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Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 11
05-14-2010, 12:26 PM
I do really enjoy the idea of traded BOs having some degree of "permanent record" even if it's just a list of prior Captains they served under.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 12
05-15-2010, 02:35 PM
Bravo on a great idea.

You know I've been a huge supporter of this idea from way back and
I have to say, now that we have received some recognition for, diplomacy, exploration and most recently minigames/puzzles as a important elements of STO, I think this idea will be the next big thing.

While Dstahl said in the Engineering Report of May 7th, that this was a "long term" goal, I think we should try to draw more Cryptic attention to this thread because there are clear elements that could be worked in over-time.

Cryptic -- There is no reason to make this a "long term" project when you could bring some pieces sooner and gradually fold in the more complex elements.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Leviathan99
I do really enjoy the idea of traded BOs having some degree of "permanent record" even if it's just a list of prior Captains they served under.
to your point, it might be appropriate to have a "Permanent Starfleet/KDF Record" on file, that listed the promotion dates, ships and captains they've served under. This would make sense to be associated with a BOs database record (not a captains) so that it would follow them around the way one would expect. In fact, I would say it would give the BO more 'life' if I could look at a crew members starfleet record and see facts that happened independent of their time with me.

Now, for the more esoteric 'personality elements'
I think it may depend on how STO treats the physical appearance of traded BOs when that feature appears.
If I can, for example, go back and completely change the look (size, color, shape) of a BO when they are traded to me (as I can at the time they are acquired from the Game) then it would follow that new captains could change all their personality traits. But if Cryptic decided that you can only set certain characteristics at the time they are granted by the game, not traded, then that's fair too.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 13
05-15-2010, 03:39 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Leviathan99
I would also like to add, this is one way you can have content writers bring in additional funding via the C-Store.
[...]
Selling missions is a no-no that will draw the ire of the community.
[...]
The turnaround on this can be much faster than time consuming art assets and this would possibly enable a bigger and richer team of story writers and content writers in the game, possibly up to and including "celebrity guest writers" like JMS or Peter David, something that I suspect would ordinarily be unthinkable. (And as I've said before, I know talented and recognized genre industry professionals who might be interested in writing content on a guest basis with a defined system like this in place -- and I certainly would be up for it, even with the long move it would entail.)
[...]
This is not only a writer's system but, potentially, an actor's system unlike what any MMO to date has attempted.
1.
This idea is BRILLIANT and completely unexpected.
STO would really set itself apart with this idea.
To the point that I would love to see you develop it even further.


2.
This idea is clearly tied back to the tools that Crpytic is working on for UGC (User-generated content) - so might be a while in coming, but begs to be done.

3.
"Selling missions is a no-no that will draw the ire of the community."
Then what are you proposing?
when I read your thread, it seemed that you were saying exactly that. Sell specialty missions (episodes).
Not exclusively, I would indeed be annoyed to see all (or even a majority) of episodes shifted that way.
Is that what you mean?

4.
Unlocking high-quality episodes from the C-store in the way you download Apps from the iStore, if a Celebrity Guest Writer, a name I recognize was willing to write the script I'd be willing to spend a $0.99 on it... on it the way I would an App I wanted to test out. If the writer was relatively unknown I might not if I were able to read feedback/reviews about it and the consensus was that this episode was high-quality, or included lots of voice-overs then I would try it... but it implies a much better more informative C-store interface.

5.
What would it mean to write the script exactly in this context, I think that's what you need to consider more in-depth.
Writing an STO episode will be very different from writing a book, or TV episode.
I assume that a story would be writen then given to Cryptic to Produce/direct. Is that what you are thinking? What level of details would need to be provided to Cryptic to allow them to build it.
How do you write both generic enough to use your BO system and specific enough to be coherent?
You have to remember that even in the virtual world, locations are limited. Limited to the asset types that Cryptic has created (ships, bases, caves, planet, etc). How much of an impact would that have.


As I flip back through my copy of "Successful Television Writing By Lee Goldberg, William Rabkin" Chapter 4;
I think about how you could successfully formalize STO writing, and I feel like this could be a really big challenge, but at the same time a really big opportunity.


