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EVE Online dev CCP's blockchain "survival experience" Project Awakening is getting a closed playtest in May

Carbon Development Platform also going open source

A glowing golden cube in darkness
Image credit: CCP

CCP Games have shared a few more details about Project Awakening, a new game or at least, "survival experience" set in the Eve Online universe, which is getting a closed playtest from 21st May 2024. Project Awakening is a single-shard affair - that is, one in which all players inhabit the same world, rather than being split up across servers or instances. It's "built upon the principles of freedom, consequence, and mastery within a living universe", and "represents the next step in CCP Games' journey to create virtual worlds more meaningful than real life", which, you know, wind your neck in.

The project is set in a region of space where civilization has collapsed. It tasks players with exploring and rebuilding a "broken world". As you might guess from the extremely high-on-their-own-supply language above, it's also a blockchain and cryptography-based affair, which the developers have broadly presented as a bid to ensure that the EVE universe outlives CCP. Our Jeremy Peel interviewed CCP about all this in October last year.

You can register for the Project Awakening closed playtest here. The playtest "will allow players to engage with programmable game systems and build their own features and functionality within the world". CCP are also hosting an "online hackathon" for Project Awakening builders, with the winning teams given the chance to visit CCP's Iceland HQ, though what exactly you'll be building remains a matter of guesswork.

Project Awakening runs on CCP's in-house Carbon Development Platform and MUD by Lattice - MUD being a kind of blockchain technology used by Op Craft and Primordium, among other games. Alongside all this, CCP Games are also announcing that they will make their Carbon Development Platform open source, allowing programmers and game developers to access the framework and additional components for free.

Further details as to what you do in Project Awakening are scarce, but we at least now have the reassuringly familiar words "survival experience" to hang onto while we're bombarded with visionary talk of "a persistent world bound by digital physics, where composability and programmability will enable players to build and collaborate on top, outside of and within the emergent game environment", to quote the press release. There's also a new lore doc on the Project Awakening site which makes mention of celestial music and dead stars. An excerpt:

A technological signature and evidence of a human society somewhere out there. The simulations reconstructing this sparse data into a synthetic spectre of a civilization are vague but pregnant with possibilities. A tangle of cultures, politics, and history that is complex yet strikingly familiar. It speaks of empires, corporate behemoths, and expansion spheres blooming into the unknown. A lost tribe capable of great beauty and destruction…

CCP's CEO Hilmar Veigar Pétursson was a lot more down-to-Earth when Jeremy spoke to him last October. In particular, he offered the following, spirited defence of the game's blockchain functionality, which can sort of be boiled down to "trust me, bro", but is at least upfront about the many bad uses to which blockchain and cryptocurrency technologies have been put.

"People do stupid things with everything. Like in the 1700s in Holland, people made [speculative] bubbles with tulips. Are tulips bad? The tulips are not to blame. People are to blame. People do stupid shit with new things all the time. It's just what we do. Look at any industry; there are people doing bad things, people doing nefarious things, people doing stupid things, and people doing very cool and wholesome things. I just don't care how bad people have used [blockchain] in the past. If people hate me for something they're assuming I'm going to do that I'm not doing. Not my problem; it's their problem."

Any takers?

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