Making a Buck Off EVE

Everyone likes money, right? CCP thinks you do, so they’re giving you some ability to make a bit more by developing third-party applications and services for EVE.

At this year’s Fanfest CCP hosted the first Dev Track in what we hope will be a regular event. To kick off the event I gave an exciting announcement about monetization, which has up to this point been a sore point for EVE Online 3rd party software development, since it has been against the ToS to charge for applications or services which use the EVE Online Intellectual Property.

Starting this summer you will be able to charge people for usage of your applications, websites and services for EVE Online.

CCP will license 3rd party developers to create commercial applications and services created using the EVE API, In-Game Browser, Static Data Export, Image Export and Eve Image server.

You as a developer will basically be signing up, and paying for, a license that will allow you to be all commercial-like while powering your product with EVE goo. Non-commercial folks will need to grab a non-commercial license, that will cost them nothing. Well almost, because since this is a license both options will, at minimum, cost you YOUR SOUL.

There is currently a rant/comments thread happening on the forums about this, and the original dev blog is being updated with some responses to the concerns of folks.

To be honest, I’m a bit concerned myself. While WDA is not a commercial venture at all, licenses like this have the possibility of being more like gags. Now note, there isn’t the full text of the licenses yet available for the masses to look at, but as a site which primarily deals with opinions on the game I will have to say that the concept of a forced-upon-me agreement is hilarious.

This apparently came from CCP’s business development group. Great for them, maybe they forgot about that part of EVE called community development, which is solely responsible for EVE being a functioning game since 2003. Is this step indicative that one of those things is more important than the other?

It will be interesting to see when more information becomes available.


EVE Online DDoS’d

Breaking news here, but it appears that the guys responsible for the recent swath of hacks has taken out EVE Online. Here’s hoping the damage is not permanent, but the site and game is currently down.

We just wiped out the login server for Eve Online, and it accidentally took their website out at the same time

It’s also going to be an interesting day on Twitter for @EveOnline, writing:

EVE Online and related services are currently offline, to return ASAP after investigation of some issues

More on this as it develops.

UPDATE (correcting post title too)

Looks like the game’s back online, and there’s this handy update from CCP’s COO:

A message from our COO.

At 17:00 UTC today, CCP became aware of a distributed denial-of-service attack (DDoS) against the EVE Online cluster and web servers.

Our policy in such cases is to mobilize a taskforce of internal and external experts to evaluate the situation. At 17:55 UTC, that group concluded that our best course of action was to go completely offline while an exhaustive scan of our entire infrastructure was executed.

While some may feel that such a drastic reaction was not warranted, it is always our approach to err on the side of caution in order to ensure the best possible service for our players and the security of their personal, billing and account information.

We understand the effect this disruption has had for our players and apologize for not having been able to explain fully to the community what was going on. In these cases it can often be counterproductive to containment to give out information while we are in the process of evaluating the scope of any potential problem.

Our taskforce concluded at 22:05 that neither the game servers nor the CCP infrastructure had been breached. Further, we can also confirm that no personal details such as users’ credentials or credit card numbers were exposed through this incident.

The servers were brought back online at 23:00 and we will continue to monitor the situation closely.

Again, we sincerely apologize for this disruption.


Jón Hörðdal

Chief Operating Officer

Nice job. Disruption of service sure, but at least CCP has some monitoring in place to know what was done. Kudos.


Incarna Countdown Clock Live

Incarna is coming on the 21st of June, and CCP is celebrating this by unleashing the new Incarna feature page upon the internets.

Incarna represents a pretty significant set of changes to EVE, and the site largely ignores that fact and instead takes it as an opportunity to shove social networking and marketing before meaningful content. Inexplicably, there is yet another countdown clock on the site. I’m beginning to wonder if this was some super expensive component or something, that they have to use it on every marketing site from here on to recoup costs.

Ok so there IS one redeeming page in the whole site, and that is the actual feature descriptions page. It’s largely a mix of content and links dealing with existing dev blogs on the subject of this coming patch, but it serves as a handy summary for those looking for a one stop shop.


DUST 514 Revealed

The countdown is over.  The world is now shocked to find that the site that previously held a countdown clock is in fact a marketing site for a first person shooter set — get this — in the EVE universe.

No, seriously! Check this out, I’m not making this up:

DUST 514 is a PS3-exclusive persistent shooter focused on intense infantry combat augmented by powerful vehicles. Uniquely, it is set in, and directly connected to, the thriving player driven universe of EVE Online.

There are even bullet points, just like any good console game marketing site should have:

  • A Galaxy of Battlefields: check
  • An Immortal Soldier: check
  • Conflict is a Way of Life: check
  • An Economy Fueled By War: check

Yep, it’s an EVE game.

