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Stackable Blueprints

When I started doing industry jobs, I found it very annoying to constantly look up the item details for each blueprint and I often lost my BPOs in a sea of BPCs.

After looking on the forums, I found that many people were asking for a icon change. CCP’s response was that their look-up query for blueprints was very database heavy (costs a lot of resources) and there would need to be some major reworking of their database structure and query code to give the client the ability to quickly differentiate blueprints.

Here I was in 2008 getting annoyed while I found forum posts dating back to 2004 asking for this change!

With Incursion 1.5 (May 2011), the icon change for BPO/BPCs hit Tranquility and I rejoiced because my industrial life was forever changed. Simple change with a large impact. I believe than when they transitioned to 64-bit numbers for items, some work was done to rectify the database query and code was cleaned up.

I would like to rally all industry people for another change. For any person that does industry, you work with a large number of blueprints. I would love if there was the ability to stack items of similar ME/PE.

Here is a mock-up of two versions of stacking for blueprints:

The version on the left seems to be easier on the eye as the information is displayed in a banner format at the top.

CCP, here is your Agile user story:

As a person that performs industry jobs, having a way to organize a large numbers of blueprints would declutter the UI and simplify working with them.

Put that in your backlog and work it into a Sprint planning meeting.

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Community Shout-Outs

What sources of player produced content have you been finding really entertaining? Here are a some shout-outs to my favorites over the past few months.

  1. Voices from the Void Podcast [link]. The majority of the Eve podcasts have fallen into obscurity or undergone major changes. Voices continues to deliver fresh, hilariousness content with dynamic hosts. Listening to them on Monday helps the day move by faster.
  2. JonnyPew’s guides [youtube]. Cleanly edited video guides on Exploration which have expanded into bot hunting have inspired me to go Cloakey and find fresh targets.
  3. The Alturist [link]. This PVP-centric blog is full of very technical information. The “Know Your Enemy” series describes in detail a ship class and how they are used in PVP scenarios. For an industry and trading focused person, this blog offers insight into a different area of Eve.
  4. Eve-fail [link]. Fellow industry and spreadsheet aficionado discloses his methods and bottom line profits for large projects.
  5. Jester’s Trek [link]. If you need to remain up to date on anything Eve related, this man has you covered. Any news, gossip, fits, or drama will be covered by this robo-blogger within a few minutes of happening.
  6. CCP Punkturis [twitter]. Best troll and very active UI programmer that interacts with the #tweetfleet community.

3rd Party API Advocate

Jason Parks, the creator of the popular Aura suite for the Android platform, proposed a few questions on Google+ in regards to my platform for CSM7. For the past few months we have exchanged a few emails about our Eve projects, which would not even be possible without the wonderful API.

Given our shared passion for development work, he invited me to contribute to the Aura project. The fancy graphs and reporting logic that I have been able to generate out of my Wallet Manager site would be a wonderful addition to his suite (I hope to bring some of this design to the Eve client — more on that later).

Sadly, I don’t have a lot of time to pickup the Android framework so I haven’t taken him up on his offer to collaborate. I would, however, like to declare that given my background in 3rd party projects for Eve, the struggles of developers will be a major source of direction on my part if I become a member of the CSM.

The Questions

Here are responses to Jason’s questions that will hopefully lock-in his vote for me:

POS management redesign
Can you elaborate a bit on this? I made a post here on Google+ that has my ideas (https://plus.google.com/u/0/115407184179295920691/posts/hJyoCgbo6tZ). What do you think about it? Would you push for something like this?

From what I have read from various CCP developers, the code that runs the POS’es is old and terribly maintained. I’m sure it was written years ago with no commenting or documentation and nobody wants to open that Pandora’s box. I need more time to solidify my stance on the POS rework. I need to pull up a recent CCP post about “castles in the sky” (?) and review CCP Greyscale’s Nullsec Development: Design Goals post. Look for a post soon on this.

API
Will you be our API champion? I would like someone to raise the suggestions that many of the 3rd-party devs. I have ideas that I will raise at fanfest when I can again but we have no one to follow through on them. Making a post in on the forums doesn’t help until we have a champion on the CSM.

This sounds like a perfect tagline for me. “Blake Armitage — API Champion”. I would not be so involved with Eve if there wasn’t such an active and passionate 3rd party community. The ability to get data out of Eve breeds innovation and allows us to work with data in ways that CCP wouldn’t have envisioned.

Traders and industry focused people have come up with systems to track profitability, product movements, and margins. Large alliances would not exist if they could not keep track of their POS network, reinforcement timers, and sovereignty information.

The free time that developers put into these applications shows us the depth of intrigue that Eve brings to our gaming lifestyle. Expanding the API, while keeping security and automation exploits in mind, can do nothing but enhance the game.

I do hereby accept the title of “API Champion”.

Representation
Will we be able to engage with you after you are elected? This past cycle we didn’t have CSM contact and I’ve been forced to troll The Mattani and Hilmar 😉

Most definitively. I love to talk shop with the other space nerds.

API Fanfest News

In other API news CPP has a session at Fanfest this year where they will talk about a read/write API called “Carbon REST“. This topic is of particular interest to me and it saddens me that I have a conflict for Fanfest this year.

A developer preview of a new RESTful, oAuth based read/write API for Eve Online – Carbon REST.
link 

Carbon… REST…? Carbon (CCP’s new Framework) + REST (fancy client/server software architecture). From what I can gather, there are going to be some advances to the current API structure.

Having the ability to write data to the Eve database opens up a wide array of options for developers. Some of the items that I would like to see exposed are:

  • ability to send mail
  • add/remove and set standings for contacts
  • add/remove/manage calendar items
  • update the skill queue
  • update personal and corp (role dependent) ship fits. This would allow applications such as EFTPyfa, or Aura the ability to work directly with the fits stored on the server. You could walk around with your phone, update your fit, put your phone in your pocket, get home, and have the updated fit on the Eve client. Drag that fit to the market window (thank you CCP) and purchase. No more managing XML files posted on forums

All these benefits do come with a price. First, CCP will have to remain conscious of the ability to script input. Having the ability to update market orders or submit industry jobs opens up a dark sea of automation. Additionally, the mentality of actually making us login to the game will have to remain a priority. If you can do all of your work outside the client, why even login? The social aspect of Eve will suffer as less and less people login. No more posting “creative” images to local while you gaze at a POS bubble.

As with everything computer related, there will need to be a balance between available and security. Given my background in network security I feel that I can keep these interests in mind. Seriously, look at my books at work:

I feel that exciting times for developers are in the works and I would love the opportunity to be a strong representative of the 3rd party development community on the CSM.

tl;dr

“the struggles of developers will be a major source of direction on my part if I become a member of the CSM”

“Expanding the API, while keeping security and automation exploits in mind, can do nothing but enhance the game”


Lend Me Your Maelstroms

Nullsec and Industry and an inseparable pair. The appliances for war are created and traded in mass quantities in many regions. Having lived in every known and unknown space, I have endeavored to understand the connections that each region has to offer. This knowledge set will help bring the dynamics of Eve into a new era as CCP moves the simulation along. Vote Blake Armitage as your Industry representative!