2005 TOWN MEETING
April 16th, 2005: 6pm FST
Felorin: Hello everyone, and welcome to our 2005 Town Meeting. :X)
Felorin: We'll be taking questions a little later on, but first it's time for me to make my speech and tell you all the latest about what's going on here at Dragon's Eye Productions and our plans for Furcadia!
Felorin: First, I'm going to briefly introduce our staff. We're a small company, so it won't take long. :X) First, our four Creators.
Felorin: Furcadia was originally created in ancient times on the fringes of the Ottoman Empire. Talzhemir and I made the game in a small cave there where we wouldn't be disturbed.
Felorin: A while later, we walked by the beach and Emerald Flame rode up to shore on the back of a dolphin. She made the most popular dream Furcadia had ever had, so now she's on our team too. She keeps everything running, and tries to figure out how to keep over 50,000 people happy with hardly any resources to work with. At least she KNOWS it's not actually possible - but she tries her best, anyway.
Felorin: Not long afterwards, a strange fox swooped down in front of us on a makeshift flying machine he had invented and constructed himself - and this almost a thousand years before the days of Leonardo DaVinci. Unfortunately it could only fly down, and not up! Still, we were so impressed with his technological prowess that we invited this fox, one sanctimonious by name (too humble for a capital s, take note), to join us as lead programmer.
Felorin: We have two other full-time staff here. Cironir was Community Manager for Worlds Away for several years before taking that post here on Furcadia. Gar, our 3D artist, leader of the Masons, and all around helpful guy came down from the frozen north after getting a degree in 3D art and animation up there. We also have a part-time Dragon taking care of orders and shipping, Niana (from Nianada).
Felorin: I'd also like to thank our Associates, who manage the different volunteer groups and help out with so many other things. Marah~Fae Fireheart, Cameo, Nikodemus, Farrier, Simon Potter, and Stetin. We couldn't do it without you guys!
Felorin: And of course we have the thousands of people who've helped out as members of the various Beekin volunteer groups over the years. Helping make this place more fun for other people is what Furcadia is all about - not just for us on staff, but for anybody that wants to. Dream makers, people who run guilds, artists, scripters, musicians... Or just people who like to share a good time with their friends. Thank you all for making Furcadia special. Without you, this place would just be an empty program we made with some pretty art and nobody to talk to!
Felorin: Ok, on to the news - I promise we'll get to questions later. :X)
Felorin: First, I want to apologize for the emergency update earlier this week, and for the bugs and connection problems it caused.
Felorin: Usually we test updates a lot more thoroughly before putting them out. But our hosting provider installed a new security system Monday that was keeping a LOT of people from being able to connect to Furcadia. So we had to change things so that everybody could get in again.
Felorin: The update did fix some bugs in the fsh editor, and it restored the older batwings art - a number of the people who'd paid for it because of the way it looked before wanted it to look like what they'd decided to pay for. I know some people liked the new look also, but we have to support our paying customers and make sure they got what they expected. We will be putting the newer batwings art up later at http://www.furcadia.com/batwings for those that want it.
Felorin: I also want to apologize for the fact that our quality of support, speed of response, how often we reply on the Forums, etc. has been poor for a number of months now. It's been a rough year for a lot of us here at Dragon's Eye.
Felorin: Both of my parents passed away in 2004. Two of our other staff lost a parent. Our sales suffered heavily when our ability to process PayPal orders was suspended for a month, right when people were doing Christmas shopping too. (This was because two many people were placing orders with stolen credit cards, which lead to chargebacks and got us in trouble with the processing banks). And Emerald Flame was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. They did catch it reasonably early, and she's recovering reasonably well now, thankfully.
Felorin: Before anyone gets TOO worried, I would like to let you know... Papillary thyroid cancer is one of the most treatable and survivable cancers there is. Her thryoid doctor told her she'd lead a long and happy life. :X)
Felorin: Anyway we're all picking ourselves up and dusting ourselves off, and have been working for a while now on trying to get Furcadia going bigger and better than ever. But I do want to apologize that we haven't done more over the last six months.
Felorin: We have a new plan in place - starting with our last update, from now on there will be four updates a year, spaced roughly three months apart. (The exact day may vary a tiny bit.)
