by Max Barry

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Happy Holidays!

by Max Barry
Tue, 21 Dec 2004

Best wishes to all our players (in a non-denomination-specific way, of course) as we close off 2004. It's been a big year for NationStates, with the move to Jolt, a bunch of improvements, and the game basically doubling in size. Thanks for being part of it!

And while we're reflecting (well, I am), check out the amazing "Why I Play NationStates" post from Lindim. Brings a tear to my eye, it does.

Millionth Nation Created!

by Max Barry
Tue, 07 Dec 2004

Hot damn, we've broken the magic 1,000,000 barrier! That's a million nations in a little over two years. No wonder the world feels crowded.

Because the number of names reserved for former nations is getting kind of ridiculous (850,000 and counting), we'll soon begin releasing the names of nations that were purged for inactivity more than 18 months ago. That means you'll be able to create a fresh new nation with the same name as an old, deleted one (and the old one won't be able to be resurrected).

And no, before you ask, bribes will not get you first crack at a cool name. Don't look at me like that, I know you were thinking it.

MaxChat 3.0: The Log

by SalusaSecondus
Sat, 13 Nov 2004

For all those who missed it or forever wish to remember this day in their life, we now have a prettified log of the chat. It's all there except for parts/joins/modes.

NationStates is 2!

by Max Barry
Sat, 13 Nov 2004

NationStates circa October 2002 Can you believe it's that time again? A mere 24 months ago, an innocent web host took receipt of a bunch of CGI scripts in exchange for $4.95 a month. Sadly, the relationship was not to last (apparently having their servers attacked by tens of thousands of would-be tyrants wasn't within the "Acceptable Use Policy"), but NationStates has gone on to better and brighter things.

The other day I stumbled across a very early version of NationStates that was still hiding in the recesses of my hard drive, and took this screenshot. This was around October 2002, before the game opened. Look, no United Nations! And the sidebar picture is ripped off from the SimCity site!

Happy Birthday NationStates!

MaxChat 3.0: The Reckoning!

by SalusaSecondus
Wed, 03 Nov 2004

That's right folks, it's that time again!

We are proud to announce that Mr. Max Barry will be stopping by our semi-official IRC channel for a third Q&A session! If you missed the first two, now is your chance to ask all those burning questions! click the following link for precise, around the world, date and time:

Location: #nationstates on

You will need an IRC client, such as mIRC to access the channel. If you have problems access the channel, see the "Nationstates IRC" sticky in the forum. Hope to see you there!


by SalusaSecondus
Mon, 11 Oct 2004

I'm always amazed at just what the players of this game do and once again something has been brought to my attention that I just have to share with the rest of you. NationStates has an (unofficial) encyclopedia! This is a WikiWiki which means that anyone can add and contribute to it (there are instructions). Have you always wanted to have an encyclopedia article dedicated to your nation, its history, military, trade, religion, language, etc.? This is a chance to do it. Enjoy and please wiki responsibly.

UN Bureaucrats Screw Up Delegate Records

by Max Barry
Sun, 26 Sep 2004

In a colossal red-tape snafu--not to be confused with a game bug--UN Delegacy records went out of whack today, causing all kinds of alarming results. Some nations that should be regional Delegate are not; other nations that shouldn't be regional Delegate are; and... actually, I guess there are only two kinds of alarming results. But rest assured: everything will be back to normal soon. Any nations who have found themselves with an undeserved Delegateship should enjoy their brief moment in the spotlight while they can.

Resolution is at hand

by Max Barry
Thu, 23 Sep 2004

Ever felt sure that a particular UN resolution must have sneaked through when nobody was looking? (Although, now I think about it, with regard to the first one this is actually true.) Well, now you can do something about it! You can attempt to have a UN resolution repealed.

If you visit the page of Past UN Resolutions, you'll see they now have little "Repeal this Resolution" links. These take you to a page where you can propose that resolution be repealed (i.e. rolled back). Like any other proposal, your nation can only do this if it's a UN member and has at least two endorsements.

The process is then much like any other kind of proposal: it goes into the general pool for UN Delegates to consider, and will only reach the UN floor and be voted on by all member nations if it gains enough Delegate approvals.

If a repeal is passed by the full UN, the original resolution is stricken from the record and no longer binding on UN member nations. In practical terms, this has an effect on UN member nations similar to the original resolution, but in reverse and milder.

All current UN member nations will be affected by the repealing of a resolution, whether they were members when the original was passed or not. This may change in the future, if people seem outraged enough by it, but for practical reasons--we have no record of which nation was in the UN when any given resolution was passed--this it how it works for now. Enjoy!

150 Issues!

by Max Barry
Mon, 23 Aug 2004

Thanks to submissions from players and a lot of toiling over a hot text editor from mods (especially Sirocco), we have just hit 150 Daily Issues. Not bad at all, given that we started with only 30!

Ph34r our servers

by Max Barry
Wed, 28 Jul 2004

Most of the major forum problems have been solved now, and what's more, they don't crash every time you try to make a post. So that's an improvement! Jolt tells me that the forums are now powered by more than 15GHz worth of processing power and 12GB of RAM -- which is roughly an order of magnitude higher than what we had before, plus we're no longer running the forum and game on the same box.

View our failings

by Max Barry
Tue, 13 Jul 2004

Just a reminder: keep an eye on the Known Problems page for the latest info on forum issues! It's easier than, uh, checking the forums.

Houston, we have forums

by Max Barry
Tue, 13 Jul 2004

The forums are up, and, of course, NationStates players have taken it upon themselves to give them a battering. It's a little like this: we told Jolt there was a dragon in the cave, but they are just now discovering how big the dragon is. They are gazing upon its scaly magnificence and suddenly their Shining Swords of Vengeance don't seem so deadly any more.

So please bear with us. The forums are likely to be a little dicey at first, until Jolt works out the best way to manage demand. Also, once we've got the immediate capacity problem solved, there will no doubt be a bunch of other, less important forum issues to tackle. Rest assured that we will tackle them. Just as soon as we get new swords.

Forum Status Update

by SalusaSecondus
Sat, 10 Jul 2004

It occurred to me that a bunch of players would probably like to know when the forums will be up. Clearly this has taken us more than the 72 hours previously estimated. So, now that statements of the obvious are out of the way, what's going on?

Well, since you're dragging it out of me, 99% of what needs to be done has been. Things have been tested and are working, the forums are set up. Basically all that remains is for everyone involved to sit down briefly, go down the checklist and make sure that everything really is ready and that all concerns of all parties involved have been dealt with.

What does this mean for you? Well, two things: 1) I don't have an estimate for when it will happen. 2) Whenever it does happen, it should be soon.

-- SalusaSecondus

An update from Max

by Max Barry
Sat, 03 Jul 2004

A family emergency called me away immediately after we moved to the new server, so it's been a little chaotic, sorry. Thanks so much to the mods and especially SalusaSecondus for picking up some slack and keeping this place ticking over. Sal basically had the entire admin job dropped in his lap at the most difficult time possible and he's done an outstanding job.

The situation: the game is running pretty nicely on the new server now. It will switch over from the IP address to the nice '' name very shortly (which may require you to re-create your autologins in "Settings"). Our forum has been imported into Jolt's system, but we don't yet have the bridge up between it and the game. I'm not sure exactly how far away this is, but it's currently the number one priority. When it comes up, the sidebar menu will show a FORUM link and "Latest Threads".

Bumpy Road

by SalusaSecondus
Tue, 29 Jun 2004

First, this news post is by Salusa, so I'm praying that I've figured out how to use this news program correctly. Also, I'm not as much a public speaker so this isn't going to be funny or witty or amusing.

The migration isn't going quite as smoothly as we had hoped. There are, as I'm sure many of you noticed, various small issues going on, and I'll get to fixing them as soon as I've addressed the big one, namely that the update isn't executing properly. In the mean time, please report any serious game problems through either the Getting Help page or by reporting it to us through IRC (irc://

Thank you for your understanding.

-- SalusaSecondus

Whip me, beat me

by Max Barry
Mon, 28 Jun 2004

Well, the new server is getting well and truly spanked, and is not exactly what you'd call lightning-fast at the moment. This is partly because everyone is logging on to check it out, and partly because you have to download the site's graphics all over again, and partly because we haven't quite got the web server settings right yet.

Hang in there -- this is a temporary situation.

Nation creation is disabled for the moment, as we're still in the process of copying across ex-nation data. This will be completed within 24 hours.

We're through the looking-glass here, people

by Max Barry
Sun, 27 Jun 2004

Welcome to our new server! Nice, huh? Roomy. You can stretch your legs right out.

As mentioned previously, the forums will remain down for about three days--check this page or the IRC channel for updates. The game will also operate under this IP address ( for a couple of days, then switch back to the address we all know and love.

Please report errors and problems to! Due to the need for admin to fix things rather than talk about fixing things, you probably won't get a response (so if you have a question instead, try the IRC channel), but we will read all e-mail and investigate.

Don't go cold turkey: help is at hand

by Max Barry
Thu, 24 Jun 2004

While the server is on the move and the forums are down, several of our moderators and admin will be hanging out in the #nationstates channel on So if you have questions, want updates, or need someone to share your withdrawal symptoms with, that's the place to be!

Downtime Ahead

by Max Barry
Mon, 21 Jun 2004

We're off to new servers, and, as a result, the game will experience some downtime. Yes, for a short but terrifying period, the internet will be without NationStates. Somehow we will all just have to find the will to soldier on.

