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Originally posted here.

Dev Blog: Unified Inventory

Hey there.

We are CCP Optimal and CCP Arrow and between the two of us we should be able to make excellent projectiles, but let’s keep this focused, shall we? Instead, and more importantly, we try our best to make your experience in EVE good through various UI improvements. In this dandy little devblog we want to tell you about the latest developments coming from our dear team, Game of Drones  (patent pending).

What do all EVE players have in common? They need to use Inventory windows. A lot of them…


Old Inventory

Click to enlarge

As we mentioned before, we are on a crusade against the amount of open windows it requires to pull off any given operation in EVE. A little research, as well as our personal experience, made it clear that the inventory UI was, and to this date is, a big offender in that context. There are tens of different types of inventory location in the game, and in many cases you will find the need to have many of them open at the same time. We also recognized that there were many usability issues to be encountered by users of the inventory system, so spending time improving it made a lot of sense. Additionally, the nature of the inventory system means that all players use it more or less every time they play the game. It doesn’t matter if you are a carebear, a diehard PvP player or a casual corpse collector (wait, what?), the need to manage your items is always present.

 

The remedy

So, what’s the opposite of multiple windows? After weeks of research and multiple rejected hypotheses we came up with what we are certain is the correct answer: a single window (please tell us it’s the right one). So, instead of opening up multiple windows from multiple locations spread throughout the UI, you now have a single Inventory button in the Neocom. Once pressed you will be presented with a little something like this:


New Inventory

Click to enlarge

The most obvious change to the inventory is the new tree view, which automatically populates with all inventory locations accessible to you at a given point in time. As if that wasn’t a tough enough job, the tree view is also populated with any sub inventory location, so under your active ship you will see all bays present, under Ships you will see all your assembled ships and under Corporation you will see all the divisions accessible to you (the ones that you don’t have read access rights for are hidden). Oh, yeah, it also shows containers, effectively making them quite usable, as opposed to the biggest usability violators in the history of videogames. It should be obvious that you can now move items between inventory locations without opening the destination window; just drop it to the relative tree view entry instead. If you prefer, you can drag and hold an item over the tree view entry to switch over to that inventory location to see the item appearing safely at its destination, although there is also a confirming blink when dropping onto an entry. You can also drag containers between locations within the tree, making life even easier.

If this “One window to rule them all” doesn’t sound like the thing just for you then don’t panic, you can still open up multiple windows if you want to (either through right-click options or SHIFT clicking tree entries), but we are hoping the need to do so is all but eliminated with the introduction of the tree view.

What else is in the goodie bag?

Another big usability issue we noticed when analyzing the inventory was the lack of inventory management related information. To amend the situation, we beefed up the capacity bar, which now not only shows the used and total volume of an inventory location but also the volume of the selected items, both the absolute volume and proportional amount (as a second bar on the gauge). When dragging items between locations, the bar will also show you how much volume the items will take up, and turn red if the items won’t fit, before you even drop the items. On a similar note, we now also show the total number of items as well as the number of items selected, in the bottom-right corner. Since we’re there (the bottom right corner that is) you may have already noticed the number of items’ jolly neighbor, Estimated ISK price. That’s right, we finally came to the conclusion that we had enjoyed watching you all jump through flaming loops to figure out the worth of your stuff for long enough. It was fun while it lasted. When you have items selected, the number will represent the summed up value of those items, but when nothing is selected it will be the entire bunch. The ISK price of individual items, as well as of the entire stack, can also be enjoyed by hovering over that item. The estimated ISK price is based on the items’ average market price and will therefore probably not represent the exact value you’ll get for it on the market, but it should be pretty darn close.


