Monday, July 21, 2014

Crius : how to access your PI colonies

I had an 'eek' moment when I tried to access my PI on Sisi (the test server), and my previous shortcuts could not bring up my planets.  With Crius arriving 22 July 2014, some of you at least will likewise panic.


Fortunately, the new method is not far away.


Neocon-> Business -> Planetary Colonies

This brings up a new window (and yes this is a screen with dummy data from singularity - I don't mind you working out what system I am in, but I am not letting you know what planets I visit)


 

For those that like keyboard shortcuts, hit escape -> Shortcuts-> Window.  Choose Planetary Colonies and edit shortcut



Please remember to set a long skill queue for Tuesday's downtime.

Friday, July 18, 2014

In favour of industry focused releases


A couple of years ago, I left my previous MMO of choice because of a single statement "We want crafters to be out in the world adventuring instead of camping out in front of an auctioneer."

I liked being the crafter standing in front of the auctioneer. Of course in Eve we sit around in either our spaceships or cabins by ourselves instead of shoulder to shoulder with other pilots in an auction room, but the essence is still the same.

In Eve, the market trader, the manufacturer are important parts of the puzzle.  Both games have the farmer, and it was some surprise to me that I joined the farming ranks (PI not mining). There is also the hauler, through spaces of various degrees of danger, both big and small.


Many of us enjoy industry.  Even better, not only have I been shot at and lost my haul, but what I make is important to the end game.  As players, we make ships and modules that are used in the 'end game' battles, we build the POS, Outposts and customs offices used throughout New Eden.  We build the capital ships, some even build supercaps.

Yes, being shot at is important to my enjoyment.  This game engages manufacturers/crafters in a way that I have not seen in any other MMO.  We build 'real stuff', not just a couple of shiny distractions.

I also know that between the current user interface, and mostly safe highsec manufacture is not as engaging as it could be.  For players that enjoy a pretty UI (and many others do even if I am functionally based), the new changes will be wonderful.

Kirith Kodachi stated "The Industry update coming on July 22nd is not going to reverse any numbers".  Maybe.  If everyone talks them down, then certainly.

Crius (and the POS/corp changes to follow) is an opportunity for those of us that enjoy manufacture PVP to spread the word, and to be excited.

Are we going to get everything we want? Certainly not.  Will there be a loud outcry by the losers of the changes? Yes.  Those most comfortable with making things in safely won't be so happy.  Those that can adjust will do fine.

I know and accept that the majority of players are in Eve to directly inflict explosions on others.  There still is a compatible audience of players that like to know the things they build enable others to cause explosions.  Occasionally that ammunition will be returned to us 'slightly used', and that takes some getting used to.

Eve is a sandbox, and a new set of tools is being made available.  Even the most hardened highsec grief corporation should be looking at POS full of blueprints as 'prickly loot pinata'.

I may be idealistically naive, but I see some 'good complexity' with the new release.  It boils down to: Do I place that way too expensive BPO into a POS for a quick job, or keep it in an expensive but safe station? The only possible answer in a public blog is expensive but safe, but for many this will be misleading propaganda.

I know that some of you are only interested in explosions, and then only the ones you see.  The next 2 releases are a way for Eve to capture new players, in a market that it is already a contender.

We already have 'Be the villain' ads.  It is time for us to sell the message "Be the builder in a villainous world"

Friday, July 11, 2014

I want that ship

I like big ships.  The bigger and slower, the more I like them.  This is not always what is rational, nor what is particularly the flavour of the month. 

As was suggested in a previous post, I have recently trained up for a new ship class, with the skills to fly it.  A Kronos.  We have a baby squad booster as squad leader, and we 'wing' warp with my Kronos as wing leader.

T2 fit, over tanked (3 low resists, 1 T2 repairer, 1 ancillery repairer, repair boost rigs). Woo hoo. Nothing can hurt me now.  Nearly cap stable.  Still I am paranoid.  Lost ships hurt.

Van is back from leave, and our C2 issues seem to be resolved. We take on an easier site in our C4.  I am so rusty.  Dual boxing doesn't make me any sharper, but when I can't even find my drone window I just shake my head.

Even with my bumbling we clear the first two phases, everything is doing well.  My only job for my Kronos is to take on the NPC battleships, the T3's will clear smaller stuff. 

And ... I am out of capacitor.  What?  Why? How?  I am not sure.  I was obviously paying insufficient attention, made worse by dual boxing.

I am in bastion mode, another 40 seconds to go.  Mmm.  We make the decision to warp out my Kronos when I can so it can recharge.  Hull damage is not pleasant, but I get of some ancillary repair cycles.  They repair lots.  But I still need to get out of bastion and into warp.  I am not MJD capable, that would have taken slots already used.

