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29Oct/150

Taking a break

Hi,

I'm taking a break from EVE Online (possibly for good), so this blog will not be updated until further notice.

In the meantime, feel free to check out my other projects:

All the above are still supported and updated, so drop me a mail if you have any issues:
email

Yours,
Lukas Rox

29Oct/150

LMeve Killboard mentioned in o7 show Episode#10

Making a killboard with real 3D ships didn't go unnoticed, specifically CCP Guard mentioned it in Episode#10 of the o7 show.

Check it out (starts at 29:05):

LMeve Killboard featured in o7

This new killboard is part of LMeve, so you can have it, too!

28Sep/150

LMeve dev-blog: Killboard with WebGL ship preview

It was quiet on the blog lately, but behind the scenes I was receiving tons of valuable feedback, and development was slowly but surely progressing through the past month.

There were two recurring questions in the feedback I was getting:

  • Corp API Keys editable in GUI
  • Killboard

So these two features have been made the top priorities. Here's the results:

Killboard

Some people set up an instance of LMeve, and then on the same host they set up a killboard. How convenient would it be if one app contained both? Good idea. But there is so many killboards already available, that writing a new one which copies existing functionality made little sense. I had to do something new!

In the previous release, LMeve got ship fitting preview in Inventory, and it felt like a great way to display the fitting of destroyed ships as well. But first, I need the killmail data.

Killmails are available from two APIs: XML (with corp API Key) and CREST (you need to know certain information about the killmail to be able to fetch it). Item list in the XML API lacks specialized cargoholds, so I opted for a hybrid approach. First, I download Killmail.xml.aspx, based on this information I can calculate a killmail hash required by CREST, and finally download the CREST Killmail to fetch complete item list, including fittings and specialized cargoholds. This default behavior can however be changed in Settings, where you can choose to use plain XML API instead (it's a little faster, but fittings of destroyed ships might be incomplete).

Right, but theres nothing new here, right? zKillboard does this out of the box. Well, true.

That's where the second feature comes in. I changed the fitting display to include a 3D ship preview (rendered using CCP WebGL) instead of a static ship image (which, mind you, is a fallback for older PCs/browsers). Yup, you can spin and zoom the ship on the killmail! It works in Inventory, too!

Enough words, pics or it didn't happen:

killboard webgl_killboard_4 webgl_killboard_3 webgl_killboard_2 webgl_killboard_1

Corp API Keys editable in GUI

This is a very simple, yet important feature. Previously, during LMeve installation procedure you had to input your API Keys in PhpMyAdmin, by directly inserting into a database. I've chosen not to expose API Keys in GUI, because they could potentially be abused. But this made already complicated installation procedure even worse, so after some deliberation I've decided to add a GUI for it.

corpapikey

And here's the complete list of this month's features, coming to LMeve in 0.1.55:

  • Fully functional Killboard
  • XML and CREST killmail support in API Poller
  • Can use either XML or CREST killmail endpoint (configurable in Settings)
  • CCP WebGL preview in Inventory and Killboard ship fitting window
  • You can now input Corp API Keys in GUI
  • Disabled accounts have existing sessions terminated immediately
  • Bug fixes
20Aug/150

LMeve dev blog: Does inventory only track minerals?!

This headline is actually one of the most often asked questions by brand new LMeve users. And it makes sense after all: the default install would only have minerals set to "Track stock", so only minerals would show after opening inventory.

Well, not anymore.

Inventory has been rebuilt to resemble in-game inventory. All belongings of your corporation, be it POS structures, offices in stations or even containers - will now be available for browsing.

inventory

Pretty neat, eh? Okay. You've noticed those assembled Exequrors over there? Are you thinking the same thing I'm thinking? Wouldn't it be cool to inspect the fitting of such an assembled ship?

It would!

When you hover on a fitted module, LMeve will show a tooltip with it's name in a similar manner EVE game client would.

Ok. Now onto the next thing. As you most likely know, LMeve Database already sports 3D SKIN preview. I've refined this feature even further by giving it the ability to load any SKIN from the matching race, not just the ones you can buy from NeX store.

Quafe Exequror anyone?

quafe-exequror

Please mind this feature is readily available in the public LMeve Database, so go ahead and take a peek!

So many images and so little reading! Well, I had to show you the most iconic features of this release, because one picture is worth a thousand words they say. Wait, did I say iconic features?

This release actually has new support for item icons, and when you're installing LMeve you can now choose to host the typeids icons with your instance (and update every 5 weeks as new EVE releases show up), or rely on CCP imageserver. Keeping your install up to date is one bit easier now!

