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Topics - Athena

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1
Battle Reports / Taking down Jay_Oni
« on: May 12, 2012, 10:27:48 PM »
The combined efforts of Dorothy (Kiki) and VAnna (Lytjohan) ....

Battle Report for BackTrack4 [X:XXX:XX]
After 6 rounds of combat:

The attacking side acquired 1,100,000 ore, 530,837 crystal, and 523,534 hydrogen.


Jay_Oni (DEFENDER) lost 161,219 RSP and gained 29,621 DSP. (more)
Dorothy (ATTACKER) lost 10,293 RSP and gained 5,396 DSP. (more)
VAnna (ATTACKER) lost 19,328 RSP and gained 27,637 DSP. (more)

Some of the enemy's defenses were rebuilt.
33,598,950 ore and 15,936,300 crystal are now floating at this location.
There was a 20.0% chance that a moon would form from the debris.
A new moon did form from the wreckage.


*****Attacker: Dorothy with 53,783,500 RSP involved (initial fleet RSP) *****
Artemis : 832  (Lost: 1617 of 2449)
Atlas : 97  (Lost: 203 of 300)
Apollo : 163  (Lost: 68 of 231)
Charon : 0  (Lost: 1 of 1)
Hercules : 77  (Lost: 23 of 100)
Curetes : 552  (Lost: 24 of 576)
Poseidon : 452  (Lost: 57 of 509)
Pallas : 65  (Lost: 3 of 68)
Athena : 121  (Lost: 1 of 122)
Ares : 30
Hades : 26
Prometheus : 12
** Resources lost: 7,115,000 ore, 2,834,500 crystal, and 377,500 hydrogen.

*****Attacker: VAnna with 274,837,000 RSP involved (initial fleet RSP) *****
Hermes : 90  (Lost: 2138 of 2228)
Artemis : 883  (Lost: 1382 of 2265)
Atlas : 305  (Lost: 476 of 781)
Hercules : 180  (Lost: 43 of 223)
Curetes : 1472  (Lost: 15 of 1487)
Poseidon : 2381  (Lost: 263 of 2644)
Pallas : 157  (Lost: 5 of 162)
Athena : 1198  (Lost: 14 of 1212)
Hades : 793  (Lost: 4 of 797)
Prometheus : 100
** Resources lost: 11,521,000 ore, 7,033,500 crystal, and 773,500 hydrogen.

*****Defender: Jay_Oni with 149,549,000 RSP involved (initial fleet RSP) *****
Hermes : 0  (Lost: 424 of 424)
Helios : 0  (Lost: 122 of 122)
Artemis : 0  (Lost: 20753 of 20753)
Atlas : 0  (Lost: 53 of 53)
Apollo : 0  (Lost: 1024 of 1024)
Zagreus : 0  (Lost: 7 of 7)
Charon : 0  (Lost: 5 of 5)
Hercules : 0  (Lost: 139 of 139)
Empusa : 0  (Lost: 3 of 3)
Dionysus : 0  (Lost: 240 of 240)
Curetes : 0  (Lost: 822 of 822)
Carmanor : 0  (Lost: 24 of 24)
Athena : 0  (Lost: 133 of 133)
Hades : 0  (Lost: 102 of 102)
Prometheus : 0  (Lost: 174 of 174)
Missile : 0  (Lost: 3709 of 3709)
Laser : 0  (Lost: 792 of 792)
Space mine : 0  (Lost: 14 of 14)
Pulse : 0  (Lost: 9 of 9)
Particle : 0  (Lost: 1 of 1)
Decoy : 0  (Lost: 1 of 1)
Gauss : 0  (Lost: 67 of 67)
Large decoy: 0  (Lost: 1 of 1)
Plasma : 0  (Lost: 4 of 4)
** Ship Resources lost: 93,360,500 ore, 43,253,000 crystal, and 12,935,500 hydrogen.
** Total Resources lost: 103,629,500 ore, 44,938,000 crystal, and 13,231,500 hydrogen.

2
Off-Topic / A CLOSER LOOK: The Interview List...
« on: November 02, 2011, 10:28:22 PM »
Due to the switching of forum locations this is a recreation of an old thread...

A CLOSER LOOK: Matt Hirschfelt; Blue Frog Gaming Communications Dude
http://forum.playstarfleet.com/index.php?topic=13793.msg179864#msg179864

A CLOSER LOOK: Matt Maroon; Blue Frog Gaming CEO
http://forum.playstarfleet.com/index.php?topic=10775.0

A CLOSER LOOK: A Fond Farewell From Albert
http://forum.playstarfleet.com/index.php?topic=12246.0

A CLOSER LOOK: His Awesomeness
http://forum.playstarfleet.com/index.php?topic=10421.msg129820#msg129820

A CLOSER LOOKI: Just in time for the holidays...The Grinch
http://forum.playstarfleet.com/index.php?topic=10979.0

A CLOSER LOOK: Tuhis: our resident artist
http://forum.playstarfleet.com/index.php?topic=11668.0

A CLOSER LOOK: Doomer, "the boy next door"
A CLOSER LOOK: Doomer, "the boy next door"

A CLOSER LOOK: Darth Paulidius - DP
http://forum.playstarfleet.com/index.php?topic=10576.0

I will edit/update this as I located and update the interviews.  Thanks guys.

3
Off-Topic / A CLOSER LOOK: Matt Hirschfelt; Blue Frog Gaming Communicat
« on: August 26, 2011, 07:19:24 AM »
A CLOSER LOOK: Matt  Hirschfelt; Blue Frog Gaming Communications expert

Matt Hirschfelt, also known as "Other Matt" and sometimes simply OM, is one of Blue Frog Gaming's newest employees, but it's safe to say that there has not been a BFG employee that has impacted the player base as directly as Matt has since the game began.  No he does not design or do artwork or programing, but what Matt does do is something that we, the players, have been begging for - for many, many months – he communicates with us.  The need for this has been enormous and though others have tried to fill the obvious caps in communication between BFG and the player base, none has done so as effectively and completely as our new Matt.  I must add though - kudos to BFG for creating this position.

A bit on Matt's background. . .


Matt: I am currently attending law school at night and expect to wrap that up sometime around December 2012. I come from my most previous job working for a small law firm where I briefed cases from the Trial Court all the way through the Supreme Court.

Matt on gaming. . .

Miss Kiki: Do you consider yourself a gamer, like many of the people who are playing the games that Blue Frog is putting out do? What are some of your favorite games, online and otherwise?
Matt: I am a pretty casual gamer mainly due to many time constraints which prohibit me from really sitting down and enjoying games. When I have the time you'll generally find me playing World of Warcraft. I am mainly a progression raider, which I have done for 3 tiers now, because when I play, I play very competitively and expect that everyone be on top of their game. I like to brag about my achievements and titles. But, with the release of Star Wars: The Old Republic right around the corner you'll probably find me playing there soon. I'm just waiting for my early access!
       
Beyond World of Warcraft I enjoy older Role Playing Games and Real Time Strategy Games. More specifically, the older Final Fantasy games and the Command and Conquer Series. I have not really played the newer versions of the games because the older versions were so well designed, in my opinion, that nothing can really top their playability. Nothing like fighting for the Brotherhood of NOD! When I don't have access to the computer, which is rare, you'll find me playing card and board games such as Euchre, Texas Hold 'em, and Settlers of Catan. I'm not a huge mobile app gamer, but I do have Words with Friends, Angry Birds, and Island Settlers on my phone. I also have Polar Puzzles on my wife's phone that I play.
       
As for my favorite game of all time, it is Xenogears. If you haven't played it, find something that will play original Playstation black disks and pick up a copy of the game immediately.

Matt playing BFG games. . .

Miss Kiki: Are you currently playing SDE? Are you still playing SFC?
Matt: I currently play both, but I am more active in SDE.

Miss Kiki: Are you in an alliance in SDE or SFC?  Are they aware of who you are?
Matt: I'm am in alliances in SFC Original and SDE.  I am not much a benefit to either of the alliances though because it is actually very difficult to play the games while doing support and monitoring the forums because I do not have time to actively watch for attacks, click for missions, etc.

Miss Kiki: Were you playing SFE before Blue Frog hired you, or just since then?
Matt: I started playing Starfleet Commander approximately two weeks before my first interview with Blue Frog Gaming, which was on June 28, 2011. I only played in the Original Universe at that time and continued playing only in Original under I started on August 1, 2011.

Matt's position at Blue Frog Gaming. . .

Miss Kiki: What is the official title of your position at Blue Frog Gaming?  what are the specific duties?
Matt:   My title is either Communications Manager or Community Manager depending on where you look. My duties mainly include moderating the forums and wikis, interacting with the players of our games, and acting as a conduit between the player community and the development team. However, I have also encouraged and more of the staff have been willing to interact on the forums to get direct feedback. (See Eric's thread about the new galaxy page as an example.) I also work closely with support in answering tickets and helping define rules in a consistent manner.

Miss Kiki: How long do you envision working for Blue frog?
Matt: As long as they'll have me. I don't have an end date in mind.

Miss Kiki: How has it been so far, getting to know the people there, the processes, the games, the work environment?
Matt: It is quite a change for me. Before coming to Blue Frog Gaming I had been working, as my full-time job, in law firms for over seven years.  At the law firms I did a lot of tasks such as new case intake, initial file work-up, preparing the initial Complaint for filing with the Court, and interfacing with clients to make sure we stayed up to date on their cases. But, my primary job over the past three years has been brief writing including briefing cases at all levels of the Ohio Court System. Just this year alone my briefing helped to obtain two positive opinions from the Ohio Supreme Court and numerous other positive opinions from various Ohio Appellate Courts. There are still three cases pending on appeal that I worked on and that I continue to check on a weekly basis.

So as you can imagine, the work environments are quite a bit different. For one, neither of the law offices that I worked for had Table Tennis or video game consoles in their offices. The people at Blue Frog Gaming are great and environment is fun so overall it's been great.

Miss Kiki: What do you see the biggest challenges of your position with BFG to be?
Matt: Learning to play Table Tennis at a level that is competitive with the rest of the office.

Seriously though, the biggest challenge for me is keeping work separate from my personal life. When it comes to forum moderation I realize that there is never a break in the need for it. However, I tend to make myself over accessible by posting on the forums afterhours and on weekends. Unfortunately, because of that, I think much of the community already believes that is the norm instead of the exception.


Miss Kiki: One of the players would like to know..."why is he so against the scripts that are useful to people?"
Matt: I don't think I have ever said I an against scripts that are helpful to people. I'm against scripts which violate the rules and cause us problems. The problem with scripts is that they cause a headache for support. Even though there are scripts out there which are honest and follow the rules, there are those that don't. Of course that leads to a number of our support tickets accusing others of cheating by using scripts (or more often, accusing them of multi-accounting), which means that I then have to spend my time looking at the script and discussing with the development team how we will break that abusive scripts without impacting the playability of the game.

BFG specific questions. . .

Miss Kiki: Can you explain the hierarchy of BFG support for us?  We have been told that John Marks would be heading that up, but he seems to be no where to be found, at least from what people have said.
Matt: The support hierarchy is simple. Jason -> Me. I am currently responsible for overseeing support. While John Marks and Matt Maroon are my superiors, they are not involved in support at this time.

Miss Kiki: Here's a question from a fellow player...Can you tell us what happened last Saturday, with the games, the server, whatnot?
Matt: If by last Saturday you are referring to August 20, 2011 the problem was the the server vendor was performing maintenance on their routers and switches and had a major failure which resulted in significant downtime for us. I don't have any other specific details regarding the incident as I am not the direct contact with the server vendor.  If you were referring to the weekend before, then all I can say is that we encountered a significant internal error which has been addressed so that it does not occur again in the future. Trust me when I say that we are just as, if not more, frustrated with any unscheduled downtime that we experience.

Miss Kiki: Another of the players would like to know.."what he thinks BFG can do a better job with?"
Matt: I think we can do a better job maintaining an open communication line between the community and the development team. I know that often we release features and they are unannounced to the community. This mainly comes from how we deploy things. While I know that features have been completed, I don't know when they are going live. We're working on streamlining that so I can make sure to tell the community when new things are available.

Matt on BFG's player community and the forums. . .

Miss Kiki: How has it been getting to know the players and the people who are on the forums, FB chats, etc.?
Matt: Let's just say that I've been getting to know the forum personalities longer than they have been getting to know me. Even though I didn't start the job until August 1, 2011 I had a good understanding of the types of players that I would be interacting with and the problems that were being experienced on the forums when I got here. Getting to know the players is always a fun adventure though. I have been running active forums for about 6 years now and my favorite part of that has always been getting to know as many of the users are possible.

Miss Kiki: You have been praised in the forums and on the FB groups for doing a great job and being so responsive to the community... how does that feel, to be welcomed that way?
Matt: It's nice to receive a positive response from the community, but I'm not doing anything special. I was hired to communicate with the community and that's what I am doing. My goal is to make sure that the community knows when important things are happening with the games and company and to make sure the company knows when things are happening in the community. I think I'm accomplishing both right now. However, to be fair, some of the praise that I've received really doesn't belong to me. A lot of the changes going into the game (graphical and back end) go directly to guys behind the scenes. They work hard to make sure that things happen now that we have a clearer communication path.

