Post-Mortem Feature: Eve-Eye Maps

 

Eve is often touted as a hard game to get into but I don’t think there is any feature that completely dropkicks new players into the ground and annoys old players more than the map.

A mire of messed up connections, horrible presentation, poor spatiality and player position representation and lacking any actual, real, compounded information presented in any properly parsable way make it literally the poorest designed item in the game, even topping corp management and POS UI. Which is a feat in itself, and with much greater ramifications as well.

I could go on for days saying it lacks contextuality to what it shows or that it lacks the ability to show information in a way that doesn’t require you to parse it to actually get at what you’re looking for. Neither does it show any kind of history of the space you’re in apart from sov. For god’s sake, not even trade-hubs are marked visibly. (if orders value in station > 2 tril, mark as hub, yw CCP)

But those are tall expectations to have of a piece of software that can’t even fulfil the very basic premise that it’s set out to do: just understanding the space around you and how it’s traversable.

I mean, look at this!

But let’s work with it. Let’s try ‘Abstracting’. Surely, CCP have put that feature in to make our lives easier, right? To lay it out for us and allow us to have a better and clearer representation of space…

r2xdmhh

Guess not…

Perimeter seems further away from Maurasi than from Niyabainen, which is completely false, they’re both a jump away. Not to mention the visual confusion of lines crossing over each other.

Let’s try the old map?

 

2

Ok, CCP can’t map their way out of a wet paper bag that failed paper bag school. Let’s try some of the other third party solutions. While Dotlan is the most obvious choice, let’s work through some of the alternatives first.

Pirate’s Little Helper gets a pretty good rep, let’s see that in action.

3

Hey, this isn’t too bad. You get a clear view of distances and spatial relation at least, no overlaid lines, you can actually use it as a map!

Let’s try changing something.

4

Wait, why did everything shift around? This is the same region i was looking at five seconds ago!

5

What? STOP IT MAP! … stahp please. ;(

(Alt+F4)

Ok. It stopped. Right, so, that was pretty schizophrenic, but it was closer to something we could actually use. Let’s try GARPA? Goonswarm’s (rip) map project and API stealer, password cracker, trojan installer, dedicated in-house software. Note, this was the latest public variant I could find.

7

Well, at least this is legible-ish, somewhat. Can I see just a region? No? Ok, can I make it follow me ingame? No? Ok. Well, i guess it’s somewhat usa–

8

… nopenopenopenopenope, with a topping of more NOPE. As expected, it doesn’t do well in a multi-region environment.

Hey, how about Dotlan? Everyone and their moms are using it. Let’s have a look.

9

Oh hey, finally, a normalized map that you can read and follow, and it shows sectioned space. Bonus for showing some pre-determined stats and stuff in a very vague way, I guess it’s better than nothing. Does anyone actually use the services shown in the tiny square as arrows? Didn’t think so.

Ok, so, working step-by-step… I need to go ‘space south’ through Catch to Impass and …. wait, why the hell is Impass displayed on the LEFT? Like, on the same ‘side’ as Querios? Those are two very different regions in very different places! Maybe it’s a mistake, let’s try Vale of the Silent.

10

WHAT THE HELL?

Why is Geminate at the top? Did the Jove magically teleport the Geminate region to be smack-dab near Venal in the north? Is it an Illumittani plot? Additionally both Geminate connections appear to go ‘space east’ when we can clearly see they are a very definite north-south connection, even on Dotlan.

11

Ok, let’s say we let that pass. We have station info, kills in the last hour, it used to track you in game (rip browser) but it would be nice if it were moddable to show jumps or podkills specifically, or overlaid somehow, or some other options instead of the defaults. But that’s all we’re actually getting and if you don’t like it, you can go plex yourself. Dotlan only does things its own way, the same way grandpa did it!

I really wish there were a good mapping solution out there which fills all the space-geographical needs of capsuleers.

But, oh, what goes there on the horizon?

12

PRAISE JESUS. Look at its normalized glory. Look at how exits are actually represented on the side of the regional map itself and are at the edge of the area, how backgrounds for the systems are customizable for info, same as the dot shape, color, intensity and a variety of other factors. See how even constellations can be separated subtly by dark lines if you wanted.

