Sign up Calendar Latest Topics
 
 
 


Reply
  Author   Comment  
LawsonThompson

Registered:
Posts: 622
Reply with quote  #1 
Short Take

The LTE Bridge is back from Con Nooga 2020, where we took our full convention-scale bridge setup for 8 players.

This was the first convention run of our new gear, a squadron of nearly-new HP laptops with Planar 24 inch touchscreens. It's so nice to have all identical hardware!

We ran 45-minute sessions with 5 minutes "reset" time between missions. At the start of each session, we ran our work-in-progress version of our training video. This greatly improved my ability to keep my voice intact!

Attendance seemed a bit lighter than last year, but in general the missions flowed well. I was Captain for several missions which were a player or two short, or when any crew decided no one wanted to be Captain.

We ran Artemis v2.7.4 with a slightly modified version of the Armada IV game-master module from last year, at difficulty level 4. We only had one server crash the entire weekend, and proactively rebooted everything just one other time. We did have Fighters crash to the desktop at one point, but that was while sitting idle, not mid-game.

We spawned just about every enemy fleet type at some point, including one instance of the Armada IV "Inquisitor" ship. However, this was all in scripts: we only ran one mission against a generated Siege, and then only at level 4.

Lessons Learned

When automating processes such as copying files from a server to a client, test to ensure that you're copying the correct files, and not just that "a file is on the client!" This mistake caused a self-inflicted wound in which the Helm and both Fighter control configurations were reset to defaults instead of my carefully crafted customizations.

You can never make the dock button too easy to find.

It's hard to get training videos right. 

It's VERY hard to get training videos to match reality for any useful length of time.

Drunk helmsman who literally cannot comprehend compass direction numbers makes for a very awkward social situation.

Edit vesseldata.xml to add 6 more fighter bays to the TSN Dreadnaught. This helps compensate for the disposable nature of Fighters!

Amount of time needed to set up = 1 hour + ((Time you hope it will take) x 2)

3000 lumen projectors are no match for indirect sunlight!

__________________
----
Visit us at http://www.ltebridge.com
Mike Substelny

Avatar / Picture

Administrator
Registered:
Posts: 2,390
Reply with quote  #2 
Thank you for the report, LawsonThompson. If you have any feedback on what is most fun/least fun in the Armada IV script I would be eager to hear it.
__________________
"The Admiralty had demanded six ships; the economists offered four; and we finally compromised on eight."
- Winston Churchill
Mike Substelny

Avatar / Picture

Administrator
Registered:
Posts: 2,390
Reply with quote  #3 
Also, LawsonThompson, did you have any problem with Helm, Weapons, or Engineering clients crashing or disconnecting while the server thinks they are still connected? That can be a big problem at conventions. Thom believes it is fixed in Artemis 2.7.5, but it was a pain for a lot of people in Artemis 2.7.4.
__________________
"The Admiralty had demanded six ships; the economists offered four; and we finally compromised on eight."
- Winston Churchill
LawsonThompson

Registered:
Posts: 622
Reply with quote  #4 
We had no mid-game connection problems, which is great! 

Some thoughts, now that I've slept on it a bit... here's a bunch of points I'm pondering.

Client failed to launch: A couple times we had clients not launch with the rest of the bridge, even after a 10 second wait. Workaround was to uncheck and re-check "Ready to Play". That happened to Comms once, and Fighters once or twice. Once connected, they stayed connected. We had no mid-mission client drops.

Server crash to desktop: only happened once, and not under any massive load that I could tell.

Didn't use "AI" test mode: During down times (unbooked sessions), instead of leaving the bridge in its auto-pilot mode, we left it running the Armada Jr. script (my tweaked Armada IV) with an empty sector to keep all stations up and running, so we could quickly answer questions about how things worked. On the server we ran a video loop of our training video, plus a Rev3Games "Let's Play" type review from the Artemis 1.x days.

Didn't use the Artemis Bridge Tools DMX features: I stuck with very generic DMX settings rather than using the "prettied up" DMX features provided by the Artemis Bridge Tools. I have an (unproven) theory that something on my bridge network has trouble if the server runs Artemis Bridge Tools, and the clients do not.

Used a brand-new D-Link Gigabit business-grade switch: This same switch seemed to help with network problems at Dragon Con 2019 when we had 16 clients running. Just saying...

All new laptops: All laptops are Core i5 8th gen with 8GB RAM, identical HP models. 

Cloned Artemis Install: I set up a copy on the server, upgraded to 2.7.4, tested, disabled the Artemis Bridge Tools, and copied that server version to every client into C:\Games\Artemis\ thereby preventing any issues from mis-synched art, missions, etc. 

Used DXWnd on the server: server performance was silky smooth thanks to DXWnd taking care of the Windows 10 vs. DirectX 9 quirks. It never lagged at all. Really looking forward to the Artemis 3.x engine!

Difficulty Level 4: Not sure but this might contribute to better stability. We used to run at 5 and 6.

Scripted GM mission: We avoided the random number generator as much as possible and used the Armada IV script. Only ran one Siege, also at level 4, and found the Skaraan wave was surprisingly tough to kill off, especially for a newbie crew.

Now, as for the Armada IV GM script: This has been a great tool for making an on-the-fly Siege-type mission which can scale based on the crew skills (or lack thereof!) 

Creatures: I edited the script to remove all "deadly" creatures from all sectors. They were too distracting for newbies, IMHO, and there were rumors that certain creatures cause server crashes. 

Pirate Situation: The Pirate situation happens so fast that newbie crews don't have any time to appreciate what's going on before the pirates are out of the sector. Not sure if this is scalable or not.

Inquisitor: We released the Inquisitor on one fairly-proficient crew as the very last mission of the convention, and they managed to destroy it! It took them about 20 minutes of multiple EMP/Nuke/Nuke, mine runs, and fighter salvos to get the shields down, then found a small "blind spot" where a direct hit neutralized it. Notable the hulls stayed on the map once destroyed--is that by design? This was at level 4--can't imagine what it'd be like at higher difficulty!

Feature Requests: There are some things I'm considering adding:

  • Timer: have a timer displayed at the GM console with the ability to easily add/remove 5 minutes as needed. Provide a button to "announce" the time remaining as a title/subtitle display on the main screen and popups. At time expired, trigger the "Mission End > Time Expired" message.
  • Scale Enemy strength: assuming it's possible in a script to modify the enemy strength and speed percentages mid-mission before spawning a new fleet. For some crews it would have been neat to give them gradually stronger enemies rather than overwhelming by numbers. Maybe changing difficulty mid-mission would be a first step.
  • Side Mission Tool: it would be neat to have a way to create side missions that would "automatically" handle the rewards, etc. A Side Mission menu would have selections for Set Source, Set Type (Data, Cargo, Passenger), Set Destination, Set Reward (Anom type, or weapon upgrade). GM would select a source ally, pick Set Source, then Set Type. Select a Destination ally and pick Set Destination, then Set Reward. Can brain stacks be dynamically changed now that we have the v2.5 features for getting object properties copied to variables?
Thanks for a great little script! It's been handy for GM work at our conventions, even among all the Artemis newbies we encounter.


__________________
----
Visit us at http://www.ltebridge.com
Mike Substelny

Avatar / Picture

Administrator
Registered:
Posts: 2,390
Reply with quote  #5 
Quote:
Originally Posted by LawsonThompson

Now, as for the Armada IV GM script: This has been a great tool for making an on-the-fly Siege-type mission which can scale based on the crew skills (or lack thereof!) 

Creatures: I edited the script to remove all "deadly" creatures from all sectors. They were too distracting for newbies, IMHO, and there were rumors that certain creatures cause server crashes. 


I don't doubt those rumors. But there are also rumors that say the crashes were caused by Skaraans, possibly with the new elite abilities.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LawsonThompson
Pirate Situation: 
The Pirate situation happens so fast that newbie crews don't have any time to appreciate what's going on before the pirates are out of the sector. Not sure if this is scalable or not.


Noted. If future versions include that situation I will slow things down. When I was writing it I intended for the players to need to stop the pirates before they could attack, so if they were chasing the pirates after the raid they had already failed.


Quote:
Originally Posted by LawsonThompson
Inquisitor: 
We released the Inquisitor on one fairly-proficient crew as the very last mission of the convention, and they managed to destroy it! It took them about 20 minutes of multiple EMP/Nuke/Nuke, mine runs, and fighter salvos to get the shields down, then found a small "blind spot" where a direct hit neutralized it. Notabs at level 4--can't imagine what it'd be like at higher difficulty!


That's a bug that has since been fixed.
Quote:
Originally Posted by LawsonThompson

Feature Requests: There are some things I'm considering adding:

  • Timer: have a timer displayed at the GM console with the ability to easily add/remove 5 minutes as needed. Provide a button to "announce" the time remaining as a title/subtitle display on the main screen and popups. At time expired, trigger the "Mission End > Time Expired" message.

That is do-able, in a method similar to the periods in the tournament scripts.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LawsonThompson

  • Scale Enemy strength: assuming it's possible in a script to modify the enemy strength and speed percentages mid-mission before spawning a new fleet. For some crews it would have been neat to give them gradually stronger enemies rather than overwhelming by numbers. Maybe changing difficulty mid-mission would be a first step.
It is possible to change difficulty mid-mission. The new script for Armada V allows this.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LawsonThompson

  • Side Mission Tool: it would be neat to have a way to create side missions that would "automatically" handle the rewards, etc. A Side Mission menu would have selections for Set Source, Set Type (Data, Cargo, Passenger), Set Destination, Set Reward (Anom type, or weapon upgrade). GM would select a source ally, pick Set Source, then Set Type. Select a Destination ally and pick Set Destination, then Set Reward. Can brain stacks be dynamically changed now that we have the v2.5 features for getting object properties copied to variables.
Side missions are a lot more difficult. Most of that is handled by the "Story Captain" feature of Artemis which is not available to mission scripts. Brain Stacks CAN be set dynamically, but the other things you describe are intractable. The biggest problem is the Comms messages telling the crew how to complete them, since the Comms messages are all pre-written in the script. