.Torchwood Archives
Torchwood Archives
17Dec/141

LMeve dev blog: Big POCO update coming

Just as promised in the previous LMeve dev blog, I have recently added the ability to track income from individual planets. Moreover, with the new percentage bars, you will know what are your best planets simply by looking at the table. To check how much a specific planet earned you in the last 30 days, simply hover your mouse above that planet's name to see a tooltip with the exact number.

lmeve-poco-update

But this is not the only thing added in this release. Some pages require crunching a lot of data, which means they render rather slowly. Most of this data doesn't change very often, so it seems to be a good idea to generate them once, and then save a cached copy. Then every time users come back to this page, a cached version is displayed, saving everyones time.

One of the pages, the Profit Chart can have several hundred records, which need their manufacturing and invention prices calculated, and it can load for as long as few minutes (depending on individual configuration of course). I used a different approach here: a lazy loader. Instead of one big 2 minute request, I display the page immediately, and as user is scrolling, more data is being loaded into the table in packs of 10 rows.

How to link POCOs with planets & income?

It's not trivial, but far from impossible. Let's have a look at columns returned by the /corp/CustomsOffices.xml.aspx API:

<row itemID="101296791423" solarSystemID="30004295" solarSystemName="Keba" reinforceHour="19" allowAlliance="True" allowStandings="True" standingLevel="-10" taxRateAlliance="0" taxRateCorp="0" taxRateStandingHigh="0" taxRateStandingGood="0.05" taxRateStandingNeutral="0.07" taxRateStandingBad="0.1" taxRateStandingHorrible="0.15" />

There is POCO itemID, which stays the same in all API endpoints, there is solarSystemID and system name. And of course the tax settings. But there is nothing about planet itemID here. Maybe /corp/Locations.xml.aspx endpoint will reveal a bit more?

<row itemID="101296791423" itemName="Customs Office (Keba I)" x="58598019193.2515" y="-5937030740.62145" z="-3890977687.95432" />

Okay, so now we have x, y, z coordinates, and POCOs name. In the first version of POCO management screen I simply cut planet name out of this using a regular expression. But to link it with other data we still need the planet itemID. How do we find it? Well, POCO is orbiting a planet, right? And we have cooridnates of all planets in the Static Data Export database - in the mapDenormalize table. What are we waiting for?

CREATE FUNCTION `findNearest`(`x1` DOUBLE, `y1` DOUBLE, `z1` DOUBLE, `solarSystemID1` INT) RETURNS int(11)
 READS SQL DATA
 RETURN (
 SELECT a.itemID FROM
 (SELECT SQRT(POW(x1-x,2)+POW(y1-y,2)+POW(z1-z,2)) AS dist,itemID
 FROM mapDenormalize
 WHERE `solarSystemID`=solarSystemID1
 ORDER BY dist ASC
 LIMIT 1) a
 )

40271955

Bingo! The function returns the closest solar body, in this case, itemID of the planet. We just have to JOIN two other tables from SDE: invNames to convert the planet ID we just got into planet name, Keba I, and invItems to find it's typeID (Temperate, Barren, Oceanic, etc.).

Ok, now on to income for this specific POCO. For this, we will need  /corp/WalletJournal.xml.aspx endpoint, which contains all the transactions of a corp. The records we are looking for will have refTypeID equal to 96 and 97 (import/export taxes) and the planet itemID will be in argID1 field. Once all joins are in place, we simply have to filter last thirty days and SUM all the amount values.

As usual, the current LMeve version can be downloaded from https://github.com/roxlukas/lmeve

16Dec/140

Caroline’s Nebula

Last thursday CCP Guard and CCP Mimic hosted episode #3 of the o7 show (which, mind you, is quite amazing and you should definitely check it out), and during that show CCP Seagull told us the name of the January expansion, the Proteus. The guys responsible for the Community website have already prepared a page for the upcoming release, and it's available here:

proteus-page

Now back to Caroline's Star. Did you notice the thing in the top left corner, just under words "Proteus 13 Jan"?

carolines-nebula

(original picture is here)

Every supernova leaves a nebula after the explosion. It contains the remains of the exploded star, mostly made of elements heavier than Helium, which were fused during the stellar collapse and subsequent explosion. Mind you, most of the atoms in our very bodies came from a supernova. Anyway, as you can clearly see on the picture, Carolines' Star, despite its superluminal effects, behaves just like a typical nova: it creates a new nebula.

