Archive for December, 2010

Quiet Times

Posted in Character with tags , , , , , on December 20, 2010 by Baa

With the upcoming holiday season I’ve been getting prepared for that and not had too much playtime for the past week. I’m probably going to be a bit restricted for the next week too so updates will be few and far between. Its a little difficult to PVP if you’ve only got an hour or so, it can take that long to get to the right location at times, and as this is all my main is doing at the moment logins are just to keep my skill queue running.

The hour or so is enough to work on PI with my alt though. I’ve scanned around the nearby systems and found one with a better collection of planets, than the one I’m currently based in. I dropped my first Elite Command Centre on a Gas planet there and rigged it up to extract all of the resources it can. I’m looking at three extraction planets and one processing planet at the moment. This should allow me to keep production running flat out and generate a decent income. I’ll probably switch to four planets in a couple of days when I can run an extra command centre.

I’m aiming to be able to finance my alt from the PI, paying for training books and ships first, then hopefully PLEXes. It could be that I need to move to 0.o for the more abundant resources available there. Which will be a shame because I’d need to train another toon as an out of corp hauling alt. If its necessary though I’ll do it.

All Gone

Posted in Character with tags , , , , on December 16, 2010 by Baa

The learning skills points came, they tempted me for an hour or so, and now they are all gone.

I logged on yesterday to a few corp mails saying that we should spend our learning skill rebates getting closer to getting into a carrier. I thought about it for a nano second but I don’t plan on putting my main into a carrier. Its just wasted training for me so I defied orders. Oops.

Instead I spent the points for my main on Interceptor V and a few other supporting skills such as Astrometic Rigging IV, Siege Warfare Specialist I-IV, etc. This has improved my ability to fly the ships I fly all the time, which to me is better than something I’m not training for and wouldn’t be able to fly till the middle of next year.

The point on my alt went into PI so I can now use elite command centres. The plan here is that my alt will be in a carrier by the middle of next year so I’ll apply to the corp then and have a carrier capable pilot. It will take the rest of the year to be able to do useful stuff in it, but it will be a start.

Overconfidence

Posted in Chronicle with tags , , , , , , , , , on December 15, 2010 by Baa

“Carrier undocking.”

We watched the huge ship leave the station, lumbering into space. I orbited it, as it edged outside the stations shields, waiting for the interference from the station to drop off enough to be able to target it.

I checked the ID on the pilot and was surprised to see it was the same one that had just docked. He knew our fleet was out here, why was he taking the risk?

I’ve been doing pretty well PVP wise this month, already more kills than any other month, and thought I’d hop on for an hour or so before I went to bed and see what was going on. There was a PVP fleet in 995 camping the station so I jumped into my trusty Ares, well not the same one as before they have a habit of getting blown up, and headed off to join the fleet. I figured that with the core probe launcher I could scan the adjacent systems for ratters in expensive ships and possibly add to the kill total that way.

I burned from Airaken and got there without any incident. I moved through a couple of systems containing ratters as I went but they were hold up in POS leaving the few remaining Angel Cartel to circle the wrecks in the Sanctums they were trying to defend. I soon got to the fleet and sat on a bubble.

They’d had some success already; A Chimera stuck in a radar site. Somehow it had managed to get trapped against some of the objects and was unable to escape when the fleet entered the system. A Myrmidon and Raven stuck in the bubbles the fleet had set up, and a Malediction that thought it could escape when undocking. There were still a few reds in the system, so we thought we’d wait to see if anything else showed up.

I’d been there a while hopping into adjacent systems scanning when comms reported a carrier undocking. He must have known that the fleet was there  so this was a deliberate move. I burned back into system and warped to the station. Comms was busy…

“Point on the carrier.”

“See if you can get a bump.”

“How far is he off the station.”

“Still, well within the docking radius.”

“That was a good bump. He’s picked up a little speed.”

One our our pilots was hurling their Drake at the carrier trying to push it far enough from the station so that it would have to re-approach to be able to dock.

“Drones are out. He’s aggressing the Heretic.”

“Reps on the Heretic. Keep him alive.”

I entered an orbit and engaged my warp disruptor. It was probably superflous given the number of other ships in the fleet, but you can’t have too many points. Our Scimitar pilots repped the Interdictor that was targetted and the carrier pilot pulled in his drones.

“Only a couple more k and he’ll be out of docking range.”

We waited, watching the carrier inch away from the station.

“Has to be close now.”

“He’s docked.”. The disappointment laden voice of the FC announced.

The fleet had been sitting in the system for a while now and some of the members were wanting to move on.

“He’s chatting in local.”

Sure enough the carrier pilot was commenting in local. Saying how he had enjoyed teasing us and that the longer he kept us here without a kill the better. Messages were posted back suggesting that maybe, as such a good pilot, he might like to try again. This went on for a while, in the meantime the pilot that had been bumping the carrier worked his way to a spot under the station.