Felorin: Instead of waiting till all of a particular set of features and bugfixes are done, we're just going to work on stuff, and when update time comes we'll say "What's done and ready to put in", and release that.
Felorin: This should get you new things to enjoy more often - and make it easier to test each one for bugs, as there won't be as many changes to test at once. We hope you'll enjoy our new update schedule. :X)
Felorin: Another thing we really want to do soon is move to a better hosting service. One that'll give us less downtime, less lag, lower "ping times"... And hopefully no more nasty "surprises" like we got on monday!
Felorin: We had planned to have this done before now. But the new site will cost more, and our sales are still down 25% from what they were last year before our PayPal problems. Still, we think quality service is very important, and we're going to go ahead and spend the money to make that move anyway.
Felorin: Hopefully we can make up for those lost sales by making Furcadia more fun, getting more players to come, and putting out more cool features for you all to enjoy. Also we're going to touch up our Digo Market web pages a little to make them easier to get around and to use. :X)
Felorin: I want to talk a little bit about some of the things we want to add to Furcadia over the next year or two. Though we can't promise we'll get them all in, of course - this is what we're going to work towards.
Felorin: We want to put in a lot of features to help people socialize, stay in touch with friends, and run their dreams better too. Some of these...
Felorin: Lead and follow commands - I've wanted this for ages, this year for sure! A buddy list. Automatically generated personal web pages about each character, with some options to customize it. A "hangouts" list of the most popular and/or crowded dreams currently available, with a way to teleport to them.
Felorin: Better security for dream owners is also a priority right now, as is PhoenixSpeak to give them ways to do permanent storage of data about players (or data about anything else), so dreams can have long-term results of things on an ongoing basis.
Felorin: I also want to combine some good ideas I saw in our Suggestions forum with some ideas of my own to provide some new dream options that I think are going to be pretty exciting...
Felorin: One part of it will be an option to have your dream start out dark, and when furres explore, they gradually light up the area around where they're moving. And it stays visible the next time they come back. (Other games like Age of Empires have this, and I always liked it.)
Felorin: I want to combine this with more data about each part of the map, that will define "regions". And you can set them up so people only see the region they're currently in. This will make it a lot easier to make houses with an inside and outside that are separate.
Felorin: Right now, many dream builders put the interior rooms way somewhere else, and teleport you in and out of them when you go through a door. If this works out the way I hope, people could just put the room in place, right inside the building, and you'd only see the inside or the outside depending on where you were. With NO DragonSpeak required!
Felorin: People who are into DragonSpeak would be able to use region definitions to make areas of any shape and size, as well. Rather than just being able to use the rectangles and diamonds we offer now.
Felorin: Hopefully this will lead to more fun dreams for everyone to enjoy. :X)
Felorin: We're also working on F.L.U.F.F. this year, our system for meeting people who have interests in common with you. And before anyone asks - we know the F's stand for "Furcadia Friend Finder", but we STILL don't know what the L and the U stand for. We just like the word Fluff! (Maybe it stands for "linguistically unmentionable"?)
Felorin: Group packages are coming up pretty soon too. We're still finalizing the details on what features they'll have, how they'll relate to the upcoming attention economy plans, etc. But they'll probably be one of our next major new features to go in.
Felorin: The attention economy I've mentioned in the past is a high priority now too. Having people spend time in your dreams will generate "mana" you can expend within the next week to do cool things. You might also get mana by having people use patches or other things you make, maybe read messages you write, etc. I also want to have a way people can make dreams at least semi-permanent - this will probably relate to attention economy and group packages in some way.
Felorin: I'm going to a cave somewhere near Mesopotamia this week to figure out exactly how to do some of these things. It'll be nice and quiet there. Except when we're blowing things up. #SD
Felorin: (That's an inevitable side effect of sorcery. At least, it is if you like watching things blow up.)
Felorin: We also hope to work on the voice chat system we've always wanted in Furcadia.
Felorin: Spectator mode will let other people see exactly what you see in Furcadia, if you choose to "broadcast" what you're doing (either to one or several friends, or to the whole world). This will be another way to earn "attention mana" based on how many people tune in and for how long, and I imagine people will run all kinds of "shows" using it.