There's also a few smaller changes

  • Additional tooltips - should help new users understand how things work
  • Customizable market hub to get material prices from - defaults to Jita, but you can freely change it
  • Customizable manufacturing sytem Index (Crius NPC cost formula) - same as above, used to calculate Manufacturing costs
  • Customizable price modifier for Buy Calculator - if you want to pay more (or less) to your corp mates for their minerals, set the modifier here
  • Real time API poller stats - shows in real time what the API background process is doing at the moment
  • Bug fixes

That's it for today, and as usual, the new release is up on Github: https://github.com/roxlukas/lmeve

Fly safe o/

3Jul/150

LMeve dev blog: drill down & aggregate

Hi space friends!

Today I'm going to talk about how important constructive feedback is and how to show more information in the same amount of space 🙂

A few days ago I was contacted by an interpid industrialist who is using LMeve in his daily work. The amount of ideas this pilot sent me was amazing - thank you very much, sir! There were also two bug reports in that single mail. Awesome!

This is the kind of feedback is very useful, so if you have ideas for LMeve or found a bug in it, please don't hesitate to contact me.

Okay, now onto the new features

First off, the Industry Statistics got some love, namely, I broken down the amount of jobs started by activity type. So now you see how many of them are manufacturing jobs, and what else did your corp members do. The underlying code has been changed as well, because previously I constructed the JSON data for graph plugin by hand (inefficient!) and now I create a PHP object that gets json_encode()-d instead. In the end, more information is displayed in the same amount of space, and the code is less spaghetti!

industry-statisticsThere will be one more graph coming in Industry Statistics - with jobs delivered this time.

The second feature was requested by our new CEO (hi Razeu o7). In short, it allows to aggregate the Timesheet output at player level rather than character level. Some corp members use all of their characters for industry, and paying out monthly wage to each character is very inefficient - plus those players will then have to move the ISK to one pilot afterwards if they want those hard-earned money in one wallet. So now instead of a list of characters and how much they earned, you get a shorter list made of players.

aggregate-by-player

If you wonder if running high sec industry CAN earn you a PLEX  monthly, wonder no more. One of our players made 837 million ISK last month. He was only running industry on two characters, and one of the toons made over 600 million! Like that kind of income? <recruiter hat on> Apply to Aideron Technologies right away! </recruiter hat off>

The last new feature is a little thing (now I know how CCP Karkur & CCP Punkturis feel when adding little things), but for some players it will proove very useful: EVE Time is now displayed on the top of LMeve window. It is a client side thing, so your computer clock has to be set right for this to work (enable NTP, set the correct time zone).

Bug hunting is a thing these days

The second part of the last LMeve update is bug fixes. There are three in this release:

  • Session timer now correctly counts since LAST ACTION done in the app, rather than since logon time
  • Ore Value Chart is now restored (a small bug related to code refactoring prevented it from displaying)
  • CREST is now using HTTPS. For some reason I forgot to do this earlier and it was using HTTP. Doh!

As usual, the latest update is available on Github.

6Jun/150

SKINs support added in LMeve (with CCP WebGL preview)

Hi space friends!

Team Size Matters at CCP has recently shipped a very cool feature that I've already praised in this post. In short, you can now apply different paintjobs to your ships, and you can even change them mid-flight, in space!

The first time I saw it in game I realized it would be damn cool to use CCP WebGL and have it in LMeve as well - either for reference, or to choose which SKINs you'd like to buy.

Steve Ronuken again proved his place on the CSM is one well deserved. He was so helpful, that he already imported the new SKIN YAML files to his MySQL conversion of EVE Static Data.

All I had to do is bind them to Database module in LMeve. Sounds easy, right?

Well, not so fast. While CCP was generally very helpful by providing all the data I need, they provided this data in a bit inconsistent way. I'm talking about SKIN icons in Image Export Collection. Every typeID in the game, be it a ship, module or even DUST weaponry has two sizes of icons in Types.zip file. It applies to all items, but not SKINs! SKINs have their icons in Icons.zip "because SKINs are not linked to typeIDs" according to CCP FoxFour. Well, I agree to some extent, but then when you look at it, all SKIN Licenses typeIDs have an icon in Types.zip already - they just have this exclamation mark icon instead of the pretty hull colour preview known from the game client.

I didn't realize that these icons were in the other file - as soon as I saw the exclamation mark, instead of digging in more files, I have immediately set out to create a piece of code to draw these icons myself.

