Career Officer
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 1,508
# 11
10-01-2013, 07:51 PM
Thanks for the feedback guys, I'm writing down any fixes that I would like to make if it's ever possible (it's spotlit so I can't touch it).

Check out my Foundry missions:
Standalone - The Great Escape - The Galaxy's Fair - Purity I: Of Denial - Return to Oblivion
The Defenders - Duritanium Man - The Improbable Bulk - [WIP] Commander Rihan
Career Officer
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 6,406
# 12
10-01-2013, 08:27 PM
Just played Part 1 and thought I should post the feedback since there wasn't room in the Foundry. I will try to make it as constructive as I can.


Overall, the story really didn't grasp my attention. But I really liked the ending and how it ended on a climax. But pretty much what I got is, disgruntled Ambassador and some angry workers.


The First Part: Didn't make sense at all to me that the True Way just leave a Federation ship disabled, instead of destroying it.

And then the part about the Cargo Ships....okay so they lost Dilithum and making me pay up for it? Or else they going to complain to my boss? That really didn't make any sense to me. It's like some cargo ship captain asking the US Navy for reimbursement after he just had ship ship hijacked by pirates. I could imagine sharing some of my Dilithium reserves to a ship that was in distress, but not for them to go fork it over and then given an IOU in hopes someone would honor it.


The Station: Okay we meet the Admiral, but her dialogue just doesn't really spell out the rest of the series. To me it was like "What you doing here? Go away!" Compared to other similar Bad Admiral episodes in Star Trek where it starts off where everything is peachy and we are all on the same side.

The Station itself, I had a little trouble finding that spot on the map, even with that nice circle saying "Go here". But I wasn't high enough on the 3D plane to trigger the objective. I would suggest you add an visual aid to help guide players into that position.

When talking to the Station guy, the dialogue was stuck in an endless loop and only way to exit was by closing the window. Granted this is mostly a Foundry failure in programming in not giving a proper exit to end dialogue loops.


The Mining Camp: It was okay story wise, though would've felt like it was more of a mine if we had some kind of mining operation like a cave or a strip mining operation to add to the ambiance.

The Ambush, I had to go back for the dialogue, another failure of the Foundry since dialogues don't pop up during Red Alert.

But the Administration building itself...........really didn't make sense to me. Why is the locked door behind the receptionist..........a cafeteria?

That had to be the biggest WTF moment I experienced in a long time. Normally there are offices behind receptionists, not lunch rooms for multiple people. So is this a society that loves to eat while negotiating?


The Bridge: This was done well, I thought myself of doing such a thing as part of my Flying-from-the-Bridge proposal. But the thing I didn't like was the gopher work. It felt like you could've stringed the dialogue and action in a way that it could've had constant action without stopping (the interaction). That would've made the action more believable.

BTW, bit too much STO in those options. Emergency Engines might work as a player in a STO ship, but if this was Star Trek and you were running on thrusters or damaged Engines, I'm pretty sure any Star Trek Captain would've had diverted power to the shields than sending them to the engines.

So I personally felt you could've done without the STO Dialogue and kept it Trek.



Overall, it was pretty okay. I gave it 4 stars.
NO to ARC!

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Lt. Commander
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 200
# 13 Purity I
10-02-2013, 01:24 AM
Good Stuff:
  • The story concept is strong and engaging. It had that morality play feel -- in the vein of TOS episodes.
  • The maps were, overall, interesting to look at.
  • Lots of nice dialog branches. I want to replay the mission to see where some of the alternate branches would have taken me.
  • I liked having the freedom of the simultaneous goals in the first part of the outdoor ground map.
  • Interactions on the bridge were nicely done, but see below...
  • The PADD mechanic was a nice expository touch.
  • The length of the mission felt right and you ended at a satisfying cliffhanger point.


