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Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 263
04-22-2012, 08:43 PM
Originally Posted by ZeroNavigator
I don't personally understand why Cryptic can't just release the ToolKit that they are using to create missions for STO.

Dragon Age Origins developed, published and then released the game and gave us an awesome Toolset Kit, polished down for player usage. Cryptic instead gave STO players completely different Toolset Kit that they now are working on to improve it for players instead of just giving us the game toolkit itself and work on whats important and what you still have budget for.
There are a number of possibilities:

1. There is a licensing restriction. Perhaps what they use requires some sort of commercial software and it would be expensive to extend the license to the community.

2. Cryptic doesn't want player-generated content to rival its own in terms of quality, because it would make their paid developers look bad—or potentially cost them jobs. Why pay people if the community can do the work for free? The only thing that PWE would need to do is hire proofers to make sure the community-generated content is appropriate.

Personally, I think this explanation is far-fetched, but I'm trying to include every possibility I can think of for completeness. Plus, workers are very often forced to find ways to maintain their usefulness. There's an old joke in IT that Microsoft's products are popular with IT folks because they're so unstable (this was particularly true in the past when we had DOS-based Windows).

There is also a consistency issue. If user-created content gains additional prominence by being made of higher quality due to more advanced tools, then the "one writer goes over every line personally" paradigm could become more difficult to maintain. I suppose it could be easier (for consistency) for the staff writer to change the material that interns produce and/or do the vast majority of the writing herself. By keeping Foundry content limited in functionality and thus limited in in-game impact, there is less of a demand for the staff writer to make the scripts conform.

3. Perhaps the tools they use are not friendly for novices. They may require hand coding, script creation, and so forth. They may also be diffuse/modular, which would make it more cumbersome for new designers to publish missions due to the requirement of moving from one mode to another, particularly if the modules are quite different in terms of UI.

4. The tools could be used to create conflicts, because they're too expansive. Someone might, for instance, create an alternate Earth Space Dock that conflicts in the game with the official one. There would have to be safeguards created to protect the existing content, and it could take considerable effort to shoehorn the developer toolset to conform with such restrictions.

5. Having a special development tool for users is good for marketing. If people were to be given access to the developers' tools, then there would be more complaints about unpaid labor. By creating a unique tool for players, Cryptic is seen as making an extra effort. This seems to be a weak explanation, but who knows, perhaps it is a factor—particularly if the developers' tools aren't very user-friendly.

There may be other explanations, but I'm not a video game developer so I'm just speculating.

I just hope the Foundry will be improved dramatically. They've already invested time into making a separate tool, so let's hope more will be invested to make it more worthwhile.