EVE Online Interview (con't)
FiringSquad: You recently announced a launch of the Chinese based version of EVE Online. How did this come about?
FiringSquad: How does CCP keep up with the development of the Chinese version of the game and how will the company gain revenue from the version when it officially launches?
Nathan Richardsson: We attended ChinaJoy to promote EVE and meet some potential opportunities which were following up on. It worked out and we’re now working with our partners in China in an Open Beta phase. It’s 5 days since it opened and already there are more than 400.000 registrations for the Open Beta!
FiringSquad: Has it been a hard process to translate a MMORPG as different as EVE Online to the Chinese market?
Nathan Richardsson: No, the interface architecture and structure is fortunately quite straight forward to put into a translation framework. We decided that since we were going to translate the client into Chinese, we might as well create a system which manages multiple language clients and was Unicode compliant. This made the effort more difficult but in the end it’s worth it. There were some problems with the Chinese specifically, such as the size of the fonts so they were properly readable and then fitting them within the user interface.
: The current Chinese version is a more recent and updated version of EVE than is already running. This is because of the translation framework which we did, which resulted in a number of rewrites and optimizations along the way. After we have opened in China, this version will be developed further to incorporate Kali features and German and be released to Tranquility, our cluster in London.
This will create the future deployment cycle, where we deploy expansions to Tranquility and China working on a delayed deployment schedule because of the translation required. EVE is licensed to our partner in China, we share the revenue with our partner which will fuel the future development of EVE. Because of both world utilizing the same code base, we should be able to achieve bigger goals faster which benefit all EVE players.
FiringSquad: Recently you announced plans for a new expansion for the game. Is it a hard process to decide what to put into a new content update with a game like this?
: Yes, it never ceases to surprise us how heated we get internally about what to do next. It’s a mix of evolution and revolution. We’re big on evolution since we believe EVE was quite of a big bite to handle already in the beginning and we need to evolve the individual mechanics, improve other systems, optimize others and simply fix bugs.
This iterative process is based largely on our crazy future views of how EVE should be and a lot on player feedback. We then want to do some revolutionary stuff to the EVE universe and then evolution comes and bites us in the ass, reminding us that it’s not cool to always throw new stuff in, the current game needs to be constantly maintained and evolved. In the end, we’re never happy and I guess this is part of what is fuelling our continued passion for EVE.
FiringSquad: What do you think are some of the more important aspects of the new Kali expansion?
: The new Contract system is probably the most important aspect, although that won’t become apparent until it’s in and being used. It allows corporations (our version of guilds) to better manage themselves 24/7. This is quite important since corporations in EVE have a very high ratio of shared resources and assets which need to be managed and goals need to be created for the members. With the Contract system, you’re really creating “missions” for your members, not requiring any more the persons which have sufficient rights to access resources or the leaders which tell you what to do to be online all hours of the day.
The flagship however is Factional Warfare, where we’re opening up the large NPC factions and empires for players to fight their wars for them in PvP. Up till now, the future of the NPC controlled universe and surrounding areas have been up to us to decide, but with this we hope to give more power to the players, releasing more control of the universe to the players. At the same time, this will hopefully act as an introduction to Alliance PvP for a large part of our PvE playerbase or more casual PvP playerbase.
In addition to this, more organizational tools for combat, better situational awareness and integrated voice communications which has become a necessity for fleet battles. We’re also expanding our Research & Development, extending our mini-professions such as Hacking and adding shipwreck Salvaging, Combat Boosters and new Ship Upgrades (we call it “Pimpin” inhouse, searching for a better name :)). That and a lot of other improvements, fixes, 8 new ships and of course 8 new regions of deep space opening up!