Sunday, 18 January 2015

Elite Dangerous - Trading Tools - OCR - Progress Pt5

Update: You can now support this project at Patreon!

So, last night I had my first long run and tuning up session, capturing system name, station name and commodities as I played the game... As you can see, I have quite a few captured commodities now:

I'm now going to throw together a separate reader, to load the data set and let me do comparisons or round-trip plotting of best prices.

But, I thought i'd explain how this application works, as I've posted it into the streams of a few Twitch chaps playing Elite, and everyone seems to have their own preconceptions....

1) This is a stand alone application, it runs in windows completely separately to Elite.

2) It captures the screen images, it DOES NOT open the processes memory.

3) The areas of the screens captured are filtered, and then passed to an optical character recognition (OCR) system.

4) The OCR system I'm using is Tesseract

5) The image processing is triggered by keys:  In game you just play, and then Press F1 whilst in the navigation menu, and the program will take a shot and try to work out the system.

6) Press F2 whilst in the commodities screen, and the station name is captured.

7) Press F3 and this toggles on the capturing of the area the commodities are listed in, it takes pictures until you press F3 again, so you slowly scroll down the list, then press F3 and the program passes the images taken for processing.

8) The data is written out as XML and contains the System/Station name, then the Commodity Name, the buy and sell prices, and then the supply & demand levels.

I have had to do some manual fixing of things, such as correcting for the OCR getting the strange minerals spelt wrong.

My plan once I have the data coming in, is to have it upload to a server, which I can then view from anywhere and use to make searches of the commodities.

I would however like some help completing the application, specifically I require testers, if you are interested, please contact me in the comments below.

Finally, lots of people ask "Why", why make this tool, why not use one of the others out there... Well, I have nothing against the others, I looked at a couple, including EliteOCR and they showed that Tesseract could get the job done, but none of those tools were mine, I've played and used a lot of tools for game, I'm a professional programmer, so I figured I should make a tool which is exactly what I want.

Will I never make this publically available?... Perhaps, but I've had little to no interest thus far.


  1. Great work, irrespective of whether the Elite devs approve. (I'm not saying that's not important, just that your work still stands). I'd use a tool that captured location and distance information and uploaded it to edstarcoordinator using their API, and this approach seems that it might work for that.

    Please be encouraged to make this available. :)

    1. I'm encouraged and working hard on things, check out part 7 and 8 updates (out now and tomorrow - 28th Jan 2015 18:30 GMT) for further details of progress and plans.