What makes one developer stand out from another? Is it their communication skills and how much they reach out to the community? Is it their actions within their developer role? Is it simply how amiable they seem to be in public?

Perhaps it is all three of these, or perhaps it is none. Regardless of the answer, some devs definitely stick in our minds for one thing or another, and so, I am presenting this little tally as an experiment.

I have called it the hall of fame/infamy because not everyone on this list is remembered for their good deeds; I want to chronicle the good, the bad and the ugly. The list comprises of developers past and present, and could very well expand as time goes on.

The List

tomb nerfbat

Don't let it fool you! He loves that bat as much as he loves smacking down your favourite ship...

TomB – Progenitor of the fabled Nerf Bat. Pronounced ‘Tom-Bee’, and hailing from a heady background of Quake 1 and many hours of slaughtering fine people and stealing their stuff in Ultima Online (I sometimes really miss the old days of UO, le sigh), he swung his bat without mercy.

Tuxford (@ccp_tuxford) – TomB ties us nicely to Tuxford (in a totally non-sexual way!), since in 2006 when TomB was promoted to Lead Designer for EVE, Tuxford inherited the fabled nerfbat. Unlike his forebear though, Tuxford’s fame stems from when he ‘accidentally the server’: http://community.eveonline.com/ingameboard.asp?a=topic&threadID=1232785 (see post #11 and #15).

T20 – It’s not all fun and games, as this guy proves. I actually wrote a paper on this for my degree, and its been frustrating me for years now that I can’t find the finished thing. Anyway, T20 is notorious because it was the first serious infraction (of which we are aware) of what I’ll call non-interference policy by a developer. There’s many layers to this story, but we can sum it up by saying that he did some bad things, and because the senior GMs were away, the juniors dished out punishment. Many – myself included – felt that punishment was not enough, but policy dictated that he could not be tried again for the same crime. All of this came to light after someone did some dodgy hacking, and as a by-product, many developers’ player characters were ousted. The resulting backlash from this led to CCP’s Internal Affairs division being formed and eventually the CSM’s inception. You can read more here: http://www.escapistmagazine.com/articles/view/editorials/op-ed/847-Jumpgate-EVEs-Devs-and-the-Friends-They-Keep

Pann – Finally breaking the trail of ‘T’ devs. Pann/Valerie started out as the community manager for EVE. She later moved off to NCSoft for a few years before quietly returning to the CCP fold as a PR Manager. This in and of itself does not make her famous, but when the shit hit the fan in 2011 with the ‘greed is good’ fiasco, Valerie put her neck on the line – and while you may think that’s her job, we do have community teams and managers specifically for liaising with the community – by breaking the wall of silence and speaking out about the issue. I honestly cannot give her enough kudos for this. Anyone that has been around at the time of a massive failure-cascade for EVE knows that it would take much gumption and a hell of a lot of flame proof suits to make a post during difficult times. We only do it because we care, but sometimes we can be fucking mean. You can read more here: http://community.eveonline.com/ingameboard.asp?a=topic&threadID=1536065&page=1#1

Soundwave (@ktouborg) – From one piece in the ‘greed is good’ chapter to another. Before I say anything else, I want to preclude this by saying that I don’t like the guy. I find his humour inappropriate, and in general there’s something that just doesn’t sit right with me; there’s no rational reason for it. Soundwave was responsible for writing the greedy side of things in the leaked internal document in June 2011. A lot of the hatred towards him stems from this, but it really could have been anyone in the company that wrote it. It’s from an internal newsletter that’s typically intended to spark up debate about hot-button topics (such as micropayments) around the office. Yes, I still feel that the particular topic was approached incorrectly, but it’s not Soundwave’s fault for doing exactly what he was asked to do, and I think a lot of people get blinded by what they read; especially if it comes from a confirmed leak. In other areas, Soundwave is famous for being the face of EVE TV for at least 17 Alliance Tournaments.

Punkturis (@ccp_punkturis) – A refreshing wave of bubbly interactivity on Twitter, and a UI superstar, Katrina is well liked by the community from the days of Team BFF and her many contributions to making life in EVE just a little bit better.

