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Pubmeet 2013

Pubmeet 2013

As has been increasingly the case, players are arriving earlier in the week for the pubmeet. For those arriving on Wednesday, it has been a leisurely few days of plotting, consumption of fast food and beer (in all its wonderful forms) and board gaming. For some, gone are the days of furious bartering before people get so drunk they dont know their own names let alone remember what they agreed to. For those unable to escape the suspicions of the wife, especially considering Blackpools often seedy reputation, Adam (of GTT fame) has a proof-positive tip invite her along first time round and you will get a free pass ever afterwards.

This years pubmeet though hard work was very enjoyable from our point of view. We had an unprecedented amount of positive feedback both on the recent updates and how the last years updates despite some opposition and inertia to their uptake have shaped the game for the better.

It is somewhat gratifying that our long term view of improving the game had paid off especially when companies with much bigger employee bases and vastly larger turnovers are failing so spectacularly. That said, possibly it is their size and eye on the balance sheet rather than staying true to the ethos that its worth taking flak in order to maintain the integrity of the game is the cause of their downfalls.


What I picked up on was the amount of activity across the game, both in terms of affiliations with their hands full and within all of the Peripheries, from the Inner Empire out to Corewards. Personally speaking I haven't seen this many things running concurrently in some years. It looks like the rise of the alien factions combined with the opening of Corewards has given factions both old and new areas of the game universe to get their teeth into.

Overall, this weekend has proved that we are for the most part heading in the right direction and it is being reflected in the small through steady increase in the player base, something we hope to improve on as we press onwards.

As usual the weekend was broken into three parts, Friday night beers and grand toot talking and Saturday split between a presentation followed by slots for factions to get their private chat with the game developers. By the end of Saturday night I had brain cramp and Darak was virtually scraped of the floor and poured into the waiting taxi.

The Presentation
For the most part the presentation was explaining the reasons and justifications for the developments as outlined in the rules. I will present a quick breakdown of them here.

Development Plan
This covered all the areas we intend work on in no particular order. The primary point of interest here was Contagions. A question raised by one of the players, Isnt this just going to be a pain in the arse, one which I would be happy to do without. This was received with much head nodding by other players. I explained that over the years we regularly get requests by players looking to research plague bombs and means of inflicting misery on other factions through viral warfare. When asked, who amongst the audience wants them in the game to develop such things there was a unanimous show of hands, including the chap raising the question.
Need I go on?

Not mentioned at the meet is that the contagion development has other benefits outside nasties as they utilise a vector mechanic that will be used to propagate information (rumours) and even transporting operatives through probability instances (a modest application of quantum mechanics).

Infrastructure
So, those big boys in their shielded fortresses can impose their will on you across space and you cant touch them bah. Wouldnt it be good to kick the smug bastards in their coffers? Dropping a few bombs on civilian populations would quickly bring them to the negotiating table or force them to extend their defences to cover all those women, children and eggs with great wealth comes great outlays.
Then there are the dark corners of the universe with their primeval gardens, ripe for colonisation. Wouldnt it be nice to replace the current method of using special actions to build up the civilian population and establish planetary infrastructure with a few standard orders?

The presentation effectively gave a bullet point explanation of development stages and what was needed to achieve them. This document though newly typed up is actually a refined version of the various ad hoc methods employed over the years as players have attempted to increase their merchandising and trade on various under developed worlds.

It was confirmed as it was not specifically stated in the document that once added to the game these civilian populations would also be susceptible to contagions.

Infrastructure being back on the table was to some peoples amusement. We explained that last time around, besides the description being somewhat fluffy, the primary obstacle was access to the data this sort of project would generate. The idea of generating world reports for email did not seem sensible. This required us to develop Nexus and all the ensuing features that were essential simply to make the game playable online. It was pointed out that now everybody uses Nexus to some degree and it has become an indispensable part of the game.

The main difference between this presentation and the previous incarnation is that this is very much both player driven but more importantly, easily implemented. In fact the values were used in the development of the established populations of Corewards.

Government
If infrastructure is considered the bare bones of a developing civilian colony, government is what gives it an identity. These can be considered the game-maintained counterpart to player controlled affiliations. As profiles defined by affiliations list what they will and wont do in various circumstances (such as use slaves or nuke civilian worlds) along with attitudes to other affiliations via the relations mechanics, so too governments have profiles and relations.

