Thursday, July 31, 2008

New TE Titler Available

From the Emperor:

Greetings all,

I have created a Tiny Empires titler attachment that shows your Tiny Empires kingdom, rank or title, liege, and more.
It connects to the game and automatically retrieves your latest status, so it never gets out of date.

It's completely configurable by clicking buttons on a menu. You can decide how much or how little information
to display. You can show or hide your rank (your special title is used if you have one), your name, your kingdom,
your liege's name, and your King or Queen's name. There are also buttons to fine tune the position and color of the text.

The cost is L$149 at my shop -- landmark included below

Ultralite Soleil

The landmark is the normal upgrade station in Kitster. So, now that I've gotten one, here's the details. You simply wear it and you bring up its menu at any point by saying /1 titlemenu or by touching it. (Of course it's by default invisible, which makes that a bit complicated. It's no mod/no transfer, so you can't change that.)

Here is the menu:

To take the items in order...

Turn Off/On Self-explanatory. Poof no text, poof back on.

Position Brings up a sub menu that lets you move the wording up, down, left, right a bit with each click of the button.

Colors Brings up a sub menu with a list of colors to make your text. The choices are White, Gold, Purple, Red, Blue, Green, Orange, Pink.

The other choices hide/show the various parts. With everything on (which is what I had for that screenshot), mine says:

--Tiny Empires--
La Reina Zorra Vulpine Eldrich of Caledon
Ruled by Queen Ellie Bearcat
Subject of Princess Happe Hax

It shouldn't be hard to see which parts are hidden when you click the hide/show button for that part.

And that's the fun! The only quibble I found with it is that the default attachment point is the right ear. When you wear jewelry, that doesn't play nicely with your right earring. But I'm used to playing these sorts of "find the empty attachment point" games. (For me, the most likely choices are mouth or chin.)

Another fun part would be for those of us who have custom title to have the choice to either use our rank, or show our rank in addition to our custom title. Say:

(Princess)La Reina Zorra Vulpine Eldrich of Caledon

...but since there's an empty button on the main menu, it wouldn't surprise me if that isn't planned for the next revision. (v1.2, judging by the name of the Titler!)

So let the fun begin at all of those TE parties... or even other parties! "What's this Tiny Empires thing you're wearing?....."

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Cujo Mayo Interview

Today I'm announcing the beginning of a new feature here... as they become available (always depending upon the consent of the monarchs), I plan to release interviews that I've done with them. This way, we can learn a bit about the other kingdoms and people in them. If you or a monarch you know might be interested, just send me an IM or notecard In World, and I'll be happy to arrange things. Who knows, it might be YOUR King or Queen here next time-- except for Arcadians, because for them, it's this time! Our interview series starts there...

Vulpine Eldrich: Hello, everyone. I'm here today with King Cujo Mayo of Arcadia, who has kindly consented to give us some of his time to tell us of himself and his kingdom. Thank you for the consideration, Cujo.

Cujo Mayo: Thank you for having me. :-)

Vulpine Eldrich: Let's start with first things first. How big is the Kingdom of Arcadia, and when was it founded?

Cujo Mayo: Well, Arcadia is the largest Minor Kingdom at the moment, and with a little luck we should make the big map sometime next month. And I believe we finally saw our dreams come true on Dec. 13, 2007 when we became the 17th Kingdom.

Vulpine Eldrich: So you've been in existence for some time! What kingdom did you ascend from?

Cujo Mayo: We came from the great Kingdom of Camelot.

Vulpine Eldrich: Were you ever in any other Kingdom in your TE career?

Cujo Mayo: Yes, I started out in Somerset, but moved to Camelot not long after I started playing.

Vulpine Eldrich: Was there any reason for the move?

Cujo Mayo: Well at the time, I thought the purpose of the game was to move higher in the Hierarchy of a kingdom, meaning the closer you were to a monarch, the closer you would be to your own kingdom. So I received a bribe from Kathrin Dassin who was closer to Queen FoxyKim than I was to Queen Eva, so I made the move. It wasn't until a little later that I found out that all didn't matter.

