Eurogamed: Perpetuum Online

By Jim Rossignol on February 24th, 2010 at 11:00 am.


Remember we talked about how there was an MMO that was basically Eve with robots? It’s called Perpetuum Online, and I only went and wrote about it for Eurogamer.

The biggest difference, of course, is that Perpetuum is not set in space, and has terrain. There are not spaceships, but robots. Some are a little stompy, others skittering, all armed as you see fit. The robots deploy from various techno fortresses that are scattered across the landscape.

And stuff like that.

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22 Comments »

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  1. Tei says:

    I have played about a million years. And with playing I mean upgrading skills (like 1% more damage, 2% faster, 1% more CPU output), killing a few “level 1 rats”, and cashing the vendor trash for 20.000 ( a mech can cost 900K ).
    I am probably doing something wrong, maybe not mining, or playing solo. At this rate I will be able to play with a slighty different-looking noob-ship in 2050.
    Mining is weird, like is about a 90% doing “paper work” (???).

    The game need investors, or something.

  2. Magius Paulus says:

    Some people raised the licensing issue last time this was on RPS: CCP and FASA (or whoever has bought FASA, think it was Hasbro) might have some problems with this, as this is basically Battletech: Eve. Did Perpetuum respond to any of this, or is is actually a non-issue, as mmorpg’s basically steal everything from each other anyway and ‘robots’ and ‘mechs’ aren’t the same?

    • Dominic White says:

      The mechs in this bear more of a resemblance to the old Earthsiege (which then evolved into Tribes) games, anyway. I think they’re safe from whoever does own Mechwarrior/battletech.

      And as for cloning the Eve UI, we’ve got Runes of Magic and Allods Online copying their UI’s almost wholesale from World of Warcraft, and nobody is suing there. Hell, even Warhammer Online was pretty close.

      This game is legally safe.

    • the wiseass says:

      Yeah, I was wondering the same. It’s basically Mechwarrior Online with the GUI of EVE. Is there something that these guys didn’t rip off?
      On the other hand tough, I’m all for big metal Robots tearing each other apart, so I hope this will be good.

    • Tei says:

      The difference is that Wow not invented that interface. Lots of games designed similar interfaces and mechanic (to a extend that the expression “wow clone” make some people angry…). The EVE interface is different from all other games, is somewhat like a “OS Desktop interface”, with email and browser has part of the gui (not just a feature added to it). Perpetuum Onlin interface is not some nebulous inspired one, with ideas shared with other games, but the EVE interface, witha EVE theme, EVE style and mechanic, EVE font size, font type. The only different seems that the bar is on top, and on EVE is on the right. Is more than “inspired”, is a clone, a copia that is as next to the original has possible withouth the same bitmaps. But If CCP don’t care, I don’t care.

  3. Premium User Badge

    tomeoftom says:

    I need this to be incredible, otherwise my psyche will be absolutely ruined for decades to come, (or until a small-scale, customisation-heavy, mech-centric MMORTS with terraforming and fluid dynamics comes out and sucks – at which point I’ll simply shoot myself, as I’ll be too old to comprehend that kind of thing by then).

  4. the wiseass says:

    Great, the SPAM-Monster has eaten my post again. There is definitely something wrong with your spam settings guys.

    What I wanted to say: The game looks like Mechwarrior Online with the GUI from EVE. Is there anything these guys didn’t rip off? On the other hand, I’m all for bit metal robots ripping each other apart. So I hope this will be good.

  5. Zyrxil says:

    When I visited the game’s website, I was struck by how similar it was to Black Prophecy’s website. Then I read the first two paragraphs of your article and was struck again by how you compared it to EVE, when Black Prophecy is also amazingly similar (graphically and GUI wise) to EVE. Thus my mind was blown and could not read any more. :p

    • Dominic White says:

      On that note, I do hope that both Perpetuum and Black Prophecy do well enough to stay afloat and expand, because the more competition Eve has, the more CCP have to pull their weight to keep up. Competition plus different games filling different niches = win for everyone.. unless one of these two falls far behind enough to crash and burn. That’d be bad.

