The Starmourn Blog

The Industrial Revolution

By Neritus | May 6, 2022 |

Welcome back to Yet Another Devblog! Today, we are sharing a preview of the Economy Rework which, we are happy to announce, will be hitting the Starmourn Sector May 17th. So bust out your spreadsheets and slide rules, there’s a lot to cover!

Build-a-factory

Refinery structure placement/construction

One of my dreams for Starmourn has long been to give players the chance to construct monumental structures in space. That dream will soon be a reality: We have created a flexible “Space Structure” system which can handle any sort buildable space structure, and the first two such structures will be Refineries and Autofactories!

The structures themselves will require a significant number of commodities to build (around 15,000 refined inputs in total!). To help players start out in the revised economy, there will be NPC autofactory and refinery structures available across the Sector.

Structures are valid destinations for cargo contracts, can be docked with, have commodity storage, and you can even place market listings on them! Structures can be designated to Factions, Dynasties, and Clans, too!

Space Structures will require a small amount of maintenance in the form of Structural Repairkits stored locally. We don’t want this to be too onerous, but we also do need these structures to fall out of the sky eventually if their owner has completely abandoned them. This is something we will certainly have to fine-tune after launch to get just right. If a structure does fall out of the sky, your commodities and any docked ships will be rescued to your home station.

The Down-Low on Manufacturing 2.0

Must. Refine. Faster.

Manufacturing looks much the same as before: you refine your raws in a refinery, take the refined goods to an autofactory, and specify the number of batches you’d like to run. New refineries and autofactories will have no “Type” associated with them, meaning ALL refineries can refine ALL goods, and ALL autofactories can manufacture ALL recipes. Economies remain, however, so you’ll still be incentivized to build remote structures to take advantage of economy bonuses, however. More on production bonuses later.

Presently, the time jobs take to complete is the major bottleneck in the player economy. In the rework, we want the bottleneck to be mining. Recipes will instead now have a “Cycles” cost, which represents the complexity of the manufacturing task. Structures, meanwhile, will have a “Production Speed” stat (how often will ticks occur?) and a “Production Cycles” stat (how many Cycles do we manufacture each tick). The end result is that jobs will happen anywhere from 2.5x faster than before, to 500x faster than before for a fully upgraded and specialized structure.

On the subject of upgrades and specialization, the image above hints at another aspect here: Structure Modules. There are about 50 different structure modules you can build and upgrade across three tiers. There are modules to boost your Cycles, Speed, Cycles required for particular recipes, enhance your Production Bonus for a certain refined good or Autofactory category, and even modules that reduce the required inputs for recipes.

Bonuses

Seems good

On the subject of Production Bonuses: Those are still a thing. Before you finalize the placement of your structure, you will be informed of what Production Bonuses you would receive based on proximity to celestial bodies and stations in economies with bonuses. As an added bonus, structures will always have a minimum production bonus and produce 1 extra every 30 output (about a 3% production bonus), so there will always be at least a bit of a production bonus no matter where you build. This is to help structure owners take advantage of a new incentive: owners can take a cut of bonus production.

After a non-trivial investment of time and resources, a refinery owner could bring down the required number of input Raw Titanium per refined Titanium from 5 all the way down to 3. Meanwhile, with a boosted Production Bonus, you could get as many as 1 extra per every 2 refined. 30 rawtitanium, instead of outputting 6 titanium, would now output 15. An autofactory owner could instead build up their “Titanium Efficiency” and “Duramine Efficiency” stats to bring the recipe for Transteel down from 4 titanium and 2 duramine to 2 titanium and 1 duramine! The hawk-eyed will notice a recipe change here… more on recipes later.

Jobs at a structure within a Subsector will be taxed a Production Tax. Factions will be able to set their Subsector’s Production Tax with all proceeds from tax going to the Faction. Structures in neutral space will, instead, be charged an Extortion rate starting at 10% piracy rating, 1% per 1% piracy, up to an egregious 100% Extortion at 100% Piracy Rating. No pirates, no tax.

As for charging your clients, structure owners will charge a fee per cycle, up to 2 decimal places. For instance, you could charge 1.25 marks per cycle, and a job submitted which will require 1000 cycles would thus charge the client 1250 marks before tax. We are still toying with the notion of the minimum price for jobs being 1.00 mark per cycle. We do want to have some kind of minimum price.

You may have noticed that Manufacturing Specializations must be pretty useless now, and they are. Which is why they are being deleted. The bonuses from mining yield will be tagged on to a buff of the crusher/compressor shipmods, instead.

There’s plenty else to cover, but I’ll just mention one more thing: Players with the “Manufacturing” org privilege will be able to submit jobs straight from org storage.

Going Official

Official sources expect Profit

Because buildable space structures aren’t enough: Introducing, Offices. Now, we reveal the master plan of just what space trucking was all about. We want manufacturers to have the option to spend the majority of their time establishing, monitoring, and constantly improving their Sector-wide supply chain, and spend less time setting up cargo contracts, queuing jobs, listing market offers, and generally doing things that are far too tedious for an ultra-busy titan of interstellar industry.

Offices glue all the economy systems together and allow you to set up a fully automated supply chain, from shipping raws to refineries, queuing jobs, shipping on to autofactories, queuing more jobs, shipping finished goods back to market hubs, and, finally, automatically posting to market at preset prices. Offices can be set up with Shipping, Manufacturing, or Marketing tasks which will trigger when the conditions that you set are satisfied. Once a task is set up, the task will always be performed until you delete it or disable it, ad infinitum. Set up some tasks, just add raws at your supply chain’s origin, and head to Lamentations and get shitfaced while your offices do all the hard work for you.

Oh, and orgs can set up Offices, too. Uses org comm storage, org cargo contracts, org jobs, org market offers, all the good stuff. Hope your commlogs are ready.

Cashflow for Spacers

… The devblog isn’t over yet?

Let’s start by ripping the bandaid off. After plenty of deliberation and math, the results are in: in the revised economy, you can expect to pay the Shipforge around 1000 marks for a kinetic battery or 7000 marks for an astromech.

Let’s break this down a bit. In a single Kinetic Battery, using a revised recipe (1 transteel, 1 disheet, 1 hdsastrium, 5 ultarine, see also below), after accounting for batch sizes of all involved intermediates, there are 2 refined comms in each battery (0.4 titanium, 0.2 magnaril, 0.2 diamene, 0.35 astrium, 0.35 iriil, and 0.5 ultarine to be precise. They did the studies), or 10 raws before bonuses. Meanwhile, the total cycle cost of 1 kinetic battery, again factoring in batch sizes and all intermediates, is 221 Cycles. That leaves us with 10 raws and 221 cycles.

We’ve already discussed the fact that 1 mark per Cycle as a structure fee will likely be our baseline. That means our kinetic battery costs at least 221 marks in theory (in practice, you can use your own structure in an untaxed environment to spend 0 marks on this). In the economy as we know it, miners get a pretty bad deal because there was never enough space built in for the cost of their labor. Let’s instead assume that we want to pay at least 50 marks per raw, a pricepoint I’m sure you’d all agree would make mining quite a lucrative activity, especially if there were effectively no cap on that price (the way PMOs are capped daily, Junk is softcapped, etc). We now get a result of 50 marks * 10 raws + 221 cycles * 1 mark per cycle = 721 marks. Add on an extra +50% for good measure (allowing manufacturers to price their goods in the space well below) and we end up with a price of 1082 marks for our single kinetic battery.

This is all to say, I’ve taken a lot of time and written a lot of code towards commodity valuation. It’s a tough balance, but ultimately having too-low NPC prices put a stranglehold on the whole system that makes it unprofitable for everyone involved.

