Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 11
04-03-2009, 04:55 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by OddjobXL View Post
Breach, think about how much work it would be to write dialogue for each mission for very possible personality type, or race for that matter including ones that haven't been invented yet, one might find on a bridge crew in each possible combination. Light some incense. Meditate with me. Ommmmmmm.

Enlightenment.

She's stuck with writing one size fits all dialogue for situations when it comes to crew. It'll be up to us to reimagine it a bit as our NPCs might actually say it in their own way.

What I really want to know more about, now, are Duty Missions. Will they cause our crew to interact with us in the same way (if with less, of course, mission specific detail)? How do they differ from Episodic missions aside from the element of randomization?
It would be a lot of work, but it's doable. Bioware has a much, much, much larger task in front of them with all the various companions for all the various classes for both factions and all the dialogue options the player can engage with their companions. Not to mention in writing unique quests for the various classes, etc.

Here we're looking at only a handful of personality types. Aggressive, by the book, sarcastic, condescending, adventurous, etc. And it wouldn't have unique content, it would be the same content only conveyed in a different way. Having monotonous, one-size-fits-all dialogue seems unfeasible. Instead of getting dialogue that all players can interpret their own way, it seems more likely that you're just going to be get blatantly automated messages with no personality at all. It was already mentioned that we wouldn't be sitting down and chatting it up with our Number One. Dialogue seems limited to saying status alerts and providing advice. If you want to roleplay with a bridge officer that you view as a shy pacifist and he gives the monotonous suggestion of destroying the enemy, you've already run into problems, even if the dialogue is monotonous. If Cryptic says, "no, this individual IS aggressive and he WILL suggest aggressive courses of action" then there isn't a contradiction.

I think the only character players should be able to control 100% is the Captain. You can play them however you want. If you want to be cocky, aggressive, shy, adventurous, joyous, boastful, etc. conveying those behaviors is as simple as typing in the appropriate words into the text box yourself. That Cryptic is trying to cater to players by trying to anticipate how they want to roleplay with the bridge crew that they do not speak through, that sounds like it's more likely to fail than succeed.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 12
04-03-2009, 05:53 PM
I see what you're saying but I'd think the few variations they could do would still be too limiting. It's not just status alerts, from the sounds of it, for Episodic Missions but actual specific dialogue relating to the events there. Duty Mission interactions (if any) would probably be the more generic kind you describe.

As tough as Bioware's task might be they're not stuck trying to write dialogue for races that haven't been invented yet by the player...
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 13
04-03-2009, 08:00 PM
This was a very interesting developer blog, especially because it focused on a portion of the game that I am pretty interested in. Kestrel seems to add a lot to the game, and I cannot wait to play it so that I can see all of her hard work first hand! Thank you for providing this very insightful article!
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 14
04-03-2009, 08:35 PM
i have a qustion for you Awen, i like to write, not saying im good at the mechanices of it :p but i love scopeing large and intercet plots and even creating sub and alternet plots, and there is a lot of talent here in the comeunity so is there anyway we can help at least wright outlins for missions/quests
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 15 when's the game come out?
04-03-2009, 09:10 PM
When does this game go live and in full effect?
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 16
04-04-2009, 02:07 AM
The quotes are not from this forum but from the blog

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kestrel View Post
One of the big differences is characterization. Star Trek, at its heart, is its characters. Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Picard, Data, Sisko, Quark, Dax, Worf, Janeway they're iconic. And what makes so many of the episodes great is not the basic plot, but how these great characters respond to a particular situation.
I absolutely agree with that, great!


Quote:
Originally Posted by Kestrel View Post
Also, we have to be very careful not to limit the player's choices when it comes to creating his or her character, ship and crew. Our Bridge Crew is a prime example of that. A lot of information in the Episodes comes from your Bridge Crew. Just like in an episode of one of the shows, it is your crew that informs you of a situation, provides more information, or offers options for action.
That sounds like a tough challenge. Though I think you're doing well with it. The things you have written sound well organized and thoughtfull. I'm really looking forward to playing "my" first missions to see if they fit my imaginations of the Star Trek universe.
The way I read these things makes me think that missions are going to be like small episodes from Star Trek, which I think is the best way of doing it. For the feeling of being a main character in one of these episodes I could even take some limitations in my actions or choices, if they are not to harsh.

So, all in all I have to say: great job, great piece of reading, thanks a lot!
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 17
04-04-2009, 04:51 AM
Wow great read. Kestrel I think you have a hard job.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 18
04-04-2009, 08:05 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by OddjobXL View Post
As tough as Bioware's task might be they're not stuck trying to write dialogue for races that haven't been invented yet by the player...
You are right in that Bioware is writing dialogue for character they've developed and not the player, which makes me think that this is the way Cryptic should have gone. Maybe I am wrong, and maybe Kestrel can pull it off and make dialogue that is one-size-fits-all, but that just seems unlikely to me, I'll have to wait and see.