“This spot should allow us a good bump. I’ll drop a can.”

He jettisoned a can containing a single heavy missle.

“If he comes out again warp to this spot and line up from here.”

“Nidhoggur undocked”

The pilot had decided to take the bait. He’d survived the time before so didn’t see any problem in trying us again.

“Wait for him to be lockable.”.

We waited. Trying to lock the carrier. My target lock stopped reporting him as invulnerable.

“Lockable”

“Bump him. Unload your DPS.”

I set into a tight orbit of around 10k, applied my disruptor and starting shooting Caldari Antimatter changes. This was a closer orbit than I’d usually fly, fearful of a scram, but I figured that wasn’t going to be an option. I’d have gone closer but carriers tend to fit smart bombs and I wasn’t brave enough to chance it.

“He’s aggressed. Smart bombing.”

I’d been wise to stay at distance as I saw most of the fleets drones disappear.

Drake, upon Drake, warped to the start spot to try and bump the carrier away from the dock. Some of the bumps were more successful than others, but it was soon moving at a reasonable speed.

“Pretty sure he can’t re-dock now.”

We continued shooting, the shields began to bleed off.

“Neutralised”.

The shields fell quicker. The carrier started to turn.

“He’s turning. Web him. Stop him getting back.”

We started to eat into armour. The carrier pilot, knowing that the game was probably up started typing things into local about how he had another carrier in the station and that it would only take him or day or two to replace it.  Tears perhaps?

With the armour gone the structure was next. It was obvious that he had an active damage control, so the neutralizers weren’t completely removing his cap. Slowly but surely it too disappeared until the last volley of missiles caused it to explode.

Sadly we didn’t managed to bubble to pod and he warped off. Still if ever there was a lesson against overconfidence this was it. He’d been close to being out of dock range the first time. We were much more organised the second time and once he aggressed it was over. By the time his timer ran down he was outside the docking radius. Nice kill though. We’ll have to go back.

Moar Planets

Posted in Character with tags , , , on December 14, 2010 by Baa

I’ve got two colonies established, waiting for the update and learning skill points before establishing another, producing Super Conductors and Synthetic Oil. They produce a steady, but limited, amount each day. I can use these products to create my Ukomi Superconductors, and eventually Nano Factories. Still, with the current organisation I have, I can’t see me making vast riches from PI and am wondering about a change in approach.

At the moment I am producing the tier 2 products (Super Conductors and Synthetic Oil) on the planet I am extracting the raw materials on. The reason for doing this is to minimize the fees I pay exporting and importing goods from the planets. The problem with this approach is that you spend CPU on the tier 2 factories which means that you can extract less of each raw material. I’m considering a switch to only producing tier 1 goods on the extraction planets and setting aside a planet for the tier 2+ processing. This would mean more ferrying of goods around but might streamline my processing a little.

I know I could build a spreadsheet to work out the relative benefits of each approach but, to be honest, I’m not that committed. I spend too much team at work checking things, and filling in spreadsheets and the like, I’d rather take a simpler approach to my play. Anyone have any experience that they’d like to share?

No Incursions here

Posted in CCP with tags , , on December 13, 2010 by Baa

There does seem to be a bit of a buzz about the Sansha Incursions. I’ve seen a couple of messages in alliance chat about up coming incursions, with people trying to get people to go along with them. We’ve even had a Sansha carrier appear on our killboard (What’s with that? Why are people getting killmails for PVE content?). To be honest though I’m a bit meh about it. Unless the Incursions start impacting the space I’m in its not something that I’m going to bother with.

That said there could be some interesting side effects. Not least, if the incursion takes hold, a flow of refugees through our systems would provide us with more targets. As  well as the fact that war is always good for business. Still, it seems a little forced to have these things intruding on our sandbox. Maybe its just me, but one of the the things about EVE is that the narrative is player driven. I’d rather the time be spent improving the intelligence of the existing PVE content, and CONCORD (pilot X is in Jita and has been ganking people solidly for the last couple of hours. CONCORD still don’t turn up until he shoots something else. At some point you have to be KOS), than having a pirate invasion.

Drake Lag

Posted in CCP with tags , , on December 13, 2010 by Baa

I’ve just read with interest the two latest dev blogs about lag (Drake’s of Destiny part 1 & part 2). The interesting thing about this is that it confirms some of my predjuices about modern programming and programming languages.

I’ve probably not mentioned it before but I work in IT, and have done since finishing my degree about 25 years ago. In that time I’ve programmed, consulted, and managed systems. The problem explained in the dev blogs is a common one that has been around since the dawn of time. Poorly optimised algorithms.

