Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Game within the Game

One day I logged in to find that my total holdings had dropped by several hundred acres. This not being the usual sort of thing I saw, I immediately began a search through my lines, and I finally found who had left. I sent her (now former) liege a message that basically said "ouch! I see she left, is there anything I can do to help?"

When she replied, she said that the subject had left with no message or warning, and that she hadn't responded to an IM asking what was wrong. Then she added that she wasn't too surprised. The Duchess had come to her after getting into an argument with her SL boyfriend, who had aparently been her liege. But time passes, and either the rift had healed or she had found someone else she liked.

It merely underscored the words that Ellie had told me all of those months ago. Tiny Empires is a "game within the game". The things that happen in TE do not happen in a vacuum, or solely in relation to other things happening within TE. Quite the contrary. People form TE kingdoms most readily among groups of friends or people who are already associated with each other in SL. And the SL drama and events that happen can easily change what happens in TE.

No one seeking to observe the patterns and movements within TE can avoid this conclusion. TE is, at its core, a game of social networking, and its networks are mostly formed on existing SL networks. (Not that lots of new friendships aren't formed, which is always fun.)

As I view the Kingdom of Caledon, I see these groups, these networks, these parts of a Kingdom that make up the whole. If I want to find TE Caledon players, I know several places I can go to. The most obvious places would be:

The Dome in Caledon Cay
Red Palms
Cleopatra's (in particular if you're searching for our Queen)
Heart of Dragons
Insula Inferi
Caledon Cymru
Caledon Kintyre
--and our new 'HeadQuarters' in Caledon Cay!

...and this list is far from complete, it's just a highlight of some of the most common spots. But in each of those places, you'll find at least one person, and usually a group, of Tiny Empires players who are all Caledonians. The reason for these spots? Because they all know each other there! They're friends, they like to play together, they're probably all lieged under the same person, and that group is lieged within the kingdom of Caledon.

Thus, we find that our single kingdom is a variegated quilt, made up of many pieces, all interwoven together by a common thread of cooperation and understanding. If one part encounters the other, they know that the other person is a friend-- Caledon is where their friends are, so this must just be a friend they haven't met yet.

...and to the extent that is true, the Kingdom of Caledon is assured a good future.

Now, enough of my babbling about my kingdom... what about yours? What are the foundations it rests upon? What places, what groups, make up your kingdom? What methods of operations does it use? After all, Caledon is a rather small kingdom, one among nearly a hundred... how much more varied and interesting is the full Terra Aurean Empire!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Beginner's FAQ to Tiny Empires

So someone gave you a hud, and said "here, wear it and try playing the game"... but now you're lost, confused, and not even sure where to start... well, here's a little guide that should help you get started in playing Tiny Empires....

Why am I hearing a bell sound?

In Tiny Empires, a month lasts three minutes. It is one turn of the game's play. Every three minutes, when a new month (turn) starts, you hear a bell sound from your HUD. If it bothers you, you can turn it off by clicking and holding the clock in the upper right corner for a couple of seconds.

How do I win this game?

Unlike Chess or Checkers, Tiny Empires doesn't have a way to "win" or "lose" in a definitive sense. However, you can gain more rank and influence... perhaps even become King or Queen of your own kingdom if that is what you desire. It often takes some time and experience for different players to decide what goals they want to achieve within the game.

Do I have to pay Lindens to play the game?

The only purchase you are required to make is to buy the "Full" HUD. There are optional HUDs and gadgets sold as well, but none of them are required to play the game. If you continue to use the free trial HUD, it will 'die' (stop working) after you become a Knight or Dame (with ten acres).

Why am I being offered a liege?

If you do not have a liege, you are not in a kingdom, nor an official part of the Empire. This means that you cannot earn gold on your land, nor will you receive any special benefits that a King or Queen might provide. This makes it much harder to achieve anything, so the Emperor offers you the chance to take a liege at random if you do not have one.

Do I need to buy a shovel?

The offer to buy a shovel is the first of several "land improvements". Each improvement will add one half gold per acre to your land's production. While it's certainly possible to play without improving your land, it is highly desirable to do so, since it means more gold, and thus more land!

Should I buy land improvements or more land?

Each decision on whether or not to buy more land or make land improvements varies, depending on exactly how much land you have and how fast you want to buy it. The more land you have, the more gold you get from improvements and the more expensive it is to get each acre. In general, buying land is great for short term gain, but land improvements work best for long term gain. So, you will want to concentrate on buying land at first, then after you have a few acres you can begin buying more and more improvements to make it produce more gold for you!

Do I have to pay homage to my liege even when I'm not playing?

No. Homage that you pay- and that is paid to you- is determined by your own individual playing time. There is no actual relation between the amount of gold you pay in homage and the amount your liege receives. You pay when you are playing. They receive homage when they are playing.

How do I get a different liege?