Miss Kiki: I know that you have said in the past - "I will be working on the revised rules as soon as possible. I tend to take a very relaxed approach to moderation, but don't tolerate derailing topics or continual bashing and flaming." I agree that the forums are improving already.  Yes clarification on rules of both the forums and the games is good.  Along with that goes consistency in rulings and consequences. But I know that is one of the things you will be working on.
Matt: Clarified rules are in the process of being developed. I just finished reviewing all of the old support posts on the SFC forums and I am working to rewrite and clarify all of the rules. They will probably go through a round or two of internal review before being distributed publicly. So it could still be a little while before this is finished.

Miss Kiki: Are there any plans to improving the forums?  If so can you let us know what we can expect to see?
Matt: "Improving the forums" is pretty subjective. I don't know in what manner the question suggests I improve the forum (software, moderation, atmosphere?). I plan to update the rules on the Starfleet and Mafia Boss forums to match the Stardrift rules, but beyond that I don't know how else to answer this question. I think things are improving already, but I am always open to suggestions if you don't agree.

Miss Kiki: Are there still other mods at work in the different BFG Gaming forums?
Matt: Any mods that were working on the forums before I started, with the exception of one, are still working on all of the forums they had their moderation privileges on. However, they are less active in their moderation with me being present. There are no additional moderators on the Stardrift Empires forum at this time, but almost all Blue Frog employees can moderate if necessary.

Miss Kiki:   How many forums do you oversee for the company?
Matt: I oversee all of Blue Frog Gaming's forums and more. Specifically, the Starfleet, Stardrift, and Mafia Boss forums along with the Facebook pages and Twitter accounts.

Miss Kiki: Is it possible for forum readers/game players who have been previously banned from the forum(s) to appeal that?
Matt: I can look into previous suspension, but I can't make any promises that the suspensions will be removed.

Personal questions. . .

Miss Kiki: How old are you?
Matt:   I'm 24. Born on April Fools Day. My parents tell me that I'm just one big joke.

Miss Kiki: How long have you been married?
Matt: I've been married for a little under a year and half. I met my wife while I was getting my hair cut. She happened to be sitting in the lobby waiting for her mom and aunt to finish their hair appointments and the employees refused to let me leave until we exchanged phone numbers. So we did.

Miss Kiki: Do you have any children?
Matt: 2 dogs, 5 cats. My wife is a vet tech and would take in more if I would let her.

Miss Kiki: Are any of your family members playing any of the BFG games?
Matt: My little sister has played Polar Puzzles Free, but no one else plays any of Blue Frog's games. No one else in my family is really interested in gaming, unless you want to play board games.

Miss Kiki: What do they think about your working for the company?
Matt: My wife was not impressed with the idea of me working for Blue Frog when I initially interviewed. Mainly because I had a good job working as a law clerk for a small law firm, writing nearly all of their briefs, and the promise of a job as an attorney (in Florida) upon graduation from law school. However, I was ready for a break from that daily grind and decided to jump ship to Blue Frog. I don't regret that, but I do miss everyone I used to work with.

I'd like to thank Matt for his time and for sharing with us.  I'd like to add just a couple things...
Matt has shown us a bit of himself already on the forums, in the posts.  We have seen an interesting mix of an intelligence, quick thinking, and humor.  Additionally it's quite clear that he has experience dealing with people, does not take things personally, and works toward the good of not just the company, but the BFG gaming community as well.  From those of us who have worked hard to promote and preserve this community - we thank you for that Matt.
Matt seems fairly open and very willing to answer questions, about himself, his job, his opinions, etc.  Feel free to ask any questions you like in this thread, I am quite sure he will respond.


Blue Frog Gaming...
http://bluefroggaming.com/

Starfleet Commander and Mafia Boss Forum...
http://forum.playstarfleet.com/index.php

Stardrift Empires Forum...
http://forum.stardriftempires.com/


4
General Starfleet Discussion / Player Panel comes to an end....
« on: August 12, 2011, 10:52:14 PM »
The SFC player panel has been officially resigned by BFG.
This news came to me only two hours after I posted my own resignation from the panel.

With the hiring by BFG of Matt H communication within the SFC community is running more smoothly than ever.
The panel did put in a lot of time and thought, discussion and debate, and was a useful tool for the community and BFG.
I want to thank the players that supported the group and gave us your input.  For those of you who challenged the group to think things out further and in new areas- I also thank you.  

I also want to thank my fellow panel members for what was a good term of service...
To Xanadis- good luck with the forum, the game, and life.  Hope to talk with you more, outside of the PP.
To PN- you are an amazing thinker and your ability to puzzle out situations and possibilities is astounding.  Hope to see you in the new game, even though it's slow.
To Laggy- you are genius...but you know that.  :)
To Casey- as always, I respect you hugely and you also are an amazing thinker, and just cool too.  :)
To Phil- Honey, try not to create drama where ever you go.  I've seen your mind in action too...you could harness that and do some incredible things.  Good luck.
To Will- I wish you only the best, you are such a great person and also a near genius thinker.  You have blown me away more times than you know by stepping outside of the 2$Bill persona and really engaging the incredible thought power you have.  :)

5
Off-Topic / A CLOSER LOOK: A Fond Farewell From Albert
« on: May 04, 2011, 02:33:23 AM »
A CLOSER LOOK:  A Fond Farewell From Albert

   There are only a few people within the SFC community that are known just by their first name.  Albert, however, is well known, and widely liked and respected.  He rose to the top 10 in the ranks in 2 different universes, trained and counseled many players, and influenced many more, just with his forum posts.  Albert became known for his vast knowledge of the game, in a short time.
  In his personal /"real" life, Albert is a young professional, an Investment Banker.  He enjoys golf, reading, cooking, and his portfolio.  Haha (His words).
Albert has recently quit the games, and will be missed by many. Here is just a peek into his experiences with SFC.


Playing Starfleet Commander....
Miss Kiki: Is SFC the first online game like this that you have played? Did you come into this and have to learn the ropes, figure it all out?

Albert:: SFC is my first exposure to this type of online game. I got into the game almost by accident. My friend Ghostface Killah and his brother Peter started the game when it was first released. I remember seeing all of these FB status updates and wondering "What is this all about"

Albert::Finally, the Saturday before Halloween (2009), I  finally caved. One of them had just unlocked the Gaia Colony Ship and I finally decided to click on the link and it took me into the game. I called up my friends, told them that I was playing, picked up some advice from them and spent the rest of the weekend clicking away. My first planet was 7:401:5 in uni 1. Unbeknownst to me at the time, I became part of Ghostface's crew, and he always enjoyed telling me that I was "slaving away in his mines" lol

Albert:: But yes. I definitely had to come in and learn everything from scratch. Ghostface and Peter managed to get me into their alliance, Star Wars. While I left SW later on, it was a great place to learn how to play because it was a large enough community that the msg boards were always buzzing with activity. There was an "ask your questions here" thread, so I asked a LOT of questions. Thankfully, they were willing to put up with it all and I set myself to learning the game and learned a lot of the basics from them. I think the first question I ever asked was "I keep reading about this concept called fleet / resource saving. But how does one actually do it!?"

Miss Kiki:The way you have played the game, how much of that was things you picked up from other players or games, and how much were tactics that you may have come up with on your own?
Albert:: I picked up a lot of the basics from various people in SW. I also spent some time in NOB as an instructor (Back around Christmas 2009) but spent a lot of the time picking Nobunaga's brain as well. The one thing that I did figure out on my own is the blind O on a Zeus <!-- s:) -->:)<!-- s:) -->

Miss Kiki: Some success in SFC is relative to the amount if time one is able to invest in the game but some also has to do with aspects of one's personality. What is it about yourself that you believe lends itself to your success?
Albert:: When I first started, I think the success was definitely due to the time spent into the game. Man, I could click off missions with the best of them J But seriously though, the game for me was never about sitting in front of the computer for hour after hour clicking off missions / farming / hunting. It's just about playing intelligently and allocating resources intelligently.
For example, about 5 weeks into uni 2 (I started about 3 weeks in) I knew of players who had 600+ dios. Yes there is an argument to be made about never having enough dios, but at that point of the game, there was no reason to have that many. No one even had a fleet that was worth 12 mill in debris. It's misallocation of resources in its simplest form. Other people invested in mines and just left this player in the dust.

Miss Kiki:  Do you prefer group efforts and attacking or solo work? Why?
Albert:: I like both. There's something satisfying about crushing someone's fleet with your own, but group efforts are a lot of fun as well!

Miss Kiki:  What would you consider your playing style to be?
Albert:: In Uni 1, I was definitely a fleeter. I played to smash ships. In Uni 2, I was busier with work so I was more of a miner (the mining output increase was sweet!)

Miss Kiki:  What is your favorite kind of attack?
Albert:: I like the blind oracle. I always got some funny messages as a result of those <!-- s:P -->:P<!-- s:P -->

Miss Kiki:  What would you consider  the most challenging and the most rewarding aspects of this game is for you?
Albert:: I really liked scouting for new talent. It's challenging because it's hard to know if someone can hack it in one of the top alliances but I liked to develop talent. I think the people I brought into TANG can attest to that.  I also liked figuring stuff out on my own. I want to think that for a new player, I was ahead of the curve on figuring out that the Athena / Hades combo could overwhelm moderate defenses and that the artemis / Apollo were much more useful ship than most people give them credit for.

Miss Kiki:  Are there any players that have influenced your game playing style or strategy?
Albert:: I’ve been lucky with the people that I’ve encountered in the game. Going all the way back to the beginning, Spencer, Janna & Sinrah played a role in shaping how I liked to fleet. Nobunaga taught me certain things about running an alliance. The players that came through TANG… I’ve really enjoyed seeing them develop into some of the top players in the game. And obviously some of the guys that I use to work a lot with in ODB like Capt Morgan and Prof Death.

Miss Kiki:   How much longer do you see yourself playing the universes that you do now?
Albert:: A few days? J I think I'm done playing SFC. I've had a lot of fun times and have been ranked as high as #10 in both Uni 1 and Uni 2. Could never move up any higher because I just didn't have the time to devote to the game.

Albert:: Advice for new players - Learn how to play the game properly. Read the Wiki. The rules are what they are. No whining.

Albert's favorite times playing this game:...

1. Thanksgiving 2009. As I said before, I had started the game right around Halloween. I was hanging out with Ghostface and his brother Peter and we decided that we were going to hunt. All night. Every night. From that Thursday thru Sunday, we would start probing targets in G5 around 1am EST and hunt until 5-6am. So many targets. So many unsaved fleets. This was the first time that I had ever really hunted aggressively and it was a blast lining up group attacks with my friends. Peter was setup around 5:225. Ghostface and I around 5:330. We would send out 50 system attacks with proms, partially b/c we were new players, and partially b/c we could. This wknd led to the massive fleeting that I did in Uni 1 and led to me learning the virtues of smashing fleets <!-- s:-) -->:-)<!-- s:-) -->

2. Jan 2010 to April 2010. The 3 months where I ran TANG were probably the most stressful but the most rewarding of my SFC experience. I started the alliance with a group of RL friends + a few contacts from the game. The idea was build it out to be one of the top alliances in the game - and I think we were fairly successful at doing that. It was stressful b/c I was the person running the whole show. No Officers or anything. It was a benevolent dictatorship <!-- s:-) -->:-)<!-- s:-) --> (so I think). A lot of us were in G10 and G13 so it was great to run around with a big crew. More importantly, I took in a lot of newer players and it was nice to see them develop into some of the best in the business while I was there. (Naturally, I would like to think I had a hand in that)

Alberts final (?) farewell:...
Miss Kiki:   What will you miss about this game most?
Albert:: I think the thing I will miss most about the game is the people that I interacted with. The boards / skype chats is really what made this game for me.

Special shout outs go out to (in no particular order - and most of these guys don't play anymore) - Ghostface, Peter, Spencer, Janna, Nobunaga, Koenig, Capt Morgan, Prof D, SCMT, Kasperr , Babe, Darkset, Hooch, PM, Dan James, L'assasino, Johanna, Tuhis and all the clowns in ODB in Uni 2. Apologies if I missed anyone!

Albert’s Peak Ranks...
Starfleet Commander Original Universe:
Peak - #9 Overall, #8 DSP

Starfleet Commander Uni 2:
Peak - #10 Overall, #10 DSP


<!-- s:) -->:)<!-- s:) -->Albert providing amusement and snarky comments for all:... <!-- s:) -->:)<!-- s:) -->
Albert has been the king of one-liners.  He has kept me cracking up regularly.  Yes Honey, I was paying attention  hehe
Here are just a few examples pulled from the forum...


-do you encourage multiple personalities?
-the irony of whining about whining is priceless 
-DON'T YOU GET ALL ANALYTICAL ON ME!
-when did you acquire a minion, l'ass?...by the transitive property, does that make him MY minion? 
-you cant fix stupid
-stop getting your panties in a bunch
- these ufp folks are like a gift that keeps on giving
-damn. i don't qualify for this alliance!
-pton - stop slacking and give us an update!
-dude. i'm not trying to be an a$$, but ...
-i want 2 minutes of my life back.
-we have another d mode warrior on our hands.
-you're a huge idiot. <!-- s:D -->:D<!-- s:D -->
-You're not just a liar, you're an incompetent liar. lol.
-I rather enjoy starting late and passing people like they're standing still.
-Ignore him. he's a nerd. nice hit.
-at least be smart enough to lie and keep your alliance's story straight.
-the wise man = unwise
-lol. who's their leader now? they seem to be running out of them <!-- s:D -->:D<!-- s:D -->
-I'm rather unschooled in starfleet mechanics though so I'm not sure what I can offer...<!-- s:D -->:D<!-- s:D -->
-you're facebook stalking me? super


Also, he has been a bit demanding. 
This is just a fraction of posts like this...


