The Return of Capsuleer

CCP Atlas posted about Monetizing 3rd Party Apps

Which resulted in this massive comment thread

I made my personal opinions known during my CSM 6 campaign HERE  and HERE

Quick History Lesson on Capsuleer

Capsuleer was the premier iPhone application for EVE Online. A clean design, a friendly UI, optimized coding and quick server response ensured a successful app. And successful it was, with over 60,000 active users within its first six months on the market.

Within those first six months CCP also took notice of the effort of Roc Wieler and PyjamaSam’s project, and invited us to Iceland for Fanfest, resulting in a discussion to develop a business relationship for developing Capsuleer into all its glory.

The meeting went well, resounding with excitement about our early prototypes for future functionality, as well as our vision for where the app could go in the future. We both left this meeting with high hopes for the future of Capsuleer.


I need to make a couple of things clear about who did what on Capsuleer.

PyjamaSam was the programming powerhouse behind the project. In fact, he had started on an unnamed version of his API application about the same time I was trolling the Technology forum looking for a EVE Online iPhone app.

As fate would have it, we got along, lived close to each other, and formed a partnership.

As for me, I did the designs, the usability, the quality assurance, the marketing, the community management, and the business dealings for Capsuleer. It was a great joint venture. PyjamaSam is the best programmer I have ever worked with hands down, possessing a brilliance and ability to learn quickly unlike anything I have ever experienced previously or since.

I like to think I did a good job with the pretty and making the application popular. I’m hoping the incredibly active community we had would agree.

The End of Capsuleer

Following our return from Iceland, we were hopeful, as I mentioned above. Those hopes were soon turned to despair as over the following eighteen months there was little to no honest communication from CCP. Every inquiry received a pat response: “We’re very interested and will get back to you within 30 days to progress this”, “We’re on vacation right now but will get back to you in two weeks”, “We’re still very interested but our resources are stretched thin, please be patient”, “We’re not sure who will fund your project; which department it will fall under”, etc, etc.

Incredibly demoralizing.

All the while Capsuleer was growing to critical capacity. We had a solid relationship with EON Magazine in place, offering only the same ads on our home screen as users would see when logging into EVE Online. We never once considered displaying non EVE related ads for profit. That was never what we were about.

Server costs, development costs, stress levels with CCP kept growing, and the donations we did receive, while appreciated, were no where near enough to offset what was needed to continue the behemoth that Capsuleer had become in our lives.

It was only this  last Fanfest that I found out our primary contact at CCP during this process had actually left the company, and nobody thought to mention this to us, or provide us a new point of contact to continue dealing with. Eighteen months and only then do I get a chance response. Lovely.

Inevitably, we had to make decisions for ourselves. Continue consuming our lives building out incredible features for Capsuleer, many beyond simple API integration, or try to take back our lives and maintain some type of work/life balance, our sanity, our marriages.

The choice was simple. Capsuleer was no more.

Community Response

The community responded poorly to the news for the most part. While those who had been involved in our forums and walked with us every step of the way understood our reasoning, the majority of the EVE player base believed that because we couldn’t get paid, we simply took our toys and went home. We both laughed at that considering almost every member of the EVE community believes in profit.

Still, it made us sad to think that the final memory of all our efforts was that we were two selfish bastards who simply sulked, left, and that was that. There were even cries to make it open source. If we really loved community we’d at least do that!

As I tried to explain several times unsuccessfully, and will probably do so again now, you simply don’t make something “open source”. There are standards, licensing platforms; a lot of work involved for a project we had just walked away from. Additionally, Capsuleer was 99% custom code by PyjamaSam in the end, having rewritten most of Apple’s framework to be more lightweight and responsive than what is provided in their SDK.

So no, Capsuleer wasn’t going open source.

CCP Licensing Announcement

At Fanfest 2011, CCP announced $99 developer licensing, though they didn’t go into the specifics. Honestly, I’m not even going to offer an opinion on the newly introduced licensing structure, as I no longer care. I am simply an EVE player enjoying a game. I have no interest in any further business dealings with CCP at all.

And that’s that.

So once again I want to thank my good friend PyjamaSam, who continues to be an even better friend since we put this behind us, for everything we went through together trying to make Capsuleer the official EVE Online iPhone application. You’re an incredible guy. What more can be said?

Thanks to our loyal community. Without you, Capsuleer wouldn’t have set the bar that others still fail to reach.