I clamor for missions that make me think, I'd also want missions that make me read ;-)
I have played this game with "gamers" who click through every screen as quick as they can in order to move on to the next element of the mission or episode then they complain that I'm taking too long or whining 'I cant believe you are reading all of that" but the target audience for this game is people like me that want the immersive content.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 14
05-15-2010, 04:48 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nack
1.
3.
"Selling missions is a no-no that will draw the ire of the community."
Then what are you proposing?
when I read your thread, it seemed that you were saying exactly that. Sell specialty missions (episodes).
Not exclusively, I would indeed be annoyed to see all (or even a majority) of episodes shifted that way.
Is that what you mean?
I'm effectively suggesting just selling packs of Interests which would be Mad Libs-style text customizations to some existing missions.

You ever notice how some of the same mission text pops up again and again.

The idea with the three Interests categories is that they adjust the missions to the Academic, Artistic and Athletic interests of your crew. The mission would be the same but the text would change based on these variables.

So by selling more Interests, you're selling text variety but everyone has access to the same mission with the same rewards.

I'd think you'd want a large bulk of them in game first and it would probably be cheap but 80-160 points for a text-only set of customizations that adjust some mission text and NPC chatter might be doable.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 15
05-15-2010, 04:58 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Leviathan99
I'm effectively suggesting just selling packs of Interests which would be Mad Libs-style text customizations to some existing missions.

You ever notice how some of the same mission text pops up again and again.
Gotcha. I see that.
So anyone that has the not customized their BO settings gets default text.
Someone that has customized the settings gets their own block
Someone that has 'purchased' more options from the C-store gets exactly what they want.
I can see this working sorta. Not sure I'd pay for that exactly - but I can see some wanting it for the added flavor and RP value.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 16
05-15-2010, 05:03 PM
Covering the various points:

The idea is that C-Store Interests Packs would provide custom mission text and NPC chatter to a mission everyone has access to. The idea would be to recruit people who have a distinctive flair for dialogue or Treknobabble.

In terms of "celebrity writer" missions that are more... special. I would not put those on the C-Store. I have a different distribution method in mind. The basic idea for that is seasonal/monthly missions that are only available one month out of the year, kinda like ********'s holiday events. The basic idea is that with a subscription model game, a fair number of subs tend to take time off and come back to check out updates. Vet rewards helps combat this in one way but, really, if somebody leaves for 30 days, they're only 30 days behind. If you have a really desirable, really cool mission that is only available every June, for instance, someone who takes the month off in June has to wait a year to experience it. So the idea there is to leverage quality writers doing exotic missions in a way that subscribers have a "you snooze, you lose" incentive to play.

The issues you point out with format are very astute as many of these writers are not gamers. The trick there becomes to have a set of writing guidelines that will make sense to the non-gamer and a content writer in charge of adapting/realizing the script and handling communications with the writer.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 17
05-15-2010, 06:27 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Leviathan99
Covering the various points:

The idea is that C-Store Interests Packs would provide custom mission text and NPC chatter to a mission everyone has access to. The idea would be to recruit people who have a distinctive flair for dialogue or Treknobabble.

In terms of "celebrity writer" missions that are more... special. I would not put those on the C-Store. I have a different distribution method in mind. The basic idea for that is seasonal/monthly missions that are only available one month out of the year, kinda like ********'s holiday events. The basic idea is that with a subscription model game, a fair number of subs tend to take time off and come back to check out updates. Vet rewards helps combat this in one way but, really, if somebody leaves for 30 days, they're only 30 days behind. If you have a really desirable, really cool mission that is only available every June, for instance, someone who takes the month off in June has to wait a year to experience it. So the idea there is to leverage quality writers doing exotic missions in a way that subscribers have a "you snooze, you lose" incentive to play.

The issues you point out with format are very astute as many of these writers are not gamers. The trick there becomes to have a set of writing guidelines that will make sense to the non-gamer and a content writer in charge of adapting/realizing the script and handling communications with the writer.
Thanks. That's a better explanation and I am on board once again.

Seasonal events, special episodes... I can see this as a draw.

Seasonal/temporary events have an obvious draw in a subscription based game as you pointed out.

Special episodes from celebrity writers; If I knew that so-and-so's Episode were going live in June and I were a fan I would be more likely to return/subscribe for the month. No need to make it seasonal/temporary, just leave it in at that point, though perhaps associate an accolade or other non-game-impacting reward if you do the mission within the first month.

I can also see the potential for combining the two ideas into a special mini-series style event like our "invasion" at the end of closed beta.


Personality Traits
How about using the personality categories on a slider.

1. Extrovert <----------X------------------------------> Shy
2. Curious <---X--------------------------------------> Cautious
3. Agreeable <------------------------------X--------> Antagonistic
4. Organized <--------------------X------------------> Careless
5. Neurotic <------------------------------X----------> Stable
6. Intellectual <----------X-----------------------------> Simple
7. Friendly <--X--------------------------------------> Suspicious

Here is a good list but Im sure there are better


Where are the captains in this?
I think its interesting we are talking about these traits for BOs but not mentioning them for Captains.

