Eve Online developer CCP Games will soon make its Carbon Development Platform an open-source project. The company has now explained how this move should help extend the lifecycle of its popular MMO.

CCP Games on open sourcing Eve Online engine Carbon and giving tools to community

Eve Online

CCP Games CEO Hilmar Veigar Pétursson discussed the studio’s plans to open source the Carbon Development Platform in an interview with GamesIndustry.biz.

The main reason behind this decision is to make Eve Online go on forever. “If you look at the macro trends in software, generally code that is open and shared has a higher chance to be robust over a period of time,” Pétursson said, citing Linux as one of examples. He also mentioned Unreal Engine — while it’s not open source, everyone can still easily access its source code.

Making Carbon open source opens up other opportunities for the company. For example, it will be easier for CCP to work with universities and host game jams, not to mention the endless possibilities for enthusiasts to improve Eve Online or even make a completely different new game.

I know from experience when you give tools to people in a community, they will make awesome things. This is the story of human life, and they will outdo your creativity way more than you think. Every time you try to put a lid on it, you curb the potential. Make it open, and the sky is the limit.

Hilmar Veigar Pétursson

CEO of CCP Games

What is Carbon Development Platform?

Carbon Development Platform is a set of proprietary game development tools built specifically to power Eve Online. At the forefront is the cross-platform engine called Carbon (based on the Python scripting language), which consists of:

  • Trinity — graphics engine for creating visuals;
  • Destiny — physics and path finding framework that allows CCP to create massive space battles with thousands of concurrent players;
  • CarbonUI — user interface framework;
  • CarbonIO — networking framework that powers the game’s online features;
  • CarbonAudio — provides logic and rules to the game’s audio.

In March 2024, CCP Games announced its decision to make the Carbon Development Platform open source, allowing other developers to access its source code and additional components for free.

This concept will form the basis of the studio’s upcoming survival game codenamed Project Awakening, which is expected to have UGC features and utilize blockchain technology.

“Players will have a new series of tools at their disposal to add their own features and functionality to the experience, a new way of leaving their mark on the world,” Pétursson explained, adding that CCP wants to empower players and developers “in building virtual worlds.”

According to Pétursson, the blockchain component of the Carbon Development Platform is completely optional. Developers won’t have to use it if it doesn’t suit their needs. “If you think of what blockchain really is, it’s just a weird database and Eve Online is actually the first database game ever made,” he said, adding that in the right hands the technology can be used for complex and unique long-term projects.

Carbon will no longer be considered a proprietary tool after going open source, with Pétursson saying that it will belong to the world.

Despite its plans to further support Carbon, CCP Games doesn’t opt out of using other popular engines for its next projects. For example, its upcoming first-person shooter Eve Vanguard is built with Unreal because Epic’s engine is simply better suited for games in that genre.

The full interview can be read here.

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