Friday, August 19, 2016

Switching to Sublime - #DevfleetFriday

This isn't strictly EVE related, but Talk Python To Me has inspired me to post some more dev/meta related content.

To those who have worked with me on code, you'll know at least two things:

  1. I'm a total luddite when it comes to adding helpful tools to my belt (IDE's specifically)
  2. I live and work in Windows when I can
But my new job has me working in Mac and Unix far more often, so my favorite editor Notepad++ is out.  After touring editors and IDEs for a replacement, I have settled on my new home: Sublime 

Sublime New World

"Why Sublime?" was a pretty easy question for me to answer: very cross-platform, and a deep utility library.  In fact, I've pointed my configs at dropbox so I can easily work in the same Sublime across machines.  Also, the cross-language formatting profiles are pretty slick, and was able to get things working the way I wanted without too much pain.

But Sublime really wins with its Package Control.  Nearly anything you would want can be added to the editor in just a couple commands.  And by-and-large, they're easy to set up and use right out of the box.  Also, many of the packages I've dug into are mostly python, so it's been easy to fix small bugs.

Personally, SublimeLinter has been the best thing to happen to my code recently.  Though it took some effort to get working with python3 on the Mac, having the tattle-tale highlights for bad code and bad practices has me writing far more consistent code.  Writing a .pylintrc file is a little obnoxious, and it doesn't validate virtualenv packages (only ones installed in main site-packages), once it's configured it's a real godsend for keeping my code in line.

My one knock against the platform is the need to memorize a large number of shortcuts that aren't inherently obvious.  There are some really slick tricks in the arsenal, but it feels very VIMy to have them handy

Things I Miss From N++

Search Highlighting

N++ has this amazing multi-color highlighting tool that makes traversing large or complicated code blocks easy.  Word Highlight is an okay replacement, but it doesn't do multi-highlight the way I'd like.  

Project Searching

Another very slick N++ feature is its extended search.  Able to quickly see results, contexts, and previous searches in a docked pane was another useful tool I miss having.  Sublime has an extended search, but it pops open in a new document, and doesn't easily fold the way N++ does.

Multi-Pane Interface

This is a total nitpick.  Sublime absolutely does have multi-pane views, and they are actually a step up in the aggregate.  But my one complaint is duplicating a file isn't really obvious.  The "New View Into File" command isn't mapped, and I'd rather r-click a tab and send to pane.

Free or Fee?

My one complaint about Sublime is its licensing.  Though it has a winrar-type "free forever*" mode, it complains semi-randomly at save-time to purchase a license.  At $70, I think the fee is a little steep given how much competition is out there, and its key method (RSA hasn?) is not super intuitive.  

I'm not at all against paying for a thing, but recently many enterprise services have really stepped up their game and spoiled me with their set-and-forget memberships.  Services like XSplit and Adobe just work, and though I pay pretty handsomely for the memberships in the long run, I'd almost rather buy Sublime through a Patreon model.  At the absolute least, I would like an account auth primary key, even if the current key method works as an offline backup.

Monday, August 8, 2016

The Slow Summer - July Economic Report

It's been a busy summer, despite the hiatus.  The latest Economic Report numbers were particularly weak, and I was considering skipping the month.  But MarketsForISK has been publishing some serious articles and Delonewolf over at EVE Talk posted a review.

Though my fellow pundits took some serious dives into the data, I'd like to counterpoint with a more brisk review.  Be sure to check them out if you want more depth, but let's take a more general look at the stats.

Tell Me What You See

Ohboy, though last month's review was largely positive, thanks to "better than expected" activity metrics from the Serpentis event, July crashed down hard.  The month-to-month sinks and faucets chart was particularly troubling.

Though specific ISK sink/faucet numbers are in-line with the expected baseline, the Active ISK Delta (money leaving through inactive accounts) is worrying.  June's retraction was expected (WWB + Citadel) but July keeping up the trend is what concerns me.  Pair this with my favorite stat, ISK Velocity, and we're seeing a much harder retraction than I originally expected.

With the latest Blog Banter stirring the EVE Is Dying pot, these numbers could validate those looking to catastrophize.  I would not be so hasty to eulogize though.

Finding The Light

I don't think the numbers are all bad.  Looking at the net-trade and PVP stats, things are still pretty positive.  Are they breaking any records?  No.  But the activity is high enough to to be "normal" without having to panic.

NOTE: August dip due to database issue

Most market watchers have focused on the month-to-month net trade statistics (down 10-15% each month), but I've avoided them because I think they're a bit of a red herring.  For one, Feb-May numbers are much higher-than-average due to a series of effects all running together; so cooling should be expected.  Secondly, I think just talking about total-trade isn't as useful as splitting it up.  My analysis chops up the RMT markets (which make up a significant portion of the pie) and let us focus on the pieces.  This way we can see how each is moving to color the whole picture.

Material trade continues to be a hot market.  Those that are active in the game are still getting their content.  Also, as I've been saying since the last o7 show, it's an excellent time to be generating cash.  PLEX prices have only just recovered to the 1B mark (thanks to the AT auction).  The slump in the ship trade has me worried, but looking at the PVP statistics, it's hard to figure out what exactly is going on with PVP stats staying even while ships traded falls.

Lastly, we're still not quite seeing the cash-recovery I was expecting though, so there is still a lot of work left to be done to get back to truly normal levels.

Drawing Conclusions

It's easy to catastrophize in the summer.  Numbers tend to slump most at the end of July, campaigns slow, and CCP's news crawls through July/August due to vacation time.  I still believe there's enough on the plate this fall to be excited about, that as long as people don't get too bitter, there will be content to come back to once vacations end.

Looking externally, No Man's Sky is probably going to make the August numbers particularly bad.  Though, I do expect it to have a positive effect in the longer term, reigniting the hard-scifi spark that only a few games can, and perhaps bringing some contingent back for nostalgia.

If I may dip into Blog Banter territory and editorialize: it's a terrible time for picking out trends.  With the seasonal ebb and flow is at it's lowest point, drawing a line between June/July numbers would be Fox News grade cherry picking (o/ Sion).  Though I personally share a lot of Sugar Kyle's feelings of IRL vs EVE, and have been drifting more and more away from active play into a devfleet/metagame kind of role; like Jonny Pew, I just cannot drop the game entirely.  Is EVE going into a new chapter?  Absolutely.  Dying?  MMO's are dying, but I don't think EVE is doomed yet.