Posted at 21:16 GMT on Monday 9th April 2007
<AppocoChat> Good evening, and welcome to Planetarion's QuakeNet Chat.
<AppocoChat> thanks for coming, out of an interest of the game or through curiosity as to what it is :)
<AppocoChat> As many of you may not have heard of the game, or may have only played it in the distant past, firstly I thought I'd give a bit of background as to what the game actually is, and a bit of recent history
<AppocoChat> Planetarion is a browser-based multiplayer war game situated in space. It is a real-time game, with turns occuring each hour and each game lasting for approximately 2 months. Each player has a planet in space, surrounded by asteroids which can be initiated to produce resources each turn. These planets are grouped into galaxies, with galaxies grouped into clusters
<AppocoChat> Each planet can, among other things, research technologies, build constructions and create and launch space ships. Each planet is one of several "races", each with different ships and advantages. Each planet can also have a government, which gives advantages and disadvantages. Each planet also has an "experience" factor, which is predominantly increased through the stealing of asteroids from other planets.
<AppocoChat> The idea of the game is to be the biggest, and because of this many planets have grouped into alliances to attack and defend as one.
<AppocoChat> Just to note, my PMs are set to ignore (server side!), so if you want to ask a question, please /msg Planetarion <your question> and we'll answer it when we get to the Q&A section
<AppocoChat> Now for a bit of history:
<AppocoChat> Planetarion was originally launched in February 2000, peaking at around 200k members in 2001. It was subsequently forced to turn to pay to play, and was bought by Jolt in 2003 via a child company "Simtech". Until 2005 it was developed by Spinner and other "Creators", who originally concieved of and ran the game. Over the rounds the original Creators have gradually moved on, with Spinner sadly moving on to run his new game, "Manager League", the most recently.
<AppocoChat> Since his departure, the game has been run by volunteers. The game has gone through several changes, most notably in Round 10, when the combat mechanism was changed. It was quickly reverted, but a simpler scan and initiation mechanism has been kept. A rough changelog can be found both on the forums for earlier rounds and via the ingame manual for later rounds.
<AppocoChat> Tonight we have present myself, Head of Development, myk, Head of Support + Deputy Head of Development, Fiery, Head of Multihunting (finding cheaters!), Idler our portal manager, Lunar_Lamp, our Server Manager, and Markb and Squishy, who deal with our IRC issues
* @Idler waves
* @Markb waves
* @Squishy waves :)
* @Lunar_Lamp says hello
* @myk` waves too
<Appocomaster> a quick introduction - I deal with most of the general development issues, and also do a lot of the talking
<Appocomaster> in these events and IRC ceremonys :D
<Appocomaster> I used to do a lot of the coding but have had to cut back recently (and because my coding hasn't always been the most reliable thing :P)
<Squishy> My job along with markb is maintaing the channels on our main network, IRC.netgamers.org. I don't do much from a game perspective except a little bit of Multihunting when I can find the time.
<Appocomaster> ok, everyone else seems a bit shy :(
<myk`> Hi everyone, just to introduce myself too, I run the support staff who deal with everyday issues with the game. The support team are there to provide help to all levels of the community and are a first port of call to anyone who needs help.
<Squishy> I'm trying to get over my shyness :)
<myk`> As Appocomaster said I am also Deputy Head of Development, with this I have a lot of input into new features and more recently have done a little bit of coding coupled with a lot of the visual aspects you see with Planetarion.
<myk`> i was busy typing away :)
<Idler> My job, along with a few brilliant columnists is to entertain, inform and interest the general planetarion public
<Idler> by means on contest, player interviews, articles, etcetera etcetera
<Idler> a lot of fun, for those who enjoy a good read :)
<Appocomaster> ok :D
<Appocomaster> before we start the q&a session, a few general questions that have been asked
<Appocomaster> the portal is @ www.planetarion.com as in the topic, and you can sign up to the current game at http://game.planetarion.com/signup.pl
<Appocomaster> the .pl ending indicates it's a perl webpage, and not a virus.
<Appocomaster> (the game is predominantly coded in perl)
<Appocomaster> The game does not have to be downloaded
<Appocomaster> the next round starts on Friday, 13th at 20:00 GMT
<myk`> Round 21
<Appocomaster> yes :)
<myk`> To those who have played and wondering where we are now up to :)
<Appocomaster> it's a 7 week round in this case.
