CCP Hall of Fame/Infamy

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’: (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:

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:

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?

Banter 33: All About Space Newbies

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.