While many people like to write their own Bios, I think it would be interesting to have this enhacement available for Captains as well. How many captains have no background or description at all but might take the 5 minutes to add it if were just pull-down menus and slider bars instead of thinking up a full-text Biography?

Also, STO is missing the notion of 'faction' in the traditional MMO sense, but your idea of Sympathy & Vendetta could be a good spin on classic NPC faction counters. I can see the Sympathy and Vendetta notions playing into missions and vendors as well in the way 'faction' works in ********. For example; a daily mission only available to True Way sympathizers?
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 18 Banter Sets
05-17-2010, 08:50 AM
Being immersed deeper in the game would be a wonderful thing. Having a rich bridge-officer experience would do a lot for that, so I humbly submit "Banter Sets".

First and foremost, people don't want to "read" banter - it should be something that occurs in the background and needs to be "spoken". As such, it'll have to be "canned" speech and that will put some big limits to it. The rest of this post describes a mechanism by which this can be accomplished.

A Banter-Set might look like this:
Condition: Beam-Down
Faction: ALL
Frequency: Once
Doctor: Everyone got all their parts?
Science: Doctor, the odds of a transporter malfunction are 42.7 million to one.
Doctor: He seems normal, anyone else?
I see two ways this could be implemented. First is in User Generated Content (UCG) where it could be specifically or randomly triggered, or as banter that Cryptic continually adds to.

Banter might be specific to a specific faction, or common. In the example above, the dialog could work for all factions.

Ideally banter is either something you only ever hear once, or is a "tag" line of a character you hear every so often. This is indicated by "frequency". This could be "once" per character as above or something like:
Condition: Beam-Down
Faction: ALL
Frequency: 5%
Doctor: I don't care what they say, scrambling a body's molecules is bound to make someone start talking to themselves.

Next, for the line above to fire thee conditions must be met. It must be after a beam-down, there must be someone that qualifies as the "role" doctor in the away-team, and the random number must less than 0.05. Similarly, for the first example to run both the doctor and science slot must be filled.

The voices you hear are the ones you selected for your bridge officers. Each banter-set has a "condition" that specifies when the dialog should check to see it can be played.

Here's a few Conditions that jump to mind:
  • Beam down
  • Beam up
  • Enemy Sited
  • After battle
  • Resuscitated
  • Healed
  • Idle
  • Captain levels up
  • Captain on bridge
  • Mission intermediate task complete
  • Mission final objective complete
  • Emote

The speaker of the line can be defined by a number of things. In the examples above they were defined by their functional role (e.g., Doctor). But the speaker might also be by race (e.g., Klingon rather than doctor) or location (Nearest):
Condition: Enemy-Sited
Faction: Federation+KDF
Frequency: 10%
Klingon: Today is a good day to die!
Doctor: Not if I have any say in the matter.

Condition: Idle
Faction: ALL
Frequency: 5%
Ferengi: For just a few latinum, I could get you an upgrade for that.
Nearest: No thanks, I'm still trying to work out how you swindled me last time

The condition or the speaker might require multiple factors, which could be separated by the plus sign:
Resuscitated =Andorian+Captain_Race=Vulcan
Faction: Federation
Frequency: 5%
Andorian: I hate Vulcan captains....

In this example, after an Andorian is resuscitated that has a Vulcan captain he makes a quip about his captain. That's okay, you can always call out, "I heard that".


Scripting some emotes would also fit within the system; they're shown below in square brackets. Here's a take on the immortal line from Star Trek III (although it was Kirk asking) which also shows two role-conditions (Doctor+Andorian) and plays off the Vulcan/Andorian relationship and has a special condition:
Condition: Resurrected=Doctor
Faction: Federation
Frequency: Once
Vulcan[Vulcan-Salute]: How many fingers am I holding up?
Doctor+Andorian: "That's not very ******n funny!"*

There could also be interaction between bridge officers of captains that grouped up, teams are indicated in curly brackets:
Condition: BeamDown
Faction: Romulan
Frequency: Once
Any{1}[Wave]: Hey, good to meet you.
Nearest{2}[nod]: Same here. How's the food on you ship?"
Any{1}: Lousy, mostly left-overs.
Nearest{2}: What's wrong with that?
Any{1}: Several of us are suspicious there was never an original meal for it to have come from.

