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Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 12
10-17-2011, 05:49 AM
Originally Posted by Cerritouru View Post
Ok, I have just finish your mission. It took me near 2 hrs, but I think they were worth it.

The story, as you said, is simple.. you donít save the Federation here, but you manage to take a simple story and make it very interesting. Not only because you created 4 or 5 interesting characters (are they your toons?) but you also give us great mystery to resolve.
The technical use of the foundry was very good, you give us a lot of options to follow, and I appreciate that. Hoo, one question: Why you sometimes use a Constitution class for the contact NPC? You know you can use a Federation console as a promp, right?
The map were very good too, good job with the warp effect! The Atlas was great, but I have one suggestion, maybe rise a bit the roof of the Atlas, could be a bit uncomfortable with the game camera.

The mission is a 5/5, is a bit long, but I enjoy all the time. Well done and I cant wait for second part.
Thanks for your feedback. Sorry, this is a really long response. Maybe it can be seen as a sort of "behind the scenes" look at the mission's development.

I'll be honest, I was really worried about the length at first. I've worked on this mission off and on for months, and the full mission length ended up being about twice as long. But I had the problem that I was running into all of the Foundry limits (costume limit, story limit, map limit), so I figured that was a big hint that the mission should be split (that's the part that's now in Atlas Affair). The costume limit in particular was giving me a lot of problems, and that was what really pushed me to split the mission. Fifty costumes seems like a lot, but you can burn through them really quickly. Even as it is, I still hit the costume limit, which is the main reason why there are a few "audio only" transmissions.

Just as an example of just how poor a grasp I had on the mission length: I actually made another entire map where you beamed over to a freighter that was having a warp core breach. You had to help try to fix the warp core, and then evacuate the freighter. It was a really cool level, and I hated to remove it, but it became obvious that it was just one thing too many. Having that level would have just killed the mission flow, so it had to go. Fortunately, it's not a total waste, because I'm going to include it in another future mission.

Anyway, when my initial play tester timed her play through and it clocked in at around three hours, my heart kind of sank because I figured every other review was going to be a 1 star. I didn't actually mean for the mission to end up being so long, it just sort of happened. Then I logged in the next day and was surprised to find a few 4 and 5 star reviews, so I started to get my hopes up. But then I got two 1s and I sort of figured it was going to be all down hill from there. At this point, it looks like quite a few people enjoy the mission though, so I have been pleasantly surprised, and relieved.

Generic Contact
As far as using the Connie instead of the console. The reason I did it is because right now the console is too large to fit inside the dialogue box. All you see is the base, and I wasn't sure if people could even tell what it was. I wish I could use the console, because I have to "waste" a costume on that Connie, just so I have something to use as a generic image, but I just couldn't be satisfied with how the console looks currently.

In a way, when I'm coming up with a story, the most fun part for me is coming up with characters. Instead of just having a story and throwing in a few characters, I like to come up with characters, and then have them help influence where the story goes, based on their attitudes, background, etc. To me characters sort of are the story, which is why I included the conversations and such on the Atlas, even though a lot of it is totally irrelevant to the actual mission plot line (you'll meet most of those characters again in Atlas Affair, so it's also sort of my way of building some attachment to them).

I'm not sure how "efficient" my way of doing things is, because a lot of the content can just be totally skipped over. I suppose, you could make an argument that I should have just not had those optional conversations and instead used that time to make another full mission. But I feel it gives a little more life to the setting to have those minor characters there, and I enjoyed coming up with them.

Ujarka is one of my actual in-game characters. I've really liked Ferengi ever since I watched DS9, so I've been thinking up some stories for her for a while, and kind of got some of her background worked out just on the side while leveling. Originally she wasn't even going to be a part of this mission, though. What happened was at some point I decided I really needed to have a character I had control of "along for the ride", who could make observations and help drive the story along (and also help give advice to bypass any of the puzzles if someone gets stuck or doesn't want to deal with it). You can only do so much with the player's BOs because you don't really know anything about them, and if you start giving them too much personality it can really annoy people (and understandably so, since it's their character).

So, that change right there had a pretty big impact on the mission, including in some of the other characters you meet (don't want to say too much since it would be a spoiler for those who haven't played). Initially the mission was just going to be where you dropped in on Interstellar Space and started scanning freighters, which looking back would not have been nearly as interesting (it would have been shorter though). Then I had to come up with a way to introduce you to Ujarka, which spawned the whole task force, with you just being one of several ships involved. And since I already had Deck 13, I decided "what the heck" why not have everyone beam over for a briefing, and also introduce some other characters on the side?

A few of the other characters I came up with by designing them in the costume editor, and then something about them caught my fancy, so I developed a bit of personality for them. Maybe an amusing aside but Admiral Gonzales was originally one of the "models" in Ulysses Liddel's computer, but I decided that she turned out too well, and it would be a shame to waste her like that. Also, Captain ***ami (ok the censoring on the forum is a bit out of control, that's actually a legitimate Japanese last name, not something I made up) was originally a doctor, but I thought she had was too interesting to leave in such a minor role.

U.S.S. Atlas Ceiling
As far as raising the ceiling goes. I guess I can see how it might bother some people. I'm not really a fan of the super high ceilings in much of the game though, so I was trying to get away from that. When building the level I tried the ceiling at different heights, but didn't really like how it looked. I think the current height is a fair compromise, which should work OK unless the person has the camera zoomed out a whole lot. I don't know...if I get a lot of complaints I'll think about changing it, but for now I think I'll leave it.