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EVE Online: Interview with Hilmar Petursson, CCP CEO

StraddenStradden Managing EditorHalifax, NSPosts: 6,696Member Common

Recently, Managing Editor Jon Wood caught up with Hilmar Petursson, the CEO of CCP. During the interview, the two talked about EVE Online, the new office in Atlanta and the future of the company.

While 2008 Game Developer's Conference I had the opportunity to talk to Hilmar Petursson, the CEO of Crowd Control Productions, better known to the world as CCP, the makers of EVE Online. While Keith and Laura each had interviews on specific aspects of EVE Online, I took this opportunity to ask the tall, red-haired CEO about the company in general while my colleagues talked to others about specific aspects of EVE.

For those who might not know, CCP is currently running three offices: one in Iceland, one in Shanghai, China and one in Georgia here in the United States. The most recent addition is the American branch, opened after the MMO company merged with White Wolf, the company behind such games as Vampire: The Masquerade, Werewolf: The Awakening and other games set in the proprietary World of Darkness. I had hoped that this GDC would be the show where someone from CCP could be coaxed into talking a little bit about the upcoming (though still officially unannounced) MMO based in that universe. Unfortunately, San Francisco in February is still not the place, and even though many of the CCP devs were walking around in World of Darkness shirts, nobody was talking, including the CEO.
With the subject of the Atlanta office already on the table, I asked how the company had fared in integrating the new office into their international family. Hilmar told me that while they (CCP) had been expecting and bracing for a difficult assimilation, the process went very smoothly for which Petursson credits the "strong people and managers" that joined the company with the White Wolf merger.

Read it all here.

Jon Wood
Managing Editor



  • chromerchromer PernajaPosts: 1Member

    indeed trinity was a good expasion, alltough the lag issues haven't still been solved.

  • dethduckdethduck Worcester, MAPosts: 21Member Uncommon

    I'm not sure what you're talking about, Trinity is phenomal as is the performance.  I play constantly and experience very little if any lag, though I have heard that some people who set their cache too high experience a lot of stuttering.  You might want to lower the cache setting in the esc menu, that might help with your lag.  Turning off HDR might help too i've heard, it's a very GPU intensive function.


  • RayalistRayalist Plano, TXPosts: 211Member

    0.0 Fleet and Pos warfare are still very laggy.

  • bobbiacbobbiac Landing, NJPosts: 8Member Uncommon

    as they will be untill they up the hardware or re-write the database

  • dethduckdethduck Worcester, MAPosts: 21Member Uncommon

    I think that's more the amount of models your vid card has to render than the throughput of their servers.


  • gatherisgatheris Leslie, MIPosts: 1,016Member Uncommon

    when you move items from one container/hold to another and you have to wait for it to actually happen - that is lag

    when you activate a module and you have to wait for it to actually occur - that is lag

    that is EVE - but mostly  on Saturday evening and all day on Sunday (U.S.) or if a fleet battle is happening anywhere in the EVE universe




  • SaerainSaerain Barrington, RIPosts: 978Member Uncommon

    They were wearing World of Darkness shirts? Deliciously cruel.

    Favorites: EVETORVanguard | Playing: None, overtaken by VR | Anticipating: CUPantheon
  • EkibiogamiEkibiogami Clear Lake, TXPosts: 2,154Member Uncommon

    CCP is The Best MMO Developer out there atm.

    And to all Complaining about lag, PLZ stop Dragging 300 People Each side in to the combat. Thats why there is lag....

    If ye love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude; greater than the animating contest for freedom, go home from us in peace. We seek not your counsel, nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you; May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen.
    —Samuel Adams

  • RayalistRayalist Plano, TXPosts: 211Member

    Yes, with more people there is lag, but bringing more numbers is always going to get used. It's an easy advantage for some alliances, and as some alliances have shown numerous times, sometimes lag plays to your advantage through node crashes.

    I don't think numbers should ever be limited, but what I wouldn't mind seeing is more logistics required. Where bringing more and more pilots takes an increasing amount of preparation, not just one more x to pick up. That way if you really wanted / needed the pilots, you could bring them, but it adds more inconvineince which encourages smaller fleets.

    Also cynojammed deathstar Poses with capital blobs... they encourage bigger and bigger fleets as well...

    Don't get me wrong, I love CCP, I just think there's a lot more to be done so lag does not play as big of part in 0.0 fleet fights.

  • schawoschawo RacalmasPosts: 135Member

    I remember, when jita had the same amount of lag with 300 ppl, as nowdays with 7-800 ppl. CCP tried to upgrade hardware, and software, but they cant keep up with the speed of growth...

  • maimeekraimaimeekrai Cupertino, CAPosts: 256Member Uncommon


    Originally posted by Saerain

    They were wearing World of Darkness shirts? Deliciously cruel.


    YAY! An on topic post!

