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   | The Olympia Times                               times@olympia.rt.com |
   | November 10, 1993                                    special edition |
   |                                                                      |
   | alpha turn 48                                    "Long live Olympia" |

Olympia II PBM

-= currently in alpha test =-


* * * *

To stand up straight and tread the turning mill, To lie flat and know nothing and be still, Are the two trades of man; and which is worse I know not, but I know that both are ill.

-- A.E. Housman

* * * *

I'm pleased to say that the alpha test has been running more smoothly than I expected. Bugs are being found at a rate of about one per week, and I hope to add some new features shortly. I have no plans to stop the alpha test anytime soon.

It's reassuring to see that, even in its unfinished state, Oly II is holding the interest of the playtesters. The Olympia I beta test ran for 42 turns; Olympia II's is at 48 turns and counting.

What I'm thinking of changing:

o Olympia needs NPCs. I would like to have several NPC races, each controlled by a player. The NPC races would have different objectives than ordinary players. I have half of a prototype Undead faction coded. Hopefully NPCs will add color to the game, and more challenges for the players.

o Most of the players who commented on what I thought were awkward quirks in the city/province tax base rules said, "Leave it alone, it's not broken."

o The way production from mines changes with depth is a bit strange. I would like to fix this without disturbing the other features of mines which seem to work well (increasing depth with mining activity, cave-ins, repair work).

o NP's pile up too quickly at the start of the game. It's a no-brainer to oath-1 your nobles, no hard choices have to be made about which advanced skills will be studied, and most players can make more nobles than they care to control.

Proposed new system:

Beginning players start with 12 NP's. New nobles always cost 1 NP -- no progressive cost. Nobles can be reclaimed to get 1 NP back. Players receive 1 NP every eight turns. NP requirements for advanced skills remain unchanged.

New order scheduler written ---------------------------


WAITs now complete as soon as their condition is satisfied. New command precedence scheme should make order writing easier.

I have replaced the old, creaky Olympia order scheduler (with parts dating back to the pre-Oly-I engine) with a shiny new DWIM module. As the order scheduler tends to be involved with subtle synchronization bugs, be on the lookout for problems over the next few turns.

Here are two problems the new scheduler will fix:

#1: top: move xxxx move yyyy move zzzz

bot: unstack recruit

Problem: bottom unit doesn't execute its unstack until the top unit has carried it far away.

#2: 1: > wait condition 1: Wait finished: ... 2: > move

Problem: The wait command doesn't notice that the condition has been satisfied until a whole day has passed. The command following the wait always starts a day later, even if the condition was satisfied in the zero time phase.

The new scheduler has a notion of command precedence which should eliminate the need for WAIT TIME 0's in many cases.

I will be augmenting the rules to document these new features soon. Here is a quick overview:

Each command has a priority of 1, 2 or 3.

All pure zero time commands*, and the WAIT command, are priority 1.

The MOVE command is priority 2.

All other commands are priority 3.

* A pure zero time command is an order which always takes zero time. This does not include an order which may sometimes take zero time. For instance, UNSTACK is always a zero time order. However, RECRUIT is not, even though RECRUIT may terminate immediately under some conditions.

The order scheduler will first try to start priority 1 orders. Only when no more priority 1 orders are ready to start will a priority 2 order be started.

In other words, the order scheduler will not start an order at a higher priority when an order may be started at a lower priority.

Orders at the same priority are resolved in location order, as before.

How this is good ----------------

Consider three units stacked together, top, mid and bot:

top: move ec69 yew

mid: unstack recruit

bot: recruit

These should be executed in the following order:

mid: unstack # unstack is prio-1 top: move ec69 # move is prio-2 mid: recruit # recruit is prio-3

[top and bot arrive at ec69]

top: yew # yew is prio-3 bot: recruit # recruit is prio-3

The UNSTACK happened first since it's a priority 1 command. The MOVE went second. When top and bot finished moving, there were only priority three commands left, so they ran in location order.

Hopefully some of you will understand this, and will help me to write a clearer explanation. :-)

There were only a few submissions for the Times. We'll have to wait for the beta test to have enough material to publish regularly.


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Rich's Monster been mugging your best units?

Have no fear!

Roack's Rangers are currently available for whatever military needs you may have in Greater and Lesser Atnos. We specialize in providing quick response using elite guards and archers. No job too big or small!!!!

