Category Archives: Uncategorized

Modular Assembly Arrays and Labs

We’re not going to get modular POS for a long time. That’s pretty much a given, with what’s been said. It’s just too complicated to modify the POS code to allow it, due to the big ball of mud programming that plagues any large software project. (Just slap new features onto older code, because doing it any other way would take a really long time, relatively)

But, perhaps, we could have a smaller change done, which should require less interaction with the main POS code. I’m making a number of assumptions when I’m talking about this, which may or may not be valid.

There are a number of places where working with POS is somewhat painful. The changes which have happened recently with the removal of the 3km limit have helped a lot, but I’d like things to go a little further.

The main change I’d like is: Change assembly arrays and labs modular. So you can deploy a single array (of each type would be fine) and then expand it. So no more having a POS with 4 advanced labs. You’d have a Lab that you could expand with more lab slots, of the varying types. Probably in packs, to reduce the min/maxing potential.

If you could do it with a single Industry structure, that would be even better. Storage modules, assembly modules for each of the different types, and so on. But I can see the restricted manufacturing slots, and the different speeds of labs being a trifle complicated to manage.

Once that’s all in place, you may be able to expand it further, to include more and more of the functionality of the POS.

Ideally the space factories could be anchored somewhere other than at a POS. Just give it a fuel bay module, and a module for power generation. (Yes, I know the ‘Just’ is making it sound simple. It’s not.) Possibly shield extenders modules, hardeners and so on. Tying them to moons is less than ideal, in my mind. Deep space factories would be neat.

As I’m wanting the moon mining to be shifted off into a totally different structure, to allow for raiding, perhaps once that’s all done, the old POS code could just be retired?

And yes, I know this would get rid of bubble shields. Which some people consider to be very important. If they’re really needed, how about an anchorable structure, such as the warp disruption bubbles? Though I’m a fan of my other suggestion, for having it possible to switch off your warp core, and then be unable to be scanned down. Which would be a similar result, if you’re not unlucky enough to be scanned down at your safe before you switch off.





And yes, this all came to mind by me being annoyed about moving materials between assembly arrays. A single storage pool would be nice.

Blog Banter #47: How complex is too complex?

My first banter! Time to make an idiot of myself.


So this month’s Blog Banter will gravitate around knowledge, specifically EVE knowledge. Some examples of topics to cover: Is EVE too complex for one person to know everything? Is it, in fact, too complex for one person to know everything about one topic? How do you maintain any knowledge or skills related to EVE over time with breaks and expansions? Does CCP do a sufficient job documenting the features of the game, and if not, what could they do better? How does one determine where the gaps in their knowledge even are?

EVE is a very complex. game. EVE has simple mechanics. The first statement is true. The second statement is mostly true. EVE is made up of many small, simple parts, which come together to create a monstrosity of enormous complexity. Consider Chess, or Go. Both games with a simple rule set (Go is incredibly simple) but the complexity of thought required to master the games is immense. Eve is similar. It just has a lot more independent rules.

Could one person understand all of Eve? If you exclude the players, I’d say yes, without too much difficulty. It would just take time, and a good memory. Of course, understanding and applying are very different. Being able to apply the understanding, that’s the difficult bit.

Take Industry. Learning how to do the basics of industry is simple. Once you’re comfortable with those, moving into T2 industry is just a case of getting to grips with Invention. Tech 3 is yet another step, just another increment on what you already know. Manufacturing Capitals is just Tech one manufacturing writ large.

Of course, then you have moon mining and reactions to take care of. But those could be quite happily left to someone else to take care of, until you’re in a situation to learn them and roll them into your vertical integration.

That is the core of the complexity of Eve. Lots of simple little things, all coming together to create a symphony of complexity.

Just look at the Rules of Eve. They’re all made to be broken, when and only when you understand why they exist. They hide the complexity behind simple rules of thumb, letting people operate at a reasonable level, until they can take off the training wheels. Sure, they may continue to stay upright, to continue the metaphor, but if they need to, they can bend the rules, taking a corner at a higher speed.

Anyway, to answer some of the questions raised:

Eve isn’t too complex for someone to know everything. But it is wide enough that most people aren’t interested in knowing everything. And knowing isn’t the same as ‘being good at’. Sure, I could run a fleet. I know what Eve provides to do that. I would be bad at it, however. Those soft skills are the limiter.

How do you maintain any skills and knowledge? Application and reading. You read the dev blogs and patchnotes. You try things out, on Sisi or on TQ if you can afford the losses, or need live opponents. It also helps to be plugged into a group who can answer questions – Remember it’s a two way street. Someone asks about something you know, answer them.

