World of Darkness
"[World of Darkness] is in a prototype stage right now. There's a lot of experimentation, nothing is set in stone. It's a very open and active exchange of ideas," Tinney explained. "This project is being co-developed between both the Iceland and the Atlanta offices, with some outsourcing assets being coordinated by our Shanghai office as well."
Tinney noted that the Atlanta office will focus on developing the content for the game, while the Iceland office will be responsible for the technology behind the game, which is based on the EVE Online infrastructure, and also discussed how the company plans to keep development on-track for the ambitious project. "Everybody [on the World of Darkness in Atlanta] is grouped into teams of four, cross-discipline teams between designers, artists, programmers, quality assurance testers," he explained.
"That group is responsible for developing a fixed aspect of the game on a two to four week development cycle that is then turned in, reviewed [and] brought back out again and refined on a later development cycle," Tinney continued. "It's done that way to keep a two to four year project fresh, full of energy, full of small deliverables so that the team stays energized and focused on the task at hand, not caught up in the greater scheme of the project as a whole.
"It's one of the first multi-office projects of this nature," he added," and it's a very ambitious goal of ours to develop an MMO with content coming from multiple offices, but that is the way of the future and the direction that everything is going. We're innovating and learning as we go along."
The first floor of the two-story building, which was filled with inspirational printoffs such as "We will crush the critics and make them look like fools" and amusing pictures of cats, also contained a board filled with concept art for World of Darkness. The art depicted multiple vampire- and werewolf-esque player avatars along with rough landscapes of towns and a curious picture of Justin Timberlake. "I'm bringing darkness back," laughed CCP communications director Valerie Massey.
Currently, the World of Darkness team occupies about one-third of the space on the office's left side, the rest of the area being empty space. "We have an aggressive growth schedule ahead of us," said Tinney, who hopes to fill the rest of the room with staff across the next six months and expand into the adjoining room, which is located next to the building's racquetball court, as development continues.
EVE Online Support
With the second floor containing the whole of White Wolf Publishing's board, RPG, and card game branches as well as marketing, the other side of the office's first floor houses CCP North America's EVE Online division. This portion of the company is slated to provide additional and more time zone-friendly customer support for EVE and help with content creation. "Of course, eventually Iceland will fall beneath the waves, so there will be something left of CCP to carry on," Tinney joked.
As for the future of EVE Online, I spoke with a CCP employee who noted that the company has put DirectX 10 support on the backburner in order to focus on optimized DirectX 9 support and the forthcoming upgrade that will add normal mapping and specular mapping to the game, among other graphical features. He also pointed out that that the different focuses of the economy-driven EVE Online and the action-based World of Darkness should allow the games to co-exist without cannibalizing the sales of one another.