Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Challenge

I've dabbled and hobby'd in programming since the days of copying BASIC programs into my Commodore64 in Jr. High. I minored in what was called CS in college, but the sum total was a semi-operational program written using PASCAL.

Through work I've been required to learn some T-SQL, and have written various .BAT file kludges to automate some Win functionality. If programming is a gun, I basically know which end not to point at myself.

I decided to make a concerted effort to learn a language well-enough to put together a usable app for EvE. I've chosen C++, since I have easy access to a compiler, the books are plentiful and I've had some exposure to developing in the VS environment.

I'm giving myself the month of December to see how far I get. 30+/- days to become, let's say...conversant in a new language. I hope to be able to throw together enough functions to build a usable app. Not marketable...just usable.

I'm using two books. The first I'm going through is "C++ Primer Plus, 5th Edition." As expected, it starts at the basics and I am going to force myself to actually read through things I already (think) I know. The book seems highly recommended, and is not so dry as to lead to boredom.

The blog is being maintained simply to keep a journal of my progress...maybe elicit periodic recommendations from anyone who might accidentally wander here...and hopefully it will keep me accountable and on task.

So, dear reader...if you're learning along with me, or if you have advice, please feel free to comment as I go. I welcome any and all advice.

Chap 01...

Saturday, September 11, 2010

13 years

Thirteen years. Had it really been that long? The Chief turned the page on the calendar.

He hung it back on the wall slowly and stared in a dazed, semi-conscious state. He thought he should be wallowing in self-pity, but for some reason he couldn't. He could have walked away from this. He should have walked away when they came to him in the beginning.


“Chief, got a minute?”

“No,” the Chief replied without even glancing at the interloper. He didn't need to look. The only people who didn't know better than to disturb him on the shop floor were weasels from Admin. Weasels with clean uniforms and spit-shined shoes.

But the weasel persisted, “Seriously...this is kinda important.”

The Chief took a turn out of his way to walk down an especially greasy and dusty aisle in the shop. He heard the click of the weasels shoes hesitate and smiled. The smile faded as the double-quick footsteps closed on him again.

“Look, I know the fighter-bomber prototypes are ready for production,”

“The weasels been watching me,” thought the Chief.

“I also know that they've been ready for several weeks,” the weasel stopped following.

The Chief stopped, too. “He's been really watching me.”

The weasel was right. The Chief had been carrying the same bolt and polishing rag around for almost a month. The bureaucrats and the admirals didn't understand what it was like to finish a job. He'd never known a politician who wasn't working on another inane law or tax. And he certainly never knew an admiral who wasn't looking for the next “Great War.”

He always thought war was one of life's greatest ironies. Soldiers hated war. Did everything they could to get out of it...faking injuries, volunteering for the shittiest homeworld assignments and even going AWOL. Meanwhile the politicians and admirals were conniving and provoking their enemies, looking for an “opportunity to lead the people to victory” (and lead themselves to promotion.)

And then the first bullets fly. When the action starts, you can't pull a line soldier from his squadmates. They'll hide injuries and volunteer for suicide missions to stay with their comrades. And the politicians and admirals? Just try to find one within an AU of a fight. They prefer to “lead” from their command centers and capitol buildings. Heroic.

The Chief spun to face the weasel. He narrowed his eyes at the textbook gopher.

“Who do you work for?” he growled.

The weasel felt his upperhand slip away under the Chief's withering gaze.

“ was sent by Commander Cur....” a pained expressing crossed his face and was gone. “I work for Commander Greene in Intel Division. He asked me to give you this envelope and wait for your response.” He semi-defiantly thrust a large envelope at the Chief, fully expecting to draw back a bloody stump.

The Chief snatched the envelope while staring hard into the weasels blinking eyes.

He tore it open and first noticed the red “Top Secret” stamps all over the pages.

“Intel Division...hmmph” the Chief muttered.

He quickly flipped through the pages expecting to read about “the future of spy probe technology.”

As he slowly realized what the pages proposed he looked up at the weasel.

“Do you know what's in here?”

“No, Chief. I was strictly instructed to deliver it to you and return with your response,” the weasel squirmed, anticipating delivering a disappointing response to his superior.

