Monthly Archives: April 2013

Personal Disappointment – CSM8

Well, I didn’t get elected. It’s a disappointment, but I have to admit, not an unexpected outcome. I still think it was worth doing however.

This is obviously the fault of my Goonswarm paymasters (That check bounced, you bastards! I’m waiting on my replacement!) who didn’t tell their people to vote for me.

But in the real world, away from the conspiracy theorists, I guess the main things I can point at are: A lack of what people see as relevant experience, and a lack of visibility.

The latter, well, there’s only so much I can do about that. But I’ll work on it.

The former, there’s more I can do about that. So, this year, I’ll be branching out more. I would /love/ it if people could give me suggestions on what they’d like to see me do. I’m expecting to rack up a bunch of kill rights on me, possibly war decs, so I may have to switch the indy stuff off onto alts, rather than my main, but I can live with that.

Almost finally, congratulations to the people who you lot voted onto the CSM. I’m not seeing a single name there that makes me cringe. I know you’ll do a good job, even without me 😉

And Finally: in case what I was saying wasn’t obvious: I’m going to run for CSM9 (barring my brain turning to mush and oozing out my ears, or some other life changing event)

Dev Track Day 2 – Part 2

This was the WebGL session.

It’s great. Really really great.

The only problem is, potentially, delivering the models to the clients. Other than that, it’s wonderful. If you can take the loading time, it’s great.

https://github.com/ccpgames/ go fork it.

 

Not a huge amount to say really. It was demos of graphics stuff. which looked great.

Dev Track – Day 2 – Part 1

Just a small gap between the SSO session and the WebGL session.

The SSO looks to be fairly simple to work with. It’s a shame that the demo mobile applications which were demonstrated didn’t use a native browser, using an embedded one, which is far from good practice with OAUTH2, but they do make them easier to understand, with less explanation needed (Custom protocols for the call back to get the token to the application, for example. I believe Aura does this with getting the keys from the site.).

It was fairly obvious, from some of the questions being asked, that there were some fundamental misunderstandings, but in the end, it works well enough. More demonstration code will be needed, but I’m sure the community will provide some. I’ll probably do it, when I kick it around myself.

There was some discussion at the end, about situations like character transfers not being obvious to third party sites, but the devs seem receptive to possibly adding a userid characterid based hash. So you can’t tie users together, but you can tell when one is transferred.

No ETA on deployment, unfortunately. As it’s tied to the dev license, I wouldn’t expect it until at least the next draft (30 days+)

There was also a request from the devs to make sure that we make it obvious on the forums if we’d like an updated IGB, and two factor authentication. I’ve added posts in the tech lab, so if you could go and wave in them, I’d appreciate it.

Dev Track – Day 1

Just a quick post, jotted down before I go to get some lunch this morning. the Dirty breakfast at the laundromat is calling my name, and it’s quite persuasive.

You can see the sessions at http://www.twitch.tv/ccpdevtrack, just hit the videos link on the right hand side. I’d especially recommend you watch the legal one, starting about 4 hours, 24 minutes into the bigger video from yesterday, especially if you’re running a site with any advertising or donations links. There’s a paragraph further down with some advice, if this applies to you.

You can also see me! The bald looking guy in the middle, about 4 rows from the front, dressed in black, with glasses, a beard, and a laptop (this one that I’m typing on right now) I do actually have some hair, but it’s very short, and not that noticeable at range.

The Overview session was just that. Going over what we were going to be talking about, and the format changes. I was quite comfortable with the changed format, with the devs up the front on couches and seats, and us in the fairly large hall. Might not have been quite so intimate as the roundtable format, but I liked it. Still got to ask questions, and the answers from the devs were more verbose. And the quality of the stream was far higher.

We should be getting a developers site at some point in the future (Soon™), with more technical blogs, the signup stuff for the developers license, the application key setup and so on. Not delivery date, but hopefully very soon.

The first real session was the CREST/API session. The API is under development once more. Mostly for bug fixes, and eliminating annoyances like the 119 error for killmails. Woo! 🙂 It’s been handed to CCP Prism X and we should be seeing some work done on it. As well as a better hand over process, when/if it leaves his capable hands. Until now, it’s been very much a side project, which is less than ideal. Don’t expect many new feature from it, because of what it’s like, and because of CREST, but some stuff may be happening.

