The Planets Nu team has been busy working away on a new release of the website. We've taken the lessons learned from releasing play.planets.nu and the things that work from both sites and integrated them into a new platform we believe the community will love and which will help new players learn and enjoy the game as well.
We plan to migrate the main website to this new platform within the next several weeks. In order to facilitate a smooth transition we're going to go through a few levels of testing first. Once the final move actually takes place the old platform, including the V2 client will continue to be available for those of you who want to move more slowly forward.
The new site has a very similar interface to the old site, but much more modern screen designs and has been built under a new architecture which is going to allow us to port the client to many platforms and make it easier to distribute it around the web. In addition it features some very cool new things:
- An integrated Activity feed system which will replace the forums for communication and make the entire community more connected. This activity feed also replaces the old in game messaging system, bringing communication and diplomacy to the forefront of the game dashboard.
- A new, improved, tutorial/assistant/help system which will be very handy particularly for new players.
- A new Private Game creation engine with many more options and a new "hosted games" section for hosts to manage the games they are hosting.
- A newly designed system which has been greatly simplified for managing campaign features.
- Support for different languages (German, Spanish, etc). We'll be recruiting translators in a future post which will need to translate a language file for the game interface.
- A new system for non-registered players which will now be in effect: Non-premium players will no longer receive one month of free premium membership. However, they will be able to raise tech levels to tech 10 on their homeworld, or any enemy homeworlds they capture. There is no time limit on this. All other starbases are limited to tech 7 as before, unless you find the appropriate native life.
- Improved stellar cartography ion storms which will behave more like classic ion storms (which will now take effect for all newly created storms in live games)
- Blitz Ratings! A new blitz leaderboard has been released and we're using a Chess style Elo rating system for players playing blitz games. There are definitely a few small data errors in the current test data but we're going to clean those up as we go through the test phase.
- More bug fixes and small enhancements to the main UI including the ability to transfer the minerals required to build fighters or torpedos with just one click.
- Some small modifications have been made to the game creation engine. Some 2 player team games will appear, campaign features have been added to the Giant Melee games and senior officer games will have slightly fewer resources in them. Stellar Cartography has been extended to more games but with random amounts of stars, nebulae and debris disks.
- A new, more attractive home screen and simplified sign up form. This page features some testimonials pulled from the forums. Thank you to anyone who has contributed the kind words! If any of you have a problem with what is there please let us know and we'll take it out.
- Lastly in honor of the much loved "Lina" of the Missing Colonies of Man, we have brought back an old favorite dashboard background for the testing site.
If you are still reading this long post you may be a good candidate to test this out! All we ask is that you start playing your turns at http://test.planets.nu
and if you find any problems or suggestions report them in the activity stream. Posts in the activity stream will automatically post back here to the main site and vice versa. After things look stable on test we'll promote the site to play.planets.nu and then on to the main site.
Getting onto a new platform has been our goal for a long time. We believe it is critical to the growth of the site and will allow us to focus more energy on marketing and in game enhancements. Your honest feedback and support is appreciated as always!