“Tell them...” the Chief looked back at the documents. If this was even remotely possible, he had to be a part of it.

“Tell them I'll be at the loading dock in the morning.”

Without a word the weasel spun around and walked to the end of the aisle. As he turned the corner he glanced at his shoes and sighed. He rubbed the toes on the back of each leg and walked out of sight.


Thirteen years ago...and today the work was done. So much had happened in the galaxy since the project started. But his progress and his purpose had not waivered one bit. Six months ago it was obvious that, despite so many obstacles...despite so many seeming violations of the laws of nature and physics...despite a budget in the hundreds of billions...despite even a change of government...this new weapon was going to be built.

As if in preparation, the planet-side wars had started years ago. Armies of men fighting for the resources being squeezed from nearly every planet in the galaxy. His own brother perishing in a meaningless assault on a command center on Venilen II.

And now this. He stared at the black metal hull of the ship and wondered about the mind of the intended pilot. How could a man wield this power? How arrogant would he have to be to believe that he could control it?

The Chief thought of the millions that would perish.

He stared at his masterpiece.

His blood turned to ice.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Tyrannis: A Planetary Interaction Contest

"The future's so bright, I gotta wear shades." --Timbuk3

Tyrannis will see some new industrial and planetary interaction opportunities like we've never seen before in New Eden. It's a step in linking EVE Online and DUST514 as well. So I need you to write what you believe are the short and/or long term consequences of this development, in terms of the new industrial capacity in presents to players, in terms of the opportunities for pirates, for industrialist, for sovereignty, etc. Surprise us!
First off, my disclaimer: I am (at best) a hobbyist-level industrialist.  I don't own a POS, and I'm not in a nullsec corp working all of the SOV and harvesting/mining angles.

But, I AM a grain of sand in "the sandbox." And like all of the rest of you any change, major or minor affects all of us (see "The Butterfly Effect.")  At the highest level, changes to resource 'faucets' will quickly trickle to the market, then to the day-to-day player.  In retail terms, I'll be the end-user/consumer.  In theory I'll be paying the highest price (isk) for the changes.

I'm not a 'bleeding edge' player.  I don't try out the new stuff, thus won't really see the results of Tyrannis for a little while.  Much like "Dominion," I anticipate little affect on my gameplay.

Probably not the type of response CK is looking for to his contest.  But I DO think that mine reflects a large segment of the player population.  End-gamers will reap the immediate benefits, but I will see little of it.

As a gateway to Dust514, planetary interaction goes hand-in-hand with EvE-Gate, which I have higher hopes for.  I think creating the social network bridge between the 'Spacers' and the 'Grunts' is a quantum leap in gaming, if it goes to plan.

I'm optimistic about these new developments.  The future's so bright, I gotta wear shades.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Where's YOUR stuff?

So, after taking a small break and getting back online, I decided to try to consolidate all of my "stuff" that is scattered about New Eden.  This screenshot looks innocuous enough.  But it is actually show 176 STATIONS!

There are definitely drawbacks to region-wide buy orders.  Oh well.

Monday, February 1, 2010

On to Faction Warfare

Soooo, finding a lowsec corp to join for PvP has been kind of a bust.  I take some of the blame for not stepping up.  As I mentioned in an earlier post, there was one corp that was poised for success, but seemed rather rudderless.

So, after some discussion with some folks geographically local (EvE Meet Boston) I decided to take a trip into Faction Warfare.  I have been referred to a FW corp and may look to joining up with them.  I've been monitoring the FW channel as well as their recruitment channel and it seems like they're actually pretty active and having fun.

In the meantime, I've been wandering around some lowsec areas in the Old Man Star area setting up safespots and tactical positions in several systems.   Tried a few times to pick a fight, but with just my little interceptor I'm having trouble getting a hold of someone long enough to mix it up.  Most are warp to zero at a gate or station and go.  I tried just circling a gate and waiting for the flash and ctrl-clicking the target that pops up.  But I get the 'interference' message and then they warp away.  I'm guessing that why people use bubbles ;)

So, I'll be roaming around there for the next few days seeing if I can kill or be killed.  Have seen a few 'full-red' outlaws come through as well as a couple of opposing militia, but can never track them down in time.  Time to gang up, methinks.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Blog Banter Special Edition

We know the EVE Online Community is unique in so many ways, and that EVE Online is like no other MMORPG out there. But what makes the game special for you?