Vulpine Eldrich: ...And that the true path to a kingdom consisted of acreage and those below you, regardless of who was higher. So you had an ambition to become a King from very early in your career.

Cujo Mayo: Yes, I'm very competitive and I really didn't see a point in the game after you've accomplished everything short of obtaining a Kingdom. So I set my sights on being the largest Kingdom in TE.

Vulpine Eldrich: That means you've still got a goal to strive for, then! So was there ever a point at which you said "being a King isn't a dream anymore, it's something I'm going to do, all that's left is when and how"?

Cujo Mayo: Well about a week before I ascended, I was playing TE as normal - earning acres at a very slow pace - and I realized that it would be at least 6 months before I would be able to ascend at my current pace, so I just all of a sudden decided it was time to take the next step and see what I could do to speed up the process.

Vulpine Eldrich: So what did you do then?

Cujo Mayo: I messaged around to see if anyone was interested in acquiring their own kingdom and would be willing to lend me the acres needed to ascend if I joined their line, thereby giving them enough acres to ascend as well. I finally found someone, and was able to get within 3 steps of ascension within the next week before I realized the person I made the deal with had ulterior motives and I was about to get the raw end of the deal. So I rejoined Kathrin and asked around again for someone gracious enough to put me over the top, and thankfully you answered my call! ;-)

Vulpine Eldrich: Well, to fill in more from our end, we had just created the Kingdom of Caledon, and it was actually our Queen who heard of your call and asked me about the possibilities. So, a (then) relative stranger answered and helped you over the top. In your experience, how many other kingdoms have been created in a similar way?

Cujo Mayo: well I honestly can't say that I personally know of another Kingdom that has followed the same path, but just observing the number of Kingdoms that would ascend then shortly afterward would fall in the rankings below a 20,000 acre Kingdom, I would say at least a quarter of the Kingdoms today have used this method.

Vulpine Eldrich: Speaking of smaller kingdoms, do you ever get the impression that the other monarchs tend to take you less seriously because yours is a smaller kingdom?

Cujo Mayo: Hmmm.... well thinking on it, I'm not sure that the bigger monarchs necessarily take us smaller kingdoms any less seriously; however, the regular citizen of TE might. It seems the bigger kingdoms just keep getting bigger while the smaller kingdoms struggle to survive, and I think that's in part due to the fact that Count John Doe believes a smaller Kingdom is somewhat inferior and/or more inactive. And in reality, that's true to some extent, because the monarchs of the Minor Kingdoms have fewer privileges than the bigger kingdoms, which just adds to the discrepancy and widening of the gap between the rich and poor.

Vulpine Eldrich: So for Count John Doe, is there any practical difference between a Major Kingdom and a Minor Kingdom?

Cujo Mayo: Well from what I can think of off the top of my head, the only thing a monarch cannot do with less than 20,000 total acres is to give special titles. So aside from that, and the fact that Minor Kingdoms have MUCH less drama and are much more tight knit within the Kingdom, there's really not much difference

Vulpine Eldrich: I've heard it said that the Trader tends to visit smaller kingdoms more often than larger ones. Do you know if this is true?

Cujo Mayo: Well considering I'm only a part of Arcadia (as opposed to some monarchs who have many alts in many different Kingdoms), I can't really say. All I know is he doesn't come around enough as it is. :-P

Vulpine Eldrich laughs

Vulpine Eldrich: I think we can all agree on that! So, considering Arcadia, let's say I wake up one morning, come in here and say "I want to meet people who are in the TE Kingdom of Arcadia". Where should I go?

