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Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Station Launcher?

News of a new Station Launcher for SOE's games was announced at E3 but I figured I would handle that news separately.

I first read about this on
Cesspit, where Abalieno rightly questions some of the Reuter's article as not really being new information.

The best way to get a good idea of what the Station Launcher is all about is to watch
this Ogaming Video interview.

It's basically just a single launch pad for all of the games in the SOE line-up. Which is good.

From a player's standpoint, I really like the clean graphical look of the interface. And it will make it easier to play a variety of SOE games without cluttering your desktop with separate launch pad shortcuts. From SOE's standpoint, it will make it easier for players to purchase other games or expansions, which is fine. It also kind of mentally drives home the Station Access idea of multiple subscriptions for one price (though Station Access is not required to use the new launch pad).

As I stated the interface looks good. But it's more than just a launch pad. If I understand it correctly, it is also a chat interface which will allow you to talk with players in any SOE game. I absolutely love the idea of seeing which of my friends are online before I log on.

There was some mention in the interview of being able to talk to a friend even if they were playing another game under another name. Let's say you have Aggro on your EQII friends list. Now let's say I'm playing Planetside with my new character named
YouWillRegretThatVanuTatooVerySoon. You would be able to find me and talk to me on my Planetside toon even though I never gave you my Planetside name. To be clear, the person sending me tells in PS would still not know my name in that game. They would just see me as Aggro. This sounds like an excellent community feature. I imagine you can still retain total anonymity if desired.

All in all it sounds like a smooth interface that will be good for the community.

There was a lot of uproar over the mention of the PS3 in the article.

"'It's not going to stop at the PC,'said Nathan Pearce, a creative director at Sony Online Entertainment."

This led to a round of forum posts like "OMG SWG for the PS3 LOL." Which, in turn, led to this SWG forums statement by Garva:

"Launchpad is ONLY a gateway to our different games, this does not mean ANY current launchpad using game is going to the PS3. SWG is not, as has been stated endlessly before."

So there you have it. I think the Pierce quote refers to the fact that future SOE games which are playable on the PS3 will be integrated into the Station Launcher umbrella. For instance, (pure speculation) you may be able to see if a friend is playing Untold Legends or talk to someone on the PS3 in a future SOE game from your character in EQII. Maybe someday this will extend to the PSP as well. It's an integrated world.

Quick Note: Regarding my uncertainty yesterday on who is producing the Fallen Dynasty Adventure Pack, here's a quote from Scott Hartsman on the FoH Forums:

"It's much more of a collaboration between two studios than it is outsourcing. Our sister studio in Taiwan (SOGA) is a real dev studio, just like SOE-SD, Austin, or Seattle. By the time Fallen Dynasty gets to its beta on Test Server (which is coming up pretty quickly), something like 10 artists and designers from SOGA will have worked on it, plus about 12 designers, artists, and audio folks from SD."

So there you have it.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why is it I seem to be the only person that thinks that the Station Launcher looks really generic and uninspired - it reminds me of the WinXP version of AOL Instant Messenger.

I'm hoping for one thing out of it: the ability for people to create their own skinds for it (consider that if someone alters the images on the eq2 launcher, it automatically repatches the default images) or at the very least for official game skins like an Echoes of Faydwer skins.

The first time I patched DoF, and saw the DoF skin of the eq2 launcher, I was very pleased with the attention to detail even at the launcher, but with the launch of Kingdom of Sky, and the lack of a new KoS skin, I was disappointed.

Its that extra bit of uumph that you are staring at while you are patching, it can be a significant amount of time when thats the case.

2:47 AM  
Blogger Aggro Me said...

I personally like a clean, simple look (and I surf the net while patching) but I completely agree that allowing for skins would be a fantastic idea.

3:02 AM  
Anonymous RadarX said...

I didn't get to see it at E3, but from the video thats up, it looks like a very simple and clean app. The ability to chat between games is a huge bonus. I think once the bugs are worked out (there are always bugs) it'll be a nice thing to have.

10:24 AM  
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