Posted at 22:28 GMT on Monday 29th October 2007
<AppocoCH> welcome to everyone who's just joining
<AppocoCH> Welcome to the preround Creators Hour, where myself and other PA Team members answer your questions
<AppocoCH> to ask questions, please message CH_Bot
<AppocoCH> as some of you are doing
<AppocoCH> now we almost have double figure questions... I'll start
<AppocoCH> Firstly, I'd like to remind everyone that there's currently a speedgame running at http://speedgame.planetarion.com
<AppocoCH> obviously, Round 24 signups are underway, with ticks starting on Friday - signup at http://game.planetarion.com/signup.pl
<AppocoCH> lastly, we have ongoing beta and stats testing all this week to iron out bugs in the new combat engine and to finalise the new-look, multi-target stats
<AppocoCH> that's at http://beta.planetarion.com
<AppocoCH> and will be reset within an hour of this finishing, to restart with slightly adjusted stats
<AppocoCH> I'm hoping to have stats finalised by tomorrow evening
<CH_Bot> (Q 1): <[-DopeD-]> Can i have a ship named after me ???
<AppocoCH> only Assassin has ever had a ship named after him, and that was accidental (sorry Assassin :P)
<AppocoCH> I don't think anyone else has
<AppocoCH> also, your [- -] would mess up lots of irc scripts
<AppocoCH> they already complain about the space in "black widow"
<CH_Bot> (Q 2): <spooz> Q: I miss subversion. Any chance we might see that back in PA soon?
<AppocoCH> perhaps - in some ways, it's less flawed than EMP or Steal
<AppocoCH> though it's almost a combination
<AppocoCH> I think that cargo ships are more likely to return in some form
<AppocoCH> to rival the covert op s tealing
<AppocoCH> we could even convert eitraides to using subversion
<AppocoCH> it's certainly not ruled out, but nothing is planned for the moment
<CH_Bot> (Q 3): <oops> will planetarion ever go back to single targetting?
<AppocoCH> it may well do
<AppocoCH> if this round completely backfires, everyone hates it and stops playing half way through, I don't think that we'd have a choice
<AppocoCH> luckily, it's now easier to change between targetting in the admin config, rather than having to completely recode the combat engine as I've spent the last couple of months (on and off) doing
<AppocoCH> so it's certainly not ruled out
<AppocoCH> multi targetting is in some ways more new player friendly (yes, I know ... what new players, etc)
<AppocoCH> you're more likely to be hitting a ship that's around
<AppocoCH> notice that no race this round has ships that are next to each other, so there's very few ships that can defend against both pod classes of a race
<AppocoCH> so it is still possible to fake
<AppocoCH> I know it might force a bit more stagnation, but we'll see how it goes at the end of the day
<AppocoCH> I've heard some people say quite positive things about it, purely because it's not been done in a while and they're drawn back because of it
<AppocoCH> so, despite what some people say, it's not all been negative
<AppocoCH> but we'll see how this round goes
<CH_Bot> (Q 4): <Jedi> How do you respond to the general feeling that Xan FI is too powerfull in the current beta stats? (hi mom1!)
<AppocoCH> firstly, stats aren't final!
<AppocoCH> secondly, though there's no one ship that's amazing against it (apart from, perhaps, the scorpion after I've adjusted stats)
<AppocoCH> there's still a fair few anti fi ships around
<AppocoCH> indeed, the xan fleet itself is anti fi
<AppocoCH> a fair amount of the ships around are in pod fleets, too
<AppocoCH> so there will be ships around for last-gasp in-gal defence
<AppocoCH> so I don't think it'll be *too* overpowered
<AppocoCH> but that's what the beta is for
<CH_Bot> (Q 5): <damo8> is there any plans to increase participation in the coming round?
