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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

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 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.

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.

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  Star Date: 220.45.1

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Perfidion Reached

Long speculated by theoretical Stellar Cartographers, Perfidion Reach finally opened in the last few weeks. Immediately, the Detinus Republic boldly staked a claim on the first accessible system, Hellcadium. Only time will tell the true value of this strategic move but their much-taunted bureaucracy may have finally proved its worth.

Early reports from scans of the system reveal a wildly fluctuating ISR field. Rumours suggest that at least one ship was destroyed as it was forced into an asteroid belt chasing a stable jump field attempting to exit the system. Casual travellers are warned away from the system at this time for their own safety. Leave it to skilled explorers and navigation officers.

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Mathematical model of Hellcadium ISR Field.

We spoke to Captain Zakiyah Ummahi via subspace link. Zakiyah led the first DEN expedition into the Perfidion Reach. "Spirits remain high but this is largely down to the extended R&R we were all forced to take immediately prior to jumping into this hole. Initial scouting reports show at least one planet with plenty of forests and grasslands which might help if we're going to be stuck here for Folkvar knows how long waiting for this damned ISR field to stabilise."

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Valhalla Stargate Reopens

Dewiek engineers and scientists have finally managed to re-enable Stargate Valgrind this week and the protective Exclusion Zone is to be lifted. If DEN investigators discovered who caused the gate to malfunction, or why, they were not willing to share it with us. Military sources, however, have announced a project to provide a significant boost to the already formidable defence platform in the stargate’s orbit.

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*** Inter Galactic News ***

Empire - DEN action grinds to a halt

After months of tension relations between the Empire and the Dewiek Nation, which rose to several large scale fleet actions ending in the DEN losing over 60 Direwolf warships in Solo, things appear to have moved from antagonistic to unfriendly. With the Solo system being a particular issue an agreement has been reached between the Wolf Mother of the DEN and Xavier Fox of the GTT. Since this things have become very quiet, not just because the shooting has stopped, but also because my reporters have been on their summer holidays.
News For Discerning Naplians!
---- Special Galactic Edition ----

(The Host sits at his desk as the studio lights dim, and a single spotlight bathes him in light. He looks straight into the camera and begins to speak: )

Host: Naambta!
Good Greetings, and welcome to the show.

This is News for Discerning Naplians, and i’m sure you are all showing much impatience to see this week’s Panel Discussion. We will be discussing religion with the Lady Ghadir of the Temple of Ya Zoon, renowned neo-naplian spiritualist Chairman TonTon, and a very special guest from our imperial neighbours, Bishop Samantha Porteus of the Brotherhood. But before we get to that...

(Looks demonstratively at his digital wrist watch. )

... it is time for a word from our sponsor.
******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 from our new home in the Heartland,

And so with the news from the last few weeks,
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*** Inter Galactic News ***
  • DEN assault FEL base and get wiped out
  • CIA Trade fleet caught and destroyed by the DEN
  • Krell denounce worship of the True One

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    ***** Inter Galactic News *****

    Huge fleet skirmish at the London/Crossley wormhole

    A large fleet of over 700 DEN warships responded to the EMP action in Crossley, where a 4000 hull DEN platform was destroyed. Reports show the DEN ships caught a group of CIA ships napping and inflicted significant losses on the humans. IMP and GTT fleets moved to assist the CIA, matching DEN fleet numbers, but the arrival of over 1200 Hexamon ships seems to have tipped the battle in favour of the DEN-HEX alliance.

    The combined DEN-HEX force pushed through the wormhole into the Heartland area of human space and retaliated, attacking several CIA platforms in response. The outnumbered Empire fleets abandoned the area and fled, they are currently waiting for the larger alien force to make their next move from their hiding places.
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    ***** Inter Galactic News *****

    Admiral Lord Simms killed after a long and distinguished service to the Empire.

    The Imperial Services have intercepted and serious damaged several DEN ships on the way to the Empire’s home systems. Unfortunately during the action Admiral Lord Simms was injured and reports from the Viceroy indicate he has passed away, fighting the enemies of the Empire like any true Imperial Officer.

    The Viceroy has stated that the officers and crew of the DEN ships have been captured and are now awaiting trial at a secret IMP base.

    DEN continue to strike at the Empire

    Reports are coming in of multiple engagements between the Empire and the Dewiek Elder Nation over the last week. With several battles taking out Empire ships in the Heartland of the CIA.

    AFT turn to piracy

    The Association of Free Traders have, after a long history of neutrality, turned to piracy this week. AFT Drake boarded an IND ship in the Halo periphery, killing several of the crew in the process.
    Independent trader Jarlebanke Langhofdi immediately took to the public communication channel demanding an answer to why supposedly peaceful traders had killed his crew and taken his ship.

    The AFT remain silent over the attack.
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    ***** Inter Galactic News *****

    Combat Special Edition

    Since the DEN started shooting at those lovable FEL fluffballs things have certainly been heating up. So we through it would be prudent to bring you, gentle beings of the peripheries, a special edition in order to keep you updated with all the latest action in regards to who the DEN are shooting and who is shooting them.