CCP do an ok job of keeping the documentation up to date. It’s not perfect, with the Wiki often being behind reality (see cruiser stats until recently), but it’s survivable. With a game that changes as frequently as Eve does, even if those are fairly small incremental changes, no documentation could be entirely up to date, without spending a lot of developer time on it. There are some situations where it’s nice not to know things for certain. Take the spew cans for exploration. It took some time for people to work out what was in each type of can. That’s complexity which makes the game more interesting. Allows for a separation between newbies and veterans. Where a level of personal skill or knowledge makes a difference.

Thankfully CCP has been removing some of the more annoying versions of this. Rote memorization of large quantities of information is a bad form of complexity. Now it’s easy to pick out the explosive damage Torpedo. Before, you had to know that it was a Bane Torpedo. Other ammo types weren’t so bad, as they didn’t change between size levels. Some people call it dumbing down the game. I call it removing pointless bullshit.

As for the final point, determining where there are holes in your knowledge, the big macro holes are simple. “I don’t know industry” isn’t uncommon. Or “I don’t know how to PvP”. The problem is when you know a little. That just casts what you don’t know into darker shadows.

A sidegrade to cloaking.

First off, this is a pretty rough draft of some thoughts that I had while listening to the most recent hangout with @ali_of_spaceSo there will be some edges to knock off.

People complain about AFK cloakers. People who can, due to power projection via Cynos, shut down a system for any PvE.

The cloaker isn’t the problem. It’s the fact that they can bring a whole bunch of their friends at a moments notice. Sure, you could go and do stuff anyway, but there’s no real counter.

So I had a thought, sparked by what some of the other people were saying.

When you’re trying to use combat probes to find someone, what are you searching for? And the big difference between a ship and an asteroid is their warp core. So here’s the suggestion for changes:

1: Cloaks no longer prevent detection by dscan and combat probes. They do, however, make it hard to exactly localise someone. Warping to the signature will get you to their grid, but it won’t get you exactly on top of them. Once on grid, dscan will allow you to find their approximate location, say within 20km. I.e. you get 3 people who can get a distance (+/- 10km or so)  and between them they can localise someone who isn’t moving erratically and actively trying to avoid them.

2: To stop being picked up be probes and dscan, and additionally to not show up on local, you can shut down your warp core. This stops you moving at all. Everything else can run, but no movement.

3: Restarting your warp core takes a while. Exactly how long I’m not sure (this would have to persist between logins. Not sure how viable that is atm) But we’re talking, probably minutes. Perhaps a module or skill (or both) can decrease that time. But still not a /fast/ operation. While it’s restarting everything else can happen as normal.

The net effect of this is that someone can set a trap with a powered down ship (with a cloak), but they have to be in position already. (Get to an anomaly, power down the warp core, fire up your cloak. Wait for a sucker to turn up. Turn off cloak, activate cyno)

Thus, shutting down an entire system isn’t viable with a single afk ship, against a group of organised players. But you can, still, fuck with people.

T1 Industrials and the value of skills

T1 Industrials are in the process of being rebalanced, and this is leading to significant discussion on the forums.

The root cause of this trouble, other than the Mammoth/Hoarder issue, is that some races have more Industrials than others. So either some skills open up fewer ship roles, or some ships are, still, pretty much useless.

What I’d suggest is that it’s fine to have some skills providing access to fewer ships, as long as those ships are more generally useful, than the ships which are opened up by another skill. That doesn’t mean that the ships are all round better, however.

What I’d suggest is that the Amarr and the Caldari, with 2 ships each, get:

  • one with the highest general cargo bay (40k m3 or so, after expansion)
  • one with a good tank (around 30-40k ehp seems reasonable.) Few lows, lots of mids. The Amarr armour tanking makes this troublesome.

The Minmatar should have:

  • one fairly large one (38k or so)
  • one tanky one (25k or so)
  • one fast aligning/high speed one.

The Gallente, with their annoyingly large range, should no longer have the largest general cargo bay (sorry Itty V) But they should have:

  • A Gas specific one. 50k gas bay
  • An Ore specific one. Maybe minerals too. 50k Ore bay (Itty 5 here?)
  • A Fleet support one. 5K Fleet hangar and refitting.
  • One not quite as large as the big Minmatar one (around 34k)
  • One not quite as tanky one. (20k or so)


That way, there’s a reason to get any of the skills (Amarr and Caldari are duplicates, so you wouldn’t get /both/, but they’re still useful) with best of breed in each. No skill is ‘useless’.

