The Alien Arena player base has been thinning for over a year now.  Currently there are very few players left; hardly enough for even one server, much less the 5 that we have.

In light of this, it seems pointless to keep two servers with identical configs; one in the USA and one in Europe.  The big problem is, which server do you remove?

For as long as I can remember the DO Euro CTF Insta/Rockets server has been almost exclusively the busiest, giving Euros an enormous ping advantage.  USA players have had to just suck it up, do we now remove their last hope at having descent ping?

Because a 100 ping advantage is so significant, I find it too difficult a choice to just remove the USA server completely.   Therefore, I think the best solution is to rotate the CTF Insta/Rockets server config between the two continents.

Here is the official AA Forum thread on this decision:

One of my many long standing complaints about our site has been the black space background of the Revolver Maps visitor widget.  A week ago I emailed the Revolver Maps developer to ask if it was possible to use a transparent background which would leave the planet spinning on top of our Orion Nebula background.

Surprisingly he has already added this feature and more to the improved version of the widget.  I have now updated our visitor widget with the latest Revolver Maps technology –  What a fantastic improvement!  The only remaining complaint about the widget would be the ability to disable the mouse over scroll wheel sizing; it can be annoying when you really want to scroll the page.

Our site went down when the domain expired on Sept 14 until it was finally renewed on Oct 1.  Sincere apologies for the inconveniences, and this shouldn’t happen again in the future.

SpoonAge was kind enough to donate the domain and the web server our site is hosted on.  However, the domain happened to expire at a time when SpoonAge simply had no way to renew because of other far more serious obligations.  Luckily after a couple weeks we were able to get it renewed.  I will be transferring the domain to where I will be able to renew it each year.


Alien Arena will be part of Dream Hack Expo Sept 26-27 2014 in Stockholm!



Enhancement and Rewrite of DO Ranks Script

Having learned a lot writing the [AC]Ermey bot for clan AC, I took a closer look at our ageing DO Ranks script.  Multiple DBs, and formats were in need of some attention, so I have rewritten much of that script and added some new features as well.  A lot of what I did was to make maintaining the script easier for me – which is kind of a big deal.  As of now the enhancements and rewrite is all but complete.

Now instead of a Challenge List and Accept List, there is 1 list: The Match List.  The DB has been restructured to absorb both lists.  As a result the !rank challengelist and !rank acceptlist commands are gone.  The new all inclusive command is !rank matchlist which outputs all the information as before but in a better format and with slightly better information.

The !rank info long has also been reworked.  Instead of outputting the raw rank list, it’s now formatted and with descriptors.  Also all of the “Usage” output that is triggered when a command has been entered incorrectly has been reworked.  In addition to the syntax prompt you now get a Usage, Rules and Info link to a forum thread where the entire script is is explained.

Various other enhancements as well as many bug fixes have been done/added and the new script will hopefully help breath a little life back into DO.  Have a look at the forum thread for a refresher on what you can do.  You can get a link to that thread in IRC with this command: !rank


Extensive Re-Write AAWhoIs

I finally had to rewrite our AAWhoIs script.  When it was originally designed the DB was much smaller.  Now that it has grown so large, virtually any query will result in an overwhelming result list.  Finding the information the script was intended to provide has become tedious and difficult.

As a result I have employed a new strategy for how the script achieves its results.  I’ve also optimized the output better for IRC.  In addition, the script will now return a link to a text file it has uploaded when the results are too large for IRC.  In addition to the text file link, the script still outputs its results to IRC but in a truncated form – the online results are complete.

I also added a couple of new commands which make getting live data a snap and also for drilling down on the results of AAWhoIs.  The new suite of of commands provided by this script are very powerful and much easier to use.  The forum has been updated with the usage, info, and examples of each command.  Enjoy!

DO Donates [AC]Ermey

I’ve been working really hard on an eggdrop for #aaclan to run the Alien Cadets.  The bot is now ready for beta testing and is fully capable of running Clan AC almost entirely automatically. The bots name is [AC]Ermey taking its name sake from the actor R. Lee Ermey who played the drill instructor from the Stanley Kubrick movie Full Metal Jacket.

The bot does a great job of managing the entire AC process.  There are still a few tasks that require human involvement, such as approving new applications, making offers to graduates, telling the bot which clan a cadet has joined.  These sorts of tasks will always be done by clan reps, but all of the record keeping and date shuffling is now done completely by the bot.  The human tasks are made super simple because the bot tells the appropriate person at the appropriate time what they have to do and exactly how to do it.