13

Look at that beauty. Fully legible even for a five year old. Distances are accounted for, the presentation is rational in context, and pretty to boot. Oh look, it also has a neat WH tracker aside from the k-space CREST-powered tracker! And a memo system on a per character basis!

14

 

Hey, this is a pretty fantastic bit of third party software! But do you know what else this software is?


Dead.

Dead as a rusty door nail.

The project was called Eve Eye Maps, part of a bigger and much more intricate Eve Eye Portal site that housed a variety of tools and information, super customisable. But even if you were to just check the project for the map feature, it was way more than enough. It featured a jump calculator and route setter with detailed information on each system. You could also use the webapp to set a route/waypoints ingame through CREST/API magic, allowing you move all navigation out of the game to a second screen. Pretty nifty. It also offered a variety of custom maps, including a FW-only map, and a WH/Thera map which included an Eve-Scout interface which would auto-update Thera connections.

I’d like to see Dotlan do that.

It also had hotlinks for systems to search on zkillboard and Eve-who/Dotlan for corps/alliances who were active there. Interestingly enough it even offered links to Reddit posts containing those terms for easier info gathering. With all this, you could have a good, solid peek into the history of that system.

the ideal EVE mapping companion software that never really got the wide adoption it deserved

This fantastic bit of software also featured multiple presets. You could make an exploration preset to show/highlight stuff that interests you, like gatecamps and jumps in the last hour. Or a hunting preset showing NPC kills in the last hour mixed with whether the system has a station. Anything you wanted to be shown, could be shown via those few sliders and drop-downs on an easily accessible and legibly parsed map, making the hardest part of your roam shooting the guys, not fumbling with the map.

And I’m sure I’m not even remembering a many of options it had, since it really was absolutely packed with features, merging together into the ideal EVE mapping companion software that never really got the wide adoption it deserved. It should have been up there with Evemon and EFT.

I’ve been in contact with the sole developer, Risingson, for quite a while, and even upheld his Patreon for as long as he could keep it maintained, but due to IRL responsibilities and tech matters, the project was mostly scrapped and closed down due to how expansive it was. The future is very uncertain, but he has launched a new mapping project recently, as a companion for mobiles, starting with iOS with plans for Android. It’s a rework that starts from scratch and it may take a long time, if at all, until it reaches the full functionality of the previous version. So anyone hoping to catch the former full glory of the EveEye Maps will probably be disappointed.

But the market is wide open, and the same resources that have been used before can be used again if anyone wishes to delve into the murky waters of third-party developing a solution for EVE’s forever-lingering mapping issues.

I’m sure the horde of lost newbies and the frustrated vets will thank you.

~Cosmo

 

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Tags: Cosmo, map, third-party tools

About the author

Cosmo

Cosmo has been playing Eve Online for the better part of a decade, on and off as most Eve 'careers' go, over the span of a dozen trials and over multiple accounts. He's your average every-man player, with no hats thrown in any rings and with enough perspective to not get bogged down in endless threadnaughts on how every new feature will 'ruin' the game.

He loves the concept of Eve and the potential of what it could be more than the actual grimy bits that currently define the experience. "An Eve Online beyond Eve Online" as he likes to put it.


  • Ashterothi

    This literally upsets me. God EVE Eye was a great system.

    • Cosmo

      I’m glad i’m not the only one that remembers it.

      • Lynx Artrald

        It was my default roaming map. To me it was the perfect marriage of the aesthetics of Eve and the in game map (which is beautiful if not useful) and the stark functionality of Dothan. I had multiple presets saved for roaming with a fleet, solo, nullsec, …

  • Klyith

    I disagree that heavily normalized per-region maps are necessarily easier for new players to learn. They’re way easier to *read*, but knowing the real map is important. Region borders aren’t harder to cross than any other gate, and LY distance matters.

    I don’t like that style of map myself, but I do wish that CCP would apply just a bit of position adjustment to stuff in 2d / “abstract” mode. Prevent stars from overlapping, maybe make the solar system view more useful by pushing things outward from the selected system. Also stop using the 3d drag in 2d mode, god damn.

