Summer 2014, when the beta of E:D was going on I decided that I wanted to build a few tools around the game, which where mostly to make my own life easier – but as i have done with a lot of the stuff I’ve build to make my life better in EVE Online, I wanted to offer the same tools that I’ve build for myself (in this case it was the first Iteration of the route planner) to all other players as well – as if I’m in the need for such tool, then others are as well.
There is various rasons on why/how someone would spend as much free time as I do on 3rdparty- (or fan-) sites for games. Besides the “I need this tool” they always provide a good platform for myself to test out technologies, and train my own skills further. The route planner is a good example of that – yes i had implemented an a* before, but how would that scale on an application that many people are using, and what can i do to keep it performant?
The big surprise came the day that FD announced there wouldn’t be any wipes anymore. From a few Users that where using the roue planner on a daily basis, the numbers jumped up to several thousand unique users a day, and is still there, which forced me to actually spend more time on the project than I wanted (I was foolish enough to plan playing the game myself ;).
Well now the route planner is running mostly stable, using 2 webservers (hhvm+nginx), and an replicaset of 3 tokumx (a mongodb fork) instances. The only issue I’m having is that FD only provided an extremly limited set of “known” stars to the community, and that the crowd sourcing efforts of those trying to cartograph more have stalled (guess their all busy playing), which means the routes that can be found are far from being perfect, and there are many places – even within the known sphere of human influence – which can not be reached easy. Sadly i can’t do much about that – I hope the community is going to ask a bit louder for this data (or the information on how FD generated that data), so FD gives in and publishes more.
Then I’ve spend a few hours on optimizations that the community has asked for (ranging from a slightly different color scheme, to a more mobile friendly version) – a lot of the things I’ve been asked for I’ve delivered already, and some I’m still working on.
But I don’t want the website to stay “that route planner”, I want to integrate more tools / information, especially those that I miss myself. For example, right now I’m working on an aggregation of News / Blog Posts from various sources, as I feel a more central place where you can find this is lacking.
Another thing I want to add (soon) is proper profiles for registered users – which includes to allow users to name their user (right now its all random names, with the exception of my own profile).
So, feel free to swing by any time soon, there are new features comming.
Peter “Peter Powers” Petermann