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Automate the Boring Stuff

One of the best things about my career switch a year or so ago was becoming exposed to Python. While I had done some scripting here and there over the last 20 years, I had never really learned much about programming as a discipline.

As a non-programmer I went looking for introductory explanations of programming concepts using Python, and almost without fail everyone recommended a book by Al Sweigert, called Automate the Boring Stuff with Python. This turned out to be an excellent recommendation, and I became enamored with Python and "pythonic" thinking.

I want to maximize my time with the EVE client open actually playing, and as little of it as possible trying to remember where things are, where they need to move, who needs to install what industry jobs, what job outputs are destined for what further production or market, where the haulers are parked, or what have you. Essentially, I want to Automate the Boring Stuff in EVE Online.

So, here I am, delving deeper into Python programming, deeper into EVE mechanics, and deeper into automating decision making, scheduling, organizing. And to be honest, there is a ton of stuff in the way I play EVE that can be automated. A partial list of the things I am annoyed by having to do semi-manually (or worse with terrible spreadsheet interfaces):

  • Tallying resources of certain classes owned by multiple characters in multiple Corps spread across multiple Regions, 
  • Routing those resources to appropriately bonused stations for use in manufacturing,
  • Assigning correct characters to hauling those resources to stations without flying empty freighters on any leg of a journey,
  • Assigning Characters to those Manufacturing jobs based on the best use of available job slots,
  • Keeping track of N manufacturing or reaction jobs, PP extraction header program expiration, or moon fracking schedules,
  • Knowing exactly how much of each moon goo, asteroid, or ice product needs to be mined in what region by what date to meet a certain production schedule.
Now, I am 100% certain that I am not the first person to encounter these issues, and I do not pretend to have a better idea of how to solve these problems than anyone else, but given the competitive nature of EVE, and the fact that many of these activities are more profitable when less people do them, there is zero incentive for anyone to release their tools for others to use, or even to talk about them in any specific way. These "problems" are a barrier to entry into serious manufacturing in EVE, and with a few notable exceptions over the years, most of the creative solutions to them remain personal projects, unavailable to those without the skill to solve their own problems...

...as it should be.

I doubt that I myself would ever release any complete tool that actually solved the problems I am addressing here. To do so would be to give away the economic advantage inherent in building the tool. That doesn't mean that I can't talk about what the problems actually are, or about some interesting ways to do some basic things that can make any EVE players life nicer, without giving away the farm, so to speak.

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