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 Post subject: Planetary Independence
PostPosted: Wed Jan 28, 2009 6:10 pm 
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Planetary Independence has changed in the main game and will be refined even more over the next week.

The Independence schedule has been delayed for 24 more hours.

Currently, if you have 50 planets or less you are 100% safe and never have to worry about any planet going independent.

If you have more than 50 planets you have to visit the planet every 3 days to prevent the planet from going independent. This is being modified due to some people using an exploit. The more planets you have over 50 there is a scaling factor used in determining how often you need to visit your planets. The more planets you own the more often you have to visit them. The current visit a planet every 3 days gets lowered a slight amount for each planet over 50 you own. If you own enough planets you might have to visit all of them every 5 minutes to prevent them from going independent. You would have to own a quite a few more planets than any player currently owns in the game for that to happen. The routine will also automatically scale based upon each players activity.

Players with more than 100 planets may be in for a shock when the independence routine hits in 24 hours.



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 Post subject: Re: Planetary Independence
PostPosted: Wed Jan 28, 2009 6:47 pm 
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I'm not sure exactly how you can justify this change mid-round, when several players are already well over that amount, and will be adversely affected, after a month of work.

Panama Jack wrote:
The routine will also automatically scale based upon each players activity.



What exactly does this mean? We get punished more for being active?


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 Post subject: Re: Planetary Independence
PostPosted: Wed Jan 28, 2009 7:37 pm 
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I agree. Such a drastic change should be put in at the beginning of the next round. Also seems like a bad idea to me because it makes it alot more difficult mid-round to catch up to someone thats been playing for a month.


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 Post subject: Re: Planetary Independence
PostPosted: Thu Jan 29, 2009 1:02 am 
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oakman wrote:
I agree. Such a drastic change should be put in at the beginning of the next round. Also seems like a bad idea to me because it makes it alot more difficult mid-round to catch up to someone thats been playing for a month.


Actually it makes it easier for a player joining mid round to catch up if you think it through.

Before the game reset we warned people that things were going to be more restrictive on planets this time around and they shouldn't be building as many planets as last game. We have players with over 220 planets right now. They are building and capturing them at a very high rate.

The way the change in the game is working right now isn't any different from it being there at the start of the game. I have seen people build/capture 30+ planets in the 1-3 day period between the times the independence schedule runs. So people can get hit just as bad if it is mid game or from the start.

We all know the players with the most planets have been pushing the limit to see where the limit is in the game. They would have been doing the same style of play anyway. Once they found the limit and got tagged they would have changed.

Remember we said it was going to be much, much more difficult for people to maintain as many planets as last round. So they can't claim ignorance if they were reading the forums before the reset. We said having 300-400 planets would be almost impossible and 200+ would be very, very difficult.

You can still try to have that many and some players WILL be doing it but they will be spending time trying to get them back instead of building up a smaller number and attacking other players.



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 Post subject: Re: Planetary Independence
PostPosted: Thu Jan 29, 2009 2:22 am 
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You have driven away most of your fan base already, and if you keep making changes mid-round you will drive the rest away. I have worked my ass off this round to try and stay at the top. Now I am being punished for hard work, and you will not even give us concrete answers or numbers. You make statements and can't back them up, you make changes that are intended to discourage people from even trying to compete.

If you want to keep having a game, you need to start listening to what the players say. You talk about balance, but everything you say is a lie. When you can't trust the admin of a game, why should you even play? I will personally message every player and ask them to protest your changes, and if necessary, the game itself. All we want is to be able to know what the boundaries are, so we don't have to keep pushing, and we want to be able to just enjoy ourselves. You've repeatedly made changes to hinder progress, and everyone who is worth anything will agree with that. All of the old players say the game isn't fun anymore, all of the new players say the game is too confusing with so many things not public knowledge. The only person who is truly happy at this point, is Panama Jack.

