Updated Mon, May 26, 2008 by Ralphedelominius
With EVE FanFest 2006 just a few days away, what perfect timing to receive our interview back from CCP! Read on below where you'll find a brief interview from CCP's Chief Marketing Officer Magnus Bergsson, and such topics as the recent success with EVE in China, thoughts on Kali, and integrated voice - coming Soon(tm)!
Everything looks to be in order... except Magnus' answer to the last question. I'm sorry, but the answer is clearly 'Pie'!
Congratulations on your beta successes with Serenity in China. Settle a bet for us - is the name chosen for the new Chinese server cluster simply a continuation of the calm, soothing names of the other servers, or does it have any ties whatsoever to the Joss Whedon Firefly space westerns we all knew, loved, and still pine for?
It’s very much both. We had been searching for a long time for a calm name, since some of our test servers are named after the opposite, like Chaos. Serenity was coming out and it was on our shortlist, we loved it and so we thought it was quite fitting, especially since it rhymes a bit with Tranquility!
Other developers have made considerable core changes to games beyond simply localizing language; EverQuest 2 changing to Asia-friendly "SOGA" character models, for example. Would you talk a little about the changes you made to the game before handing the code over to Optic Communications?
One of the key things besides the full localization was to create Asian looking characters and to improve a bit on their looks. Besides that we have not done anything else as we want to maintain a one set of code for the game to lessen the chance of any technical problems.
It's rumored that all "drug dealing, political, and religious" content had to be removed from the game to comply with Chinese laws and regulations. Does this run contrary to the direction CCP is taking with the game with Kali's factional warfare (along in-game political lines), or will Serenity proceed along a different path with future expansions?
No, this is a rumor, there are certainly a lot of guidelines that you have to follow but EVE didn’t require that much be changed. EVE as a concept is almost identical and so is the storyline. For example we had to do more changes to the game to accommodate the large influx of open beta players than anything else.
China is a gargantuan emerging market for MMOs developed in the west, but from an artistic standpoint, is it disappointing to remove (or see Optic remove) fun elements of a game at a government's behest?
No, not really, since the only thing that I recall that was directly removed was the player bounty system. Player bounty, as an entity within EVE, it’s not essential for its success. It’s a very old system which we hadn’t worked on for a long time and if anything, this gives us an opportunity to do a better version of it.
What, in your own words, is the goal of the Kali expansion's factional PvP? Is the new concept designed to improve a new player's experience?
Well, first, allowing that large groups to combat is just fun. Second, this will bring combat options to empire corps and pilots, both new and old. These pilots simply don’t have many options for good PVP, so this should be a very welcomed change for them.
We also hope that this will encourage all players, give them “blood on their teeth” so to speak to create their own empires, and take control of their own destinies.
A major part of the Kali expansion is gorgeous new ship models designed to take advantage of Shader Model 4.0 and other enhancements to be released with DirectX 10 and Windows Vista. Was your timetable disrupted a bit by Microsoft's announcement that Vista won't be released until early 2007?
No, not really. It just meant we had more time which we’ll be using to look at the things we had previously not decided to do. We’re also seeing that it’ll give us more time to test the changes, see in practice what we’re really achieving and improve it even more.
Regarding the recent Vivox announcement that will bring integrated voice chat to EVE Online, can you comment on whether or not Vivox will enter the game in the fall Kali patch, winter Kali, or in the final 2007 update?
It’ll start in the next release, further improvements coming in the following releases. We’re getting the first phases of integration done now, linking it with the improved gang system and the new seamless map. We have tons of things we have on our wish lists and Vivox is taking this even further with their roadmap of features coming to their service. Time will tell what we’ll add after the first release, we’ll be monitoring the players and get feedback from them.
What are the advantages of integrated Vivox voicechat over traditional third-party voice solutions like Ventrillo and TeamSpeak?
It is allowing us to provide features not possible with free voice software solutions like TeamSpeak and Ventrillo as we have direct access to Vivox code. We actually contacted TeamSpeak, before we found Vivox, about getting access to their code but they weren’t able to provide that. The voice client will be directly integrated into all chat channels and also into the new gang features which will give especially larger gangs advantage in combat over those that are not using it. Then of course the voice quality is just much, much better with the Vivox solution.
EVE Online continues to shatter concurrency records with its massive, singular server clusters. Voice, as any of us that has operated a Vent server can attest, is fairly bandwidth-intensive. Are there any lingering reservations about Vivox being able to handle EVE's massive scaling requirements?
It should not have any effect on EVE. The voice traffic will first of all not be on the same pipes as the EVE servers. Second, the voice servers will not be a part of the EVE cluster and will actually be in a separate location. Third, bandwidth is not the bottleneck for EVE, its more the CPU capacity of the cluster and since the voice will not have any processing running on the EVE cluster it is safe to say that it will not affect EVE in any way.
EVE Online can get very intense, and though family and neighbors will testify to hearing a long blue streak of vulgarity streaming from my home office at 3am after a PvP battle gone sour, I'll deny everything. Does integrated voicechat create an inherent risk for an overwhelming number of complaints if the little 12 year-old Jimmys of the world accidentally overhear one of my ill-thought out rants?
ROFL – I know exactly what you mean. As I am sure you are not screaming at your m8´s in-game I would suggest that you either bite into a green apple or in case of an emergency find relief with a local doctor!
This is a Ten Ton Hammer interview, so I have to ask: cake or pie? And we need to know why.
Cake – only option after watching American Pie! We appreciate the opportunity to give Ten Ton Hammer fans more information about EVE Online.
Thanks again, Marcus; I think I can safely say that the EVE Community as a whole is waiting intently for Kali to hit their clients. Soon(tm) can't come soon enough!