  6. Mr_Day says:

    This may sound oddly crazy, but remember the old Mechwarrior 2 Mercenaries game? I always wanted that to be made into an mmo.

    You get an old mech, maybe a family hand me down, maybe salvage. You then work alone or in small groups by doing missions on planets in the outer worlds until you have made enough to book passage to the more dangerous but more lucrative worlds.

    I have always loved the idea of counter operative games, and a mercenaries style suits that quite well. A bounty can only be claimed by one person, people fighting over who gets – or gets to complete – a job. And if you get fed up of that cut throat style of play, join up with the military for a more stable, though less rewarding game style.

    Sigh. I just wish Mech 4 Mercenaries was as good as the original one. Ah well. A man can dream.

  7. Premium User Badge

    harvb says:

    I’m pretty gutted. I dreamt up this game many, many moons ago and swore one day I would get around to finding someone to create it. It would never be the worlds biggest game nor net me a honkingly massive salary, but it would be my child-like brain that had thunk it up and watched it flower.

    Of course now some other bugger has gone and done it. I had no idea it was Eve.

  8. Mr_Day says:

    This may sound oddly crazy, but remember the old Mechwarrior 2 Mercenaries game? I always wanted that to be made into an mmo.

    You get an old mech, maybe a family hand me down, maybe salvage. You then work alone or in small groups by doing missions on planets in the outer worlds until you have made enough to book passage to the more dangerous but more lucrative worlds.

    I have always loved the idea of counter operative games, and a mercenaries style suits that quite well. A bounty can only be claimed by one person, people fighting over who gets – or gets to complete – the job. And if you get fed up of that cut throat style of play, join up with the military for a more stable, though less rewarding game style.

    Sigh. I just wish Mech 4 Mercenaries was as good as the original one. Ah well. A man can dream.

  9. Premium User Badge

    Arathain says:

    A slight tangent: so I’ve been playing the Allods Beta. As remarked above, it’s basically Wow. While it has some interesting visual design of its own, the interface is WoW and the stuff you do is WoW, and early WoW at that.

    Developers argue that there’s no point in reinventing the wheel when making these games. Rather than arbitrarily inserting your own interface, why not use something familiar? You know it works, and gamers familiar with WoW (which is most people in the MMO space) will be able to jump in comfortably, and it allows the devs to focus on making their game distinct where it matters- Warhammers Online’s PvP, Lord of the Rings Online’s reproduction of Middle Earth, etc. If your players intuitively know that a green item is pretty good and a purple item is amazing, that a chap with an exclamation mark (or similar) will give you something to do) why change that? It looks like Perpetuum is working this way, certainly.

    While there is a certain amount to this, we seem to be locking the form in increasingly unhealthy ways. Look at what happened with Final Fantasy and the JRPG- random encounters, rows of fighters with action bars, grinding, pages of largely meaningless stats; these things have persisted for over two decades. I see the same sort of thing happening here with MMOs and I worry it’ll be the death of much innovation. When we’re trying to make our websites look like those of the game we’re imitating we’re descending into cargo cult behaviour.

    I know it’s a very tough market, and developers want every chance they can get at attracting an audience. But honestly, slavish imitation is working out pretty poorly on all sides.

  10. Mark says:

    Suing for someone stealing your game UI is basically impossible. You never see lawsuits like that.

    You might have patents on modes of input, but a game UI? You’d have to literally steal their in-house code and use it in your game. You are never going to get sued for using something that looks like another game’s UI.

  11. ChampionHyena says:

    My first thoughts on reading the article:

    “Hey, it’s a picture of EVE’s station UI OH WAIT WHAT THE HELL”

    Swinging for the Drake-lined wormholey market escrow fences, aren’t we?

  12. Nef says:

    From the Perpetuum forum, where a Developer talks about the similarities to EVE (the question comes up a lot )

    DEV Zoom: “Do we love EVE?
    Yes. Even if most of us haven’t even played it ever.

    Did we really want to just copy EVE?
    Honestly, no.

