Where art thou, EXODUS features and bugfixing? Why KALI now?
I've been reading a lot up on the forums and replies to the latest blog. As a result I'd like to answer a number of those questions encountered to clarify a number of things regarding missing EXODUS features, bugfixing/stability/performance and why we are starting KALI now.
... then there was light
Lets begin at the beginning. Once there was EVE (No, not the one with the apple and stuff). Two years ago EVE vas incredibly simple - and for some of us very beautiful as a result of that. Good times those were.
Nevertheless, it can't stay like that for long. Imagine not having market in space, no escrow, no battleships, no conquerable stations, larger was always better against everything, agent missions barely existed, less than 100 skills, no corp divisions or hangar restrictions, still unlimited run copies from originals, no battleship NPC's, no NPC Commanders, no NPC Officers, no NPC Mining ops, no Faction loot, no Faction ammo, no Ultra-Violent Officer loot, no Faction ships, no Starbases, no Moon Harvesting, no Complexes, Interceptors, no Assault/Heavy Assault ships, no Logistics, no Tech Level 2 modules, no coverts, no Destroyers, no Transports, no Battlecruisers or Mining Barges, no Dreadnoughts, no Freighters, no system scanning, no Overview (not even the old one), no Outposts ... or for short, not very much at all.
EVE must evolve to stay alive - adapt to the environment and it's habitants. EVE must offer something new regularly. You won't realise how much you miss getting new stuff until new stuff stops coming into the game. I certainly remember in the old days before starting at CCP, waiting for Castor, and when that came the frustrating wait for more new stuff to come after Castor. We are not going to create that situation again.
Yeah, but what about all the bugs and performance?
We are constantly fixing bugs. It's not long ago I was reading forum threads about where is all the new stuff, why aren't you guys doing something new. This was because we were devoting so many programmers to analysis, bugfixing and minor rewrites.
You might not have noticed a lot, but this is understandable. Small gradual improvements over a long period of time tend not to register and most of what we did was in preparation for KALI. Sounds strange doesn't it?
KALI is much more than "more features". KALI is a brand new code branch. Remember EXODUS? Remember the performance increases that client had compared to the old Castor client? That was because EXODUS was a new code branch where we could start large overhauls and even rewrites to major systems.
Much of what we did during the first parts of this month are still to be unleashed by a number of other overhauls and rewrites in Kali.
Well, like what are you fixing?
As an example, the Turrets and the Effects systems (the bangbang and the bigbadaboom*) are rewritten in Kali. These are one of the biggest framerate killers in the EVE client - because it is over 3 years old. It's major surgery to rewrite those and we need the thorough testing and development time which only a full expansion gets.
Turrets and Effects alone takes up to 2 programmers up until Kali and we're doing numerous other rewrites and optimizations. This is at the same time as we are writing a number of new features, we just assign other programmers to those tasks. For short, we're doing a lot of bugfixing and improvements to current systems in Kali, it's not all just "new stuff".
Ok, so you are doing improvements to current stuff, what about the missing EXODUS stuff?
As a result of the time devoted to bugfixing the first part of this year and our reluctance to put in wholly new features to minimize the influx of new bugs to the current client, we did not put in large new systems. But this does not mean we aren't going to do them.
We regularly decide to postpone features, it can be due to a number of factors like complexity, risk or simply if we don't think it's time yet. Titans are a good example of a feature we wanted to do, but simply did not have a good enough role in the game besides just being the Biggest. Ship. Ever.
However, that's a conscious decision we made, it's not trying to stall it or not going to deliver it, just that it isn't the right time. Remember, those are only the features we actually tell about and decide to try to do and put them as one of the features for expansion "A" or "B".
Our tables are full of stuff we decide to do but scrap at a later point. Some get past that point and into the public, so it hurts more to have to postpone them, but we will continue to do so if we deem it the right thing to do.
Yeah, yeah, whatever, WHERE ARE THE EXODUS FEATURES!!
Well, Contracts for one are scheduled for Kali. The new massive enviroments like system wide asteroid fields, comets and such are not in Kali because they are simply still too complex to do at this point in time. Corp taxes are in and work, although not as extensive as initially designed, but they address 80% of the need, which is taxing NPC bounties.
Summing it all up
The main thing I didn't convey in the previous blog was that KALI is so much more than just new features. It includes A LOT of improvements, performance increases and system rewrites.
New features are coming in KALI, many of them far simpler than the ones we were going to add in EXODUS. We have Contracts in KALI, a very important part for both corporation management and outsourcing work.
We will eventually do the massive environments when the client can effectively handle them and we will improve current systems. We never stop fixing bugs and always dedicate some amount of our programming resources to evolve EVE.
KALI is coming, and it's much much more than just new stuff.