Monday, 21 May 2018

Iconography in EVE Online

EVE is old!

Every so often I am reminded that EVE is actually getting up there, like a nephew that pops up on occasion and every time you think to yourself "I remember when he was just a kid!".

We're now in 2018 and had this been a person in Denmark where I live, we're talking about a teenager just getting ready to have his first sexual encounters at 15 years of age.


When the game launched in 2003, I am not sure they had put much thought into a clear vision for iconography, they kept it simple and understandable. People could tell the difference between a ship and a container - but many icons were identical, only differing in size. When things are getting hairy, this can be difficult.
Detail wise - the image format PNG did not become an international standard until a few months after launch in 2003. I can image that working with image files back then was a lot different.
Since then, the focus was on getting the game up and running, fixing bugs and getting in new features - icons were not that high on the totem pole to get attention.

Present day

Fast forward to 2015, 3 years ago - things were in place to launch a strategy on iconography.
This sought to update existing iconography structures and lay down a path to follow for new icons that would later be launched, depending on new content, ships, containers, structures, roles and so on.
Developer "CCP Arrow" lead the way. There was a logic behind the new path:
  • Ships: Triangles
  • Drones: M's
  • Structures: Boxes
And with the new structure in place you would then also iterate on the same theme and come up with variations depending on role/effect of the items/ships you would see out and about in the void.


Give things a few years to ferment and players start to compile data and present in a teaching environment. What followed the strategy was then as nature predicts - a player eventually doing something about that data.

Reddit user u/OperationTechnician posted this image that covers mostly all icons (barring future changes) compiled into one easy-to-handle image.

Well done.