Caroline's Nebula

carolines-nebula-t_plus_24

Updated on Dec 19th:

As it turns out, the background on Proteus website is refreshed every day, so it shows how the nebula looks like in game, in real time.

rhea_21gt8YACsq rhea_23sQX8882M rhea_249dDVA3Yy

10Dec/141

Stargate network in Jove space is destroyed

Almost everyone knows the "Caroline's star"* by now. It's this bright new star, with a vertical streak, that is visible from every corner of New Eden.

carolines-star

 * the screenshot of the new star was first published on Twitter by Caroline Grace. Both CCP and players quickly adopted "Caroline's star" as the name for this phenomenon.

But there is more to it than just a few pixels on the sky. It seems that the recent supernova in Jovian space has destroyed almost all stargates in the following regions: A821-A, J7HZ-F and UUA-F4.

Data mining only confirms these findings. When you queried EVE SDE database for Phoebe for jumps between systems in Jove space, you would get 546 jump connections:

SELECT COUNT(*) 
FROM `eve_pho100_dbo`.`mapSolarSystemJumps` 
WHERE `fromRegionID` 
IN ( 10000004, 10000017, 10000019 ) 
546

But now, when you open your map in game and set all jump lines to be shown, you will notice there is no jump connections in Jove space anymore! Also please notice how the epicenter pinpointed by NPCs players in this ingame news item happens to be exactly in the middle of the cleared area.

carolines-star-explosion

Querying Rhea Static Data Export only confirms this:

SELECT COUNT(*) 
FROM `eve_rhe100_dbo`.`mapSolarSystemJumps` 
WHERE `fromRegionID` 
IN ( 10000004, 10000017, 10000019 ) 
32

Warning: wild speculation follows

This answers the question why CCP has removed Jovian graphical assets from the game earlier this year. There are no Jovians left. I am probably safe to say that by now all the Jove are gone!

This also let's me believe that the whole "Stargate Building" thing shown by CCP Seagull during the last Fanfest will most likely happen in the post-Jovian regions of space. Of course nothing has been confirmed byt the CCP yet.

24Nov/140

Welcome to EVE Online

It all started with a trailer

Last friday CCP published a new EVE Online trailer - one that was solely based on player comms. It's great and if you haven't seen it yet, I really recommend you do so now (please mind there are explicit words there)

If you are here because of that trailer, welcome! EVE Online is an amazing game with a huge world to explore, and multitude of things you can get involved with. The trailer is focused on player-versus-player combat, which is one of the most important features of EVE. But it's just one side of the medal. Where there is destruction, there must also be creation, like Yin and Yang, intertwined in an endless cycle of life.

Got an account yet?

Did you start your account yet? If not, you can use this link to create a 21-day free trial account (it's completely free of charge).

What should new players do in EVE once they start an account?

First off, familiarize yourself with the game and the interface. Do the initial tutorial. Once you're done with the tutorial, I really recommend you run at least some of the advanced tutorials called "Career Agents". These will show you some of the professions and game mechanics, once you've learned the basics. Remember: in EVE you are not bound or limited to any particular profession. If you like something, train the skills required and try it!

Skills in EVE are very much different from other games, because your character is training all the time, even when you are offline. There is also only five levels for each skill, which means that new players can quickly catch up with veteran players in a particular field. Yes, veteran players are experts at almost everything, but they don't use all their skills on a daily basis.

For combat-oriented pilots, the best place to start is Brave Newbies. It is an alliance in EVE Online, where newbies are not only welcome, but they are the base of their fleets. In EVE numbers are somewhat important, and a group of newbies can easily kill experienced solo players. In BRAVE you will jump into action right off the bat on day one.

Make sure to have voice comms installed (the program they use is  called Mumble - here's a link to the setup guide)

For players interested in EVE in general (not just destruction) the best place to start is still the famous EVE University:

EVE University is a neutral, non-profit training corporation in EVE Online that exists to train new players in the basics of life in New Eden. Founded on March 15, 2004 by Morning Maniac, the University continues to uphold a strong reputation through previous wars, robust management, knowledgeable graduates and instructors, and quality students. The heart of the corporation resides in teamwork through wars, events, and cooperative help in the chat channel.

