EVE Online's recent deployment of the Apocrypha expansion brought major changes to the game. Apocrypha is the largest expansion they've released to date, incorporating wormhole exploration and modular ship designs, in addition to a new NPC race into the fabric of the game as we know it.
BattleClinic, a site best known for its player-built tools, guides, and as a hub for sharing and commenting upon ship setups, caught up with CCP Games at GDC 2009. They spoke with Halldór Fannar Guðjónsson, CTO at CCP Games, and Gabe Mahoney, VP of Engineering. Given how significant Apocrypha has been from the standpoint of the players and CCP alike, the interview focuses on the expansion.
Even as veteran players themselves, once the developers could step away from their jobs and simply enjoy what they'd created, they were impressed by the experience of getting lost in wormholes. Halldór says, "That's what's so cool about Apocrypha -- we're introducing new space, and in that new space, well, there are resources to exploit, and they interrelate. I feel like it's struck a cord with the older population of EVE players. They feel like this is EVE at the core. Look, if you go into wormhole space and you haven't done your homework, you'll get screwed up."
Mahoney adds his take on what was involved with creating Apocrypha. "I'm really proud of what we've done because--and I don't know if people outside CCP realize this--but it's the first time that all three CCP campuses contributed to one release," he says. "Normally we do it out of Reykjavik, but this time we had Reykjavik, Atlanta, and Shanghai. It was an entire CCP development effort. AND, we put out the biggest expansion we've ever had--in the shortest time we've ever done it. It was everyone working collaboratively and efficiently."
BattleClinic has put together a solid interview which is a great read for the EVE players out there, one which touches upon Epic Mission Arcs, the New Player Experience, art direction, server technology, and everything in between.