One possibility is that there will be essentially infinite NPC buy orders for pretty much everything at a price point that factors in all of the above but leaves enough room for players to reasonably compete with them. The idea is that, if player manufacturers want to compete with NPC buy orders, they will have to pay miners and manufacturers of intermediates a living wage. We could also have NPC market offers selling ship consumables at all stations that sell shipforge supplies. These offers could be at egregious, but fluctuating prices and could supply plenty of volume. Now that Shipforge Supplies is already tied to the market, all commodities would effectively come from the market, but the Shipforge will always be there as an optional shorthand for using market syntax.

That said, we may not go in that direction just yet, but it’s something I’ll be keeping in mind while monitoring the overall health of the economy in the first couple months after release.

As usual with the release of big new eco systems, PMOs will likely be disabled for awhile after release, until the system has a chance to build up the 30-day comms consumption history that it needs to place sinks where they’re needed.

Recipe Rework

Umm, what?

Recipe tweaks are still a work in progress, but here’s a bonus preview for you to close out the devblog. The approach to recipe tweaking was essentially to start by leaning on the lore of the Starmourn-specific materials, and the science of the real-life analogs. Next, I wanted to make sure we had a decent representation from every refined comm, and that recipes weren’t too heavily skewed in favor of one comm. Lastly, I wanted to factor in the new Efficiency stats from structures and make sure all the intermediate recipes in particular can benefit majorly from them. The majority of recipes have received at least some touchups, including all the ship ones, and there are a new slate of advanced intermediate commodities (see image) used specifically for structure and structure module building. For now, I will only share the intermediate recipes, and welcome feedback:

Paristeel:   5 titanium, 1 duramine > 4 titanium, 2 duramine
Transteel:   5 titanium, 1 magnaril > 4 titanium, 2 magnaril
Nanoplastic: 3 vandium, 4 ultarine, 9 helium11 > 2 vandium, 8 elessium, 11 helium11
Nanoplastic: Batch size 1 > 2
Disheet:     4 diamene > 10 diamene
Disheet:     Batch size 1 > 5
Hdsastrium:  2 astrium, 10 iriil > 7 astrium, 7 iriil
Hdsastrium:  Batch size 1 > 2
QPC:         2 astrium, 10 iriil > 1 hdsastrium, 3 stesium, 3 ultarine
Array:       1 disheet, 1 rglass > 2 disheet, 5 magnaril, 5 elessium, 1 nanoplastic
Rglass:      Unchanged

That’s it for today! There’s still a lot of work to get done to make sure this massive content update is as bug-free and polished as it can be. But now you know what to expect when the Industrial Revolution lands on May 17th, which is coming up quick. There’s still plenty of opportunity to make tweaks to the system before launch, so we would love to hear your feedback! Feel free to comment below, on Discord, in game, or on the forums!

Regards,

Neritus

Welcome to Paperweight.

By Argus | March 23, 2022 |

Brought to you by Nyx and the Storytelling team, Paperweight is the winning entry from our Player Created Area Contest and its harsh tundras are almost ready to explore! Read below for some quick previews of what you can find in this bustling new space and the release event details to add to your calendar.

[Release Event: Sunday March 27th, three [3] hours before sync]

A frosted tundra bordering the Great Lake and flanked by ancient forests.
Photo by Roberto Nickson on Unsplash

New Cultures

  • The Twice-Departed:
    Long ago, a Jin captain piloted the ship known as Li’Gon into Razors Rift and quickly realized death was imminent. In a stark divergence from Jin culture, he crash landed in Razors Rift to avoid death, saving the lives of those on board and creating something new in the process. The Twice-Departed value a Good Life in their humble home in the tundra with limited trade to the rest of the sector.
  • The Belaul:
    A bipedal avian race native to the tundras of Paperweight. They are entirely self-sufficient and mostly keep to themselves in The Nest, thriving off basic hunter-gathering practices. After the arrival of the Twice-Departed, they educated the Jin in the ways of the tundra and began participating in basic trades.
Fishing!!! Yum yum.
Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash

New Mechanics

  • Fishing:
    In Paperweight you can now fish for meals, for marks, or for beast-y challenges! Talk to J’hiren to claim your own fishing rod and get started. Much more to come with this new system.
  • Weather effects:
    The tundra now slows movement and can restrict vision. Players can purchase standard gear or special flavor gear to limit the hinderances. Those patient enough to wait it out or lucky enough to wander about at the right time can also bear witness to the wonderous Aes-Uulvi Dao.
  • Time messages:
    A new line below the room description now notes the time of day and special flavor messages denote the passing of time. Certain creatures new to the tundra also have time-related events and behaviors to learn.

Beware that the tundra is a harsh environment even for the most experienced explorers – The nights are dark and full of beasties and brutal ice storms test the mind.

Ready to dive in? Join us in-game on Sunday, March 27th, three [3] hours before sync for a mysterious new event and to open this world to the sector.

Read more on the wiki: https://wiki.starmourn.com/Paperweight

Meow meow & pit pat,

Argus, the tiniest feracht

Space Trucking Preview

By Neritus | February 25, 2022 |
Space trucking through space
Space trucking

Hi all! Neritus here. I’ve been hard at work coding Space Trucking and its surrounding systems, supported by the rest of the team for ideas, lore input, and mechanics. The project has been quite satisfying to my geekdom, so I wanted to take a moment to reflect and provide a preview of the upcoming feature release, coming mostly likely sometime in March. There will be quite a few new activities to do in Space, so it’s also a good opportunity to prepare players for what’s coming and garner input before it lands.

Cargo Contracts

CARGO CONTRACT LIST

Cargo contracts are placed by NPCs, players, or player organizations. The setup is pretty simple. TAKE the contract, fly to its origin, PICKUP the contract, fly to its destination, DELIVER it, get paid!and At the start, you’ll only be able to take one contract, but completing contracts will increase the maximum number of contracts you can take up to 15. You’ll have 8 RL hours to complete the contract once you’ve taken it, or 2 RL hours if it is marked as a priority. If you fail to get it done in that time, the contract, including any shipping container you’ve picked up, will be seized from you, the maximum number of contracts you can take will be reset to 1, and you will lose some “Hauler Reputation,” used to track RANKINGS HAULERS. There will at all times be quite a large number of cargo contracts available to take, allowing you to plot a route which includes as many contracts as possible for maximum profits. So long as you’ve picked up a shipping container, however, you will not be able to use any form of warps, except voidgates. Cargo contracts have a minimum reward amount, which is a function of the cargo mass, distance, and a service fee.

Creating cargo contracts

If you’re not so interested in hauling, but are interested in having your goods hauled, look no further! The cargo contract system lets you set up your own custom shipments for someone else to deal with. It will cost you some marks, but it does save you time, and time is money! In the original theorizing of the system I went back and forth on the notion of “should haulers have to pay collateral upfront?” It was decided instead to put the onus on contractors to insure their contracts against loss instead so that the hauling system is as newbie friendly as possible. As such, the system for calculating insurance premiums needed to be fraud-proof. Fraud will still be possible, but the game keeps tabs of how many marks are being added into the game via insurance payouts vs removed from premiums, estimates the likelihood of piracy, examines the reliability of the contractor, and spits out an insurance premium. If you’re a manufacturer disgruntled by the cost of shipping insurance premiums, know that you do have a say in the matter by supporting anti-piratical and anti-fraud efforts.

