Wednesday 31 October 2012

Deer in headlights

Industrial ships, running around in wormholes going from customs office to customs office, are prey.  There are hunters out there, who love the thrill of catching us.  The loot is of secondary concern.

I don't PVP well.   I have poor reflexes.  I do much better when I plan my panic responses ahead of time.  I large group healed in that other game for a long time based on 'when panicked press this'.

I have been ganked far far too many times to want to count.  Normally it is a gate camp in low sec, part of the reason to move into a wormhole.

For the first time in eve; I got ganked at a customs office, in a Iteron II, by 2 Proteus (T3 cloaky cruisers).  I have a policy of talking to anyone, anytime; especially gankers.  My response was entirely reminiscent of an animal in headlights: Oh; if I stay still maybe they ..... (Rest in pieces recently departed animal).

I received useful advice to add to my existing list of 'avoid the hunters' tips.  These are not designed to keep you 100% safe; merely safe 'enough'.  These are my tips for collecting PI goo.

  • DScan before you leave the POS.  Every time.  It's quick; and there is no reason not to do it apart from laziness or forgetfulness.
  • If you fly t1 industrials, keep enough space in your customs office to deliver before loading.  This minimises the chances of needing to shuffle goods.
  • Manipulate your planet (including launching goods to customs office) from behind POS shields; or at a safe spot while cloaked.
  • Open your cargo hold and 'Access' your customs office before warping to it.  This saves a few key clicks once you get there, and you know what you are going to do.
  • Warp to a 'safe spot' before warping to your final destination.  Hunters can see where you are aligned to and get a fairly good idea as to what you are warping to.  They can be cloaked so that you don't even know they are there.  Warping to a safe then to your final means that they need to find you before warping to you. (Thanks to the recent ganker for this advice).
  • Customs houses are for delivering and collecting of goods.  You should warp in; deliver; pick-up and warp out in quick succession; vulnerable for less than 5 seconds.  Remember; they don't know where you went because of your detour via a hard to find safe spot warp.
  • Mix up your planet order a little.  If you have exactly 6 customs offices; and just did planets I,II,III; that cloaked hunter's ship will be hiding on planet IV. 
  • If you fly cheapish ships then stay logged in.  I am sure this drives friendlies to distraction.  However, Hunters look for changes in names or ships.  If you are logged in but safe,  Hunters will find you; wait for you; then get bored and forget about you.  Their boredom is your friend.
  • 1 Point of warp stabilisation is worth it; especially in the better T1 industrials.
  • A cloak and scanner with probes is also worth it as a backup in case things go really sour.
These are not going to keep you alive all the time.  If you want to never die, then never leave a highsec NPC station.   I am also not going to give all of my PI alts the skills to fly T3 ships.  I am still young enough to be looking forward to my first Ocra.

I have learned a few tips; but there always more tips to learn.  As a hunter; how do you catch someone doing the above?  As the hunted spending 2/3 of your PI goo collecting time in low skill alts, what else do you do to avoid ganking in WH space?

PS. I have windows 8 installed from a purchased DVD; it worked a charm. I re-washed then rinsed my video card with de-ionised water, and it is still sitting in a cloth surrounded by 'clean' silicon based cat litter (and well away from the cats).

Saturday 27 October 2012

Windows 8 not impressed

With my PC's recent beer problem, I have been working around not being online.  I also have general "PC/Windows" agro issues.  (On top of this between the cat and a toothache I got 5 hours of sleep last night)

I pulled out an old half height  PC, took it's lid off and put in a medium sized video card (meaning that the PC's lid is still off).  That got me running (walking?) waiting to get my main PC fixed.

My main PC came with Vista 32bit that I "upgraded" back to XP 32 bit.  With the beer problem, not much of the original equipment is left.  6 months ago I upgraded the video card, power supply and disks.  The beer meant a replacement motherboard, CPU, memory.  The Case is the original that I bought too many years ago.

I kept my Windows XP install disks, but lost my Vista disks some time ago.

