Today had a number of round-table events, which act kind of as focus groups for upcoming features, problems seen in EVE or things CCP is discussing internally. The round-table for the EVE-DUST link was an interesting discussion among players on what they'd want to see when the game approaches the end of development.
Some great ideas were thrown around, and the general consensus was that players wanted to see very real, meaningful interactions between DUST and EVE players. The fact that CCP hadn't considered some of the ideas suggested means that DUST probably isn't very far in development and we shouldn't expect a release date for some time.
Other discussions focused on EON Magazine, planetary interaction, the character creator, research, EVE Gate, lowsec, EVE's user interface, EVE voice, artificial intelligence and third-party development. Other events included the GM panel, a showing of EVE videos and presentations on GMs, live events, and the art of EVE. Big events today included the PvP finals, the CCP Presents feature and the CCP panel.
Personal highlights: CCP Presents
Each year, CCP reveals its theme for the coming year at Fanfest. Last year's theme was "Excellence," which caused some friction when the company's definition of excellence differed from that of players. With Incarna, DUST 514 and the World of Darkness MMO all heavily in development, this year's theme of "Deliver" sends a strong message. By this time next year, we'll see just how much CCP has delivered on that message. The presentation was filled with some pretty cringe-worthy parody videos designed mostly to get a laugh out of the crowd and show that CCP as a company doesn't take itself too seriously.
One of the big focuses of the event was CCP's new Carbon technology framework. A lot of the company's development time over the past year or so has gone into Carbon, which provides the underlying technology required for Incarna, DUST 514 and World of Darkness. CCP's developers are understandably proud of Carbon, as they call it their competitive edge in the industry. With all of the ground work done for Carbon, they can hopefully now live up to this year's company message and deliver Incarna, DUST and WoD. CCP also revealed that one million ISK (the Icelandic currency, not the EVE currency) had been raised for charity by Friday's chessboxing event.
Personal highlights: CCP Presents a vision for the future
The absolute best parts of the show were the three EVE-related videos that were shown. We saw new turret effects, new nebula graphics and an incredible new vision trailer for the future. If CCP can deliver even half of what's in that video over the next five years, it's going to be incredible.
At this stage, however, we're always wary of vision trailers. The team set a target for future development, but those targets may never be reached and concepts shown in them might be drastically changed during the development process. CCP t0rfifrans went on to describe some further visions for the future of EVE. After the release of captain's quarters, the next stage of Incarna will contain station interiors and customisable player-run "establishments."
CCP's vision for the future is that we'll be able to walk and fight on everything from planets to starbases. Torfi imagines docking with a Sleeper databank in a wormhole site and fighting the Sleeper drones inside, only to be ambushed by players who docked there earlier and have your ship destroyed while you're in the structure. It's an awesome vision, but since several visions presented at Fanfest haven't panned out (such as planetary flight, planetary interaction, Ambulation and Incarna), discussion on vision is usually taken with a rather large grain of salt. I want to get excited about this, and I'd love for CCP to actually deliver on this clear vision, but until I see more than vision trailers and conceptual discussions, I'll remain a little sceptical.
Personal highlights: The EVE community
Seeing the enthusiasm of certain developers was pretty inspiring, and the information released this year has been promising. The captain's quarters coming in the summer expansion could be just what EVE needs to increase the retention of new players, and CCP is obviously very proud of what it's accomplished up until now.
While this is refreshing, the talks and presentations were not the best thing about the Fanfest. It's the players I've met, and the discussions I've had with them, that have been the high-point of Fanfest for me. I can see why CCP runs an event like this every year, because finding people as passionate about EVE as I am has been an envigorating experience. This article is out late tonight because I've been completely absorbed in discussion with some really awesome guys.
Shawn has been snapping photos of the Fanfest festivities and has rounded them up into this handy gallery. We'll be publishing another gallery soon with a whole series of professional photos taken during Fanfest.