-put up battle reports or stfu.
-we're still waiting. patiently
-lol. i'm just waiting to see these battle reports
-so are we going to see some reports or what?
-less talking and more fighting! let's see some battle reports.

I would like to thank Albert for the time he put into this interview and for waiting so patiently for me (through family drama, illness, and spider bite). I am truly glad we had the opportunity to do this before you left Honey. <!-- s:D -->:D<!-- s:D -->

6
Battle Reports / The EXILED gathers for a cuppa...
« on: March 26, 2011, 07:26:55 PM »
:D  :D Yup, The EXILE is still at it... :D  :D

7
Off-Topic / A CLOSER LOOK: L'assasino silenziosos; The Motivator...
« on: March 05, 2011, 05:06:42 AM »
A CLOSER LOOK: L'assasino silenziosos;The Motivator...

There are a few players in this game that have influenced alliances in a profound way, one of those people is l'assasino silenziosos.  His specially is not so much playing the game himself, but rather, following the example set by Nobunaga, he teaches, motivates, and facilitates . . .so that others may play well and reach their potential.
The man behind the l'assasino silenziosos persona is a very private person.  He is a college student, unmarried at present, who plays sports as well as SFCO.


Captain Nikhil:  Lass is a spirited guy and was able to direct and motivate recruits towards the right area... i.e. go out and blow shit up. That is what Nobunga was about and it was carried forth appropriately by Lass.

IN THE BEGINNING...

Miss Kiki: Is SFC the first online game like this that you have played? Did you come into this and have to learn the ropes, figure it all out?
L'Assasino Silenziosos: This is definitely the first game that is anything like this that I have played. I had no clue whatsoever what I was doing. Luckily I fell in with the right guys early on, so the learning process was not too bad.  I started playing in October of 2009, about a month after the big Universe reset that no one remembers anymore.

Miss Kiki: The game tactics and strategies; were there things you picked up from other players or games and/or tactics that you may have come up with on your own?
L'Assasino Silenziosos: I devised a few things on my own once I got established, but I learned a lot from old school Empire guys like Nobunaga, The ZPM, and Akkarin.

Miss Kiki: Are there any players that have influenced your game playing style or strategy?
L'Assasino Silenziosos: Nobunaga, he gave me a shot first at Empire, then as a officer with him at NOB, then when he stepped down I took over for him. Kasperr and Mr. P also have to get a lot of credit, they have looked out for me. But really it was all of those old Empire guys who contributed to my appreciation for blowing up fleets.

Game Play . . .

Miss Kiki: How much a part of your success in this game has been due to your own intellect?
L'Assasino Silenziosos: I have been playing forever, so kind of by default I was going to have a lot of points, if my intellect did anything it was knowing who to be friends with.

Miss Kiki: Do you prefer group efforts and attacking or solo work? Why?
L'Assasino Silenziosos: Group efforts, teamwork is what makes this game so much fun.

Miss Kiki: What would you consider your playing style to be?
L'Assasino Silenziosos: <!-- s:) -->:)<!-- s:) --> I am a pirate. I blow stuff up.

Miss Kiki: What is your favorite kind of attack?
L'Assasino Silenziosos: The ninja, it shocks people and it makes harvesting debris fields a lot easier.

Miss Kiki: What would you the most challenging aspect of this game is for you?
L'Assasino Silenziosos: Finding time to play correctly. Here’s what I mean by that, to play this game correctly you have to extensively scout your targets, slow probe, and FRS precisely. With my schedule it is really hard to do those things and I remember what some guys and gals on here do not. Real Life comes first.

Miss Kiki: What is the most rewarding aspect of the game?
L'Assasino Silenziosos: It is a tie. 1 is seeing newbies turn into killers with your help, 1a is getting hate mail.

Miss Kiki: What is it about yourself contributes to your overall success in the game?
L'Assasino Silenziosos: I really do not consider myself that good of a player, I am pretty good, but mostly my gift in the game is alliance leadership. I networked with the right people along the way, and I did a good job bringing in good players around me both when I was at NOB as the leader there and especially now at Top Gun. Bringing those guys in around me and putting them together as attack partners gave me more opportunities as well as making our alliances successful.

Miss Kiki: How much longer do you see yourself playing SFC?
L'Assasino Silenziosos: Back when I cared what my rank was, and I thought that Dip mode was worse than death, I would have said not much longer, but at this point, I do not care about my rank (as anyone who knows my how far my rank has fallen can tell) and so really I will just keep playing in and out of Dip as long as there are targets to hit.

Brian C.:
l'assasino silenziosos, aka LS. The man, the myth, the legend, the kind of guy they put on breakfast cereals across the world.

The story of LS and I begins a VERY long time ago, back when I was ~6,000 in rank. When I was an officer in Unimat0 I had noticed that when we went to war with UFP and some other large trashy alliance, LS was posting about going to war with UFP and having a "spy" within their ranks and having inside info. I posted in the thread about it, and instantly he and I struck up a working relationship. He'd feed me info on what UFP was doing, I'd give him a heads up on any info we got about UFP on our end and forward it back and forth.
<<...Brian ended up leaving that alliance and then...>>
LS had noticed I had gone untagged and messaged me about what was going on. I told him what went on and that I was planing to stay solo for a little while and figure out where I wanted to go from there. He made me an offer to join TopGun and become an instructor and help train some of the new recruits and that the option for me to move on would always be open without any hard feelings. What LS had said to me in our messages just struck a chord with me. The idea of teaching completely new guys, bright eyed and bushy tailed, green around the gills, appealed, to me.
It was the best decision I had ever made. LS is honestly one of the most influential people to ever play this game, and most people never knew it, or never understood why someone like myself would say that. He was never #1 or #2. So why do I think LS is one of the most influential people to ever play this game? Simple. Influence, Inspiration, and support.

LS had a knack for seeing people for what they were and recognizing the "good" portion of a person and saying the right words and pressing the right buttons to really amplify that "good" in the person. He had ways of empowering people for their own benefit with what seemed like very little effort.

When I joined TopGun...LS asked a lot of me. At first it was a little overwhelming, I felt like he was putting me up on a pedestal I didn't think I could handle standing on, and pretty much pushed me right through the door and cracked the whip verbally. It took me a long while to realize that it wasn't LS putting me up on a pedestal, but him recognizing that I was completely capable of doing what he asked of me, and then some. It was his way of pushing others, knowing they could do it, and building their confidence in the process.

Honestly, the greatest example of true leadership I've ever seen in this game, is the way he molded Kirakira. You can teach a person how to hunt and kill and collect Debris and make a profit, but it is a VERY hard task to teach a person how to run an alliance, keeping things cohesive, keeping alliance activities fresh, new, and exciting, as well as promoting the core values of our alliance. He influenced and empowered her in such a way that she turned into this amazingly well constructed amalgamation of leadership that I've never seen before, and it was by his OWN hand pushing her further and further and watching her grow right before our eyes.

LS was the type of guy where if you were at school picking teams for dodge ball, he'd end up with a goofy looking bunch at a glance, but would turn them into the most cohesive and connected group of individuals, it was uncanny.

I credit very FEW people with inspiring or helping me to get where I have gone in this game, and LS is one of the greatest contributors, if not THE greatest contributors to my success. He taught me patience, perseverance, and taught me that I had so much more potential than what I was using, as a hunter, and as an instructor.


ALLIANCES, LEADERSHIP, COMMITMENT...

Miss Kiki: What alliances have you been in during your time in the game?
L'Assasino Silenziosos: Haha, long story. I started out in StarWars, which lasted like two weeks, it was too big for a newbie like myself so I joined DSA. Then a group of us left and formed “Serenity Space Pirates” that later on that day got absorbed by Empire, then I went to NOB, let that for a while, joined Tang, got merged into ODB, went back to NOB then formed Top Gun.

Miss Kiki: You have been the head of a couple of SFC alliances, how did that happen . . .can you explain how you became the leader of NOB, and then the creation of Top Gun?
L'Assasino Silenziosos: I got lucky with the NOB thing. Nobunaga, the founder, retired after a nothing short of legendary career. (Then the leadership) got passed to me.
After spending some time in Tang/ODB, I was stupid and got all my Hades blown up in a group attack because I was overconfident. I was very near quitting the game because I really did not feel like rebuilding. I went back to NOB, and noticed that a lot of members complained about how spread out NOB was. (NOB had about 125 members at the time) So I formed Top Gun as a training alliance for the upper galaxies, and dropped a colony in G93. A couple of members came with me who have since become great leaders, players, and officers with me, and we built from scratch to become a top 50 alliance.

Miss Kiki: What qualities, talents, or skills do you look for when recruiting players for an alliance? Are there different things that would be looked at for membership with NOB versus Top Gun?
L'Assasino Silenziosos: No, I wanted the same type of members in NOB that I want now in Top Gun, I want people who want to have fun in a group setting. I want players who get excited about uniting in a cause and having someone to fight, I think people focused on having fun together build an alliance brand that is worth being proud of.

Miss Kiki: what challenges have you come up against as an alliance leader that a regular player of the game may not encounter?
L'Assasino Silenziosos: To be an effective leader, you HAVE to have officers around you that are dependable and trustworthy. I have been extremely blessed in that both while I was at NOB and now at Top Gun there are wonderful players who help share the burden of leadership and teaching. As a leader, you are subject to having people get mad at you not only for what you do, but for what anyone in your alliance does, and that does not happen for everyday members, usually. But I relish it, I think the most extra work I ever had as leader was when Top Gun was at war with UFP, that war was all too well documented on this forum, but as an alliance of 50 we WON! But while my members only had to worry about blowing up ships, I had to constantly be in touch with leaders of UFP, as well as other leaders in other alliances that we were collaborating with. My inbox was constantly full and it was hard to hunt because of it.

Miss Kiki: What do you think makes an alliance great?
l’assasino: Friendship, or I guess the closest thing to friendship you can have in an online game. When you enjoy playing the game with the people in your alliance, then you end up growing together a lot faster because you are constantly looking for the next big group hit. When you have an entire alliance working like that it truly is a thing of beauty.

Miss Kiki: What is it about you that gives you ability to persuade others to follow you, in your opinion?
l’assasino: That’s a better question for my officers, because frankly I do not know. But I do know that I try to be completely honest with those who are my friends in the game, and I work to be dependable and a man of my word. That and the fact that I try to make the game fun for people; while there have certainly been people in alliances that I have led that have had their issues with me, I truly do try to make the game fun for my members, and as long as the game is fun, people don’t mind you being in charge.

Miss Kiki: What do you believe your influence was or has been on those alliances and on the players?
l’assasino: I hope my impact on the game is that I taught others how do play the game in an attacking way, and by doing that enabled people who would have otherwise quit long ago really enjoy this really fun game. I love hearing friends and former “students” who have moved on to other alliances and other universes who are still having a lot of fun playing the game.

Miss Kiki: Is there anything, tips or advice, that you would like to say to readers about running an alliance, theories, alliance tactics?
l’assasino: Be trustworthy, don’t get bogged down trying to not make other alliances mad, and look for contests and other things that can make the game fun for your members in new ways.

SFCO currently and the future of the game...

l’assasino: There is still enough life here to make things interesting, and the people who I have fun playing the game with are here. That combined with my busy schedule and how long it would take me to rebuild, I am simply not interested in leaving for another Uni.
(Eventually) Original will die out; the others will hang in there until a similar game that is way more advanced shows up.

Miss Kiki: What could be done to improve the game or added to make something like this better...
l’assasino: Keep the number of galaxies down. The number we have in SFCO is ridiculous, I should know, my planets right now range from one in G1 to one in G93
I like the attacking emphasis on SFC and how it is so strategy based. I would enhance the alliance features though.
I want more options for attackers and defenders. At this point it is all pretty much a game of cat and mouse, I want more ways to blindside people as both an attacker and a defender where there is nothing the other can do about it.

Miss Kiki: What tips and advice would you give to players at this stage of SFCO? What about in uni2? X?
l’assasino: At this stage? Be as mobile as possible. A long time ago a guy named Akkarin in Empire was number 2 in the game, to my knowledge he never built proms, he hated how slow and inefficient they were. I think his mindset would be very good in the game now. With the Heps you have an easier way to move gas guzzlers around, but having a fast and mobile fleet, especially if you do not have a hep, is essential in my opinion because targets are more spread out now than ever. For people in Uni two, remember that those who have the best infrastructure early in the game will win out once it gets to the end game, do not be afraid to go with smaller fleet numbers for now. X? Haha, just FRS and pray, things move so fast in that version of the game that I do not see how anyone with any kind of RL schedule survives.

I’d like to thank L.S. for his time and efforts with this interview.  Also my thanks go out to Brian C. (sorry I had to edit that down so much, Hun), and to Nikhil.

8
Off-Topic / A CLOSER LOOK: Rubicon X; He IS the point of no return!
« on: February 25, 2011, 10:44:01 PM »
A CLOSER LOOK: Rubicon X; He IS the point of no return!

The Rubicon River, an actual river in Europe, is steeped in history. The most notable historical reference is Julius Caesar's crossing of the river in 49 bc,  marking the Rubicon River as "the point of no return" for Caesar and his forces. The Starfleet Commander Community's number one ranked player (SFCO), who epitomizes this concept . . . the concept of victory above all risks, is aptly named...Rubicon X.