I think the emphasis on customization can be a downside at times. The role of Captain is 100% "roleplayable" I get to decide what my character looks like, I get to decide their skills, I get to write up a back story, and it is left up to me to convey my avatar's personality through how I interact with others. If I want to play the cold, distant, no-nonsense, Captain, I can write my own dialog for that. If I want to play the overly confident Captain that believes himself to be almost messianic, I can write my own dialog for that. And so on. The more customization available to the Captain, the better.

For the bridge crew I get to develop these characters about 50% of them. I get to to decide how they look, their skills, and their back story, but then I'm left hoping that Kestrel can write dialog to match my imagination. That what I (or anyone else) creates and what she writes I would guess will not line up hardly ever. So, again, customization is great in how it's being implemented for ships and the player's Captain, but for the bridge crew - to really capture the feeling of Star Trek - I think setting stricter boundaries would have been the way to go.

E.G. Cryptic could assign you a bridge crew. That is, if you're playing Federation you might get a Vulcan science officer, or a Ferengi helmsman with the appropriate personality, but then the player gets the freedom to decide how they look and what their skills are. Or conversely perhaps random personalities are assigned to your first crew, such that you when you enter the bridge officer customization screen for the first time, before you even begin to define your officer's look you're given the parameter of "sassy communications officer" and then from there you get to create what you want said bridge officer to look like, and get to write a backstory explaining just why they have the attitude. It would be the same format as the past Cryptic contests in which a setting is provided by Cryptic and then I get to use my imagination to work around those parameters. E.G. I get a picture of a green alien with protrusions all over his face that I meet in a bar (the most recent contest) and from there I get to create a backstory, history, description of physiology, behavior, etc. Cryptic's content and player imagination are 100% in harmony in this way. Similarly, Cryptic - in bridge officer creation - might randomly assign a player the parameter of "sassy communication officer" from which the player can create the appropriate backstory, look, etc. to again have harmony, rather than the disunion I think one-size-fits-all dialog will most likely create.

From creation, after being creating my crew with pre-determined personalities, I could either stick with my bridge crew and maybe grow fond of them over time (think Archer, Tucker and T'Pol), or they might just drive me crazy and I might switch them out first chance I get. I think there's something far more fun to be had in having each crew member overtly unique, such that you might have the snippy tactical officer and by-the-book engineer, while your friend has an adventurous tactical officer, etc. I think established parameters would actually add to the unique quality of individual crews.

Such that there's no room for interpretation on away missions when a player's back story might explain that their Ferengi science officer is not happy about serving under a female Captain. If this player was given the parameter "condescending" at officer creation and wrote this respective back story to fit the personality, then such patronizing behavior will come through to other players that might team up with this captain and see how her science officer talks to her. Otherwise this player might get monotonous dialog that leaves room to be interpreted as veiled hostility by the player playing as the female Captain, but that's going to be lost on other players that might group with this player, who could just as easily interpret it as submissive compliance.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 19
04-05-2009, 09:56 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kestrel View Post
13 years as a journalist made me a bit of a political junkie, and I've always had an interest in history.

Much of my time in newspapers was spent as an editor focused on national and international news. You pick up a lot when you're trying to put current events in context with what's happened previously.
To some of us the word "journalist/editor" for a newspaper isn't impressive (because of the industry standards). However, I can look past that...

I am flexible with the limitation for dialog, as long as the dialog is engaging. More important is the over all story line.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 20
04-06-2009, 08:15 AM
Breech, the only way we're going to have crews that detailed and not feel shackled by a small selection of "premade" crewmen is for multiplayer ships to be part of the game. Only a roleplayer can do an original character real justice along those lines.

I'm certain players will want to create crewmen with skills, appearances and even backstories that suit their own creative and tactical instincts without being limited by a small pallet of options. Cryptic seems pretty serious about giving us that kind of flexibility.

No, for now, given we're going to be stuck with single player ships I think this is the right compromise. Utter freedom to create a bridge crew and flexibility in designing a ship coupled with some neutral-flavored commentary from our crew during that mission. The only realistic alternative is no narrative input from our NPC crew at all.

Cryptic's starting to feel the pinch of their decision a little bit here but it's the only practical one they could make given a finite development time. Hopefully we will, eventually, see multiplayer ships and perhaps the kind of colorful, lively, interaction you and I both want. Until then I'm content enough with this approach for NPC crew.
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