Fixing The Eve UI :: A Few Personal Wishes

It’s no secret to anyone with experience playing other MMOs that Eve suffers from one of the most awkward interfaces of any online game.

We are all aware that part of the problem is that the game-play in Eve is fundamentally different from the action-bar-centric games where you control an avatar in worlds with gravity to keep you on the ground (or at least near to it so you have a fixed point of reference).

However, there are many changes that could be made to improve the user experience without requiring a fundamental re-design of the game.

1 – Scanning Changes: There are many ways to improve this system, which is currently a very awkward “drag the camera and click” method.

<> My personal pet-peeve is that un-piloted ships (even those behind a POS forcefield) CANNOT be filtered off the scan results. This makes hunting far more complicated than it should  in certain systems where a moon is directly in-line with belts you will be scanning from your in-gate.

<> Add a “scan angle overlay” option, possibly as part of the tactical HUD we already have in-game. It’s silly that I have to teach new players to use their own ship as an imprecise marker for the center of there scan, and we need a better graphical representation.

<> We need an active scan option that pulses regularly if we are ever going to get local removed. Even if they DO keep local as-is, this would still be useful. Something like a 10-second cycle wouldn’t be as good as a human-operator mashing “scan,” so this puts it in-line with the philosophy of autopilot. Namely, that automated piloting options are acceptable as long as they are less effective than manual operation.

<> Key-bindings for widening/narrowing the scan area. Currently, you need to shift the camera and then mouse over to the scan button (or change the angle, which also initiates a scan). I think there could be bound scan options, such as “scan 360, scan ahead 90 degrees, etc.”

<> Remove the damned scan delay!  Being able to scan more times while in warp is very useful to me and I am annoyed at the loss of functionality. Was the impact on game performance really THAT bad? How about a shorter reduction? I would settle for a .25 or .5 second delay.

2- Hangar Changes: For anyone with many of the same ship in one hangar, it can get confusing as to the fitting of any particular vessel. Short of naming each ship (which can’t be done without climbing inside) with its exact fit using some arcane code, there is no  method to do what I want to do (look at the setup without a session change). There are many other frustrations, even with the advent of the saved fittings.

<> Please let me look at the fitting of any ship in my hangar in a new window, without requiring me to pilot it. You can call this option “view fitting” when it appears on the over-used drop-down menu of doom.

<> I wouldn’t mind being able to rename ships without jumping inside, but this is a lesser issue to me.

<> Allow us to remotely strip the fittings off ships. This often causes issues when contracting items to a courier, since damaged items cannot be packaged.

3- Overview Changes: The overview is something unique to Eve (well… barring Perpetuum which is more or less a direct transplant of Eve game-play mechanics into a planetary-bound mecha game). The problems with the overview range from the size of the window and difficulty of setting it up tabs as a new-player into more complex concerns such as being unable to set a variety of pre-configured orbits and “keep-at’s” for use in tense situations.

<> Please let me save a variety of orbit ranges that I frequently use. It costs precious seconds to continually type in numbers for “orbit at” or to keep using the drop down menu in combat. This needs to be handled more seamlessly. Pre-set orbit ranges would help somewhat, possibly in button form. I think the window with buttons for “approach,” “orbit,” “keep at range” and many other maneuvers needs work and should be integrated into a re-design of how we interact with the overview.

<>Simplify the creation of overview states and tabs. It’s just too complex for a newbie and even I sometimes face frustration when, with the creation of a new patch, I have to add various ships or objects back into my saved overview configurations.

<> Bloated size and the high-cost of adding additional columns. It can really, really get out of hand when you incorporate corp + alliance tickers, velocity, angular speed (the number that matches your tracking without doing any mental math) and various other essentials. A more elegant solution must exist. One suggestion I have is to offer the option to integrate the angular speed, transverseal and standard velocity into a single column.

<> I want the option to have two or more overviews open at once, each with different information. I would also like to be able to apply different filters on each one. Having a single interface for targeting ships while another displays celestial objects of my choosing would be very useful in combat. For those with multiple-monitors, this change would be even more empowering.

4- Local Changes: I am going to set aside the issue of local functioning as an intelligence tool in this post, simply because that’s a topic that deserves many posts in-itself. However, with local functioning as-is, I think there is a need for a few optimizations that would improve the game-play experience for everyone in Eve.

<> Allow me to turn on or off a  “local standings count” of hostile, neutral and friendly pilots. It’s so stupid that in the distant future, my ship’s computer can only display the raw number of pilots in my system, but is incapable of allowing me to view a simply summary of the pilots under red, grey and blue tags. In the status quo, standings are already visible in local, but we have to manually count the numbers to determine this information. In busy systems, such as high-sec trading  hubs, it can also be infuriating trying to keep track of the number of war targets. This is not just a 0.0 issue!

<> Allow me to link a click-able list of all pilots in local to any other channel, so that scouts don’t have to drag and drop every hostile manually when sharing intel with a gang.

<> Allow me to sort the list of pilots in local with a number of filters (standings and war-target or militia status being the most important among all possibilities).

This is not a comprehensive laundry-list of problems with the game’s interface, but I think that these changes would result in a much more enjoyable and less-tedious experience for me and many other pilots.

Furthermore, I realize that some of the flawed features I pointed out, particularly those related to local chat, may have been purposefully left obtuse and hard to operate to offer protection to various play-styles in-game. However, I am strongly opposed to hamstringing the user interface and making it less user-friendly  simply to balance perceived in-game risks against a particular group of players.

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4 Responses to “Fixing The Eve UI :: A Few Personal Wishes”

  1. I agree with the changes to the hanger that you propose but the others im not sure about as i personally like the scan and UI as it is atm

    • I actually think the hangar is the least broken part of the UI right now. My proposed changes for the hangar are, honestly, rather simple and only amount to minor time-savings in a setting where you are 100% safe (docked).

      I view the combat-related issues as the most-flawed.

      I also think that many of the game mechanics related to UI management are clunky and very un-friendly to new players.

  2. “Scanning Changes: It’s silly that I have to teach new players to use their own ship as an imprecise marker for the center of there scan.”

    I assume you already know this but I’m just trying to help: Does holding the left ALT-Key not do the trick for you? I agree it’s unnerving that after releasing it the camera perspective changes to maximum zoom, but it can be a helper when visuals don’t allow for anything else (ie. sunglare).

    “Key-bindings for widening/narrowing the scan area.”

    This is my definitive favorite of this post and I appreciate that D-Scan is your first item on the list, not that the other points wouldn’t be reasonable too. Using the D-Scan intensely for longer durations gives Eve the appearance of a lesser game than it is, aka beta interface.

  3. […] In a previous blog post, I mentioned some UI fixes I wanted to see implemented. Incursion includes at least one of these (naming ships in hangar without boarding them) along with many other useful changes I have desired for years. […]

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