Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 1 UGC Features
05-26-2010, 08:00 AM
What features would you like to see in the UGC (User Generated Content) tool? This is a community effort to build a unified list or requirements:

Critical Features
  • The tools must be fun to use and capable of building fun missions
  • Being able to find enjoyable missions that suit a player's specific tastes is an absolute must. [Note: a straight average of players rankings will not work, see #134]
  • The system can not be open to exploitation that could ruin the game for everyone

Features Needed for Release
  • Create new maps of planets/bases/star-systems populated with NPCs, NPC-ships, and alien life forms
  • Create NPCs/Ships from both existing and alien races, costume them appropriately, set the weapon type for custom races, the powers, and indicate 3 levels of relative difficulty (e.g., Boss, normal, underling). Spawn on any trigger, be able to specify pathing.
  • Ability to copy existing maps as a starting point for new missions at existing locations
  • Dialog in the form of popup dialogs for any Bridge officer or NPC
  • Support scripts so we can populate areas with NPCs and objects that do things (e.g., not just standing around)
  • Be able to set NPCs to factions, and have those factions friendly or hostile to the PCs
  • Reuse existing NPCs either in new locations or existing locations (E.g., get a tip from the bartender at DS-9)
  • Maps shouldn't require combat. They might be created for multiple factions to RP, or diplomacy
  • Ability to link multiple maps and missions together (e.g., have one scene flow to the next)
  • Access to game sound-effects and atmospheric background music
  • Access to ingame art and objects (e.g., temples, buildings, ships, stations, asteroid belts)
  • Access to set weather and atmospheric effects (Ion storms in space?)
  • Access to the physics engine so we can: Make it look as if an NPC has telekinesis, have objects float, have debris rain down, create a "balanced rock" puzzle, etc.
  • A flexible/transparent way to reuse player created resources (e.g., textures, sounds, music, voices)
  • Create missions for any existing faction (e.g., Federation or Klingon)
  • Localization to support multiple languages (e.g., English, French, German)
  • For complex interactions, we need dialog scripts and a scripting language. This includes the dialog being able to access data such as player race/gender/faction, quest objective received or completed, script variable, item present in inventory. Dialog should be with any NPC, BO, or off-camera entity such as an officer on your starship
  • Ability to update quest log
  • Missions can be marked as "holosuite", which means they can only be played at a holosuite, sold on the exchange, and do not generate rewards
  • Should support multiple quest lines (e.g., the main mission and secondary objectives) per map
  • Detect time passed, either to trigger an event or as a quest time limit.
  • Detect player attack. (Did the player attack a friendly or neutral NPC? The quest may require a better response than the NPC defending himself and any nearby allies coming to his aid.)
  • The ability to place a note, either in the open, a terminal, or in a container or corpse (it's a nice way to share data with the player and guide the direction of the quest other than having know-it-all bridge officers)
  • Random number generator - This will allow User Generated Missions to have an unpredictable element
  • Creating/Storing variables at Mission scope based on actions performed, events triggered, or random numbers generated so they can be used to affect later actions
  • Missions should have "credits" so players can see who participated in designing/building them
  • Only players that have already attained the rank of Lt. Cmdr. can access Lt. level UGC (i.e., via new characters) so that new players are not distracted from learning about STO by UGC
  • Player generated missions should only be playable once per character, or on a lock-out timer. When not available the filter should screen them out
  • Missions should support a "Report" button to report abusive UGC
  • Default names should be given to everything so designers are less tempted to abuse canon or disguised profanity in names
  • A really good debugging tool to figure out why things aren't working as expected!
  • Set faction specific mission entry locations (arrival into the space map from sector space and beam down) for PCs (faction specific to support PvP), and ability to set and update faction specific respawn locations
  • Ability to have an "extra" NPC redshirt beam down with the away-party for the sole purpose of being disintegrated to launch a surprise attack
  • Ability to script BO actions with emotes (e.g., have the doctor rez an NPC, Engineer to fabricate something, take cover behind a boulder [really good for cut scenes])
  • Access to the Genesis system to "prebuild" as much as possible - note that we should be able to move and and terrain/space/weather features/objects as needed. This is just to fill in the basics so all the necessary elements for a mission are present as a starting place
  • Missions need to be marked for the number of required PCs (e.g., mission reqiures two PCs doing something simultaneously), and the "Mission filtering system" take it into account (e.g., not show missions that can't me completed with the PCs in the team)
  • Ability to add & assign Accolades (with no XP reward) to mission-players (see post #56) to be reused by other mission designers as prerequisite mission indicators, and to make mission logic decisions (e.g., PCs are friends or foes).
  • Have a spell checker and possibly a grammar checker
  • The system must support collaborations of designers and testers on missions before they are published

