The art team has been working on many art assets recently and there has been talk of the "Caldarification" of Eve related art. Recently examples have been the WIP images of the Thrasher class destroyer redesign and the citadel. Do we need to keep the lines between the races designs clear cut or is some blending of more generic sci-fi styling a good thing? Should Matari be flying/floating scrap heaps? Should Gallente be 'all about the bass'? Or is a bit of generic sci-fi styling needed to bring new life to our important internet spaceships even if it leans a bit to Caldari?
-DrackarnWhen I first saw the title of the blog banter I squinted and made all sorts of grumpy noises. I thought that it was going to be a love song about Caldari. Then, I did the logical thing and read the entire topic and snorted a bit over Drackarn's poetic license with word usage. However, I did agree with him. In fact, I felt quite strongly about the topic.
My project of documenting Eve's history has given me an insight into the game that I never expected to have. I've constructed the games development from the words of the developers instead of the purely technical approach of looking at the items released. In their words I see hopes and dreams and I often see those hopes and dreams change and come crashing down.
To that perspective is added my access as a member of the CSM. I have had the chance to sit down and directly challenge the art director, as politely but pointedly as I could, over the direction of Eve's art. I wasn't satisfied with the answers that I received at the time. I am still not.
CCP has decided itself to keeping Eve fresh and beautiful. Unlike so many games, where the still shots are beautiful and artistic and the trailers are gorgeous but the game play is something else, Eve plays like it looks. I often take photos of planets and architecture. I play with the lighting on images and hover over that perfect shot as a fleet falls out of warp. I find Eve to be a visually satisfying game and often feel myself humming to the simple pleasure of the graphics.
And then there are the ships of Eve. I find a lot of the ships to be quite unattractive. The organic look of Gallente ships turned me off when I first started. They looked like they have been grown out of the side of something. I wanted to fly Amarr simply for the startling, golden hulls and the fierce bird of prey aspect that some of the hulls had. I loved the wedge shape of the Hurricane and the dragonfly shape of the slasher is one of the neatest looking hulls. I thought it was neat that the ships were so different.
I also thought that they were a bit dumb. I never understood how the weird big engine with two smaller engines on the Exequror worked. Some ships were lumps and bumps and some had no form that my eye could settle on. But, I loved that individuality. I din't understand it but I loved it.
I mean, the Myrmadon is some type of bird/dragon thing. I always expect it to spit fire from its beak or the head to slide back like an Egyptian god.
But time passed and the models started to change. Graphical updates are a constant. Colors, textures, and shapes have come a long way in twelve years. Asymmetrical hulls started to be phased out and evened out. Curves gave way to lines. Shapes that were downright weird morphed into a more classic feel. Center cockpit, two wings for stability in the space air(?), jets, tapered tips and sharp lines.
I hated it.
One reason I love science fiction and high fantasy is the creativity of it. To take what is normal perception and kick it into the corner while wrestling a new reality into place appeals to me. The every day is just that, every day. The escape and creativity draw me. It may sound odd that I could find something repulsively ugly yet appreciate it for its uniqueness and originality but I do. I love what I dislike because it is unmistakable and wantonly unique.
The new hulls are very pretty but they are also generic. There was something about the gift of asymmetrical hulls that inspired me. I oddly enough have come to love it. My minecraft buildings reflect it and drive some people crazy because I don't try to build in perfect balance. I no longer try because there is something real and natural and flawed but not that I started to appreciate because of Eve.
Four years ago I would have called myself a lover of symmetry. Today, I no longer have that opinion. And now, I've watched Eve's ships become symmetrical with the faintest of nods towards their asymmetrical origins. I've watched them become pretty and common.
In writing, a woman who is not pretty or classically beautiful is often referred to as handsome. It means she is striking and attractive but not in a conventional or common way. There are oceans of pretty faces and one cannot remember one for another. I am reminded of when I go to a restaurant sometimes and there is a sea of blond heads. All of them dyed. All of them dyed well. All of them dyed blond. It is so extreme that the occasional brunette stands out like a beacon even though the hair color is utterly common.
I only paint my nails blue. I wear vibram five finger toe shoes which cause me to get insults in public. I like my ships unique even if they are ugly instead of so genetically pretty I cannot see one for another. Let my Vagabond be a dragon with its frilled ruff of explainable solar panels. Let creativity offend the eye and heal the soul. It is not about maturity it is about conformity.
Now the Thrasher hull sits on the chopping block. Its been shaped like a fish for a very long time. It may be whimsical but it is unique. Now, its going to turn into generic rectangular spaceship with sharp bits. I cannot express my distaste for that future. Nor can I express the loss of that hull. A Thrasher is a Thrasher and the hull is always a Thrasher. Never would I question it but in the murky future of angles and lines, geometric shapes and subtle symmetry I do not know if I will be able to recognize one by sight again.
And that will be a great loss.