And thanks to CCP for giving us an API to play with that allowed us to reach out to so many. I still think it’s brilliant that you let us interact with the game in this way, though there is much room for improvement here.

I know PyjamaSam has not a single regret looking back. Nor do I.

We did discuss the possibility of starting Capsuleer up again just yesterday when the announcement was posted; fresh look, dulled pain. While we both admit there are certain aspects of Capsuleer development we miss, those do not compare to the joy we each get from where our lives are currently.

Finally, thank you Capsuleer. Because of you, we’ve each been involved in other iPhone/iPad/Android applications, having learned so much from bringing you to life.


Capsuleer will not be returning.

13 responses to “The Return of Capsuleer

  1. Honestly, even with you saying yesterday on Twitter that Capsuleer wouldn’t be coming back, I didn’t expect to see a return. From the business side, CCP seems to be leaving a bad taste in people’s mouths lately, so I am a little curious about the future of the company.

    One good thing about Capsuleer going away, though, is that a lot of other people have started making EVE iOS apps (although nothing that is native iPad yet. Grrr!). I honestly think that if you and PyjamaSam had not stopped development, we would not have EVEUniverse, Dusk, Fly Safe, iClone Lite, and Leaky Capsule, although of those a couple aren’t really that great (keep working at it kiddies).

    So, sorry Capsuleer isn’t coming back, didn’t see it happening anyway, thanks for clarifying, hopefully people will read, and understand, because this actually shows that it was not all about monetizing the app, and other random stuff that I meant to say but the squirrels distracted me and I forgot all about it.

  2. Krispy Dingo hit the nail on the head. I’m sorry too that Capsuleer won’t be making a return, but am honoured to have used (very regularly) the excellent tool it was.

  3. As both of them said we all miss Capsuleer and even that you feel otherwise the majority of us understands the reasoning to shutdown…

    I only hope we (your community) would had been able to help you both to keep it running.

    • Ok, thank you. I have a better one: “PyjamaSam said no and I can’t do it without him.”

      This post was meant as an explanation, not a post looking for your approval. The decisions made are not up for discussion. They are merely informative.

      I don’t mean to be harsh sounding, I’m just tired of people telling us what we should be doing with Capsuleer.

      We think CCP should’ve paid us. We think the community should’ve donated more. We think, we think. Doesn’t matter. It’s all done with.

      Bitter much? A little.

      • Perfectly understandable. I remember many technical conversations we had about the hurdles you and Sam were dealing with just in developing the app and getting features both current and planned to play nice. I remember how you agonized over UI design and graphics decisions, wanting things to be exactly perfect. Mainly, I remember how consumed you were by this project. It still astounds me that you guys put so much of yourselves and your own money into it. But the lessons learned will serve you well in more accommodating places, I’m sure!

    • You’re right. Trying to maintain a seamless and immersive experience for players between EVE Online and Capsuleer was definitely ad whoring.

      I’m glad you signed your name “your mom”. She says hello and she’ll be home after she’s done cooking my breakfast.

  4. good work Roc baby.

    ignore the trolls, they have no teeth anyways. good luck to you brother and thanks ofr everythign you have tried to create.

    now go get a haircut 🙂

  5. /me nods

    I understand everything you said there and think you probably made the right decisions. Would I like the app back? Yes. At the cost of your sanity, and wallet? No


  6. It’s sad to see that you won’t be continuing this as a project. I know you both have “closed the door” so to speak on it. However, as a fan Of both the app and people making money… I can only hope and encourage you both to have a change of heart.

    I know CCP has left a bitter taste in people’s mouths lately over the microtranactions and theoretical pay-to-win debacle. But, I still hope you guys get in the mood to don the project mantle again. And in regards into doing business with ccp. Better you make money with a pretty general license. Profiting off them, as opposed to not taking advantage of the IP license.

    I’m not saying you have to do this and I know I may be thrown into the crowd of “Assholes who are telling you what to do” but I want you to know I and my friends hope you reconsider.

  7. I still use Capsuleer every day. Y’all did great work and I don’t blame you one bit for deciding to move on. How can folks expect you to rededicate that part of your real life?

  8. You know, i still use capsuleer to check my skill queues. Even though it doesn’t have the latest skills. It will be a sad day when legacy APIs are finally kiboshed by CCP. It’s a shame Roc and PJSam had to take their ball and go home when CCP had their retard fit.

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