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Oct, 13th 2013 - Year One. Looking Back, Looking Forward.
Well, it has been over a year since I first opened the doors of Fleet-Up to the EVE Community and I wanted to spend some time looking back over the year and also looking forward to what the future holds.
Fleet-Up officially came out of Beta on the 12th September 2012. In the past twelve months a lot has happened. More than I really expected I think. So, lets take a look at it.
Humble Beginnings
The idea behind the service came to me one day when I was putting together fittings in a previous corporation. I was sitting around reading websites and forum posts, digging through wiki articles and asking in game for people to link fits. As I trawlled through the numerous sources and bought modules I was occasionally struck with the odd gotcha of not being able to fit a particular module or to find out that the fitting I was planning was out-dated. Eventually I was ready for action, only to find plans had changed and I had to rethink my fleet. There's gotta be a better way than this, I thought.
But it wasn't until I had joined Noir. Mercenary Group that I considered progressing the idea. Something about the organisation structure of the corporation made me think that actually there is a clear use for the tool I was thinking about. So, I posted a forum thread asking if anyone wanted or had seen such a tool that could make putting fittings, doctrines, fleets, etc together more easily. The original sketch can be seen to the right.
The answer was pretty clear; doesn't exist but it should exist. I was on.
A few busy weekends later I was thinking up domain names and considering how and when to demo what I had put together. I was sitting on a domain registrar page plugging in domain ideas like "" and "" only to realise I didn't like the name or I found that they had been registered already. Then an idea crossed my mind; "" - that would bound to be taken. A quick check confirmed it was taken. How about with a hyphen - that's probably taken too... oh wait, its available! Cha-ching; was born!
Before I showed anyone what I had created, and whilst I was still planning and developing much of it, I wanted to set myself some objectives. If I met them I would consider Fleet-Up a success and continue to develop and host it.
Whilst I have never shared these objectives I don't really consider them secret.
  1. Have Fleet-Up accepted in-corp. This was my first objective - if we didn't use it in our own corporation then it'd probably be a hard sell elsewhere. The reception I received internally was very positive and with numerous suggestions throughout the year it has grown even further.
  2. Become a successful virtual business. I wanted to run Fleet-Up a but like a virtual business. Whilst I don't particularly want for in-game money I wanted to do something more than offer the service for free. Beyond anything I considered if I could convince people to cross the penny gap and pay for the service then I had created something of value.
  3. Affirm my integrity. Rather hard to quantify really this one but I wanted to make sure I presented an open and honest front. It was my hope that I could be trusted to run such a service. I answer this particular objective below.
Towards the end of the beta testing began to pushed out the website to various sites devoted to EVE online tools such as the official fansite list as well as the EVE Development Network. I was getting good feedback and there were lots of early suggestions coming in and things I wanted to improve. So I beavered away, adding features and improving what was there.
After a couple of weeks I started to see the traffic stats begin to increase. Turns out people had come across the site and were using it. Shortly after this I started to receive various emails with ideas or questions in about the service, which was great because it meant I could start engaging with some of the users. Before too long the traffic stats started to head upwards steadily and have done so since with active user numbers drifting off into the many thousands.
Software as a Service
I made a decision very early on that I would create Fleet-Up as a service that users could sign up to and use as opposed to a product that could be downloaded and installed. The primary motivator behind this was really because I wanted to create a standard offering that players from all sizes of corporations and alliances could use. Furthermore as players moved between corporations or alliances I wanted them to be able to simply join or create a new group on Fleet-Up without having to worry about downloads, installations or hosting.
The most common question I have been asked over the past year is "can I download and install Fleet-Up on my own server because spies?" In the universe of EVE trust is hard earned and easily flaunted. There are countless stories in the history of EVE of players tricking others out of ISK, property or information. But the road is not completely littered with the corpses of trusting fools. There are but a few individuals who are trusted. Perhaps I can become one of them.
It has always been my hope that players and organisations can trust me. The sizeable number of active users tells me that I have earned at least some people's trust over the past year. And I can honestly say I have honoured that trust right to the very core.
Ups and Downs
Over the past year it has mostly been ups. I have received some really great feedback from people using the service and I have also seen usage grow steadily whilst finding the time to churn out a few updates. More people use the service than I ever imagined, which is really positive and pushes me to continue developing it.
There's been a couple of small downers over the period. Probably most notably is my recent lack of time to put much into development. I'd like to be able to put a little more time into developing the service. But on that front I do have a little time and I am planning some good stuff in the near future.
So, what's next?
Good question. I have been busily compiling a list of items and carving out some spare time to have another attack at development. I'm about to post some roadmap plans for Fleet-Up version 1.2 in the next day or so. We've also got more ship and skill changes coming up in Rubicon so I will be working on putting those into Fleet-Up as soon as they are out.
Let's see where the next year takes us.
Few people I'd like to thank for helping me out in one form or other.
  • CCP - Thanks for creating the game, an providing the API and data dump. The community team have also been awesome.
  • Alekseyev Karrde & Noir. - Without whom I would not have been inspired to create the service. Also numerous suggestions.
  • Wollari - I couldn't live without DotLan and I think that inspired me to write a service for EVE.
  • - Excellent service and data via API.
  • Also thanks to the hundreds of people who ever mailed me with any kind of question or suggestion. You keep me going.