Commander
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 414
# 1 My Rant About Foundry Missions
09-14-2012, 01:49 PM
Let me start by saying I think the Foundry is the best part of STO. To be able to make missions and play missions by other players really makes up for the lack of content that would otherwise plague this game.

NOW FOR MY RANT:

TBH I have ended up dropping at least twice as many Foundry missions as I have completed,, always for the same reason, which are entirely the fault of the author of the mission. It really blows to be enjoying a mission with a really good storyline and have to drop it simply because the author made one of these simple to avoid mistakes. In the interest of actually PLAYABLE missions, I will list these flaws here so hopefully (if anyone reads this) authors will avoid making them in the future.

NUMBER ONE REASON I DROP YOUR MISSION:

Objective impossible to locate:
Many of the missions have TINY TINY TINY spots you must reach in order to activate or complete an objective. If I can't get to the objective I can't continue the mission. You CAN adjust the size of the trigger area and make it easier to get to.

NUMBER TWO REASON I DROP YOUR MISSION:

Objectives in space so far apart I spend more time flying to them than doing them:
I don't think anyone plays this game for the joy of flying in a straight line trying to get to the next enemy.

NUMBER THREE REASON I DROP YOUR MISSION:

Too much crap to navigate:
By this I refer to SCENERY. I just dropped an otherwise awesome mission because the borg facility was filled with SO MUCH JUNK that I had to stop every ten feet and wait for my BOFFs to figure out how to get around, under, through, or past it. On top of that I could not after twenty minutes of running in circles find the way to the room where the next objective was. IT IS COMPLETELY UNNECESSARY to have so much scenery. A few consoles, a device here and there is enough to make it look cool. If I have to battle just to move I will certainly not want to finish the mission.

NUMBER FOUR REASON I DROP YOUR MISSION:

BAD spawn points. I have had to drop at least five missions because upon beaming down or otherwise entering the next map, my BOFFS were spawned inside an object and could not move. This should be really easy to realize, and when it happens (especially late in a long mission) it is nothing short of maddening. Once your BOFF is stuck in a rock, wall, console, or other stupid scenery, the mission is over, especially for those of us that like to play on elite difficulty.

NUMBER FIVE REASON I DROP YOUR MISSION:

Too many NPCs to talk to. THIS MEANS YOU CAPTAIN REVO! lol It's completely a waste of time to have to talk to fifteen NPCs about the mission just to get to the next part. One, maybe two NPCs can serve the purpose.

I realize this was a rant, and so it was titled as such, but these points will make a playable mission out of your great idea instead of a big pain in the Bat'leth. Today I started and dropped four missions in a row without completing any of them, all because of things like this. Once I lose fifteen minutes trying to do something as simple as "locate the console" it really becomes pointless to play the mission.

Hopefully this is more helpful than ranting, but I have a feeling the ones who do this stuff aren;t the ones that read the forums. Q'apla!

Last edited by glassguitar; 09-14-2012 at 01:56 PM.
Starfleet Veteran
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 737
# 2
09-14-2012, 02:06 PM
1)Please list examples of missions that past muster

2)Please list your own missions showing your workarounds of your above listed grievances.
Empire Veteran
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 2,202
# 3
09-14-2012, 02:24 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by castsbugc View Post
2)Please list your own missions showing your workarounds of your above listed grievances.
Nope, wrong request. You don't need to be a cook to say you liked the plat du jour.

Agreed with some of the grievances. Not with all of them. You can use V to find props to scan or locations to reach, you know?
Captain
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 3,071
# 4
09-14-2012, 02:34 PM
Some of the critiques are certainly vaild, but there are some other things that we simply cannot control. For example, if a player changes elevation too much, the reach marker may be really hard or impossible to find. That's why I rarely use them in space. Instead I use invis objects, because the scanner takes the player to them.

So, that's sort of in our control somewhat, but what drives me crazy is how inconsistent things are in foundry missions. If it's an object, the scanner takes you there. If it's a reach marker, you have to hit M.

Otherwise, we can't really do much about the BOs spawning in floors and objects. That is a cryptic bug. If we need to build up in the air, it's simply unavoidable, as is how badly the boffs are scripted to path, or whether or not they start shooting through walls.

And there are also some stuff to remember with interiors. A lot of those maps are filled with objects not by us, but by the dev that made the map. Crates everywhere! Despite the fact that we could add crates if we want them. We can't take many of those details out of the maps. They are baked in, especially with interiors.

