Should public chats be transient?


This is something that I started to think about during the (so far) closed alpha tests, but I think it’s something that can be discussed by everyone.

When @molp and I started working on the chat feature of PU, we decided that public chat rooms should not be persistent. That means, when you come online, you can only ever see the messages that have been posted while you were online, but no messages from the past. This has the advantage that stuff said in public becomes transient…you don’t have to worry about someone reading what you posted in the (long?) gone past.

On the other hand, and that’s what I noticed during the alpha tests, it means that (by design) conversations get lost. If you write something that could be of interest to someone who’s not online…well…tough luck. You either have to open a private group or PM the user.

At the moment, it feels like that suggested solution (creating persistent channels) isn’t used much…people are automatically members of the global chat room and that’s what’s getting used by everyone. Might be something temporary while the world is so small, but that’s how it is.

Therefore I’d like to know your opinion: Should public chat rooms be transient or not?

  • Yes, they should be transient
  • No, they should be persistent
  • Don’t care

0 voters


I am not sure that there is a hard and fast rule here, since public chats as I understand that a couple of different forms. I can see the rationale for say solar system chats being transient if you view them as the communications you can pick up while in the system. Other public chats though might well be the games own version of systems like discord.


I’d compare it to these existing real-world example:

  • Transient: IRC
  • Persistent: Discord

Both systems have decidedly different feels to them :slight_smile:


In IRC, many people have a chat log attached to the channels they care about to deal with the transient nature. Or, as a stop-gap measure, I for instance run an IRC client in an always-on screen on a server somewhere, so I only loose the history if I have to restart the screen for whatever reason.

Which, generally, is fine. Mostly, the history from a year ago is useless unless it is properly searchable, but even then searching through natural language conversations is a bitch. I guess a decent compromise is to have, say, two, three days of history for these public channels.


Perhaps depending upon the nature of the specific channel? Is there a reason there needs to be a single rule for all public channels?


Sure, that option always exist. In this particular case, I guess I mostly have the existing global channel in mind that everyone joins by default on entering the game.


I’d vote the public channels to have a limited persistence of say 24/48 hours.


I used the public channel instead of the help channel simply brcause I didn’t know. Had I known beforehand, I would have posted into the help channel. I really like the idea of the public channel being persisent for one or several days, maybe a week.


I was thinking of something like this myself…perhaps global channels would be transient…but private channels (where you might discuss deals w/ other traders eg) would be persistent…so that you could track the specifics of deals made or something similar you would otherwise have to note down somewhere.


Private and group channels are persistent already. If you receive a message but you arent online you’ll see it next time you login.


Ahh…that’s good to know…then back to the original…global doesn’t need to be persistent I don’t think. I imagine there will be a newbie and help channel that might be set that way.

THen again…that wouldn’t be useful either…that is what the forum would be for (where you can search for help on a specific topic)!


For the main global channel I don’t think persistence in desirable, however having said that I know one thing that irritates me in other games is if I find I have to reload a page or reboot my machine during a game session and I lose the “active” history of a channel I was viewing, so some sort of short persistence would be grand, especially if it only worked for those whom were actually in the channel.


I’d go for a persistence of 48h. What to vote for that? :smiley:

Maybe for testing or while the game has still few players it could be longer, but long-term thinking, 48h should really be enough.


48h should be fine, yes. My original questions was more about the persistence itself, though. Even if it’s only a few minutes our hours…it means that someone who joins after you did can see what you wrote. There might be situations where that might not be desirable. On other hand, public channels are public, so if I feel like writing something take makes me feel uncomfortable when read by someone else/new, maybe I shouldn’t post it in the first place. But that’s exactly what I meant by “different feels”.

I think we’ll just go with a time-limited persistence for public channels by default and should the feature become more open in the future (for example allowing players to open own public channels) we can make it a channel-specific configuration flag.


We could always limit what a newly joined player can read by comparing the timestamp when she joined with the timestamps of the messages. So a newly joined player won’t see the history, but if he just logged out and comes back the full history since her last visit will be visible.


Sorry, wrong wording on my part: I was talking about a player merely being offline and coming back online, not necessarily the formal join/leave dates. Although the later already kind of implies that even when being absent, a person that’s a member of a channel should have a history of what’s been said.


Okay, for the “feel”, I’m definitely in favour of a persistent chat.
I’ll want to still be able to re-read the chat after being away for an hour or so… or even just switching devices.