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Amazon Goes Incarna

So we have the minutes from the latest CSM summit and one of the things that’s come up with Incarna is exactly what I’ve been harping on, that functions such as the market, research, or PI that are currently done in simple control panels while docked should not be moved into the avatar/station part of the game. A few writeups have asked “well, why shouldn’t they be moved?”

If you want to know why moving station functions to in station avatar functions is a bad idea, I suggest the following thought exercise: Amazon.com goes Incarna.

Go to amazon.com. Type in the search box “Pride and Prejudice” and the book Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen will appear in your browser along with some related books like the kindle version and Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Click on add to cart. Now type “The Burning Life” in the search box. Now Eve: The Burning Life appears. Click on add to cart. Click on checkout.

Now let’s Incarna that experience.

Imagine instead you log into Amazon and you have a little avatar and you’re in a virtual book shop. You want to find Pride and Prejudice so you start wandering around. Ok, you’re a regular customer and a big fan of regency fiction, so you actually know that you need to move your avatar four aisles to the left and two forward. Go you! Now you click on the “regency romance” bookshelf and a picture of a bookshelf opens and you have to find the individual spine and click on it to add it to your cart.

Now, you want to pick up that Burning Life book. Unfortunately, while you’re a regular Eve player, you’re the one in the game that never actually looked for a science fiction book before. (You’re probably one of the 4.5% of us who are women too.)

So you have to wander the virtual aisles with your little avatar looking for the science fiction shelf. You finish going through the entire store and still haven’t found it so you open another browser window and google “amazon virtual store map” and a third party site opens up with a map of the store.


Science Fiction was next to Regency! You must have missed it and you looked through the entire store for no reason at all. You go back and it’s clear where it is. It’s somewhere past that large crowd of other avatars standing in a bit blob not saying anything. You hover around, trying to find some part of the shelf that isn’t covered by the blob of other avatars, then finally click on the virtual shelf, look through the books and…. it’s not there. You go again through all the books and still can’t find it.

That’s not good. Perplexed you again open another browser window with google and type “Burning Life Amazon” and you find a message board thread entitled “Where the **** is Burning Life in the amazon store.” You discover by reading the thread that it’s actually in the “gaming fiction” section. So you go back to the amazon map and find the gaming fiction section and try to memorize where it is. Oh forget it. You write down 4 right, 2 down on a piece of scratch paper, then you go back to the amazon store and move your little avatar to the shelf, open up the shelf, click on the book, and then move your avatar to the cashier and so on.

So which amazon store do you want to use? The latter is not an exciting ambulatory experience, it’s a really horrible interface for a website. And that’s pretty much what those of us who had the ill luck to play Earth and Beyond at some time had to deal with.

Now, of course CCP would never do anything like that. Because CCP only designs high quality UIs that are tested for usability. Right?

Still wondering why people are not just agnostic, but worried about Incarna?

What should really be done is to move a lot of the station functions, not to avatars, but to the Evegate website. The single best feature added in the last year which still languishes in a pre-alpha level of functionality. Move these functions to an interface that isn’t tied into the client, that doesn’t compete with space on the Eve screen, that can be accessed from computers that can’t run Eve, that you can put side by side with your google spreadsheets showing profitability of PI manufactured products, and so on.

One Comment

  1. Muscaat January 24, 2011 12:37 pm

    This just about sums things up perfectly…