I finally get out of bastion, and initiate warp.  Somewhere, anywhere. ...

... I am finally up to speed.

I think.

I am in a pod.

I am still wing leader and not in squad.  Which means no boosts.


Which means I lost an expensive, very large ship, entirely due to stuff-ups:
  • Not being boosted, when booster available
  • Not watching capacitor
  • Not bringing our reserve healing 'agro attractor' (remote cap/rep dominix).


I wanted that ship.  Nice, new, (t2) sparkly, probably teribad fit.

For some, PVE is boring.  I don't do much of it, mostly doing PI to earn my ISK.  But I still have things to learn, new ships to fly.  When PVE gets boring I will stop it.  It's not boring yet.

Oh and for the record.  Our Domi fleet clears that site easy.  The 2 T3's had no problems at all with those battleships.  Afterburner fit meant that they only got glancing blows at best, even when I wasn't paying proper attention.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Unauthorised tower part 2

We have a new tower in our wormhole, and it isn't ours.  First life isn't helping, with both work commitments and getting our kitchen repaired taking priority. 

One more piece of information I check for; PI taxes. If there is evidence of PI tax paid, I will have to talk to them before doing any shooting.  We have good tax rates, and three times had pilots simply move in and pay tax.  Sometimes they asked first, other times they asked later.  If you do find yourself in a Foo wormhole and want to do PI, just let me know.  We don't mind.

I finally get online, to some incredibly pleasant news.  They are taking their tower down.

Whether they scouted and finally found our tower (really - they are not that hard to find), or seeing our defences come online, I do not know.  This tends to rule out invasion as their plans. 

They have started to unanchor their tower.  We have seen an Orca, one that is currently cloaked, as well as flashes of T1 scanning frigates.

We still don't really know what we are up against, but then you never do.  The C2 has pilots, but not our preferred pilots.  Most of my so called skilled pilots are still on their way into the C2, but we have an hour.  The real issue is that the C2's lowsec entrance is about 50 jumps away, and the route via the C2A is via an end of life wormhole.

We decide the lesser of risks is to bring our ships into system rather than wait for the tower to be un-anchored.  To be seen is better than not being here.

So, we are cloaked or deep safed well outside of dscan.  Those cloaked are sitting on grid, but outside minimum warp distance.

The timer expires, and their tower is free for the taking.  I have bloodthirsty pilots who are geared up for a fight, where I would be happy with transient unwelcome guests rather than permanent ones.  "An Orca kill plus a free tower is better than just a free tower" is the comment.  Having friendly wolves is nice.  While I am here for the tower, I accept that wolves need to be fed fresh meat. 

So we wait. Nothing.  While you can uncloak a ship by proximity, you have to be uncloaked yourself to do so.  We wait longer.

After 20 minutes past the timer, even the bloodthirsty can't sniff blood any more.  It looks like we were spotted coming into the wormhole.  A chance we felt we had to take.

We try to fly around where we guess the Orca might have been 20 minutes ago, but cant find it.  The cloaky pilot wasn't even sure where the Orca was.  When I fly cloaked but am suspicious of possibly being spottted, I don't stay still either.   When trying to decloak someone by flying within 2k of them, space is big.  Even with a swarm of pilots and drones.

The bloodthirsty are disappointed, but I am happy.  A 'free' large tower instead of needing to do a POS bash?  I will take that any day.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

New unauthorised tower in our wormhole

In first life, I am just about to head to work in the morning, and was checking skills and mails via Evemon.  Quick, easy, just to check on things.

My Eve skill queues are up to date, but I get an evemail.  A new 'neutral' large tower is in one of our wormholes.

If my first life self is to work on time, there is no way I can deal with this right now.  Work can not be skipped today.  ... ... Ok.  I have to go to work but can be a little late.

Our pilot that found the tower has made on grid bookmarks.  That helps. What does not help is that my personal combat pilots (and yes even I have them) are in the wrong spot.

Their tower is prickly without any storage arrays of any kind, but has an Orca in it.  Mmm.  The Orca gives them ship maintenance and storage, without requiring powergrid/cpu.  Properly set up that could be a pain.

Empty then off-line industry POS modules; start on-lining (more) defensive/offensive modules. Move some loot into Enormous freight containers in case the POS becomes reinforced.  I am really short of time and our directors are not online. 

Check notifications.  Nothing.  Check zkillboard for recent activity by either 'them' or our system.  Nothing. 

Send Skype, evemail messages, and update our intel channel's MOTD with what little we know, which isn't much apart from a corp name and that of a couple of pilots. 

Ok, in first life I am officially late for work, but ... I will park close. There are some advantages to living in a town rather than a 'city'.  Probably offensive to the natives to call their Capital a town though.