New Eden is a dark and harsh world

Most players are generally friendly towards newcomers, but there will be also black sheep who'd rather kill you, knowing that as a new player you will not know how to properly defend yourself. EVE is a game where PVP combat is non-consensual. Everyone can attack everyone else, anywhere. Of course there are places more secure than others, but in EVE you are never truly safe. High sec areas (systems with Security Status between 0.5 and 1.0) have NPC police known as CONCORD, which will always kill the agressor. But they might not be able to kill the offender before he manages to pick off your ship.

Therefore heed these simple rules:

  • never fly something you can't afford to replace
  • avoid moving cargo worth more than the ship
  • stay vigilant and have your eyes open

There is more to EVE, than just EVE

First off, there is EVE forums. If you want to talk to the devs, this is the first place to look for them. Secondly, there is the #tweetfleet hashtag on Twitter. CCP Games devs are usually quite active here as well. Also make sure to look up the EVE community page for news and information. One of the things you'll find there is the upcoming changes in EVE, which will be delivered on December the 9th in Rhea release.

CCP Games also offers a special API access to their game servers, so players can write third party programs which integrate with the game. The APIs are read-only, so their main purpose is progress tracking, information sharing and coordination.

You can create and manage your API keys here, and then you can use the keys to run one of the mobile apps for EVE:

Further reading

There is many player written guides about EVE, one of them is this guide on the game wiki. There is many things you can do in EVE, and each activity has their own guide. One of the best player created guides to EVE is ISK the guide vol 3.

18Nov/140

New third party page: evelexicon.com

@Fuzzysteve (Steve Ronuken, member of CSM #9 and the guy behind the most popular SDE-to-MySQL and SQLite conversions) has surprised the community today with a very nice simple website:

What does it do? You've guessed it, it's a simple wiki-like vocabulary for EVE Online. Everyone is welcome to add new definitions to it. How do you log on? Simple: Eve Lexicon is using EVE SSO, so go on, log in using your EVE Online credentials, and add some definitions!

The site is written in PHP with a tiny bit of JQuery to make it pretty. EVE SSO integrations are now possible thanks to the new Third Party Developers Portal. A sample SSO library for developers (also by @Fuzzysteve) is available at github.com.

18Nov/140

Mobile apps for EVE Online on Windows Phone

companion-apps-all

» For iOS and Android apps please view this post «

About two years ago I've written a post about iOS and Android apps for EVE Online, but I didn't have any Windows Phone device at the time, so I had to skip this fledgling platform. Said post has become very popular and is one of my top post to the date. Few months ago I've become owner of Nokia Lumia running Windows Phone 8.1, so I am now able to test EVE apps on Windows Phone. Enjoy!

Windows Phone 8 apps

EVE Mail

EVE Mail is in-game mail client. Entering API Key is straightforward - simply press the plus sign on the first page. Once you've done that, your characters will appear on the front page. Each toon has their own set of mailboxes including "Inbox" (all mail), "Personal" (character mail), "Corporation" (corp mail) and "Alliance" (as name says). You also see your "Mail lists" and "Sent" which holds all messages you've sent. XML EVE API does not let messages to be sent from device, so this app is of course read-only.

Unfortunately the app does not have a Live Tile, which would utilize one of the most powerful features of Windows Phone. There is also no notifications when new mail arrives - you have to open the app to manually refresh the mails.

All in all, the app is still useful, because it gets the job done.

eve mail 1 eve mail 2 eve mail 3

Eve Mercenaries

This is an ultra simple reference app. Looking for a Mercenary? Download this app and you'll know who to talk to. Information is divided by space type (high sec, low sec, null and wh space).

