There is light at the end of the tunnel (and it’s not the train)
EVE does not stop and it's my responsibility to ensure that the development of EVE doesn't stop either. After all, I don't want 160.000 players and over 200 developers and their families mad at me. :) As you can see below, quite a bit has happened since my last update and this is what we felt was of particular interest to you.
**- New Hardware
- Optimizations and 1.3
- Revelations 1.4
- Revelations 2
- Who framed factional warfare?
- What about something else than warfare?
- Graphics Renovations, clarifications
- Sound Revolution?
- EVE Voices in my head
- Skillpoint stats
- "Hawt" stuff**
No, not this time around. Well, not yet is more correct. Our operations team have their plan for 2007 shaping up, the first batch arriving in the March timeframe. We're adding 28 new dual processor AMD IBM blade servers to the 80 already there.
This isn't going to solve the 500 ship fleet battles, that's handled in sofware, but this will create more room for the general population that's playing on any of the then 107 servers that are not running that battle.
Later this year, we are seeing Yarrdware however. As the next generation of hardware comes to the market, we'll start replacing large parts of Tranquility with the next leap. How much that will benefit us remains to be seen, but we'll start spilling the beans when we get test samples.
Optimizations and 1.3
Touching on the topic of fixing software, we come to optimizations. There were a number of them in Revelations 1.3 and we can see the load distribution of many systems improving with the changes in content and the software improvements. This is all part of the Need for Speed initiative in the company, raising awareness of everything speed. We were fortunate enough to get a 500-man fleet battle following 1.3 deployment and we found our next areas of improvements in addition to finding some plain old school bugs which are also known to kill performance (like the fleet thing).
Next on the horizon is the Revelations 1.4 release, scheduled end of March. Again, this is a pure fixes, maintenance and improvements release like 1.3. Content wise, you'll see further world-shaping, overhauls of old missions and other complexes to improve the experience and performance of both server and client.
We're hoping to get a number of optimizations in, mainly focusing on combat. We might have to change some modules to passive, for your pleasure since you don't have to activate them all the time, but also for better performance. Add to that, some more load balancer work and improvements to features released in Revelations 1, like Salvaging and Contracts - which brings us to the next step.
As a part of the Need for Speed initiative, Revelation releases were re-organized in January to emphasize this initiative. It's to externally show how important we feel speed is as well as making everyone more aware of it internally. Performance is important for us.
We're now able to divulge some of the less fortunate repercussions - and some good side-effects - of those decisions. We're getting closer to the point, where we've nailed down what is in Revelations 2, so take this all with a grain of salt, this can still change.
One could say that we're a "agile" company being able to change focus so easily to respond and address issues. On the other hand, one could also say we should have seen this beforehand and plan for it or simply our attention is easily diverted. I think it's a mixture of all three.
So you framed factional warfare?
Yeah, an unfortunate fact of the re-focus, which has been known for some time now, is that the factional part of the factional warfare is on hold. We could do a small start of "factional action", but it wouldn't be the same and expectations are quite high.
You see, one aspect is that warfare has been levitating to a point which we, and we believe you, don't necessary like. We all like player infrastructure, we all like the goals they create, and some of at least like to defend or attack that which we, or others, strive to create. But we don't necessarily like to have to gather fleets in the size of 100's to achieve anything at all, while possibly crashing server nodes - or at least lagging to hell and back.
The were therefore two options. We could make some fun Factional Warfare, sitting in a corner, potentially levitating the full playerbase towards an artificial conflict created by us. This would also mean that we're leaving all other Warfare in status quo, allowing them to levitate further in the direction they have been going. Well, or they jump into the fun Factional Warfare.
The second option was to be begin at the other end, the right end in our opinion. Let's first make warfare and the player infrastructure - which we believe creates the goals for warfare - fun, entertaining and levitate in a direction we believe we all want. THEN let's add Factional to it. THEN, when we've gotten warfare right, when we've gotten it fun for small groups of skirmishers as well as a 15 man wings or 30 man fleets to make a difference, goals, which you don't need a 200 man fleet to achieve something. Then we can make a version of THAT warfare as Factional Warfare and not the other way around.
I think you know where I'm going. It's that Need for Speed thing again, and it's all for them combat monkey's isn't it? Partly true. It is the Need for Speed. We must make warfare work, but it's not about the combat pilots. For them to live, for them to have goals to achieve, for them to have a bigger whole to be part of, there has to be player infrastructure.