<Lunar_Lamp> (to those shocked that it's coded in perl; I'm with you there - I hate it. We didn't make the decision though, and it works just fine for us)
<myk`> I'd love it to be PHP but Perl works just as well for us :)
<Appocomaster> You can get an account for free, but additional features are given for upgrading, which costs �5 / 1 credit (1 account) or �10/ 3 credits
<Appocomaster> we class having multiple accounts in one round as cheating
<Appocomaster> there is no additional fee
<Appocomaster> and you can store credits between rounds, or upgrade friends
<Appocomaster> I called it real time but turn based, and that is a slight contridiction
<Appocomaster> rather, there are turns every hour non stop (pending servers breaking) for 7 weeks
<Appocomaster> there's no sleep period, and it's a global game
<Appocomaster> I spent a few years getting up at 3am because of this, as it's the best time to be around - the majority of the player base is european, so it's the best time to try and attack other people
<Appocomaster> each tick, you get more resources for your planet, your research and construction progress, and the fleets of ships move one step closer to their destination
<Appocomaster> when they reach it, combat occurs
<Lunar_Lamp> (Servers don't break! I keep the server hamsters well fed!)
<Appocomaster> well, ok, generally it's my code that breaks, that's why I've stopped being the main coder :)
<Appocomaster> anyway, we'll now move onto the Q&A section I think :)
<shadow> alright then
<shadow> you can ask questions from the PA team by messaging the planetarion bot: /msg planetarion
<shadow> the questions will be relayed and answered in random order =)
<Lunar_Lamp> Bring 'em on!
<Planetarion> Craterboy asked: Hello I used to play planetarium for 1 round ages ago. But I didn't play that round because I need to pay. Can you tell me why it is p2p game for a browser based massive multiplayer online role playing game?
<Planetarion> Appocomaster answers: A few questions are on this. Planetarion was forced to go P2P when the money it was getting from advertising disappeared when the advertising company went bankrupt. In recent rounds, we've actually made free accounts (which always existed) more viable, and indeed last round a free planet won the game so free planets are definitely not "play to try"
<Planetarion> bouncy-Ducky asked: Are there any speicific browesers that it would work better on?
<Planetarion> Appocomaster answers: Firefox 2.0 is probably the best brower to try, but I think IE 7 and Opera are pretty well supported, with IE 6 slightly less so
<Planetarion> Jubilus asked: Another browser game - Travian, where you have to build a roman/gall/teuton village, same idea - how does this game differ from that game?
<Planetarion> Appocomaster answers: I don't know, I've never played that game sorry. There are simialr games out there, there's no denying that
<Planetarion> Morthy asked: Right now it seems like the game is pretty hard for new players to understand. Are you working on anything to make the game more welcoming for those who have not been playing for years?
<Planetarion> myk` answers: There is a lot of support for quests to be brought back in to the game and because of this there will undoubtedly be some movement towards introducing quests again. It does prove a brilliant way for new players to get to grips with the game and learn how to start up their planets. We are looking at ways to introduce this back in to the game. Nice question :)
<Planetarion> Seiskakoo asked: What is rulername at the signup and what does it do? It said an error when i tried to put rulername as same as username?
<Planetarion> Lunar_Lamp answers: Your rulernae is part of your unique identifier in the game. It is what you are known as in-game. For security reasons you can't have a username (which you use to login) the same as your rulername.
<Planetarion> K|ng asked: In what way whould you say planetarion has improved since the time of fifth season?
<Planetarion> Appocomaster answers: in some ways it's got more complicated. It's certainly developed, and we've found a few bugs that have been lurking around for a while. Each round we try and improve, but some variations work better than others, so the game is always evolving into a better one.
<Planetarion> el_Rey asked: do you have to click a link to increase population?
<Planetarion> Appocomaster answers: no, we don't do "click on a banner to make it work"
<Planetarion> [MOD]Shub asked: Like Morthy asked, I'm new but i want to try it out. But I really got no idea where to start... Any tutorials?
<Planetarion> Lunar_Lamp answers: There will be guides in the manual by the time play starts! Rest assured.
<Planetarion> [bsd] asked: Have you ever regretted going pay to play?
<Planetarion> Appocomaster answers: none of those who made the decision are left, but the choice was forced on us rather than anything else
<Planetarion> Schmuhf asked: A problem I always had with online games like Planetarion is that you don't need skills or cleverness to win. Rather is the amount of time you spend online a decisive factor. Is Planetarion any different?
<Planetarion> Appocomaster answers: to a certain extent it's time, but there's also skill in terms of fleet formations, and also a rather hefty politics element in terms of getting alliances together, organising and motivating, and so on
<Planetarion> Nakaori asked: the game is on multi-language ?
<Planetarion> Appocomaster answers: no, but we're planning to make the basics multi lingual in the next couple of rounds
<Planetarion> Dark0ne asked: What servers are you running? How many? How is information stored (Perl is a bit too old for me; PHP person myself) i.e. flat-file or DB? And you made mention of liking to have the game in PHP but the "system works"; do you think the system would be faster/easier to maintain/cost less if you were to run a PHP setup over a Perl setup?
