Fanfest 2014 - A Summary
Best Internet Spaceship Pilots,
The wonderful EVE Fanfest 2014 is over and what a festival it was! Located in the amazing Harpa Concert Hall and Conference Centre in Reykjavik, Iceland, more than 1000 players, plus hundreds of developers, celebrated the EVE Universe and all its aspects from April 30 to May 2, 2014, with more than 70 presentations, roundtable discussions, shows and general happy craziness.
For those who couldn’t experience Fanfest in person, EVE TV broadcasted the most important presentations and featured dozens of interviews with developers and community live on stream.
Not everyone was able to visit Fanfest or to follow the live stream, and not everyone has the time to watch all recorded and published presentations (even though we recommend doing so), therefore we would like to tell you what was going on at Fanfest.
If you regret your nonattendance or want to make sure you get there again next year because you had such an amazing time, you should head directly to the Fanfest website to grab a ticket for Fanfest 2015!
Behold the Fanfest overview!
Click on the title of each presentation to watch the recordings on YouTube. A short summary highlighting the most important information presented during each session is also available and contains links to further information if available.
CCP Hellmar and guests
The CCP Presents keynote is traditionally the highlight of Fanfest with a mixture of high level presentations and light hearted talk.
From the latest Permaband song "Killing is Just another Means" to the announcement that it is possible to purchase the EVE: The Second Decade Collector’s Edition with 12 PLEX to the release of the latest EVE Online trailer "The Prophecy", this keynote was a festival of brilliant moments.
Of great note was the announcement that EVE Online will be soon also available in French.
The CSM9 election results were also first presented in this keynote. Read more about the CSM9 here.
After successfully publishing EVE Source and EVE True Stories, CCP continues to work with Dark Horse Comics, announcing two books in 2015, the comic book EVE:Valkyrie and a 200 page “EVE Universe: The Art of New Eden”.
Finally, the date for Fanfest 2015 was announced: March 19 to 21 during a (total) solar eclipse.
CCP Hellmar & CCP Rouge
The DUST 514 keynote featured a retrospective look at the first year of DUST 514. It was also announced that in the process of developing this continued vision for DUST 514, it would necessitate a move to the PC. This exploration into PC development was revealed with an advance look at a PC prototype titled “Project Legion” presented during the keynote.
More information about Project Legion can be found in this dev blog here.
The EVE Online keynote gave an overview of the previous twelve months EVE Online, presented the current developments, showed the immediate future and deepened the grand vision of what and where EVE is heading to.
Several announcements were made:
Dev blogs are available accomplishing this keynote:
CCP Hellmar & CCP Digger
The EVE: Valkyrie keynote gave insight into the work on Valkyrie during the last 12 months, gave news about the game itself and the future ahead.
EVE: Valkyrie is planned to be the most accessible and immersive space combat experience yet, it combines fast visceral action with tactical gameplay; all enhanced with VR technology. The goal with EVE: Valkyrie is to blend tactical depth and accessibility without dumbing down the gameplay experience. In addition, EVE: Valkyrie will feature a deep background story set in the EVE Universe.
Three announcements were made:
EVE: Valkyrie was also demoed on Sony’s Morpheus headset.
The following sections are sorted into categories so that you can easily find your most favorite topics and from there work forwards:
Art and Graphics
Community and player interaction
Gameplay and game mechanics
General game design
New player experience and accessibility
Server operations and IT infrastructure
Ships, modules and items
Support and Customer Service
In this panel we saw an overview of the most noticeable things delivered by the art team since Fanfest 2013 (which are quite many):
Another large topic of this panel included a presentation of things currently going on:
The final part of this presentation covered current R&D and a sneak preview into a possible future:
Additionally the panel mentioned some work already done or about to happen:
CCP Nag had a traditional small sketching demo during Fanfest 2014 which resulted in a nice space scene. After an informative and entertaining introduction by CCP BasementBen, who presents further information during the session, CCP Nag starts the sketch work while letting you listen in on his thoughts and ideas and thus explain how this concept art is slowly taking form. Also check this blog for the result of this session.
