Letter from Eingang, April 2000

Miscellaneous Ramblings & News

Tax season. My favourite time of the year. Yours too, probably. Tax season also incidentally occurs simultaneously with the advent of spring for most of us here in the Northern Hemisphere. I'm still trying to figure out how it can be warmer here in Northern Canada than in Southern England. I've never had it had before that I can see my breath *inside* of the house. That aside, though, it's been another quiet month on the games front as I've been racing about trying to get some work-work done. Nevertheless, there were a few incidents of import. Read on!

Biggest event of the month and the most unexpected was the sudden loss of raptor.dal.net. Raptor has been our DALnet home the entire time we've been running the games on DALnet for the last few years. While I was happily sleeping in England on April 11th, Raptor unexpectedly disappeared. Frantic invesitgation on the 12th revealed that Raptor had suddenly delinked from DAL.net. Raptor, if you didn't know it, was owned by the same people who provide us with our game bot machine (rapgtor2.tera-byte.com) and is physically located two blocks down the street from my Edmonton office. I tracked down Raptor's powers-that-be and was told that the server had been pulled because it had been the victim of a massive Smurf attack, costing the hosting ISP some $43,000 in bandwidth costs. $43,000 is a lot to lose just to offer a free service, so they pulled the plug. No more Raptor.DAL.net.

Unless our game bot machine becomes the target of a Smurf or other Denial of Service (DoS) attack, I've been assured that we can continue to make use of that machine for hosting the game bots. After the loss of Raptor, I obtained a list of "bot-friendly" DALnet servers and _Starr helped to track down permission to have the bots connect to glass.oh.us.dal.net. Glass didn't seem very suitable for our purposes, though, nor was sahara.dal.net. At the moment, we're trying out viking.dal.net, located in Norway. That seems to be going well. You'll usually find that your best gaming experiences will happen when you're using the same IRC server as the game bots. If you don't know where the bots are, a /whois chaosbot will usually tell you or consult the Game Status Board at http://www.eingang.org/discus/messages/30/30.html.

Since we left GalaxyNet at the end of last June and lost our old web space at http://www.gymnet.com/~eingang/, I've been trying to get my pages relisted again in all of the search engines. After battling with Altavista for more than 6 months, I've finally managed to get most of the important games pages spidered and accessible from Altavista. I'm still battling with Yahoo and I'm not having much success which makes it difficult for people to find either me or information about our games. Help make it easier by updating any links you have on your web sites to point to the correct location. I discovered 536 links from sites indexed by Altavista to my 4+-year-old pages at calypso.cs.uregina.ca. 536 is a heck of a lot of bad links for pages that have been gone for more than 4 years. There were also 41 links to material that had been at http://www.gymnet.com/~eingang/. Our new address is http://games.eingang.org/ or http://www.eingang.org/Games/. Put a link on your web site today! (There were only *6* correct links to the site currently in Altavista).

March's Gazette featured an editorial by Eggs_Zachtly about cheating in the various games. After that editorial, Eggs and I and various game ops had a discussion about it. The upshot of it can be summarised briefly in the following points:

We've been asking people to voice their opinion about having a Chaos deletion vote. I was just about convinced that it was a good idea and that a sufficient number of people would participate to make it worthwhile when someone introduced a new idea: an expert version of Chaos. I'm not sure how we could make that work. Why not participate and help us decide how or if we should do that? Join in at http://www.eingang.org/cgi-bin/discus/show.cgi?26/82

Last month we introduced our new online form for submitting new channel topics (not categories but the line you see when you get information on a channel in a /list or when you join a channel) and new prizes for the games. So far nobody's tried it out. Why don't you be the first to participate! Check it out at http://games.eingang.org/Information/suggestsub.html.