Ok seriously, now…  The site’s got a bunch of new screens, and a new trailer, so we can get a slightly better feel for how the game will play than the videos shown before. And you didn’t read that wrong: it’s a PS3 exclusive.

This part actually baffles me, since the larger market for multiplayer online is clearly the Xbox 360. Then again, the PS3 has been a platform more welcoming to developers that take risks, and is a much less closed ecosystem than Xbox Live. All the better to integrate a game with a third party online service, say like the CCP servers for DUST.

Noticeably absent from class: a firm release date. He’s probably out back having a smoke with World of Darkness.


  • DUST 514 (now with 100% less countdown clocks)

Counting Down to DUST 514

There are times when countdowns are bad things.  Thankfully though, you’re not  a secret agent tasked with disarming a nuclear bomb. This time you’re an EVE player or fan, and E3 is just around the corner.

The game industry is no stranger to this concept — sometimes there are announcement countdowns, and there are even more ridiculous times where the result is a tweet about a new game. This time I’m thinking we’re all in for a treat: a spanky new marketing site all about DUST 514, and along with industry folks at E3 we will finally see some more concrete and interesting details about the game.

Clicking below will only let you watch the clock for now. But very soon I think we will be welcoming a bunch of new players to EVE via consoles.

Or, just playing it ourselves. No worries either way.



EVE’s marketing has, in the past, outpaced the game by huge strides when it comes to overall presentation. That’s not a bad thing really; it is precisely what marketing is supposed to do in order to sell the game to a new audience. Occasionally there are aspects which current players look at and salivate over to see in the game.

Remember that really cool part in the Tyrannis trailer where the ships had fitting windows and other user interfaces hovering around the ships in space? If not, click here. Lots of people were wondering if this was possible with EVE, and the latest dev blog from CCP Snorlax seems to indicate that the groundwork for this kind of stuff is coming in the next Incursion patch.

CarbonUI is an evolution of the existing UI framework, with a completely new rendering layer.  We’ve strived to change as little as we can in the high-level interface, so the UI programmer, working in Python doesn’t see much change – and more importantly, those ~200K lines of UI related code continue to work.

The full feature list of available UI options is in the blog itself for you to read, but includes such fun things like sticking 2D UI on a 3D object. If you’ve played any recent games like Crysis 2 or Dead Space you’ll know how these kinds of UI options can really add an immersion factor to a game.

When EVE was launched some 8 years ago, the UI looked pretty much on par with other games. Times have changed, but our UI hasn’t really. Even though projects such as CarbonUI are difficult to pull through, they are absolutely essential if we ever want to move beyond what the current technology allows for. Even though players won’t see much visual difference once we launch CarbonUI on to TQ, we can promise you that our UI designers are already hearing a lot more of “sure, no problem” when they deliver their regular batch of crazy ideas to their fellow programmers, ultimately resulting in UI that’s fittingly awesome for our lovely little space game.

Sounds awesome.

Ok, so your Abaddon won’t be firing a giant blue ball of fleet melting death plasma anytime soon, but at least you’ll soon be able to browse your in-game underwear drawer in true Minority Report style.



Enter the Captain’s Quarters

CCP Zulu throws another “Incarna is coming” promise onto the pile, with a new dev blog about the upcoming captains quarters feature.

On June 21st we will open up the interiors of space stations for players to start exploring EVE Online in a completely new way. Pioneering our first steps into Incarna will be your new Captain’s Quarters –a station-bound seat of power that provides a refuge from the dangers of space and a powerful command platform placing precious information at your fingertips.

Wait… was that a date? CCP actually committing to a date for an Incarna-related feature? They can’t be serious, I mean– no wait they are, they even included a damn video of the feature in action:

Ok, in all seriousness, the feature’s already available for folks to test on the Duality server. Some instructions for how to try this thing out yourself are available in the dev blog itself.

When you dock your ship, your Captain’s Quarters will replace the current hangar view with a multifunctional room from which you can perform all the actions you previously could in the hangar view as well as manage your planetary infrastructures, explore new opportunities with a redesigned agent finder, use the corporation recruitment interface to find new allegiances, and watch streaming data, fed live from the vibrant universe of EVE.

Of course it’s worth noting that none of this is going to make your guns track faster, or your torpedoes blow up titans in a single volley. This is pure immersion in EVE universe, something which I always welcome more of.

So now we have something else to celebrate June 21st for other than being the day the WNBA debuted.