    I think it would be wise of CCP to keep their lips sealed until beta is ready, if they can. Otherwise, tremendously entertaining, but utterly useless drama will ensue. Oh, wait. That'll happen anyway...

    "Hilmar tolked breifly about Ambulation" Spell checker broken or proof-reader's day off?

    I'm thinking it should read: "Hilmar toked briefly, then talked about Ambulation".



  • firefly2003firefly2003 Los Angeles, CAPosts: 2,521Member Uncommon

    One of the best MMOs out there on the market that doesnt slave to games like WOW or SOE (SWG crapfest that does major changes to the game every 6 months)..

  • TucheTuche HamburgPosts: 205Member Uncommon

    Great reading,

    a quote . . .


    The EVE team has plans to start integrating more "missions and story stuff", although they are also being mindful that EVE is a sandbox-style MMORPG, and that while the addition of new story and mission content is important, it is also important that they are careful to keep the original feeling intact.

  • mrxinstallmrxinstall SydneyPosts: 36Member



    Hmmm ok well it is nice to hear that CCP have started work on a NEW MMO but with the problems that EVE is currently having I would have personally liked to hear how they are now working on fixing the lag issues that are sweeping across the EVE server.

    Yes thats right lately there has been a lot of lag and other hic ups happening from the server and it isn't making playing the game any better at all.

    For those people that say they have not had any lag during their time of playing EVE all I can say is either you have been really really lucky OR you are playing the game in a system that must have a lack of other players and items in it.

    I still think that EVE has a lot to offer it's players and I like the game a lot, but the problems can not be pushed to the back or not acknowledged as doing this will just start the game on the road to it's own destruction and personally I don't want to see that happen to a game with as much potential.

    Anyway hopefully CCP will do some work on fixing the lag and other issues ASAP, oh and lets not forget that the minmatar ships could do with some work also. As it seems all the other races are getting boosts but minmatar are left with things as they are and that isn't good as it is just going to make them even less attractive to new players.







    Here one Day Gone The Next.
    Game reviewer.

  • nariusseldonnariusseldon santa clara, CAPosts: 26,698Member Rare

    What I am really encouraging hearing is that they will put more PvE questing content into the game. I am ALREADY very interested to make Eve my alt game to play (the main is WOW) but I am a bit hesitant because of the heavy PvP aspect. This may push me over.

    I really like tactical space ship combat and a vibrant economy with crafting.

  • gholstongholston columbus, OHPosts: 83Member

    Eve isn't laggy. Really, I don't know why people always say it is....  It simply isn't laggy. Of course theres a few burps here and there for maybe, MAYBE, a half a second, but man, you guys just like to complain.

  • FinwolvenFinwolven HelsinkiPosts: 289Member

    Lag, the bane of all online entertainment.

    EVE has lag. It has always had lag, and it will always have lag. It's really worth butchering the old quote: "We will always have Lag". But, and it is a big but(t): Every other game has lag as well.

    Consider: Lag, as experienced by player, can be from several sources. The game server may be busy (and when this happens in most of the games, it's called 'disconnect' or 'CTD', really) or waiting input from some other player (their lag becomes players lag).The network tunnel from the game server to the ISP may be cloggy, laggy or have high latency (high turnaround time between signals). The pipe from the ISP to the player can be laggy, due to neighbour downloading porn (or seasons of Lost or Friends. And, finally, the players computer can be processing the datastream from the server, reading/writing to harddrive, rendering graphics, having a nervous breakdown etc.)

    With all these being a part of lag, contributing to the total of laggyness in games, and compounding whenever more players are within an area close enough together to interact in a meaningful fashion (pew pew), there is probably no way to eliminate lag entirely. EVE's servers are the most powerful game servers in the world today. CCP has already sufficiently proven, at least to my mind, that if the problem had a single fix, hardware patch or code implementation, they would do whatever it takes to implement it, as long as it doesn't break their game and its core idea: Single world, all players in same server.

    In the meanwhile, while there's a coding group that's undoubtedly working around the clock (knowing coders, more then likely) on optimizations and code streamlining of the internal and external network interfaces and data searches, there'll also be a big group of people who need something else to do.

    They aren't experts in optimization and code analysis, they are UI, game system, graphics, etc masters. Their job is to make content, make new things for us to look at, and to improve the game experience from another point of view. Most likely, they're working hard on new expansions, Ambulation, and starting to put together ideas for the WoD MMO. It's not two code monkeys in a basement anymore, and to imply that 'if CCP is doing something not lagkilling, it means they're not doing lagkilling at all' is shortsighted at best.

    I'm happy to hear that CCP-WW merger did infact go so well, and I'm even happier to hear that there's going to be more PVE content, more things to do, and maybe Factional Warfare which blurs the PVP-PVE line and gives new groups of players PVP experience. Maybe we'll see another Goonswarm rise up from the Empire spaces before long.


