27 June 2013

FanFest 2013: Saturday

Today was always going to be a monster day. Not only was there a full day of talks to go, there was also the famous Party At The Top Of The World to attend at night. To add to all that I had yet to visit the imposing Hallgr√≠mskirkja church and was determined to do so before going home. With all this planned it was probably inevitable that I would sleep in and miss the EVE Movie Morning where I had promised to meet friends. This first I knew of that was a text message asking where I was. Oh well, guess I also missed breakfast...

I made it to Harpa in time to meet up with everyone at the end of the movie session. Apparently I didn't miss much. In my imagination I'd pictured the complete Clear Skies trilogy to  be played, but it wasn't to be. The EVE in China talk was very interesting. Their nullsec is even more homogenised that what we find in the west. Not only that but the price of PLEX in the China server is something like 5 times what we pay. This price pretty much matches up with inflated prices of minerals and battleships so life isn't as bad as it may first seem for our Chinese counterparts. The presentation from the Chinese team ended with a great clip of many players on the China server saying hello to us on the other server.

Next up was the final Make EVE Real talk. This one was from Michael Laine of LiftPort Group. The talk started discussing the difficulties of making a space elevator from Earth due to current known materials not being strong enough. The solution discussed was to build a space elevator down to the Moon from the Lagrange point between the Moon and Earth. This would have the two benefits of proving space elevator technology could work in practice while also claiming the microgravity environment of the Lagrange point for LiftPort Group. Truth be told, this second point seemed to be more of interest to Michael Laine. Out of the three talks this one set up the shortest timescale yet the speaker seemed the least confident that he would succeed. He started with talking about his failures and continued through the talk mentioning it and how close to running out of money his group is. The highlight of the talk was Michael announcing his EVE character name. Last time I looked the bounty on him was well into the billions.

I thought the Games as Art - EVE at the MoMA talk would be a nice change of pace. After grabbing something to eat I went in a bit late and missed the very start. I quickly decided I wasn't enjoying the "comfy chair coffee table chat on a stage" discussion and headed off for a walk to the Hallgr√≠mskirkja church. Did I mention it was cold, windy and I was wearing a kilt? It didn't take too long to get to the church. There is a long road leading up to the imposing structure, which just keeps getting bigger and bigger as you walk up to it. Outside there is a statue to Leif Ericson who is regarded as the first European to land in North America. Inside the church you can pay to go to the top of the tower and look out across Reykjavik. Bizarrely, while up there I ended up explaining to a tourist who wasn't in Iceland for fanfest what EVE was all about. He said he'd give the game a go when he got home. Walking back to the Harpa attracted some attention to my kilt. Some kids stopped me to ask if I was cold - I wasn't particularly. Another car stopped when I was crossing and I got a thumbs up from the driver followed by his son shouting "Axl Rose" at me - I was in a red kilt and black leather jacket. I was glad to get back to Harpa though, I wasn't cold but I was definitely warmer indoors.

CCP Presents was the final presentation of FanFest. As with the previous end-of-day talks there was a certain feeling of surreality that I was there. This was the magical end to FanFest where CCP likes to tease with things that are coming and things that are dreamt of. Collectors Edition box set, Books, TV series, Player-built stargates. Wait... player built stargates? Holy shit!

13 June 2013

FanFest 2013: Friday

Most of today's events that I was interested in were scheduled to happen in the main 'Tranquility' hall. The morning started with a talk on a decade of Eve's economy. It's taken me so long to write this up that I can't remember any specifics though. What I do remember is that the amount of analysis done on the economy of New Eden is impressive. Dr. EyjoG clearly enjoys his job and that came across well in the presentation he gave. I went to the talk on merging econonmies on Thurday as well and he gave a good talk then. I wish he put more stuff out in dev blogs but I can understand why he doesn't.

Around after the economics talk were scheduled two talks on Dust - Planetary Conquest and Advancing the core. The whole planetary conquest looked really interesting. This could be a great hook to differentiate Dust from all the other FPS shooters out there. The galaxy map they made for the PS3 also looks really sweet and a few EVE players were asking when we would get it on the EVE client. All in all, a lot of cool stuff going into Dust.

After two hours of sitting in TQ I really needed food and a beer and it was time to wander the halls again. Having seen it all the day before meant there were no real surprises. I'm sure the EVE Store was putting more, different t-shirts out which were testing my resolve. I held my will restating to myself that I would buy some when I got home. This decision is still haunting me as the EVE store still doesn't have them for sale.

The "Make EVE Real - Asteroid Mining" talk was another good talk. I'd not read anything about real world asteroid mining so everything I heard here was new. It was fascinating to learn about the abundance of what we consider scarce metals we could acquire from mining real asteroids. I particularly liked their design for sending out swarms of probes which would autonomously function together to scan and return data on asteroid compositions. I'd love to work somewhere involved in designing such systems. Something for EVE to consider bringing into the game? A mining scanner mini-game perhaps which increases or decreases asteroid yield depending on how well you scan?

The final event of the day was, of course, the EVE Keynote. Having watched this on a stream in the past there was something special about actually being in the audience. And, oh my the shiny eye candy. I think it's all out now in Odyssey but if you haven't seen the presentation, here's the Youtube video for your enjoyment.