Accessible Events/Data
  • Player Gender, faction, Race, Profession, Rank, Skills, Accolades
  • Bridge Officer Gender, faction, Race, Profession, Rank, Skills
  • Dialog Response (i.e., which option did the player select?)
  • Object clicked
  • Passing over a location (e.g., through a doorway) or within a certain distance
  • 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
  • Player performed Emote and emote type (e.g., give a klingon the finger & they attack)
  • unique reward identifier (#152)


Accessible Actions
  • Emotes (e.g., have an NPC wave the player over)
  • Popup Dialogs
  • Changing Faction state (e.g., via a dialog response the planet inhabitants go from friendly to hostile)
  • Effects (e.g., ship explosions, disintegration, beam out) for NPCs and BOs (e.g., beaming Spock off the bridge in Spock's Brain).
  • Start/stop an NPC/BO script/animation
  • Start a timer that will trigger an event
  • Access Mini-game
  • Access Cut scenes
  • Ability for the scripting to lock and unlock doors/containers, have NPCs on patrol, say things, do things, enable/disable barriers (when the quest detects that player have performed some action or completed an objective, the force barrier is disabled or the broken door is repaired)
  • Queue Music


Future Features
  • Ability to have voice-acting for player created NPCs (must include localization)
  • Be able to set NPCs to factions, and have those factions friendly or hostile to the PC based on PC choices
  • Access DLL to pop-up our own mini-game
  • Ability to have interference disable a tricorder's readings
  • Feedback window for Holodeck mission evaluation so players comments can either go directly to the designer or be posted on-line
  • Able to record cut-scenes that when the player replays them it uses his ship & BOs rather than the designers
  • XML Export / Import of mission definitions - Some of us are old grizzled coders, and would be better able to tweak our content with a text editor rather than a user interfaces.
  • Add a designer unique quadrant accessible via Transwarp (that is there's only one transwarp gate, but it leads to many designer-populated quadrants). This allows designers to build out an entire quadrant.
  • Allow away-missions in a player's ship or fleet's starbase
  • Tweak ship interiors
  • Ability to disguise an NPCs look (e.g., Undine polymorph)
  • Place a countdown timer on the PCs display Or have a computer voice provide a countdown (good for self-destructs)
  • Holosuite missions should allow content and NPCs from any Star Trek Era (e.g., Kirk/Spock/Enterprise) and be able to build missions from outside the Star Trek IP (e.g., Sherlock Holmes mystery)
  • Change all NPC requirements to NPE (Non-Player Entity) - this would (for example) give the ability to assign AI behavior to objects (e.g., levitated glowing sphere that could represent an energy creature, talking tree/rocks)
  • Spacesuits/belt for away-missions in vacuum conditions (e.g., starships devoid of air, the surface of asteroids/moons, outer surface of a ship)
  • Variable and no gravity for away-missions
  • Shuttlecraft on planets (see #151)
  • Titles for designers, reviewers (e.g., I reviewed 100 missions), and players (e.g., I've succeeded at 500 UGC encounters). However, as per #75, do not tie this to mission rankings
  • Ability for players to specify personality for BOs that can be used by designers to select appropriate actors for dialog/action (ideas)


Other Game Changes
  • Exchange needs a new category for holonovels (UGC designed only for holosuite (no rewards/XP), and player sold on exchange)
  • A tutorial and forum site to help people learn the tools
  • When a mission reuses an existing location, the player needs a pop-up to show what missions are available to them at that location. This should not show missions that can't be repeated or are follow-up missions to missions that haven't yet been completed. See #62 for explanation of dialog screen shots below.
  • When a mission provides a new dialog set for an existing NPC (e.g., barman at DS-9), because multiple missions may reuse that character, only the dialog set for the active-mission should be used.
  • Profanity filter for Dialog speech to preserve the EULA.
  • Change to PvP queue to allow UGC.

Darren's Selector / Rater
Thomas's
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 2 Continued & UGC Tools
05-26-2010, 08:01 AM
Rating, Evaluating, & Finding Player Generated Missions
Separating the wheat from the chaff won't be easy. The primary reason for this is that missions are like TV shows, every viewer is likely to have different favorites (e.g., some might hate: slasher, Q, Time Travel, tribble, or fill-in-the-blank style of missions. But, some might love them). With so many different views, a simple 5-star average "waters" down the rankings making it hard for you to find what you like. Ideally the system ranks the missions appropriately for your tastes. Fortunately, this can be done fairly simply.