ToriFrans (@torfiFrans) – One of the old guard of developers, and the guy that gets to present the coolest stuff (and simultaneously pronounce ‘cool’ in the coolest way – how cool is that!?). Everyone I know that has met him in person says he’s the nicest guy, and that comes across in everything he does. He’s like a nerd-god of some kind!

CCP Oveur pink wig drunk

Yes, that is an inflatable sex doll with a cigarette. Well spotted.

Oveur – Also plays Technoviking in the Permaband video for HTFU, and is notorious for his drunken antics and pink wig.

Hilmar (@hilmarveigar) – We can’t really forget this guy in the list. If there’s a list of successful gingers, he’s on it. If there were a list of successful ginger Vikings he’d be number one. Things that he says might not always be the correct thing to say at the time, but much like the community, he genuinely cares for the game, even if he is just a janitor.

Eris Discordia – She of the pink. Eris started out as a volunteer and worked as part of the forum moderation team back in the day. She was famed not only for her obsession with the colour pink, but her merciless tread-locking skills, as thekiller8 pointed out in his hilarious flash animation. Eris later went on to be a game designer for CCP. I don’t know if she still works there, but she was kinda cool! Rabble rabble rabble!

Dropbear – Anyone who knows anything at all about live events and their re-emergence prior to and during the Incursion period of EVE’s history will know who this guy is. I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone that disliked Dropbear, and I think that’s a testament to the passion he put into the world of New Eden. At the time of writing, he is on an extended hiatus from the company, but I know a lot of people really want him to come back!

So that’s my list! As I stated before, I’ll probably expand on this as I discover others that I’ve missed or (shamefully) forgotten. Who else would you have on this list?

Better super-late than never! Well, probably not, but that seems to be my way of late. Sorry about that…

Like mana from Valhalla (yes I know I’m mixing my religious metaphors), the latest Dev Blog by CCP Legion asks questions which make for perfect Blog Bantering. To quote him “…we want to make the first days, weeks and months in EVE enjoyable and not just something ‘you have to plough through in order to get to the good stuff’” and the newly formed Player Experience team will focus on “…where and why people lose interest in EVE…”.

“We invite you to pour your heart (or guts) out and tell us what you think is good or bad with the current new player experience and what you think could be done about the problems.”

My thoughts on any kind of new player experience (NPE) are twofold.

On the one hand, there’s the typical bittervet view that newbies have it far too easy these days, and in some respects, this is true. I generally prefer to think of it more along the lines of “newbies have it really easy these days”, skipping the ‘far too’ entirely, because I don’t actually consider it to be too easy. More accessible? Certainly. More sprawling and all-encompassing? Absolutely! But too easy? Not really.

aki the jin-mei

Meet Aki, the totally pointless newbie that never-was!

It has been just over a year since I did any of the NPE stuff, which was back when I was starting out with Eilean. I figured that the best way to sum up any real feelings about the NPE would be to try it out. So I set about making a little Jin-Mei, because I don’t have one of those yet.

It was interesting to see the small changes and improvements that have been made to the character creation side of things. That or its been so long that I’ve forgotten what it looks like. For a newbie, its great to see all of the background information for the races, bloodlines, schools and ancestries. I also feel that its not too in-your-face; its pretty easy to just ignore these days as it has no real impact on how your character starts compared to everyone else – everyone starting on an equal footing is a good thing, unless you’re Amarrian…

Logging in, I was treated to a lovely view of the Gallente captain’s quarters (CQ), which is certainly the curviest and greenest of the four. It was nice to see an introduction to the environment by Aura, even if it might be a tad patronising to be told about the WASD keys, I guess it might be useful for someone.

And that’s where I came unstuck. I realised three things:

  • I don’t currently have an account where I could train Aki – everyone is training important internet spaceship stuff!
  • I don’t have the time to dedicate towards creating anything vaguely comprehensive.
  • Lots of other people have covered it a whole lot more in depth and better than I ever could. If you want to know what learning to fly a plane is like, you’ll get a fuller response from soneone who is learning to fly than someone who already has. So if you want to know what the newbie experience is like, you (ideally) need to ask a newbie. Its been a long, long time since I was one of those.

