Posted at 12:51 GMT on Monday 2nd October 2006
Firstly, some news about the beta server; we're hoping to be able to set it up tomorrow, but it's quite possibly just a lump of plastic and metal and not a server any more.
If so, we'll have to spend tomorrow reinstalling it all (though it'll be all new and sparkly). If this were to happen it means we'd have to start the beta on Tuesday, and continue it until sometime after tick start. When I say "me", I mean "Kloopy has volunteered :-D"
Before we get on with the questions I've got a couple of announcements, one from me and one from kal. Firstly, we would like to announce the unveiling of the new round 19 portal. The portal is to be managed by the Operations Department and i will be taking main responsibility for it. We are currently looking for people to get involved by writing articles for the portal and also come up with ideas for competitions and the like. It should now be viewable at www.planetarion.com. The new planetarion portal has an official channel which is #portal
Also on behalf of Kal, and as some of you may have seen on PD this afternoon, the Operations Department is currently recruiting for a Marketing Assistant to work alongside Kal and myself in increasing the effectiveness of the marketing of Planetarion. Information regarding this can be found at http://pirate.planetarion.com/showt...ad.php?t=192509
I would also like to welcome Vikman onto the support team as our newest member, and to point out I am still looking for people who are interested in applying to join it :-) There is a post on PD as to how to apply atthe top in the sticky section :-)
(Q 1): <Pilgrim> Are all the server issues resolved or will we be getting more mid round?
Well, we can't actually say for sure, however, as long as we keep the data, losing servers just means Jolt give us higher-spec replacements. Kloopy almost fainted when he realised we had almost twice the RAM that we used to on the game server, which happened when it died at the end of the speedgame last week. The location all the servers are stored in is just finishing a lot of maintenance / moving work. This means that
everyone there has had server issues, and we're hopeful that this has signaled the end of them. There have been some nasty routing problems in the UK the past two weeks from time to time, all down to this data center, so it's not just us.
(Q 2): <Pilgrim> Can we get rid of bping and exiling to make galaxy's more even?
This may be true, for a given value of "even". This does force everyone into galaxies they may not want to be in, some people only play because they can play with some friends, even if it isn't as many as the past. The system does certainly need looking at, though I'm never quite sure how to change it without breaking it further. I don't think that fully random galaxies is the way to go. Additionally, if you have a spy or
inactive, do you want them in your galaxy all round? Adding more rules doesn't seem to be the popular thing to do at the moment, either! If someone comes up with a better system, we'll certainly consider it, but for this round at least, it's staying
(Q 3): <Pilgrim> Will the alliance limit be reduced in relation to the dwindling player base?
Kal has actually been counting noses the last few rounds, for the last year or more and apparently, we're not dwindling. The big test is this round, to help see what the trend is, but certainly, this round is usually the most popular. It is probably that we are up on numbers compared to this time last year, but the free round complicates things.
The alliance limits have to reflect the number of incoming players, support structures, alliances that can join, how many people are willing to dedicate time to run alliances, and so on. Most people feel happy with a number between approximately 60 and 80, depending on how active and involved they are, so for the moment, I don't see a huge reason to deviate from it.
(Q 4): <Pilgrim> I see there is a new department within the PA team does this mean that PA staff who havent been performing in the past are under investigation? or do they all start on a clean slate?
Operations has the responsibility for dealing with complaints. With this in mind if we get a number of complaints which are felt serious enough for action to be taken against one (or more) persons, then we will investigate, gather evidence and then take appropriate action.
- I assume the complaints can come from past actions as well as current actions?
(Q 5): <Pilgrim> Can we introduce bot accounts into the game to give a false hope of larger player numbers?
Bot accounts shouldn't just be added in to make the game look bigger. think that they can be used more for new players to interact with and learn the game, and make them have something to look down on, and so on. something to attack and beat, because that's what the game is about :-) (and playing in teams, of course).
(Q 6): <add> whats the best race atm ?
Some people have said xan, someone even went so far to say that xan were such a strong race, he wouldn't play. I'm not convinced, I've tried to make xan a bit more vunerable. Their armour is pretty low; Cath do quite well against them - especially their Co fleet and Terran's Bs fleets aren't too bad either, playing chicken with obviously superior armour and almost identical firepower. I wouldn't say Xan were an awful race to play, and if you're good enough you can do extremely well, on your own or as a group. I still think Cath have an edge, but Terran don't seem to bad in terms of roiding either, and Zik always do well, so I have no idea. I'm sure others have opinions and that they'll be discussed on the forums.
(Q 7): <add> how long will the round last ?
I believe the round is scheduled to last 9 weeks (as opposed to the more usual 8), just because otherwise we'll have a huge gap between the end of the round, including havoc, and Christmas. We'll try and make the MOTD nice and clear with it. Alternatively just add 9 weeks [to the start date. Ed.] and you get the 11th of december or something, 8th of december? Something like that.