Cujo Mayo: Hmmm... I'd have to say currently, the best chance you have of meeting an Arcadian would be on the sim Cursed. There's 2 to 10 of us here at any given time. I've had a plan for about 9 months now of building a sim just for Arcadia, but that's been kind of put on hold until I can get Arcadia on the map and back amongst the Major Kingdoms. However, I'm afraid that with the rate that Kingdoms are forming - 4 in the last 36 hours, for instance - it really won't mean much, before too long, to be a part of one kingdom as opposed to another. It seems that unless you're a top 10 Kingdom, it just really isn't that big of a deal.

Vulpine Eldrich: So why is the sim Cursed the place for Arcadians, and why does it have that name?

Cujo Mayo: Cursed, or *~ Cursed ~*, is the name of Queen Syarra Hebert's and my store, where we sell Jewelry and Furniture. We have about 4 or so Arcadians who live on a part of the sim, and we have a big park with a pond on it, so it's just where most of us hang out, have fun, and fish.

Vulpine Eldrich: Oooh, jewelry! Does that mean that Arcadians get special no transfer editions that are only available to Arcadians?

Cujo Mayo: Yes ma'am, I'm in the process of making Limited Edition Jewelry, for both men and women, that is exclusive to Arcadians. I just have to find a good, cheap scripter and, more importantly, time.

Vulpine Eldrich: Couldn't we all use some of that! So what else do Arcadians have that others don't?

Cujo Mayo: Well, I like to think that Arcadians enjoy a perfect combination of all the good aspects of a great Kingdom - loyalty, friendship, actual enjoyment when playing TE instead of it being a task - and none of the bad qualities. And as I mentioned before, there are plans in the works to make Arcadia one of the most envied and sought after Kingdoms in all of Terra Aurea!

Vulpine Eldrich: Great! Speaking of bad times, have you had any as King?

Cujo Mayo: Not really any that I can think of. Being a smaller Kingdom, we don't have any drama to deal with, so I don't have to play "babysitter" all the time. I just have the self imposed pressure of doing whatever I can to make TE enjoyable for Arcadians and to help them succeed in moving up the ranks.

Vulpine Eldrich: What sort of programs, habits, practices, etc, do you have to help your people?

Cujo Mayo: Well I always do what I can to get people acres and gold, whether it be through bribes, land tracts, giving away acres, etc. As soon as we become a Major Kingdom, I'll be using all of my gold to do whatever I can to make sure money and land filters down the lines. And, of course, I always make myself available to Arcadians to help them out with any questions or any other help that they might have.

Vulpine Eldrich: Do you have any plans to use your new 'punish' option to spank anyone?

Cujo Mayo: LOL I have to admit that I used the punish option on my Queen Syarra when I first received it, but after learning that the acres do not actually go to the poorest subjects in the Kingdom - and you essentially pay money to lose acres - that will be the last time I'll be using that option.

Vulpine Eldrich: Well, we all live and learn! And speaking of new features, are there any new 'dream features' you'd love to see in Tiny Empires?

Cujo Mayo: Hmmmm.... I'd like to see more games or the sort, i.e. Festival or Trader, which we can spend our gold on yet have some fun. Although, more importantly, I'd like to see a way that Kingdoms can either combine with one another or form Kingdom Alliances, and perhaps some way to weed out dead and inactive Kingdoms, thereby giving Kingdoms some sort of real purpose again. However, I'd like to see the changes be made on the Federation HUD instead of another Add-On, especially after the Emperor originally said any additional improvements would be made solely on the Fed HUD when he was justifying the cost.

Vulpine Eldrich: In other words, no new types of HUDs, no new prices we have to pay to play at the 'new level'?

Cujo Mayo: Yes, I don't believe we should have to keep shelling out money to play new aspects of the game - that was the entire purpose of buying the Federation HUD. Besides, it's hard enough to keep new players active as it is, and would be nearly impossible to convince someone to buy 3 HUDs just to keep up to date - especially with the recent price increases.

Vulpine Eldrich: Oh, yes, those price increases. Have you noticed any greater difficulty getting new players into Tiny Empires because of those?