Periodically, NPC cargo haulers will take the longest-waited cargo contract, whether it is an NPC contract or a player-made Contract. This allows for players to get their commodities moved even during low periods of activity where there are not enough players haulers. NPC cargo contracts tend to like to ship raw materials from hubs to subsectors with refining bonuses, then take those refined commodities where they can be best used as inputs with a production bonuses, and finally take finished goods back to stations that sell ship supplies. This means that savvy players will have a pretty good idea what commodities will be shipping in certain shipping lanes. Great news for pirates….

Here be pirates

PIracy spreads like pollution

The Space Trucking Update will also introduce Space Piracy into the game. As haulers fly around in space, they’ll have a chance to be ambushed by NPC pirates. These ambushes scale in difficulty depending on a) the Piracy Rating of the zone, and b) the class of ship the player is flying. You’re probably going to be able to slink away in your Prospector from the handful of enemy ships that show up, provided you react appropriately. But if you’re flying around in a big juicy Superhauler you can expect pirates to show up in force, and you best have a gameplan for survival. I want to be clear that pirate attacks will only occur if you are carrying a shipping container from a cargo contract (or if you’re a Warden, more on that later). Miners and other spacefarers are safe from getting ambushed.

Piracy Rating is a figure that goes from -100% to 100%. To trigger a pirate attack, a zone must have at least 10% piracy rating, ratings below that are a buffer. Piracy Rating is pumped into the Sector by various lore-appropriate Subsectors and zones, which act like factories pumping pollution into the air. Piracy rating then diffuses through the Sector like a cloud of pollution. No new rating is introduced through diffusion. The GIF above depicts what the Sector could look like after 100 RL days if no players are active in stemming the tide of Piracy. That said, us admin will have all the tools we need to monitor piracy rating, to ensure we’re hitting just the right balance.

Some lore-appropriate Subsectors and zones, such as the factional subsectors, act as buffers against the spread of piracy. When piracy rating is diffused into these zones, it cancels out the incoming rating, removing piracy rating from the overall system in the process. Various other activities also influence the ups and downs of piracy rating: pillaging incursions vs defeated ones, the presence of pirate refineries/autofactories vs destroying them, and Ishvana owned Cosmpiercers vs Faction owned ones.

A pirate’s life for me

PIRACY syntax

Enter player Pirates and Wardens, Starmourn’s own version of Cops and Robbers. Let’s start with Wardens. When flagged as a Warden, you will periodically be ambushed by pirates in much the same manner as haulers. Basically you’re a law enforcing pirate magnet. Defeating these ships (or any pirate ambushes really, if you want to escort haulers) will reduce piracy rating in the zone by a fair margin and earn you some Warden Rating to help you climb RANKINGS WARDENS. As a Warden you can locate other Player Pirates if you wish. You are not Open PK to them except under normal PK rules, but they are Open PK to everybody, always, so long as they are in Space.

There are two ways to become flagged as a Pirate: 1) PIRACY JOIN PIRATES to voluntarily flag as a pirate. You’ll gain the power to locate NPC cargo ships and, as you commit acts of piracy, you will gain Notoriety, the system used to track RANKINGS PIRATES. 2) Through repeated acts of piracy, you will eventually become notorious enough a criminal that you will be auto-flagged as a Pirate. Yes, this means that you can be involuntarily flagged as Open PK in Space. But on the other hand, you are playing a character that is continually disrupting the economy and that should have consequences. That said, gaining Notoriety will first deduct Warden Rating before adding Notoriety, and vice versa. Thus it is possible to engage in repeated acts of Piracy without eventually becoming Open PK, so long as you’re doing penance as a Warden to offset it. If that’s your chosen playstyle, however, you’re not likely to climb either RANKINGS WARDENS or RANKINGS PIRATES. To be clear: being a Space Pirate does NOT allow you to PK others, except under normal PK rules. This includes player cargo haulers. Space Pirates will not be allowed to attack cargo haulers just because they are pirates. Unless, of course…

Less than 12 parsecs

CARGO CONTRACT LIST SMUGGLING
Uh oh…

Don’t think for a second that we forgot about all of you who want to play Space Smuggler. We are adding a whole new slate of illegal commodities for the purpose. For now these commodities will only be seeded by smuggling contracts, and both NPCs and players can take these contracts. Smuggling contracts pay much better, but are way more dangerous than taking a normal cargo contract. First up, you need to pay the full value of the cargo in collateral upfront. Second, the chance of a pirate ambush is higher than normal, because the contract probably only exists to extort you of the collateral. Thirdly, upon arrival in the destination Subsector your cargohold will be scanned. If the scan succeeds, you will be attacked by NPC Wardens. The likelihood of the scan succeeding can be reduced with a new ship module, Cargo Scramblers. Players can also fit their ships with a new hardpoint, the Cargo Scanner. Any successful cargo scan which uncovers Contraband will be announced on Conflict and make the player Open PK in Space until they, dock, jettison the contraband, or are destroyed.

If you do wind up with contraband in your commodity storage, you’ll be able to either SELL it to nefarious distributors for serious marks, or TURN it IN to the authorities for a small fraction of its value, and some Warden Rating.

… should have brought Cargo Scramblers…

That’s all for now, folks. There are some other surprises planned but now that I’ve gone and spoiled the greater part of it, it’s time to settle back into my code hole.

The Journey Forward

By Neritus | January 19, 2022 |
A barren rock, possibly a good spot for a colony?

With the release of Ship Modding, I wanted to take a moment for some reflection. When I came on as producer I stated three main goals: a full and detailed pass on all the classes, a rework of weapon and armor modding, and finally ship modding. I did not necessarily expect this to take six months, but nevertheless I’m proud to say these goals have been accomplished at last. Along the way we have had some bonus additions that make me quite proud: resource-rich asteroids, ship weapon and module tweaks, and resource crushing and compressing.

At some points in the journey things sure seemed a bit bleak. I can be quite uncompromising when it comes to seeing out my original vision for something. When it came to designing Shipmodding, I knew I would need to seriously overhaul how ship stats are handled in order to achieve things like dynamic halon costs and such. Some stages of the process became quite challenging, and motivation was at an all time low. It took some time to overcome, but in the end we got there!

The Long Term

But that’s enough looking backwards. Where next? One of my main sticking points is the game’s long-suffering “Beta” sticker. Honestly, I don’t think we’re going to leave Beta any time soon. There are simply too many bugs (albeit minor ones for the most part), and too many systems that require fleshing out. My long-term goal is to get the game to a place where Damiel and I, and the higher-ups at IRE, feel confident removing that tag. The capstone project in this long term vision is the much-alluded-never-discussed Colonization system, which still remains a loose design. I’m not going to discuss specifically what we have in mind for Colonization in the future, nor a timeline. I will say that Colonization should be a common meeting place for just about every activity in the game, a convergence of space and ground exploration, space and ground PvP and PvE, and an important cornerstone of economy and industry. There’s no point in pouring our resources into such a system until all the contributing elements are where we want them, but there’s also no point in working on those contributing elements without some idea of what Colonization is going to look like.

The Intermediate Term

There’s no shortage of work to do, that’s for certain. But when I look at the list of activities above one sticks out as a particular priority, and that is economy and industry, which is where I intend to focus my efforts for the next while. My intention is that incremental updates to the economy will enhance the depth of the simulation of a stellar sector engaged in continuous activity. Ideally, this should as much as possible bring the Starmourn Sector to life, teeming with points of interest and NPC spacefarers engaged in one task or another, mundane, heroic, or villainous, who you might choose to aid, hinder, or ignore. New space activities are going to gel well with new ship modules to support them, and since the ship stat refactor is in, new modules are going to be easier than ever to incorporate.  I’d particularly like to focus more on electronic warfare and improved interdiction options and the counterpart of electronic countermeasures and “counterinterdiction.”

