Anyone who has been reading Epic Slant lately is probably aware that I’ve dipped into Eve Online quite a bit. I continue to find really neat aspects of the game that just add value for me. One that I discovered last week just made me warm and fuzzy all over. Eve offers an API!
For those of you who are unfamiliar with the term “application programming interface (api)” it was summed up pretty well by David Orenstein. He stated …”a program’s API defines the proper way for a developer to request services from that program.” In the simplest of terms it means that a player or developer can use the information provided by an MMO’s API in their website, blog, forum signature or anything that can properly format it.
Eve Online allows you to pull great detail about your character from the game via its API. Many industrious developers have used this to create great addons that help you track and plan your character. One in particular, EVEMon, can even run as a program in windows to let you see up to date information. You know what skills you have, what you’re training and how much money you have. This helps you track your transactions and training. It really is very useful.
It has me curious though. Why don’t more games offer a similar thing? Why wouldn’t developers want what is essentially free advertisement for their project? My only guess is that they’re afraid the information would be abused. It very well could be but I think the benefits out weigh the risks. I would love to see even more features available via APIs for more modern games. In particular I hope 38 Studios includes something like this in Copernicus. Who doesn’t want to watch their character constantly via cell phone? I know I do!
We live in a world where a large amount of web apps let you grab information from afar and only request you say where you got it from. With that in mind, the next time you submit a feature request tell your developers that you want APIs! Tell them you want to pull character data into your own application! Proudly display your MMO character on Facebook, xfire, Myspace, Raptr or whatever you use. Even the super secret project I’m working on will have this functionality. More on that another time though!
Originally posted on Epic Slant.