Once you have a liege, there are two ways you can switch. Either stand next to the person you want to be your new liege, and offer to them when it comes up on your HUD (if it does...) or accept a bribe offer from someone else. These come up on your Hud at random intervals, as people get the chance to offer you gold to join them.

I was told I could be removed from the game by my liege. Is that true?

No. You can be "disowned" (it is sometimes called "pruned") by your liege. If this happens, you revert to your original liegeless condition (with no ability to earn gold on your land), but you keep all land, land improvements, gold, subjects, etc, that you have. You will not be in any kingdom until you find a new liege to join. Note that standing next to a new liege and offering to join them will not require you to pay money to switch lieges, since there is no old liege to repay!

How do I get a higher rank?

Rank is determined by how much land you and your subjects own. This is called "total acres", and is shown on your HUD as Land. (Your personal acres belong to you and are in parentheses after the total acres number. The difference is the amount of land your subjects own.) Getting a higher rank means getting more total land. This holds true until you want to become a Queen or King, at which point things are more complicated. For an exact list of how many acres are required for each rank, check out this earlier blog post.

How do I get a custom title?

Custom titles are given out by either the Emperor or (more usually) monarchs. The normal method of getting a custom title is to have your King or Queen give it to you. How each King or Queen decides on who to give a title to depends on their personal wishes- so ask your current liege, or however high you have to go to find out! Note that titles are usually (not always) given to higher-ranking subjects. Also, if you do receive a custom title from your Monarch, you will eventually lose it if you leave their kingdom.

How do I get subjects?

First, you have to have the full HUD to get subjects of your own. After you buy that, you may get subjects randomly assigned to you by the Emperor. (Note that new players are the usual subjects assigned a random liege, which means you won't get any of those after you become a Baron/Baronness). The second way is to have someone of the appropriate rank stand next to you and request to become your subject. This means anyone who is one to three ranks lower than you. You will also get a chance to bribe someone else every now and then on your HUD.

On a more general note, finding people to join you usually falls into one of two categories: new people that you or your upline (lieges) find, or current players that are persuaded to join you for whatever reason. The exact reason, of course, is as varied as the players themselves!

The ability to create and maintain a large number of subjects is an essential part of the game to anyone who wants high rank and/or their own kingdom- but how it is done depends on the people involved, and is the old human art of finding and inspiring others to follow you.

How do I find answers to the riddles?

Riddles and polls appear each October. There are several helper pages out there. One of the more popular is by Erzsabet Bergbahn. Note that the riddles are changed occasionally, so when a new set comes out, you and your friends and everyone else will all be scrambling to figure out the new ones!

What are Taxes?

Every December, you pay twenty to thirty percent of your land's net income for the year to the Emperor. (Or for the time you were on, if you haven't been on for a full year.) This is calculated by taking your land income for one month (it's the first line in your Accounting tab- number of gold times number of acres = land income) minus the amount of homage you pay (the second page of your Accounting shows this) times twelve (for a year) times .2 (twenty percent... or whatever it is for your rank). Your monarch may have the ability to give you and everyone else in your kingdom three years of amnesty once per day--no taxes for three years in a row.

One important note is that if you do not have enough gold to pay your taxes, your land will be automatically sold until you do have enough- so be sure you have plenty of gold on hand when December comes!

What is the Census?

In January of every even numbered year, the Census occurs. If you have subjects, you get so much gold per direct subject. If you have the "Federation HUD", you get one gold per nine members of your population. This may become an important factor in your strategy later in the game.

What is the Trader?

The Trader comes every couple of days to your Kingdom. The exact time is random. You will start receiving notices on the HUD that he is coming. He will charge you roughly two to three times your current acre cost, and in return offers a surprise which is usually more than worth what you pay. For more details, see the wiki page. Note that he only comes for players who meet certain minimum rank/land requirements, so you won't encounter him immediately after you begin playing.

Are there any groups I have to join to play?

Basically, no. However, there is a main Tiny Empires group (it is currently by invitation only, due to spam problems) and most kingdoms- and even groups of players within kingdoms- will have their own private groups. Ask your liege, if no one mentions it to you. (They should, almost every active player places a high importance in their local groups.) These groups can prove useful for advice and help!

Who is the Emperor?

Ultralite Soliel is the creator of Tiny Empires and is the Emperor of the Terra Aurean empire. As such, he produces the game, and all new changes in the rules and new gameplay options, riddles, etc, are created by him. He is also the final authority on any questions about the rules of the game.

Where else can I find information?

The Tiny Empires Wiki has detailed information about numerous aspects of the game.

Erzsabet Bergbahn's page helps solves puzzles.

The Tiny Empires Blog can be a source of information.

The official Tiny Empires site has basic game information and the 'standings' pages, which show you the ranks and alliegiences of everyone within the Empire.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Kingdom Identity

Take two princes within the same kingdom. Both have about a dozen subjects, with total holdings of perhaps fifteen hundred acres. If you were told that one of them would one day be a King of his own kingdom, and the other would never get close to it.... how could you tell which was which?