Fail #1 - XP

My original plans were to re-install Win XP.  That failed due to a blue screen of death suggesting I run a chkdsk /f.  I unplugged all of my hard drives; just in case.  I still got the blue screen of death.

Fail #2 - Wine

Ok, nice shiny new system.  My primary gaming needs are Eve, and I have full expectation that Linux gaming will get a boost (I liked what steam is planning in that regard, though I cancelled my steam account over their latest EULA).  So I install Ubunto 64 bit; Wine, and Eve.  Eve installed and upgraded the last 2 mini patches.  But then Nothing.  I can't get past the loading screen.

Fail #3 - Windows 8 download to burn to DVD

I then planned to get the Windows 8 64 bit OS online, and transfer it to my new PC.  My understanding (I am sure I read it somewhere in the download EULA) is that the licence is retail and transferable to a new PC.  I have plenty of older XP systems around to sacrifice.

I dutifully bought the upgrade online.  From the windows website Windows 8 Pro gives you everything in Windows 8 plus enhanced features that help you easily connect to company networks, access files on the go, encrypt your data, and more.

Though it does say you need a working system.

I find lots of online reference to downloading Windows 8 and then burning it to  DVD.  But for the life of me, I can not find out how to burn it from an ISO.  Lots of websites suggesting you can; but all short on detail (it's almost as if everyone is quoting everyone else sourced from a earlier press release, and no one has personal experience).

I defer the install hoping for a DVD burn option.  No luck.

I break down and hit the install button; hoping that I will get a DVD install at some point.

 I get instead an install on this PC, and I still can't work out how to burn it to DVD.

Fail #4 - Windows 8 32 bit

So at the end of the day at least I get a system I can upgrade the RAM for right?  Wrong. 
Despite an expected consolation prize of 64 bit windows (required for more than 4GB of RAM), I am left with the wrong system upgraded, to a version of windows I didn't want (32 bits), with an operating system I don't know how to drive.

Where to now

Well, I have re-installed eve, as I kept my most recent download files.  And eve still plays, though first impressions are that it is very sluggish (14 Frames/second).  I don't know how quick it was before but I didn't feel the need to go looking. (Edit: got back to 35 FPS by changing video settings to minimum)

I can however at least log in and trade/do PI/move ships. This is one win at least, however small.

I am also off to a local shop to get a DVD installer and see what luck I have with that.

Sunday 21 October 2012

Beer induced AFK

No; I didn't personally have (or intend to have) too much to drink.

My tip of the day : Don't store beer an open can of beer on your desktop.  It's stupid.

My power supply ... well it tried drinking and it didn't like the results.

I am not entirely sure what is damaged.  Power supply - almost certainly.  Anything else; not sure.  Seeing flashes of red coming out of your PC immediately before the RCD trips is not reassuring.  No actual fuses were tripped.

I do have multiple PC's around the place; with differering programs installed.  Of course only my main PC had Eve.

I would love to pretend that my posts were so regular that the average reader could tell.  Oh well. 

Hopefully irregular programming will resume "soon".

Friday 19 October 2012

PI an interim update

You would think that by now, I would know what I wanted my PI planets to look like.

I can find sites and tools for designing ships.  Eve Planetary Planner works well enough; and has a % allowance for links.  I would prefer something that gave a km tool defaulting to a good enough distance between factories.  On a good day, I can get as little as 34km between buildings (or 23 tf; 16MW for a basic link)

P1 to P3

I designed a wonderful P1-> P3 planet; that is a planet that took only P1 inputs and produced 2 P3 components every hour, ultimately to end up in my integrity response drone factor

To load this planet, import one set of components into each of the launchpads, expedite transfer them to the storage and then the the second set of inputs is imported into the launchpads.  The 3 sets of 4 factories making P2 components consume 2 components types; one from a launchpad, and one from storage.  The factories then put their product into storage.  The resulting P2 components are fed into the 2 P3 factories (next to the command center).  3 of these planets; each producing a different type of P3 component work in conjunction to feed a single P4 factory making integrity response drones.

The command center being part of the mix is entirely optional.  I built another planet leaving the command center unlinked to any other buildings.