My current favourite examples of newbness are from YouTube user, Synnistry. This lovely person has been kind enough to record her experiences:

(Skipping the character creation bit, but you can watch that too, if you like!)

So what could be better?

I think general interface improvements will continue to make the game more accessible for everyone, not just the newer players. I may not be overly fond of the new font or the hyperactive flashing of the new Neocom, but it is a step in the right direction and they should continue along these lines to make the whole experience more appealing.

Beyond that, I’m not really sure what more could be done. As of writing this, I’m sat in the mind-set of “y’know, it could be a lot worse!” Maybe that’s wrong of me, but I really am drawing blanks on how it could be improved.

As a side-note of complete unrelatedness, I will not be at Fanfest this year. The whole thing proved both too expensive and decidedly devoid of people I actually know very well, so I decided to skip it and go next year instead. I hope the Harpa is as awesome on the inside as it looks!

I have an internet connection again! Its been a boring week or so, I can tell you that much.

I also got lucky enough to be in an area that got an upgrade not long ago, so I switched from a really crappy DSL service to something a little better. We’ll see how it stabilises over the coming days, but its really good to be back online.

One of the things I’ve been playing around with recently is pChart. I’ve fed it some data from my price checks which I’ve kept a backlog of since April of last year (technically longer, but I missed some months, apparently), and then it renders pretty graph pictures like this one:

10mn Afterburner II

Click to view the slightly larger version if you actually want to see what the values are and stuff.

I haven’t yet decided if this is something really awesome, or mostly pointless.

The graph is kind of interesting to see the tracked price of any given item over time, but it only becomes truly useful when I start mapping the build costs of items I make against the market prices so that I can better see which items have the higher margins. Up until now, I’ve just build the maximum amount of everything, knowing full well that I make a loss on some of the items. My philosophy is mostly to keep the market nicely saturated, whether I make a profit or not; but its always nice to see facts and figures rather than stumbling around in the dark, making loads of money but not really understanding where you’re making said money.

My other issue with pChart is probably something really basic that I’m missing. I know I can call the script directly, or have it stuffed into an <img> element, but it refuses to give me anything but a raw output of the image (open a png image in notepad and you’ll see) if I choose to have it rendered on the screen. Sure, I can have them rendered server-side and saved to a directory – that works – but I don’t want to have to run a separate script each time I want to see an updated chart. Likewise, I don’t really want to be losing archived data. I have the result set limited to 12 months, which can’t be seen here yet, due to an incomplete data set, but I’d really like to do fun stuff like year-on-year comparisons of profits and price histories.

I set the whole thing up as a function that I can pass variables to for prices, dates (month names in the data set), and the name of the item itself. The database query then grabs all of the relevant data matching the id of a drop-down option and renders the correct chart+values to the screen… Its a lot simpler than it sounds (even if it doesn’t work correctly yet).

The other option is to use something more interactive to output my data. I had a look around for some nice (and free) jQuery charting solutions, but there wasn’t anything that really took my fancy. Does anyone have any recommendations for this sort of thing?

This is the first part of my planning to make what I do in-game a bit verbose – if only for myself. It mostly consists of trying random stuff out and seeing if it can do what I need it to do, then moving onto something else. I’m currently planning on simply using my own data rather than diving into the static data dump, though that’s always an option.

If you’re interested in making cool stuff using the static data dump though, I suggest you check this series out, because its definitely a good primer.

Old news now really, since we already had a devblog on the subject and now its all released and live and stuff, but I thought I’d give some of my own input on them.

I’m not going to delve into the community site much, because while its an improvement over the older offering, it still feels ‘clingy’. The content doesn’t feel its own – its basically putting everything we already had into a shinier kind of wrapping paper. This change is not unwanted by any means, it just feels kind of unfinished. Unfinished in a way that makes you think that its a work in progress; and that’s why I’m reserving judgement on it for the time-being.

