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World Census Turmoil!

by Max Barry
Wed, 10 Feb 2016

When you think of the World Census, you probably imagine a faceless bureaucracy of bean-counters and pencil-pushers. Because that's exactly what they are. Sure, once a day, they manage to publish a global ranking of nations on some scale or another, but no-one knows which one they'll choose, and if you miss it, it's gone.

Well, there's change in the air! After an allegedly bloodless coup, the World Census is nearing the end of a major modernization, with the old-timers pushed out, hungry new talent rising to the top, and pencils and beans being replaced by tablets in the cloud.

What does this mean for your nation? Plenty. Rumor has it that the new World Census will offer:

  1. New scales. Many rankings had their scoring metrics revamped to introduce more real-world data, such as crimes per hour and atheism rates, and a few new ones have been added, including Highest Foreign Aid, Economic Output (GDP), and Average Incomes.

  2. Live rankings. No longer must you wait months to find out where you sit in the world for Largest Basket Weaving Industry, Nicest Citizens, or Nudest! All nations will be able to see where they rank on every scale at once.

  3. Historical tracking. What was your crime rate last week? You'll know. Because there will be a chart.

  4. Regional trophies. Regions that rank among the top in the world for religiousness, tax rates, corruption, or anything else will be graced with appropriate icons. And, as with nations, you'll be able to see where regions rank on all global scales. And their historical performance will be tracked graphically.

The World Census is cloaked in secrecy, of course, and no-one knows exactly who's in charge, but I for one tip my hat to it. It says a lot to me that even those who stood up and opposed the change in the beginning haven't been heard from since, nor seen. Sounds like progress!

Your Stamp Dollars at Work

by Max Barry
Tue, 08 Dec 2015

We've added a new dedicated database server. It's called "squirrel." There's no reason for you to care about that. But it makes things load a little faster and gives us headroom for what I hope will be a really great update in the next few months.

Thank you to everyone who's been supporting the site via the NS Store or by letting ads display! It's much appreciated.


by Ballotonia
Wed, 28 Oct 2015

In only a few days it will be Halloween weekend. A good time for nation leaders like yourself to kick back and relax, contemplating what the future for you and your nation may bring. That budget for next year has to be finalized soon. But you have it all under control, don't you? That's what you'd think, if it wasn't for those pesky Zombies which tend to crawl out of the local graveyard each Halloween, like last year... And this halloween as well, a zombie apocalypse is expected to befall the nations of NationStates.

Zombie apocalypse begins in:

Oracles have predicted that this years onslaught will be a bit more infectious, with stronger zombies. That doesn't bode well! Still, there's hope you can do better than before, especially if you're the kind of ruler who can plausibly proclaim afterwards you really did intend to have fewer survivors this time around.

What You Need to Know

  • The zombie apocalypse will begin 103 days ago.

  • It will run for 36 hours, ending 101 days ago.

  • As before, you will have three options: attempt to exterminate zombies with military force, try to research a cure, or join forces with the zombies.

  • Extermination converts zombies into dead citizens, posing no further risk to the uninfected.

  • Researching a cure slowly reduces your region's infection rate, and can even convert zombies into survivors.

  • Embracing the zombie hordes increases your region's infection rate. If a region contains many nations with high numbers of zombies, all resident nations will become infected quicker.

  • The extermination and research options become ineffective if you wait until the brains of your military and scientific experts have mostly been eaten.

  • During the zombie apocalypse, Founders and Delegates can close the region's borders at no Influence cost. A special Z-Day Border Control feature will be available to facilitate this.

May good fortune shine upon your nation... you'll need it!

Update! As before, there's a Z-Day Tally Board. The good news is that the total number of zombies is dropping. The bad news is that that's because they're falling down dead due to a lack of brains to eat. And dead is dead, these poor civilians cannot be resurrected (at least not until this Halloween event is over). While there are pockets of green with mostly uninfected, they typically hide behind border control, leaving the rest of the NationStates world to fend for themselves...

Update2! Despite the more infectuous and stronger zombies, the NationStates world managed to handle the zombie apocalypse better than last time around. 24.4% versus 21.7%. Quite the improvement! Notable is that both The Pacific and The West Pacific managed to get the hordes under control despite their status as Feeder regions. Doing so required cooperation among many many nations. Congratulations! One cannot say that it has been a success overall though, as the over 261 trillion dead can attest. Or, well, they can't...

