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Missions and Net Play: An appeal

posted Aug 01, 2011 02:03:19 by pnthomas
Hi mission creators!

After several great Artemis sessions, I want to set my crew up with a mission. Something like Trials of Deneb or the Hamak Sector seems like it will be a rich next step, but, as we're all across the US, we're playing over the net. This means that the main screen is seen rarely if at all and, consequently, any information that is sent over it isn't really available to the crew.

Looking through the .xml file for e.g. Trials of Deneb I suggests that much of the mission-critical information could be shunted to the Comms station through incoming_comms_text and relayed to the rest of the crew verbally. I'm working on banging out a test version of Deneb I that will do this, but while I'm in the process, my appeal to you lovely, lovely mission scripters is this:

If possible, could you release a netplay-friendly version of your mission alongside the official version? I understand that not having access to big_message and incoming_message may take some of the polish of of your scenario, but better played and enjoyed than admired from afar, I say.

Many thanks for your creativity and your hard work, and my crew and I look forward to playing your missions!
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2 replies
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Mike_Substelny said Aug 02, 2011 02:39:10
pnthomas, I promise to do my best, but you must understand that part of the power of Mission Scripts is to keep every player busy 100% of the time. The idea is to force the Science Officer to decide when to scream "Tachyon streams now as 12 gigawatts!" while he/she is getting tons of less important information about planetary occlusions and nebula condensations. Meanwhile your communications officer should know when to scream: "The Skaraans are threatening to murder the Argonian Princess!" while he/she is getting numerous mundane messages about shipping schedules and diplomatic maneuvers.

After all, the point of Artemis is to simulate doing a job on a starship bridge.

If we Mission Scriptors are doing our jobs right, every station should be at red alert at every moment of play. If we filter5 the Comms message so the helmsman only gets what's relevant to him, then Comms gets cheated out of full participation. If we filter the Science scans so that Weapons only gets what's relevant to winning the battle then Science gets created out of a chance to make a difference.

If remote play is going to be an Artemis staple, then the only option is to (eventually) allow remote players to see/hear information sent to the main screen. Good mission scriptors must find a way to place all important story telling on the main screen.
"Damn the torpedoes! Four bells, Captain Drayton!"

(Likely actual words of Admiral David Farragut, USN, at the battle of Mobile Bay. Four bells was the signal for the engine room to make full steam ahead).
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WayneTwitchell said Nov 12, 2011 23:02:51
Mike,
i very much understand the difficulty of balancing live lan vs. net friendly play.

it is a very hard balance and want to very much keep the need for a judgement call by the player at each station.

i wanted to suggest a bit of a comprise to premit net friendly options within the main game, and keep the cooperative feeling.

Is there possibly a way for the server to have an additional option that denotes "net play". and so allow some changes in the behavior of a script or of some stations.

The script could check the netplay flag and send a console message when mainscreen is being called perhaps?


PS: This is not a script but a game behavior but could help make gameplay for net users have a particular feel.
so that for example in net play the communications officer could "forward" a given message to another console. this would be a big change in how comms works and messages are displayed since they would have to be broken out as individual messages that could be acted upon.
similarly the science station could send readings to another console. via the message system.

just some thoughts.
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