Rubicon X, widely known within the game as Rubi, is an extremely respected and successful fleetcrasher . . . if he launches at you, you are probably in for a world of hurt. However, the man behind that persona is likable, amusing, opinionated, and fun.  Rubicon X is Dave S., a computer professional, spending many hours each day with computers.  He is a 44 year old man, not currently married (but not available either), and the father of three (his eldest plays, but we will not be naming him in here).



What’s in a name...

Rubi:  Rubicon X - Had this handle for a few decades now. Basically refers to the River Rubicon, and how dangerous it is to cross it -- A point of no return.


Playing the game...

Miss Kiki: First off let me ask, how has this game affected your life, if it has?  Being number one you put in large amounts of time and effort...
Rubi:  The game has caused me a few problems. Usually from my partner who gets frustrated at me checking my phone all the time. I've managed to get more 'clever' at checking so she doesn't notice as often.

I find I have developed a sixth sense for this game now. I often wake up unassisted as fleet are returning. I once woke up and lay in bed feeling anxious about something. Couldn't understand why. Lay there for 10 minutes and decided to check my fleet. When i looked there was an attack 20 minutes out on a colony I'd forgotten to FRS the night before. Creepy eh? <!-- s:P -->:P<!-- s:P -->

Miss Kiki: Is SFC the first online game like this that you have played? Did you come into this and have to learn the ropes, figure it all out?
--When did you start the game, and where in the universe was that?
Rubi:  I have never played ogame. SfC is the first game of this type I've played. Saw it advertised on FB back in October 2009. Started playing just before Halloween. I have a very logical mind, so figuring out the game didn't really take long. I never went into d-mode at any time during the first year of playing. I only went v once for a week. And as I said above, I've never been 'successfully' hit.
My initial HW was in G13.

Miss Kiki: How much a part of your success in this game has been due to your own intellect? or do you think it is more due to the amount of time put into e game?
Rubi:  I do play a lot. Probably 2-3 hours a day. Plus I 'check-in' at least once an hour. I guess my success comes from both my 'abilities' and the time playing. I'm sure there's a decent amount of 'luck' too

Miss Kiki: Do you prefer group efforts and attacking or solo work? Why?
Rubi:  I like playing in groups, but I tend towards solo. My problem is I hate being out of control. When playing in groups it's hard to get everyone organized to the level I want. So going solo works better. Most group things are me answering requests for help. And then I don't mind because the other party is usually calling the shots.

Rubi:  Worked with Kenneth mostly. We flew together for a couple of months. Initially it was him with his heph and me with my MAC. But I soon upgraded. Only started with an invite from Ken to send my fleet to G8 (from G10) for a perfect target. We never did hit the target but decided the team worked anyway.

Ken is completely different to me. I'm more into planning and strategy, whereas Ken is more attack and hope - I get more hits per attack, but he probably gets more hits.

We drifted apart after a holiday break I took. Think we'd both got to the point where sharing attacks that were easy to solo didn't have the same appeal. We were also competing for the top slot, and working together made that difficult.

Miss Kiki:   What would you consider your playing style to be? . . .for example, I am, usually, a fleeter.
Rubi:  Geez, I don't know. I don't build mines. I don't hit any colony without ships unless it has 1M+ resources. I don't care if the target is inactive or active. DSP is my god. And I certainly love a good ninja or oracle lock.

Miss Kiki:   What is your favorite kind of attack? (for example mine is the ghost, or as some call it, the WTF happened?)
Rubi:  I'm based in the UK, so I get a lot of opportunity to hit US guys as their fleet comes home. I rarely probe before going to the target. What usually happens is I probe a target and see ships. Then I ignore the target for a few days/weeks, just watching activity periodically. Then I'll land in the SS and usually the rest is history <!-- s;) -->;)<!-- s;) -->

Miss Kiki: Are there any players that you have come up against regularly in the game?  Enemies?
Rubi:  No one really. I've had a few enemies in the game, but it doesn't take much to take them out. No one has ever hit me properly. I have lost a few cargo occasionally, and got ninja'd for 30 hades once, but nothing else. Over the months I've had various alliances try to hit me, but again then all failed. Mainly because I'm very protective of my ships <!-- s;) -->;)<!-- s;) --> I hate to share. So fleetsaving is like a religion to me. Also, I have concentrated on a warpgate network, so no one ever knows where my fleets will be. Very hard to hit someone with a fleet my size, when you don't know which colony to hit.

Miss Kiki:   What would you the most challenging aspect of this game is for you?
Rubi:  Dunno. The most annoying is people who cheat. Multi-accounters, scripters, etc. Really pisses me off. Especially when these people actually try to accuse you of cheating. I never understand why people feel the need. Are they really so insecure that they need to 'pretend' to do well just to get attention!?!

Miss Kiki: What is the most rewarding aspect of the game?
Rubi:  Being number one is pretty rewarding. I also love my alliance. It's very rewarding having such a close knit group. Where everyone supports everyone. Many times I've considered quitting, but every time 'the group' have kept me going.

Miss Kiki: Are there any players that have influenced your game playing style or strategy?
Rubi:  kttmn was always my main influence. tried to attack me a few times but always missed. however, his playing style was perfect for me. DSP. just mac'ing around slapping people down. I’d loved to read people running for the hills when he landed close by. made we wanna copy him!

Miss Kiki: Do you like to hit a lot of smaller targets or concentrate on the larger ones? Has that changed with the evolving of the game?
Rubi:  Smaller vs larger? Larger is better, but effort and return also comes into it. I rarely bother with a target that has either <20 dios of debris and <500k of resources. There is no upper limit. Generally, big targets take more effort. To get big you need to be good at the game. However, many people still think that big is safe, and often it's the larger targets that are the laziest.

The way *I* play the game has changed. I used to set a limit of 50k per hour of flight. So if the debris was 3 hours away then I wouldn't harvest less than 300k (6 hour round trip). Now my limit is more like 150k. I often leave 700-800k debris fields lying around. Laziness on my part, but it does help the locals.

Also, targets are getting further and further away. The risk of ninja is getting more likely as attacks fly further away from the oracles. And I'm doing more cross G attacks than ever before. I concentrate on building Hades as the punch to hydro is great. It isn't unusual for me to send 3-4k of them cross G, with the dios following 6 hours later  ;D Slow probe has become critical in many of these attacks. A top player lost 3k Hades recently in a ninja. That makes a big dent in your score.

Miss Kiki: OK, someone (other than me) put it a different way...Why do you prey on the weak and push them out of the game, when you should be using your strength to face players further up the rankings exclusively?
Rubi:  Weak vs strong! Sorry, but there is no difference to me. It's just targets. I was a noob once. I had many people trying to hit my fleets. I had never played this type of game before. And I *never* got hit. I had kttmn hunting me for weeks when I was a lowly level 15k. I get bored of people whining "why me you bully!". Well that's the way the game is. Looking after your fleet is really easy! Really. No one ever needs to lose ships. Well, except for RL interventions of course. However, during the time I've been playing this game I've been rushed to hospital 3 times! Broken arm (horse riding), broken collar bone (horse riding) and appendicitis. But I still haven't had a major fleet crash in the whole time I've played. Some would say I was lucky, but if you fleet save 360 days of the year, what are the chances anyone will even bother scanning you on the other 5!?!

Maybe they should have made it more difficult to hit weaker players. Having a target range of 10k each way would have made a lot of sense. Having a situation where a #1 can crash the fleet of a #20k seems stupid, but that's the way it is, and both parties need to play with that in mind.

NTA; His one and only...

Miss Kiki: What are the alliances that you have been in while playing SFC?
Rubi:  Only ever been in NTA. And yes, without a good alliance there is little point to the longterm game. I really would have quit months ago if it hadn't been for my alliance mates. Family.

The future of the game . . .

Miss Kiki: How much longer do you see yourself playing the universes that you do now?
Rubi:  I only play Uni 1. I have presence in uni 2 but have been in v for months. I doubt I'll ever play a variant of this game. I'll stay until the end. Uni 1 is dying and I can't see me leaving until ever rat has abandoned ship.

Miss Kiki: With the current attrition rate and the boredom and staleness of the game, what keeps you here?
Rubi:  My alliance keeps me playing. Without that group I would have quit many months ago.

Miss Kiki:   What can BFG do in it's sequel to reinvigorate play?
Rubi:  BFG don't seem to have any idea about customer relations. All they care about is the bottom line. All of the universes could have been so much better if they'd just listened and put some effort in.
Uni 1 will be the last BFG game I ever play. I have no intention of moving to the other uni's. Therefore, I don't actually care what they do. Whatever it is, won't be enough.

Miss Kiki:    What do you see the future of SFC to be, based on its current path?
Rubi:  SFC (as in uni one) is dead. Unless they can come up with something to encourage new members, the uni will just die over time. It's not far off now. I seem to spend more time cleaning out (id)'s than actives recently. No where near as much fun. Sad.
Miss Kiki: Any thoughts on the compression idea for SFCO?
Rubi:  Compression: Very interesting idea. Lots of potential, but never gonna happen. It's a shame, because it is one of the better ideas out there. But BfG don't even seem to have the ability to fix basic bugs in the game. Their idea of a wonderful new idea is to change a few variables within the code and release a new uni with...fast ships!!!! Or....fast mines!!! Such amazing creativity!

There are many things that could have made this game better, but we'll never see them. SFCO is dead, and the way things look, BfG and SfC in general will be dead as soon as the players finally realise that there is no future.
Miss Kiki:   If you were to make your own space war game, how would that look? Would it be similar to SFC? What would be different?
Rubi:  Well, the first game of any note I played was Elite on the BBC and Commodore 64. Absolutely adored that game. Gameplay was so much more important than graphics. And recently, as in the last few weeks, I've found Oolite, which is a port of Elite for various modern platforms. And I love it  ;D >:( . . .If I could design a space war game, that's what I'd base it on.

Miss Kiki:   If you could change one thing about this game to make it better, what would that be?
RubiX:  Change? You mean apart from the designers!? I guess the key thing it needs is more incentive at the beginning.
Also, someone once suggested being able to design your own ships by using parts from others. This would be cool.
Maybe a way of doing unique research to 'invent' new parts. Imagine being able to research 50-60 different techs at 1 to 10 levels. Then combinations of these techs giving the ability to build different weapons, fuels, ships, buildings, scanners, etc. Then being able to build ships around this research. Would add a huge new dimension to the game. I don't mean like currently where if you research to a set level you can build a Hades. I mean actually researching the various parts to create the ship. So some might concentrate on speed. Others on firepower. Some may skip offence and go for ships with large cargo, speed and extra strong armour.
You get the idea  ;D

Parting shots. . .

Miss Kiki: Scottay thought you should share what you think of people who do not fleetsave... LOL.
Rubi:  People would don't fleetsave on a regular basis don't deserve to have a fleet. So many people still do this. Yes they may be online loads, and may be using fancy scripts or alerts to protect them, but ultimately, if you don't FRS then you will lose your fleet. It really annoys me to hear people moan about being attacked when they leave candy on the door mat. People like that shouldn't be playing. And if you ever see an NTA player with an unattended fleet, smash it and let me know who it was. Because they're an embarrassment.

Miss Kiki:    If you could crash any person's fleet in SFCO, who would that be?
Rubi:  Crashing a fleet. None really. Wouldn't mind taking out some of my alliance mates  ;D Only because they have huge fleets and the challenge would be great.
I'd like to see Babam/Rossi wiped. The biggest cheat this game has seen. But I'd rather see him suspended than crashed. Wouldn't want to give him the honour of having his fleet crashed. Guy is a true jerk.

Miss Kiki:   What tips and advice would you give to players at this stage of SFCO? What about in uni2? X?
Rubi:  Tips!? Same as always, if you are serious about the game, look after your ships. If not, go and play a different game.

I would like to thank Dave/Rubi for this fascinating interview.  Additionally I'd like to thank Scottay for hooking us up and some extra insight.

9
Off-Topic / A CLOSER LOOK: Riker, leader of The Empire
« on: February 20, 2011, 05:39:58 AM »
A CLOSER LOOK: Riker, leader of The Empire .

One of the most highly regarded alliances within Strfleet Coomander's Original Universe is The Empire.  The current head of that alliance is a widely respected player named RIker.  I have had the pleasure of working with Riker (Mafia Boss days) and his easy going style is a refreshing change from some of the higher ranked cutthroats within the games (hahaha).
Riker’s real name is Dwaine, and he is most likely to been seen in front of a computer, whether at work or at home.  Dwaine is a “Customer Support Technical Coordinator”  who’s duties are to basically run lots of reports, review and maintain data in a database.  He is a forty year old, single man, who has a large extended family and an active uncle to many.


Riker in the Game:

Miss Kiki:  Is SFC the first online game like this that you have played? Did you come into this and have to learn the ropes, figure it all out?
Riker: Yes, SFC was the first online strategy type game that I have played. I have played other games like Mafia Wars, Farmville, etc but they are nothing like SFC. I was invited to the game by a high school friend during the beta. I had to come into the game and figure it all out. I joined his alliance and we all helped each other in learning the game.

Miss Kiki:  The way you have played the game, how much of that was things you picked up from other players or games, and how much were tactics that you may have come up with on your own?
Riker:  Most of the things I have used to the play the game have come from others.

