Among the changes that will come to EVE Online with the March Apocrypha expansion is the user interface for fitting ships, and this is the topic of the latest dev blog from CCP Fendahl. Critics of the game's user interface might be surprised to learn that there is a team that focuses solely on UI, and it seems they've been quite busy with this radical layout change. Ship fitting in Apocrypha will be focused on an iPod-like ring where you array your modules and rigs, as well as subsystems for Tech III ships, while viewing your ship (and how it changes) in the center. This large fitting reticle is flanked by collapsible side panels which are used for item selection and displaying ship stats.
Browsing the hundreds (in some cases thousands) of items in the various division hangars in a given station should be easier, with collapsible sections in the left side item panel. The stats panel to the right actually provides more info about your ship setup than before, by mousing over and bringing up a pop-up box. CCP Fendahl addresses the fact that this is more complex than the previous system: "While this increases the barrier to entry when learning how to fit a ship for the first time, we also think that the fitting screen is a critically important interface that needs to show all the relevant numbers."
Perhaps the most notable change CCP is making to ship fitting is that you'll be able to save your loadouts, and easily refit your ships later with that exact setup. Even better, these ship fittings can be shared with members of your corporation in addition to import and export options.
One of the chief complaints from players trying this out on the Singularity test server is that the fitting window is locked in place, but Fendahl states that CCP is working to make this feature into EVE's first picture-in-picture interface. In other words, the fitting screen will eventually be movable and quite possibly resizable, without obstructing your view of the ship and the multiple station services.
This new fitting screen is still being tested on Singularity and CCP Games is seeking input from the players on what they like and dislike about the changes they've made. Players are also weighing in on the forums on what's good and bad about this particular Apocrypha feature.