Brief look at the EVE character creator

eve_thal

If you are an EVE fan, you’ll by now be well aware of the upgrade to the character creator that came as part of the recent Incursion upgrade. My understanding is that Incursion itself is going to be in several parts, a phased approach to introducing a new expansion.

The other features of the recent patch, including content et al are listed here.

One of the reasons I was curious about the character creator is that in an interview with Massively, the player council don’t seem very enthralled with the whole idea or where it might be leading. It is pretty normal that hardcore players hate fluff and feel that it is a waste of resources, but when they comment, “so far we haven’t been shown any compelling gameplay” that could be a bit of a red flag.

Anyway, back to the character creator. I signed up for a trial and downloaded EVE so that I could try it out.

In just 7 days I can make you a (wo)man

EVE_creator

First things first, you start by selecting your faction and subrace. You can change your mind on these easily at any time in the character creator without having to keep going back. The subrace is very much going to determine your character’s racial characteristics. (They’re all human types if you haven’t played EVE before.)

So you will be doing a lot of customisation but it is around a very strict theme. No dark skinned Amarr with dreads, for example.

The characters are absolutely stunning, no two ways about it. You could certainly tweak the facial characteristics around to make someone fairly ugly but it will be within parameters. As you can see from the picture on the left here, you change the face around by pinching and pulling it with the mouse, rather than with a set of sliders. I found this fairly intuitive, and it’s easy to make attractive characters which is usually key to this type of setup. Hairstyle, eye colour et al are chosen from menus. The hair is particularly pretty and moves as you turn the character around.

On to clothes, and sorry to anyone who wanted Barbarella but you’re going to be wearing the equivalent of space jeans and a space t-shirt and you have limited ability to even pick the colours. It will look stunning though, it really is a very pretty character creator. You can pull and poke at the body shape (I don’t think they make this obvious, you have to actually try it) but there are limits to how dumpy you could make a character.

But it doesn’t really matter because the only thing you are going to be using this pretty new character for at the moment is to pose for a head/shoulders shot to be used as your avatar.

Summary: It’s gorgeous, utterly stunning, but the range of customisation options is limited, particularly in clothing. Which is a shame because space/ sci fi is really one of the settings where it’s perfectly fine for characters to be wearing just about anything.

After you’ve taken a few headshots, you pick the one you like best and then it’s off into one of the most poorly laid out tutorials I have ever seen. The first thing you are asked to do is open the cargo hold of your ship, and the cargo hold window opens UNDERNEATH the tutorial window. Maybe it’s just my screen setup but designers, please don’t do this.

Anyone enjoying the new EVE creator, looking forwards to the rest of Incursion, or want to share pictures of your new characters?

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5 thoughts on “Brief look at the EVE character creator

  1. the new character creator is really great. (not that the old wasn’t – it was way ahead for its time, it’s just – its time is way back now :D)

    i can see the reasoning behind not giving much clothing-related options as its primary purpose is to make a portrait photo. at least this is the idea before Incarna launches (some day, anyway… but hey – Even Duke Nukem Forever got a release date, so who knows?!)

    what i didn’t like is how limited you are within the sub-racial template. this is actually a gameplay and not a technological limitation, of course. still, i’d be happier if i had at least 2-3 starter options for my ancestral model.

  2. To be honest, I think its a step backwards. It certainly looks much better and polished, but in my opinion, it just doesn’t offer enough variety between different characters of the same race. They do look good, but as you say, the range of customisation options are quite limited and only offer subtle tweaks to a standard template for each race.

    For me, the most important things about creating a character is that it looks unique and that I’m able to make it look, or at least get close to looking, how I imagine the character should. The new tool fails on both counts. I’m not sure whether this is poor design, where they’ve prioritised style over substance, or intentional, in that they want all characters to be easily identifiable as belonging to a particular race. I suspect its probably the latter, but its still disappointing.

    Also, about the clothes, I believe they’re working on having characters walk about space stations in a future expansion.
    They’ve also mentioned the possibility to buy things like clothing for characters through micro transactions at some point in the future. The more cynical might think that having such a limited clothing choice now, might just lead to a lot more sales of virtual clothing in the future.

  3. I was disappointed in the “bleeding edge” character creator. I was able to make nice-looking avatars and they were satisfactory replacements for the old portraits. They’re much better looking, for one thing. ;)

    The drab clothing was a huge disappointment. I know we’ll probably get another chance if “walking in stations” ever truly comes about (hey, Duke Nukem Forever has a release date!), but grey, brown and black (one white shirt as I recall) are not a color palette. I was happy enough, for MY avatar, with pilot-y looking clothes, but as you say it is a sci-fi game and they could get away with just about anything.

    The “bleeding edge” just wasn’t there. It’s adequate.

    Esri

  4. Some of my characters look great but one in particular rather irritated me. It looks exactly like a real life acquaintance I find rather annoying. No matter how I altered it, it still looks just like her – just with a wig on and different lighting.

    I suppose I could re-roll a different race but I’m loathe to do that after a year of skill training.

  5. The tech is nice, but I missed all the things like headdresses, implants, futuristic armor, and facial tattoos. You get a lot of people looking the same except for camera angeles, especially from the neck down.

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