To Cryptic, I like you guys, you've come on so far and out of all the companies I know that make MMO's you care the most, so I would like you guys to make more money as money means more development, the circle of life
I have an and idea for you
Would a free offline down-loadable foundry be cool? / beneficial to Cryptic in any way at all. - if not then read no more....
For those times when:
- You just can't log in for some reason,
- Internet is down,
- Not at your PC
- Just can't get enough of STO...
- Wasting time at work...?
- Got an idea for a cool mission,
- You actually believe you are a science officer and keep finding yourself unable to get a 3G signal to work on your i-Triquarter
- Fail to prove your theory that replicators can make the internet
Considerations: Create a mission and export the details in some kind of file (I assume it can be comprised of a simple config file and check flags etc) ready to be uploaded to the live foundry when you load up your live game.
Could attract more players, might be just the incentive for people to actually buy the game after playing with the editors and creators etc - thus making more revenue increased sales....good all round no?
Make it freely available for all with no catches, people will trust that because you are giving something for free but not expecting anything in return, not even a capture form, perhaps a valid email address would make sense to avoid spam bots or whatever - if the foundry gets updated and the config file is out of date upon upload, might need to include some kind of backwards compatibility / auto update to the config file.... but all in all, people like free stuff and people will use free stuff..... - champions is free and that strategy works for you too, look at linux its free and it works I mean its free and ppl use it and people are willing to contribute to it - the foundy could be like a sto distro of linux (my imagination surprises me),
Making the foundry online only just limits the amount of people that can use it - why limit your customer base?
Think of it this way, people create really cool missions and can test them with no issues, but they can never actually share them or play them until they buy the game, genius.... the mere fact that have already been hooked into something means the hard work is already done - also allows current subscribers more opportunity to do star trek online related stuff, thus improving the likelihood of a renewal in subscription, increasing in the likelihood of conversation between friends "hey I just been creating a mission on the foundry "tool" I have at work, want to play it with me"
There will always be those people that will loath to pay subscription fee's, however giving them something for nothing and denying them to share it without coffing up cash is a good way to capture this end of the market
- the bottom line is you want people to use the foundry, why limit it to online only, sure its an online game, but by creating more opportunities for it to be used to act as an incentive to buy - is not a bad sales strategy.
However you may have overlooked mine :-), though perhaps I was not clear, and I am sorry I never explained why and how this "could" work, and its security aspects.
I propose that only a config file is uploaded, this config instructs the online foundry on how to recreate the mission based on your instructions, but using the game files stored on the cryptic server, any exploit and hack you create on your home PC cannot be recreated on the live server as it only exists on your home PC.
If the config file you submit does not meet the “Starfleet regulations” then it fails to upload - were only going to upload values - not actual game files.
For added protection to the config file itself, protect with an AES 256bit encrypted public key (will need the private to read it – which they wont have), the key should then becomes corrupt if the config file structure changes radically from the expected.
So then once its uploaded it wont be readable anyway even with the private key. (which only cryptic should ever have, if the private key gets out all hell breaks loose!!)
This should deter any hacker from attempting to break open the config file, doing so won’t achieve much, maybe the possibility to reverse engineer the file corruption mechanism, but if they manage to do so with AES 256bit, then they are not the normal hackers and should be on a wanted list or working for MI5,.
In security, deterrence is better then prevention.
Im pretty sure that this will stop hackers and modders even if they can reverse engineers the corruption mechanism, because you are taking away from them the ability to hack and mod using custom files.
Remember, the only thing that gets uploaded will be a config file, I’m sure all uploads will go through many security checks as usual before implementation, there are hundreds of security products out there that scan for all kinds of non conforming malicious file.
The only difficult thing about this process is modifying the foundry to read and build a missions form a set of instructions in the form of a config file that won't scope any infomation other then what can be created in the current foundry.
But won’t the potential sales revenue be worth it? That is what I am asking.
As I can see, the textual script input was asked during the Cryptic phone conference. But I'm sure it was mentioned even before that.
Creating a 3rd party editor to produce and process that mission script would be a piece of cake.
The Shared asstes problem would be solved instantly.
Procedurally AIDED mission design would possible.
Interpreting the plain text file would save bandwith and server resources at Cryptic's side.
Since the scrip has to go through Cryptic they can check for errors and throw out wrong lines. With only a series of create this, create that lines, you can't really go wrong server side.
My mapping tool comes somewhere close to this (export file input and CSV input-output), but that is still limited in many aspects.