The other site however – the new eveonline.com – is very interesting indeed! Styled in a similar fashion to some of the previous expansion mini-sites, you’d be forgiven for thinking its all style over substance.

Beneath the veneer and fluff though, all of the information is laid out in a stylish, yet logical way, and the content is organised into four core sections, with lots of nice, concise bullet points of information. Lots of graphics help to space out the chunks of text and make viewing the whole site a rather pleasurable experience.

The navigation is also organised in a fairly logical manner, although I’m admittedly not a big fan of drop-down menus at the best of times, and this one does seem a tad on the chunky side. Maybe I’ll get lucky and it’ll disappear one day.

One Universe

I like the pages in this section. I really like the interactive starmaps that we get presented on each page, but I feel it would be better to have it all consolidated onto the main ‘One Universe’ page with customisable filters so we can see what we want to see. The inclusion of screenshots from some of the larger/more populous systems is a nice touch, and one that I hope can be expanded upon as time passes.

In addition to my comments above, I feel like the maps being on each page detracts from the actual content of the pages. I was certainly distracted from the snazzy informational tabs at the bottom for a short while as I spun the map about and clicked on various systems. But these bits of information are vital for newer players. Much more so than a fancypants rotating map. Something to think about, anyway…

Under ‘The World of EVE’, it might be nice to have regionalised maps for each of the races. Since there’s stats for each empire already listed there, it would be a nice accompaniment. Just an idea!

All the information here is very useful to the prospective pod pilot.

And let us not forget the ship spinning simulator. Now even the non-sysadmins amongst the playerbase can spin their favourite hulls during their lunch breaks while daydreaming of exploding everyone else’s. I am lamenting the loss of the spin counter though. 😉

The Sandbox

This is my favourite section, I think. While the graphics and interactive shenanigans of the previous section were very lovely, I feel that this section has the most to off (at the moment) to new or undecided pilots. There’s a breakdown of all the main career paths you can take when you start playing, as well as a getting started guide, and even a handy-dandy RPG-esque multiple choice quiz to help you decide if you’re finding it all a bit daunting.

It will be nice to see these pages populated with more career-specific media (the videos and screenshots at the bottom) as time goes one, too.


The main page is a bit messy. The montage looks like it was good on paper but didn’t really work in practice. Its confusing and all over the place.

That said, the pages within are laid out nicely, and the fiction has handy download links for pdf, mobi and epub formats, which I’m guessing means something to people that have e-readers (sadly I do not).

The videos are all reasonable quality and are embedded on the site properly rather than just using YouTube as some kind of perpetual whipping boy for content delivery. This also allows much more control over, well, the controls; they are all in-keeping with the layout of the website. And if you want the full HD experience you can always download the videos in a variety of different formats depending on what floats your boat.


This section shows a lot of promise if the current offering is anything to go by.

The main page is another messy, confused montage of ‘stuff’, but clicking around gives all sorts of information on goings on ‘about EVE’ rather than explicitly in it. If they can work on the layout issues and put out some more substantial content, I think this could be really valuable for showing the strength of the community without having to dig around on forums, the dedicated community website or even the wiki.


Its really good to see the long overdue overhaul of the EVE website, and I think the segregation of the major sections – community, forums, EVE Gate, EVElopedia and eveonline.com is a move in the right direction for both uncluttering the bloated and old main website and for not scaring off potential new pilots.

I think there could have been better use of HTML5. I think a lot of people out there are either using it gung-ho or not touching it with a bargepole. CCP is (so far) the only case that I’ve noticed where they are using some of it, but not all. Relying on canvas and video elements is all well and good, but why not go the whole hog and use all that fancy markup at your disposal for better organising of your content? There’s already failsafes in place for the canvas elements, so its not too much of a stretch, especially when there’s stuff like the HTML5 enabling script by Remy Sharp out there to take the backwards-compatibility headache away.

I’ve been working on redesigning this blog – for entirely too long in fact – and I think the new site has given me some ideas, so its all good really!

So… Nearly a month late. That’s how I roll!

Rather than beat about the bush, here’s the entries, in no particular order.


