The recent survey about industry by CCP Arrow has awakened hope in industry oriented players of EVE. Wait, does it mean something is wrong with the industry in EVE?
To answer this question we should first have a look…
Who is doing industry in EVE and why?
- alts of PVP oriented characters
- busy individuals who can’t stay logged in game for long
Industry (which is basically how crafting is referred to in EVE) caters to the needs of people who don’t want to (or can’t) spend a lot of time on EVE. Why? Because industry requires a brief period of activity, and then you are free to do something else. Install another Linux box, change diapers, shoot stuff on another character (* delete where inapplicable). It means industry is a rather passive activity. Should it be made more active? Should mining become a gang activity that requires 100% attention? Should industry be made more active like the hacking minigame was? Well, as long as it adds to the current system, rather than replaces it, I’m ok with it. But EVE requires different types of activities – it is great because you don’t always have to grind. Skillpoints are gained regardless if you’re logged in or not. There are activitites which require undivided attention, like PVP or Incursions. Or missioning/exploring low sec. There are those which require moderate attention – for example missioning in high sec. And there are activities that require low amounts of attention or none at all. Mining would be example of activity which doesn’t require much attention. Do you know why miners are so pissed with James 315 and his crusade to get rid of miners in high sec? Because ganks require miners to pay much more attention that they would otherwise have to. And there comes industry: most of production is done in the safety of a station, be it in high sec or low, or even null, not to mention PI which is as simple as “push button, wait x time, receive bacon”.
What’s wrong then? It seems industrialists are pretty happy with the state of affairs, no? They have their activities in EVE, that don’t force them to sit at the computer for hours on end. So, again: what’s wrong?
GUI is wrong. Well, maybe not in a strict sense wrong. It is wrong as in seriously outdated. It haven’t changed much over the years. Yes, it was iterated upon, for example when Reverse Engineering was introduced in Apocrypha, but it was rather adding a new record in an already existing database.
The core problem with industry in EVE is clickfest
Most activities are highly repeatable. You have to login every x hours to start 10 invention and 10 manufacturing jobs. Starting up each job is 9 mouse clicks and 1 or 2 entries from keyboard.That gives 180 clicks just to set up one batch of invention and manufacturing jobs. It’s funny how CCP changed the first implementation of PI to reduce the amount of clicks. This is exactly what manufacturing, invention and copying needs: getting rid of the clickfest.
- Introduce ability to start multiple jobs with just one set of clicks:
- Choose an installation with free slots: Corp lab/assembly array or NPC factory
- Set up parameters for a single run like you would right now
- Choose to repeat the same job x times
- As long as installation has free slots, there are correct number of blueprints and materials that meet the criteria, the job is inserted this many times
- Make GUI remember past choices.
- It already remembers if we used Corp or Public installations. Why can’t it remember the last invention/decryptor choice?
- client should remember the choice for each blueprintTypeID
- Change the “Pick Installation” window to have installation list on the left, and production lines on the right, rather than one on top of the other.
- In corporations with many installations (over 50) the majority of time is spent on scrolling this list. Why scrolling? Because the size of the installation list is fixed, and cannot be resized after reaching a certain height.
- If the lists were displayed next to each other, the height limit would be the size of the window. This should make it possible to see either most or all available installations
Manufacturing and invention are very much like real ife work, so many corporations decide to pay their members for the work contributed towards corp goals. Unfortunately besides the API, game offers no GUI to track participation in the S&I program. Even if CCP wanted to introduce it in EVE it will be hard, because some corporations will choose to pay for the time character spent on manufacturing or invention jobs for corporation, promoting long jobs over short ones. Other corporations will choose to promote people who do a lot of clicking, paying for the amount of jobs installed, rather than for how long it took to complete them. There will also be those who would be willing to pay a share of the profit on specific item. As you can see, there is a multitude of options to choose from (which is bad for implementation).
Since there is no tools in game, Aideron Technologies has chosen to build our own tool (this is how LMeve was born). We have also chosen to pay for the amount of time, because if people run jobs for corp, they can’t run jobs for themselves.
What should CCP do?
- Make a report available to corp Directors, which allows contribution tracking
- The report should show (for each character)
- How many jobs have been installed (per activityID)
- How much time they took (per activityID)
- How many products (t2 BPCs, items) have been produced
This would allow CEOs to pay their members for their chosen contribution metric. A contribution-to-isk calculator, that says how much corp owes their members would be perfect.
Corp members can have many different production tasks assigned by corp. How would they know how many more Heavy Neutron Blasters they should build or invent? This is where progress tracking chimes in. Each character should have a small UI that shows their progress through the tasks that the Directors/Production Managers assigned to them. This way corp member “A” can invent exactly 100 BPCs, and corp member “B” can build exactly 100 modules, not to mention corp members “C” and “D”, who will make enough R.A.M.s and tech II parts to make said modules.
So the corp wants to make 200 Covert Ops Cloaking Devices II. This requires quite some effort:
- 400 Tech I BPCs have to be copied
- 200 Ishukone and 200 CreoDron R.Db.s have to be made to enable copying
- 200 Tech II BPCs have to be invented
- 50 Electronics R.A.M.s have to be made
- Photon Microprocessors and Graviton Pulse generators have to be made (4000 and 3000 respectively)
- Finally, 200 Tech II Covert Ops cloaks can be manufactured
- of course Logisitcs have to provide all the materials, including PI, moon goo, minerals and datacores
How did I know how much work is required? Well, everything was in the Static Data Export, all I’ve done was connect and display that information. What should the GUI do in such case?
- Insert a Copy task
- Insert all intermediate Manufacturing tasks
- Insert an Invention task
- Insert a T2 Manufacturing task
- Generate a shopping list for Logistic pilot
Of course some of the items above can be sourced from market instead of manufacturing them in-house. By the way, I’m pretty sure the ISIS interface would be great to visualize even the most complicated production process.
What’s wrong with Industry in EVE?
First, it’s a clickfest. It takes several mouse button presses to set up a single job. Secondly, game offers no tools to coordinate large scale S&I efforts. The GUI works good enough for a solo manufacturer, who uses either public or limited number of player owned installations, but is completely unprepared for corps which own hundreds of labs and run thousands of jobs each month. There are also no tools for planning or tracking S&I activities of a group.
The result: a multitude of third party tools to choose from
All the above results in players making third party tools which help with tracking and planning:
- open DRK Industry Tracker
- open Eve Corp. Management
- open Eve Industrial Tool for Android by Picon Software
- closed member-only Etoilles Mortant Ltd. [-EML-] web-app used by Solyaris Chtonium alliance
- closed member-only industry tool at aideronrobotics.com developed by Marcel Devereux, author of Aura for Android
- closed beta LMeve currently used by Aideron Technologies
By the way. You know player-made killboards, right? Ever heard of War Reports feature in EVE? Guess which was first.