Miss Kiki: How much a part of your success in this game has been due to your own intellect? Or do you think it is more due to the amount of time put into e game?
Riker: Probably due to the insane amount of time I have put into the game.

Miss Kiki: Do you prefer group efforts and attacking or solo work? Why?
Riker: I like a mix but am finding that in original it is taking more and more teamwork. Solo is easy as I don't have to worry about waiting on someone from my team to arrive or figuring out how to split the resources.
Teamwork is fun as well as you can hit bigger players, but you have to plan these much more than solo work. And the splitting of resources can be a pain to figure out sometimes.

Miss Kiki:  What would you consider your playing style to be? . . .for example, I am, usually, a fleeter.
Riker:  I have always been an attacker, just the way I was taught the game. Recently I have turned more into a farmer as the hits are getting harder to make and take longer to plan and for them to happen.

Miss Kiki:  What is your favorite kind of attack? (for example mine is the ghost, or as some call it, the WTF happened?)
Riker:  Oh, I love the blind oracle and attacking early morning.

Miss Kiki:  What would you say is the most challenging aspect of this game is for you?
Riker:  Most challenging right now is finding targets that get lazy about checking their fleets after they arrive from a FRS, or finding targets that don't come online after being alerted to a probing or an incoming attack.

Miss Kiki: What is the most rewarding aspect of the game?
Riker:    Most rewarding is making those white screen of death appear when you attack someone. You know the ones you get when you try to refresh after an attack and the servers are processing your massive group attack. The moments of anticipation of seeing that battle report and how big of a debris field you made.
Also the bonding with other members in my alliance and some other alliances.

Miss Kiki: Are there any players that have influenced your game playing style or strategy?
Riker:  Only some of the greatest Empire players - Viper, Nobunga, Akkarin, ZPM, SCMT

The Alliance & Leading The Empire:

Miss Kiki:  You are the head of The Empire alliance, how has that been for you running Empire?
Riker:   It has been fun. Got a great group of officers. We've had our drama but basically we are all the same. We love crashing everyone's fleet and cleaning up the air around their planets. “Because you know that Empire Cares.”

Miss Kiki:  Can you talk about the shifting around between the Empire, ODB, and then back into Empire? What were the reasons for that? Were they political, personalities or player conflicts?
Riker:   We were looking to merge or acquire Tang which was led by A.Z.. One of his big items for the merge was for both alliances to leave and create a new alliance. Major discussions and some drama within our alliance but most of us wanted the merge to happen so those that did left and we created ODB.
Well for Halloween it was mentioned by one of our more famous members that as a joke we should all go back to Empire. Well it turns out that a lot more of us wanted it so we left and became Empire again. We just flipped the roles of the alliances. ODB is where we will go to retire.

Miss Kiki: While membership into The Empire is invitation only;  what qualities, talents, or skills do you look for when recruiting players?
Riker:  Generally you have to know someone in our alliance and work with them for awhile to get an invitation. We do look at your ranks as well as what your tech and speed levels are but it is more about how you play and your attitude.

Miss Kiki:  What do you think makes an alliance great?
Riker:  The members is what makes an alliance great. Not everyone can fit in with our crew and put up with us. But one rule we have always tried to enforce is to keep the alliance small. I think at one time we had close to 75 people but most of the time it is right around 50 members. We don't have lots of drama that I hear other alliances have which makes my job a lot easier.

Miss Kiki:  What is it about you that gives you ability to persuade others to follow you, in your opinion?
Riker:   Well I learned how to lead this alliance from the very best and great Nobunga. He really set it up and got things going then he had to slow down. Now it is just keeping everything in order and having great officers. I don't really persuade them to do much of anything but to blow up fleets and ruin people's day. I am also pretty laid back and easy going. Takes a lot to get me worked up over anything.

Miss Kiki: What do you believe your influence was or has been on those alliances and on the players?
Riker:  Probably very simple rules and laid back attitude about the game. I don't treat anyone person any different than anyone else.

Thoughts on the Future of SFC:

Miss Kiki: How much longer do you see yourself playing the universes that you do now?
Riker: Mainly only play original and will probably keep playing it for a long time. Recently started playing uni2 and x2 but not sure how long I will stay with them. Trying to devote most of my play time to uni1

Miss Kiki: With the current attrition rate and the boredom and staleness of the game, what keeps you here?
Riker: Mainly trying to constantly build my account. It is slow going which is why I have turned into more of a farmer lately. Still hunting but the hunting is so long in between the hits that you have to farm to keep growing.

Miss Kiki:  What can BFG do in it's sequel to reinvigorate play?
Riker: For uni1 aka original they need to compress the universe or get rid of all the empty systems and make each galaxy smaller. But I think their idea is just to keep introducing new uni's. Nothing wrong with that but it just takes people away from the original universe.

Miss Kiki:   What do you see the future of SFC to be, based on its current path?
Riker: Probably once a year we will get 2 new unis. One Extreme and one regular. Not sure if we will see any new features added but I sure hope we do.

Miss Kiki:  If you were to make your own space war game, how would that look? Would it be similar to SFC? What would be different?
Riker:  I would maybe make things more life like. Instead of pages for each system make them look like planets circling a star then make the stars look like a galaxy. Would make the buildings built on actual land. The basis would be similar to SFC.

Miss Kiki:  If you could change one thing about this game to make it better, what would that be?
Riker: Add more ships.

Miss Kiki:  What tips and advice would you give to players at this stage of SFCO? What about in uni2? X?
Riker:  Build your infrastructure up first before trying to go and start building a big fleet and attacking people.

Miss Kiki:   If you could crash any person's fleet in SFCO, who would that be?
Riker: In no particular order: BamBam, Mikey, Captain Q, Mr. Spock, Ikaros, Star Raving Mad

I’d like to thank Dwaine for taking the time to do this interview, and waiting so patiently for me to get myself together to do it. Also thank you to Tuhis for another great Character illustration!

10
Off-Topic / A CLOSER LOOK: Tuhis: our resident artist
« on: February 12, 2011, 07:46:54 AM »
A CLOSER LOOK:  Tuhis; our resident artist
The SFC community has a wide range of personalities and talents. Some play the game fiercely, some just for kicks, and some for the people they connect with along the way..  One such player is Tuhis, who over the past few months has opened herself to our community through her artwork and charming personality.

While Tuhis may not be known for her skills or style of playing the games, she is still an important personality within our community, in the forum, on the chats, and in the game.  Anyone who has seem her artwork knows the skill and talent that she is sharing with us.  Tuhis captures many of us in personality and our own quirkiness, right down to perfect comic versions of many.  She brings sheer joy and amusement to many of us, and we are honored to be her subjects.  While it's true that many of the characters in the comics she has posted in the forum have started based upon a real life SFC personality, it's been fascinating to see how some of them, have taken on a life of their own, as well as to read of the interesting exploits of these comic characters.

Tuhis, who's real name is Maria, is a young woman who lives in Finland.  She is a beautiful blond, blue eyed young lady, with a lively, yet somewhat timid personality, often times with a bit of a dark side lurking close by.  It can be clearly seem in some of her artistic work these darker aspects, and one can see how Maria uses her artwork to express her emotions.

  Playing Starfleet Commander....
Miss Kiki: Lets start this by talking about the games, and how you are doing in them.  What universes are you currently playing, or have you played in?
Maria: Most of my babbling will be SFCO centered, I've played all universes but none of the rest really held me. The double speed is a bit too extreme for me.
And you know I'm more of a social "forum whore" than actually a good player of the game.

I started playing SFCO in March 2010- about half a year "late". I had received an invite from another gaming friend on Facebook quite a lot of time earlier, played through the tutorial and then forgot about the game. In March I was cleaning unused apps from my FB, found the game again and decided to give it another go.

Miss Kiki: What keeps you playing the game?
Maria:What keeps me playing now is the social aspect. I've made very good friends with some of the players. That is one thing I noticed comparing SFC to other games I play via Facebook; in many other games, you add random people as friends to benefit in the game somehow, and the only contact you might have with them is sending gifts and visiting farms, etc. In SFC, I make friends in the game and add them on Facebook _because they are my friends_!

What kept me playing in the beginning, then? I was unfortunate enough to land in G2 among all the big boys and hungry hunters. The answer is, once again, the forum. The first time I got hit I already clicked on "toggle diplomacy mode". For some reason I was reading the forums at that time, and noticed people having counters in their signatures. "Zeus killed: x, players hit into (n): y, players hit to ragequit: z" etc. I decided not to become anyone's trophy and cancelled the toggling into dmode.

Miss Kiki: What alliances have you been in? Have you had any good experiences with alliances? bad experiences?
Maria:On that very same visit to the forum, I bumped into a topic titled "NOB is always recruiting", and that's where I went and, if I can say so, learnt to play.
In SFCO, I've only ever been in two alliances; NOB and INC, where I am now. In NOB I was half a universe away from the active players but the forum and chatroom were active and I felt a part of the alliance anyways, INC members are close by but it's rather quiet in here.
Other universes... in MB I was in EMPIRE (that consisted of SFCX EMPIRE players, I think.)
Uni2 in ODB and briefly Star, but was in the latter for just a few days before admitting to myself I'm no longer inspired by it
SFCX in ARMED, but I never played that actively and have now quit it twice.
I don't recall any really good or really bad experiences from the alliances themselves.

Miss Kiki: Your husband plays in the games too, doesn't he. Or at least he did, right?
Maria:My husband only played MB actively. He made accounts in both SFCO and uni2, but only played for a few farming runs as we started in the opposite ends of the universe. He doesn't have experience of similar games- years ago we played Travian briefly, but that's it. He's a WoWaholic.
In MB, however, as we got to start at the same time with the others he became quite the wrecking ball and, IIRC, was #5 in DSP when he quit. He felt it took too much of his time.
But we had one rather memorable battle together, I wish I had taken screenshots- we (or he, actually, just invited me along) caught Badrash.<!-- s:D -->:D<!-- s:D -->
Miss Kiki: Let's take a look at some of your experiences with SFC. Your favorite battles, or moments in the game. . .

Maria: SFCO: Getting my moon. It was just after I left NOB to join INC. Ken Fredrickson attacked me and I noticed I had all the pieces in place: my fleet within deploying distance, enough time, enough hydro, managed to estimate lag well... and the attacker did not slow probe. 15,5%. I'm still thrilled!

Maria: Uni2: When I attacked jojoba and he nuked me in return. Battle report is posted on the forums.

Maria: SFCX: I got very random attacks once in a while. It was always the same guy. He never probed; just launched blindly and flight times were long. I converted each fleet into debris, he kept going.

Maria: and the best of all. Last Friday night in SFCO. Scottay played a little prank on me.
We were chatting on Skype and all of a sudden my fleets screen is red with probes. I had to scroll down to see them all. He and some of his friends (Psiosa, Riker, Wingy, Daddy Wags, Mikey, Shale, Jim Martin, Taz, I think I'm forgetting someone here...) had arranged a mass probing to all of my planets at the same time. And in 20 minutes there were 3 and a half pages of espionage detected in my inbox.

Miss Kiki: Ah, yes we heard about that on the SFCAddicts group in Facebook...I believe you posted this:
Stepmania - Gangprobed
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UUrNjOfIM98

On the creation of the Sandbox Comics . . ..
BrianC: It all started many moons ago when Babe, Tuhis, and Mona asked me to join their little Skype chat group. Back then it was called Mona's Pleasure Bus, or something like that. We were chatting along one day when Tuhis joined. Of course, the conversations were a little too adult for the SFC boards, but for whatever reason I found Tuhis rather engaging. Over the course of the next week or so it was really Tuhis and I chatting and everyone else taking a backseat lol.
One day, Tuhis created the Sandbox thread and posted her adorable picture of Baby Tuhis which captured the hearts of the world. In skype chat, when she would join, I would often type *Kicks sand* in the room, to play on a "younger crush" action that an equivalent child of Baby Tuhis' age would do. As we all know, when boys are young and start checking out girls, we tend to be a little "mean" towards the ones we like.

BrianC: In any case, this inspired Tuhis to draw/color me into a sandbox comic, from a photo I had posted in my thread (post a picture of yourself), and from there, the creative juices began to flow. She whipped up this incredible storyline about how to exact revenge on BrianC for kicking sand at her. It was amazing, because she managed to capture all of our personalities into the drawings of our "Sandbox" versions, and created this epic "quest" to right the wrongdoing.
To no surprise, using some of the larger forum personalities, the Sandbox became the most popular/viewed thread in SFC forum history, and it showed no real signs of stopping for a while.

BrianC: During these times, we watched Tuhis really open up socially on the forums as well as in skype chat, and her imagination was working overtime to not only create her storyline and put it into fruition, but even in other aspects of her work she posted for us on the forums that were unrelated to the storyline itself.
In one way or another, Tuhis managed to make us laugh, or melted our hearts with the drawings of a reflection of herself in the sandbox, and displayed to us all how talented she really is. I told her numerous times to send these drawings into a drawing/coloring company because she is literally that amazing 
She brought so much more fun and laughter to this message board than anyone else, and that was an amazing feat.


