Phoenix
Phoenix: BSE
Phoenix at a Glance
The Game
Sign Up
Nexus Tour
FAQ
Flagship#130 Review
Contact
Resources
History
Wallpapers
IRC and player sites
SubSpace Static Archive
214
Previous Years
Intergalactic News
Issue 28
Issue 27
Issue 26
Issue 25
Issue 24
Issue 23
Issue 22
Older Issues
 
Latest Release

Latest Release

While the full list of updates, changes and bullet pointed effects (of which there are 134) can be found in the rules, I thought it useful to share some of the background thought processes behind the latest release, in specific the three major updates for boarding (and raiding), mining, slavery and notifications. For those that read the IGN but dont play who are wondering where the rules are as they cannot find a link, thats because you havent registered and logged in. Of course we would be delighted if you chose this time to register and join the game.

Boarding
In the game the act of boarding a freighter has always been incredibly tough, requiring a lot of patience and even more skill. So much so that for the most part it is by far easier to actually build a ship than it is board one even when there seems to be so many wandering through the Peripheries with no escorts.

Prior to the update, to successfully board, first of all an intended target needed to be spotted then specific orders to board the target had to be submitted for the next day. A simple procedure used by many traders was to simply keep moving, therefore cutting down the chances of either being spotted or still being around when the would-be pirate showed up. Another tactic is to make short runs between safe locations. This is achieved by mapping the time between the safe locations and using the Wait for TUs order to ensure that the ship only moves when sufficient TUs are available.

Even if somebody cocked up and left a ship stranded for more than a day, a pirate or other vessel intent on boarding, there was still the issue with the actual boarding itself. A would-be pirate runs the gauntlet of fire as it engages without being able to counter. Even after this theres still the defending crew to face. All in all few in the history of the game have made a success of piracy.

Having analysed the issue we drew the following conclusions:
Needing to know the target before committing to board severely weakened piracy.
It is important to specify the sorts of ships against which boarding actions are carried out.
Getting away with the boarded ship could be problematic especially if multiple ships arrived looking to counter-board it had chance to move away.
Even though a ship dropped cargo to flee, hanging around to pick up the cargo was rarely sensible.

Auto-boarding
We addressed the primary points in the above list through orders that specified the sorts of ships that would be boarded when scanned as the shipped moved through space and where a successful boarding was conducted, the submission of orders to the captured vessel, allowing them to immediately move away to a convenient rendezvous.
The development included raiding, the ability to run a partial boarding action in order to liberate the cargo of the boarded ship. When developing the code however it was discovered that the design of ship capable of successfully raiding would not have sufficient cargo to actually bag what it had gained. To this end the development extended to include boarding craft. One of the designs included swag bags called boarding nets. This allows lighter craft to take a boarding/raiding craft along with them in order to perpetrate the boarding while the lighter vessel stands off, ready to receive either prisoners or cargo.

Mining
In some older parts of the game universe mines are beginning to run dry! Special actions have been carried out to tap deeper deposits through we have always envisioned giving mining a makeover. To this end we introduced three new ways of mining beyond the standard method. The first two simply look at the standard mining program, either looking to excavate great big holes to get at the largest veins, ripping through the lesser ones along with the slag. This increases the yield but reduces the stockpile at a quicker rate relative to the amount of ore extracted. The opposite method is also now an option, sacrificing yield for every grain of ore, including the ones normally dumped with the slag.
Finally there is deep core mining, which differs from the above two alternatives in that it does not actually involve the deposit but rather seeks out new deposits that can be exploited along with the surface deposit by seeking out veins that are deep underground.

Another aspect of mining that we expanded on was the replenishing and improving of existing deposits. This is generally a replacement to special actions that have been utilised over the years. A typical example is using a blueprint to replenish an exhausted stockpile by identifying lesser veins. This option increases stockpiles though at a cost to the yield.

Slaves
Thankfully good roleplaying has prevailed over the years ensuring that the use of slaves has by and large remained the domain of only a few affiliations who have historically been predisposed to using them. This said, we were very much conscious that the capability of exploited them (from a game mechanics perspective rather than the moral issue) meant that it was a Sword of Damocles that needed addressing.



As we had already covered the accepted use or not via profiles, all that was needed was accounting for this and when this did not quite balance the books in some cases, various other tweaks including though not limited to the introduction of proto-governments (see the Pubmeet article in this issue) for a few pro-slave factions.

All this makes for some very interesting situations that are now identifiable rather than being confined to only being discoverable through special actions.