Probing – Now and the Future

This is mostly prompted by a comment on twitter, about the player skill levels involved in probing. 140 characters isn’t enough, much of the time. To be clear, I’m talking primarily about site probing, rather than combat probing, which requires a slightly different method.


I generally like the changes which have been made to probing. The primary changes are:

Launch all your probes at once

Sure, some people don’t like this, but it just wasn’t fun, sitting there and manually cycling your probe launcher. It added nothing except a minor annoying time sink. The only downside to this is for combat probing, as the victims have less time to catch the ship of the person launching them, before they cloak.

Auto recall on probes

As someone doing exploration, it’s all good. As a manufacturer, this is a little annoying. That’s the one downside. The probe market will have to adjust to fewer lost probes, so being smaller. However, RSS probes should become more popular. (due to not losing them any more)

Probe Formations

Oh god yes. This is probably the bit where people are saying ‘No skill any more’. The only real differences between now and the way it used to be is: No tedious moving probes into formation, and no needing to hold shift, resize probes, hold alt, move probes. It’s just move and resize in one action. Sure, it’s easier, but it’s hardly different skill wise. Just less tedious.

Notification of signatures, without needing to scan

Again, not a skill change. Just a tedium removal. No more ‘launch probes, shift to cover everywhere a signature might be, scan, get nothing, next system, rinse, repeat.’

8 probes

This does make life easier. It’s the one thing I’m less sure about. You’ll get better signature resolution, because you have more probes.


All that’s really been removed are the fiddly tedious bits. Localizing signatures takes all the same steps, with just a slight reduction in time required. The skills to do that, haven’t changed.


The Future

It’s all been a very good start. Some tweaking is required, however, to come close to ‘perfect’

Probe strength vs skill bonus

With the 8 probes, people with low skills just got a bump to their scanning ability. I’d suggest dropping the probe strength a bit, but increasing the bonus from Astrometrics.

Probe Groups

Right now, all your probes are treated as a single group. resize the group, and you resize all your probes. Ideally, with custom formations, you’ll be able to deal with groups. Say, 4 and 4, so you can resize just four, while leaving the other 4 to localise a different signature.

Custom Formations

Exactly how these would be defined would be interesting. I’d suggest leaving it entirely out of game, with an XML import. Doing it in game is a bunch of work, for a limited market, as the two basic ones are enough for the casual prober.

I’d suggest a format based on 3 coordinates per probe, with 0,0,0 being the centre of the formation, and the units used being in probe scan radius. So if you resize it, it doesn’t matter, everything keeping the same formation, at 0.25 au or 32 au. Leave the interface to create the formations to third party developers. It could be done fairly easily in a web site, using something like WebGL. And an XML file is simple to move around. Like overview files.

Single probe launch

For most of us, launching all the probes at once makes sense. But there are situations you may wish to launch them one at a time. So a toggle, or slider for ‘how many to launch’ makes sense. Stick it on a ‘advanced’ tab, to keep it out of our way.


With all of that in place, probing is pretty close to perfect. If I’ve missed something you consider important, give me a yell and we can discuss it. I’m always interested to hear about edge cases.

Mining Rights – A Proposal

Thoughts about mining have been rolling around in my head for a while now, so I thought I’d get it out there.

The asteroid belts in EVE have always seemed a little out-of-place. Rocks respawning in exactly the same place, every single day. Sure, as a mechanic it makes sense, but from a lore perspective it really seems a bit whacked.

Then you get the issue of who actually owns the ore. Can you really imagine a world where a government doesn’t try to license everything, extracting its pound of flesh, demanding that you pay it for using a ‘public’ resource. That you ‘buy’ the right to mine. And can you imagine a world where large corporate concerns haven’t tied up all the rights they can?

Then there’s the problem of actually /finding/ decent rocks. Sure, there are going to be a lot out there. But how many of them are going to be useful, and how many are just going to be lumps of ice, carbon and silica, of no use to man nor beast? It’s not like they’re going to be radiating an energy signature which can be picked up.

So here’s what I’m thinking, and yes, I know it’d be a major shake-up:


The regular way

The rights to mine in highsec are, in most part, owned by the various NPC mining corporations. I would not include ORE in this (Hence why they moved out of High, into NPC Null)

This means, when you, as a PC, want to go mine, you’re subcontracting to them. This means: Mining Missions. They’ll give you coordinates for an ice/ore pocket, you’ll go and mine it, giving them a cut of it.

