Career Officer
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 564
# 41
04-18-2013, 08:23 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by haravikk View Post
Hmm, I wonder if they could create proper exploration instances; these would be huge areas full of randomly generated content (at the time of their creation), representing just a single sector of an entire unexplored expanse or nebula.

Players work together (or just sporadically) slowly map out the area and uncover every planet and random encounter in the instance. Once the instance has been significantly explored a new one is created.

So when you enter say the Delta Volanis Cluster, you would be given a grid of sectors to choose from, each displaying the percentage they've been explored by. Generally you will pick ones that haven't been fully explored, but you may go back to some in order to follow-up missions. These would need to be time limited so that instances can eventually be deleted to make way for new ones.

This might give a better sense of actual exploration as you go into a sector that others have started exploring, and starting finding new stuff of your own to map and interact with. It might be nice to see some proper phenomenon mapping/analysis mini-games mixed in, not the "fly to position X and hit scan" but trying to different types of analysis in a science lab on your ship to determine what a nebula is comprised of, could also have some good potential for random scenarios such as contamination on your ship, long dormant Iconian virus etc.
Quote:
Originally Posted by capnmanx View Post
So you're thinking persistent (for a time) randomly generated zones, rather than ones made fresh every time you go in? Intriguing. I could get behind an idea like that; though I'd prefer it if there were a way to hid the presence of other players I wasn't teamed up with. I'm a little tired of the crowds in the exploration zones; makes things feel too busy to be unexplored space.
Perhaps some could work like current PvE missions, where when you enter the Exploration Sector, you're teamed with 4 other Captains. Together you chart the sector, which starts out as a blacked out map that opens up as you explore. Random enemy encounters could occur that would require your team to defeat. Various anomolies could be scanned. These encounters could occur in space and/or ground. As suggested in another post, there could be a percentage indicator showing how much of the sector has been explored with the mission ending when 100% has been explored. This would be an extended encounter mission, much like Tau Dewa Sector Patrol except the map would be blank until it was opened up by actual exploration. And it could replace the 3 system requirement for Explore Strange New Worlds since it would be an extended mission.


See my suggestions to revamp playable factions at: FACTION REVAMP: A PROPOSAL TO CRYPTIC STUDIOS
Career Officer
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 564
# 42
04-18-2013, 08:39 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by futurepastnow View Post
On another forum, on a discussion of STO's problems, someone mentioned Foundry missions as a replacement for exploration. This was my reply:

Most Foundry missions are awful, so I don't see that as an implementable solution.

One thing I think might be neat would be player-interactive versions of the colony chains. So, you'd go through a series of missions, beginning with a system survey, then a planet survey, encounter with random native element, colony site survey, protect colonists from outside threat, chain complete.

This could be chock full of random elements. The planets could vary from Ice Planet to Vasquez Rocks. The native threat could be a virus, a plant, Space Gorillas, or the weather. If you negotiate with the outside threat, the next mission could be peaceful; if you fight it, the next mission would be a bigger battle.

If there are a hundred or more random elements for each mission, and if your interactions set the tone of the next link in the chain, it could be a while before this got old.

*break*

And while I'm having ideas for exploration, I'd also like to see first contact missions that feel real. This could be done as a chain of missions like the colony chain above, with each step in the first contact process (discovery, surveillance, high-level contact, public contact, conflict, resolution) as its own mission full of random elements, with each mission outcome affecting the tone of the following mission.

I really think this is do-able, if Cryptic puts some resources into it.
Brilliant!


See my suggestions to revamp playable factions at: FACTION REVAMP: A PROPOSAL TO CRYPTIC STUDIOS
Captain
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 1,186
# 43
04-18-2013, 09:10 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by baddmoonrizin View Post
I really like this! No, we totally should be able to make our own enemy: name, look, everything. Our own personal Tomalok or Gul Dukat. I love it! The Nemesis can be from an established race/faction in-game or use the Alien option to create a unique enemy. As you said, Champions already has this system established, surely it can be ported to STO.



Agree with this as well, and it could also fall under the Nemesis option, especially if you've chosen to create an Alien race as a Nemesis.