That's what it's all about. It's about player infrastructure and the conflicts, the wars which ensue. This will apply to low security, high security and 0.0. We'll be improving Starbases, Stations, Sovereignty. It's not just the blowing up part which we're making better, it's the entire thingþ
To sum it up, no Factional in Revelations 2.0, it's now in Revelations 3.0, if we feel that we moved Warfare to the point we want it to be at and we believe that we have the fulfilled the Need for Speed. Heat(TM) is also in Revelations 2.0, but that's a new blog entirely.
So no love for those that don't like warfare?
Of course there is. Over the last years, we've been adding constantly to the arm of PvE and adding new features which compliment this playstyle. With the merger with White Wolf, we're getting even more creative bandwidth to flesh out the individual corporations of EVE, give them a more personal flavor.
We also have some crazy ideas for the agent system, Exploration, Science & Industry, Contracts etc., all which over the time have people more or less assigned to it full time, so there are always additions and improvements to it. We're still finalizing the tasks for Revelations 2.0 in these areas of the game, so we can't go into detail, but there will be "lotsa lurving" from our "PvE" group.
Graphics Renovations, clarifications
There is some confusion - and rightfully so - about the whole graphics engine upgrades, so let's clarify. Well, I also have some new goodies, but let's clarify first.
The graphics engine upgrades, the DirectX 9 one, are not in Revelations 2 at this point. There might be some elements, for the benefit of Speed, but it's not the full upgrade, It's scheduled for Revelations 3. This was decision was taken in January and I'm aware that there are interviews out there which might contradict that, but we believe it's the right thing to do.
There is also a Vista version of the graphics engine, which will simply make all the stuff more prettier while also running much faster. This is currently scheduled for Revelations 3 also. This should not be confused with Vista compatibility of the current DirectX 9 client. That should happen much sooner.
The other part of a graphics upgrade, is the 3D models themselves. What you have been seeing screenshots of lately, is the DirectX 9 version, with renovated models. To get a new engine in itself doesn't really do that much for you if the source material isn't updated also. The re-scheduling of the graphics engine now means that not only are all the ships going to be in, but also stations, gates and starbases!
Our sound division was reformed just 3 days ago, when it got it's first staff member. Finally, we will be overhauling all sound, hopefully leading not only to you playing with sound again, but also have it perform better and possibly further utilize what's been happening in the sound arena in the last 3 years. But sound also needs music - and I just recieved the first samples of 2 new ambient tracks for the EVE client from RealX! Uber stuff.
EVE Voices in my head!
With Revelations 1.3 and on the topic of sound and music, we are now introducing EVE Karaoke via the means of EVE Voice which is provided in calloboration with our friends at Vivox.
We're currently doing in closed tests on Tranquility and if your corporation is interested in joining, you can send an email to SCC@ccpgames.com, including the the corporation name, size and the DXDIAG of the corp members to enable. Please limit each corporation to one email. This is a black hole you will be mailing into and only responded to if your corporation gets enabled. First come, first served and you send in DXDIAGs. Enabling of new corps will happen gradually over time.
To enable the EVE Karaoke service, simply play loud music and try to sing loud. Intoxication is not included nor required.
I was asked to find out again, how characters and skillpoints were distributed. Here it is:
1 to 2 Million 38.371
2 to 3 Million 16.780
3 to 4 Million 10.302
1 to 5 Million 8.074
5 to 10 Million 30.110
10 to 15 Million 21.639
15 to 20 Million 12.833
20 to 25 Million 8.499
25 to 30 Million 6.624
30 to 35 Million 5.496
35 to 40 Million 4.342
40 to 45 Million 3.152
45 to 50 Million 1.892
50 to 55 Million 1.012
55 to 60 Million 311
60+ Million 40
Oh god, not more to read!
No, this was the last bit we wanted to share with you and it's time for a reward for those of you that read through all this. Last time, there was a station, this time, it's more ships since they are ready. Let's start with the Megathron, Catalyst, Thukker Bellicose, Mordus Merlin and last, but not least, the Pod. Well, I couldn't resist myself, we just recieved this work-in-progress high-resolution model of the Amarr Stargate.
Note, these still aren't final and your browser will scale them down, it might be better to right-click and "save as".