Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Interruption of service.

For reasons that may not be entirely mysterious to the three of you familiar with my current locale, my internet access is fubar in extreme proportions these days.

This is mostly due to the local power grid being out of whack to such a point that continuity of power supply to telco routers in town can no longer be taken for granted… to give you an idea, our house is rigged tri-phased (aussie-style), and thus the nominal entry voltage at the meter (for everything to work smoothly) is expected to hover around 400v, while anything below 350v at the meter will prompt the whines of the UPSes in the office.

Right now, I get circa 320v at the meter, and rarely above 330v at any time close to local peak-consumption hours — it ain't good enuff for anything except laptops, which can somewhat surf this light air.
The laser printer/copier is useless, and so are the desktop computers unless you want to run them without a backup UPS (bad, bad idea). Even the wireless router/modem fails to milk enough juice from the wall socket to stay alive when the grid power is so low, thus our only hope is the diesel generator… which happens to have gone tits up every other day for the past month (replacement underway, but etatbd).

To sum up: an average of 3 power outages a day, at non-predictable hours, each lasting 2 to 5 hours (averaging 3h), sub-standard juice when the grid is not down, plus dead-ish generator  translate in me being offline most of the time, which means no EVE-ing of the in-game sort, and by association, a much decreased interest in EVE Offline™, too.

I'm still toying around with some new content for 'EVE is broken', but at back burner intensity, so don't hold your breath: it may last up to two months before I regain access to reliable inet.

Tomorrow is Xmas, luckily the oven and stoves here are gas-powered all, so we're looking at a feast, even if it's by candlelight: enjoy yours, too, if you're into that sort of thing.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

DevBlog #722 — Xmas Gift

Normally I wouldn't post about the yearly holiday gift, but I'm making an exception because: a)  this one is actually a cool gift as it has in-game purpose, which makes it both a collectible and a nice (eventually) rare in one's inventory ; b) it does look like almost like an actual spaceship could/would which is a nice surprise in itself ; and c) because I'm still working in the background and I really don't have much handy to fill this downtime.

The Zephyr does look so totally cool, it's not in the item db yet.

So, make sure to at least pretend to log in once on each account, sometime from December 18th to no later than January 6th, hit the Redeem Items button on the character selection screen (seriously, you don't even need to actually get in game), select which toon on the account you want to gratify with this goodie, et voila: your character of choice is now the proud owner of a NPC-invisible wormhole probe-ship (unless it's bugged, in which case you still got yourself a cool looking vanity frigate).

Monday, December 14, 2009


Updates have been few and far between the past few days, sorry about that: I'm working on a couple series, tidying up and putting things together in a less rambling format than the recent large ones.

Meanwhile, CCP is releasing patch 0.3 for Dominion, which apparently doesn't include fixes for the SBU glitch:

Due to an issue making outposts and infrastructure hubs vulnerable to attack without the attacker having adequate SBU units it is considered an exploit to attack if you do not have enough SBU units in the system, please see this forum thread for more information.

I don't really feel like going 'I told you so' about the current sovereignty mechanics woes, because predicting Dominion sov would be a mess deserves about as much credit as foreseeing the coming of night after dusk. …besides, there isn't much to observe just yet about the impact of this new design on the map: whatever effects we see so far result from the combo of bugs and post-expansion fever you'd expect of any rushed release, thus Dominion as a ruleset can't be fairly judged on track record for now.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Capital Ship Maintenance Bays

[Editor's note: I'm back after a few days off, sorry about the lack of advance notice, RL happens.]


As previously mentioned in the entry about supercapitals overhaul, and in the Canned Heroes series, one of the limiting factors to the adoption and use of (super)capitals as ship-carriers is how unwieldy Ship Maintenance Bays (SMB) are. This is also true of POS-bound Ship Maintenance Arrays (SMA), which suffer from most of the same restrictions.

What I'd like to propose here is rather simple: treat SMB and SMA much like stations' ship hangars, and whenever applicable, make the same features and services available.

Here's what one could expect to find in a SMB/SMA:
  1. Ability to park one's ship as-is, with all cargo, and secure it: within the limits of the bay/array capacity.
  2. Ability to board/debark: while inside the bay/array.
  3. Ability to fit/unfit: likewise, from within the bay/array.
  4. Ability to load/unload ships: that's cargo, ammo, fuel, drones, whatever — without having to launch first.
  5. Ability to unpack/pack ships: seriously…

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

CSM up, TQ down.

The 4th CSM has started.
…actually it has started about a week ago, but I only just noticed the news item on EVE-O today.

From what I can tell this isn't the worse coucil composition ever, although I'm a bit sorry Helen Highwater / Iain Compton didn't make it, and by a hair at that… knowing my fellow EVE players, there's reasonable hope one of the presently elected will be stupid enough to abuse his CSM seat *and* get caught.