Thank you all for participating in the event, we hope it has been fun regardless of your personal results. As you can see all populations have been restored to normal, but the Z-day results for your region and nation are still available with little "[+] Z-Day" links on the region and nation pages.

"Leader... Leader... do not... do not underestimate the powers of the Zombies or suffer your predecessor's fate you will."

Open Office

by Max Barry
Thu, 15 Oct 2015

Regional Officers are now available to all regions!

Thank you all who provided feedback during the initial few days of rollout. That led to the fixing of many bugs, as well as one major change:

  • The power to suppress and unsuppress posts on the Regional Message Board has shifted from Border Control to Communications

The forums are also hosting intense discussion about what limits we need to restrict the use of Regional Officers as a weapon for raiders, who attempt to seize control of other people's regions. The most popular proposals are:

  1. New Delegates should be unable to appoint new Regional Officers for the first 72 hours (but can immediately dismiss any existing Officers).

  2. New Delegates should be unable to make any changes at all to Regional Officers for the first 26 hours.

  3. Regional Officers should lose office if they're outside the region's borders at update time. (Alternately: only lose Border Control authority.)

  4. Regions should be limited to no more than three Officers with Border Control authority.

  5. Regional Officers with Border Control authority should face a small additional "flat fee" of influence for ejecting nations. (Currently, Delegates and Regional Officers can eject brand new arrivals at no influence cost, which helps when holding a newly captured region against would-be liberators.)

  6. Regions should be unable to eject more than one nation per second. (This would reduce the effectiveness of a team of Border Control Officers working together to hold a newly-captured region against liberators).

So we have to figure out which of these will work and which, like every other thing we've tried to restrict raiders, will actually be subverted into a weapon for raiders. If you have feedback, please contribute! This is a community-driven process and we want to come out with a feature set that accurately reflects community thinking.

There are also a few other tweaks and additional features to come, such as notifications and the ability to resign an office. And are we keeping Founder/Delegate names at the top of region pages as well as listing them under Officers or what?! I don't know. But stay tuned.

Regional Officers are Rolling Out

by Max Barry
Sun, 11 Oct 2015

Over the next few days, regions will gain the ability to appoint nations as Regional Officers, with authority over specific areas. For example, a Diplomacy Officer can be given the authority to establish embassies with other regions, and a Communications Officer to recruit and manage welcome telegrams. The name and authority of each office is up to you.

To identify the power a nation holds in its region, you'll begin seeing new icons on nation pages beneath the region, signifying their authority: Executive, World Assembly, Appearance, Border Control, Embassies, Communications, and Polls.

This feature has come from much community discussion over a long time: thank you very much to everyone who contributed! It's a big change (affecting over 5,000 lines of code) and could make a big difference to regional dynamics.


  • Regions may appoint up to 12 Regional Officers.

  • Executive authority is required to appoint, dismiss, or modify Regional Officers. Only Founders and Delegates can have Executive authority.

  • Apart from Executive authority, Regional Officers can be granted the ability to do anything a Founder or Delegate does.

  • No Influence is required to appoint, dismiss, or modify a Regional Officer.

  • Influence costs are doubled for Regional Officers. That is, most functions can be used freely, but some Border Controls, such as ejecting nations, are harder to use.

  • Regional Officers retain power until dismissed.

  • The Delegacy can be given a specific set of powers, rather than (as is the case today) being either powerless or fully executive. For example, a region could set their Delegacy to grant authority over Border Control but not Appearance.

For more information, see this helpful forum thread!

More Rankings Now Included

by Kindly Professor Hell
Sun, 21 Jun 2015

We have a new World Census ranking: Most Inclusive! You can find this on the Analysis page, as well as, before too long, a World Census near you.

To tell you more, here is Issues Tech Kindly Professor Hell!

Throughout history, nations have defined themselves in terms of inclusion and exclusion. The ancient Greeks and Chinese divided the world into two groups—people and barbarians—and knew that "the only good barbarian is an enslaved barbarian." In medieval Europe, it was considered good family entertainment to burn pagans, witches, heretics... and, of course, Bigtopians. And until very recent times, everyone knew that women were unfit to rule, even though on those occasions when a woman came to the throne, they proved themselves every bit as vicious and power-hungry as any man.