Even better than before, the bot has 2 criteria it keeps to determine when a cadet graduates.  Traditionally this was done loosely with a fixed time period and some liberal judgement by a designated clan rep responsible for graduating cadets.  The bot takes over this responsibility completely using the 2 conditions: a minimum time period in AC and a minimum set of accomplishments to satisfy while in AC.

Every cadet must be in clan AC at least 2 weeks.  In addition to the 2 weeks, each cadet must completed a set of accomplishments.  If a cadet passes the 2 week mark and has not completed the accomplishments, then the cadet cannot graduate until they are done.  If a cadet completes the accomplishments before the 2 weeks is over, the cadet must remain in AC until at least the 2 week mark.

There are only 2 ways of AC, either graduate, or fail; If a cadet remains inactive for more than 30 days then the cadet fails out of AC.

The accomplishments system is new and I think its a fantastic idea.  I expect that almost everyone will complete all the accomplishments before the 2 weeks is over.  Currently those include 10 hours of IRC time, 2000 characters of IRC messages written, 10 hours of game time, 6 clan matches, and have a forum account.  As of today, the bot has not been programmed to track clan matches, but everything else it does.  Clan matches will be more difficult to track.  We can get along without that accomplishment for now.

The bot also keeps a “Sports Rating” on each cadet.  It is a percentage that can exceed 100%.  Anything 100% or over is considered good.  How the rating is calculated is not being released, however, its a very simple proportion and has to do with game etiquette and sportsmanship.  The bot takes its queue for this calculation in IRC.  The Sports Rating is an accomplishment that is not considered for graduation purposes.  Its more for clan reps to get a crude feel for someone they might not know as well as they would like.  The idea is to add several of these kinds of accomplishments that also will not be considered for graduation, but that might provide a closer look at a cadet’s clan worthiness.

Those are the most basic features of the bot, there is a ton of stuff it does that I haven’t even mentioned.  I’m really excited about it, and I’m very happy now that AC is being revived in a way that I can support.  The bot represents something like 30-40 hours work and a couple thousand new lines of code and another thousand or so lines that it pulls from other scripts such as sai_pounce.tcl and sai_tools.tcl.

The Latest Version of AC is Evolving

Well after each of the clan leaders expressed their opinion in the AA forum thread about bringing back AC, it seems that only clan >> (previously SE) wants to allow direct recruiting (bypassing AC).  So the rules have been updated to only allow recruiting out of clan AC.

DO changed its boycott of AC a week or two prior to this change.  There was a considerable misunderstanding on my part and on the other side as well.  With this latest change I think AC is really headed in the right direction now and deserves our complete support.

Now our mission should be to get as many new recruits into AC as possible.  Unless that happens it is likely that AC will fade away into darkness.

So it looks like they’ve decided to revive the Alien Cadets – clan AC

I was in favor of this at first, and I even spent some 30+ hours developing a bot to run it.  But at the last minute, as is so often the case, things turned miserably sour.  It seems they have decided to allow open recruiting which makes AC completely moot.  The main point of AC was to equalize clan candidate selection among all the clans by providing a common pool for them to pick from, giving equal chance to each clan for new members.  If you can recruit right off the server outside of AC, then what does AC do?  I guess the goal of AC now is to “guarantee” any new comer membership into a pseudo clan.

I was originally promised (in the thread above) the condition that while in AC, no clans would talk to cadets.  If a clan was interested in a cadet, then that clan’s members could “like” the cadet in a poll attached to their Welcome thread.  Then when the cadet was ready to select a clan, they could review the poll on their welcome thread to see where the most interest was.  This is all predicated on clans recruiting from AC exclusively.  Otherwise, who cares if you talk to a cadet or not – you can simply recruit directly so not talking has absolutely no point.  Hows that for a political promise?  I’m more than offended by this bait and switch.

For these reasons, DO will not recognize or support clan AC in any way.  We will recruit as we have been; directly from our servers.  If our prospects choose to join AC that’s fine, however we will discourage them from doing so.  In some cases, joining AC may serve to eliminate that player from consideration for membership into DO.

Bottom line – your word is your bond.  If you can’t keep your promises then you will find you can’t keep friends either.

{DO} Pastebin added

I added a cool Pastebin script to our site.  Currently its under the Tools menu.  Its a fork of the script that was sold to  Lightweight and simple which works well for us; its will rarely if ever be used.

The funnest part of this script was that I was able to customize the CSS to use our sites background image.  I think it looks great!