Dominion – Some thoughts

CCP have really hit the nail on the head with the proposed nullsec changes. A few weeks ago I decided to leave my home in EVE, Vanguard Frontiers, of whom I had been a member for over 2 years. Lack of time was the main driver for this, but a contributing factor was the lack of dynamics in 0.0. I’m very into my fleet warfare. Typically not capital scale, but large fleets. I tend not to FC directly, just sit in command chat and keep things moving in the right direction, though I have been known to step up and lead when needed. And it’s gotten boring.

How do I mean boring? Surely, PvP with hundreds of ships can’t not be fun? Actually, it really does get quite boring. There’s the waiting to find some targets if it’s a roam, the waiting for targets to jump in if it’s a gatecamp, the hours of staging and waiting for allies if it’s a major op. And there’s the huge amount of restrictions in any nullsec alliance’s engagement policy- you don’t fight outside cynojammed systems with large fleets if you don’t have to, you never engage unless you’re sure to win, etc. It all leads to a very stale few hours of near-combat, and often opponents will dance around for hours without ever meeting, even between 2-3 systems. And don’t get me started on the politics.

What CCP are trying to do is increase the amount of emergence by increasing population density, decreasing the complexity of combat in 0.0 in terms of cyno jammers, and thus leading to better combat; breaking up the hours upon hours of near-combat (which can be very draining) typically endured by pilots in deep nullsec and encouraging smaller operational groups. This means smaller fleets and more of them, making combat in nullsec actually potentially interesting. And, certainly, more approachable by smaller alliances and larger corporations.

Hopefully this will make nullsec a little more dynamic and thus a little more fun to play. Only time will tell, of course. That and a lot of playtesting on sisi. Hop to it!

Dust 514, some EM2 teasers and statistics

As you might have heard, CCP announced Dust 514, their console MMORPG. And then announced it was to be integrated with EVE, especially with alliances and corporations. I just don’t see how it can work, honestly.

Half the point of EVE is the userbase is a very mature one and the sort of crowd who sit in their room playing with internet spaceships. Does EVE really want to get the Halo players of the world contributing to the game? I honestly don’t think so. It’s a very snobbish view, I know, but the average console gamer probably doesn’t want to spend their time liasing with alliances and planning the takeover of space from other alliances with internet spaceships they can’t see. What’s in it for the Dust 514 players, anyway? A mission system that could easily be done with some clever AI, from what I hear. I remain highly sceptical and look forward to seeing what CCP has planned in further detail- if they make it work it’ll be fantastic. But it’s a big if.

On a much lighter note, I’ve got some snippets from EM2’s new API integration. We’re being really thorough with this so far; we have seperate workers to download and process the API, meaning we can get around the API-being-slow bottleneck by having 3-5 workers just downloading and a few doing the processing (which is quick). What we also wanted to do was give you, the user, tons of control over what information we load into EVE Metrics. Read on for detailed information. Continue reading Dust 514, some EM2 teasers and statistics

Too long, more on EM2

Blimey. Twitter has distracted me from actually keeping this blog up to date. Still, better late than never, eh?

Since my last post a lot has happened. Temperatures have risen to record highs, reducing productivity as I persevered to build my own air conditioning on the cheap (which looks like a probable failure, pending a cheap pump). Charactr has managed to produce all sorts of interesting bugs in my inbox, delayed_job has broken in some new and interesting ways, and EVE Metrics 2 development has steamed ahead.

Let’s look at the last one quickly.

So far we’ve gotten most of the basic backend for EM2 done in such a way as to avoid scalability issues as much as possible. We’re using PostgreSQL instead of MySQL, we’re using table partitioning, we’re using an upload processor that does most of the log parsing work with a custom C extension we’ve put together (0.06 seconds as opposed to nearly 2 doing it in Ruby natively), and we’ve added more features and tools for statistics like inferred trade tracking and per-upload statistics.

So, a few things we’re pretty sure will be in EM2 at release:

  • Inferred trade statistics and display – We can basically make guesses based on what we see about how much of an item is being bought at what price by observing changing or vanishing orders. It’s not perfect but mostly accurate.
  • Performance. Pages will load quickly.
  • Better APIs for developers – Including movement, historic price data (same stuff as you can see ingame on the graph tab) and other oft-requested APIs.
  • Trade Finder. If you’ve got a hauler, some time, and want to make some ISK, this will tell you the optimal way to do so.
  • API integration. You’ll be able to put in your API key to have your market orders autoupdated on the site, optionally fed into the main market display for more accurate data overall, and so on.

Stuff we’re looking to implement but we’re not sure if we’ll have it out in the first version includes Science and Industry integration, Location-based filtering, and so on. We’re also looking at a way to reward uploaders; after all, the site is made accurate by accurate and regularly updated data, and while uploading with EMU isn’t much of a chore we’d like to reward those uploaders who go and upload whole swathes of the market or bits that aren’t so regularly covered, and so on.

The team working on EM2 is more or less at it every day and with Makurid’s determination to make stuff fast, we’re getting scarily close to having a really, really nice framework on which to build some exceedingly powerful tools. So now we’re at the phase where we’re now working out the final feature list, and implementing them. Hopefully we’ll be looking at a release in a few weeks time, assuming nothing goes horribly wrong; watch this space!

Edit: This post was originally titled ‘Too long, new ideas’. Kinda drifted off from my original post and renamed it. Ho hum. New ideas can get talked about later.