<Planetarion> Lunar_Lamp answers: There are 4 servers in the current setup; with varying power, but pretty powerful all the same ;-) Information is stored in a MYSQL db. The current game would take huge coding resources to recode from the ground up in php - we also have people coding who know and understand perl and te game is getting more and more flexible over time, so changing is not a high priority.
<Planetarion> ANaRcHiC asked: have the creators ever been able to live off the money made by PA?
<Planetarion> Appocomaster answers: as the game was forced into p2p once then bought by Jolt in 2003 after the servers were cut off, I don't think that the creators ever totally managed to run the game. it depends on what fee you want for running the game, and how many people you have working for you
<Planetarion> |16bit| asked: are there any woman in your dev team?
<Planetarion> Lunar_Lamp answers: We have 1 woman on our team :-)
<Planetarion> Petyyy asked: is it possible to sell ingame resources to other players for real money?
<Planetarion> Appocomaster answers: no, you can't exchange money for resources. You do get a slight resource bonus for upgrading (which increases as the round goes on), but that's the only resources related to actual finance
<Planetarion> Autech asked: Would it be possible to play the game on a free account for a full season without paying at all?
<Planetarion> myk` answers: Yes it is possible, our Free Accounts are quite competitive but you do miss out on so good features which help you manage your planet easier.
<Planetarion> [MOD]Shub asked: Is this a hobby or rater a real job? Can I ask your ages?
<Planetarion> Appocomaster answers: most of us are in our 20s
<Planetarion> xJakob asked: How helpful is IRC for you and yours ? Wouldn't it be just as easy to leave notices on the site ?
<Planetarion> Appocomaster answers: private and public IRC servers are often used because real time organisation helps for things like organising defence being sent to different planets, and when "target picking" when planning attacks in the evening before launch. Whilst not all alliances use this system, all of the bigger and more successful ones do
<Planetarion> Adky asked: What does it require to master this game: Great micromanagment, intensive strategies or whatsoever?
<Planetarion> Appocomaster answers: time as much as anything else. Micromanagement is slowly being bought into the game but is not an essential part at the moment. Strategies can give a bit of a boost, but a lot of the rest is planning, time and a bit of luck
<Planetarion> soe- asked: Can i buy this game in any regular "game" shop?
<Planetarion> Lunar_Lamp answers: As you have probably realised now, this game requires no large download or install, so buying it from a shop is not needed :-)
<Planetarion> exeN`kallaN asked: So this game is for free?
<Planetarion> Appocomaster answers: it can be played for free quite successfully - the last round's winner was a free account. It requires more time, planning and cooperation with other planets
<Planetarion> JeZz|Work asked: back in the early rounsds there was a tech tree that u cud decide what route you took is there a plan for this feature to return or will it still be that you hv to do every research like it has been since the tree was abolished
<Planetarion> myk` answers: In the development team there has been a new tech tree put together which rivals the early rounds of Planetarion. It is a good way to make the game more interesting and we are looking at ways to introduce this back in to the game in the upcoming rounds.
<Planetarion> genex asked: question to the developer team leader.. or those in the development squad. I amcurrently creating a game myself with my own team. This is my first project and have read manymanagement tutorials and that but do you have any of your own tips to getting targets met and making a team work well together yet accomplishing the goal of finishing the game effectively yet quickly?
<Planetarion> Lunar_Lamp answers: Hard work. Dedication. Organisation. Communication. Openness. That's what I'd say are the core important factors required are.
<Planetarion> K-Zodron asked: Leet man, 13th Friday! what a lucky day! - sh00! :-)
<Planetarion> Appocomaster answers: it'll be as lucky as any other day. With more testing and careful coding having gone into this round than previous rounds, it could actually be more lucky for us than less
<Planetarion> Craterboy asked: can you kick meeb for ruining this dev chat session with some hand breaking line?
<Planetarion> meeb answers: i'm trying to make it more readable for you :~( *sob*
<Planetarion> denise|aa asked: does Planetarion have any staff openings for a single stay at home mother ? :p especially PR could be happy with me
<Planetarion> Appocomaster answers: we generally require time as much as anything else, though those who are willing to take the initiative are especially welcome. Feel free to contact us - myself at firstname.lastname@example.org, for example - if you think you'd like to help out in a department, and we can see how it goes :)
<Planetarion> pulinho asked: What is the Rulername, on the game account information?
<Planetarion> Appocomaster answers: each planet has a name (it's "planet name") and is ruled by a ruler - you - with a "ruler name" :)
<Planetarion> Killari asked: you did not ansver to [MOD]Shub's question about if this is job or hobby based. Please ansver.
<Planetarion> Markb answers: We are getting through the questions as quick as we can. To answer the original question, it is all hobby based, we are all volunteers
<Planetarion> feldor asked: There is no way to join/start the game between rounds, I mean like in the middle of it ? Or ?
