The Cranky Sysadmin A world of technology, fun, and ignorant rants.

April 28, 2009

Ubuntu 9.04 and EVE-Online

Filed under: Eve-Online,Games,System Administration — Cranky Sysadmin @ 2:21 pm

Below is a description of how I installed Ubuntu 9.04 from scratch and got EVE-Online,
EVEMon, EFT, and Ventrilo working.

System:
Dell XPM M1710.
4GB RAM
Intel 3950 Wireless
Nvidia 7950 GTX 512 MB
New 5400 RPM 250GB Segate HD.

Go to the boot menu (F12 on Dell) and select CD-ROM boot.
Choose your language at the Ubuntu language picker. The second boot option is install. Pick
that. From here, you can probably pick the defaults and end up with a reasonable base
system. I chose to partition my hard drive using the advanced partition option.

My setup:
50GB root ( / ) partition
8GB swap
The rest for /home

After the first reboot, I only showed 3.3 GB of RAM with the generic 64 bit kernel. This was
surprising and a little disappointing. I tried to install and use the server kernel, but the
video drivers won’t work with that kernel, so I’m stuck with losing 700MB RAM. Wifi worked
out of box. I updated the system and attempted to enable the nvidia proprietary drivers.
They didn’t show up in the hardware drivers list until after a reboot, so….

Reboot ubuntu. Go to System/Administration/Hardware Drivers in the main menu. Select the
newest nvidia driver (it should be the “Recommended” driver) and click “Activate”. This wil
require another reboot. After the next reboot, you’ll want to set your resolution. It’s
best to do this as root so the configurator can save the X config file permanently, so run
this:
$ sudo nvidia-settings
Select X Server Display Configuration on the left. Set the resolution to the one desired and
click “Apply”. Click OK to accept the resolution. Then click “Save to X Configuration File”
to make the settings permanent.

Wine which comes with 9.04 is ancient (1.0.1). I compiled the latest as of
now (1.1.20). I had to patch the source to make the 3d models visible in EVE.
1) Spark up a terminal window and run:
$ sudo apt-get build-dep wine
to get the compiler and other stuff needed to compile wine.
2) Get the source from http://winehq.org in the right nav area of the site.
3) untar the source with:
$ tar xf wine-1.1.20.tar.bz2
4) $ cd wine-1.1.20
5) I need the patch from http://bugs.winehq.org/attachment.cgi?id=20412
save it where you untarred your source for wine and run this from the
wine-1.1.20 directory:
$ patch -p1 < ../apocrypha.shaders.1.1.19.patch
6) $ ./configure
7) $ make depend && make
8) $ make install
9) go do something else for a long while.
10)install cabextract:
$ sudo apt-get install cabextract

EFT installs and works out of box.
Ventrilo installs and works out of box.
EVEMon requires dotnet 2. Install that by using winetricks. Get winetricks from
http://www.kegel.com/wine/winetricks (save page as winetricks).
To run it, do this:
$ sh winetricks
Select core fonts (needed for EVE) and dotnet2. dotnet2 takes a long while to
download and install.

You can now use the offline installer to install EVE. You will lose all of your settings
from windows. I’m sure you can copy the settings folder from a windows partition, but I
didn’t test this.

If you run 2 clients, you’ll want to do some further setup. First, set the graphics in EVE
to windowed mode and at some lower resolution then your whole screen.
Make 2 icons for EVE. The Commands for each should look like this:
env WINEPREFIX=”/home/jjorgens/.wine” wine explorer /desktop=1,1600×1050 “C:\Program Files\CCP\EVE\eve.exe”
env WINEPREFIX=”/home/jjorgens/.wine” wine explorer /desktop=2,1600×1050 “C:\Program Files\CCP\EVE\eve.exe”
Adjust the resolution to be the same as you set in the game. Run one launcher for one account, and the other for the other account.

Strangely, if I run the game with the graphics at full tilt, the laptop will overheat and
shutdown after about 10 minutes of play. After turning the graphics all of the way down,
the game runs fine. I needed to use these low settings for when I am in fleet engagements
anyway, so it’s no loss for me.

