Monday, March 22, 2010

My Private War, Part I

I feel the embrace of the Universe Entire as a pitch-black swaddling shroud. It's a feeling of incredible power, as if all time and space were one great cynosural field, calling out to me to reach out and go to any point I care to choose in its infinite expanse. A host of long-forgotten names pass through my awareness as potential destinations: Soekheviti, Athra, Epsilon Eridani, the Great Attractor.

There is an infernal paradox to this awareness of omnipresence: In a cosmos in which I can travel anywhere, infinite though it may be, I can go nowhere. To see all that is or can be, as I am now,  is to know that choice and action are pointless. There must be more than this, but this strange awareness tells me there is not!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

EVE Blog Banter #16: Past Imperfect

Welcome to the sixteenth installment of the EVE Blog Banter, the monthly EVE Online blogging extravaganza created by CrazyKinux. The EVE Blog Banter involves an enthusiastic group of gaming bloggers, a common topic within the realm of EVE Online, and a week to post articles pertaining to the said topic. The resulting articles can either be short or quite extensive, either funny or dead serious, but are always a great fun to read! Any questions about the EVE Blog Banter should be directed to Check out other EVE Blog Banter articles at the bottom of this post!

The third Blog Banter of 2010 comes to us from ChainTrap of the Into the unknown with gun and camera EVE Blog. He asks us: “Eve University turns six years old on March 15th; six years spent helping the new pilots of New Eden gain experience and understanding in a supportive environment. Eve is clearly a complicated game, with a ton to learn, so much that you never stop learning. So, the question is; What do you wish that someone had taken the time to tell you when you were first starting out? Or what have you learned in the interim that you’d like to share with the wider Eve community?”

A couple of years ago, when it had been only a few months since I had graduated from the Royal Amarr Institute*, I was facing a bit of a crisis. The hi-sec mining corporation I was a part of had been effectively disbanded as the result of a mini-Haargoth incident, and none of us knew what to do. Most of us were still mining in cruisers and didn't really know enough to run a mining op, much less a corp.

"Hey, I know a guy in Strife Mercenaries," said one guy, Gwendion I think his name was. "They might let us in." He always struck me as a bit noobish, having lost his first battlecruiser less than 24 hours after he bought it, but then again, I sure as hell was no better. And I have to admit, the idea of Concord-sanctioned violence for profit made something stir in my then-carebearish loins. Other corpmates' loins were not so stirred, however. And so half of us merged into Strife Mercenaries, while the other half said their farewells and sought out another mining concern.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

When Success Breeds Failure

Minigzen at K162space has discovered the trend that has finally pushed the Applied Physics Institute out of the wormhole mining business and back into the tender embrace of hi-sec space for the time being:
After Mr. Wizz-bang-shooty-fun had essentially reduced the sleeper population into little flying bags of ISK with Hadoken beams, Mr. Industrialist perked up his ears at the mentions of ABC. And so the miners who were given a choice between working for peanuts and working for nullsec alliances chose….rapture I mean WH mining. . . .
Unfortunatley, the WH miners, being unable to focus on making ships because of lack of stations, safety, ectera, couldn’t make ships, so they carted their mega and zydrine to Jita and sold it, possibly more than the market could handle . . .
In other words, that noise you've been hearing over the past year is the sound of megacyte and zydrine prices plunging off the cliff of abundance. (Pyerite, meanwhile, has been riding the rocket upward.) When we first started this business several months ago APHID was raking in about 50 million ISK/hour from our twin-barge mining operations. Today those same operations net us only a bit more than 30 million ISK/hour—an unhappy 40% drop in income.

Friday, March 12, 2010

A Sneak Peek at a Planetary Scan

Last night, an unnamed official from the Directive Enforcement Division's Technology Review Board slipped me a picture that appears to show how the spherical harmonics I alluded to yesterday relate to planetary scans (h/t Anonymous). Here it is:

A planetary scan result, appearing to show the concentrations of argon gas on Tash-Murkon Prime I, a storm world in the Amarr Empire.