    GTS Map had a lot of hand-tuning done on system positions way back when, but since it was made by a nullsec alliance most of the effort was in nullsec areas and almost none for highsec. So if your screenshot for a multi-region area had been the dronelands or the southeast, it wouldn’t look as bad.

    • Cosmo

      LY distances don’t matter for anyone that doesn’t do Blops, JF logistics or a cap/super pilot. Indeed, in those cases, a full 3D map like we have is useful, but just then, for that case.

      I didn’t mention it here since that’d be a different discussion, but the map also has zero context or info on what you want to know, and also has no history and no explanation. I mentioned trade hubs in the article, but we know Provi is NRDS and ‘ruled’ by CVA, but at no moment in Eve’s time has that information been in any shape in the map. Even SOV if you were to use it as a marker, doesn’t have a history, maybe even a Verite-like map update solution for a period.

      In short, show a new player the map, and he’s likely to get more confused by the surrounding area than enlightened on what the space around him means, what opportunities it has for him and what he can engage in there (or avoid).

    • Judotoss

      Omg the 3d drag on the 2d map makes me so angry… “Why is everything on my map fading to black, I just want to see the other end of my route… Let me left-click/drag, then right-click/drag until I can see my route, or even a few starts at least, again… Oh look at that, it’s my pod. What is it doing in space, and where did my ship go…”

  • sjp1966

    no longer having a map that allows you to do even the simplest things like set destinations and track where you are is a rpyal pita at the moment, that last map got my hopes up/// but it is dead, like the IGB, like watchlists, l(soon) like being able for one person to put up a POS. 🙁

  • CarlGustav

    if your going to use DotLan in Vale / or Delve region use the 3 areas combined map thoes are logical the others are not …

    took me several month to understand that…

  • Punky260

    I don’t really get the purpose of this article.
    You are complaining about the tools that are existing, then put up a solution just to announce it’s dead and (probably) won’t come back. Okay nice, so why should I have read this?
    Instead of the (non informative) pictures and complains, how about putting the features together that an ideal map would need to have and checking the different options out there about those points. Then suggest the right tool for the specific job. That would have been useful at least.

    And please, don’t blame dotlan for displaying a 3D-world sometimes “wrong” on a 2D map. Who even cares if Geminate is ‘north’ or ‘south’ of Vale, when you look at dotlan to navigate from X to Y.

    • Cosmo

      The article does go into why EveEye was great, and what i consider to be useful features to have in a mapping bit. It also underlines the lack of options we actually have in terms of how we move around New Eden.

      • Punky260

        I think I would like to see a follow up article then, where you go a lot deeper into the details of navigation and informations a pilot should have and what a future map developer and/or CCP should implement… ^^

  • Zappity

    Didn’t Rise say that CCP was going to do a tactical map after they have finished the current beta?

  • msoltyspl

    What’s the most sad is that in-game maps both old and new are complete rubbish compared to any 3rd party map out there (dead or not). And the new is … complete trash as a map.

    And they still don’t / refuse to get it at CCP.

  • rischwa

    Hi, author of Pirate’s Little Helper here.
    While PLH’s definitely hasn’t the best, most complete or best looking map out there, i’m pretty sure it’s best suited for the use case i’ve developed it for (solo roaming). At least it was, when I was still playing.
    To me the main reason I wrote it in the first place are the regional borders in the other solutions, because they are totally artifical. When you are roaming you want to know where “the action around you” is or plan a trip through active parts of space and you don’t care if the next three system are part of black rise or the forge or whatever.
    Afaik it’s also the only one including “real time” gatecamp detection, which is also an important part of “routing” when solo roaming.

    The changes in the layout are not nice, I give you that, but they are necessary, because there is no way (or at least I haven’t found a feasible one) to produce a good layout for the complete map (no1 criterion being no regional borders, but a perfect view of your surroundings wherever you are).
    So, if the layout changes bother you so much, I recommend doing the following before a trip: right click on systems in the regions around you and select “load region”, it will load and layout all systems in that region and the immediate border systems. Just “pre load” a few regions around you and then the map will stay the same throughout your roam.
    Relayouting is only done if new systems need to be loaded, e.g. because you almost reached the border of your current map.

    Cheers
    Rischwa