Excuse me for being frank here, but you have pissed me off more than I have been in many years, even more than what happened last night, which Cephus can attest really had me rattled. In my view, mid-round changes should be limited to fixing exploits at the most. Building planets is not an exploit. The independence thing is a setting, or series of settings, that should be tweaked in between rounds if the need arises. Unless the system was completely broken, which it isn't, it should not be changed during the round. You finally have a good, competitive round, with great parity at the top, and the top players actually even exchanging blows instead of stagnating due to peace accords, and you have to try and screw it up. Well that is fine, because there are a lot of players who have played for a long time that are getting tired of this type of thing. I understand it is your game, and you have every right to make any change you want, but as a player, we should have a right to know what we have to to play the game, and we should be able to be confident that the rules are not going to be changed on a whim mid-round.


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 Post subject: Re: Planetary Independence
PostPosted: Thu Jan 29, 2009 2:55 am 
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Quote:
I understand it is your game, and you have every right to make any change you want, but as a player, we should have a right to know what we have to to play the game, and we should be able to be confident that the rules are not going to be changed on a whim mid-round.


i totally aggree with this.

Quote:
Remember we said it was going to be much, much more difficult for people to maintain as many planets as last round. So they can't claim ignorance if they were reading the forums before the reset. We said having 300-400 planets would be almost impossible and 200+ would be very, very difficult.


and i take this as meaning that the changes would be made during the reset not mid-game


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 Post subject: Re: Planetary Independence
PostPosted: Thu Jan 29, 2009 6:58 am 
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I am in the gaming industry (coin operated). I've only been around for this round and most of last round. I understand that changes made to a server based game need to be made occasionally to keep the game functional, and fair (in the event of an exploit).

I have noticed that there is a desire of admin and some of the players (from what is posted in shout) for a more balanced game. I felt some jealousy last round when I saw players who had many more planets and much more money than I sitting at the top, and moving up in score at what I percieved as a too high rate of speed. I saw a lot of whining from the other players about being hit, and I didn't say much because I knew that a space based game of build and protect and build and attack had the elements of building something and then someone else coming along and destroying it.

I didn't whine when people took my SG's. I just built more. I saw others who had better scores than I and I knew that they knew the game better than I and were exploiting that knowledge to get the high score. This is normal gaming in any venue.

This round I have logged a ton of hours on this game already and plan on logging a ton more. I don't know where I will end up on the board, but I do know I want to play, and I want to learn the game better so I can become a better player, and get a better score.

When you talk about making a change to any server game mid round, you must, in the interest of fairness, consider where the game is now, who is playing, how they will be affected, and whether or not the change is absolutely necessary. You do want people to continue, and just like hitting the brand new player is not good for the game, hitting players who have logged literally days on this round is not good for the game either.

I think it is important to look at this issue of fairness, hammer it out, and then maybe put up a general "this is what this game is all about" notice for all existing players as well as for all new players.

I don't know what kind of person you are Panama, but if it is fairness only that you seek, then honestly, you need to run a day care center, not a strategy based online Assault Traders game. The fact is, the game cannot be made fair in all aspects. My son, Hydro in the game, has no clue what it takes to be where I am in the game. He just started this round and has about 5 planets. I am helping him. He has already gotten hit and lost half of his planets once (that dang Kamidkazi ! ). But, even if he did understand every nuance of the game, he isn't allowed to be online but for a little while each day. I log an average 3-4 hours a day on this game. That is why my score is so high.

I choose to be a builder now, and I will choose to be an attacker late in the round because that is what the game is all about ! I'm not going to whine when someone takes my planets *stern sideways glance at Oyobi*, but I will help my teammate take his as a response because that is what this game is all about !

Now, if you want to penalize me for being successful because I've logged more hours on learning and then playing this game then that is your choice. I don't think it is a wise one.

Paul (Cephus)


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 Post subject: Re: Planetary Independence
PostPosted: Thu Jan 29, 2009 11:42 am 
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I love the game and will play it as is presented to me....



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 Post subject: Re: Planetary Independence
PostPosted: Thu Jan 29, 2009 11:59 am 
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I will talk about this later as I am late for Pizza Lunch. :)

But... Here is a list for people to munch on...

