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Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
Warning: This is an extremely text heavy mission. Don't even bother with it if you don't want to read!



Atlas Affair is the sequel to Dereliction Duty, however it can also be played as a stand-alone mission. If you do want to play Dereliction Duty, it's recommended that you play it first, as the events of AA will spoil some of the previous mission.

Faction: Federation
Level: 16+
Location: Draylon System, Beta Ursae
Length: 2-3 hours (Verified length if you only do the bare minimum is 1 hour)
Verified compatible with all difficulty levels (Normal, Advanced, Elite)

Task Force Odyssey's Adventure Continues
Task Force Odyssey succeeded in tracking down the pirates and rescuing the U.S.S. Odysseus. Unfortunately, the U.S.S. Atlas was struck by tricobalt mines when Admiral Gonzales attempted to take the pirate leader into custody. The Atlas's shields were knocked offline, giving the pirates an opportunity to board the ship!

Now, the pirate leader has taken Admiral Gonzales and the rest of the Atlas bridge crew hostage, and is threatening to execute them unless you agree to her demands. Meanwhile, the Atlas crew is fighting for their lives and their freedom on the lower decks!

Take command of Task Force Odyssey and find a way to rescue the hostages and take back the Atlas!

More ST, Less STO
With Atlas Affair, I'm continuing in my attempt to capture more of the essence of TNG or DS9, and less STO. As a result of the situation, there's a bit more combat in Atlas Affair than in Dereliction Duty, however I've tried to make it seem realistic. Instead of storming the ship by yourself, the other captains in the task force will provide you with some backup.

I've also tried to make it so the mission can adapt to your play style, and also reward investigation. If you want, there is actually a lot of potential combat in the mission. However, if you talk to people and use your head, there are ways to either avoid combat encounters altogether, or get people to help you with them. How you decide to play is up to you!

An Interactive & Adaptable Story
I've still put in a lot of dialogue choices, and there's plenty of optional text for you to read. You can also bring some of your captain's expertise into play, with optional actions based on your profession.

Unlike Dereliction Duty, the mission structure of Atlas Affair is a bit more streamlined. If you want to read the optional text, and complete the optional objectives, the mission will still take about 2 or 3 hours to complete. But, unlike Dereliction Duty, if you really don't want to be bothered with all of that stuff, you can complete the mission in as little as an hour by focusing only on the required dialogue.

Still A Galaxy Of Characters
If you spent time listening in on the conversations of the characters on the Atlas during Dereliction Duty, you'll have a chance to meet many of them again. This time you'll be working along side of them, and you'll be able to see how things have changed since the last time you set foot on the Atlas.

In addition, you'll also have a chance to get to know the other task force captains a bit more, and interact with some of the crew of the U.S.S. Hyperion.

Final Thoughts
In making Atlas Affair I've tried to take into account feedback from people who played Dereliction Duty. Based on comments received, I've specifically tried to help explain certain things that people wondered about in Dereliction Duty. Thanks to everyone who provided constructive criticism of DD. This mission wouldn't be as good without your help.

One major difference between this mission and DD is the mission follows more of a branching structure. With DD the overall storyline meant the mission took a certain amount of time to complete, no matter what you did. With AA the actual storyline is shorter, and you can complete part 1 in only about an hour if you skip all the optional text and objectives. But, if you want to read everything, and complete all the side objectives, then there is still about 3 hours of content and back story there for you to explore. Not everyone may consider this to be an improvement, as it can make the mission seem less focused, but I do think it's better to give people a choice of how much they want to read.

Personally, I consider AA to be a better mission than DD, but I guess we'll have to wait and see if others agree.

Part 2 Coming February 2012
It took me a little bit longer to finish the first part of this mission than I'd hoped. Thanks to everyone for being so patient. I don't anticipate the second half of the mission taking as long to complete, however it's possible it won't be finished until mid February (I'm aiming for early February, but I can't promise I'll make it).
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 2
01-24-2012, 07:12 PM
I welcome all constructive feedback on the mission. If there's something you liked, or didn't like, please let me know. I can't promise I'll change things based on your feedback, but I promise I'll at least consider what you have to say.

Also, if you do complete the mission, please post your debriefing code below so I can tell what choices you made during the mission.

Thanks for playing, and I hope you enjoy the mission!
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 3
01-25-2012, 12:13 AM
I enjoyed it quite a bit. Was looking forward to the release of it; like waiting for the next book of your favorite author to be released

I liked your attention to detail, and the work you put in to flesh out the story and NPCs. It was a lot of text though, and I tend to read everything, so even though the mission demanded due to the situation that I hurry up and rescue the admiral I was caught standing around a lot. In Derelict Duty that was ok, because I was travelling between systems, investigating old ships and all, but in this one, time was a factor, and yet I found myself in a lot of dialgoues.