Check out the results of this session here.
During this interesting roundtable the following topics were discussed:
Additionally, Phil Scott from NVIDA gave insight on immersion through moving, interactive smoke, and particles. Finally some information was presented on making environments more dynamic with NVIDIA APEX particles.
EVE Tech Art
This roundtable was a great success with a completely full room. The presentation contained screenshots and videos of the team’s products. After a brief introduction the attendees were invited to ask questions and this opportunity was used by all those who were curious.
The presenters also made an awesome wheel for attendees to spin with relevant topics printed on it. Attendees would spin the wheel and ask questions on the topic it landed on. It also had markers for drinking beer and other silliness; it all culminated in one attendee having an amazing 30 second dance-off with CCP Scott Chocolate!
The round table was enjoyable and lively with lots of information, for example about:
The Art of EVE
The Art roundtable was a Q&A session giving the players a chance to ask anything they would like to know. Some of the questions raised during this session were:
Check out the Art Panel session for some answers!
From concept art to rapid prototyping, we broke down the foundations of the Valkyrie project as well as shared the values and philosophy the content creation team uses when creating New Eden as a fully immersive virtual world. Starting from its origins with EVE: VR, this presentation outlined the growth of the team's experience in virtual reality and how this influenced the Fanfest 2014 show demo.
Sound, Music and mood in EVE
The new "custom sound control" system was demoed. This systems allows you to control sound in more detail in the game. Players running multiple characters concurrently seemed particularly excited.
The new 3rd party warp effect sounds were played.
Efforts for implementing a new generative music system received much approval - even though it’s still very early days and no release date is on the horizon yet.
New booster sounds were demoed.
Did you know that 82% of the players are playing with sound on? That's a 22% increase since 2009.
Various Alliances and Corporations represented themselves and their organization with interesting, curious or funny presentations.
In this presentation, learn the background of the incredible battle of B-R5RB from the perspective of one of the involved Fleet Commanders, Lazarus Telraven. It is quite interesting to see this famous battle from an insider's perspective.
In this session, three presenters share simple coaching tips from the sports world and other ideas on how to survive the world of New Eden. This continuing series is being hosted for the third year in a row and is very interesting!
CSM Panel and Roundtable
The main topics discussed in this presentation and the following Roundtable was this year's participation numbers in the CSM election and possible solutions. Additionally the transition from CSM8 to CSM9 was discussed. Another interesting part was the discussion on how to make the good and valuable work of the CSM more visible within the community.
For more information on the newly elected CSM9 check out this dev blog.
DUST 514: CPM Roundtable
In this roundtable, the presenters went over the work of the CPM during the previous year and how the CPM in general evolved.
Additionally, the team showed which challenges were overcome in the past and gave an outlook of the road ahead.
An overview of the German community was given in this roundtable (relative amount of German speaking players - constantly between 9 and 10%) as well as a summary of work related to the German community such as German New Player Training Sessions, German FAQ, a blog by CCP Shadowcat and more.
Kapseltalk had a small guest presentation to inform about their recently reworked community portal.
New Eden is Not Internet Spaceships
In “New Eden is Not Internet Spaceships”, CCP Manifest delivered a half-sermon, half-scholarly paper, and full metaphorical meandering through what it means to be a citizen of New Eden, what it means to play EVE and how it’s all much more than internet spaceships.
You can download his presentation here and read the talk in the „notes“ section of the PowerPoint slides.
In this Russian speaking roundtable, we saw good feedback and discussions as well as information about support tickets in the Russian queue and related statistics.
Another interesting topic was tournament streaming with Russian speaking commentators CCP Leeloo and CCP Vesna Prishla.
This roundtable covered the importance of player gatherings in the UK and included some discussion on this with the organizer of the regular London meets. There were also many questions about the promotion of EVE Online in the UK, with suggestions ranging from cinema and TV spots to posters on the London Underground.
The general feeling was that more could be done to promote EVE in the UK.
