Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Integrating Map Functionality

Here's a test.

In game, go to the star map and tell me the number of jumps it is via shortest route from Stacmon to Vey in Placid region. Don't use out of game tools like a printed map of Placid or Dotlan Maps. Go ahead, I'll wait.

Done yet? I bet you that unless you were in one of those two systems already (or know Placid really well), you used autopilot waypoints to figure it out: set one waypoint to Stacmon, made note of the number of jumps, second waypoint on Vey and subtracted the number of jumps to Stacmon from the total to figure out its three jumps.

Of course, no one uses the in game map unless they are ignorant of out of game tools like Dotlan (or a complete masochist). With Dotlan you open up the region map and in two seconds (or three if you live in null sec *burn!*) you count the three jumps between the two systems. At a glance.

Why is it not that easy in game?

The new feature that shows your autopilot route in space mapped on the stars is neat. Useless beyond some immersion factor, but neat. But it highlights how incredibly shitty the in game map tools are. Dotlan maps should not need to exist. All of its functionality should be part and parcel of the game and the fact that it is not is primarily due to the age old CCP tradition of letting players who love the game cover their asses for them.

"We don't have to work on the star map because players will dedicate their time and money to create tools to do it for us!" That's pretty cynical, CCP, even for you.

The first thing I tried to do when I saw that route in space was click on a star for name and sec status info. I knew it wouldn't work; I pay attention to the dev blogs, I knew what was coming. But still, I wanted it to work. I want the map tools in game to be as handy and full featured and easy to use at Dotlan maps. I want the fitting tool in game to allow me to explore ship fitting possibilities like Pyfa and EFT. I want my directional scanner to provide summarized information on detected ship types like Dingo's Toolbox.

I want tools in Eve to BE awesome instead of just hinting at it.


  1. Must be "comment on Kirith's blog" day for me.

    I wrote somewhere that one of the biggest frustrations with EVE has to be that it is set in the future where technology has advance incredibly from our time, yet the game has to exist and run on our current time technology. I should just be "thinking" the damn question at my ship and getting a response and map in my head all within a blink.

    This is multiplied by the EVE client's obstinate refusal to part with information easily. How many missiles does this launcher hold? Answer me! Don't make me fit the damn thing and load it to find out.

  2. Better yet, set the statistics for number of kills, or anything really, find two systems right next to each other, and give up in frustration before being able to determine the numbers in the second system.

  3. Come on…you know the reason: CCP doesn't have enough resources (money, people, time, etc.) to do everything the players would want….and even if they could it would complicate the product beyond all sense. This is especially true in a game where you want to capitalize on emergent gameplay….which almost by definition you can't predict, so you can't build ahead to service it.

    In an emergent game your only real choice is to give the players the hooks to build their own tools and that is what they have done. Granted, CCP has done it badly (Blizzard did it far better with WoW UI mod system) but CCP is partially working under the handicap of their schizophrenic players, which limits the scope.

    1. I think that is a cop out. CCP has done plenty of things the players did not ask for over the years, ahead of any map revitalization / directional scanner revamp / ship balancing (until recently) / POS redux / corp interface & permissions rework / etc. Some of these were avoidances were simply "too much effort required" but others were "meh, why bother?" and map and directional scanner are examples of this.

      While I approve of Bounty Hunting, Crimewatch, Medals, Certificates, Walking in stations (if done right), incursions, wormholes, new ships, etc I think it behooves CCP to bring core functionality like maps and directional scanner in particular up to date with much needed improvements. Or at least buy up the 3rd party tool and integrate them.

  4. Easiest way to do it that I've found(in game) is to set Stacmon as a waypoint, and then set Vey as a waypoint. You'll be given the distance to stacmon, than a + symbol on the autopilot UI, then the number of systems to Vey. Easy :P