Today the nice postman was kind enough to drop over a nice little package. My new Windows 8 Tablet arrived! So Extra Vehicular is taking a little sidestep into the world of mobile computing. Specifically the question which I’m sure every one reading is silently asking:
“Will it play Eve online!?”
Lets find out:
First of the tablet itself I wont go into too much detail on my selection process. Needless to say I picked a windows tablet specifically the Acer Iconia w700 NT.L0EEK.002:
The important statistics are as follows:
CPU: i5-3316U (dual core 1.70Ghz)
OS: Windows 8 64bit
Graphics: Intel HD 4000
Again I wont dwell long on the tablet itself, its very nicely made feels like a solid product. Its a bit heavier than the iPad (I held a friends one once), but not so much as to be unusable on the move. My installation was delayed slightly by the awful driver shipped with it (intermittent disconnects). With that sorted though the very first thing I did was install eve online:
Network issues sorted, it installed with no hitches what so ever!
So without further ado, I pressed play, and found a couple of minor issues.
Issue 1: scrolling through the EULA is VERY hard with your finger. eve scroll bars are tiny! I eventually resorted to using the arrow down key to skip past the EULA.
Issue 2: The tablet does NOT like you alt tabbing out of eve when its in full-screen mode, and indeed if you kill the eve process through the Task Manager (as I did) the screen will stay screwed until you restart the device (admittedly this takes a few blinks to do)
Having switched to full-screen windowed mode (from which alt tabbing works perfectly) I proceeded to log in:
Yup, thats eve on full high graphics, working just fine (18-20fps), sorry for the shitty picture, its only a phone camera, I can assure you that the screen looks great in real life. So as I was already in Jita I decided to undock and give it a real test:
Ok so maybe full settings is a little too high, 6fps doesn’t seem like a good level. So went into the menu and optimized the graphics to performance, this was the result:
Not bad, lets test it on the undock again:
Thats a bit better! So the simple answer to the question: “Can an Acer Iconia W700 i5 run eve online?” is “Yes!”, very well in fact; after an hour of running it was barely even warm and I’m confident I could tweak the graphics off the lowest settings and still run reasonably.
But there is a caveat:
The eve UI. on the 11.1 inch touch screen the eve UI just doesn’t work. Every thing is tiny (even on 125% UI scaling. Further more the buttons have not been designed with touch screens in mind. Every interactive item on the screen seems to take two prods to active; the first to select the button/dropdown/textbox, the second to actually make it do its function. Indeed I have to admit cheating while writing this by plugging in a mouse, to ensure performing the actions of changing a ship and undocking a few times didn’t take a year.
Eve worse, some UI elements (like say the Character screen), once opened, seemed to take any further prods (such as trying to open the training window) as a signal to close… not exactly helpful.
So lets amend the answer:
Yes a W700 can run eve, however you cant really do much, and what you can do takes a year.
I have got a stylus in the post to me soon, so we will see if that improves the interface use, I dont really expect it to make any difference. For now I will be only running eve via a keyboard and mouse (plugged into the on-board USB). I wouldn’t beg CCP to go and re-factor the UI for touch-screen usage (there are far more important and wider used features to be sorted first), but I will warn CCP: If touch screen devices take off in the way that Microsoft, and indeed a lot of industry leaders seem to be predicting, eve is going to need a lot of work before it can compete.
Update: a couple of suggestions I wanted to test:
1. lower the resolution and see if the UI works better:
Originally the Res was set to 1920×1080 so I scaled it down the the suggested 16080×1050. However I didn’t really see much of a difference. So going for kill or cure I scaled down to the lowest I could: 1024×768 interestingly UI scaling above 100% isnt possible in this mode. buttons were much easier to click however the smaller items were still impossible to use (i.e. moving windows, scrollbars). FPS on full settings however did shoot up to 26 average on the undock.
2. checking the onscreen keyboard
yup this worked fine. The W700 comes with a nice little bluetooth keyboard, but what if you were out and about? First of to use the windows keyboard in the desktop, you have to activate it on the start menu (above the system tray). This mean that I had to have eve in Fullscreen window mode, so I could alt tab out and activate the keyboard. However once this was turned on, it worked fine (apart from obscuring half the screen). The onscreen keyboard did have “windowed” mode of its own, so you can move the window out of the way of what your editing.
I tried getting a screen-grab of it, but sadly the keyboard doesn’t show up on it.
Fly while on the bog,