Friday, October 5, 2012

Day 0: An introduction

Welcome to the blog for Prosper, a suite of web tools for EVE online.  Or, at least, that is the goal.

About the Project

EVE Online boasts one of the deepest and broadest market and crafting systems of any MMO currently available on the market.  As such, there are many different levels people can participate in the creation, trading, moving, and destruction, of all the goods inside the game.  

There is a very active community of private and public tools, but sometimes you just have to do it yourself.  After wrestling with spreadsheets of increasing complexity for years, and trying to make due with half-formed solutions that were only okay, it's time to build something for exactly what I need.

Though the first revisions will be purely selfish (as I figure out what I am actually doing), the overall hope of the project is to publish the tools for others to save them the trouble of trudging the same path.  Though, with anything in EVE, everything has its price.

The hope is I can build a foundation in the form of an internal database and a lot of the EVE API handling and get assistance down the line to do the "pretty" parts.  For now, this serves as a personal learning project and may open up further as goals change.

About the Author

I am an electrical engineer, living in Boise ID.  The very first point I'd like to make is I am barely competent when it comes to code.  The purpose of this blog is to both log my thought process and allow a path to work back what I did right and wrong.  

In game, I am Lockefox.  Having been in EVE online since late 2004, I've done a wide range of activities, but settled into industry as an obsession   I've worked through all sorts of levels of activity, starting with the basics of any HS carebear, moving through high-volume production, and currently settling into industry as a means to fund PVP.  But knowing my cyclical nature for EVE projects, heavy industry will knock again, and I want the tools to be able to execute the full scope of my vision the next time I jump back in.

Goals for the Project

1. Generate and maintain a database of detailed price data.

Though tools like eve-central and evemarketeer provide great information for trading, they are severely lacking on the production front.  There is no way to query historical price data, no tracking "cost" vs "value".  Furthermore, other tools might track buy/sell data, but nothing accurately tracks build costs.  Also, without any build-oriented tool, there are no reliable breakdowns to drill into real costs to find the real culprits of price spikes and drops.  A dedicated database allows me to both get EXACTLY what I want, and clean up some of the useless stuff.

2. Allow in-depth tracking of products as they are built

While working with the team at Aideron Robotics, we had a powerful corp tracking tool that tracked member contributions.  Taking the ideas applied there, I hope to expand tracking to include a whole host of capabilities:
  • Individual revenue tracking: what does each inventor cost/produce
  • Hours tracking: Who is working on what, and allow for wage calculations
  • POS utilization
  • Allow tracking in account groups: allow alts across corps to track in one "project"
  • Detailed buy/sell tracking: Not only for precise accounting, but trader tracking for individual productivity tracking
  • Promote a decentralized architecture: Allow the project to transcend the boundries of an individual corp. 

3. CREST Automation

This will be gated on CCP's willingness to open up the appropriate CREST access to allow automation.  The pinnacle goal is a totally automated machine that picks products to build, buys inputs, arranges assets in kits, manages contracts for shipping/delivery.  The machines should reduce player input to "install and deliver jobs" as far as industry goes.  This will reduce the need to pay people for untrackable work, and reduce a lot of the tiresome bullshit that kills large-scale production

4. Total Market Dominance!

The end purpose of these tools is to allow for extremely high-volume production of equipment for all of EVE.  Though the first goal is to use Jita to turn work into cash, the longer term goal is to have independent teams supplying all of EVE.  This project should help take some of the bullshit and confusion out of industry and allow anyone (or their alts) to contribute to a central production behemoth.  Also, additional predictive tools to track the rise and fall of various products should be part of this goal.

5. A Front-End that is expandable to allow private accounts

Though running a massive carebear corp is its own brand of "fun", the tools should be accessible to others who still demand to do it themselves.  This should allow an automated billing system that requires users to contribute (ISK, most likely) for the processing time.  Also, an end goal of a mobile app (at least mobile-friendly website) should be considered, but will be a long ways off.

Why "Prosper"?

When it comes to titles, I am terribly uncreative.  I wanted something EVE enough to point to something RPish, but all the low-hanging fruit was already taken.  Most of the every day EVE lingo is taken by apps (Aura, Neocom, iClone).  As ambitious as this project is, I might as well pin my hopes to a Jove corp.  Also, the name highlights the end goal.  

I'm not focus-grouping this shit... just making it up