It didn't take long before I ended up with this JavaScript piece: https://jsfiddle.net/zbasb4jc/


Possible? Possible! It does not look *exactly* like SKIN icon in game. First I didn't know how to do gradients of the top of my head, and secondly, by now you've realized the first icon above is for Wiyrkomi SKIN, right? Then it means it is good enough 😉

The second step was to modify the Database view to display a list of available SKINs for selected ship, and modifying code handling CCP WebGL to load the correctly skinned version.

Here's an example page for Caldari Raven, and a fullscreen 3D preview:

lmeve-skins-database lmeve-skins-preview

Feel free to explore this new feature yourself - the public version of LMeve Database has been updated to show SKINs as well!
http://pozniak.pl/database/index.php?id=10&id2=1&nr=638

2Apr/150

LMeve dev-blog: Bugfixes and POS tracking improvements

Hi space friends!

More and more of you have already tried LMeve, which I am incredibly grateful for. This means more people are testing the app and I get more feedback, which is awesome. I also get a lot of questions which I try to answer the best I can and in a timely fashion.

Remember: by trying and using LMeve you help developing it!

Few players also caught some bugs, that I'm happy to announce, have been properly squashed in the 0.1.52 release.

  • Bug fix in db.php "Notice: LM_dbhost is not defined" - added $LM_dbhost to global declaration in db.php
  • Bug fix in Database - "function eregi() is deprecated" - replaced with preg_match()
  • Bug fix in YAML updater - changed 'DROP TABLE' to 'DROP TABLE IF EXISTS' to prevent errors if the table was not created yet.

One bug was found by my trusty Aideron Technologies beta testers:

  • Non-recurring Tasks (singleton) bug fix - one-time tasks did not display correctly due to a mistake in SQL query

What's new besides Bugfixes?

  • Poller now fetches StarbaseDetails.xml and CREST industry cost indexes

The first API feed is used by POS tracking code to display accurate and up-to-date fuel levels in LMeve Inventory. The second CREST feed provides NPC cost index to the build cost estimation formula (I currently use an average system index, so you might pay more or less than what LMeve uses for price estimates).

In the next release I will add a "Industry home system" field in Settings, where you will choose your home system. LMeve will then use this system's cost index in all it's calculations.

  • New POS management screen - displays fuel amounts and how long it will last
  • There is now a notification when any tower has less than 48 hours of fuel left

new-pos-screen

  • Tech III invention added. You can now add Tech III invention tasks and get price estimates for Tech III
  • New global setting for the default Relic type for use with Tech III Invention (Intact, Malfunctioning or Wrecked)

Download LMeve here

https://github.com/roxlukas/lmeve/

If you are updating from a previous release, please remember to create new tables included in this release using /data/schema-delta-0.1.51-0.1.52.sql

Try-before-you-buy

Well, LMeve is free software, so you don't have to buy it 🙂 (donations are of course welcome!). But let's get back to business. Installation requires some technical knowledge, so to make it easier for you guys to try it out, I have prepared a pre-installed Virtual Machine with LMeve, which runs on free VMware Player. You can download the image here: https://pozniak.pl/lmeve-vm/ 

  • it contains LMeve 0.1.52
  • static data is updated to Scylla
  • after booting it shows the IP address to point your web browser to:

lmeve_vm

23Feb/150

CCP WebGL updated!

This is probably one of the best news for T'Amber and me in a long time: a CCP dev Filipp (we don't know his CCP nickname yet) has updated CCP WebGL library to use V4 shaders, and moreover he did a complete model export up to date with EVE Tiamat release. What this means is that third-party projects like LMeve and Jeremy can again display all ships in EVE in full glory with up to date shaders and models!

The new webGL library is a little different from the previous one, because it is using the new SOF mechanism (Space Object Factory) instead of plain .red files.

For example, to load an Onyx heavy dictor, old javascript call looked like this:

var ship = scene.loadShip('res:/dx9/model/ship/caldari/Cruiser/CC2/Kaalakiota/CC2_T2a_Kaalakiota.red', undefined);

and new call is a little different:

var ship = scene.loadShip('cc2_t2a:kaalakiota:caldari', undefined);

You probably noticed that instead of a file name we have three "ship DNA" strings now. The mapping between ship's typeID and the corresponding SOF entries are stored in graphicIDs.yaml, which is available in Static Data Export:

graphicID description sofFactionName sofHullName sofRaceName
10 Moon NULL NULL NULL
38 Caldari Frigate Bantam caldaribase cf1_t1 caldari
39 Caldari Frigate Condor caldaribase cf2_t1 caldari
40 Caldari Frigate Griffin caldaribase cf4_t1 caldari
41 Caldari Cruiser Osprey caldaribase cc1_t1 caldari
42 Caldari Cruiser Caracal caldaribase cc3_t1 caldari
43 Caldari Battleship Raven caldaribase cb1_t1 caldari
44 Minmatar Frigate Slasher minmatarbase mf1_t1 minmatar

I have already updated LMeve to use the new library, but because of a small issue (more on that below), it currently only works if your LMeve is served using HTTP.