Following some discussion on organizing events, the players present began to talk about organizing some in-game UK player roams and other in-game events. A very constructive discussion ended with several players volunteering to start work on organizing this and exchanged contact details after the roundtable ended.
This round table focused on various points and improvements that could be added to this feature.
CCP Fozzie started by mentioning a list of changes coming for Kronos:
After that, the discussion shifted to:
The fleet warfare discussion revolved primarily around UI improvements to fleets and combat in general, resulting in a huge stack of good suggestions that CCP is now reviewing.
Other things covered included some balance concerns (Ishtars probably will be looked at as part of future HAC tuning), the balance of probing (probably too powerful for short-range probing right now), and re-raising the issue of logistic ships on killmails.
Lowsec and Crimewatch
The overarching theme for this roundtable was that lowsec doesn't have a clear, defined purpose that shapes its gameplay.
Discussion in this vein included "what is sec status for and where should it go?"; piracy should have more consequences, both positive and negative; there need to be more flashpoints in lowsec, particularly with the loss of the last static DED sites; and there needs to be more work done to point new players in the direction of lowsec and nullsec.
One interesting direction raised in the discussion is that lowsec currently feels better-connected than other areas of space, and that might be a thing we could further extend in the future.
Null Sec 1
This first session on nullsec focused on a few major issues: small fleet warfare needs some love; bipolar nullsec is not a great thing; fleets need more improvements; there need to be better ways to visualize combat; and there need to be more opportunities to improve space and drive industrial activity.
Null Sec 2
This nullsec roundtable focused more on large-scale warfare issues. A big topic of discussion was force projection, the ability to move round the universe quickly, and the impact of such things on the overall game.
CCP confirmed information from the CSM minutes that they are hoping to make some changes later in the year.
NPC nullsec was discussed for a while, as was the need for more transient flashpoints.
Freighter convoys were discussed, to split opinions, as was the need to fill empty space better. Also mentioned were outpost destruction, AFK cloaking, and local chat.
The first wormholes roundtable covered a range of issues, including:
The biggest point of discussion revolved around jumping through wormholes, rolling wormholes and catching people while jumping back and forth, with a general consensus in favor of having a look at jump-arrival distances to encourage more engagement, and investigating the possibility for better tools for rolling holes.
The second wormholes round-table covered a grab-bag of issues.
A few smaller issues were flagged up including the inability of T3 ships to be assembled in Starbases
The Game Design Panel was well attended and as it had no specific agenda, the questions asked ranged over a wide field.
Several questions were related to topics that we had roundtables or presentation already planned for, so people were referred to them. Examples of these were questions on factional battleships, NPE changes, module re-balancing and intel tools.
A few questions were asked about upcoming changes, such as increases in fuel cost. Many players were curious about plans for iteration on recent work, such as on the camera, bounty system and further small POS changes.
Finally, players wanted information about our plans for more content, where we explained our plans for building better content tools and taking a serious look at the structure of our agent/mission system.
Also check out the dev blog about the new tool tips.
The panel started with a talk about the challenges the team has faced with taking a short game demo and making it into an actual game with depth.
Among the things discussed were different ship types, loadouts/customization meta game, weapons, EVE Universe lore, game modes, user interface, squads and wingmen, input devices, location-based ship damage and ideas for different types of maps.
In this presentation, CCP Praetorian explored thoughts on how to achieve more sandbox-style gameplay, why the current design can be improved and what it actually means to make a Sandbox FPS. After the presentation CCP Praetorian is joined by CCP Dr.EyjoG, who shares his vast knowledge of player driven economies.
This presentation (and the following roundtable) gave an overview of progression in DUST 514 and why it is how it is. The main topics of this roundtable were:
The Birth of a Valkyrie
Members of the original team that made the EVE-VR demo discussed how the project came about to be and what happened leading up to making it an official project.
A brief intro was given about how the project started and what happened leading up to Fanfest last year, then the room was opened up for Q & A.
Topics included the CCP 20% "work on something interesting" time, inspirations for the game, how the huge response helped make this into an actual CCP product, user interface, inspirations from actual aircraft cockpits, audio design, supporting different types of VR HMDs and game engine choices.
