Massively looks at Capsuleer 2.0, an iPhone app for EVE Online part 2

James Egan
J. Egan|04.09.09

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I was dreading having to manually enter that long API string linked to my EVE account, but Capsuleer's system made it quite easy. Can you tell me about the Import Control System?

Roc: The Import Control System was Sam's brainchild. Nobody wants to manually enter that string, myself included, but I also don't like applications "scraping" my game login data from the EVE Online website. The entire point of an API is to be able to access it without using your game login credentials. Since the iPhone doesn't do copy/paste (prior to OS 3.0), Sam came up with this method for effortlessly and securely importing your data to your device.

Sam: As Roc said, the API is all about security. CCP introduced it so that 3rd party applications didn't need your username and password anymore. It's a secure and simple way to provide access to a limited subset of data without exposing the credentials needed to log into your account. My initial prototype had you typing in the big long API key, and man I don't think I got it right more than twice in a row. I knew that we needed a better alternative. That's when I came up with the Import Control System. We have been foiled a bit by a few email clients that don't like the evechar:// url syntax that we use (they try to validate it and can't because they don't recognize the prefix), but with 2.0 we have an alternative http:// based url that can be used as well, so that should hopefully clear up the issues that people ran into.
CCP Games implemented a skill queue in EVE Online very recently with the Apocrypha expansion, and I see that Capsuleer 2.0 allows players to see their queue. Was this something CCP made readily accessible to third-party developers or was it difficult to incorporate into the app?

Roc: They made it available pretty much right after the Apocrypha patch was applied. As for implementation, it was a nightmare. Queues completed changed the way we had to implement our training related data, and involved quite a bit of work. Happily, we've gotten it done and in there, and it's solid. I can't wait to see what our users think of queues.

Sam: The API came out quickly after the Apocrypha patch, it was modified a few times until it settled down and started working. The addition of queues, though, changed the way skills were accounted for in Capsuleer. It used to be that we could rely on a refresh of skill data when the currently training skill completed to reconcile things. Now with the skill queue, data might not get refreshed for a while, and the queue needs to be reconciled and skill data needs to migrate from the queue to the list of trained skills. It took us a week or so to get it integrated into Capsuleer and get all the appropriate interfaces and data structures organized to take advantage of it.

I see that there's a factional warfare icon greyed out on the Capsuleer interface. I assume this is something you've got planned for a future release. Can you tell me a bit about what you've got up your sleeve for EVE players who are enlisted with factional militias?

Roc: Being a Colonel in the war myself, this is an important feature to me. The reason it's greyed out is to give our users a sneak peek of the next major section we plan to include. For Factional Warfare, it will be a complete breakdown of the top pilots, top corps, factional statistics, as well as where the players themselves fit into the grand scheme of things.

Sam: Strip all the pew pew away and Faction Warfare is a statistics game (/emote ducks from the PVP'ers shooting at him). Providing statistics on the war, as well as intel like which systems changed hands, gives pilots more information that they can use to help make tactical choices. Following along our "Research & Communication" theme, we are looking to provide as much information as possible for Factional Warfare. Let people consume the data when they aren't in the heat of battle, when they have time to process it, able to take the time to formulate plans and be prepared for the moment they can log into the game and play.

Will iPhone update 3.0 slated for this summer open up new possibilities for the development of Capsuleer?

Roc: Hell yes. There are many things we're excited about doing post 3.0!

Sam: OS 3.0 opens up a LOT of interesting possibilities for us, mostly around notifications. I have snagged a copy of the Beta and have been digging into the new stuff a bit, but most of my time has been spent on getting Capsuleer 2.0 out the door. Now with that milestone behind us I can take some time to explore the new OS in a bit more detail. We have been scribbling down ideas and possible additions that we can make to leverage the new stuff that's coming our way. OS 3.0 is exciting from an end user stand point; it's super exciting on the dev side of the world as well.

Why would I opt for Capsuleer 2.0's feature set as opposed to competitors such as iClone or EVE Tracker?

Roc: Honestly, it all comes down to finding the application that meets your need. Capsuleer 2.0 has expanded its capabilities far beyond v1.0. Still, iClone has an item database. It makes their application significantly larger though. EVE Tracker? Some people prefer that over Capsuleer. Really, to each their own. We just hope our continued efforts and product offerings continue to impress our audience, building loyalty with them.

Sam: One of the things that we strive to achieve with Capsuleer is a melding of the iPhone and EVE. Really its about creating an app that we ourselves want to use. We want to create an application that is fast, lightweight, and feature-rich. Other apps have features that we don't have, we have features that they don't have. It's about picking what you like and what works for you, and we hope Capsuleer works for you. I am biased though, I like Capsuleer! What can I say?

Is there anything you can tell me about your future plans for Capsuleer beyond 2.0?

Roc: Well, one thing we've been toying with is Capsuleer Desktop for WIN/MAC. MAC users really don't have too much available that does what they need, and we're constantly getting asked to fill that market. Do we want to compete with the likes of EVEMon and EFT on Windows? Not really, no. We just want to do things our way, and see where it takes us.

Sam: We have a bit of a laundry list of features that we want to add. Some are far flung ideas and would require help from CCP, some are as simple as a slight tweak to a UI. Moving Capsuleer forward and bringing a rich and robust application to the community is our goal. Some features will take time, but we hope the application can grow and become a highly useful tool for EVE players.

Thanks for speaking with Massively and the best of luck with Capsuleer 2.0 and beyond.

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