Is there a difference? After all, the requirements for a kingdom are the same for both, and they're both in the same position now. A kingdom is just what happens when they get the right amount of land and gold. Right?

While that may be true for some, it is my belief that it is not true for all- or even most- kingdoms. The one thing that every kingdom I've known well has had is an identity. By this, I mean more than just a name- I mean it's a group of people, working together for something that has a name, but that is more than a name-- that means something to them and why they play.

The old saying has it that "birds of a feather flock together". If you're one of those princes and you decide to assemble the flock, the first question you have to ask yourself is what color your feathers are.

If you're like me, you love watching the announcements come up that give titles in the various kingdoms. Sometimes, it's obvious that the title and the kingdom go well together- that the people in it are part of that particular cultural theme or idea. If you don't know what I mean, watch the announcements for yourself. Soon enough, you'll see some which go so well as a single full title that you begin to wonder if the title was made for the kingdom... or the kingdom for the title.

In a sense, perhaps the kingdom was made for the title. It may have come first, but that person was likely part of it before it became its own kingdom. The kingdom name and independence was just a recognition of the camaraderie and ideals that already existed.

That said, one way to find a potential kingdom is if a group has been formed for it. We created the group for the Tiny Empires kingdom of Caledon long before the kingdom existed- back when we were a dozen or so Caledonians just getting started. It was (and still is) actually open to any Caledonian who plays Tiny Empires, formal Kingdom membership not required. But the question that had to be answered for us was the same as I posed above. What defines the Kingdom of Caledon? What particular theme, method of operation, and ideals determine it? Fortunately, since Caledon itself already existed, it was relatively easy to point out how the Caledonian culture combined with the Tiny Empires culture, and thus our group description was created as follows:

Caledon- a land of Ladies and Gentlemen, where consideration and manners accentuate an appreciation for the finer things in life.

Tiny Empires- a game of feudal proportions, where one can be a Lady or a Gentleman, and enjoy advancement and prestige by being with your friends

This group is for anyone who likes that combination! Come, citizens of Caledon, to a land where anyone with diligence is but a breath away from nobility... and where your "liege lord" is also your best friend!

So if I were to pull out the kingdom idea themes from there, we have:

1. A common medieval/vintage theme
2. Consideration, manners, culture
3. Friendship

Although large parts of the Tiny Empires Caledon has gone beyond its formal borders, I like to think that much of the core concept described above runs throughout the entire kingdom.

As to how that theory works out in practice, those details are for another day and another post...

Sunday, August 10, 2008

TE Companion Available

From the Emperor:

Introducing the indispensable accessory for players of Tiny Empires...


Are you never quite sure who is bribing you?
Not sure if those sabotage targets are worth the risk?
Do you keep forgetting which monarch rules over which kingdom?

Then you might find the Tiny Empires Companion VERY useful.

By the way, you can try it for FREE for two weeks, to see if the cost of L$250/month is worth it to you.
Read on. There is a landmark to the free trial down below.

--== What is this thing? ==--

The Tiny Empires Companion is a HUD object that you wear while playing Tiny Empires. It helps you keep track of other players in the game and in your vicinity. It also allows quick lookups of players and kingdoms without having to visit the TE standings web page. In short, it acts as a companion HUD to the main Tiny Empires HUD.

--== What does it do? ==--

o Looks up Tiny Empires player names to see their rank, liege, and kingdom without going to the Standings page
o Scans your immediate area to find other Tiny Empires players (and shows their rank, liege, and kingdom)
o Shows rank, liege, and kingdom information about about any other players mentioned on your game hud this turn
o This includes any bribe makers or potential bribe takers, the list of sabotage targets, promotions, special titles, etc.
o If you see a name in your offers this turn, it will be clickable on the Companion.
o Looks up a kingdom name to find out the name of its King or Queen, and its rank in the empire
o Shows the latest gossip among the people of the realm

--== What kind of information does it give? ==--

For any nearby players, or names shown in your current set of offers, simply click the name to see the person's name, rank, special title if they have one, kingdom name, and monarch name. Here is a example of the information:

"Tiny Empires Companion: Squire Tanner Larson, subject of Prime Suspect Harriet Nightfire (Viscountess), under the rule of Queen Mary Aberdeen of the Kingdom of Froth"

You can get the same information for ANY player in the game by typing their name (or partial name) into your local chat window.

You can also get information about Kingdoms by typing the name (or partial name) of the Kingdom. It will show the name of its King or Queen as well as that Kingdom's ranking in the empire. Here is an example of Kingdom information:

"Tiny Empires Companion: The Kingdom of Froth, Queen Mary Aberdeen, currently ranked 17"

The Companion will also show the most recent Gossip among the nobility of the empire.