<AppocoCH> there's another similar question to this later
<AppocoCH> it's not the easiest thing to answer
<AppocoCH> I have spoken with some of Jolt - especially recently, with a few threads on the forums - about a few bits and pieces
<AppocoCH> Jolt have, in the last few months, been reshuffled - hence their graphics guy redoing our portal graphics
<AppocoCH> in general; however, they do leave us pretty much to ourselves (though this is slowly changing)
<AppocoCH> so in some respects, the responsibility is our own
<AppocoCH> advertising is extremely expensive
<AppocoCH> so from their point of view, they're not willing to commit to an all-out advertising campaign that equals 1/4 or 1/2 of Planetarion's turnover
<AppocoCH> (which is what anything more than a couple of adverts would be)
<AppocoCH> also, we haven't got anyone (on the PA Team side) who really has the time to sit down and organise that sort of thing
<Lunar_Lamp> Or, more imporantly, the skills.
<AppocoCH> well, yes
<AppocoCH> in the past a couple of people have come forwards
<AppocoCH> but no one with the experience - or the time - to help sort it out for free
<AppocoCH> and the few that have contacted me over the last couple of years want more direction than just about anyone on the PA Team can give as to what to do
<AppocoCH> whilst some people have, over time, offered themselves, none of them have had a huge amount of direction or goals to achieve to help Planetarion, and so that means that the PA Team spend even more time trying to find things for this person to do rather than doing what they need to do to help things running
<AppocoCH> anyway, I've spoken to Jolt
<AppocoCH> and we'll see what we can sort out
<AppocoCH> in terms of getting someone to help out in some way or another - either to work directly, or to free someone else up to work on that
<AppocoCH> (the other issue is that, at the moment, half the PA Team are pretty busy at work - Fiery, for example, is working 12 hour shifts 5-6 days a week)
<AppocoCH> if you wish to volunteer, please contact me afterwards - but bare the things I said above in mind!
<AppocoCH> anyway, moving on
<AppocoCH> lots of questions!
<CH_Bot> (Q 6): <Spoticus> Can you please use round 7 game stats and systems for my convenience. Thanks.
<AppocoCH> Sorry, we don't have the combat engine. and I skipped Round 7 once already
<CH_Bot> (Q 7): <Aer> How does planetarion plan on growing past the current userbase? What incentives are there for old, retired players to rejoin the game, and how do you plan to attract new players?
<AppocoCH> similar to the above
<AppocoCH> we're trying to talk to Jolt, and we've made the game slightly more interesting
<AppocoCH> the code itself, and the smaller features, are actually quite impressive
<AppocoCH> even if you haven't noticed it, over the past 10 rounds we've added options and buttons and things
<AppocoCH> the alliance fund, all sorts of logging, etc
<AppocoCH> when I look back at old code and realise that half the things aren't there, it's a bit of a surprise :-)
<Lunar_Lamp> (the code is also a lot more flexible now than it was)
<AppocoCH> (that means I'm more likely not to break it)
<CH_Bot> (Q 8): <dec> evening. does 1 harp still kill only 1 ship (only 1 gun) or does it just spread the damage on the others (which would make the "guns" column useless for all but emp)?
<AppocoCH> well, yes, the guns column is a lie for all non-emp ships
<AppocoCH> in terms of pre-PAX, actually, the damage column and gun column should be swapped
<AppocoCH> it's actually done something like:
<AppocoCH> damage done to a ship of class X = firing ships * damage of firing ships * (number of ship / number of class X)
<AppocoCH> so it's a rather large lie, in fact
<AppocoCH> but I had to say something when I brought back EMP :P
<CH_Bot> (Q 9): <Assassin> OK i guess the first question ill ask as im sure many people will, but last time i saw a CH ofc it was anounced by the end of it the new portal would be useable. Any eta on when this will be finished?
<AppocoCH> look what happened last time we promised?
<AppocoCH> I admit the passport saga now rivals many more famous scandinavian ones
<Lunar_Lamp> The portal was forced to change radically since last CH due to occurrences outside our control.
