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Survival Guide - Dust Settles: Forums

Table of Contents:

I. Purpose
II. Location
III. Layout
   A. Colors and Symbols of Interest
IV. Notification
V. The Rooms
VI. Posting
   A. Starting New Thread
   B. Replying to a Previous Thread
   C. Forum Tags


The forums are a place for you to discuss strategy, build alliances, ask for help, or just chat with other players and the admins. You will be able to check on new ideas being discussed, the latest in-game babble, and any new requests for advice through the forums.

The overall design of our forums is fairly simple for in-game use, but very effective for getting your message to the appropriate person. You will have to have a validated account in order to post in the forums, but you can open and read them in the meantime. Once you are validated, you can begin posting as you want.

Remember, the forums are public and may not meet everyone's standards of decency at all times. If there is a particularly offensive post, the admins can and will remove it, but each post is subject to a set standard of decency (a.k.a. if someone says crap in reference to the waste that just hit overflow status in his camp, we probably will not remove the post, but if someone has broken a rule, we will take the proper course of action).

When you post in the forums, be courteous to the game and those playing it. Post your question, comment, or problem with a good attitude and you will generally get a positive response.

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Bottom Bar Forums Link

The forums can be opened by clicking the notifier on the right side of the screen. This will open the forums in a new browser window so that you can continue playing while posting.

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Forums Layout

When you open the forums, a new browser window will be opened with the forums inside. Here you will be able to see the four main rooms for conversation. Inside each room will be the posts and any replies associated with that room. The main page will show you the rooms, how many different topics have been posted in each room, how many total posts are in the room, and the date, time, and author of the latest post. Below this is a table with statistics about the forums and the game itself. You will be able to see what other camps have been active within the last 15 minutes and what sort of association they have with the game. GameAdmin will be listed in purple as the board owner. The other admins will be listed as board administrators in red. People who have contributed something to the game will be listed in green, while senior members will be listed in blue. All other members will be listed in black. These colors will only be shown in this table, though, not in the main boards. Below this you will be able to see the total number of posts on the boards and the total number of rooms.

Forums Details

In-Game Forums Search Tools

Just between the rooms list and the statistics you will see a search option. Use this as you would any standard search to see if there is already a post discussing what you're wanting to talk about. Often times, if you create a new post about something that has been discussed in a previous thread, especially a recent one, a reply with a link to the older post will usually be made and the thread may be locked, especially if the topic has been much more heavily discussed in the earlier location.

Forums Navigation Tools

Whenever you are moving through the forums, you will obviously need to get back to previous pages. The way you to do this is through the links at the top of the page. You can use these to get back to the room you were chatting in or even back to the main page of the forums so you can change what room you are in. You might also want to move through the different pages in each room using the navigation tools at the top of the room, just under the "Make a New Post" link.

There will be two sections inside each room, one for stickies and one for normal posts. Each post will be listed with the title as the link and the subject below the title. The post date and time, the number of views and replies, and some of the statistics on author and replies will be listed in the columns beside.

Forums Posts

Once you enter the post itself, you will see the original post on top with the replies below. Replies are listed in the order that they are submitted so new replies may be on a new page. The author of each post/reply will be listed on the left with the text of the message on the right. The date and times of the post/reply will be listed above the message itself. Also the camp mottos (signatures in other forums), will be listed below the main text of the post/reply. The camp's flag and any trophies the camp has earned will be seen below the camp's name, as well. If the post was made by an admin, you will see a small image representative of the admin beside his/her main message. Below all of the replies, you will see the links for posting a reply of your own and for moving through the pages of replies that a thread might have. Just below this will be the search tools. This will not search the thread alone, but the entire forums.

Navigation and search tools found once inside a post

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Colors and Symbols of Interest:

There are a few colors and symbols throughout the forums that you will see. These are used to indicate new posts/replies, highly active threads, and threads that have been locked.