--== HOW CAN I GET IT? ==--

Come to Ultralite Soleil's shop at this landmark:
Look for the Tiny Empires Companion vendor.
You will be able to get a free, fully functional trial of the Companion that lasts for two weeks.
After that, the cost to continue using it is L$250 per month.
You can pre-pay for as many months as you'd like -- every L$250 adds another 30 days of usage to your Companion.

Check it out!

Here is a screenshot of it on my hud:

A couple of brief usage notes... to get information on a kingdom, you use the '/k' switch, e.g.:

/2 /k Caledon

(just for fun, try 'Aurea')

And to get gossip, you just type:

/2 Gossip

..more details and a considered review will be held until I get some experience with this... say in a week or so.

And on a side note, the upgrade station has been remodeled. The Emperor declared that blue glass was just "so 1100", and it has been replaced with a stone structure. The single vendor with the arrows to choose between different products has been replaced with multiple vendors, one for each product, grouped by type.

Check it out! (wait, didn't someone just say that?)

Saturday, August 9, 2008

MoLoveMoFun Hammerer Interview

Vulpine Eldrich: Good evening, everyone. This evening finds me in the far sandy corner of Egypt, in the private silken tent of the Pharoah- or should I say King- MoLoveMoFun Hammerer of Egypt... I'm here with his Great Royal Wife, Charoa Hammerer. Thank you both for having me.

Charoa Hammerer: Quite welcome, it's our pleasure

MoLoveMoFun Hammerer: Welcome, Vulpine, to our little piece of the Empire. It's a pleasure to have you. Most people call me Mo, by the way :)

Vulpine Eldrich: Now, I'm sure our readers have heard of Egypt, the real life kingdom. So, tell me, what inspired you to name your kingdom after it?

MoLoveMoFun Hammerer: I have always been a Egypt fanatic and my lovely wife is just as passionate about it as I. So it wasn't a hard choice to make.

Vulpine Eldrich: And you have a sim to show for it as well. Did the sim come first, or did the TE Kingdom?

Charoa Hammerer: The sim came first

MoLoveMoFun Hammerer: Yes, we were working on our new home before I ascended.

Charoa Hammerer: The vision of the sim just became more focused after we had ascended though. It became a home for several hundreds of people instead of just the two of us lol

Vulpine Eldrich: So when you started in Tiny Empires, it was just the two of you? Or the two of you joined quickly by friends?

MoLoveMoFun Hammerer: I started playing first, soon followed by my wife and a few close friends.

Charoa Hammerer: yes he was busy busy one day and I couldn't figure out what had captured his attention and so he sent me a trial hud...the rest is history

MoLoveMoFun Hammerer: Yes, I was sold quite fast (or hooked)

Vulpine Eldrich: And did you decide you wanted to be King before that day was over?

MoLoveMoFun Hammerer: Not really. That decision came after a lot of drama in other kingdoms, and the thought and hope of having a better day with my own kingdom.

Charoa Hammerer: The downline also suggested that we ascend and wanted us to start our own kingdom.

MoLoveMoFun Hammerer: I would say that it was after four months of playing TE.

Vulpine Eldrich: What kingdom did you ascend from, then?

MoLoveMoFun Hammerer: Bohemia

Vulpine Eldrich: Were you originally in Lothlorien when you started?

Charoa Hammerer: We were never in Lothlorien

MoLoveMoFun Hammerer: No, I have never been there. I started playing in Avalon

Vulpine Eldrich: So your career starts in Avalon, goes to Bohemia, then on to your own Kingdom of Egypt... but I noticed one day after you had been King for a while, and had been giving out titles, that you were literally a King without a Kingdom- no one was under you. Some time later, you were back again with one of the larger kingdoms within the empire. What happened?

MoLoveMoFun Hammerer: I stopped playing because I and my kingdom were harassed by someone else who plays TE as well. This harassment became so great that I felt there had to be something done about the fairness and equality in the game. I asked for that by the highest authority in TE and didnt get what I asked for. So I stopped playing. By chance of luck, what I asked for was granted even if it was via a different way.

Vulpine Eldrich: How long did your self-imposed exile last?

MoLoveMoFun Hammerer: About a month.

Vulpine Eldrich: What ended it?

MoLoveMoFun Hammerer: I had given, prior to my quitting, the promise to some subjects that I would play again if my wish were granted. So I decided to start playing again mostly because I was very unhappy with having to quit and because I missed my group and the daily interaction very much.

Charoa Hammerer: We also had many from our kingdom begging that he come back and leaving messages asking that we come back. Mo is a much loved king and was missed greatly by many. He forms strong personal relationships with the people he plays with.

MoLoveMoFun Hammerer smiles

Vulpine Eldrich: So when you announced that you were coming back, many returned. I assume not all, since there are always exceptions to a rule as large as that- and some couldn't, if you had formed other kingdoms. Have things changed since then, though? Does the kingdom feel any different, or its size?