Of course, these are modern times, and a lot of nations are trying to do better. How is your nation doing? Has it evolved to the point that Bigtopian immigrants, UFO cultists, descendants of slaves, interior decorators and even artificial intelligences, zombies and the vat-born live together in peace, harmony, and mutual respect? NationStates now has a "Most Inclusive" ranking to help you see. Please don't look down on those nations that rank poorly, since that would be disrespectful of cultures that don't value inclusivity as much as yours. Which means: no gloating!

And if you don't happen to care all that much for inclusiveness—perhaps your policies are geared towards developing a Frightening economy, maintaining a pristine environment, and/or building a large enough army to crush your most determined enemies—you can just ignore this ranking, like you do "Most Cheese Exports". Although that's one you really shouldn't ignore. Cheese makes the world go round; if you don't believe me, just ask the Bigtopians.

Cards Against NationStates

by Max Barry
Wed, 01 Apr 2015

It's April 1st! You know what that means: time for another ridiculous NationStates mini-game. We used to do simple, mild pranks on April Fool's Day, like NationStates DS and destroying the United Nations and Liberal/Conservative NationStates and making everyone think they'd been hacked, which was actually not so mild but more terrifying and grossly irresponsibile.

But then we did the IPO Share Offer and it was so much fun that people demanded MORE MINI-GAMES. So then there were zombies and ByteCoin and somewhere along the way April Fools Day turned into "create what would be a pretty respectable site in its own right only to tear it down 24 hours later." Which I'm not sure makes a whole lot of sense. But here is 2015's entry:

Cards Against NationStates

Now I think about it, "NationStates Against Humanity" would have been a better name. Oh well! It's too late for that now.

Try it out! It's actually pretty fun.

Update! The banner link is gone, but the game is sticking around, since, you know, it's not hurting anybody.

Don't break the chain

by Sanctaria
Fri, 27 Mar 2015

This post comes courtesy of Issues Editor Sanctaria.

"We need more issues", you said. "Why are the editors taking so long to edit?" you asked. "Damn those Editors are hot", you gasped. And we heard you. We did!

This year we passed 400 issues in-game. Some of them have been controversial - like that time we put in an issue that kicked a few long-term delegates out of their seats (lulz) - but most of them have been widely welcomed. We write and edit issues for your enjoyment, and we always love to hear feedback. And by "we" I mean the other editors, not me, obviously.

But! We decided to do something not really attempted before - issue chains. We've had one in-game for a while which was a trial run for what we've endearingly called The Chain. This 19-issue story has different routes in which to travel, all with different endings. Involving a conflict with a far off nation, you can either solve your problems like the diplomat you are, or you can just be a jerk about it and start killing everybody. Either way is good.

The first issue in The Chain is called Diamonds Are An Expat's Best Friend! I tell you this because this chain is a once-off per nation - if you dismiss a single issue in it, you're never going to get it again.

We've worked on this for about 18-24 months. We hope you like it and let the Team know if you spot an error. You won't though. We're good.

Welcome, New Leaders

by Max Barry
Wed, 11 Mar 2015

What with all the kerfuffle, I forgot to officially announce Rift becoming our default theme, thus giving the site a fresh new not-so-2009 look. I was all keen to get this done during Feature February, too. And then I did but didn't say anything.

Anyway, you probably noticed. What you may not have noticed is a bunch of mobile & tablet improvements, too, so NationStates is no longer quite as actively hostile when you're trying to access it on your phone. The reason you might not have noticed this is because, if you're like me, it was so bad, you gave up trying that some time ago.

Meanwhile, the number of nations in the world has been ticking rapidly upwards, thanks to a little publicity on Reddit and elsewhere. There are currently a little over 135,000 active nations, which I'm pretty sure is the most ever, even more than back in 2005, when NationStates was the only good thing on the internet and there was nothing else to do.

In total, more than four million nations have been created over the last twelve and a half years. Four million! That's a lot of freedom. And I still feel like we're just getting started. There are some great projects in the works, including a big one that will almost certainly drop during March. It's not Feature February, but we don't let calendars tell us what to do. Stay tuned.

Data Leak!

by Max Barry
Sun, 01 Mar 2015

Some bad news: Yesterday we discovered that some private player data, including email addresses and password hashes, were inadvertently exposed to the internet.

