Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
I'm sure I'm gonna come off as sounding harsh, and yes the Foundry is still very much a beta, but I keep seeing the same things crop up in a lot of really smartly thought out missions. This isn't supposed to turn into a thread about what you personally don't like about missions, but what things in general break and detract from any immersion in the same.

I'll start off with a few simple ones:

Remind the player where they're going


This one is right up there for now. There's nothing that I hate more than picking up a mission, getting worked up by its title and then realizing the author is pointing me to a system but has neglected to point out which sector block its in.

Federation Unemployment Must Be at an All Time High

Uncluttered, Underpopulated interiors. Again, fair enough, this is a beta and most of our testing in the Foundry is about getting the triggers to work and seeing what we can do to make our narratives feel less linear, but I'd hate to reinforce the idea that the only occupants of any ground map should be every bad guy you need to kill and the lone NPC converser princess slave girl I'm there to rescue. Where are the corpses? The computer consoles? Cowering red shirt hostages?

Attack Pattern Sigma

Enemy groups that are sitting around. In the open. Waiting to be shot. Again, it's beta, polish isn't on many people's minds, but it breaks immersion when the enemy guarding a space station has its nose pointed at the station, and away from any incoming line of attack. Please give some thought to your enemies, make it seem like they at least might be thinking about having to fight for their arguably expendable lives.

Hopefully this thread serves as some form of constructive criticism towards fellow mission builders, and hopefully others can add further points and tips for improving the overall quality of your missions.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 2
12-06-2010, 11:28 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by matrixaran View Post
I'm sure I'm gonna come off as sounding harsh, and yes the Foundry is still very much a beta, but I keep seeing the same things crop up in a lot of really smartly thought out missions. This isn't supposed to turn into a thread about what you personally don't like about missions, but what things in general break and detract from any immersion in the same.

I'll start off with a few simple ones:

Remind the player where they're going


This one is right up there for now. There's nothing that I hate more than picking up a mission, getting worked up by its title and then realizing the author is pointing me to a system but has neglected to point out which sector block its in.

Federation Unemployment Must Be at an All Time High

Uncluttered, Underpopulated interiors. Again, fair enough, this is a beta and most of our testing in the Foundry is about getting the triggers to work and seeing what we can do to make our narratives feel less linear, but I'd hate to reinforce the idea that the only occupants of any ground map should be every bad guy you need to kill and the lone NPC converser princess slave girl I'm there to rescue. Where are the corpses? The computer consoles? Cowering red shirt hostages?

Attack Pattern Sigma

Enemy groups that are sitting around. In the open. Waiting to be shot. Again, it's beta, polish isn't on many people's minds, but it breaks immersion when the enemy guarding a space station has its nose pointed at the station, and away from any incoming line of attack. Please give some thought to your enemies, make it seem like they at least might be thinking about having to fight for their arguably expendable lives.

Hopefully this thread serves as some form of constructive criticism towards fellow mission builders, and hopefully others can add further points and tips for improving the overall quality of your missions.
I agree wholeheartedly with what I think is the intent of your post. I'm trying to apply very similar ideals to the missions I create. The trouble I'm running into is that I spend so much time working around the limitations and bugs in the current Foundry (v0.3 as of this posting) toolset. I wanted to have two NPCs (regulars, with predefined costumes) sitting on chairs in the mess hall talking smack about the captain. To do that I have had to create two groups of Fed NPCs, driving 4 out of the 5 -200 underground so only one remains from each mob. Then I give ambient speech to each "NPC" and try to move the two groups close enough together so it looks like they're talking to one another. At present it does not appear to be possible to get them to sit.

I suspect this will get better as the foundry is refined and as better work-arounds are devised. I'll stop qq'ing for now, except to underscore the points I think you're trying to make.

EB
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 3
12-06-2010, 11:34 AM
Personally, I wouldn't expect much from #2 yet. That is polish and fluff. Right now, too busy with bugs, limitations, and the learning curve to bother with that, especially with missions that will only be on Tribble.

Mind you, I did do a slight attempt at it, wanted to set up a bedroom for a character. But found the lack of item choices to be a pain, though not nearly as much as trying to place things in 2D. Especially when you want to place something like a wall hanging. The whole map editing thing for objects is something that'll need a big time overhaul so we can do it in 3D before it becomes some what time efficient.

And even things like random dialogue need a bit of work. Need the ability to give the NPC several lines to choose from, rather than just one.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 4
12-06-2010, 12:30 PM
Agree BUT--foundry has a 'resource budget"-i had hit mylimit had to adjust. Adding to many npc's will quickly eeat away at your resource budget- rumor is c store option will allow to purchase mroe and more space (which i think is fair,i go to school for 3-d animation and modeling and even a single rigged npc model is a resource hog, let alone lights, and other assets). BUT yeah- in mymission i added a lot of what you said--npc bodies, carefully picked group emote/chat bubbles, i even named every single stinkiin npc u see wander around and ALL wear the AGT unis(which btw i even explain why AGT unis are now here and worn in the mission). Testing wise people want to get teh flow feel down before commiting to the details, rememebr we gotta rebuild any missions made here ground up in Holo, i been videoing my steps and narratin to myself with Fraps. Later assets/tools will allow me to go back and polish up old missions or go new-(i'll likely polish up if its well recieved).
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 5
12-06-2010, 01:32 PM
Well, I feel glad none of those apply to me.