Charoa Hammerer: Actually we didn't announce we were coming back so that people would not abandon the kingdoms they had made new homes in. We would have played quietly by ourselves. As people realized we were playing they asked us to come back. I would say that with exception of the two ascensions that coincided with our leaving, 90% returned. Our kingdom was largely restored and has since grown even larger.

Charoa Hammerer: It was like family coming back home and missing each other and being strong together once more. With exception of the 10% who elected not to come back, we did not have any significant changes to the feeling or personality of our kingdom.

Vulpine Eldrich: And with two ascensions, that means you have at least two kingdoms with close relationships and common history.

Charoa Hammerer: We are on neutral terms with all kingdoms who ascended from us. Some are closer than others. Several of the kingdoms who ascended from us were only with us for a short time. The one kingdom that shares a history with us more than others would be Kingdom of Angels who was with us all along

Vulpine Eldrich: So with one of the larger kingdoms, that means a lot of people, and a lot of special titles. How do you handle those? Any special types of special titles?

MoLoveMoFun Hammerer: I keep a notecard of the titles given out with the date and we also publish that on our website.

Vulpine Eldrich: So how does someone in Egypt get a title?

MoLoveMoFun Hammerer: I don't have a whole lot of rules. I tried doing the prince/cess level first but I'm down to count/ess level now. I poke the chat and the players to give me title requests and I grant the title.

Vulpine Eldrich: That must be a lot of titles! Are you repeating people now- changing special titles?

MoLoveMoFun Hammerer: Today, someone that has had four titles already just got one more because it's her birthday. So that and making people happy is why I'm down at the lower levels. A good way of getting a lot of requests up front is something I'm still searching for.

Charoa Hammerer: We aren't forcing titles but jokes come up and special events or a special request from a loved one, and so in those cases they get changed.

MoLoveMoFun Hammerer has a hard time giving out the five acres, the mini trader and the title!

Vulpine Eldrich: Speaking of looking for new things, what other new things would you like to be able to do with the game?

MoLoveMoFun Hammerer: One or maybe two things I really would like is getting a better view or print out or message from who leaves and other important details.

Vulpine Eldrich: So if you come online and find five hundred acres gone, you don't have to look through eight pages of standings and trust your memory to know all two hundred people to find who is gone?

Charoa Hammerer: Yes, that is what he means. Sometimes it's a misclick and people are scrambling to find what part of the line was broken.

MoLoveMoFun Hammerer: And second, I would like the tax cut option to be available once every twenty four hours and not like it is now: twenty four hours after the last tax cut. I want this so that I can switch from timezone to timezone.

Vulpine Eldrich: So if you give a tax amnesty at, say, five pm SLT, you next get the offer at five pm SLT the next day. That would mean that if you wanted to switch to five a.m. SLT, then you have to wait a full day and a half?

MoLoveMoFun Hammerer: Yes, that's what I mean and why I want the tax cut changed.

MoLoveMoFun Hammerer smiles

Vulpine Eldrich: I can understand that one, as I'm sure your subjects who are in different time zones can as well! So if someone wants to find Egypt, they have this sim and the website to look for. Where else would they find it, and what would they find your members doing when they arrived?

Charoa Hammerer: We are also a NeoRealms fishing camp, we have trivia and other games, we have several clubs affiliated to the kingdom, we have a stargate network linked to several of those locations as well.

Vulpine Eldrich: Fishing... is there something about enjoying Tiny Empires that also means you're good at fishing?

MoLoveMoFun Hammerer: it's a way to relax and pass some good times, nice views and off-topic chats.

Charoa Hammerer: It's a good bonding time with other kingdom members, too.

Vulpine Eldrich: That works for me! So now that you have become a monarch... twice, in effect, considering your first ascension and then your return... what are your current goals in Tiny Empires?

MoLoveMoFun Hammerer: Having fun, enjoying the game and having a blast with our group. For me it's not how big we are, but I guess by how much people like to play TE with us. Maintaining that is a great goal and also a gift.

Charoa Hammerer: I would like us to be unique in people's minds and have a positive experience here. We want warmth and strong friendships.

MoLoveMoFun Hammerer: Yes thats what I mean (Charoa can word it so well.)

Vulpine Eldrich: So what would make you unique?

MoLoveMoFun Hammerer: Our Stargate network?

Charoa Hammerer: I think we are particularly active as a kingdom, we have very strong bonds and a willingness to help each other. We also try to interact with others frequently and do new things. I make a point of creating new and different activities for the members as a means to help make people feel welcome and get to know each other and expand those bonds of friendship.

Vulpine Eldrich: What sort of activities?

MoLoveMoFun Hammerer: We have had several differnt types of treasure hunts, parties in and out of theme, fishing, building, the website, etc.

Charoa Hammerer: Each treasure hunt has a different theme and style. They get more and more complex and more people are getting into it lol

Charoa Hammerer: We have had elements of the sim built by kingdom members: furniture, gazebo's, fountains and clothing.