Mind you, those all were very well done, but especially on the bridge, I on the one hand was in a situation were time was running low, and yet I spent what felt like an hour talking, sorting out the 'who is in command' issue, and dealing with those holograms.

So while I enjoyed the little riddles and dialogue options, it hurt (from my perspective at least) the flow of the story a bit. The urgency of the situation got diluded a bit by all the talking and mini puzzles during the bridge section.

That being said, the holograms were very well done. Highly annoying and arrogant, got me really cursing at him (and thanks for a few 'rude' dialogue options there)

Just the the Orion slave girl hologram was too much I think. While I can see that a few geek programmers would probably put that in, I don't think a hologram deployed on a Galaxy-X Dreadnought would have something like that installed. It was a funny touch, and I smiled, but maybe a hologram to far there

If I had the power, I'd give you the budget to do this one (and DD) with real voice overs and cutscenes, with a dialgoue wheel and a morality system similar to Mass Effect / Dragon Age. You are a great author, and its a tiny bit sad seeing your talent limited by the limited Foundry options. This one could be much bigger and better with the right resources.


Final thoughts: This is an awesome mission, very well done, and I am really looking forward to the conclusion of it all. Thank you very much for creating it. You authors all rock, making STO a better game!

*tips 50 Dilithium*


PS. My codes were Sisko Delta and Sigma

<Edit> Took about 3 hours.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 4
01-25-2012, 01:56 AM
Thanks for your comments. You're probably right about the pacing conflicting with the rest of the dialogue options. I can see that could be a bit of a flaw, although one I can't really fix at this point without ripping everything out. So, I guess I'll just have to ask you to suspend disbelief. The only real counter argument is that by taking more time to secure the bridge and gather information from the proper ECH extensions, it makes it more likely you'll complete the mission successfully.

As an aside, at one point I was considering having a penalty for spending time activating all the extensions, like someone died who otherwise wouldn't have. Unfortunately, I gave up on that because it's very tricky to track things like that with the Foundry tools. I can do it with my "debriefing code" work around, but it takes a lot of complex dialogue tree design, and I just couldn't justify the time spent for such a fairly minor thing.

More along the lines of what you're saying, discussing Captain Ryan's past is probably not appropriate under the circumstances. Although, maybe that can be justified by the fact that it would take a few minutes for your chosen support team to get ready. Ideally if I weren't limited to the Foundry I could have that sort of thing discussed between missions, or in a social zone.

In any case, I'll try to take that into account in the future. Maybe I need to just create social maps to interact with the NPCs and learn about their back stories. I don't know how well that would go over though.

To be honest, I'm still having trouble really understanding why people like my missions so much. On the one hand, I know that I do put a lot of effort into the characters and the back story, and apparently people appreciate that, but at the same time if you had asked me how a 2-3 hour mission would fare, I would have said it would end up bombing. I literally did not thing DD was going to be a popular mission at all. So, I'm still a little in disbelief over the whole thing. I kind of feel that at any point I could just fall flat on my face without even realizing it, and no one would ever play my missions again.

Point taken on the Orion Slave Girl extension. My thinking on that one was that an Orion Slave Girl holoprogram got attached to the ECH, either intentionally or accidentally (incidentally the model used for the OSG ext is the same one from Ulysses Liddell's computer in Dereliction Duty). The ECH is meant to provide some slight comic relief (sort of how the Doctor from Voyger was used), but I can see how the OSG ext could be seen to be taking things one step too far. I can't really say much else about that except that everyone misses sometimes.

Thanks again for the feedback, and I'm glad you enjoyed the mission.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 5
01-25-2012, 03:34 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nagorak View Post
Thanks for your comments. You're probably right about the pacing conflicting with the rest of the dialogue options. I can see that could be a bit of a flaw, although one I can't really fix at this point without ripping everything out. So, I guess I'll just have to ask you to suspend disbelief.
It was just a minor thing really. Since all the dialogues and little riddles were well done (btw. the jumping part to get to the plasma control was a nice touch) I had a great time playing.. just at some point it hit me.. "oh right.. gotta save some people here too!". So not a big deal, just that I felt the urgency of the situation got a bit drowned.

