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[Developer Blog] Community Spotlight - EVE KILL

Discussion in 'EVE News' started by EVE News, Dec 28, 2012.

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    Apr 12, 2011
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    From massive fleet battles with thousands of pilots to duels between two brave spaceship captains – the EVE Online Universe has it all! Further information about these events, with all the excitement, drama, and triumph or crushing losses, is provided by the EVE community on public killboards.
    Killboards can help data-mining and might expose behavioral patterns of pilots; they also can give an easy overview of important events and provide a list of top pilots or entities. In the hand of skillful pilots, they turn into useful intelligence gathering tools which might help to decide the fate of a battle long before the first shot is fired.
    The EVE community maintains several large killboards and one of the best known killboards is EVE-KILL hosted by EVSCO.
    EVE-Kill run by EVSCO


    EVE-KILL is a public EVE Online killboard that displays details about destroyed ships, items and structures, sorted by time. Additional features such as battle overviews, categories like capital ship kills and a Top 20 overview, spices further up the usefulness of EVE-KILL.
    Killboards in general are considered by many players to be quite important as they display, in cold numbers, ship kills and losses, thus allowing further analysis of encounters and campaigns. Especially with longer lasting campaigns, some people believe that semi-random influences on the performance will vanish due to statistics and that the ‘true performance’ will get revealed. However, other players deny the relevance of killboards statistics and claim that the circumstances (such as environment, fleet composition, fleet tactics, hostile fleet composition, battle objectives, etc.) in EVE Online are never the same and situations therefore incommensurable. Another claim is that the deep gameplay with long term goals (such as amassing wealth, conquering and holding space, destroying enemy empires, becoming an industrial tycoon, being a master spy and most important having long lasting fun) simply cannot be captured by a single value on any killboard.
    Regardless of the above mentioned varying opinions, killboards document events in the EVE Online universe – if you want to check about the latest shuttle with PLEX in the cargo hold when undocking from the main trade hub in the Jita solar system or a massive ship battle several years ago: killboards give access to all this information.
    EVE-KILL is maintained by EVSCO, the EVE Service Corp. Besides the general EVE-KILL killboard, EVSCO also hosts more than 4500 private pilot, corporation or alliance killboards and websites, forums and voice communications. The average daily 60,000 unique visitors and 10 million page views a month are proof for the popularity of killboards, especially on a corporation and alliance level, and EVSCO’s services and EVE-KILL are well known in the EVE community and enrich the overall EVE Online experience.

    Development history

    EVSCO/EVE-KILL was originally only an idea by a few people, but then development started and implementation began early November 2008; the actual EVSCO site and in-game corporation (and the IRC channel) went up only a few weeks later that same month.
    EVSCO didn’t start from scratch; instead, already existing initiatives from within the EVE community were used and improved – such as the open source killboard EDK and modifications from the existing killboard of the Triumvirate alliance – so that the then massive amount of 2 million killmail notifications could be handled efficiently.
    EVE-KILL was announcement without much fanfare and the first user base was quite small. Originally the EVSCO developers joked that the project would be dead by the end of the first year - then the end of the 2nd year - then the 3rd and so forth. Popularity over time grew (mainly by word of mouth and by the actual use of the EVE-KILL) and now EVSCO has celebrated its 4th birthday (18th November 2012)!
    The EVE community provided ample amounts of moral support and good suggestions, but overall a lot of trial-and-error was involved in the development and learning process. EVSCO has been on the brink of closing it all down a few times (mostly because of internal squabbles over technical issues) but in the end all the difficulties were overcome.
    Today we see an astonishing amount of 15 million individual killmails and a thriving use of EVE-Kill.

    The EVSCO Team

    Portrail of Karbowiak
    Portrait of HyperBeanie
    Currently the EVSCO team consists of: HyperBeanie, Karbowiak, Fly8oy, Squizz Caphinator, plan q, fr0gofwar and Ammut Irvam.
    The composition of the EVSCO team has been quite stable over the years, with only very few members dropping out of the team (for example, Ralle030583 due to real life reason). Founding members, such as Karbowiak and HyperBeanie, are still active and play important roles in the team as they are responsible for the management (money handling, server payments, etc.) and the overall development direction. Other members, such as Squizz Caphinator and Fly8oy, handle the actual coding and development, while the remaining team is responsible for the various aspects of customer support.
    It is interesting to note that even with such a small team it was and still is possible to have a considerable impact on the EVE community: passion and dedication can bring you to the top in the EVE community!
    Eventually the success and scope of EVE-KILL and EVSCO exceeds the role of simply supporting the EVE community with a popular tool (even though this is already a fantastic achievement in its own!): the successful development of EVE-KILL can be proudly shared beyond the EVE community as testament for excellence and dedication; Karbowiak for example mentions in his resume the development of EVE-KILL and HyperBeanie supposedly talked about EVE-KILL at his job interview.
    While the EVSCO team is not actively hunting for new team members, the team is always open to people who want to help in various ways, be it supporting customers, coding or – to quote Karbowiak – “yelling for no reason. Everything goes.” EVSCO’s main point of contact is currently the IRC channel #esc on irc.coldfront.net; alternatively, the EVSCO Facebook page is also a popular way to get in contact with the EVSCO team.

    Technical details

    EVE-KILL is currently using EDK software running on a Dual Xeon E5-2650 (dual 8 core + HT) with SSD and HDD storage (SSD for database, HDD for everything else). The server was upgraded several times from first a 32GB machine, then a 96GB to now a 128GB with eventual plans to upgrading the memory to 256GB.
    EVE-KILL hosts a little more than 15 million killmails, and the database itself is around 100GB in size.
    EVE-KILL saw and sees constant iteration on soft- and hardware as technology advances. Originally a single server was used to run all services – later the software was improved so that multiples servers could be operated (two http fronts and three MySQL databases on separate servers with master/master replication). Later the configuration was switched to two servers (two http, two db, with a tiny load balancer in front), then to a single large server where all services are run in virtual machines with separate hard drives for everything.
    The killmails streaming into EVE-KILL are either received automatically from players that allow EVE-KILL to receive their kill- and loss notifications in game via the API provided by CCP, automatically from private killboard feeds, or posted manually by players. As the whole processing and handling is automated the manual workload on the EVE-KILL developers is almost zero. The only manual process involved is the review and eventual removal of invalid killmails.
    EVE-KILL recently moved to a new server because their old server lost its SSDs and their hosting center didn’t provide the desired service quality. So the EVE-KILL team decided to own their own hardware – just to provide the EVE community with a good service!

    Future plans

    Currently no plans exist to add further features to the current version of EDK that EVE-KILL uses.
    Instead of adding features to the currently used killboard system the EVSCO team plans to replace the whole current version of the killboard with a completely new killboard software called zKillboard (zKB). The code for this new killboard is based on SlimFramework, Twig, Bootstrap and some parts from the old zKB that Squizz Caphinator developed.
    With this development EVSCO can easily handle the currently daily 60.000 unique visitors and about 10 million page views that can spike up to 150k visitors and 2000 concurrent users at important times. One might consider this development also being a clever preparation for additional future growth of the EVE Online player base and increased activity in the community.
    EVE-KILL is (barely) surviving the financial strain of constant hard- and software upgrades by using Adsense advertisement and by receiving occasional donations. The time of the EVSCO team for development, maintenance and customer support itself is fueled by the passion for EVE Online and its community and we thank the EVSCO team for this immense dedication and wonderful service.

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