These are projects posted by the students of Dr. Gove Allen at Brigham Young University. These students have taken one semester-long course on VBA and generally have had no prior programming experience

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

EVE Profitability Tools

Executive Summary

            EVE Online is an MMO known for its sheer complexity and steep learning curve, which have earned it the nickname “spreadsheets in space.”  It seems only fitting that my project aims to add another spreadsheet to the player’s experience.  While the game encompasses makes possible a wide array of options for space-based combat, what actually interest me is the player-driven economy built into the game.  As an economics major with a strong interest in business and entrepreneurship, I was primarily drawn to the industrial side of EVE where players buy and sell the in-game resources and items they acquire, and use them to produce items for sale or use.  Unlike most business or economic simulators, this market is robust and interesting because it is not the sole purpose of the game.  Rather it is the product of natural demand from other players for goods and services that can most easily be acquired from other players, rather than the game itself.
            However, the items produced in the game are completely homogenous, meaning that differentiation and branding are impossible.  As a result, making a profit in manufacturing is cutthroat and relies on careful analysis of profitability and demand.  This spreadsheet was designed to assist in the identification of profitable items to produce at any given time.  As prices and conditions shift, the profitability of producing any given item can change dramatically, so being able to generate a profitability report on-demand is extremely useful.
            The primary functionality of the current version of this project is the production of profitability reports on any item that can be manufactured.  The report includes a wide array of options to allow the user to customize the report, which is particularly important since a large number of these factors can greatly affect the overall profitability.  In the interest of usability, however, the report will generate a “default” profitability statement when it is first opened, so no real intervention is required if a quick look is all that is required.
            The other major functionality of the project is the management of the extensive combined database that makes the profitability reports possible.  This all occurs “under the hood” of the program on hidden sheets, and the average user should rarely have to use these functions aside from the ability to update the web price queries.  However, this is where the bulk of the work for this project has gone, and now that it is done, it should be significantly easier to generate additional reports and features based on this database.
            In creating this project, considerable effort was put into making the tool accessible and adaptable.  While I had originally hoped to include more functionality than just the profitability report and database functions, I decided to focus on making the project professional, user-friendly, and relatively “bulletproof,” rather than include these additional features. 
I’ve spent well over 100 hours on this project, and I’ve greatly enjoyed the process so far.  I plan to continue working on it to add the additional features I would like to see, such as the ability to maintain a “favorites” sheet in the workbook, export generated reports to an excel sheet or other formats, and the generation of quotes and bookkeeping sheets.  I also plan to publish this project to the general EVE community at some point, hence the focus on usability.  I hope you, the end user, find this project an interesting and useful tool as you play the game.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Blog Archive