Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas Week Change In Eve

I originally intended to take today off and finish my Christmas shopping and kill a few Angel Cartel ships but events caused a change of plans.  Today's dev blogs, in combination with this week's earlier leadership announcement, were just too enticing not to write about today.

Today's big news is that DUST 514 has emerged from the land of vaporware as CCP announced that beta signup begins today.  Right now sign up is currently limited to those who are subscribed to Eve Online.  Previously, CCP announced that all attendees of the 2012 Fanfest would receive beta keys.

With the coming of a second game into the New Eden universe comes a new senior producer for Eve Online.  The former senior producer, Arnar Gylfason (aka CCP Zulu) is stepping aside for the head of CCP's Carbon technology team, Jon "CCP Unifex" Lander.  Based on the introductory dev blog, Lander intends on polishing the current game:
"As Zulu  has already mentioned, now is the time to improve the EVE. The task ahead of us in 2012 is not to be taken lightly. We are changing EVE’s internal project structure to bring it in line with a product that has nearly 200 people working on it and making sure that everyone is concentrating on delivering a game which has real value for our players. As well as changing the project organization, we will also be spending time on improving our internal tools, pipelines and processes to improve our efficiency and effectiveness for the future.
"Finally, we will be concentrating on those features we already have in the game after 8 years of development. Yes, we will be iterating (it‘s not a dirty word) on those features which need some polish, balance, fixes and general love. The releases throughout 2012 will be an extension of the type of release we had with Crucible with the addition of a theme to help us scope and tie the work into a really compelling and coherent package. The first theme is going to be War and everyone is getting very excited about it.
"I had some great meetings with the CSM when they were recently here in Iceland and hopefully you will see in the minutes, when they come out, that the future is looking pretty good for EVE, spaceships and you, our players. I will be trying to keep everyone updated on our progress as we go through 2012 and look forward to meeting many of you at Fanfest where, as well as all the great things you have come to expect, we will have something a little different and special for you."
While some may lambast CCP Zulu's time as senior producer, he came in at a bad time for Eve development.  
His first dev blog in August 2010 became infamous for the statement that CCP only had three teams of 28 developers working on the "flying in space" portion of Eve Online.  CCP Zulu's tenure will be remembered as the "18 months" when CCP put Eve on the backburner as it tried to develop DUST 514 and World of Darkness.  Now that CCP has decided to pour resources into its flagship game, CCP Zulu will not get to enjoy the change in focus (and resources) unless he is moved to another important position.

The final development was the dev blog that announced the publication of Tony Gonzales' latest Eve novel, Eve: Templar One.  The shocking news was that the novel is Gonzales' last contribution to the Eve canon.  He is being let go as the IP Development Manager, although for the moment he is still employed.  Here is his goodbye:
"Bringing EVE to life through storytelling and world building has been one of my greatest joys. For the past six years, I’ve devoted myself to building this IP through the sheer power of her setting—hands down the most underutilized force in EVE. I walked the floors of conventions dreaming of the day when we might have a 30 foot tall poster of Tibus Heth or Empress Jamyl to compete with the larger-than-life icons of other IP’s like the Master Chief and Commander Sheppard. EVE’s story is so deep and offers so much to science fiction fans that it has every potential to reach those heights. It could take years, decades, or longer. But the fact remains that it’s possible. I can’t speak for anyone else, but I know that’s kept me inspired since 2003.
"EVE: Templar One is a labor of love that began in 2009. For now, itis [sic] my last contribution to EVE’s fiction as I was amongst the casualties of the recent difficult times CCP endured. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed creating it. My publishers and dev colleagues are excited for it, and I hope you are too.
"Your support over the years has been overwhelming, and I’ll never forget it. From the bottom of my heart, thank you for everything."
The post was quickly moved off the top of the dev blog feed with other blogs, CCP's version of the Friday document dump we see in the United States from government officials.  For those who love the lore, what will the replacement of the head of the IP development mean?  Something to look forward to in 2012.  But looking back at the world Mr. Gonzales created, I'll just say that Tony, you did a great job and you will be missed.

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