Stuff that could be improved:
  • A lot of the dialogue lacked polish and had a "first draft" feel to it.
  • This is a stylistic choice, but I find dialogue prompts that consistently dictate actions instead of dialogue to be non-immersive. I know it's a mechanism to get around the "my captain wouldn't say that!" issue, but I think as an author it's your sandbox and you are responsible for voicing the character -- so he or she would "say that" in the context of your story. I would note that Cryptic has no problem putting words in the player's mouth. I've always thought the "my captain wouldn't say that" argument is a bit of a straw man that distracts authors from writing good dialogue.
  • This is kind of a follow-on to the last item in that the choice of having only action prompts leads into this issue: There were a number of times when you would have a BOFF or other character say "We need to do X." and then the dialogue prompt would say "Do X" -- and you wouldn't actually do X. Instead, you would then get an interaction prompt that, again, says "Do X." I found this to be annoying and non-immersive. An interplay of "Captain, we need to do X." / "I'll get right on it!" / "Do X." provides a more natural flow and doesn't have the "...do X" / "Do X" / "Do X" repetition.
  • Grammar, punctuation and dropped article issues got progressively worse. The beginning of the story was just about flawless in this regard, but degraded as the story unfolded.
  • The starbase captain's initial dialogue felt very coarse and overly defensive. I'm guessing this was to foreshadow what was to come, but it was just too far over the top, especially for a first meeting. People with something to hide, even mavericks like this character, usually don't start out a first meeting with such an overtly defensive posture. You can present a character as being gruff in the very first few lines of dialogue without them being defensive.
  • As others have noted, I missed the trigger position at the gates and had to retry a few times to hit the right Y position. (It's a tiny target.) Placing a beacon at the center of the reach marker and instructing the player to head for the beacon would have alleviated some frustration. (Also, having the player start at the same Y value as the reach marker would help, if that's not already the case.) Another choice would be to use a larger reach marker sphere and not be concerned with how deeply or accurately the player placed themselves within the gates.
  • "imminent" is a great word, but it's one of those words that should be used sparingly. The second appearance of this word came close on the heels of its first use and felt like lazy dialogue as a result. I would recommend not having the starbase captain use it if you were to ever update this mission.
  • This is more of a note than a real problem, but in the outdoor map when I was walking up the hill it kind of felt like I was being led by the nose to hit each goal point on my minimap. Another way of saying this is that I felt like I had to trigger each encounter point rather than them just naturally happening to me as I followed the path. I'm not sure what to suggest to change that and it may just be my over-cautious approach to following the goal points. Perhaps if the encounters and dialogues were event-driven (trigger-driven) instead of goal-driven it would have felt more natural? But that would lead to events possibly being missed... Treat this comment as an optional nitpick -- something to consider, but that may just be what it has to be.
  • I liked the overall look of the indoor ground map on the planet surface, but it had some odd features. The most glaring was the staircase that was three times wider than the first-floor doorway that led to it.
  • It felt very odd being the lackey on the bridge when the story makes it clear that the player significantly outranks the ship's captain. I was kind of offended by it as a player because I couldn't see my character suddenly recast in that kind of a role. (In Trek canon, the higher-ranking officer either observes or takes command, but never takes a subservient role.) It took me out of the story even though I appreciated the mechanics of what was going on. I have really mixed emotions on this -- the mechanics, effects and story points on the bridge were very good, but it felt wrong for my character to be performing those tasks when she should have been at the top of that particular chain of command. (And I'll be honest -- playing a female character and suddenly being commanded by a male character of lower rank, I had that fleeting "it's because I'm a woman" moment, which the author surely did not intend.)

Last edited by donperk; 10-02-2013 at 01:27 AM.
Career Officer
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 844
# 14
10-02-2013, 02:48 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by zorbane View Post
Thanks for the feedback guys, I'm writing down any fixes that I would like to make if it's ever possible (it's spotlit so I can't touch it).
Honestly, this seems like kind of a flaw. I guess you guys are trying to roll them out officially with a big bang, but if that means there's no chance for editing then I think that's a mistake.

I would suggest that it would be better to publish it without it being spotlit and have like a one or two weeks for people to review it and offer feedback/suggestions prior to it being locked in.


Click here for my Foundry tutorial on Creating A Custom Interior Map.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 221
# 15
10-02-2013, 05:39 AM
Luckily for me, I have a good imagination. I am able to see where the current foundry assets pose limitations and it doesn't ruin any immersion for me. Some of the criticisms I've read so far stem from this and are a bit silly. I hold Cryptic to a higher standard cause they can actually draw some things up on the spot.

I did go to the top of the station to dock, only cost me ten seconds or so to fix. No worries.

I liked the big stairs, and I'm not certain there are many options for big doorways to match.

I didn't think the upstairs room was a cafeteria as much as a conference room or multi-purpose area that was normally not locked up. They needed time to decide what to do about us. There may have been a smaller office we didn't see, along with this board room type area.