    Felini strike back at Dewiek

    Reports have come in of the FEL striking back at the DEN in the Kallisan system. A huge FEL force supported by the IMP and CIA assaulted DEN positions taking both the platform and base called Lucien. There was much rejoicing in the FEL camp as the Felini proved they were not such lovable fluffballs after all!

    GTT get sucked into the war

    A passing fleet of GTT warships got caught in the fighting and this saw the GTT enter the war. When asked about this CEO Fox pointed out they are not warships at all, they are trade defence ships. So how they came to be in the DEN system of Kallisan is a mystery to us. But the GTT CEO was clear that they only engaged using support and defend orders to protect allies. Needless to say, the CEO commented “We found ourselves on the Dewiek Nation’s enemy lists pretty soon after.”

    Dewiek Nation attacks GTT positions in Orion Spur, breaking DOM system rules

    A fleet of DEN warships has engaged and destroyed a significant number of GTT cargo ships and escorts in the DOM system Monument. The GTT immediately took to the public channels to ask why the DOM were not doing something. In reply the DOM issued a statement to stop, which the DEN ignored.

    The DEN newssheet "The HOWL" published a completely unbiased review of the attack shortly after.

    DOM make a choice

    After the above incident and then further raiding by the DEN, taking out a few GTT cargo ships in the DOM system of Coptuv, the DOM seemed to have been faced with a choice of stopping drinking their tea and doing something or just hoping it would go away. Instead they seem to have decided to abandon the whole idea of being an active affiliation and we have since folded. The lengths some people will go to not to have their elevenses disturbed is truly staggering. We asked the DOM for a statement on their new system rules to share with our readers but have received no replies.

    DOM positions share out

    Just as we were going to press news has come in of various DOM assets being given to other affiliations or sold. Hopefully we will have more on this story in the next issue of your favorite factual newsheet. Yes, that's us at the SSS.

    *** Affiliations ***

    AFT Association of Free Traders (54) - Marion Tweedy
    CIA Combined Intelligence Agency (64) - Laton CIA
    DNA Displaced Natives Asylum (66) - DNA people
    DTR Detinus Republic (58) - Morley Decker
    DEN Dewiek Elder Nation (67) - Urd
    DOM Dominion (57) – we believe the DOM are now inactive
    FCN Falconian Republic (70) - Bacran
    FEL Felini Tyranny (49) - Juris
    FLZ Flagritz Republic (47) - Kayxaer
    FET Frontier Exploration & Trade (56) - Cu Chulainn
    GRC Gracians (13) - HG1
    GTT Galactic Trade & Transport (52) - Xavier Fox
    GCE Garcia Enterprises (4) - Neil
    HEX Hexamon (23) - Ando
    IMP Imperial Services (51) - Jack Jones
    KRL Krell (30) - Namica
    KRT Krell of the Reverence Temple (37) - Kal Torak
    KST Kastor Kastorians (12) - Kastor
    MZC Mizuchi Combine (86) - Mizuchi
    MOH Mohache (73) - Listens
    MIC Mohache Independent Commune (76) - Sleeps with Dragons
    NLF Naplian Liberation Front (38) - NLFHQ
    RIP Regularly Involved in Piracy - Githyanki
    RRH Roy Robert Holdings (39) - Roy Roberts
    SMS Stellar Mining and Smelting (53) - MikhailM
    USN Ulian Stellar Nation (34) - Oeipus Prime
    WMB Wimble Nations (25) - zz

    * Leader MAY be inactive, affiliation may be active
    ** Affiliation has no leader but this is the only known contact


    Inactive: ANT, BHD, COD, HVE, IDC, RIP, RCF, SKW, TAG

    Deceased: CAL

    *** Submission ***

    By private message to The Editor or via Mica if you prefer to remain anonymous.
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    ***** Inter Galactic News *****

    New pirate threat rocks Corward Arm.

    Several large pirate ships have been spotted in outer rings of Corward systems. Reports forwarded to us at the SSS allow us to exclusively tell readers that traders should keep their wits about them when moving through these areas.

    No existing pirate menace has yet claimed ownership.

    In a possibly unrelated event one of the FET cartel members claimed nothing was happening in the outer ring of Coptov shortly afterwards. But it could be that they are still trying to catch Empire backed pirates and have nothing to do with the new sightings.
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    ***** Inter Galactic News *****

    DEN continue to shoot innocents

    The Dewiek have made themselves busy shooting at the peaceful and innocent traders of the SSL. Leader of Solar Spices and Liquors Mr TOAD has been vocal pointing out that the Beast-DEN are being totally unfair. News of a go-fund-me appeal are yet to surface though.

    This office is sure that it must have provided the DEN light relief after picking on the equally defenceless Felini. Word is that the DEN faced such an uphill struggle in these recent actions they had to take up Felini inter-breeding to provide some entertainment as the battle reports were rather boring.

    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).