Felorin: Finally, I have one more major new idea that I want to work on for Furcadia - though this one will probably take a LONG time to get done...
Felorin: Basically they're objects that you can keep permanently, carry around between maps, and they'll each have a script built into them. Like DragonSpeak, only more powerful.
Felorin: I want to make them powerful enough that players could make little board and card games they could play with other players... Kaleidoscopes, customized tools for whispering friends, all sorts of things.
Felorin: Rarer ones that you might have to pay for could have extra abilities, like the ability to put a "pet" on the map screen and control it's movement, for instance.
Felorin: The people who create the most popular objects that do the coolest things could earn a lot of mana both by selling them, and by earning mana for how much people use them.
Felorin: It's an idea in the earliest stages, I have a lot of details to work out. And it's going to be a lot of work to program. But I think they'll be very cool when they're done. We aren't expecting to have these until our Beta release.
Felorin: We were going to focus more on the groundwork for our eventual beta, which will support 16/24/32 bit color, translucency, be more stable code (mostly rewritten from scratch), and lots more... But because of our drop in sales, we're going to be spending more time adding cool new features to our alpha for right now, so we can get back to where we can afford to hire another programmer and an artist or two to help us out. We'd love to hire more customer service people too.
Felorin: Well, we have more in the works... But I know people have been eager to start answering questions (and TownMeeting has been getting whispers since the meeting began!) So I'm going to start taking questions now. :X) Thank you all for giving me the time and attention to ramble on.
Felorin: Oak asks when will there be another "major" update, and will there be new main maps?
Felorin: There won't be "major" updates for the time being, just one every three months with whatever's been finished since the last one. Some of those will have major new features, some won't - just depending on when we finish stuff. I know our "dreams team" (not to be mistaken for "dream steam") is working on a new Digo Market dream where you can briefly try on wings and dragons for free. They're also planning out new and improved versions of Acropolis, Challenges, and Furrabian Nights, and a new Festival dream. They'll go in when they're done, whenever that is.
Felorin: Dedra asks if we'll change back the DragonSpeak that keeps the main hall in Allegria clear, for the people that like to hang out in there.
Felorin: I'm afraid this is a case where the crowding and extra work of moving through there for the many outweighed the wishes of the few. We got a lot of complaints before about the "obstacle course" and a few complaints now about "our hangout spot is gone", overall we feel it made more people happier than it made people less happy. Sorry if you're one of the latter.
Felorin: Dyllan asks if we're ever going to have raffles of Digo items. Well, I've thought about that before, but we don't have any plans to do that currently no. I couldn't rule out the possibility we might do it someway, but we're not planning on it now.
Felorin: Tristus asks about a new avatar he heard rumors of. (He didn't say which!) The next avatars we're considering right now are ursines (bears) and possibly bovines (cows) for free ones, and the next pay-for avatar will probably be little kitterwings (with sparkles). :X)
Felorin: Twilight Chateau asks for more details on Group package costs, whether they'll be monthly or yearly, etc. I'm afraid we're still working out those details, I don't have any answers yet.
Felorin: Vedran asks if we're going to do anything about the dream names cluttering the map so much and making it hard to read, etc. This is a concern - one of our thoughts it to make a way to mouse-over a dream to get info to pop up. This could be used in conjunction with an option about whether you see dream name, owner name, both, or just neither and you have to mouse-over to find out.
Talzhemir: No drugs were harmed in the making of Furcadia. The idea of animal-people is very ancient-- the world's oldest sculpture is a "lowenmensch", a carving of a lion-man made out of mammoth ivory. The idea of making a multiplayer game came to us when Felorin and I had to write all the conversations of Ultima VI and realized no matter how clever those "robots" were, y'all would probably rather be talking to some *real* people.
Felorin: Charm asks what inspired us to create Furcadia, and were we drinking at the time?
