Star Citizen Science: Do Real Science In EVE Online

Space is where the science lives now, of course, and EVE Online [official site] wants to join in on doing the science so the scientists can finish all the science and retire. Scientists still haven’t figured out what a human is, but apparently it’s not difficult work so they’re letting capsuleers help. Today EVE launched Project Discovery, an in-game image analysis minigame of examining and classifying pictures of cells to help a virtual scientist who’s also a real scientist.

It’s another of those crowdsourced ‘citizen science’ projects where folks online are asked to analyse images, looking for things that are difficult for computer algorithms to spot but relatively easy for the bored human mind. What Project Discovery’s aiming to do is determine what exactly is shown in photos of cells, categorising them for the Human Protein Atlas. This is done through an in-game interface with a few filters and examples to help folks along.

Yes, but why help scientists finish their work? Will they come round and help you finish your work once they’re done? I don’t think so! So in the game world, Project Discovery is dressed up as helping an NPC faction, the Sisters of EVE, who’ll reward cash and experience for completed results (yes, images are validated by consensus so folks can’t fill it with crud data trying to farm credits). They also give ‘analysis kredits’ which can be redeemed for things in the Sisters of EVE loyalty point store. Speaking of, that has a new outfits and things in it to mark the launch.

To explain all this, here’s a real scientist who’s also a virtual scientist, Professor Emma Lundberg from the Human Protein Atlas (and the Sisters of EVE):

Today’s update also brought plenty of additions and changes unrelated to all this science business, as detailed in the patch notes.


  1. tigershuffle says:

    I read all that as if it was written by Philomena Cunk.

    Nice work Alice :)

  2. GWOP says:

    “Eve – it’s not exactly rocket science, is it?”

    “No. It’s protein science.”

  3. Skabooga says:

    Hahah! This is a pretty neat implementation of crowdsourcing. More minigames should involve human-aided data analysis.

  4. Faxmachinen says:

    Seems pretty simple to exploit: One account to harvest answer statistics, and the other to +1 the top answer.

    • Sound says:

      For this to work, you would need to be able to control which sample you’re viewing. My understanding is that the samples are chosen at random, making previewing difficult.

  5. TechnicalBen says:

    While great, we all know it’s the thin end of the wedge.

    I’m all for curing cancer. But give it a year, and the “Online Tax Form Simulator” joke about Eve, will be an actual crowd sourced Tax Form minigame in Eve…

    … Rock, Paper, Shotgun, fiction imitating Reality since 1873.

  6. Danley says:

    This is great. MMO grinding and crowdsourcing should have been combined long ago.