Who is affected?

3,325 nations. This is 0.08% of the total, so you are extremely unlikely to be one of them. But please use this Data Leak Checker to make sure.

Additionally, some telegrams sent to these nations by 3,460 other nations were exposed. In these cases, no personal information was revealed, only the telegram contents.

What happened?

In late September last year, our backup disk started playing up, continually disconnecting from and reconnecting to its server. The disk was replaced on October 7. From our investigations so far, it appears that shortly before this, the disk corrupted two Daily Dump archive files in such a way that these files contained the wrong data.

This only affected two files as they were being copied into the long-term Daily Dump Archive. The regular Daily Dump files, which are regularly downloaded by third-party sites, were never corrupted and didn't expose any private data. But the archived version, which is made available for public access, did.

What do I need to do?

If your nation is one of the 3,325 affected, and you haven't changed its password since October 2014, you should immediately do so. If you use the same combination of email address and password on other sites, immediately change it there as well.

Only (encrypted) password hashes were exposed, not plaintext passwords. However, you should still change your password if it was exposed, because hashes aren't impervious to brute-force cracking by an attacker who has your data offline, especially if your password contains dictionary words.

What was exposed?

For the 3,325 affected nations, the exposed personal information was email addresses (where provided), password hashes (not plaintext passwords), IP addresses, and web browser UserAgent strings. Non-personal information included a wide range of internal nation data such as region name and internal variables. In many cases, especially for older nations that ceased to exist prior to the introduction of the new telegram system in February 2013, their stored telegrams were also exposed (up to 20). The great majority of these were recruitment messages.

We do not store credit card information, real names, addresses, phone numbers, or any other personal data.

What is being done about it?

The bad hardware was replaced in October last year. We took the new disk offline and performed a full integrity check on it. We continue to check our systems to make sure there has been no wider exposure. We have created a Data Leak Checker Tool to verify whether any of your data was exposed, including telegrams sent to exposed nations. We are emailing everyone whose nation was affected and who supplied an email address for that nation.

I'm very sorry for this incident. It's a terrible feeling to think your personal information has been leaked. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us.

Update: There is a discussion thread here.

Our Appearance Grows Ever So Modern

by Max Barry
Tue, 24 Feb 2015

As threatened, NationStates has adopted "Rift" as the default theme! So now nothing is where you left it.

You can select a theme from your Settings page, so if you prefer an alternative, such as "Dark" or our previous default, "Century," you'll find those there.

The most noticeable difference is nation pages have pretty banners, which are gained by achieving things such as high levels of political corruption or pollution. If you can call those kinds of things achievements. Some people do. I'm not judging.

If you've been using Rift already (in beta), not much has changed. Although it is now possible to customize which events generate Notices! So if it's been annoying you that you get a Notice for every new telegram and issue, you can stop that. Look for a "Subscriptions" link above or below your Notices.

This kind of change often brings little bugs and quirks, because there are a lot of different web browsers and devices out there, and who has the time to test them all. Please report any problems you see in the Rift thread!

Government/Industry Refactoring

by Max Barry
Mon, 05 Jan 2015

A few years ago, we performed a Grand Rejiggering to eliminate a few of the less desirable insanities of the internal NationStates model. Something similar is happening again, this time targeting government and industry size!

Preview the effects on your nation here.

What it is: A change to the model that determines the size of your government and industry.

Who is affected: All nations to some degree, although most only a little. A minority of nations will see very large changes.

What will change: Some or all of the following (only):

  • Some descriptive parts of your nation page; e.g. describing how large your government is
  • Your income tax rate
  • Your "Government Expenditure" chart
  • Your "Economy" chart
  • Your World Census score for "Largest Public Sector"
  • Your World Census score for "Government Size"

Why it's changing: To eliminate inconsistencies that can occur between your nation's description and its stats, and to eliminate illogical outcomes that can occur when nations answer issues a particular way.

When: Soon! Refactoring has been through several rounds of tests, and this is the last one. If no new problems are found, refactoring will be implemented within the next week. Update! We found a few things to change. Now we're likely to implement sometime before January 20.