Links are based on a chain from Launchpad - factory - factory - storage; with other bits and pieces linking back to this.  I took this image just before shutting it down; to fix the problem described below;  If I had easy access to both P1, and 5 * zero % tax customs offices in low; I would put lots of these up.

Extraction to P1

My original plan was to have Extraction -> P1 planets, 3 * P1 -> P3 planets (above), and a miscellaneous manufacturing plant that had a P4, a few p3, and a serries of then a P1 -> P4; all running a weekly cycle.  I currently have 6 characters on 2 accounts (and see the day when I get a third account).

Now Extraction -> P1 works really well for a character that has command center upgrade 3 in wormhole space.  1 extractor head, feeding into 1 storage unit.  5 Basic factories pulling resources from the storage unit and in turn feeding 2 launchpads.  For the majority of planets this works.

The problem

The problem is that with 'only' 6 toons, each with 5 planets (Interplanetary Consolidation 4) I simply did not have enough planets to do the extraction, the required P1-> P2 factories, and the single P2-> P4 factory.

The 'farming' is fine; but it's a long way to the shops to pick up the extra bits and pieces.  So, off to re-design what I have done.

I like my rough and ready spreadsheets.  Normally I then export what I have completed to a google docs version so it is easy to share; but I am not quite there yet and it still is in excell format.  This spreadsheet has room for 36 extraction planets and about 40 toon/planet/factory combinations.  It then tells me what I have in surplus, and what I am short of.  Well it would if I entered the right data into it.

The current plan is a mix of extraction only planets, extraction + P1 -> P2 planets, and a final 'mix' planet that has a 6*P2-> 1*P4 chain; a 2*P2-> P3 chain and possibly a couple of P1 -> P2.

Extraction to P1 + P1 to P2

Instead I ended up with a lot of planets looking like this.  A single extractor control unit with 10 heads dumping into a storage unit; with a roughly 7 day extraction cycle.  5 Basic factories feed on the mats in the storage unit producing P1.  I import a complementary P1 and make P2 items with 3 factories.  One of the P2 factories feed off 1 launchpad, a second of the other; and the third gives and takes roughly half from each launchpad.

This has compromises.  I want to fit as many P2 factories on the planet as I can.  For every P2 factory, I need 2 P1 (or basic factories).  I can only fit so many factories with my CCU (command center upgrade) skill at 4.  So, I am left with enough P1 to fill 2.5 P2 factories.  On those few planets I can justify 6 P1 factories, I am restricted down to 1 P2 factory. 

So, I mix and match. Some planets import a little more; some export a little more. Some have no P2 at all

Sure, if I broke down and learned CCU 5, it would help, but 2 more months of training per account for marginal benefit seems better spent elsewhere at this point in time, and make do with what I have.

Split extraction and P1 production

Some planets, even in a wormhole, have less resources.  Both of these are taken from the one planet, centered on two hotspots.  Because I have 2 extractor control units, I can't feed my standard P2 factories.  Oh well, I was heavy on P2 and light on extraction.  The 6 head storage unit gets full quickly, and there is no planet based link between the two sets of buildings.  However, I have made sure I have 0% tax, so can happily use the customs office to easily transfer items between building sets.


Oh and as a final word; make double sure you have factories routed to storage/launchpads, and that the destination has room.  Far too often I have manufactured goods sending them straight into the void; losing not only finished goods but also the inputs material.

Monday 8 October 2012

Wormhole PI setup, part 1

We now have our perfect planetary interaction planets all with 0% tax.  Nothing personal against the owner of the customs office of that last planet, but we wanted 0% tax, and you were never on when I went looking.

The short term aim is to have 6 characters all with Command Center Upgrades 4, Interplanetary Consolidation 4, Planetology 2.  However, Command Center Upgrades 3 is enough to have useful extraction; and many of my characters only have that.  My factory planet characters all have Command Center Upgrades 4.  Nearly there.

It's a long way to the shops from here.  You also never really know where the shops will be.  As such, I am 'farming my own materials'. 