Space Trucking – the kind of content we expect from a space game

This is going to be pretty important for the next “Big System” I intend to work on in the intermediate term, which will be Space Trucking. The design of this system is basically complete, and the intent is to create content not just for prospective cargo haulers. We’d like space trucking to be a comprehensive system that supports industrialists needing goods transported and we’d also like to create space for both NPC and player piracy. Basically every zone would get a piracy rating: the higher the rating, the greater the likelihood and greater the strength of a pirate assault on a cargo ship.

Space truckers would have a regular supply of cargo contracts both NPC generated and player made. But if there are no player cargo pilots to haul the goods in a timely manner, an NPC cargo ship will take the job. NPC cargo ships aren’t abstract. They’ll exist and fly in space from point A to point B using a simplified, somewhat cheaty autopilot algorithm that’s easier on processing. And they can be attacked by prospective player pirates. Piracy rating in a zone will be a dynamic figure which can be then influenced by players who wish to take up the banner of anti-piracy and take part in counter-piracy missions, but can also be reduced via more passive means such as the presence of factional Armadas or Cosmpiercer ownership.

We would like cargo ships to drop at least some amount of what they contain for the pirates to seize, and we also want contractors to demand collateral and for player cargo pilots to have some insurance against collateral, but this will need to be a carefully crafted system with protections to make sure it’s not exploitable as a license to print marks.

That’s all way more detail than I was intending to reveal, so don’t be surprised if the end product looks a bit different and don’t expect the system’s release to be just right around the corner. It’ll be ready when it’s ready.

Space stonks

The Short Term

In the short term, however, there are some rather crucial quality of life updates to the economy to help players work together and then also get their products to market in a less unwieldy way. The first step here then is organizational market orders and offers, which will take a fair bit of work. Another limitation right now is that in order to cooperate in industry, you need to be either in the same faction or in the same dynasty. Thus we’d also like to extend faction and dynasty storage to include clan storage, so that more ad hoc groupings of people can work together without needing to share a surname or a factional allegiance. Aside from all this I have some other ideas for market and industry  quality of life with a focus on small tweaks that go a long way. This is basically what I’ll be working on starting now along with the normal bug-squashing.

I think I’ve spilled the beans overmuch already, so I’m going to stop. I’m really excited for the future of Starmourn and we invite you to come along for the ride! See you in the Sector

Neritus

Starmourn 2021 Year in Review: Celebrating our Best Year Ever!

By Damiel | December 22, 2021 |
Actual Footage(TM) of Clover and Steve reminiscing on the year’s events. Photo by Jake Young from Pexels

Hello Spacers!

The time has come for our end of year roundup, and I hope you’ll all agree that it has been an AMAZING year for Starmourn. We saw the introduction of player housing, real world player shops, Hardcore mode (permadeath), daily streaks, battlebots, a ship arena, several major new areas, a new tradeskill, a complete modding tradeskill overhaul (including the first opportunity to hire NPC staff), huge changes to ship building, combat, mining and systems, asteroid exploration and spacewalk mining, LOADS of amazing roleplaying events led by both players and Storytellers, and so much more that it’s hard to summarize!

In fact, I was going to do a summary one for this end of year post, but I think it might actually be appropriate to post a full changelog of all the changes the game has undergone this year!

Today will also see the introduction of new years’ commendation awards, where you will all have a chance to nominate people for awards, prizes and most importantly warm, fuzzy feelings, which will then be announced in the new year post (stay tuned for the next announcement for full details!)

Build a bashing zone contest

Rylek on the search for new corporate interests. Photo by Lukas.

ALSO If you haven’t already done so, please do be sure to enter the current mega contest to design a whole new bashing area for the game! The deadline is the 16th Jan, and full details can be found by clicking HERE or by typing NEWS READ ANNOUNCEMENTS 313 in-game.

Thank yous

Starmourn being dragged into life by y’all. Photo by RODNAE Productions from Pexels

I’d also like to take this opportunity to extend a huge, warm outpouring of love and gratitude for the amazing volunteer team, who have all worked so hard this year, and have all kept growing and learning and generally being amazing. So Soren, Saio, Argus, Nicnevin, Domin, Astor, Senzei, Ferenzi, Bricky and Bandus – and our new team of wonderful Worldbuilders, here’s to you. ~Huge standing ovation round of applause with flowers and various items of underwear thrown at the stage~

Outpourings also to Eukelade, Neritus, Garryn, Zersiax, and all of the other IRE staff who have helped to make Starmourn happen this year!

But… without you all, this would not happen, so most of all, let me drench you all in my undying affection and gratitude. <3 <3 <3

Changelog of significant non-combat/class changes

Without further ado… Here are the bajillion significant things that have happened this year (Neritus will be posting later with the combat related stuff!)…

January

Argo’s gonna daka in his crackers when he notices Poet sneaking up on him. Photo by Alena Darmel from Pexels
  • We started the year with some Scoundrel updates – and thanks to Mystor Phis’tor’s winning entry we became able to throw Pocketsand!
  • The hacking ability LURE was overhauled to lure at 10-second intervals, for 100 seconds total, to make it more useful as an endgame hacking ability.
  • We held a player-requested RP event at the “Jins & Juice” zine HQ in Bodean, with Poet, Gwoss and Ibo who held a very juicy photoshoot for the Voidwitch herself!
  • After its shady start in Tranquility Deepness, Kass Stareater’s Stareater Industries moved to a new and hi-tech HQ premises in Litharge’s Corporate Territory.
  • Our favorite cuddly do-gooders GCEPS also finally got a headquarters in the slightly less corporate undercity.
  • Both of the above were given high-level hacking terminals as a boon to high level hackers!
  • A LOT of new jewelry patterns were added to the types that Jewelers can design, including many race-specific types.
  • Design character lengths were increased based on many player requests for more space to elucidate.
  • We some new nonbinary-friendly messaging tokens to be used in designs: $(he_has$) and $(he_is$). They are used straight after $(he$) to replace the verb accordingly.
  • The Scrapston Art Gallery was created, as a place for all of you graffiti artists to run free and adorn its many many walls.
  • The withdrawal limit was removed from dynasty accounts no longer have a withdrawal limit.
  • We improved trade terminal searching and added some newbie friendly info and a datashard about how to use them.
  • Wiki editors added LOADS of stuff. AB messages from many classes and skills were added to the wiki, along with ship room descriptions, homeworlds, animals, plants and people, as well as a huge update to existing Jin lore, most notably the Bread Ritual and details about Ir-Vothiam, the Jin martial art.
  • We released a lot of great changes to our ship customization system so that ships now only display to the room they’re docked in if you choose to display them (CL5+ using SHIP VISIBLE ON – limited to 1 ship per player, or 2 with the arti), and they display by name, make, and model, instead of being grouped into a generic cluster of its class. They can now also be looked at by typing LOOK SHIPNAME instead of sorting through a massive list of currently docked vessels.
  • Ship customizations now feature in various messages to do with your ship, including docking, undocking, boarding and disembarking – so your ship design options now really matter!
  • Station viewing decks now show ships docking and undocking, too! So you can go watch the ships pass by (how romantic!)
  • We did some improvements on ship classes – making destroyers slightly more powerful, adding a better shipsim for superhaulers, making superhaulers handle slightly better and giving them a medium weapon slot, AND we introduced a new range of super ships for premium prices, to even up the playing field a little between auction ships and player accessible ones – there’s no fun in fighting if your opponent is always going to win!

