All images in this article are screen captures of actual game play, with the exception of the chart.
Games provide a great way to relax and take a mental break from work. On a rare occasion, you find a game that inspires you to learn and grow in your field as well!
That’s what one employee found in EVE Online. This game is an online desktop game that was developed in 2003 using Python. The developers found issues with Python, so they invented their version of the coding language. Given the game’s age, its system architecture was, and still is, cutting edge even by today’s standards.
All users play on one server rather than on different servers. In other games, if players aren’t on the same server, they cannot play together. EVE runs on a supercluster of servers meshed together to create a fast, secure, and scalable system. This architecture is a true sandbox and allows for thousands of users to play at the same time.
The game can be played on any desktop computer, including non-gaming computers with low graphics settings often called potato mode. While possible to play in this mode, most users do not unless engaging within large battles.
Premise – Watch
EVE is set 21,000 years in the future. Humanity, having used up most of Earth’s resources, began colonizing outer space. Each player must construct their own spaceship to play. When the player enters the game’s universe, they are dropped into a safe zone where they are semi-protected from more experienced players. It’s challenging to learn how to play without being killed by other players.
The universe has 7,800 solar systems. Within the solar systems are stars, asteroid belts, planets, and moons. The central four quadrants of the universe are protected and controlled by NPC’s (the computer) while the outer perimeter is controlled by the players. These systems are contested, players will fight and dispute over regions that provide specific resources. Players can then deploy large battle stations once a region is within their control which allows them to dock large ships like Motherships and Titans. About 2500 systems are layered on top of the normal universe called wormholes whose locations are dynamic and random. These wormholes were created to provide a way to explore the universe without having to take days to reach a destination. Some players learned to inhabit wormholes as this protects them from enemies – since their location changes all the time, enemies are unlikely to find them. One employee seeks safety from enemies in a wormhole and maintains his character’s residence there.
To stay alive and progress, players band together into communities. It is easier to build and defend your space and belongings when working cooperatively with others. Ships take time and resources to construct. If destroyed, you may be able to loot some of the components that were fitted to the ship. Additionally, you can salvage which can recover a portion of the hulls value. Here, piracy, including theft, kidnapping, and ransom, are legal. If a user gets scammed, that’s part of the game.
“It’s a rough game for new players to learn. The learning curve is steep, and the stakes are high. It’s a persistent world where there are always people logged in and playing at any given moment. Because the game can be intense to play, I find that I’ll take breaks from the game and play something else, but I always seem to come back to EVE.”
The game makers host an annual world tour with a stop in Las Vegas. Several years ago, one employee attended EVE Vegas, where he met one of the original developers from Iceland.
The economy in EVE is open and primarily player-driven. Non-player character (NPC) merchants buy, sell, and trade essential commodities such as skill books and blueprints for ships. The amount of in game currency and materials in the universe are not fixed and operate on supply and demand. At one point, the game makers had an economist on staff to study the game and provide policy updates to improve the operation of the economy within the game.
While players do not use real money to purchase items in the game, they can acquire resources through mining, pirating and trading. A user’s ship value can range from as little as a few dollars or as much as $600 for the largest ships in the game (Titans).
Players meet in battles; some small, and others are epic in size. The largest battle ever recorded set a world record on December 30, 2020. This battle, called The Massacre at M2-XFE, lasted nearly 14 hours before a stalemate was reached. At one point in the battle, one side attempted to take down their Discord server with a DoS attack. There were more than 6,400 players involved, and a total of 37,887 ships were destroyed, with an unprecedented 257 titans (massive ships) were lost. This loss was equivalent to $378,012 in value.
In the end, one side surrounded the other side and forced those players to log out of the game. Anytime those players attempted to log back in, they were attacked. After several months of this stalemate, the other side was finally able to break free and escape.
To the players, losses of this magnitude are generally avoided because of the amount of time required to acquire the resources to build large ships and player owned stations.
Users organize themselves into corporations which are like guilds or clans in other games. One employee is a director of his corporation, meaning he has a leadership position with responsibilities. His role is managing all the IT needed for his users, such as maintaining the corporation’s website, writing the custom mapping application so that his corporation’s residents can leave the wormhole and find their way back, maintain the Discord server, and Mumble set up.
One of the IT-related projects he had the opportunity to develop was a system designed to assist Corporation leaders with management of their members called IRIS. Each corporation member authenticates their Eve account with IRIS which then allows the service to pull various information for a players account. This allows Fleet Commanders to check if a certain ship can be flown by their members. It also allows leaders to check and verify that a player meets requirements for the corporation or specific roles within. IRIS will also provide access to various other corporation services such as Discord, TeamSpeak and our wormhole mapping tool called Pathfinder.
How to Play
The game is available for Windows and Mac, with a mobile edition in the works. Limited play is available for free. A subscription to Omega membership gives players access to better ships, skills, and double training speed.