Normally I like to buy the cheap stuff, and process the expensive stuff.  Without easy, reliable access to cheap stuff, I will simply make what I want in here.  The opportunity cost of "buy cheap" and transport exceeds "make locally".  This might change when our wormhole becomes a net (volume) exporter.

Exporting to the best markets will be relatively easy.  At worst, it is haul product at the nearest hisec station, and set up a hauling contract to wherever.  We have a 'static' D382, meaning that it is easy to get to another random C2 system.  Many of those have highsec connections. Hauler services exist for when it is not convenient for us to haul to market; e.g. Red Frog.

Hauling to buy stuff from market is harder.  Often we have been organised, and bought items ahead of time. We consider a 10 jump trip to be short journey even if it is across 2 lowsec systems; and 30 jumps only moderately long.  Some things we will still buy from certain system; but even those of us that are used to buying at the best price are finding the opportunity cost 'expensive'. With the alternatives being
  • Close, cheap enough, buying now; or
  • 45 jumps, cheapest, buy orders, haul right now.
Buying now often trumps hauling long distances now.

And for those keeping track; it is Other players + Interbus 3 vs Us 8.

Thursday 4 October 2012

My act of aggression

I am ... unused to shooting at player stuff.

Our wormhole had mostly Interbus customs offices.

5 have now been replaced, with Interbus successfully defending on 3 occasions; sometimes 'calling in player re-inforcements' or something like that.

However, there are 2 different player corp owned customs offices in here; for corps that appear to be inactive. 

One is around a Barren planet; we have plenty of Barren worlds so this is not a problem; we will ignore this customs office for a while.

Once is around an Oceanic world; and that is a problem.  They are currently charging 5% tax; and if they are still active and paying attention, will have seen income.

While 5% tax is not a lot; I intend to be here for the long term.  I would rather have an upfront charge rather than an ongoing tax.

I could offer to buy the corporation out;  however you need to be in system to hand over rights.  It's a wormhole; and showing even an alt in a shuttle still gives them the ability to bookmark an entrance or tell 'friends' alts where to go in to re-take it.

I could negotiate very low tax, set up planets, and have them at a whim raise the tax.  I suppose that I would not be too badly done by with that.

However, the plan is to take it down; during 'our' peak time, and then allow the weekend for extra during the day time to crash it after re-inforcement.

Then, we will have "perfect PI", with 0% tax.

Monday 1 October 2012

My highsec/lowsec fix


Overview of proposed changes

  • SOS button calling for help.
  • Ship based strontium short duration invulnerabilty module.
  • Split Empire space into 4 levels of safety : High, Medium High, Medium Low, and Low security spaces.  (From my view, ideally it would just be sliding scale but baby steps first.)
    • High is very safe, newbie friendly but otherwise resource limited.
    • Medium high is nearly carebear safe, more resources but not enough.
    • Medium low is a risky for both pirate and carebear, has sufficient resources.
    • Low is pirate haven, plenty of resources.
  • Automated resource adjustment based on desirable population percentages.


I am a relative newcomer to the Eve scene.  I am not (yet) a good player.  I have seen discussion on how to fix the high/low security 'problems', which is probably has long history that I have not fully read.

Here are my 2 ISK.  A good thing that I don't pay by the word.  This is a wall of text. You have been warned.

I fly paper thin ships, and so far, have been pure industrialist.  I am definitely at least part carebear, however with largish kill(ed) log.

Gevlon is probably right about the way to make ISK; station trade and haul between hubs. 
I also agree with some of the old timers that there is too much difference in safety between hisec and low/null/wh.

I however wanted a game where I made stuff.  I was writing down my criteria :
  • A market based manufacturing game.
  • If I stuffed up I would lose stuff but be able to recover.
  • Get my risks right, and I would get my rewards.
  • Open ended or at least re-playable.

Then I released that I already could play Eve that way.

I started highsec PI, moved into lowsec PI, and now am moving into Wormhole PI.

I have little chance of defending against a dreadnought or worse; or against a super fleet going on a crusade.  However C2 wormholes are great. Designed for small groups, with the defenders able to create huge ships but visitors having difficulty.  Later, when I gain more skillpoints, ISK and a larger corporation, we can decide to move into C3 or higher class wormholes : greater risk for the potential of greater reward.