Talzhemir: I cite as inspiration, the online all-text game FurryMUCK and the "Dressed Animals" of C.S. Lewis, who used them later in his Narnia stories. But animal-people are everywhere; we all grow up with them, in cartoons, in Aesop's Fables, in Brer Rabbit tales, as advertising mascots, and so on. :X)
Felorin: I actually first had the idea to make a multiplayer online RPG back in 1985, but it was clearly too soon to do something like this. Of course making it full of talking animals and based on creativity wasn't my idea back then, since Talzhemir and I both love those things and made several games together in the 90s, it seemed natural at the time. :X)
Felorin: Arctic Sapphire asks how we feel about proxies, and will we put some of their features into Furcadia itself?
Felorin: I like seeing good third party development - as far back as Doom the game industry learned that it can really enhance a game and its community. And yes, we will be putting some of the best features into Furcadia, like buddy lists (a list of which of your friends are online, basically).
Felorin: Kippo Moogle asks if we'll ever do a first-person view Furcadia. No, we feel that a social environment is enchanced by seeing all the people that are all around you, friend especially - not just the ones that're in front of you.
Felorin: Leoryk-Maggar asks if we'll add things to the skinning system to allow custom buttons and interfaces - possiblyt DS integrated ones. YES. The new scriptable objects in particular will do this. But I've also considered just "extra buttons" that don't do any basic game functions, and a dream owner (or global patch maker) could make them send a macro string, or trigger DS ("When custom button 3 is clicked,") or things like that. This is the kind of thing Furcadia needs more of.
Felorin: Only a few furres use the more advanced (and complicated) patching and scripting features. But they make stuff everyone else can enjoy. (Quick plug - check out the new skins editor if you haven't yet!)
Talzhemir: Talz: It's in your Furcadia folder, as skinner.exe Thanks, 'timo.
Felorin: Bass2 asks what games Talzhemir and I worked on before. Well... Moebius, Windwalker, Ultima: Runes of Virtue for the Gameboy, Monster Bash, Ultima Underworld 2, This Means War, Masters of Magic, The Great Khan Game, Evergreen Bingo (the fastest bingo game in human history), Worlds of Ultima: Savage Empire and Martian Dreams, and a bunch of others. We've been busy. #SD Talzhemir did some art for Steve Jackson games once too, and I did a juggling golfball screensaver. Though I'll deny that if you mention it later.
Talzhemir: I have a strong background in the all-text games that allow scripting, such as MUSE, MUCK, MUSH, and MOO, by the way.
Felorin: July Blue Fox asks on behalf of SilverCougar - do we plan to make feral avatars part of the game? We don't plan to do that, no. We're happy for people to patch their dreams to be humans, ferals, sci-fi, anime, or any other theme they want. But for the "built-in" parts fo the game, we're sticking to the world setting and continuity Talzhemir has created.
Felorin: Kamose asks (as have a number of other people) what people will be able to do with their "mana" from the attention economy?
Felorin: One of my first ideas is people can make fireworks shoot out of their paws, for fun. I might even make the displays scriptable, so people can try to make the coolest looking ones. The more in them, the more mana they'll take. I might also let people pay to "add semi-permanence" to a dream, so if you put in enough mana the dream would stay up for a week or a month or however long, even with no furres in it. Don't know for sure. You'd be able to create and to buy those scriptable objects with mana, too. They may be the basis of the attention economy.
Felorin: I might also let DS scripts "charge" furres some mana to do something in a dream. Though we might have to have a big dialog box pop up saying "do you really want to spend 5 mana" to keep people from making scam dreams that just suck your pockets dry for walking around or something.
Felorin: I'd like there to be some way to promote your dream with mana too - maybe put up announcements special places that are set up to for dream lists, etc. We'll see.
Felorin: Mini shadow asks if there'll be easier ways to create patches and make DS. Yes, I feel our tools are not nearly as easy as I'd like them to be, and we want to make ways to make it a lot easier to create stuff and figure out how to do cool thigs. :X)
Felorin: Ahezhara asks will there be paw DS? Yes, I plan to put in something that lets you put objects in furre's paws and/or take something away. Did we miss a line to check for squirrels? I'll verify that after the meeting and if it's missing, we'll set about getting it in the next update. And will we fix the "redraw the screen" DS? Yes, we thought it was fixed this time, but obviously not. Next update we will take the fox fix and put in a fix to the fix, so it'll be a fox fix fix!
