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.

Roles

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.

TL;DR

Capsuleer will not be returning.

Give thanks

In case you didn’t know, I’m Canadian, eh. This coming weekend is Thanksgiving. Since I was a child, I was always taught to give thanks out loud for the many blessings in my life.

I am thankful this year for:

  • My health – These last few years have been a stuggle, but it seems I finally have my health in order.
  • My career – I am fortunate to have such a wonderful position of employ. I enjoy my boss, my coworkers, and what I do for money in this world. 
  • My loving girlfriend – Her support, her patience, her tolerance of my passions and hobbies that consume so much of my time. She is an incredible partner, and she even reads my blog!
  • My best friend – Even though he died earlier this year, he is someone I am thankful for. The enrichment and joy he brought to my life are something I cherish daily with all my heart, and always will. I miss you terribly buddy. I am thankful you are at peace.
  • My family – Aren’t we all dysfunctional? And even though we don’t get together as often as we want, or talk as often as we should, we are always there for each other when needed.
  • God – I saved God for last because honestly, without Him, none of the above would even be possible.
As Roc Wieler, I am thankful for:
  • Corps – The continued support and encouragement of the corporations I have belonged to. Each one has been nothing but pleasant. Freeform Industries, the corp I belong to now, is perhaps among the best for this; their steady encouragement, support, and belief in all I can do is the foundation upon which I build my reputation.
  • CCP – Having come from other games, I have found CCP’s approach to our galaxy refreshing over the last two years.
  • Mynxee – I am thankful for my Hellcat panties available HERE
  • The Market – Without having been introduced to this wonderful tool, I never would’ve discovered the incredible source of income that sustains my war efforts.
  • PyjamaSam – Though his name makes me cringe in carebear-ism, he is a great developer, and friend. He has been instrumental in seeing my dream come to fruition, and adding things to it I never would have thought possible. Thanks Sam, for walking into my life.
  • My fans – Whether it’s been my blog, my 3D artwork, Capsuleer, our even my fleet commanding, I have been fortunate enough to have many who believe in me. While it’s a big responsibility, it’s a source of strength. Thank you.
And to show you just how very thankful Sam and I are, we’ve discussed it at length, and have a special treat for you below. 
It’s a “sneak peek” of the Main Menu interface redesign for Capsuleer v1.1. It is also featured in EVE-Mag’s interview with us, which I think is a good read. I’m biased of course. Find the article HERE.
Some things I would like to address about the image below:
  1. Initially, I wanted to release all main level categories, as we have finalized those. Sam, in his infinite wisdom, has pointed out that we really shouldn’t play our endgame, giving our competitors a distinct advantage over us. So, you see blank icons. Each release there will be one additional faded icon with imagery in it, to show you what is coming in the next release. That isn’t in this image.
  2. The reason for this redesign of the application is that it gives us a lot of freedom. We can add as many main level items as needed, and each main level item can have its own sublevel menu if needed. It really opens up the possibilities for the application, and I find that exciting.
Finally, I just want to encourage my readers to please comment on what you are thankful for. I read every single comment on my blog, and though I don’t always reply, I am always thankful for you taking the time to read my ramblings.
Happy Thanksgiving.

Capsuleer v1.0 finally released!

The universe is a cold, harsh place. It’s difficult to survive; even more challenging to succeed and profit. Any advantage a pilot can gain keeps them one step ahead of the competition.

Introducing Capsuleer, the definitive iPhone/iTouch Characater Management Tool for EVE Online. 

Capsuleer offers a beautifully designed, intuitive interface to quickly display all your relevant character data to you. Featuring artwork and icons from EVE Online, users will find themselves quickly familiar with the application, and immersed in its stunning appeal.

SCREENSHOT

What good is beauty without brains? Capsuleer features an innovative Import Control System that allows you to effortlessly bring all your accounts and characters data into the application with one easy step!

If you want to be more successful in EVE Online, Capsuleer is the application for you.

KEY FEATURES:

– No manual api key entry. Addition of accounts/pilots is handled via our Import Control System
– Import Control System doesn’t use “scraping” or any other security violating methods to get your character data from the EVE api.
– Smart Character application Management. If you enter 1 character into the app, the next time you add characters, it will only display your remaining two. If you enter 2 characters initially, the next time you add characters, it will automatically add the third.
– Easy to use, intuitive iPhone/iTouch interface.
– Per second real-time countdown timer with skill completion date and time in long format. (Thursday, September 11, 2008 @ 8:34 AM)
– Colour coded timer as visual warning for skill completion. (yellow = 25% time remaining, red= 10% time remaining)
– Displays Current Skillpoints and current ISK total.
– Displays EVE Online avatar.
– Previous state memory will load the last character you were viewing.
– Displays skill description of current skill training.
– Background images specific to each character’s race. (can be disabled in options)

NOTE: Active EVE Online account required.

DOWNLOAD IT FROM THE APPSTORE TODAY

We are currently in negotiations with the EVE player that owns http://www.capusleer.com In the meantime, please visit us at our temporary website at http://capsuleer.wordpress.com

Thanks to all the beta testers and everyone who has supported us. We already have great things in store for the next releases of Capsuleer!

The Cost of Immortality

It was difficult to choose a title for today’s musings. Masks, Game Face, Political Pawns, all applicable and all deserving of their own musing. Yet the content remains the same, so it is what it is.

We’ve heard it said many times, immortality is a gift. Hell, I’ve said it myself to motivate pilots. It’s a responsibility, a gift, an empowerment. It is also the worst curse a man could endure.

I was killed yesterday, in the blink of an eye. I got caught in an ambush and woke up in Hek before I knew what had happened. Another crew lost. Another group of men and women I hardly got to know. I find it difficult to even picture some of their faces. But that is not what I am referring to, callous as that makes me sound.

We’ve all experienced deep and personal loss. The loss of a loved one. We’re going to outlive them you know. We die in our ship; a fresh new body awaits to begin our lives anew. Our loved ones don’t share that luxury. Yes, there is the rare exception of capsuleers falling in love with each other, but for the most part, there is an inherent distrust even among allies. I am referring to civilians. Normals. What we once were.

I lost a loved one earlier this year. My best friend. The pain  of it still hits me regularly, and hits me hard. They say time heals. I say time makes you forget. I don’t want to forget him. I don’t want the pain to go away. How could you love someone so dearly only to let them pass from existence by not remembering every detail, every scent, every moment of who they are? It is a grave injustice.

Maybe one day I will join him. Despite our boasting, our immortality isn’t real is it. We can die just like anyone else if we’re caught outside our pod. You wouldn’t know it the way we act, brazenly warping into battle, rash actions causing the deaths of our crews on a regular basis. We are cold and heartless, us capsuleers. Perhaps that is why we are as hated as we are revered. God willing, I will never lose sync with my own humanity.

God willing. I wonder if it was God that willed our current cloning technologies. Perhaps it was in His design for us to be one step closer to Him through it, though I doubt He would smile on our application of it. Maybe the Jovians were wiped out because it wasn’t what God intended. Then again, I am sure there are many things God never intended. My own slavery as a child for starters. The deaths of my crews. Humanity as a whole massacaring each other for no truly inspired reason. God willing. I think not.

I think we’ve forgotten God. I think we’ve replaced Him with ourselves. I am not willing to do that. My best friend is no longer with me. I must believe he is with God. It is the only way I stay sane. It is the only way I sleep at night.

It is a steep cost. I wonder how long I will be able to afford it.

Submission

I know, I know, it sounds like a great story title doesn’t it? But no story again today. I will get back to writing soon I promise.

Apple requires a LOT in order to get an app passed. We have everything ready. Today is submission day.

The only thing that confuses me is they want a 512 x 512 icon of the application for the appStore homepage. When I look there, I don’t see a 512 x 512 square image anywhere. Maybe it’s just me. Either way, I am giving them what they want.

I figure “icon” means no small fonts, not a lot of type at all. Here is what they’re getting, so look for it on the appStore!!!

I will keep you posted as our application undergoes review.

Capsuleer – iPhone Application Release Candidate

Well, the wait is almost over. Capsuleer is in the Release Candidate stage. What does that mean? It means that our initial iPhone application for EVE Online has passed all stages of internal and external beta testing, and is now doing one more final round to a broader, private audience.

Release Candidate testing ends today. Should all go well, Capsuleer will be submitted to the Apple appStore tonight, and could be available as soon as this weekend. It’s very exciting for us!

No screenshots today. Nothing fancy to show. Instead, here’s a feature list:

CAPSULEER v1.0

– no manual api key entry. Adding pilots is as easy as sending an email to your phone.
– multiple account and multiple pilot one step entry. Select all your pilots, or any combination thereof, in one easy step.
– Smart Character application Management. If you enter 1 character into the app, the next time you add characters, it will only display your remaining two. If you enter 2 characters initially, the next time you add characters, it will automatically add the third.
– easy to use, visually pleasing interface.
– Realtime countdown timer with end date and time in long format (Thursday, September 11, 2008 @ 8:34 AM)
– Colour coded timer as visual warning for skill completion (yellow = 25% time remaining, red= 10% time remaining)
– Displays Current Skillpoints and current ISK total
– Displays EVE Online avatar
– Previous state memory. Will load the last character you were viewing.
– Displays skill description of current skill training
– Racial backgrounds per character (can be disabled in options)

Once the official application is released, details on what is planned for v1.1 will be announced. We would like to thank everyone for their support thus far and promise this app will deliver!!!

Please, spread the word!