Posted at 17:28 GMT on Saturday 30th September 2006
<AppocoAway> Good evening ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to the latest installation of Creators Hour
<AppocoAway> we have a fun packed show tonight, let me promise you
<AppocoAway> we have 4 questions
<AppocoAway> which is 3 more than the last creators hour
<AppocoAway> so, if you have a question
<AppocoAway> /msg CH_Bot <your question>
<AppocoAway> make it intelligent, deep, profound or at least vaugely amusing
<AppocoAway> Right. everyone ready?
<AppocoAway> for those that just joined and who have an overwhelming need to ask a question, /msg ch_bot <your question>
<AppocoAway> on with the show
<CH_Bot> (Q 1): <gazza_dj> hello everyone! this has probably been suggested before, but nevermind eh! how about a galaxy defence fleet, that is controlled by the MoW and paid for from the galaxy fund?
<AppocoAway> This indeed has been suggested before
<AppocoAway> it's not quite as popular on PDS on the suggestions forum, but I doubt anything is really
<AppocoAway> I believe, before my time, we did have some sort of galaxy fleet thingymajig
<AppocoAway> there was a thread on it on PS a few days ago
<AppocoAway> though I appear to have lost it
<AppocoAway> firstly, it's not too easy to agree what such a fleet would do
<AppocoAway> the MoW apparently controls it
<AppocoAway> but does he buy ships from the galaxy fund? what RACE are the ships?
<AppocoAway> or are they "donated" by players?
<AppocoAway> sorry daffy
<AppocoAway> generally, it's objected to because of abuse
<AppocoAway> assuming you can actually work out how it works
<AppocoAway> either it'll be so good that the top galaxies will use it and they'll become a bigger fortress
<AppocoAway> or it'll be useless and the smaller galaxies will go "cool feature" and donate their ships away
<AppocoAway> and then be kicked in the ass by incoming ships when the MoW accidently goes on holiday or something
<AppocoAway> also, if there's only one fleet slot
<AppocoAway> that'd be slightly strange
<AppocoAway> as people's eyes are either starting to glaze over or they're composing essays on how it used to work
<AppocoAway> (the old galaxy fleet)
<CH_Bot> (Q 2): <Squiffy> will you marry me?
<AppocoAway> no sorry
<AppocoAway> neither will CH_Bot
<AppocoAway> he's spoken for
<CH_Bot> (Q 3): <Daffy|2hot> how do you plan to improve the game in the next 6 months
<AppocoAway> by spending hours of my free time recoding it until it sparkles with brilliance!
<AppocoAway> (after learning perl properly, and so on)
<AppocoAway> actually, this round and the next take us up to christmas
<AppocoAway> this round, we've already started the private beta
<AppocoAway> after everyone complains we don't normally start them early enough
<AppocoAway> we don't have much to test yet but at least it's open
<AppocoAway> Personally, I want to improve the game code. it's messy, poorly organised, has huge chunks from 3 years ago still around and carefully commented out, and in general could do with a bit of TLC
<AppocoAway> the ticker and combat engine are pretty poorly done
<AppocoAway> and if we all get together and beg Kloopy to do the combat engine, I'll try and fiddle about with the ticker and make it run a bit faster
<AppocoAway> whether or not the promised PHP recode will happen, I have to admit I'm not sure
<AppocoAway> you'll notice we've all been very quiet about it
<AppocoAway> that's because none of us actually knows
<AppocoAway> everything seems to take 10x as long as you thought it would
<AppocoAway> and in some areas, we seem to be rivaling the new wembly stadium
<AppocoAway> whatever else, I'll keep the game moving forwards in perl :-)
<AppocoAway> that's always been the backup plan
<AppocoAway> and i'll hunt down the PHP coders, who have disappeared, and poke them back into activity
<CH_Bot> (Q 4): <Jumper> Do u have any plans on nerfing zik for next rnd.. they are totally insane defenders.. nr 1 have gained 130k value today.. Totally crazy
<AppocoAway> Zikonian are possibly the most troublesome race
<AppocoAway> just generally, ever
<AppocoAway> the only reason to keep Zik is because they're fun to play, because if you thought stealing roids was fun, stealing someone's whole fleet is far far more exciting
<AppocoAway> by default they're abusable
<AppocoAway> it's impossible in most cases to determine if someone is farming or just a really bad player, or someone who overslept
<AppocoAway> the general idea with zik
<AppocoAway> is make them so hard to play at the beginning that it's only near the end of the round that they have a strong enough fleet to steal enough to do well
<AppocoAway> it's very much hit and miss, I'm afraid
<AppocoAway> and as such, you can't just "nerf" one race
<AppocoAway> they are stronger when xp is less present, so they may do better this round
<AppocoAway> we can only watch and find out :-)
<CH_Bot> (Q 5): <Judge> were they new potatoes and were u making Chips ?
