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Eve Online spaceship viewer uses WebGL (eveonline.com)
123 points by lloeki on May 26, 2012 | hide | past | web | favorite | 47 comments

So, this is a bit of an aside, but last night I wrote a patch for WebView on iOS to enable WebGL in Safari (which I believe I'm releasing on the Cydia store soon for $1 probably; I figure why not), and the iPad 3 runs this really well: http://i.imgur.com/rs70S.jpg

Smooth as butter, but it seems that everyone uses onmousedown/over/up rather than ontouch* events, so click-to-view type things don't work at all on iOS, meaning you can't rotate the model here. I guess that's simply because WebGL has been 99.9% on the desktop so far, with the few exceptions being Mobile Firefox, Boot2Gecko, and the Playbook browser. Still interesting I think, though.

Please post your patch on HN when you release it. I think many HN readers would be interested.

Definitely will! Just waiting to hear from saurik about getting it in the store. Hopefully it'll be up soon.

Not to dash any hopes of getting rich on this :) but is your patch significantly different than this:


? I've never tried it, but the occasional screenshot and video have shown up online from people saying it works pretty well.

Yes-ish. Same exact mechanism to enable it inside the WebView, but the tough (well, marginally) part is how you apply that to all the WebViews on the system.

Don't get me wrong, this is not a substantial patch. However, it saves you from a couple hours of debugging random issues; I don't think $1 is unreasonable. I don't really care about making money off it, though, I'm just curious to see how it does.

I have to say that this is quite impressive. Not only do the models appear very smooth (and fast), but the textures look great and with lighting, etc.

There is one question I have had that this reminds me of, and that is if there are any really impressive WebGL demos out there. I looked a while back and was not able to run across anything significant. Right now to me it seems like WebGL is technically proficient but distributed less widely than even VRML was.

Not true at all. See:




The main obstacle to wider adoption is the lack of support in IE. IE10 will hopefully fix that, and meanwhile it's losing share.

Don't forget the blog at http://www.webgl.com which is updated almost everyday.

Something must be wrong with their feature detection 'cause all I see in Chrome and Firefox are some well-rendered sky and engine lights. Linux, Chrome 19, Firefox 12, nouveau drivers.

Check chrome://gpu/ in Chrome. It should say whether WebGL is enabled. I have to run Chrome with --enable-webgl --ignore-gpu-blacklist to make it work.

I'd be very surprised if Chrome didn't blacklist nouveau; perhaps you're overriding this behavior with a command-line flag? Visit about:version to check.

Actually, this is the first webgl demo that I've ever had trouble with. Gallium seems to cover most of the common extensions and claims support for OpenGL 2.1, GLSL 1.2, which is recent enough for most applications.

And no, I'm not overriding anything, it's always just worked.

Edit: In fact, doing a quick grep through the shipviewer.js file, they're only using GL_ARB_texture_cube_map plus a bit of framebuffer drawing, both of which are fairly standard things and should be supported by gallium. No idea what the issue might be..

I have the same issue, in both Chrome and Firefox, using the nvidia binary driver.

The engine lights do look pretty though.

Why would Chrome blacklist Nouveau? I'm sure it's far less hacky than the official Nvidia binary blob.

We have no idea whether the nvidia driver is hacky or not, but it does actually work quite well, whereas nouveau is (or was the last time I checked) still known to have features/cards that aren't supported.

Actually this is what happened to me in Safari on Lion: most models showed up, but a few were not, only their engine plumes as you described.

Works great on my Ubuntu's Firefox with Intel integrated graphics.

Same here on Linux.

I can see the ship for a second, then it explodes and disappears. Firefox 12, Linux, Intel Mesa drivers

Same problem...

Any opinions on Eve as a game? Been considering it as a primary time sink for a while now.

It's called spreadsheets online for a very good reason. It's definitely a game that you spend a lot of time talking about playing it instead of actually playing it.

Personally I'd tell anyone else to avoid it having been through it and come out the other side. It just doesn't give you much for the time spent. The ships look great, but don't expect either elite or tie fighter.

The pve is terrible, though diverting enough for the first month or two. Unless you really like collecting stuff and making a mega pimp mobile, it rapidly becomes extremely dull.

One of the addictive things about it is how 'risky' the pvp is as the ships you use are worth days in mind numbingly boring grinding. There is a heavy death penalty if you are using a 'good' ship and it's one of the only things that actually makes it fun, you do get an adrenaline rush from it. But the actual combat lasts 30 seconds-1 minute and it often will have taken you hours to find that one combat. Get caught by the wrong thing and you're guaranteed to die.