(Q 8): <Saphi^DvD> why was emp res brought back
Because it's fun! Ultimate Newbie has been making lots of comments on the forum we need one for steal too, and how to make it different with every ship having about 6 different armours. The simple fact is, now Terran can have big meaty armour vs kill damage, but really rubbish EMP resistance and get flattened; which is good. It means that we can have a more tactical game
(Q 9): <Edgelert> What happened to spinner, zeus and fudge?
Spinner is now running a football game elsewhere on this network, called manager league. He's doing well, and slowly increasing the userbase from what I've heard. Zeus, last I heard, was selling things, which, let's be honest, he was great at. I got 3 phones off him :D. He's still in Ireland. Fudge, I don't know, I assume he's still producing high quality code in Norway! Oreo was around a few months back for a couple of hours, but I don't know what he's doing.
(Q 10): <CBA> When will stats be finalised, weather or not theres beta going on when will the final stats be displayed?
Stats have just been updated, but I'd prefer to give them a couple of road tests in beta just to get an idea of if they're wildly wrong or not. Also to check EMP resistance doesn't cause all ships to spontaneously explode. I don't think they're far off - I know we start on Friday and it's causing issues with buddy packs and battle groups and alliances and so on, so I'd go off these. I doubt I'll tweak much more, but I think that's what Spinner always said, so ... we'll see.
(Q 11): <Assassin> What sort of exception system will be run next round for accounts playing on the same ip?
If you get in contact with us (http://game.planetarion.com/support.pl, #multihunters, etc) then you explain you're playing on the same IP as someone else, and we note it down and tell you that if you attack the same planet, attack the same galaxy more than once or twice a week, defend each other more than once or twice a week, or attack each other,
we'll close you (basically). And then you go and play and don't cheat, or we'll hunt you down and use your planets for football practice :-)
(Q 12): <Assassin> How do people report to you that there playing on proxies/playing from different locations?
See above ^^. Proxies are similar - we just like to know so we know you're not cheating. I sometimes just sign up accounts on any public proxy sites I can find, then close anyone who's not told us that they're using them, because they're possibly very much trying to hide their account, or the fact they have more than one. It's not unknown for people to sign up accounts to spy :(
(Q 13): <Assassin> How Long roughly is the round going to last?
9 weeks (see previous).
(Q 14): <Assassin> Is Marv having an Affair with MrsPinky the support team bot?
As far as we know, yes he and MrsPinky are an item but his girlfriend may wish to comment on that.
(Q 15): <Assassin> A lot of people are questioning the future of PA, and i have noticed some of the PA Team have mentioned they are looking for ideas to add to the game. Their was a discusion on brining back Clusters, bassicaly trying to bring back cluster alliances by adding say -1 defence or somthing. Is there any truth to this for the future?
Contrary to popular belief, we do like new ideas it's just that anyone can come up with an idea, but we have to make it work and if it goes wrong, we get the blame not the person who comes up with it which I don't think is fair, but there we go :p
It's like trying to get 4-D puzzle pieces from everyone then sticking them together with duct tape, sometimes :-)
And taking all the separate ideas and putting them into a single game where all the ideas work together with each other is the difficult bit. But be patient, keep giving us your ideas and who knows what'll happen. As for clustsers....
The dicussion was an open on in #planetarion a day or two ago. We were discussing ways to encourage players to interact at other levels than purely alliances.
It's come up a few times, and I think we think it's a good idea?
We were thinking back to the old pre PAX days and how the game mechanics worked then.
We ended up agreeing that it would be nice to bring a -1 ETA attack bonus in-cluster to help persuade people that the game works on more than just an alliance level.
This does bring in issues about defence, and cluster blocks, and so on which a lot of people don't remember so much (as they usually won).
I don't know about you but it was galaxies and cluster alliances that got me to meet lots of new people in PA.
(Q 16): <Heartless> Can we know the formula to calculate cathaar so that we can update our bcalcs properly?
no :D as I might change it
I'd just work off the basic average value and tell people that for small values it won't be accurate I keep coming up with what I think is the answer and then others suggest that say because the ticker would take 20 minutes to tick, it's a bad idea I mean, pfft. Some people are so picky :( so, yes just work off the average value, really
(Q 17): <Assassin> Where is that picture of Appoc in a dress we were promissed? ;)
no one ever promised a picture of me in a dress well, I didn't. I'm dress-free :)
(Q 18): <someothernick> Will there be gal tax?
Not for the moment I know it's opt in, and so on but you don't always choose to join your galaxy and it'll probably cause more arugments than anything else.
(Q 19): <Heartless> when will we (the players) be able to see pa team's vision on planetarion?
That's another Kal question. I know Kal's roughly done it but I think we were still arguing over some of it We're trying to work out a few of the points raised as if we raise them, we know you're going to point them out too :-) I'd hope sometime in the next week or two but it depends how busy we are with getting the round started after the ticks start, there's usually more time.
(Q 20): <Rion|Busy> why fleet analy before Jumpgate scans???