High level missions will give better ore, large asteroids and so on. But claim jumpers are more likely. It’d be nice if people could be flagged Suspect for ‘stealing’ ore in these sites, if they’re not in the fleet of the person who took the mission, but that might be a trifle complicated.

Possibly some of the mining missions will still be the ‘go kill people then mine’ ones. But I think the killing should be reactive, rather than proactive. You’re not claim jumping, in general.

Ore anomalies

These are pockets of asteroids in an orbit which makes them dangerous. So a beacon is added and Egger avarice is harnessed for the public good. Maybe add in an Ore that can be traded directly for LP. The ‘worthless’ rock that’s from an asteroid that was going to paste a station.


A longer term option. Invest in some system infrastructure, anchored somewhere (not a POS) and using a skill, to generate bookmarks for ore signatures. Chance based, with skills making it better, but taking time to generate. The lower the sec status, the better the signature (as the system isn’t mined out) Maybe one a day. Possibly sometimes sharing signatures, if it’s a high volume system. The first person/fleet/corp into the site gets the mining ‘right’. If they pay a fee to the Faction, reduced by standing, they get exclusivity, with others going suspect if they mine there.

Low Sec/NPC Null

Pretty much the same as high-sec, but with better rewards, due to the dearth of competitors. Prospectors get better and faster results.

Sov Null/Wormholes

Due to the lack of NPC agents, no mining missions. Due to the lack of a NPC central authority, no anomalies.

Prospectors get far better results. More powerful scanners can be used, allowing for chaining of signatures, rather than the larger delays of Low and High.

System Scanners

These are pretty much just replacements for Ore Prospecting Arrays. Just with no tie to the indexes, for the base level one.

Anchored anywhere in system, taking a few hours to online, they can be used to generate a bookmark to an Ore site (Quality is skill dependant) They then offline, and have to be put back online again. The skill of the person who onlines it determines the quality of site it’ll produce when triggered, and how long it takes to online. Higher level ones online faster, and produce better sites. If they’re triggered while the site still exists, they’ll link to the same site.

These cannot, at a base level, be scanned down. However, if you have two within a set distance (say, 2 AU) they interfere with each other, reducing the quality of site.

Upgraded versions, in Sov Null, can be scanned down and destroyed, with a short reinforced timer,if they have stront in them. No more than a couple of hours. Fairly cheap, I’d peg them around the 5 million mark for a basic one, with each progressive level making them more expensive. Probably no more than 100 million for a top of the line one, but someone with a better understanding of Sov Null would have a better clue on this. They’re /supposed/ to be disposable.

The Goal

The idea is to make mining a somewhat less passive activity. No longer ‘I undock, warp to my bookmark, target the nearest rock, receive bacon’.

Side Effects

Ratting becomes more complicated. No longer would you have asteroid belts to warp round. This could be mitigated by adding more sites. Refineries, colonies, factories, brothels and other such places. No longer would you have high up people in a criminal organisation, deciding to go and look at some rocks.

Not Quite So New Player Experience: NQS-NPE

Catchy, no?

I can’t comment too much on the NPE, as I’ve been playing for a couple of years, and while not Community born, I have this very good friend called Google, who I talk to on a very regular basis. As such, I’d pretty much picked up the basics, by the time I’d worked through the existing tutorials.


That said, there are a couple of things I’d suggest for the NPE:

On the mining tutorial, don’t have them mine Veldspar. Pick one of the mission ores instead, so they don’t go to an asteroid belt and mine it there, then wonder why they can’t hand the mission in. It’s a minor change, but one that should relieve one frustration.

I would have mentioned exploration, but the changes should take care of most of the issues.

Add ‘medals’ for completing the tutorials. Have them being private by default, but easy to make public. A graduation certificate would be nice too. (Maybe one for the epic arc, Maybe a ‘Friend of the Sisters’ thing.) Everyone likes medals. And it’s a handy way to say ‘I’ve actually spent the time and learnt about the game’


Not Quite So New Player Experience

Then we get to the meat of this blog post. The Not Quite So New Player Experience. There are some things that the game really doesn’t teach. PI. Fleets. Invention. Research. Contacts. Standings. Logistics. Those things that you pretty much need to go to an out of game source to learn about. While I don’t want to get rid of those sources, I don’t like that you have to go to them. It’d be great if ‘advanced’ tutorials could be added. Some, perhaps, with videos showing what you have to do. That’d be handy for, say, PI.

Can you imagine a tutorial where you have to fly a Logi frigate, and keep an NPC repped up? Or an energy transfer on them. Lock it away so you can only start it when you have certain skills. It’s not as good as flying with another player, but it is a start.