Some details:

  • The biggest changes are in nations that strongly favor some industries and/or government departments while vigorously opposing others. Under the current model, in some places those decisions can cancel each other out in nonsensical ways, allowing a nation that's extremely anti-Defense and pro-Welfare, for example, to "pay" for its Welfare department by continually cutting a non-existent Defense Department.

  • Furthermore, due to this canceling effect, some such nations can today be described as having "no government" even though they clearly do support public spending in one or two key areas.

  • Refactoring allows us to fix a bug that makes it difficult or impossible for some nations to truly eliminate government spending in a particular area. This bug isn't very visible today because the "Government Expenditure" chart hides it. Refactoring exposes the bug's effects while preventing it from occurring in the future. As a result, as a one-off transitional effect some nations may see some government departments unexpectedly pop back into existence (Spirituality seems to be common). Going forward, these can be properly dealt with via issues.

  • Nations that broadly favor public programs may see an increase in the number of government departments under refactoring. Those that favor more targeted spending instead may see their number of departments shrink.

  • We can start tracking the portion of industry that is state-owned, which is particularly relevant to socialist economies.

For more, see the refactoring discussion thread!

Update! 19-Jan-15. Refactoring is now live! Thanks for your feedback!

Happy Holidays, Nations!

by Max Barry
Tue, 23 Dec 2014

That's twelve years now. Bam! A lot of people, when they hear about NationStates, laugh and say, "Wow, is that site still going? I had a nation like... ten years ago." Then they check it out and revive their nation. I'm guessing about that last part. But I bet they do.

Whether you're new here or have been around far too long, like me, thank you! I hope you have a great break and come back in 2015. Because we'll be here. Oh yes we will.

New theme: "Rift" (beta)

by Max Barry
Tue, 09 Dec 2014

NationStates is getting a new theme! And not just the kind of theme that simply tweaks how things look, oh no! This is the kind with features.

Eventually Rift will become the site default, with the current look (which is named Century, FYI) remaining available for those who prefer to stick with it. Rift is still in active development, but you can switch over and preview its awesomeness right now: Go to your Settings and choose "Rift (experimental)" from the Theme drop-down selector.

Or check it out at!

As well as a cosmetic spit-and-polish, Rift offers:

  • Banners: A rotating, targeted, customizable, unlockable set of images on nation pages. There are over 250 banners, which unlock upon achieving various feats, such as developing a strong economy or reaching high levels of political corruption. There are also custom slots for uploading your own images, once you've reached particular population levels. To select which banners display on your nation after switching to Rift, look for "National Banners" on your Settings page (or click here)!

  • Notices: Get a notification whenever a nation quotes you on a Regional Message Board, or endorses you, or you gain a new banner, and more!

  • RMB Likes: "Like" a post on your Regional Message Board to show your appreciation for your fellow regional residents' wisdom/wit/delusion!

  • A redeveloped side panel offers larger, more tablet/phone-friendly buttons, along with direct links to things you need to access faster, including a quick-jump box to dossier nations and regions!

Now the major drawback: currently Rift doesn't translate well to the forums, especially if you use the forum sidebar (which is the default). If you turn off the forum sidebar by clicking the tiny X in its top-right, you'll get a topbar instead, which is somewhat more useful. In time, Rift support will extend to the forums, but for now it's not so great.

Since Rift is still in beta, things may keep changing! You can help this process by reporting bugs or offering feedback in the Rift discussion thread.

Have You Got Issues?

by Sedgistan
Thu, 06 Nov 2014

This post comes courtesy of Senior Issues Moderator Sedgistan.

Update: The Issues Contest is now closed! Thank you to everyone who entered! More details...

Issues are an integral part of NationStates, blending topical political commentary, incisive wit, and no small amount of ambitious family members. The overwhelming majority of these issues have been written by you - the people playing NationStates. In order to correct the occasional typos, formatting errors and garbled syntax that even the veteran NationStates player can fall foul of, we have a small but dedicated team of Issues Editors.

These Editors pluck promising submissions from the pools of mediocrity, polishing them to a gentle sheen, before dumping them in the laps of our governments.

We're now running an Issues Contest - the third such one, in fact, which offers you - yes you, the chance to become an Issues Editor. How do I enter, you ask? Simple - write a new, original daily issue according to the official guidelines and email it to [email protected]. Submissions are limited to one per player, and please ensure that you include your nation name in the email.