Many of those details are baked into that Borg map, so an author has to either a. use the one with nothing and start from scratch or b. use the one that is cluttered with stuff.

It's also bad when the cryptic cave maps are inherently frustrating to navigate, even without a single added thing.

Last edited by kirksplat; 09-14-2012 at 02:36 PM.
Empire Veteran
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 2,202
# 5
09-14-2012, 02:42 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by kirksplat View Post
Some of the critiques are certainly vaild, but there are some other things that we simply cannot control. For example, if a player changes elevation too much, the reach marker may be really hard or impossible to find. That's why I rarely use them in space. Instead I use invis objects, because the scanner takes the player to them.

So, that's sort of in our control somewhat, but what drives me crazy is how inconsistent things are in foundry missions. If it's an object, the scanner takes you there. If it's a reach marker, you have to hit M.

Otherwise, we can't really do much about the BOs spawning in floors and objects. That is a cryptic bug. If we need to build up in the air, it's simply unavoidable, as is how badly the boffs are scripted to path, or whether or not they start shooting through walls.

And there are also some stuff to remember with interiors. A lot of those maps are filled with objects not by us, but by the dev that made the map. Crates everywhere! Despite the fact that we could add crates if we want them. We can't take many of those details out of the maps. They are baked in, especially with interiors.

Many of those details are baked into that Borg map, so an author has to either a. use the one with nothing and start from scratch or b. use the one that is cluttered with stuff.

It's also bad when the cryptic cave maps are inherently frustrating to navigate, even without a single added thing.
Reach marker in space is a really bad idea. It's not recommanded not to use them, you should simply not use them at all, ust because any good map isn't... flat. a good author will always use the Y levels to simulate something more interesting. It's also buggy, since it won't complete the objective if you're already deep inside the marked zone. It can create a lot of frustration if you're a player and not aware of this.
Captain
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 3,071
# 6
09-14-2012, 03:13 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by diogene0 View Post
Reach marker in space is a really bad idea. It's not recommanded not to use them, you should simply not use them at all, ust because any good map isn't... flat. a good author will always use the Y levels to simulate something more interesting. It's also buggy, since it won't complete the objective if you're already deep inside the marked zone. It can create a lot of frustration if you're a player and not aware of this.
I agree. I tend to only use them with planets for beam downs. For some reason, if they are really big, they seem reliable, which makes me wonder if their y bulk (for lack of a better term) increases with the size of a radius.
Survivor of Romulus
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 3,226
# 7
09-14-2012, 02:43 PM
Some of these are what I would call personal preferences, such as the number of people you need to talk to. That's up to each author to make those choices. Some will choose to cater to players like you, some will not. Not every Foundry mission is going to be to your liking. Just like not every game mission or in fact not every game is going to be to your liking based on certain design decision. You can ask us to cater to your likes specifically, but then someone else will come along and say "why didn't I get to talk to more people?"

That said, there are some things, such as BOFFs spawning in objects, that can in some cases be fixed and in some cases cannot because of how wonky the engine is. Just take a look at Kirksplat's bug thread about BOFF spawns. I've seen other cases where a mission can completely bug out, but be fine the next time its played. Sometimes I've even seen where beaming back to your ship and continuing where you left off will fix a spawn problem.

I would ask, and maybe you are already doing this, that if you have a technical issue with a mission, that you e-mail the author's @handle and let them know. It could be as simple as making a minor tweak to a spawn point, or it may not be fixable at all. If they don't know, they can't find out.

We're like any game developers. We can test and test and test, but we're not going to catch everything.
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Commander
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 414
# 8
09-15-2012, 12:08 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by castsbugc View Post
1)Please list examples of missions that past muster

2)Please list your own missions showing your workarounds of your above listed grievances.
Actually most of CaptainRevos missions are completely free of bugs like bad spawn points and such. There seem to be a lot more federation (of course) missions that are bug free, I assume because people have been working on federation missions longer.

The main workarounds are exactly what I said in the OP. Use less scenery that isn;t native to the map. Almost every problem I have had in a foundry mission was due to author added scenery that didn't serve a distinct purpose but impeded movement.

By impeding movement, I am not referring to a simple obstacle in line of fire and such that makes a fight interesting. I am referring to decorative items that are at odd locations and just lock up BOFFs or even the player themselves. The workaround is: If a decorative item is not needed for the mission objective, playtest it before publishing by running around near it and seeing if you get stuck. The mission I am designing currently I have been working forever on a building you have to walk up to, trying to find a map and combination of sturctures that won't do this. From the front everything seemed OK, but when I walked around the back side (which someone might do if lost for a moment) I got instantly stuck when my head went under the edge of the building walking near a hill.