<AppocoAway> they were new potatoes, actually. I just washed and cut them up, and put them on the pan for when I run downstairs in 10 mins and turn them on
<CH_Bot> (Q 6): <Jumper> Will zik be nerfed? Nr 1 gained 130k value from stealling ships! IMBA
<AppocoAway> see above
<CH_Bot> (Q 7): <hmrx> are covert op planets banned by the eula?
<AppocoAway> I know this has been discussed
<AppocoAway> and we're very much about to put a stance up on this (honest, I know it's barely tick 300)
<AppocoAway> the EULA as such states:
<AppocoAway> (f) Support Accounts are accounts which are dedicated to undertaking specific
<AppocoAway> and repeated actions which result in an unfair benefit for a
<AppocoAway> planet/organisation, where an organisation is defined as an alliance or galaxy.
<AppocoAway> now, that's pretty vauge
<AppocoAway> but if say, one group of planets was set up solely to covert op, or defend, especially out of tag
<AppocoAway> especially at / against another group of planets
<AppocoAway> that'd end up being unfair
<AppocoAway> for some reason we always feel safer with scanners - they're a more accepted part of the game
<AppocoAway> though my actions this round meant that scanners are now far more likely to be found in tag.
<AppocoAway> but yes, I think that covert op planets, especially out of tag ones, are really not encouraged, and action may be taken against them if there's sufficient evidence that they're set up solely to covert one planet / group of planets purely to provide advantage to another planet / group of planets
<CH_Bot> (Q 8): <Intruder> any thing will be made about that impossible to read notcheck imgs? not good press F5 when u have slow connection and have to send def missing 2 mins to tick
<AppocoAway> I think this will be one of the improved on areas for next round
<AppocoAway> I admit this is long overdue
<AppocoAway> and i'm sorry everyone had to put up with it all last round
<AppocoAway> even I'm having issues sometimes logging in
<AppocoAway> although I never used to
<AppocoAway> (yes, I do log in instead of waving a magic wand and automatically being given instant access to everything)
<AppocoAway> I'll put it near the top, if not at the top, of the list of priorities
<CH_Bot> (Q 9): <bolt> would it be possible to make individual ships more experienced - stronger, for every mission they go on and return ?
<AppocoAway> apart from the fact it'd cause me to cry and having to keep track of every ship, it'd be about 10000x more difficult to get near any sort of balance
<AppocoAway> a slightly more acceptable idea, mentioned I believe by Kargool a few months ago, and others before (and since possibly?) was experience per fleet
<AppocoAway> the only real "upgrades" I supported were the ideas of say having 12 ships, then the option to chose 1-2 out of 2-5 possible slightly superior ships that were similar to the original 12
<AppocoAway> that'd give a bit more diversity between races
<AppocoAway> even though I'm sure it'd be impossible to give a semi balanced choice between them
<CH_Bot> (Q 10): <Intruder> any alternative to exile protected planets on schedule? Cos some ppl seems to have fun at creating planets just to fill up spots for 72 ticks
<AppocoAway> I was talking to someone yesterday (I think?) about how having so little time in a galaxy before being exiled was a bad thing for new planets
<AppocoAway> some people don't even recieve their passwords for 48 ticks
<AppocoAway> possibly the best thing to do is to place new planets after tick 72 or so into c200
<AppocoAway> so that this is avoided
<AppocoAway> but even so, it's ironic that new players would benefit the most from galaxies who try and exile them as soon as they appear.
