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zondi 11-19-2012 04:07 PM

I have a mission that I can't finish! I need your help! :)
Hey everyone,

(Skip to (---Question----) below if not into reading the life story of this question :))
I haven't posted on these forums in so long, but maybe some you you may remember me (wonder if XR-377 is still around?) Anyway, I made the Not Our War (NOW) series a while ago now, and it garnered much success, much more than I ever anticipated! And to that I really do thank you guys, because it obviously wouldn't haven gotten that far without the community.

But I digress. I'm making this post because I really want y'alls feedback for this dilemma I'm in.

Shortly after the success of NOW, I began to pen another set of missions. I had just played through Mass Effect 3 at the time and I really wanted to tell a story the drew inspiration from ME3 (choices) and Battlestar Galactica (plot-wise). I had huge plans for this series that was designed to be a dynamic trilogy called The Command series. The premise was that you actually become an Admiral and direct your forces however you want (within the realm of foundry possibility that is) and how you commanded determined how your story developed. Well, obviously there is no way to make different branches of stories within a foundry mission so my work around was that for ever major decision (3 total; 1 per mission) would determine what your next mission would be (as in the player would be told "you chose option A, therefore to continue this story arc select mission X). Well, in terms of story construction, that meant for 3 parts, I would have had to make 6 missions. Each one unique to the previous decisions you made in each mission. I was excited but when it came down to actually doing this the work required increased exponentially per decision (I was able to understand why ME3's ending was so non-fulfilling, they developers probably said to themselves "we really wrote ourselves into a chasm on this one").

Anyway, I'm writing this to say that I did develop the first mission to the entire story arc. After working on it off and on, it has been more or less complete for 5 months now. But it obviously ends with a major cliff hanger. You make a choice that can't be implemented within a single mission with this current iteration of the foundry. So its supposed to branch to 2 mission. I am not planning on developing the sequel missions. I just don't have the time like I used to when I was in college. (I am working on an actual manuscript that I hope to publish later, just FYI :))

So basically I am coming to you, my fellow foundry authors with a proposition. I worked on the mission off and on over 11 months. I want people to see it, but I don't like that fact that it's something that is unfinished (I hate when a show ends abruptly!) If I were to release this mission:
1) Would you recommend that I do in its current state?
2) Change the ending? ( I really want to avoid that, it would be similar to ME where you have choice through the whole thing...till the end haha.)
OR! #3) I pass on the story to anyone who is interested!
I mean I know anyone could continue my mission without my acknowledgement anyway, but maybe anyone who finds it interesting could continue the story if they find the endeavor worthy or enjoyable. No stipulations, I wrote the story for fun, you could continue off it anyway you see fit. I wouldn't mind if many of you guys developed sequels. I could implement the choice into the main mission that would link to your version of events. I would love to see the story I wrote concluded in ways I never imagined.

If this idea interests anyone, what I'll do is publish the mission (when the foundry is open again) and basically let anyone play through what it is so far. Even if you want to just test the mission to see if its balanced/playable/enjoyable, that is also highly valued.

I know I'm not too great at ideas, and I definitely understand that to develop a good foundry mission takes time and devotion, so I'm not expecting anyone to jump at the idea of writing a foundry mission. Only if this sounds like something that interests you.
I do not mind at all disclosing specifics to the story here if any party so inquires.

And if (likely) no one seems interested in doing #3, would anyone mind helping me test the mission for feedback purposes. Just tell me what you all think is best for this mission. I wasted too much time to just let all what i had worked on go to waste haha. Even if one of you guys enjoy the mission that would be mission accomplished in my book. (hopefully all my rambling makes sense).

Have a good one,

designationxr377 11-19-2012 11:33 PM

Well, I'm still here. I just wish I had more helpful words to say to you.
(but I may have an idea...)

I don't envy the position you are in. IMO you should put out something, especially with all the work you put into the mission. But at the same time you have that pain of leaving things up and hanging or the project incomplete. I personally respect and agree with your sentiment of not leaving your players hanging, but that also means any editing you do to try and stop that trouble will... in your own words, ME3 it.

You have a few options, but a lot to consider.

Right now your missions are standing as a chart-topper. It's a really good thing for your name (and perhaps ego) to keep those gems as the only things the players know from you. Putting out a project you know your not going to be able to finish, or will not be able to keep up to par to the others has the personal danger of pride. How humble you are in putting out the project is only something you can answer.

You put the time into it, beyond just what you constructed, and no doubt want to see that get out there. However, you also know the time to devote to it just isn't there as well. The best option you have to make you the happiest, I think, is to put out what you have and hand it off to other authors. It is also the most dangerous. You'd share their good work as well as their failures. You can't really trust if you put out your first mission that anyone will come around and finish it the way you want it. Let alone finish it at all and not just stop half way.

There is the option of putting out two mission. One where it completes with a simple ending you are content with, another where it doesn't and is as you originally intended.

And this... this is where I am sparked with an idea.

I don't know the mission, but I think I get the feel you are after. I don't know what is involved, or what you originally intended, but... using your own mechanics from NOW, you can perhaps have your cake and eat it to.

This is just a really rough idea, and would take a lot of bouncing but... imagine this. You release the mission as two missions. One completely as you intended. Original Cliffhanger Ending included. The second, you copy that mission over to make a duplicate of it... and introduce a time loop. The player starts at the beginning of the mission again, but this time, they have the IC knowledge of it. You write the dialog around that with them and their crew. That the player (or the players whole crew) have complete for knowledge of the events. Using that knowledge, this time around moving towards the end, the mission completes with a counter the player character has been able to make the second time around. You re-use the same maps, and encounters, but with creative story telling you can have them wrap up the ending in this version of the story. That way, you can use what you have a second time around to construct an interesting, but complete(ish) ending that can be stand alone if you, or no one else, returns the project.

If someone does come back, they can take off right at the end of the first mission, introducing a mechanic that "wipes away" the 2nd missions events. Since time is woobly... wabbly time stuff, you can wave your hands, mention some tech babble, and move on. If that never happens, you still have a complete mission which still includes your hard work.

You'd miss out on the whole overarching project of a multiple direction story, but, you were going to miss out on it anyways. If you do something like this, you could always come back or at least leave the option open to completion the way you like it.

Short Version: Consider publishing Mission 1 as is and as you intended.
Copy Mission 1's Project to make a new mission. Introduce time goop, use the map/settings/story to have the player bring about the end to the first one, before it happens.

It would perhaps be different than you intended, but... you'd not be burning bridges and would require less work then making a full new mission. And, if done well, you'd avoid the feeling of a simple one map "yay we did it!" ending.

Some thoughts to think on. All I can offer. Hope it helps you as much as my first set of advice did.

nagorak 11-20-2012 02:55 PM

I wish I could help you, but I don't have time to even make all of my own ideas. :(

Is it really impossible for you to finish the mission off? I know you said you're busy, but if you even set aside a couple hours every weekend you should be able to finish it eventually.

Using the Foundry can be good practice for other creative pursuits, as well.

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