The government of a world may enhance or restrict affiliation assets on the world, lending them troops or denying them merchandising amongst other things and if you dont like the government, there will be means of changing them through persuasion or by more confrontational approaches.

The main points beyond the types of government was that certain styles of government took longer to establish than others and the list presented was neither exhaustive, nor covered variations appropriate to the counterparts of specific affiliations.


We gave an example whereby the Flagritz Empire may be closer to a feudal society despite its name. It may however invade a world and establish a temporary dictatorship style of government termed Martial Law and then over time move towards the Flagritz Empire by moving in its slaver overlords.

Old Stuff
Following the presentation and fielding various questions beyond the scope of the presentation, we returned to the development plan and rather than dictating the order in which we were going to go through the list, we opened it up to some degree (there are things that have to go in before others). The consensus (to my personal surprise) was to code characters sooner rather than later. It was pointed out that armed with the data in the infrastructure presentation, players now had an idea of what they were aiming for and as such they could easily continue using special actions as developing worlds was not overly widespread at the moment. Characters however opened up a lot for the vast majority of players, presuming that there was no need to run vast numbers of them.

Conclusion
It has been a busy time since, working on the extensive list raised during the private chat section of the pubmeet though we now have a clearer picture of what will be coded in which order and intend to release some of the features early in the New Year. Top of the list is incentives for introducing new players to the game, closely followed by contagions.



 
News
Is open for business...
 
***** Inter Galactic News *****

*** Stellar Empire Re-United ***

Celebrations were held across the vast territories of the Stellar Empire as the two-halves represented by the governments of the Imperials and Caliphate determined to unite. This followed almost inevitably from the assassination of the Caliph, a crime that has gone mysteriously unresolved. The old Caliphate ministers were ‘retired’ and at first it seemed the Imperials had managed what had alluded them for decades.

However, just as orders to claim systems for the IMP went in some places, conflicting orders to claim for the CIA came from Laton. In other systems, it seems overwhelming civilian support lies with the defunct CAL government and there are a number of CIV and CAL bases that seem to have not heeded the CIA nor IMP orders. With all the Caliphate's armaments now in the CIA’s hand and no political leadership in the old government, it seems inevitable that the civilians will be dragged kicking and screaming into the future.

A muted and cautious response from the rest of the galaxy was only to be expected given the formation of a new unrivalled superpower. The chilling effect on public discourse as the Imperial war machine taps into the substantial, if stunted, economies of the former Caliphate will surely be felt for years to come. Does this mark the 'end of history' as we know it?

More on this story inside this issue of the SSS along with: * KAS v IMP/GTT v FLZ * DEN v MRC * FOCed by IMP * BHD v DEN * &etc

 
***** Inter Galactic News *****

*** Imperials Declare War Against Flagritz ***

A declaration of war came last week after an unsatisfactory reply to Imperial ultimatums that the FLZ accept resolution of the previous war. J. Jones issued the following proclamation, "We hope this reminder will prompt them to rethink the status they removed them selves from and come back to more peaceful co-existence.” Doublegood, Viceroy, doublegood!

More on this story inside this issue of the SSS along with: * Species Guide * FEL Barter With GIants * High Times &etc

 
***** Inter Galactic News *****

*** Orion Spur Special Edition ***

Explorers of the galaxy rejoiced as knowledge of a new periphery became common knowledge, revealing charts to forty star systems. The Orion Spur is connected to the massive Coreward Arm with rumours that the locals of the Monument system at the heart of this new periphery may have been responsible for the collapse of the HarCorp civilisation.

We have in-depth analysis and information about the new periphery inside this special issue of the SSS.

Also inside this issue of the SSS: * Naplian Liberation Front Reality Show * FLZ v FEL * Mercs in Graydown * DOM Scare Stories * &etc

 
***** Inter Galactic News *****

*** Hoedown in Graydown ***

Wimbles in the Graydown system have come under repeated attacks by mercenaries. The Wimbles having already lost two outposts have had their ships come under attack by boarders. The Wimbles are pointing a hairy finger at the GTT whilst the DEN are itching to get their paws in.

Pleasantly rotund Wolf Lord Lyceum reported the destruction of one mercenary ship, a Corsair class explorer called "Eye of the Chosen" which had earlier dropped off ground forces flying the banner of "God Hates Wimbles.” Which God and why he or she hates Wimbles has yet to be revealed. We suspect its corporation-loving Mammon.