Notifications
In a nutshell, it is simply the informing of a player on the front page of Nexus when something vaguely significant has happened in-game with a colour flag

While on the face of it, this can sound quite a modest change to the game, it has far reaching consequences and as has been something we have been looking to implement for a long time. While a half-baked option has always been possible, in the long run it would require more effort to increase the variety of notifications such as message from the GM or even missions. Further, this update also re-tailored the front page allowing sections to be easily shrunk. For PC viewing this is of little benefit but with ever more people viewing turns and forums on mobile devices, this makes moving to the right area of the home page much simpler. Despite the vast amounts of data that is now accessible from the home page there has been negligible decrease in loading speed something I suspect many larger companies could learn a thing or two from.





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

*** Wimbles Crisis Solved ***

The Wimble Crisis of 217 has come to an end with the human Baron making way to the wimble Grandfather Paden Mastaak. Celebrations were held in Wimbledon upon the news with crack teams of Wimble security staff guarding all the pies.

It’s unclear how long the Wimbles will enjoy this new era of peace and self-determination.

Vocal Wimble Dinasha, one of Paden’s early backers, has chosen this precarious moment to bait Dewiek, Flagritz and humans who were initially disposed to be friendly to the new administration. Whilst the Wimbles' history with the former-slave-loving Flagritz could be understood, their animosity towards the Dewiek and humans was more mysterious. One insider alluded to a rise in the number of cases of foot-and-mouth across the herd as being a likely cause.

Inside this issue of the SSS: * Storm in a Teacup *** Yahn Bares All * &etc

 
***** Inter Galactic News *****

*** Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door ***

The stargates are closed! Reports from multiple sources indicate at least three of the stargates, all within Dewiek controlled systems, have been closed.

Two different sources have indicated that the TCA have been spotted recently in a number of systems and may be behind this turn of events. A scan sent to the SSS indicated eight TCA ships were recently spotted first in the Faery system and later near the Kasmer stargate.

Another source, suspiciously put the blame on the ARC, suggesting the ARC and DEN were working together because they “need to trap [the TCA] and try and finish them off after the DEN bodged their operation to protect the ARC while they incinerated the MEK homeworld, which ended up with several ARC ships being destroyed and the job only being half done."

However, with no public statement from the Dewiek themselves, its hard to know whether these rumours are reliable.

Lord Igor of the Dominion and Erasmus Andersen of the Garcia Family both offered public apologies at the delay in meeting their trade commitments because of the recent closures. The not-so-subtle subtext being that someone will pay with blood for this interference in their business. Or at least with a stealthy price rise.

Inside this issue of the SSS: * Wimble Civil Strife * Who Sniffs the Sniffers? * Largin’ It * &etc

 
***** Inter Galactic News *****

*** Videtis quantum scelus contra rem publicam vobis nuntiatum sit? ***

The Flagritz Empire is no more! The Flagritz Republic is reborn! Quick on the heel of the collapse of the Empire, the Fessin caste declared a new era of foreign and economic policy with a rapid withdrawal behind the Black Gate.

The new ecologically-friendly Prime Minister Kayxaer, asked for patience as “economic” reforms were undertaken. It remains to be seen whether there will be any price to pay for the dramatic changes being made by the reclusive Flagritzi or whether it will all be sunshine and rainbows going forward.

Inside this issue of the SSS: * Large at Large * &etc

 
***** Inter Galactic News *****

*** Bravo for Freedom ***

Naplian Forces have attacked three human pirate outposts in the Morroglyph system. A spokesperson for Naplia HQ told the press that the plucky duct-tape loving free people would continue their war against slavers and pirates in their home periphery.

One salty Naplian libertarian told the SSS, “The people of the Naplian Home Periphery are sick and tired of human criminals coming here just because their homeworld is an overcrowded hell. It’s time for them to go back home.”

Inside this issue of the SSS: * Igor of Fang and Horns * Admiral Loves Dick Turpin * &etc

 
***** Inter Galactic News *****

.What is It?
..a wOrmhOle?.
…No.. worse..
….the KANG singularity!…
…..It pulls us IN…..
……lOOks sO familiar……
…….yet so strange…….
……..what is……..
………that?……..

*** Flagritz Liberalise Economy ***

In good news for all the galaxy the Flagritzi have vowed to liberate all slaves across their Empire. Furthermore, the hectapods have given up eating other sentient species; taking up a strict diet of veganism and soy chai lattes. Sales of turtle neck sweaters and Forbidden Fruit laptops have skyrocketed.

