Posted at 23:18 GMT on Wednesday 17th January 2007
<AppocoAway> Hello, and welcome to Creators hour :-)
<AppocoAway> we currently have 19 questions, though most of them aren't so serious - feel free to ask more!
<AppocoAway> to ask more, /msg CH_Bot <your question>
<AppocoAway> ok, we'll start :-)
<CH_Bot> (Q 1): <scorpion> can we make base fleet a defence fleet only?
<AppocoAway> At the current time, I think this is a bad idea - it'd mean there was no reason not to leave ships at home while you had 3 out, etc
<AppocoAway> there's always a risk you'll be caught with your ships stranded
<AppocoAway> while it's a nice idea
<AppocoAway> I don't think it'll happen
<CH_Bot> (Q 2): <icewind> this round seems to be fighting of very little roid amounts... landin on a few roids even with quite big losses... could it be possible to lower the init costs of roids... so there would be more roids in uni-.. that would make the shipcounthigher and it would be more like the "old rounds" with millions of ships :D
<AppocoAway> init costs of roids are already pretty low - the reason players stop initing and attack instead is that xp is far more valuable
<AppocoAway> more roids in the universe means more growth, and does accelerate the round
<AppocoAway> (the big get bigger quicker)
<AppocoAway> but I'm not sure it's the best idea. They're a lot cheaper than they were
<AppocoAway> feel free to start a thread about it :)
<CH_Bot> (Q 3): <add-out> when we put a link in gal forums/ally like a bcalc can you make it like news scan so we click it and get a new window with it on :-)
<AppocoAway> the problem with this is that clever people will link to ingame things that allow people to recall ships
<AppocoAway> there was a bug a couple of rounds ago where a mail got out that recalled all your fleets
<AppocoAway> things like that wouldn't be very nice if you had hostile people in your galaxy
<AppocoAway> also, all sorts of advertising become available
<AppocoAway> perhaps for limited bcalcs it might be possible
<CH_Bot> (Q 4): <[ProPenis]qeb`c> Will there be another galaxy banner competition?
<AppocoAway> Unfortunately there wasn't a big response to the first galaxy banner competition
<Chef> I am planning on running one but not until mid round this time around.
<AppocoAway> if there appears to be more interest for another one, then we could possibly do it - it's more Chef's area :)
<myk> Though if you want to make 1:1 for the new round, I will look at the entries if you email me email@example.com and will place up one :)
<AppocoAway> .nqp ?
<CH_Bot> (Q 5): <Wishmaster> Can you please give an alliance a scan planet lead by the head commanders of the alliance. A group of 4-5 players to control a scan planet through in game tools. Lack of scanners is really just getting worse and worse over the rounds, and is a huge issue for most alliances. Also leading to people making multi planets...
<AppocoAway> there's a couple of issues with this
<AppocoAway> while I understand scan planets are becoming a bit more rare and the scan system as a whole may need modifying, the suggestion for solving this isn't perhaps the best way to do it
<AppocoAway> it comes very close to basically creating a legal way to multi in a limited way, especially the way it's phrased
<AppocoAway> perhaps a better way would be alliance researches and constructions to allow some sort of scan system to
function from the alliance fund
<AppocoAway> which is basically what you suggested but phrased very differently :-)
<AppocoAway> it's certainly an idea for future rounds, if no other option on scans is forthcoming
<CH_Bot> (Q 6): <Scorpion> Are the gal going to be as big as last?..some gals were so big it was silly
<AppocoAway> with the reduced number of members needed for buddy packs, in theory the galaxies will be smaller <AppocoAway> if there's about the same % of people going in buddy packs, there'll be about 20-40% more galaxies
<AppocoAway> which should decrease the size of galaxy without imposing some artifical upper limit on it
<AppocoAway> which was the aim of dropping the buddy pack size :-) (along with increasing alliance dynamics)
<CH_Bot> (Q 7): <[ND]CURAWESOME> WHAT ARE THE CONSTRUCTION/RESEARCH TIMES FOR THE NEW RACE?
<CH_Bot> (Q 8): <[ND]CURAWESOME> WHERE IS MY CAPSLOCK BUTTON?