<Planetarion> Appocomaster answers: you can join at any time, though it's usually advantageous to start near the beginning or you'll have less chance of doing well
<Planetarion> AvidGamer asked: Why do you remove inactive accounts that still have credits attached to them?
<Planetarion> Appocomaster answers: I'm not sure what you mean? we don't delete accounts in the round that have credits attached, but at the end of each round the server is reset. We're looking into more of a passport setup, but that's a future issue
<Planetarion> apeo asked: any racer/speedgame coming or running before next round?
<Planetarion> Appocomaster answers: we have a speedgame currently running @ http://speedgame.planetarion.com with the previous round's code and different ship stats. For this round's setup, our beta testing is just finishing @ http://beta.planetarion.com
<Planetarion> ShinSR71 asked: do you developers participate in the game yourself? :)
<Planetarion> Appocomaster answers: we generally don't play the game ourselves - when you have server access people suspect you may be cheating no matter how much you claim you're just a really really really good player
<Planetarion> DISCORLY asked: Appocomaster I apologise for this private question but it's VERY important for me to know... Are you a virgin?
<Planetarion> Appocomaster answers: I'm afraid I can't answer that, but being a Planetarion developer really gets alll the girls. [/hint]
<Planetarion> xJakob asked: sorry guys, but this game seems kinda too serious. Can you kick me just for the fun of it ? maybe say something bad about me for a laugh ? I won't mind, i gotta go anyway
<Planetarion> Appocomaster answers: We're ignoring some of the less serious questions. *adjusts tie*
<Planetarion> Craterboy asked: plz devoice meeb for ruining this session with empty useful messages. it hurts my eyes and where is the open hint tag?
<Planetarion> Appocomaster answers: I told you my coding skills weren't that great ;)
<Planetarion> tufflax asked: What do you, the developers like about the game, any specific features? I mean, I'm kind of sceptical when it comes to these sorts of games where time played plays a large role (i dunno how large, because i havent played), and also AppocoChat mentioned that he was getting up at 3 am etc. About the 3 am thing, dont you think thats a problem with the game?
<Planetarion> myk1 answers: I really like the new Government feature that is getting introduced for the first time in Round 21. It is certainly making the game more interesting to test for me and I think it will make the game more interesting for the players too.
<Planetarion> Hellspawned asked: more "handy line breaks" please. wall of text is giving me a headache :P
<Planetarion> meeb answers: ok!
<myk1> Just to add to tufflax's question - The 3am part of the question, well this is a global game, the 3am for Appocomaster getting up will be 3pm to someone else. It's part and parcel of the game if you get really involved with the game, because you want to do well for your alliance or for your galaxy.
<myk1> It is possible still to do well without having to get up at 3am, when I played I only played during normal awake hours.
<Planetarion> Braunhemd asked: In the game nations or races fight against each other. Do you think that racism or nationalism is a good way to make money?
<Planetarion> Appocomaster answers: we're not being racist or nationalist. There's no nations, and we're merely allowing different races to make the game more interesting. We're in no way singling out and criticising races, merely using that concept as a justification for allowing for game variation. I don't think I've heard of the issue ever arising before you
<Planetarion> teh- asked: Could you please explain how several of my primary engagement modules have recently failed to enhance the quadrant at sectors A556,K258 AND fail to negotiate instances of gibson terrain module 7? I find this totally unacceptable.
<Planetarion> Appocomaster answers: you forgot to turn the AI on
<Planetarion> hubris asked: How does it feel to have ruined so many social lives? *wink*
<Planetarion> Appocomaster answers: I sit awake at night and feel a bit bad, but ... it's ruined my life, so fair is fair
<Planetarion> wollop asked: are yous going to build a planetarion spaceship
<Planetarion> Appocomaster answers: I already did. Unfortunately it was made out of paper and didn't make it into space :(
<Planetarion> JeZz|Work asked: since you abolished the ships firing at more than one ship would it not just make sense to have the same ships for each race?
<Planetarion> Appocomaster answers: not really, it allows for more variation, and the ability to add multiple targetting, which is on the todo list
<Planetarion> A1R asked: what race do you like most ?
<Planetarion> Appocomaster answers: as I often help to design the game statistics of ships, having a favourite race is bad as it creates biasedness. I believe Zikonians are the most popular though, due to their ability to steal ships, but the (my!) new race, ETD, are quite popular due to their mix :)
<Planetarion> JeZz|Work asked: surely you kept the code before you removed it?
<Planetarion> Appocomaster answers: no, it's pre r10 code, which we don't have a copy of. also, it'd be interfacing with a different database, and have different features...
<Planetarion> Fista asked: Is this Sparta?