February

Plagho landing a ship (too soon? Eh.) Image by Stefan Keller
  • Promo list trade-in values were all updated.
  • Soren and Damiel finished their BIG update to Selubir. There’s a lot to see, so you’re probably better off just giving it a visit, but Selubir has been given a lot more love, lore, and flavor. The windmill drones were made slightly less frustrating and an interrupt tutorial was added, we made 5 new quests for the Selubir levelling range and a newbie bashing area, 5 new animals to xenozoo scan, as well as a tutor, a weapon shop and a repair shop. It also finally got a transport from the Scatterhome voidgate!
  • We welcomed Nicnevin, Neritus, and Argus to the ranks of Starmourn’s Storytellers!
  • We did some balancing of the incursion system, so that the levels are a little more appropriate for the classes of warship (Easy = Interceptor, Medium = Corvette, Hard = Destroyer) and we added to all new Legendary incursion level, which is aimed at Cruisers.
  • We added a running total of cycles and power required to the shipforge, making ship building a whole lot more manageable.
  • We made gas harvesting drones a module that can be added to any class of ship, making mining a whole lot more accessible to screenreader users (and everyone else!)

March

Zarrach is SO tired of your daka. Photo by cottonbro from Pexels
  • Song got a newbie kit! New Song citizens are now given a welcome pack by the Peacekeepers at Danica, and offered some choices of career (for flavor only, it just affects the items they get). They can also start their path as pilots with the Song Fleet.
  • We introduced Daily Streaks and Milestone Rewards as an enhancement to the daily credits system. Log in every day and either play for at least an hour and earn at least one daily credit, or earn 10 daily credits and you’ll start streaking. Streaks will cause your daily credit limit to increase over time, and streak milestones will award you with unique honors, titles, and increasing amounts of bound credits. The more you play, the bigger your rewards!
  • We made the list of stations when using the STATIONS verb now populate without you having to disembark from the ship at a newly docked station. Simply docking to a new station will now add it to the list.
  • A new config option, IgnoreUnownedShipMessages, was added, allowing you to significantly reduce the amount of ship-related messages you see when you are on a ship that is not your own.
  • We distributed Three Card Smash tables throughout the bars and casinos of the land, so you can now play a simple betting game with your friends or against the house!
  • We fixed the annoying bug that made you leave followers behind because your movespeed was faster than theirs.
  • You can now CRT and FT while hacking.
  • Neritus’ first offering to the world was Flogger, which launched in March. We knew he’d go far right from the start! “CLEVE! WHERE ARE MY CIGARETTES!” https://www.starmourn.com/news/public/418/

April

Holgorath knew he shouldn’t have called Morgan a “lady”. Photo by Stefan Keller.
  • We made some BIG changes to the LAWLESS system. LWHO/LAWLESSWHO, shows other connected lawless players. If you have hacked the BOUNTY LOCATE terminal in Tranquility Deepness, this command shows you the areas where you can find said lawless players. We also introduced RANKINGS LAWLESSNESS with honors and titles galore!
  • We held a body art contest, which drew in some wonderful entries, who knew how we lived before chintacles?! Thanks to the winning entries: Eltohan – by Afesotinuilar Matari, Ry’narian Heraldic Sigils – by Kass Stareater and Gei-Vothiam – by Poet Yi’jiaru!
  • RANKINGS HONORS became a thing. Each honor in the game is worth a certain number of points, which go towards your total honor points. Honors and titles for these, too!
  • LANDMARKS and DIRECTORY were overhauled, making it easier to navigate around the sector. (We added a holographic sign at Reynolds central terminal that gives players up to level 10 the directions to Marle, too!)
  • We made custom emote (and later standard emote) commands go to the chat window on Nexus, and they’re now available on GMCP Comm.Channel.
  • Commodities are no longer seized after extended inactivity. You’ll still need to pay your cargo fees before accessing them, though. Autofactories and refineries will also now finish their job queues after going inactive, but no new jobs will be able to be added to them.
  • We fixed the bug where you couldn’t interact with anything in space outside of the current zone – so tethering, beaconing, etc etc. We also fixed REVERSETHRUST so that it actually works, and will move you exactly 1 SU backwards if you’re stationary.
  • The range in space at which Cosmpiercer generators will reset was increased, meaning you can now fly further away from the generators without them resetting.

May

Afesotinuilar finds a new member for the Matari Dynasty. Image by Stefan Keller.
  • We launched the Battlebots system!
  • Crew Spars! ARENA CREWCHALLENGE will initiate a crew challenge against the target player’s crew. You and the other player must be in crews, and all crew members must be in the staging room.
  • We added a new wilderness area in New Dikamazi with some new kinds of weird and wonderful mobs.
  • Junk received a much-needed rework. Now, when you receive your first piece of junk, you will hastily assemble a junk bag. All the junk you receive will go in this bag. You can still use said bag like normal and GET junk from the bag if you want to interact with the items like normal. When you JUNK SELL, you will turn in all the bags you have and all the junk in them. When you die, you will drop the bags, and others can pick them up. Now, the server doesn’t need to worry about dropping thousands of items all at once and sending all the related GMCP updates and such.
  • We held a wonderful player-led RP event for the opening of the new Voidseeker tribehall in Hororeon https://bit.ly/3bARljm. Thanks to Gwoss Brinn and Shardclaw Dragonlord for the wonderful idea! We then opened a brand new quest based at the tribehall.
  • We introduced Battlespace – a VR arena for ship combat!
  • We expanded the SHIP EVA ability. You can now SHIP EVA from a ship you are on, and STATION EVA from station docks, to initiate a spacewalk deliberately. SPACEWALK BOARD will let you board ships you own or have permission to enter. You can also SHIP EVA from another player’s ship and SHIP BOARD if you have permission.
  • We added the command NEWS CATCHUP, which will mark EVERY SINGLE NEWS ITEM AS READ!
  • We added the OOC command, and those words will appear in game prepended by a handy dandy [OOC] label. OOC color can be configured just like everything else that uses the config command. Going forward, the ‘say’ command will be intended for IC words only – any OOC words you would like to communicate to people in the same room as you, you should communicate using OOC.
  • We added a HUGE batch of new predefined emotes, including the introduction of class-specific emotes!
  • We moved servers, which made the game much more zippy!
  • We made Flogger hackable!
  • The Gnomon Institute had a thorough overhaul, to make it a great L70+ and group bashing area.
  • The Blood Ark got a big new quest for all you potential Soulhunters, and Jin lore gained even more depth on the wiki.

