Planetary Automation with EVE Online PI

EVE Online PI
By | October 30th, 2018 | Categories: Interviews

Staying on top of complex planetary interaction on EVE Online can be quite a tedious task. Fortunately, there’s EVE Online PI. The brainchild of David, also known as Knossos on Eve Online, it gives players one less thing to worry about and helps them concentrate on other crucial aspects of gameplay.

David recently took some time off to chat with us about his nifty little app as well as other pet projects he’s currently working on. Just like us, he unwinds after a long day at work by zoning out in front of his gaming rig. And just like us, he’s driven by his passion for games and does what he can to elevate the experience further. Let’s get to know him a little bit better.

But first, make sure to download the app here to start you off.

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1) Tell us about yourself (name/nickname, hometown, age, occupation, favorite games that you play and what platform(s) you play)?

My name is David, I go by Knossos in EVE Online. I am currently taking a break from the game. I’m a software engineer by profession, and I wind down from work by playing computer games or coding hobby projects. I play a lot of different kinds of games. Dwarf Fortress and Cataclysm: DDA is a few examples.

(2) Do you work independently or in a team? If in a team, how big is it?

For hobby projects like this one, I prefer to work on my own.

(3) What inspired you to create an app specifically for this game? When did it cross your mind to create your app?

I try to automate as much as I can in life. Planetary Interaction in EVE Online is a real pain. There is no notification that your planets are done, you have to either set an alarm yourself or set the planets to be “ready” at specific times so that you can collect them. This bummed me out. So I figured that I would create an App to monitor this for me. I ended up adding so much to it, that I thought the community would benefit from it. So I released it to the public.

(4) What programming language or tool did you use to create this app? Do you have any favorite PLs or tools in particular?

Android Studio and Java. It is using some rather old arcane systems right now, that I would definitely switch out in a newer version. Using SQLite and Content Providers directly. It was the only way to do it at the time. Now there are magical libraries that make everything so much cleaner. Such as Room and Data bindings. I would also not use Java, I would use Kotlin.

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(5) When it comes to designing the user experience/UX of the app, what motivated you or what influences did you have?

It needed to be quick and obvious and focus on what needs attention. For this reason, I chose to keep row sizes small. Colors and animations indicate the severity of attention. Red means that the extractor isn’t running properly and needs attention.

(6) From the developer’s and gamer’s perspective, how do you think the app affects the overall experience of the game?

Well, it just takes one less thing off the mind of the gamer. The user needs to check every planet in sequence to determine whether an extractor needs attention. If you don’t take notes, things expire. This is torturous if you have more than one character. Almost every serious planetary interaction user has several accounts with all 3 characters performing PI. This is an insane amount of work just for the basic admin! My app shows you loud and clear, which character, which planet and which extractor needs attention.

(7) Is there any margin of error when it comes to the app’s performance and provided information?

Only when it comes to the APIs from CCP. The extractor information is usually always accurate. Unfortunately, storage data is only refreshed once the user has “visited” the planet. That means the data lags behind in that respect. That whole area of the App is still in “beta” though.

(8) What were your biggest challenges for this project? How did you overcome them?

The biggest challenge I had was Google actually. I hadn’t put a notice on the App to let users know the rights of the game developer. So it got taken down. Now the first page the users see is the login with some great big buttons letting the user visit the developer terms and conditions and rights to use EVE Art assets.

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(9) Are you expecting the game’s expansions to change your app’s dynamics and performance? Is it something that you’ve already prepared to tackle?

This doesn’t really make any difference to the App. The PI experience barely changes throughout the years.

(10) Are there any exciting new developments for your app that you would care to share?

I haven’t been working on it a great deal lately as I have taken a break from EVE. So the desire to work on the App has somewhat diminished. That said, there are other projects that consume my time.

(11) Could you share a few quick tips to new players of the game?

Stick with it. Find a group of players to join. Null sec alliances are usually extremely helpful, and will even provide you with free ships to get blown up in.

(12) Any advice you’d like to share to aspiring game app or web developers?

Make it. If you find there is something in a game that requires you to remind yourself, especially so. If there is an API that lets you get at the information, you can save yourself and the community a lot of time. Plus, you could make a buck or two out of advertising on it.

Power at the Touch of a Button

These days, we live in an almost automated manner. Practically everything we need to do can be done in an instant. Thanks to both automation and innovation courtesy of forward-thinkers, practically everything comes easy. Why should we settle for anything less? The same holds true even in gaming. With a game as complicated and predicated on micro-managing as Eve Online, you need to make things as simple and readily-accessible as possible.

EVE Online PI gives players the power to manage all aspects of the game that need attention. Power is quite literally right at the palm of your hand. So don’t let planetary interactions turn into a hassle. Automate and click here to get the app that makes things easy!

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