ISK Price

Click to enlarge

Filter heaven

As you seemed to like when we added the quick filter box to the inventory not so incredibly long ago, we figured you might enjoy if we introduced more advanced filtering as well. Just to avoid confusion, we kept the Quick Filter box which has its use for quickly filtering things by name, but for more advanced filtering we added a new feature we call Smart Filters. These are powerful filter rules that can be configured in multiple ways and saved to be used again at any point. Heck, they are even persisted to the server, so you don’t have to re-create them on every god forsaken PC you may end up logging in through. Currently, the conditions available in a filter are:

Assembled

CPU Usage

Estimated unit price

Group

Meta group

Meta level

Name

Power usage

Slot type

Stack size

Volume

It is effectively possible to create a very simple or complex filter, depending on your needs. While the filter creation window remains open, the filter in construction will be applied and updated as you mess around with it, so you can do complex filter operations without saving anything. If you do manage to build a filter that would make your parents proud, you can name it and save it, making it accessible under My Filters for some quick filtering action until you decide to send it to Filter Heaven (or Filter Hell, depending on its behavior) by removing it. A green diode will light up when any of your filters are active. You can click that very same diode to quickly disable all filters. When filtering is active, the number of items filtered out will also be displayed in green in the bottom right corner. There will be a couple of pre-defined filters present when you first open the window which you can butcher at will through the Right-click edit option. We have a hunch that some of you might want to change the 100k threshold of the “Valuable items” filter…


Smart Filters

Click to enlarge

Inventory in space

Most people know that in space, no-one can hear you scream. What you might not know is that in space, there are also Inventory locations/holds (ok, to be fair you probably knew). We quickly realized that the tree view promise of always displaying all inventory locations accessible to you at a given time would become a bit fuzzy when in space. Should we populate the tree with items outside of reach that are still on grid? What about ship corporation hangars and ship maintenance bays? What about situations where there are hundreds of wrecks or other inventory locations, most of which you might not be interested in at all? After a lot of thought, we decided to hand the power to you. In-space inventory locations will not automatically pop up in the tree, but require you to open them up yourself as before. Once an inventory location has been opened, it will appear in the tree where it will reside until you decide you’ve had your fun with it and click the little white X to remove it. The only exception to this are POS structures, that are automatically appended to the list under a POS Structures category once you’re on the same grid, which we felt made much more sense as those inventory locations are in a sense way more permanent than wrecks and floating cans.

POS Inventory

Click to enlarge

I love it when you get all technical

Well, who’s blaming you? The biggest reason we hadn’t brought you any of the above improvements earlier was the fact that the client inventory code had fallen victim of some serious code rot. Being one of the fundamental systems of the game, that also makes it one of the oldest and this oldie was long overdue for some refactoring. So, refactor we did. Once that was done, we had solved a couple of key issues such as properly separating data from UI as well as making the Inventory UI way more modular than it was before. Without this foundation work the Unified Inventory window would never have been feasible. Another thing we looked at while the hood was open was performance. As any large scale item possessor will tell you, dealing with more than a couple of items would bring the frame rate through the floor. But no more! Having hundreds of items within the same location now works fine. The time it takes the Inventory to load up for the very first time has also been reduced, plus we’ve added loading indicators to make it clear that your client is waiting for its data, which should be especially useful in a ‘laggy’ situation.

 

The Inventory of the future

As the inventory system is one of the most heavily used systems in the game, and most games for that matter, it cannot be stressed enough how important proper functionality and usability is. Keeping that in mind, it is easy to argue that time put into improvements is time well spent and we don't want to stop there. We value your input and would like to know how you feel about these changes. What more can we do to improve the experience of managing your inventory? To name a few things we would like to iterate on in the near future; some even smarter Smart Filters, such as “Skills training met”, “Can be fitted to active ship” and so on (give us more ideas please). We plan to break out a lot of the per-item options that are now hidden in a right click menu to proper icon buttons. Among those options are functions like ‘Sell’ (multi-sell anyone?), Assemble, Trash and so forth. Right-clicking is fun and all but … yeah.


Future Inventory

Click to enlarge

That’s all for now from Game of Drones. All of the things above will be hitting our test servers very soon, so stay tuned and have fun doing Inventory stuff.

– CCP Arrow

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25 Comments

  1. John_Sheppard

    Finally!

    May 3, 2012 at 12:20 pm Reply
  2. druid_cilnok

    Ah.. no more complaining about the lack of station containers in 0.0. I can now just apply filters and quickly find threw my loot the module i actually need! Hoorah!

    May 3, 2012 at 12:38 pm Reply
  3. Soushi

    "POS structures, that are automatically appended to the list under a POS Structures category once you’re on the same grid"
    Oh my god, oh my god!

    May 3, 2012 at 12:47 pm Reply
    1. duhhhh

      im praying this means no more 3km limit when in pos shields if so THANK F*CKING GOD!

