EvE Online – Changing the Cat and Mouse game of gate camps

In EvE Online, the bane of all travelers is the gate camp. Weather you are in High/Low/Null you have the possibility of someone waiting to kill you on the other side of a gate.

Gallente Freightor
Pilot X – Doesn’t want to be ganked

I enjoy the game from CCP, EvE Online. It is a very interesting game, and I like the social and open world aspects.  There are a few things I’d like to throw out there to recommend as ideas for CCP to improve game play a bit.  CCP if you implement this idea I won’t object or ask for money at all… although an invite to your HQ would be awesome I’d love to see it, but that is just a hope not a requirement. I would however happily manufacturer the goods, sell them and use them.

This blog post is directed more at the CCP Development team than the average user however the more average users who read this and find it worth while and support it the more likely CCP might pay attention to it.

The Problem:

The bane of all travelers is the gate camp. Weather you are in High/Low/Null you have the possibility of someone waiting to kill you on the other side of a gate.  In the real world, individuals AND corporations a like would spend a LOT of time developing ways to minimize this liability (risk). No hauling company would ever be ok with someone jumping BLIND into the potential of losing profit. (Loss of life would be tragic but in all honesty the motivation would be profit.)  So here are two solutions that I think are fairly balanced. They provide information to both the person who wants to avoid dying AND the people who want to kill them and take their stuff, or in some cases just kill them.

Mac Gate Camp
The gate camp… They want to eat Pilot X and his lunch.

The Existing Solutions

Here are some of the responses I have found generated by players trying to mitigate this problem.

  1. Online intel:
    1. EvE Overmind  – Almost real time intel (I highly recommend)
    2. EvE Gatecamp Check – Plot a path and find out how many kill have happened recently, and if so how many of them have been on the gate (and which one if available)
    3. DOTLAN – Wow. Tons (and TONS) of map data and statistics, usually in a friendly format, but not always, and not always exactly what you are looking for. Lags behind real data a fair bit, not exactly sure how long usually for me it is measured in fractions of an hour.
    4. GankerLookout – Really good data about active gank activity along with historical trends about systems/regions and activity with times.
    5. AstralServices – A site with information about other people interested in stopping ganking.  It has information, tactics, in game channels, lists of known active gankers.
    6. Twitch.tv  (or other streaming services gaming.youtube.com) – Actively finding people/corps/groups who actively camp your gates and finding streams that reveal their behavior.  MANY people who do this LOVE attention and find that streaming what they are doing live gives them a real kick. I have seen tons of people streaming fleets / camps / suicide ganks in space I intend to travel… it can be very hit or miss though.  Often they will name their stream things like “Camping X7-JJ9” or “Ganking in Jita” or “Camping for Newbs”. Many attempt to mask their location or use a time delay, but both of those are “usually” pretty easy to solve.
  2. In game intel channels:
    1. Anti-ganking – A public channel where people share intel and tactics to stop ganking.
    2. Gank-Intel – A public channel dedicated to the reporting of suicide ganking.
  3. The in game map – This is an amazing resource that is often over looked, however it leaves a LOT to be desired in the solution of this problem.

There are flaws in each of the solutions above that are outside the control of the pilot(s) wanting to avoid ganking. The online intel usually lags behind a fair bit, and can be subject to outages at times.  Also unless you created the intel source you have no idea what exactly they are doing with that data or who else it is getting fed too. None of it is as up to date as your Eve Client. The anti-ganking channels (of any kind weather part of your corp/alliance or public) is subject to manipulation and false information. “Hey there is a team of 300 people camping this gate here a XXXXX.  Best to avoid it and go to YYYYY gate to take the long way”… while the gankers are sitting at YYYYY gate laughing.

Moving to an in game solution would make it so that the Pilot is in control of the intel they receive and it reflects the reality in the EvE Client.

The Proposed Solution

Jump Gate Probes/Drones.