Contact us through 3637@olympia.rt.com and let us rescue those who may be prisoners. Extremely reasonable rates! Limited Partnerships available upon approval! Sign up now before our resources are booked!

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*********Items Sought************

One of our order has just discovered the language of the Ancients and is offering compensation for the knowledge to create empty scrolls.

Contact the Collective 568 if you have any information.....

Need something shipped far and near? Contact John [3500] and he will see to it that you will get your goods and/or people to far away places.

Ships leaving immediately for destinations in Greater and Lesser Atnos, West Camaris, and Torba Bacor.

All places have been visited and some local information could also be given on each place.

Trans-Sea Shipping, John [3500] Senior Captain......

Here one of the reports that I get:

Olympia turn 48 report for Gamemaster [200]. Season "Dark night", month 8, in the year 7.

Interesting attribute counts ----------------------------

char ability shroud: 0 char hinder meditate: 0 char project cast: 0 char quick cast: 0 loc shroud: 0 loc barrier: 0

Skill use counts: -----------------

count who skill name ----- --- ----- ---- 7 ??? 9141 Scry location 5 ??? 9101 Meditate 4 ??? 9529 Train wild horse to riding horse 4 ??? 9530 Train wild horse to warmount 4 ??? 9564 Mine gold 3 ??? 9563 Mine iron 2 ??? 9115 Detect gates 1 ??? 9116 Jump through gate 1 ??? 9117 Seal gate

finished unfinished +---------------------- galley | 13 1 roundship | 9 0 tower | 11 2 castle | 3 2 mine | 7 1 inn | 2 0 temple | 0 0

nobles region ------ ------ 135 Lesser Atnos 31 West Camaris 31 Greater Atnos 8 Atnos Sea 6 Charrick Island 6 South Sea 4 Torba Bacor 2 Areth Lorbin 2 East Camaris 1 Merinth 1 Gulf of Broen 1 Pentaria ====== 228

12/240 gates found (5%)

570/7356 provinces visited (7%) 296/2750 sublocs visited (10%) 55% visible, 44% hidden 45% of visisted province's sublocs found 60% visible, 39% hidden

228 chars: 190 oath (83%), 10 fear (4%), 18 contract (7%), 10 unsworn (4%)

Comments: ---------

1. The balance between the large roundships and the cheap galleys appears to working. One ship isn't completely favored over the other.

2. The only structure which may have problems is the inn. Still, with its limited usefulness, it's good to see that at least a couple were built. Temples don't count since they're a hook for the as-yet unimplemented religion system. I've heard that castles may be too expensive, but the stats show that there's at least a few players with the resources to build them.

3. After 48 turns, only 7% of the world has been seen. The giant map is working. :-)

Another good sign is that less than half of the features available within provinces have been explored.

4. Oath loyalty is overwhelmingly favored over fear and contract. I attribute this to NP's being too plentiful. Hopefully restricting NP's will non-oath loyalties more attractive.

5. The number of gates found is wrong. From the reports I've had, the Gatecraft subsystem appears to be very popular.

6. It looks like the rest of the magic system is being ignored, however. (Note the lack of anyone using any of the features represented in the "Interesting attribute count" section. No personal or location shrouds or barriers are in use. I will need to find ways to make these other magical schools more appealing.

Current player list:

num faction idle --- ------- ---- 301 Undead kingdom 48 Rich Skrenta

418 Kine Joshua Kronengold

419 Runelords of the Blood Mo John Dolan

448 Grey Tazmanians 1 John R Carr

464 Master Bogomil's Family Jim DeGon

472 The Tripartite Council Montgomery Box

551 Iconia Jay Heyman

568 The Collective Allan Flanagan

592 Roack's Rangers W. Erik Bruvold

656 Blue Bill Lee

660 Silverhorn Harold C. Payson

679 Mercia Christopher M. Yearsley

681 Curumo John Sloan

778 The House of Blood Charles E. Craig

815 Team One Stephen Kirby

816 Oleg's Orangutans Greg Lindahl

827 The Northern explorers 1 Thomas Hansson

869 Champions Eternal David S. Kerven

895 The Silver Daggers Brevan Miles

900 Morgan's Riders Scott D. Cate