If I were on another captain's ship, a highly decorated one, I wouldn't take his chair. If that same ship had taken losses recently and was short-handed, I would definitely take a console and help rather than "observe" while the ship disintegrated around me. My ego would demand a console, but you don't take a Captain's chair unless he's being reassigned off-ship or something.

As far as the Obani/Sajan usage for the same group, I took that to mean they had brought in their enslaved thugs. I fought some Sajans that were fighting on the behalf of the Obani. These were different than the local miners.

I liked how the dominant race was portrayed as likeable. We have Earth precedents for that. I kinda like how the corrupt Admiral started off a cranky witch. I've met these people. Not everybody has to change gears.

Summary: no game breaking bugs unlike many cryptic episodes, I can remember the story a few hours after playing, will play the next one.... and I like wide stairs. Also, stupid people don't carry hypos.
"That's fourxgamer. He's not joking. " ... Psycho Landlady

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Lt. Commander
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 200
# 16
10-02-2013, 07:43 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by fourxgamer View Post
Luckily for me, I have a good imagination. I am able to see where the current foundry assets pose limitations and it doesn't ruin any immersion for me. Some of the criticisms I've read so far stem from this and are a bit silly. I hold Cryptic to a higher standard cause they can actually draw some things up on the spot.

I did go to the top of the station to dock, only cost me ten seconds or so to fix. No worries.

I liked the big stairs, and I'm not certain there are many options for big doorways to match.

I didn't think the upstairs room was a cafeteria as much as a conference room or multi-purpose area that was normally not locked up. They needed time to decide what to do about us. There may have been a smaller office we didn't see, along with this board room type area.

If I were on another captain's ship, a highly decorated one, I wouldn't take his chair. If that same ship had taken losses recently and was short-handed, I would definitely take a console and help rather than "observe" while the ship disintegrated around me. My ego would demand a console, but you don't take a Captain's chair unless he's being reassigned off-ship or something.

As far as the Obani/Sajan usage for the same group, I took that to mean they had brought in their enslaved thugs. I fought some Sajans that were fighting on the behalf of the Obani. These were different than the local miners.

I liked how the dominant race was portrayed as likeable. We have Earth precedents for that. I kinda like how the corrupt Admiral started off a cranky witch. I've met these people. Not everybody has to change gears.

Summary: no game breaking bugs unlike many cryptic episodes, I can remember the story a few hours after playing, will play the next one.... and I like wide stairs. Also, stupid people don't carry hypos.
I've worked with a lot of game editors on a lot of games. And while I recognize that there are limitations of those editors, it's important that we encourage authors to stretch those capabilities when things feel or look wrong. Pointing out "that doesn't look right" is a good thing to do. For one thing, the author may not have noticed it; for another it gives them that opportunity to stretch. Telling people their that their comments are "silly" and implying that they lack imagination that you apparently have is short-sighted and insulting.

The wide stairs are a good example. I also like the wide stairs, but it still looks wrong to enter them from a doorway set in the middle of them. This could have been remediated to look right in a number of ways. Here are two suggestions, but I'm sure there are more:
  1. The wall could have been removed completely giving an expansive staircase with a side exit at the top. This would have looked cool and not felt as odd.
  2. Additional interior walls could have been added to visually narrow the staircase to match the width of the door.

The "cafeteria" comment made by Azurianstar was not in reference to the upstairs office, but to the downstairs room that you first enter after you have been granted access from the lobby. I have to agree -- it looks like a mess hall of some kind. It's not that a mess hall in that structure was inappropriate, but it did feel odd that you accessed the administrator's office by going through it. Normally a room like that would be off of a hallway -- it wouldn't be the main path.

I congratulate you on being able to negotiate the gate in ten seconds. But the comments that it was difficult to find the sweet spot are not only valid, but they are common. A number of people found that it was difficult and commented on it. Some of them were likely not as patient and quit a good story because of a simple mechanical flaw. The comment is valid and should be raised, not trivialized.

In a similar vein, a good number of people have commented on the fact that they didn't like being given busy work on the bridge. This is the kind of comment that an author should take note of for future or corrective work. The fact that it didn't bother you, doesn't change the fact that it bothered a number of others and should be taken into consideration when building new missions.

As to the starbase captain, I was very clear that her being difficult and a maverick is fine. Cranky is even fine. But the hostile defensiveness exhibited by the character on a first meeting -- especially when her secret was well-guarded and apparently supported within the upper echelons of Star Fleet -- was out of character. It felt wrong. Again, many people commented on this so it's something that the author should take into consideration. If it didn't bother you, that's fine, but discounting the comments of others as being "silly" is unfair to both those making the observations and the author who requested the criticisms in the first place.