Charoa Hammerer: We also have custom Egyptian clothing, swimsuits and right now our daughter is making a male and female egyptian outfit for everyone.

MoLoveMoFun Hammerer giggles

Charoa Hammerer: All of this makes people feel like they are a part of this kingdom. Our treasure hunts often have custom built contributions from our members as well.

MoLoveMoFun Hammerer: I'm very keen on the strong relationships that are formed here.

Charoa Hammerer: We have a new photo gallery on our site and people have been eager to see themselves added and put their candid SL shots into the site.

MoLoveMoFun Hammerer: People talk with each other over everyday RL issues and find support and help with other kingdom members

Vulpine Eldrich: So there is a lot going on in Egypt! Do you have any particular plans to expand all of this to others within or without the game of Tiny Empires?

MoLoveMoFun Hammerer: Not really. We, as a kingdom are already happy as it is. We prefer to maintain the fun, closeness and the great atmosphere often lacking in bigger kingdoms.

Charoa Hammerer: We do this for ourselves because its what makes us happy. Our website is open to everyone though, of course, and I personally think it's more extensive than any other site, but I am biased.

MoLoveMoFun Hammerer giggles

MoLoveMoFun Hammerer: So am I.

Vulpine Eldrich: And within that long line of events in TE, and list of kingdoms that you have been involved with, what does all of that experience lead you to give as advice to someone just starting in Tiny Empires?

MoLoveMoFun Hammerer: That's a hard question, but I do believe this is a nice way of putting it: HAVE FUN :))

Vulpine Eldrich: Very succinct! And is there anything else that I forgot to ask that you wanted to answer?

Charoa Hammerer: Egypt has a policy that I think should stand true in all of SL and not just TE. Show respect to the people you play with.

Charoa Hammerer: We find that when people want to leave or find a new liege, the best way to avoid drama is to keep that communication open and show your peers the respect they deserve by telling them what you have decided. You don't have to give extensive explanations, but just a heads up is common courtesy.

Charoa Hammerer: We should all treat each other here with the same courtesy we would extend in RL.

MoLoveMoFun Hammerer: I think that people should keep in mind that its a game, with no real monetary value at all, and absolutely no reason to misbehave in any way. Respect is what we all crave for, so respect is what people should keep in mind.

Charoa Hammerer: And play because it makes you happy.

MoLoveMoFun Hammerer: Also, listen to yourself. Do what makes you happy while playing TE. I made some very tough decisions and I still feel good about myself after all of it. There are real people behind every TE player with real feelings, please keep that all in mind.

Vulpine Eldrich: Very good! And one last question, if I may... is there any truth to the rumors about the return of the Mummy King?

MoLoveMoFun Hammerer giggles and giggles, yes he will be in the movie theaters near you soon.

Charoa Hammerer: Oh yeah we forgot to mention our movie nights! We will be playing that on the sim as soon as it comes out in SL LOL

Vulpine Eldrich: Good! And thank you so much for having me here this evening-- I wish you the best with your kingdom.

Charoa Hammerer: By the way, Mo is known as the king who giggles, even on voice chat lol

Charoa Hammerer: Thanks for being here!

MoLoveMoFun Hammerer: Thank you very much for taking the time to hear about our passion and our story.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Interesting Titles

If you're like me, one of the major sources of entertainment in Tiny Empires is watching anouncements of Special Titles- however they might come up in various offers, etc. Sometimes it's a pun, either on a person's name or with the kingdom name. Sometimes it's just the sound- alliteration, or rhyme. Sometimes it makes you roll your eyes and laugh at the same time. Others strike that funny bone for no particular reason other than "it's funny!".

So, below, find a few of my picks for interesting custom titles that I've seen, sorted by why I found them interesting. Note that Apropos Kingdom usually means Apropos person AND Kingdom... the whole title fits into one interesting whole!

So if you have any good ones, add them to the list... it could be yours, a friend's, or just one that you saw on your HUD as a general announcement. Whatever the reason or source, share the fun with the rest of us!


Princess Prissy Sussie Pera of Laurelin
Knighted The Seeker Capt Blinker of the Karma Kingdom
Pineapple Prince Zedicious Zerbino of Camelot
Bohemian Brit Brat Destiny Marx of Bohemia


Her Royal Sweetness Hunee Dreamscape of Charm
In Egypt U Feel The Love Flow of Egypt
Phantasm SpookY Pitts of Twilight
Princess Opium Poppy Maladay of Bloodtide
Delerious Dreamer Delerium Dreamscape of Twilight
The Quiet Goddess Jaydie Sapeur of Olympus
Roses Royal Bad Leissa Schwade of Blood Roses & Tears
God of the Dance KennyC1956 Writer of Olympus
Bratty Pink Princess AquaMarin Alter of Tintagel
McDreamy McGoose Bury of Treasure Island


