How did Pathfinder become the only table-top role-playing game ever to outsell Dungeons & Dragons, outpacing it 2:1? What were the economics of the Open Gaming License, whereby Wizards of the Coast effectively gave away the rules to its flagship D&D product? Why did the table-top market collapse? This and more on Episode 73 of the Game Design Roundtable podcast, with guest Ryan Dancey, architect of the Open Gaming License strategy at Wizards of the Coast, and former marketing exec at CCP Games (makers of EVE Online). Dancey is now the business lead on Pathfinder Online, an upcoming sandbox fantasy RPG broadly in the mold of EVE and Ultima Online. TGDRT is usually about game design, but this episode is a fascinating look into the business side of the RPG world, both online and off -- from someone who has been at the heart of the most interesting business cases in the space. The first 30 minutes are all about business history and economics. [more inside]
“Supposedly, it was set up for auto-pay, just like any other bill in real life, but either that didn’t happen or the money wasn’t in the wallet, and then everything just escalated..." EVE Online battles can be epic. Let's see how accidentally not paying the rent led to what is coming to be known as the largest battle in New Eden, and some would say gaming as a whole, to date. [more inside]
Alphabet Blocks for a Geek Baby "Amateur engineer/designer" Jonathan M. Guberman made his newborn son a set of custom engraved wooden alphabet blocks, with "things that his mother and I were looking forward to sharing with him" on 4 of the 6 sides. (See them all here) "The only real rule I followed in choosing subjects was trying to maintain an even gender balance" which makes them even more awesome. (Of course, your choices for certain letters may vary)
How does your EVE Online alliance top losing 400 billion ISK to corporate espionage? Why, by losing 309 billion ISK on a single ship of course! [more inside]
A DOS attack on Sunday, 3 June caused the moderators of the MMORPGs EVE Online and Dust 514 to shut down the server cluster that hosted both games. The games were offline for most of the day and into the following morning, having just recently been restored. The COO of EVE's parent company, CCP, described the situation this way:
What we can now confirm is that a person was able to utilize a vulnerability in one of the back-end services that support the operation of the Tranquility server. This vulnerability has now been secured and thoroughly tested. We would like to stress that at no time was customer data compromised or accessible in any way. The effort of returning the complex server structure of the EVE Universe and associated websites to service in a methodical and highly-scrutinized fashion began hours ago and Tranquility has now been brought online (at 10:13 UTC). Our teams will monitor the situation carefully in the coming hours to ensure that our services are accessible and that all customer data remains secure.CCP also took the precaution of shutting down the games' websites, and so communicated with players via Twitter ("Your patience has been legendary and appreciated.") and its Facebook page. [more inside]
What does ONE BILLION look like? On 14 February 2013, it will look like a REVOLUTION. Watch live, from around the globe, as women and men demand an end to violence against women. [more inside]
What started out as a few EVE Online alliances forming up PvP fleets last night rapidly evolved into one of the largest PvP battles in the game's history. Reports indicate that a total of over 3,000 players may have been involved in the colossal battle. The video is insane. More on Reddit.
Exploding bombs frequently caused so much vibration of photo enlargers that prints blurred and had to be remade
The Pacific War Photographs of Pfc Glenn W. Eve — "In the summer of 1942, the U.S. Army called up a skinny California boy barely out of his teens. But at 5’9’’ and 125 pounds, Private Glenn W. Eve was deemed unfit for combat. He might have spent the duration of World War II at a desk, except that he had field skills the Army needed – he was a gifted artist, draftsman and photographer who'd spent the previous four years working for the Walt Disney Co. In July 1944, they promoted him to private first class (Pfc) and assigned him to the Signal Photo Corps, bound for the Pacific to document the war. This is his collection, never before published. All comments in quotes are Pfc Eve's, written on the back of the photo."
Music is a book/app/documentary film by photographer/film-maker Andrew Zuckerman (previously). Similar in format to Zuckerman's film Wisdom, Music features interviews with musical luminaries both fully- and not-so-luminous. [more inside]
Phaser Inc., a trading company in space-based MMO EVE online, have absconded with a record-breaking 1 trillion ISK and revealed themselves as a giant ponzi scheme in a remarkably frank open letter. Their haul of the in-game currency translates to just over $50,000, or 242 years-worth, of PLEX (traded for playing time). [via RockPaperShotgun] [more inside]
Nevertheless, many of the gamers I encounter report the same experience of feeling as if they have engaged in some kind of transgression. There’s often a sense of guilt that comes with tales of gaming exploits, as if games were a vice or a character flaw, a symptom of one kind or another. [...] So my cards are on the table: I’m going to offer some alternative, positive descriptions. This analysis will show how video games have inspired artists, transformed rags into riches, given purpose to empty lives, and entertained bored people on a Sunday afternoon. We’ll see how games turned young people into heroes and how gaming has enabled the realization of previously unimaginable ambitions. We’ll see how games can make us better people, how they dissolve the horrors of boredom—and how they can function as propaganda for a wide range of worthy and unworthy causes.This Gaming Life by Jim Rossignol (of Rock, Paper, Shotgun) is a book about gaming, gamers, and how they affect each other - available in full and for free under a Creative Commons licence.
Jump On Contact is a blog about the mechanics and culture of the crazy unique space MMO EVE Online written for people who are curious about it but don't necessarily play. [more inside]
The Book of Genesis illustrated by Robert Crumb. Extracts of Crumb's latest work, years in the making and to be published in October, are serialized in the French cultural weekly Telerama during this summer (warning: bad interface, text in French). Short interview with the author here. [more inside]
Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, one of the founders of queer theory, died on April 12th, 2009. Sedgwick was known not only for her groundbreaking academic publications, but also for her candid humanism. And surprisingly to some, she was married for 40 years to Hal Sedgwick, but they only saw each other on weekends.
Bible Fight [Flash game]
A hacker breaks into the forums of the guild Band of Brothers on the MMORPG Eve, where he discovers an Eve devolper, called t20, is not only a high-ranking member of the alliance, but has been feeding BoB expensive and rare in-game items. CCP, the company who runs EVE, denies any wrong doing, before it is revealed that CCP knew about t20's abuses for over six months. Players are not happy.
The 0.0 experiment Innominate Nightmare: One man, one shuttle, alone in the unsecured places of a virtual universe.
eve.com is no more, which is a shame they had more than a few sexy photographs on there and decent design.