Cujo Mayo: Yes, I've had to buy a few myself for new players just to entice them to keep playing after the Trial HUD. I believe the Trial HUD should be changed to stop at 50 or 100 acres so that a new player can experience things such as the Trader, which might help them justify the cost - although, yes, I do realize that would create a massive inflation in acres and new Kingdoms when everyone would use their alts to build up their lines.

Vulpine Eldrich: It seems like there are always side effects... so, have you ever put alts into TE?

Cujo Mayo: LOL I knew that was the next question. And yes, I do have a few alts, as does anyone else who's really trying to succeed in TE.

Vulpine Eldrich: One of the recent 'you might be addicted to TE' lines I put onto the blog was "Your ninth and newest alt just made Count". So, not to count your alts, but just out of curiosity, why did you do it? What purpose do they serve?

Cujo Mayo: Well one purpose they serve, as I said before, is when monarchs use them to spy on other Kingdoms by joining another line and being a part of their group; however, I think that's pretty much a waste of time. I started my alts to get a few extra acres, back about 11 months ago, when I was in fast pursuit of becoming a Prince. I kept them around because I had already bought them the Full HUD, but now I just play them when the Trader comes, if at all.

Vulpine Eldrich: So, looking back over your career, what advice would you give to someone just starting in TE today who wants to become a monarch?

Cujo Mayo: First and foremost, make absolutely sure you REALLY want to be a monarch, because it will take literally countless hours of your time, a whole lot of patience, and maybe even cause a few grey hairs; and quite a few monarchs have immediately regretted their ascension and would love to return back to a Prince or Princess. Secondly, TE has a tendency to show you who your true loyal friends are, and those who are not so loyal; however, more than likely you will meet people along the way whom will become some of your very best friends in SL and perhaps in RL. Third, and most importantly, you ALWAYS must remember that this is just a game that's played within a virtual world. A LOT of people lose sight of that fact in their quest for power and dominance and tend to make this game into something it was not intended. So just have fun, enjoy the ride, and remember the "Golden Rule" is as big a part of this game as anything.

Vulpine Eldrich: Very good advice, for here and elsewhere, I'm sure! Well, that only brings up one last question.... did I miss asking you any questions that you wanted to answer? If so, have at it!

Cujo Mayo: There's nothing I can think of off the top of my head, we seem to have covered almost everything. If anyone feels intrigued by our conversation and would like to be part of something special, I'm just a search button away. I'm eager to welcome anyone into Arcadia with open arms, and I will personally do whatever I can to make them feel right at home. I chose the name Arcadia for the simple fact that it's very meaning is "Utopia" or "a perfect, harmonious place", and I've done everything in my power to create just that.

Vulpine Eldrich: And you can't ask for better than perfection! Well, thank you so much for your time and insights, and one last request, if I might...

Cujo Mayo: sure :-)

Vulpine Eldrich: the next time you're fishing in the royal moat, catch one for me! And in the meantime, have a good day :)

Cujo Mayo: ummm, I hope you mean something other than the alligators :-P

Cujo Mayo: Thank you very much Vulpine, and have a great day too!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Chain vs. Layer

(Note: what is a 'chain' and what is a 'layer'? This article explains it, but I must say before I start that these are terms that I've created for myself. I have no outside authority or common usage to cite for these terms, they're simply terms that I use to describe patterns in the lines of allegience that make up a Tiny Empires kingdom.)

One of the "line management" projects I did in Caledon consisted of making a Duke and a Duchess a Prince and a Princess. What can I say? They wanted to be a Prince and a Princess. Granted, most Dukes and Duchesses would like to be Princes and Princesses, respectively, but these two were part of our core group. And, too, it was the Queen's Royal Consort and the Queen's real life sister.

So, after some juggling, involving the temporary loan of acres from another line- among other things- she went under him, some of his subjects went under her, and by the time we were through we had a new Prince and a new Princess in the kingdom. We didn't have any more acres in the kingdom, though.

Stop and consider for a moment. Rank is based on how much land you have. We have more rank, but the same amount of land. How can that be? The answer lies in the power of the chain. In a pure chain, each player has exactly one subject below them, forming a vertical chain on the standings page. Since rank is based on total acreage, a vertical chain means that every acre is counted as many times as absolutely possible.

To make it clearer, let's use an example. In the diagram below, personal acres are (in parentheses) and total acres are [in square brackets]

Duke Aaron (200)[600]

Marquis Cary (200)[200]

Marquis Don (200)[200]

Duchess Erin (200)[600]

Marquise Carrie (200)[200]

Marquise Dawn (200)[200]

We have a total of 1200 acres here. Everyone has 200 personal acres. We have two Ducal titles, and four Marquises. Now let's organize them into a chain. (Note that this can be done in game through normal means, but I'll leave it to you to figure out the exact maneuverings necessary for now. Let's just say that in Caledon, they usually scream "Help, Vulpine, it broke!" and then I start asking probing questions about who has how much land.)

So, back to our chain...

Prince Aaron (200)[1200]
Princess Erin (200)[1000]
Duke Cary (200)[800]
Duchess Carrie (200)[600]
Duke Don (200)[400]
Marquise Dawn (200)[200]

Our Duke and Duchess are now Prince and Princess, the two Marquises are Dukes, and one Marquise is a Duchess. The only one who didn't gain any titles here is poor Dawn. Let's give her a hand (and some land... to be discussed later.)

So, if the chain is so great at maximizing titles, how come we don't have whole kingdoms in a single long chain? Well, besides the fact that it would be totally impractical (though I'd love to see someone try), the chain has one major flaw: it's fragile. Like many super-specialized things, it's incredibly good when it works and incredibly useless when something happens to break it. The fragility comes when a single person in the chain switches lieges. Everyone above them drops, sometimes irrepairably so. I once had a Prince who had a single Prince for a subject. The subject left by accident, and my Prince became a Count. That one took forever to straighten back out- and a lot of work from a number of people. I once saw three notices of Princes who had dropped in rank. They all happened in the same month and in the same kingdom. Curious, I went to look. Sure enough, they were all in a single chain. Apparently someone below them had left and dropped every one of them to Duke in a single move.

On the other hand, let's examine what I call the layer. During our transition from separate lines to single chain up there, here is a configuration you'll see:

Prince Aaron (200)[1200]
Marquis Cary (200)[200]Marquis Don (200)[200] Marquise Carrie (200)[200] Marquise Dawn (200)[200] Marquise Erin (200)[200]

This is the layer- a single person at the top, with everyone else in a horizontal layer below them. Note that Aaron has gained rank- from Duke to Prince- but that Erin has dropped rank (and both subjects) and is now a Marquise. This is a pretty sweet deal for Aaron. He gains more in homage income- the same amount of land under him is paid to him by lower ranking Marquises instead of a Princess. He gains more in security- he can lose a subject and still keep his title. He can even lose four and still be at least a Duke. He gains more in the census, when he gets paid so much for each subject.

It's a very nice setup for one person, though it doesn't seem to benefit the others below him as much. They gain no titles, Erin loses her subjects, and if they get any more land, they'll soon be asking him to help by donating to them. But, that's the layer for you. To quote Garfield's parody of the Three Musketeers, "One for me, and all for me!"

All of this leads to other questions, of course... just what is ethical in arranging lines, what about giving land to your subjects, how to plan for accidents, what sort of lines are more common- why, how they develop or don't... I'm sure you can think of more! I'd love to hear any questions, information, opinions.... I know how it's done in one kingdom, but we're one among dozens. What about yours? What about your personal title and subjects? How does it all fit for you?

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The Impossible Riddle

Well, this one takes the cake. Anyone who plays Tiny Empires very long knows about the riddles- and has probably cursed them for how hard they are. I've even heard comments about "it makes no sense!" Well, talk about make no sense! Try this one that I got a few minutes ago:

A friend that was with me reported a similar wording: " Bethany Frankle sprained her ankle while asking a riddle. What is the answer?"

No clue, of course, as to what the question is... much less the answer. I can say that the answer to the Impossible Riddle isn't four- he and I both tried that, and were both wrong. For me, it said:

...and his message was the same, except that he was called Archimedes.

Erzsabet, call your office, and if you can add the solution for this one to your page, you can also add a new term to that title of 'Puzzel Princess'.... namely-- Psychic!

(Ok, everyone, what did YOU get? And does anyone know the answer? Please tell me it isn't 42!)

Monday, July 21, 2008

TE Goals

One of the things people would ask when I met them, new to Second Life, would be "how do you advance" or- more bluntly- "how do you win?"

But, Second Life is like First Life. There are so many things to do and see that 'winning' is mostly up to you to define. And Tiny Empires, the game within the game, is much the same way.

Tiny Empires certainly has an "up arrow" in it-- more land, more gold, more total acreage, more subjects, more rank... all of these indicate that you are progressing... but progressing to what? Just how do you define "winning"?

Winning is defined by everyone in a certain way- and some of the most common ways are in concrete terms. At that point, your definition becomes a goal to strive for. But what sort of goals can you set? Here are some, based on my personal experience:

  1. Become a Princess (done)

  2. Found the Kingdom of Caledon (done)

  3. Get a thousand acres of personal land (never achieved it- this goal was abandoned)

  4. Help a Duke under me become a Prince by giving land (still working on this one!)

  5. Get twenty thousand acres in total holdings (well, done, though that's ninety five plus percent due to others, not me)

  6. Get a billion in gold (all right, not really a personal goal, though I suppose I could have set it.)

  7. Help those under me have a successful TE career and a good time being with each other.

Whooops! How did that last goal get in there? That's not a concrete goal to achieve. True, it isn't, but it brings up an important point. All of those concrete goals are something to strive for, and can be good motivators, but what then? After you achieve the goal, there's only so much gloating you can do before it becomes boring. (If that's not true for you, then please seek professional help.) So you're always left with the question of... what next? That's not just theory, it's reality. I've seen people achieve their goals and then quit or drift aimlessly because they can't find anything else to do.

People who quit Tiny Empires often do so for one of two reasons: they decide they can't reach their goal, or they reached it and have nowhere else to go- nothing more to strive for.

As long as your goals are defined in concrete terms, you're always faced with this problem. Become a King? Great, you achieve it and have your own kingdom. Now what?

The goals that continue to inspire and interest are the ones defined less in a concrete number than in people- in others. Thus my last goal- helping those under me (and more broadly, within the Kingdom of Caledon) enjoy and succeed. I can develop projects, and pursue them... but it's the always new, what's around the corner, welcome to the party, that truly keeps one going and interested! (Or, as I put it to a subject of mine over the weekend, 'It's no fun playing alone!')

So, what are your goals in Tiny Empires? How do they help inspire, what sort of vision drives them... how do you define success?

One last note... speaking of goals, I'm setting myself a new one:

  1. Have at least one new post on this blog each week.

So keep an eye on things and let's see if I can succeed!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

You might be a TE Addict if...

It needs to be done, and where better to do it than on a site devoted to people who are enthusiastically pursuing the dream and life of Tiny Empires? As we have no doubt all found out, there's this big outside world that just doesn't fully understand us anymore... which leads to all sorts of interesting moments.

Now it's time to record what life is like for us, the Tiny Empires addicts... and what it's like dealing with a world that hasn't heard or doesn't care about the game which is absorbing so much of our attentions!

I plan to update this list as I think of more and as new suggestions come in, so feel free to add them in the comments below!

Now, without further ado...

You might be a TE Addict if...