Something that explains why ME research is important, and why you don’t need to keep researching something into the ground.


They’ll never be a replacement for learning from other players. But they can be somewhere to point people, so you have a clue that they have a basic grounding.


And certificates/medals you can give to anyone would be good. As well as corporation defined ones, for things like doctrine fits. So it’s easy to see what people are capable of flying. Just have public, private, corporation and standing defined viewing levels.

Once Crest access for the character sheet (read only) is opened up, I’m seriously considering writing up something to do just that, along with passcode based viewing. If I do, I’ll open source it, though I’d hope people would trust me to have temporary access to their sheets. (Only store the certs they have. Update when they access)

The Problem with the new Launcher – Multiboxing

Well, not strictly multiboxing. Running multiple accounts on the one computer.

To explain:

I have a single system with 3 screens. I run one account on each screen, so I can see all of them at once. (I also have a setting for one account across all the screens) I run these clients in fixed window mode, so I can have them all active at once, with no annoying bar at the top. To do this, I have to, in the graphics settings, set which adaptor each client is to use.

To make this work, I’ve created 2 junction points off the main Eve install, so I don’t have to have 3 totally separate copies of eve running. Eve pays attention to where it’s started from, using a configuration directory that contains that path. So, in junctioning it, when I start the launcher, in each of the ‘copies’, they each start with a different configuration, putting them onto the correct screen. I have the launcher set to not show, when no update is required.

So all I needed to do was:

  • Click on launcher one, wait for it to patch then hit play (unless it didn’t need to patch, in which case I just move on)
  • Click on launcher two.
  • Click on launcher three.

At this point, I have three clients, all with different settings, all patched up, waiting for log in.

Now I need to:

  • Click on launcher one, wait for patching. Log into it. Start the client. If I want to change character (within the same account) I have to log off, then on again. (Though I think I saw something about that being a bug)
  • click on a shortcut I’ve created to bin\exefile.exe in the second junctioned copy.
  • click on a shortcut I’ve created to bin\exefile.exe in the third junctioned copy.

This is because you can only have one launcher open, in a directory (or junctioned copies of it)

As long as the ability to start exefile.exe doesn’t go away, this will continue to work. If it does go away, then I’ll have to start the launcher, log in, start eve, close the launcher, start it again from a different directory (rince, repeat) and do it all over again when I want to change alt on an account. Which is more than a trifle annoying.

If I could keep multiple copies of the launcher open, each logged into a different account, with a different settings directory, that would be /perfect/. I really don’t want to waste diskspace and bandwidth for patches with multiple actual copies of Eve.

For a more detailed explanation of what I’m doing:

And yes, I know it’s not officially supported. But it’s a common thing to be doing. With the power of two promotion, and so on, it seems like CCP want people to have multiple clients at the same time.

Ice Interdiction, Mark 2

What if you could, if you can’t get at the enemy miners, cowering in their POS waiting for you to go away, work to eliminate what they’re wanting to mine?

So, there you are, arriving in the Enemy held system. And the only people there are a few miners who immediately hole up in their POS.

Now you’re just a small roving gang, without the time or firepower to take down a POS. Just hoping for a fight with a similar number of people. Right now, all you can really do is smack talk in local, and move on. Or hang around, just to annoy them.

On Earth, you could set to destroy the infrastructure needed to harvest the resources. As that’s the ships in Eve, that’s a trifle difficult to do, when they’re inside a somewhat impenetrable bubble.

What I’m suggesting is you can target the resources themselves. Shoot the ice. Assign a number of HP per unit of ice, reducing it each time a block is harvested. So shoot it, and do that much damage, and there’s a block of ice your enemy can’t harvest. Do enough, and your enemy has lost the entirety of that spawn.

What may be interesting to play with, is adjustments to the spawn timer, if blocks are damaged in that fashion, meaning it spawns less frequently. Though how you justify this from a lore POV, I’m less sure. Maybe the ‘destroyed’ blocks futz your sensors with bad readings, making it harder to locate the next spawn. So the more destroyed blocks you have, the longer the spawn is delayed.

This could also be extended to regular asteroids, with a smaller hp per unit.

Now, how this would be handled in high sec is a bit trickier. Due to the inability of people to attack others. At the very least, I’d think making the person go suspect. To stop people completely screwing up the market (for the lols), you may need Concord/Faction Navy.

You may have noticed. I like creating targets in systems. Things that it’s actually worth fighting over.