  1. Probe possibility:
    1. Skill required to use… obviously.
    2. Launcher (may use existing or a specialize launcher) from a high slot.
    3. Launcher would launch a consumable “probe” (ammunition)
    4. Pilot would have to align to gate (within some range) and launch it similarly to how a smart bomb or moon scanning probe would be launched
    5. Probe would glide to gate and Jump (gate would flash BUT no new pilot would arrive in local)
    6. The probe would be visible (or de-cloak?) and technically be target-able however it would have a very small sig radius AND perform its task and die very rapidly. It would display WHO launched it in the overview (giving intel to possible gankers). It would not leave any debris on the field if destroyed though. (possibly easily kill-able with smart bombs?)
    7. Once on the other side it would perform a D-Scan within some range (probably determined by skill?)
    8. It would then relay the results back to the pilot who launched in the form of a “remote” d-scan report/mail/message/?.
  2. Drone possibility:
    1. Skills required… (new ones and existing drone skills)
    2. Specialized Drone required (possibly a new category of “intel” or use ECM type if existing category is wanted)
    3. Pilot would launch the drone
    4. Pilot would have to target the gate and be within drone range
    5. Pilot would “engage” (terminology would need to be established) the gate with the drone
    6. The drone would go to the targeted Gate and Jump, with gate flash
    7. Once on the other side the drone would follow same rules as a ship for cloak/de-cloak rules and timers. It would display the OWNER’s information on the overview and “show info” screen (the way drones normally do).
    8. Once the drone de-cloaks (or some set time after jumping) it would perform its D-Scan (or a scan of some kind)
    9. The drone would go back to the gate, Jump again, with gate flash
    10. Upon return of the drone to the Pilot’s control range the pilot would receive a “remote” d-scan report of the drones results.
    11. The drone could be targeted and/or destroyed on the remote side preventing the drone from getting results. Doing 2 things.
      1. Alerting possible gate campers there is a pilot on the other side worried about being ganked… (who they could then jump through and gank)
      2. Allowing a pilot to eventually figure out that their drone is dead… and there is probably a gate camp that destroyed it if it did not return.

Use Case:

I think these proposals would provide both sides of this conflict important pieces of information.  The same technology could be used by gankers to gain more intel.  For example, if the single pilot launches a drone the gankers could destroy, and send a drone/probe of their own back… collecting intel on the incoming side of the whole… is there one guy sitting there or a fleet of 300 cormorants?

Admittedly NOTHING will work better than having a trusted team of people working in tandem to scout, distract, fly, shit talk in local and contract. However there are a LOT of independents who play the game AND some times even a scout (or FC) wants to know what they are about to jump into.  It is a skill that I think MOST people will probably ignore but, it would get used a lot by people who fly in fleets (to do quick intel), people who haul/ship/travel, and even more by people who gank (to get intel/counter intel).

Potential Abuses

I can think of a couple possible exploits, that would need to be addressed in a variety of ways:

A huge fleet of people could launch said devices at a single gate a once. Doing so could cause problems depending on the implementation of the solution.

  1. The exploiting pilot(s) could possibly impact the client experience.  (for example) If you are sitting at a gate… then 1200 drones/probes jump next to you simultaneously and scan… that could possibly cause resource issues making the client unstable? Both system resources and network resources.
  2. This could possibly congest gate traffic, if enough people are launching through a gate at once (again it depends on a lot here, and I am not a programmer for CCP so I don’t know how things work in the code/infrastructure) it could add significant delay to gate traffic? or network transitions on the server side??? I really don’t know this is just a guess
  3. I am not sure how this would/could impact the time dilatation calculations either. It would completely depend on how those calculations are performed AND how this type of project would be implemented.

I believe these could be mitigated through the implementation of the project.

