This season for the SF41 The Black Sheep Role Play show on the Foundry, we are trying out some new ideas. The main reason for these changes is to help speed up or streamline production time of our shows. The changes that have occurred has caused us to reformat our shows into Acts. We were writing the stories at the scene level.
So, our older shows have been unpublished to be adapted to this new format.
The New format allows us to keep the shows in the same Episode, Act, Scene style as before. However, it makes it impossible to move stages and costumes around with out having to perform mass deletes. When we were able to use just 1 scene with 1 stage, it made it easy to move the stages around for the entire season of shows. The difficulty created in this season's changes will impact production time.
This season our shows are going to keep the same naming style:
STO RP S7 EP 1 Act 3
This format allows the role player to index each show. The first 3 letters indicate what style of show the story is based in.
STO - Star Trek Online
RP - Role Play
S7 - Season 7
EP 1 - Episode 1
Act 3 - Act 3
Each Act will be written in 3 scenes. Each season will be written in 3 episodes.
Current Shows are:
STO RP S7 EP 1 Act 1
In this episode, the player is introduced to the environment that the show will primarily be set in which is the Eta Eridani Block.
The player will respond to an emergency distress call, and the player will have to contend with Hirogen Pirates.
STO RP S7 EP 1 Act 2
A week has passed and the player has finished aiding the SS Love Shine. The crew is sent to pick up an expert in Hirogen culture and tactics at the Starbase 157 System.
Well since my last post which was a couple of days ago, I managed to work on our role play stories for the two fleets I am in. To give some background information about the fleets, and why I make reference to them.
I have been the leader of the SF41 The Blacksheep and the KDF41 The Ghostrider for three years now. Although, we have had the same basic six players in the fleet through the three years. Our fleets are really one fleet, but the game requires you to make two separate fleets.
We have been role-playing in Star Trek Online since the game started in February 2010. When the Foundry came out later that year and following into January, we were very excited to use it.
It took me a while to figure out how to take the table-top role play game (RPG) style that I am used to playing with and to adapt them to the Foundry. One method we came up with is the way to roll dice in the Foundry. It is a very simple technique to use, and I think it simulates dice rolling well with the games emote rolldice.
I will further explain how to do this in another post, but for now it is only necessary to understand that is what we do in our stories to create tension in scenes. We do this to provide a different form of action then combat.
The dice rolling allows for us to stage love scenes in a theatrical way that is closer to a game of dice rolling, and helps to reduce awkwardness to the role players on stage.
As we have grown over the past two years with the Foundry, we have learned to use the Foundry in a very detail technical way. Although, because I study Psychology and Anthropology in my private life, I try to write my stories in a way that does not come across as too technical on the surface.
Why is it important to write this?
I feel as a producer that my job or responsibility is to help other Foundry writers with their productions. And, I am hoping that these articles may provide some incite to what goes on behind the scenes of some of our shows that other people writing their own shows may be able to use.
I think it may be helpful to understand what motivates me to write stories and how that is then applied to our stories.
With the recent changes to the Foundry reward system, I decided to sit back and see for myself what was actually happening instead of relying on hearsay and other false accusations.
I spent the last three months redesigning our shows to fit the new format that Cryptic thinks will be useful for them to make Star Trek Online successful this year. For my fleets, the rewards the foundry provides is not very important.
We mainly write our shows for ourselves, and we like to share those shows for other role-players to enjoy. However, if we can craft a story that allows the role play community to enjoy good story content while helping them to be able to get resources to help them in the game, then we are going to do our best to maximize that time for them.
Now that I wrote all that, and hopefully it makes sense, let me update you on what progress we have done since my last post.
Since the last post, I have written some of the screenplay for the role play show STO RP S7 EP 1 Act 3. In this Act, since it is a introductory Episode and the last Act must lead the player to Episode 2, the purpose of the Act must introduce the last piece of the puzzle on the Hirogen and why they are with the Tal Shiar.
In this story, I want to turn up the emotions in the story. The story begins after the last battle has occurred. The captain in this episode is going to have to deal with the death of the crew under the player's command.
This story is going to be intertwined with three separate task the player must complete to get the ship working again.
I think that this story is going to be the first of many that is going to have a significant amount of technical scenes that weaves the entire story together. What is difficult here is that it has to provide enough tension to motivate the player to keep going, but at the same time not provide to much excitement that takes away from Episode 3.
Hopefully, this Act will be done this week.
The Deep Space Nine Show.
Last season, we released three episodes for our Deep Space Nine show which we titled "STO-DS9 S6 Ep 1."
We originally cut the shows to 5 minute scenes, so that when people played them, if they played really fast it would take about 5 minutes to do, and if they took their time they would take about 15 minutes to do the play.
The rules before required people to play 3 stories in 1 hour of time.
With the new rules, we only have to write a 25 page screenplay. This allows us to do an entire Act in about 25 to 30 minutes of time. This new system required us to go back and remake all our shows into the new format.
Since the shows were all written in MS-Word in a screenplay format, and since I took snapshots of the stages and created schedules in Excel of the details each map requires, then this allows for an easy transport of stages and costumes to newer stories.
What is a schedule?
A schedule is a tool draftsmen use to provide a list on a floor-plan that explains to the builder or contractor who builds the thing that needs to be built, what materials need to be ordered. It also provides information about where the objects go on the floor-plan.
In movies or television productions for shows, these are called props. The place that the props go to is called a stage.
In the Foundry, a map is the stage, and the props are called Details. Also, the wardrobe is called costumes.
By creating these schedules, I find it easy to move stages, costumes and details around. Also, I find it easy to populate the map with the NPC actors the Foundry developers have provided us with.
This helps us to maintain consistency throughout an entire season worth of shows.
When we write our shows, we plan for a 3 episodes season which is 9 acts. 9 acts will require 27 scenes to write. This means 2.5 pages per 1 hour will take 9 acts or 225 pages. That will require 90 hours to produce the entire season.
Since we produce 5 shows currently that will require 90 x 5 = 450 man hours to produce.
Note: There is 168 hours in a week.
So far this week, I have produced the version A and Version B screenplays for the DS9 show. I still need to add the third scene to each screenplay. For those that do not know, version A is a female (non-Vulcan) screenplay, and version B is a male (non-Vulcan) screenplay.
I will have to wait until both screenplays are complete to start work on the version AV and version BV screenplays. We produce most of our screenplays in four versions. Remember that these screenplays were produced before, and I just have to change the overall format now.
Last edited by klytemnestra1; 03-06-2013 at 06:46 AM.
A recent player named Diwydend on 3/152013 at 4:39:40 pm wrote...
"Pretty poor start, I don't like being portrayed as a Klingon on a fed ship. So little background story that I lost interest after five minutes of not knowing what this was all about anyway."
The comment warrants a fair reply.
First, all our titles are stated as Act 1, Act 2, and Act 3. The fact this player started at Act 2, and did not understand the background of the story is not the fault of the writers of the story. Some personal responsibility and intelligence is necessary to understand that if you start in the second Act of a play, you will never know what is going on in any story.
Second, the Klingon used to represent the player standin is a Federation Academy Cadet template. So, even if you do not believe that Klingons are in starfleet, you should take the time to know what you are writing about. Also, if the concept of standin is a foreign concept to you, then you have no business playing any story in the Foundry.
I suspect this player already made up his or her mind long before they logged into play the story since they did not bother to read the play. Also, in my plays, I will never reveal the story in the first 5 minutes. That is considered bad writing.
If you get post like this, you should note some people just like making negative post regardless of the quality of the play.