One of the things I've learned working on STO is that writing for a video game is very different than writing a novel or a script for a television show or movie. You have to consider everything -- does that background info *really* need to be there? Could I just use a line of floater dialogue instead, or could it be cut entirely?
So how do you balance story with action? Couple of tricks that might help:
1. I tend to split my dialogue up into chunks that you can read without a lot of scrolling. If I'm writing something that takes more than two screens, I go back and look at it again. Not every word is golden -- there's almost always something that can be cut.
2. Sometimes there are things I want to add that are good for the story, but not essential to the mission. An example would be the logs of the experiments in "Coliseum." We made reading them completely optional. The console was there if you wanted to use it, but you didn't need to do so to advance the mission. That way, the people want to take the time got something extra, but those who just wanted to get on with the mission could do so.
3. Along the same lines, you'll notice that a lot of our dialogue sticks have a "OK, I'm done" option. At any time, a player can choose that, close the dialogue stick and continue with the mission. Yes, if they do so, they're going to miss out on some of the story, but that's the way they want to play. It's not my place to tell them how to have fun.
Hope this helps!
Indeed, its like "actions speak louder than words", where your actions is telling part of the story.
I was watching the stoked with the "foundry files" section (episode before last, I think).
The method they're laying down for their reviews of foundry missions is excellent.
I think until the in-game review systems mirror something like what they're doing, the ratings are going to be sort of a moot point.
Having a review system where you could rate individual aspects, and search for the ratings of individual parts of the mission (dialogue,combat, maps, etc); would be ideal. The matter of personal taste will always be present in reviews of everything from foundry missions to music and tv shows, but over time players would be able to search for missions more suited to their tastes and therefore be able to give more accurate reviews.
I like missions with dialog that explains what is happening or asks question to get the player to find the answers. I try to write them that way as well. If a mission has a lot of dialog that you have to scroll through it can tend to be boring unless well written. Even then it shouldn't be every dialog box. That said I do like stories to be told. Walking or flying around and shooting things is ok but a good story should draw the player in. Make them feel part of the mission and make them want to walk or fly around and shoot things. I wouldnít shorten a story just because someone doesnít like the length. However that should be tempered with a realistic appraisal of your own mission. As stated above by chooch99, ďOriginally had so much wall of texts, that even I was bored.Ē Then you know you need to do some editing. Donít do it just because some points junkie thought it was too much dialog.
As for review and rating, when I review a mission I try to give them a detailed description of what I found wrong or things that need to be fixed. I also like to tell them what I liked. Unfortunately sometimes there isnít enough space to give a lot of details. Iím not sure how much an author would appreciate a PM of those details. I certainly donít mind having them PM me for detailed descriptions of what I liked and didnít as long as it is not abusive. However Iím sure not everyone feels that way.
As for missions I tend to try to play and rate new missions or low rated ones that others have either panned or not left any review at all. Sure I find the occasional mission that is ďa testĒ or not really worth the mission time spent on it, but I still try to leave something to help them make a better mission. The way I see it, the better the content the more missions to play. Sometimes an author just needs an idea or a nudge in the right direction. Of course there are others that should probably stick to playing rather than authoring, but that is their choice not mine.