The example illustrations in the previous post show how the system is envisioned to work. That is, you pull up to a location, see what missions meet your requirements, play what looks good to you, then rank it with a simple 1-5 rating.

In this system, the mission filter (which is transparent to the player) does the heavy lifting. How it works is that it takes the average ranking of the player's that have similar tastes to you (i.e., it only uses ranking from other players where you have both played the same mission and rated them identically) and discards the other reviewers rankings. If no matches are found, then the overall mission average is used, or if there are fewer than 20 rankings it is marked as "unranked". This is done on a character basis, so the mission rankings your Klingon character's sees might be different than say your federation character. There are also multiple other criteria outlined below:
  • In a players setup should be a series of UGC questions that filter what available UGC they see while flying around, these questions are:
    • Checkboxes to indicate acceptable languages (e.g., English, German)
    • Checkbox to view unranked missions (all missions would be considered unranked until receiving 20 ratings)
    • Minimum Ranking (e.g., number of stars)
    • Whether missions without objectives (e.g., social content) were viewable.
  • When a designer publishes a mission not only should it appear in-game, but also in a searchable web database where the searchable keys are: designer name, reviewer name (e.g., the Siskel & Ebert of UGC), mission title, languages supported, number of stars. Searches should return a link to mission information: designer notes, starting location, current rating, and any player reviews.
  • When a player sees a mission (either in-game at the starting location or on the web from search keys), they should be able to view all the mission data listed above either as a web page or as a tab on the mission acceptance window.
  • The in-game MissionFiltering System shows what missions are available and should filter by:
    • Languages desired (e.g., English, German)
    • All prerequisites conditions are met: any prerequisite missions (discernable via mission title or accolade), faction, race, team size requirements
    • Remove all missions already completed, unless marked repeatable (which should be rare) and the timer has expired
    • Player Ranking (e.g., number of stars calculated as described above)
    • If unrated missions were desired or not
    • Designer override flag (either inclusion or exclusion of specific designers)
    • Missions without objectives (e.g., those intended for social content)
    • Possibly level (depends on if the autoscaler can make any mission level generic)
  • Mission prerequisites must be "taggable" such that the Mission Filter can use any of the conditions above in combination (e.g., all have a specific accolade, and at least one is female) as:
    • All - all PCs must have the prerequisite
    • None - None of the PCs can have the prerequisite
    • OnePlus - At least one PC has the prerequisite

Things that shouldn't be in the UGC tool or prevented
Just as important as what's in the tool, are things the tool should not allow:
  • We should not be able to provide rewards. The system should automatically generate rewards and they should be less than what would be available from a Studio generated mission to minimize abuse.
  • We should not be able to adjust the difficulty setting, the difficulty should autoscale with the player's abilities and settings.
  • We should not be able to alter injuries (death penalty).


Tools
If at all possible, the interface description as well as the tools should be published. With an interface description, the community could build their own tools to augment the existing ones.

NPC Editor
This tool would allow NPCs to be created or modified.

Map Editor
This tool would allow areas to be created or modified.
  • Place and alter terrain/space items (moons, asteroid belts)
  • Set areas that can not be entered (e.g., pits, black holes)
  • Place triggers, placeables (e.g., temples, trees, asteroids), sounds, and NPCs

Conversation Editor
Star Trek is known for its rich banter between the crew and powerful dialog, the UGC tools will need an equally powerful toolset to build missions that can do the Star Trek universe proud.
  • Debugger - Ability to run through and test the dialog options
  • Branching - A PC should have choices in the dialog that they can select (e.g., a choice they pic decides if the PC goes down a diplomatic path or a combat path to resolve the mission).
  • Conditions - There may be prerequisites that must occur before a conversation can take place (e.g., a doctor BO in the party) - if the condition is not met the dialog portion should be skipped.
  • Speaker - The speaker of the line may not always be clear at design-time, as such a speaker should identified by NPC Name, or a combination of one or more: Profession, Race, skills, frade, gender, and faction. Combinations may be additive (e.g., Female+Doctor) or subtractive (e.g., Tactical - Klingon) [Note: these features are needed mostly for sparking BO banter]
  • Variables in text - Dialog scripts should have access via variables to everyone in the party including: Profession, Race, grade, skills, gender, and faction, plus be able to make decisions based on in-mission variables (e.g., I see from your expression you haven't yet found it Lt. Cmdr.).
  • Trigger Events - Dialog choices should trigger events (events would be used, for example, to set in-mission variables to specific values, changing friendliness of NPCs, start timers, cause objects to appear/disappear).
  • Emotes: When a speaker speaks a line, they should be able to do an emote.
  • Robust - The dialog system must handle conversation where the PC is attacked and needs to temporarily break off dialog by being able to return to the dialog. However the system needs to know which conversations have already completed to ensure the correct dialog choice is being made.
  • Quest - Dialog should be able to update quests either directly, or indirectly through events.
  • Type - dialog should be in a dialog box, by pop-up bubble text over the speakers head, or a recorded voice.