My Thoughts and Intentions

What I’m proposing tries not to tip the balance to far out of either side. As I myself love a good gate camp (as a participant) I don’t want people to just be able to avoid me, but as a hauler, and general explorer/scout, I want to avoid baddies.  So, what I’m proposing should allow both the campers/gankers to learn valuable information AND allow the pilot(s) looking for that data to do the same.  Both sides will be able to use what is reveled to their advantage if they chose wisely. Both could find it fatal if they do not.

I am not trying to make the game “fair” as life is not and the game is a modified reflection of that, however, it could change the dynamics of how hunting/camping is done and allow both the hunter and the prey find what they are looking for. Also I will add that even in an “unfair” world those in the disadvantage will always seek ways to remove the advantage of others and turn it against others. This would be a good reflection of that… in my opinion of course. The perpetual cat/mouse game of life.

Variations

There could also be a variation used for worm holes? Different probes/drones/skills obviously… but the concept would function the same in theory. The worm hole ones would be used extensively in null sec, by explorers, worm holers, and haulers who use worm holes,  etc.

Eve Online – Unkillable Hauler

I did everything you are “not supposed” to do in Eve… and didn’t die.

Ok, I’ve been playing Eve online lately.  Today I decided to try to see how hard it was to be a hauler and I tried to get “ganked”.

I flew between Jita and Amarr for 2 hours on autopilot in a poorly tanked T1 hauler, carrying blue prints (original and copies) for things ranging from T1 to T3.  On a character that was only 2 months old.

I flew (on auto pilot) through a fleet of 58 members of “.Code”.  I believe they are required to shoot people using autopilot…?

And not a single person shot me. Only 3 people yellow boxed me in my 2 hr adventure. Yellow boxing, for those who don’t play, simply means getting a radar lock on without attacking.

I jumped through Sivala and Uedama over 6 times. During the course of the last hour 108 players were ganked in Uedama.

I sat in Jita, undocked for 20 minutes… and no one ganked me.

I’m not sure what is wrong with this game.  I could not find anyone to engage me, I did everything you are “not supposed” to do and I didn’t die.

Eve Online – With a new Set of Eyes

Pictures of the beautiful scenery in the game Eve Online.

I’ve been playing EVE online for a while now and was just recently able to upgrade my hardware to truly see the game. This post is pretty simple, I just wanted to show some of the screen shots I was able to get in the last few days, most of them this evening.

A T1 mining barge getting ready to dock near a wonderful looking sun.
T1 Mining Barge In a belt
T1 Mining Barge In a belt
A Rattlesnake ratting in an haven
A Rattlesnake ratting in an haven
Titan
A Titan approaching a warp approaching a warp gate
Coming out of warp
Coming out of warp with a fleet
A carrier docking
A carrier docking
A caracle in a steady bank
A Caracle in a steady bank
A Titan
A Titan
Nocits after a hard labor
Nocits after a hard labor
Taranis at rest
Taranis at rest

Please do not use these images in your other works.

The answer to the question is…

Technology is not your savior, it isn’t even the road to utopia. It isn’t a magic bullet that can cure the world’s woes.

Technology is not your savior, it isn’t even the road to utopia. It isn’t a magic bullet that can cure the world’s woes.

I have come to learn that people want what they want, and technology is just a tool they use. Even in the absence of technology they still try to do what they want. Technology just facilitates what ever they are doing.

So, if a doctor wants to save lives… technology can help.
If law enforcement wants to stop a crime… technology can help.
If a criminal want to steal… technology can help.
If someone wants to blackmail… technology can help.
If someone want to cheat on their spose… guess what… technology can help.
If a person wants to learn… yep technology can help.

Pick anything people want good or bad. Technology can help them do it better if used properly.

I think the problem is people WANT things that are detrimental to themselves and others. It has been that way since the beginning of recorded history. Look at slavery. As far back as history can tell me there have been slaves. Slaves were the OLD form of technology. They could help you do what you wanted to do, better, faster and cheaper. It was just more directly abusing of people, and yet those who did it justified their actions. Technology has helped us distance ourselves from the abuse, but we still do the same things.