Felorin: Update - Gar tells me there IS a line to check for squirrels in DS, but it didn't make it into the list of commands in the editor. If you use it though, it'll work - it should be (1:29). Sorry that was missing!
Felorin: Simone Smith (and several others) have askes if we'll let people make bigger dreams? And she says Kage Senivid asks how many hamburgers were involved in the creation of Furcadia.
Felorin: Larger dream maps would risk more lag, also eat up more server RAM. I want to do dream "clusters", whether they were different floors of a building or related in some other way, there'd be some interaction/connection between those dreams. I'm not sure yet how all the details would work. Many cheeseburgers were used, few cheeseless hamburgers... But a lot more sushi, chocolate, and pizza I think. Note, when raw meat is in Talzhemir's vicinity, don't get your fingers too close!
Felorin: Kyona Aitoshiima asks if we'll replace the default portraits with nicer artwork. One thing I learned years ago is that we should always try to *add* things without taking the old stuff away, as much as possible. (We slipped up there with the batwings, but we fixed that.) Sometimes we have to replace, remove, or "break" old things people liked, but in the case of portraits we would add new ones without taking away the old, if we add some in future.
Felorin: Our 1996 plan was several pieces of fixed art to choose from, plus a "face kit" you could make your own from pieces with, plus the portrait spaces. We never got to that middle item, though Talz made some art pieces for it. Maybe someday? We haven't decided for sure.
Felorin: Elkaiser asks on Owleth's behalf, will we ever have full-screen mode? And can Lapines walk instead of hop?
Talzhemir: The rabbits hopping actually has other ramifications when you're a Patcher. There are two kinds of animation in walking: one is called a "pogo" (1-2-3-2-1-2-3-2) and one is called "cycle" (1-2-3, 1-2-3). The other creatures "cycle" but rabbits "pogo". In light of that we might have pogo vs. cycle as a parameter in a patch eventually.
Felorin: Yes, we will definitely have full-screen mode in the beta. Also hopefully support for at least two different screen resolution options. People running in non-full-screen mode might get to have separate windows for whispers and things too that they could move around and resize, like some of the proxies allow now. As for rabbits - we did improve the hop animation a little, but we're not planning to introduce a walk, sorry.
Felorin: Serdo asks when this will all be done. Well, like all "when" questions since 1996, we never know when anything will be done till the moment we finish it. That's just the way software development is, game development doubly so.
Felorin: Civilization asks, will people ever be able to use more than one localspecies in a dream?
Felorin: Definitely, this was planned from the beginning. Group packages will allow people to have a bunch more - possibly different numbers for the different prices of package. Silver Sponsors might get to have 2 localspecies in their dreams, we haven't decided yet for sure.
Felorin: Alexica asks on behalf of Desease Cat when the patch archive will be updated.
Felorin: That's one of the things we've fallen behind on over the last six months. There's currently a bug in our scripting for our patch pages. When we can get it fixed, we hope to start updating it again. Sorry for the delay.
Felorin: Midnight asks if there'll be new Beekin groups in the future, such as Music beekins? We don't have any definite plans, but it's quite possible that over the years ahead we'd occasionally add more. Personally I think encouraging and helping with sound and music more in Furcadia would be one of the things I'd like to see most. :X)
Felorin: Urban Shadow asks if players will be able to turn on and off the swear filter in their client in the future. Yes, this is a feature I've intended to put in for a long time. It won't be too hard to program, just a matter of getting to it.
Felorin: Saphran asks if we'll be taking new Guild Charters in the future, and how this might relate to our plans for Group Packages.
Felorin: We're hoping we can structure Group Packages in such a way that they fill most or all of the needs that Guild Charters did before - and do a lot more, too. Currently we're planning to have one "Group Package" that's available free, that people can sign up for much the way they do for charters now. It won't be quite the same, but it'll have some new stuff chartered guilds don't currently have. We do need a paid option though - this takes staff time and labor to support, and we can't keep doing that for something that's totally free, we don't have the manpower.
Talzhemir: (In case you're fairly new in Furcadia: Guild Chartering is something we did officially, putting a link in from the official Furc. pages to a Dream's web site, and making established upload spots reserved. Because that wasn't coded, having reserved spots has been an annoyance, both to the furres at large, and to the Guardians who enforced it, yet it was very important to the stability of the Chartered communities.)
