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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 *****

*** 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

 
***** Inter Galactic News *****

*** Acropolis Now ***

The IMP and GTT have brought peace and stability to Acropolis.

 
***** Inter Galactic News *****

*** Goodbye Falconians ***

The galaxy bid farewell to the Falconian Republic as the Human Empire subsumed them into their expanding territories. This marks the second death of an alien civilisation at the hands of the IMP / GTT in recent years. Like the extinguishing of the nearby Ulians, no voices of opposition could be heard from other quarters. This marks a long-period of appeasement by the Detinus Republic and Dewiek Elder Nation.

Inside this issue of the SSS: * DOMination * &etc

 
***** Inter Galactic News *****



 
***** Inter Galactic News THE MUSICAL *****

*** Norozov, No More ***

Kantner: No more do I see the starlight caress your cyclops eye
No more feel the tender kisses we used to share
I close my fists and clearly my heart remembers
A thousand goodbyes could never put out the embers

Chulainn: Oh the power is mine now!

Kantner: Norozov, I love you so, and my heart forever
Will belong to the memory of the love that we knew before
Please, come back to my arms; we belong together
Come to me; let's be sweethearts again and then let us part no more

Chulainn: Oh all the Stellars mine now!

Sylvansight: I will have his eye!

Kantner: No more do I feel the touch of your hand on mine
No more see the love-light making your dark eyes shine
Oh, how I wish I never had caused you sorrow
But don't ever say for us there is no tomorrow

Chulainn: Oh all the ladies mine now!

Sylvansight: I will have his eye!

Chorus: The power is in the eye!

Kantner: Norozov, I love you so, and my heart forever
Will belong to the memory of the love that we knew before
Please, come back to my arms; we belong together
Come to me; let's be sweethearts again and then let us part no more

Sylvansight: I will have his eye!

Chulainn: Oh the power is mine now!

Chorus: The power is in the eye!

Kantner: Norozov, I love you so, and my heart forever
Will belong to the memory of the love that we knew before.

Lanner: So, old cyclops has finally met his comeuppance
Maybe its time for a comeback

Chorus: No, no one wants you back!

Lanner: I always did like that chair of his…

Chorus: The power is in the eye!
The power is in the eye!
The power is in the eye!

Continued in this special edition of the SSS...

 
***** Inter Galactic News *****

*** ALIEN CRIMINALS BROUGHT TO JUSTICE ***

FILTHY AND DISHONOURABLE Dewiek mercenaries have dared to attack HONEST AND HARDWORKING GTT warships in the Coptuv system.

THEY HAVE BEEN BROUGHT TO JUSTICE. LONG LIVE THE EMPEROR!

The Dewiek commander’s lengthy response was appreciated by xenophile and philanthropist HQ Manager Tom Krieger but this does not change the facts.

FURTHER JUSTICE IS EXPECTED AT THE EMPEROR’S PLEASURE. LONG LIVE THE EMPEROR!

Inside this issue of the SSS: * SEDITIOUS FET CHARGED * LIES OF THE FAILED REBELLION * TERRORIST PLOTS FOILED * ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE CRITICISED * &etc

 
***** Inter Galactic News *****

*** Voice of the Naplian Liberation Front ***

We are the Naplian Liberation Front. We have commandeered this station to bring you important and vital deprogramming. You are a slave of the Galactic Trouser and Tussles Imperium of Unspecified Services! We have witnessed the press ganged upon by Imperial thugs. Rounding up reporters by the thousands and throwing them in weasel dens. Mocking the Great Uncle of the Flagritz. Manufacturing consent out of a lust for imports of wheat cereals! We poor Naplians(*) are given no training and substandard equipment when preparing your nutritious breakfasts. We are sent forward by the Imperial snack commissioners with threats of triple-filing tax returns on unreasonable deadlines! Death would be preferable. We are allegedly paid a wage but have you ever tried to buy anything with just $1? Strangely none of those politicals earning $10,000 or more a week seem to care about our plight. Not to mention that the Imperials throw perfectly good meat into the grinder instead of slow cooking it in black bean sauce. They have no respect for a classic burrito! We are left grieving for young families who have never tasted quality ranch sauce. You don’t need to be a dead Naplian to know the value of a good guacamole.

* No actual Naplians included.

Inside this issue of the SSS: * GTT vs USN * GTT vs NLF * GTT vs IND * GTT vs KAS * GTT vs FET * GTT vs SSS * &etc

 
***** Inter Galactic News *****

*** Stellar Empire On Warpath ***

The newly re-united Stellar Empire continued to wage war against the Flagritz Empire to bring about galactic peace and freedom for all. The latest system to fall to the inevitable tide of history was Morroglyph in the Coreward Arm. Dewiek intransigence reached fever pitch as the FLZ facilities changed to DEN paws and subsequently became targets of Imperial truth and justice. Despite putting themselves between the past and the future, the DEN seemed to lack much will for an actual fight with Dewiek military commanders adopting “meh” as their watchword.

Inside this issue of the SSS: * GTT smacks NLF * DEN whack MRC * Slaves Liberated * FLZ Retreat * ARC in Orion Spur * &etc

 
***** 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

 

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