Quote:
To be honest, I'm still having trouble really understanding why people like my missions so much. On the one hand, I know that I do put a lot of effort into the characters and the back story, and apparently people appreciate that, but at the same time if you had asked me how a 2-3 hour mission would fare, I would have said it would end up bombing. I literally did not thing DD was going to be a popular mission at all. So, I'm still a little in disbelief over the whole thing. I kind of feel that at any point I could just fall flat on my face without even realizing it, and no one would ever play my missions again.
I can only speak for myself of course, but I do enjoy playing your mission because they are so long, because the characters are well developed and there a ton of little touches here and there that aren't needed for the story, but make your missions seem more alive, not just click here, shoot that. There is a story behind everything, the characters I interact with have interesting backgrounds making everything more believeable. I bet you run awesome Pen and Paper sessions

There are times when I just want to log in and shot some stuff, and there are times when I want a good story that gets me immersed in the game, being my character in the universe. Your missions let me do that, because of your attention to all the details it works out that in my head everything comes alive. You have a talent for these things, and it shows. And looking at the ratings your missions get, I am not alone thinking that.

Really looking forward to your next work, and thank you very much for creating such awesome content for others.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 6
01-26-2012, 06:10 AM
In a way I don't want to criticise this, because I did enjoy it and it's well put together, but I want to expand on the in-game reivew I left it.

I completed this in about half the time it took me to do Dereliction, but Dereliction still felt tighter and more focussed. Even though it took me longer to do Dereliction, and there are truckloads of dialogue in it, I felt all that dialogue had a place and purpose. You're conducting an investigation, so it makes sense that you do that much talking and methodical digging around.

I felt the same about this one until I got to the Atlas bridge. I spent, without going out of my way to investigate every dialogue tree, what felt like a long time determining who's in command of the Atlas, and sorting out the ECH's ego issues, when I really should've been concentrating on defeating the remaining Orions and re-taking control of the ship. The dialogue itself was fine, and I understand what it a lot of it was there for, particular the ECH dialogue trees (comic relief). But I really wanted to just say to the team leader I got from the Cronus "Alright, Lt. You take command here until someone conscious and competent from the Atlas presents themselves". We don't have control over the Atlas at this point anyway, so does who's in charge of the bridge matter that much? Felt like I was delaying far too much considering the Admiral needed emergency medical attention.

Basically, the Atlas bridge 'scene' didn't reflect the urgency of the situation. Felt the mission got needlessly bogged down there. Like I said, I still enjoyed it a lot, it's brilliantly put together, and I'd recommend it to anyone, but that part just seemed to slow the whole thing down and didn't really fit.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 7
01-26-2012, 07:55 AM
I'll be honest, I have yet to play this one. BUT that is because I know it's a first of two parter and the second one is out there and being worked on. I hate cliffhangers and enjoy series missions best when completed. xD (The week "Best of Both Worlds" premiered was a defining moment in my childhood.)

All that said though I've been reading your reviews and watching the player response. And as another author I am intrigued by your use of mission codes. If you don't mind letting us peak behind the curtain; are they merely a way for you to analyze how players complete the mission? Are they to help facilitate your planning of the second part? Is it something like the mission codes you include in your missions to call on old friends or contacts?

I have to admit I'm interested in knowing the madness behind your method.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 8
01-26-2012, 12:31 PM
The debriefing code is just so that at the end of the mission you can be evaluated on some of the choices you make. It's so that I can make it that making a choice early on in the mission actually has some impact, instead of just being forgotten.

Unfortunately, I think maybe I should have had some more ambiguity between which choice is the right one, since it seems most people choose the same thing.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 9
01-26-2012, 12:37 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hot-Cancer View Post
In a way I don't want to criticise this, because I did enjoy it and it's well put together, but I want to expand on the in-game reivew I left it.

I completed this in about half the time it took me to do Dereliction, but Dereliction still felt tighter and more focussed. Even though it took me longer to do Dereliction, and there are truckloads of dialogue in it, I felt all that dialogue had a place and purpose. You're conducting an investigation, so it makes sense that you do that much talking and methodical digging around.

I felt the same about this one until I got to the Atlas bridge. I spent, without going out of my way to investigate every dialogue tree, what felt like a long time determining who's in command of the Atlas, and sorting out the ECH's ego issues, when I really should've been concentrating on defeating the remaining Orions and re-taking control of the ship. The dialogue itself was fine, and I understand what it a lot of it was there for, particular the ECH dialogue trees (comic relief). But I really wanted to just say to the team leader I got from the Cronus "Alright, Lt. You take command here until someone conscious and competent from the Atlas presents themselves". We don't have control over the Atlas at this point anyway, so does who's in charge of the bridge matter that much? Felt like I was delaying far too much considering the Admiral needed emergency medical attention.

Basically, the Atlas bridge 'scene' didn't reflect the urgency of the situation. Felt the mission got needlessly bogged down there. Like I said, I still enjoyed it a lot, it's brilliantly put together, and I'd recommend it to anyone, but that part just seemed to slow the whole thing down and didn't really fit.
It's a fair criticism, so no need to apologize. Obviously, this mission is done so I can't really make more than minor changes at this point, but it's something to keep in mind in the future.