<AppocoCH> basically, the person working on the last portal disappeared and didn't give us the code
<AppocoCH> and we didn't understand half of the code that we had
<AppocoCH> much of which was embedded in Jolt's layout (which, whilst very nice, wasn't coded very well for layouts)
<AppocoCH> and template systems
<AppocoCH> so, Cin already had the beginnings of one
<AppocoCH> and he's going to make one
<AppocoCH> which, hopefully, will be ready... soon
<AppocoCH> I can't name a deadline, this is Planetarion - we'll miss it
<AppocoCH> I want for it to be done as much as you do - I've wanted a passport since Round 14
<AppocoCH> I won't even say by tickstart, because then Cin will die or something on thursday, and that'd not be fair to him
<AppocoCH> (but I'd really like it to be)
<AppocoCH> all I can say is we'll try and get it done as soon as possible
<CH_Bot> (Q 10): <Alki> why do you suck so much at life appoco?
<AppocoCH> because I spend so much time on here sorting out Planetarion
<CH_Bot> (Q 11): <Assassin> Second question. Is there any major rule changes or anything to do with the rules in MH?
<CH_Bot> (Q 12): <A2> Is there a list anywhere of the current members of PATeam and their responsabilities?
<AppocoCH> errrrrrrr no
<Lunar_Lamp> We could probably provide one I suppose.
<AppocoCH> now I'll carefully name them all and miss out one :|
<AppocoCH> Markb - IRC guy (he sorts out the #planetarion ops)
<AppocoCH> Cin - my deputy in the Development departmnet
<AppocoCH> Kal - Head of Forums and complicated projecty-stuff
<AppocoCH> me - head of development and anything else I can get my finger into
<AppocoCH> Lunar: head of servers and maintance of them
<AppocoCH> Fiery - head of MH
<AppocoCH> Aryn - head of portal (when it arrives)
<AppocoCH> I'll try and make a post of it
<CH_Bot> (Q 13): <Mike|working> Does the reduced attack efficiency of t2/t3 lead to a corresponding drop in suicided ships for zik? saw some calcs earlier not sure if it was a bug in the calc
<AppocoCH> in theory, it does
<AppocoCH> if, in fact, it doesn't, then it's another bug I have to beat out of the combat engine
<CH_Bot> (Q 14): <Assassin> Third question Is appoc still wearning a pink dress?
<AppocoCH> I never have and never will wear a pink dress
<CH_Bot> (Q 15): <Ivor|totalwar> when are you thinking of introducing the population size feature?
<Lunar_Lamp> Pink is SO not his colour.
<AppocoCH> I don't know, tbh. It seems a semi-dead end
<AppocoCH> we've got lots of time and coding-power for next round
<Lunar_Lamp> It was mooted previously, but was unpopular due to the perceived ramifications of randomness.
<Lunar_Lamp> (which were largely misunderstood, but it still stands)
<AppocoCH> that was random events
<AppocoCH> the population thing has to be completely changed to make the number viable, so really, we should hide it
<AppocoCH> (though some people still seem to try and compete vs each other with it)
<AppocoCH> anyway, we have a fair amount of coding power for next round
<AppocoCH> so we'll try and get back in some of: quests, a proper research tree structure, and making population people-based
<AppocoCH> the final one is really quite complicated, so I don't know if we'll manage it
<AppocoCH> it's similar to my FNCS stuff from the PAN spec of around R14/15
<AppocoCH> (well, it would have to be similar to some respect)
<AppocoCH> I'm just trying to find the thread
<AppocoCH> but the search thing doesn't work
<AppocoCH> so that's not very helpful
<AppocoCH> anyway, it's changing research, construction, production, etc to work with "people"
<AppocoCH> which would be quite a large change
<CH_Bot> (Q 16): <Assassin> Next question: Is there any major future plans for PA? (ie what are we heading towards in the future.. any major changes?)
<AppocoCH> see above
<CH_Bot> (Q 17): <Laney> you shouldn't use jpegs for the menu items
<AppocoCH> why not? :|
<AppocoCH> they're background images
<CH_Bot> (Q 18): <dec> what about Spider?
<AppocoCH> oh yes, Spider was another ship (though I don't think directly named after him?)
