Monday, May 3, 2010

MY CSM Candidacy Summed Up

Why do I want to serve on the CSM?
* Because I love Eve, it's the spiritual successor to Elite, the favourite game from my youth, it's unlike almost any other game out there and plays by its own rules. I want to see it continue to thrive, and believe that I have qualifications that would make me a clear asset to the CSM.

Why I'm Qualified for CSM
* 2 years of Eve, an encyclopedic knowledge of game mechanics and history.
* I know all about real space science, I spent a decade in astronomical research, specificly in the field of asteroids, comets and the kind of mess they make when they hit planets.
* I'm a software developer by trade so I understand all the technical stuff that makes Eve work, and what goes on to make the technical stuff that makes Eve work.
* I've been a sci-fi fan since I was taken to see Star Wars when I was 4 years old. I'm a big fan of Iain M Banks.
* More than just a consumer of Sci-Fi, I've provided technical assistance to authors: in particular I provided technical details for a comet impact on Pern to Anne McCaffrey for the bestselling book 'Skies Of Pern'.
* I do everything in the game - 0.0 PVP, hi-sec mining, missioning, exploring, trading, theorycrafting and dreaming up cunning plans. I generally suck at all these things.
* I can be a serious player, cooking up spreadsheets for my industrial endeavours to
maximize my profits.
* I can be a sneaky player, roaming around undetected and scouting stuff.
* I fly every T1 sub capital in the game, so when people whine about ships sucking
I can say I have first hand experience.
* I can be stupid, running missions in a hulk, spelling out song lyrics using ship wrecks,
or just creating fireworks for new years eve.
* I like going back to noob characters, doing noob things and answering questions in
the rookie channel.
* I can detect a forum troll at 50AU.
* I play Eve with my 5 year old daughter, so I'm supremely capable of dealing with people who think they know everything and act like children until they get their way. I imagine this is an invaluable skill for CSM duties.

What kind of issues would I like to see addressed. (In My Wildest Dreams)

* Local Chat as an Intel Source: This is broken in many ways and many reasons, regardless of whether malicious clients can mask themselves or not the mechanic of using the chat channel as a source of intel generally detracts from the game. Proper system level intel systems should be developed for players, alliance members with correct 'permissions' should be able to open the starmap and be able to see residents across space. The data comes from various sources, in 0.0 space monitoring structures can be anchored, and of course disabled. If an alliance has sov they can control who places these, it provides another much needed reason to claim sov, and also a target for attack by enemy gangs.

* Bookmarks visible in space and on the overview: my daughter has a great deal of trouble using cascading right click menus to warp to mission spaces, I find myself engaging targets on a gate and would like to see my bookmarks around the gate so I can fully exploit my sniper ships and warp across grid. Bookmarks are already visible on the solar system map, making them visible on the overview and in space shouldn't be too hard and is a change that benefits everyone.

* Server Side Storage for all those client side settings that keep getting lost: Seriously, I've written enough client-server systems to know how difficult this isn't. I just reinstalled a system recently and find myself having to setup everything again, and re-organize all my bookmarks. Overview, ship fittings, bookmark folders and gameplay settings should be something I can backup on the server as easily as hitting escape and pressing a 'store settings on server' button and then later retrive with the 'import settings from server' button.

* Group/Ungroup Weapons Button: You've done it before I'm sure, fit your ship, loaded ammo launched, and them had to unload all 8 guns and then shift drag them together to group them before reloading. We just need a simple right click option that'll do this for us, it'll match up gun types with the same ammo, adjust the amount of ammo and do the grouping for you with no hassle.

* Simple drone controls: If you're in cruiser just learning to control drones you don't need the full drone grouping and sorting UI, you just need a button to launch everything you have and buttons to attack and return to bay. Once you're in a bigger ship you can learn the full joy of sorting your hammerheads from your hobgoblins, but lets not inflict it on anyone who's still figuring out other things.

* UI Font Resizing, now we have 1080p displays on 10" laptop screens people really do need a magnifying glass to read the screen in places. This is directly affecting the ability of people to play now and we need some effort to be made in accommodating those players without perfect vision. Rebuilding the Whole UI to accommodate larger text may not be possible overnight, but even partial updates to easy things would help.

* Visuals - with the right amount of poking and tweaking people can get anti-aliasing enabled on some graphics hardware, how much of a leap is it to get this mess of backend graphics driven configuration into a checkbox or two in the graphics quality settings? I know there's a ton of gameplay bugs that are in need of even more urgent fixes, but I would imagine that the skills and experience needed to make Eve look prettier are orthogonal to those needed to fix the ever present gameplay bugs. As such I strongly advocate that CCP make their MMO of the year 2009 look like a game from 2009

* Noob Ships: people forever debate ship balance, so I'm going to champion the plight of the noob ships. Right now there's no decent source of civilian Afterburners or Civilian armour repair systems so you can't fit them decently. The Caldari Ibis can't use missiles, the Impairor gets a laser cap bonus but can't fit enough laser firepower to make that matter and then the velator can pwn everything with it's epic 100% bonus to drone bay size on top of it's weapon bonus. Seriously, everyone owns a rookie ship, in fact, if you've ever abandoned one in space there's a good chance it's now sitting in my hangar.

* T2 Ammo: T2 ammo needs some serious love, precision missiles don't offer any advantage against small targets compares with faction versions, short range high damage ammo offers such a miniscule advantage over faction that the drawbacks essentially make it useless.

