Played your mission a few days ago (in case you made any edits), took some notes, and wanted to share my impressions. I also left a rating, but obviously, there's not much room to say anything useful there.
I more or less agree with what other people have said. I really enjoyed playing this story through and had no technical problems at all, so that's a big plus. I really appreciated the attempt to get a real Trek feel. Even though Blott felt like an misplaced appendage at times, I recognized that character from a number of TOS and TNG episodes, so I was pretty tolerant of him. I did wonder if there were a way to incorporate him more into the story. The know-it-all observer often gets dragged into the real world and comes to some realization in episodes (at least, that's been my impression). Giving him some greater role in the story (there's a hint of it in his relationship with Zara, which seems to happen mostly out of the player's view) might also take care of any feelings that he was a weird add-on.
I also agreed that there was something a little, well, maybe overwhelming or pushy about some of the dialogue. My Boffs and Xyvonn did seem to figure everything out without me. And they didn’t always seem to tell me the whole story. For instance, why board the ship via the cargo bay? If there were odd signals, why not send a security team? Maybe a more compelling reason or even something that made it appear to be the player’s best option would help.
One quick note about the ensuing combat. If the Cardassians were holograms, did they appear because someone hacked into the ship’s holoemitters? If they could do that, then why not flood DS9 with fake Cardies and bypass the whole transporter inhibitor?
I also recognized the tone of the dialogue—again, pretty Trek—but it also occurred to me that many of the pieces of info that get spoonfed to me would, in an actual episode, be the product of interaction and discussion among the characters. And there'd often be one person who didn't quite get it, which provides a useful opportunity for exposition. Maybe if some of the things you have NPCs state flatly (like that there are 2 separate perpetrators involved or that the jamming of the transporter was due to an automated device and not advanced skill [how did he know that anyway?]) be the product of discussion, it might feel more natural or might allow the player to feel more involved.
I was actually somewhat confused by the initial suggestion that there were 2 different parties involved. The phrasing of the dialogue in that pop-up didn't seem totally clear to me. When you use the phrase "whoever is responsible" toward the end, it's not clear for what. I think a slower delivery would be much easier to follow.
My favorite bits were, as I suspect you intended, the first interaction with Zara and the dancing. I did get that I needed to set a group waypoint for my Boffs and then go on alone, but I routinely set waypoints, so the idea was very familiar to me. Maybe because of that, the repeated advice to set up a waypoint a the corner felt a little pushy, and the use of the term “waypoint” seemed artificial, but I don’t really see a way around wither. I didn't actually expect that there would be combat without me, and it was a somewhat surreal experience to hear weapons fire and see those little red circles on my mini-map while I was dancing. I thought it was incredibly creative though.
Zara’s dialogue struck me as nicely written, too. The reference to Vega was an especially nice touch. Overall, I enjoyed the nod backwards to the Iotians. As soon as I saw the gangsters beam into the transporter room, I knew it was them (and the name of your mission made sense—very clever). The names you gave the different actors were great. I really got a laugh out of the ship names you chose for the Iotians later on too. I’m frankly a little amazed they haven’t appeared in more missions.
The only thing that I wondered about them was why were they still in 1930s mode? I thought that McCoy had already left some advanced tech behind. I know of at least one comic book where they’ve gotten to 23rd century technology by themselves. Did they need Benefactors? Reference to a group behind the Iotians does open up room for sequels, but I kept wanting some reference to the end of the original episode. If they did remain in gangster mode, I was also looking for something a little different from them—more Tony Soprano with a phaser than Bugsy Malone. I realize you had to make them recognizable, but I wonder if there wasn’t also some way to update them.
Finally, a few odds and ends that I noticed. The Cardies all came up as “Thugs.” Not sure if that was an intention or oversight. Also, one was still in Orion costume. I believe it was the second group on the far right (from the player’s perspective). Also, several members of the crowd watching the dancing were still labeled as attack saurs. In one of Marconi’s first dialogue boxes there seemed to be a mismatch between “This” and “steps.” I thought it should be either “These…steps” or “This…step.” When talking to my engineering Boff about figuring out what was up with the transporters, one of the initial sentences seemed a little tortured—the one where she (in my case) talked about “attempting…to try.” I think you could do with one or the other. And in one of Marconi’s final dialogue boxes, “lead” is misspelled as “lrad.”
Finally (for real this time), a lot of what I liked was summed up in the last sequence. It felt very much like the end of an episode, much more about storytelling than gameplaying. I think a lot of the places that felt more awkward might have been where those storytelling elements clashed slightly with the gameplaying ones. All in all, though, you struck a great balance between these two.
Great feedback. With the Foundry tools being offline, huge updates incoming, and the possibility of the Foundry going live in a month, I'm inclined to make a lot of changes when I remake the mission from scratch on the live servers.
Optional dialogues will help a lot with the dialogue heavy bits. A lot of what I was playing with here was setting up environments/lighting/actors.
What I'm saying is, you may not see changes for awhile but I appreciate the feedback and keep it coming. Remaking the mission from scratch on live will mean I'll have plenty of room to incorporate feedback.
There's also quite a bit of cheating in the mission.
Most of the interact objectives are small objects placed below the floor. And you may notice invisible walls blocking you off in places. This is a cheat because I was using so many NPCs, I couldn't populate the whole station and also, in the initial encounter with Zara, to keep players or BOs from knocking over the bottles that you have to interact with.
I'm pleased that you enjoyed the Zara encounter and the dancing. Those are both places where I played heavily with the lighting and custom light objects.
The ready room actually doesn't use default lighting and I was angling for that classic film noir type effect with the lady in a red party dress, sitting on your desk as she asks for help. I placed lights specifically to accentuate Zara's figure and the overall mood of the room and since I saw the dancing objective as so surreal, I wanted to give that area a weird dreamlike quality, which worked out well in terms of making the room feel like a glittery dance party and the alley outside feel like a more foreboding alleyway.
I can't remember if I managed to get this detail in but the Nausicaan cheering you on as you dance is supposed to be a barber.
I ended up with a superfluous diplomat who you see in the final room.
All in all, my personal challenge was to make the mission in a day from concept to execution, which I did aside from maybe a half hour of bugfixes.