Thursday, May 8, 2014

Reinventing the Wheel - Industry Tools

As I have repeated in my previous postings, EVERYTHING is changing in industry.  Though some of my existing tools could probably be re-kludged to work going forward, this is as good a chance as any to get off the crutches and move forward into a real sustainable tool.

If you don't believe me, it's worth watching the Industry and Economy panels together:

Bringing Lessons Forward

I am still immensely proud of my module.  It remains a touchstone for me of how to design something that is actually maintainable and easy to drop into new projects.  I can easily drop KB scraping into any project, and spend time leveraging the data rather than fighting the API.  Going forward, I want to repeat this slim and modular style, so I can mix and match parts going forward.

I am terrible at learning these lessons on the first pass.  I usually opt for a "make it work" mentality over a "make it pretty" and I have paid for it over and over.  Thankfully I have a lot of good parts and (hopefully) enough experience to try and avoid the straight-path pitfalls that have left me with so much unsustainable, bloated, spaghetti code in the past.

The theme for the next set of tools will be "building blocks".  I've achieved a lot of these prototypes in my spreadsheets, and I need to be bringing those pieces forward rather than writing custom tools for everything.  The added benefit of modules rather than monoliths is recyclable code.  As and example, if I can get a sustainable BPO module class set, I can tie it together with kill data for "materials destroyed" reporting.

Fortune Favors the Bold

BPO Handler

As I said, the goal is "building blocks" and as such, I will first focus on rebuilding my blueprints handler.  The day-0 goal for Kronos is to replace my terrible kit builder, because the first need moving forward is accurate cost/material-quantity reporting.  Those two functions represent the largest player-time investments on my plate as an industrialist.  

Previously, I had tried to make a SDE scraper that could be run per-expansion and output a middle layer file that could be slurped into a bigger tool set.  I am not sure if this is still the most sustainable thing going forward, because a read-only DB should be relatively cheap... but with BPO material requirements becoming MUCH simplified, I may also include this method again.

System Handler/Teams Handler

The next immediate goal will be to accurately estimate install costs.  Since resources will be system-level, it will be useful to design a system object to track these inputs.  I expect to write both a gdoc JS script and a Python module for this data.  The men will be separated from the boys on quick, accurate, and reliable cost predictions.  

Teams will be largely manual in REV0, but I am hoping @RegnerBA lives up to his promises of an API dedicated to Teams.  I expect the initial prototype to be largely discarded for a more extensive REV1.

Front End?

Marcel has opened up Aideron Robotics tool development to corp members.  I am hoping to take a little time between getting a stable base tool and developing a front end to really hammer on some UI stuff.  I have an unnatural fear of UIs that I should really overcome, and D3JS + Bootstrap should allow me to finally leave the spreadsheet nest and upgrade my graphpr0n prowess outside of JMP.  But until I have some foundation and am able to spin up heavy industry to a point I like it, I doubt I will spend much time on front end stuff.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Kronos Streams: Schedule update

As of this morning, Kronos is not on Singularity yet.  Rather than repeat and speculate with nothing to show yet, I won't be streaming tonight.  Also, I have a conflict on Friday, so though I could probably make the originally promised 0200 broadcast time, it will be a tight fit.  I am also going to add a Saturday or Sunday stream for anyone who can't make the weekday streams.  I know these are a weird/late TZ for most.

NEW Schedule (dates are US): 
  • Weds 5/7: CANCELED
  • Friday 5/9: TENTATIVE 0200-0400
  • Sunday 5/11: 1800-?
  • Monday 5/12: 0200-0400
  • Weds 5/14: 0200-0400
  • 5/16-5/19: likely no streams
Adding a Google calendar so I can update the schedule without having to write a new blog post.  It's a hectic season IRL.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Kronos Stream Log - May 5th

For those who were not able to tune in, and don't really want to watch a ~2hr raw recap, I'm publishing stream minutes here as a TL;DR service.  The header will be sources of information (devblogs, eve-o forum, tweets, etc), the body will include minutes covered, and the post will conclude with opinions and a link to the raw stream.

Dev Blogs

Dev Posts

Stream Minutes

Kronos build was not released to Singularity yet.  Instead, I walked through each of the devblogs and my personal reactions.  Below are some boiled down explanations.  I tried to keep each section to 10mins.