The first three of the written entries were co-judged by the Evanda-Panda, and the comments associated with it are hers and not my own.

Perceived Effort: 8/10 Some minor grammar mistakes that could have been picked out if you’d done one more draft, but I say that more as a pointer for a writer than a serious nitpick.
Style/Quality: 6/10 It’s a decent piece but it lacks “Oomph.” Our Hero does something clever to disguise his cargo manifests but it doesn’t feel highlighted enough in the story – needs to be “bigged up” a little to capture the reader’s attention and engage a sense of awe. Likewise, a few more outside views of Our Hero early in the story, painting him a little darker, will make the good deed stand out more strongly in contrast.
Also, a Minmatart poster is NEVER a waste of ISK!
Total: 14/20.

Bucky O’Hairhttps://forums.eveonline.com/default.aspx?g=posts&m=534065&#post534065
Perceived Effort: 2/10  Various versions of this song have been going around Eve since they first decided to put the “V” in the middle of it. For shame! On the other hand, there were only [four] entries in this category, so you’re quite a cunning fellow!
Style/Quality: 3/10. It just doesn’t seem very festive – fighting, ganking, suicide, these are not very nice things. Also, the beat of some of the lines and the rhythm of the song don’t line up, so you can’t actually sing it without injuring yourself.
Total: 5/20.

Mike Azariahhttp://mikeazariah.wordpress.com/2011/12/22/song-thing-different-and-seasonal/
Perceived Effort: 7/10
Style/Quality: 8/10 A very polished effort and Dean Martin is always win. I know you weren’t listening to the Dean Martin version but I was, in my head. A couple of lines don’t fit the beat easily but they’re the kind of thing that’s not glaringly audible in song. The spirit of the song is warm and fuzzy and gives a nice mental image of the couple cuddling over a laptop which seems quite Christmassy to me! Cute as hell, funny and our overall winner.
Total: 15/20.

Not too bad. Although its an image, I’m dropping this into the written section because I feel that’s where most of the time was spent on this entry. I like the Christmas card imagery, and the song is pretty good, even if there’s a few rogue syllables in there. 6/10 for effort, 7/10 for style/quality.
Total: 13/20.

The Winner (Written): I trust the Panda in literary shenanigans implicitly. Mainly because I know she spends most of her free time either writing, or writing about writing. That said, its still been quite a close battle, but Mike Azariah pulls through into the lead even if there’s no Minmatart poster. Well done, sir.


Lady SixSkieshttp://www.dreamaze.com/temp/eve/rudolph-the-red-nose-rifter_(minmatartsFTW).jpg
I really like this one, primarily the idea. I would never have thought of something like this, but its really very good. Right down the Christmassy light colours on the rifter, and the outpost chimney puffing out all of the snow in the globe. 7/10 for effort, and 9/10 for style/quality!
Total: 16/20.

Sonja Capricahttp://i.imgur.com/gQ3rP.jpg
I can certainly see what Sonja was going for. I’ve often looked at that piece of Eve art and been reminded of a Dickensian Christmas – just with more buttresses and pointy metal things! The ‘sexy santa’ outfit is a nice touch, though I can tell that Sonja is none too impressed at having to wear it… That said, the 3D rendered character against that backdrop do clash. 6/10 for effort, 6/10 for style/quality.
Total: 12/20.

DarkBloodRain – No link
My favouritest Brutor submitted a really lovely image involving Christmas hats, rum, hurricanes and Eve T-shirts. Sadly though, she just entered for the fun of the competition – which is fine, by the way! – and asked for me not to link to the image. This also means that I can’t really grade her compared to the other entries. Sorry DBR! <3

Celara Riraillehttp://imgur.com/MTxn8
This is an interesting concept, and it was only a matter of time before someone tried to use it. The entry itself seems a little lacklustre though. Maybe if the Myrm was pulling a sleigh laden with shiny presents or something… Anyway, 3/10 for effort, 2/10 style/quality (its a nice screenshot after all, even if it is a bit over-compressed).
Total: 5/20.