As an industrialist with this play style, I like systems like Niarja, choke points that have some danger;   I should be safe in there, but I care enough to pay attention; stuff up and I am dead.  But there should be more 'interesting' systems.

  • AFK farmers want a place to farm in safety.
  • Haulers want to haul in safety and want to be AFK
  • Manufacturers want facilities to make stuff
  • Pirates want targets
  • Highsec is too safe.  Carebears gather with almost all they need; pirates mostly avoid.
  • Lowsec is too dangerous.  Carebears avoid like the plague; pirates populate.  This means that carebears poking their nose in get it cut off very early, and very hard.

As a goal; More players out of entirely safe space, and into less safe space.  Make the transition safe to not  a graduated slope rather than a binary toggle.  Allow newbies safety, but restrict entirely safe resources; making more resources available in more dangerous areas.

The future as I would design it:
  • better defenses for at keyboard players especially in t1 industrial/miners, 
  • lesser defenses for afk industrial/miners, 
  • and medium zones where the all powerful forces might show up.
  • ????
  • leading to fights for pvp'ers, 

Some of these options may already exist, and I may be unaware of them.  This is also a discussion piece; numbers are merely for discussion.

General items

SOS button

  • All ships get an 'SOS' button, providing a 'warp to me' bookmark to selected parties. 
  • Allow users to chose what channels the SOS message/bookmarks are sent to.  By default : (NPC view only) Concord, (NPC view only) Faction's police (according to standings), Corp, Alliance, Fleet, Local. (local is a two edged sword - probably ok in high, but questionable in lower security spaces)
  • Get a confirmation warning if you issue an 'SOS' but are not under attack. 
  • If you 'call the cops', and the cops don't like you, they are just as likely to shoot you as well. 
  • Yes, you could 'SOS' in local, even as a scammer.
  • 'SOS' calls would have an exponentially increasing delay between available calls: 15 seconds; 30 seconds; 60 seconds; 2 minutes; 4 minutes etc.  (If you get past 4 minutes then the chances are you don't need it anyway.  The only fights I have been in lasting more than 2 minutes are Customs Office bashes).
  • 'SOS' that is sent to concord or the faction's police has an ISK cost; starting as a on default insurance for your ship; doubling each time it is invoked.   As a side note; the better your ship's insurance class, the more likely your insurer (concord) is to turn up.
  • After a suitable delay (maybe the agression timer's delay?) the increased time/costs disapate.
  • Gate guns hit a little harder for each in range 'SOS'.

A ship based strontium module

  • an activated high slot module
  • An at keyboard ability providing 2 minutes of invulnerability, all lock are broken. 
  • While this module is up, you are entirely incapable. (shoot, align, jump etc). 
  • When you come out of your invulnerability; for 60 seconds you are still incapable; your capacitor and shields are both at zero. 
  • Maybe some or all your modules are put offline.  You really are vulnerable after coming out of this shielding.
  • This is a 'delay the inevitable' and pray the cavalry come (spamming your 'SOS' button as often as you can).  For some, it will also increase the "OMFG ****" moment
  • The invulnerability/recovery could be security status based.  3 minutes of invulnerability in 1.0; 5 seconds of invulnerability in -1.0.


Agents should know about supply and demand.  If they have thousands of players doing their missions, they should drop the prices they pay.  If they have gone weeks without someone doing their missions; they should be desperate and pay accordingly.  This would apply to ISK, research and Loyalty points.


In general NPC manufacturing and research spots should be subject to the same demand based costs as offices.  e.g. mostly empty factories are cheap, mostly full factories are very very expensive.  This should be somewhat offset by standing.

High security

First of all, only 1.0 and 0.9 spaces should be 'high security'.  They should include any area that a starter character is likely to be (I think they do, but it is worth checking).  Concord is still all powerful, near instantaneous and deadly.

