Tweaking the overview for the alliance

22nd May 2010 – 3.35 pm

A couple of systems have been scanned, there are bookmarks in the can. I think I'll see if anyone is coming out to play in w-space today. Or I would, if I could see the jet-can. My overview no longer has the can listed, although spinning my view around shows it still to be there. I could pick out the can visually and open it that way, but I want to know why the overview no longer displays it. Our new alliance is now formed, the only change since the overview last displaying properly, and it is suggested that I should change that state in the overview settings to get the can to appear. Now I am no longer ignoring 'pilots in your alliance' does the trick, but I have no idea why.

The can isn't a pilot, although it is explained that 'pilot' is the UI being misleading—say it ain't so—and in this case it is synonymous with 'asset'. That makes some sense, but it still doesn't explain why the can disappears in the first place. Before we were in an alliance the jet-can was presumably a corporate asset and it was as ignored in my overview settings as alliance assets, yet the overview displayed it. This makes no sense to me at all but I grudgingly accept the problem as fixed, if only so I can escape from the tower's shields and go exploring. I copy the bookmarks from the can, warp to our static wormhole, and jump.

The neighbouring system looks unoccupied from the position of the wormhole. The directional scanner shows a couple of warp bubbles discarded somewhere, but an otherwise empty system. I decloak and move away from the wormhole, launching probes as I go. Or, at least, I think I launch probes. The probe bracket is no longer visible on my display. I know that probes cannot be added to the overview, for some reason, but until today the bracket—the icon overlayed on to the physical item in the display for clarity and extra information—was visible. I expect more overview shenanigans related to joining the alliance.

There may not be immediately obvious uses to having the probe bracket visible, but it still concerns me. First, it is useful to see them being launched. Probes are tiny, and without seeing their bracket a hostile ship can be launching probes without an active watcher realising. D-scan is useful, but having eyes on the subject should be more reliable. Second, if both jet-cans and probes have had their settings quietly altered in the overview I have to wonder what else will be different and need modifying. I spend a frustrating number of minutes trying to return the probe bracket to my display with no success. I thought I had a fairly good grip on the fundamental workings of the overview, but I am just getting irritated. And a fleet has formed for Sleeper combat and I am holding everyone up. It has taken me about an hour to jump through our bookmarked static wormhole and launch four probes, nothing else.

I give up on understanding the terrible UI in a wave of self-indulgent pessimism, jumping back to our home system and swapping in to a Guardian for fleet operations. My hope now is that some stupid UI decision, or my sinking in to apathy, doesn't result in the loss of a friendly ship. To help with my sour mood we have three capacitor-hungry Abaddons—one more than the previous operation and two more than usual—and two spare energy transfer arrays that can only really be used when the Guardians aren't running all of their reppers at once. We mostly manage, although balancing capacitor use when we can't actively see capacitor levels is a little awkward and relies on updates from the Abaddon pilots.

Luckily, my mood helps to reinforce the new discipline the corporation is trying to instil to operations, now that we are growing a little. All communications related directly to the current operation are sent to the fleet channel, any other chatter should remain in a separate channel. It's best to start this discipline when we are still small, as it should make it more natural for new pilots to follow by example when we grow further. And apart from a discussion on how an Abaddon can use quite so much energy, clearing anomalies in our neighbouring system is performed smoothly. After a period of low Sleeper activity, we are getting back in to our groove, blasting our way through five anomalies quite quickly. And when three have been cleared another colleague appears and volunteers to run a salvaging boat behind us, increasing our efficiency. Our brief operation ends with all pilots returning to the tower safely and sixty million ISK wealthier.

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