<AppocoAway> these sort of go together :)
<myk> capslock :) lol
<AppocoAway> the construction, research and production times for the new race can be found @ http://www.planetarion.com/manual/manual/game/stats/races/
<AppocoAway> I updated this page especially for it
<AppocoAway> the others are being updated as and when timeline and the rest of the support team have the time
<AppocoAway> basically, they have a -1 construction and -1 production ETA bonus
<timeline> manual will hopefully be updated by end of weekend....i'm working every minute free i have to get it ready
<timeline> as for the caps lock...look under the tab key :p
<myk> ah thanks mate, knew it was somewhere.. ;)
<AppocoAway> the new race also has a salvage bonus and a bonus trading with the universe exchange, as mentioned elsewhere
<AppocoAway> they're after their resources :D
<CH_Bot> (Q 9): <Shyne> what is the meaning of life
<AppocoAway> after intense discussion, it's apparently 16 ( not 42 as first thought)
<AppocoAway> this has nothing to do with binary or hexadecimal
<myk> it has to be 42
<CH_Bot> (Q 10): <Phil^> if i sign up, will you give me free coffee? :(
<AppocoAway> only if you drive to my house with coffee and a cup
<CH_Bot> (Q 11): <CH_Bot> <Lunar_Lamp> When are you going to reveal that CH_Bot was written to keep Appocomaster 'entertained' on the late and lonely nights hacking?
<AppocoAway> never :(
<CH_Bot> (Q 12): <Phil^> Hypothetical situation: A zik battleships steals fighters. The battleship is capable of stealing all the fighters it faces however the total value of the fighters is less then that of the battleship. Does the battleship die and does the zik still steal those fighters?
<AppocoAway> the zik steals all the fighters and loses as many of the battle ships as necessary to balance the total value of the fighters
<AppocoAway> if the total value of the fighters happens to be MORE than the total value of the battleships, then the zik will still steal all the fighters and lose all the battleships it's able to, effectively making a small gain
<AppocoAway> at least, this is what I'm 99% confident should happen :-)
<CH_Bot> (Q 13): <Kargool> Will Matthew Spring be a good signing for Luton?
<AppocoAway> ask Smudge, he knows these things and I don't :p
<CH_Bot> (Q 14): <koKs> How does the new stats with a 1:1 steal/die ratio for ziks, attract anyone to play that race?
<Chef> luton are rubbish so i doubt it
<AppocoAway> in short, it isn't meant to
<AppocoAway> they're obviously going to be adjusted in other ways
<AppocoAway> there's a few questions about this
<AppocoAway> I know Zik haven't been a top race, I guess I've been a bit mean to them in general
<AppocoAway> when creating stats in the previous few rounds
<AppocoAway> it was created partly to introduce salvage when stealing ships - if someone attacks and steals all your ships, you'll at least get salvage from them
<AppocoAway> it does make them less unique (though the new race may be more value dependent)
<AppocoAway> (they're meant to be anyway!)
<AppocoAway> if it fails spectacularly, then we can change it back
<AppocoAway> if it's that bad in the beta, we might have to tweak it so they don't quite loose 100% value, if there's no other alternative
<AppocoAway> which would be really bad at that short notice :(
<AppocoAway> anyway :-)
<AppocoAway> it's another difference and should be more interesting
<AppocoAway> instead of zik's being like pokémon catchers, "gotta catch them all", they have to think a bit more
<AppocoAway> the combos available to them with 5 races will be better
<AppocoAway> and in theory they can be very strong
<AppocoAway> as long as the stats are up to it :-)
<CH_Bot> (Q 15): <koKs> Can the die feature for ziks just be removed? and the strength of ziks are weaker?
<AppocoAway> no, they're not the same things
<AppocoAway> ziks dying when stealing limits their value. it's a very different limit to making them weaker, when they can still steal lots, just at a reduced rate
<CH_Bot> (Q 16): <koKs> Wont the zik fleets become more dilute with random ships, rather than an effective co-ordinated fleet with a lack of targets at the top end of the game?
<AppocoAway> actually, the stealing will generally be more specific so not to waste steal ships on useless ships, so they could end up more focused
<AppocoAway> that's part of what the beta should turn up
<AppocoAway> expect a crazy weekend (especially as I have a deadline monday..)
<CH_Bot> (Q 17): <koKs> with ziks hardly reaching the top 5, why was it decided that they die when stealing?
<AppocoAway> see above
<CH_Bot> (Q 18): <add> can you make a race have good anti de like ter do with fi/co plz
<AppocoAway> we'll try and make sure the stats are pretty balanced
<CH_Bot> (Q 19): <Tronick> What is the reason for nerfing ziks even more than they are atm? Doesnt the fact that its rare we see a zik winner, and ziks dominating top10 proof that they aren't as overpowered as people think
<AppocoAway> see above
<CH_Bot> (Q 20): <Paisley> what plans do you have for future developments for example combat engine
<AppocoAway> I have started to code a new, better combat engine
<AppocoAway> I had to stop because I got to steal and it gets more difficult and I definitely ran out of time
<AppocoAway> we do plan to the future
<timeline> (he ran out of caffeine supplements)
<AppocoAway> we're actually changing a lot of code behind the scenes to make the game better
<AppocoAway> (I don't drink caffeine, you know that!)