Updated Onyx model

Public LMeve Database has been updated as well. Here's an example page with the Amarr Confessor (please note you must press "3D" button for the WebGL preview to load).

All roses have thorns

Unfortunately the current version of the CCP webGL library has some drawbacks, too:

  • there are two model/texture sources now (so a simple reverse proxy like the one I've developed for LMeve won't handle it)
  • both sources use HTTP, so modern browsers like Chrome will trigger a security error when trying to load HTTP based resources from HTTPS based website.

The latter is a very simple thing and I'm sure Filipp will be able to correct it. With CORS headers now properly set on CCP CDN we no longer need a proxy to serve models and textures.

New version of Jeremy in the making

With the new webGL library T'Amber sees a lot of potential to improve Jeremy. the new version would be using dynamically generated list of ships (instead of hardcoded list maintained by T'Amber). I will help with all the backend work (for example serving all SOF and invTypes data by JSON API).

Here's a little teaser:

Stay tuned, because we are working hard to deliver you the best possible out of game ship spinning experience 🙂

AVvDxvj cpj6GjW

16Feb/150

LMeve dev blog: important fix in dates, proxy and one more thing

Hi space-friends!

I won't lie to you, I haven't been playing much EVE lately. All the spare time that I was able to find was used to improve and fix LMeve. And Aideron Technologies found a big-badda-bug this time.

On the last saturday of January, a corpmate asked me why he can't see the effect of his fire sales on the corp wallet graph in LMeve. It was the last day of January, and all graphs showed an empty bar for January 31st.

First I thought that poller might have stopped and we don't get up to date API data. But I was quickly proven wrong, because I could clearly see all the recent market transactions in the database. "Must be a mistake in code that feeds database values to the graph" I thought. But when I checked that code, it only confirmed what I saw on the graph: that the value for the last day is indeed equal zero.

If the data is in the database, then it must be some kind of a presentation error; there is simply no way last day should show zero!

Let's have a look at the database query used to retrieve the wallet data for a specific month. The clue must be there!

SELECT SUM(awj.amount)/1000000 AS income,date_format(awj.date, '%e') AS day FROM
apiwalletjournal awj
JOIN apireftypes art
ON awj.refTypeID=art.refTypeID
WHERE awj.date BETWEEN '${year}-${month}-01' AND LAST_DAY('${year}-${month}-01')
AND awj.corporationID=${corp['corporationID']}
AND awj.refTypeID <> 37
AND awj.amount > 0
GROUP BY date_format(awj.date, '%e')
ORDER BY date_format(awj.date, '%e');

Everything looks good from here, we SUM all transactions with positive "amount" field, and group them by the "day". Of course I want output in millions of ISK, so I divide it by 1 000 000. Then we only select records between '$year-$month-01' and the last day of the same month. Everything else is just filtering the correct corporation (because one instance of LMeve can monitor many corps at a time), filtering out player donations (refTypeID 37) and ordering the output by day, so we get a list of values for an entire month, from 1st day till the last.

How come this query will always return zero for the last day? Maybe that LAST_DAY() function actually returns last-but-one day?

SELECT LAST_DAY('2015-01-01');
2015-01-31
one row selected

Hmmm, it works exactly as advertized...

Or does it? Records in the wallet journal table don't just have a DATE of the transaction, they have a full DATETIME! And what LAST_DAY() returns, is midnight on the last day of month! The entire timespan from midnight of that day until 23:59 that day is... well... filtered out. That explains why the last day was always missing.

How to fix it then?

Well, since we're missing exactly 24 hours, it's as simple as adding 1 day interval to the output of LAST_DAY():

WHERE awj.date BETWEEN '${year}-${month}-01' AND DATE_ADD(LAST_DAY('${year}-${month}-01'), INTERVAL 1 day)

LMeve CDN proxy

Now something else. As you know, I am now hosting T'Ambers ship painting tool - caldariprimeponyclub.com. In short, the problem was with the CCP CDN not setting Access-Control-Allow-Origin * in the header for users in AU and NZ regions (or some transparent proxy on the way stripped that header). Regardless, the end result was that T'Amber's tool was unable to fetch 3D models and textures and ended up with a blank screen. I had a similar issue in LMeve a while back, and I made a very simple proxy in PHP, which would fetch the file from CCP CDN using curl, add the necessary CORS headers, and then send it back to the user.

