Friday, April 26, 2013

Fanfest 2013 Eve keynote: a short recap

Ok, this is a 'stream of consciousness' writeup of the Eve keynote that just finished on the main stage of the Harpa center. More thoughts later; this is just to recap the main news points.

It kicked off with a look at the history of Eve Online and CCP. Amusing and embarrassing pictures of very young developers, early builds, the first sketches of what were to become familiar ships: nice to see and hilarious to boot. Hilmar recounted how he lost a ship he loaned from someone, and how that moment brought home for him what Eve really was.. he got it, right then and there. A powerful story.

John Lander got to tell the story of Eve 2012-2013, the Retribution expansion, Dust beta etcetera. He also got to say goodbye, resigning from his current position, to chief of CCP's mobile division. He got a well deserved round of applause and seemed to be tearing up a bit, even.

On to Oddyssey, presented by Soundwave and Seagull. The latter explains how the theme for Retribution was taken from the very first Eve Online website. So what will be in Odyssey? Lots of improvements to exploration and scanning: the system scanner now scans space around you, you see it sweep across the screen and the results are visible directly in space. Immersive and looking good to boot. When Soundwave sent his ship through a stargate, the room erupted with applause: the new jump animation is simply gorgeous. It looks a bit like you warp through a planet: it's dark, but you're obviously moving and you really end in space on the other side! Immersive and looking good..? Definitely!
Soundwave then scanned down an exploration site (which will, by the way, no longer feature npc rats) where he had to hack his way into a wreck. Upon breaking into the computer he had to hack, it spawned several containers which drifted away in space. The message: do this together, you won't be able to recoup those containers all by yourself.
Other Odyssey points: CCP will 'look into R64 moons and T2 production bottlenecks'.. meaning the OTEC is about to be dissolved shortly after Odyssey is released.
Ice belts will be moved into new types of anomalies, which will only spawn in the systems that currently already have ice belts.

Then Seagull, who was tense, at times gasping for air, detailed some principles for future Eve expansions. They will be theme based, with stuff in them for several player groups: solo players, group players, instigators and enablers.
And then she asked the room to 'dream with me..' about new empires to build, space to explore.. and finally she said 'Now imagine you could build the right kind of stargate..' She was obviously hinting about acquiring access to new space! She also said something about '2014'. Those expansions might be interesting, too :)

By this time the room (and the commenters on were quite thrilled already, but they were about to be completely blown away: Hilmar demo'd a short clip of an Eve Online client for the Oculus Rift: 'EVR' built on Unity3D. Think of it as a first person dogfighting experience in Eve! You see yourself being launched into space (again, no black screen, a real exit from station a supercarrier), you look through your window, there's a fight.. you join it! Very, very exiting stuff. The demo was barely done when Themittani already had an article up. Go give it a read! Guys in Iceland get to try the Oculus demo tomorrow morning. My envy knows no bounds.. UPDATE: this too is a good writeup of the EVR demo: Eve becomes virtual with Oculus Rift.

Viewer numbers on the stream topped a little over 13.000, which is very impressive too.

All in all.. I'm very impressed and thrilled. Reading the comments on the twitch stream and on twitter, I can tell I'm definitely not alone. The next ten years should be good ;-)

Update: the first relevant devblogs are already published: check them out!

(edited 23.20 CEST for clarity and spelling)

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