<Planetarion> Appocomaster answers: no, this isn't sparta. I'm not sparticus either :(
<Planetarion> [MOD]Shub asked: Are there monthly updates?
<Planetarion> Appocomaster answers: there's more quarterly updates (or so) as we usually have 4 rounds per year - we're hoping for 5 this year
<Planetarion> dommArn- asked: Which results in the most profit, the ads or the player purchases?
<Planetarion> Appocomaster answers: the adverts are adverts of other Jolt games, so Jolt gets no profit from them. The player purcahses obviously win because of this
<Planetarion> Braunhemd asked: Do the races have specific advantages and disaadvantages or are the different races just realized by loading different images?
<Planetarion> myk1 answers: Each race has advantages and disadvantages. These can be seen on this page http://www.planetarion.com/manual/manual/game/stats/races/ -
<Planetarion> Zaibot asked: Is there a raking system?
<Planetarion> Appocomaster answers: yes, there's indeed a ranking system, done by the "score" of each planet. Also, there's 3rd party sites which read the hourly dumps of some public game information to produce their own ranking system - see the community sites on the portal for links :)
<Planetarion> [bsd] asked: Ok, the question of free vs pay to play was raised now how would you feel about it? (ie. I know now of the original people who made the choice arent about, but how does the current team feel, do they agree with the decision made back then?)
<Planetarion> Appocomaster answers: I championed giving free players more features and making them more playable and be able to integrate better into alliances of mainly paid players. So, I think you know where i sit :)
<Planetarion> rnx asked: i'm too lazy to do research on your game, just a short question: is planetarion text-based or visually based on your webpage?
<Planetarion> Appocomaster answers: it's more text based than graphics based, meaning that people are playing it on mobile phones, 56k modems etc all over the world
<Planetarion> dommArn- asked: How did Jolt end up purchasing the game?
<Planetarion> Appocomaster answers: I don't know the details, and neither does anyone in the team as we weren't involved.
<Planetarion> Cee^Ickle asked: is appocomaster ticklish?
<Planetarion> Appocomaster answers: yes. I'm looking for girls in the UK who are also ticklish
<Planetarion> dommArn- asked: So the current team has no affiliation with the original creators of Planetarion? How come?
<Planetarion> Appocomaster answers: There's not a simple answer. The Creators created the PA Team to help them run the game, but slowly the Creators left and the PA Team stepped up to continue playing the game
<Planetarion> [MOD]Shub asked: what happens if you guys are getting older? Like your 30, will you still work on the game or pass it over to other people?
<Planetarion> Appocomaster answers: generally after a few years the team members move on, it's mainly run by students / people who have just got into a job. When they get into a full time job, they have to cut their time down. However, several fairly large figures in the community do have full time jobs, and we have a few 60 year old players
<Planetarion> Hellspawned asked: have you ever considered making "sandboxes" so you play by yourself, trying new things out
<Planetarion> Appocomaster answers: we have a private SVN server, and several people have sandboxes. However, it's not so much the coding as the actual ideas of what to code
<Planetarion> usura asked: I championed giving free players more features and making them more playable and be able to integrate better into alliances of mainly paid players. <- you sure this is still correct ? the new(?) population/goverment boni seem kinda overpowered. free players will fall behind fast cause of missing mining bonus,higher ship costs, etc.
<Planetarion> Appocomaster answers: population replaces engineering, which wasn't a free account either. The Government setting gives advantages and disadvantages
<Planetarion> antsu asked: Is there any changes getting free credits ie by winning the round or placing as #1 alliance or something?
<Planetarion> Appocomaster answers: the top 3 planets, the top alliance and the top galaxy get credits for winnings
<Planetarion> Morthy asked: How long do you plan to continue running PA? Would there be any event that might cause you to stop, e.g. enough players leaving. Or will you always keep it open for those who want to play?
<Planetarion> myk1 answers: All PATeam want the game to run for as long as humanly possible, as for when the game will stop, that depends on the owners of Planetarion, but we will certainly fight to keep it running for as long as possible!
<Planetarion> dommArn- asked: How are new features and other gameplay changes developed? What is the process like?
<Planetarion> Appocomaster answers: the development team either comes up with ideas themselves or takes them from the community, and adapts and develops them and then finally implements them. Not always in that order ;)
<Planetarion> Zaibot asked: How often do you update the game? and do you make larger patchen, with world events and stuff like that?
<Planetarion> Appocomaster answers: we have had a couple of "World Cup" versions, however, the game isn't patched as such. We're working on making it more adaptable, but many of the settings can be changed anyway. An example is having galaxies as random, private or mixed - allowing you to play with friends "nearby" you to help support you, or to meet new people.