One of our directors contacts me on Skype. He has re-configured our infrastructure for siege rather than industry.   Good.  Other pilots have brought up their corporation's membership, and kill history, and added them to watch lists.

Pilots that have quietly been doing PI in our holes that I have not heard from in weeks pipe up and offer to 'play' with our visitors.

While I could wish that I was better set up, things have been worse.  Now all I need to do is get home from work, and do something about this.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Sisi and scanning

Over the last couple of days, I gave the test server (otherwise known as Sisi or Singularity) a bit of a try.

Primarily, I was looking to test out a new boat setup.  I normally fly T1 battleships, and this was more expensive than that, so I wanted to see what I could do in PVE with this new setup.

The new setup had no issues with L3 highsec missions (as it should have).  It also walked over a L4 lowsec mission though I think the one I got was particularly easy.  One of the last times I tried a L4 security mission, it didn't go so well, but that was a few skillpoints ago.

So, off to find a wormhole.  I really want to try this new setup in a C4, so I go scanning.  And scanning, and even more scanning.  Without wormhole pilots constantly creating highsec K162's, it seems that it is actually difficult to find an outgoing wormhole from known space to J space.

Fortunately, there are precious few signatures in the majority of empire systems I pass by, each having only one or two quickly resolved gas / data sites.  After about 20 systems, I finally find an outgoing wormhole, an R943, to a C2.  C2 wormholes always have at least 2 outbound, and we have occasionally seen 3 outgoing wormholes, so are wonderful for my purpose of getting deeper into wormhole space.   This one happens to be a Null/C5 system.  Good enough.

I run a combat site, don't remember which one, with my new setup, and it is straight forward.  As expected.  Good, so log off for the night.

The following night I log back in, and scan.  After scanning 20+ systems last night with each system having 1 or 2 signatures,  facing an entire system full of signatures is a task.  I can well imagine that this system could be empty on tranquility; not enough PVP for a heavy PVP corp, not enough market access for a PVE corp.  Oh well, suck it up princess.

Gas sites, data, relic, the works.  Finally I scan down the C5 exit, but ... where is the nullsec exit?  If I am going to run a C5 site solo, it will be ambitious, and the better part of valour says more tank, less gank.  I like my ships big and slow.  I need to find a market.

I am down to 2 signatures, and finally partially scan down a one of them, but it disappears before I resolve it.  No new signature has taken it's place.  Ok.  Maybe it was the incoming highsec.  Maybe I scanned the nullsec entrance last night?  I think I did, but am not sure, it was late and I was not properly paying attention.

Ok lets resolve this last signature.  I have been scanning for 18 months now; I know how to scan.  I am in a well skilled scanner, nothing at 5 but mostly 4's.  I am in a T2 covops frigate (also at level 4 skill), with sister core launcher and sister core probes.  This last signature should not be this hard.

There is a small red bubble on the scanning screen (no screenshots unfortunately), and it just does not resolve.  I try matching the bubble exactly with probes.  I try one size larger.  I try 8AU.  Nothing registers.  Hmm.  I really did not expect a c5 wormhole to be this hard.  I check staticmapper.com again.  Yes, I definitely am in a C2, it definitely has 2 outbound wormholes.  I definitely can not resolve this last signature.   Mmm.

Thinking about options, Von Keigai thinks that new signatures don't pop up until you toggle show anomalies on the probe scanner window.  I try this, but no change to my signatures.

I have read that CCP are looking to change the way new signatures are found.  This is a big system.  I launch a 32AU flat scan to maximise coverage across the whole system.  I have not done this in a very long time, as normally this is only needed for hunting ships.  I don't do that enough.

I also remember some talk about scanning midslot items becoming active rather than passive.  I try to turn them on but get told off by Aura for trying to activate passive modules.  Good, that has not changed at least.

A new signature pops up.  This is very strange.  While a change to the way new signatures appear has been talked about on the forums due to CCP asking questions, I did not expect this.


So some questions for those who know a thing or 2 about scanning, especially if you have or are willing to install the test client.
  • Has the way new signatures are reported changed in game?  Will we be launching blanket probes once more?
  • Are there sometimes wormhole signatures that you are sure you should be able to scan, but that stubbornly refuse to be scanned?
Neither of these two are a problem for me.  If my suspicion is true, some hunters will be very happy (won't you Penny), but I really don't have a problem offering the occasional sacrifice to Bob in the form of a ship, (or even the occasional squad).  I might not take out my new shiny boat as much, and when I do, I will probe scan a little more.

Oh and that C5 site I optimistically decided to run?  I whelped on the first of 3 phases.  There is a reason I ran this site on test before trying it on live first.  Neuts are bad enough when split between 4 ships.  Any solo ship with only enough cap struggles with so many neuts.   Oh well.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Running multiple Eve Launchers - my solution

This post is way to technical, not quite fit for player consumption.  It is however fit for developer consumption, and I am publish this in the hopes that someone with a Windows scripting background runs with it.  If you do not have a scripting background, your eyes are liable to glaze over.