Felorin: To everyone whose question hasn't been answered - we apologize, but there's far more than we can keep up with! We will answer as many as we can. We appreciate your patience, and we're sorry we can't answer them all. There will be a message on the Furcadia Forums within the next week answering some more of the questions we didn't get to during the meeting.
Felorin: Lostkitten asks how long for more localspieces (when question = when we finish working on it is when we'll know) and how many (haven't decided, but some group packages will have at least 10-12, maybe as many as 20 or more). She also asks if Furcadia will have chat channels - yes definitely! Group packages may get you an extra channel for your group, and we are going to have various other kinds of chat channels in the game. Will voice chat be implemented soon or ever? Ever yes, soon maybe not. Can we have distinct female avatars? Probably someday.
Talzhemir: With  avatars of different sexes, that's kind of unlikely that would happen anytime soon. Furcadia is a free download, and game industry experts who study this sort of thing agree strongly that the shorter the download is, the better. Two genders would double our number of avatars and significantly increase the download size, something we don't think is worth it at this time.
Felorin: Whew! Please try to keep it down to 1 or maybe 2 parts from now on, ok? :X)
Felorin: Shadowee asks on behalf of The Mint Mink, will animations be able to work with times shorter than one second?
Felorin: In the beta, I plan to have something called "local animations" that the server starts, but then they happen totally on the client, and they'll be able to be very fast and smooth. Also there'll be items that automatically animate - no DS required, just place them in your dream and watch them go. :X)
Felorin: Vedran asks, will we ever be able to see something like "So-and-so is typing". I've loved that feature in ICQ, you can tell someone's still there without waiting till they're done typing. I was thinking we might make the colored outline of a furre shimmer if they're typing, or put a thought balloon over their head, or something. Definitely want to indicate it somehow.
Felorin: Megan asks if we'll fix the grass in Zefiroth that you can't walk on. Yes, this is on our to-do list for our dream steam - er, dreams team. :X)
Felorin: Aguari asks if we can have roach avatars - no. And can we have more than 8000 lines of DS - yes, we'll probably increase that limit at some point in the future.
Talzhemir: : (For Charters to expire, we would normally send out emails and then remove those whose Rahs didn't respond. All of the ones out there now have responded. There's no practical way to distinguish between Dreams that regularly have 20 and Dreams with only 1 in them, so we give them all the benefit of the doubt. At this time there's fewer than a dozen Chartered Dreams still being uploaded. As that's at most 12 tiles of Furcadia real-estate spoken-for, out of the thousands out there up for grabs, they aren't much of a worry.)
Felorin: Shann asks what we'll be working on for the next update. Well, we want to work a lot on the group packages, some things like letting people set themselves "too busy to accept whispers" but have a list of friends that can still whisper them, maybe try to work in lead and follow. I've also got a list of half a dozen new DragonSpeak lines that we're definitely going to add in - sorry I don't have that handy right now.
Felorin: Wolfrik asks if we'll have a command to let you block summon and join commands from being issued to you. That's a very good idea - I think we should do that, and it won't be very hard to program. We'll try to work that in. :X)
Felorin: Mortain asks what will we do to make patches more secure, and also is concerned about the screenshot button being used to grab copies of people's patches without their permission.
Felorin: In the beta, we're going to have a new system where art is downloaded by the individual shape - so if a dream only has 5 new objects you haven't already seen in other dreams, you'll only download 5 little pieces of art. This also means that the first copy of a patched item uploaded will be the ONLY one on our server. Anyone else trying to reupload will be told it's already there. AND, every item will have the name of the creator stored in its file, which will help artists prove what they drew and get credit for it.
Felorin: This is not a perfect system, and people will always try to "cheat" various ways. But it'll offer some additional support for the artists over what we have now. No encryption solution can be perfect - the music industry has billions of dollars more than us, and they can't stop people from massive copying and trading of MP3 files of copyrighted songs.