Partly because I like being perverse! Seriously, that's not the reason to some degree it makes things a bit less predictable for about a day or two it also gives you fleet scans which are a sort of baby military scan earlier contary to popular belief, it's not useless - as it does identify the fleets together, they're like some uber scan assuming you're not being hit by xan :p
(Q 21): <lejung> What is the reasoning behind the 80 limit to allainces :)
I mentioned this earlier, it's the upper limit for what most people feel is an acceptable limit and as you're actually in the alliances that has a fair contribution to the decision
(Q 22): <Heartless> if the beta runs until after tick start, what's the use of having it at all then? mid-round changes are bad as well all know.
because if I stop it at the start of ticks, some people will still moan and if it does pick up bug fixes for things that happen later in the game, then I still have time to tweak things especially if it's a less obvious bug I know we should have done this previously but the server issues haven't helped the beta will be public but I'll open up #beta and so on when the server is up and ready
(Q 23): <Jassossovinik> where is the new server to be located? at a dedicated specialised server hosting place? or in kloopy's bedroom?
Kloopy wanted it in his room however, Jolt refused to let us keep it there something about it being their server and not ours it's in the same place as all the other ones and, if they meet my spec, surrounded by fans and bullet proof glass, with 3 surge protectors
(Q 24): <someothernick> In the pa speedgame we could not build dists until news scan, will this stay the same?
As announced earlier today, distorters can be built from tick 0 which I'm sure Xans will prefer, if noone else :|
(Q 25): <DJ|BSE> Q: Can #NG-Radio have a home on the new Portal site?
I think this was to do with it becoming a partner... this is something which we will be discussing in future within the PA Team
(Q 26): <ToxicMonkey> Is 97 a prime number?
Yes, 97 is a prime number. It is the 25th prime and the largest two digit prime. Also, if you were interested to know, the 97th prime number is 509, the closest prime number to the average IQ of PATeam members. ;)
And for good measure, the 509th prime is 3631.
(Q 27): <lejung> why are there so many Heavy Cargo researchs, its an aweful lot to get through
it keeps the top players occupied I did cut it down slightly for the beta and they might well be changed in the future but as 20 is a special number, we might as well do more changes then to match with the symmetry of round 10 :-)
(Q 28): <lejung> I have heard (might just be me) that the stats make it look like Xan are going to walk this round, are they going to change alot?
I doubt i'll change them hugely if I'm wrong.. well, go xan :p
(Q 29): <Heartless> what if we have complaints about the operations department? will they be ignored as they watch themselves?
You could talk to the department first, then I'd probably take it to biffy (firstname.lastname@example.org)
(Q 30): <Pilgrim> Is the round still oncourse to start on time?
yes! the beta isn't though :(
(Q 31): <Jassossovinik> how many questions are there in CH? and what steps are taken to moderate/prioritise them?
several and we look over them before they are posted, they are answered in order that they were submitted
(Q 32): <Zeke> when will we finally get the round 3 or round 5 skin to select under preferences?
i really need to sort that out, sorry :( I know that er .. Mr_Lobster was fiddling with skins I'm sure sure if he made them into a skin for us if he sends them to us, we should be able to add them MRLobster! if you're listening, get to it!
(Q 33): <Jassossovinik> will you tidy up the log to make it more of an FAQ style than a log of an irc chat to make it easier to read when it gets posted up on the site please?
you mean ditch the names so on and turn it into a question with a single response?
possibly, but for the moment it'll just be the log :-)
(Q 34): <AdmV0rl0n> Dear PA team, why are we still stuck with only 4 races? Is it not time to all these to be extended round on round? One of your questions was that you think zan were perhaps the best. I'd like to see more races and ships.
more races would be nice, but we have to think of things for them to do. We could possibly bring subvert back, and make 5, but that's not a huge difference and they'd have to be clearly not zik I'll be getting together a few people for a stats team and hopefully we can come up with some more races for next round
I did spend time before this round making sure that adding more ships was more simple
if i do the same for races, then that'll be great !
(Q 35): <Pilgrim> Is the promised PAX or PAN ever coming? we were all told PA would be totally recoded about two rounds ago, nothing has happened :/
yes, we know not a lot has happened it was around this time last year that the idea was done, really we'll try and make some headway :-) maybe in the next few rounds we'll have something A recode is a real pain, and maybe we can get a coder from Jolt to help!
one or two players have offered to code for some pay so we could perhaps involve them
(Q 36): <jer> third q: why did the pa team waste resources with adding useless features for emp whilst not solving problems ie emp's curved nature and the stagnant nature of the game's design in terms of ship stats and general gameplay
tempting though it may be, I'll answer this one before declaring the hour is up :p
by "EMP's curved nature", jer is basically referring to the fact that Cathaar are generally a very good or very bad race to be - if you have support, then you do well, but on your own you suffer
the EMP modification didn't take that long we can either drop some of the EMP ships or make them kill as well as stun. I admit that part of the reason I guess was that they're not easy to solve, and as such we don't believe a solution has been found. I know that some people supported jer's status because they were different though I know that even those that didn't like them for the same reason, some didn't like them purely because they thought they were bad stats the current round hasn't had, I admit, a huge amount of development because a lot of us actually had some sort of holiday and that meant that we weren't always around to talk. Cin did well holding the fort, as he was about the only one not away for at least a week
I know jer disagrees and that's his opinion :-)
I guess with that, we'll end