The general turnout was pretty low at 7.36%, Finland stole the participation ribbon at a measly 13.32% turnout, from 3rd CSM election Bulgaria's 38.10%, itself following 1st (38.19%) and 2nd (40.5%) CSM Hungary's. Make of that what you want.

Don't hold your breath for the CSM minutes being published, btw: as far as I can tell, they're not yet done catching up with the CSM 3's as it is.

Meanwhile, Tranquility broke a new record last night, with 54,181 spacenerds logged simultaneously, which was celebrated with enough enthusiasm — and presumably booze of some kind — to see TQ repeatedly puke its db guts out, taking down the EVE API service with it (still not back up last time I checked).
This last bit didn't make the news, for some reason.

I don't know about you, but the weather is glorious today, so I'm out for a stroll.


Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Cloning 2.0

[Editor's note: Wrapping up on the Canned Heroes series, I realized the obvious: not only is it a friggin Chinese wall'o'txt, but that kind of freewheeling exercise tends to bring up the best and most important bits at the end of the ride, so I hope this feature post will help you get through it with minimal pain. 
Enjoy, if you can.]

Cloning 2.0

…a.k.a Canned Heroes, is a series about new mechanics for clone management and especially cloning on ships, such as supercapital and rorqual medical bays enable — there is also a bit of Walking in Stations and capsules-centric fun in there, because why not.

I suggest you start with part 1 (uncanny !) to get the big picture, then skip ahead to the 4th (and final) episode to see how it should play out with Motherships, Titans and (to a slightly lesser extent) Rorquals.
Part 4 also includes some design notes at the end.
Part 2 and part 3 are worth reading if you're interested in the minutiae of game mechanics, or if you want further details on stuff brought up in the two main installments.

Future material related to Cloning will/would be listed below, and tagged thusly:

• Everything Cloning 2.0


Canned Heroes (part 4)

[Continued from part 3]

Cloning on ships.

Today's installment covers the issue that originally prompted my thinking about the whole Canned Heroes thing, namely the fact Clone Vat Bays in their current implementation are of very limited usefulness, due to the fact their cloning goodness is a one-shot feature.

The capacity of Clone Vat Bays on supercapitals as they are now is plenty (35 to 60 clones on a Mothership, 75 to 130 on a Titan, depending on Cloning Facility Operation skill), and doesn't need tweaking. The problem comes from the fact they are limited to jump cloning.

I don't know about you, but when I think Mothership plus Clone Vat Bay, I see this:

Mothership, served with prawns.

Monday, December 7, 2009


Hopefully last silent day.

Part 4 of the Canned Heroes series is almost done — I'll push it as soon as I'm done, possibly even before next downtime.

Stay tuned.

Sunday, December 6, 2009


Sorry, no post today.

I'm working on part 4 of the Canned Heroes series, which should be ready within a day or two at most.

Stay tuned.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Canned Heroes (part 3)

[Continued from part 2]

Understanding backup clones.

The four major changes in cloning 2.0 relative to medical/backup clones are:
  • You can no longer remotely spawn your medical clone in any station you've ever visited or your corp has an office in. To install a medical clone, you need at least proper standings with the medical facility owners (1.0 with most NPC corps), and to bring a CryoCanned clone on location.

  • Backup/medical clone are no longer different in nature from jump/generic clones. Any installed clone can potentially act as a backup clone by being bound to the character's mind-backup contract.

  • Backup clone contracts are now subject to a weekly fee proportional to the grade of your backup clone contract (about 1% base price) without which you'll enjoy only a reduced protection against skill point loss in case of podding — backup clone upgrades become less expensive, though.

  • The potential loss of skill points on death without sufficient coverage is much harsher than it used to be — this is partly eased by new ways to help ensure your backup clone protection remains sufficient at all times.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Canned Heroes (part 2)

[Continued from part 1]

Generic clones vs Backup clones.

All clones are grown generic, and are exact replicas of their original at the time of cloning.

Whether a given clone is upgraded to the status of 'backup' clone depends solely on the arrangement between the pod-pilot and a specific medical facility to be the default recipient of the pilot's ultimate mind-scan after a freaky pod malfunction.
  • A 'blank' clone is a frozen clone (with or without implants), stored in a CryoCan or Pod.

  • A 'generic' clone (a.k.a Jump clone) is a 'blank' clone hooked up to a medical facility, ready to be thawed out on short notice.

  • A 'backup' clone (a.k.a Medical clone) is a 'generic' clone hooked up to a medical facility with whom owners the pod pilot has subscribed a 'backup' contract in the event of his death.
To prevent contestations over which medical facility claims the (often hefty) rebirthing fee, and the legal nightmarish complications of multiple freshly activated clones all claiming to be the legitimate 'self' concurrently, pilots are allowed only one such 'backup' contract with a unique station's medical facility at any one time — medical facilities on supercapital ships being a recent and largely outlaw-ish development fall in a grey area.

