Posted at 22:55 GMT on Tuesday 8th November 2005
The introduction of PAX with Round 10 marked a complete recode and redesign of Planetarion. In the two plus years PAX has been used for there have been numerous tweaks and changes, along with some major expansions to the gameplay with features including:
- The return of stealing
- Dynamic galaxies and buddy packs
- Improved alliance tools
- Introduction of a formal in game exception system for people playing from the same IP
Whilst we're satisfied that the game is reaching its potential under the current engine & setup we, the people charged with the game's future development, now feel that it is time to start looking towards something new....
Introducing... Planetarion: NEXT
Planetarion: NEXT, or PAN for short, is our vision for the future of the game. PAN will make up the next full round of Planetarion and will run off an all-new engine game, coded from scratch using a completely different language. But PAN will not just be a change in the game as we intend for it to signal a new era of working with the community to improve the game and a new streamlined PATeam.
The new game
With the development of the game we will be making use of the communities vast knowledge base to improve it as much as is possible. To help with this we've selected members of the community from different backgrounds to assist with deciding upon the changes for PAN. We will also be holding public discussions on IRC and the forums, and will have Creator's Hours for questions and answers about any topic.
The key game areas we will be developing are as follows:
- GMS - Game Management System - this is the new login and account management system, sitting outside the game to allow easier management of credits and the ability to run multiple games at the same time without the need for multiple accounts.
- FCS - Future Combat System - A next gen combat engine, this will be designed to cover as many options as possible
- UIN - User Interface NEXT - Kloopy's all new interface for the game - a primitive example of this will be included on the soon to be relaunched exceptions page
- FAS - Future Alliance Systems - everything from alliance funds to wars.
- NCIT - New Customer Introduction Tools - this is a series of tools designed to make the game easier for new players without removing the depth existing players enjoy.
- FNCS - Future Non-Combat Systems - research, construction, you name it Appocomaster is looking at how it can be improved
In order to give us time to properly develop PAN we've decided that between the end of round 15 and the start of PAN 1.0 we will be running a series of free events, the highlight of which will be a completely free 5 week round using the current code.
The new PATeam
Over the last two years PATeam has become more a smaller but more focused unit. PATeam now consists of two halves, the game related side and the community related side. While the two halves do interact they do not directly contribute to each other, unless there is a topic of mutual interest.
Mushroom and Jammyjim will continue in their roles looking after the irc and forums parts of the community.
Appocomaster steps up from Deputy Development Manager to take full control of Development as well as the support side of the game now that I (Kal) have moved to Project Management.
Assassin will be running our multihunting team and will be looking to greatly improve our capabilities in this area.
Kloopy and therealmig will be coding the game and the new portal
I will be making sure that everyone is doing their jobs and that the team is meeting its objectives.
In addition to the above roles, myself and Appocomaster now represent Planetarion to our IRC partners Netgamers and will continue working with them to improve the irc network for the benefit of Planetarion players. An example of this is that we are working with cservice to find a better way to allow organisations such as alliances to register multiple channels easily.
The team has decided that it is essential that we have objectives to help us govern the game correctly. So here they are:
- To double the games player base within 5 rounds
- To process each individual payment within 24 hours of it being placed into the system
- To respond to individual support requests within 24 hours of them being submitted
- To respond to emails within 24 hours of them being received
- To respond to multihunter queries within 24 hours
In light of all the information above we're certain that there will be many questions that you will all have, so we invite you all to attend the next Creator's Hour at 20:00 GMT on Wednesday the 16th of November 2005. We aim to have Creator's Hour held as regularly as possible from now on so the community can keep up to date with everything that is going on.
To submit a question for Creator's Hour please join irc.netgamers.org using with com unit or an external client and type /msg ch_bot [your question]