Reprocess All The Things

This blog sets the tone for all the changes:
  1. There will no longer be such a thing as "perfect" in any segment of industry
  2. Every method/trick of industry will need to be reevaluated
  3. Not every activity should be sustainable in every type of space - Grayscale
These are the points you should keep in mind when evaluating the industry changes as a whole.  Reprocessing stands to break "solo capital" building and much of solo mission running.  It also stands to boost most of traditional mining.  The new compression mechanics are the most interesting part; these will lead to a compressed ore market that functions only loosely based on the raw mineral market.

Building Better Worlds

The manufacturing changes are, again, a place that turns the entire industry paradigm on its head.  With the end to slots, factory needs become much flatter.  NPC space vs POS space will become a much more transparent choice, rather than a "if you want to do X, you MUST use a POS".  For more of my direct feelings see my post on the matter.

Industry UI

Honestly, I glossed over this devblog.  I have no business designing or talking about designing UIs, so I feel completely inadequate reviewing them without putting my hands on the process.  The interesting thing to note is any job installed can be reinstalled with one click.  Said another way, invention becomes much less of a click fest.

Though, I'd like to raise some argument against CCP's evaluation that traditional Science & Industry ("Building Things") is a purely solo activity.  I strongly believe that T2 manufacturing benefits from cooperative gameplay.  I am biased, having run two cooperative T2 corps in my tenure, but it's laughably inaccurate to not include at least a half-circle for T2 industry.

Researching the Future

If I may gush for a second, I REALLY like these changes.  Much like when Learning skills were removed from the game, I was hesitant at first, but I have really come around to the changes.  The mechanic fits better into the world, the math is far more transparent, and the quality of a BPO is now completely obvious.

It was pointed out in the chat room that a research/build/research cycle methodology is going away.  With exponential time per level, it will be a lot less prudent to research this way.  Also, with the levels getting longer, it presents a larger POS risk, since that +1 might cost 30 days, and it will be painful to cancel that kind of job.  On the other hand, NPC research is going to actually become a thing, so high-value research might return to NPC space, at a premium cost.

The Price of Change

This one is a doozy, and I'm going to need to fiddle with it live to completely solidify my ideas about it.  Simply put, EVERY job will cost something to install, and that cost will be related to the raw-material cost of that product.  It will behoove builders to spread wide away from hubs to save money on install costs.

The install equation should make lowsec capital producers cheer though.  With the "activity multiplier" being balanced against "system build resources", lowsec stands to have some wins in this equation over nullsec.  

Also, it was pointed out that this is a significant ISK sink.  I am no traditional economist, but this makes me worry slightly.  My calculations point to this being bigger than all the other sinks combined.  I agree that CCP needs more levers to destroy ISK from the game, but this stands to be a bludgeon, not a scalpel.  

Industry Teams

I know that a lot of the community was eagerly anticipating this to be a cooperative mechanic.  Instead, CCP delivered a rather weird modifier mechanic.  Again, since this is such a weird mechanic, I have to hold off full reactions until I get my hands on them.  I can sum up my reaction as: "I like them... but".

As they are proposed today, Teams stand to be weirdly leveraged at release.  Highsec people might have the largest bidding power, but nullsec will have the greatest utilization potential.  Through organization, the best teams will most likely be shipped out to nullsec, with middle/low teams being slurped up by really ambitious industrialists.

The iteration targets have me filled with hope, but the release as-is is a little lacking.  Without a means to have exclusive control, or to groom teams for my actual needs, these are going to be a weird mechanic to leverage in the short term.

Stream Notes

The theme I'll be beating into the ground on these streams is "Everything you knew is wrong."  The changes are so sweeping and broad, it's easiest to consider industry independently in Pre-Kronos vs Post-Kronos terms.  Trying to talk about these changes as "just tweak X and continue as normal" is not going to fly.  If you want to prosper going forward, you will need to redesign your industrial operation from the ground up.

This episode is just meant to be a top-level view of the changes.  Since we're treating the changes as a completely new process to industry, you can't optimize what you don't understand.  In the following episodes, we will dig down into specifics as they become available.  In my own notes, I am writing more specific schedules and priorities for the future streams up to release.

Where to Watch

Subscribe to EVE-Prosper on Youtube (not uploaded here yet... need to fix Twitch)