There are very few massive fleet battles. In fact more time is spent with FCs avoiding the enemy than actually fighting them and when you do get in a battle you die as soon as you're targeted as it's 100s of people shooting you in tandem. The weapons have far too long ranges so the most effective tactic is everyone shoots at the same target. Do not choose a name that starts with a-f, you will always be primaried.

Although there are more creative ways to make in game credits than grinding, you can even buy it (they have regulated RMT).

Be aware that they allow in game scamming and the game is pretty rough round the edges so it's very easy to fall for. Often you'd not think that's the way a mechanic is supposed to work.

Also there are generally 2 or 3 ships that are terribly overpowered at any one time in game. They usually take a year to fix them. If you plan going pvp it's worth finding out with the FOTM ships are from the beginning

As someone else says get a good corp quick. Reddit have their own one.

TLDR; If you want to get a taste of what it's like actually playing eve, open up a chat window with some friends and then 'spin' the ship in that web GL browser.

That's what you'll spend most of your time doing in eve online.

Yup. The first thing I heard about this game was my friend showing me his automated trade arbitrage spreadsheets.

Spreadsheets! That's nothing!

I downloaded their items DB (which they publish) and created a program that downloaded prices from eve-central and figured out the best tech 2 things to build based on predictions of how well the item would be selling in a week and what skills my builder had or could get in that time.

Took me a month or two. Once it was finished I only spent about 2 weeks actually building stuff. The UI is so terrible and to make a decent profit with the fairly low level character you had to set off jobs in the morning too. That was the beginning of the end for me coupled with my then alliance going under (roadkill).

Good programming practice though.

Crikey, just checked, was almost 4 years ago. I re-subbed again for a month after the monocle fiasco, hadn't really changed much since then. They seem to be focusing on their new products.

The only aspect of Eve I really enjoyed was the economy. It's actually pretty fun to find niches and verticals then exploit the hell out of them.

I played the margins on nullsec loot (often melted and sold for pennies), shipping it off to Jita (using outsourced freighters) and selling for significantly more. Made twenty or thirty billion simply playing the margins between nullsec and highsec.

Another few billion were made by importing "compressed" minerals for all the capital ship producers.

Moonmining was a lot of fun because of the logistics involved. Ditto for the wormhole exploration.

At one point I wrote a bot that sat in Jita and basically daytraded, playing the spread between bid and ask. I lost interest in Eve around that time because of work and a social life, but it was a fun project to work on (lots of OCR involved).

All that said, I was small fish compared to others in my corp. One guy took an investment of 100bn from our corp and used that capital to finance an "Officer Loot Buyback" program. Basically, ratters were bringing in a lot of officer loot, but that stuff is really only worthwhile in Jita, and you had to babysit contract. Most players can't be bothered to sell it themselves...but they know it is worth good money.

This guy purchased the loot at a 10-60% discount simply because of convenience. Ratters were happy with getting some money, he shipped it off to the markets and made the difference.

He quit eventually, having repaid the entire 100bn investment and making several times that in profit. Pretty crazy (for an internet spaceship game)

It's an incredible game in every regard. It's not WoW in space. It's not arcade space combat. But it is a very human, deep, cold, and brutal game. I had a very fulfilling time trying to corner the market on various goods in my sector, hiring newbies to make the freight runs for me. But one day, you find yourself analyzing the EVE narcotics market spread on your commute to real-life work and wonder if you're overinvested. It's why it's called spreadsheets in space. Min-maxer's delight.

Unfortunately, it's not a game I'll pick back up unless I find out I'm immortal.

I've been playing it on and off since 2003. It's the best online game I have ever played, bar none. It fills a niche in the world of games that nobody else does, and for that alone, is worth playing to see what it's like.

The real problem with EVE is the "learning cliff" and how easy it is to get your ass handed to you. Even after you learn everything -- you don't know anything and you will die repeatedly and with no mercy. That's the name of the game, though, and it's a hard lesson for some people.

EVE is the closest parallel to real life I've ever seen in a game. It truly is a sandbox world. There aren't arbitrary protections like in other MMOs. You can be killed anywhere; you're never safe. There are people who exhibit every facet of human behavior -- and games within games within games. It's a player driven economy, the sociopolitical landscape is all created by the people who play it, and truly a lifestyle if you let it be.

A real 24/7/365 game. It doesn't stop. I've set alarm clocks to get up at 4AM and help my corporation or alliance out when needed. I've taken days off from work to make sure I could be available for crucial moments. It's a video game -- yes, it is -- but it can be so much more than that. For many people this is an alternate reality.

