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R.I.P Red Crosses

The latest User Interface development blog was released by CCP Arrow. I have an incredible amount fo respect for CCP Arrow and how he handles himself and his job. Back when the Unified Inventory was changed I was still a new player and the change went over poorly. Being new made the change easy for me but hard for everyone else. It did not help that it came out in an incomplete state that lacked much of the basic, daily usage needs and support for the players.

CCP Arrow took ownership of that. I had a lot of respect for him admitting that it was not what it should have been and that he kept working on it until the functionality started to return. I learned a lot about player reaction to change and incomplete design during that time. Later that year, I listened to him present at Eve Vegas 2012. He was ambitious with his hopes for the UI. That story is not the one that we are at now but it is interesting to be here almost three years later and at this phase of the UI changes.

Not so very long ago I was very new. I had no idea my overview had settings. Torpedo explosions were glorious waves and energy that expanded out from the ship. The Ui was colorful. When player ships exploded it was the most gorgeous blue flash. Drones didn't show up purple when they were in fleet and NPCs were red crosses.

Over time we have lost the blue explosions that defined player ship loss. Torpedo's are boring as hell to look at. I guess missile trails replaced their glorious effects. I also learned what an over view was. And red crosses meant NPC ships. Don't worry that I'm old and bitter. For attack battlecruisers, then known as tier three existed and the Noctis was still my most flown ship. I'm not that far back or anything.

Now we're going to lose that lingo. Red crosses. It is a strange thing and absolutely unimportant. There is no real loss. Maybe we will call them red triangles or bing cherries. I don't know.

The discussion about the icons is another one. I'm not sure if the tiny symbols will be enough and I have large screens. I know that pattern recolonization will work for us. Its how our minds work, but I worry that they are not different enough. However, red and white crosses are not different from each other as well.

That will be a later debate. There is already discussion. Likes. Dislikes. It will all filter into change and the future. But behind us lays a little grave of a familiar icon that defined the simplest and earliest aspects of playing Eve.

I'm kinda sad.


  1. My suggestion? That they borrow a page from Evemon and let us choose what Icon set we use for our overviews. Call what we currently have 'Classic Crosses' and this new one 'Triangles in space'. Then they can add a few more, dice, squares, bars, customize-able variants, etc...

    Guess we'll just have to deal with it though...

  2. 1. Blame Kirith Kodachi.
    2. In some cases it seems old icons are getting retired in favor of new ones.
    beacon/satellite/sentry/battery/corp hangar array. Will old icons be retired or might they get assigned to some other object (Like the array icon moving to represent wormholes)
    3. Give me the new icons for a month and I'll tell you what I think of the change. (more likely: you will be able to tell if I am a bittervet fossil or still able to adapt to change)

  3. My guess is that CCP Arrow missed the memo on avoiding unnecessary complexity...

    The only relevant information for a combat pilot is: what do I shoot at it?

    It doesn't matters if it's a drone, a frigate or a pod: what you NEED TO KNOW is that it will be fast and small.

    Splititng drones into several groups makes little sense -just cluttering of the "FAST MOVING LITTLE OBJECTS" relevant cathegory. Then add icons for frigates and mining frigates and whatever... complexity and cluttering.

    And that, if the user haves a screen large enough to tell the tiny differences among icons...

    1. I spent awhile staring at that screenshot, I didn't just open it up start screaming when I hit information overload almost immediately. After a few minutes my mind re-oriented and I started to grok what the heck was going on in that picture. Honestly, it made more sense than the current setup we have now.

      I don't know if tossing drones into the equation is going to push it into too much or not, but with just ships and structures, it's an out of the park home run once you adjust to it.

  4. I'll reserve my judgement until I log into sisi later and test it out (oh noes..... a reasonable repsonse?! Is she really an EVE player?)

    However, I will say, that as a long time Linux user I get excited each time I get an update. I never know what goodies will be unlocked. Yeah, sometimes it breaks things and I'm sad. Overall, though, updates mean new exciting features. It's *different* and that could be bad or good.... but I don't know until I explore it. Sometimes I hate a change only to realize months later that I'm using that new feature *every single day* and LOVING it's simplicity and functionality (unity UI I'm looking at you).

    The fact, for me anyway, is that I'm now *EXCITED* for each new patch of EVE. Seriously. I don't think this game will ever be "stagnant" for me again if they keep this up. Then again, I'm the kind of person who loves wormholes because you never know where on the map you'll end up when you pop out of one. You can keep the same old static EVE... I'll be over here enjoying all the new possibilities!

    1. I think you’re on to something here. Things certainly don’t feel stagnant. With the new release cycle one simply can’t predict what’s going to come under review in the next couple of cycles (a mere12 weeks, barley 3 months). For any particular player in question most changes feel neutral though some are pleasing and others maddening. The end result is quite engaging.

      One day CCP is going to complete this first round of review/rework of current game systems begun way back in late 2011’s Crucible (has it actually been that long?) and then, with everything finally in reasonably functional shape they’ll be in position to turn a much greater portion of their attention to that which is entirely new rather than that which so badly needs remedial care. I find myself looking forward to that day with a mixture of Awe and Fear.

  5. The current icons do not do enough to differentiate between various ship sizes, but the new icons... um... way too much info.

    Without looking at the specific ship class, we need to know, from the icon, whether it's a destroyer, cruiser, or battle cruiser, for example. The current NPC icons don't differentiate between frigate and destroyer, or between cruiser and battle cruiser. The player ship icons are so much worse.

    What we DO NOT NEED, is to differentiate between types of frigates or types of destroyers, etc. That's where player knowledge comes in in terms of knowing that a Sabre is a bubbler and a Cormorant is a DPS ship, etc. We also don't need icons to differentiate between industrials and combat ships.

    Too many different icons as just as bad as having too many icons that look the same.


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