I’m not going to blame CCP for this. I’m guessing that the majority of their coders are relatively young and have come upon the scene post Java and Moore’s Law. It’s something I see at work all the time. The drive has been away from programmer optimization and instead dumping it on the technology to overcome coding issues. The idea is that the programmer spends more time doing the useful stuff instead of trying to wring the best out of each CPU cycle (cue misty look into the past when a CPU cycle meant something and using one less instruction would save the day). This isn’t bad I suppose, in most cases you can just throw faster hardware at it, or scale it horizontally.

In real time operations this isn’t possible. You run out of faster hardware and once you scale massively horizontally you lose an increasing amout of processing time to keep each node in sync. In the end you have to go back to good old algorithm optimization. Something that we looked at in the second year of my degree all those years ago.

I’m sure that they are already on it at CCP, but if they aren’t maybe they should just do a trawl of the code for nested loops. They aren’t a bad thing but, in general, are sub-optimal performance wise.

I’ll get back to the more normal coverage later.

Covert Operations

Posted in Chronicle with tags , , , , , , , , on December 13, 2010 by Baa

“Jump bridge opening in 10 … 9 … 8 … 7 …”, the commander’s voice calmly counted down, “4 … 3 … 2 … 1. Jump, jump, jump”

I steered towards the bridge entrance and appeared in a new system. The navicomp confirmed our new location as Messoya.

“Primary is the Huginn Vanessa Sly.”

I swung the ship into operation, locked the target and unleashed a volley of torpedos…

Friday had come around again. No work the next day so I decided I’d just hop on and see if there was anything going on around our space. Luck would have it have one of our FCs was calling for a Black Ops gang. This wasn’t something that I’d done before but sounded fun. I had a torp fitted Nemesis in my hanger, time to make use of it.

Our targets were a set of pirates that had been preying on our ships taking the low-sec route down to LXQ2-T. They usually sat on the gate in one of two systems and picked off solo travellers. Attempts to catch them with conventional fleets had proved difficult. The had scouts out and, as soon as they saw a fleet approaching, they melted away only to come back for the next solo ship. The plan was to drop a bait ship in with a cynosaural generator and, once engaged, our fleet of stealth bombers would bridge through and engage.

Our FC jumped into the target system in an Arazu and burned off the gate. The reds locked and engaged him. He lit the cyno and we all jumped through.

“Target the Huginn. Primary is the Huginn. Secondary is lilpday in the Drake.”.

I locked the Huginn and sent a volley of torpedos towards it. Another volley was launched just before first hit. They would keep sailing off into space as the Huginn was no more.

I switched target to the Drake. This took a few more volleys, but again exploded into space. The rest of the pirate fleet was bugging out. We’d been in self preservation mode, stealth bombers don’t survive long when targetted, so no one had a point on anything else. Our Arazu had gone down near the start of the combat. We’d killed two ships to one, but ISK wise it was fairly even.

The stealth bomber fleet cloaked up and made our way back to our rendevous point. We then cast around in alliance for anyone that could fly a bait ship with a better chance of survival. A pilot in Drake volunteered, as did another Arazu pilot. We sent both into the low-sec pipe to try and get someone aggressed.

The Drake pilot, with another Drake, jumped through the Messoya and proceeded to toy with the pirates around the station undock. They kept undocking, locking up, taking a few volleys and then re-docking. A variety of ships were used, mostly the ones from the earlier gang. We waited on tenterhooks, hoping for them to aggress so that we could jump in.

Meanwhile the Arazu was being aggressed in Maila. Sadly he had to dock in order not to go down. He repaired in the station and our Drake fleet moved to the next system. The pirates had docked with him and they both sat there waiting. This could be interesting after Incarna. A little in station interaction would be fun at this point.

The Drake got in place and the Arazu undocked. An Abaddon undocked seconds later and locked him. The Arazu burnt off the station. The Abaddon opened fire.

“Bridge open. Jump”

We jumped through. Quicker this time, benefitting from the previous practice. We locked the Abaddon as one and torpedoes pounded into it. The shields blinked away, but the Abaddon is an armour tanking ship so that was expected. An Archon undocked. A corp mate of the Abaddon. This could become interesting …

The assault on the Abaddon continued. Its armour steadily depleting as the torpedos thumped into it. The carrier stayed within docking distance, its drone bays quiet. It was probably looking at our fleet and wondering what the outcome would be if it joined in. The Abaddon de-aggressed.

“Overload your launchers. Take him down.”

The siege launchers were barely cooling between volleys but the Abaddon hit structure. A volley later and it was over. All that remained was a wreck and the pilot’s pod.  The Archon docked.

The fight had happened so quickly that the Drakes arrived only to see the Archon dock. The damage had been done now though. For the moment the pirates are wary of a single ship of ours. Who knows, it may be carrying a cyno and have a black ops fleet on standby.