At any rate, I highly recommend it. It's not for everybody, most people quit before giving it a real chance, but it's something worth experiencing. If it is the kind of thing that catches you, though, it will grab you and shake your very worldview on what "online gaming" can be.

It's beautiful, it's cruel, it's terrifying and wonderful.

If you want a time sink, learn a new language, start a website, do something productive. Don't play in someone else's sandbox; create your own.

The UI is purposely opaque so that automating things is very difficult, and of course in-game automated activity (scripting the UI) is banned by the EULA. That's the opposite of what any hacker naturally wants to do, because it's simply not productive.

The interesting aspects of EVE are human aspects: running corporations and alliances, and spying. However, the sheer amount of work to get into a position of authority in a corp or alliance worth being in, and the amount of tedious logistics involved when you are in the leadership, make the exercise overall not worth it.

> If you want a time sink, learn a new language, start a website, do something productive. Don't play in someone else's sandbox; create your own.

Awesome. How have I ever not thought about and done any of that.

Sarcasm aside, commercial game sandboxes are designed to get you to do tedious repetitive crap in order to get enough in-game resources to be able to do interesting things.

The interesting parts of EVE are not the problem. The problem is the tedious parts. Either you end up grinding in-game to get isk (in-game money), or you pay real money to buy GTCs and sell them in-game to get isk.

Once you understand all the aspects of the game, Only PVP remains interesting. The ratio of game tedium (flying around, maintaining any resources you control, finding people to fight, etc) to actual fighting (or market manipulation if you're a trader) is unacceptably high.

Let me try to elaborate.

In order to get to the point where you can do most things in EVE, you need isk and you need a character ("toon") with a lot of skillpoints. You can convert real money into isk and use isk to buy other people's toons, but you end up spending a significant amount of money one way or another to get a good character.

A moderately capable toon might have 50M skillpoints, and might have ten or twenty billion ISK. If $35 60-day GTCs are worth about 500mil (I haven't checked recently, but it's the right order of magnitude), and that toon costs 8 billion, that's $560 worth of GTCs for the toon, and another $700-$1500 in liquid assets for the toon, on top of the $12-$20/mo you pay for the subscription.

Or, you can plod along with your own character which will take years to get that much experience. (Toon prices very roughly track the cumulative subscription cost for the time it takes to accumulate that many skillpoints.)

When you gain an understanding of most of the game, either you quit, or you keep your subscription going because you think you might want to play again some day though you probably won't, or you get addicted to the corp logistics or PVE grinding aspects of the game, and you mistake that for a fun distraction.

Regarding game architecture, although the initial design with stackless python was clever and scaled pretty well into the range of 10s of thousands of users, their overall architecture is horrid. It's stackless python around a small core implemented in C, a MS SQL database that crashes frequently, and a one-solar-system-per-process model that created so many performance problems for fleet fights that they've resorted to "time dilation" (read: slow down fights so the servers can handle it). For the longest time, their SQL database would crash, and their response was "we're failing over to the backup database, it'll be back up in xx minutes", clearly indicating they have no idea what failover or redundancy actually means.

Also, be warned that if you do anything even remotely against CCP's interests, you can get banned. That includes downloading leaked EVE "source code", talking about vulnerabilities publicly, or similar kinds of things. They don't tolerate criticism very well.

If you want a time sink, learn a new language, start a website, do something productive. Don't play in someone else's sandbox; create your own.

Or you can get two monitors and have Eve running in one while you do stuff in another. Eve is a rare game that is something distracting when you want it, yet you can productively focus on other work. I can't speak for other people but I am more productive with something like that running.

Doing what, trading? Even if you sit in jita 4-4 all day trading, even if you have market analysis fully automated, it still requires tedious updating of market orders. Nevermind what a pure trader would do with the isk made in playing the market.

If you fly ships, you can't do something out of game at a moment's notice without losing ships or getting stranded if you're in a group that moves on in lowsec/null by the time you're back, or pissing people off if you're in a group in highsec doing PVE.

A lot of time in EVE is spent moving around. It's approximately one minute per system jump, and that's in highsec (with no scouting). Like so much else in EVE, it's purposely designed to keep people active by requiring tedious participation, rather than allowing things to be automated so that time spent in-game is not tedious.

The only thing I know of in EVE that requires no tedious commitment and allows task switching to/from EVE near instantaneously is in-game chat.