Mission Editor
This tool provides information about and organizes the mission(s).
  • Creates quests, specifies category, description, credits, how the quest is Triggered, if it is a holosuite only, PvE or PvP
  • organizes the resources used (e.g, dialogs, events, maps),
  • initializes mission variables
  • strings multiple maps/missions together
  • initializes mission variables.
  • Hooks dialog to NPCs & BOs

Script Editor
The Star Trek universe is one full of life, beings of all types all busy doing things.
  • Set travel paths for any PCs
  • Have emote sequence for any PC
  • Actions conditional on PC location (e.g., they might stand up when you approach them, or salute)

Cut-scene Editor
Using a variation of the /demorecord feature a designer can setup a scenario (complete with npcs running scripts) and record it. The designer can then specify any character in the recording as either an NPC, the PC, or a BO of the PC (in space the ship could be designated as the player or an NPC). When the player sees the cut-scene, those characters are replaced as appropriate. This tool would also contain an editor and commands like fade-in/fade out (or convert to an video format where external editors could be used).

Export/Import Editor
Ideally this isn't a tool at all, but automated using web links so resources can be downloaded locally and used. But failing that, we'll need some way to share player generated items.

Documentation & Tutorials
In addition to documentation and tutorials on the tools, players will want information on how to use their textures and 3D forms to create in-game objects (e.g., singularities, strong-box, green blood stain, partially eaten body)


Deployment Phases
  1. In phase 1, tools, documentation, and tutorials would be released as they become available so designers can start playing with them and provide feedback. Cryptic should create a forum specifically for the tools.
  2. Phase 2 should occur a couple of weeks after all the tools are in place and it is possible for a designer to build a complete mission. Cryptic should sponsor a live event that answers otherwise unanswered questions on the forum. Documentation and tutorials would be updated for FAQs.
  3. Phase 3 would open up collaboration tools for designers & testers.
  4. Phase 4 would be a "quiet" period so Cryptic can complete the final round of required features and bug fixes.
  5. This phase would alter the in-game UI on Tribble so missions could be allowed to be published.
  6. Phase 6 would release the UI changes to the Holodeck
  7. This phase would occur after the community feels the UGC is farm-proof, reduced rewards would be retroactively enabled on Tribble. (Note: If problems were found it would return to phase 4)
  8. This phase would release the rewards to the Holodeck
  9. The final phase would be a normal maintenance cycle were new content is released for designers.


Acknowledgments
Many thanks to Peregrine_Falcon, SquidheadJax, Darren_Kitlor (who I really thought would have started this thread ), Zoot_Cadillac, KirkFat, USS-Andromeda, Pickoy and many others for their ideas in various threads to get this started - hope to see more ideas!
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 3
05-26-2010, 08:07 AM
This is a little much to implament all at once, the most important thing we should mention here is the ability to keep those that would use this as a pure power lvl short cut or farm barn ,if you will, from doing so.

Its this kind of set up that killed COH. And if they had set limitations early on.....it wouldn't have killed the game. Im not talking about creative limits mind you...but the ability to curb the farm till you drop behavior. I'm sure if you go into COH/COV atm...you will see clusters of people trying to get in on a farm all crammed in one location.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 4
05-26-2010, 08:11 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by castogere View Post
This is a little much to implament all at once,
From recent posts it looks like CodeRanger is hard at work at Cryptic implementing it - so anything constructive we can provide as a community would probably make the beta go smoother.

If you're concerned the system can be abused, then by all means lets figure out someway to prevent that. For example, under Evaluating Player Generated Missions, is the bullet:
Quote:
...
  • Possibly a "Cryptic" sponsored group of community volunteers that has the "authority" to approve missions (i.e., moves them from the holodeck to in-game with real rewards) to prevent gross misuses.