Again, agreed, and could also fall under the Nemesis option. In addition to different looks of equipment, you could determine their energy types, what types of weapons this new enemy uses.
Oh, I could totally get behind the idea of having a real Nemesis System in STO; I just consider it to be a separate issue from exploration (after all, we wouldn't really be 'discovering' our brand new mortal enemies if we made them ourselves). I thought it should be a little more random when it comes to the whole seeking out new life and new civilizations (and seriously ticking them off) thing. But yeah, my own personal Gul Dukat would be pretty cool.
Exploration suggestions thread - give it a read

BTW, you'd pronounce it 'Cap'n Manks'

I protest the removal of exploration clusters
Career Officer
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 564
# 44
04-18-2013, 09:31 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by capnmanx View Post
Oh, I could totally get behind the idea of having a real Nemesis System in STO; I just consider it to be a separate issue from exploration (after all, we wouldn't really be 'discovering' our brand new mortal enemies if we made them ourselves). I thought it should be a little more random when it comes to the whole seeking out new life and new civilizations (and seriously ticking them off) thing. But yeah, my own personal Gul Dukat would be pretty cool.
^ This idea might need its own thread.

I had an epiphany while reading this thread, though, about an exploration idea. I've gotta go type up these ideas while they're coming. Keep an eye out. This should be good.

BEWARE: Wall of Text on its way!


See my suggestions to revamp playable factions at: FACTION REVAMP: A PROPOSAL TO CRYPTIC STUDIOS

Last edited by baddmoonrizin; 04-18-2013 at 10:10 AM.
Captain
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 1,186
# 45
04-22-2013, 01:08 PM
Suggestion 16

Buildings (or 'urban') as a terrain type. Take 'ancient ruins' for example: in STO these would generally be represented by some stone columns, or maybe an obelisk. Why are there no real ruins?

Anyone who has played Mass Effect 3 will remember travelling through the ancient ruins on Tuchanka; now that was exploring. Didn't even have a choice of directions; just following the path, and occasionally stopping to look at a mural, or have a fight. It still really felt like exploration though; and was very impressive to look at.

I realise, of course, that BioWare probably put a great deal of time and effort into those ruins; I certainly don't expect that level of detail for exploration missions. Still, it occurs to me that all exploration ground zones are put together in more or less the same way; dirt/sand, with rocks/plants/buildings sitting on it. We have no terrain that is made of architecture in the exploration zones. We just have little bits of architecture sitting on the terrain (often 'wilderness' terrain, with nothing but a few dirt tracks joining scattered pre-fab buildings together).
Exploration suggestions thread - give it a read

BTW, you'd pronounce it 'Cap'n Manks'

I protest the removal of exploration clusters
Commander
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 441
# 46
04-22-2013, 04:51 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by capnmanx View Post
I know, I shouldn't be bumping my own thread; but there's no point me adding something in an edit if nobody is going to see it now is there?

Suggestion 6

The Nemesis system from Cryptic's other MMO Champions, for those who don't know, is a feature that allows you to create your own arch-enemys. Something like that could be adapted for STO.

I don't suggest we actually be able to make our own enemies (that would be weird); but suppose a nemesis could be generated by the system. More accurately, a recurring NPC who might show up whenever you enter his/her native region (so, potentially, one such character for each exploration zone); this NPC might be an enemy or ally, depending on the nature of your early encounters.

So, if you first run into this NPC in a combat mission (and there are no diplomatic options available), chances are he or she is going to be an enemy; on the other hand, if this NPC's first appearance is is in the dialogue window of one of those 'deliver 10 seismic stabilizer' (or whatever) missions, chances are they will be an ally, and might show up to help you out from time to time.

Ideally, there should be ways for their attitude towards you to change over time; an enemy might gradually come to respect you, or an ally might become disillusioned with your methods.

This could create the sense that your adventures are actually making a difference, and have consequences.


Suggestion 7

This one is probably a little less reasonable, but I think it still needs said: more 'generic' ships. All of the aliens I encounter in exploration zones, that don't belong to a major faction, fly exactly the same ships. This gets old pretty quickly.

I would suggest making customizable 'neutral' ships, not unlike players ships; make a few basic frames, and a bunch of parts to hang off them. The parts don't all need to be completely unique, slightly modified parts off of existing ships would probably do for some of it. Add some 'alien' hull materials, maybe make deflector and nacelle glowy separate variables for the sake of variety; that sort of thing.

In keeping with my earlier suggestions, I would suggest that the game remember what a particular species was flying when they were encountered by the player, for the sake of consistency; some sort of code attached to the player character. Player encountered species x, with ship configuration 2, components 7 1 4 6, skin 3, etc. So it knows what to put that species in if the player runs into them again.
This is just an outstanding idea. Having your own personal Khan or a Barclay type character to give the missions personality would be fan-freaking-tastic.

I like where your head is at on all of these talking points honestly.