What is it that makes this particular virtual world so enticing, so mysterious and so alluring that we keep coming back for more. Why is EVE one of the very few MMOs to see a continuous growth in its subscriber.

While I have concerns about CK's use of the word "love" in this the quote from "The Truth About Cats and Dogs" goes, "It's ok to love your [game], just don't love your [game]."

I enjoy playing EvE.  It satisfies a lot of different 'itches' I have when looking for gameplay.
  1. Intellectual-regardless of the playstyle or activity, the return is always based on the amount of thought you put into it.  If you're looking for a bit of straight pew-pew, you can just hop in a T1 Frigate and head for lowsec looking for trouble.  It will find you.  Duke  it out.  Die (or live) and go fit out another.  Crank up the thought processes and make it an inty or cloaker and do some sniping..  Then there's gangs and fleets.  Being a competent FC requires a lot of forethought, 3-dimensional thinking and tactical skill.
  2. Artisitic-taking tours of New Eden simply to view the scenery can be enjoyable.  A lot of people knock the art as being too basic for a modern game, but some of the scenes, whether peaceful or mid-battle makes for great screenshots and wallpapers.
  3. Camaraderie- I've had acquaintances in other games...guildmates and the like...but there is a core group of players that I've been involved with since my first week in EvE.  We keep a channel up for discussions and keep most of our talk about in-game stuff, but occasionally discuss some out of game issues.  I would consider them my closest e-friends.
  4. Sworn Enemies-in contrast to the above, there are a few players that have made it to my 'poopy-list.'  They will always be KoS to me when possible.  The ability to generate that kind of passion in 'just a game' I find truly interesting.
  5. The meta-game-this includes the blogging community, tweetfleet as well as 3d party app development.  There are dozens of things you can do in  EvE without ever logging in.
Then there's mining, exploring, epic arcs....My current sub runs til December....I'm sure I'll re-up after that.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Flash Fiction

I've never taken a stab at any sort of fan fiction...but decided after reading Casiella's blog that I'd take a stab at it.

Topic:: This week’s prompt:
New Eden has seen new craft take the field this week, with the deployment of fighter-bombers designed to threaten and destroy capital ships as part of Dominion 1.1. These craft have non-capsuleer pilots controlling them, much like the existing fighters. Your story should reference these fighter-bombers in some way. Maybe a FB pilot prepares for an engagement in which she’ll pilot such a craft, or pirates look to steal the technology and resell it, or maybe station crew observe a battle involving these ships. Or maybe you’ll even examine the origins behind their names.
Let’s see what you’ve got!
"All set Chief. Those new FBs are loaded and ready to go," Crewman D'Tar waved a wrench at the shiny row of death-dealers in the launch bay.

"I don't know what the big goddamn deal is with these things," the Chief muttered. "Like we weren't killing big enough ships fast enough?" Chief Tranden was an engineer....a builder...a creator. Enemy or not, he despised seeing man's creations destroyed. And for what? An empty portion of space? A system with maybe one inhabitable planet that would likely end up raped for it's resources anyway?

He had seen entire fleets of Hulks destroyed to fill the pockets of a few reckless capsuleers with ISK to be spent on implants and ships so that they can become even more effective at destruction. Wars of principle ended eons ago. The fight over slavery being the closest thing to a 'cause' in the galaxy. But who really cared if a few dirty, uneducated wretches spent their otherwise useless lives serving tea to wealthy, self-proclaimed (and equally worthless) nobles?

A man's hands and mind are what set him apart from the animals. The real sin is to waste those gifts and leave no physical creation behind to represent his life. These new ships were machined and crafted by an artisan. It was the Chief's shame that his greatest gift was the ability to create the most lethal machines in the galaxy. He took one last look at them and turned to walk away.

"At least I'm good at something."