First few days are spent educating yourself on how everything works. The tutorial is very well done and is surprisingly immersive, but it's more learning than you'd expect from a game. By the first week, you're just about ready to start enjoying yourself and finding creative ways to use all the things you've learned. After the first month, you're just about ready to PVP and put up a reasonable fight against veteran players.

There is no leveling, but there is skill training which simply takes time (no need to kill rats). The "first month" barrier is a combination of building out the minimum skill training (which can happen offline) to become competitive and acquiring the financing you'll need for decent equipment (which can be done by grinding or finding some random lucrative venture of varying risk and reward).

You'll have a better time if you join a corporation and try to get involved—much of the game experience is optimized for this kind of gameplay.

If you're not willing to put in at least a couple of weeks of time "investment" (at least a couple hours per day) into the game before it starts paying off in entertainment and unique experiences, it's probably not for you. I've never put in more than a month or two into the game at a time, but I'm convinced that it's unlike anything else out there.

Have been playing for five years.

The game itself revolved around PvP. Combat drives the market, which drives production, which creates ships, which get destroyed and so on and so forth. Because of this, EVE has the best economy I've ever seen in an MMO.

Solo and small gang PvP is quite fun and what I spent most of my time doing, but some other people enjoy being a small cog in the big machine and flying as part of the large alliances.

The two things I find frustrating about EVE are:

1) The players. As you lose your ship and anything it had when it gets destroyed people are motivated to win. This results in a large proportion of PvP involving you and your ten friends against one poorly fitted player. For the past few years this has been what the majority of combat has been like. It's certainly possible to win when outnumbered (my corporation Genos Occidere is known for it) but at the end of the day most people like to win and will do whatever they want to - even if that makes the game less fun than it could be.

2) CCP are horrible at communicating.

CCP, the company which develops the game tend to be very bad at communicating with the player base about issues, or approach things very heavy handedly. Last year there was a large scandal involving micro transactions where the majority of EVE players felt like people were going to be able to pay for an advantage in game. Instead of addressing the concerns, CCP went silent until an email from the CEO was leaked which showed his disconnect with the fan base.

Eventually an apology was issued, but many people felt insulted and treated like sheep. Proper communication about what was really happening (small cosmetic transactions) would have made people a lot happier.

Similarly, my alliance has been banned from competing in this years "Alliance Tournament" despite being last years winners due to poor communication from CCP.

At the end of the day EVE is a great game, and there is a lot of depth to it but it is not for everyone. My advice is to get some friends and take a look at the trial, it's enjoyed best when you have people there to help you through the hardships of space.

Eve is like dwarf fortress in many ways.

It's not diablo, or call of duty, or fallout. Those are games.

These are brutal simulations. If you want to understand, read the stories that come out of them, boat murdered (df) and the gentelmans club (eve).

Both games have a player filter because of their difficulties.

Both games give you !!FUN!! by virtue of punching you and not treating you like an infant.

If you bring something to the table, like imagination, creativity, then you will find some thing in eve that you won't find in any other game.

In all other games things are scripted to be fun. Here it's different. I really can't even find the words to describe how and why they are so different.

I've played it. It's awesome if you have the time for it. It's not the type of game you can hop on and play for just 30-60 minutes, though.

You could also consider Diablo 3 on account of its auction house (once it actually starts working). It's very fascinating to game the market and turn a profit, and I'm sure there's a lot of things outside of videogames to be learnt from using it.

As of now, the auction house is basically the unofficial endgame of Diablo 3.

6 year EVE player here. What I say to my friends is better do coke or heroine.

Never played it, but here's a fun read about it that gives some flavor:

The Great Nightfreeze Scam: http://www.wirm.net/nightfreeze/part1.html

Its an interesting time sink from a developer/engineer/etc view. The player market is very very interesting to "play" with, along with the PVP aspect.

Works fine for me. (Windows 7 64bit, Chrome 19.0.1084.52 m)

I really like the Idea of using WebGL to show how parts of the game actually look like. It's also very smooth, only the 'Battleship' (Amarr) is a bit choppy for me.

Not sure if bug in WebGL or if spaceships in Eve Online have cloaking devices that make everything except their exhaust invisible.

Works perfectly on a macbook (Chrome 19). I've not gotten WebGL to work on Linux with nouveau drivers though..

ff nightly working ok here - looks great.

Bit slow on my D620 (Chrome 18, Windows 7, NVS110M) but looks great.

Why are you still on Chrome 18? I think 19 added some further graphics/webgl improvements. It might work better with it.

Chrome's been bugging me to restart, I've just been too lazy to do so. :)

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