<CH_Bot> (Q 19): <Assassin> (20:05:42) (@AppocoCH) only Assassin has ever had a ship named after him, and that was accidental (sorry Assassin :P) ---- Dont you think its about time that it returns?
<Lunar_Lamp> (In-game the actual menu items are text Laney )
<AppocoCH> no, I don't. I didn't like it
<CH_Bot> (Q 20): <Zankou> who actually came up with this new targetting ? T1/T2/T3 outta curiousity
<AppocoCH> me! I take all the blame
<CH_Bot> (Q 21): <GJN> Cant Etd be the subversion race? Would mean the 5th race has more meaning, etc
<AppocoCH> yeah, I said that I think.
<AppocoCH> though they wouldn't be traders then
<CH_Bot> (Q 22): <AllFather|Bed> Instead of giving prizes to the top3 planets only, how about also rewarding the top3 scanners or the top3 people who sends the most defence fleet in a round (ingame alliances only)
<AppocoCH> top 3 people who send defence fleets would have someone sending def fleets all the time purely for that
<Markb> Zankou: its an hour long, and it started 40 mins ago
<CH_Bot> (Q 23): <AndroX> Are there more options to pay already, so new ways besides paypal and CC ?
<AppocoCH> no not yet
<AppocoCH> Jolt are in charge of payment
<Lunar_Lamp> Just a note on payment.
<AppocoCH> though I know of a formal request for more payment methods that went in today
<Lunar_Lamp> You don't need a credit card to pay, a debit card with Visa on it will also work.
<AppocoCH> http://pirate.planetarion.com/showt...ad.php?t=189019 http://pirate.planetarion.com/showt...ad.php?t=189044 btw <--- those are the URLs I was looking for
<CH_Bot> (Q 24): <DopeD> are you ignoring my question about a 6th race? or did it not get through?
<AppocoCH> I don't know if it got through
<AppocoCH> there is a thread on PS about it though (Planetarion Suggestions)
<AppocoCH> I assume that's the one that was meant
<AppocoCH> I haven't really had time to look at it atm
<CH_Bot> (Q 25): <Beermonster> is offering some1 thier first or even second full round a free round but played as a paid planet a possible way to increase the player base?
<AppocoCH> how would we know new players?
<Lunar_Lamp> That would be nigh-on impossible to implement, without taking their card details, and tracking them that way.
<AppocoCH> they'd signup with a new e-mail address and get every other round free
<AppocoCH> or every round free
<AppocoCH> but still, most of these things can be completely abused, unfortunately
<AppocoCH> we'll look into finding one not too abusable
<CH_Bot> (Q 26): <Rom^> will pa ever get sold back to spinner?
<AppocoCH> that's between Jolt and Spinner
<CH_Bot> (Q 27): <Assassin> Also i would like to ask, if Jolt are willing to 'leave us to ourselves' and we have a large amount of players slowly leaving the game round by round should the prices of accounts be kept the same?
<AppocoCH> they can't go any lower
<AppocoCH> (because of credit card min payments, etc)
<AppocoCH> so, unless you want them higher...?
<CH_Bot> (Q 28): <BigD> Why have Etd been nurfed so badly for 2 rounds in a row?
<AppocoCH> because I had no say in the issue
<AppocoCH> they might be a bit more balanced this round
<CH_Bot> (Q 29): <PhilM> What is the status on the portal? What is PA Team doing to make sure it doesn't fail again?
<AppocoCH> I have to go
<AppocoCH> well, Cin has never failed at coding anything for planetarion
<AppocoCH> and he's doing it
<AppocoCH> so it won't fail
<CH_Bot> (Q 30): <add> if i play this round will u buy my cred?
<AppocoCH> you can buy your own p
<CH_Bot> (Q 31): <NitinA|away> hello, whatever happened to the mythical PAN devlopment, is it still coming in the future, or will it be out in time for our grandchildren?
