For quite some time we have wanted to create an official wiki based on EVE. For some time it existed only as a white paper in our design backlog, with no resources to actually pull it off in a way which would be satisfactory for us. But, with a rising sun, which currently shines all the time here in Iceland, we have been able to move forward beyond the concept and white papers into a functional entity, living on the intrawebs. This has been in the pipeline for some time. About a year has passed since the initial work was done in-house on a prototype, and I want to go a bit into the history of it, and how it has evolved.
The first pass
After deciding on the ground rules, what we would need and what it would be called and such, we needed to have a simple prototype done. We had some general requirements and with the help of an experienced web programmer we prototyped different types of wikis and various formats. We made the decision that it should be called EVElopedia. We also decided that it had to scale, it had to work with existing framework and it should be familiar to those who would end up using it.
We quickly realized that we would not be able to do this in-house, mostly due to technical limitations and man-hours needed for such a project, so we outsourced it. For one, it would take a company experienced in creating custom wikis much quicker than we would be able to, and at a far lower cost, as they would do it faster. Saving development time can sometimes be crucial and it would also have delayed the project for an unforeseen time. We finally settled on a company experienced in the business of wikis, and decided on using MediaWiki. MediaWiki being used in most wikis today and it is my favorite Wikipedia.
Production Ramp up
Soon, we started seeing basic versions of it pop up which we could look at and we were quite happy with the results. However, we ran into various problems where tie-ins with our own systems had to be made. My "It's MOZO" moment was when we finally had our CSS made, and the EVElopedia started looking more EVE-style (orange and pink was the first color choice).
Testing and Delivery
We are currently testing it and reporting bugs to our partner, and it is looking quite well so far. Mostly there are aesthetic changes and some minor problems we have been running into, which makes us very confident that we can release it very soon™. A previous blog from Ginger explained YARR, a division in ISD which will handle moderation of the wiki, which took us one step further towards release. We have decided to go with a full moderation initially and possibly change it to less moderation at a later time, once we get the feel for it. YARR will be responsible for handling this, making sure that all new articles, and changes to existing ones are accurate and meet our standards. The rules are very similar to the TOS and EULA and there are similar repercussions for misbehavior as those used on the EVE Online message boards. We can't say exactly when it will be released, but we will announce it once we get deeper into testing and we are satisfied with our product.
Wait... there is more!
The wiki won't be just a wiki, it will contain something special, which most of you have wanted for quite some time, or more to a point, an up to date one. There have been various complaints about the Item database not being up to date; this is mostly due to the process of updating it being a hard and difficult process (who would have thought we would have more ships and items!). But we made it a requirement that our Item DB could be easily exported from our internal servers, and using a custom made macro we have been able to insert all items into the EVElopedia. It will look similar to the website DB as it looks now, but you’ll notice that there are some minor changes, mostly aesthetic ones. One good thing about the macro is that we can update it at any given time. So on a patch day we can export it from the server, use the macro to update the wiki and voilà, an up to date Item Database, on patch day!
One last thing, the wiki will work using the in-game browser. However, as it is… not as robust as any other browser shall we say, there can't be any edits or changes through the in-game browser. But it will render all text and images quite well, so there is no need to start your browser to search for something as you can do it through the in-game browser.
This is going to be the most awesome thing to hit the EVE universe, and this will be available before the apocalypse, soon™ and all that jazz!