The New Nebulae: An Eve Astrophotographer’s Perspective
If you’re somehow not already aware, the CCP Art Department has been working overtime, and they are planning to release entirely new nebulae – in effect changing the entire look of New Eden – as part of the Winter 2011 expansion.
TLDR: They’re stunning! Scroll past all the commentary to see my 20 favorite pics from my trip around SiSi’s alternate New Eden.
As you might imagine, bloggers like me who post a lot of Eve pictures, especially ones that are focused on the lore and back-story, have a lot invested in how the art department chooses to render things. Our hopes and fears have both been high. Mark726 of Eve Travel has based all of his conclusions for Arek’Jaalan Project Compass on the current sky and nebulae. I’ve based a significant portion of my hunt for Kuvakei’s wormhole generator for Arek’Jaalan’s Project Catapult on the current nebulae as well. This raises the specter of a boatload of rework for things the two of us have already sunk an enormous amount of time into. And that pales in comparison to the volume generated by the pilots visiting every system in Eve like Black Claw and Katia Sae. We have a lot of our blog material posted with the current systems in the background and have a bit of dread at what amazing vistas we might have to revisit with the new artwork.
This week, the new nebulae went up on Singularity (aka “SiSi”, the Eve test server).
Being in or near the new nebulae is spectacular and some of the vistas are amazing. In particular, as I traveled I was blown away by the intricacy of Kor-Azor and Tash-Murkon and the elegance of Cloud Ring. The entire Minmatar Republic sky is gorgeous. Aridia and Scalding Pass were great surprise finds. CCP has even introduced roiling gas clouds that you may at first think are other nebulae, until you back away far enough to realize they are a far smaller local item on grid with you – but they are not “large collidable objects” – you can fly right through them.
On the flipside, the more distant sights in Lowsec aren’t quite as pretty, and feel a bit forced with multiple equidistant nebulae, but it’s understandable given need for continuity and limitation of one nebula per region. The Caldari nebulae I visited (Forge & Lonetrek) weren’t as impressive as their cousins. I was also disappointed to note the continuing lack of vistas of the “map landmarks” – I personally went to The Vapor Sea and The Cauldron, and know of others who went to Point of No Return, and there is no difference in these sites. Hopefully that will come in future release.
My feedback for CCP:
- These are spectacular. Thank you – well-deserved kudos!
- The inclusion of swirling on-grid gas clouds is something I assume is new, but may be wrong. Maybe now they’re just more visible? And the lightning in the particle accelerators? Whatever, they’re cool.
- Ship art department, on a side note, should be congratulated. The new battlecruisers are awesome. The new skins look great. MINMATAR LOGO SKINS NOW PLEASE! KTHX.
- I saw two bugged nebula, the worst of which is included at the very end of this post. Looks like the tiles are misaligned. Please fix.
- Due to a buggy map switch interface, I could not do any probing. This makes me sad, and is a problem on Tranquility as well
- The “highlights” of Eve really need to be made real! I hope it is in your plan to bring The Vapor Sea, Cord of the Elements, Ginungagap, Point of No Return, Pool of Radiance, The Cauldron, etc. to life. I want to see a spectacular vista from The Traumark Installation looking out across The Vapor Sea to Stain, just glimpsing the Pool of Radiance in the far distance. I want to sit at the edge of Golgothan Fields in Ennur looking out over the slowly turning vortex in Ginungagap.
- The New Eden system, and in fact the entire EVE constellation, should be something special, and should be powerfully memorable for any visitor. It sits high above almost the entirety of the rest of New Eden. Give us a treat – maybe views of all the nebulae, some in the distance, others closer. Maybe a singular nebula for just the EVE constellation – the cradle of modern civilization. It’s a sad little place now compared to what I hoped for.
- The EVE Gate should be incredibly bright. According to canon, the gate is supposedly three light years from the system, and yet it is nearly as bright as the system’s sun. This means that it should be visible almost across the entire cluster, particularly given its high placement in the system. At minimum, it should be as clear as a live supernova anywhere in the Genesis region, and probably throughout the Amarr empire. It is noted in several places that EVE Gate figures prominently in their religion, and thus should be clearly visible from Amarr.
- Over the long haul, it would be great to see the “you can see three/four nebulae from here” systems – mostly Lowsec, tweaked a bit. Let’s see the overlap, maybe more objects even further in the distance. Maybe wispy clouding from the nearest. The way Cloud/Outer Ring is executed from a distance is particularly nice. Right now it feels a little like a “pick a nebula” menu out there. Which is OK because it’s pretty. :)
Enough talk. Below are my 20 favorite pictures from a 200+-jump voyage; each can be clicked to enlarge. Feast your eyes!
Kudos, CCP Art Department!
But one last one just for you – here’s the “tiling” bug, as seen from the EVE constellation. There’s another similar one that impacts the Cloud Ring from Placid.