Current Player Planet Totals

Cephus: 223
ScHunter: 222
Nobody: 193
Oyobi: 122
Locutus: 114
Captain: 105
Shade: 92
Bonehead: 86
Independent: 82
Sifu: 51
Fungus Amongus: 50
Osirix: 45
BadMojo: 44
Kamikadze: 42
Wonder: 39
Daedalus: 39
Admiral Leonard: 38
Lorien: 37
Johnson: 36
Daniel Jackson: 36
PhirePhly: 34
Gabriel: 33
Yo Mama: 33
Kapeklis: 26
Titi: 25
Your Father: 24
Vilkas: 22
Yan: 21
Binary: 20
Lucky Starr: 19
Pixar: 18
Serrano: 17
Gramps: 16
Hebus: 16
Hydro: 15
Alf: 15
Newbie: 13
The Philbonian: 13
Jason Bourne: 13
Gerrard: 12
Lime: 8
King Arthur: 8
Milo Minderbinder: 7
ER: 7
Mrx666: 6
Big Dealer: 6
Clantro: 6
Sammael: 6
Matt: 5
Duffman: 5
Scolioso: 5
Boom: 4
Lord Of Destruction: 4
Buzzer: 3
LsTiVeC: 3
Anja: 3
Doom: 3
Gizmo: 3
The Disciple: 3
Hertz Donut: 2
Anubis: 2
Bryan: 2
Federation: 1
Phomdzelzis: 1
Chizad: 1
Eon: 1
Gargamel: 1
Roin: 1
Nathaniel Flint: 1
Fisk: 1
Looder: 1
Neretita: 1



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 Post subject: Re: Planetary Independence
PostPosted: Thu Jan 29, 2009 1:56 pm 
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I'm not sure how I feel about this. I spent some of the last game with well over 100 planets and it was certainly a pain to manage. I always had a planet or two going indy on me but I managed. Sometimes I let them go, sometime I got them back, but it was for me to decide ifI wanted to keep them or not. It appears that wouldn't change except that I'd have to make that decision a lot more frequently, from what I'm reading. Through all that I have learned what it takes to keep a planet from going indy on me and I think I'm getting pretty good at knowing when I need to visit them and keep them happy (many thanks to the people that have given me hints and tips in this area).

A question that arises is why are people that build more planets going to be forced to spend more time managing them? I guess I don't see the reasoning behind that just yet. The other option is to NOT spend time managing them and constantly build, build, build. But the problem there is you may never get a chance to fully cultivate a planet and that ultimately defeats the purpose of building planets at all.

On the other hand, I have personally been looking for a "magic number" of planets that allow a player to maintain a score on page 1, but is also a manageable number. Like I said, over 100 planets in the last game was a pain. But why penalize, for lack of a better term, someone for having more planets. I guess I'd like to understand the reason for the change.

If I were to vote on this, I would vote to hold off on this change until a new round starts. It might not be fair to put the people who already have well over 50 planets to have this forced on them. They may have played a completely different strategy to this point. I know that at this point I'm not going too far over the "magic 50" because I want to test that.

Take this for what it is worth with my limited experience with this game. I enjoy the game whether I am constnatly hunted and killed or doing the killing. It's all fun-n-games and I surely do appreciate the chance to play such a great game for free.


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 Post subject: Re: Planetary Independence
PostPosted: Thu Jan 29, 2009 2:09 pm 
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Well folks, I can understand your frustrations. The thing is the biggest problem with too many planets is the load it puts on the server.

We sat at lunch coming up with a couple ideas where we wont have to limit the planets as much. Indy will still happen there just wont be as much of a total cap.

You also need to understand, the more planets you have the slower it will be when you login as the database has to deal with all your planets and sift through em for the info it needs.

