Creators Hour 16/11/06
Posted at 22:10 GMT on Thursday 16th November 2006
<Marv> Should you have any questions you want to get in quickly before we start: /msg CH_Bot <question goes here>
<AppocoAway> Good evening everyone, and welcome to our latest installation of CH :-)
<AppocoAway> Previous CH logs can be found @ http://www.planetarion.com/news/news/section/creatorshour/
<AppocoAway> the log for this CH will appear there in the next 24 hours, if anyone wishes to re-read it, etc
<AppocoAway> Firstly, I'd like to talk a bit about Planetarion around Christmas time
<AppocoAway> The round ends on December 8th, and then we have the normal week of Havoc
<AppocoAway> after that, we've got about a week until Christmas, and another week between Christmas and New Year
<AppocoAway> we're hoping to have a few speedgames around then - if not official, then some sort of more relaxed speedgames with occasional soft resets for people to play if they get withdrawal symptoms :)
<AppocoAway> there's not going to be too many changes between this round's code and the speedgame code - the speedgames themselves aren't finalised, though we hope to do so soon :)
<AppocoAway> In the New Year, we'll be (obviously) having a new round - we won't have such a delay compared to last round
<AppocoAway> as we're ending earlier
<AppocoAway> galaxy setup and alliance limits haven't yet been finalised - I know there's a lot of discussion on the forums as to both
<AppocoAway> there's a thread for alliance limits being set at 50, (which has plus points, but definitely hits a few bigger alliances classed by others as 'training' alliances quite hard)
<AppocoAway> it also means there's less space for new players in more organised alliances to learn
<AppocoAway> there's also the issue of the galaxy formation
<AppocoAway> with a fairly popular version being put forward by Rob`
<AppocoAway> (in terms of support from the community, apparently)
<AppocoAway> this may be because they'd prefer private galaxies and are bored of playing in 1up / etc and winning
<AppocoAway> however, we are happy to announce we're changing the paid / free limits as announced a couple of months ago
<AppocoAway> it'll concentrate mainly on paid planets having more features for ease of use / convenience, rather than being a full account vs a "trial" free account
<AppocoAway> I've talked enough, on with the questions!
<AppocoAway> (feel free to ask more to CH_Bot half way through!)
<CH_Bot> (Q 1): <Sovereign> What are the plans regarding this rounds EMP formula? Will it be standardised with the existing combat engine? Will a similar system apply to Stealing such that there is Steal Resistance too? <3, Sov.
<AppocoAway> Yes, I guess this is marked in the big box "undecided" :\
<AppocoAway> I know that you were keen to have a stealing resistance / etc! I was considering it too, but it does make things more complicated. Changing too many things per round leads to many complicated people
<AppocoAway> We're still having issues with many people not understanding how the alliance scoring system works (we've never had a round that an alliance keeps the score of the person after they leave, but we still get asked about it...)
<AppocoAway> The combat engine is obviously up for review, and I believe Kloopy has made some headway coding a new one
<AppocoAway> though he's not here to ask :(
<AppocoAway> It is, I know, long overdue
<AppocoAway> There's more of an issue in coming up with interesting (while not completely radical) stats that are interesting and 'fun' to play with than the features of the combat engine
<AppocoAway> feel free to make some stats and send them to me to convince me to tinker with the code :)
<CH_Bot> (Q 2): <icewind|sick> My question: would it be possible to lower the init price for roids next round? would give the change of having more roids in uni... more fun, more ships more score :) i miss the times when ppl had tonns of roids... :P
<AppocoAway> The cost of initing roids actually has dropped a lot in the history of Planetarion
<AppocoAway> more asteroids => faster, more exponential growth
<AppocoAway> which actually means the winners win quicker
<AppocoAway> and XP becomes more powerful
<AppocoAway> I'm not sure if this is a good thing
<AppocoAway> I think it'd be worth starting a thread on on the forums, though :)
<CH_Bot> (Q 3): <Mickey> why aint there any defence buildings? greetings Mickey
<AppocoAway> defence buildings are quite a broad term
<myk> It could be called PDS Appoco :)
<AppocoAway> no, not PDS!