<AppocoAway> I believe Wakey suggested that having a system similar to the alliance system for galaxies might cut down on exiling new planets out asap
<AppocoAway> if incoming planets didn't bring their total score to bare on the alliance rankings
<AppocoAway> this would then stop mass exiling just to get in a bigger planet
<AppocoAway> it might still continue for a more active planet, but the rate would possibly be reduced a bit
<AppocoAway> if someone wants to start a thread up on it, be my guest - I know remy|afk already has one on exile
<CH_Bot> (Q 11): <Shyne> While I'm aware that PA has never supported mobile browsers, in the advent of the new php based game (is that still happening?) - use of a php templating system would mean that very little extra code was required to produce a simpler, less graphics intensive version of pa design for mobiles. Any chance of this happening? I'll elaborate if necessary
<AppocoAway> php game was mentioned above.
<AppocoAway> tbh, my fairly basic mobile has few problems with the game
<AppocoAway> I found out one day in sainsburys I could probably close a planet on it
<AppocoAway> and that involves getting into the admin tools, selecting a planet, etc
<AppocoAway> the main issue is the login picture
<AppocoAway> if you have opera mini, which seems the best choice, then you can do most things, even if more slowly
<AppocoAway> especially with the opera (text only) background
<CH_Bot> (Q 12): <Intruder> is Pilkara oficially new server on netgamers: will ever NG mind updating the page and info so ppl can know we have more servers or any other relevant info?
<AppocoAway> I'm sorry, I don't understand the question very well
<AppocoAway> not that this is usual
<Markb> Pilkara was in the second test stage the other week, so I guess its a new server
<Markb> Same thing with Underworld, someone needs to update the portal page with the new servers
<Markb> who that is, I don't know
<Markb> Uberfish should know the status of it :P
<Markb> think thats it
<AppocoAway> i had no idea about that
<AppocoAway> camel, sand, etc
<CH_Bot> (Q 13): <crusie> the galaxy fund for very low ranked galaxies is not of much use, because they keep getting arround 13k value players or so that reduce the donation limit and it is damn hard to exile them because the galaxy is so unactive. Can this somehow be fixed so the people who do play in the galaxy can get some help from the fund?
<AppocoAway> well, you could get smaller
<AppocoAway> or exile
<AppocoAway> I guess it could be a more "mean" or "median" thing
<AppocoAway> er, it is mean already
<AppocoAway> not at the moment
<AppocoAway> I'm not sure of a possible fix for that sort of situation
<CH_Bot> (Q 14): <DEATH2> are gfx comin back?
<AppocoAway> we already have graphics?
<AppocoAway> we have one or two people who help out
<AppocoAway> but we don't have someone dedicated night and day to make sparkly things to make the game pretty at the moment, I'm afraid
<Marv> AndroX is our current graphics guru
<AppocoAway> who doesn't like to be named
<AppocoAway> there was always talk about getting ship pics sorted
<AppocoAway> and so on
<AppocoAway> we do actually have a collection of ships
<AppocoAway> brb phone
<AppocoAway> being in the attic on your own sucks
<AppocoAway> when the phone is down down stairs
<AppocoAway> we do have odds and ends
<AppocoAway> mainly blixxard's work
<AppocoAway> part of the issue is finding things to make graphicy
<AppocoAway> and making them optional to save bandwidth - I'm going to spend a lot of august on a 56k, and I don't really want to download lots of images
<AppocoAway> but there's no real schedule atm, I'm afraid
<CH_Bot> (Q 15): <Intruder> Does jolt has any type os statistic control like (different sign up email every round, how many planets are moved due to innactivity etc) so they can have any idea of how the community grows of not?
<AppocoAway> Kal is doing that
<AppocoAway> he's got a rough spreadsheet, and is gathering more information
<AppocoAway> Jolt don't as such, no
<AppocoAway> he did say that if we keep on going in a similar way to this round, we'll have had an extra round compared to last year and still have as many paid players
<AppocoAway> which is always good news :-)
<CH_Bot> (Q 16): <Aryn> recycling an old question.. will there ever be 'pa stuff' again?
<AppocoAway> what pa stuff?
