Industry Dashboards

I’ve spent a lot of time designing API driven KPI style dashboards for my industrial operations and given the industry changes coming as detailed in the Summer 2012 CSM7 minutes, I want to share my designs to (hopefully) inspire people for upcoming Winter expansion (I wonder if CCP’ers read this blog).

My mission statement with these was to use a clean, elegant format to give a high level display into my industry operations while using Eve icons and market prices. I should be able to tell the materials and price/profit for items at a glance without referring to other menus, applications, or looking up historical prices.

Industry Jobs

The below shot is active industry jobs. I want to know what is being used, who is using it, current and future ME/PE/Copy numbers, and a pretty display for the job progress.

Another dashboard that I created was capital jobs only. Since these jobs were so long, I wanted to be able to see them progress on a calendar. This has allowed me to keep idle blueprints busy and schedule large-scale builds since capital jobs require large amounts of minerals.

Though the current Eve client does display industry jobs, I find it to be inelegant.

The information displayed is all text, almost like I was reading a database table. Also, I am constantly switching between filter options as the window does not remember my past settings.

PI

When I experimented with supplementing my POS network with PI items, I wanted to be able to display my PI network. I needed to know who owned the item, what is was producing, the output quantity, and how much ISK/day that operation was making.

Additionally, I did some work with the database table for PI items (wonderful self-referencing table) to show me what items up the PI T0 to T3 tree I can currently make given what I am extracting. The page ends up being quite long as it displays all tiers so I cropped this shot after T2. The red marks next to the T1 items mean that I don’t have the T1 items in stock so I can’t make the resultant T2 item.

This is a great example of my ‘high level’ approach. I can now easily answer the question of “can I make Robotics?”. No, I need to be making this at T1 and this at T2. I don’t have to spend time looking at blueprints and their requirements — no additional pages or reference material.

Tech 2 Production

Tech 2 manufacturing can get quite complicated. I was spending a lot of time checking what I had in stock, the build requirements, and final costs. This page gives me the ability to simply move a blueprint from the left column (stock) to the right (build queue) and it queries the database to display everything that I need to make that item.

Multiple blueprints can be added to the queue and materials are aggregated together. This allowed me to place all my blueprints in a queue and create a shopping list of things I need to create the run.

Capital Production

The same story continues for capital ships. I can select my BPO/BPC, the ME level, the character producing it, and the production station. When the location is picked the bottom panes pull from the assets and tell me what I have in stock and what I need in order to complete the job.

Industry Advancement

I want to see a reduction in the amount of clicks and an increase in the amount of user feedback and intelligence given to the user. The displays should not just be a simple static display. They should be more dynamic — pull from your inventory when you select a production system and tell me what I need, display a build quote that doesn’t require me to have all the items or know their build requirements, and use the new Inferno universal market price for items.


June Junk Drawer

1. Interested in the current tone of CSM-CCP relationship, the future of industry, and hints into the Winter expansion? Listen to VandV Podcast: Special Edition: Spring Summit Wrap Up podcast which contains an hour of content with current chairman @Seleene_Eve.

2. Chribba posted a screenshot of his Titan mining operations in lowsec.

3. I gasped at the sov map for a minute before discovering that there was a zero in the name.

4. Endless Space, a 4X turn based space strategy game, has been recieving a lot of my attention over the past month. The Beta is available right now on Steam and patches have been coming out every week or so with balances, new UI elements, and bug fixes.

I’m really interested in this game because the same game format is XML that is compressed in a .bin file. You can uncompress it with 7-Zip and then edit it in Notepad++ to change planet or hero attributes, technologies, global events, or even star system locations. The mentality of the development team is one of openness with the community and they are very active on the forums while polishing up the Beta.

5. I’ve contacted some Tech2 manufactures and have started to buy in bulk. You can generally get 5-10% Jita price, which does nothing but increase your margins.

6. Since I haven’t been actively playing much this month, I put some idle BPOs into copy research for some very passive income. There are idle or low wait empire copy slots, you just have to look for them. Hint: go to lowsec. I just know one of these days I will encounter a smartbomb.

7. To help solidify my claim as a bittervet, I picked up some Anaconda Mines.

8. I have an itch for a large scale public investment project, but lack any type of formal finance training. I wish Eve had a stock market so people could invest in my trading and manufacturing operation. I don’t have any idea of where to start, what the payout would be, or how to manage risk when you start to work with other people’s money; I would not want to be Eve Bank 2.0.


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”


I wish I was consistent too. CSM!

So, Mynxee and A-something have both posted their retrospective on the CSM meeting.

After having read both of them, it’s gratifying to see that the CSM we have elected perfectly portrays thousads of whiny forum goers in the important facets. More on that later.

Both of the CSM people seemed to say the same thing: CCP is working on Dust and Incarna right now and doesn’t have the time to fix your lowsec/poses/FW/nullsec/ectera.

I feel this makes sense. CCP’s been hyping dust/incarna for a good while now, and I think that by this point everyone inside and out of CCP just wants to get the fugger out the door and be done with it. While still making it excellent or passable, tho.

Looking at PI insofar, I’m worried Dust’s gonna flop. Insofar, the trailers have depicted huge battles controlled by space generals over planets for the glory of all yeah yeah blah blah blah. That works, by itself, assuming the space generals don’t have so many idiots hiring people so that the FPS players in general don’t completley ignore their generals in favor of murder, along with the two economies being a bitch to manage. On top of all that, here’s Dust’s main problem: Planets are big.

If someone were to magically come into my C1 WH and drop down a command center, there is no mechanic in place to stop him from doing so. I would completely be at his mercy in terms of wherever he wanted to do insofar of him…. making my planets look ugly, I guess. Again, I’m sure CCP will make planets more important eventually or just dedicate Dust to dealing with the the silly little highsec carebears fighting tiny little silly wars over dinky little planets with fewer base metals than an alkaline convention.

I’ve gone off track a little. In any case, on the CSM thing:
Mynxee seems to be a tad upset that CSM isn’t coming into CCP and saying “jump” and CCP isn’t jumping, citing they don’t get enough attention as stakeholders which apparently CCP has made them.

If a product has been working for, what, six years, do you think the average shareholder is going to tell the company how to run things? Being a shareholder doesn’t grant you magical CCP changing abilities, but it probably should allow you some more insight into CCP’s “what we’re working on now” shizzle. Which is what the CSM seems to have gotten in the form of new devblogs.

Working as intended \o/

For those who say being a stakeholder means having a say in the company, here’s a link to the wikipedia article.

My theory is really that CCP is a bit scared of change. If you were to walk up to, say, Coca Cola, and say that about a half pound of sugar in two liters of Mountain Dew is a bit much, they’d shove you out the door with nary a goodbye, assuming you could get in in the first place. I don’t think I need to remind you of new coke.

Oh, and on tyrannis 1.0.3 patch notes:

The Planetary Commodities cargo hold on the Primae couldn’t be loaded with Water or Oxygen. It can now.

How’d they figure that out, someone actually used that thing for PI?