Eve Online fans literally cheer on Microsoft Excel features at the annual Fanfest

Ja, ja, dit ziet er spannend uit en zo, maar de spreadsheets zijn waar de <em>real</em> action takes place.”/><figcaption class=

Yes, yes, this looks exciting and all, but the spreadsheets are where the real action happens.

There aren’t many games for which built-in integration with Microsoft Excel would be a major feature whose announcement would draw literal cheers from fans. But Eve online turned out to be the exception when developer CCP announced the upcoming Excel integration at its Eve Fanfest keynote this morning.

Through an official partnership with Microsoft, CCP said it is creating a JavaScript API that will allow players to “seamlessly export data from Eve online” in the popular spreadsheet program. That “will help players access and calculate everything from profit margins to battle strategy, making daily Eve operations easier,” the company said in a press release.

“It’s not April Fools’ Day jokes, this is real,” Eve Online Creative Director Bergur Finnbogason said on the Fanfest stage, receiving stunned laughter in response. “I’m not lying – we actually reached out to… [Microsoft] and they were like, ‘Oh my god, we love’ Eve

Spreadsheets in space!

Joking references to Eve onlineThe reputation of a ‘spreadsheets in space’ simulator currently dates back more than a decade. And CCP leaned on that reputation at Fanfest, with Finnbogason joking that a data-filled presentation about the game’s economy was data scientist CCP Larrikin “make real, real, real, real”[s] Eve sounds like ‘spreadsheets in space’. It’s sometimes hard to be a creative director when you like all spreadsheets.”

Despite this, Finnbogason acknowledged that “data is hugely important for many advanced playstyles in” Eve† And it’s true; many individual players and in-game companies use third-party tools and spreadsheets to track their production and destruction statistics in great detail. Keeping records can be the key to efforts to improve the in-game currency, which in turn can be traded for additional game subscription time on the open market.

However, at Fanfest, Finnbogason noted that “the initial cost to set it up” [data-tracking] systems can be quite daunting for small groups.” Built-in Excel integration for Eve online data should “simplify access to data for everyone” and “level up the playground when it comes to sandbox tools,” he said.

“Whether it’s satisfying your curiosity or maximizing your industrial venture or managing your frontline warfare, it’s in your hands to create the tools for your advancement,” he said.

One of several monthly charts the EVE Economic Council uses to monitor the balance of in-game assets.
enlarge One of several monthly charts that the EVE Economic Council uses to monitor the balance of in-game assets.

CCP already helps data-obsessed players with monthly reports full of graphs on everything from resource mining production to regional NPC bounties. It’s all part of the company’s ongoing and surprisingly successful effort to actively manage its complex in-game economy. The goal, as CCP Larrikin put it on stage at Fanfest, is to create an “equitable distribution of resources” that will lead to greater player satisfaction and a better game. While a short demo of Eve online‘s Excel integration drew legitimate cheers from the Fanfest audience, Finnbogason said the API tools are still in the “early phase” and the company “will share more later in the year”. That said, Finnbogason added that “this is pretty wild stuff,” and we have to agree.

Now if only Nintendo could make a similar spreadsheet tool so we can track our burgeoning development Animal Crossing call companies.

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