So the problem isn’t technology. It is people, they always want MORE, faster, better and cheaper. And they are willing to sacrifice others to do it. Technology just allows them to do it better. Some people want to hurt and destroy others, pick your cause, technology just allows them to do it better.

So… what we are looking at is that people haven’t changed really since we have recorded history. We have always saught what we wanted, and used anything to get it. Including other people, technology, the law, or religion.

Some people are charitable, but for MOST it is a means to an end. They want to feel better about them selves, they expect something in return, even if it is in the after life, or maybe it is on a camera, or maybe a tax deduction, or any other of a dozen reasons. Again the using something to get what we want, and guess what technology can help them do it.

Since the begining of history, people have saught new ane more creative ways to do things that benifit hemselves ussually at the cost of others. So let me ask the following:

Do you think new laws will fix the problem? We (humans) have been making new laws since the begining I’ll wager.

Do you think a “better” technology will fix the problem? Since we invented the plow we keep getting better technology, yet we have the same problems.

Well maybe we need better education… that will fix the problem right? Is our education better than it was in the stone age? Do you think it has made people better? Smarter sure… but better? We have a ton of technology to help people learn.

Do you think the “removal” of opposing forces and bad influences will fix the problem? Ever hear of Hitler he used that kind of logic? Ever hear of ethnic clensing? Would your removal be justified? Would your cleansing be more correct or humane?

The only thing in common with all the history I know is… people. Technologies change, laws change, ideals change, money changes… but it is always people.

So how do you fix the problem of people?

I don’t think there is an answer out there that hasn’t been tried.

Hour 1 with Amazon Kindle Unlimited

I’m beginning to think that Kindle Unlimited is where Amazon throws its bargain books people wouldn’t normally buy…

I have started reading a lot more recently and decided I would give Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited a try. After my first hour, my experience has been dismal at best. EVERY book I have searched for has NOT been available with Kindle Unlimited. Every author I’ve searched for, Every series I’ve searched for, Every title I’ve searched for, they have all not been available with the service… I’m hoping I find some redeeming value in the “free trial” but so far I’m beginning to think that Kindle Unlimited is where Amazon throws its bargain books people wouldn’t normally buy, just to get them to circulate.

Finally SeeMeCNC Rostock Max v3 Working

Alright, It has been a while since my last post. I’ve been working hard at work AND working on my printer a lot as well. I’ll try to sum this up to make it easy to digest. When I assembled the printer ONE of  the screws holding one of the carriages was loose. That thew off the calibration.  After it was fixed I STILL had a lot of problems with inconsistent prints. Using the exact same settings, it would print great once, and then fail the next. I have reduced the remaining problems down to the filament I’m using. I’ve seen the diameter range anywhere from 1.9mm to 1.6mm. Usually it is pretty close to 1.6mm, however, some times it will just get larger. When this happens it really screws up my prints. I was able to compensate for this some by slowing down the print, and turning up the heat. This made sure that there were no clogs in the nozzle. When it got thin, unfortunately it would still under extrude.  I did not by “cheap” plastic, it was rated pretty good on Amazon. But I will not be buying from that manufacture again. It has cause me a ton of headaches.

The printer has been great. I did get my first nozzle jam, it took about an hour to clear.  When I was changing filaments, I took the bowden tube out too slow and the plastic came in contact with the heat break and solidified. I had to disassemble and hand drill it out.  As side from the jam (which was my fault), the printer has been amazing. I’ve been trying to test the limits of what it can do and so far I’m very pleased. I think I’ve hit some of those limits, and I’m thinking about modifying the printer to get finer resolutions. I’m thinking about switching to a .4mm nozzle, but for MOST parts the .5mm one I have works fine. I no longer have the headache I had from my last post. I would like to thank the SeeMeCNC people on the forums for being patient with me and helping me figure out what was wrong. They are great folks. Since I got it fixed up, it has been running almost all the time I’m home just to test what it can do before I start making my own parts.

