Starbase Iterations in Odyssey
Greetings once again spacefriends! CCP Fozzie here with a dev blog for you covering some of our plan for Starbase iterations in our upcoming EVE: Online Odyssey expansion on June 4th.
The Starbase (also known as Player Owned Stations or POS) feature has been a point of some slight contention in the past months. Starbases are in need of several changes to bring them up to the usability standards of modern EVE, and our plans for them have evolved over time. Last year we made the difficult decision to step back and reevaluate our early designs for a completely new starbase system, keeping in mind that some hopes we had raised over the past year might not be fulfilled as quickly as desired. While we work on a new version of the longer term plan we have already launched an offensive against the biggest flaws of the current system.
For Odyssey’s release, teams Five-0 and SuperFriends will be working on a package of improvements to the current starbase system, hitting some of the major pain points that we have sourced from the community. We’ve scoured the net for feedback and ideas, the Council of Stellar Management (CSM) presented a detailed and prioritized list from their perspective, and CCP Bettik read every single post from start to finish in the “Small part of the community” thread to collect all the specific issues raised.
From these lists we formed and prioritized a backlog of potential changes based on community priority and technical feasibility. We’re working hard to get as much of the backlog as possible done for the June 4th Odyssey release. This blog will go over the key parts of the backlog so we can keep you all up to date and get your feedback.
Please be aware that when we say something is planned at this stage in the process there is absolutely no guarantee that each individual item will be delivered as part of Odyssey. The starbase code is quite old and complicated; so it is quite possible we will hit road blocks when addressing some of these features, road blocks that in some cases could render one or more of them undeliverable. Since we at CCP have made mistakes with expectations management surrounding this feature in the past we want to be very clear. This is our educated estimate of what we think we can deliver based on this time period, but we cannot rule out roadblocks arising including but not limited to: unforeseen technical hurdles blocking a feature, the starbase code gaining self-awareness, seizing the building’s climate control system and roasting us all alive, and/or emergency response tasks taking developer time from feature work. Development within CCP is very fast paced, problems come up, schedules and priorities sometimes change; this is an unavoidable reality of game development. We will be working very hard to deliver these changes to you all in the Odyssey expansion, and we will keep you all up to date on our progress.
Now that we have the disclaimer out of the way, let’s get a peek at what we are working on!
Private starbase hangars
The #1 item on the CSM-provided list is our #1 priority for this Odyssey backlog, and also the most complicated addition. SuperFriends are most of the way through implementation of a item storage version of the structure, and we have a separate listing for creating a ship storage version as well that we may or may not be able to get done for this release. We are aware that for wormhole residents especially the ship storage version of a personal hangar would be the most valuable addition, but we are starting with the simpler implementation task before tackling the more complicated personal version of the Ship Maintenance Array.
These structures are significantly different than existing starbase hangars so I’ll go over some of the details in our plan:
- Similar fittings to a Corporate Hangar Array, but higher build cost.
- Normal members viewing the structure only see their own items, in the same way as when someone views the contents of a planetary customs office.
- Corp directors have the ability to see what members have items in the hangar, but do not have the ability to take or place items from/in the hangars.
- No limit on the number of characters that can use the structure, but storage is limited per character. The exact per-character volume is undecided but we are currently considering a range from 10,000m3 to 40,000m3.
- If a member leaves the corp, his or her items are left in the structure but cannot be accessed unless the player rejoins.
- If the structure is destroyed, it drops some but not all of the loot contained within.
- If the structure is unanchored, all contents are destroyed. A confirmation box warns the player if the structure is not empty, and ensures that the items are not destroyed by accident.
This customs office-like structure allows us to avoid requiring complicated management of the storage within the hangar.
Again I will mention that creating a personal Ship Maintenance Array version of this structure is also something we want to do, but it has some extra technical challenges so we can’t promise anything quite yet.
Repackaging modules in starbase arrays
The inability to repackage modules in starbase arrays adds to clutter in starbase storage and makes people hit the stack limit far faster than they should. It is especially frustrating for those players who spend extended time periods operating out of starbases.
This change will allow you to repackage undamaged modules and drones inside a Corporate Hangar Array or Assembly Array so they can be stacked. Ships and containers cannot be repackaged since that could be used to overflow the array. If you repackage a group it works just like in station by repackaging everything it can and skipping the rest.
Swapping and fitting Strategic Cruiser subsystems at a starbase
Another fix that significantly affects our wormhole residents, this entails placing the Strategic Cruiser and subsystems inside a Ship Maintenance Array (adding subsystems to the allowed list for SMA storage) and then using a right click menu to access subsystem choice. The reconfigured ship can then be boarded or ejected as normal.
Accessing starbase arrays from anywhere within the shield
The requirement to move within range of each and every starbase structure to access their storage is a major annoyance for most starbase users, and one we are working to fix. Thanks to new advances in starbase technology, tiny drones will now carry items to and fro within the shield bubble. This changes the POS module access range to instead check that your ship is inside the shield, allowing players to access all the structures from one location.
Starbase setup UI improvements
Our plans here are to port over of the usability features from the probing system over to starbase setup. Plans include setting the little arrows beside the modules to scale with your zoom level the same way as the arrows in the probing interface so that they never get too small to use, and allowing you to manipulate the central cube directly for quick placement.
Removing the sovereignty requirement from Capital Ship Maintenance Arrays
Clarification: This change affects Capital Ship Maintenance Arrays, not the Capital Ship Assembly Array that is used to build supercapital ships. CSAAs are not being changed. This change does not in any way allow supercapital ships to be constructed in lowsec or wormholes.
Capital Ship Maintenance Arrays are giant SMAs that are currently can only be anchored in space that has been upgraded for supercapital construction. In order to reduce the number of SMAs needed to service large corps we are planning to allow CSMAs to be anchored in all lowsec, 0.0 and wormhole systems regardless of sovereignty status.
This is not the complete list of items in our backlog but these are the changes most likely to make it into the Odyssey release in June. We have been working with the CSM throughout this process to ensure that we are making high value changes for you all, and we’re very interested in hearing what you think as well.
Unlike the content shown in dev blogs closer to release this blog has contained many items with outstanding technical challenges to overcome so I want to repeat again that we cannot unfortunately make binding commitments that all of these items will hit the Odyssey release. We will be working hard to make all this a reality but I can’t rule out possible complications arising, so please bear with us as we work towards a better starbase system together.
I will be watching the feedback thread for this blog very closely and sending all appropriate feedback to the programmers from both teams that are in charge of implementing these changes, so please continue letting us know your perspectives on all these changes and what other tweaks you want us to make in the future.