<AppocoAway> PDS has generally been regarded badly on the forums
<Marv> I think he is on about PDS.
<AppocoAway> (the suggestions forum)
<myk> I used to be a fan of it but essentially what Mickey is getting at is allowing PA to have defence buildings which is PDS really
<AppocoAway> most suggestions boil down to PDS.
<AppocoAway> the problems with PDS are that:
<myk> I guess what I mean is, I am not a fan of it, it does not promote attacking and that's bad!
<Marv> I would agree myk.
<AppocoAway> many (new) players invest in it, and then when they're a "ripe" enough target, get quite heavily hit, loose a lot, have nothing left to show but a dead planet
<AppocoAway> which is, at the very least, slightly demotivating
<AppocoAway> being able to "hide" pds is basically the same as short distance ships
<myk> Yes, but also generally, having a target with large PDS can put off attackers
<AppocoAway> though it'd be fun playing chicken with an attacker as to whether or not they'd be there
<AppocoAway> basically, it's not popular :/
<AppocoAway> though it was indeed in the older versions of PA
<CH_Bot> (Q 4): <Valle^idle> when will you remove prelaunch? that option is just a pathetic excuse to keep some of the idling players around in the game.
<AppocoAway> There's definitely arguments for and against it
<AppocoAway> some blame it for more players being inactive, not around at launch time, etc
<AppocoAway> it can be quite a useful tool though.
<AppocoAway> I'm slightly ashamed to say when I was allianceless in Round 13, our galaxy was targetted by an alliance with many free planets
<AppocoAway> we knew we had incoming *some time* that night, but not when
<AppocoAway> it's slightly unnerving going to bed and knowing you have 4 planets waiting to attack you while you sleep :(
<Marv> It also helps promote play from more casual players who can't play as hardcore as some do :-)
<myk> Allowing players to remain playing this game.
<AppocoAway> we've got a few threads on it from the last year or so
<AppocoAway> well, you don't have to copy the highlight piece
<AppocoAway> Prelaunch is also overlooked in that it's good for defence (especially ingal defence)
<AppocoAway> you're rushing off to a lecture, you need to send defence to a galaxy mate, eta 7 incoming
<AppocoAway> you set +2, and leg it
<AppocoAway> we're encouraging you not to miss lectures :)
<myk> I still do :)
<Marv> Appoco does that all the time :-)
<AppocoAway> I never miss lectures!
<CH_Bot> (Q 5): <Kargool> when is next round estimated to start?
<AppocoAway> sometime in January
<AppocoAway> hopefully, mid january
<AppocoAway> it depends how much beta testing we do between partying at christmas, I guess :\
<CH_Bot> (Q 6): <Skreeg> What is the rational behind having jgps see prelaunched ships? Will this continue next round?
<AppocoAway> it's great! see above
<AppocoAway> it's the penalty for being able to launch them early
<AppocoAway> it also means that, say, attackers can see they're going to be defended against ingal and recall early
<myk> On the note of beta testers, quickly since Appoco has brought it up.
<myk> If you applied to become a beta tester you will be receiving an email this weekend regarding it. :)
<AppocoAway> sorry, I type too quickly :(
<myk> i guess what appoco is saying is that it certainly will be continuing next round :)
<Appocomaster> I'm so used to being tagged away :(
<Appocomaster> yes, unless I break it
<CH_Bot> (Q 7): <Frood> Can we finally have some clarification of support planets / scan planets and what is classed as cheating?
<Marv> But he's not going to.
<Appocomaster> I spent 4 attempts spelling "nqp". my typing is getting as bad as yours :(
<Appocomaster> Support planets are seen to be planets that spend far too much time defending out of galaxy / out of alliance, in general
<Appocomaster> this includes, for example, a planet that gets kicked from an alliance and still defends planets out of galaxy in it
<Appocomaster> it also includes planets that spend all their time attacking with another planet, e.g. 100% escorting
<Appocomaster> this isn't the same as a planet not sending pods to attack you once
<Appocomaster> (when someone else is attacking same ETA)
<Appocomaster> that can be evidence, but unless it's happened a few times, and really unless they're not in the same alliance / etc, you're not going to get them closed.