I did switch my software to Simplify 3d and all I can say is Wow! That was a HUGE difference in setup time, calibration, and tweaking.  I went from tweaking for DAYS to get a good print to tweaking for an hour or less. It allows me to tweak as much as I want, but the built in defaults for my printer worked right out of the gate.  (Some of that tweaking may have been the stupid filament with the variable diameter, but still, I was able to mitigate it to some extent with settings.)

But… all that said, when the filament diameter stays relatively constant I get really good prints. Here are a few I liked:

http://www.thingiverse.com/make:308013

 

http://www.thingiverse.com/make:307523

 

http://www.thingiverse.com/make:307534

 

http://www.thingiverse.com/make:307527

 

http://www.thingiverse.com/make:308016

 

http://www.thingiverse.com/make:307529

 

SeeMeCNC Rostock Max v3 Day 6 – Assembly and Review

Ok, today was day six. I finished the printer and I think it is excellent!! Well, almost. I broke the glass bed so I can’t calibrate or print on it yet 🙁  But here is a picture of the printer, minus the glass plate:

I really like the printer and the design. I have not yet had a chance to PRINT on it yet.

The Pain Points

But this is a review of the assembly process, as you read this please remember I like this printer, these are things I had difficulty with during production:

I found some of the part tolerances were TOO TIGHT there were several parts that were too tight.

  1. Inserting the heater bed cables in the X axis was the WORST offender. I used every trick I could find to get them through. In the end I put the thermistor cables through with lubricant, and then put the negative power cable through (well lubed…) and even that took an inordinate amount of force. I was deeply afraid I would damage the cables with the amount of force required to make that happen. I spent over an hour trying to get those cables through in various ways. I tried different posts, I tried using s single layer of scotch tape to hold them together, I tried feeding in various orders, I tried pulling, I tried twisting. In the end I used a water based lubricant and a pair of pliers to shove it threw a few mm at a time.
  2. The screws that hold the face plates on. I know this may seem trivial, but if you only have a hand held L shaped hex wrench and have to mechanically thread them through the plastic pieces that are a bit too tight, it is painful.  Attempting to do this is actually what caused me to break the glass over the heating pad. I dropped the piece I was holding and it fell right smack on the glass. Shattering it onto wonderful spider-man web looking shards.
  3. The screws that hold the stop switch in the Upper Motor Mount Assembly. After putting the first one in I realize there was NO WAY I was going to be able to put the rest in without damaging either the screws, the switches, the assembly, my screw driver, or my hand. So I cheated and used a 5/64th in Drill bit in a hand tool and manually expanded the back half of the hole. That kept it very tight, but made it bearable.
  4. The EZR Struder was extremely tight especially around the wires. I know they made a relief for the wires but I almost broke the panel putting the motor in the panel and visibly notched the cables. None of the cables were permanently damaged, but I was very worried about it.
  5. This was an odd one. The spool holder on the top of the machine was WAY too tight to fit into the top assembly holes. It actually damaged the holes on the top of the machine. Nothing serious but cracked it a bit on the inside. And it still wouldn’t go in.  I finally had to take a knife and whittle down the width of the feet with a fair amount to get it to squeak in. Even after that it was still tight, but I didn’t feel like it risked damaging anything any more taking it in and out.

There was one place where the videos, the Rambo installation, where they show one assembly then several steps later it show it assembled differently.  (if you look at the orientation of the cables on the adapter on the video the red stripe is facing the power connector in the video, and the red stripe is facing away from the power in the picture. Apparently the picture was correct. I assembled it to the video. Fortunately no permanent damage was done. Just a lot of head scratching, and mild cursing. Thanks to the comments for helping there.

