This season, our fleet the SF41 The Black Sheep and the KDF41 The Ghostriders will be releasing a new series of stories for our Role Play shows.
In our fleets, since the game launched, we have set up the fleets to emulate a TV Production Company. Since the Foundry has been available on Star Trek Online, we have been trying to adapt the feature to our role play shows. After trial and error, we have finally settle on a format that we think works best for our needs and we think other people will like it to.
Why do all this?
When the game started in February 2010, we had to roleplay mainly at public zones and on our bridges. During the summer of 2010, the game developers released the interior sets, which we as role players took full advantage of. The interior sets allowed role players to move out of the public zones, where we would be prone to "grievers."
So, when the developers made it known the Foundry was to be added to the game, we embraced the new tool for us to roleplay with.
Before I can answer "why do all this" it is important to lay out some foundation material so the reader can better relate or understand the topic here. All this leads to why we decided to write all our new stories in the manner and method we want to do this Season.
The way we wrote shows prior to the Foundry is like this:
1. A Executive Producer in our fleet would develop the general plot for the show
2. The writers were responsible for writing their individual lines on set or stage
3. On stage, the executive producer would act as the director using Ventrilo to give vocal directions to the role players.
4. The executive producer would make sure the scenes aligned up properly into a cohesive story.
5. When player characters had to resolve conflicts or resolve task, we would roll dice in game using the emote rolldice.
The shows were generally run on Friday and Saturday night.
The problem with role playing in a MMORPG
1. Coordinating the different times people had available to play.
2. Making sure when people were available to play they were able to contribute to the story.
When the Foundry was released, we as a group experimented around with several methods.
The problem we encountered was:
1. With the Foundry, the stories were not as detailed.
a. In a roleplay story, you can actually create task specific to the characters
b. You can create complex relationships for the characters.
2. If you make a long story, then will the player be able to keep enough attention to the story for a complex story to develop?
3. If you make a short story, will it be interesting enough to cause the player to keep going with the story.
So, to experiment with these ideas, we wrote several different stories to see what reactions we would get.
The first major "novel" type story we released was "Terror in the Patch"
This story takes the player through a long story that spans 24 chapters, with most of the main story coming in the middle chapters 10 to 20. So most of the plot development in the early chapters is introductory and exposition.
As we got into writing this story, it was hard for people to understand the back story. So, we decided to release the back story as a separate story called "Call of Cthulhu."
The main problem we ran into was not that the stories did not work, but the production of each story took a long period of time. In the middle of producing Call of Cthulhu and Terror in the Patch, Cryptic switched ownership from Atari to Perfect World Entertainment. And the Foundry encountered many hours of downtime.
So, we decided this season, instead of writing one massive long story, what we term as "monolithic" story, we decided to break the story down into scenes. It is still a large story, but it is released as scenes instead of one lump some.
Now to answer "why do this?"
Since Season 5 and Season 6, the game developers have added a Event Calendar to the game in an attempt to create a atmosphere of unity. Also, they have created Dilithium ore for STFs, and Fleet Marks for Fleet events.
Now, we want to embrace this plan, by adapting our stories to fit this criteria.
So, we think by releasing our stories in scene increments, this will allow individual players to decide how much more or how much little they want to play our stories.
Since, each scene is designed to be played in 5 to 10 minutes, a player can decide for themselves how many scenes they wish to play. We are hoping they will want to play at least 3 scenes a day to fit in with the Officer Investigation Report mission and the Officer report event. This will allow a player to collect Skill points, Expertise Points, 50 Fleet Marks, and 1440 dilithium ore each day.
Our plan is to release a total of 3 episodes per season. This will breakdown as follows; 1 episode is written in 3 Acts, each act is written in 3 scenes. So, that is a total of 9 scenes per episode.
We are going to release 1 episode in a month time. So, in September we will release 1 Act a week for 3 weeks. In October, we will release 1 Act each week for a total of 3 Acts for 3 weeks. Then in November, release the last episode for this season. In December we are going to break and allow Season 8 to be released.
If this is released on time, then in January we will release our new Star Trek Season of shows in January or February. This will be another 3 episodes.
When we make each episode we are going to release 4 versions of the story on the Federation side and 2 versions of the story on the Klingon side.
Version A is a Female (non-Vulcan) lead role
Version B is a Male (non-Vulcan) lead role
Version AV is a Female Vulcan lead role
Version BV is a Male Vulcan lead role.
All the stories will be written in a way that most dialog will be written around the player character, a tactical officer, a science officer, and a engineering officer. The last slot can be filled in with what the player or players choose to do.
In our shows, many Foundry stories are played with more than one player. What we do is designate one player the star. And they make the decision on what buttons to push. The other players then read their roles if they are filling each of the primary roles; tactical, science, engineering.
I am not sure if people understand the answer here as to why.
We have determine this method works best for player and producer alike.
From a production view, it is easier to move sets around to scenes if the Foundry slot only has one scene. In a monolithic story with more than one map, if I develop a large city map that I want to reuse. I am require to import the entire story over, then delete all the parts I do not need to fit it in the new scene.
By breaking the story into scenes per slot, all the stages we build are easily moved to new stories.
Also, it is easier to move costumes around. Instead of having to make the same costumes over again. I can just copy the scene over with the map I want to use. This saves a ton of production time.
The way I write shows now, I start with a Word Processor and write a screen play in Courier Font size 12. This allows for a better control of time and typing errors.
So, I can sit down and write the entire story out, then go in and make the story on the Foundry. A much better quality control.
So how does this all relate to this section of the Forum.
I needed to state all this foundation material before I wrote out the titles of these new stories.
The new shows are written with the title of:
ST-DS9 S6 Act 1 Sc 1 ver A
What does this mean?
ST-DS9 means it is based in the Star Trek DS9 time period or current game period of time and that the stories are based around DS9.
The other shows we are writing are:
ST-TOS - these shows are written in the TOS time period
ST-TNG - these shows are written in the TNG style which means they are in the current game time period, but the missions take place on a ship exploring the galaxy.
ST-KDF - these shows are based on the current time period of the Klingon Empire
ST-ENT - these shows are written in the Enterprise NX-01 time period
What does this all mean?
It means that to produce one season of shows requires 27 Foundry slots which cost 70,000 dilithium ore. To do four versions of the Federation shows will require 27 x 4 = 108 Foundry slots which cost 280,000 dilithium ore. To produce the KDF side of the show will require 54 Foundry slots which cost 140,000 dilithium ore.
Good news for Cryptic Studios.
Currently, we have released 5 scenes for the first episode this month.
I plan to work this week and getting the first episode completed by the end of the month. Then in October, release 1 Act each week as described above.
Also, we want to go back and convert our older stories to this new format.
Last edited by klytemnestra1; 09-24-2012 at 09:02 AM.