For further information on the contest, see this thread in the Got Issues forum, where you can find additional advice on how to write a winning issue, and also post any questions you might have.


by Ballotonia
Fri, 31 Oct 2014

Like last year, a zombie apocalypse is expected to occur this Halloween, continuing our annual tradition. Is two years in a row enough to call something a tradition? Let's go with it anyway.

Zombie apocalypse begins in:

This time the server hamsters have been fed a bit extra and have been in training. The idea is handle the onslaught more smoothly although the apocalypse lasting 6 hours longer than last year means it'll be tough to beat the record 20% survival rate. Especially with certain nations (*cough* you know who you are *cough*) purposely trying to help the zombies take over our beloved NationStates.

What You Need to Know

  • The zombie apocalypse will begin 1 year 103 days ago.

  • It will run for 36 hours, ending 1 year 101 days ago.

  • As before, you will have three options: attempt to exterminate zombies with military force, try to research a cure, or join forces with the zombies.

  • Extermination quickly converts your zombies into dead citizens, posing no further risk to the uninfected.

  • Researching a cure slowly reduces your region's infection rate, and can even convert zombies into survivors.

  • Embracing the zombie hordes quickly increases your region's infection rate, as infection rates are region-based: if a region contains many nations with high numbers of zombies, all resident nations will become infected quicker.

  • The extermination and research options are more effective the more survivors you have, becoming ineffective if you wait until your military and scientific experts have mostly been eaten.

  • During the zombie apocalypse, Founders and Delegates can close the region's borders at no Influence cost. A special Z-Day Border Control feature will be available to facilitate this.

Good luck all!

Update! By now the zombie apocalypse is almost halfway through. A rather disturbing death toll is building up, way higher than the figures from last year's Halloween zombie apocalypse. This is an indication that the survivors will have to fight even harder now to stay alive. And this apocalypse lasts longer than the one before... Not a good omen. As expected, the big regions are hopelessly lost this time around as well. Some smaller regions managed to quickly take action and get the infestation under control. All those in the middle find themselves in a fierce battleground.

Like last year, a Z-Day Tally Board is available. You can compare that with the final graph from last year.

Update 2! In the second half of the apocalypse, the survivors fought back! After their number dipped below a meager 60 trillion they managed to get the upper hand. It also helped that quite some zombies ran out of brains to eat and perished. In the end almost 70 trillion survivors managed to carve out a space for themselves while holding off the remaining 12 trillion zombies. What an easy life! At a survival rate of 21.7% (a new record) these happy civilians can look forward to a new post-Halloween dawn. Don't mind the pile of close to 240 trillion dead, move along now, move along!

Thank you for partaking in the third NationStates Zombie Apocalypse event, we hope everyone had a great Halloween!

"Mama always said life was like a box of chocolates. She never mentioned zombies."


by Max Barry
Mon, 14 Jul 2014

As NationStates continues to grow in depth and complexity, I'm pleased to announce the addition of the cutting-edge Conjugator Mk IX Grammar Simulator shard to our core nation-modeling engine. With support for nouns, adjectives, and plurals, grammar has never been so much fun!

So you can specify what your people are called, instead of having the game take your nation name and stick "ians" on the end. Go to your Settings page and you'll find a new Demonym text field. There's also a little "(?)" for help and extra options for those sophisticated/persnickety nations that require total control over national grammar.

This will be used in your national description on your main nation page, and in various issues when referring to your people and national assets.

Embassies are Now Good for Something

by Max Barry
Tue, 17 Jun 2014

Not that regional embassies have been pointless. They have had plenty of points. It's just that you've had to decide for yourself what those points are. Now, though, there's something regional embassies are unambiguously good for! Posting!

Delegates and Founders will find a new setting in Region Control for granting posting privileges on the Regional Message Board (RMB) to nations in embassy regions. There are two ways to go with this: opening the board up to every nation that sits in a region with which your region shares an embassy, or only Delegates and Founders. It's entirely up to each region.

Unless that setting is changed, posting on Regional Message Boards continues to be restricted to residents only.

If you're concerned about peace of mind, never fear! Nations banned from a region cannot post there, regardless of embassies.

While we're talking RMBs, did you know you can preface a nation's name with the @ sign to create [nation]-style tags? Probably not! Because it wasn't announced anywhere! But you can!