While the app does contain some potentially useful information, it is very poorly designed. Readibility and formatting is well below acceptable level. There is not even an "About" screen, so I had to go back to Windows Store to find out who to blame. Sorry Team R Helix, I am no Windows Phone dev, but I can make a better looking app in under an hour.

eve mercenaries

Eve Mining Monitor

Now something well designed for a change (and quite useful, too). This is another reference app, this time for miners. It does exactly the same thing as LMeve Ore Chart: shows the ISK value per cubic meter of every ore and every ice in game. However, you have to make sure to update the prices before using the app, or the Ore chart will be inaccurate. Go to Settings and choose either Region or Trade Hub prices and then hit refresh. Good job, Vagus Malakhov!

emm 1 emm 2 emm 3

Eve Price

Another reference app, this time for market traders (but let's face it, everyone needs a Jita price check now and then). There is two lookup modes:

  • Quick - simply enter item name and system - app will try to guess what you mean and will provide a quick  drop down list with most relevant choices
  • Search - enter item name, choose region (and optionally system)

What I find useful about this app is that you can save your favourite searches on the "Favorites" page - so there is no need to enter item and system names every time.

All price data comes from eve-central.com.

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EVEision

First character tracker for Windows Phone in this test. It is very simple, but gets the job done.

  • "Details" page shows characater name and portrait, amount of ISK, character attributes and clone data. Note: no numer formatting on the ISK field. Can't see if I have 3 billion ISK or three hundred million.
  • "Now Training" page shows information and progress bar for the skill currently in training. You can add a reminder when the skill is trained.
  • "Queue" page shows the current skill queue. Note: on the small screen of my Lumia, the font used for the skill list seems a little too big.
  • "Skills" page shows all the skills currently trained by the character.
  • "Certificates" page currently shows nothing (bug?)

wp_ss_20141118_0026 wp_ss_20141118_0027 wp_ss_20141118_0028 wp_ss_20141118_0025

EveLet

Another character progress tracker. This one allows one more thing, compared to EVEision: it shows market transactions. Unfortunately (again) has problems with number formatting. While ISK amounts look fine, training times are shown in a weird format: D.H:mm:ss

It does however support Start Tiles (not Live Tiles though, but still, it's better than no tiles support whatsoever). You can pin any of your characters to the start menu. Tapping the tile brings up EveLet showing this specific character. Neat!

  • Summary - shows corp, ship, ISK and SP amounts, Skill Queue and Market Transaction summary
  • Queue - shows current skill queue
  • Transactions - shows the list of last market transactions
  • Orders - shows the list of current market orders

wp_ss_20141118_0031 wp_ss_20141118_0029 wp_ss_20141118_0030

EVEMON 7

Yup, it's the same EVEMON you know from the "big" Windows and it's been developed by the same team of people.

Unfortunately... it does not work :-( After entring API key it complains about the format of the Characters.xml.aspx endpoint, so it probably requires some compatibility work. I will review it again when (and if) it is properly updated.

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EVE Profiler

One more character tracker. And I must say I'm impressed, because it is very well designed. It looks both like a native Windows Phone app (puts emphasis on fonts, font sizes and minimalistic design), and an EVE Online themed app. Menu slides in from the left and looks similar to NEOCOM strip in game. Very good design, Mr Jeremy Shore!

Regarding features it is rather limited when compared to the other character trackers. It offers the following:

Character Summary page: corporation, when joined, security status, active ship

Eve Mail page - a very neat mail reader

Skills page - I was unable to load all the skills Lukas has :(

Unfortunately it is less stable than the other apps and crashed to start menu a few times. Maybe it is just my budget Lumia. I hope Jeremy updates his app soon, because it looks really great.

wp_ss_20141118_0037 wp_ss_20141118_0038 wp_ss_20141118_0039 wp_ss_20141118_0040

EveWP

Probably the best character tracker for Windows Phone so far, it is both stable, good looking and has quite some features. Don't let that home brew icon fool you. After entering the API key, main menu is shown and it consist of:

  • pilot list
  • notifications
  • eve-news (several sources news reader, including eve news 24, tmc and official eve online feeds)

After choosing on of the characters, several pages worth of information are shown:

  • sheet - shows security status, currently piloted ship and location, ISK balance, SP amount, Clone grade, date of character creation and attributes
  • queue - shows skill queue
  • skills - displays currently trained skills. Note: it's the only app that has skills grouped like in game
  • notifications - like name says

And it supports Live Tiles on the start menu! I really recommend this app. Good job, 3rd Rock Studios!

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Mili: Damage

Another ultra simple reference app. Remember when everyone had damage dealt/weakness for all factions in their bio? Well, this is it.

