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 Email Communications Poll

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Should people be allowed to discuss in-game things through email if they have valid in-game communciations channels?
Yes
71%
 71% [ 5 ]
No
0%
 0% [ 0 ]
Under Certain Circumstances (post your ideas)
29%
 29% [ 2 ]
Total Votes : 7
 

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TheChin!
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PostSubject: Email Communications Poll   Wed 08 Jul 2009, 08:55

So the question has come up on whether we should allow email communications about in-game subjects.

Some Pros and Cons that I can think of (feel free to come up with your own):

Pros
1. Realism - Everyone knows that it is unrealistic to think that two empires with communication channels should only be able to communicate once a month.
2. Speed - Diplomacy will happen much faster, allowing treaties and such to be negotiated much faster.
3. History - Allows you to keep a comprehensive record of all communciations for reference later.
4. Eliminate Lag - In game diplomacy has the tendency to overlap and simultaneous messaging can cause problems as people try to say things at the same time. Email allows immediate response and more serial communciation.


Cons
1. Pacing - In game communications force a certain pace on everyone that lets you have extra flexibility during diplomacy.
2. AI - The AI players are obviously out of the loop.
3. Abuse - Any controls or restrictions we place on such communications cannot be enforced and have to depend on everyone's personal integrity (ahem... Fish). For example, in-game you are restricted to speaking only with those empires you have comm-channels to, we could have a similar restrictions for email, but we can't enforce it.
4. Longer Turns - it is possible that people will delay taking their turns while they work out various email conversations.
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TheChin!
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PostSubject: Re: Email Communications Poll   Wed 08 Jul 2009, 09:16

Personally, I would like a couple guidelines like:

1. All emails that are game communications should have InGame: in the subject line.
2. They should be written in-character.
3. You have to have a CURRENT communication channel with the empire.
4. People can use the in-game diplomacy functionality to exchange appropriate email addresses.
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bearclaw

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PostSubject: Re: Email Communications Poll   Wed 08 Jul 2009, 12:28

I agree with your suggestions: Must have ingame contact and must be in-character.
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hpd

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PostSubject: Re: Email Communications Poll   Wed 08 Jul 2009, 22:31

Probably be the same as note passing or under the table foot rubbing at our game nites.

Should have in game communication with that empire, I agree
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RDaneel

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PostSubject: Re: Email Communications Poll   Thu 09 Jul 2009, 12:21

Depending on how you look at it, the email communication can actually subtract realism from the game. Given that SEV is Warp Point based and our ships seem to clearly travel much slower than light, it's reasonable to assume that the once-per-month communication (and communication channels being Warp Point dependent as well) is a reflection of the fact that messages in-game must be actually carried on a ship or vehicle of some sort from system to system. Much like the invisible and pervasive "trade ships" that automatically establish the trade routes between connected systems, you could think of the in-game communication channels as similar invisible shipping lanes carrying our messages back and forth.

Frustrating as it may be, I do think that the game was built in a specific way with this communication system as a deliberate part of the game engine and it does impose a pacing restriction on the speed at which diplomacy can progress. However, let's face it, SEV is a very slow game and I personally am for a "House Rule" adding an FTL communications device (external email) which we have all simultaneously discovered. I think as long as we follow the guidelines Chin has laid out it will add to the experience rather than taking away from it.

pig
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PostSubject: Re: Email Communications Poll   Thu 09 Jul 2009, 13:23

Excellent points. I guess this would be like the Ansible device in the Ender series by Orson Scott Card. The only thing in that milieu that can go FTL is communciations.
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bearclaw

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PostSubject: Re: Email Communications Poll   Thu 09 Jul 2009, 13:50

Not necessarily.
All that would be needed is either a relay station on either side of a warp point or the physics of warp points to allow transmissions to be sent through on their own. While it wouldn't be instantanious, it would be like email. There'd be the delay it takes for a signal to get to the warp point and to cross the various solar systems.

At a rough estimate, lets assume 2-4 hours to cross a solar system, then an email-type communication system becomes very realistic.

Since 1 game month is (roughly) equal to 48 hours real-time (based on targetted turn duration), that means every 1.6 hours is 1 day in the game. So at the outside of 4 hours per solar system, that means you could realisticaly expect messages and replies to be sent/recieved up to 4 times every 1.6 (RL) hours if your home systems are only a single warp point apart (assuming a 24 hour day). As they are for the Sethillans and Praxis.

Looking at it this way, I would infer that the in-game communications are not messages sent but envoys or ambassadors arriving. In terms of trades, that would have to be the case. You can't 'send' 10,000 minerals to another without a physical transport. And for tech trades, you wouldn't want to broadcast your hard earned research into space, but would want to hand deliver a database or prototype to the receipient.

What's more, this would explain how the Galactic News system would work. Just broadcast towards all warp points (or receiver stations) an unencrytped message.

Just my take on comm traffic.
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RDaneel

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PostSubject: Re: Email Communications Poll   Thu 09 Jul 2009, 15:23

The "warp point relay station" theory and calculation needs to take into account the fact that most messages would need to traverse multiple systems between source and destination. There might be processing time involved, not all warp points are the same distance apart, and there might be queuing issues (bottlenecks) of the little pods or whatever shuttling through the warp points.

If this is the case, shouldn't you be able to block communication traversing your systems? That would be cool.

But your other points about physical delivery and ambassador visits I think are totally valid.
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PostSubject: Re: Email Communications Poll   Thu 09 Jul 2009, 15:25

RDaneel wrote:
The "warp point relay station" theory and calculation needs to take into account the fact that most messages would need to traverse multiple systems between source and destination. There might be processing time involved, not all warp points are the same distance apart, and there might be queuing issues (bottlenecks) of the little pods or whatever shuttling through the warp points.

Oh, I absolutely agree. it's not a perfect model. It's just how I view how communications in SEV work.
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PostSubject: Re: Email Communications Poll   Thu 09 Jul 2009, 15:27

And what about neutral systems? Who built the "warp point relay stations" in those systems and who controls them?
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PostSubject: Re: Email Communications Poll   Thu 09 Jul 2009, 15:39

Hmm... Good point.
Ok, how about this: Warp points allow for various forms of wireless (radio) transmissions to go through just as a ship. All that is needed is either a planet-based relay point or ship-based, to function as a point-of-origin. That point-of-origin would give the appropriate encryptions needed for the message to be decyphered by the appropriate race.

Actually having an empire's Comm Channel would be their half of the encryption codes needed for communication. All communications require 2-part encryptions: your comm channel the target race comm channel. That would also explain why only the intended recipient can read the message, yet why some Intel attacks can 'intercept' messages.
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