Inside this issue of the SSS: * Sargasso Update * Wakerians * Naplian Liberation Front * &etc

 
***** Inter Galactic News *****

*** Breaking News: Caliph Samuel Assassinated ***

The nominal head of the Caliphate, Samuel has been murdered in broad daylight at the starbase CAL Sidon in the Fortress system. The allegedly mad zealot was on his way to meet representatives of various civilian factions when a shadowy figure *cough*CIA agent*cough* shot him dead.

The CIA issued the following statement to the SSS with a customary nudge and a wink: "In these difficult times, as we come to terms with the loss of Samuel, we are taking things one day at a time.

"Samuel was not only our Caliph, but our leader during the Second Civil War which laid the foundations for the Confederacy after he left the Human Empire and settled in the Darkfold. It is truly a sad day and one that will be marked in history as one of many great leaders who were cut down in their prime.

"We will strive now to look to the future, whilst remembering our past”

Speculation is rife that this is the first step towards a unification of the two-halves of the Stellar Empire. Others are more hopeful this is a return to the Confederacy or the mark of greater separation with the Imperial bloc. Time will tell what nebulous motives the shadowy puppet-master Laton turned out to have had and which alien faction will be blamed for the Caliph’s murder.

Inside this issue of the SSS: * HEX / FET Invade Sargasso * Magnus v Nevets Fight! * Dewiek Black Hole Disaster * FLZ Correction * &etc

 
***** Inter Galactic News *****

*** STOP PRESS: Felini Victory ***

In an unexpected development, the FEL have scored a decisive victory against the FLZ. Destroying or maiming some 20 Flagritz Baseships in the Onwards system.

What is more remarkable than the victory was there was no subsequent comment by Crazy Uncle Flagritz. We might need to have a lie down now.

Inside this issue of the SSS: * DEN and FEL * Valhalla Fighting Pits * RIP smacked * &etc


 
***** Christmas Special Edition *****

*** Ho Ho Ho ***

Welcome to the SSS Christmas Special Edition! We the Editors have put together a nostalgic pudding treat intended to delight and tickle even the scroogiest megacorp executive. So gather your cubs, squidlets and larvae for some silliness and song. Time to catch up with some classics from years gone by, raise your glasses and drink your gluttony and shame away!

Wishing you all a merry Christmas free from Krampus Jones's invading armies!

The Editors


 
***** Inter Galactic News *****

*** Claws Out in Valhalla ***

In a bold rebuke of Crazy Uncle Flagritz’s attacks in the Avalon system, the cunning Felini Nevets ordered a hit on a FLZ outpost in the Valhalla system. Claiming miscommunication with his warships, the mischevious Avatar cocked a snook at the washed-out Dewiek warrior in charge of the system whilst claiming an important victory in the often one-sided conflict against the FLZ.

This isn’t the first time the foxy Feline has masked daring-do in the shroud of incompetence. It remains to be seen whether this turns out as disastrously as the time when the FEL had to pay the costs of a war started by Prince-turned-meklan LiQuan.

Meower-in-chief Chamiah apologised for the incident in a public address laced with snickering subtext and unconcealed laughter when she got to the bit about the unfortunate loss of “5 FLZ Warships in Onwards.”

A second incident in Valhalla was reported the next day with mardy Magnus complaining he wasn’t getting his claws in on the action. Could this be the pithy ploy that puts the cat on the mat?

Inside this issue of the SSS: * Merc-y Wimbles * Valhalla Fighting Pits Get Weird * Profile of Lyceum Amaguk * &etc


 
***** Inter Galactic News *****

*** Nun on the Run ***

Alleged cosplayer Carmilla D’Morenta got the vicars in the Brotherhood all hot and bothered when she made a run for it. Possibly tired of being tied up by the reverends and denied the love that dare not howl its name. With a sizeable, almost unbelievable, bounty on her head, the barking sister took refuge with the Dewiek Elder Nation.

In possibly the shortest chase in history, the BHD managed to strike a blow for oppressed collars everywhere when they squared off with the naughty doggy-wannabe at the Valhalla stargate. The cheeky chaplains blew their hyperdrive at close range and both the BHD and DEN flagged ships were reported to be lost in space.

Inside this issue of the SSS: * DEN Ban BHD * Ulian * FLZ in Avalon * Valhalla Fighting Pits * Interview with Carmilla * And more


 

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