CREST, as always, looks great. And there appears to be a commitment to open up as much as game design lets them. And badgering other devs to write the interfaces when they put in new stuff. They’d be happy enough to open it all up, but it’s philosophical reasons not to. Such as: don’t open up the market entirely, as then it will be botted to hell. There’s a few trains of thought on this matter, and it goes well beyond the scope of this post to discuss them all. I’m of the opinion that some areas should be left closed, to prevent the requirement for using third party software to be competitive to some level. Others are ‘Publish and be damned. The metagame will sort it out’. It’s a philosophical debate rather than a technical one, so it’s not likely to be settled any time soon.

The Licensing and Policy session was very much a discussion. A new version of the developer license should be released within 30 days or so.

Under the current, and the public Future, terms, you /cannot/ charge for an application. Right now, advertising and donations are more than a touch iffy (if you’re using CCPs IP, like the art, SDE or api).

Watch the session. I spoke to CCP Seagull after it, and she’s made it very clear they doesn’t want to screw over any sites which aren’t there to make a profit. When it’s just to cover their costs. But from a licensing perspective, it’s a trifle more difficult. Especially as this is using global law, which makes it complicated. If you are having trouble, email them at legal@ccpgames.com and developerlicense@ccpgames.com. Open the dialogue with them and you may be able to get a license which covers both you and them appropriately. This doesn’t appear to be CCP Games trying to crack down on the third party devs. It’s just trying to protect themselves from backlash from their partners (who have to profit share, and can get annoyed (legally) at people getting stuff for ‘free’)

In a shock announcement (it wasn’t on the schedule) it looks like the SDE may well be coming to us as an sqlite file, reversing all the yaml stuff. =D It’s for development technical reasons, one of the main ones being: During the build process, they don’t want to have to spin up any sql servers. So SQL lite lets them create the database as a build artifact without doing so. We should be getting a copy of that. There’s still some restrictions on /what/ will be in it, but those are, again, game design reasons, rather than technical ones. As before, I’ll see about republishing it in mysql, as I’ll be doing a conversion for myself.

All in all, a pretty good day. The legal talk was a touch disappointing, if entirely understandable. If you have any questions you want to ask during today’s session, you can try asking on the twitch stream. Or see if you can get me to ask, through the #eve-dev on irc.coldfront.net

Hmm. Destiny is calling my name. Or is it just breakfast. Either way, I go to answer the call.

Cache Scraping – Worrying your Players and Third Party Developers

First off, I’ll reference this post which removes a lot of the concerns which this raised. If you’re fully up on what’s going on, skip ahead to the suggestions I have made below. This means you, CCP <insert name here>.

The short version is: If you’re not doing anything else that’s banned, cache scraping will not have any action taken against it. This does a lot to relieve my concerns, but doesn’t entirely remove them.

For a little background information (skip ahead if you know what cache scraping is and what does it): Cache scraping is what software does, to get data from the eve client’s local cache, to do something with. It doesn’t alter any of the Eve files, but it does read them. This is commonly used to extract market data, which is then often uploaded to sites like Eve-Central, and the EMDR service. The cache scraper that’s probably the most used, is Evemon. It has a market cache uploader built into it, and has done for a fair time. This feeds to EMDR, eve central, and a couple of other end points, giving those sites a holistic view of Eve’s market, albeit one which can have a fair time lag on items which are less commonly traded. It’s commonly accepted as a valuable thing, powering such things as Eve-Kill’s ISK values for kills, my own blueprint calculator’s pricing, Eveopoly’s trade finder and so on.

The rules now state, explicitly, that this is a breach of the EULA. It’s been clarified that it’s one they won’t take action on, but still, there are at least some similarities between this and the cops not prosecuting people who go a few miles over the speed limit. Both are against the rules, and in an idea world, wouldn’t happen.

So what can be done about it. I have a few suggestions, ranging from the short-term fix, to a long-term solution.

Suggestions for CCP:

Short Term Fixes:

Take a market uploader that’s been open sourced, such as EMDU, Have a developer look over it for time bombs, and release it, without warranty, as an approved uploader. While this would cut down the volume of market data, due to a smaller number of people being willing to download/run it (Evemon users, in general, don’t know/care) it would allow for market data to flow.