What I proposed to off set load was to let production run like normal for anyone with 100 planets or less. After you pass a 100 planets production gets lumped into an excess planet scheduler that wont run as often. You will still get the production like you would, it would it just wouldn't happen as often which means you will have to adjust your planet levels accordingly based on that schedule. This is just an example below

100-150 scheduler runs once every hour
150-200 every 3 hours
200-300 every 6 hours
300-400 every 12 hours
400 and up once per day on the non peek hours.

Note this is a brainstorm and nothing is set in stone but it would help with the load issues.

Another thought we had is the number of planets in an SG needs to be limited or if an SG is so big there is a chance of a wormhole to known space to happen. This way you would either need to build smaller SGs or constantly be checking to see if your number is up. The thing is with huge SGs behind a good defense is if you manage to tag all your planets your pretty insulated from attack as not many can bust you unless you make a mistake. This would expose the large builders and help attackers. Builders may not think it, but they really are who wins the game.

Note again, brainstorms.

I understand the frustrations you guys are having. But you have to also understand that this is a free game and there may come a time that we might have to move to a shared or VPS host to run it so we have to keep that in mind. We want it to stay free but there will be a hard cost with a move. Currently we are running in a location where I host my servers and there is always the possibility that might go away and we will have to find a way to afford to run the server elsewhere. In which case we will have to find ways to keep the cpu loads down.



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 Post subject: Re: Planetary Independence
PostPosted: Thu Jan 29, 2009 2:55 pm 
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Thank you for the explanation. This clears up a lot of suppositions. I know significantly less about servers than I should, but wouldn't it reduce load if you made the "ticks" 10 minutes apart instead of 5? Other than that, your suggestion to have the system update at varying intervals is fine by me, I don't check in but every few hours anyway. It is only the times when I am working on the game online for a while where I would like to see updates and "work" my planet percentages, but if it is the same for everyone then it would just change the game and my schedule.

Another option is to have the planets update only once per hour, or when someone attacks or scans them, or when the owner checks in. I don't know if this would work, but there is already a LV number on each planet, use that for the latest update when one of these events happens. That way the server isn't working planets unless there are a lot of people online working them.

And if it's money you need to update the server or whatever it needs to be more efficient, or whatever, then give us a number.. Let's see if we who love this game can help out. I've already donated and would do so again to keep the game up and free for most.

The last thing is this: I understand that builders get the highest score. That is why I am building. It makes sense.

Cephus


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 Post subject: Re: Planetary Independence
PostPosted: Thu Jan 29, 2009 3:43 pm 
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Could always set it to update every 2-3 hours. Perhaps have it set by a timezone feature so when someone is most likely asleep they rarely update for them. Don't know much about coding so I don't know how hard that would be to put in.


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 Post subject: Re: Planetary Independence
PostPosted: Thu Jan 29, 2009 5:47 pm 
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Tarnus wrote:
What I proposed to off set load was to let production run like normal for anyone with 100 planets or less. After you pass a 100 planets production gets lumped into an excess planet scheduler that wont run as often. You will still get the production like you would, it would it just wouldn't happen as often which means you will have to adjust your planet levels accordingly based on that schedule.


The only question I have on this, is how it would affect people who normally "tend" planet (Keep them at a high percentage of max credits in order to get maximum growth) If you only run the schedule every hour, and I normally handle my planets every five minutes, I would have to drop my planets 12 times lower than I normally would, which would really mess up the credit production. I think if I saw a change like this, I would rather also see the benefit from having a planet in the 95%+ range taken away, otherwise people with large amounts of planets would be outdone by people with better tended planets at a lower amount (That is the case already, if the player with the large amount of planets doesn't tend his planets well, but as is the case right now, I have a lot of planets, and tend my planets, if the scheduler was changed, I would not be able to tend as efficiently.)

Tarnus wrote:
This would expose the large builders and help attackers. Builders may not think it, but they really are who wins the game.


I know we are the ones who win, if we get a foothold. I told you in chat the other day that an attacker cannot compete for the top score, simply based on the change where they have to hold a planet for several days in order to get the money off of it. Even if they break a very juicy SG, they can only get 10% off the bat, and would need to spend all of it in defending the SG from being retaken if they wanted the rest. Attackers are only able to attack if they already have a large store of money set aside to add defense when they take an SG, so they can't keep all their income being piled into their ship, unless they never plan on keeping even the most juicy planets.