* Gallente: I never understood why an armour tanking race would use weapons that require the ship to be right on top of the target. Flying Gallente generally either means using drones, or getting a friend to hold a target down while you neutron it to death. Retooling the Hyperion into a railgun sniper is one of many changes I'd like to see considered.

* The Belicose: It's so obvious that this could benefit from having more missile hardpoints, and with it's target painters it becomes a great anti frigate cruiser, something that minmatar are lacking right now. (Caldari have AML Caracal, Amarr the Arbitrator & Gallente The Vexor). I like the look of this ship.

* Assault Frigates: Still wondering when these are going to get some more fixing after the AB bonus was pulled.

* Structure hitpoints need to be logged every periodicly: Because it sucks when a server crash resets the damage status on a 350million HP station, we don't need that kind of pain.

* Give small gangs more things to do: Current structures take too much firepower, create goals that are achievable by small gangs - killing intel beacons for example, or interfering with planetary production. Dominion's military/industry indices actually provide something that can be interfered with by small numbers of reds camping a system, but it's not something that 'feels' like success.

* Missions: Less grind, more fun. While everyone hates the new gallente storyline missions in low-sec for giving crap rewards in return for travelling 30 jumps across empire and the risk of getting shot they do exhibit some interesting features and they certainly break up the mission grind. I especially liked the fact that the ones I tried could be completed with two pilots in fast ships, one would warp in and create a diversion, getting the ships to follow her, while the second would then warp in and kill the now vulnerable haulers. Cosmos has a lot of nice bits and pieces but it needs cleaned up and the 0.0 cosmos constellations are inaccessible to most players because they're in territory controlled and protected by alliances.

* Sound Effects that Do your ship Justice: Seriously, I wrote a program that detects the creation of a new gamelog and plays a really loud explosion sound when your ship dies, and the Wilhelm Scream when you get podded . Can't we get better sounds for something as simple as the demise of your own ship? (I do think the alert sounds add quite a good feeling of urgency when things start going wrong though, good work adding those.)

* Bug Fixes vs New Features: New features bring new players, bug fixes help keep old ones, I was in D-GMTI with 1600 in local, and the lack of grid loading wasn't pretty.

* Player Bounties: when you pod a pilot with a bounty on his/her head the bounty payout should be capped at 90% of the clone cost, any cash left in the bounty stays on the pilot. If you kill their ship then then a payout is a function of the ship value. Insurance might also be restricted if you have a large bounty on your head? Bottom line, there should be no way for a pilot with a bounty on their head to conspire with another player or alt to profit from the desire of another player to see them dead.

* Ship Scan Signature & Sensor Mechanics: The current calculation of signature radius/sensor strength allows for pilots operating in hostile territory to nerf their combat effectiveness in exchange for being unprobable. This feature is a good thing, I am however uncomfortable with the fact that the mechanic is more a side effect of the ECM mechanics, as opposed to any of the other myriad measurments of how awesome your ships electronic systems are. Rationalising all this - locking speed, range, sensore strength, ECM, sensor dampeners and probe visibility is a worthy goal.

* NPC Ewar: broke broke broke, players should be able to use Ewar in PVE for more than just making an entire sleeper fleet primary them.

* Lowsec: I really liked that 'Corruption' idea, someone should work on it.

I like to play the game with my daughter, she's a pretty smart girl but even then I like to use her as an example of how the whole 'Eve is difficult' thing is a myth. Eve is complicated, yes, but it's not difficult, it may be difficult to beat pilot X in PVP, but that's not because Eve is difficult it's because he's better and more experienced than you. The difficulty of Eve is largely because of other players, if you want to build stuff in eve you don't need to resort to spreadsheets, but you'll find that the other players who do spend the effort to crunch the numbers will out compete you. Balancing the game doesn't make it easier, since everyone is subject to the new 'rules'.

Eve however has UI features and idiosyncracies that make it less *accessible* than it could be and it's in CCP's interest to deal with these oddities that inhibit uptake. The bookmarks thing is one example, another is the effort it takes to manage buy and sell orders, switching back and forth between 2 windows is just annoying. Organizing drones and linking guns could be simplified to a automagic 'organize drones' and 'group guns' button, taking a little bit of pain out but still retaining flexibility when it's asked for. Planetary interaction is introducing a whole new mess of UI concepts that we can only hope will crystalize into something that doesn't drive casual players away while other players grit their teeth and bear it only because of the profits or needs of the alliance.

I'm a smart guy, I do lots of stuff in Eve, so I have experience of almost everything, I'm not affiliated with any massive power block, my alliance is red to almost everyone around us now, so I'm essentially independent. I don't want to give advantages to one particular play style, I'm not looking out for the industrialists, or the missioners or the PVPers, I'm looking out for the people who like flying big spaceships and using them to blow up other ships or build more of them.

And I'm a nice guy who knows when to help rookies making noob mistakes and when to lol at veterans making noob mistakes.

Vote Illectoculus Defined for CSM 5.


  1. A very well thought out and well written piece there. Even though i have played EVE since the beta i in no way would call myself adept at the game, i have ventured into lower sec space but its far to scary there for me ;) and i have not had what i would call any PvP experience, to have someone on the CSM who has knowledge and is willing to speak for everyone in the game is to be applauded and it gets my vote.
    Now if you could just point me the way to the voting booths ;)

  2. sorry i posted in the wrong bit and i see my question is answered here :)

    what can i say, i r noob, you have my vote by way of an apology :D

  3. Voting just opened today: