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Truce or Consequences

posted Sep 19, 2011 01:55:01 by Mike_Substelny
UPDATE: Released and ready to play!

After a long gestation "Truce or Consequences" is finally finished. It is a much more complicated mission that I originally anticipated. I won't complain about the programming problems I encountered, though someday I may blog about them.

The mission has Artemis pursuing a single, very tough Skaraan Executor that is full of surprises. The chase can span as many as six different sectors with some unique terrain, like a black hole that sucks in anomalies and a nebula that drains energy. But the mission's most unique feature is that there are two ways to win that are complete opposites.

BACKGROUND: In an attempt to prevent peace talks between Earth and Argonia, a Skaraan captain kidnaps an Argonian princess. The only hope for peace is for Artemis to rescue the princess. There are friendly ships from Earth and Argonia that want to help, but the princess's fate is ultimately up to the players.

GOOD ENDING: If Artemis can force the Skaraan Executor to surrender then the princess is rescued and there will be an alliance between Earth and Argonia, eventually ending the war (the "Truce" ending). But the Skaraan has many tricks up his sleeve and he won't give up easily.

EVIL ENDING: As Artemis is battling the Skaraan it is possible for the princess to be killed, either accidentally or intentionally. If the players kill the Argonian princess then the alliance will be impossible. The players immediately become the most reviled crew in space, and Earthfleet Command will stop at nothing destroy Artemis (the "Consequences" ending). To win this ending the players must wipe out all their friends aboard the Earth ships that come after them.

If I have done my job right then both endings should be very challenging to win.

As of September 17th the text-only version of "Truce or Consequences" is finished. I would like to playtest it before releasing it to the public and beginning production of the audio version. Unfortunately I won't have an opportunity to playtest it with my crew until mid-October. So I must decide between options:

1) release it as-is, tested only by me as a one-man crew and

2) find another crew to playtest it this week.
[Last edited Oct 17, 2011 03:27:37]
"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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44 replies
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Clayton-Mast said Sep 20, 2011 18:38:03
Your Mods are always awesome. I say you do it now with just the txt. Then later when the audio is out it'll give it a New Mission Feel. Unless you're dieing for the masses to have the Full Effect the first time.
Aka Masuto Nendo-Ton
Helmsman of the I.S.S. Tyrant NX-10001110101
Captained by TPherball McGuillicutty
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TreChipman said Sep 22, 2011 06:00:17
I agree-- release it now, warts and all (postfix it with "beta" if you'd like), and let the community crowdsource the testing. Worst case, you'll get a laundry list of things that are broken (which you'd have to discover on your own anyway) but best case, you'll get input and insight that could take the mod in new directions you never even thought of before.
I'm not a mad scientist. I'm an angry one. You'd be wise to fear the latter.

Visit Artemis Command!
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Mike_Substelny said Sep 22, 2011 19:22:19
Friday evening 9/23/2011 I will temporarily release "Truce or Consequences" on my website. I will take it back down on Saturday evening. I will look for feedback from crews who try it out before making the final cut, which should be released one week later. Then I will begin making the audio version, which will be out before Halloween.

In the meantime I have begun the sequel to "Truce or Consequences." The new mission, entitled "The Doomsday Deception," will be a collaboration with my friend Dylan who worked with me on "Shakedown Cruise."
"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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Mike_Substelny said Sep 23, 2011 22:01:19
"Truce or Consequences" BETA is available now on my website. Click here to go to the page.

UPDATE: Beta version not available at this time.
[Last edited Sep 27, 2011 23:48:52]
"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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TreChipman said Sep 24, 2011 06:36:52
Wow... A lot of great stuff in there, Mike, and I've just scratched the surface! Can't wait to review this in more detail. One question, though: the readme specifically says "an adventure for Artemis 1.53", but 1.50 is the most recent release. Is there anything in the mission file that is not 1.50 compatible?
[Last edited Sep 24, 2011 06:35:39]
I'm not a mad scientist. I'm an angry one. You'd be wise to fear the latter.

