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 Season Two Cutover
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Count Sessine
 Friday, June 26 2009 @ 06:08 PM UTC (Read 1828 times)  
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The first of July fast approacheth. Players are making plans, packing bags, finishing off storylines, speculating about n-dimensional warps, and generally getting ready to move.

So it's about time to ask... CMJ, how are you planning to handle the actual cutover?

One presumes there'll be a period of downtime while you capture and transfer data. And possibly a further period before Season One starts up again as an alternate for those who want to stay and play there. I gather existing S1 characters will then just continue on with their lives, except that many of them will no longer be receiving any player attention.

This means, I suppose, that those who want to will be able to lead double lives and play both... (which further means that as moderator I'd better do that too, at least until we see how things go.)

When the changeover is about to happen, could we please have advance warning in the MoTD? A bit of a countdown, in days. And then an actual time of day, for those who really want to squeeze in some last accomplishments for the Hall of Fame before everything ends.


 
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CavemanJoe
 Friday, June 26 2009 @ 08:47 PM UTC  
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Okay, here's how this is gonna go down, and my apologies for my quietness lately - I've been up to my eyeballs in visa paperwork and day jobs. Also I'm an uncle again, as of about an hour ago! Please welcome to the stage miss Eden Rose Wilson, my fourth niece and counting. Mr. Green

Back to business. After the appointment in London to get my medical for my visa, I'm about three hundred quid lighter, and there's gonna be more going out. While I'm aware that S2 will bring in the green, I've had to concentrate over the past couple of weeks on stuff to bring in immediate cash so I can pay rent and eat foods. However, I asked for next week off work (save for Monday) in a sort of all-in, make-or-break act of insane bravado and foolish optimism, and I'm staying in this weekend - so we should, probably, just about get S2 out the door on the first of July as planned, if I move one or two features to the "Soon after launch" pile and do them Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday in between zapping the inevitable bugs.

Regarding a CMJ-generated plot event for taking us into S2 - well, yes, I had planned to do this.
It was basically going to be the Network deciding that the War on Improbability was no longer popular, and sending their last remaining nuclear missile to just blow the Island sky-high. The missile would be changed into a tennis ball by the Drive, at which point The Watcher would pick it up, say "Phew! Now THAT was lu-" and then it'd explode with the force of a ten-megaton bomb. The ludicrous amounts of energy generated by the explosion would vaporize everyone and everything on the Island and also blend with the Improbability Field to rip the fourth and fifth dimensions asunder, thrusting the Island's essence back in time at two different speeds - effectively creating three realities out of one (one that you lot know about, anyway...).
The first reality would be a big ol' mushroom cloud (BAD ENDING +). The second reality would begin with the Watcher saying "-cky, wasn't it? Bloody hell." and go on from there, with her merrily bouncing her tennis ball and probably keeping it as a souvenir (Season One changeover). The third reality would be set a couple of years ago, in a world six feet away from our own on the fifth axis (Season Two).
But because I've spent so much time coding and being distracted by paperwork and day jobs, I haven't had chance to polish it or even think about it very much. I'd love to do this, believe me, but I just don't have the time to run this AND do all the S2 coding. Plus, running the CMJ event during the last day is just gonna take up several hours that I could be using for bug squishing and frantic, sweaty, last-minute coding. So, the plot event for S2 starting is pretty well entirely up to you lot - have fun!

Because we're gonna be effectively shifting the database from one location to another, on the day of the change Season One will hopefully only have to be down for an hour or so while I capture the HOF for later prosperity. The main site will be unavailable for a while. I'm hoping the changeover will go better than the last one, from which I learned a good deal about what not to do - but no guarantees, and fingers crossed.

During the first month of operation, we'll still be in a "volatile beta" state. This means that Season Two may or may not be reset once more on the first of August. I'm obviously aiming for "not," and am 99% sure I'm right, but. Y'know. To help avoid us needing a second reset, please test and explore the new Island thoroughly, try to cheat, and let me (and ONLY me!) know if you manage to do so. We'll only need a reset if an exploit is exploited for a lengthy period of time, or if we need to perform really, really extensive rebalancing.

I would have liked to have more time to test S2 on the online testing server, perhaps do an alpha release and let it run for a month, but... honestly, I'm just one man. Neutral

I've got a LOT of work to do, but I'm excited. Mr. Green


 
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CavemanJoe
 Friday, June 26 2009 @ 08:51 PM UTC  
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Also: I'm rather tempted to just replace the index page with this during the first few minutes of S2. Wink


 
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Giuseppe Lorenzo
 Saturday, June 27 2009 @ 05:53 AM UTC  
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First of all, I'd like to say congratulations to you CMJ on the birth of your newest niece.

