Presenting the Portrait Preservation Project | EVE Online

Presenting the Portrait Preservation Project

2011-01-17 - By CCP Purple Tentacle

My name is CCP Purple Tentacle from Team Yggdrasil, the team responsible for EVE Gate. I am a real old-timer in EVE, have been a player since it was released in 2003. As a result, my character and I have gone through a lot together. I got used to seeing his familiar face multiple times a day, and this brings us to the topic of this little blog: the old character portraits.

As most of you already know, on Tuesday we are releasing Incursion, which comes with a brand new avatar creation system. All the old portraits will be removed from the game and you will have to create new portraits for all your characters. I have spent considerable time playing with the new avatar creator and it is absolutely awesome. It is superior to the old one in every aspect, and no matter how many portraits I create with it, I just cannot get bored of it. However, no matter how cool it is, I figured that it would still feel like a loss to see my old face, the one I was tied to for many years, being flushed down the drain just like that. These old faces served their purpose. They represented us for over seven years, and they deserve to survive somewhere. So, back in December I requested a dedicated box and set it up to start crawling through all your seven million characters, rendering their portraits one by one and saving them in a nice and homey database. The box was rendering nonstop throughout Christmas and New Year's Eve and, despite being hit by a major disaster and having to restart the whole process at half time, it managed to finish on time. At this moment, everything is ready and set. All that was left to be done was to make sure that you can access these portraits somehow. So, we set up a little webserver for this project, running under the URL // It is running the same image server code that we also use for EVE Gate, for the forums and - starting with Incursion - for the game as well, so it is responding to the usual //{character_id}_256.jpg kind of requests. The key difference between this server and // is that oldportraits will never be updated with new stuff; it will be serving the old portraits forever for those who were lucky enough to have one.

How to use this server?

On this server you can only retrieve portraits and can do so only in one specific size: 256x256. If you know your characterID, you can directly hit //{your_character_id}_256.jpg and you will get your old portrait back, like this:

If you do not know your characterID, the easiest way to get to this image is to go to EVE Gate, log in, go to the character selection screen, right click on your portrait and, depending on your browser, select "Open image in new tab" (Safari, Chrome) or "View image" (Firefox). In Internet Explorer you will have to open the Properties window of the image and copy/paste its address into a new tab. After having opened your character image, all you have to do is to change start of the URL from
and you will have your old portrait in the browser. From here you can save it, link it into your autobiography or just show it to your grandchildren.

What if you need a higher resolution version of the image?

You will have to let the client render it for you. Monday, the day before the Incursion release is the last day you can do this. If you want to save your own character portraits (or anyone else's, for that matter), here's a simple guide on how to do it:

  1. Be logged into your EVE Client
  2. Locate the character you wish to capture (search in People and Places, for example)
  3. Right-click the character portrait
  4. Click "Capture Portrait"
  5. Find your EVE capture folder (by default: My Documents\EVE\capture)
  6. Open the "Portraits" folder, in which you should find a nice high-res portrait of the character


CCP Purple Tentacle