  1. The tall, dark handsome man of your dreams is known only as 'The Trader'.

  2. You receive phone calls at two a.m., telling you you need to get online to catch the Trader... and you do it!

  3. You have enough mean, biting ants to make a queen fire ant jealous.

  4. You find yourself inspecting the soup at the restaurant for anything resembling a rat tail.

  5. You walk past a playground and find yourself wondering which one is the brat that keeps throwing pebbles at you.

  6. You look at your car's odometer and you realize that you just drove past your TE gold balance.

  7. You tell someone something happens once a year, and are surprised when they don't understand you mean once every half hour.

  8. You find yourself tripping over the phrase 'Tiny Empires' because you always just say TE.

  9. You see a small girl wandering by herself in a supermarket and you wonder where is the cute, fluffy chicken?

  10. You walk by a church as its clock strikes the hour and find yourself reaching to open your HUD.

  11. You ask what month it is and are surprised when they don't specify a year before 1300.

  12. You never get a chore done without interruption if it takes longer than three minutes.

  13. You can tell from the other side of the room that one blurry green line means don't worry.

  14. You don't know how someone can get amnesty when they don't even have a King or Queen.

  15. You don't think in terms of square acres, but acres squared.

  16. You try to comfort a friend who is down by giving them an acre.

  17. You don't understand why the previous line might sound odd.

  18. Someone from the IRS calls you and you ask them if they're from the Emperor.

  19. You know exactly what is happening when someone yells the one word, "TRADER!"

  20. You're introduced to someone and your first question is, "what Kingdom are you in?"

  21. You understand the real reason why God made snakes with heads but no legs or wings.

  22. You spend more time looking at your TE standings page than your friends list.

  23. You spend half the evening debating about why a helmet is worth only five gold and a spear worth thousands.

  24. Your ninth and newest alt just made Count.

  25. When someone offers you a teleport to a new place, your first question is "are scripts on there?"

  26. You picket the Tiny Empires upgrade station when too many days go by without the Trader.

  27. You find yourself searching your recipe book for your famous blood pie.

  28. You swear off eating eggs after your last tavern mess.

Added on July 30th, 2008:

  1. At work you refer to people under you as subjects. --Francesca Alva

  2. You'd be a lot happier about your female animals giving birth if it didn't mean doing algebra.

  3. You tell your retirement advisor that you have assets of forty million gold (...and 346 fluffy chickens --Denise Tir)

  4. You've learned how to take naps lasting 2 minutes and 59 seconds. --Tashi Jewell

  5. When you hear bad news, it's always a pity beyond all telling.

  6. You find that no script areas are so hazardous that you have to give up shopping. --Cordova Decosta

  7. Your groups list reads like a who's who of TE Kingdoms

  8. You can't go to bed until after the Census

  9. Your TE HUD resides in your "Always Wear" inventory folder --BackHome Soon

  10. Your gestures are all saying Tiny Empire related urls

  1. the cornbread muffins for supper will be ready in 20 minutes, or May 1173

Sunday, July 13, 2008

HUD Prices

So what's up with the new Tiny Empires HUD prices? And up is certainly the word for it! Last weekend, the Emperor had a one-year anniversary sale going on. Traditionally, the HUD was at 499L .... last weekend, it was 250L.

Those who didn't take advantage of the offer are likely regretting it now, because when the sale was over it didn't go back up to the long-time 499L rate- it continued up to 799L! The Federation HUD is now 599L.

No one seems to know the reasoning behind this sharp upward move. The monarchs are as clueless as are we lower nobility. There's no word on the Tiny Empires site about it (the same site which advertised the sale now has no mention about the price increase.)

Is demand so high that it won't be diminished by raising the price? Are the Emperor's expenses growing? (the upgrade station is on a 480 square meter mainland plot, but the main expense would be the database servers, I suspect.)

Another reason people raise rates is when sales fall, and they decide that they need to raise the price to maintain the same amount of income from fewer people. In my opinion, that's a way to make a bad situation worse, but it's often done. And there's no way of knowing if that is the case here.

