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Developments for 2015

Developments for 2015

For those with a Nexus account, greater details can be found in the Rules, both under the 2014 Pubmeet for new additions and the bulk of Character information in the 2011 pubmeet.

2015 is the year we seek to tidy up the loose ends of Phoenix and really get down to flattening the learning cliff but at the same time add long-term depth and luring back former players and catching the attention of completely new players.

Here is presented an abbreviated list of things that we will be focusing on:

Player Recruitment
We have already outlined improvements to the UI. Further to this and with the understanding that any reduction in turn fees in certain areas may require balancing to remain financially stable, we will review costs to play the game and the limits of free-play. Key features of this overhaul:
  • Tightening signing up procedure - there are steps in the process that could be clearer as discovered by a review of where players stop when signing up.
  • Pulling sign-ups back to the site - need things to pull players back to the site over the first few days to check results, get more things moving - email/SNS.
  • More Initial Missions - tutorial style with stellar rewards, officer experience, access to ships. These will include tasks such as contacting affiliations, signing bonus for joining an affiliation and posting on the recruitment forum.
  • Advertising - we have already identified sites that list games along with voting protocols. These have response hooks back to the origin of the vote. Include links on Nexus to allow players to vote and get in-game rewards (a thousand stellars is a big deal to a new player).
  • Free Basic Political - The old arguments against this are no longer salient.
  • More Political Perks for Upgrades - Give big reasons to upgrade and remain upgraded. Monthly fees to be applied to prevent swapping and changing political level.
  • Android and Iphone App - initially these will receive push SNS's of (Red) notifications and PM's. Give a reason to download the app such as a stellar bonus. Make the benefit of the download clear on signing up.
  • Event Notifications - things happen to politicals (or at least the position they are in). Offers of a good trade deal such as BP's or hi-tech goods, information about an anomaly, chance to buy a nice ship. These may be in the form of mission tags. Always a Red Notification and pushed through phone app.




The Political Package

As politicals are essential for playing Phoenix, they have historically formed a barrier to getting into the game by those that are initially unwilling to pay to play. To remove this we will make them free to play but including Political upgrade options to discourage current players from downgrading to free politicals:

  • Political - 10k Bonus on creation (and 5 ships) - but need the KJC account - free
  • The Budget Package - Pol + Starbase + 2k/week + 2 free Updates/week (and 10 ships) - £2.50/week
  • Pol Upgrade - one-off 200k bonus on upgrade + 10k/week + 5 Updates/week - £2/week
  • Pol Upgrade - 10k/week + 20k weekly troop wage subsidy +15 updates/week - £3/week
  • Pol Upgrade - 20k/week + 50k weekly troop wage subsidy + unlimited updates/week - £4/week

Upgrade to politiical also include upgrade to in-game political support, i.e. better contacts with civilians and backers. A free political for example may only get the occasional offer of a few trained troops for purchase from civilian sources whereas a political with the best political support may find out about a few hundred veterans.

The Budget Package:
  • One off package per account and purchased for minimum period of 1 month.
  • Advice on where to build and basic starbase construction will be covered in future IGN articles.
  • The package will also include some authorisations from civilian populations for the following complexes to get the starbase up and running quickly:
    • 5 Command
    • 100 Factory
    • 50 Merch (6700 stellars even on a 80/3 120/30 merch world)
    • 35 Starbase Shields
    • 50 Mines
    • 10 Security



Characters
We have converted all the existing characters to the new framework described a number of years ago. This has required that all the items in the game are databased and instanced correctly and has required a large rework of the existing code. While the actually implementing this kind of thing is relatively easy, making it work in code that was not designed this way 14 years ago is not :) However we now have a system that has all the characters converted to individual items that can carry their own data, so that system can be built on.

We need to expand this so that you can get report on all the characters and submit orders as separate positions. We are going to make it so that you can interact with characters through the positions they are in and via individual orders. This will be achieved via a character tab on the nexus that will keep all the necessary utilities for characters in one place so that they can be happily ignored if that's the way you chose to play them or used to micro manage every detail if you are that way inclined.

We need to create the option to apply a default template to characters along which they automatically develop. This will be a Nexus tool (similar to Position and Base Editor). So when you recruit a character you could select one of these templates and ignore the character as he develops into the role that you hired him/her for. We also need to create a utility to allow you to create these templates so that you can plan out exactly how they will develop. We want to provide all the tools so having characters can be relatively painless but at the same time they can be a whole other aspect to the game.

Agent Networks (for characters)
We will be rewriting all the agent orders so that an agent/operative is more about setting up a network consisting of safe houses and operation centres within a starbase and then using these accumulated assets to interact with the starbase in a more straight forward way. This will not make it more simplistic to cause problems at a starbase but will make it clearer what is required to actually do an action. We will be using notifications to make sure the starbase owner has a clue what is going on but on the other side of things we will be creating false alarms so that a single clue will not bring down everything onto a new operation. We will be stepping far away from the current mechanics of one shot and % success equates to sending in multiple operatives to achieve success.





Missions
Missions are in a very usable state within the game but adding and checking them is very time-consuming. We need an internal debugging process for the missions allowing their results to be checked without requiring a test platform. This will allow Mica to add more missions without having to have to write them 'blind' and having them debugged later by Darak.

Infrastructure
The infrastructure orders are being done entirely in custom code within the game. The underlying custom code engine and interface has been slowly improving stretching the achievable limits of custom code. This has allowed coding of some interesting things that previously would have got bogged down in how much could be done. This organic development as also defined clear and achievable borders for development.

The engine and therefore custom orders will constantly improve. We are adding more features to the orders and more generic features to the custom code, this is allowing the game to evolve without constantly changing to base code.

Improve Utilities and UI
We are going to go through the nexus and see how we can create a bunch of utilities that allow turns to be crafted more easily. We will never remove the standard order editor but there are ways of creating turns that mean that you will never have to see the actual set of orders. These utilities will focus on letting you do what you want to with your assets and not on automating the game. Part of the ideology is that modern gamers are daunted by the old PBM style of issuing orders and this may a big part of the learning cliff.

Currently we are not exactly sure where this is going to go but we need to make the game easier to play the game while not removing the ability to do everything in the game with simple lists of orders. I'll be looking into how the jump/system maps could be improved to help with movement and actions. We will also look to parsing the turns from text into a more interactive format.





 
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