Felorin: As for the screenshot button. Patch stealing involves a certain amount of work, clipping shapes one by one out of a screenshot and importing them into our patch editor, etc. Patch thieves also had to press Alt-Printscreen and then past the clipboard into a paint program. Now that shortest and easiest step in their work is a tiny bit shorter - the overall amount of work isn't reduced much. Whereas honest furres who want to take a screenshot of a party, wedding, or good time can do that a LOT easier, and many didn't know how before.
Felorin: All in all, I think the screenshot button does little harm, and a LOT more good than harm, which is why we decided to put it in.
Felorin: Simseth2004 wants to know if there'll be buttons to turn chat, whispers, and emitlouds on and off. Well, we're going to have a "busy" option for turning whispers off, don't know if there'll be a button. Maybe so. For emitlouds, like most game features we tried to put unique text at the beginning so you can do "ignore [#]" if you like. Ignoring all speech - never heard a request for that one before. Might be simplest to just log off Furcadia when you don't want to hear anyone talking? :X) For me, hearing peopple talk is why I come!
Felorin: Doom The Never Ending Wars asks if we'll ever have a special area for lazer tag dreams. Well, we do want to have special interest areas in the future - for anime dreams, maybe even specific places for fans of Everquest, Ultima Online, or World of Warcraft to gather. Don't know if we'll have a lazer tag area at some point. It is popular, so that's a possibility.
Talzhemir: With the implementation of Mana, we can possibly go on to take *positive* measures, rather than negative ones like "copy protection". I'd like it to be, you make a couch, and if the creator offers it, and somebody clicks a "Put that in my personal patch" button, then the creator is rewarded with Mana The way we're doing patching now is kind of crude, and ought to be silky smooth. Whether or not somebody gets into your Dream at all to see your stuff is also an issue, one that has to do with heightened security for Dream owners. Mortain, I'll go write this on the Suggestions board: "option to disable Screen Shots in my Dream?"
Felorin: Challenges in particular is going to have areas for specific types of games after its next makeover. :X)
Felorin: Dreamless Dancer asks if we'll have more Silver Sponsor perks. Yes, I want to offer them more, so more people will want to sign up! I've been thinking a lot about what else we could add to Silver Sponsorship. And would we let a Silver Sponsor grant sponsor upload rights to their alt? No, sponsor rights for multiple alts is something we eventually hope to make part of gold or diamond sponorships.
Felorin: Tina wants to know if we can have two "layers" in custom portraits, one where the colors remap, and one where they don't And gradient shades for eyes and badges. Those are interesting ideas. But I think they're things only the most advanced of artists would use, so I don't think it's likely, certainly not in the alpha. The beta will give you tons more color options and control, hopefully you'll be able to do most of what you want artistically with portraits. Maybe even animate 'em?
Felorin: Adimae and Tiasha want to know if there'll be a way to leave a message for a furre that's not online, so they can see it later when they log on.
Felorin: Actually, right now you can do that by leaving them a rose with a message on it. But in the future we'll be adding some way to do it for free, without having to pay any money, and at no cost. We might have some kind of messaging where you can doodle pictures or stamp rubber stamps on top of messages too, and allow that on forums as well. I'd like to do that. :X)
Felorin: Iexo Peoa asks if we're planning a 3D Furcadia with changeable camera angles. No, we don't plan to do anything like that.
Felorin: Archive asks if we'll have another avatar that can change forms, like the gryffe. We don't have any plans for that currently. But who knows, maybe someday there'll be another.
Felorin: Shanna D. Williams asks why we only sell Classics for life. Well, when we introduced triwings, there was discussion of phasing out the less-detailed original wing artwork. But because of my principle that you don't take things away, you only add, we compromised and decided to let people that had them keep renewing them, so we didn't change their look, but we wouldn't sell new ones. But if someone wanted them for life... Even though we wanted to phase in more detailed art, we wouldn't want to turn someone away if they wanted them that bad. :X)
Felorin: Nikki the Neko asks if there'll be a way to find singles and couples for adoption. Sounds like you want FLUFF. We're hoping it'll be used for a lot of stuff - finding friends with the same hobbies as you, finding romance, finding guilds to join... And finding people to roleplay specific things with, like adoptions or anything else.
