EVE Online Perfect Station Cynos Guide
EVE Online Perfect Station Cynos Guide by coelomate
This is a guide to lighting perfect station cynos. It is not a guide to adequate cynos, or cynos that will work 99 times out of 100. If you follow this guide, and the station geometry makes it physically possible, you will hit the sweet spot 100% of the time and land inside docking radius without bumping.
The guide is based on extensive testing and checking distances using the new “bookmarks in space” feature, gives a step-by-step methodology, and avoids often repeated but potentially fatal advice, such as using a salvager I to check cyno range (it isn’t enough on its own).
I’ll begin with instructions, then include a discussion of background mechanics and open questions.
Step 0: Choose a good cyno station
Not all stations are created equal: the combination of station geometry and station docking radius means some stations are impossible to light a perfect cyno on, while some are so generous it’s hard to go wrong. When planning routes or staging systems, this guide can help you start with the best possible station:https://forums.eveonline.com/default.aspx?g=posts&t=303080
If your station is for a JF and you will be moving into hisec, extra credit for a station where aligning to the hisec gate is easy – or even instant!
Step 1: Bring the right supplies
To prepare the perfect bookmark, bring a rookie ship or frigate with an afterburner and a module with a range of roughly 8,500m. The easiest thing to use is a J5b Phased Prototype Warp Scrambler I – it has an optimal range of 8,625m. Be careful if your ship has a hull bonus that will boost its range. Either use a shorter range warp scrambler module so you have the right range after the bonus, or use a different ship. If you’re really elite, you could also just add warp core stabilizers until your maximum targeting range is roughly 8,500m.
Step 2: Understand the station model and map its docking radius
- Undock and look at the station geometry in comparison to its square bracket. You want to pick a cyno spot where there is as little station geometry as possible between that square bracket and the void of space. Extra credit if your spot is far from the undock, making your cyno ships slightly less likely to be popped. Once you have a spot in mind, fly your frigate into roughly that area.
- Bookmark the station itself by right-clicking and choosing “save location…” You will have the station itself and the bookmark on top of one another. What’s cool is EVE will show you distance from the edge of your ship to the bookmark itself (i.e. the station bracket), but also the distance between the edge of your ship and the edge of the station’s docking radius. Here’s a pretty picture.
- With your frigate roughly where you want your cyno, right click the station (or your bookmark, both behave the same) and select “approach.” Your ship will fly away from the station’s bracket and come to rest at the edge of the station’s docking radius. Bookmark this location, and look at your station bookmark to note the station’s docking radius, like this.
- You now want to manually fly from your “Edge of Docking Radius” bookmark towards the station bracket. Sadly this is tricky – if you double click on the station, it will make you dock, so you have to zoom around and double click in the right direction.
- Stop your ship just over 5,000m from your edge of docking radius BM. If you fly too far, just “approach” your edge of docking radius BM. Lower your ships speed if you overshoot the sweet spot. This is what you’re looking for.
- Once you have a spot 5,000m from the edge of docking radius, turn on your tactical overview and mouse over your j5b war scrambler, creating a sphere 8,625m in radius around your ship, like so. If this sphere is easily clear of the station model – congratulations! Bookmark this spot, you’re done. This spot is perfect and can’t fail – read below for mechanical details as to why.
- If your sphere intersects with the station, you have three choices: (1) choose a new spot on the station to try, (2) try a new station in the system or an entirely different system, or (3) say a prayer every time you jump to the cyno, because on this station you will either risk bumping or landing outside of docking radius. Your station bookmark will help you decide how feasible it is, because you know the docking radius you’re working with.
Step 3: Lighting your cyno
After undocking, either approach your cyno bookmark, or else warp to another location first then warp to your cyno bookmark. If you warp to it, make sure you approach the location after you land – just warping to a bookmark will drop you something 2,500m from it, and our perfect cyno spots don’t have that kind of margin for error!
Be sure your ship is at a complete stop on top of the bookmark at 0 (if you have other bookmarks, give it a good look to make sure you’re on the right one), and then you’re good to go! To speed things up on stations you will cyno to regularly, I recommend creating an instaundock bookmark.
If you have multiple capitals jumping in, realize they can bump off of one another, not just the station: having everybody jump at once will make your day more exciting!
Important background mechanics (i.e. why the above method works and other methods don’t):
- For overview purposes, each EVE ship is a sphere and the distance on the overview is the distance between the edges of spherical objects. Pods and frigates have tiny spheres, but large ships have huge overview spheres. The worst example among ships I tested that can dock is the Naglfar[FN1]: its overview radius is roughly 1,700m[FN2].