    Let’s take the UI, I think most of you are picking on that.

    The thing is, there is only one proper way to display lots of data to users in a useful way, and those are: rows and columns. There is only one way to display blocks of text: in textboxes. The simplest buttons you can do are rectangles with text on them. Combine these in the easiest way you can, add some window-management and you get… Windows.
    Yes it’s true, EVE didn’t invent cascaded windows.

    I think the only reason you see them so similar is because in contrary to all the fancy window-shapes and decorations those fantasy games have out there, both UIs are built up from the simplest primitive building blocks a UI can have.

    Yes, icons are simply sorted into windows one after another (didn’t windows 3.1 have that already?).
    Yes, quantities on icons are in the lower right corner (where else would you put them?).
    Yes, we have human heads as avatars (that’s unheard of!).
    Yes, the members of the chat are listed on the right side of the window (irc, anyone?).
    Yes, you can put a missile launcher (sword) onto your robot’s (knight’s) chassis (hand).
    Yes, you actually need to target someone before you accidentally start shooting innocent bystanders.
    Yes, we have a planet on the login screen (…).

    I could go on forever.

    There were also numerous (and I mean it) occasions, where our programmer put together a simple window layout (for example the market) and he just later found out that he almost exactly copied the layout of the EVE one (mind you, he has never seen that before). Because it was just the most logical way.

    Later on, the following conversation pattern came up again and again ridiculous times:
    – Ok, I threw some window together for x function, here.
    – Dude…
    – …don’t tell me this looks like…
    – …

    Believe it or not, after some time, when we designed something new for the game, we always checked whether EVE has it, and how it looks, so we DO NOT make it the same.
    And most of the time we honestly tried, but it always turned out that it’s the most logical and convenient way to do it. And call me a thief all you want, but I will not make something less usable and fucked up just so it doesn’t look similar to another game.

    The simple fact that we are using real world references to build up the world of Perpetuum determines us to be “thieves”.
    Lasers have long range and do heat damage. Machine guns do not need energy to function and have a high dispersion rate. Electronics need power to operate. Mining, refining, recycling, manufacturing, patents, licenses, corporations. None of these are unique to EVE. It’s the reality we live in.

    So why do all the people still think we are cloning EVE? Because up until now very few have tried to mimic the economics of reality in such a complex and detailed way as EVE. Now we do.

    And now for the Top 5 questions ever, which I couldn’t answer on other forums:

    – Are you CCP in disguise?
    – No.

    – Are you in any way affiliated with CCP?
    – No.

    – Is this Goonfleet’s most elaborate scam ever to get all our EVE passwords?
    – No.

    – Is the Perpetuum client a keylogger?
    – Yes, we actually register your keystrokes which are used to move giant robots. We also use advanced braincontrol devices so you will actually want to pay for this.

    And my personal favorite:

    – Did you take the leaked EVE source code, and just changed the icons, switched the spaceships to robots and simply put some terrain in it?
    – Oh God, if it was just that simple… err I mean, no.”

  13. somename says:

    if the company behind EVE is really smart, they’ll invest in this somehow! Same rules and design means same player base.

  14. ratherthandanrather says:

    I’ve often wished that EVE was set in a physical world, so i could wrap my head around it. SO, there – i seem to get my wish fulfilled.

  15. Nef says:

    Beyond that, it’s a similar user base catering to two different playstyles. You really can’t compare the game as a whole to EVE when you get used to the terrain navigation. This sort of game could really bridge the gap between MMO players that can’t wrap their heads around 3D space navigation (Perpetuum has good old WSAD) and those that like the general premise of a user based economy MMO.

  16. Torgen says:

    (Starts reading review)

    Shit.

    (reads more)
    shitshitshitshitshit

    (rips pages out of game design notebook and throws them in the trash)

    Guess I don’t have to wonder which engine to use for that idea any more…

  17. K-k says:

    Could you please say EvE a dozen more times in the eurogamer article? Nothing makes me lose interest in a game faster, a game that looked interesting at first, but turned out to be sugarcoated dullness. Thank you for the heads up, though.