<AppocoCH> it's slowly being integrated - see earlier comments
<CH_Bot> (Q 32): <dec> Smaller planets (by score) will also gain up to 50% more salvage. <- define small. or just give out the formula for salvage ^^
<AppocoCH> I did - it's in the game manual, in the formula section
<CH_Bot> (Q 33): <Bazza> What plans are there to develop the 'population' aspect of the game - something along the lines of Sims perhaps ?
<AppocoCH> I mentioned that above
<CH_Bot> (Q 34): <YogibearAFK> Repeat question from last year, 30th September 2006: <Gabz0r> Will the Urwins ever return ?
<AppocoCH> no idea - ask them
<AppocoCH> or whatever
<AppocoCH> was it a bot>
<AppocoCH> I have no idea, tbh
<AppocoCH> whatever I said last time is the answer
<CH_Bot> (Q 35): <PhilM> What future features are we expecting? Can we have a "state of the game" post every so often or a developer blog?
<AppocoCH> on the new portal!
<CH_Bot> (Q 36): <Yeggstry> Why does this CH sound like the same that has been done for the last 5 years?
<AppocoCH> because it's a Q&A session as before?
<CH_Bot> (Q 37): <Kila> is there any way of shutting up the idiots who constantly shout "good old days" "pre PaX rulz" and "lolol the game is so much easier now" - it may be the case and everyone already gets it, please shut up
<Lunar_Lamp> Because you keep asking the same questions ;-)
<AppocoCH> Kila: hunt them down with a weapon
<CH_Bot> (Q 38): <damo8> is there any way we can create pods which attack certain types of roids, so just crystal roids? or assign pods to take just certain kinds of roids?
<AppocoCH> perhaps, but that'd be a bit weird
<Lunar_Lamp> (I'm taking over now - but apparently the bot doesn't like me at the moment)
* Added 10 to user list
<Markb> always a good sign
<CH_Bot> now try
<Lunar_Lamp> Haha - live tech problems for the win \o/
<Lunar_Lamp> See, this is why we beta test all appoco's coding ;-)
<CH_Bot> (Q 39): <Auto|work> When does Zik get back atleast 1 shippie not dying when it steals?
<Lunar_Lamp> Er, well, annoyingly that would be a perfect question for appoco, however, that would be down to stats etc.
<Lunar_Lamp> Next round's stats are completely undecided upon at the moment.
<CH_Bot> (Q 40): <Kila> what happened to PaN? did it go down the pan? are we going to have a PaN anytime soon?
<Markb> see previous comments
<Lunar_Lamp> I think this was answered to a degree earlier.
<CH_Bot> (Q 41): <[Graham]> are you aware the pa community is getting boosted by some of the greatest pa characters around?! (HAI SPOT)
<Lunar_Lamp> Aw, thankyou [Graham], always nice to get welcomed in a CH like that.
<CH_Bot> (Q 42): <Ronin> Hi, will there ever be a round where _everyone_ has to go random, would be such a nice feature to the game
<Lunar_Lamp> It has been suggested many times before.
<Lunar_Lamp> Alas it is very controversial, as people like to play with their friends.
<Lunar_Lamp> It's not ruled out never to return though.
<CH_Bot> (Q 43): <PhilM> Will we ever see the return of Planetarion merchandise? Coffee mugs, shirts, etc.?
<Lunar_Lamp> Hopefully, yes. It's not something that is imminent though.
<CH_Bot> (Q 44): <rext> how about giveing the zik some bs pods to go with there bs ships or just helping the ziks out bit
<Lunar_Lamp> See earlier about stats finality etc etc
<CH_Bot> (Q 45): <Assassin> Isnt it about time we use the servers to full capacity? (ie maybe have either more speed games running and when i say speedgames i mean proper ones like the R6B tournoment days not just ones which get re0set every 5 mins) or maybe have 2 rounds running back to back?
<Lunar_Lamp> It's possible.
<Lunar_Lamp> I'd like it if we were able to run a proper tournament speedgame in the near future, however, it takes a surprising amount of effort above the normal game-load to get running.
