Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 81
04-07-2009, 02:56 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hagon View Post
Strange that there's virtually thousands
thousands *cough*
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 82
04-07-2009, 10:49 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Powers
Yet still the "Who wants to stand in a transporter room all day with nothing to do 99% of the time?" straw man remains popular.
You're not alone in lamenting that, Powers.

It's unfortunate. That kind of dismissive comment makes it hard to discuss the pros and cons of this important gameplay feature in a friendly and constructive way.

The best that can be done, I think, is to simply ignore those who aren't willing to exchange viewpoints in a respectful way (even in disagreement), and to reserve one's time and intellectual effort for responding to folks like Varrangian who are at least willing to deal in objective commentary.

Regarding which, there is that other popular line of defense, the argument that "if you cannot present a complete design document describing how to implement this feature in a way that every player would find enjoyable, you are not permitted to claim that such a feature is even possible."

The problem with that argument is that, while it might be true, if we enforced it evenhandedly on everyone here there'd be about three threads on the whole forum, and none of them would be longer than a couple of posts. Written by developers.

But let's consider it for a moment. It seems to be that there's an unspoken assumption being made by many of us that needs to be exposed: How long do you think you will be traveling in space with no active mission or immediate goal?

I get the feeling that many on the anti-player crew side believe that this "free time" could be extensive -- on the order of hours, perhaps -- while those who favor player crews appear to be assuming that there'll almost always be some specific goal in front of players and that free-flight will never last more than a few minutes at most.

If that feeling is correct, it could explain a lot of the rational disagreement on this subject. If there's a lot of time where we're flying around and nothing is happening, then it makes perfect sense that player bridge officers might get bored, that they might have nothing interesting to do. Even if we said there could be division-specific ship-based minigames, how long would those remain fun? It really is tough to imagine there being enough individual player bridge officer content to keep the game fresh for hours at a stretch.

OTOH, if the amount of free time is considerably less than that, if the most time we'd ever spend just getting from one place to another with nothing specific to focus on as a team of players on one ship is no more than a few minutes, then I wonder if the player crew concept suddenly looks more reasonable. If there's ever only a little time when players on one ship don't have some specific piece of gameplay content to concentrate on as a team -- in other words, if the game is designed so that players together on one ship are almost always running an episode or mission -- then doesn't letting friends who want to play together in specific roles on one ship seem more feasible? Maybe even practical? Maybe even... fun?

If folks still interested in this topic would like to comment on how much time they're assuming we'll spend in ships with nothing specific to do as a group, that might be informative.

Anyone williing to explore this possibility?

--Flatfingers
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 83
04-08-2009, 12:37 AM
I'll explore the possibility that no matter how much down time there would be, any up time would still involve extremely dull game play.

Except, that's not just a possibility in my opinion. More a certainty.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 84
04-08-2009, 07:27 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Varrangian View Post
Let us break this down shall we....
Oh, let's. Let me wander back out of my happy place to break this down with you, me lad.

Quote:
And what do you do when the captain does not need the advice of the Engineer, Medical or Ops officers? What is their content when the game does not call for their roles? Do the sit in Ten Forward and drink?

While the use of terms like "Transporter chief" ect... might seem hyperbolic to you. It is accurate that not everyone on a player crew can be someone who will be involved in the "action" at all times. In fact outside of the Captain of said player crew all characters will have to "wait their turn".

"But design content that involves everyone you might" say. That is far easier said then done. Even the writers of Trek could not include every major character in every episode, and they didn't have to program methods for those characters to interact with the sets or scripts.
Here's how it works in the real world.

Multiplayer ship content will have to be focused. The main focus will have to be combat. Now you can leave hooks in for the ship's computer or assorted stations to relay data specific to a mission but the design will have to have a combat focus centrally simply because combat's where we see the most drama on the bridge.

The bridge is really the epicenter of action. There's not an episode of Star Trek: TNG, which really is the core of the whole concept, where the crew isn't on the bridge together. Even Geordi will wander up on a turbo lift to man an engineering station on the bridge during alerts.

So the bridge should be the main focus of the design. Other elements can come later as the developers figure out how to make them "functional" (which is the plan now, evidently), be used primarily as mission locations (as they are now) or just be for entertainment purposes (like Ten Forward, the Captain's Ready Room or the Observation Lounge but potentially including Sick Bay and Engineering and The Holodeck as important locales players might like to visit for their own reasons).

Now, the correct approach is to look at this combat bridge in the middle of a battle and ask yourself what should the players be doing?