Tacit Malicehttp://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/846/christmaswreathe.jpg/
Puntastic! Its an Advent Wreath(e)! There’s not a lot more you can say about it, but it gave me a good chuckle when I saw it. 3/10 for effort, 6/10 for style/quality.
Total: 9/20.

Penelope Starhttp://dl.eve-files.com/media/1112/minmatartsftw_penelopestar.png
Penelope learned to use Photoshop for this entry. From a critical point of view, I think it would have been better in a widescreen aspect ratio as a desktop image or some-such. That way the horizontal ‘ribbon’ would be central vertically. Its a nice idea, and she should keep learning to shoop da whoop! 8/10 for effort, 6/10 for style/quality.
Total: 14/20.

Inquisitor K’hanhttp://mavrick566.deviantart.com/art/Jingling-Some-Balls-276847504
Ah K’han, I do enjoy your mischievous renders, and this one is no exception. I can see that the tree is the focal point. Its clearly a quick engineering job by a Sebiestor using whatever was lying around, as a commenter said: the true Minnie way. I like the subtle background image as well; I didn’t see this the first time I looked, but it would have been nice to see more in the scene itself, like some walls, a proper floor and maybe some more ‘scrapheap’ decorations. 6/10 for effort, 8/10 for style/quality.
Total: 14/20.

The Winner (Stills): Stills will always be the most popular category. I think this is because Eve is so undeniably pretty, and videos are such a pain in the arse to make, so there’s some happy middle-ground to be had with Photoshops and the like. Although there’s some close contenders, I think Lady SixSkies steals the show with this one; its such an amusing and festive concept and very well executed. Well done!


Arydanikahttp://www.voicesfromthevoid.net/2011/12/04/vandv-music-sansha-baby/ – and the lyrics: http://www.voicesfromthevoid.net/forum/discussion/68/vandv-music-sansha-baby/p1
A really excellent parody song! Arydanika has one of those voices that could lull me to sleep, or possibly into a false sense of security as she explodifies my ship. Lyrically very clever, and undeniably Christmassy in a very Eve-ish way. 8/10 for effort, and 8/10 for style/quality.
Total: 16/20.

Half Cocked Jackhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cbdkdglb_KU
Sure, its a YouTube video, but the content is all audio, so that’s why I’m dropping it into this category. Brilliant, and very funny. Also playing the music as well as singing; you just can’t go wrong with that! 8/10 for effort, 9/10 for style/quality.
Total: 17/20.

The Winner (Audio): There may have only been two entries to this category, but it was a really closely fought battle. Both really good entries, but Jack took the lead purely because he played the music as well as singing. Nice one, Jack!


Very silly. I would have loved to have seen the finished thing. I hope you got your laptop back OK, noise. Having stuff stolen is really horrible. 🙁 6/10 for effort, 6/10 for style/quality.
Total: 12/20.

noise may have lost a laptop, but at least he got something out of his entry. I know ISK isn’t even close to valuable, but maybe he can spend it on some ships to go explode people with to make himself feel better.

Crazy Stuff

Rifter cookies! Hell yes! 😀 I hope they were tasty. Just about making the requirements for entry with the red/green colour scheme and token Santa oven mitt. Nicely played sir, nicely played. 8/10 for effort, 7/10 for style/quality. I’m a sucker for baked goods…
Total: 15/20.

Relicc automatically wins this category, because much like with videos, there’s only one entry. Lucky bugger!

Overall Winner

Rather than face a particularly difficult task in deciding which entry I liked the very best, I’m going to award this based on total points.

There were some very high quality entries this year. Still less total entries than I’d like to see, but its always nice to see what people come up with, even if there’s only a few people trying their luck.

Half Cocked Jack edges into the lead with the highest score (17/20), which might make me a stingy scorer, but nevermind. Very well done. If you would care to Evemail me a postal address, then I will send out your goodies. If you’re a really long way away I might have to wait until my payday, since some of this stuff is quite heavy.

Category winners will be receiving their ISK (2.75b each) and their ships shortly in-game.

All entrants who didn’t win anything above with be getting something nice for their efforts as well.

Thanks everyone, and good luck with the next one! 😉