Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
Just some advice for all the talented mission writters out there....

I have seen a disturbing trend towards a seemingly "get it out now!" mentality when it come to making missions.

Lately I have played through several dozen missions which start very well, having a great idea/theme/story to them only to be hamstrung from not receiving a pile of 5 star ratings due to a lack of polishing. It's a shame that the author(s) didn't just spend an extra day checking spelling/logic/map transistions etc. Instead they push it out before it's ready and wonder why they are getting mediocre to bad reviews on it.

There was one author who was writting a series that I liked so much, I wrote him a lengthy e-mail feedback letter suggesting a number of minor fixes (like proofreading to catch grammer and spelling errors, etc)to his missions. He wrote back saying, "I have to finish it before I run out of time". Hmm...okay. BUT while publishing them, he kept updating the prologs asking people not to bash his mssions for all the errors in them; that he would fix them 'later'.

And this is the crux right here - YOU ONLY GET ONE CHANCE TO IMPRESS FOLKS - get it right from the start or you'll be trying to dig yourself out of the low-ratings hole for the rest of the life of the mission.

The above mentioned author went on to publish several more missions after the series was complete (along with all the technical problems still intact) so it really didn't seem as if he was under a deadline for any reason. He only ended up shooting himself in the foot by rushing to publish them.

So again, if you want good ratings, do both yourself and fellow players a favor - DON'T RUSH TO PUBLISH. Take just a little extra time to get the little things right. You'll get a ton more 5 star ratings that way.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 2
05-13-2011, 02:34 PM
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 3
05-13-2011, 04:13 PM
From what I've read, the Foundry doesn't allow you to fully test something until you publish it. So what people will do is publish, test, repair and republish.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 4
05-13-2011, 04:19 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by JimGamma View Post
From what I've read, the Foundry doesn't allow you to fully test something until you publish it. So what people will do is publish, test, repair and republish.
You can't check mob wandering and stuff until publish, but you can certainly correct grammar and spelling issues.

I score down a mission heavily if I have to reread the same text two or three times to figure out what the H the author is trying to tell me. Lots of 2 or 3 star efforts would have been 3 or 4 star efforts with a little more editing/polishing.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 5
05-14-2011, 10:36 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by boglejam View Post
You can't check mob wandering and stuff until publish, but you can certainly correct grammar and spelling issues.
In fairness to spelling and grammar checks, many people are not the greatest spellers in the world. I understand that people don't always want to read things that are not spelt correctly, and I understand why people mark others down because of it. I'm not saying that's wrong, but we are not professionals. To some people spellings and grammar checks, especially if English is not their native language is the hardest part of the mission. We all suck at something in our lives, and for some people it's spelling.

Besides checking your own work is very hard to do. You're so used to the words that you often gloss over the errors. I've gone over and over my missions many times and I still miss things. It's through no lack of effort. In most official situations people get a professional proofreader to check their work. We don't have teams of people here, we are often just on our own.

To make matters worse there are often two different way to spell a word. honour or honor, centre or center etc because of the differences in English and American spelling. My spelling is not great, but I swear I get marked down because I spell things in proper English, and not the more widely used American spellings.

To top it all off no one ever seems to offer suggestions on what is wrong so you can fix them. Being told you have spelling mistakes in the feedback is not that helpful when trying to track them down, even assuming the person who have given you the feedback can spell himself to begin with or did not just misread something.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 6
05-14-2011, 10:59 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Captain_Revo
In fairness to spelling and grammar checks, many people are not the greatest spellers in the world. I understand that people don't always want to read things that are not spelt correctly, and I understand why people mark others down because of it. I'm not saying that's wrong, but we are not professionals. To some people spellings and grammar checks, especially if English is not their native language is the hardest part of the mission. We all suck at something in our lives, and for some people it's spelling.

Besides checking your own work is very hard to do. You're so used to the words that you often gloss over the errors. I've gone over and over my missions many times and I still miss things. It's through no lack of effort. In most official situations people get a professional proofreader to check their work. We don't have teams of people here, we are often just on our own.

To make matters worse there are often two different way to spell a word. honour or honor, centre or center etc because of the differences in English and American spelling. My spelling is not great, but I swear I get marked down because I spell things in proper English, and not the more widely used American spellings.

To top it all off no one ever seems to offer suggestions on what is wrong so you can fix them. Being told you have spelling mistakes in the feedback is not that helpful when trying to track them down, even assuming the person who have given you the feedback can spell himself to begin with or did not just misread something.
You can always copy and paste your dialog into Word and get help with the spelling and grammar there.

