Welcome to day three! In terms of weather, this promised to be the nicest day of the summit, ironic considering that an impressive storm is gathering to hit the north side of the island this weekend. By afternoon, it was incredibly windy and hail kept falling noisily on the proceedings. But the morning walk was quite nice and we soon settled into our accustomed chairs for the day's work.
Day three was mostly about smaller teams, smaller projects, and side issues facing EVE Online development environment for the next six months. As a result, we were able to relax a bit more and the day lacked the frenetic pace of day two.
Session sixteen: Sales and marketing. The first session of the day was marred by all sorts of technical problems with the video conference hardware. As a result, we only got about 35 minutes to talk about this important topic. Unsurprisingly, a lot of the focus of this session was around the (undeniably awesome) EVE Collector's Edition that was announced and shown off at Fanfest. CSM8 was shown an "unboxing." The USB Rifter is in-cred-ible -- much larger than I was expecting(1) -- and between that and the golden pod might alone justify the cost. The CSM listened to the pitch around this product then made several suggestions on how to make the Collector's Edition even better. Unfortunately, there wasn't time for much more.
Session seventeen: Reasonable things review. This was a focused session with game designers from a number of teams looking over the top-rated items from the CSM's reasonable things initiative earlier this year. As they have on the Skype channel, CCP expressed enthusiasm for a number of proposals. Even more important, they provided good communication for why a number of the proposals are not as "reasonable" as they might appear. It's a good bet you'll see some of the list in future expansions...
Session eighteen: PvE. This session was a little bit disjointed because a number of CSM members have strong feelings on this topic, myself included. The CCP team also had no presentation ready to go. This was actually common throughout the three days and allowed discussions to range into lots of different areas where devs wanted feedback. This session was a great example of that. It resulted in a stream-of-consciousness discussion that ranged all over the place. At the end of the session, the devs involved made it clear that they found our feedback valuable and discussion on this topic continued into both lunch and (I believe) dinner. I joked that Mike Azariah gets to write the minutes of this one, and it'll probably be the hardest part of the minutes to write.
Session nineteen: Project 3. This one is another NDA'ed project likely to be announced very soon. In principle, the idea is very very cool. I'll have lots to say about it when it gets announced. Until then, the CSM were mostly asked for feedback on how the project should be announced, how it should be managed, and ways to prevent it being exploited by that most wily of gamer, the EVE player. In other news, by this time the issues with Trinity's video conferencing had been completely fixed.
Session twenty: User Interface. The UI has obviously been... ummm... less than one of EVE's strengths for quite some time. I would forgive you for just getting excited over the fact the name of this session wasn't NDA'ed. Representatives from both the UI team and teams connected to it brought us a quite good presentation for both a short- and medium-term plan to address this weakness of the game we love. This session drew feedback from virtually every CSM member and discussion was animated.
Session twenty-one: Language support and the CSM. Short version: this was a plea for the CSM to be more friendly to the languages where EVE has a localized client: German, Russian, and Japanese. We accepted the input, then the members of the CSM most affected by this topic provided advice on how CCP can improve in this area as well.
Session twenty-two: Launcher and web teams. This was a session requested by the CSM and was our chance to really dig into the meat of the integration of the launcher and a couple of other NDA'ed priorities for the winter expansion. CCP has a specific strategy for development of the launcher and this was also an opportunity to discuss it and for the CSM to provide feedback. We also had a couple of suggestions for the web team, one of which would be quite difficult to implement but would be a vast improvement to EVE's web presence.
Session twenty-three: Hilmar. This was a shorter session than the others, and mostly an opportunity for us to meet Hilmar. But we also took the opportunity -- using a trio of leading questions -- to hear Hilmar's vision for EVE's branding and identity across its three products for the next year. I think CSM8 came away quite satisfied with what we heard.
Session twenty-four: Valkyrie. Let's just say that when Valkyrie was announced, the CSM was quite insistent on doing everything we could to ensure our feedback was used to make this the best possible product of this type that could be produced. Clearly, the best way to do this was to do some heavy duty product testing. ;-) No, more seriously, we were interested in hearing if there was any way we could help with this, though one very lucky CSM8 member did get to try it out (no, it wasn't me).
After the last session of the day, the CSM and a large cross-section of developers met at a local restaurant for dinner, with conversations ranging from the serious to the ultra-casual. Several CSM8 members -- including myself -- used the opportunity of a final get-together to plant the seeds of ideas in the heads of willing devs. But it certainly wasn't all work. Good food and socializing played an important part and CSM members and devs got the chance to learn about each other's hobbies and interests.
After that, a subset of the dinner participants adjourned to Nora's for continued chit-chat. About 11pm, we were called outside for a really glorious display of the aurora borealis -- reportedly one of the best ever seen in Reykjavik city limits. It was really something! After that, CSM members adjourned back to the hotel in roughly age order, oldest first. ;-) I myself called it a night about 1am.
All in all, day three was interesting, productive, and not quite as exhausting as the second day, with a lot of important ground covered! There will be one more wrap-up post where I look at the summit as a whole, along with some final random notes. But for now, time to prepare to head for home!
I want to express my thanks to all of the CCP developers, employees, and leadership that met with us! Your hospitality and openness made this summit a terrific experience. My thanks also to my fellow CSM delegates that attended both in person and over the video/audio link. We've got a lot of work ahead of us preparing and presenting the minutes of this marathon and I think we're all eager to continue our work.
(1) That's what she said.