The Future of PvE
During this roundtable several changes coming with the Kronos release were announced:
Additionally the future of PvE and the PvE vision that Team Space Glitter is working on was presented. The work process on how the team is working to come up with the ideal vision it has for PvE within EVE was explained. New tools are created to make that vision a reality. Specifics, such as smarter NPCs that mirror players and dynamic content, were also discussed. Watch out for a forum thread in the near future to give us feedback on the future of PvE.
Virtual Reality Game Design
Q & A session on designing a game for virtual reality. Questions included VR hardware, input devices, eye-tracking, VR avatar design, sense of scale, positional audio, making art or VR, user interface and game design choices that are different for VR.
CCP presented that EVE Valkyrie is a game developed from the ground up as a VR experience and that has affected a lot of gameplay choices. The User Interface has proven to be the most difficult one, and a lot of experimentation has gone into figuring out what does and doesn‘t work.
This presentation was well visited and showed an update on the roadmap for developer tools such as the EVE API, Static Data and Image exports, and CREST. After the presentation questions from the audience were answered by various developers.
CCP Dr. EyjoG
The annual lecture on the EVE economy presented a general overview of the economy since last Fanfest and how player-driven analysis might change the EVE economy in the second decade of EVE Online.
The EVE Production roundtable was a very lively and interesting one. It went over, in broad strokes, CCP’s development methods and organization. Questions ranging from how to CCP deals with dependencies between team to how large teams are were covered. Also the branching structure of EVE’s code base and difficulties that arise from having sandboxes that are then integrated into a mainline were discussed. Over all a very productive and good roundtable.
The intel tools roundtable contained a lot of interesting discussion about issues relating to local, scanning, cloaking, and location services.
There was general agreement that the directional scanner was great mechanically but needing better presentation and visualization, along with being better-introduced to new players. There was some back-and-forth about counter-intelligence, decoys and less perfect information being provided. In particular, locator agents are very powerful right now with few opportunities for counter-play.
There was also a lot of discussion about the pros and cons of exposing all killmails through the API, as public killboards already contain ~96% of all PvP kills; some good counter-examples were raised about specific instances where players have gone out of their way to hide killmails, which CCP agreed merited further consideration.
This session will examine how mankind can overcome the challenges currently presented by interstellar travel to someday visit and settle other habitable planets using technologies that don't violate the known laws of physics.
Presented by Les Johnson, physicist, author and NASA technologist.
In this roundtable the following marketing related topics were discussed:
The Ship Skin Pilot Program roundtable was a good one. While the number of attendees was on the lower end there was a productive conversation going on. Most of the attendees approved of the pilot program and were looking forward to see this go to the next step.
Without being able to discuss exact future details the overall direction of ‘some skins for sale and some skins only available via in-game play’ was received well.
EVE Online's publisher in China, TianCity, introduces the recent development of their Capsuleer community and legendary battles on the Chinese server, Serenity.
This roundtable gave an overview of the web development team, a walkthrough of the web services (including an overview of existing web sites and their main purpose) and what is coming up in the near future, for example:
CCP Rise presented the new vision for the New Player Experience that Team Pirate Unicorns is working from.
The first section described pain points that CCP wants to improve on, including: the amount of text in the current tutorial, the issues with motivation that come from relying on a reward structure, the linear nature of the tutorial and the way that prevents players from discovering the diverse potential in the game and finally how CCP wants to meet the expectations of incoming players more effectively.
The other section laid out an early list of features proposed to meet these goals, including: improved contextual information through tooltips, a reworked notification system, a system of ‘opportunities’ for giving the player options and inspiration and lastly an in-game reference for some more abstract concepts.
New Player Experience
Following the NPE presentation the day before, the NPE roundtable was very well attended with a number of useful feedback points on the vision that had been laid out.
Many participants wanted the importance of corporations and assisting people with finding new player friendly corporations to be considered. This is something we felt would naturally fit with a corporation and player groups revamp work but would be bearing very much in mind.