Southern Comfort LadyClaireBrianna McLaglen of Laurelin
Princess Fluffy Kitt Catgirl Hian of Tintagel
Majestic Mysterious Divine Veil of Laurelin


Prince With A Plan Sir Brennen of WyPlay
TheCookiestPrincess Cindyloo Sablatnig of Brittany
Princess Foxy Roxy Emsbury of Treasure Island
Gun's Little Boo Cerridwen Wise of Egypt
Royal Huggybear Max Key of Gianfar


Here Comes Trouble LoveTrinity Johnson of WyPlay
Royal Thwapper Lynn Binder of Gianfar
Soft Porn Princess Jain Arkin of Egypt

Friday, August 1, 2008

BackHome Soon Interview

Vulpine Eldrich: Good evening, everyone. I'm here with King Backhome Soon of Home, and his lovely companion, Lodi McMillan in their - I must say- most expansive beach home. Thanks to both of you for having me!

BackHome Soon: Thanks for joining us

Vulpine Eldrich: I like to start about asking about the kingdom itself, perhaps the meaning of the name. But that almost seems trivially obvious here... so tell me... which came first, your SL name, or the kingdom name?

BackHome Soon: oh, my SL name for certain. The Kingdom of Home name came about after much thought, agonizing and even some incredibly painful puns

BackHome Soon: The thought of "Home" just felt right though

Vulpine Eldrich: Why?

BackHome Soon: We're all looking for a place to feel comfortable, a place to feel where you belong. We act like a big family, so it just fits our group. There's not a lot of "pomp and circumstance" with our group; it's more like we've all come "Home".

Lodi McMillan: It has a casual, informal, and welcoming feel...just like we would like the kingdom to be.

Vulpine Eldrich: So does that mean someone who swears allegiance to someone in your kingdom is actually "coming Home"?

BackHome Soon: absolutely, Vulpine! The most common comment to a new member is "Welcome Home"

BackHome Soon: or when I log in, it's "Honeys, I'm Home!"

Lodi McMillan: everyone had a lot of fun with that ;-)

Vulpine Eldrich: I can imagine! So many puns, so little time... so where and when does the formal Kingdom of Home come from?

BackHome Soon: We started on July 3rd, so we're a relatively new kingdom. We were all happy members of the Queendom of Terabithia before I ascended.

BackHome Soon: Like most people in TE, Lodi and I began in Avalon, and followed our lieges through Genovia, Syldavia, Egypt and Terabithia before coming home.

Vulpine Eldrich: And how and when do you tell your Queen, "I'm about to leave you and become King of my own Kingdom"?

BackHome Soon: With great trepidation and many second thoughts. Queen Kyradevon and her King Legalos(**See Comment below) were incredibly gracious and supportive, even though my ascension greatly reduced the size of her queendom

BackHome Soon: I'd stated for a long time that I had NO plans of ever ascending. However, as we all do, the thoughts recurred, and I finally decided that I wanted to give my own kingdom a shot, so here we are.

Vulpine Eldrich: Was there any particular event or thing that was the tipping point? The spark that lit the fire, so to speak?

BackHome Soon: I don't think there was one single thing I could point to. It just became something I wanted to accomplish and was the right time.

BackHome Soon: I actually only got the Federation HUD about a month before I ascended. Almost my entire downline was built while i was playing the regular HUD. So, I still ask dumb questions about the Fed HUD in group :-)

Vulpine Eldrich: So after you ascended, did you ever have second thoughts... did you ever begin to wonder just what you had gotten yourself into?

BackHome Soon: No, no second thoughts at all. It's even more fun and enjoyable than I had hoped. We've managed to avoid major drama and pain, and I plan on it staying that way.

Lodi McMillan: We are fortunate in our downlines...we have a fabulous bunch of people

Vulpine Eldrich: So do you have any plans for being the largest kingdom in the Empire, or at least closer to it?

BackHome Soon: Perish that thought! Nope, my only real goal is I'd like to stay on the map. While we welcome and want new people to "come Home", it's never, ever been about the acres for either of us. We love playing Tiny Empires, but i think we have a healthy perspective about it.

BackHome Soon: One apt analogy is what I heard about the game of bridge a long time ago -- it gives you something to do with your hands while you visit your friends.

Lodi McMillan: The relationships, and how we treat each other, are far more important than the size of the kingdom

Vulpine Eldrich: So you've settled into a home, and if you need to add an extra room on now and then, the more the merrier.

Lodi McMillan: Absolutely!

BackHome Soon: I like the sound of that :-)

Lodi McMillan: Always room for another plate at the dinner table

BackHome Soon: And we know that kingdom will ebb and flow over time. There is at least one prince now who plans to eventually ascend on his own and I don't doubt there are others. I fully support that.

Vulpine Eldrich: Have you ever had any situations in which things were less than pleasant-- when you had to settle disputes, misunderstandings, hurt feelings?