April 21, 2009

EVE compared to WoW.

Filed under: Eve-Online,World of Warcraft — Cranky Sysadmin @ 11:25 am

There are apples, and then there are oranges… EVE and WoW are entirely different games. Why would I want to compare them? I have time for one online game and I have to decide which to play. There are other games out there with good communities, but I don’t even have the time to give these other games more then a cursory glance before deciding whether to jump in. Age of Conan looked really good, but during the initial release, there were so many bugs and crashes that it was difficult to play. The machine requirements are hefty too. Since then, I’ve been a bit hesitant to try new online games if the barrier to entry is too high. EVE and WoW both offer trial accounts which can be converted to full accounts. When I find other online games with a similar model, I give them a try if they look interesting.

World of Warcraft is a fun game with nice well developed progression. The leveling quests are interesting the first time through, and the raids are complex enough to offer a nice challenge for a few weeks. Dying in WoW is almost completely consequence free. The mechanics are simple enough that a ten year old can play fairly well, but complex enough that theory-crafting can improve how you play considerably. Initially, WoW has a very low ramp. You are presented with a few basic skills and the simplest of quests in a very safe area. Sadly even at endgame, there are a few accepted options for each class of character. If you see two pre-raid resto shamans, they will probably be wearing almost the same gear. Crafting in WoW is very simplistic. Gather mats, know the recipe, make the item (most of the time). Gathering mats is as simple as flying around looking for nodes or monsters.

EVE is almost completely class free for a new character. There is no leveling as such. You train skills and earn cash. There are several parallel progressions in EVE. The skills advance as time goes by. You earn ISK, and you buy or otherwise aquire better gear. One can also rise in the ranks of a corporation or alliance. As time passes for the new character they will probably focus on one area; combat, research, industry, mining… This specialization doesn’t preclude someone who has been a miner for years from training into combat.

If you’re new to the game, life is very harsh. There is a lot to learn in what seems to be a short time, and there are plenty of people out there that prey on new players. After the tutorials, there are no bread crumbs to lead you to the next step (unless you’re a combat pilot. In that case, there is the epic mission arc). Outside the very basics, everything else will probably be a complete mystery. It’s like the real world only without mommy and daddy or schools to point you in some direction. Well, that’s not completely true. There are corporations which help newbies along. There are sources of info on the web. There are friendly knowledgeable people in rookie and NPC corp chat, but there isn’t much hand holding upfront.

If you manage to get past those initial weeks of being lost and confused, you will probably run into pirates and griefers who enjoy making your life difficult. You will also realize that combat and dying have real consequences. You will lose your ship. You will get podded and lose your precious implants. If you are not paying attention, you can also lose weeks or months of training if you die without an up to date clone. It’s harsh. It’s all so very harsh. At this point, it may seem like EVE is made to reward those who lie and backstab and murder the most.

There are lots of ways to cut down on being the victim of pirates or griefers or scammers. If you’re willing to do a little research and be smart, life gets a lot easier. Just like real life, there is always some risk of being a victim though.

There is a light in all of this darkness though. EVE has a satisfyingly complex progression for almost everything. Skills show off this complexity well. For instance, to fly a cruiser, you need a fairly short list of skills and they don’t need to be trained very long. To effectively fly a cruiser, you need a much longer list of skills, and this list of skills will change depending on the purpose of the cruiser. A vexor requires good drone skills, good armor tank skills and moderate gunnery skills. A caracal requires good shield tank skills and good missile skills. This complexity of progression can be overwhelming, but it also means that a character has a lot of flexibility in choosing a path to being an expert.

The number of main professions in EVE is pretty amazing. One can be a mission runner (like me), a researcher, a manufacturer, miner, explorer, pirate, anti-pirate, etc. One can also specialize into some of the more gang/fleet friendly professions like forward scout, ECM specialist, or sniper. There are also combinations of professions which work out well.