<Planetarion> dommArn- asked: How in the hell are you capable of answering our questions so quick
<Planetarion> Appocomaster answers: I spent a lot of time in chat rooms several years ago, I have a fairly fast typing sped!
<Planetarion> [bsd] asked: Oh, and any plans to ever develop it in something non perl based, because face it .. perl just sucks for websites *watches shadow kill him for that* surely a PHP/JScript site with the actual tick done by a C/C++ program give better performance?
<Planetarion> Appocomaster answers: whilst we've had a couple of attempts at making a PHP version, generally they've run aground half way through. We're often updating game features and we adapt the previous code anyway, or occasionally completely recode, but it's never been enough to want to recode the whole game
<Planetarion> [LS]Penol[GS] asked: can i translate this game for norwegian players
<Planetarion> Appocomaster answers: what do you mean translate? we always welcome people translating, but the language option for next round will only really be the basic main text at first, and the main coder is norwegian ;)
<Planetarion> Craterboy asked: can I get a paper version of planetarion manual sent to my home?
<Planetarion> Appocomaster answers: unfortunately we don't do delivery of paper manuals. I don't know how we'd implement the search function...
<Planetarion> weazeL asked: pa is a kind of ogame or ogame is a kind of pa, in which sequence it is right spelled?
<Planetarion> Appocomaster answers: as far as I'm aware, we came before ogame.
<myk1> Craterboy - I have Support Guide which details a lot about the game if you want to get it in document form so you can print it out, email me at: email@example.com and I will attach it and send it back to you over email!
<Planetarion> Craterboy asked: hello I think you have more chance to get more money if it's a real 3d massive multiplayer online role playing game than a web based massive multiplayer online role playing game. It's like you are paying for some exciting words like you have 500000 virtual coins.
<Planetarion> Appocomaster answers: this might be the case, but as volunteers we don't have a huge amount of time to completely redo the game with 3d graphics. Hence the more iterative and gradual process to improve. This also means that the user base doesn't have huge changes each round, even though comparing the game to round 10 shows some quite drastic changes
<Planetarion> Winbar asked: Not really a question, but just a comment that it's great to see planetarion is still going after all this time. It's obviously a formula that works well! Never know, may give this round a try, i need something to keep me busy at work!
<Planetarion> Appocomaster answers: feel free to return :)
<Planetarion> Vbot asked: will this game be clan ready?
<Planetarion> Appocomaster answers: I'm not sure about "clan", but assuming it's the same "alliance", alliances are hardcoded in the game and you get benefits for being in the same alliance as someone else in terms of time travel
<Planetarion> Killari asked: Are you planning to make Planetarion the boardgame?
<Planetarion> myk1 answers: Now that's the kind of merchandise we need to get sorted, a monopoly version of Planetarion with the old big alliances as place names instead. However, I am sorry we haven't looked in to that line of things just yet.
<Planetarion> dommArn- asked: What would you say is the main reason for PAs success in creating the big community that it has?
<Planetarion> Appocomaster answers: the success is itself - the community keeps together to play with each other as much as to play the game. Some move on and others join, but a lot of people play because they want to play with each other, and we're quite proud of that
<Planetarion> lymth asked: what is maxlevel?
<Planetarion> Appocomaster answers: max level of what?
<Planetarion> YoMomma asked: You stated "it's never been enough to want to recode the whole game" but there was recently a paid developer who quit through illness. Are there any plans for Jolt to hire another coder to recode the game?
<Planetarion> Appocomaster answers: I'm not sure if you're refering to Spinner or Kloopy, but if Jolt were approached by a developer who'd proven themselves they might come to some agreement
<Planetarion> YabO asked: is Planetarion a text-based game or are there 2/3d graphics?
<Planetarion> Appocomaster answers: it's basically text based
<Planetarion> tek9|SMD asked: Do you like easter eggs?
<Planetarion> Appocomaster answers: I love easter eggs. I have a chocolate easter bunny sitting here
<Planetarion> nadavs asked: You mentioned before that none of you was a creator, so how did you find this game?
<Planetarion> Appocomaster answers: with myself, as with most others, we were brought in by friends. In my case I joined in Round 4 and started getting involved in the support team and old mentoring team in round 11 or so
<Planetarion> c|warclownDG asked: You should redesign the site - have u planned this?
<Planetarion> Appocomaster answers: the portal page has been redeveloped a few times recently, and there are new skins for round 21
<Planetarion> lymth asked: do you need concept artists / graphicZ for the game?
<Planetarion> myk1 answers: We are always on the look out for people who are graphical designers, but you need to be willing to volunteer to do this. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you're interested.
<Planetarion> mtsubzero asked: How many people are coding on that game?
<Planetarion> Appocomaster answers: depends what you mean - no one codes full time (apart from maybe Cin), but myk and myself code whilst being students, and Markb is starting to get involved too.
