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bluegeek 01-04-2013 09:47 AM

Workarounds for Decision Making - Argh!
I'm in the process of expanding a mission I authored awhile back. It was way too short to qualify for rewards and needed some more oomph, so I'm adding more to the story.

What I wanted was to give the player the option to follow a safe course and avoid combat, or to choose sides in a battle and have the other side attack the player. I also wanted to fix it so that once the player chose sides, they couldn't go back and also choose the other side. I also wanted to preserve the option to just make a break for the planet.

I tried to keep it simple, I really did. But I kept running into limitations and had to keep reworking the objects, triggers, states, and dialog success/fail.

I finally set it up so that the player has a choice of three satellites to interact with (or even none!), instead of just talking to one contact to set up the logic that triggers the events I want based on a conversation tree. After two days of this, I finally got the basic logic working. I still don't know yet whether I will be able to successfully spawn the friends and enemies the way they need to be. I think it will work -- I hope it will work, because I really don't want to have to tear this down again.

What it boils down to is that the Foundry elements of components and objectives are rather restricted in how they can interact with each other. Component A can change state based on triggers X and Y, but not Z; Component B can only change state with triggers Y and Z, but not X, etc.

We really need better (and less frustrating) ways of setting up branching and optional objectives and to set up decision-making trees in a more logical and less roundabout way. I will say that, in some ways, the Foundry has greatly improved over earlier iterations and I look forward to even greater flexibility and usability in the future. But the limitations are driving me nuts...

voporak 01-04-2013 10:13 AM

I honestly have no idea what any of that stuff means (lol, I am not too great with the foundry), but I do agree on the less frustration/more flexibility. Like I am making a mission where I want the player to warp through a transwarp gate and into a planet (it's actually intended as something else), but it always faces the player away from it and warps them into space. I wish I could set which direction I want to warp through. And then I'm trying to set triggers for some invisible walls, but I don't want to go into that nightmare.

So, um, yeah.

bluegeek 01-04-2013 11:02 AM

If I get the chance I'll go back and give some specific feedback about the specific limitations that gave me problems and why.

At the moment, I don't have the luxury of being able to open the Foundry to review and I don't recall exact details because I'm a little sleep deprived :)

Some of it was various components that you can trigger to become visible, but can't trigger again back to hidden. Some of it was not having the full range of triggers available on every component. Some of it was not remembering what I had to do to make optional interactions on components. Some dialogs I couldn't set to fail. Fun and games with Reach Markers I thought would work as the triggers I needed, but didn't and finally ended up taking out as unnecessary.

The ability to trigger state on objective/component failure would be nice, too.

Oh, and slightly off topic... why the heck don't nav beacons show up on the map during mouse-over with their given names instead of 'nav beacon'?

zahinder 01-04-2013 12:00 PM

Amen about nav beacons. It'd make SUCH a great way to direct people and shape a mission to have 'points of interest' like that.


nagorak 01-04-2013 03:33 PM

At one point Nav beacons actually had a radius around them on the map (it was colored orange instead of yellow for normal objectives). I don't know why that was removed. It made it easier to show players where to go for optional objectives.

Anyway, if you want to branch you're better off using dialogue prompt reached with a map dialogue. It works a lot better than interacting with objects because with interacts you're limited to only one thing that can hide the object. That means you're stuck with basically a binary choice.

Using a map dialogue you can have a lot of different options.

bazag 01-05-2013 01:59 AM

It is possible to base multiple trigger paths on a single dialog. However the Dialog in question has to be a map object dialog that has to be triggered. It cannot be a default dialog, a talk to contact objective dialog or a popup dialogue.

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