<AppocoAway> Cin has spent an awful lot of time tweaking things behind the scenes, and has done stupidly-large amounts of tweaking of every page and skin in the game to make it better and allow for better skins. Now we just need people to make them :-)
<AppocoAway> we've also "refactored" a lot and tweaked here and there to generally improve the quality of the code
<AppocoAway> no one has done any sort of code "housekeeping" since Round 10, so the fact we've got as many changes as we do and we've done a lot of behind the scenes stuff is quite good really :-)
<AppocoAway> we'll probably be recoding things bit by bit, but the end result will hopefully be a far more configurable game with a lot more flexibility that will be a lot easier to add to
<AppocoAway> instead of spending hours recoding things just to allow private galaxies in the speedgames
<AppocoAway> anyway this is a bit long
<AppocoAway> we do have ideas, sometimes we just need time, luck and lots of other stuff
<CH_Bot> (Q 21): <Kargool> Has there been done any work towards the request for advertisement?
<AppocoAway> on the one hand, not a lot - we have no budget, though we are talking with Jolt about a few things
<AppocoAway> on the other hand, there's very little in the way of Jolt advertising on anything but the forum
<Chef> Kal and myself have been looking into a few different advertising ideas. One example is the "top200 games" button on the portal which allows you to vote for PA in a rankings system.
<Chef> Hopefully we will be bringing a few more things like that soon.
<AppocoAway> perhaps another run on mpogd is due for February :-)
<Chef> It certainly something we would like to promote, if you spot PA on a site then vote for it ;)
<Chef> Obviously we will try to make this easy for you to do.
<AppocoAway> hmm ok that didn't work, it doesn't love you :(
<CH_Bot> (Q 22): <Nep> how many players are expected for this round?
* Chef cries
<AppocoAway> we're not sure, we're hoping for a slightly higher amount than last time with all the free accounts
<AppocoAway> (as in, the new free account bonuses)
<AppocoAway> the eta bonus in particular is pretty powerful - free accounts are now able to be far more integrated with alliances
<AppocoAway> but as always, we'll have to see!
<CH_Bot> (Q 23): <Kargool> Is anybody following up the requests from the alliancehc's about a tutorial to the game?
<AppocoAway> actually, someone this very day did a movie guide with voiceover for playing the game
<AppocoAway> which will be great
<AppocoAway> I have written new player guides, and others have - they're in various places and linked from the signup mail
<AppocoAway> as much as anything else, we really need to place them in a more prominent position
<AppocoAway> Nep: for the question above, around 2-2.5k
<AppocoAway> there are guides around
<AppocoAway> Marv was in charge of this before he left, so I think this might be one of the things on timeline's todo list after the manual :D
<timeline> yep....the manual is constantly being looked at, and one of my aims from last round is to try and make it more user friendly
<AppocoAway> along with maybe hunting me down :D
<CH_Bot> (Q 24): <Bloke> Has there been much consideration of shrinking galaxies to 10, or at most 15 man?
<AppocoAway> one of the next questions is similar ^^
<AppocoAway> right, the idea of shrinking buddy packs was to reduce galaxy size
<AppocoAway> one of the more fundamental issues with hardcoding galaxy size is that new planets get dumped in empty galaxys at the end of the universe and roided to death fairly quickly, becoming one of the most popular target areas
<AppocoAway> hence the playing with buddy pack sizes instead
<AppocoAway> no one has yet come to me with a better way of doing it, though I understand the concerns about dropping buddy pack sizes
<CH_Bot> (Q 25): <Smudge> How is development going for PA going in the future [ie > 2 rounds] - is this being looked into
<AppocoAway> I sort of mentioned this above
<AppocoAway> it is thought of, but we're still very much working off a round to round basis
<AppocoAway> generally because we don't have time to sit back and ponder for a few days about how everything works :(
<CH_Bot> (Q 26): <Smudge> Are we going to see any free full rounds any time soon? This would be highly beneficial for getting new players in
<AppocoAway> the current timescale does allow for 5 rounds this year
<AppocoAway> hopefully, one of them can be free
<AppocoAway> maybe one of the ones around the summer
<AppocoAway> if we have to drop to 4 rounds this year, I'm unsure
<AppocoAway> I believe that Jolt said that one of the 5 rounds could be free
<AppocoAway> but I'm not 100% sure, so we'll see at a later date :)
<CH_Bot> (Q 27): <lejung> whats exactly is the difference between someone who has the trusted status ingal and someone who hasnt, and what about the chance of allaince players not allowing certain players in a galaxy trusted status for
<AppocoAway> someone who is trusted can see the things in [trusted] [/trusted] tags on the message from commanders
<AppocoAway> e.g. if you put defence information and contact information there
<AppocoAway> someone who joins the galaxy is "wanted"
<AppocoAway> when he joins, by default he's active (either just self exiled or has logged in after being in c200)
<AppocoAway> therefore, the first thing he sees is overview with all your information
<AppocoAway> this way you can say things just to people who you trust
<AppocoAway> it's a way of stopping spys, I guess
<AppocoAway> there's a similar paid tag, incase you want to do similar things with paid people only
<CH_Bot> (Q 28): <Smudge> Whats the latest on PA Shop? Can we buy merchandise any time soon?