I'm sure this image is part of a work-in-progress and may thus be a far cry from the final release. (The scan window, for instance, would seem to be superfluous given that scan results show across the entire planet's surface.) Nevertheless this pic suggests to me a few possibilities:
  • Scanning skills may directly influence a capsuleer's ability to resolve an accurate planetary scan.
  • Location, location, location! Where you plop down your extractor PINs will likely determine your rate of resource extraction. And I expect there will be limits on the amount of PINs that can be placed by any capsuleer in a given area.
  • Temperature, pressure, and surface gravity. These readouts might be important to know for a planetary developer. As we've seen from this Eve University video (h/t Crazy Kinux), launching resources into orbit will incur a cost in ISK. It stands to reason that that cost will be higher for the more massive planets. And temperature and pressure may affect operational costs for planetside facilities.

So that's it. Some tantalizing possibilities for planetary scans but few concrete facts thus far. If you're interested in a closer look at the interface for operating planetside PINs, I recommend you have a look at Crazy Kinux's post linked above, as well as Eve Online Wormholes, which has a rundown of the process in text and pictures.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Planetary Interaction

The entire Applied Physics crew and I have been following the latest developments in planetary industrial automation with great interest. You'll find the full rundown here, but if you'd rather look at the "tl;dr," bullet-point version, look no further.

Monday, March 8, 2010

The Watchers

Received: from by EXVBE010-1.exch010.XSN.galnet via ImproTech Exchange Server;
 Mon,  8 Mar YC 112 17:19:26 +0000
User-Agent: Clienne Asier
Date: Mon, 08 Mar YC 112 12:20:25 -0500
Subject: Applied Physics Institute surveillance
From: Clienne.Asier
To: <*Masked Recipient*>
Thread-Topic: Academy of Aggressive Behavior research on capsuleer population of New Eden
Thread-Index: Acq+4X0lu8nmSirUEd+3UF452HGWAVyzCAAAyXeQ=
In-Reply-To: <*Masked Sender*>
Mime-version: 1.0
Content-type: multipart/alternative;

Dear Sir,

Pursuant to Directorate reconnaissance and surveillance policy, I submit to you the following transcript from a recording made by one of our self-assembling spyweb video units, hidden aboard an Amarrian shuttlecraft in the Applied Physics Institute's Ship Maintenance Array in w-space system J124654:

[Rolinthor enters shuttle, followed by Rol Prime]
Rolinthor (R): What's this all about, Prime? And why do we have to do this in a shuttle? You know my feelings on skullduggery.
Rol Prime: (RP): I understand, sir. It's just that...well, I found something: a spycam, I think.
R: A spy, eh? Ok, ok, I follow you. Best not to let on to the crew we know, and all that. I wouldn't be too concerned about it, though. We've got safeguards against corporate theft.
RP: I'm afraid it's not so simple as that. I was cleaning out some of the hardware in the refinery control room today when I spotted a whole heap of cobwebs on one of the motherboards in the CPU cases. I didn't really think much about it. Just removed it and threw it in the dustbin. And then it hit me: spiders make cobwebs, and ...
R: ...and how the hell would a spider get aboard the refinery? We did a clean "anchor and install" in interstellar vacuum. Total sterility protocols.
RP: Right, which is why I got suspicious too. So I took it into the lab and had a look at it. They're not cobwebs at all. Not even a biologic, or at least not what we would think of as organic. As best I can make out, it's a byproduct of a nanoscale self-assembler of some kind. Highly advanced.
R: Like how "advanced"?
RP: As in none of the four empires could put something like this together.
R: As in Jove?
RP: Bingo. But remember, you said it, not me. And if that news isn't enough to disturb your delicate sense of calm, then get a load of this: It's broadcasting a quantum-band signal that I still can't figure out how to trace.
R: Trace it? Rex's blood! Whatever you do, don't try to trace it!

[Sir, forgive the intrusion, but at this point you may find it interesting to note the changes in vocal and maxillofacial characteristics affecting Rolinthor in the accompanying video and audio file.]