As long as the uniqueness of a pilot's body-mind association is maintained, the law sees no issue with keeping more than one spare clone handy:
  • Pod pilots are allowed to grow and store in CryoCans an unlimited amount of 'blank' generic clones.

  • Pod pilots are allowed to have a total of up to 6 ready-to-roll clones, including both 'generic' and 'backup' clones (based on Infomorph Psychology skill level).

  • Pod pilots are allowed a single 'backup' clone subscription with station-bound medical facilities at any one time.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Canned Heroes

[Editor's note: Wow, the wall'o'txt struck back, so I added a short version as intro, then you can dig in if you feel like more.]

Teh Skinny:

  • Clones become actual bodies (like corpses, but slightly less dead), which you can move around in coffins cryostatis containers. They are grown-on-demand in medical facilities for about 10% of the price of a matching medical clone, and it takes time to bake one (about a day).

  • MedClones and JumpClones are no longer different animals: a 'backup' clone is a regular clone that you bind to your brain-insurance.

  • Medical/backup clones can now be bound to Clone Vat Bay-capable ships, potentially turning those into your respawn point as long as they are in space, Clone Vat Bay active, and you have enough fresh clones in their medical bay.

  • Medical/backup clone contracts are now billed to you on a weekly basis, to the tune of roughly 1% of your medical clone grade price.

  • New death penalty for the uncaring: stuck in limbo !

  • You get to play in new and creative ways with your body(ies) — other people too.

See below for the non reading-averse version.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Real-time tactics

Here be everything about Tactical Maps, and general improvements to the UI and features relative to the management of real-time-tactics aspects of EVE

Everything Real-time Tactics:
Everything TacMaps

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Toll booths

[Editor's note: Well, TQ is dead by now, and the announced dt is to be at best 19h long… I'll go check how EVE looks in a couple days after the inevitable post-patch kinks are worked out.
No big posts until then, I'm afraid, as I'm doing non-EVE stuff in the next two days, unless I find time to spare to go for a full breakdown of the patch notes, which I've read and researched a bit by now, and I must say there is a majority of nice-smelling stuff in there — botched sovereignty mechanics aside.
In the meantime, I have this old bit of fodder I exhumed, and  which would fit nicely in the new pet-heavy resident-friendly landscape of Dominion sovereignty system.]

Jump Bridges 
 …are a cool feature,
and one of the few places where holding sovereignty actually makes a difference in the relationship one has to the environment, compared even to cyno-jammers, whose raison d'ĂȘtre is to help defend sovereignty, thus echoing the pre-Dominion circular joke of fuel discount on POSes that are deployed only to hold sov.


As interesting as the ability to basically create your own custom gate network may be, jumpbridges are also a royal pain to operate and maintain for their owners.

One of the main grudges logisticians and officers hold against bridges is the lack of control over who can use them: anyone with + standings and the knowledge of a unique shared password per bridge (ergo anyone with + standings, really) can jump through at will as long as the bridge has fuel in the tank.

Which brings us to the second and most frequently sore spot: fueling and attached costs and workload.

Long story short, only members of the alliance owning the POS/bridge can be allowed to top up a bridge fuel tank with Liquid Ozone, but since they have very little control over who can use the bridge, these tend to run out quick. This is made worse by the absence of any logs stored or relayed by the bridge about who jumped through when and in what ship class.

Toll booths.
Without even considering — for now — changing the access management system that rules over bridge use, simply add the option for the bridge to demand fuel before activating.
Either you have enough fuel, or you pay in ISK.

In practical terms, on right-clicking to jump through a bridge, you'll see a dialog pop up with a warning and two quotes, going roughly like this.

This installation needs fuel to displace
your ship through the magic spacetubes.

Do you want to allow this bridge to take Liquid Ozone
from your cargo bay, or do you prefer to pay in cash ?

Liquid Ozone required: {insert number} units
Cash price: {insert number} ISK

[Rape my bay !] [Rape my wallet !]

  • If you don't have enough LO or ISK at the ready, the number will be red-colored and the [Rape my…] button will be greyed-out.

  • Assuming you click on either available option while sitting in activation range, your cargo bay or wallet will be syphoned for the required amount of fuel or ISK, and you'll jump through.

  • If both buttons are greyed-out, you can't jump until you beg somebody for ISK, or get enough Liquid Ozone in your cargo bay.
The base ISK price per Liquid Ozone unit should be defined on a per-bridge basis, and a profit margin could discretionarily be added at the POS owners discretion, to compute the quote from ActualFuelRequirements+Margin(%).
Standings and alliance affiliation could be used to compute a discount or mitigate the overtax, much like is done on Outposts' station services.

Simple way to limit abuse of bridges, stop them from running dry, and maybe even make a buck on them to recoup the operation costs.

Happy expansion all !