Visit Artemis Command!
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Mike_Substelny said Sep 24, 2011 07:18:41
Good question, Tre. I think the answer is no. BTW the website shows the latest release as 1.51.

Thom let me use 1.53 beta to write this script with the assumption that it would be in general release by the time I got the script done, but I may have worked faster than he anticipated. As he explained it to me, many changes are not visible to players (e.g. different communication protocols for the server to communicate mines, asteroids, and nebulae to be shown on the stations). In 1.53 the players can shoot nukes sideways (like homing torps) and homing torps can fire forward without a lock (like nukes), but that doesn't affect this mission very much.

For the "consequences" ending of this mission to work correctly you need the 3-D engineering station that was released in 1.50 and the scripting damage allocation released in 1.51. If not for those I believe this script could work with any version of Artemis.
[Last edited Sep 24, 2011 21:20:10]
"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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EricWethington said Sep 24, 2011 23:54:53
My Crew was unable to get together this weekend. Just when you think you have a solid space crew all together, your Nav officer decides to go all Caveman on you and go bow hunting.... Hope he gets a deer, that means venison next meeting!

Capt Eric Wethington
"Jimi-Saru"
"... ooops!"
Last words of Captain Phour Phazier Phred from Phremont
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Mike_Substelny said Sep 25, 2011 01:19:07
Venison would be cool!

Are you getting together with a partial crew tonight? I might be able to fill in on a station.
"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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TreChipman said Sep 25, 2011 03:47:45
Good question, Tre. I think the answer is no. BTW the website shows the latest release as 1.51.


Sorry, yes, you're right; I was going by the most recent version of the mission editing docs, not the most recent version of the game. That doesn't change my point, though, which is: great work, Mike!
[Last edited Sep 25, 2011 03:40:29]
I'm not a mad scientist. I'm an angry one. You'd be wise to fear the latter.

Visit Artemis Command!
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Mike_Substelny said Sep 25, 2011 05:34:37
So has any crew played this mission script? I'd like some feedback on the Comms timing. I'd also like to know what you think of the character Max Sanchez.

From what I've learned about interactive storytelling, I'm thinking about changing Sanchez's role from Earth Ambassador to captain of the Starship Atlanta. But that would be a lot of re-programming for a change that players may not care about.
[Last edited Sep 25, 2011 05:35:21]
"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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TreChipman said Sep 25, 2011 08:07:16
I've only read through the mission, I haven't played it (other than to confirm it loads properly), but I sorta like Max Sanchez as the ambassador. Maybe he could be the former captain of the Atlanta, the guy who set up the groundwork for peace with the Argonians, and he might have some insight into the motives and tactics behind the current captain of the Atlanta (perhaps his former first officer?).
I'm not a mad scientist. I'm an angry one. You'd be wise to fear the latter.

Visit Artemis Command!
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Charlie said Sep 25, 2011 08:35:19
Mike, I got the download and hope to check it out tomorrow. I am definitely looking forward to it.
FutileChas
Artemis 1701
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Mike_Substelny said Sep 25, 2011 18:59:06
Tre, it's a storytelling problem. I want the players to like Sanchez, but my local playtesters have all hated him. The players can't respect a romantic conflict where neither of the parties can do anything about the conflict. A writer would say that Sanchez doesn't have "agency."

I could give him agency if he were the captain of his own ship, doing brave things to help rescue the princess. But in the current Artemis there is no way to make the Royal Yacht (controlled by Gak) shoot at Sanchez's ship while Sanchez doesn't shoot back. Thus my dilemma.
[Last edited Sep 25, 2011 23:17:45]
"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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Mike_Substelny said Sep 25, 2011 19:01:28
Thanks, FutileChas. I don't recommend trying to play it alone.
"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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lpaulleblanc said Sep 27, 2011 19:55:07
I managed to catch it just in time, and our crew hopes to playtest it blind (no reading ahead), so we'll keep a log of the whole experience!
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