But even before that, it has been more prominently on my radar for a couple of months now due to increased activity amongst the bloggers I read. SynCaine had been writing a fair bit about his corporation’s activities, and Wilhelm Arcturus, the Ancient Gaming Noob, has entertained with lively accounts of nullsec warfare going down.
I’ve played EVE. I played the free trial roughly four years ago, created an account and played for a month. Reactivated about a year later and played another month. But that’s it – the actual gameplay never grabbed me enough to keep me subscribed and playing.
Also there seems to be a bit of a vicious circle: to really appreciate EVE, I’m told, you need to be in an active corporation doing interesting things. To be in an active corporation requires quite a level of commitment. And I’m not prepared to make that level of commitment to a game that I’m not yet really appreciating.
But anyway, with the game being on my mind, I thought it might be worth another look. I didn’t reactivate my account, I thought I’d just quickly create a new trial account, jump on that, and refresh my memory about how the game played.
And that led me to check out an aspect of EVE that I had a vague awareness of previously, but no more: the scope for tool development using the EVE API.
Now this is really quite neat, the sort of thing to really catch the attention of a programmer who might be up for some hobbyist coding. You can download an EVE data dump in the form of an SQL Server database backup from here. There’s all the information you could want on the game’s star systems, items, all sorts of stuff. And then there’s the API documented here which allows you to retrieve specific info on your characters, etc.
What I’ve done is write some code which takes the tables of star systems and jumpgates from the EVE data dump and figures out routes from one system to another, limited to high-sec systems. What I’d like to do next is combine that with some market data, which I can either save to a file from the game, or pick up a feed from EVE-Central’s API, which is itself fed by volunteers saving data from the game. Then, I’m hoping I can generate some trading opportunities.
Another possible step is spotting reprocessing opportunities. The EVE data dump, combined with my character’s skills (obtained from the EVE API), can be used to calculate what minerals I can reprocess a given item into. So I should be able to spot bargain items that I can buy, reprocess, and sell the minerals.
I have to say, cutting this code strikes me as being potentially more fun than orbiting a rat and plinking it with a railgun!