There are a ton of great new features nearing completion at the moment, so step back, buckle in, and prepare yourself for a FEATURE EXPLOSION. Maybe don't buckle in. I mean, it could be another couple of months, and then you'd just be sitting there, wondering when to unbuckle. And just as you stand up: FEATURE EXPLOSION. We don't want that.

My Book is Smaller and Cheaper

by Max Barry
Wed, 02 Apr 2014

Page-Turner of the year
Chicago Tribune

The year's smartest thriller
Time Magazine

Buy Lexicon from

The words brilliant and exemplary aren't adequate enough to convey the amazing craft of Lexicon.
Associated Press

The Guardian

You know the problem with novels. They're so expensive! Until, that is, they come out in neat, affordable paperback:

Time Magazine Top 10 Fiction Books the Year

Goodreads Best Books of the Year

Kirkus Best Fiction of the Year

Chicago Tribune Page-Turner of the Year

NPR Best Books of the Year

2014 Alex Award Winner

iBookstore Best of the Year Best Books of the Year



So now there's no reason to put off getting that awesome book everyone's talking about. By which I mean Lexicon. The book I wrote. That's the book.

brb buying ByteCoin

by Max Barry
Tue, 01 Apr 2014

BitCoin has been in the news a lot lately, turning ordinary people into millionaires, then back into ordinary people again. The wonderful thing about BitCoin is it's a currency, but without any of the cumbersome government regulation that stifles innovation, facilitates tax, and prevents banks making off like bandits with all your money.

NationStates is a progressive place, so it's only right that we unveil a cryptocurrency for nations. But not BitCoin—no, we have something better. Eight times better, in fact. It's NS ByteCoin!

Getting started with ByteCoin is easy. Just navigate to your nation's home page and click the START MINING BYTECOIN button. This commences a process whereby ByteCoin is manufactured out of unicorn tears and orphan wings. It may feel strange and uncomfortable, seeing money produced out of thin air, but that's only because you don't pay much attention to the Federal Reserve. This is actually how it usually works.

Of course, you need somewhere to put your ByteCoin. It's not like you can just pop it into your pockets. It doesn't really exist. So you need to select a ByteCoin exchange to hold it. Exchanges are other nations that have completed a rigorous application process, probably right now while you're reading this, which involves paying a hefty fee. Then they can hold other people's ByteCoins! This is actually completely safe and under no circumstances is there any chance that an exchange will lose your money, unless hackers.

But that's not all. You can also swap ByteCoins into your own nation's local currency. I mean, it's not what I'd recommend. Everyone's really getting into ByteCoin these days. Selling out... well, I won't tell you what to do. But it's weird. Anyway, you can do it. And since the price of ByteCoin fluctuates, just a little, you might even be able to make a little by swapping in and out at the right times.

Good luck! And remember, ByteCoin isn't about getting rich: It's about freedom! And getting rich!

ByteCoin MarketplaceByteCoin Activity

Update 1! Well, the servers are being destroyed by traffic. That's why everything is slow to load. Sorry about that. Of course, back in the day, we often had lag worse than this. Not because of April Fool's events. That was just what we called normal. But nowadays, a server gets slow and everyone's like, WHAAAAAAT.

However! If this is annoying you, don't worry, it will all be over soon. Soon-ish. I'm letting this run a little longer than usual, to avoid forcing US East Coasters to stay up until 3am again, and because a lot of work goes into setting these events up and I like watching them.

Update 2! I'm shocked at how little thievery there was. Oh sure, a few trillion were pilfered here and there, but for the most part, ByteCoin exchanges stayed true to their word and stole almost nothing from their customers. I have to say, I feel it's my fault. I failed to create an adequate simulation of the real world.

There was some debate about whether the ByteCoin prices were market-driven or just some dumb random algorithm. I can now confirm that a true market mechanism was always the only acceptable option for ByteCoin, up until about March 31 when I realized how hard that was to code. So it was a dumb random algorithm. Except for Titanfall, which was a plan by some big ByteCoin players to try to crash the market by all selling at once, which I caught wind of and simulated to freak them out. That was fun.

Thank you for playing with ByteCoin! If you'd like to see your final holdings, you can use the tiny "ByteCoin Status" on the right side of your nation page, or click here.

by Max Barry

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