The idea I 'see' in my head is hard to describe, so 'green screen' will be the closest I can get conceptually. In movies, you can use a green screen in order to show sets and places that cost too much or are just inaccessible. The intent of this proposal is to create a way that we can write missions that use starship interiors, preferably the players interiors, while at the same time not breaking the immersion of said player by using an interior that does not match one they have chosen. My proposal, of course, would be to use this in the Foundry.
Is it possible to designate certain objects on ship interior(this is the main place I see this as applicable, but I'm sure others can be found) as interactable objects. This would be consoles, comm panels, etc. These items would be assessed a static value (Comm_01, bridge_panel_01, etc) and would be represented on all maps of that interior type.
This is where the 'green screen' idea comes in. In the Foundry editor, you then choose a map, which for this example I will call bridge_template_01. On this template, you set whatever events you need to occur on the map. When the mission is published and playable, the 'template' map is a placeholder for the chosen bridge/interior of the player.
Thoughts? Ideas? Derision? I open the floor to see if this is an idea worth pushing for development, or if the technological hurdles might prove too far reaching at this time.
You're on the right path using placeholders, of course. I think however that Cryptic may eventually let us define activities and objectives and add interactive objects (e.g. consoles) but then we may have to lay out our interactive objects into all the possible bridge templates, because an automatic system that guesses where to place a console could mess up the narrative of a mission if the console is put in one spot and an NPC tells the player the console is in another place entirely.
Of course, Cryptic could use a system of location-hints, for example: MED_BAY>NEAR_BACK_WALL and the author could request the Foundry to place the console near the back wall of the player's med-bay by using the proper location-hint.
All this though, is a lot of work and I don't expect to see it before 2012.
Oh I most certainly didn't expect this tomorrow (yes I did). The proposal of 'fixed' items on a template is intended to reduce the amount of work that an author and the dev team would have to go through in order to make things work. if, say the con, ops, captains chair, etc on each bridge was an object that had this flagging, you would use the template to designate the interact like we presently do with placed objects. Of course, because of the nature of things, if they do become objects that would eat into an object budget for the map.
While allowing us to manipulate existing objects is a great first-step, I always set my eyes on being able to add to a player's ship objects of my own choosing and I'd be quite disappointed (OK not really...) if Cryptic doesn't allow us to do that.
Again, I set my eyes (and goals) for the future of the Foundry as a part of Cryptic's game platform which means I want STO, CO and NWO to offer the best possible UGC tool-set, so yes... I want to be able to teleport a torpedo into your Captain's chair and let the player take it from there...
The 'problem' I see with manipulating and adding objects is a factor of map scale. Unless there is a way to create 'hard points' on maps that we can snap in npcs or objects, plotting their location so they dont interfere on every map type is a pain in the *** to say the least.
Thats part of the source of 'green screen' tech, a desire to allow the use of a players preferred interior, while still being able to set out story objectives. Obviouslt part of my posting the idea is to get feedback, and work out the challenges such an idea has, oh and the little detail of technical limitations.