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For everyone living in or day-tripping into wormhole space, Tripwire has been a marvellous and widely used tool enabling people to map the ever-changing wormhole connections around them.
For this article, I was fortunate enough to get in touch with Tripwire’s creator, Daimian Mercer, to ask him about the app. Beginning life as a tool to help the Blue Sun Enterprises hunt in W-Space shortly after Wormholes were added to Eve, back when the Eve API tracked individual jumps and number of kills in W-Space as well as K-Space, BSEN used it to hunt in the wormholes they lived in, and their connections.
‘Tripwire was born within the first year of wormhole space coming to EVE and was an idea me and some core members of Blue Sun Enterprises had to help us hunt in w-space. Back then not that many lived in w-space and the EVE API provided # of kills and jumps into a system like all of k-space has now so we used Tripwire to track our scanned wormholes and would sit and wait until one became active – thus the name Tripwire.
I was actually trying to make a web based ship fitting tool first but it proved very difficult so I took on a smaller project first to get my footing with EVE app development, a simple site running tool to track w-space site participation and rewards. That eventually turned into Tripwire and I’ve never been able to finish that project since. I doubt I will ever have time to take on another project since Tripwire features seem to be endless.’
As arguably the current standard wormhole mapping app, Tripwire boasts a list of features from in-game and external browser support, a smartphone app, corporation and alliance wormhole sharing, constant background updates, detailed system information (security, pirates, wormhole effects/class, region, PI, planets and static connection) and activity monitoring (Ship, pod and NPC kills, as well as ship jumps in K Space, for up to a week), making it useful in a wide variety of settings. This doesn’t even begin to list the user interface options for sharing information with your corp/alliance mates, the ability to pass on information on signatures for exploration and combat sites, and the ability to highlight a system for all users by ‘flaring’, which is useful if you want everyone to converge or to highlight a specific route to, for example, Thera.
The app will even fill in half the details of the wormhole with an automapping feature that will follow you as you jump through and record the exit details for you. The vast majority of the community using the various apps available agree that Tripwire is by far the best and most widely used of the alternatives available, and it has remained free to use (with donations greatly appreciated) since inception. While initially intimidating looking (the UI is reminiscent of a FTSE shares analysis with a statistics graph for recent jumps and kills of pods, ships and NPCs), the interface quickly becomes familiar, and using copy and paste you can usually finish mapping the exit wormhole before your post-jump cloak expires, allowing you to pick your destination at your leisure and warp without being exposed.
In his recent post regarding the topic of the in-game browser removal, CCP Dev FoxFour stated that:
‘As of early October (tentatively October 11), we will be removing the in-game browser (IGB) from the EVE client. This gives third-party developers over three months to move their applications over to using CREST where possible and remove any IGB functionality’, and stated the reasons for this decision being that CCP was investing more and more man-hours into maintenance and development of the in-game browser that should be spent on the game itself, that by choosing to remove the IGB, they would focus more time on making the game client run smoother, and less on the significant upkeep that is required to keep the browser compatible.
The obvious downside to this is the effect it will have on any third party app that relies on the IGB, and while CCP have given what they feel is appropriate time to port any apps that do to their recently improved CREST system, this is only an option for third party developers with the time and resources to recode their apps at a fundamental level, something that Damian Mercer has evidently been unable to do, as the updates section of the Tripwire website shows a solid year since the last official update.
On a post to the Eve Online forums thread for his app, Daimian wrote that the reason behind his decision was part money, part time, as he had taken to Freelance work recently and had to take on more work than would allow for appropriate maintenance of Tripwire.
‘Lately I have had to ask for donations to even just keep the Tripwire servers running (~$60/month).’
This was not an answer the community was prepared to accept, however, and the first response to this announcement was short, sweet and absolutely prophetic.
The community began posting to Eve Online forums, Reddit, in corp-mails and Alliance announcements, reminding everyone that not everything in life that is free should be, and very quickly the funding issue for the Tripwire servers was managed. But it doesn’t stop there; calls for a Tripwire merchandise line to afford some profitability for Daimian Mercer were brought up, in order to give him a modest income for his continued work on the project while complying with the CCP License Agreement that prevents him from charging even a modest fee (as low as $1 a month was thrown around as a throwaway sum that everyone could pay to cover costs), leading to people offering advice to start a Patreon account that people could donate through (which, Daimian promises, is incoming), as well as creating an account with Redbubble to manage a line of merchandise people could buy, as a previous attempt at Tripwire T-Shirts proved too costly in time to manage himself. He assured me that he’s ‘working on getting this setup…’, so I keep my fingers crossed for a T-Shirt that reads “I helped fund Tripwire and all I got was this lousy T-Shirt” in the near future.
When I asked him what features might be possible or more functional using a CREST based system, he had an interesting answer;
‘Yes, there have been a few things I’ve tested and simply could not do with the IGB…
So, we could be looking at a bright future of using Tripwire to navigate all of New Eden in a totally new way, and I can’t wait for it; as a member of Signal Cartel, I enjoy a lot of wormhole-based shortcuts, and a fully functional navigator to link wormholes and K-Space into a single route planner interests me greatly.
But this all requires we pay our way a bit; Daimian’s life has changed in the last couple of years; he’s looking forward to being married later this year, and has some other rather large expenses coming; as such, he’s been doing freelance work to pay the bills, which has made less time available for investing into the Tripwire project, and that’s where we come in. To date, the sudden influx of donations from grateful capsuleers has totalled $800, with donations ranging in size from $1 to a whopping $250! (Thanks, Wingspan!)
‘As of June 27th donations this month have hit nearly $800! That just blows me away and reinvigorates not just me, but everyone this project touches! I have setup a goal in addition of $2,000 on Patreon so I can turn down additional freelance work in favor of working on Tripwire dev directly. I am still going to maintain and perform admin work completely free of donations and have already dusted things off and started recruiting help with performing the admin tasks that don’t require access to servers or data. A proper wiki with guides is something I am looking for help with next so feel free to contact me if you’re interested.’
Every little helps, and if you use Tripwire at all, please consider giving to the cause – it’s a brilliant tool that has enriched the gameplay of explorers like me, to hardcore wormhole Alliances, and if all of us chipped in a buck a month, or whatever we can afford, Tripwire would grow by leaps and bounds, and it’s already expanding, as Ashley Traynor has joined him by taking over the Issue Tracker on the Tripwire website.
‘Ashley has done an awesome job of cleaning and organizing that it is already helping so much – she already found a lost ticket and PR for fixing a static wormhole in a system and we got that pushed out finally. She is likely going to be the biggest reason why small improvements are finally going to make it into Tripwire so please take a moment to say thanks.’
Now that there is hope for future funding to continue his work, Daimian is hopeful to have Tripwire fully CREST supported by October, and keep the app running indefinitely.
‘I have been working with CCP for awhile and had started adding CREST support when the death of the IGB was suggested. The other 3rd party devs have also been fantastic in helping with getting the ball rolling. CCP Fox Four has recently left CCP but he had been extremely supportive of the 3rd party dev community – I wish him the best of luck.’
‘I would also like to thank all those who have donated and helped with this project, you are all the reason the project is what it is today. Thank you very much for your support!’
Please remember to donate, and help keep Tripwire running for Capsuleers everywhere! The Patreon account can be found here, or if you prefer to use PayPal you can donate money via the PayPal Donations button on the Tripwire Website. There are thousands of individual users each month, tiny contributions from all of us can make a huge difference to the cause, and give the Eve community a truly amazing app.