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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.



 
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***** Inter Galactic News *****

Yenni-bodies Pirates?

A PIR outpost was miraculously discovered by an IMP freighter, of all things, in the Yanni system with several Javelin class warships in orbit. After noticing the IMP freighter and seeing the public post by Jack Jones on subspace, the PIR decided to flee and leave a combined force of IMP and FET forces to capture the outpost. A brain damaged three-year old commentator who still believed in the goodness of people and Santa Claus was quick to commend the IMP on their good work, dismissing those who thought it no more than a convenient clearing up operation signifying* completion of operations in the nearby FET claimed systems of Graydown, Canth and Onissian by IMP puppet Edward Lowe. Meanwhile, the Wolf Lord Lyceum summed up the view of many when he screamed, “What is this amateur b*llshit?” into an uncaring universe.


 
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***** Inter Galactic News *****

Crowe Coups Self

The IMP Viceroy Tiberius Crowe has finally achieved something in his unremarkable tenure by relinquishing even the semblance of wearing big boy pants and instead, appointed Jack Jones as Patrol Commissioner, salty spokesperson and policy maker for the Empire. Crowe will now join CIA Director Laton in riding the special bus to work where the two of them will enjoy long pleasant afternoons sipping cups of tea. Actually, just tepid fruit-scented water as neither of them can be fully trusted with a hot kettle. Occasionally, they might be visited by equally dynamic war “veteran” Admiral Bridge to enjoy mimes presenting the latest comics from the Howl. Meanwhile, Jones is putting pressure on the FET and will soon no doubt find a pretext to deploy his vast mercenary forces against anyone else who is seen working too closely with his most hated of enemies, the HEX.


 
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***** Inter Galactic News *****

Highlord Aadolf Loses Control As Dewiek Break Peace Treaty

Around one hundred DEN warships have launched an attack on a small GTT destroyer squadron of forty ships in the Daggern system. Two GTT ships were destroyed and another fifteen suffered noticeable damage. CEO Xavier Fox issued a restrained but angry statement demanding the DEN explain themselves. Highlord Aadolf’s buffoon-like response amounted to “Dewiek be Dewiek, let’s drink and forget about it.” Cold comfort for the dead crew onboard the GTT ships and their families. Especially, as seems likely at this time, the Empire will settle for some bloody money instead of retribution.


 
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***** Inter Galactic News *****

The Worm Turns

The FET have reduced relations with the IMP to neutral. Sneezy boss Cu Chulainn took the bold step of putting 1 and 1 together by linking recent mercenary attacks in their systems with the IMP scouts seen loitering for some time and refusing to move. Even bolder, hints that they believe “a certain Imperial citizen” is responsible for Edward Lowe’s entire underhand operation were voiced loudly enough that the handsome but hard of hearing Tiberius Crowe had to take note. He was seen grappling in trademark fashion with his skin tight jacket, pulling it down over his partially concealed middle-aged girth, as he sat to issue a terse public statement. Exactly who this citizen may be was left unnamed and no news channel subject to Imperial laws would dare unmask the villain. Luckily dear readers, we are not subject to phony Imperial laws. It’s Jack Jones everybody. Jack Jones, butcher of Naplians and fancier of silver long johns.


 
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***** Inter Galactic News *****

”Necessity hath no law”

Lord Cromwell of the DOM slapped a fleet of privateers, on charges of "knavery", "bad manners" and "poor sportsmanship." Such offences carry the death sentence in the Dominion, a nebulous territory neither part of the Empire nor apart from it. At least thirteen Armadillo class ships, typically sold by the DOM, were destroyed at a location Cromwell was unwilling to disclose publicly. Bloodthirsty Dewiek as well as "prince of peace" Yahn Wodenzoon were quick to congratulate the DOM for their merciless carnage. It seems the consensus in the galaxy’s ruling class is that not presenting valid identification is a crime worthy of the murder of dozens, perhaps hundreds, of unfortunate crewmen. This is all just another indicator that the political elite are far removed from the lives of ordinary people who are seen as little more than meat inventory. It is telling so-called “man of the people and the downtrodden” Wodenzoon so readily aligns himself with this grisly concord. Meanwhile, the archaic elocutionist Cromwell further establishes the recent trend of mild exertions of power by the cold-blooded DOM.


 
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***** Inter Galactic News *****

Return of the Fox

The galaxy is still digesting news of the return of Xavier Fox to the boardroom of the GTT. The ailing corporation's share price began a sharp rally after a six month downward spiral under Ike Krieger, credited with being the worst CEO in the megacorporation's history. The only surviving board member from Fox's initial tenure as CEO, and perhaps across the entire GTT board, is Antt Tilton the Research Director. The reclusive Tilton is the brains behind the ascension of GTT technology, particularly in the field of antimatter weapons and super-heavy dreadnought size ships, Tilton offers a small measure of continuity during this tumultuous time. Mr. Fox has therefore resorted to a broad appeal for new blood to join the ailing firm. So far, the result has been a number of two-dimensional "Yes" persons being promoted to the C-suite. Still, key stakeholders were upbeat with one commenting, "Fox is the man to turn this bloody disaster around. He knows how to put a great team together and where to bury the bodies of the non-performers."


 
******Empire Syndicated News Network (ESNN) ******

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Welcome to the latest version of ESNN, giving the news and views from the ESNN's reporter and news anchor, Ainsley Moore, making this the peripheries' most favourite unbiased publication in the known universe,

And so with the news,
 
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As part of the update outlined in the 7th February post, turn fees have been increased as from today.

Turn Fees
 

Free Ship when you sign-up
Complete missions for in game rewards
Control everything, up to an entire empire
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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