<Planetarion> Craterboy asked: I have Syc the Goldfarmer can I put him in planetarion?
<Planetarion> Appocomaster answers: what do you mean by puttint him in Planetarion?
<Planetarion> zhcysp asked: so, do you think it will have a large impact between online game players?
<Planetarion> Appocomaster answers: the game has been present for 7 years now, I don't understand the issue
<Planetarion> dommArn- asked: So in essense you mean that the success mainly is due to the community/players enjoy playing as a team and for eachother, and that contributed mainly to the success of PA?
<Planetarion> Idler answers: Yep, the success of PA can mostly be trailed directly back to Planetarions outstanding community, the games mechanics that enforce teamplay, and the PA Team, past and present who work around the clock to make the game thrive
<Planetarion> Craterboy asked: I have syc the planetfarmer can I order him to dominate the galaxy of planetarion
<Planetarion> Appocomaster answers: you can attempt to, but others want to dominate
<Planetarion> rs`Failed asked: How long did it take you to get the game complete?
<Planetarion> Appocomaster answers: the game is never complete, more of an iterative process
<Planetarion> Zaibot asked: So in this game there is nothing visual to see? like pvp / pve
<Planetarion> myk1 answers: This game is text-based with normal website graphics.
<Planetarion> Corp asked: Is this game a free game can i download it?. Does the team works in a country?. And how old can i be to come in a staff? at planetarion?
<Planetarion> Appocomaster answers: the game is free but you can play for more features, but the game is played via a web browser
<Planetarion> Onnet5 asked: What coding languages do you use to make this game?
<Planetarion> Appocomaster answers: the main game is in perl, but the portal and manual are php.
<Planetarion> Zaibot asked: Can i destroy other players planet?
<Planetarion> Idler answers: Well no, but you can destroy his fleet, and remove his income. Either way he wont be very happy :)
<Planetarion> zpeedy asked: Once there was a speed game of Planetarion at TG (The Gathering in Lilehamer in Norway) are you planning for something simular in the nearest future?
<Planetarion> myk1 answers: We've had a similar event with the I-Series a while back, it is certainly something we would look at doing again.
<Planetarion> c|warclownDG asked: You should redesign the portal asap. It looks like a free-CMS-based theme... Looks horrible (no offence!)
<Planetarion> Appocomaster answers: we were planning to, there are a few versions of it in several places
<Planetarion> mtsubzero asked: Does a german version of this game exist?(or is it planned?)
<Planetarion> myk1 answers: The game has got a translation feature that will be in effect for Round 22. German is certainly one of the languages we've got.
<Planetarion> zipper asked: Could you give some details about the servers used to run planetarion? Like, hardware, bandwidth, platform?
<Planetarion> Lunar_Lamp answers: Well, we have various linux servers (debian, gentoo, ubuntu). They all differ in hardware as they have replaced gradually over the years (also the reason for the OS differences). Our newer ones have quad xeon processors and upwards of 3gb of ram. As for bandwidth? It;s not a huge limiting factor for a game like planetarion, but there is a lightning quick connection.
<Planetarion> P^flwz asked: Sorry but i have a question: What is the game about?
<Planetarion> Appocomaster answers: you're a planet in space, you get resources from asteroids, you're in a galaxy of planets with friends to make an alliance, and you build space ships to destroy all who oppose
<Planetarion> Zaibot asked: What is the game based on ? PvE or PvP. Can you only trade in the game or can you go to war with your spaceship-fleet?
<Planetarion> Appocomaster answers: the main focus of the game is combat, destroying other's ships and stealing their asteroids
<Planetarion> P^flwz asked: When will the game be out for sale ?
<Planetarion> Appocomaster answers: the game is not available in the store, it is online. It requires a payment of £5/1 round (2 months), plus free speedgames
<Planetarion> Onnet5 asked: This game sounds like is has really good potential to be a game to hit the shelves, and sounds very visual, will you ever try to attempt this?
<Planetarion> Appocomaster answers: it depends what you mean - what extra would be necessary that would not be provided by a browser-based version?
<Planetarion> Dandy asked: Is there anyway i can collect some epic/legendary items?
<Planetarion> Appocomaster answers: Yes! there are asteroids, called "special asteroids", which give various bonuses - a slight mining income bonus, or research, production or construction bonus
<Planetarion> Zaibot asked: This is not a question: Thanks for your time, the game seems interesting. I will now download it and check it out. Gl with the project.
<Planetarion> myk1 answers: It is browser-based, there is no need to download it, you can sign up to the game at www.planetarion.com :)
<Planetarion> [MOD]Shub asked: If you stop dev it, are you going to make it open source?
