I’m playing in a game right now with a small forum community, and we’ve got a few other people on the forum watching the game. We’ve been posting semi-regular updates to keep the people who aren’t playing up to date—screenshots of the galaxy map, empire stats, and intel graphs—but it can be a bit of a pain when we’re all playing under aliases because of the need to hide our identities. Additionally, we were hoping to do some after-action reports and post-mortem discussion once the game is over. I’ve got two suggestions that would help us a lot, and anyone else who’s doing something similar:
First, the ability to have spectators would be really useful. It would be a special optional player slot (or slots) that the game’s creator can turn on or off (and password protect, maybe?). A Spectator’s galaxy map would show star ownership, but no other information about a star (just like you currently see if you open a game you aren’t playing in, or that you’ve been defeated in). It also wouldn’t show carriers or ship counts. They’d have access to the leaderboard, intel graphs, and empire stats panels, and should also be able to choose an alias and send and receive diplomatic messages. Essentially, they’re like a player that just starts without any stars, and doesn’t take up a normal player slot.
We’d use this as a way to have a war reporter covering the game for our community, but there are plenty of other uses it could be put to.
Second, it would be nice if we had the ability to export diplomatic messages—a single message at a time or a player’s entire archive—in HTML format. Plain text would be okay, too, but I’d really prefer if it was in HTML and styled like diplomatic messages currently are. I’ve been planning to try writing a Greasemonkey script to do it, but any implementation I came up with would be a lot clunkier than one that was built right into the game.