antediluvian
  • *****
  • Posts: 6732
  • Reputation: +881/-7
Re: Emergent Roleplay
« Reply #8 on: October 06, 2011, 05:19:02 PM »
Simpsons did it! Actually, it's impossible to identify a system from triangulation alone. It's much easier to look at the solar system's J code, then look at the number of people in Corp chat, then check the timestamp to see how many defenders will likely be online at a given time. They have used that method before.
LUNA NOBIS PROVIDET

Offline Radical21

  • Antediluvian
  • *****
  • Posts: 3023
  • Reputation: +-1344/-52
Re: Emergent Roleplay
« Reply #9 on: October 06, 2011, 06:29:08 PM »
Quote
Are you trying to say EVE's server procedurally generates these Galaxies in real time?

Yes, much of space in EVE is procedurally generated, and given the very low density and simplicity of points of interests, it scales up easily and indefinitely. EVE space can literally contract and extends based on demand. Two points in space placed randomly will look good, all the more since we have little to no expectation of how deep space is supposed to look at all. In contrast, a randomly generated city block will almost assuredly both look bad and be much less functional and fun to be in than one designed by hand. A city environment simply -must- be handcrafted if they want to design a quality game, and it takes (quite a bit of) time. Its the huge difference here.


But how do you explain the fact that people can return to these places if according to you they are just dynamically generated and deleted after?
To say again, I'm not talking about looks here.

Or do these places remain 'existent' solely because there are player assets stationed there?(like a space station or something)
« Last Edit: October 06, 2011, 06:32:46 PM by Radical21 »

Offline phonixor

  • Methuselah
  • ****
  • Posts: 409
  • Reputation: +24/-27
Re: Emergent Roleplay
« Reply #10 on: October 06, 2011, 07:03:34 PM »
they are not by default deleted after...
places are generated once, and will remain on the server....
please help me attain a negative reputation
i love RPing the jerk :)

Offline Valamyr

  • Kindred
  • Antediluvian
  • *****
  • Posts: 1321
  • Reputation: +395/-17
Re: Emergent Roleplay
« Reply #11 on: October 07, 2011, 03:58:33 AM »

But how do you explain the fact that people can return to these places if according to you they are just dynamically generated and deleted after?
To say again, I'm not talking about looks here.

Or do these places remain 'existent' solely because there are player assets stationed there?(like a space station or something)

Procedurally generated doesn't mean deleted afterwards. It just means the content isn't handcrafted.

A separate benefit is that with its wormwhole system, EVE can adjust the size of the game world available to scale to some extent as player population grows or shrinks, but that is a separate mechanic (albeith its only made possible because the content is procedurally generated in the first place).

Oh and also, I don't mind explaining stuff at all, and I know it's alot of details that don't all make sense when it's not your line of work, but I'd appreciate if you could make an effort to give me the benefit of doubt and not to begin all your posts on technical matters with "according to you..." or "since Valamyr claims..." like if I didn't know what I'm talking about. I do. :vampwink:

Offline Radical21

  • Antediluvian
  • *****
  • Posts: 3023
  • Reputation: +-1344/-52
Re: Emergent Roleplay
« Reply #12 on: October 07, 2011, 04:09:51 AM »
Oh and also, I don't mind explaining stuff at all, and I know it's alot of details that don't all make sense when it's not your line of work, but I'd appreciate if you could make an effort to give me the benefit of doubt and not to begin all your posts on technical matters with "according to you..." or "since Valamyr claims..." like if I didn't know what I'm talking about. I do. :vampwink:

Ok forgive me if I sounded like I was doubting you, its more because all of it is speculation unless you've worked on the EVE team or had some insiders view of their code.

Offline _username

  • Got Stront?
  • Antediluvian
  • *****
  • Posts: 6732
  • Reputation: +881/-7
Re: Emergent Roleplay
« Reply #13 on: October 07, 2011, 06:01:22 AM »
Clicking each image will open a full-screen version.



This image was captured immediately after passing through a wormhole, and entering the C4 system from a C1 system.  There are several points of interest worth mentioning.  From nearest to furthest:

1. The shimmering orb at the center of the image is a type P060 wormhole.  It's about 10km away from the camera drone that took this shot.  It connects unrelated w-space systems to one another, and it normally collapses less than 16 hours after first appearing.  When a wormhole is young and stable, it is possible to peer through it and even draw reasonable conclusions about what lies on the other side.  For instance, this one has a blue/green tint because it leads to a part of w-space where the visual landscape is dominated by large green/blue clouds of dust and gas.  This is typical of many C1 and C2 systems.  In the center/right portion of the wormhole itself, there is a distinct white light.  That is actually the white dwarf at the center of the C1 system.  So technically, this screenshot shows three suns.

2. The orange star to the left of the wormhole is a K5V (orange main-sequence star, somewhat similar to our own Sun).  It's about 200 million km from where the picture was taken.

3. The pinkish orange star above the wormhole is an MXIII (red giant of undetermined spectrum).  It's about 2 billion km from where the picture was taken.

4. The orange/brown hue of the entire picture is due to the fact that this binary system is almost entirely enclosed within the tendrils of a nebula.  Even if it was possible to triangulate one's position within the galaxy by comparing the current perspective to comprehensive astronomy databases, the nebula hides the rest of the galaxy from view, making it a moot point.

5. The crackling blue object near the bottom of the picture is a pulsar.  Its constant barrage of radiation can have some strange effects on a spaceship's systems.  Once accustomed to its effects, fleets can tailor their tactics to avoid the negative effects, or even capitalize on some fringe benefits that such an environment may offer.  This "homefield advantage" is often a deciding factor in w-space combat engagements.  The pulsar sits some unknown distance from the binary system itself...perhaps a lightyear or more.

--------------------------



This image shows the early construction phase of my organization's first star base.  It was taken from a different area of the binary system than the first image (notice the K5V is now on the other side of the MXIII).

--------------------------



This image shows the Russian infiltrator's corpse on directional scan.  Lacking any kind of electromagnetic signature, it cannot be located with advanced deep space or combat probes.  Instead, the only way to find it is to do it the old fashioned way: use the directional scanner, perhaps a second ship to help triangulate, and a lot of patience.  This image also shows the odd malfunction that struck my propulsion system that day.  *Taps the faulty gauge and curses CreoDron under his breath*
LUNA NOBIS PROVIDET

Offline Aydoo

  • Antediluvian
  • *****
  • Posts: 1055
  • Reputation: +558/-22
    • Aydoodle
Re: Emergent Roleplay
« Reply #14 on: October 07, 2011, 06:19:20 AM »
I see someone spilled paint on your game and a bunch of windows with blacked out words. You should get the graphics card fixed so your bloodlines doesn't look like randomly colored blobs with bad lighting.


:)

 

SimplePortal 2.3.7 © 2008-2020, SimplePortal