Lodi McMillan: Misunderstandings happen, especially in a medium like text chat, where it is hard to discern attitude and intention.

BackHome Soon: Well Vulpine, that unfortunately goes with the territory. I have to say there's been very little of it. We've had some great friends return to Terabithia and some others have found other kingdoms to join. But we've also had people leave and come back too :-)

Vulpine Eldrich: So at least so far, you can say that everything has eventually worked out.

BackHome Soon: Absolutely!

Vulpine Eldrich: Hmm, the latest news on my hud declares that a Sir has been permanently banished from his kingdom. What's been the reaction of your people once they learned of your new options to punish them in some way?

Lodi McMillan: Most have taken it in good humor, and it's been the subject of some joking and playful remarks. Some have wondered about the value and purpose of such punishments. But so far, it seems not to be much of a concern.

BackHome Soon: From my perspective, I don't see me using it much or at all. Lodi and I have a saying that if we don't like what you're doing and you persist, we'll politely ask you to accept the next bribe offer.

Lodi McMillan: There are lots of kingdoms in the Empire...each with its own personality...there are plenty of places for every type of TE player

Vulpine Eldrich: So is there anything special about Home besides warm and friendly? Any sort of place, hobby, or particular set of enthusiasms that a number of people in it like? You mentioned bridge earlier as a comparison.... so when the people of Home are together, what else are they doing besides TE?

BackHome Soon: one word i'd like to add to your warm and friendly description is vocal. Our group isn't shy about chiming in -- either with practical help or a quick joke or tease. But I think most of us share the attitude that TE is not the whole of SL. Folks are busy building, dancing, DJing, SHOPPING, etc... while they monitor their HUDs and chime in on group chat.

BackHome Soon: The diversity of interests is what helps keep it interesting and fun

Vulpine Eldrich: So the main place to find Home within Second Life is actually in your group chat, not some particular Second Life location in world.

Lodi McMillan: We have an active group chat...and talk about anything and everything ;-) Our members have diverse interests, as BH said, and we enjoy that.

BackHome Soon: That's correct. We haven't built a sim just for TE, nor plan to. A few members of our kingdom have gathering and party places that we use from time to time. In fact, we're having a formal dance tomorrow afternoon, with both a DJ and live music.

Vulpine Eldrich: It sounds like it should be a lot of fun (or was a lot of fun, since this interview will be published after it happens!) So is there any new feature or thing that could be added to Tiny Empires that you think could increase the fun and- dare I say- productivity level- of your Kingdom?

Lodi McMillan: Well, everyone's favorite answer to that, of course: More frequent Trader visits!

BackHome Soon: Hmmmmmmmm, it's pretty good now. I think it would be nice to be able to give gold or other rewards more easily to other players. I'm not personally a fan of sabotage and wouldn't mind it going away.

Vulpine Eldrich: So is there any sabotage done from within Home- that you know of, of course.

BackHome Soon: Once and it was addressed immediately. There will always be "oops" clicks, but we try to help our newer players figure out what's good and not. We only have 4 rules in the Kingdom.

BackHome Soon: The Rules:
1. Have fun
2. NO Drama
3. NO Sabo -- EVER!
4. Solve your drama, or I'll pretend I'm King Solomon

Vulpine Eldrich: Does that mean the sword comes out for the baby?

BackHome Soon: so far, haven't had to draw the sword yet :-) I prefer a positve kingdom, not one based on judgment, regulations and structure, and our group seems to agree.

Vulpine Eldrich: And it sounds like you've achieved something at least close to it! So now that you have your own kingdom and, it sounds like, are helping others achieve theirs, what is your advice to them?

BackHome Soon: Remember Rule #1 -- Have fun! TE is just a tiny part of this amazing place called Second Life. Make friends and enjoy them. Do NOT get worked up over phantom acres and non-existent gold!

BackHome Soon: (BTW, the opinions I express may not be shared by our Emperor)

Vulpine Eldrich: Good advice to any player, no matter the rank, I'm sure! So I suppose the last question is... what did I miss? What interesting, unusual thing or opinion is there that we need to know about the two of you and your kingdom that hasn't been mentioned yet?

Lodi McMillan: Our chat, and the level of playfulness within it, would be deemed, er, rather mature by some standards ;-)

BackHome Soon: We brought the tradition of Truth or Dare in group chat with us ;-)

Vulpine Eldrich: So is it a case of "what is said at home stays at home"? :)

BackHome Soon: What? Did i say something? ;-)

Vulpine Eldrich: You said a lot, and I thank you for it and the time you took to say it.

BackHome Soon: The pleasure was ours, Vulpine. Thank you for your time and your interest in Home! I'll bribe you as soon as I get the prompt!

Lodi McMillan: He will, too.....

Lodi McMillan: Thank you, Vulpine, for taking the time to do this.