<Chef> i was hoping to get the shop ready by december (last year) but unfortunatly there were some issues getting graphics done for the shop, so
<Chef> i am now aiming to have a shop (even with limited products to begin with) up and running by mid to late feb
<Chef> we are probably going to go with cafepress (for the moment) due to it being easy to run and maintain
<Chef> if anyone has ideas for products or wants to contribute designs then please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or pop into #portal and see me.
<CH_Bot> (Q 29): <bitesize> RE: icewind - why not make the initiation cost of teh first 300 roids low. so that small planets can always have a disproportionaly large res. this will stop people getting away too soon?
<AppocoAway> I'll fix it one day ;)
<AppocoAway> that's fair enough but a non linear cost structure would be very strange
<AppocoAway> it'd have to be based on some sort of (current_roids-300) thing
<AppocoAway> it'd drive me crazy tbh :(
<CH_Bot> (Q 30): <Misty|away> So the new 5th race looks like they are Ferengi ... how did u come up with them .. seeing as this morning u had no idea what a Ferengi was ?
<AppocoAway> I didn't!
<Fiery> You are a bad geek, 'ppoco
<timeline> ok appoco is the only non geek then
<Chef> ehem... im a non geek!
<AppocoAway> I sat and thought "hmm, what about traders? little money guys. hmm.. lets see, Terran, they can be humans cos humans like money, and they'll go and visit other people, so they get other race ships. then I'll ask someone else for the name"
<AppocoAway> I have a highly complicated thought process :(
<AppocoAway> this is what I do when pretending to do uni work
<timeline> thats true...he codes in his sleep
<AppocoAway> something like that
<AppocoAway> anyway, it's totally innocent
<AppocoAway> though when I described them Fiery did mention the Fergeni
<AppocoAway> I have to admit!
<CH_Bot> (Q 31): <bitesize> golden roids... id like to see more of them but nonspecific - 1% efficiency in a few things would be better than 5% eff in all.. someting to collect :-)
<AppocoAway> tomato tomato :(
<AppocoAway> we could have more golden roids, but we might have to change the credit structure to the people who held one for the 3 longest times
<AppocoAway> or 6
<AppocoAway> or whatever
<AppocoAway> it's certainly a possibility
<AppocoAway> though I don't see how we can break up -1 construction bonus :s
<CH_Bot> (Q 32): <Chef> so... toilets on battleships?
<CH_Bot> (Q 33): <AndroX[Offline]> whats the deviation factor on the cathaar guns?
<timeline> ah haa
<AppocoAway> it's meant to be totally random
<AppocoAway> however, I admit I hacked it
<AppocoAway> it's something like +/-5% falling off by something ~ 1/(# of guns)^2
<AppocoAway> maybe that's ~ 1/(# of guns) ^(1/2)
<AppocoAway> I think it's actually 5/((# of guns) ^ (1/2))
<AppocoAway> or so
<CH_Bot> (Q 34): <Paisley> whats happening in future in terms of PA since marv has sadly depearted :/
<AppocoAway> timeline has, as his deputy, taken over now he has more time free from his job
<AppocoAway> and is acting as his head :)
<timeline> oi i am not marvs head
<AppocoAway> well, poor phrasing
<AppocoAway> *support head
<timeline> i at least can spell slightly better :p
<timeline> basically i have stepped into the role marv had due to the proximity of the new round
<Fiery> He knew how to capitalize the first letter of a sentence. :p
<timeline> anyway the jobs/tasks he had planned i've now inherited
<timeline> and in relation to kargools q earlier, if anyone has any ideas or thoughts on how the manual might want to
look, give me a nudge a minute :(
<AppocoAway> for clarification, timeline isn't sure he has time with work and also has to select a deputy
<AppocoAway> I belive :D
<timeline> i'd like to than marv on behalf of the team for the time and effort he put in to the game btw....he ruffled a few feathers but he did a stand up job regardless
<CH_Bot> (Q 35): <Tronick> Wouldnt a better solution for the problem with ziks ruining the game for another player by stealing his entire fleet be to increase salvage from stolen ships heavily, and then let ziks get the ships free as previous
<AppocoAway> I'm not sure if I'm understand what you're saying Tronick, but I believe you're saying stolen ships should give salvage even though no salvage has been lost
<AppocoAway> er *no ships
<AppocoAway> which would be creating resources from nothing
<AppocoAway> which, considering what else I've done, I shouldn't be upset, but really..