<CH_Bot> (Q 8): <Lord_Vetinari> xp has once again made people less likly to def, n e plans on removing or modifying the xp calc?
<Appocomaster> XP is always hard to balance. It is a bit more powerful this round than last round, I know.
<Appocomaster> Defence XP is a bit low, I think, compared to attack XP
<Appocomaster> It's another thing to add to "The List", really.
<Appocomaster> maybe I should publicise it, just so people can leave comments.
<Appocomaster> :\ before I get carried away with the idea and sign up an lj,
<CH_Bot> (Q 9): <Spor> Is there any chance of either another free round, or the bring back of private gals in a balanced way to random gals?
<Marv> Might bring up some intresting ideas :-)
<Appocomaster> I don't think that the next round or two will be free (though stranger things have happened)
<Appocomaster> We've mentioned private galaxies above
<Appocomaster> though they're hard to balance without doing something like, as suggested, remove the ability to be in an alliance
<Appocomaster> I'll ask Jolt about another free round, but as we didn't see a huge gain from the last one, it's hard to convince. Not even I can talk fast enough to convince them all the time :(
<Appocomaster> They didn't like my idea of giving us free advertising on BBC prime time, either :(
<Marv> BBC don't do averts.
<Appocomaster> wait, that's a good point
<Marv> I think we have more ITV / C4 viewers here :p
<Appocomaster> I was going to say ITV but thought BBC would be better
<Appocomaster> we may have a free round at a future point in time
<Appocomaster> but I think the next couple of rounds are paid, I'm afraid
<CH_Bot> (Q 10): <Spor> And same question as I asked last time ;), when will we have the round 3,5 and round 6 skins available to select from preferences page? MrLobster wanted to do them afaik
<Appocomaster> I'll hunt him down and see if he's made them
<Appocomaster> they would be nice to see :-)
<CH_Bot> (Q 11): <Pilgrim|pm> when does the round end?
<Appocomaster> 8th december, as it says on the MOTD
<Appocomaster> I can turn it into big pink letters if you want :-) pm me later with the colour and size of your choice
<myk> I didn't notice it tbh :)
<Appocomaster> wait, is it december 8th?
<Appocomaster> Yes, it is.
<Appocomaster> I was worried for a minute
<Appocomaster> it's pink
<Marv> [20:37:07] <Appocomaster> I can turn it into big pink letters if you want :-) pm me later with the colour and size of your choice <-- Done.
<Appocomaster> that wasn't me :(
<Appocomaster> no excuse for not knowing the end of the round!
<CH_Bot> (Q 12): <Partypopp> how about individual ship experience ?
<Appocomaster> That'd give me a real headache
<Appocomaster> as such, it gets more confusing than anything else
<myk> Not just you :)
<Appocomaster> unfortunately I can't think of a way of finding the person with the most ships, and how many he has, atm
<Appocomaster> but some of the top players are looking at 120k+ ships atm
<Appocomaster> if you have an individual value for each of those
<Appocomaster> especially if it's taken into account in every single combat
<Appocomaster> well, ticks may take half an hour
<myk> the server load would be enormous
<Appocomaster> it'd also be, er, slightly more complicated
<Appocomaster> a simplified version, suggested once or twice on the PS forums, was to have fleet experience
<Appocomaster> with an admiral or something
<myk> I saw that on the suggestions forum. I liked it
<Appocomaster> that'd work better
<Appocomaster> it'd also mean that you wouldn't have to go through 100,000 ships when wanting to find your best 50,000 for a mission
<myk> We'd sooner have a rank related to fleet experience than have single ship xp's
<myk> rank = title, not player ranking
<Appocomaster> it's possible, certainly
<CH_Bot> (Q 13): <add-out> can we have more speed games
<Appocomaster> hopefully, yes!
<Marv> I am hoping to get one together after the rounds end :-)
<Appocomaster> the portal server currently breaks when you try and run games on it
<Appocomaster> however, Jolt are giving us another new server (hopefully) pretty soon
<Appocomaster> we're doing well in terms of getting new servers from them
<Appocomaster> soo, we should be able to run 3 games nps
<Appocomaster> unfortunately, the code isn't great at being able to run on more than 1 server at once, especially when ticking at the same time
<CH_Bot> (Q 14): <nexiva> Can you please make the login questions more easy? I failed in math :/
<Appocomaster> What do you mean more easy?
