Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Captains Quarter’s Soon to be Gone

First off we have Incarna, an amazing technological and artistic achievement. A vision from years ago realized to a point that no one could have imaged but a few months ago. It rolls out without a hitch, is in some cases faster than what we had before, this is the pinnacle of professional achievement. For all the noise in the channel we should all stand proud, years from now this is what people will remember.

CCP CEO Hilmar Veigar PĂ©tursson on the launch of Incara

CCP has announced that the Captain’s Quarters will be removed from EVE Online with the August release. (Also, we’ll be getting an August release this year.)  The Captain’s Quarters underwhelmed when launched with the Incarna expansion (my tour from back then) and has remained stagnant since then.

Captain’s Quarters

The letdown of the Captain’s Quarters was greatly aggravated by removal of the hangar view that was long the staple of being in a station.  Instead, if you didn’t want the resource hogging new quarters you got a static door.

The Immobile Hanger Door

Then Hilmar’s derisive comment about “ship spinning” poured gasoline on that fire.  Spinning had nothing to do with it, being able to see your active ship was the point.

CCP eventually relented and put the hangar view back with the Cruicible expansion, an update that saw the company begin to focus on long neglected features already in the game.  A lot of features in the game have improved greatly since then… though CCP still seems lost when it comes to creating a useful in-game map.

Usage of this minimalist pseudo-housing, the one place in the game where you could walk around with your avatar, was never huge once the hangar view returned.  And with the advent of citadels, which do not have that as an option (and docking in a citadel changes your default view to hangar), usage plummeted even further.  CCP even has a chart.

Game time spent in Captain’s Quarters

So the Captain’s Quarters has lingered for six years, the “amazing technology” stopped in time.

However, the code is in the game and needs to be maintained and updated as things change.  Furthermore, the middleware developed to be used with that code is out of date and is standing in the way of getting a real 64-bit game client.  Per CCP:

One of the first things that we want to investigate is to release a 64-bit EVE client to better utilize your available system memory when playing. Compiling a 64-bit client has been held back by the outdated middleware that was needed by captain’s quarters.

And so it goes.

I won’t be sorry to see the departure of the Captain’s Quarters come August.  I have long maintained that avatar play and the idea of “walking in stations” was a distraction from the core of EVE Online.  With limited resources, if a feature doesn’t somehow involve spaceships, it should be avoided.

Of course, as I have also noted on past occasions, any given feature in an MMO, no matter how bad, awkward, or simply useless, is somebody’s absolute favorite aspect of the game.  The fans of the Captain’s Quarters will no doubt stand up to be counted.  But they will be hard pressed to argue that this lingering feature is more important than a 64-bit client.

In a reality where CCP is spending more time and effort on their VR projects, leaving fewer resources to work on EVE, simplifying by removing the superfluous makes sense.

Along with the Captain’s Quarters the integrated Twitch option is also slated to be removed come August due to low utilization.  There are other options for using Twitch with the game, and it seems like streamers are already using them.

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