The crafting system in EVE is as complex as anything else in the game. Each class of items requires different skills and different materials to create. One can do research on their blueprints to make them more efficient either in materials or time. One can also use the invention system to attempt to upgrade the item a blueprint can be used to make. Evelopedia has a good article on industry.

The market/trade system is very robust. There isn’t a centralized market. You can sell your item from whatever station you happen to be in, but someone has to go haul that item to wherever they are. There are buy orders, sell orders, margin buy orders, and special contracts. Prices will vary depending on where you are in the universe. Sometimes, prices will be drastically different just a few jumps away. This makes the trader/currier profession potentially lucrative. Here is a great article on trading.

At the end of the day, the reason I prefer EVE over WoW, at least for now, is that there is so much freedom and so many areas of the game to explore. For good and bad, it’s also a lot like real life because of this freedom. There is danger and opportunity everywhere. It’s what I imagine the wild west was like in 19th century America.

April 20, 2009

A Three Hour Mission

Filed under: Eve-Online — Cranky Sysadmin @ 9:18 pm

I just completed The Assault starring the Serpentis pirates. I used much the same setup I used in the last post for Serpentis Extravaganza. I dropped the afterburner and added a capacitor recharger so that the second armor repairer would run continuously. I guessed I’d need the extra tank, and I was right. Judging from the comments I’ve found online, this is one of the more challenging Serpentis missions. The assault consists of three encounters (rooms) separated by acceleration gates. Only the first room was a challenge. There was a group of four battleships which would occasionally attack my drones. I saved those for last, but maybe I should have taken them out first. Clearing the mission took about 2 hours. I did take a break to loot the first room with a fast ship since I was running over an hour there. Total looting time was about 1 hour. The mission rewarded about 3 million ISK. The bounties were a whopping 21 million ISK. It looks like loot and salvage were about 20 million combined, though I only spent a little time looking at the loot. I now have 7500 m3 (cubic meters) of unsorted loot from several level 4 missions. Soon, I’ll have to make a hauling trip to some market system after I let my corp pick over the goodies.

It’s pretty clear that after I’m done training my tank skills (2 days to Hull Upgrades V and I’m done for now), I’ll have to work on damage output to make the missions faster. I’m already deep into drone skills, so I’ll probably continue dumping skill points there. My skill plan calls for drone skills all of the way out to 19 July. If I pass on tech 2 sentry drones, I’ll be done with drones on 28 June. After my drone training, I’ll have to work on my appalling gunnery skills.

April 16, 2009

Serpentis Extravaganza!

Filed under: Eve-Online — Cranky Sysadmin @ 8:59 am

Last night, I finally had the time to take on level 4 Serpentis Extravaganza. I prepared my ship for the type of damage it would receive, loaded up on ammo, and undocked. It is a fairly long 3 pocket mission with lots of incoming damage, but I was able to tank it all and knock off the ships and groups one by one. Below is the fitting I used on my Dominix to complete the mission:

Low slots:

  • Radioisotope Thermic Hardener I
  • Radioisotope Thermic Hardener I
  • Radioisotope Kinetic Hardener I
  • Radioisotope Kinetic Hardener I
  • Damage Control II
  • Large Armor Repairer II
  • Large Armor Repairer II

Mid slots:

  • 100MN Afterburner II
  • Cap Recharger II
  • Cap Recharger II
  • Cap Recharger II
  • Cap Recharger II

High slots:

  • Dual 250mm Prototype I Gauss Gun
  • Dual 250mm Prototype I Gauss Gun
  • Dual 250mm Prototype I Gauss Gun
  • Dual 250mm Prototype I Gauss Gun
  • Drone Link Augmentor I
  • Drone Link Augmentor I

Rigs:

  • Capacitor Control Circuit I
  • Capacitor Control Circuit I
  • Capacitor Control Circuit I

Drones:

  • Ogre I x5
  • Hammerhead II x5
  • Hobgoblin II x5
  • Warden I x5

I only had to turn on both armor repairers in the last part of the mission. Other then that I had no problems tanking all of the damage. Even with my low skills, I took down the battleships fairly quickly. My drones were doing most of the damage. My guns almost seemed like a waste of time and ammo. After I work up my drone skills to t2 sentries and heavies, I’ll have to work on my poor gunnery skills.