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Ship Browser

This app is a ship database. It takes a while to load, but is packed with information, and can even display some of the ships in 3D. It looks very much like a show info window and contains the same st of information (ship stats, description, ship image). If you can't live without spinning ships on the go, this app is for you.

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17Nov/142

Inspired by Rixx Javix: Megathron Quafe Edition

Have you ever heard of Rixx Javix? I bet you have. Well, our famous blogger friend from Eveoganda has recently started drawing EVE Online ships in Adobe Illustrator in order to create high quality posters that you can then print out on A0 and put on your wall, so everyone knows that internet spaceships are your hobby. I really recommend you take some time, and have a look at his work here: Art Print Poster Series.

The series looks great, each ship is positioned in a way that presents it best, and is meticulously detailed, so even after printing at a very high resolution, it still looks amazing. I guessed the method Rixx used to create these (he later confirmed it on his blog), and - being inspired with his work - took my own attempt at recreating one of the most iconic ships in EVE - The Megathron - in a vector drawing. But it's not just any Megathron - it's Megathron Quafe Edition.

Rixx is using Adobe software to make his series, namely Illustrator and Photoshop. I have chosen to use open source software instead, so my poster was made with The GIMP and Inkscape. Both me and Rixx used The Amber's excellent ship viewer known as "Jeremy" at http://caldariprimeponyclub.com/ for reference.

Click to download 300dpi versionFeel free to download the vector SVG version here.

15Nov/140

New Blackbird & Incursus models in Rhea

Hi fellow pilots of EVE! In this post I have gathered screenshots from Singularity which show new and revisited ship models coming in Rhea. If you haven't read CCP Seagull's feature dev blog yet, I really recommend you do it now.

The revisited models include Incursus (all variants, both special edition and Tech II) and Blackbird (including Rook and Falcon). Moreover, Onyx and Eagle have been given a tiny facelift to make them look different from the Tech I variant.

While I realy like the new Incursus and it's Tech II versions (my favourite assault frigate, the Enyo), Blackbird and especially Falcon are IMHO overdone. There is so much antennas sticking out in all different places, that it looks like some kind of satellite instead of a spaceship. What I do like is the ramjet engine, which is opened when the ship goes to warp, giving the whole vessel a mantis-like look. This is of course my own opinion and I hope you guys will like it much more than I do ;-)

All the screenshots have been taken on singularity in the new PBR rendering mode, which makes all the reflections and light distribution look way more natural. Amarr ships look especially gorgeous now!

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14Nov/140

Ore value chart – Arkonor and Omber at the bottom

Hello industrial-minded pilots! Today we will be talking mining. Many players consider it boring, but it is one of the ways to play EVE, and no one would be able fly any ships if not for the fearless miners, who keep drilling asteroids, despite being ganked left and right.

Some time ago, to help my corp members, I have created an "Ore value chart", which shows which ore is worth most ISK, and thus is the best to be mined at any given time. Since I don't mine myself very often, I don't often check the chart.

I had a look at the ore chart today and was quite surprised

ore-values

Why? Because Arkonor is, besides Omber, one of the worst ores to mine right now (ISK-wise). The king of all ores, the "A" in the famous ABC, has reached the bottom. At the same time, three high sec ores made it to the top ten! Players who engage in mining and industry will be quick to respond "This is because of the supply and demand laws". And they will be mostly correct. when EVE was first designed, some assumptions were made regarding ore value and mineral prices. The whole industry system was designed around the concept of risk vs reward:

  • high sec offers least risk, nullsec on the other hand is most risky

thus

  • ores in null sec should be worth most, so they offer the highest reward

Moreover, to promote player trading between regions, high sec ores were not distributed evenly. Instead, some high sec ores like Kernite or Pyroxeres only appear in specific regions of space.

CCP probably assumed, that only a handful of miners will be bold (or powerful) enough to mine in null, so the supply of high end minerals will guarantee their high price. In order to further reinforce this system, blueprint mineral requirements were set accordingly.

From theoretical point of view (hi Game Theory!), this made a very well designed crafting system: it offered meaningful choices (where and what to mine, and how much to risk) and also promoted player interaction by the means of trading.