Also, if you look at my hypercritical jerk thread, I do point out the spelling errors and offer suggestions for fixing the grammer. Unless, of course, the mission text is so horrible it would take three hours to document the mistakes. Then I just say "you suck" and move onto the next mission. Its one of the joys of being a hypercritical jerk.

The only way the stories advance in STO is by reading written dialog. if you are going to spend all of the time creating something for others to play, and then can't be bothered to check to see if someone can actually tell what you are trying to communicate to them, then you are being lazy and deserve to be marked down. Might seem harsh, but it gets old trying to decrypt a mission plot.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 7
05-14-2011, 11:19 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by boglejam View Post
You can always copy and paste your dialog into Word and get help with the spelling and grammar there.

Also, if you look at my hypercritical jerk thread, I do point out the spelling errors and offer suggestions for fixing the grammer. Unless, of course, the mission text is so horrible it would take three hours to document the mistakes. Then I just say "you suck" and move onto the next mission. Its one of the joys of being a hypercritical jerk.

The only way the stories advance in STO is by reading written dialog. if you are going to spend all of the time creating something for others to play, and then can't be bothered to check to see if someone can actually tell what you are trying to communicate to them, then you are being lazy and deserve to be marked down. Might seem harsh, but it gets old trying to decrypt a mission plot.
I use word, it helps a lot. Some people clearly don't use it at all.

I'll agree that some are horrific and badly worded or the spelling is just terrible. Those do deserve to be marked down. If you don't do any proofreading then sure that's being lazy. It's the minor errors that are the real tricky ones to spot. When someone uses an 'a' instead of 'an' or 'hear' instead of 'here' which I know I've been guilty of both. Word does not help you in those situations, and when reading dialogue over and over its easy to miss them as you're brain just does not work that way. It's massively easier to correct someone else's work, than your own. I'm sure some are good at it, most are not, hence the large number of mission that do contain errors.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 8
05-15-2011, 07:50 AM
I have to agree also - a few minor errors I can ignore anyone can make mistakes but when there clearly has been little to no attempt to clean up the writing I will just drop the mission. I understand an author may have difficulties with the language they are wrting in but there are tools to help and they could also try to find someone to proofread for them.

One other thing that annoys me is when it is difficult to find where to go start the mission. At the very least the start location should be included in the journal entry for the mission and preferably also in the mission tracker. Include the system and sector. When arriving at the mission door (system or NPC) you should clearly identify the prompt for your mission.

Cryptic missions are not immune to any of the above issues, how many times have you seen people ask in Zone 'Where is xyz system?'. But just because Cryptic does it doesn't mean we shouldn't do better
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 9
05-15-2011, 05:55 PM
And then there are people like me, who give good reviews based on content and not spelling errors.

These missions are done by people for fun. And those playing these missions obviously aren't having fun if they are more concerned with spelling rather than the content and artistic ability it takes to create the content in the first place.

I grade on a few things.

1. Flow - The mission has to flow and make sense

2. Special FX

3. Mission complexity - Which I find is the biggest drawback for most player created missions - Put simply it's to easy. Knowing there is a fine line between complexity and simplicity is one of the hardest skills to master when creating content.

While #3 is my biggest grade determination I don't knock people for trying. Poeple get better with time and practice.

Lastly,

I could give a flying leap less about spelling - If I can interpret it into english that's a start - Anything less than that and I will downgrade them for it. Minor spelling errors I overlook because tbh everyone else does.

I played one mission recently which I very much enjoyed. The overall flow, FX, and content were very well done, even though I found some very minor spelling mistakes I gave him 4/5 as a grade for it. Like I said, i don't focus on what's wrong with someone's content I focus on what's right with it.

The only criticism I gave this person was: The missions were to easy despite how well they were done.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 10
05-16-2011, 05:48 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eirxia View Post
And then there are people like me, who give good reviews based on content and not spelling errors.



1. Flow - The mission has to flow and make sense


Lastly,

I could give a flying leap less about spelling - If I can interpret it into english that's a start - Anything less than that and I will downgrade them for it. Minor spelling errors I overlook because tbh everyone else does.
No one has said they downgrade only on poor spelling. For me, it is a component thou. In your own example - if the spelling and grammar are so bad that I have to stop and re-read everything twice to figure out the story, then the flow of the mission suffers.

Basically, we are all saying the same thing I think.
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