The Rambo power connector was another pain point. Although it was not a bad one. I was left to wondering if there was a better way to do that? The points that the main power cables came in at kept pulling out (or the second cable did…). I finally got them all in and staying though.

The power fan is pretty loud. I don’t have a db meter… but it’s louder than anything else in my immediate area. I haven’t printed yet so I don’t know about the operation.

The Good Points

When completed this looks like a professionally assembled machine. Cables, belts, pulleys, and fans are all nicely tucked away. The pulley system LOOKS well thought out. I haven’t used it yet so I can’t confirm its functioning but I like the way it is tucked away. I also like the simplicity it can be reached and maintained. It looks like you can get to most places on the machine fairly quickly with little fuss, with plenty of built in access and open places to reach needed parts.  Aside from my few nit pick points above this was actually not that bad to put together. It took some time and patience, but was certainly doable. Don’t let the pain points above scare you, there were a TON of steps that I did not have any problems with. Over all the assembly was well documented or video illustrated.

Once I get the last piece in… my glass bed… I’ll start setting up and see how it goes.

Retrospect

Would you do anything differently? I would have done a better job staging the parts up front. I spent a GREAT deal of time trying to FIND the parts I needed for a job. and then RE-FINDING them when I needed them. I usually keep a fairly neat work space, not desk, but work space. However, with this project I found I was overwhelmed with parts, and they were not always together or easy to find. I would also get a hex bit for my drill and better lighting for my desk. The only other thing I’d do is win the lotto and spend my time working on projects like this :)… But that is something I’ve been working on for years.

SeeMeCNC Rostock Max v3 Assembly adventure Day 4

Today is Day 4. Yes it has been 2 chronological days since my last post, but 1 day of actual work on the printer. Remember I get to do this between work/life/family.

Today I worked on the base. I hoped to have it done tonight but I just couldn’t do it all. I spent about 5 hrs working on it (I will admit, I did cook dinner, and hang out with kids in there… so take that number with a grain of salt). I did get almost done though.

3 parts really made it take longer.

  1. Inserting the nylon nuts into all the side pieces. They say it is “easy”, but I couldn’t get them to go in for love or money. I found some of the really tough ones I used an Allen wrench and prying it open just a little bit. I was deathly afraid to damage it so I only applied the barest minimum of pressure to get the nut in.
  2. The other thing is the brackets that hold the heating base, the nylon nut in that did not go in very far and the screw that holds the blue tabs that hold it down was just a hair too short to get contact, I had to find a way to get the nuts further into the assembly. I ended up using needle nose pliers and putting the screw in a bit and pulling on the had of the screw with the side of the nose.
  3. Finding all those parts. I know they must have taken a TON of time organizing how all this was pulled and assembled etc. However finding the part called for some times took more time than assembling it. It isn’t that they aren’t labeled, there are just a lot of them, and many of them look similar, and some of them are mixed with other bags. So it just takes time to make sure you have the right thing.

Over all I think this part was very cleaver. They made this very easy for people with some experience to assemble. I have a few friends I would be very comfortable recommending this to.  But this would not be for everyone I know. This came out remarkably more stable than I expected, and much lighter than I expected as well. I think (so far) this seems very well designed. I haven’t had a chance to run it and test for other things but for straight layout and assembly so far, with a few side notes, I really like.

One other note, removing all the tape from the wooden (mdf?) parts was quite the chore. Not difficult or awful. Just time consuming, I was tempted to let my kids do it, but I was afraid they would break something… so I did it my self. I also didn’t know if any of the cut out parts were important. I am sure 99% of them are just dross, but there were 4 holes cut in one of the pieces that had holes cut in them… making me wonder if they were important. Since I didn’t know I saved everything. I will say that working with those little cut outs does get black stuff all over too, not a ton, but noticeably, so you don’t want to do this wearing anything important or over you wife’s wedding dress… unless you are hoping to die or get a divorce… or both I suppose.

That’s it for me. signing off…. nanoo… nanoo.