Telling Stories: Evolution of the Atlanta Content Team | EVE Online

Telling Stories: Evolution of the Atlanta Content Team

2009-04-15 - Von CCP Technobabble

Now, it's hard to believe it, but it hasn't even been a year and a half since CCP Molock came to the Atlanta office from the wilds of Canadia to start building this team. Before that, we had a few guys building deadspace complexes over in the Iceland office, but no dedicated mission writers (or copyeditors).

So, CCP Molock began building a transatlantic team: CCP Big Dumb Object and I were the first Atlanta members, beginning in September 2007. At that time, the three of us developed mission texts, and all our deadspaces were handled over in Iceland (don't forget the four-hour time difference in our office days!) by our veteran deadspace designers: CCP Tallest, CCP The Ginger Beard Guy, CCP Nepthys, and CCP Bettik. Eventually, CCP Tallest and The Ginger Beard Guy moved over to Atlanta, followed by CCP Bettik, and now CCP Nepthys labors all alone in the land of ice, attending our meetings by videoconference.

Once you add in our two newest members, CCP Jasonitas and CCP Dropbear, who have been with us for just a few long short months now, we're up to nine people (eight on this side of the Atlantic).

CCP Molock does the boss stuff, and Big Dumb Object is currently providing our link to the wonderful seven-man programming team of Ludicrous Speed, as well as writing and assisting with dungeons as necessary. The remaining seven of us are split three-four, text and dungeons.

From the beginning, Molock, Big Dumb Object and I have been looking for ways to use the mission system to tell interesting stories, and we're very excited to have a number of new tools we can now really begin to put into use. I'm very glad to have the shiny new option of having the player drop off an item in a deadspace complex (one of the many features added by Ludicrous Speed during the Apocryphic times).

It may not seem like much, but from a story perspective, it opens up a ridiculous number of options- like the ability to deliver a ransom to a dead drop, which we've made use of in mission eight of "The Blood-Stained Stars" arc. I've come up with some good workarounds in the past (I know I used at least one in my favorite mission arc, "Rancorous Researcher"), but it's great to have the chance to revisit a number of missions we'd put on hold because it didn't really make sense to have them as courier missions.

Writing stories for EVE missions is a challenge. (For one thing, I have to keep the text a lot shorter than this, which isn't always easy.) On our end of things, we try to come up with story threads that keep things interesting for you guys. The deadspace guys keep it gorgeous and try to balance the difficulty of each complex. Together, we built you a story that runs at least fifty missions while our toolset was being reworked.

We wanted to make this first story accessible to everyone, particularly with wormholes already being geared at more experienced players. We wanted to give new players an idea of the complicated back-story of our little universe, so we set up a framework that weaves through all four factions, where everyone has hidden agendas, and where the player has a chance to interact with some characters we hope are memorable.

We're viewing this as a starting point, and we're looking forward to bringing you more stories to play.

  • CCP Technobabble