In this concise opinion piece, I take a look at the top four features I'd like to see make it into EVE Online. What's your top four?
1 – System-wide asteroid belts:
To say asteroid belts in EVE are dull is the understatement of the year. Aside from the recent asteroid model revamp, asteroid belts haven't changed at all since EVE was first released all those years ago. They're designated areas anyone can see on their overview and warp to rather than actual belts that span an entire orbit ring of the star system. More importantly, they contain only a handful of asteroids rather than the thousands that should be visible. Obviously it's this way because back in 2003 it wasn't feasible to create realistic belts. Nowadays, however, it might be possible.
Asteroids close to the camera can be rendered as individual asteroid models, while those further from it can be drawn as simple 2D textures facing the camera – a technique known in the game programming business as billboarding. Using hardware or shader instancing techniques possible with modern graphics cards, tens of thousands of low quality asteroids can be drawn at a distance. Rather than warping to standard asteroid belts the way we do currently, we could use an asteroid scanner to find a spot on this massive belt ring that has ore in it and warp to it that way. This is slightly similar to the current hidden asteroid belts that exist in EVE, though these are often tough to scan down and tend to have higher quality ore than the normal asteroid belts.
2 – Shanty town
The shanty town initiative popped up on the planned features list last year but has since faded into obscurity. The basic idea was to give individual players structures that they could anchor in space that had various functions. They would be anchorable in space rather than just at moons and could be used for functions like tiny personal labs and factories. They wouldn't be protected by a force field and if found would be easily destroyed, but they also wouldn't use fuel and they'd be cheap enough for new players to afford them. These would act as a personal form of POS, like player housing.
The most interesting idea I've heard regarding the shanty town initiative is that it could be used for sovereignty-holding and warfare in 0.0 space. Anchorable scanner arrays, scanner scattering fields, cynosural field jammers with a range of several AU etc could all be anchored in space and used for 0.0 warfare. Perhaps the most exciting possibility is that players could construct their own mini complexes or dungeons with controllable sentry guns and remote repair platforms and that sovereignty could be tied to these rather than POS. Capturing enemy sovereignty would then be about assaulting their custom-setup military complexes with fleets of mixed sized ships rather than shooting massive stationary structures with a fleet of capitals.