<Planetarion> Lunar_Lamp answers: There are no plans to stop developing planetarion at all. It would be up to Simtech whether they wished to open source planetarion though (or if they sold the game, the new owners).
<Planetarion> Onnet5 asked: Well, the descriptions you give, make it sounds as good as a command and conquer type game, if you were to create graphics for the game, would you ever consider releasing it in stores?
<Planetarion> myk1 answers: Perhaps but that would be up to the owners, Simtech, if they wish to develop the game as something which could be spoken in the same breath as Command and Conquer, but at the moment the text based version in a browser is interesting and fun to play. :)
<shadow> and definitely worth trying it out! =)
<Planetarion> mtsubzero asked: Can u tell something more about that "translation feature"?
<Planetarion> myk1 answers: Basically it will allow people to choose their language of choice, it will convert all the menu items in to this language and I believe the other main parts of the game will be translated too.
<Planetarion> feldor asked: Well not a really a question, but thanks for your time and effort for all the answers! Keep up the good work! Cheers!
<Planetarion> Appocomaster answers: thank you, we'll certainly try :)
<Planetarion> weazeL asked: someone asked you about the female part of your developer team...hell why she isn't here?
<Planetarion> myk1 answers: She is, it's Fiery.
<Fiery> Yes, I am here.
<Planetarion> Braunhemd asked: How many lines of code does the game comprise? How big (numebr of entries, data amount (in *bytes), traffic per period) is the game?
<Planetarion> Appocomaster answers: there's a fair few files and lines - we have ~ 100 perl files, with each one being between 2k and 200 or so lines, so I'd go with around 100k lines or so?
<Planetarion> Killari asked: How to win in the game?
<Planetarion> Appocomaster answers: get really big, steal everyone else's asteroids, and kill 'em all.
<Planetarion> mtsubzero asked: But the messages between the players will not be translated, right?
<Planetarion> myk1 answers: The messages which players send between each other will not be translated no.
<Planetarion> stupeh asked: I used to play way back in around round 4 and stopped just after it became pay to play, can you tell me what the main differences are between using a free account, and upgrading. For example, what are the main benefits?
<Planetarion> Appocomaster answers: you get a few extra technology bonuses - the ability to mine more asteroids, for example - and the ability to set your population to work certain areas of your planet. you can also set a government, which gives advantages and disadvantages. There's a couple of other advantages - for example, you can set fleet names, and get a journal to write things in, and a history page which shows you who you've hit, who has has hit you, and so on. Your scans also last for longer.
<Planetarion> Braunhemd asked: Have you experienced players which used a robot software so far?
<Planetarion> Appocomaster answers: yes but we've managed to cut down on this :)
<Planetarion> Onnet5 asked: Ok, well I've heard enough, One last question, the game has a one off fee to signup correct?
<Planetarion> Appocomaster answers: not to sign up, but to upgrade your account to a paid account
<Planetarion> Onnet5 asked: Ok so there's no fee what so ever to play it, but to get extras, there is a fee
<Planetarion> Appocomaster answers: yes, indeed
<Planetarion> Onnet5 asked: Nice, I am definitely going to check this out, it sounds interesting
<Planetarion> Appocomaster answers: sounds good :)
<Appocomaster> ok, things are getting a bit netsplitty and we've been going for 90 minutes, so I think it's about time to finish :)
<Appocomaster> finally, just to summarise
<Appocomaster> if you want to play this round, http://game.planetarion.com/signup.pl
<Appocomaster> game starts Friday, 13th (this Friday!)
<Appocomaster> if you want to check out the beta, http://beta.planetarion.com/signup.pl
<Appocomaster> if you want to join in the speedgame, http://speedgame.planetarion.com/signup.pl
<Appocomaster> our portal is @ http://www.planetarion.com
<myk1> I also want to take this opportunity to apologise if we haven't answered your question, if you do have any questions which are really nagging on your mind then submit a Support request to http://game.planetarion.com/support.pl and we will answer you as well as possible :)
<Appocomaster> old players might want to read this: http://pirate.planetarion.com/showt...ad.php?t=189481 (what's changed since round 4-etc)
<Appocomaster> finally, a useful link section: http://pirate.planetarion.com/showt...ad.php?t=169297
<Appocomaster> with links to a few new player guides and so on
<myk1> Also the manual is a good source of information: http://www.planetarion.com/manual/manual :)
<Idler> A final input on my behalf, if you do decide to give our game a try, I can also mention that the Portal is always looking for talented writers, comedians, columnists, you name it. If any of this interests you, give me a PM, either here or on Netgamers. Or you can send me a e-mail at: Idler@planetarion.com
<myk1> I think that to formally finish this off, I would like to thank you all, on behalf of the Planetarion Team for taking the time to come and submit questions and read the answers. I hope you check out the game :) Thanks for coming!