In this article, I look at how player-developed apps came about in EVE and give details on my top five EVE apps. Once you've tried these programs, you won't know how you lived without them.
How EVE app development started:
In the early days of EVE, we didn't have the professional-quality applications some of us now come to rely on in our everyday gaming. My first foray into the player app scene was a tanking spreadsheet I released in 2005 to compliment my first proper piece of writing work, the moderately famous Tanking guide in EON magazine issue 2. At a time when most player's approach to testing their ship's tank was a risky "try it and see what happens" one, I went as far as to automate the process. My spreadsheet took in your ship type, modules fitted, some skill levels and a list of any combination of NPC ships. It would then tell you if you could tank it or not, if your capacitor would hold and the exact amount and damage type proportions the NPCs will collectively deal. This was very handy to have back in 2005 to 2006 and I personally found it invaluable when tweaking my tank for maximum performance. I wasn't alone and many popular spreadsheets popped up around this time, automating everything from POS fuel to refining yield calculations. Since then there has been an explosion of much more sophisticated player-made tools and apps which have made my spreadsheet and many other player-made tools obsolete.
In recent years, CCP has recognised the potential in opening the game to app developers. They've published regular database dumps and implemented an API system which gives developers access to map information, the EVE database and player data. Rather than an application requiring your username and password to retrieve information, you can now simply give it your API key. The key gives the program restricted access to data on your account which is normally only accessible in-game. API keys come in two forms - the limited key and the full key. Limited keys give access to only basic information on characters on the account and their skill information, while the full key gives access to your wallet, market orders, asset listings, contracts and even corporate information on POS and kills. This API has dramatically increased the range of apps that can be developed for EVE and CCP plans to extend the functionality when its new social network "COSMOS" is launched.
Read on to page 2, where I give a run-down of my top five EVE apps!