Well, what do bridge crew do during the show? They focus on knowing things relating to their roles and relaying that information to a captain that's acting as a human CPU. This will require some new approaches but not alien ones to veteran gamers. The key is restricting information flow. No external views, yes I'm serious (and the dramatic potency of this approach is made clear in many sim games), and the captain should be dependent on the intelligence about his own ship and the tactical situation his officers relay to him.

This communication flow will echo what we see on the series.

This means ship battles, as they've already been described anyhow, will have to be measured and paced tactical affairs. This means a captain's got to learn how to understand bearings and will have time to react to information before the situation evolves too much.

The Engineer will be constantly monitoring the state of the engines and energy output (which fuels all other systems) and assigning which other stations get how much power. He'll be assigning repair teams. Now this doesn't sound thrilling on its own but when you're on a bridge with other, excitable, people and all hell is breaking loose outside of your cabin...boy howdy. There's pressure on you. But it's fun, that kind of teamwork builds friendships that can last outside the games that forged them.

Likewise the con will be busy relaying and inputting navigational information as the captain issues orders.

Ops will be the main sensor operator identifying threats, the status of threats and other tactical information. Ops may also be managing the resources other than energy and security deployments required by the ship. Ops will probably also be the guy who manages fighters on carrier ships though he may share that with tactical.

Tactical will be managing weapon and shield systems though he too will have some of the information available to ops. He will also manage security deployments and assign tactical away teams.

Medical will be there to patch people when panels blow and to assign medical teams to decks that are taking casualties. Which decks are most important given finite reesources? He's got the same kind of decisionmaking to do as the engineer with repair teams.

The Science Officer and others who aren't central to the tactical situation can well serve, on a "blind" ship, as additional eyes and ears on sensors. Maybe they'll each follow separate targets or navigational threats as they're assigned by Tactical or Ops or the Con. As these targets change states they'll hand off that information to The Captain.


It'll work.

Now the question is what do crews do while they're "en route" to a destination? What do people do in any MMO when they're waiting for a party to form or traveling? Checking inventory, preparing items they might need and chatting. Because we're on a starship, with replicators, odds are there will be items and things we can put together on the ship itself while we're going somewhere.

There will also be some people on station to monitor for "random encounters" or, if it's possible to incorporate this, anomalies with the ship's systems themselves.

Travel times won't be incredibly long but we do know the developers want a sense of distance to be in the game. Insta-travel isn't in the cards. Personally, after doing some long hauls in Eve Online alone on a ship I'd very much welcome having friends on board to get a sense of real socialization in the process rather than just chatting on a CB to distant truckers.

As far as simulation goes, this can be abstracted. You can create a layer of complexity between the fundamental singleplayer game mechanics and the input/output of the consoles. This means multiplayer ships, especially if you include the bridge-only view, will be much less effective in every situation than single player vessels but...not everyone coming to STO is obsessed with uberness. Some will be obsessed with Star Trek.

Multiplayer ships will be an option, not a requirement, for PvE play and will primarily be a diversion (or a focus for many) from the regular game. Over time though, I predict players will gravitate more and more to them just for the fun factor alone assuming that, unlike SWG, STO does have some original and exciting space content that can sustain heavy use over time.

Singleplayer ships are the priority though. I don't think being a solo-preference player or someone who enjoys squadron level tactical gaming should be penalized. They should have access to the same ships and Cryptic is correct to design for the single-player first. Even devoted ship-based crews will have players that spend more time playing alone when their friends aren't online.

Anyhow, this is what I want to see eventually. It doesn't have to be now. And note that the bridge roles I'm describing are functions of the bridge design. Any character should be able to fill in on any position but people with the right specializations should have more options or be more efficient at managing the stations.

If possible, and this might be harder to do, perhaps having the option for NPC crew to fill in on empty stations should be explored. However, NPCs simply wouldn't work the same way at all as a player on a station so it might not fit. One might have to have a full, basic, crew of four or five and room for a full "party" (including this core) on the supplementary science stations on the bridge behind tactical.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 85
04-08-2009, 08:32 AM
In every instance you just described horrendously dull game play, and a situation where only one person is really part of the action, the ship's captain. All the rest are watching meters and relaying information.

Not insulting you, but do you really believe that all that wasn't thought of before? As Varrangian mentioned, but you may have missed, there were people trying to come up with game play for the player crews for quite awhile here months and months ago, but in the end all it ever amounts to is every station sitting or standing there staring at a meter or some other interface and relaying info to the one person getting to have all the fun, the captain.

I'm sure there are some out there that would accept being in such subservient and detached from the game play roles, but certainly not many.