The news was cautiously welcomed by the benevolent Felini Tyranny who looked forward to reducing the War phase of their daily Nap-Lick-Nap-War-Nap-Eat-Sleep cycle to a perfunctory forty winks.

Inside this issue of the SSS: * Baron Womble * A Short History of the DPP * &etc

 
***** Inter Galactic News *****

*** Empire Strikes: Solo ***

A massive fleet of some 1600 warships, including large numbers of super-heavy capital 300 and 400 hullers, attacked the DEN in the Solo system, catching them with their metaphorical pants down. The DEN gate platform and some two hundred DEN freighters were subject to antimatter missiles amongst other high tech ordinance.

Jack the lad, Viceroy of the Empire, claimed a victory for freedom and the Imperial (right of) way leaving the sullen Dewiek unusually unresponsive.

With DOM platforms firing on CIA ships, will the IMP now demand the DOM add them to the Do Not Fire lists as well? And what exactly is the nature of the DOM and DEN alliance in light of the sustained attack from the Empire? And will the DEN’s alien friends stand idly by as the Empire fleet camps in the vital gate system of Solo? How will the DEN retaliate for this action or are they ready to roll over and have their bellies rubbed?

All this remains unknown. All that is certain is the “feel good” factor across the DTR has increased, with citizens reassured that for some time yet, they may continue in their slumber with the easy assurance that their number is not coming up anytime soon.

Inside this issue of the SSS: * New BHD Guy * DOM Statement * &etc

 
***** Inter Galactic News *****

*** To Ur Is Dewiek ***

Dewiek forces had a hefty smackdown against the mysterious living ships known as the T’Cath (TCA). Seven adult TCA 400 hull capital ships, each firing eight of their notorious plasma cannons, were killed by a DEN and DOM fleet of some 700 ships.

Of the minimal losses suffered by the DEN / DOM, one-eyed Magnus and Nevets Motnhap of the FEL were amongst the dead.

Inside this issue of the SSS: * Caribbean Congo Continues * Ur Witness Report * * Hive Briefing * &etc

 
***** Inter Galactic News *****

*** The Long Quiet Season ***

Listen…
There’s no sound of anger or of annoyance,
There’re neither cruisers racing on the jump lanes
Nor there jump lanes for them to race on,
There’re neither monks chanting on the battlegrounds
Nor bells calling us to the True One.
There’s neither the lightning cracking of the sky
Nor the persistent Naplians pattering on my roof.
There’s no Dewiek arm in arm to admire the magnificent view
There’re no war drums to feed Human ears
Nor Hive sirens to steal the boredom away
There’s no unfamiliar wing creeping underneath the Falconian sun
Nor floods to enshroud the Aquaphid grounds
The land lies lonely out here
On this lazy summer’s day
There’s no pollution to poison the airs of Inversion
Nor forests to give them life
All I hear is the hushing sound of the wind
Assisting the sand to fall into beautiful undulations.

Whilst we’ve been away: * Operation Giantslayer * Naplian Liberation * Back in the DTTR * &etc

 
***** Inter Galactic News *****

*** Falconians Saved ***

The Imperials have cunningly saved the Falconian Republic from being consumed by the Dewiek Elder Nation and at no small cost to the DEN either. Whilst the new pro tem Consul crowed about the “victory”, all former FCN systems besides Acropolis have been taken over by the two warring Empires - Human and Flagritz.

Was it all worth it? For the IMP / GTT it clearly was, for the movement of a few hundred thousand troops is surely nothing to the cost they endured trying to and failing to knock the DEN out of Solo after the fact. The FCN now plucked off most of their navy and wider assets are a tiny nothing of their former self. The DEN may have resorted to some dirty namecalling but can the costs endured to save an enfeebled FCN have really been worth it? Time will tell.

Inside this issue of the SSS: * INDignation * FELicitous Caribbean * Nah Plan for Naplia * Mercs Trouble DEN * &etc

 

Free Ship when you sign-up
Complete missions for in game rewards
Control everything, up to an entire empire
Dedicated human moderators
Player and Moderator driven plotlines
Discover new worlds to explore, exploit & colonise
Over 20 years of content development
Persistent Browser-Based Game (PBBG)

I’ve played on and off for approximately 10 years, over a 20 year spell. After some interesting debate on the in-game forum, I did wonder what, exactly, has kept drawing me back to the game, when for so many others I’ve generally lost interest after a few months.

Ultimately, I think it is a combination of automation (that allows the game to handle thousands of positions to interact on a daily basis) coupled with Special Actions (that allow the story arc to develop in a way that could not be catered for by a set of predefined list of available orders).
-Zigic