Though I realized while working on my map, you see maybe 30 or more crew members across three decks you go to. Except my ship is 18 decks with a crew of 150... Which means I should be averaging about 8 people per deck. That almost feels like a ghost ship, heh. Especially after a third of crew's been killed off by Borg.


Quote:
Originally Posted by ebeyer View Post
I agree wholeheartedly with what I think is the intent of your post. I'm trying to apply very similar ideals to the missions I create. The trouble I'm running into is that I spend so much time working around the limitations and bugs in the current Foundry (v0.3 as of this posting) toolset. I wanted to have two NPCs (regulars, with predefined costumes) sitting on chairs in the mess hall talking smack about the captain. To do that I have had to create two groups of Fed NPCs, driving 4 out of the 5 -200 underground so only one remains from each mob. Then I give ambient speech to each "NPC" and try to move the two groups close enough together so it looks like they're talking to one another. At present it does not appear to be possible to get them to sit.

I suspect this will get better as the foundry is refined and as better work-arounds are devised. I'll stop qq'ing for now, except to underscore the points I think you're trying to make.

EB
If you position the NPCs juuuust right and set their idle animation to a sitting one, they theoretically should look like they're sitting. And then keep their chat animation to the same one, or some kind of sitting/talking combo.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 6
12-06-2010, 12:26 PM
I wanted to populate the ground map on my mission with bodies but wasnt able to, for the story i wanted to tell - there couldnt be any survivors other than the one contact you were there to rescue, but there currenly isnt any option to put dead or even injured crew into a map.

Personally, i agree with you but at the present time you would spend hours building the map that you wouldnt really be participating in the testing process at all, add to that the fact that any work you do now for your own personal pride (a hugely detailed mission for example) is lost once foundry moves to holodeck so... hopefully the tools being refined and the less fleeting existence of foundry missions on holodeck will allow people to make more detailed maps
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 7
12-06-2010, 01:34 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Colonel_Ez View Post
I wanted to populate the ground map on my mission with bodies but wasnt able to, for the story i wanted to tell - there couldnt be any survivors other than the one contact you were there to rescue, but there currenly isnt any option to put dead or even injured crew into a map.

Personally, i agree with you but at the present time you would spend hours building the map that you wouldnt really be participating in the testing process at all, add to that the fact that any work you do now for your own personal pride (a hugely detailed mission for example) is lost once foundry moves to holodeck so... hopefully the tools being refined and the less fleeting existence of foundry missions on holodeck will allow people to make more detailed maps
You can make seriously injured mobs. Not sure about dead.

What you do is place a group of neutral or friendly NPCs in the area where the bodies are supposed to go. I usually use Fed. Ensigns, mostly out of habit. Then you set their costumes to be whatever they are supposed to look like - klingons, gorn, tellarites, etc etc. Then, in the middle/bottom window you should see an option to change their animation. I usually use Hurt #2- they lie still or move just a little bit.

You can use a variant of this method to place a single NPC in a custom costume and/or animation. On all of the actors in the group you placed except one, you specify Y coordinates -200 (arbitrary). That pushes them way below where you'll ever see them. Hacky and ugly, but it works.

EB
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 8
12-06-2010, 03:46 PM
Why use two different groups? Although...groups scale automatically, so I guess you would get odd results at different levels or with teams. Hmmm.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 9
01-29-2011, 07:13 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by ebeyer View Post
You can make seriously injured mobs. Not sure about dead.

What you do is place a group of neutral or friendly NPCs in the area where the bodies are supposed to go. I usually use Fed. Ensigns, mostly out of habit. Then you set their costumes to be whatever they are supposed to look like - klingons, gorn, tellarites, etc etc. Then, in the middle/bottom window you should see an option to change their animation. I usually use Hurt #2- they lie still or move just a little bit.

You can use a variant of this method to place a single NPC in a custom costume and/or animation. On all of the actors in the group you placed except one, you specify Y coordinates -200 (arbitrary). That pushes them way below where you'll ever see them. Hacky and ugly, but it works.

EB

ebeyer,

For dead crew I used an animation called "Lie Flat - Front". All the bodies will be face down in exactly the same position, which isn't especially realistic, but they won't move.

You can filter "Lying" in the Action dropdown menu in the animation selection window to get all of the lying down animations, though I'm pretty sure Lie Flat Front is the only one that doesn't have any movement.

Warning: if you use neutral or allied mobs for your corpses, and enemies suddenly appear, your 'dead' mobs will suddenly stand up and attack!
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 10
01-29-2011, 02:19 PM
Set the npc group spawn Y coordinate at about 100, when they hit the ground, they should be injured.... Probably only works well on exterior maps.

Also, only denoted enemy group spawns will attack neutral "bodies", i.e., Targ enemy group, and Borg... Klingons don't seem to care...nor orion, or gorn.

Just an Idea
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