It's something that might be fun for some when done in a instanced mission or two though. Something they can experience once or twice and then move on. I believe that would be the only viable way to include them in the game really.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 86
04-08-2009, 08:46 AM
Hagon, you've never played a multiplayer ship game as far as I can tell and I have no way of knowing what experiences anyone on the dev team has had with them either. What I can do is relay ideas and maybe they've already been discussed. Cryptic does seem to be on the ball.

But making assumptions about things I know naught of isn't my specialty. I leave that to certain of my peers.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 87
04-08-2009, 08:58 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by OddjobXL View Post
Hagon, you've never played a multiplayer ship game as far as I can tell
Yes you must be right, because I don't agree with you and didn't see the fun in it (which thousands and thousands that tried them in SWG never did as well by the way. In fact 99% of people that ever tried them avoided them like the plague in the future)) then I must never have been on one. That is excellent logic there.

Anyway, this isn't the thread for this. In fact the thread for this is stickied in the general discussion section. My apologies to Kestrel and the CRs for contributing to the pollution of this thread meant for something else. I'll refrain from doing it any more.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 88
04-08-2009, 09:06 AM
We've been over this elsewhere Hagon and the errs of your ways were duly noted there. Anyhow, this is a good thread for this discussion because the subject of the linked discussion is why multiplayer ships won't be in at launch.

The stickied thread on multiplayer ship and bridge crews on the main forums is closed and has been for some time unless there's another one.

I'm content to leave things where they are and not push the issue for now. Hagon has been informed as to the nature of his flawed thinking previously and I doubt repetition of the lesson will be any more successful here so I won't waste my time.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 89
04-08-2009, 09:12 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by OddjobXL View Post
Oh, let's. Let me wander back out of my happy place to break this down with you, me lad.



Here's how it works in the real world.

Multiplayer ship content will have to be focused. The main focus will have to be combat. Now you can leave hooks in for the ship's computer or assorted stations to relay data specific to a mission but the design will have to have a combat focus centrally simply because combat's where we see the most drama on the bridge.

The bridge is really the epicenter of action. There's not an episode of Star Trek: TNG, which really is the core of the whole concept, where the crew isn't on the bridge together. Even Geordi will wander up on a turbo lift to man an engineering station on the bridge during alerts.
The problem is there are several episodes where the WHOLE crew is not on the bridge or even a part of the story. So someone (even if you limit this to members of the bridge crew) will be left out of the game play some of the time.


Quote:
So the bridge should be the main focus of the design. Other elements can come later as the developers figure out how to make them "functional" (which is the plan now, evidently), be used primarily as mission locations (as they are now) or just be for entertainment purposes (like Ten Forward, the Captain's Ready Room or the Observation Lounge but potentially including Sick Bay and Engineering and The Holodeck as important locales players might like to visit for their own reasons).
So this paragraph here is tantamount to saying - "They can do it, I don't know how, but they can". You've offered nothing.

Quote:
Now, the correct approach is to look at this combat bridge in the middle of a battle and ask yourself what should the players be doing?

Well, what do bridge crew do during the show? They focus on knowing things relating to their roles and relaying that information to a captain that's acting as a human CPU. This will require some new approaches but not alien ones to veteran gamers. The key is restricting information flow. No external views, yes I'm serious (and the dramatic potency of this approach is made clear in many sim games), and the captain should be dependent on the intelligence about his own ship and the tactical situation his officers relay to him.
The fun thing about being Worf is that you know when you press buttons X, Y and Z that you've done something. Because of Woft's years at Starfleet Academy and his years of on the job training he has a keen knowledge of what he does. Of course Worf lives in a fictional universe and when Micheal Dorn presses buttons X, Y and Z nothing really happens he's acting the script moves the story along not his actions.

Relaying scripted information (because it is a game and unfortunately games do not have infinite resources or interactions, even the best games have a limited number of interactions) is not game play. It isn't even really RPing.

And now we have the key word (in red) SIM an MMORPG is not a sim and never the twain shall meet. [/quote]
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 90
04-08-2009, 09:23 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by OddjobXL View Post
We've been over this elsewhere Hagon and the errs of your ways were duly noted there. Anyhow, this is a good thread for this discussion because the subject of the linked discussion is why multiplayer ships won't be in at launch.

The stickied thread on multiplayer ship and bridge crews on the main forums is closed and has been for some time unless there's another one.

I'm content to leave things where they are and not push the issue for now. Hagon has been informed as to the nature of his flawed thinking previously and I doubt repetition of the lesson will be any more successful here so I won't waste my time.
Actually, you were proved to be have very flawed memories when other individuals posted about how terrible the multi-player ship experience was/is in SWG. Just absolutely some of the most boring and undesirable content ever added to any mmorpg. Ever. Most of the few that still play the game don't even try and defend that huge mistake. An absolute waste of developer time and energy.
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