CSM reports: Sense and Sensibility… and Spaceships

During the Council of Stellar Management's recent visit to Iceland, the delegates had six major meetings with CCP staff. The general purpose of the visit was to give the CSM more background information on CCP processes, and develop better ways for CCP to use CSM input to improve EVE Online.

In addition to this, many other topics of general interest to the EVE community were discussed in detail, planning was begun for the December Summit, and the CSM was invited to observe some Sprint Demos. The CSM was very pleased with the depth and quality of the discussions held during the meeting, as well as the marked change in "atmosphere" during the visit, which made our interactions with CCP both pleasant and extremely productive.

In these meetings, there was much back-and-forth discussion, with CSM (and CCP) questions resulting in clarification of (or elaboration on) the material presented. This devblog is only a high-level summary of the meetings -- for the full ul;cr (unbelievably long; can't read) version, please consult the full Meeting Report PDF.

CCP CEO Hilmar Pétursson (CCP Hellmar) started the first meeting with the CCP Kickoff presentation -- "Deliver" (as in, "Deliver" on "Excellence"). Particular focus was given to CCP's Carbon platform efforts, which are starting to provide benefits for EVE Online. Hilmar was very blunt about the challenges CCP has faced in the recent past ("Tyrannis was a benchmark release for what not to do"), the costs and benefits of Agile development ("It is like having your mother in-law visiting and she is always pointing out where you are failing and what you have to do better") and his opinion of the EVE community ("We love when people call bullshit on us").

The CSM and Hilmar had significant discussions about many topics, including a lengthy debate about the issue of the day - micro-transactions. In this meeting, as well as others during the trip, this topic was frequently raised, and the CSM conveyed the concerns of the EVE community to CCP in a strong but polite manner (tl;dr: if you're going to do it, do it for vanity items only).

The second meeting was designed to give those CSM members not already up-to-speed on Agile development with a basic understanding of the process (which, of course, the CSM is trying to influence). It also touched on what happened during the development of Planetary Interaction during Tyrannis, and what was being done to prevent this from happening again.

Ending the first day was a meeting devoted to EVE Online marketing efforts, both online and retail, and also touched on CCP's plans for Incarna.

Day Two began with a bang - a huge meeting about The War on Lag. The CSM found themselves blobbed by a massive gang of CCP devs, but by the end of the meeting everyone agreed it was a "GF." The newly formed Team Gridlock provided an extensive presentation on the current state of lag-fighting and what can be expected in the near future (both performance improvements and tech-porn devblogs). Many CSM members felt this was their favorite meeting of the trip (sorry, Hilmar).

Next came an informal meeting regarding future EVE Online expansions. The first topic was Incarna; what CCP is trying to do with it and how far along they are. This was followed by a Q&A on Incursion, discussions on QA and design, and another discussion on micro-transactions.

The day ended with a discussion on micro-transactions and other economic issues with EVE Online's Resident Economist, Dr. Eyjó (CCP Dr.EyjoG).

On Day Three, an increasingly tired CSM dragged themselves out of bed for a meeting with Nathan (CCP Oveur), who was in Shanghai at the time, staying up past his bedtime. A broad-ranging discussion was held; topics included PR management, the Tyrannis 1.1 deployment issues, and yes, micro-transactions.

A short planning meeting then took place to resolve some procedural issues related to the December Summit, after which the CSM sat in on a number of Sprint Demos being presented in the cafeteria by various teams.

If the theme of our June Summit was "Pride and Prejudice," then the theme of the October Meetings was "Sense and Sensibilit_y." The CSM hopes that this trend will continue, and that the December Summit can be summed up by the title of another Jane Austen book... "_Persuasion."