<AppocoAway> it's on one of my wider "todo" lists
<AppocoAway> i'll need to poke Androx about that, really
<AppocoAway> generally it's sorting out accounts and what's going to be on the merchandise
<AppocoAway> it's long overdue, I know
<AppocoAway> maybe in time for xmas prezzies
<CH_Bot> (Q 17): <hola> suggestion: lowering the cluster traveltime with -2eta(attack), could make players depend and bond more with their galaxies instead of their respec. alliances. Galaxies in the same cluster would then be in constant in war with eachother, which create a more dynamic and interesting game. (It would also give the ministers something (more)meaningful to do - i.e organize attacks/naps). The idea could also be extended to give the dominating gal <h
<AppocoAway> the amount of idea that was there probably isn't good in that.. well, for a start, -2 eta attacks mean you see fi/co incoming eta 5
<AppocoAway> which is your galaxy eta
<AppocoAway> it also means you have no breathing space for sorting defence out
<AppocoAway> and lose 2 hours sleep
<AppocoAway> the game would split down into clusters
<AppocoAway> and the bigger alliances would win as they'd be more organised in each cluster
<AppocoAway> and would probably dominate at least 2-3
<AppocoAway> so, no sorry
<CH_Bot> (Q 18): <Maverick> Are you still looking for PHP coders ? If so, how do we apply ?
<AppocoAway> generally, we approach them. we had a list of 4-5, but they've generally gone inactive or have had other issues
<AppocoAway> generally, the problem is those that want to help have full time jobs and very little time to spare
<AppocoAway> as they're often coding already, having to come home and help design / code / etc a new project in the evening gets draining quite quickly
<AppocoAway> hence the issue with PHP coders.
<CH_Bot> (Q 19): <Hudzen> Would you ever consider an SMS alert system for planets under attack?
<AppocoAway> not unless someone was to provide us with a free SMS gateway :-)
<CH_Bot> (Q 20):
<CH_Bot> (Q 20): <Dracula> will it be possable in the next round to say maybe add another race to the game
<AppocoAway> no, as it's hard enough keeping the races diverse
<AppocoAway> I'm tempted to get my hand back in just to go back to basics on races.
<AppocoAway> I might even ressurect those horrible xan names I can never spell
<CH_Bot> (Q 21): <wreckd^zzz> don't u think the cost of self-exling is a bit steep??
<AppocoAway> yes, it is possibly too high
<AppocoAway> the whole system needs to be looked at, but in general there's lack of a better system
<AppocoAway> to be fair, there's been a lot of exiling
<AppocoAway> it can't be quite that high
<CH_Bot> (Q 22): <Judge> may I suggest that all planets are able to receive donations but that the amount is limited dependant on size/score etc ?
<AppocoAway> that might possibly be a solution, though there'll then be arguments about the limits for each planet, and so on.
<Marv> I think that is a good idea
<Marv> maybe a sliding scale?
<Marv> thats directly proportional to your score would work
<CH_Bot> (Q 23): <[ND]themast> When is Planetarion:Next going to start?
<AppocoAway> see above
<AppocoAway> no actual time
<AppocoAway> we might just slowly phase it in
<AppocoAway> e.g. the additions i've been making to the alliance, and so on
<CH_Bot> (Q 24): <^Raven^away> will Planetarion ever be availible on mobile phone wap like the old days (round4ish)?
<AppocoAway> see above
<AppocoAway> it does sort of work atm
<AppocoAway> as most phones released in the last 3 or so years support applications and you can then download opera mini
<CH_Bot> (Q 25):
<CH_Bot> (Q 25): <Judge> would it be possible for Buddy Packs to exile as a group and land together in another galaxy ?
<AppocoAway> there's no way of doing it that doesn't cause really big super galaxies, tbh
<AppocoAway> one way or another
<CH_Bot> (Q 26): <crusie> there is now a scanner use in the alliance fund, is it also possible to use the same for galaxy fund?
<AppocoAway> it's tempting
<AppocoAway> and it might increase galaxy use
<AppocoAway> things are getting quite alliance sided
<AppocoAway> and I admit I've not made it any less so
<AppocoAway> the galaxies that win generally are the ones that are willing to stick together
<AppocoAway> even though there's active galaxies right the way down
<AppocoAway> I think that there should be more galaxy-based features
<AppocoAway> that are more useful than say, the old jumpgate feature :-)
<AppocoAway> that might help
<CH_Bot> (Q 27): <Shyne> doesnt the lack of eta for PAN make it easier to delay it by years and years?
<AppocoAway> it might be easier to just restart
<AppocoAway> I'll have to look in to see how things are doing
<AppocoAway> and maybe look for more PHP coders who are students or something and have free time
<AppocoAway> or, I could learn php :s
<AppocoAway> that's about the end of the CH
<AppocoAway> near enough that I don't have to poke people about asking more questions
<AppocoAway> thanks for your time, and asking all those nice questions :-)