On The budding artist....
Miss Kiki: Do you have any formal training?
Maria:Nope. I went to an upper secondary school (the equivalent of high school) that had quite a lot of extra art courses in the curriculum, but that's it.
So I learned by myself, from books and feedback from others. And a lot of practice.
Miss Kiki: How long have you been drawing?
Maria:Since I first managed to wrap my tiny fingers around a pen. <!-- s:) -->:)<!-- s:) --> My parents kept almost all, if not all, of my early drawings.
I think it then was the summer between 6th and 7th grade when I started taking it any bit seriously.
Miss Kiki: Had you done comics like that before doing the Sandbox for the SFC forum?
Maria:I've done something very similar, but nothing nearly as long. The comics I drew before rarely were longer than one page.  But it has always spawned from drawing the people in an online community.
Miss Kiki: I know that you had some issues with your wrist hurting, is that still a concern?
Maria:My wrist has been fine now. I went to see a doctor quite early on, and after taking it easy at work for a couple of weeks, it hasn't started to hurt again.
Miss Kiki: what was the issue, did they tell you?
 Maria:It was mostly work that had put strain on it. I'm a restaurant worker, and the strain on the wrist came from excess pouring of sparkling wine.  When looking the Finnish name for what it was up in Wikipedia and going to the English version of the page, I find myself reading about tendonitis.
Miss Kiki: Do you consider yourself a professional artist?
Maria:Nope. I want to consider art my most important and time-consuming hobby.

On How do her creations take form...
Miss Kiki: Can you explain to us how your artistic process works?
Maria: I think in pictures.  I just illustrate random thoughts.
I'm terrible at writing stories, turning my thoughts into words is very difficult. KitS {the comic} has no written script, I have only a general idea what could happen next. When I write I absolutely need to describe every possible detail. And I can't write if I can't illustrate it while I go.

As a note, facial expressions in general are where I believe the strength in my sandbox art lies. And I enjoy drawing them.   Laggy is especially fun, since even in full body shots, most of what we see is face. And since I cannot really imagine him speaking, facial expressions are the only way his thoughts can be conveyed to the reader.”

Being a female in a Starfleet world..
 Miss Kiki: Have you had any bad experiences in the game due to your gender?
Maria:What comes to reactions to my gender, I don't recall having negative ones. My nickname is gender neutral and unless I tell, people assume I'm a boy. I'm not sure any of my current alliancemates know. <!-- s:D -->:D<!-- s:D --> It's not only in SFC- when my WoW guildmates heard my voice for the first time in Ventrilo, they thought I was a 13-year-old boy. I have a rather low voice.

This topic has actually caused one of my silly forum "memes" to be born.
I once discussed with my friends on Skype about people possibly reacting differently to a name that's clearly female, if it attracts attention differently. There were 4 of us- Bravicus, darkset, Johanna (whose name is clearly female) and me.
darkset's comment on the subject was, "i'll change to princess bunny pants if it brings the hits in".

tuhis wrote: *super happy squeal*

http://www.etsy.com/shop/tuhis[/color]]http://www.etsy.com/shop/tuhis

Because we're all kids in the sandbox. . .
http://forum.playstarfleet.com/viewtopic.php?f=15&t=9482


I would like to thanks Tuhis/Maria for both her time and talents here.  This was a fun interview, and I know I speak for most of us by saying we look forward to more of youR inspiring talents in the future Honey!
I would also like to thank Brian Curtis for his contributions to this as well.
:D



11
Off-Topic / A CLOSER LOOKI: Just in time for the holidays...The Grinch
« on: November 23, 2010, 03:50:28 AM »
A CLOSER LOOK:  The Grinch


     Interviewing the Grinch, like trying to have any normal conversation with him over the past nine months, has been a true challenge.  Grinch is an incredibly guarded person, but at the same time throws out information or verbal cues that are meant to pique interest and to gain attention.  I have speculated over the past few months as to the true nature of the Grinch – Is this person male or female?  Is Grinch an older player, or maybe just mature in some ways?  What kind of leader is Grinch – some players that have worked with the Grinch are totally loyal, while others have nothing but bad things to say. 
     During this interview I was given practically no personal information about The Grinch, at first.  Then I was given some information that could possibly be true or not, who knows.  Then back to nothing.  Trying to draw things of Grinch's alliance mates was fairly useless too.  So . . . what do we know? We know that Grinch is male, female, or transgendered.  We know that Grinch is more than likely between the ages of 25 and 35.  We know that Grinch leads Snipe in a form of dictatorship.  We know that Grinch is a tricky-ass player.  We know that Grinch is skilled and knowledgeable about the SFC games and has an extreme fondness for moons and warp gates.  We know that players should beware when Grinchie shows up unannounced.


Off to an interesting start . . .

Miss Kiki:  :D
The Grinch: (finger) (yes on  Skype some cute little emoticon gave me the finger).
Miss Kiki: Not the best Hello that I've had today, but it works.
The Grinch: It's been an interesting day Kiki
Miss Kiki: How so?
The Grinch: S7 nuked me to ribbons in G50 and then raided my planet dry (I was fleetsaved)... then I tore JKA a new one (took out three different players)... then S7 attacked my gated moon in G50.  Silly of them... but it's the first time I've been attacked on a moon.
Miss Kiki: lol
The Grinch: I cut it too close with a 3 second ninja and they got my fleet there... now they're after my hydro and I'm self-ninjaing.  Lesson learned... 5-6 seconds on the gate ninja.
Miss Kiki: Wow, which players from S7?
The Grinch: A couple of crappy ones... I'm sure I'll hear about this from Pharos.
Miss Kiki: Lol, yup.  That was pretty bold of them, attacking gated moons.  Very risky.
The Grinch: Yup... gotta have your intel down... which they don't... which is why I'm pissed  >:(
Miss Kiki: Yes, well that and they DARE to attack the Grinch .  I think the players are getting bolder and more desperate.
The Grinch: Nah... they're pissed caused one of my guys self-ninjad on a MAC and took 666 hades out from under Lord Ari - my player's name?  Sixkiller -  the guy should have sent 555 hades . . .

You're a mean one, Mr. Grinch

Miss Kiki: You have a somewhat nasty reputation in the middle universe of SFCO.  Why do you think that is?
The Grinch: I don't know what you're talking about . . .
Miss Kiki: sure . . .lol
Miss Kiki: Why the name Grinch?  What about you is Grinch-like?
The Grinch: I was in a Governors meeting back in PUG and we were talking about problems we were having with a particular alliance.  I offered to MAC to their compound and steal their xmas.  Another officer offered that that would be a great SFC name, I agreed, and the rest is history.  It fit with my aggressive tendencies in the game. 
Miss Kiki: Yup, I agree.
The Grinch: was lots of fun initially too when there were more players and I wasn't quiet as ruthless and led to lots of silly banter. I got this a couple days ago:
TYRIAN 6 minutes ago
To: The Grinch
nothing here you miserable anti christmas bastard lo
l
Miss Kiki: LOL.  I love TYRIAN, he's a fun guy.
Miss Kiki: What was your in-game name before it became the Grinch?
The Grinch: my in-game name was Nate before it was Grinch.

Baby Grinch . . .

 Miss Kiki: When did you start playing the game and where did you start (galaxy)?
The Grinch: I grew up right next to Badrash and Koka... G39.  We were NAPd.  Now,  I never find anything near my planet there... probably because Paci, Koka, Badrash (Ole Nick), and Pride (Progmetal) all live near me.
Miss Kiki: Yup, they eat anything near them.
The Grinch: by the time I left Pug and turned into a real meanie I wasn't really hunting around in G39 any longer.
Miss Kiki: What drew you to Starfleet Commander to begin with? 
The Grinch: For some reason I decided to start using the facebook account someone made for me... think it was an old girlfriend.  Started goofing around with the games... was playing mafiawars like everyone else...I don't remember if I clicked a link or if someone invited me to SFC, but I started an account and wasn't really interested in it.  I was just slowly building mines/techs... built a couple planets in-system and didn't know what a good planet was or anything... never raided anyone... just ran missions.
The Grinch: Then this heartless and tenacious bastard named Garon came along and blew my fleet all to hell.  I've been playing side by side with him since.  You know... keep your enemies close.  From then on, I was hooked... I saw how good this game could be.
Miss Kiki: Had you played games such as this before, MMORPG?
The Grinch: This is my first MMORPG

The Grinch and Snipe . . .

Miss Kiki: You are the head of the alliance Snipe, how has that been for you running Snipe?
The Grinch: Initially it was a good bit of work... everyone at Pug had puppies when we split off... I actively recruited their members and that didn't sit well with their leadership.  Then we went about attacking everyone we came across regardless of alliance, size, etc.  Pug thought we were targeting only them, so they tried to form coalitions etc. against us... I had to deal with lots of messages from pissed off alliance leaders.
The Grinch: I'm good at it now though . . ."why are you attacking so and so" - he left his stuff out . . . "why do you hate me" - because you have a fleet . . ."pick on someone your own size" - what's the fun in that? . . ."can we call a truce?" - Sure, send us your fleets . . .LOL
The Grinch: no one has taken me up on that last one yet.  >:(
Miss Kiki: There are players that have called you a control freak (well and me too, LOL), why would they say that about you?
The Grinch: Snipe is interested in active players that are out there blowing stuff up.  If that's not you, I have the job, as leader, of showing you the door.  I'd gladly give up the leadership of Snipe to another player, but no one wants my job and/or the officers don't want me to give it up.  If I had a penny for every ticked off former Snipe I'd have a dollar or so.
Most of us in Snipe came up through various alliances but found ourselves eventually in Pug.  Without going into the nasty details, pug was overrun by infighting amongst the senior officers about how decisions were being made for the alliance as a whole.  Pug was supposed to operate as a "senate" where all the officers voted and the majority ruled.  In practice it didn't work that way. 
So, in order to stream-line decision making and get rid of the bullshit, I run Snipe along with my officers similar to the executive branch of US government rather than the legislative branch.  I make the final call, but I do so under the advisement of the officers.  Our motto at the start was "No NAPs, No Wars, No headaches"  - if you allow the politics to overwhelm you, it will... and it will suck the life out of you and kill the game for you.
Miss Kiki: lol . . .What qualities, talents, or skills do you look for when recruiting players to Snipe?
The Grinch: When we first started all we wanted was aggression.  We wanted you to go out and take someone's stuff.  Your rank/skill didn't matter.  Time has a way of separating the players interested in the game from those that aren't.  Lower ranked players either became good players or they were removed from the alliance.  We had completely new players joining us when we first formed.  Nowadays were more interested in adding players that have a similar "lust" for the game and are ranked high enough (have the fleet/infrastructure/experience) to be able to hang with the rest of us.  And you need to pass an eye exam.

Game Challenges for The Grinch . . .

Miss Kiki: What would you the most challenging aspect of this game is for you?
The Grinch: Balancing my addiction to an imaginary universe with reality?
Miss Kiki: LOL - What is the most rewarding aspect of the game?
The Grinch: Stealing fleets and working with others to do it.
Miss Kiki: I agree, it is much better with others.  What would you consider your playing style to be? . . .for example, I was, at the end, a pirate fleeter.
Nate - The Grinch: I've been called a fleeter . . I've been called a miner. . . I've been called a bastard, etc.  ;D
Miss Kiki: What is your favorite kind of attack? (for example mine is the ghost, or as some call it, the WTF happened?)
The Grinch: That's how I lost my fleet in extreme . . .was playing original... was busy major a huge DF and didn't bother to check my FRS, pretty funny stuff.   I'd say my favorite tactic is a good ole fashion oracle lock... those produce the best messages from other players.  Similarly, catching an active heph with it's pants down is lots of fun too... gotta love reading them squirm.
Miss Kiki: are you still playing Extreme?
The Grinch: Yes... I play x, uni 1, and uni 2, but not particularly active other than in uni 1.
Miss Kiki: Are there any players that have influenced your game playing style or strategy? 
The Grinch: Certainly at Pug during it's heyday there was a lot of mentoring going on... when we were ranked 2nd behind ANH and had 900 members.  They're former leader, Scott P, who has NEVER been out of dip mode (at least back then) is the one who taught me to slow-probe... or at least told me about it... gotta love the irony in that!  SCMT is a buddy of mine and I've done some group work with him... haven't talked to him lately, but he was great about responding to me with questions about how oracles/gates/hephs worked before I had them.  Otherwise most tactics I've learned either by coming up with them myself (not to say they're original) or seeing others do them.  I never really latched on to another player and had them teaching me.

Personal Information?

Miss Kiki: So seriously, you are not going to tell me anything about yourself at all? . .  ok, that leaves a lot open to speculation
The Grinch: Yup - that's why you're interviewing me... I'm mysterious!   :P ;D
Miss Kiki: No, I am interviewing you because you have always intrigued me, entertained, amused. . .
The Grinch: Annoyed   :P ;D
Miss Kiki: Challenged, well, annoyed, yes - but I still want to know more, like what country do you live in?
The Grinch: Antarctica...know why?
Miss Kiki: no, why . . .
The Grinch: http://www.worldtimezone.com/time-antarctica24.php   What time zone is Antarctica?
Miss Kiki: Apparently all of them. . .
The Grinch: My point exactly, doesn't matter where I live... I'm always online and you will be smashed.   :P ;D

On Playing the Game. . .