As you are playing the game, you will probably have read at least one or two forum posts. In order to keep you from having to reread every thread to find the one reply that you haven't read yet, all threads will be ordered by date/time so that the most recently added or replied to posts will be at the top. Also, any threads that have been added/replied to since your last login will be highlighted in green to alert you to this. The green color will be seen both for the room the new post is in (so you don't have to search through each one for the latest posts) and for the thread itself. New replies to existing threads will also be indicated with a small red "New" beside the date and time of the actual reply. To remove the color and "New" notifications from the threads so that you will know which posts are really new, click the "Mark All Read" link at the top of the forums page. Remember, not to just refresh the browser window though without clicking another link or you could mark a post as "read" without having actually read it.

Beyond these, you may also see Symbol for a room with a high amount of activity this exclamation point beside the title of a thread. This means that the thread has received a number of replies and will probably extend beyond one page. This image Symbol for a locked thread will be seen beside the title of a thread that has been locked. Threads are generally only locked if the conversation gets out of hand, if there has been another thread (especially a recent one) discussing the same topic, or if the thread contained a question that was sufficiently answered. Locked threads will also have a yellow notice at the bottom of the thread noting that it is locked from reply.

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Right Column Forum Post Notification Whenever you log into the game, you can quickly check to see how many posts have been added/replied to since you last logged in on the right side of your game screen. Any posts that have been made since you last logged in will be noted in the notification box. This number will only change if you logout and log back in, mark all posts as "read," or if new posts are added while you play the game. Thus, if there are 8 new forum posts when you log in, the right column will still display 8 new until someone adds a new post/reply or you mark them read. Also, when you go into the forums, the newly entered/replied to posts will be highlighted in green for easy recognition.

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The Rooms:

There will always be four rooms for you to chat in. Each room has its own purpose for posting. You must actually enter one of the rooms before you can post your question, comment, thought, or idea, so choose the one that best suits what you want to post. Obviously, you are already reading the manual if you are here, but be sure to look through this manual before posting a question in the forums, especially the FAQs. The answer to your question might just be in here, and if it is, you will often be referred right back here. Bugs, typos, and other errors should not be reported through the forums. These should be sent through the reporting system linked on the bottom of your game screen.

The forums are NOT the place to post information about an exploit. Instead you should send an admin an e-mail or in-game message as per rule 4. This is not the place to blast the fact that you can send out twice as many busses as you actually have if you type in the number on a Tuesday while wearing candy heart covered boxers.

Also, NEVER post any specific information about another camp (such as battle reports, spy reports, and the like) in any room of the main forums. You can post information like this in your alliance’s forums in the appropriate rooms, but if you post them in the public forums, the post will be hidden and locked.

General Chat: This is the basic room for the random conversations that you might want to have with other camps during gameplay. This room is open for anything that you want to talk about (within reason), not just game-related topics. You will often be able to find out about alliances through this room.

Game Comments / Questions: If you run into something that you just can't figure out, and the manual is no help, use this room. Here you can post about strategies that you want to test/share, ask for advice from other players, and even find out about different things that we are working on. This section is NOT for posting bugs, typos, or other errors, though. Use the reporting system linked on the bottom of your game screen to report these. This section (or the Future Projects section) CAN be used for discussion of things that you would like to see changed, that you find unwieldy, or that you just don't like. Note: just because you don't like something about the game DOES NOT mean that we will change it if you post or message us about it. Reasonable requests will be taken into consideration, but requests/demands to change something core to the game we created will not be accepted (and by the way, threats to leave and take all your friends with you don't work).

Future Projects: If you have any ideas or suggestions about something that you think would make the game more fun or would balance a currently unbalanced feature, use this room to share your ideas. We like getting messages about what people find interesting and even irritating about the game. Many of these messages have sparked changes and major feature updates to the game in order to make things more well-rounded, fun, and intense. This is the section "Wish List" style posts should be directed to generally. Not all wishes will necessarily be granted, but all requests/ideas are noted and taken into consideration.

