Delivering Trinity

First an introduction, my name is 2Kay and even though I feel like I just started at CCP, I‘m already in the older half of the employees. I‘ve just been transferred to the EVE Group at CCP after working on various web and billing solutions before. I am here to talk about how we are going to deliver the Trinity patch and upgrade to your guys.

Patch and upgrade?

There will be two editions of the EVE client now, Trinity Classic with the old content, a more compact download which everyone will be able to run and Trinity, the upgraded client with the new content that utilizes the new graphics engine to its full potential. The latter will be a much larger download, so we will start by patching your existing Revelations II client to Trinity Classic. This will allow you to start playing immediately after we launch Trinity.

After the Trinity Classic patch has been downloaded, the client will check your system to see if it supports the requirements to use the new content and if so we will offer to start the download in the background. Again, this will allow you to start playing immediately after Trinity's deployment and not have to wait for the new content to complete downloading. Finally, this will not force users who do not have systems that do not meet the requirements to download unneeded files.

patch flow in shiny graphics

So, how are you going to transport all that data?

Since the usual version patches will not be that big and require you to have patched to be able to play, they will be delivered as before; via an HTTP download in the client.

The bigger content upgrades are going to be downloaded with via HTTP as well, but using a different download mechanism called BITS (Background Intelligent Transfer Service). BITS is a part of the Windows operating system and allows us to ask Windows to download the files in the background for us. BITS supports intelligent bandwidth throttling and allows for downloads to be paused and resumed at your will. The intelligent part of BITS is that you can configure it to yield for other network traffic, which will ensure that you will not lag and be able to browse the web while downloading. If you need the download right away, you can set the download priority to high, which will make BITS use up all the available bandwidth.

Once the graphic upgrade has completed its download, the client will notify you either at login or when you dock and ask to perform the patch process. Finally, BITS is a separate process on your computer, it will continue to run after you quit the EVE client.

Since we use a reliable content delivery network (CDN) to host our files, the HTTP downloads are not going to strain out our web servers, and you will be downloading from a server that‘s close to you geographically.

So the process for those upgrading will be like this:

  1. Upgrade to Trintity Classic
  2. Start downloading the new content in the background
  3. Start playing around with the new stuff in Trinity
  4. Get notified that the content upgrade has completed
  5. Apply the content upgrade
  6. Start playing with the new content

If you chose to download a fresh installation, you will be able to choose which edition you will download.

What about torrent?

Although torrent is a good way to distribute files, it’s not something we can rely on to work for everyone. Torrent traffic is blocked or limited by many ISPs, so it will not work for many of our customers. As an example, none of the CCP staff would be able to download the new content at the office. For service and client security, we would have to setup a seeding cluster to make sure we always have enough seeders. Instead, we would like to use the CDN to deliver the content.

How big are these files anyway?

We will not know how large these files are until later in the development process, but the current estimates are that the version upgrades are going to be around 20 megabytes and the content upgrades are around 1 gigabyte. Please note these numbers are subject to change as we near release.

What requirements are there for the new content?

To be able to use the new content you will need a graphics card that supports Shader Model 3, a format most new graphics card already support. A recent Steam survey shows that about 52% of current graphics cards in use support SM3. To help you determine if your graphics card supports SM3.0, I’ve put together a small application that checks your graphics card. You can download it here.

It is worth mentioning that even though we are using terms such as "premium" and "upgrade", all expansions and upgrades to EVE are free. You will not be charged to upgrade your client to the Trinity or Trinity Classic versions.