Tuesday, October 27, 2009

New Eden Editorials

In the world of New Eden, holoreels have replaced television, and information can be transmitted directly into people's brain with the use of implants. However, apart from maybe a percentage of the capsuleer population that suffers from severe agoraphobia (fear of open spaces), I'm willing to believe that most people actually still read. (whatever serves as newspaper in a high-tech future)

New Eden has reporters and news agencies, the most notable of which would be The Scope, and of course the Interstellar Correspondents. The player community makes its own news, and there are many sites out there on the Net that regularly report, discuss, and analyse the newest info to inform, amuse or chock the readers.

Sites like EVE-tv (though discontinued, still a beautiful idea), EVE-tribune, EVE evolved, or EVE-mag, whose dedicated writers strive to bring light to the masses. Not to mention the hundreds of blogs...

However, while the digital crossover from paper to datapad may seem flawless, one key piece is still missing...

A quick look at Wikipedia's definition of newspaper reveals:

Features in a newspaper may include:

* Editorial opinions, criticism, persuation, entertainment and op-eds
* Obituaries
* Comic strips and other entertainment, such as crosswords, sudoku and horoscopes
* Weather news and forecasts
* Advice, gossip, food, and other columns
* Critical reviews of movies, plays, restaurants, etc.
* Classified ads
* Display ads

Did you spot it?

Let's see:

*Editorials, Advice, gossip and reviews are the meat and potatoes of all forums, news sites and blogs, covering everything from local and international news, economics, to reviews of the latest videos on youtube.
*The killmail boards are excellent obituaries, what with New Eden residents' tendency to rush all too quickly towards a quick and often painful demise.
*Weather forecasts are rare, altough you could consider calculating the rate of wormhole appearances something similar.
*We obviously have ads...

The only thing we DON'T have is comics. Editorial cartoons.The funnies. Celebrity caricatures. Politicals. you name it.

Some of you may of course know of Warp Drive Active.
But while it certainly is a webcomic (and a good one at that), it's content is focused on the game itself, with all it's quirks and funny stories, and does not complement or criticise the active news.

There are a few reasons why we don't have politicals or editorial cartoons:
First and foremost, the little portraits that show our face to the world are, well, little.
They all look mostly the same, too. So any attempts to caricature the leader of alliance A shaking hands with the CEO of Corporation B after signing that mining treaty is not going to work very well, since even the majority of the players in their own corporations would probably not recognise them....And how many would be able to point out the leaders of the NPC factions if given a list of pictures?
We never leave our pod, so we never see our characters move, talk and do things and do not feel any empathy towards the portraits.
Certainly, we can illustrate or caricature the ships, and we do have an emotional attachement to our ships. However, since cosmetic customisation is impossible, all ships of the same type look the same, rendering it useless to associate a specific vessel with a specific pilot.
Tough this last point may be debatable, as a pilot could choose to only pilot one type of ship to create an image.

All that may change, however, when Incarna finally comes out.
News reports and tabloid gossip could be given a new edge with the inclusion of shots of the interested parties published in the columns, or spying could have a renaissance with the emergence of paparazzis catching two celebrities in a shady bar.
The new character customisation demo shows promise, and with a little luck, corporation CEOs will be able to get through the crowds to the speech podium without having to wave a badge in front of everyone in order to be recognised.

But what I, as an illustrator, hope for is that the added social dimension might help sculpt a public face for the (player or NPC) celebrities, and maybe give birth to some (web)comics, politicals, or even a graphic novel!

And in the meantime, I'll be caricaturing the ships. :)

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