June

Zoe Qaln debating whether they should ban smoking in the Guardian lounge. Image by Pretty Sleepy Art.
  • The Art tradeskill was launched.
  • We launched the ‘Omnicrafter’ contest – which is due to be repeated regularly. The winner will be awarded with a Crafter’s Omnipass, a title and a trophy, as well as an RP awards event if they are available/willing to do so! This one was won by the talented Afesotinuilar Matari!
  • We fixed a LOAD of quests around the place.
  • Thanks to the sleuthing of Senzei, we discovered that the game was running 1000+ ship autorepair updates every three seconds, pretty much all of which were on the ships of inactive players. This was due to a bug which prevented autorepair from exiting cleanly. That’s been fixed. Autorepair will now end if: a) The ship has no bots or repairkits or b) The ship has been inactive for a period of time. You now need to SHIP REPAIR AUTO when you launch after a period of inactivity, but the game will run much faster!
  • In the shipforge, the game now takes pity on you, accepting either SF LOAD <#> <item> or SF LOAD <item> <#>.
  • COSMPIERCER MAP now displays the Cosmpiercer’s rank instead of an asterisk.
  • You can no longer undertake/abort Passenger Missions ad infinitum to spawn all the cannon fodder you desire. Assassins will only spawn once even if the mission is undertaken multiple times.
  • NPC band the Chrome Trash Cutthroats played at Tox Populi in New Dikamazi in a fun little roleplaying event.
  • The Yellow Feather, one of the galaxy’s most refined destinations for pleasure and good company, is finally open to the public on Usum Usutti. Conceived in a joint venture between Sabika Ironbound and a Shen hospitality conglomerate, the Yellow Feather welcomes everyone (everyone who can afford it, that is) to experience the charming architecture, charming food, and even more charming companions that live on the premises.
  • Added some new available tasks to the DAILYCREDITS system: Participate in a Battlebots fight, Slay a Xeno mob, Fulfill a personal NPC market order, Complete a station mission and Complete a FRAY contract. Additionally: “Submit a Design” is now repeatable up to 5 times. “Kill enemies in incursions” now applies to all space mobs.
  • We added lists of design types for all tradeskills to the wiki.
  • We removed a huge number of inaccessible rooms from exploration %, which resulted in there now being a far smaller total for exploration. Players ALL saw a higher % now in HONORS STATS for exploration and many climbed the rankings.
  • We expanded on the item customization system, allowing players a lot more freedom to request additional and individual functionality for their stuff!
  • Saio introduced some revolting edible mold to Oldtown in Haven City, and added the new functional design types ‘fungus’ and ‘toadstool’ to the cuisine tradeskill.
  • Factions now get lines of Ta-deth crystals deposited in their main organization log. This fires every RL hour and takes the cumulative crystals deposited per person in the last hour. Crystals consumed by Cosmpiercers are also logged at Sync.
  • The Almasi asteroid, in the Diamond Belt, received a small update, with a new zone for shops called the Gleamway – home to Hal’s Atelier as well as Tajhan Echanini, currently preparing for their grand opening. Also new: the Diamond Belt trade network! An ultra-exclusive, ultra-expensive network meant for the rarest and priciest of items.
  • We reskinned TELLs to be sent via mindsim so that they’re more thematic.
  • We made it so that Storytellers are visible and identified as such when they choose to put RPWHO on, indicating that a Storyteller is available for spontaneous roleplay. We also made it an option for Storytellers to turn RPWHO on for the NPCs they are animating. So if a Storyteller is playing Poffy they can enable RPWHO to let the Sector know!
  • Eukelade stepped down as Starmourn’s Lead Producer after five years of pouring her creativity and love into the game.
  • Neritus and Damiel were appointed Co-Lead Producers, with Neritus heading up coding and combat, and Damiel leading Storytellers and creative direction.

July

“Business meeting in the Undercity.” Photo by cottonbro from Pexels
  • We kicked off July with an auction and our first auction-concurrent contest! Players were offered the chance to get their very own shop by either bidding in the auction, OR by entering our design contest. The contest was put up for the very first player voting system and the triumphant winner was Mairon T’rvati with his wonderful Song Restoration Society establishment on the surface of the Planet Song, at Tabby Outpost.
  • Items now show calories, capacity and worn slot when probed/looked at, AND in DESIGN SHOW and on the trade terminal, where appropriate.
  • We increased capacity on a load of clothing slots. Want to decorate yourself with 20 pieces of flair? Now you can. 10 flowers in your hair? You got it. Decorate your branches with 10 ornaments for winterflame? WHY WOULDN’T YOU? HELP CLOTHINGSLOTS was updated with all the deets.
  • Weapon/armor drops were fixed to be assigned the short name “a pair of ” where appropriate – so no more “a brilliant knuckles”!
  • The Floating Market was launched, offering some brand new lore, amazing wares, awesome RP opportunities and the first ever chance for players to rent their own stall for the event and to sell their own stuff in a physical shop! It was very well received and will be popping up many more times, I’m sure, so get saving up your marks! Honors and titles were given out to all the stallholders, Afesotinuilar Matari sold the most individual items (shortly followed by Shulamit Moonchild), Poet Yi’jiaru made the most money (shortly followed by Sabika Ironbound) and Rylek Ironbound had the highest average price per sale (by a country mile – but Poet came second).
  • We had a Xenohunt, (if you’re familiar with other IRE games, that’s a Space Great Hunt) too! During the hunt players enjoyed double XP for hunting and a double junk marks cap (to recoup some of those marks they spent at the Floating Market!) The winners this time were: Levels 1-50 – Zalla, Levels 51-74 – Syzygy Moonchild and 75+ – Abohamos Sunnysyde. Well done to everyone who participated!
  • We expanded two popular bashing areas, too, as space was tight during the event – New Dikamazi gained 31 new rooms and 72 new mobs, while Ixsei Desert was given 30 new rooms and 75 new mobs.
  • The loot drop softcap was made aware of your class, so that you’ll now have more chances to drop loot in a given period of time if your class has more weapons. Additionally, the Loot Drops talent was fixed to actually work! CONFIG SMARTLOOT ON was added, which causes your weapon drops to evenly distribute among your class weapons, and your armor drops to evenly distribute among your armor slots.
  • Drinks stocked as designs on the trade terminal will now be delivered in more appropriate containers – tall glasses, tumblers, beer bottles, wine glasses, aluminum cans and slushie cups.
  • The TRADE verb was improved, and should work properly in all cases now. You can now trade resetting items and items that are owned/loyal to you and the loyalty will change to the buyer when the transaction is complete. If the thing is a resetter, it will default to reset to the buyer’s inventory after the trade is complete.
  • Config expshown on/off was added and when enabled will display your experience gains and or losses (including hacking and captaincy exp!)
  • Player kills that are finished off by mobs or by being pulled from the air now properly credit the player who did the most damage – and they also have some super fun deathsights now, too!
  • We added a load of W’hoorn stuff to the wiki. Go take a look at https://wiki.starmourn.com/The_Right_to_Challenge and associated links!
  • All Cosmpiercer items can be searched for and sorted now by using the cosmpiercer alias, this does not pick up crystals or vouchers, just the items themselves. So you can now use II COSMPIERCER to look at all the cosmpiercer items you have in your inventory.
  • We had a great RP event with players, revolving around a mysterious disappearing skull – details here: https://www.starmourn.com/news/events/18/
  • We added the option to skip the novice introduction.
  • We finished the month as the best month since the launch of Starmourn! We stayed at #2 in the Top Mud charts for the entire month, with over 1000 votes. We sold the most promos and you all fired nearly 2000 mission control batteries during the month, which we never ever expected was even possible.
  • We declared our player community the best in all of the lands and planets and star systems ever and thanked you with a limited edition arcade machine!

August

Ah Solus! You had Wes’ Winter-Flamin’ Hot noodles today? Image by Pretty Sleepy Art.
  • In a first for Iron Realms, August saw the release of HARDCORE MODE! The first permadeath system in the realms.
  • We said goodbye to Zersiax as Lead Coder, Damiel and Neritus were put fully in charge of Starmourn.
  • We recruited two new Storytellers to the team – The wonderful Domin and Astor!
  • Player shops became a thing! By purchasing a deed in one of the player shop areas, you can now have your own physical shop which can be placed in designated shop rooms, or by requesting one anywhere you like (as agreed with a producer!) These shops link to a trade terminal in the area your shop is in.
  • The BIIIG weapon/armor modding rework was completed by the amazing Neritus, and weapon/armor mods as you knew them are no more. The system is now hugely fun and rewarding, and you even get your own modding workshop with a manager and assistants to do your work for you!
  • Masks were given the added option to PUSH them, which switches your in-room anonymity on and off. MASK TOGGLE still toggles your anonymity on WHO, if you want to be anonymous in-room but not on WHO. But this PUSH option overrides WHO anonymity, effectively connecting/disconnecting your mask from the comms.
  • We equalized the value of a gear requisition token across the classes when redeeming weapons, so that it’s easier to build a fully combat-ready set of weapons for your class. The REDEEM command has now been changed to REDEEM WEAPONS to give you a full weapon set for your class.
  • We reduced the maximum talent points you can invest in Critical Hits to 10, and it has gone from 2.5% per level to 5% per level, so the maximum remains unchanged. So if you had more than 10 points in CriticalHit talent before, you should now have those talents free.
  • We added WILDERNESS RESOURCES to show you all your available materials from triangulation awaiting pickup, as well as increasing the amount of commodities granted.