Perhaps the Emperor has realized that many new players have their HUDS partly, or totally, paid for by the existing players who are recruiting them. That may be the case- he IS offering a ten-pack of gift HUDS. (It's the best deal in the vendor right now- buy 10, get 1 free.) If that's the case, then he's decided the current players will gladly pay more in order to make sure of their new subjects, or perhaps he's decided that it's the only way to guarantee that the new players pay something too.

Who knows? Only the Emperor does. The rest of us are speculating wildly, including myself!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Introducing Just Another Princess in a Quiet Kingdom...

Hello everyone! Thanks so much to the generosity of Heartun Breaker, I have been given a chance to help bring you the news, views, and whatever Tiny Empires related items I can dream up.

So, first, let me publicly thank Heartun and wish her the very best in both her real life and her second life.

And second, for you, dear reader, let me take a few minutes to introduce myself and tell you a bit of my TE history... consider it fair warning for what lies ahead in the coming months!

I first heard of Tiny Empires in late September of 2007. Ellie Bearcat offered me a trial hud, and when I asked what it was, she said 'a game within the game'. I tried it on, and played with it long enough to get through the documentation, tell it that no, I was female, and to see that I was a Wanderer... then I took it off to play with later and thought no more of it for a while.

About a week later, I met a friend and a friend of hers. They were quiet because they were playing TE. I think it was the first time I had seen someone in-world when they were playing (at least that I knew of.) I decided I'd join the fun, put my HUD on, and tried to see if my friend could be my liege. She couldn't- she was a Baroness, and neither of us knew at the time how to work around the problem of a Wanderer not being able to go under a Baroness. But her friend and subject was a Dame, so I joined her.

And so, for the want of an acre, I became the subject of Happe Hax, and not the subject of Erzsabet Bergbahn (of Te Calculator fame.)

I found that Ellie was Erzsabet's liege, and that she had several hundred acres in holdings- an amazing amount! Her liege was a former Princess who was working her way back up. Her name was Madame Maracas (of TE Wiki fame) and we were in the Kingdom of Wessex (which happened to be the very first ever Kingdom... and at that time, almost the only one, the second and third kingdoms having been in existence only a couple of weeks.)

I shared my enthusiasm with friends, and they did with theirs, and we all had a wild and fun time learning this crazy new game... and watching the titles roll down. Ellie achieved Princess, followed quickly by Erzsabet, Happe, myself... and then past me, into those under me.

Then our first shakeup came. Celty, King of Wessex, announced that he was quitting, and he was giving us a chance to find another liege before he finally quit for good and took the tax benefits with him. (If you don't know what I mean, ask.)

By that time, our group of Caledonians- for we were from Caledon- were a group under Ellie. But there was a second group of Caledonians under Becky Book in the Kingdom of Lothlorien... and so, it was no accident when Ellie moved into Lothlorien.

It was in December when Ellie ascended to the throne, and the Kingdom of Caledon was born from Lothlorien. Becky and her group joined us in this realization of a dream, a kingdom in Tiny Empires mirroring the growing kingdom in Second Life owned by Desmond Shang- and given his personal approval as well.

Shortly after that, we lent our acreage to Cujo Mayo's dream, and the Kingdom of Arcadia was born.

And, at around New Year's, the kingdom of Dracheheim was born from Caledon.

Since then, things have been more quiet, with the Kingdom on a slow but steady rate of growth. It's not the largest Kingdom around, but far from the smallest, and I would hope one of the friendliest.

As for me, in all of this, I have often found my own organizational and calculating skills (or scheming, if you prefer other words) called upon. It's given me a good working understanding of the game's mechanics, and a number of good friends on the IM list!

I trust that this latest Tiny Empires venture will be a chance for me to help others and share my enthusiasm with others for a game that has been in the upper right of my Second Life window now for over nine months. Any questions, ideas, tidbits of news, or even speculations that you might have-- feel free to comment in a topical post here or IM me in-world! I trust this is the beginning of a long and fun conversation.