Have a number of clients running at CCP, feeding EMDR with data via an uploader. Manually intensive, due to the need to restart them all each day. What gets uploaded can be controlled by the eve central request page. Then just request everyone stops.

Add an option to automatically export the market data to a directory when you look at it. At that point, the community can put together a new uploader to read that. Much like what happened before the cache reading, without all the RSI induced clicking on the export button.

Long term fixes

Introduce your own Market API. Possibly using Crest.

Feed EMDR with data yourselves, without running it through a client.

If CCP can do this, then we can do away with market uploaders, no longer skating in the grey area of cache scraping. While it’s said it won’t be enforced, it leaves a bad taste in my mouth to do so when it’s explicitly against the rules.

The /main/ thing that CCP should take away from this is: be careful how you tell us things. Because the way it was initially written was:

Cache scraping is now a bannable offence. But we might not ban you for it.

That’s a hideous mixed message to give your customers. Especially as many of the ones it affects the most are your community of third party developers. We love this game. We put time in to make it better for everyone. Please don’t tell us that what we’re doing is wrong.

Manufacturing 101

The basics of manufacturing in EVE are pretty simple at their core: Get a blueprint, get some minerals/components, put in a manufacturing job, deliver it when it completes.

But as with most things in EVE, there are little twiddly bits to take into account, various bits of maths it’s helpful to know.

This post is for T1 manufacturing. Later posts will cover the T2 process.

What this post isn’t going to cover is identifying what to make. That’s a whole post all to itself. short version: Make what people will use. Sell it close to where they’ll use it. Make sure it’s profitable before you start.

Rule One

Run the numbers before you buy anything. Blueprints, materials, whatever. Make sure it’s actually profitable to make, before you go and buy the blueprint. Don’t assume that Drakes are worth making (they aren’t, and haven’t been for a fairly long time) just because a lot of people fly them. For running the numbers, a blueprint calculator is your friend. But double check the numbers, just to be safe.

Skills

T1 manufacturing is fairly light on required skills:

  • Production Efficiency

This skill is used to reduce the waste of materials when you make things. Without it, you’re going to be needing around about 20% more materials than someone with it at 5. So as you can see, it can have a fairly major effect on your profitability. I’d recommend getting it to at least 4 before starting, with getting it to 5 in the near future. You can make ISK without it at 5, but you’ll be losing profit. A serious manufacturer will have it at 5. The only reason not to, is because you’re busy skilling up more slots, and can make more profit getting another slot, than reducing your waste. Go for 5 before Mass production 5, certainly.

  • Industry

Time is money. Reducing the time taken to make something, as long as it’s already profitable, increases your profit over a given time frame. Industry cuts down on the time it takes to make things. You’ll need it at at least 3 to get Production Efficiency and Mass production. 5 is good to get, but it’s not immediately vital.

  • Mass Production

You won’t get rich making one thing at a time. Mass production adds extra lines for manufacturing, which increases your potential profits. 5 is good.

  • Advanced Mass Production

As above, adding more lines. You’ll need Mass production 5 to get this. Taking it to 4 is generally as far as most people take it, before training alts.

For basic T1 Manufacturing, that’s about it. You might want to consider Supply Chain Management, so you don’t need to visit the station you’re actually manufacturing at (as long as the minerals and blueprints are there), but it’s far from needed.

Rule Two

The minerals you mine are not free. If you can only make a profit manufacturing something, by using the minerals you mine, you’re subsidising someone else with your minerals. You could have just sold them, and made more money.

Materials

Acquiring materials is simple. You go to the market and you buy them, before shipping them (either yourself or by a freight company like Red Frog Freight.  When working out if something is worth making, always look at the sell cost of your materials. Use buy orders to get them, if you want to, but price everything as if you were buying from buy orders. (Assuming that the prices are reasonable. Some materials aren’t sold for reasonable prices. But for T1 manufacturing, this can be ignored)

If you can’t make a profit on something using this guideline, look at making something else. There are many items in EVE, so don’t get too tied up in the “I make X” mindset.

Blueprints

Blueprints come in 2 types. Blueprint Originals (BPO) and Blueprint Copies (BPC). They’re pretty much the same except for the following differences:

  • Only BPOs can be researched. This includes making BPC from them.
  • BPCs have a limited number of production runs on them.
  • BPOs are bought from NPCs on the Market, or from PCs via contract.
  • BPCs are only available from contracts, or being found on NPC wrecks.