  • High security space should have all types of basic facilites. 
  • Plentiful but small asteroids.
  • Clones upgrades, but only up to a certain point (maybe 6 months of training?)
  • Insurance on cheap ships only; T1, Meta 0 ships?  The kinds of ships given out in the tutorials.
  • Manufacture/Research slots?  Plentiful but only for short jobs.  Exponential delay as you submit more jobs in any given time frame.  That is, you should be able to do your tutorial missions, and get an easy feel for researching low end BPO's, and generally learn stuff, but serious industrialists doing large jobs should look elsewhere.

Medium high security

This would be 0.8 to 0.6 space.

When you are attacked, powerful NPC has a chance to show up. If you are afk, it will be when they get around to it.  The are far more likely to show up to investiage an SOS or a podkill.  Sometimes this will be all powerful concord.  Sometimes it will be mostly powerful faction.  A faction that is winning at faction war would have more powerful ships than a faction that is loosing.  (i.e. industrialists, you want your faction to have dominance).  Rather than simply time for powerful NPC to show up depend on security, it is also chance of powerful NPC to show up. 

For arguments sake, based on security status 70% in 0.7 space, to 50% in 0.5 space per 'SOS' issued.  1/2 of that for ships attacked but no SOS issued.  Concord/Factions are also more like to show up for high security/standing pilots.

  • Clones, insurance, per existing mechanics
  • Manufacture/research slots should be in demand; many slots, maybe only 1/2 of that required to fulfill player demand.

Medium low security

This would be 0.5 to 0.3 space.

Concord never goes here, but does pay attention (i.e. security standings)

There should be sufficient NPC Manufacture/Research slots to fulfill the player demand in here.  Maybe ME research is still limited, and you may have to go looking for slots as your station is

Well written faction AI's conduct roams of constellations.  These should respond within the same constellation for SOS calls.  They should be powerful but defeatable by a moderate sized gang.  The status of these roams should be determined by agents with the finder service.  Strength based on current faction war status.  They respond 1/2 as often as they do in medium high securty space (say 20% to 10% of the time).  If they are defeated, then new agent missions to bring in parts for them to be re-built are spawned.  Agent missions might also boost the strength of the NPC roams.

Low security

This would be the 0.1-0.2 space; at least all border worlds to null should have a 0.1 system.

NPC Faction roams dont normally go here.  They might be have a small chance to respond to an SOS, and they might perform a weekly sweep if it had high Faction War control.

Even more factories, ore, PI and possibly even surplus ME research slots.


I would also like populations to be self balancing; with a spread of population across the different high/low security statuses, with a bell curve centering slightly favouring medium high security.  I am an industralist after all; Pirates would prefer more population in medium low security space.

Every downtime; take a snapshot of that day's activity. 
  • Too many PVE hours played in high security system?  1% Less respawning of asteroids or asteroid size; 1% of NPC manufacturing/research slots taken offline for 'renovations/repairs', PI extraction etc.
  • Too few PVE hours played in another system?  1% More respawning of asteroids or asteroid size; 1% of NPC manufacturing/research slots put back online after 'renovations/repairs', more PI extraction etc.
  • Too many PVE players ganked in Medium High or Medium Low; 1% buff to faction NPC roams (probably in the respawn times or chances of an extra ship or ship class, or fit).
  • Too many PVP players 'counter-ganked' and not enough PVE players being ganked; 1% nerf to faction NPC roams.

As a possible later change: systems where factions can not control their space (i.e. lots of npc faction roam deaths) would drop in security status;  systems where factions easily control their space would rise in security status.

In Summary

The above changes would be very disruptive; with the automatic balancing, with would continue to be disruptive.  Effort, choices, risk/reward would regularly need to be evaluated.  I also would expect this to push many players further way from Jita.

Players will flock to the perceived best reward for effort, according to their (often unstated) risk profile.
There are Eve players that require :
  • "risk free" gameplay;  This model allows safe gameplay to continue, but encourages resource shortages in safe areas.
  • the best reward; they will have a slow but continuous pressure to move down the security statuses, but have some safety to do so.
  • ships to shoot at; with more rewards being in less safe areas; there should be more targets.