<Markb> 2 rounds would slightly reduce income, unless the second round was totally paid only
<Markb> then it might work
<Lunar_Lamp> It's possible that we'd see a tournament weekend for example - seems ages since we've had something like that.
<CH_Bot> (Q 46): <PhilM> The manual looks rather boring and out of date, are there any plans to improve it?
<Lunar_Lamp> Aryn has been doing a lot of work behind the scenes there.
<Lunar_Lamp> When the new portal arrives that kind of work will be swiftly integrated.
<CH_Bot> (Q 47): <damo8> where is appoco going?
<Lunar_Lamp> For his dinner.
<CH_Bot> (Q 48): <DopeD> has a 6th race been tested in a private beta? and if so did it fit in?
<Lunar_Lamp> No, it hasn't been tested.
<Lunar_Lamp> Well, actually, I recall it being tested ages ago to see if the combat engine was able to handle it, but that's as far as it went.
<Lunar_Lamp> So, no, it's not been tested in any meaningful way.
<CH_Bot> (Q 49): <Spoticus> Question: Was Urwin A Bot? Answer: No he was the king of newbs and pe0ns
<Lunar_Lamp> Er, ok, I think someone needs to look up the definition of "questions" CH_Bot ;-p
<CH_Bot> (Q 50): <Merlin|afk> don't take credit for T1 T2 T3 as thats old pa stats
<Lunar_Lamp> We know it's old PA stats, we weren't advertising it as a never-before-implemented feature.
<Markb> but appoco is responsible for them being back in
<Lunar_Lamp> We did however have to almost completely recode the combat engine to allow that.
<Lunar_Lamp> It's a long time since it's been used as well as far as I'm aware.
<CH_Bot> (Q 51): <Ronin> Question #2 (sort of reply to Lunar_lamp) regarding the everyone has to go random round "<@Lunar_Lamp> Alas it is very controversial, as people like to play with their friends.` isnt that what alliances are for? making everyone go random would also help the 'new players' getting to know the game better (as old players really need the new players to do well in the game)
<Lunar_Lamp> Personally, I like that argument a lot.
<Lunar_Lamp> Having said that, back in the day, I always like a couple of my RL mates in my galaxy as I knew that we'd be able to have fun no matter what happened.
<Lunar_Lamp> Still, as I said before, it's not ruled out as a "never-to-happen" thing.
<CH_Bot> (Q 52):
<Lunar_Lamp> Er, ok..
<CH_Bot> (Q 53):
<Markb> no more q's
<Lunar_Lamp> Ok, that must be the end unless anyone has questions to submit.
<CH_Bot> (Q 54):
<Lunar_Lamp> Gah, someone just submitted one I'm sure...
<CH_Bot> (Q 55):
<Lunar_Lamp> Hmm, ok, something odd is happening with the bot.
<Markb> LL broke it!
<Lunar_Lamp> Markb, will be copy/pasting the questions manually.
<Markb> <Auto|work> Is there a chance for paying for more than one planet in the future?
<Lunar_Lamp> It's unlikely.
<Lunar_Lamp> At least, not in the same game.
<Lunar_Lamp> It's too easily abusable, and we've not managed to work out a way ever to make it not so.
<CH_Bot> (Q 56):
<Markb> <AndroX> Howmany rounds a year are planned again? and howmany of those are 'free' rounds?
<Lunar_Lamp> The free rounds is decided largely by Jolt.
<Markb> Right, I think we'll call it an hour after this one:
<Markb> <CH_Bot> <lustig> what happened to PBOT (i think it was)?
<Lunar_Lamp> We ask regularly, and Jolt have been kind enough to let us run free rounds.
<Markb> Pbot died
<Lunar_Lamp> He died a death :-(
<Markb> and its creator has run away
<Markb> I'm possibly thinking of making a replacement, depending on demand
<Markb> but we'll see
<Lunar_Lamp> There don't appear to be any particularly fresh questions, and that's the hour up.
<Lunar_Lamp> So, er, thanks for the questions people.
<Markb> Thank you all for coming
<Lunar_Lamp> And hopefully the answers were of use.