Once upon a very very long time ago, on a computer before the ones we are using now; when we wanted to run multiple concurrent eve clients, we made junctions of our Eve folders.  Each time we wanted to change a pilot, we had to enter a user name and password.

Once upon a time, but more recently than that, when we wanted to run multiple concurrent clients we called the Eve exe once per concurrent client.  Each time we wanted to change a pilot, we still had to enter the username and password.

Today, here and now, when you want to change pilots inside an account, we have this 'wonderful' Eve launcher that allows us to remember our accounts user name and password and access the Eve store, but ...  you must re-enter the username/password when you want to change pilots between accounts.

I find this frustrating; especially when resetting my PI.  Planetary Interaction is limited by the number of planets you have.  More alts with PI means more planets.  But using alts means more logging in.

My old method of resetting PI is :
  • Log onto every account, selecting the pilot that has been offline the longest.
  • Do PI.  At any time there is a break move onto the next account's pilot; Especially during the warp from POCO back to POS
  • When finished with a pilot log onto the next longest offline pilot on that account.
  • Whine about having to re-enter username/password when swapping accounts.  Sometimes get up and for some cheese.
When you do this on ... too many accounts it becomes tiresome.  There are some PI pilots I know with way more accounts than I run.  The same issues may apply for heavy research, manufacturing and market accounts.

An Eve folder contains the following files and folders
  • A launcher folder
  • Other folders include bin, bulkdata, lib, res and script
  • A whole series of files, including 
    • *.stuff files, containing textures, sounds and other in game resources
    • *.patch files, apparently can be deleted once applied
    • *.exe files, being the actual executables
    • *.ini files, containing various some configuration information
    • cacert.pem and ca-bundle.crt which I believe to do with encryption
    • debug.log, obvious file is obvious
    • code.ccp, manifest.dat, __access_check__; file names are indicative, but *shrug*

So I googled; and found lots of entries from before the 'new' launcher. 

I tried to copy the launcher folder itself and running the launcher.exe that is in it; no luck, it would not start a new launcher window.

What roughly worked was copying the entire eve folder.  This allowed me to have 2 Eve launchers concurrently, but copying 18GB of data takes a long time as well as a fair amount of disk space.  It also means that your system can't cache the same files; meaning lower overall system performance.  I wanted better.

What I am now using.


4 Launcher windows all open at the same time. 
Apart from cropping and obscuring the account name, these accounts are all active at the same time.

Each additional Eve instance takes 174MB
Again, cropping and obscuring personal information.

I have a script 'makeclone.sh' that takes an Eve folder, and replicates it
  • Copying the launcher folder as is, where is;  This obviously is copying stuff not needed (including old log and browser cache files), but is quick and small enough
  • For all other folders, junctions into the replicated folder back to the originals in the primary Eve folder.  These must be junctions, symbolic links did not work.
  • All files are hard linked into the replicated folder back to the original files in the primary Eve folder
All of this takes about 15 seconds per replicated folder,  at 1% of a full Eve installation.  This could be made smaller by working out what is needed out of the Eve installation; I suspect that a launcher/cache folder structure without files would save space, but so far have not been bothered adding that complexity to my script.  It also is very flexible in coping with future CCP changes. 
  • Update the 'master' normally with  the launcher.
  • re-run the script to blow away the existing replicated folders, and make new versions of them.

On my version of windows, the personal settings are in %localappdata%\CCP\EVE, with a new fresh set of files for every replicated folder.  I am contemplating changing my script to copy my primary installation's settings over to the replicated folders, but have not yet decided.  I like the idea of updating my overview once, and then automatically cloning it, but have not gotten that far yet.


My command prompt environment and scripting language, is a bash shell from cygwin ( https://www.cygwin.com/ ).  The script itself is available as a pastebin or google drive document.

As always, too many words, not enough pretty pictures. I also suspect that for the majority of readers, this takes the prize for 'Driest Foo post ever'.   On top of that, I have based my scripts on my skillset; which is a Unix/Linux based scripting language in a Windows environment; so it is not yet even useful to the majority of you, at least not yet.  It is also likely useless for Mac users.

What I do know is that there are others with more Windows based scripting knowledge than I have, that could easily translate this into a Dos batch file, or failing that a Powershell script, so it is available to the wider Eve community. 

Assuming you have actually read this far, if you have something like this script that anyone can use, either based on this work or independently created, please leave a comment.  Similarly, if you are lacking in scripting skills and want something like this without the cygwin dependancy, also leave a comment.