Miss Kiki: What are your thoughts on SFCO and where that is heading?
The Grinch:  I've had to adjust my tactics to deal with players being more spread out.  Used to be you could hunt from a permanent planet just fine, now you've got to go mobile.  I think there are two ways your could really make uni 1 easier on folks (at least the hunters)
1)   connect the solar system 1 to 499... would make heph/MACing much more dynamic
2)   chop the cost hydrogen usage of all the ships in half
Miss Kiki: So the galaxy would be circular, interesting.
The Grinch:  This benefits the hunters more than anything, but those are the players spending money on the game. The miners/turtles are rarely spending credits... much less res passes through their hands then goes through the hands of the aggressive players.   My money is that the aggressive players, the ones who play the game religiously, and the ones spending the most money on the game. So it makes sense to keep us happy - cut the hydro usage and I can be even more mobile than I am now and attack farther and  if you can attack farther and still be profitable, all the space in between is less of a problem.
Miss Kiki: That would change the game a bit.  Do you like being feared in the game?
The Grinch: I used to have more fun playing cat/mouse, but now the rush is in the kill.  <!-- s:twisted: -->:twisted:<!-- s:twisted: -->
Miss Kiki: Is there any advice you would give to someone new to the game(s)?
The Grinch: New gamers should join the big alliances.  UniMat0 is probably the best at this point.  Get trained and once they've got the game mechanics down they can start attacking,  etc.  And of course it is very important to build mines early, even more so in uni2 where the mines produce more.  And don't go dip.  Fleets are what hunters are after... that's where the profit usually is... no fleet = less tempting target . . . stay out of dip and either fleet save or don't build a fleet.
Miss Kiki: Are you seeing much of a difference in uni2 compared to 1?
The Grinch: The mines are silly in uni2.  I was logging in once a day there and couldn't keep up, needed to build shipyards and turtle to spend the res.

Miss Kiki: If BFG comes out with another game, another universe, say X2, will you play that?
The Grinch: no
Miss Kiki: How much longer do you see yourself playing the universes that you do now?
The Grinch:  I'm on the verge of quitting X and uni2... don't care about X and don't think I'm gonna get anything else out of uni2.  I'm a once every 3-4 days player in x already.
Miss Kiki: Do you have any games that you are looking at to move toward?  When you stop the SFC games?
The Grinch:  not really, I play a bunch of offline strategy games - old at this point;  panzer general is an old favorite... as is Ultimate Risk.

Parting Shots. . .

The Grinch:  I get that, we certainly do have fun - crazy as we are - we also blow stuff up though.
Miss Kiki: Okay, well guys, is there anything else I should or CAN know about the Grinch?
§wåñvè§tå: grinch is here for your xmas displeasure   ;D >:( ;D
The Grinch:  I eat puppies.  ;D ;D :o 8)
Nightmare: he is slightly competitive   ::)
The Grinch:  the early bird catches the fleet and the night hawk eats the early bird . . .sleep is for the weak.   ;D

  A story (mostly) in pictures :
http://forum.playstarfleet.com/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=10743&start=0

  Re:Snipe?:
http://forum.playstarfleet.com/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=10909&start=0

  Re: A CLOSER LOOK: Darth Paulidius - DP:
http://forum.playstarfleet.com/viewtopic.php?f=15&t=10576&p=133223#p133223

Re: Herph Gate:
http://forum.playstarfleet.com/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=9813

  Grinch Juice Drink Recipe:
http://www.idrink.com/v.html?id=45867

12
Off-Topic / A CLOSER LOOK: Matt Maroon; Blue Frog Gaming CEO. . Part Two
« on: November 10, 2010, 02:28:13 AM »
A CLOSER LOOK: Matt Maroon; Blue Frog Gaming CEO . . . Part Two

Miss Kiki: This question comes from 2$Bill, and it's a good one . . ."I would like to know if he thought it would be like this. If he saw that there would be this much drama, or if he thought this game would just run smoothly."
Matt: Some amount of drama was planned for. We built the game around alliances, and we knew they'd be popular. We knew there would be backstabbing, group hits (which we had planned from the start but didn't get around to for awhile), and all that.  What we didn't know is how many total nut jobs would pop up. I guess when you get over a million signups you assume a few 420Penguins have to show up. There are a lot of unstable people out there, it's not a shocker that a handful made their way to us.

Miss Kiki: Have you followed any of the history/drama within the SFC game and community?
Matt: We've deal with all sorts of drama through support that you can't imagine. Alliance feuds have gotten hostile, sometimes even resulting in actual threats on other people, which of course our rules prohibit.
There have been some really cool battles. I remember in the early days one that was so large that it crashed our server! The story of how it happened was fascinating, and the non-technical part of it was posted to the forums. Unfortunately there's no really good way to handle that for us, other than to prevent it from recurring.

Miss Kiki: How often are you amazed by how people have thought outside the box and used some aspect of the game in an unintended way? What was the most impressive in your opinion?
Matt: I'm constantly amazed by some of the stuff people thought of. Some of it we of course had to crack down on, but I can't even believe some of the exploits they found in the game. Just when you think you've gotten your code to a pretty air tight state, someone discovers that they can have 100 people send probes at a planet at the same time and crash the game for their victim so he cant fleetsave, or something like that. (That one we think we fixed, but it really stumped us for a bit there.)

 On The Forum . . .

Keep in mind that this conversation was a couple weeks ago, I know that Matt has, in fact, been watching the forums over the past week or two, so that much has changed. . .
Miss Kiki: How often do you check in on the forum to see what's going on in game?
Matt: I haven't been checking up on the forums too much lately. I'm probably going to have to get our support team to moderate it now that Laggynate is back to doing school stuff. I sure hope he graduates soon, he was a fantastic forum mod.

Miss Kiki: ] Do you consider the forum mods to be official reps of BFG and as such when they post announcements that are from BFG - are those official?
Matt: In general, only people who are verified employees of Blue Frog Gaming speak for us. Sometimes Laggynate used to email me for a quote, so sometimes he posted stuff that came from me. He and Ptonjalken and other people we've made admins on the forums or wikis mostly spoke for themselves (and, by the way, were amazingly helpful and good at what they did).
We've decided going forward though that only BFG people will be forum/wiki admins other than the community people we've already got until we're really, really comfortable with them. The Codename_B incident has made us even more cautious than we already were about that sort of thing. The internet has plenty of crazies and douche bags, even though 99.999% of people are neither, and the last thing I want to do is give one the power to ban people or edit posts.

On Mafia Boss . . .

Miss Kiki: ] Let's Talk about Mafia Boss. . . A cross between Mafia Wars and SFC - basically SFC with new names and skins on it (yes I played it seriously for months).  The similarities made the crossover extremely easy for the SFC crowd, however, the game did not seem finished, ready for release, when it actually came out.  Was that game rushed?  Likewise the forum for the game was unfinished and nearly unmanned as far as mods go.  The question is, why release the game if it was not ready?  Why spring it on us with no warning?
Matt: Mafia Boss didn't launch too early, it launched too late! Our art contractors, these guys from the Philippines, took an extra couple months getting the art done and it really ruined us. They had been so reliable before on past projects. They did all the art on all of the Tycoon games and Starfleet, so we thought they were great. They were always on time, always did good work. Then all of a sudden they stopped responding, started missing deadlines, gave us excuses about natural disasters and employees taking extra vacation days. In the time we spent waiting on the art the Facebook platform changed radically and Mafia Boss had a really hard time growing by the time it launched.   We really thought the game was going to be big. It still might get a push though, we have a plan for it

Matt on advertising the games . . .
 
Matt: I do get a lot of people asking me why we don't promote the game, and that always makes me cringe. We do try. During Starfleet's heyday we were spending large amounts on advertisements. Unfortunately over the last year the Facebook platform has changed drastically, and almost every change has been bad for Starfleet. It used to be that virality was a key part of the platform. You'd purchase a customer through an ad, and that customer would invite another, who would then invite another, and so on. So even if you only made $1 per user, you could still buy a user for $2 and make a profit, because you'd end up getting 3 or 4 users out of it. Do that enough times and you're talking real money.

But Facebook unfortunately has made a lot of changes to how invites and some of the other viral channels worked that made them much less effective so now when you buy a user, you pretty much get that user now. Ads quickly started becoming less effective when you tallied up future generations.

As a result of Facebook making it hard to get new users in the door organically ad prices skyrocketed. Companies like Zynga can still afford to spend a few bucks to get a user. They've raised hundreds of millions of dollars, and they have enough games that they don't need virality. Instead of you inviting a friend, you just play another Zynga game, so they still get twice the revenue. Between what little virality is left, cross promotion, and their willingness and ability to lose money buying millions of users to maintain their position, they and the other big developers have really driven ad prices up past where we can affordably buy new users.

 There are a couple things we can still try though I think. I'm hopeful that we'll figure out something that will get the flood of new people coming back in. Starting a new universe every now and then seems like a good first start but we're going to have to do more than that long term.

Criticisms and critical questions about BFG and SFC . . .

Miss Kiki: ] There are some very basic questions that keep coming up from the players of SFC and Mafia Boss. First, can you address the similarities between O Game and SFC?  Some say that Starfleet Commander is a rip off of O game, others think it is better, but regardless - you cannot ignore the similarities.  Why create a game that is so similar to another?
Matt: Our game is, quite obviously, inspired by Ogame. We realized right off the bat that it had fundamentally good mechanics. Ogame isn't the only game of that genre btw, there are others like Travian that have been popular for a long time, and there were text-based games very similar on BBSes back in the day.

But we also realized Ogame sucked in a lot of ways. The user interface was atrocious (and they've since launched a new one that's even worse.) They run the game in a strange way, having users who are admins inside the game, leading to all sorts of corruption. Imagine if users in our game had the power to ban each other! They enforce a lot of things by manual labor (by players of the game) that should be enforced by rules, like trade ratios, bashing, etc. They keep universes at a relatively small size, probably so they don't have to share their database across servers. We wanted one giant uni where everyone could play. They didn't have any viral spread mechanism like Facebook, or anything like diplomacy mode for casual players. They make it painful to write in game messages and as a result their game isn't nearly as community oriented as ours.

Basically we saw a long list of problems and decided we'd fix them, and as a result our game grew to be much larger than theirs very quickly. They don't care probably, Ogame isn't their bread and butter and hasn't been in a long time. Starfleet is ours.

Miss Kiki: One of the things that I keep hearing is that you don't care about the game or the community that you have built within the game, that it is only money to you. 
I definitely care about the community and the game. I've just been really busy with scaling the company, so forum posts have unfortunately decreased. When we started Starfleet I think we were at 5 people, maybe 6. Now we're at 14. For me as a founder of the company, that means less getting things done myself and more hiring and enabling others to do it. We probably should get a full time community manager at some point.

Miss Kiki: There is a feeling as well that BFG is merely going to let the games die out and release new ones, scrapping the old ones, that there will be no longevity.
Matt: As far as letting our games die out, we hate to see games die far more than you guys do, trust me. We wish every game were growing. Unfortunately we're a relatively small company and we have to allocate resources to the places with the highest chance of fulfilling company goals. That's why we're shutting down the Tycoon games now.   I think the Starfleet franchise will always have a place though. I don't think you'll see us shutting down any of those in the next couple years. If anything, I think you'll see new additions.

Miss Kiki: There have been a lot of great ideas proposed in the forum, pertaining to things that will make SFC better, in various ways.  Do you and your crew get a chance to read these ideas?  DO you take them seriously?
Matt: We definitely have taken player ideas seriously the entire time. Many features of the game, or revisions to the features of the game, have come from player feedback. We continue to monitor them.

Miss Kiki: Several players submitted questions to me about the lack of contact from BFG to the players, except for mods in the forum and Jason in support.  The feeling is that the other employees at BFG, yourself most of all, has abandoned the game.  Will that change, or is this the way the game will be ran from now on?
Matt: As for communication I'm constantly shocked that people don't think we do enough. We respond to all messages, usually within a business day. We have a company of only 14 people and two of them do support. Try sending a message into Zynga and seeing what happens. I think we do a better job of that than anyone.

The Future of SFC . . .

Miss Kiki: What is in store for the future within the SFC community, the games, etc? Why have there been no updates to the game in months?  Will there be a compression to the universes, or some additional work to correct the huge empty spaces and to liven the games up again?
Matt: As for Starfleet's future, I think you guys will like what you see. I've got some top secret mockups of some stuff I'm kicking around that I think they'd drool over. I can't say what shape it will take (a sequel, additions to the main Universe or new ones, etc.) but I think the game will evolve in a big way in 2011. It might be gradual, it might be nothing for a while and then a big drop all at once, I'm not really sure.
But even the game we have now won't be dropped. We won't stop supporting it. We'll probably do new Universes periodically, though not too close together. Maybe every few months we'll alternate between adding a new Extreme uni and a new Original one. We may have to condense the original Uni somehow if we can't turn it around pretty soon, that much is for sure.

There ends my interview with Matt Maroon.  One thing I noticed while interviewing Matt was that some questions were glossed over or ignored, and I had to repeat them several times.  He is an extremely intelligent and perceptive man, and I have no doubt at all that this was done intentionally.  However, he also is fairly open and willing to share his opinions and thoughts on a variety of topics. 

To say that I had to edit down the interview is an understatement, as he and I are both talkers.  But even though he may not have responded to all of the questions that were posed by the players, given to me to relay, I feel quite sure that he read them and perhaps gave them some thought.

Once again I would like to thank Matt for the time and thought he put into this.  I look forward to reading that novel, whenever it is finished.  I also look forward to following his blog, which as the 420Penguin (posting as meowyeah) pointed out is a really great look at Matt and fantastic (although I will not use the exact phrasing that the Penguin used, LOL).
To the forum readers and game players I say this - if you have more questions or comments for Matt go ahead and post them here, or feel free to email him.  But for actual support issues or problems within the games, contact BFG support.


