CCP has officially kicked off its annual Fanfest celebration with a keynote address that focused on the company's efforts exploring virtual reality technology.
Two small teams - one in Atlanta, the other in Shanghai - have been experimenting with a number of projects over the last year. The former have focused on the Oculus Rift hardware, used in conjunction with the Xbox's Kinect sensor to create a disc-throwing game that draws immediate comparison with Tron. Another simulator allows Eve players to enjoy spinning their ships within a massive virtually rendered hanger. The developers in Shanghai, meanwhile, have been working with Samsung's Galaxy Gear mobile headset to create Project Nemesis, which places players in control of an Eve ship turret as a fleet fight plays out.
The bulk of the presentation was reserved for Eve Valkyrie, the VR project revealed by CCP at Fanfest in 2013. Owen O'Brien, executive producer for the game, took to the stage to discuss development progress over the last year, with a bombastic gameplay trailer of a new single player mission forming the centrepiece of the presentation.
The mission forms a part of the new player learning experience. Once completed, the area will be unlocked as a multiplayer map called Necropolis Graveyard, one filled with the wreckage of the post-Titan carnage.
The new map also introduces a new game mode. In Necropolis Graveyard, you're competing for the spoils of war with a rival looter, and you must inflict more damage against the enemy than they inflict against you in order to force a withdrawal. There'll be capture points though, which will boost your rate of domination for as long as you can hold onto them.
A new ship's coming to the game as well. The Spectre Heavy MK I is considerably heavier than the game's current zippier ship, but it has greater defences to compensate, including a chargeable shield. To make up for some of the ship's sluggishness, it'll also feature Eve Online's MicroWarpdrive, which provides the Spectre with a temporary speed boost should you need to hot-foot it over to a new part of the map.
The main character of Eve Valkrie - Ran - has been fleshed out a little too, and the first preview of the fighter pilot's face was shown off. Ran's backstory will also be fleshed out in comic book form later this year, and in collaboration with publisher Dark Horse. Finally, the team has announced a limited pre-Alpha for the game, which Dust and Eve players can sign up for (evevalkyrie.com/prealpha). Numbers will be extremely limited, and you will need both a beefy PC and the DK2 version of Oculus Rift if you want to participate.