September

A traditional Scatterhome Salute. Photo by cottonbro from Pexels
  • September saw a new improved version of the NEWBIECHALLENGE, no longer called Challenge 75, because instead of pursuing MIL 75, players could instead pursue Admiral 1 in Captaincy or Guru in Hacking. Completing one of these three tasks, and four of seven secondary tasks completes the challenge. New Hardcore characters were also welcome to participate, and they had the extra advantage that their winnings would roll over into their Hardcore Credit Pool for their next character.
  • Skipdrives were removed as a module for ships, as they are so essential that they provide no meaningful choice in ship designing. “Skip Drive” is also just generic lore terminology for the technology behind how all ships move. We’re not entirely sure how or why the skip drive was introduced as a module, as all ships inherently have skip drives, or else they would not move.
  • Ship missile ammo was given 10 charges, rather than one as well as less time reloading, this means less marks dumped on expensive ammunition.
  • SHIP TARGET was changed to no longer require the target to be in your cone. Additionally, some bugs were squished to do with this – SHIP TARGET will now prioritize its result based on a) whether they are in your cone followed by b) their distance to you. But of course if you want to ignore this behavior entirely, you can still use id numbers.
  • We did away with small, medium, and large slots for ship modules and weapons. Instead, superstructures now have a hardpoint capacity and a module capacity. Small weapons/modules cost 5 points, mediums cost 10 points, and larges cost 15.
  • Asteroid Exploration reached the Starmourn sector this month! AKA blowing up big rocks. These asteroids work a bit like wildernesses, but they’re in space. Instead of triangulating, you’ll be placing charges at weak points in the asteroid surface. The bigger the rock, the larger the area and the more weak points it has. We integrated spacewalking with the ground exploration experience to make this awesome system as immersive as possible, with some new mobs for both space and ground and lots of commodities to be had by exploding these bad bois! STATION ASTEROID LIST will show you where they are!
  • A lot of exciting changes were made to mining, as we introduced the Ore Crusher and the Gas Compressor modules. These are medium-sized modules that enable the SHIP CRUSH [STOP] and SHIP COMPRESS [STOP] commands. These commands will break down tethered asteroids or syphon gas from scoops and compress it, delivering unrefined commodities to your cargohold ready to scoop and tether more as you fly! They also stack, so the more of each module you have, the faster you can process commodities.
  • We moved the Tether ability at Level 1 Captaincy, so all new players can tether out of the gate.
  • We significantly increased the captaincy gain from mining in an effort to make it a more viable career as far as XP gain is concerned.
  • We deleted the harvestdrones skill. You can just go ahead and use them without any associated skill now. We also increased the capacity of each harvestdrone module to six, which means that the first 1-6 drones you have in your cargo will modify the tick speed of your gas harvesting. Afterwards, for every 6 extra drones you send (if you have another module), you’ll collect that many extra units in one go.
  • Ship weapons also got a balance pass – with existing weapons getting some stats tweaks and the exciting introduction of ship laserbeams and turrets (available for production in batteries autofactories, too!)
  • We moved away from the system of faction-tied Storytellers, with the team taking a more skills-based assignment of tasks. The existing storyteller names still appear at the top of faction help files, and those people will obviously continue to work on the projects they are already involved in, but we think it’s important that, for example, the person who is especially good at and enjoys roleplaying, is able to do that aspect of an event, while the one who prefers making quests does the quests etc. Happy Storytellers = Happy Players = happy game!
  • We created the new Worldbuilder Role, and Builderboard, which is similar to other games’ ‘Mortal Builders’.
  • Senzei added ‘dot syntax’ to interacting with items, so you can now use . and . e.g. GET 3.cup will pick up the 3rd cup in the room’s inventory list! You can also now use PUT IN HERE to skip checking if it is in your inventory. Omitting the ‘HERE’ will revert to checking your inventory first.
  • We added SHIP PATH SCAN – which conducts a scan for impassible objects that would obstruct your current trajectory, out to your ship’s normal beacon range. Includes the name of the obstacle, its radius, and its distance to you.
  • Fish dropped in a water room on board your ship will no longer kersplat if your ship explodes!
  • Many more ship improvements – tractor beams now work against ship targets, You can now SHIP CONE OFF, you can now CARGO STORE ALL [comm/commtype]. Valid “Commtype” options are indicated in CARGO syntax and include: raw, refined, processed, finished, and consumable, the eighth asteroid tethered to a superhauler no longer falls off and REFINERY QUEUE ASTEROID now automatically chooses an asteroid relevant to the refinery type!
  • Saio added our first tradeskill specific quest in Ishbi – it’s called, ‘Now that’s a Paddlin’ and only players with 90 lessons invested in Cuisine can take it.
  • We added a big new area to W’hoorn homeworld Benu Wen, as well as expanding its lore in the wiki.
  • Memorial areas were added to all player race homeworlds. Including several in Litharge and a wonderful addition to Hororeon by new Storyteller Astor.

October

The Song Fleet arrive on a Cosmpiercer. Image by Yair Cerón
  • We introduced a new version of Space Halloween, called Rapadruk – a Krona festival of the dead.
  • Candy Dan went out a-visiting again, for players to collect candy treats throughout the whole month.
  • Memorial areas were all spoopified for the month, too!
  • We ran the second annual ‘Scare the Storytellers’ contest, and received lots of terrifying entries, the winner was Afesotinuilar Matari for his myth of the Suahagan, accompanied by a spine-chilling short story: ‘The Sorrow of Suaha’. Well done Sot! Due to the very high quality of the entries, we’ve also decided that runners up are appropriate and those players were Nyx T’rath and Alder. Their terrifying creations will also become lore, and we’ll be giving them each a prize too.
  • We held a series of admin-run RP events centered around the brand new HugTech factory, in orbit around Litharge. The event saw the disappearance and rescue of a local child, Ely Erling, as well as the introduction of lots of new quests, including a group quest and boss fight. Huzzah! Players who participated were awarded with medals, titles and honors lines!
  • We added an artifact cart to the website, allowing players to purchase artifacts directly for the first time. It has some significant discounts compared with buying credits, and even more for those with an Elite Membership!
  • We implemented a no loitering policy in Mission Control rooms, to discourage people from setting up triggers to snipe the big prizes. They’re all now no teleport rooms too, so no mark returning etc. The rooms outside are the same as they were, it’s just to hopefully make it clear that you shouldn’t be going AFK inside the actual game rooms. We also tried to make it clearer that although sniping is part of the minigame as not everyone has the money to buy 50 batteries to make sure they get the prize they want, we do also expect folks to be considerate (as in all aspects of our community), and that setting up triggers to snipe people is strictly against the rules as per HELP AUTOMATION. (Tl:dr – If you’re going to snipe someone who’s just shot lots of batteries, it may be prudent to expect that people may be upset about it, so just… please play nice, spacers!)