Now on to my suggestion. How about the Drive decides to kick the Improbability up several notches? The Island would be changed fundamentally. The Improbability Field would create a new dimension inside itself, one that operates differently than the outside world. This could be antagonized by said nuke and be driven by it as the Drive converts the pure nuclear energy into pure concentrated Improbability.


 
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Count Sessine
 Saturday, June 27 2009 @ 05:09 PM UTC  
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It's just as well that Dan doesn't have time to stage-manage all this. In the absence of any direction until now, people have been thinking up their own answers. There are already at least a dozen different versions of what's going to happen -- that I know of, and that means there must be many more. Some are almost ordinary, some are extremely weird. But, here's the thing:

They all have to be true.

All of them. Every last one.

This means that the Island has to split into a lot of versions... before the transition.

...As many as one per character, if you want, although groups can choose to be in the same transition world and have a common experience.

Then they are going to merge back into two (playable) worlds... plus, of course, as many others as players later decide to imagine and imply the continued existence of, for those who like that sort of thing.

================

So, how to actually manage this? I rather like the idea of the Network's nuke being turned into a tennis ball! and the Watcher's comment being interrupted mid-word, then calmly finished in S1. (I don't think I want anyone in my version of the Island actually nuked, but those of you who do, should feel free.)

Here's my suggestion. Twenty-four real-world hours before the planned cut-over, Z and I can create the "split" event. We have plenty of /special, we can make the lead-up to it suitably ominous, with certain odd things happening -- for some people and not for others -- even before the split, because of time distortions reflected back from the Event. (This clause is added to account for some of the preparatory strangeness that has already happened.)

Once we do this, there will be a very, very strange real-world day in which different characters and groups of characters will be having different experiences, all mixed up together but not entirely impinging on each other. Nothing during that day has to be logically consistent. You can do anything you want to create your own characters' transition experience. It will be extremely confusing, everything happening at once, but that's how it should be. People who don't do anything will simply remember that there was a period of weirdness when nothing made any sense.

I'm suggesting twenty-four hours for this because of time zones. This will give all players who want to get in something about their characters' version of the transition at least a window of opportunity in which they can do it.

Then the cut-over happens.

There will then follow a period of chaos for which there will be no record in anyone's memory (the downtime). We will probably have an Enquirer thread like CAMPING OUT for non-canon silliness.

After that, the Season One world re-forms. Everything is merged. So, somewhat later, does the Season Two world, also merged, but very different. In both worlds, people will remember that there was a period of Extreme Strangeness. Some people may be aware that they now have a counterpart in another world (we have to say this, because there's nothing to stop people from playing it that way).

So, this is a framework that allows everyone to be as creative as they like, and still allows people who don't want to do anything to have a memorable transition. I call it the Have Your Cake And Eat It Too scenario.

Dan, this leaves you just one piece that only you can do, but it's very short. You provide the Watcher's resumed line, as you wrote it above, as the very first thing in the resumed Season One.


 
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CavemanJoe
 Saturday, June 27 2009 @ 06:01 PM UTC  
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Hmm. I like this idea, although I think it'd be far more manageable and coherent if nobody in S2 realised that S1 had ever taken place - y'know, what with the whole "Sending everything back in time and rearranging things" bit it'd prove a logical nightmare to try to figure out who remembers what, how, and why. Having said that, since coded plot events in S2 will involve some fifth-dimensional travel, there's no real reason why S1 has to be the only other place. Characters, if they're going to reference things from between seasons, may as well also reference things from entirely uncoded seasons.

The idea of having everybody shifted a few feet along the fifth axis to play out their own plots (with echoes of other plots filtering through the now-weakened borders), and then being smashed back together again post-changeover, is suitably Improbable. It sounds horrendously confusing, but it also sounds like a hell of a lot of fun.

Sessine, I might just hand control of The Watcher's human-controlled form over to you for that day. I'm gonna be horrendously busy with database transitions and last-minute coding. SRSLY, like, "staying up for 48 hours straight and not even having time to shower" sort of busy, and even with this I'm moving a LOT of the content that isn't one hundred per cent launch-necessary over to the first week after launch.

Also: Expect some downtime on the Enquirer, a day (or two, or three) after the changeover, while I upgrade it to the latest Geeklog version.

My one piece of advice to everyone is to treat S2 as though it's an entirely new game - which, given the fundamental changes to how it works, it is. I give this advice so that you don't waste time trying to repeat strategies that worked in former seasons and won't work now, and so that the influx of newbies I'm gonna advertise for won't get confused by advice that only applied to previous versions.

As for the plot device: I just thought it'd be fun to have the finality of a nuclear bomb killing everyone but also not. Wink One possible alternative I had going on was a huge avalanche from Cyber City 404, but that was before I decided to leave S1 open. Also, that was a bit more... final than the revised ending.

Also I was only doing it for the pun / irony.


 
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