....
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 5
05-26-2010, 08:18 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by castogere View Post
Its this kind of set up that killed COH. And if they had set limitations early on.....it wouldn't have killed the game. Im not talking about creative limits mind you...but the ability to curb the farm till you drop behavior. I'm sure if you go into COH/COV atm...you will see clusters of people trying to get in on a farm all crammed in one location.
I'm with you. I fear that UGC here will do what it did to CoX. I went to CoX during the last free weekend. The UGC is nerfed to hades and back with a second return trip and I'm not really interrested in picking up the new CoX expansion - and I was hard core CoX. It really appeared that CoX never recovered from the AE fiasco. I fear that would happen here.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 6
05-26-2010, 09:00 AM
For something like UGC, the problems you saw in CoH stem from a disconnect between player submission and implementation. UGC should be a way for players to submit ideas for missions. Those ideas are vetted by Cryptic before going 'live'. Anything else will introduce the very problems people are fearing.

Same goes for The Captain's Table, players should be able to submit fanfic/stories fpr vetting. With a good text to speech application, players could hear (or read) stories told by historic captains.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 7
05-26-2010, 09:34 AM
I think the UGC tool-set should allow us to create missions just like Cryptic can, plus, multiple mutually-exclusive side-goals. I would also like UGC quests to be their own reward, as-in, no Skill Points, Energy Credits or l00t for kills, only mission goals should be rewarded. Most of all though, I'd like a simple rating system of "Will-Play-Again" with total anonymity so that both authors and players can focus on enjoying stories we'll create and experience in Cryptic's STAR TREK universe.

Realistically, of course, we'll probably get a flawed system that Cryptic will have to fix time and again, but making mistakes and correcting them is after all a part of any development process. Hopefully, Cryptic will surprise us by learning from the miscalculations made by Paragon Studios.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 8
05-26-2010, 10:01 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by LordOfPit View Post
I think the UGC tool-set should allow us to create missions just like Cryptic can, plus, multiple mutually-exclusive side-goals. I would also like UGC quests to be their own reward, as-in, no Skill Points, Energy Credits or l00t for kills, only mission goals should be rewarded. Most of all though, I'd like a simple rating system of "Will-Play-Again" with total anonymity so that both authors and players can focus on enjoying stories we'll create and experience in Cryptic's STAR TREK universe.
As long as"unapproved" missions are restricted to the holosuite or Tribble the rewards are immaterial. Certainly introducing rewards in game is something that should either be automated or approved. But in general, if there are real consequences (e.g., injury) there should be real rewards. I'm okay with the anonymity if a way can be found to prevent one person from racking up a vote. I also like the idea of "side quests", I'll go back and edit the OP to include both of those.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 9
05-26-2010, 10:31 AM
A friend who's done a bit of Fallout 3 modding mailed me these thoughts:

Reuse is tricky. Having multiple cooks stirring the same pot is asking for trouble. Too many opportunities for conflicts, where an unforeseen interaction between one person's mod and another's disables a quest. I could see this working in instanced areas that have one quest mod or related mod series. More generic mods, that merely tweak weather or change the appearance of the night sky, should be okay anywhere.
We already had "Copy" rather allowing people to alter existing maps. But, I've added a change to Game Mechanics that essentially lets you pick which mission map you want to enter so there's no confusion. However, there is a conflicting item still in the OP which is to have an existing NPC (e.g., barman at DS-9) give you a dialog option. It's probably not perfect, but I'll add a change to the OP so that UGC dialog for pre-existing NPCs is only triggered if the mission is marked as the active mission.

How will localization be handled? (User generated text/dialog was written in English but the German players don't understand it.)

For complex interactions, you really need scripts and a scripting language, which I didn't see mentioned.

Dialog would have to be policed for language that violates the EULA.

You'll want conditional dialog (player race/gender, quest objective received or completed, script variable, item present in inventory).

Ability to update quest log.

Detect player / BO skills and levels.

Detect time passed, either to trigger an event or as a quest time limit.

Optional/bonus quest objectives that are not required.

Ability for the quest to lock and unlock doors/containers, or enable/disable barriers (when the quest detects that player have performed some action or completed an objective, the force barrier is disabled or the broken door is repaired).

Detect player attack. (Did the player attack a friendly or neutral NPC? The quest may require a better response than the NPC defending himself and any nearby allies coming to his aid.)

Though not necessary, the ability to place a note, either in the open or in a container or corpse, is a nice way to share data with the player and guide the direction of the quest.
Added all of these
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 10
05-26-2010, 10:35 AM
I truly do not think Cryptic will enable actual modding of STO as a way to handle UGC. Something like the MA/AE tool City of Heroes has, is the most likely candidate for being implemented in STO. If you've played CO to a high enough level, Lv25 I think, you may remember the missions to create your Nemesis, and that's probably the scope of a GUI Wizard we can expect from Cryptic to put in STO UGC, at least as far as selecting the NPC-baddies goes.
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