His Blog site ;
http://mattmaroon.com/

  Matt's poker blog;
http://www.thepokerchronicles.com

Y Combinator;
http://www.ycombinator.com/

Blue Frog Gaming;
http://www.bluefroggaming.com

A CLOSER LOOK: the interview list . . .
http://forum.playstarfleet.com/viewtopic.php?f=15&t=10791

13
Off-Topic / A CLOSER LOOK: the interview list . . .
« on: November 05, 2010, 06:49:42 PM »
Here are the Interviews that have already been done:


A CLOSER LOOK: A Fond Farewell From Albert  ;)
http://http://forum.playstarfleet.com/viewtopic.php?f=15&t=12246

A CLOSER LOOK: L'assasino silenziosos; The Motivator...  :geek:
http://http://forum.playstarfleet.com/viewtopic.php?f=15&t=11796

A CLOSER LOOK: Rubicon X; He IS the point of no return!  :!:  :!:
http://http://forum.playstarfleet.com/viewtopic.php?f=15&t=11747

A CLOSER LOOK: Riker, leader of The Empire  8-)
http://http://forum.playstarfleet.com/viewtopic.php?f=15&t=11714

A CLOSER LOOK: Tuhis; our resident artist  :D
http://http://forum.playstarfleet.com/viewtopic.php?f=15&t=11668

A CLOSER LOOK: Just in time for the holidays...The Grinch :mrgreen:
http://http://forum.playstarfleet.com/viewtopic.php?f=15&t=10979

A CLOSER LOOK: Matt Maroon; Blue Frog Gaming CEO . . .Part Two
http://http://forum.playstarfleet.com/viewtopic.php?f=15&t=10870

A CLOSER LOOK: Matt Maroon; Blue Frog Gaming CEO
http://http://forum.playstarfleet.com/viewtopic.php?f=15&t=10775

A CLOSER LOOK: Badrash; The Starfleet Pirate  :evil:
http://http://forum.playstarfleet.com/viewtopic.php?f=15&t=10731

A CLOSER LOOK: Darth Paulidius - DP :lol:
http://http://forum.playstarfleet.com/viewtopic.php?f=15&t=10576

A CLOSER LOOK: Doomer, "the boy next door" :)
http://http://forum.playstarfleet.com/viewtopic.php?f=15&t=10509

A CLOSER LOOK: His Awesomeness :shock:
http://http://forum.playstarfleet.com/viewtopic.php?f=15&t=10421

A CLOSER LOOK:Laggynate AND Baron Plasma Von Turret . . . :ugeek:
http://http://forum.playstarfleet.com/viewtopic.php?f=15&t=10341

14
Off-Topic / A CLOSER LOOK: Matt Maroon; Blue Frog Gaming CEO
« on: November 04, 2010, 04:57:40 AM »
A CLOSER LOOK: Matt Maroon; Blue Frog Gaming CEO

Startfleet Commander owes its existence to Blue Frog Gaming (BFG), an Akron, Ohio based company, which is owned and ran, in part, by Matt Maroon.  As company CEO, Matt has dedicated countless hours of his time and energy over the past 3 1/2 years to BFG.  Matt has many things to say about the company, the games, and the future. 

But first let's take a look at Matt Maroon - the man.  Before starting Blue Frog Gaming, Matt Maroon played poker.  He played a LOT of poker, playing professionally for several years.  He even wrote a book on how to play poker.  But poker turned out to be not something he could continue to peruse as a career, and he left poker behind - moving into a different direction with his life.  Matt is 30 years old, married, and lives in Ohio.  Some of the things that Matt enjoys in life are golf, bowling, beer brewing, blues music, and he is a hockey fan. Matt is also in the midst of writing a novel.  Matt writes a blog (see link below) that is filled with interesting topics and snippets of information.  But mostly, it is filled with what Matt has to say. He is politically astute and not afraid to share his opinions or ideas about politics, patriotism, religion, and business - particularly if that business is technology or Internet related.

 
Miss Kiki: I have read quite a bit of your blog over the past couple days, and I have to say that I am impressed.  You write extremely well, and though I may not agree with all of your opinions, I found myself looking forward to what you had to say next.  I also was able to gather quite a bit of information about you from the blog, the BFG site, and a couple other sources.
Matt: Of course I should mention that on my personal blogs I speak for me, not for Blue Frog Gaming. Blue Frog Gaming has no official political position, other than that we love whoever gives us lots of tax breaks.
 <!-- s:D -->:D<!-- s:D -->
Miss Kiki: First off, I wanted to ask you about poker.  Do you still play?  Did you quit professional playing?  If so why?  You have played for years, what is it you like about the game?  And, yes, I found your Poker Chronicles Blog,  <!-- s:) -->:)<!-- s:) -->
Matt: I don't play poker at all these days. That blog entry pretty much describes why I quit playing professionally. I won't be surprised if I take it up as a hobby again at some point, but for now I just have too little time. I'm certainly the obsessive sort of person, and I don't have enough time to devote to doing it right, which makes me not do it at all.
Miss Kiki: I have also found out that you wrote a book; Winning Texas Hold 'em (2005).  Is that the only poker book you have published?
Matt: That book is my only published work thus far.

Miss Kiki: I think you should be aware of these two threads on the forum, both have personal data about you in them - but my guess is that you already know:
http://forum.playstarfleet.com/viewtopic.php?f=15&t=10629
http://forum.playstarfleet.com/viewtopic.php?f=23&t=10631&p=134266#p134266
-----edit, these links do not work due to the change of forum venues-------
Matt: Ha, I had not seen those threads, but I can confirm that I am not the Penguin or anyone else. I only post on there under my name. As you can tell from my personal blog, I'm never afraid to put my name on something I said. I've gotten a number of death and lawsuit threats as a result over the years. I'm not too hard to find on Google.
Miss Kiki: The Penguin controversy - Haha - I had forgotten that was in those threads too.  I only thought for a little while that you two might be the same person, based on similarities in some of your ideas and written work.  But in the end, it made no sense for you to post some of the things about yourself and BFG that he has posted, so I dropped that thought.  Still, it would be an amazing twist.  LOL

Miss Kiki: Do you play any of your games?  If you do, have you ever...you know, Queried up -12,000 Hades?
Matt: I've played all of our games. I played Starfleet pretty hard core for a very long time. I was near the top of the leader board for quite some time. A lot of people debated in the forums about which player I was, but I don't think it was one of the ones that people frequently guessed. I did queue up a bunch of Hades though, but I always liked Athenas better.

Miss Kiki: Are you still playing SFC?  If not, can you share with us who you were?  What alliance you were in?
Matt: I'm not currently actively playing SFC, but I probably will the next time we start a new Universe. We might do a second Extreme one soon, since Extreme has always been surprisingly popular. I always loved Extreme too, it just seemed like the people there, despite it being more hardcore, took the game more as a game. I'll still never divulge any of my account names though! I was in most of the bigger alliances at one point or another, and if I wasn't in one, one of the other guys on staff probably was. It gave us a great insight into what people wanted out of the game, because you could get much better feedback unfiltered in an alliance board when players just think you're another player.

Blue Frog Gaming and some history . . .

Matt Maroon is the founder and CEO of Blue Frog Gaming.   BFG began as a startup in May 2007, and then "participated in the Y Combinator summer session."  Starfleet Commander is considered BFG's flagship game, but the company has released several others as well.  In addition to those other games, BFG has recently released two iPad aps (games) based on the traditional card game favorites; Hearts and Spades.  And many of us have seen the Beta version of Casino Tycoon that started up recently.
 
Miss Kiki: When you started the company the main project/product was the fantasy football website; Draftmix - correct?  Can you tell us what happened with Draftmix?
Matt: Draftmix was the main product. What happened was, I think, that it just wasn't something people wanted to play. Our users really liked it, but we didn't do a good enough job of tracking down the people who came to the site, took a look around, and decided it wasn't for them.

Miss Kiki: What led you to Facebook projects, did you (your company) have a sense that Facebook would become as huge as it has?
Matt: We built our first Facebook project, which was an NFL survivor pool, to promote Draftmix. It did better than we thought it would, and was easier to build than we thought it would be, so we tried again with Football Tycoon. Football Tycoon never managed to get a single paying user to Draftmix, but it did get hundreds of thousands of users and make a bunch itself. We all decided that making Facebook games seemed more fun anyway, so we pivoted into doing that.
Matt: We had a similar situation with the Tycoon sports series to Starfleet, where a bunch of major platform changes occurred and the game's traffic started dropping as a result. It was much more drastic with Tycoon than it was with Starfleet, but we were faced with similar decisions as a result. Unlike Starfleet, Tycoon had peaked somewhat early, so rather than try to actually move forward with it in a big way, we decided it was better to start over with something new. That's when we started Starfleet and the other game that eventually got shelved when Starfleet took off.

Miss Kiki: Which games that Blue Frog Gaming has released are currently still in operation?
Matt: Starfleet is the only game on Facebook currently still under active support and development. The Tycoon Sports games are soon going to be taken down. Traffic has fallen to the level where we can't even justify hosting them all on one server. So we have Starfleet, the iPad project, and the Casino Tycoon game which is currently in beta.

Miss Kiki: Have there been any plans for the games that were scrapped?
Matt: We did actually put substantial development time into a game that got scrapped, it was called Friendsville. It would have been sort of like Social City. This was long before Social City and the other city building sim games launched too. Some of the code from the project ended up being used in the Casino game.
Friendsville and Starfleet started at the same time. After a few months, Starfleet was out there and growing and kicking ass, and Friendsville was inching toward a launch. We made the decision that the success of Starfleet meant we needed to get the whole company (we were probably at  6 people still) focused on the one project.
You wouldn't believe how big of a project Starfleet grew to be. It looks a lot like a website, but it runs a lot like the game. There are tons of issues with the database behind a game like that too. Every player is doing missions, collecting resources from mines, raiding other players, queuing up ships and defenses, etc. When one player battles another, you have to go through all that and make sure it processes in the right order, and you have to do it all in a tiny fraction of a second so the page will reload properly. The number of people and activities we had going at once was tremendous, far more than a database pair could handle, and it took an enormous effort to find a way to keep scaling it. This is why other games of the same genre on the web cap the number of people in one Universe, it's at least twice as much work, and maybe more, to make the game scale indefinitely.

Miss Kiki: New developments -- games? 
Matt: Eventually what I'd most like is to do a sequel. I think Starfleet Commander could very much be adapted to work on the new platform, but the changes would be so radical that we'd probably have to start from scratch on a lot of things.

Miss Kiki: Are there more iPad aps in the works from BFG? 
Matt: We're now working on multiplayer versions of Hearts and Spades for the iPad, then we'll probably port those to iPhone as well. The whole goal of that project all along has been to have free, live, multiplayer games that you can play from wherever. I was a huge fan of Yahoo Games 5-10 years ago, before it turned into the bloated monstrosity it is now, and I want to bring that to mobile devices. I want to have one community that you can play from anywhere, so people can play with their same account from the web, on their phone or their tablet, or maybe even their Xbox some day, and can play against people who are on other devices.

The CodenameB Drama . . .

Miss Kiki: Is there anything you can say to us or tell us about the CodenameB situation? What effect did his exploits have on BFG?  on you personally?
Matt: For a long time Codename_B wanted us to endorse and link to his stuff, but I just never wanted to do that. I don't mind someone trying to make money by making tools for our games, in fact I think it's great provided they stayed within the rules, but he just gave me a bad feeling. Then he set up a forum where he started saying some negative and patently false stuff about our support guys, and I knew right away we had made the right decision.  We were considering suing Codename briefly since he violated a number of laws, and even found out who he was and where he lived (in another country, but one where the stuff he did is still illegal) but decided against it for now. 

Miss Kiki: The SFCStats issue. . .  We still, the players, are unsure if we can use this tool or not, and really, how smart is it for us to do so after all the drama?  Is there any chance that BFG would come out with such a tool on its own for us to use?
Matt: As for SFC Stats, we've decided not to individually verify various Starfleet Tools. The reason is that there are too many of them, and we just don't have enough control over them to get to a level of comfort saying they're ok. We've posted guidelines about what's ok and what's not, that's really the best we can do.  What I can say about SFC Stats is that all of the offending stuff that we know of currently has been removed from it. Codename_B didn't own the site, and the guy who does has been very helpful after the stuff hit the fan recently.

There ends part one of our two part interview with Matt Maroon.  The second part addresses more specifically the SFC issues and what plans BFG may have for the future of the game.  Meanwhile below are some links to check out.
As usual I would like to thank those who helped with this process: Matt, thank you for your time, and to the many people who submitted questions - thank you also, many more will be answered in Part 2.


His Blog site ;
http://mattmaroon.com/

  Matt's poker blog;
http://www.thepokerchronicles.com

€œWhy I Quit Playing Poker For A Living, Pt. 1€;
http://www.thepokerchronicles.com/archives/000947.html

Another, older interview with Matt:
http://www.ffgeekblog.com/tech/an-interview-with-matt-maroon-co-founder-of-draftmix-com/

Matt's poker pages listing;
http://www.pokerpages.com/player-profile/matthew-maroon.html

Blue Frog Gaming;
http://www.bluefroggaming.com

15
Off-Topic / HALLOWEEN!
« on: October 29, 2010, 10:14:51 PM »
Have fun this weekend boys and girls, but be safe!!

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