Bridge Over Troubled Waters

One of the things I hope to do more of around WDA is to comment on a lot of the articles I find on a day to day basis, some of which may sneak under the radar of most. Today’s victim is Ten Ton Hammer’s Space Junkie, who writes a very interesting article about how some coming changes in EVE might affect alliances.

Nobody wanted to scrape and save ISK, drop a station in null-sec, and then find out that CCP was suddenly making that system worth only a fraction of what it was. Indeed, I think it very likely that players can make better ISK per hour running missions in high-security space than trudging along in a system with wretched security status.

This is a good example of something I have noticed about MMOs: it is a game designer’s job to force players to have fun because, if players are left to their own devices, they will naturally pursue strategies that are effective rather than those that are fun. Someone has probably written the idea more succinctly, but you get the idea.

Actually I think that’s about as succinct as you can get, and it hits the nail squarely on the head. He goes on to discuss another pretty major change to jump bridges…

The next big change is slated for later this month. It will result in a maximum of one jump bridge per system (instead of two), an inability of capital ships with jump drives to use bridges, and a larger fuel hangar for the bridge. The long-term effects of these changes cannot be overstated.

This is awfully profound, and in my opinion a step in the right direction. Sure, it will necessitate a hell of a lot more coordination to keep things up and running in deep space, but — again, just my opinion — this could result in more fights and less running around all evening long without anything to show for it. I say that as a support ship pilot of course, so it’s my preference to see ships and shoot at them rather than watching the names come and go by bridges as fleets long-jump through regions.

Anyway, there’s a lot more in the article, so I encourage folks to give it a read through even if you’re not the type of EVE player to take part in alliance fights.


Agents Evolving

CCP Molock has posted a new dev blog about upcoming changes to EVE with regards to agents. There’s some fairly significant stuff here, but lets hit the bullet points.

So now, we’ve taken these divisions and amalgamated them into four simple divisions, each of which now gives out only one type of mission, meaning you won’t have to decline that occasional mining or courier mission when all you want to do is blow up some Angels.

Personally I didn’t mind the occasional courier mission here and there, but this at least makes it so if we want to do them we can explicitly do so. Presumably, the reverse of the above is true for those who like to only grind courier tasks, they won’t suddenly get a combat mission.

So now we have three new skills in place of the former seven, these ones aptly named “Distribution Connections,” “Mining Connections,” and “Security Connections”; each grants a 10% bonus to LP gain per level for its namesake division. These new skills are all rank 2, as opposed to the old rank 1 skills (meaning these new ones take twice as long to train), since there are roughly half as many to train now.

Thankfully they’ll be refunding SPs as needed. To be honest, I always felt these skills and their implementation in the game were needlessly complicated for what they did for you.

Now, all agents in the game will have an effective quality of both -20 and +20: That is, in terms of calculating access to an agent based on your standings with his or her corporation, the system will assume that all agents are quality -20, making them (in some cases, considerably) easier to access; and at the same time, every agent will pay out rewards as if he or she had a quality of +20, meaning all agents of the same level within the same system security level (e.g., 0.6) will pay out the same amount for similar missions – and in most cases, they will pay out somewhat more than they used to.

I don’t know about this one. Sure, grinding for a high quality agent wasn’t always fun, but getting that quality and maintaining it was always somewhat of an accomplishment to do. Then again, if my agents suddenly pay out more than they used to, then this change is just fantastic. :D

There’s more about this in the link below, but suffice to say this is a pretty huge change that could affect a lot of other aspects of the game. Chances are good that agents and their missions are responsible for a lot of the ISK sloshing around in your wallet, thus this change could have amusing repercussions on the greater EVE economy.

Since this change is sitting on Singularity right now, it’s probably best to get in there and try things out a bit, and provide the devs with as much constructive feedback as we can.

Also, holy crap, it’s a been a while since anything WDA has hit the web, I know.  I’m sorry for that.  In brief, expect more from WDA in the coming days, including some special secret stuff. :)


Farewell 2010!

Well now that the main holiday festivities are largely over, it’s time to ring in the new year!

Tonight’s celebration was, in a word, awesome. Inspired by a late fall mountain road trip and an awesome restaurant which specialized in fondues, we did a special new year’s fondue dinner at Chez Winterblink. Seafood in vegetable broth was followed up by a dessert fondue which would inspire New Year’s resolutions even if I just described it.

I can only hope, whether you’re spending your time in EVE or out, that you’re enjoying yourself in a safe and responsible, yet really fun manner.

It’s been a pretty busy time for me here the last few months with work (it’s seems like a seasonal thing or something), but things should be looking up for more comics and podcasts very very soon. I also totally forgot to mention, all of the comics are back online now, so browsing through the comics category will be a rewarding experience once more.

Fly safe, and we’ll speak soon!