Welcome to the hardest day of the summit! The schedule was really weighted hard to this day with a lot of the toughest expectations on CSM8 packed into this Thursday. Primarily, day two was about meeting individually with members of each of EVE's four "feature teams" as well as the fifth team working on the EVE-DUST link. Throughout the day, Trinity was often quite full of people. Instead of a person or two presenting a specific topic, the bulk of each team appeared and anyone we needed to talk to was available to clarify points and answer questions.
On the very positive end, this gave us the opportunity to do quite deep dives into winter expansion features that we wanted to dig into a little more or that team members wanted our opinion on. On the challenging side, it made day two mentally exhausting. I've learned there is a bit of a running joke in CCP: which CCP dev can talk enthusiastically about spaceships continuously for the longest time? CSM8's abilities on this front were tested. It made for a really long, involved day...
Session Eight: Team Five-O. This is the team that CSM8 is the stake-holder for so happily most of us were quite familiar both with the features this team is working on and with the people on the team themselves so we could jump right in. Obviously I can't yet speak about what those specific features are but they are working on four major projects, two of which were discussed much more in-depth for an hour each during sessions nine and ten. I think players are going to be very happy with what this team is working on. One in particular will cost me a bottle of brandy for the CCP dev implementing it, but it will be worth it: it's something I (and lots of players in my constituency) have wanted in the game for a long time. I myself have been begging for it since April 26 or so... can't wait!
Session Nine: Project 1.
Session Ten: Project 2. These were in-depth discussions of two of the four areas where Team Five-O is concentrating their efforts. One will be a major center-piece of the winter expansion, one is set-up work for next year. I think players will be nearly universal in their approval of both, and the CSM was too... with one tiny little baby exception where we gently tried to nudge the devs off their chosen path. I believe and hope we provided a lot of valuable feedback on how to make these features better.
Session Eleven: Team Superfriends. This session was a bit challenging. I think Superfriends has drawn the most difficult and the most potentially contentious features for the winter expansion. I also think it's fair to say that the CSM expressed deep concerns about their approaches to two of them. On the positive end, I think we were very successful at expressing those concerns and further discussion of them will be moving to the CCP-CSM internal forums.
Session Twelve: Team Game of Drones. On the other hand, I think Game of Drones lucked into the "easiest" feature set for winter. The CSM was very enthusiastic about both the features and the direction this team is taking them. Even better, the team is well along on their implementation, so I and others on CSM8 made a case for them to make their plans public as soon as possible to draw mass player input. I dearly hope this happens so I can start writing about this team's work in detail soon because I think it's really important.
Session Thirteen: Team Kuromaku. This is a new team, formed from a merger of two other feature teams and as a result is both currently the biggest feature team and the one with the most expectations for winter. CCP Seagull herself presented for this team, I think because she gently started with a sad announcement that a feature that I had considered a major cornerstone for the next couple of expansions is being pushed back due to its complexity. I think Seagull was arming up for a torch-and-pitchfork attack from CSM8 but I think we were really understanding. What this team wants to do in 2014 is completely awesome, but it's going to be damned tough.
I want to briefly expand on this topic and this is a good place to do it. I've been impressed over and over again by one aspect of having Seagull at the tiller. I think she's struck a perfect balance of wanting to do crazy cool stuff in EVE over the next three years but is also very realistic about what can be accomplished at each step in the process. In particular, the entire leadership team is aware of the pitfalls of Incarna and understands that at each step when you're doing crazy cool stuff, players have to be respected and cool stuff to do in space has to be delivered. It's really refreshing! Onward.
As a result, things segued smoothly into what this team can actually deliver for winter and I think this session was one in particular where the CSM provided a lot of insights and good feedback. In one case, four different teams including this one are working aspects of the same feature and because of this I had to give my suggestions for the feature four different times (to the point where during this session, another of the CSM said "Jester, give your WXYZ speech again" -- I'll explain what that means when I can talk about it).
Session Fourteen: Team True Grit.
Session Fifteen: EVE-DUST Link. These two sessions merged into one super-session on the EVE DUST link and we had a good portion of the Council of Planetary Management with us to help talk about it. It was also another session where I think it's fair to say that both the CSM and CPM are a bit concerned with the direction being taken. The good news is that team is ultra-realistic about the real-world failures of the current EVE DUST link. The bad news is I believe most of the CSM and CPM don't feel like True Grit is being given the resources to attack the issues boldly enough.
A few more general notes about the day...
I mentioned yesterday that CSM8 had a minor miss during our session with the art team: we were so impressed with what we were shown that we completely forgot to make the case for optional high-definition textures that can be downloaded with the rest of the client. This was something that lots and lots of players have begged various CSM members to continue making the case for for those players that want it. The good news is that we had a follow-up session with the art team today and were able to deliver that message.
In addition, when meeting with all of the feature teams today, CSM8 gave a bit of a "sales pitch" for expanding the stakeholder relationship across additional CCP teams. We had 11 out of 14 CSM8 members available for much of Thursday and I think this did a lot to show the commitment of this CSM and the expanded number of potential active participants that can give feedback to team members. We also made the case for more CCP devs to join our Skype channels for times when they want instant feedback about issues they're considering. By the end of the day, Trebor Daehdoow, Mike Azariah, and Ali Aras were adept at delivering the pitch. ;-)
All in all, an exhausting but productive day! Most of the CSM adjourned to Nora's after hours where we were met by eight or so CCP devs. I'm pleased to report that a stout is back on the menu at Nora's -- perhaps they read this blog and got the tap running again to make me happy? Conversation again stuck to mostly very casual topics and it was a relaxing way to end the day. On to day three!