Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 3,071
First, I want to praise our Foundry gods for finally giving us the ability to make NPCs disappear.

However, like all new features, it is not perfect, so I wanted to leave some detailed feedback.

1. In the simplest of scenarios, when we want to make a NPC disappear, he or she or it usually beams out. On tribble, they fade to nothing. This means that when our NPCs beam up, they fade into nothingness. That is very strange. I'm not saying that they should always beam out instead of fade away. The fade away function could be greatly used if...

2. On a more complex level, there is a great opportunity here to add complexity, but the mechanics of the animations hinder the functionality.

For example, let's say that I want to create a animation change for a NPC. With the ability to make a NPC disappear, I should be able to instantly replace him/her with a new version of him or herself, set with a different animation.

So, with this feature tied into triggers, I should be able to walk up to a contact, decide to punch him, and instantly replace one NPC contact with a second version of him that falls to the floor. A standing NPC is replaced by a hurt one.

There is so much potential here, but our inability to toggle on/off either the beam in animation or the fade out animation makes these types of npc changes impossible.

The new NPC that replaces the old has a beam-in animation which ruins the entire effect.

So, please, give us a way to toggle on/off both the beam in animation and the fade out animation.

Having this ability would also allow us to change a NPC from friendly to enemy and vice versa. Or, we could instantly change the various states, like setting a run away animation to a dialog prompt.

But, bottom line is, the beam in animation ruins the greater functionality of this feature. And without the beam out animation, it ruins the very basic function of making a NPC disappear. We need to be able to specify the effect that we want here.

Edit: I've been testing with different mobs and costumes to try to find one that has no beam in animation. If we can find one, then there would be an elaborate workaround based on tribal knowledge. So far I've had the most success with Attack Saur Neutral - Single, but the beam in animation returns if I change the costume. Any other authors have ideas?

Last edited by kirksplat; 10-21-2012 at 12:26 PM.
Starfleet Veteran
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 268
# 2
10-21-2012, 12:33 PM
I wouldn't say the beam in ruins this feature necessarily... this has been the case for NPC spawns from the start, no matter what the reason is for them appearing.

Basically what needs to happen is that EVERYTHING that spawns and despawns in the game should have the option to select how they appear... IE the animation that occurs ONCE when they appear. This is also needed for ships that warp in... if they are friendly or NPC contacts, because it is an "idle" animation, it repeats. What we need is a spawn animation and a despawn animation, with the default set to "appear" or "instant". We could then change it to what is best.

Just my 2 cents
Career Officer
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 846
# 3
10-21-2012, 04:31 PM
I made note of this in the Foundry bugs post on the Tribble bugs form. I agree with needing to be able to set spawn and despawn animations or appear/disappear, whatever they want to call them.

As I recall if you use the single neutral animal NPC combat groups (single targ, multiple targs, et al), they have no beam in animation even if you change the costume. With this work around you can't use the NPC as a contact though, it has to be a reskinned (neutral) enemy group. Also, if there are any other enemy groups besides Fed or Klingon, the "neutral" animals attack them, which kind of sucks.

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Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 3,071
# 4
10-21-2012, 04:43 PM
Originally Posted by nagorak View Post

As I recall if you use the single neutral animal NPC combat groups (single targ, multiple targs, et al), they have no beam in animation even if you change the costume.
When I test this, the single targ and the single saur don't have beam in animations by themselves, but when you change the actor's costume to a cadet or a custom ground costume, the beam in animation returns.

The animation seems tied in with the costume that you pick, not the underlying mob (during the playtest. I didn't test a publish). It may now be that setting the "behavior" in order to specify a costume, changes the spawn animation of the Targ. So, the default unchanged Targ doesn't beam in, but a costumed Targ does.

Anyways, I can't get that workaround to work on Tribble.

Last edited by kirksplat; 10-21-2012 at 04:48 PM.
Career Officer
Join Date: Jun 2012
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# 5
10-21-2012, 04:54 PM
I know it used to work, because on one of my missions I used a bunch of reskinned targs and I had problems because they wouldn't use the proper beam in animation. On that mission I was using the targ groups for maximum NPC coverage, so that could be the trick. You should try using a group of targs instead of the singles, and see if it works with the groups. I do now seem to remember that the singles would use the Klingon beam-in animation.

It's also possible it's been changed. I can try to verify later this evening.

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# 6
10-21-2012, 05:14 PM
Sorry to butt in, but does this "despawning NPCs" thing work on ships in space?
Career Officer
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# 7
10-21-2012, 05:16 PM
Originally Posted by psycoticvulcan View Post
Sorry to butt in, but does this "despawning NPCs" thing work on ships in space?
I didn't check in space, but the mechanics are the same, so I assume that it does. I guess that means we can finally replace contacts with a hostile enemy group............ which will then separate into a MVAM escort and destroy whatever costume we selected.

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# 8
10-21-2012, 05:40 PM
So I just did a test with a saur squad with one reskinned as a ground character and it faded in instead of beamed in. It could work.

Update: I've put together a proof-of-concept mission showcasing some cool things that you can do with disappearing NPCs. Made use of the saur groups lack of beam animation in a number of them. It's called "NPC Study" and it's on Tribble now. Check it out.


Last edited by thegreendragoon1; 10-22-2012 at 12:36 AM.
Starfleet Veteran
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 41
# 9
10-22-2012, 11:21 AM
I'd say one possible solution that unfortunately does not fit all circumstances, is to distract the player during that moment of NPC transition.. in the case of space, some static interference effect enabled with triggers at that exact moment of NPC ship switching.

For ground, something unexpected like, you walk up to a NPC, punch him/her, but oops someone dropped some Explosive Ferengi Gumdrops being so startled by the fight so during that moment of NPC transition, they'll most likely look back to wherever that explosion(sound and/or light vfx) occurred... turn back, and oh there's the newly spawned NPC on the floor!

Obviously a little too "Convenient" every time this has to be done, but might be an easier workaround to some of the NPC appear/disappear transitions.
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Last edited by sfhq; 10-22-2012 at 11:23 AM.
Survivor of Romulus
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 3,218
# 10
10-22-2012, 01:21 PM
I wouldn't say the lack of animation options has ruined the feature. It isn't a good thing, of course, but we've been asking for the ability to despawn npcs since the beginning of the Foundry. Now we have it, even if it is lacking some bells and whistles, those same things we've never had for despawning objects. Having it is better than not.

That said I would love for them to add animation, since the things most of us want to do with them include beaming things out or ships warping away.

Here's a thought on space. Its a variation on the old trick to have a ship animate on queue.

Place a freighter from the details menu. Have the player move toward it. They Pass over reach marker A, this despawns the detail freighter and spawns an NPC version of the same type at the same coordinates. The npc freighter is set to use the warp out idle animation. Under the current holodeck system, the freighter will warp away then stop and sit there. But now you add another reach marker fairly close to the first, which when passed over despawns the freighter. You'd have to play with distances and timing so that the freighter would despawn at the end of the animation instead of in the middle.

I have this exact situation in a mission (my very first one from waaaay back when) and I've been waiting for a real warp out. If this theory works, I'll just have to add an extra step to the workaround.
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