Letter from Eingang, September 2000
Miscellaneous Ramblings & News
Welcome to Ein's OctoberFest of Games! The Olympics are just ending, school has started for those of us in school, and the leaves may soon be a brilliant carpet of yellows and oranges about the ground. Colder days and nights may soon be in the forecast for many of us, but it's still nice and toasty warm on our game channels!
Top story of this month is the sudden loss of the DALnet server powertech.dal.net. I never managed to quite figure out what happened to it, but I am reasonably sure that it won't be back in the near future. As such, we've decamped again back to viking.dal.net for the DALnet game bots. That seems to be working out reasonably well so far for most people. If you can't connect to viking, try visiting #Viking and checking to see if there's a k:line against your hostmask for some reason.
Can the bots be used for educational purposes? The Fraser Valley Distance Education School thinks they can. They've approached us and asked to beg, borrow, license, or steal a copy of our MadBot to use as an ice-breaker. The school, which does most of its work via e-mail, surface mail, telephone calls, and other non-face-to-face methods, wants to use the game as an ice-breaker in their IRC channel for their students. We're happy to oblige them and that project should be taking off shortly.
Don't forget to give a warm welcome to displaced Chaos and Boggle players from Mach's games on the Undernet and EFnet. Apparently his bots have been having server problems and some of his regulars have found their way to our games.
We finally saw some new channel topics put into place for #Chaos on DALnet. Each month should see the topics rotated somewhat and new material added, just as currently occurs with Risky Business. These topics, by the way, are the text that appears when you /list #chaos or join the channel (/topic).
We earlier reported that we had a new form to submit channel topic ideas (see above) and prizes. Unfortunately, the link to the form turned out to be wrong. This has now been fixed, so submit your bright ideas for new prizes and channel topics from the link on the games site.
We're still having a problem accessing the game bots that run on Starlink. Siegfried's been pretty good about resetting the ChaosBot when he gets stuck. Nevertheless, I'm still considering removing the games there. It's not possible to upgrade the software there, at the moment, to reflect what's running on DALnet, or to restart things if they get stuck. Join in the discussion at www.eingang.org/discus/.
Were you one of the top visitors to Risky Business trivia games on either StarLink or DALnet in the month of September? You can see the full list on the the games.eingang.org site, but here's a listing of the top 3 for each.
|1||Kelleigh` (5012)||DNAchic (4845)|
|2||DNAchic (2163)||dimski (2033)|
|3||dimski (969)||rokrol (967)|
Finally, if you've been following the adventures of S&M in England, a new installment written in August was posted in September. There are two other installments already written and waiting for some final touches, so stay tuned! You'll find those at http://www.eingang.org/
Game Bot Development
Have you been missing MadLib? Many hours were spent this month on trying to resurrect the MadLib bot. If you've been around since GalaxyNet, you might recall that it was running for quite some time on GalaxyNet and then we started using a new bot machine and the bot didn't work anymore properly (the same machine we have now, in fact). Hopefully, the majority of the problems have been sorted out.
If you're not familiar with MadLib, the premise is very simple. Players are given an incomplete sentence like, "The best game on IRC is _______." They then have a time limit in which to submit an answer using 10 words or less that they think is the funniest, most creative conclusion to the sentence. After the time is up, the collected answers are displayed to the players who then vote. It's pretty cool and anyone can play, but remember that it, like all of our games, is PG-13!
Tip of the Month
Continuing last month's topic about how ChaosBot decides whether an answer is correct, this month we'll consider capitalization. You may have noticed that many categories (but not all) have the displayed answers properly capitalized. This means that you'll see answers like "Michelle A. Hoyle" or "Gone with the Wind" or "Banana". The ChaosBot doesn't actually care if your answer or the answer in his files is capitalized or not. He converts both what you say and what was in the answer file to lowercase and then does a comparison on the two to see if they're the same. Why do we bother using correct capitalization? Well, it's the right thing to do and we're trying, probably hopelessly, to encourage literacy in our burgeoning electronic world. Next month we'll examine yet another factor in how ChaosBot determines whether an answer is correct.
26 new Chaos categories were submitted during September. To date this year, I've processed at least 401 Chaos category e-mails. No new RB categories were received. Remember that you can submit categories for both Chaos and Risky Business using our online forms at games.eingang.org. Also, as mentioned last month, it's also possible to submit Chaos categories using our form to Mach's EFnet/Undernet Chaos games.
With the influx of newly accepted categories, 16 categories from the Tournament Set were moved into active play on DALnet and StarLink Chaos games. These include: We Put on Our Food, Bad Habits, Canadian Winter Pastimes, Q Foods, Edible Flowers, a few Ends with * categories, Quilts, and Famous Afro-Americans. Have fun!
We saw several categories deleted. Here's a list: Phish Songs, Garbage Songs, 1997 Top Baby Names, 1998 Australian NRL Teams, 1998 British Football, 1998 Movies, 1998 Top Movies, AP Tests, Top US Films, Dutch Bands. They have been removed from both DALnet and StarLink.
Category Submission Winners
Of the 26 mails received last month for Chaos submissions, ten of them came from Klevre. True, some of them were duplicates, but he's still ahead of the next closest submitters who were tied at four -- IForget and Tango^. We're completely caught up, so send those submissions in and you too could become famous!
Your Game Administrators & Channel Ops
No new ops to announce this month, but two applications are currently being considered.
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. Note that the women are definitely in the majority at the moment for our game ops. Where are the guys? :-P
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
No more information on the rumoured upcoming Chaos tournament on DALnet. We'll keep our ears to the ground and our eyes to the skies for you.
There's a rumour of a secret #MadLib beta bot running on DALnet. Take a couple of your friends and check out the rumour. If you notice anything strange, please drop Eingang a line in the Bugs/Strange Behaviour section of the discussion forum. If everything appears to be working fine, you might want to let her know that, too. Thanks!
Contact Us Summary
|email@example.com||Chief Games Administrator and Chief Bottle Washer|
|firstname.lastname@example.org||Games Co-Administrator and Chief Bottle Cap Remover
Can control bots on all networks
|email@example.com||Games Co-Administrator and Chief Bottle Smasher
Monitors games on DALnet
|firstname.lastname@example.org||Missing bots/servers? Send mail here. One of the admins will deal with it as soon as possible.|
|email@example.com||Join the IRC Games mailing list.|
|firstname.lastname@example.org||Add your nickname & birthday to Renee's monthly list.|
Until next month, I remain...