Last night was also the first time I used an alt at the same time as my main. The alt was the salvager/looter. It worked out well except that I forgot about all of those ancillary skills which make life good on my main; targeting, cap skills, navigation skills.

All in all, the mission and looting took about 3 hours. I earned almost 5000 loyalty points, 12 million ISK in bounties and 2.5 million in mission rewards. The salvage looks like about 10 million, and the loot is another 10 million.

Decisions, decisions.

Filed under: World of Warcraft — Cranky Sysadmin @ 8:36 am

The new content patch is out for WoW with the new Ulduar raid. I sat there for a few minutes last night with my wow time card in hand looking at the WoW account management page trying to think of why I would want to play WoW. The fact that my sister and nephew play was all I could come up with. I realized that I’m not looking forward to raiding for some reason. I don’t want to level another character to 80. I don’t want to level up professions, or farm for mats, or chase achievements. Maybe in a month or two I’ll feel different. So I put away my time card and did a level 4 mission in EVE…

April 10, 2009

My First Complete Level 4 Mission

Filed under: Eve-Online — Cranky Sysadmin @ 9:07 am

Missions in Eve come in different levels and types. One usually starts out with low level missions (level 1 or 2) and as you gain standing with the corporation for whom you are doing missions, you can access harder missions. In my case, I’ve been doing missions for Chemal Tech for about a month to gain standing so I can get Jump Clones. All of that missioning also gave me access to the Level 4 mission agents.

About a month ago, I accepted a level 4 mission (I believe the name of it was assault) in Dodixie. I wrote a post on that already. I hope I have a thicker skin now. Last night, I accepted the L4 mission Damsel in Distress. After reading up on it, I prepared my Dominix and headed off. I won’t go into much detail, but the mission wasn’t terribly hard. I completed it in about 45 minutes. Looting took about a half hour. I had to take 2 trips with my salvaging ship. The mission reward was 2.5 million ISK. The salvage came to 4 million. Bounties were another 5 million. The loot looks like about another 10 million. Not a bad haul for someone who is new to level 4 missions. The most I ever squeezed out of a level 3 mission was about 10 million.  The other reward for missions are Loyalty Points, which can be used to buy superior gear. I got about 3500 points from this mission. I think the highest I saw in a level 3 mission was a bit over 1000 LP.  That Navy issue Vexor doesn’t seem like a distant dream anymore.

How do I do my missions? Here is my basic strategy after I’ve found an agent:

  • Start a conversation with the agent and view the mission they offer. Don’t accept yet.
  • Decide whether you want the mission based on the faction you will fight. I don’t do missions against the Caldari or Amarr. I also pass on some of the drone missions. Don’t accept yet!
  • Go to EVE-Survival and gather information about the mission. There are other sites. This one works with the In-Game Browser and is fast on a regular browser.
  • Now you can decide whether you can handle the mission and accept or decline it. If it has been less then 4 hours since you last declined a mission, you will take a standings hit if you decline again. In that case, just wait it out before declining.
  • Prepare your ship for the mission. This means going to the fitting screen and selecting the equipment which is appropriate for the mission.
  • Load up the ammo you will need.
  • Step off. You may want to keep the browser minimized with the description of the mission ready for quick reference.

If you fly a Dominix, there is a great post on the EVE Online forums which describes in detail how to prepare for level 4 missions. It’s marginally useful for other ship types as drones play a huge part in his strategy.

Eve Jargon

Filed under: Eve-Online — Cranky Sysadmin @ 8:12 am

My sister claims that I use too much jargon in my posts about Eve online. She’s probably right. Fortunately, there is something like a jargon file available on the old EVE Wiki. I’ll add a link to the right as well.

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