CSM: Interview with EVE Lead Designer Noah Ward

Jordan Deam | 24 Jun 2008 22:36
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WC: Just going back and talking about them as community managers, obviously you have this pipeline now where they're taking all this information from the playerbase and bringing it to you guys. Do you see them also as - I don't want to say a PR tool, but a way to interact with the community? You guys are amazingly transparent compared to so many other game developers. For example, Blizzard - there's no way in hell they'd ever give just fans a window into the game design process like you guys have the past couple of days. Are you hoping that the delegates are going to take that information back to the community, and educate them the same way you've educated the CSM?

NW: I think CCP really prides themselves, everybody at CCP, as being open and transparent. I think it's just one of their strengths as a group of people who want to make cool games for people - we don't have to be secretive. The more players know about the process and understand just what goes into just getting that one little bit of the UI fixed, and from a designer's mind to the programmer getting it done, the QA testing it, the Customer Service knowing about how it works, and then the deployment team making it happen. And then the managers making sure all the people who were doing this stuff had it happen, making sure they're all fed, it's a big undertaking. Any little, tiny thing -getting people to know that it's not just one guy who can push a couple buttons and there it is. It helps the whole industry as we can educate our customers with what's involved in this whole thing.

And this is something that ... I hire junior game designers and it's something they need to learn. They're like "It would be so cool if we did this!" Then I have to go, "I don't want to break your spirit or stomp on your enthusiasm, but basically, this has to go through a big process." That was one of the things that ... everybody was concerned for my well-being when the CSM was coming, because "they have all these issues," and "you have to talk" -because most of it's game design stuff and I'm the guy who has to answer them. And I say, "This is my job, my designers come to me and say 'I want this,' and I have to tell them 'No, it's not going to happen for this many months.'" And I've been doing this for a while now, so I'm not worried about telling some more people, "Awesome idea! Can't do it next month, but we're going to put it in our priority list and it's going to happen!"

If you look at stuff like Walking in Stations [formerly "Ambulation," EVE's in-development 3-D avatar module], this was something that we wanted to do three years ago. Faction Warfare, we've been promising for four years. Eventually, we get around to it, but we we can't just have: "Awesome idea, let's do Faction Warfare, or let's have avatars walking around in space stations." It takes a while to make really grand things happen, and it even takes a while to make little UI changes happen.

I just think that educating people, and being open about it - honesty is the best policy, right?

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