      May 3, 2012 at 5:02 pm Reply
  4. The Observer

    oh thank christ. this is a LOOOONG time coming.

    May 3, 2012 at 1:00 pm Reply
  5. CookieMonster

    Simply, jaw drop… Great job CCP!!

    May 3, 2012 at 1:18 pm Reply
  6. abc123

    It simply amazes me how over time the same simple rules apply. Necessity is the mother of all invention. Item and fixes that players have been screaming for ages are now being make. Why you say? The dev's are having to play the game and use the tools they create. And just like us when you use a tool that doesn't work you like WTF, who's the dumb ass who thought of this.

    But now cudo's to whoever is at CCP making these people have a taste of there own medicine. It is refreshing to see CCP finally give us our moneys worth for the the game we so love and enjoy clicking so much.

    May 3, 2012 at 1:27 pm Reply
    1. Tallian

      Devs have been afraid to play the game since T20. Now, I think, they realize that we would rather they play and just have to deal with oversight that will still allow them to play.

      Maybe IA has given them a specific list of things to stay away from so they can play without the paranoia of loosing their jobs?

      May 3, 2012 at 10:00 pm Reply
  7. OMGFrigates Warpout

    After getting on SiSi last night and testing out some of the new things (Hell yes missiles are awesome and FYI when a dreadnaught hits you it looks like you are trapped in the middle of a small sun for about 5 seconds) I love the new inventory system.

    The only issue I had with it to be quite honest was the fact that the ships cargohold was included in the inventory tab. It made adding ammo / nanite repair paste / cap boosters into your active ship a chore. That said I'm sure there is something I missed that will allow this to be done painlessly instead of the headache it was last night.

    Good changes CCP. Damn solid changes.

    May 3, 2012 at 1:37 pm Reply
    1. infuriating

      yeah just trying to put ammo in my ship was infuriating.

      May 3, 2012 at 3:30 pm Reply
      1. duhhhh

        drag to the name of your ship left go
        how is that hard

        want to see it dropped drag to the name and wait a second and the cargobay appears and drop

        want 2 windows, shift click the cargo bay and then do the drag the old way, and drop

        May 3, 2012 at 5:02 pm Reply
        1. shift click

          shift clicking for a new window is not very intuitive.

          Double click should open a new window.

          Single click should change your active window.

          May 3, 2012 at 6:27 pm Reply
          1. Tallian

            Shift click has always opened things in a new window tho, so you should already be used to it.

            May 3, 2012 at 9:57 pm
  8. hirrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

    now to overhaul corperation roles, ill be waiting awhile me thinks

    May 3, 2012 at 1:38 pm Reply
  9. lolo

    now when are they gana overhaul the overview settings.

    May 3, 2012 at 1:56 pm Reply
  10. Corteztk

    +1 thank you CCP my OCD loves this

    May 3, 2012 at 2:00 pm Reply
  11. Pure Awesome !!!

    May 3, 2012 at 2:15 pm Reply
  12. space troll

    Hbloy shit I. Just creamed!

    May 3, 2012 at 3:19 pm Reply
  13. David_Star

    Depending on how well those filters work, I may be able to finally get rid of all those damn station containers!

    Well, after the 3 week cool-down of the audit log.

    May 3, 2012 at 3:29 pm Reply
  14. Holy fuck

    I want your child!

    May 3, 2012 at 10:36 pm Reply
  15. Marcus_McTavish

    As an industrialist i can speak for many of us when i say: "WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN FOR THE PAST 9 YEARS?!?!?!"

    Absolutely brilliant!
    +9000

    May 4, 2012 at 3:09 am Reply
  16. noname

    I love the Banner! Now I am going to go read the story!

    May 4, 2012 at 3:41 am Reply
  17. another RA pilot

    what about performance implications?
    if i want to loot cargo from a container in space, i don't want to be sitting there for half an hour waiting until my client loads all my belongings spread out through the whole of eve

    May 4, 2012 at 8:46 am Reply
  18. Foo Manchu

    With the inventory changes can I finally repackage and restack all the crap in my POS hangars?

    May 5, 2012 at 2:09 am Reply
  19. Sold

    I support this product and/or service.

    May 6, 2012 at 5:18 am Reply

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