All this was working well ten years ago

But no more. What was impossible to predict, was player behaviour. Firstly, game designers couldn't predict which blueprints will be utilized the most. Each blueprint has a specific material list, and the global production affects global demand for specific minerals, for example Mexallon. Secondly, right now mining in nullsec is most often safer than mining in high sec (hi, James!), which affects the supply. All these small reasons ultimately affect the prices of the minerals and cause shifts in the table. High demand for Mexallon is what moved Kernite and Plagioclase to the top ten. In the end, this is good for EVE, because it makes mining a viable profession. I know people who easily PLEX their accounts, and they do nothing else but mining and occasional manufacturing.

But Can I haz the Ore Value Chart?

I left the best for the end. If you are a miner, and always want to know which ores pays best, you have two choices:

  • Install and run your own instance of LMeve, which has the Ore Value Chart built in (check under "Database" tab)
  • Go to LMeve Database, which is publicly available and check the Ore Value Chart right away without installing anything

That's it for today! Fly safe o7

13Nov/140

LMeve dev blog: Catching up with Phoebe. Bonus: setting up SSO

Good news! Last monday I had a day off, so I finally caught up with all outstanding tasks, including making LMeve Phoebe-compatible. In the meantime, I started tinkering with the following features:

Vagrantfile, bootstrap.sh

These two files make it easier to set up a host for any app. Trent Bartlem suggested to me on Github to include these files back in August. While the files themselves are pretty straightforward to prepare, I have to install LMeve from scratch somewhere to make sure I included all the necessary packages required to run LMeve. It's on my to do list, and it should happen sooner than soon™.

Page Caching

Another idea I have is to make the longest loading pages cached (and maybe - just maybe - refreshed in the background, for example by the poller). Code to make this kind of caching possible is already written, and two sample pages (Inventory, Profit Chart) have been added as well. I use AJAX call to request the cached page, and if  cached version is not available (or has expired) I display a "Loading..." sign and prepare a refreshed version of the page. I was thinking about adding a "Force refresh" button, so users can force LMeve to refresh a cached page.

I still evaluate how this improves performance, but it looks pretty good and should become public soon.

PoCo module

lmeve-pocoLast one on the To Do list is expanding PoCo module. It has been recently revamped with features such as displaying last month's income and current month income prediction. Judging by the talk I had with Dracoth Simertet from RvB (they have a huge PoCo network) and CCP FoxFour, there is a demand for a tool for managing PoCo networks. But what features would you need to monitor your PoCos?

  • Last month income per PoCo (currently only a sum for entire corp is displayed)
  • Planet type the PoCo is orbiting
  • Number of interactions
  • Client list per PoCo (by corp, by char)
  • Reinforced status
  • Do you have more ideas? Please leave a comment if you do!
    • We are only limited with what's available in the API

SSO integration

I have mentioned a few times already that LMeve can benefit from EVE SSO, but some players were not sure how to set it up. Don't worry! I've got you covered! Here's a quick guide.

  • Secondly, click "Create new application"
    developers-02
    developers-03
  • Fill in the form. Application Name can be for example "LMeve - <your corporation name here>"
  • Now make sure to fill in Callback URL field correctly. If your LMeve address is https://myhostname.com/lmeve/, then the correct callback will be https://myhostname.com/lmeve/ssologin.php
  • Save the changes.

Once the application has been created, open it again by clicking the "View application" button, and write down these two values:

  • Client ID
  • Secret Key

developers-04

they will be required to complete setup on the LMeve side.

  • Log in to your web server host, open up config/config.php in your LMeve directory.
  • Find these variables, enter your callback URL and the values written down in previous step:
//use EVE SSO - see https://wiki.eveonline.com/en/wiki/EVE_SSO_Documentation
$SSOENABLED=TRUE; 
$SSO_REDIRECT_URL='https://myhostname.com/ssologin.php';
$SSO_CLIENT_ID='sso_client_id';
$SSO_CLIENT_SECRET='sso_client_secret';
//Auth server can be either login.eveonline.com for Tranquility, or sisilogin.testeveonline.com when trying to use Sisi.
$SSO_AUTH_SERVER='login.testeveonline.com';
  • Make sure characters are connected to LMeve usernames. This is crucial for the SSO to work!
    • Go to "Characters" module in LMeve and check if your characters are there.

lmeve-sso

Now you are ready to use EVE SSO to login to your LMeve instance!