On clones and losing skill points

3rd October 2008 – 7.56 am

All the skill training I've been doing in EVE Online has been pushing the limits of my fragile brain. Well, okay, maybe not my brain but certainly that of my clone, and I am quite fond of my clone, she's like a sister to me. It is time to upgrade my clone status again. I pop in to the local medical facility and negotiate a better grade of clone so that when—for it is more of a certainty than a possibility—my ship is destroyed, shortly followed by my pod, and I am left as a frozen corpse drifting in space my clone can be revived with all my skills up-to-date. A clone with suitable capacity retains all the skill points trained by the character up to the point of pod death.

I have previously wondered how this skill retention was programmed. Skill points tick up in real time, never stopping, and you can train in different skills at any time, swapping in and out at a whim whatever training takes your fancy. This must make tracking which skill points have been learnt a difficult problem, perhaps needing to log each and every skill point added to your character, because each skill point could feasibly, if highly unlikely, be put in to a different trained skill than the last. Not being a software programmer myself I am probably going to seem ignorant, yet am interested in working out how this might be achieved.

Looking at the problem from a different angle apparently solved the problem for me. Clones retain a defined number of skill points, and any points above that are lost. I realised that this creates neat milestones. Rather than record where each and every skill point is added all that needs to be recorded is a snapshot of the character at each clone grade. For example, once a character accumulates a total of 2,050,000 skill points, equivalent of a gamma grade clone, you take a snapshot of the character's skills. Should the gamma clone need to be revived you revert the character's skills to that snapshot. This reduces the burden of data collection to that of only needing to store one snapshot per grade of clone for each character.

I felt rather chuffed having worked this out, which is why I was somewhat deflated when I read Winged Nazgul's post mentioning that on pod death skill points get lost randomly, starting with any skills trained to level V. On reflection, I don't think the method I came up with is a poor solution, more that randomly losing high-level trained skills is more of a penalty for pod death than losing the most recently trained skills. It encourages maintaining an up-to-date clone, which requires visiting a medical facility on occasion, otherwise the frequent life-or-death engagements of New Eden become a much more risky endeavour.

It was good to think about how I would have solved the problem as well as find the solution and ponder why that one was chosen.

  1. 4 Responses to “On clones and losing skill points”

  2. I think I've worked out how skill points are tracked.

    When you start a skill, it calculates based on your current attributes when that skill will finish. When you pause or complete a skill, it calculates the number of earned skill points and updates your total.

    That's why your character sheet only shows the last total even if you've been training a skill for days, its why EveMON (which calculates total earned skill points including the training skill) shows more than the character sheet, why you have to pause training if jump cloning or plugging in a new implant (so it can recalculate the time to completion based on the new attribute scores), and why if you lose implants by getting podded, your current skill continues to train as if you still had your implants.


    By Kirith Kodachi on Oct 3, 2008

  3. That's interesting. In my client, my character sheet shows SP: 64,063/135,765, for example, and the current skill point total increments in real time. I can now read it at SP: 64,107/135,765.

    Could there be a difference in clients?

    By pjharvey on Oct 3, 2008

  4. the client calculates the earned points by taking the finish time and current time

    By Kirith Kodachi on Oct 4, 2008

  5. I see what you mean now. The total you write about is the one on the main character sheet, not on the skills pages of the character sheet. I got myself confused.

    Thanks for the information!

    By pjharvey on Oct 4, 2008

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