- Stations are slightly odd, in that their overview sphere (which is equivalent to their docking radius) is purposefully very different from their collision geometry. “Inside the docking radius” means inside the overview sphere.
- Many people refer to “docking radius” as the distance between the point where you undock from a station and the point where you can no longer dock. This is an important metric, because if that distance is short the station will be a “kickout” station, but it’s not relevant for purposes of this cyno guide, and not what we are referring to as docking radius.
- The station’s overview sphere is centered on this square bracket. You can dock any time you are within its overview sphere, making “docking radius” (from the bracket, NOT from the undock location) equivalent to the radius of the station’s overview sphere.
- The recent addition of “bookmarks in space” allows you to see your bookmarks… in space! Critically, if you hover your mouse over a bookmark, it will tell you how far away you are from that bookmark. The “magic” of this guide is that if you bookmark a station, then hover over it, you see both your distance “from the station” (i.e. the distance between the edge of your ship’s overview sphere and the edge of the station’s overview sphere) and your distance from the bookmark you made, which is the center of the bracket itself (i.e. the distance between the edge of your ship’s overview sphere and the center of the station’s overview sphere).
- When you jump to a cyno, EVE places your ship such that the edge of its overview sphere is exactly 5,000m from the cyno. For a smaller capital ship, like a carrier, this means your ship’s model will extend somewhere between 6,000m and 7,000m from the point the cyno was lit upon landing. For larger capital ships, your ship model could wind in space up to 8,500m from your cyno spot. For this reason, the “salvager I” advice is dangerous – it will show you the 5,000m sphere that your very large capital ship will TOUCH, not the actually safe space. This is why the 8,625m radius j5b warp scrambler is recommended – as long as that sphere doesn’t touch the station’s collision zones (that might be slightly larger than its model – be careful!), you will be good to go.
- As a consequence of that cyno mechanic, the perfect cyno spot will have close to exactly 5,000m between the cyno spot and the edge of the station’s docking radius (because even though your ship’s model/sphere could protrude beyond the docking radius, you will land at the farthest touching the docking radius and able to dock). It will have at least 8,500m between the cyno spot and any collideable station geometry – with more breathing room being better, because the collision geometry is NOT identical to the visual station model.[FN3]
Open questions and potential remaining risks:
- Rorqual: I can’t fly one on sisi, and so I couldn’t test its model.
- JFs: I tested some, but not all JF models, and found their overview spheres uniformly smaller than dreadnoughts. I suspect that the Naglfar will always be the nastiest docking-capable model, but I don’t have a full data set.
- Visual models vs. collision models: On stations but also ships, what you see might not line up perfectly with what can collide. This is clear by piloting even a small ship around a station, where you can whack easily into invisible walls / collision barriers even when the visual model of your ship is in clear space.
- If it’s hard to pick a spot, it’s important to pick a spot: Annoying stations will kill you if you get them wrong. Short docking radius and awful station geometry make it more important to do things properly each and every time.
- Objects in motion If your cyno ship is moving when it lights the cyno, do you land 5,000m from the cyno beacon or from the cyno character’s ship? I believe it’s the beacon, but need to do more deliberate testing.
Last week, a cyno accident cost me a Naglfar. I had set up a cyno spot on a tricky station using the “salvager I” trick, where you equip a salvager I and use the tactical overlay to make sure a 5,000m radius sphere is clear when picking a cyno spot. I gave myself extra room beyond that sphere, and even dopped a can on my bookmark and orbited it at 5,000m and 6,000m while keeping an eye on collisions and docking radius. Upon landing, my nag collided nastily with a narrow station model spike that appeared out of range during my testing (and upon further testing had a much larger collision box than visual model). The nag bumped off the station and flew into the void at over 1,000m/second. It finally came to rest 13,000m away from the docking perimeter, and was tackled by a thorax before I could jump, align, or slowboat back home. That thorax had friends with dreads and carriers in the station. RIP in peace my nag.
LEARN FROM MY MISTAKE, SPACESHIP FRIENDS. Make better cyno spots.
[FN1] – carriers were the smallest (less than 1,000m overview radius), JFs came next, and dreads were significantly larger. The nag was consistently the largest dread in terms of overview sphere.
[FN2] – tested via 30 jumps on sisi, placing a bookmark after each jump then checking distances in a pod.
[FN3] – part of my testing included flying another ship to the opposite side of the nag after it landed, to test the space between the nag and the station and to test the distance from the cyno point to the far edge of the nag’s model. As a result, I’m pretty comfortable with my extrapolations about the total size of the ship – but the station collision boxes and model are another X factor.