I'd like to welcome all of our new TalkCity players. TalkCity, another IRC network, was using versions of our games (but called different names for political reasons) provided by Mach. Many TalkCity players have recently been greatly angered by TalkCity's decision to force all of its users to use TalkCity's special, custom-designed IRC software or Web-based interface. Many users staged a walkout this month and we saw a fair number of people pop up on DALnet. We're happy to have them and, if you should happen to meet some, I hope you make them feel welcome too.

In closing, I'd like to offer a few words of condolence to our hard-working co-administrator Eggs_Zachtly. Eggs lost his father this month. ): Visit Blue Mountain Arts and send him a nice card (eggs_zachtly@eingang.org).

Game Bot Development

No news is not good news. I didn't have any time this month to do any bot development at all although I have a huge list of things to do.

Category News

We saw 29 new categories added into play on DALnet/StarLink for Chaos in April. Wow! People have been busy! Some examples of categories that have been moved into our Tournament Play set include: Resident Evil, Police ABCs, Starts with PAY, We Put on Our Food, Land Places, Steven Seagal Movies, and Famous Afro-Americans. As I mentioned last month, new category submissions that are accepted normally move into our Tournament Category set. As categories are moved into that set, the same number of categories are taken out of it and moved into regular play. As such, we now have 29 categories that have been moved into regular play including: Quebec Cities, Peanuts Characters, PC Game Companies, Periodic Table, Pizza Things, Pokemon, Practical Magic, Psycho Things, and On Your Vacation. You can see the complete list (updated as of March 18th) of categories accepted for play on the Games Web Site at http://games.eingang.org/Games/Information/chaoscat.html.

Some submitted categories are rejected. Categories are usually rejected for one of the following reasons: too broad so that there are too many possible answers, too narrow, requiring specialized knowledge that's not in common circulation, out of date like members of a specific sports team more than 2 years ago, too one-country specific in a way that doesn't improve everyone's general knowledge in a good way. You may have noticed that many of the newer categories offer all sorts of additional information -- dates when movies were released, countries where people come from, authors for books, etc. I'm often adding this information myself after receiving a category. Make life easier for me by putting this information in when you write a category. Also, remember that if you're doing a category with names, make sure that the first answer is the person's full name and an alternate answer is their last name. Try to avoid writing categories where more than one person shares the same last name; the bot can't differentiate then between the two answers.

Someone's been really busy on the Risky Business side. I have a backlog of about 16 new RB categories to process. Nice to see people making use of our new RB submission form at http://games.eingang.org/Information/rbsub.html.

Category Submission Winners

In Chaos, the #1 submitter of categories was {MAHAL`KITA} with 19 new categories. In second place, it was A||eyKat with 8 categories. In Risky Business, Jane Ward leads the pack with 14 new categories, including a lovely new series suitable for our younger players. Thanks to all the cateory writers! Will the top category submitter for Chaos or RB be you next month?

Your Game Administrators & Channel Ops

No new channel operators this month.

If you know anyone who might make a good channel operator for one of our games, encourage them to apply. You can apply via an instantly marked application form on the Games Web Site at http://games.eingang.org/Information/operators.html.

Finally, did you know that there's a list of channel operators on our Web site? You can find it at http://games.eingang.org/Information/operatorslist.html. If you're an active operator and your name isn't listed, send some mail to eingang@eingang.org.


I guess I haven't been listening closely enough because I haven't heard any rumours this month.

Contact Us Summary

Address Purpose
eingang@eingang.org Chief Games Administrator and Chief Bottle Washer
bronxx@eingang.org Games Co-Administrator and Chief Bottle Cap Remover
Can control bots on all networks
eggs_zachtly@eingang.org Games Co-Administrator and Chief Bottle Smasher
Monitors games on DALnet
problems@eingang.org Missing bots/servers? Send mail here. One of the admins will deal with it as soon as possible.
subscribe@eingang.org Join the IRC Games mailing list.
birthdays@eingang.org Add your nickname & birthday to Renee's monthly list.

Until next month, I remain...


Eingang's IRC Games
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Michelle A. Hoyle
April '00 EinLetter, Last modified: October 8, 2000