A number of players with experience in teaching others were concerned that helping new players understand ship fitting better should be a priority. There was also discussion of incorporating community produced materials.
One point brought up was that new players exiting the game due to hostile actions by others was felt to be a problem. Given the strong agreement with this in the session, this is something to be looked into.
Team RnB presented EVE Probe – a testbed for optimizations and new engine features. The EVE client runs on a wide variety of hardware and software configurations, making it impossible to test every change on all configurations.
EVE Probe is a stand-alone application that will be available to players to run on their setup, sending performance data back to us for analysis. The goal is to get much better test coverage, improving the stability and performance of the EVE client, with minimal effort on the players behalf. We also presented metrics we employ to monitor the health of the client.
CCP Goliath presented a notion to make a section of EVE’s legacy defects public, so that the player base could vote on the ones that are important to them.
This would greatly augment our internal triage efforts. This was well received by the players present. Most of the roundtable was spent discussing this. Everyone present seemed satisfied with the state of Sisi.
Some more questions about Whole Team Quality, exploit testing and general working practices were answered also.
Team Gridlock discussed the current state of performance improvements.
This presentation included gains from already shipped work, descriptions of tools employed by Team Gridlock and real-life stories from their usage in the field; as well as detailing the current technical hurdles the team has to overcome to increase the maximum number of laser-shooting-spacebros a solar system can handle without resorting to bending space-time.
Virtual World Operations
This roundtable began with short introduction on the change from Virtual World Operations to Cloud Operations & Live Operations and a team introduction.
Server related talks continued, for example about the successful upgrade SQ Server upgrade from 2008 to 2012 or plans to change the internal network designs to support further upgrades and scaling of the infrastructure (even though no specific details wer presented, just that the infrastructure bases now on an aged design which can be improved).
The focus then shifted towards live operation matters, such as:
Additionally the team gave insights on the changes from a relatively simple service architecture to a more complex architecture over the years and especially with DUST joined at the brain with EVE.
The CPU architecture on the SOL and Proxy layer was presented and how the team together with development found the right choice moving forward for potential upgrades. This includes virtualization of certain aspects of the infrastructure and the potential for higher-availability and performance load balancing.
Of course a lot of questions regarding ops related matters were answered as well.
CCP Goliath began the presentation discussing challenges that QA and development face in EVE. CCP Paradox then dove into the day-to-day workings of a development team (Team Super Friends), and how they have applied WTQ to enhance their development.
CCP Goliath then wrapped things up with a brief overview of the state of test automation within EVE, and going over everyone involved in the process.
When introducing the new mobile structures in Rubicon, Team Five-O developed a new framework known internally as Space Components. In this presentation CCP Frellicus goes go over the background, development, and some interesting results of the brave new world of Space Components.
CCP Fozzie, with the help of CCP Rise, delivered the annual talk on the state of ship and module balance.
The talk began with CCP Fozzie outlining the reasons that balance is such a valuable undertaking for the design department, siting the ways in which it makes the game more healthy and also the relatively low cost-investment on the part of CCP required. He then moved on to list all the balance work that has taken place in the last year.
Next CCP Rise covered the plans for the pirate faction rebalance coming this summer. CCP Fozzie then went over several other major changes coming in the summer including: Mining Barges, Transport ships and Blockade Runners, Freighters and Drones.
Next Fozzie covered some of the plans coming down the pipe for the balance team including Tech 3 cruisers, stealth bombers and recons.
To finish the presentation CCP Fozzie presented the beginnings of a plan to ‘tiericide’ all modules in EVE, making sure that all meta variations had valid applications rather than a power progression that leaves many modules useless.
Ship and Module Balancing
This was the first of two roundtable sessions on ships & module re-balancing. Despite this, the room was full to the brim, with people lining the walls and even sitting on the floor.
The discussion was lively and friendly, even if the first question was on the Falcon. We used that opportunity to state that our long-term vision is to redo EWAR so that it has granular effects rather than binary ones, allowing us to focus on more interesting counter play.