<AppocoAway> I'm not sure that's a great idea and i'm sure there's ways of abusing it
<AppocoAway> I know it's hard to lose free stealing and I'm sure it'll make a return somewhere
<AppocoAway> I'll code a toggle in the combat engine for it if nothing else :)
<CH_Bot> (Q 36): <+CH_Bot> <bitesize> if new zik is meant to introduce salvage why cant they hqve +20% profit steal... so their daring is rewarded to soe extent?
<AppocoAway> what daring exactly? we could give them more salvage, so when they defend and steal other ships they get those stolen ships and the salvage from their dying steal ships
<AppocoAway> I'm not sure I understand exactly why they should have more salvage
<CH_Bot> (Q 37): <add> will allys be playing for value this round?
<AppocoAway> the alliance ranking system isn't based on value, so I'm sure there'll be at least one or two going for score
<CH_Bot> (Q 38): <aragno> beta starts same day as r20 isn't that a bit late for spotting flaws?
<AppocoAway> beta ticks start the same day as r20 signups
<AppocoAway> it is a bit late but a lot of the flaws have already been fixed :)
<AppocoAway> the main one left is stats, and that's a bit late I admit
<AppocoAway> as always, it's my fault :D
<CH_Bot> (Q 39): <AndroX[Offline]> Can the 200 chars that the RSS feed on portal gives be upped a tad? As frankly 2 or 3 lines just don't show on a website.
<AppocoAway> that's a Lunar/Cin issue really, and neither are here
<Chef> The reason behind this is...
<Chef> we need to encourage people to use the portal, giving the whole announcement will serve to make peope not use the announcement.
<Chef> I will talk with cin and see about maybe extending it a little.
<CH_Bot> (Q 40): <bitesize> re: i am not sure ... salvage. no i meant they should steal 20% greater than their loss. limits increase in stealing and keeps the dynamic of teh zik
<AppocoAway> not tonight :p
<AppocoAway> that might be possible
<AppocoAway> and we'll see if it's a better solution
<AppocoAway> though a 1:1 makes more sense, a 0.8 to 1 or something might be possible so they get some profit and keep some of their value basis
<CH_Bot> (Q 41): <bitesize> caths are on the wane. can you make ziks less potent against emp, so as to make teh mass fcs less common place. and encourage caths back
<AppocoAway> possibly :) that's the joy of EMP reistance
<AppocoAway> couple more, sorry we're overrunning :)
<CH_Bot> (Q 42): <Satyr> is it just me, or have u made fleetcatches completely irrelevant for next round? since imo, fc's will just be losses for both sides.. has those changes have anything to do with the fact u know there would have been a problem with in cluster fc's?
<AppocoAway> fleet catches in terms of ziks stealing won't be so great - they'll lose their ships and get some salvage instead, and the Zik will lose their ships and gain others, so indeed it's not so powerful
<timeline> in a sense maybe, but it will make fc's more dependant on proper planning...not just on a whim
<AppocoAway> and it does mean that the fact that there's fi/co steal ships won't mean so much if they're not going to be used for fleet catching, which was more common lat round
<CH_Bot> (Q 43): <lejung> will we see the idea of a continual speed game between round again? and was it successful?
<AppocoAway> we might do - I think most of the people that played it liked it, but the only issue was when to reset. the top 5-10% wanted resets more often as they got top and ran out of targets, others preferred playing around idly for days with lots of resources and ships
<AppocoAway> but I think it shows that speedgames certainly have their place, and we might see if we can get some sort of rolling speedgame running alongside Planetarion for free (or something) during this round, as we're finally getting servers sorted thanks to Lunar
<AppocoAway> we'll finish there, a few minutes over but I liked those questions :) we only have a few left
<AppocoAway> thanks for attending