RP: Why not?
R: If the Jovians want to spy on APHID, they can bloody well spy on APHID. It's none of our concern. In fact, just flash-fry all that stuff in the lab, delete the records, and hell, throw out and destroy any storage medium that had any contact whatsoever with those webs.
RP: But sir. I can't be so sure about my analysis. Aren't we being a little paranoid?
R: Stop thinking, Prime. Start doing. Just get it done.
[Rolinthor leaves shuttle. Rol Prime remains silently for a few more moments and then exits the shuttle as well.]

As you can see, sir, we may now find it necessary to accelerate the schedule. Our team stands ready. I await only your orders. I remain as always,

Your Trusted Servant,

Received: from by EXVBE010-1.exch010.XSN.galnet via ImproTech Exchange Server;
 Mon,  8 Mar YC 112 12:29:26 +0500
User-Agent Hidden
Date: Mon, 08 Mar YC 112 17:30:24 +0000
Subject: Applied Physics Institute surveillance
From: <*Masked Recipient*> 
To: Clienne.Asier
Thread-Topic: Academy of Aggressive Behavior research on capsuleer population of New Eden
Thread-Index: Acq+4X0lu8nmSirUEd+3UF452HGWAVyzCAAAyXeQ=
In-Reply-To: Clienne.Asier
Mime-version: 1.0
Content-type: multipart/alternative;

My Dear Clienne,

Maintain surveillance. Take no action.


Friday, March 5, 2010

In the Doghouse

So my little rant from yesterday was the first thing Amber saw when she logged into Galnet today. As you might expect, it didn't go over very well. It also didn't help that she saw from the post's time-stamp that I had both written and filed it during her presentation.

But I never saw it coming. Amber had been all smiles when I dropped by her office for the morning operations briefing, so I thought maybe it had slipped by her. Then, as I was about to leave, she hit me with it.

"Oh, Rol, by the way. I need you to sign off on a few due diligence reports from our Compliance Department," she said.

"I'm sure they're fine. Can't Prime do it?"

"I'm afraid not." She gently shook her head and pursed her lips in mock concern. "We have an obligation to be accountable to our shareholders."

"But I'm the only shareholder."

"Sorry, Rol. It's SCC law. The Chairman of the Board has to sign off. Wouldn't want to become the next EIB, would we?"

"Let me get this straight. I have to be accountable for making sure I'm not stealing my own money?"

"I'm afraid so," she said.

And with that, my datapad chimed to alert me that the file was en route. I couldn't believe my eyes when I glanced at the download. Even with a quantum-entangled Insane-o-band (TM) network, there was a progress bar marching across the screen. Rex's balls! How big was this file?

"Have fun, boss." And with those words, she strolled out of the office to get an early start on the weekend. Well played, Amber.

Ergo, it looks like I'll be too snowed under with work for a few days to post anything interesting. But I wanted to leave you all with a little graphical present—or at any rate something I found fascinating. It's a map of all the places I've been to in New Eden, gathered from the DED information accessible from the "Map" button of any Neocom panel.

I had always been under the impression that my travels were spread more evenly throughout the cluster. What a surprise to find that I'm a "Westerner" at heart.

So where do y'all hail from?

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

How Not to Fit a POS

I'm sitting at the middle seat of a long corporate conference table here at AEOS HQ. With me in the board room are the grizzled prospectors of Team APHID. They're a motley mix of races, but they all share one thing in common. Every last one of them looks decidedly out of place in the ergonimically optimized, synthetic-leather executive chairs: They've got dirt under their fingernails and swarth on their skin. Their musk, a weird mix of rosemary and lamb, has now overwhelmed the climate-controlled air of the room.

I don't blame them for fidgeting in their seats like they are. I'm sure they would rather be with the rest of APHID's blue-collar force right now, out there in the void, chewing on a nice, fat arkonor rock. Frankly, so would I. But APHID's CEO, Amber Macx, has called a meeting about last month's attack, and woe betide the man or woman who tries to skip out of Ms. Macx's PowerPoint* Hell.