Discussions were held on several possible balance issues, such as for Interceptors, the bastion module, EW drones, Heavy/Defender missiles and scramblers. Players asked about possible new modules, such as for missile accuracy, hi-slot target painters and a shield variation of the RAH.
Finally, players raised issues with the flexibility of T3 ships, notably regarding rigs, which are limiting fitting options.
The EVE Lore roundtable was lively and engaged, and following some positive feedback on EVE:Source, was focused primarily on fiction fidelity in-game - how Capsuleers are chosen, how various structures are staffed and operated when under constant threat from those same Capsuleers, and how information on the world could be accessed in a central manner - along with requests that some of the more neglected aspects of the fiction be given attention, the Ancient Races and Pirates in particular.
CCP Security, composed of Team Security and InfoSec, gave their debut in the new team setup.
Introduced by CCP Blofeld, the IT Director of CCP, CCP Bugartist, the new Director of Information Security, kicked of the presentation about the team, ongoing information security measures including the fight against Distributed Denial of Service Attacks (DDoS) and, of course, statistics and numbers of Team Security’s daily work. These included an update on policy changes for Real Money Trading (RMT) and botting as well as some background information about ban statistics, distribution of crimes by region (in-game and out of game), ships used by botters and ship types on banned accounts as well as some of the more funny excuses they are confronted with when it comes to post-ban communication.
CCP Bugartist put a strong focus on Account Security and why it is major important during the presentation and also during the round table, Account Security, including multi factor authentication and IP/Region validation as well as secure and verified email communication have dictated the discussion.
CCP Security aims to publish a dev blog summarizing the presentation (including the shiny graphs) and the topics discussed in their round table within the following weeks.
This roundtable gave an overview of the ISD volunteer program with details about the currently six different volunteer teams, their size and what those teams are all doing.
Additionally the general work modus of the ISD volunteers was explained: quite autonomous in daily tasks, but carefully monitored by CCP in general.
Afterwards there was a nice discussion round with questions for example about the application process and ideas for future volunteer departments.
A lot of good and constructive talk took place in this roundtable. Here are some selected notes from the session:
Litte Things, Big Matters
CCP karkur and CCP Punkturis presented a short video highlighting some of the little things changes they have made to EVE Online. Following that, they showed the attending players some work in progress, including reload and repair timers for modules.
Then they opened the floor for suggestions and discussion, and had a productive chat with them.
The attendees were encouraged to list their top 3 “little things” on index card which they handed to the devs at the end of the session.
The undefeated professional MMA veteran and Brazilian Ju Jitsu prodigy Gunnar Nelson had the fight of his life against CCP devs and some hired mercenaries back-to-back.
CCP's toughest challenged this human force of nature to the ultimate showdown on stage!
During this event, the wrestling CCPers proved once and for all that game developers are more than just brains and good looks.
Another CCP event of epic proportions; a must view!
This song from the famous Permaband in-house super group is dedicated to all of you who came along on the EVE adventure and those who stuck with us for a decade. You wrote the stories, you made it all happen, and because of you the next decade will be even better!
Vocals are from CCP Hunter and CCP Guard.
Since the dawn of man, knowledge has always come at a price. There are those who believe the cost is justified, that what can be learned or gained outweighs the sacrifice they may face. Others believe some doors are meant to remain closed. Watch in this epic trailer what the future might look like!
GM Stinger roamed Fanfest and its various events to capture the best moments on video so that you can get a good impression on what Fanfest is all about.
Check out these brilliant visual summaries!
Videos were cut and edited by CCP Shadowcat and GM Bigglesworth.
With this the summary of Fanfest 2014 comes to an end. It is impossible to capture all the excitement, brilliant moments, joy, happiness and serious discussions – some of the events were not even mentioned here (such as the famous Pub Crawl or the Party At the Top of the World) to avoid overloading this summary.
We already have the date for Fanfest 2015: March 19 to 21 during a (total) solar eclipse! Don’t miss out.
Fly safe and see you at Fanfest 2015,
CCP Phantom (ready to take on another summary)