Letter from Eingang, February 2000
Miscellaneous Ramblings & News
For those of you who missed last month's Ein-Gang Gazette, there's good news. It's now under the stewardship of Eggs_Zachtly. Gigi, who's done such a wonderful job with it over the past several years, no longer has time to maintain it.
Yet another bot outage for the poor, beleaguered StarLink bots. They were down for almost a week at the end of February. The bots themselves were OK but the bots' IRC server and the bots' machines both were struck with different hardware problems simultaneously. Some days you just can't win. You might ask why we don't just move them to somewhere else. The reason is because the networks donate the space/hardware for the bots to use. The games are completely funded by my own desire and whatever resources I can coerce out of others.
Speaking of resources, we lost our resources on StarChat last month. The bot machine there has left the network (or was evicted). We probably won't be replacing those bots in the near future. Players from StarChat are, of course, quite welcome on StarLink or DALnet.
As IRC games players, you have a number of resources available to you to help you play the games, to find out what's going on, or to help you contribute to the development of the games. The primary source for all of these is the games web site at http://games.eingang.org. On our main games page you'll find links that allow you submit new categories for the various games, you'll see the latest news, you can apply to be a channel operator (game helper), you can find out which of the games bots are running, you can see a list of categories currently in play, you can leave messages with suggestions or ideas for the games or just chat idly with other players. I spent a whole day last month adding better navigation services and updating content across the games site to improve the site for you. If I've missed a game resource that you've put together, let me know and it will be added. There's a whole wealth of material available and it's all on the Web site! Make a bookmark for it and make a habit of stopping by once in a while and, hey, drop us on a line on our message board!
Our big games event of the month in February was, of course, DALnet's first ever Chaos Tournament of Stars. The turnout in terms of teams was a little bit on the low side (only 5 teams registered) and one of the teams never showed up at all. In the end, after 6 games, SmoknGun's Utter Chaos defeated autopsie's creme de la creme. All of the Utter Chaos team players were given a free eingang.org e-mail address and the team has some Web space on www.eingang.org. When you see Flapwoman, Raffinee, BizBuz, or SmoknGun, be sure to congratulate them! Also, thank Eggs_Zachtly and Bronxx for volunteering their time to supervise the tournament games.
There's another Chaos tournament scheduled for March. This one will be guys against the girls on Saturday, March 25th, at 13:00 (EST), on #chaosrules. We'll allow up to 24 guys and 24 girls to register for their appropriate teams. The two teams of guys (12 players per team) will battle it out against two teams of girls over the course of two tournament games. The winning guys/girls team from those matchups will play against each other to determine who is really better at Chaos, the guys or the girls! As with the last tournament, these games will make use of completely new categories. In the event that we have insufficient players for two full sets of 12, we'll adjust as necessary. Signup will start on the 10th of March and close on the 23rd of March (or when all the teams are full). Check the Chaos Tournament web page for more information!
Work is still continuing on the Java-based version of Risky Business intended for the kids' site. We've decided to build different sized interfaces (small, medium, large) to accommodate players with different screen resolutions (640x480, 800x600, 1024x760). Our good friend RickyBot has had his dictionary of chat completely overhauled and is now quite knowledgeable about Canadian history, in a rather verbose way. It's quite cute. If you're interested in helping us test out the interface, please drop a line to email@example.com.
Did you know you can have our message board (discussion forum) mail you copies of messages when new messages are posted? In order to take advantage of this feature, you'll need to create an account with the discussion forum. To do that, select the "edit profile/register" link from the left-hand menu. After that, it should be fairly straightforward how to get it to mail you messages and set up your own informative personal profile.
Our last bit of news for this month's Letter is about our channel operators (game helpers) application form on the Web site. We're always looking for reliable, responsible players to help us manage the game channels. If you think you'd like to be a game helper and you've been playing for more than 3 months, visit the Web site and read the information on how to be a channel operator. There's a form at the bottom of that information which is auto-marked and then, if you've done well enough, submitted to the Game Administrators for consideration. There's also a list on on the Web site of current channel operators for each channel on each network.
Game Bot Development
ReneeBot: We introduced ReneeBot 2.8.1 in January which incorporates the new show hint command as well as a time limit on all the questions. We're working on refining the show hint feature so that it automatically shows the first hint after 30 seconds and the second after 50 seconds. The first hint will be the number of characters/words in the answer and will reduce the question value by 100 points. The second hint (if one's available) will show a certain number of letters in the answer and reduce the question value by half. Also planned is the removal of the overtime feature. Instead, we'll allow for tied players. Thus, if three people have 2100 after the Final Question, 3 people win and have their scores updated. There's no expected date for completing these changes, although I expect them to be implemented prior to the end of March.