The whole thing really started over adding the "puzzle" of activating the most important ECH extensions. It's possible that over the course of the mission development that got inflated to a larger part of the storyline than it should have been.

The only way for me to really learn what works and what doesn't is to try things, so if they don't all work out 100%, that is to be expected. Honestly, this sort of thing helps me in planning my future missions, and even Atlas Affair part 2. Based on the feedback I'll limit the character interaction until the ship is back under control, although I won't do away with it entirely.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nagorak View Post
I've got Atlas Affair, Part 1 finished if you want to take a look at it.

Faction: Federation
Level: 16+
Location: Draylon System, Beta Ursae
Length: 2-3 hours (Verified length if you only do the bare minimum is 1 hour)

One warning, I know that you often check the different dialogue responses by minimizing the dialogue and starting over. Doing that will break the mission in certain places. In specific:

1) Don't beam over more than one team to the Acheron.
2) Don't put in more than one code to contact the Acheron on the bridge.
3) If you select more than one option when telling the task force what to do (when on the bridge), only one will end up taking effect.
4) Don't select more than one phaser power setting on the battle bridge.
Federation Mission - Atlas Affair - Part 1
Author: Nagorak
Allegiance: Federation
Project ID:

----------Report Start-----------

Summary: This is a spectacular mission. Your attention to detail from the map design, to the battles, and story dialog were all outstanding. The execution of effects, map transitions with maps and dialog triggers is amazing. The twists and turns that you managed to do with the restrictions of the Foundry linear story line are great. The story itself, including optional dialog and tasks, was riveting. This mission was an absolute pleasure to play and I would highly recommend this mission to everyone.

I mentioned your use of the response button "Continue" being appropriate for the dialog at each and every point in the mission. The way you used it throughout the mission is the example that all authors should use it for. While it may be a pet peeve of mine in general terms the way you used it was great. The only other recommendation I might make in lieu of its use would be "Ö" but otherwise you used it appropriately.

Below are a couple of items I noted while playing the mission that I wanted to let you know about. Everything in this write up should be seen as suggestions on ways I felt you could improve certain elements of the mission. They are yours to do with as you see fit.

Mission Description: The mission details are short and to the point. I noted no spelling or grammatical errors with this description

Grant Mission Dialog: The initial grant dialog is very well written. I have played "Dereliction of Duty" and thoroughly enjoyed it, however I chose the "Did not play" introduction. Your use of the response button "Continue" was appropriate for this dialog. I noted no spelling or grammatical errors with any of this dialog.

Mission Task: This is a good task with a clear starting point for the first custom map. I noted no spelling with this task.

Mission Entry Prompt: This is a very good and imaginative use of the prompt. I noted no spelling or grammatical errors with this prompt.

MAPS:
Pel Hosi Minor System: The map design is outstanding and the battles where good. The story dialog, including the optional dialog, is also outstanding. Your use of the response button "Continue" was appropriate for the dialog. I noted no spelling or grammatical errors with this dialog or any issues with the map.

U.S.S. Hyperion: This map design is outstanding and your use of effects to minimize the map changes was perfect. The story dialog, including the optional dialog, was excellent. Your use of the response button "Continue" was appropriate for the dialog. I noted no spelling or grammatical errors with this dialog or any issues with the map. I noted a couple of items to consider changing:
-The transporter pad; consider lowering the individual pads to be a little flusher with the pad deck. It would make it look a little less bulky.
-The Belax Mekas-Ral information; consider changing "Also suspected of engaging in torture and" to read "Also suspected of engaging in torture for the sheer pleasure of it".
-Based on the mission elements accomplished with this map consider renaming it to "Decisions" or "Planning and Execution" or something along those lines. The current name would be good by itself if there wasnít the execution using the runabout.

U.S.S. Atlas Bridge: The map design is outstanding and the battles are tough but fun. The story dialog is excellent. Your use of the response button "Continue" was appropriate for the dialog. I noted no spelling or grammatical errors with this dialog or any issues with the map.

U.S.S. Atlas Battle Bridge: This is an outstanding map design with tough but fun battles. The story dialog is also outstanding. Your use of the response button "Continue" was appropriate for the dialog. I noted no spelling or grammatical errors with this dialog or any issues with the map.

---------End Report----------

Thanks again for authoring and for giving me the chance to review your work. Your authoring is some of the best Iíve seen from the map design, battles and especially the story dialog. I look forward to playing/reviewing part 2 when youíve completed it.
Brian

This critique report also filed 01/29/2012 on forum posting for: In depth mission reports upon request.
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