BPOs have two attributes which can be changed. BPCs have the same attributes, but they can’t be changed.

  • Material Efficiency (ME)

This governs how much inherent waste the BPO/C has. For most, this starts at 10%, and is multiplied by 1/1+ME, So ME 1 halves the waste. ME 3 takes it to a quarter, and so on. Some blueprints have a ‘Perfect ME’ which is meaningful (no waste) and achievable in a reasonable time. Many don’t, with their ‘perfect’ value taking years to attain, and saving a single Tritanium. 5 is reasonable. Use a blueprint calculator to see where it is worth taking it. A blueprint that is used for thousands of runs is worth researching more (or buying pre-researched).

  • Production Level (PL. Also known as PE, just to confuse matters)

This governs the time waste a BPO/C. Again, the time waste is divided, leading to diminishing returns. 5 is good target.

You want a researched Blueprint, at least on ME. Unfortunately, most slots for that research are backed up for weeks in highsec. when you’re starting out, sometimes buying researched BPC isn’t a bad idea, as long as you take them into account with your calculations, as they’re used up. BPOs, on the other hand, are assets, which don’t detract from your net worth, so can be mostly ignored in the manufacturing calculations.

Finding somewhere to make things

On the industry window, in the installations tab, you’ll find lists of places with manufacturing slots. If you can’t find any which are available, try changing region. The Forge, for example, generally doesn’t have many empty slots, and the ones it does have tend to be more expensive. Move to a different region, and you’ll find it far easier to get started.

Actually making something

  1. Get all the materials you need together with a blueprint, in your hangar (not a container in your hangar, not your ship), in a station with a free slot available.
  2. right click the blueprint, and select ‘manufacture’
  3. click the ‘choose installation’ button.
  4. Choose a slot on an installation. Pick one that’s free, as it will not auto shuffle you to an available one. You can pick one that’s in use, but your job will be delayed in starting. Hit Ok.
  5. Fill in the number of runs you want to manufacture.
  6. Hit OK.
  7. You’ll be presented with a manufacturing quote. have a quick look over it to make sure everything looks right.
  8. Hit ok.
  9. Go do something fun for the duration of the job, then return to that station.
  10. Bring up the science and industry window (alt+s if you’re not remapped it. or from the neocom). hit ‘get jobs’. Select your job. hit the ‘deliver job’ button that’s shown up in the bottom right of the window.
  11. The results of your job will now be in your hangar.

Rule Three

Until it’s sold, there’s no profit. Pick an appropriate market for your goods.This may be Jita. It may be a mission runner’s hub. Jita generally has smaller margins, and needs more baby sitting of orders; but it has high market velocity. Other places can take a lot longer to sell things, but for higher prices. People are lazy. They’ll pay a bit more if they can get everything they want in one place.

Notes

Consider using the Bulk Trade mailing list. It’s not as good as selling things yourself, but better than dumping to buy orders. There’s also the RvB bulk trade list which is similar.

Production Efficiency only affects materials in a blueprint’s Basic materials, and extra materials which are also in the basic materials. ME waste only affects basic materials.

Suggested Ballot: CSM8 trail

Well, me at or near the top of the ballot sheet would be good.. That’d be good.

As for the rest, well, I like to think that the people who are going to vote for me don’t need to be told which way to vote for anyone else. That they’re the kind of people who have considered their options, using sites like CSM Vote Match 2.0 or the CSM 8 votOmat, then interviews, like the ones on Crossing Zebras or Voices from the Void.

Well, that makes this a very short post. So to make it somewhat larger, I’m going to let you know how I’m planning on voting. It’s not a recommendation, but just something to think about. I’m not voting for a balanced card, because that’s a dumb thing to do, I’m voting for the people I’d be comfortable representing my interests.

  1. Me. Because I’m not stupid
  2. Chitsa Jason
  3. Mangala Solaris
  4. Greene Lee
  5. Roc Wieler
  6. Malcanis
  7. Unforgiven Storm

After that, I’m less sure. Still mulling it over. Mynnna seems to be a decent and sane candidate. But they really don’t need my votes. I seriously doubt they won’t get in before the first elimination.

I’ll probably come back and revise this ballot at some point. Still thinking it over.