AcroBot/MadLib: I also have an AcroBot and a MadBot (for #madlib). The reason these aren't running on DALnet is because of some technical problems with the way that the game bots implement their timing systems. Raptor2.tera-byte.com, the bot machine for DALnet's game bots, seems to do weird things with timers. Weird things that we've never had problems with on any other bot machine we've used in the last 6 years. As soon as I resolve the problems in one of the bots, they'll probably all work and can be put up. If you're not familiar with Acro or MadLib, read the Just the FAQs for those games on the games web site.
BogBot: Based on Parker Brother's famous word finding game, the BogBot allows multiple players to find words together on a 4x4 board. Unfortunately, while the BogBot's working fine on the StarLink machine, it suffers too from strange problems on the DALnet machine. At the moment it's decided that as long as you submit an answer that's technically possible to obtain on the Boggle board, it's a correct answer, regardless if it appears in the Boggle dictionary or not! Needless to say, we can't really have that! I'm working on rectifying the problem. No estimated date of that appearing on DALnet yet, so keep your eyes on the news flashes on the Web site.
ChaosBot: We're currently working on ChaosBot 2.7.8. This bot, not yet running anywhere, already has several new features. The bot will not longer accept bot commands not prefaced with the nickname of the bot. This will prevent people from accidentally issuing commands when they're telling players how to join teams, change team names, etc. The bot, like ReneeBot, now uses notices for all information being messaged to a single player. By request, on channel requests for player standings is being messaged instead of printed to the channel. I'd like to remind people that they should use /msg chaosbot show standings or show stats, etc. instead of placing them into the channel. When a player joins a channel, s/he will noticed with not only the current category and comment but also team scores and number of players on each team. If no answers are guessed, Cha prints out 3 possible answers instead of just one. Finally, of the improvements already added, Cha also prints out round numbers before/after each round, just to help you keep track of how long it's taking your team to win. Additional improvements include the possibility of multiple players winning for having the highest score in a given game. See the rumours section for some other ideas we're considering.
I'm still waiting for someone to use our new Risky Business trivia category submission form that I built last month. This new form allows you to easily enter up to 30 questions with 3 answers per question and checks to make sure you haven't been too verbose or not included enough questions. You can find this at http://games.eingang.org/Information/rbsub.html. I'll expect to see lots of new categories. (We could use Great Events 1999, for example).
It was a good month for Chaos players as we saw the addition of 232 new categories into regular game play. That's right, 232! 32 of those were from categories players submitted in February and the other 200 came from the backlogged set we used in the Chaos Tournament. That gives us a total of 2228 categories in play with 50052 answers! You can see the complete list (updated as of Feb 12th) on the Web site at http://games.eingang.org/Games/Information/chaoscat.html.
Category Submission Winners
In Chaos, the #1 submitter of categories was SoBeGrL with 11 new categories, including Valentine's Day, Antidepressants, and Beanie Babies. In second place, it was MrsTentPeg with 8 categories, many of them about Australia. In Risky Business, there were no new submissions from players. Any new categories came from Eingang submitting them which gave us an additional 5 new categories including More 70s and Even More TV 2. Will the top category submitter for Chaos or RB be you next month?
Your Game Administrators & Channel Ops
Continuation of last month's modern fish tale about Bronxx next month.
In addition to a public access web-based version of the Risky Business trivia games, we've heard a rumour that plans might be afoot for a similar system for Chaos.
Rumour has it that Eingang has discovered a way to implement a system for comparing your answers in Chaos or Risky Business against the filed answers by using a "does it sound like" system. There might be some plans to implement such a system into both RB and Chaos which would allow people to be a lot sloppier in their spelling. (I'm not sure if *that's* a good thing, though.) This system would be similar to the system which dictionaries use to suggest alternate spellings for misspelled words.
Another rumour floating about is that Eingang may be considering adding the capability of having up to 4 teams in Chaos. If you think that's a terrible idea, visit the suggestions area on the message board and tell us so.
Renee told me that she's heard that there may be a big Chaos category deletion vote in the near future, but only if sufficient people say that they're going to participate in the vote. If you'd like to be able to vote on Chaos categories to remove from play, visit the message board and drop us a note indicating your support in the Chaos suggestions area.
Contact Us Summary
|firstname.lastname@example.org||Chief Games Administrator and Chief Bottle Washer|
|email@example.com||Games Co-Administrator and Chief Bottle Cap Remover
Can control bots on all networks
|firstname.lastname@example.org||Games Co-Administrator and Chief Bottle Smasher
Monitors games on DALnet
|email@example.com||Missing bots/servers? Send mail here. One of the admins will deal with it as soon as possible.|
|firstname.lastname@example.org||Join the IRC Games mailing list.|
|email@example.com||Add your nickname & birthday to Renee's monthly list.|
Until next month, I remain...