November

That can’t be healthy. Must be one of Grek’s designs. Photo by cottonbro from Pexels
  • We launched November with another big auction, which turned out to be the biggest we’ve ever held! Competition was fierce for two player ships, the first two player habitations and many more goodies.
  • Credit shops were added to all the faction stations’ trade terminal rooms. You will now find that a lot of the utility things you might win in a promo are available around the world with credit prices attached to them. These are bought with bound credits only, and are available whenever you feel like buying them!
  • We also added all of the standard promo pets to the pet shops of the sector, as well as some other premium credit items here and there, so keep your eyes peeled for credit items in NPC shops! (Pets have currently been removed for bug reasons, but will be readded very soon!)
  • We added a creator field to designer/mixologist/chef designed items, as well as showing whether it is spiked or harmful by looking at/probing it. If it has a mixologist and a creator (a player designed cocktail in a player designed glass, for example) it lists both separately.
  • We added lots of new design types to cuisine, art and fashion.
  • Storyteller Argus launched the first player contest to design a whole new bashing area, with a deadline of the 16th January (so you still have time to submit if you want to!) – this is an unprecedented opportunity to really make your mark on the game’s lore and landscape!
  • We made the Dynasty Ships perk into a dynasty permission (power) attached to their position in the org (or assigned to be a default power if you like!)
  • FACTION SHIPS are now a thing! People in positions with the Faction Ships power will now be able to designate/undesignate/claim/list faction ships, and they work pretty much like dynasty ships – designating/undesignating and claiming will now also be added to the faction/dynasty’s log.
  • Customization requests for items now automatically take basic payment on submission – if you have atomic matter articulators in your inventory it will take them first as default, then it will take the rest from your bound credit balance if necessary. If you don’t have enough then you won’t be able to submit the request, and if you’ve requested additional features beyond nondecay, resetting and description for your customization, this will be taken by a producer afterwards. If for whatever reason we reject your submission, these things will all be refunded/returned to you.
  • We held a successful ‘Cyborg Monday’ sale, with bargain lessons and a brand new bodymod artifact – Bushraki Wings! This new item introduced the ‘Body Mods’ description section to players’ appearance and paves the way for a new bodymodding system.
  • The black market was improved and you can now trade up to 1000 (received goods) in one go, and the cost ratio increases much more slowly. The outlay required now goes up by 1 for every 150 comms sold of that type globally on the black market. So if you start with 1 iriil being worth 3 ultarine, and you buy 300 iriil with 900 ultarine, the ratio will then go up to 1:5 etc etc. This resets every RL day with random commodities being listed the following day with base ratios.
  • Made the $(me$) variable actually work in the worn and eaten events of designs.

December

Happy Holidays!

  • The long-awaited HABITATIONS system was released, so that players may finally own their own homes around the sector, rather than all living in their ships! Details of the systems can be found in HELP HABITATIONS and HELP REALESTATE. Player habs cost credits, but we’ve made sure that there’s something on the list to suit any budget, starting from 100cr for a basic hab in a less affluent area, all the way up to a palatial 12500 mansion in the Diamond Belt! Big shout out to our Storyteller and Worldbuilder team for all their work writing the default descriptions for all 74 new room types.
  • We added functionality to buy a habitation attached to a player shop owned by you!
  • Opened the Winterflame area, with some extra bits and bobs including snow angels and some new wares. The Floating Market is also visiting the festival this year with a pop-up market, with lots of goodies on sale until the end of the month, AND a new quest!
  • We made a new ‘effects’ system for appearance related sparkles. These are viewed on your description and can be managed with the EFFECTS command.
  • Released an Admin Transparency statement to clarify how we work, play and what we allow our volunteers and producers to do!
  • The 15th December saw Starmourn’s 3rd birthday, and my, how far we’ve come! Every player who logged in on the 15th or 16th received a special commemorative badge and a free simple giftcatcher on us!

And… that about sums it up so far. We still have a couple of weeks to go, which will see rewards galore for Winterflame Helpers, and much merriment throughout the holiday season.

Looking forward to 2022

Where will we be zooming off to next? Image by Peter Fischer

More of our plans will be revealed in our New Year post, but here’s a hint at what’s (provisionally) in store…

  • Shipmodding.
  • Bodymodding.
  • Improvements to the industry, economy, and Market systems.
  • Development of PvP conflict systems.
  • Improvements to the performance/arts systems.
  • Expansions to the hacking system.
  • More collectibles sets.
  • RP events and some exciting new areas.
    And much, much more…

PLEASE feel free to discuss on the forum in response to this post, what YOUR priorities would be for Starmourn in 2022. We want to be led by player needs, so we welcome your input!

When creating new systems and fixing up existing ones, we keep all of your ideas and feedback close in our minds, and rely on you the players to help us to move forward in the best way, so please do keep submitting your IDEAs and BUGs, and discussing the things you enjoy and the ways you hope the game will progress in our Discord channel, as we take all player feedback and suggestions seriously! This is YOUR game, and we want to see our community flourishing and happy.

Thank you so much for joining us in 2021 – now ON TO 2022!

Many, many loves, and Happy Holidays!

Damiel <3

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Grab a free gift on us! – Happy 3rd Birthday Starmourn!

By Damiel | December 15, 2021 |
Us devs holding onto you, our precious and sparkly players. You beauties, you.
Photo by Brigitte Tohm from Pexels

Today – the 15th December 2021 – is Starmourn’s third birthday!

And hasn’t it been quite the year?!

(full annual update post to follow at the end of Dec, but this is just a summary!)

We started the year with ship customization improvements, and a new batch of Storytellers – Nicnevin, Argus and Neritus! We introduced Smash tables, newbie kits and daily streaks. We added lawlessness as a proper thing, crew spars, spacewalking and a ship VR arena, as well as an ooc command, class emotes and soooo much more.
In June we lost our previous Lead Producer, Eukelade, as she moved on to pastures new (on good terms, and she does come back to help out every now and then!) and Neritus and I took over as co-leads.

Actual evidence of Neritus and Damiel surveying their new kingdom. Photo by RODNAE Productions from Pexels

Since then we have launched Hardcore mode which was an IRE first that saw permadeath being a thing for the first time in all the realms. We (read: Neritus) did a HUGE revamp on armor and weapon modding, giving you your own team of employees for the first time. We recruited MORE new Storytellers (welcome, Domin and Astor!) and more volunteer coders (hi there Ferenzi and Bricky!).

Takes a breath

We introduced the art tradeskill, we had a full round of classleads, we built, stocked and evented the Floating Market, we made player shops a thing, we launched player habitations, enabling you to own your own home in Starmourn for the first time. We made credit shops and broke records for the number of missioncontrol shots fired in one month. We reworked ship weapons, and mining – introducing ore crushers and gas compressors and making harvest drones universal. We made faction ships a thing, and made large asteroids explorable and explodable BOOM!

Real life image of Gwoss Brinn yelling at an asteroid. Image by Geralt.

We introduced Rapadruk, and held a great roleplay event for halloween centered around the HugTech factory. OH MY GOD WE ALSO INTRODUCED SPACE TWITT… Flogger!

Sooooo much has happened this year that I’m legitimately staring at the 2021 announcement posts boggling and actually feeling really very proud of all of our staff, volunteers and players. We may still be the little sibling in the IRE family, but we sure as bala pack a punch, right?!

…and we have no plans on stopping!

To thank you all for sticking with us, or to welcome you back if you’ve recently returned (it’s been amazing to see so many old faces returning lately), or to welcome you for the first time if you’re new – we on the Starmourn Team would like to give every player of the game a little anniversary present.

This could be your actual face of joy if you log in to Starmourn today or tomorrow. Legit. Photo by Adrienne Andersen from Pexels

If you log on in the next couple of days, you’ll receive a limited edition, interactive item and a simple giftcatcher – no strings attached.

Thank you again, from all of us. Here’s to another year in space!

Damiel

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