The original proxy was really crude and could cause unnecessary network traffic, because every time user asked for file 'A.png' I would download file 'A.png' from CCP CDN, even if I have downloaded this file five seconds ago! Couldn't I just save the file on disk, so I only retrieve each file once? Well, I've added the necessary logic, and the file is now saved in a cache, so I only retrieve each and every file once.

Now the second thing we needed was Analytics. It is a simple thing really: it's statistics and visibility. I keep a log that contains information about the file (filename, path and its size in bytes) if the file was served from my local cache or retrieved from CCP servers, when it was retrieved, and the IP address of the client (which makes pretty much a standard proxy log). Once I have all this information, I can plot pretty graphs showing how many unique users were there on any given day, how many files they retrieved, and how much traffic they created:

lmeve-cdn-stats-solarized-light

Happy ship painting!

quafe-domi

One more thing

As you have noticed on that last screenshot, LMeve has a brand new skin. That skin is not just a random beige palette. I recently learned of a color scheme which improves readability in text and programming editors, dubbed "Solarized". That colour set contains 8 monotones and 8 accent colours which have several unique properties. First, they cause much less stress on the eyes, and second, they are displayed correctly on old and new displays, even on intentionally miscalibrated ones.

These two new skins have been added under Settings -> Preferences: solarized-light.css (above) and solarized-dark.css (best for night owls). They are way more minimalistic than original LMeve skins, and they don't contain too many images, which makes them "work-safe".

lmeve-cdn-stats-solarized-dark

Hint: you can go further and remove all the images from LMeve. To do that, simply make a copy of your favourite skin .css file (they are in /wwwroot/css/ directory) and add this code:

img {
visibility: hidden;
}

This will hide all the images (character portraits, item icons and so on), but will retain the space that these images would normally occupy. This way LMeve remains completely usable, but becomes a "text only" application, that looks like everything but game 😉

21Jan/150

LMeve dev blog: POCO details page and client list!

In November 2013 CCP has allowed high sec NPC Customs Offices owned by Interbus to be destroyed and then replaced with player owned ones. Previously only low-sec Customs Offices were vulnerable. Of course having POCOs makes a very nice passive source of ISK (you don't have to do anything, apart from an occassional call to arms to defend them). But have you ever wondered how much you earn through your POCO network or who is using them?

In a previous update of LMeve I have added the ability to visualize which POCOs earn the most ISK, and in this iteration I continue the trend to show even more details. You can now choose a specific POCO and see a Details page for it. This page shows how much this specific Customs Office earned in the last 30 days - counting between 30 days ago and today, income in the last calendar month, and in the current one, so you can see trends).

What's another new thing is the list of your customers. Corp Wallet Journal entries for planetary taxes show the client's name and planets ID, so by running an aggregate query on that you can see:

  • who is using a specific POCO
  • how often they use it
  • how much they pay in taxes (so you can approach them and offer a discount in exchange for let's say blue status)

Note: due to this information being obtained from corp Wallet Journal, it won't show characters who have 0% tax rate, as these people will only pay the NPC tax, and no taxes to your corp at all (so no records are added to corporation Wallet Journal).

PI new planet detail screen

If you have ideas for more features in LMeve, please feel free to contact me. The best way is to raise an Issue on project's Github page: https://github.com/roxlukas/lmeve. Choose an appropriate category (bug fix, enhacement or question) and write down what you need, or what needs fixing. I can't guarantee that all requests will result in that feature being added to LMeve, but if the feature looks useful, won't take forever to code and most importantly, the information required to make it is in the EVE API, it has a high chance of being included in one of the future releases.

Tweetfleet Slack

Just one more thing. Ashterothi, ex-member of Aideron Robotics and well-known host of podcasts such as High Drag and Hydrostatic Podcast, has recently created a Slack team for Tweetfleet. Slack is generally a communications platform aimed at companies, but it has a very nice real time chat (plus a dedicated app for iOS & Android). It is very useful, and a dedicated #devfleet channel also exists, so feel free to drop by and chat with fellow players, CCP devs and third party devs. It's really fun!

To get invited, simply head to https://www.aideronrobotics.com/tweetfleet/ and fill in the form.

Tweetfleet Slack itself is here: https://tweetfleet.slack.com/