If you don't really like how something works, you can report it in this section. It is very helpful if you include at least one idea for how we can change it. Opinions that something needs to be changed are fine, but without possible alternatives we can't make changes as easily (or, if necessary, fully explain why things work the way they do. Trust me, there is a reason). Overall, if you're courteous, the people who reply will generally be as well.

Role Play: Because a number of people were interested in telling the stories behind their camp, there is a room specifically designed to hold these stories. This is a room dedicated to nothing but role play stories. There are a few simple guidelines for the room, but overall you're free to tell your story however you want. Get permission before taking over or adding to someone else's storyline. Give a warning at the top of the post if it's not PG-13 or less. Other than that, post what you want and have fun.

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Posting a new thread or a reply in the forums is easy. To do either one you will need to be in the appropriate room and, if you're posting a reply, in the appropriate thread to post your message. Any time you post you will type in the message (and title and subject if appropriate) and then click to preview the message. Use this preview to check for spelling errors, unclosed tags, and just to generally make sure everything looks right. Once you're satisfied with the post, click to submit it and it will be immediately available for others to view.

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Starting a New Thread:

Forums "Make a New Post" Link

If you decide that you want to post a new topic of discussion, choose the room appropriate for your post and do a quick check to make sure that it hasn't already been covered. Click the "Make a New Post" link at the top of the page or scroll down to the bottom of the page and click the link under the messages to be taken to the form for making your own post. You will then type an appropriate title, subject (if you want), and the main text of the message. Once you have entered all of this you will click "Preview & Send" to be taken to a page that will show you what your post will look like once you finalize it. Here you will be able to submit the final version of the post if you have no corrections/changes to make or you can go back to the form if you need to make alterations. You will have to click "Submit Final" from the preview page before the post will be added.

Forums Creating a New Post

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Replying to a Post:

Forums Replying to a Post

In order to reply to a post, you should first make sure that you are inside the page displaying the post you want to reply to. Scroll down to the bottom of the page and click "Post a Reply." After this you will be taken to a form where you can enter your reply. The original message will be shown above this form so that you can use it as a reference as you type your reply. Once you have entered what you want to say, click the "Preview & Send" button. Here you will see a preview of what your final message will look like. You can then edit the message if needed or post your reply by clicking the appropriate button. If you do not click the "Submit Final" button on the preview page, your message will not be posted.

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Forum Tags:

When posting a new thread or a reply to an old one, there are a few tags that you can use to add some special formatting to your message. These tags (based off HTML code) have both an opening and a closing part that will be needed to make the formatting change where you want it and only where you want it. The tags are listed below with examples (when possible) of what they do.

[u]This tag set underlines whatever is between the tags.[/u]
[b]This tag set bolds whatever is between the tags.[/b]
[i]This tag set will make whatever text is between the tags italic.[/i]
[color="#FF8C00"]This set will make the text between the tags whatever color you set between the quotes (").[/color]
[link ""]This tag will turn whatever text is between the set into a link to the URL you placed between the quotes.[/link]
[quote]This tag set will place whatever text lies between these quotes in a separate table cell with the text in italics.[/quote]
[txt]This tag will format the text within these tags with a fixed width. Great for large blocks of information or ASCII art.[/txt] (Please restrict you use of random ASCII posts.)

Example of a quote in a forum post

Example of text wrapped in the [txt] forum tag

A couple of things to remember. Make sure you end the tag properly so that the rest of your post isn't turned into a link or a quote incorrectly and make sure the tag is spelled correctly, especially if you are using the quote tag. If you are using the color tag, you can use a web-appropriate word (like red, green, blue, etc.) or hex code (like #990000). Check out this page or this one for some common colors (listed by name and hex code usually or just hex code) that will work through HTML. Be sure to check the text in the preview to make sure the color is visible on the background and that it looks like you were expecting.

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 Game Overview +/-
 Getting Started +/-
 Units and Resources +/-
 The Main Game Screen +/-
 Camp Activities+/-
 Research +/-
 Economy +/-
 Attacking a Camp +/-
 Alliances +/-
 Focus Paths +/-
 Camp Information +/-
 In-Game Communications +/-
 Extras +/-

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