Insomniac carved out its fourth "C" behind closed doors at E3 this week: Community. (Can you name the other three?) Bungie has put the pressure on other FPS developers to serve their dedicated player base, and Insomniac hopes to respond by relaunching myresistance.net alongside Resistance 2 this fall.
We were shown some concept slides of the new site design, beginning with a landing page with links to three distinct experiences. To the left was an entryway into the community pages, in the center was "game info," and to the right was "chronicles" (a section of the site that ties the franchise together with content like a timeline system). The landing page will be customizable to some extent. We saw a mock "ticker," which could run along the top of the page displaying various Resistance related feeds (news, developer updates, friends activity, etc.). But what happens when we jump into the community portal?
Step 1 is "your own personal baseball card." Literally, a virtual player card (um, gamercard?), this is your community identifier. Known as the "Combat Badge," the card displays icons for three distinct attributes that ideally represent a player's strengths and achievements. While users can handpick these, the system will actually recommend a set based on a player's play history in Resistance 2. We saw a card that featured icons for prefers multiplayer, grenade tosser and prolific forum poster (just the kinda guy we like to avoid -- good to know).
Delving deeper into the experience, we landed on the player page. Insomniac's design focuses on modules, which can be added, deleted and rearranged on the page to suit players' preferences. Example modules include: friends tracker, personal achievements, uploads, personal snapshot, active streams (who's doing what), and recent communications. The team is currently considering pushing some of this content to widgets that could be featured on external sites or dashboards, but a final decision has yet to be made.
The Resistance 2 community presentation was brief and conceptual. What we saw of the new myresistance.net looked familiar and usable, but nothing to topple bungie.net. The tools are there to support a connected, competitive hardcore base, and the rest of us will simply go on about our playing.