There are two parts to NationStates: the game and the forums. The game will be unavailable for a fairly brief period, while the forums, which are being completely replaced, will be down for longer.

Here are the details. The entire site will be down for approximately three hours beginning Monday 28th June 2004 08:00 GMT (click for the time where you live). When it comes up, it will look all swanky and new!

The forums will go down at the same time and remain unavailable for approximately 72 hours. When they come up again, they will be part of the Jolt forums, look very different, and not crash every five seconds. There will also be some functional changes.

Watch this page for updated news as it comes to hand!

Please note: the move to new servers (and forums and software) is a big step, and technology being what it is, there may be a hiccup or two. If so, please don't panic; we'll get everything sorted out eventually.

UN Delegates on the record

by Max Barry
Mon, 17 May 2004

From now on, when a region elects a new UN Delegate, the date this occurred will be displayed on the Region page. Thus, you'll be able to tell at a glance whether any region's Delegate is a new kid on the block or has ruled the place longer than you've been alive--uhh, I mean, founded.

Current UN Delegates can keep their election date a mystery by never losing the Delegateship. Good luck with that.

NationStates gets Jolted

by Max Barry
Sun, 09 May 2004

It began in November 2002, nestled alongside a hundred or so other web sites on a shared server. Ten days later, there were two thousand nations, the server was grinding, and the web host was yelling threats at me about cutting off access. Clearly, I realized, a $10 per month account was not going to cut it. In January 2003 I moved NationStates to a dedicated server. Then I moved it to a bigger one. Then I doubled the memory. But player demand always outpaced me.

Now it's time to go the next level. Stepping out of the shadows and wearing its underpants on the outside is Jolt, a huge UK-based online gaming network and home to more beefy hardware than you can shake a stick at. Jolt have been NationStates fans for some time, and have watched with tears in their eyes as our poor server collapsed again and again under the weight of our burgeoning player base. "Why, why," they demanded, "must this excellent game go without adequate hardware when we are literally rolling around in Pentium 4 chips? Look, right now Geoff is picking his teeth with a 512MB stick of memory. Surely we can help."

Damn right! And that's why I am thrilled to announce Jolt is about to take over the hosting of NationStates. This means:

  • A fast, reliable forum. I know! I can hardly believe it either. In a few weeks we'll all wonder how we ever put up with the old one. The new setup will be part of the Jolt forums, which means it'll be spread across multiple servers and tended by actual IT people with real qualifications and everything. Fancy! All your current threads and posts will be retained, but the forum will look different to the current one, and will have a Jolt banner ad up the top.
  • A makeover. My complete lack of graphic design talent is noticeable, apparently. So Jolt is prettying up the place. It wont be a complete redesign, just a bit of a re-spiffing. (Shut up, it is so a word.)
  • I no longer have to juggle kittens on the streets of Melbourne to pay my bandwidth bills.
  • Jolt and I will partner to develop NationStates 2, the mysterious and hotly debated sequel to NationStates.
Apart from that, it'll be the exact same game that you know and play way too much of.

As we migrate, there will be a couple of relatively brief periods of downtime, during which you won't be able to access the game, plus a prolonged period (perhaps a week) when no new nations will be able to be created. I'll have more details on the when and whats shortly.

NationStates has needed professional hosting for a long time, particularly in the forums. At last it's almost here!

NationStates in schools

by Max Barry
Sat, 01 May 2004

I'm doing a bit of work to make NationStates more school-friendly, and part of this is adding the ability to set up a "class region." If you're a teacher looking to use NationStates as part of your curriculum, check out NationStates for Educators. You might also find it handy if you're a student who goes to one of those schools that thinks we're a threat to young minds and blocks access to us. It's true: in some schools, it's compulsory to play NationStates and in others, you're not allowed to. Who is right? Is there a third option? Sounds like a Daily Issue to me.

Server Move Delayed

by Max Barry
Wed, 28 Apr 2004

It's taking longer than anticipated to get our new server up and ready -- it was expected that we would move hosts this month, now it's looking like next. Everything is still happening, just a little slower than we hoped!

Another Chat With Max

by Max Barry
Wed, 28 Apr 2004

The transcript of the second IRC interview between NationStates players and me is now online! We must do this again sometime.

MaxChat 2.0

by Max Barry
Thu, 15 Apr 2004

Since my first IRC interview with NationStates players was so much fun, we're doing it again. Come along if you want to ask me some questions about the game, my books, or anything else you like.

This time we're staging it at a more Europe-friendly time: Saturday 10PM UTC. Here's what time it'll be where you live. It all takes place on the IRC server, in the channel #nationstates. If you'd like to ask a question, join #nationstates_Q&A as well.

See you there!

Just kidding

by Max Barry
Thu, 01 Apr 2004

And, of course, that was an April Fools joke. Nobody's population has been changed. You can stop writing me e-mails now!

