What Is Psidonia.org?
Well, it's my personal web site, of course. But even back in the days of Psion's Other Dimensions, I always envisioned a personal web site as being more than a place to put pictures of my pets and a copy of my résumé. I've always viewed my site as a forum, a place where people could talk back and exchange ideas rather than sit and read in mute compliance. I guess that was a new idea in the time before sites like Slashdot.org, but today, many sites operate on that model.
Gaming is a big interest of mine. A wonderful way to pass time, especially in the company of friends and very late at night. Although board games (Risk, Chess, Talisman, etc.) are lots of fun, my personal favorites are role-playing games (Dungeons and Dragons, Villains and Vigilantes, GURPs, etc.), where one assumes a persona with set capabilities and then works to resolve an adventure within the limits of that character. It can be a bit like improvisational drama, although most players tend to look at it as little more than rolling dice and making marks on paper. By comparison, computer RPGs have always struck me as being rather weak because of their scripted, stick-to-what-the-programmer-thought-of nature.
Eventually, it occurred to me that an environment could be created that combined a forum with gaming. Most people use a pseudonym or "handle" when they sign into an online community such as this. Their reasons for doing so could range from a desire for anonymity to insecurity to a desire to role-play. I have a hunch that visitors will enjoy combining their browsing experience with gaming, blurring the distinction between the two, such that the game influences the site, which in turn influences the game.
If Psidonia.org suffers from one thing it is a lack of distinct focus. I'm afraid it suffers from my own hyperactive tendencies to quickly bore with any one thing. But I have managed to narrow things down to three, extremely broad categories, each impossible to master even by themselves:
Not just pretty pictures, but any progeny of the human spirit. Stories, paintings, music, movies, even gaming are all forms of art. And they're reflected in one form or another here at Psidonia.org.
Important facts about the world around you, sometimes on a very personal level (if you're a close friend in the appropriate group). Not only do I want you to know about what I think is essential, but I expect you, as responsible citizens of Psidonia.org, to keep us informed, too. That is why you have the ability to write articles for the site.
It is a methodology for understanding, a philosophy of curiosity, an ideology of reason, and it has been an armchair interest of mine for as long as I can remember. Astronomy, Electronics, Computers, Physics, Paleontology, Archeology, Genetics, Cybernetics, Chemisty, Robotics, Geology, Herpetology, Mathematics, even Meteorology are interesting subjects that provides answers to questions about life around us. And more importantly, science in general provides a method for investigating those questions in the first place. A method that is, when properly applied, free of prejudice and prior conclusions. A method that speaks of gathering information, constructing a hypothesis, testing that hypothesis, and announcing a theory that others can pick apart and attempt to disprove. A process that discards unproven or weak ideas in favor of more rigorous ones despite the influences of politics, religion, or folklore.
And then there is the real reason all of this exists: to give me something fun to do with my computers. So I roll my own code and test my own buggy subroutines. Psionium, the engine behind Psidonia.org, is 100% original code, with nothing taken from anywhere else. So expect odd behavior, unusual interfaces, and unique approaches. This isn't something I downloaded and figured out how to run. It's all mine.
Psidonia.org is modeled after a geopolitical place. With citizens (hopefully you, if you've registered), political leaders, and local money -- the Quatloo. Thank Citizen Ichiban for the suggestion, there were many alternatives out there, but his idea of using something called the Quatloo as the base unit of currency sure seemed to strike a chord with me.
Quatloos are used for many things, and they can be completely ignored if all you want to do is read and post articles or comments. But if you participate in any of the games around here, they are used for betting ("20 Quatloos on the newcomer!"), buying options to improve your abilities, or just comparing how well you're doing compared with the rest of the unwashed masses. You can also give Quatloos to other citizens, if you're feeling charitably inclined, or take them without permission if you think you can get away with it. Of course, all of that is just part of the game that runs behind the scenes. Again, if you choose to, you can ignore all the tomfoolery and just settle down to read and write. Or you can ignore the articles and settle in for an evening or afternoon of entertainment. Or ignore them both and go visit someone else's 404 page.
You'll get 100 Quatloos just for signing up and becoming a citizen. Posting an article costs five Quatloos, but you'll earn five centiQuatloos (.05Ql) for every word up to a maximum payment of 25 Quatloos. Posting a comment to someone else's article only costs 2 Quatloos, and you get paid an additional five centiQuatloos for every word up to a maximum of 10 Quatloos. This was done to help discourage the infamous "Ka-ching" posts that people were engaging in just to rack up their bank accounts.
Psidonia.org currently runs on a simple Compaq Presario running Linux Mandrake. I use Apache for the server software, and program in PHP with MySQL for the database. I'm running from DSL in my own house, and my provider is APlus.net.. They're reasonably good, and worth doing business with if you're in the market.