The criticisms here, as far as I've seen, have not been those of armchair quarterbacks casually throwing stones and looking to see what color bruises show up. They've been the comments of people who, generally, work in the trenches of the Foundry and are looking to make a good story better. That's certainly the perspective I come from with my comments -- and I know it to be true for many of the others who have made critical comments in this chain.
Career Officer
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 1,508
# 17
10-02-2013, 09:39 AM
Thanks again for the feedback guys

Quote:
Originally Posted by nagorak View Post
Honestly, this seems like kind of a flaw. I guess you guys are trying to roll them out officially with a big bang, but if that means there's no chance for editing then I think that's a mistake.

I would suggest that it would be better to publish it without it being spotlit and have like a one or two weeks for people to review it and offer feedback/suggestions prior to it being locked in.
Yeah one thing the group decided was that if we did this again we'd complete the missions months before even announcing the series. Instead I kinda mashed this out in a couple months on my free time and there are definitely a few places I'd like to revisit. Some of the dialogue especially.

The weekend before release I spent a couple long nights testing and re-testing the mission, and I'll admit I had a dream where I was working for Cryptic (good lord!!!!)

Check out my Foundry missions:
Standalone - The Great Escape - The Galaxy's Fair - Purity I: Of Denial - Return to Oblivion
The Defenders - Duritanium Man - The Improbable Bulk - [WIP] Commander Rihan
Starfleet Veteran
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 201
# 18
10-02-2013, 10:42 AM
Hey guys, thanks for a lot of this critique! A lot of it is helpful.

In a way, I'm sort of pleased that a lot of the major criticisms are somewhat minor, as the "feel" of the dialogue for "Of Denial" seems to be one of the major issues. In a way, putting out this series is one big fat experiment for us -- nobody has ever put together something like this before (much less have the episodes "release" weekly like we are) so we're bound to hit some of these speed bumps like the dialogue and this reach marker issue.

Keep the feedback coming -- at the very least we can stem some of these issues for the upcoming episodes, and at best we can get some ideas on any future series - done by StarbaseUGC or anyone else!
Rihannsu
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 807
# 19
10-02-2013, 10:43 AM
Personally, as a player, I dislike missions that end in cliff hangers, especially if the conclusion isn't available yet. Cryptic did a cliff hanger the right way in "Second Wave," by leaving the fate of DS9 hanging but allowing the player to escape, all I had to do to keep the immersion was avoid DS9 until the end of the featured episode series. Although I understand that's a thematic choice by the writer, that would work in almost any other medium, and I'm sure if I could play part II right now it would blend nicely.

Other then that, the mission was pretty well done, the only real stumbling block I had was at the mine, it took me a couple of minutes to figure out how to advance the mission after I talked to the people and scanned the equipment.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 200
# 20
10-02-2013, 11:13 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by zorbane View Post
Thanks again for the feedback guys

...

The weekend before release I spent a couple long nights testing and re-testing the mission, and I'll admit I had a dream where I was working for Cryptic (good lord!!!!)
Heaven help you, Zorbane!

I've been thinking further on the Bridge scene and I think Azurianstar hit on a solution -- though I didn't get what he was saying at first. If the player were more in a mode of "Let me take care of that" than "Aye-aye, mon Capitan", and if the player's BOFFs were engaged, I think it would have flowed better.

For example, rather than being asked to take the console to do a couple of rudimentary tasks, you might consider having the problem stated and then having your player instruct the Tactical BOFF to carry out the station actions.

When the console explodes and kills the one crew member, the Science BOFF could report that the crew member has been killed and that the vent needs to be closed. Then the player could interact with the vent.

Of all the interaction points, the fire part plays best as-is -- the player, who is already standing closest to the fire, just jumps in and takes care of business.

I know it's only a slight perspective shift, but it can turn what feels like step-n-fetchit tasks into something that has a more narrative feel. And besides, the triggered effects are just too cool in this scene. It's worth finding a way to make something similar work in another mission.

Again, I like the concept and am anxious to see where this tale goes as the other authors take their turns at telling CaptPFDennis's story.



EDIT/PS: Does anyone else see a similarity in how this is being approached to The Thirty-Nine Clues series of books for tweens?

Last edited by donperk; 10-02-2013 at 11:17 AM.
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