<Marv> Windows calculator is your friend!
<Appocomaster> if you know every capital in the world, naming the capitals of countries is easy
<myk> I find the login questions more than doable. They are certainly easier than the previous login questions.
<Appocomaster> I still have to google for any country that's not, well.. about 3 european countries
<Appocomaster> easy math?
<Appocomaster> what are we looking at
<Marv> Like I said, everyone can use a calculator if you can't add up in your head :-)
<Appocomaster> I think I'll have to say that it was Cin that felt that anyone should be able to add together two numbers that are less than 100
<Appocomaster> we'll look at changing the range of the questions
<Appocomaster> (they're created randomly)
<myk> I can't imagine how to make them easier though :S
<Appocomaster> look on the bright side, you're now far more able to guess which tick you're landing at
<CH_Bot> (Q 15): <Partypopp> is there any chanse of ships getting individual xp? that way players that dont crash theyr fleets gets a "award" with the ships having a bettre survival rate etc.
<CH_Bot> (Q 16): <rext> same as always can the be some way that we can do our research and have one as back up so it just carrys on it help us who work and have a life and you get more people playing as it make it easy to do better thank you rext
<Appocomaster> (did that one already!)
<Appocomaster> ahh, queueing
<Appocomaster> for paid accounts, perhaps
<CH_Bot> (Q 17): <remy|afk> When will PA team remove the need to actually set a mission, then do a JGP, then recall? Why not allow a JGP when there is a free slot? Saves a lot of time
<Appocomaster> I don't know
<myk> Who would that be aiding? Scanners or everyone?
<Appocomaster> he means why launch and recall when you're a scanner
<Appocomaster> well, I admit it would be keeping in with the theme of improving scanning tools / etc
<Appocomaster> so, I'll see if I can fit it in :)
<CH_Bot> (Q 18): <[ProPenis]qeb`c> Is there any plans of any advertising at all?
<Appocomaster> I guess this has fallen by the wayside a bit
<Appocomaster> we did have a month of advertising, we are on Jolt's rotational banners and QN channel advertising bot
<Appocomaster> (I've seen us!)
<myk> me too!
<Marv> I have too!
<Appocomaster> beyond that, nothing currently.
<Appocomaster> though we're discussing a couple of things :)
<CH_Bot> (Q 19): Why is Pa kind of PG-13? I mean like 95% playing it are at least 16 years or older which should still have the minority at 16-18 years. So it kinda sucks a little bit not to have your favourite girl as gal banner ;) I mean i doesnt have to be abusive or pervert, but whats wrong on some well hidden shown tiddies?
<myk> This was submitted by Spor. Sorry I cut off your name by accident :)
<Appocomaster> well, I find it sort of sad that 10 rounds ago, people would take pride and make brilliant galaxy pictures
<Appocomaster> now they just stick up an attractive woman
<Appocomaster> However, another issue
<Appocomaster> if you remember, many people stayed playing quite young.
<myk> We do appreciate attractive women, but there are still those who are under the banner of PG-13 and until we have a link saying you must be 18 or over to enter this site, there are certain rules we have to abide by.
<Appocomaster> some parents do vet games
<Appocomaster> that too
<Appocomaster> I know it's not so fun, and sometimes it seems a bit petty :(
<Appocomaster> I do apoligise for that
<myk> Please make nice banners again :)
<Appocomaster> I think last round we almost gave a credit on the spot for one gal pic that was just so far out of the league of others
<Appocomaster> I wish I kept a copy of it :(
<Appocomaster> It's what sparked the galaxy picture comp this round
<CH_Bot> (Q 20): <Ronald> what about a referal scheme, where users can advertise the game and in turn receive a small percentage of revenue from those that upgrade? Besides the obvious points of abuse which can be addressed - what do you think ?
<Appocomaster> firstly, if you're talking revenue in terms of money, it won't happen. it just won't.