    EDIT: Oh, and before anyone says anything: Yes, I know how it gets. I've been to Jita. I've done fleet warfare, and I've experienced about as bag a lag as it can get in EVE (45 minutes before I got anything on my screen, and I do have a high-end comp and high-speed net connection). It doesn't matter. Lag is something you deal with.

  • PoopyStuffPoopyStuff Somersworth, NHPosts: 297Member

    a game that has trailers that show off tons of ships fighting each other.

    effectivly bililng its game as a huge universe and huge battles

    and when you go into those types of battles, only to realize the server can't handle it... is very distressing.

    30 second - 10 minute wait times on module activation is really crappy.


    the big powers in eve have thousands of players on each side...  your in the UNIVERSE

    Until they expanded the hardware side of it with their new "super computer" plan, the game will always suffer in fleet combat.

    and that's a shame.


  • gatherisgatheris Leslie, MIPosts: 1,016Member Uncommon

    Originally posted by gholston

    Eve isn't laggy. Really, I don't know why people always say it is....  It simply isn't laggy. Of course theres a few burps here and there for maybe, MAYBE, a half a second, but man, you guys just like to complain.
    you must be on a private server then

    you can be in the the middle of frikkin nowhere in a system all by yourself and experience painful lag - again, such as long module activation or lengthy movement of inventory among other things - these are server side problems



  • FinwolvenFinwolven HelsinkiPosts: 289Member

    @Poopy: They already have a supercomputer-level server. That's what makes it possible for over 40 000 people to be online at the same time.

    Ask yourself this: How many players can there be on one location in, say, WoW or LOTRO before it starts to affect fps or cause lag? I have been in 300+ player fleet battles that didn't have much lag (much being a relative, of course), with hundreds of players in the same grid (on same screen-area) shooting at each other. It is an awe-inspiring sight. Jita always has 600-800 people online all the time nowadays, and it's less laggy then you'd expect from the numbers.

    True, with so many new players, and so high online numbers, it is getting congested, and that is a shame. However, if it was possible to resolve this by throwing hardware at it, CCP would have done so long ago. Heck, it's in their marketing best interests to get their server into as high a power category as they can.

    As for lag, 30 seconds is playable, completely. 10 minutes, well, that's a little nasty. The worse problem with lag in fleet fights is how it shapes the tactics of the fleets. Jumping into a gate defense becomes almost suicide, since your enemy will have free potshots at your ships while they are loading into the system. You can lose a big chunk of fleet that way.

    If there was a solution to making the lag disappear, I believe CCP would be implementing it right now.

  • jackeccsjackeccs Kaukauna, WIPosts: 392Member Uncommon

    Lol!  this guy looks like a pimp


  • PoopyStuffPoopyStuff Somersworth, NHPosts: 297Member

    actually the computer they have now consists of many different nodes strung together

    the speed issues come into play with the bottlenecks between the nodes

    the super computer they are working with IBM on now eliminates the transfer between nodes issues that are currently present

    and with trinity now being out on a new engine with more network layers its their hope the new system will eliminate a lot of the lag.



  • MinscMinsc Burford, ONPosts: 1,319Member Uncommon

    Originally posted by PoopyStuff

    actually the computer they have now consists of many different nodes strung together
    the speed issues come into play with the bottlenecks between the nodes
    the super computer they are working with IBM on now eliminates the transfer between nodes issues that are currently present
    and with trinity now being out on a new engine with more network layers its their hope the new system will eliminate a lot of the lag.
    Actually that's not entirely accurate. The current problem with lagging nodes is due to too many players on a single node, not with the transfer of data between nodes. The problem comes from the fact that the most cpu's that can be assigned to any node is 1, so in huge fleet battles the node gets overloaded.

    CCP is curently working on two things to combat lag, the first being that they are rewriting their backend code to work with ibm's HTPC?(not sure if the acronym is right) technology and the second is they are involved in a joint research project with microsoft AND ibm to develope a new supercomputer cluster to run the game on that will allow them to perform dynamic load balancing. These two things should help with lag immensly but neither are trival to do and will take some time to implement.

    Hell they are having to work with both M$ and IBM because no-one has attempted to do anything of this nature in gaming before.

  • RhomsRhoms Norfolk, VAPosts: 90Member Uncommon

    Trinity was an amazing expansion.

    Re: Lag - I know that CCP is working on infiniband server technology.  It was posted on the official forums some time ago.  If anything, I'd like to hear how that project is going.

    I also love the fact that CCP is its own independent corporation, and not a mere subsidiary of another.  Especially in that respect, they have done phenomenal work.  I hope the company prospers with the White Wolf merger.

    Keep up the great work, CCP!


    Played: UO, AC, Eve, Fallen Earth, Aion, GW, GW2 Tried: WOW, Rift, SWOTOR Future: ?

  • UgaritUgarit abovePosts: 213Member

    Played a lot of MMOS. The only interesting choice is Eve Online. Diplomacy, economy, strategy. For mature players. Thx to CCP.

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