Condition: BeamDown
Faction: Klingon
Frequency: 2%
Any{1}[qapla]: Well Met Warrior!
Nearest{2}[nod]: Same here. How's the Gagh on you ship?"
Any{1}: Fresh and feisty! Yours?
Nearest{2}: Replicated garbage.
Any{1}: I know of a Ferengi that will sell you a thing called life-insurance on your captain.

Nack suggested there was no reason NPCs couldn't be included in the fun and traits from Leviathan99's OP. For example:
condition: NPC("Quark")+Player(SameRoom):trait(hobby)=Captain :trait(hobby)
Faction: ANY
Frequency: Always
Quark: You might check around the bar, I'm pretty sure I heard one of the captains here has the same hobby as you.
Here in the condition we use "Hobby" trait as a condition. Traits could also be used in other ways. Here are two examples of interactions between bridge officers of two different captains that have teamed up:
condition: idle
Faction: Any
Frequency: 5%
Gardener{1}: I'm sure I've seen your picture...wait, did you write a paper about the Plants on Garunga III?
Gardener{2}: You saw that?
Gardener{1}: Yes, it gave me nightmares for weeks.

condition: Beam-Down
Faction: Federation
Frequency: 5%
Friendly[wave]{1}: How's it going?
Insulting[facepalm]{2}: Probably better than with you.
Friendly{1}: Why do you say that?
Insulting[2}: I'm not an idiot.
In these two examples, the speakers are defined by traits.

There are two types of banter:
  1. Public - can be used in any mission
  2. Private - only useful in a specific mission
Public banter is any banter that does not specifically refer to a mission variable. These are treated as being private when the mission is published. However, they are queued up and Cryptic can approved them to go into a general pool.

So, think of this as spaghetti. Take a piece out of the pot, throw it against the wall, but keep cooking until it's al dente.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 19
05-17-2010, 09:55 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by StarbasePrime
I love the ideas in this thread, but I am worried a lot of readers will look at the complexity and run for the hills. Not that the complexity is bad, I think it's good for thinking about spoken dialogue - but not as a game mechanic.
I was concerned about that and it's one reason I included a screenshot though maybe I went overboard on explanations.

The basic system itself would not necessarily require you to understand the depths of it. Every race would have default settings. And adjusting the options would all lead to fairly intuitive changes, each covered by a short tooltip for folks who want a basic grasp of the mechanics.

I went into massive detail to outline what the system and variables do here hoping to catch a designer's eye or to cover the "What about XXX?" questions that pop up in the course of these threads, to show I had thought it through.

As others have pointed out, the full mechanical effects could be phased in and even utilized in different ways in different places but you want to get players to start inputting and customizing this data for use later.

Basically... Look at the screenshot in the OP. That's what you "have" to know. The filled in variables there would be pretty much default for a Federation Cardassian. The effects of those stats should be intuitive enough that you don't need to know the mechanics I spelled out because you'll naturally feel them in gameplay.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 20
05-17-2010, 02:47 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Leviathan99
I was concerned about that and it's one reason I included a screenshot though maybe I went overboard on explanations.

The basic system itself would not necessarily require you to understand the depths of it. Every race would have default settings. And adjusting the options would all lead to fairly intuitive changes, each covered by a short tooltip for folks who want a basic grasp of the mechanics.

I went into massive detail to outline what the system and variables do here hoping to catch a designer's eye or to cover the "What about XXX?" questions that pop up in the course of these threads, to show I had thought it through.

As others have pointed out, the full mechanical effects could be phased in and even utilized in different ways in different places but you want to get players to start inputting and customizing this data for use later.

Basically... Look at the screenshot in the OP. That's what you "have" to know. The filled in variables there would be pretty much default for a Federation Cardassian. The effects of those stats should be intuitive enough that you don't need to know the mechanics I spelled out because you'll naturally feel them in gameplay.
The rich complexity you have is great! If there was smooth text-to-speech synthesis out there I wouldn't see it as an issue at all. But let's say each faction covers 3 races, 5 classifications (e.g., happy, grumpy), and two sexes. That's 30 different voice-overs for each spoken line for each faction. In terms of disk-space, audio only compresses so much. So, that's why I see it as quips and banter that would be sparsely used. Technically I don't think we could do much more.

There's also the aspect of choices. For example in your image you have an option "photography", In terms of defining a well rounded character that is useful to know. But, it might be a long time before a set of conditions popped up that finally worked out a quip about the image quality.
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