<Appocomaster> secondly, say I have an alliance of 80 people (stretch the imagination people!)
<Appocomaster> for every 5 people I refer, I get 1 free credit
<Appocomaster> I refer 79 people
<Appocomaster> that's like, 15 free credits
<Appocomaster> that's not quite so cool :(
<Marv> Perhaps a limit on how many you can refer would be suitable.
<myk> Though, if you are asking in terms of resources or ingame help then the abuse would certainly have to be managed efficiently enough before we would consider it
<Appocomaster> even then, you just get 15 people to do it
<Appocomaster> 15 members of the alliance, refer 2 buddy packs..
<Appocomaster> not a bad way of doing things :)
<Appocomaster> a better method is to get someone to sign up (+ possibly pay, to limit abuse) after tick 72
<Appocomaster> that'd limit some things
<Appocomaster> anyway, yes
<Appocomaster> it's not a simple issue, though a nice idea :)
<Marv> But yes, we are digressing :p
<CH_Bot> (Q 21): <scorpion> i asked b4 i know but r there any plans to help the new players for the next round?
<Marv> #support is here to help!
<Appocomaster> we did make an attempt at this this round with Marv's thread on the galaxy forums
<Marv> </shameless plug>
<Appocomaster> #support is a good place to start
<Appocomaster> there's also the ingame support link
<Appocomaster> we could shamelessly flood the game with links to that, perhaps
<Appocomaster> A graphic of Marv to click if you have a problem
<Marv> In a dress maybe?
<myk> I think that would put people off I think Marv :)
<Marv> Appoco texts me when I'm shopping with my girl friend telling me to try stuff on :-(
<Appocomaster> well, I didn't know you were shopping in the girl's section for HER
<Appocomaster> we will try and improve support
<Marv> I have some plans in the pipeline.
<Appocomaster> I'm sure Marv will lead the way - or a picture of him :)
<CH_Bot> (Q 22): <lizko> What about XP / shiptype / planet?
<Appocomaster> what about them?
<Marv> I would rather refine them a bit before I let them out for discussion :-)
<Appocomaster> we've discussed most of these
<CH_Bot> (Q 23): <add-out> what about a gold roid that lets you have 5 fleets?
<Appocomaster> no, that's really quite unbalanced
<Appocomaster> and what happens when the golden roid gets stolen?
<Appocomaster> suddenly, 2 fleets disappear
<Appocomaster> scary :(
<CH_Bot> (Q 24): <olle> will there be any prizes in the speedgame(s)
<Appocomaster> there's no planned prizes - feel free to donate one though !
<Marv> If jolt say no and I am not to poor I will donate some credits for the next round :-)
<Appocomaster> I'll ask Jolt
<Appocomaster> they came up with one last itme
<Appocomaster> oh, there you go
<Appocomaster> Marv will :)
<CH_Bot> (Q 25): <Juice> Would it be possible to have some randomness to the initiative, say a modifier that was applied to the ship’s base initiative value.
<Appocomaster> I just wanted to do this
<Appocomaster> This could cause quite a lot of .. er.. 'fun' in the combat engine
<Appocomaster> it would also make battle calc designers actually disown me
<Appocomaster> even more than the random EMP stunt I pulled this round
<Appocomaster> it could lead to some quite amazing issues
<Appocomaster> even +/- 1 init
<Appocomaster> if we're talking xan ships that have the same init
<Appocomaster> if they ALL fire 1 init earlier
<Appocomaster> you could easily lose a fleet - and mess up your whole round - in one combat
<Appocomaster> while I'm generally pro-randomness in combat, I don't think messing around with inits too much is a wise idea
<Appocomaster> someone just suggested we could tie it in with fleet ranks
<Appocomaster> I think fleet ranks generally think more in terms of +/- armour and damage
<Appocomaster> giving a -1 bonus could be quite painful
<Appocomaster> also, with fleet ranks, there's an issue of when fleets win and lose - some combats definitely aren't clear, and most combat-based ways of judging a victor are race-biased at the very least
<Appocomaster> sorry for overrunning a bit
<Appocomaster> thanks for listening
<Appocomaster> I should have a copy of the log up fairly soon