Monday, April 19, 2021

More On The Removed Asteroid Belts

CCP Rattati and CCP Swift (the player formerly known as Elise Randolph) appeared on The Meta Show Saturday. One of the questions that came up concerned the removal of asteroid belts throughout large portions of null sec. CCP Rattati explained...

We have two ways to spawn minerals into the game. Through anomalies which is newer, and belts, which is very, very, like, the original entry point of minerals. The belts need to be respawned every 24 hours during downtime because they are very, very old tech. Anomalies don't. They can be evergreen in that sense. 

The long term tech decision is obviously to remove the belts. Slowly but surely. And we have been removing stuff from them in anticipation to actually just remove them from the universe and replace them with anomalies that would basically behave in a similar way. So that's a tech decision. 

The actual thing is that there have been hundreds of people working on EVE in the last years and what you need to do to create an NPC to spawn -- you need to pick a place to spawn. And there has not been a singular -- the right way to spawn things. So sometimes NPCs respond to things like a literal asteroid or a part of the belt or somewhere in the vicinity, but you always have to pick like an id. Like a thing to spawn on. And that was not supposed to be in that way. It was supposed to be more generalized. In some cases in these belts, in these NPCs, they were just hardcoded to a point they were not supposed to hardcode in. So this never would have been like in a CSM discussion. This is just a defect in that sense. 

So we're trying to roll this back. Like, not roll this back. Sorry, using the wrong word. Trying to go in the right direction and fix it in the right way. 

We learned three things, none of which were very surprising. The first is that the issue of the asteroid belts was partially a result of bad legacy code. Going off my experience of listening to how CCP developed EVE, each of the asteroid belts was hand-crafted. Trying to change the ore composition of thousands of belts with the resource distribution changes by hand wasn't going to happen. 

I honestly don't understand the points about where NPCs spawn. In the early days of EVE, if the developers wanted NPCs to spawn in asteroid belts, wouldn't they have to tie the NPCs to the belts? I'm assuming that CCP Rattati is thinking along more modern lines in which NPCs are linked to a system or constellation and roam around. As far as I know, the first roaming NPCs were the Circadian Seekers introduced with a new artificial intelligence engine introduced in Rhea in December 2014. I don't think incursions, introduced in the Incursion expansion of November 2010, introduced NPCs that roamed between celestials. I was too excited about the removal of training skills at the time to notice if they did.

The second thing we learned is that the CSM wasn't consulted. I know. I get it. Developers don't run defect fixes past the CSM. Every couple of years, a bug is fixed that players adapted to. Go ask null sec players how they used those over the years. In the case of the asteroid belts, I get the impression that the developers made to just remove the belts since not only were the continuously empty belts causing confusion, but that was the direction the company is taking anyway.

That's right, the final point is CCP plans to eventually remove all asteroid belts from the game. Old tech means legacy some systems in EVE need Tranquility to reboot daily. One of those systems is asteroid belts. And we know CCP wants to eliminate the daily downtime. Back on 4 December 2019, CCP experimented by eliminating downtime on that date. Going back even further, CCP eliminated ice belts and replaced them with ice anomalies in the Odyssey expansion in June 2013. Add in player interest in removing downtime, and the removal of the asteroid belts might receive popular support if the servers could remain functional for a week at a time.

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