I'll re-iterate from a similar thread. I would like to see 'duck-blind' or 'undercover alien' observation/first contact type missions much in the spirit of Insurrection and the TNG episode "First Contact". Such would tie in nicely with the exploration 'mission chains' suggested on this thread. And imagine the fun possible mission goals you can get out of this! I like my combat, I like action, but we need variety! Not all pew-pew or simple gather samples.

Keep those great ideas coming!
Captain
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 1,186
# 47
04-26-2013, 09:44 AM
Suggestion 17

Missions in our ships. Sounds like an odd suggestion for exploration, right? But consider, how many times did Star Trek's intrepid heroes pick up some weird disease, or strange life form, while out exploring? It was not uncommon for the real action in an exploration based 'enemy of the week' episode to mostly take place on board the ship.

Maybe we pick up a shape changer who is impersonating a member of the crew. Maybe an energy based life form got caught, unnoticed, in the transporter beam as we returned from a survey. Maybe an ancient artifact we picked up is actually an insane super computer that wiped out its creators.

I know that the nature of the ship interiors makes this difficult; but it's not impossible, and it would bring the game a little closer to the shows.
Exploration suggestions thread - give it a read

BTW, you'd pronounce it 'Cap'n Manks'

I protest the removal of exploration clusters
Commander
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 441
# 48
04-29-2013, 02:44 PM
Q: (psiamesse) How high on the whiteboard is the Exploration revamp for STO?

STO Team: With the success of the Foundry, in many ways player authored missions has become the Exploration content within Star Trek Online. Now that Foundry missions offer valuable rewards, they are much higher quality episodes than the Genesis maps that were shipped at launch. Sometime in the next two years, we would like to leverage the popularity of the Foundry as a legitimate way to explore the galaxy.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Well, that just killed it. While I thought player created material would have been a great ADDITION to the system, your prediction of the dev team giving a big 'screw it, let the players build it all for us' answer to this concern seems to have come true.

This seriously peeves me, as I was encouraged by the LoR work was really looking forward to what they could create reworking the exploration missions. And this little spitball thread had some really great ideas that didn't seem like they would be overly difficult to implement. Instead they decided to take the laziest approach possible.

STO community, let your voice be heard.

Is this answer acceptable to you?


(P.S. Cryptic: Yes there are GREAT foundry missions out there. But for every great one, there are two 'meh' and four 'terrible' ones.)

Last edited by ricorosebud; 04-29-2013 at 02:47 PM.
Captain
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 3,279
# 49
04-29-2013, 02:46 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by ricorosebud View Post
STO community, let your voice be heard.

Is this answer acceptable to you?
HELL NO!

Well, not the timeframe. I like the idea of using Foundry missions because it solves the problem of boring, predictable exploration missions.
"It's not safe out here. It's wondrous, with treasures to satiate desires both subtle and gross. But it's not for the timid."
-- Q

Last edited by psycoticvulcan; 04-29-2013 at 03:07 PM.
Captain
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 1,186
# 50
04-29-2013, 04:18 PM
Not acceptable at all! Though I guess that's no surprise coming from me.

What really bugs me is that the devs seem to feel that the problem with the exploration system is the quality of the Genesis maps. It isn't. Sure, they're not great, and a lot of them had serious problems, but they were mostly just open sandbox environments into which could have been put anything.

It's that 'anything' that is the real problem.
  1. Interact with or shoot 4/5 objects.
  2. Fight 4/5/6 enemy units.
  3. Interact with or shoot 4/5 objects while fighting or evading 4/5/6 enemy units.
  4. Give a planet X amount of Y.
  5. Collect some data samples.

Did I miss any?

They are all about as basic as such missions can possible be. The Genesis system is the only thing that makes doing them over and over tolerable; at least the scenery changes from mission to mission. A bit anyway.

What we need is new mission types, and new game mechanics. The Foundry could help with the missions, sure, but only the devs can make new mechanics. Only the devs can make new enemy ships. Pretty sure only the devs can make new critters.

Anyway, if the quality control on the Genesis stuff was bad, it was still way better than the Foundry's is ever likely to be.

What's more, I distinctly remember, back when the idea of the Foundry was first being introduced to the community, the devs promising us that the Foundry would never be used as a substitute for dev crafted content.

As for 'sometime within the next two years', the devs shouldn't need told that this launch feature has gone without serious attention for long enough already.
Exploration suggestions thread - give it a read

BTW, you'd pronounce it 'Cap'n Manks'

I protest the removal of exploration clusters
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