National populations reset

by Max Barry
Thu, 01 Apr 2004

Good news! A long-running bug that allowed some nations to grow much faster than they deserved has now been fixed. This means nations can no longer benefit from abusing the so-called "population bug."

Because it's impossible to tell who exploited the population bug and who didn't, all nation's populations have been reset to 5 million. This way we can ensure a level playing field.

NationStates moving to new host

by Max Barry
Fri, 26 Mar 2004

We keep getting more popular, and our server keeps getting slower. I actually feel kind of bad for our server. It's working so hard all the time, and it never gets a break. I just keep piling on more work, and still it doesn't complain. What a yeoman.

But it's making it a pain to play the game, and almost impossible to hold a discussion in the forums. So it's time to pull in new hardware.

In April the game will move to a new host (about which I'll have more news shortly). We're in the process of setting it up right now. The game and the forum will each run on separate, big, muscular servers. This will solve our performance problems for the foreseeable future.

I'm not sure what will happen to our current server. They'll probably rent it out to somebody else. I hope they treat it better than we have. Maybe it can retire to a quiet, easy life serving up personal home pages. That'd be nice.

NationStates: now in button form

by Max Barry
Wed, 24 Mar 2004

In the middle of redesigning my own site, I stumbled across a page full of political web buttons. That's kind of cool in its own right, I know, but what's really cool is there's a NationStates button:

I have no idea if it was designed with this site in mind, but either way I'm co-opting it. So if you'd like to link to NationStates from your own web site, get this puppy into action!

National Security

by Max Barry
Thu, 04 Mar 2004

Today's tip for keeping your nation safe: if you decide to join an off-site NationStates forum, don't use the same password as here. If you do, that forum's admin may be able to view your password, and use it to log in to your NationStates account.

This has happened to several nations over the last few days. The culprit has been identified and banned, but, alas, there will inevitably be more sad little people willing to stoop to such tactics in the future.

Wear Your Politics On Your Chest

by Max Barry
Sun, 29 Feb 2004

T-shirtThis morning I woke up and thought, "It would be pretty cool if you could get a T-shirt with your NationStates nation type on it, like IRON FIST SOCIALIST." It's funny the things your brain comes up with first thing in the morning. And dammit, it's right: that is cool.

Thanks to CafePress, it's just a hop, skip, and a lot of clicking to go from idea to online store. So check it out: NationStates T-shirts!

On the Road

by Max Barry
Thu, 12 Feb 2004

My US book tour is almost over, but it's been great fun. I've met a bunch of NationStates players, including this motley collection in Iowa City. (Play spot the moderators -- there are two here.)

Thanks to everyone who made the effort to come see me! I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.

Max now on US Book Tour!

by Max Barry
Sat, 31 Jan 2004

If you live in one of these 10 American cities, now's your chance to see me sing, dance, and sign books in person. Well, not sing and dance. But I will sign books. And talk about stuff, like what it's like to write a nation simulation game that gets played by half a million people.

So come on down! See here for my schedule.

Chat with Max

by Max Barry
Fri, 30 Jan 2004

The internet chat between myself and NationStates players was great fun, with plenty of incisive questions and... well, me trying to answer them. If you missed it, a transcript of the event is available here.

Thanks to everyone who took part, especially Karmabaijan and Myrth for making it happen!

Talk to me, baby

by Max Barry
Tue, 27 Jan 2004

What better way for me to kick off my impending US tour than having an electronic chat with NationStates players? Yes, now's your chance to grill me with questions about the game, the sequel, the book, the film, what I eat for breakfast, or anything else you've been dying to know. Or you can come along and watch other people grill me. That'll be fun, too.

The chat will be held on the IRC server, in the channel #nationstates. If you'd like to ask a question, join the #nationstates_Q&A channel as well. And if you have no idea what I'm talking about, you can discover the wonderful world of internet chat via this IRC primer.

I'll be online at 8PM US EST this Thursday evening -- see here for your local time. Sorry to those people this time doesn't suit -- we'll take a transcript, though, so if you can't make it, you can read all the juicy details later!

We're Official!

by Max Barry
Tue, 20 Jan 2004

NationStates has just acquired a listing on the Multiplayer Online Games Directory, and is already zooming up the Top 100 list. Help us into the upper echelons by voting for NationStates today!

Caching Problems Fixed

by Max Barry
Thu, 15 Jan 2004

A fix for caching issues seems to have worked pretty well, so they should now be a thing of the past. See the problems page for details.

Smaller, Cheaper, and Gets Out Stains

by Max Barry
Tue, 06 Jan 2004

Jennifer Government: the novelJennifer Government, the novel you've been meaning to buy for ages, hits shelves across the USA and Canada today in flexible, inexpensive paperback form. That means even nations with imploded economies can afford to enjoy it! Rush to your local bookstore and elbow aside other customers for your copy today.

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