The important thing I guess that isn't conveyed by my OP, is I wouldn't be annoyed enough to rant about this stuff, if the mission storyline was forgetable and boring. This always seems to happen near the end of long, otherwise great missions. On the one I was doing right before the rant, I was one objective away from getting off a long map when I permantly lost a BOFF to a scenery trap. Playing on elite, the combat was pushing me to the edge having to call for help a couple times and revive fallen BOFFs. I was LOVING it! THIS was the reason I spent all that time in STFs getting MK XII Honor Guard set for me and MK XI sets for my tac BOFFs ... one objective left .... get to the console ... BOFFS get head stuck in scenery ...

Oh well I think I will log out and back and continue the mission. Mission had been almost an hour and a half long so was worth it. There had been no respawn points set at all in the mission and it started at the very beginning.

In no way do I underappreciatte the effort into foundry missions, and I always give dilithium to every mission I complete. It cost the author dilithium to make it so like it or not storywise, I always tip. My frustration is with uncompletable missions only.
Captain
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 3,071
# 9
09-15-2012, 12:24 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by glassguitar View Post
Actually most of CaptainRevos missions are completely free of bugs like bad spawn points and such. There seem to be a lot more federation (of course) missions that are bug free, I assume because people have been working on federation missions longer.

The main workarounds are exactly what I said in the OP. Use less scenery that isn;t native to the map. Almost every problem I have had in a foundry mission was due to author added scenery that didn't serve a distinct purpose but impeded movement.

By impeding movement, I am not referring to a simple obstacle in line of fire and such that makes a fight interesting. I am referring to decorative items that are at odd locations and just lock up BOFFs or even the player themselves. The workaround is: If a decorative item is not needed for the mission objective, playtest it before publishing by running around near it and seeing if you get stuck. The mission I am designing currently I have been working forever on a building you have to walk up to, trying to find a map and combination of sturctures that won't do this. From the front everything seemed OK, but when I walked around the back side (which someone might do if lost for a moment) I got instantly stuck when my head went under the edge of the building walking near a hill.

The important thing I guess that isn't conveyed by my OP, is I wouldn't be annoyed enough to rant about this stuff, if the mission storyline was forgetable and boring. This always seems to happen near the end of long, otherwise great missions. On the one I was doing right before the rant, I was one objective away from getting off a long map when I permantly lost a BOFF to a scenery trap. Playing on elite, the combat was pushing me to the edge having to call for help a couple times and revive fallen BOFFs. I was LOVING it! THIS was the reason I spent all that time in STFs getting MK XII Honor Guard set for me and MK XI sets for my tac BOFFs ... one objective left .... get to the console ... BOFFS get head stuck in scenery ...

Oh well I think I will log out and back and continue the mission. Mission had been almost an hour and a half long so was worth it. There had been no respawn points set at all in the mission and it started at the very beginning.

In no way do I underappreciatte the effort into foundry missions, and I always give dilithium to every mission I complete. It cost the author dilithium to make it so like it or not storywise, I always tip. My frustration is with uncompletable missions only.

It might surprise you to know that we don't really have a way to test boff pathing prior to publishing. The pathing is baked in once a mission is published. So, the BOs can have no trouble, even if an author playtests the map 40 times. However, as soon as we hit the publish button, there is no telling what the boffs may do. They might shoot through walls for no reason. They might jump into the inside geometry of a building. They might also get stuck on a spot that they never got stuck in.

Sometimes they just refuse to follow a player up a ramp or through a tunnel or up little steps.

Or, they might spawn halfway in the ground every 1 out 15 times the mission is played. I have a mission where my BOs don't even spawn at the spawn point, despite having no issues when playtesting it well over 100 times.

You're right that there are some things that we could do better. But, there are also some things that we just can't really control. Just look at alimac's missions. The guy spends months making these custom sets that are superb, and then he has to deal with player reviews about boffs acting like morons.
Career Officer
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 1,158
# 10
09-15-2012, 06:23 PM
One thing I've taken to doing when using reach points in space is to stick a blinking-beacon FX at the reach point's center coordinates, to unobtrusively guide the player to the intended location.

Also, a trick I sometimes use when I encounter ground spawn-point sticking issues is to set the spawn point a few meters above ground level, so that the player and BOffs spawn in mid-air and drop a short distance to the surface.

Last edited by paxfederatica; 09-15-2012 at 06:26 PM.
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