Felorin: Remus and Alania want to know, will avatars ever be more customizable than they are now? Clothes, markings, hairstyles, accessories, and more colors. We would like to try and do some of those kinds of things in the beta. It will definitely have a lot more colors. We've also considered, in the shorter term, making the little guy next to the portrait be dressed up with different clothes, jewelry, etc. you could acquire in the game. Gaia is based on customizing an avatar like that and it's very popular. :X)
Felorin: Folklore and Kage ask what's our priority for adding text strings to DragonSpeak, and will we add complex control structures.
Felorin: Text variables are a high priority - only reason it's not in yet is it's a fair amount of work. But it'll let dream makers do so much cool stuff. Control structures aren't too likely - DragonSpeak is meant to be usable by non-programmers, also to be very safe from the kinds of infinite looping and crashing that computer programs can do. So we're keeping it simple and leaving out some of those things on purpose.
Felorin: Ambettle wants to know if we can add mouse-wheel support to our FSH editor. That's a great idea - maybe for selecting which shape to edit with the wheel. In general, on days when there's no town meeting - I want to recommend everyone with good ideas to take them to http://forums.furcadia.com and post them on the Suggestions forum. We don't reply to them all, but we do read them all!
Felorin: Ottomatic wants to know how verified adult flags are coming along, and gold and diamond sponsorships. A lot of our plans have been worked out for how to do adult flags, though it's going to be difficult doing work to review everyone's proof of age when we start it up. Gold and Diamond sponsorship we aren't really working on, I want to make Silver Sponsorship better first. #SD
Talzhemir: That's a sensitive issue. I'm of the opinion that info like, who your alts are, or when you were last on, should be something you opt-in to sharing. But a last-on is useful and many furres don't mind, so we'll probably have something like that, in some form or other.
Felorin: Simseth2004 asks if there'll be a way to tell the last time a certain person logged in. Yes, we might put that on the personal web page for each character. But that will be up to them - if they want that feature turned OFF so they can be more private about that, they certainly will be able to have it not displayed.
Felorin: Various furres ask if we will have a monkey avatar, humans, and someone asked for a llama. No, we don't plan to have any of those.
Felorin: Heerat asks if we can add DragonSpeak to move a furre to a specific dream url. Well, when we have more "permanence" i plan to have dream gates or portals that link to whatever dream ou want, and pass a code to let the receiving dream control where they arrive. But I don't see any reason DragonSpeak couldn't send you also. If you pulled a lever that opened a trapdoor under your feet and you "fell" into the basement dream, for instance. So we'll probably do that.
Felorin: Various people have asked about Mac versions and other versions of Furcadia. After the beta is out, we plan to do a Mac version. Sorry, but that's probably not going to be for a fair amount of time from now.
Felorin: Shanna D. Williams asks if there'll be new emotion icons in the future. We don't currently have any planned, but I imagine we'll probably increase the number of them at some point in the next couple years.
Felorin: Biotixcide wants to know why Digo items cost so much. Well, not only do we have to pay to lease server machines, hosting, and bandwidth, but we also have to pay enough money for our 6 full time staff members to live and eat while working on this game. And unlike games that charge you $10 to $15 a month (most of the big online RPGS do), we let everybody play for free and do ALMOST everything for free. Digos cost as little as $10 or $20 a YEAR, not the $120 to $180 a year you'd pay to play World of Warcraft (a fine game by the way).
Felorin: $20 a year isn't even enough to buy a McDonalds burger every week. Maybe one a month. I don't think the price of one burger a month is a lot of money to charge for something. :X)
Felorin: Lady Imara asks if we'll hire more staff. Well if the company's sales go up - which we hope and expect they will, we'd like to hire at least one more programmer and one or two more artits. We don't ever want to get really big though - we prefer a small company where everyone can be friends and we can all fit at one table in a restaurant. #SE
Felorin: And last question - several furres asked if there will be another free digo day. Yes, we will always keep having those from time to time. :X)
Felorin: Thank you all for listening in, and for all your questions. We will try to post answers to some more of the questions we didn't get to tonight on the Furcadia Forums later. That's http://forums.furcadia.com
Felorin: I did forget to mention earlier - we're thinking about phasing out the art prints. Or we might make them an option with wings, rather than always shipping them with each pair sold. We'll be starting a thread on the forums to discuss that later.