Tarnus wrote:
Another thought we had is the number of planets in an SG needs to be limited or if an SG is so big there is a chance of a wormhole to known space to happen. This way you would either need to build smaller SGs or constantly be checking to see if your number is up. The thing is with huge SGs behind a good defense is if you manage to tag all your planets your pretty insulated from attack as not many can bust you unless you make a mistake.


I do not have a problem with this, as I try and spread out my planets already, and have three separate realspace sectors with SGs off of them, three realspace sectors without SGs, I have two deep SGs, and a dozen shallow SGs. I have more spent on sector defense than any three other players, I would argue, even after I voluntarily gave up an SG that I had taken from Oyobi that I spent over 15T credits defending.

Tarnus wrote:
I understand the frustrations you guys are having.


The only frustration I have is not knowing what the rules are, until they get changed, then we are told what the rules were, but we still don't know what the current rules have become. If, for instance, you went to the delayed scheduler that you mentioned, I would not oppose it, provided we were told what each stage was, so we could try to work out the best alternatives for ourselves. As I also said, if this were a change made at the start of the round, there would again be no quarrel from me. I do not think that changing the rules mid-round are fair to the players affected, with six people over the 100 mark, and nine people over 50 planets already, that is a lot of people who will get affected, and some of those people are some of the people who have worked the hardest to get where they are. I have spent, probably six hours a day every day on the game, helping tend my teammate's planets, tending my planets, helping other players with knowledge, with credits, and even with a safe place to stay, in some cases. To make a long story short, I am trying to do my best, while helping others. Now it seems as if I am being punished for just trying to do my best, and it doesn't seem fair.

I know next round, I will not go over 50 planets, and I will follow any rules that are given, if we just have a way of knowing what you guys expect of us and what we are allowed and not allowed to do. Yes, I am guilty of trying to push boundaries, as are other good builders, but the reason we push boundaries is as Panama Jack himself said, to find out what they are. If we were told the boundaries, there would be no reason to push at them to find them. Just, communication is what I think needs to be resolved here. Honestly, not everyone reads the forums, you can tell this by the fact that I can just about count on two hands the amount of people who have posted here in the last month, since the game was reset. And most of the posting that was done has been after I have taken it upon myself to send mass-messages to people to view certain topics.

Tarnus, Panama Jack, Cephus, Oakman, Lucky Starr, Gerrard, Gremlin, Max HeadRoom, Max Griswald, Sifu, Saras, Moriarty are the users who have posted in the last month, with all but Moriarty posting in one of the two threads I have sent mass-messages about, not saying it was my message that caused them all to post, but a good number would not have posted if I had not messaged them. So to make comments about changes in the forum, if it wasn't made as an announcement, is not the best way to get people to know that change is going to be made.


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 Post subject: Re: Planetary Independence
PostPosted: Thu Jan 29, 2009 7:05 pm 
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I am going to drop in my 2bits worth here.
I have also been looking at the shoutbox in the game and not happy about language used there. Tidy it up, please.

I have run many games over the years on a few different servers and know the problems that can arise from server load. It is hard to find a good host that will allow these types of games to run.

For a long time there has been discussion on the amount of planets that some players have and the load that it creates. This is not a new discussion but a continuation from that. The code was tweaked a while back that limited the amount of unbased planets, again to try and control the amount of planets and when and how often the planets went Indy. Some players have not grasped that is an issue and have continued to build a ton of planets.

Hence PJ making more changes.

PJ, could the code be tweaked by the admin to limit the amount of planets per game. Also could there be a limit on the total amount of players.
That would then give admins the ability to create different types of games. If players want a lot of planets then join a game that will allow that but also then limited the amount of players to help reduce the server load.
Another game could have many players but limit the amout of planets.

Try and look at ways that can help develop the game into something that can fit different styles of play.

cheers



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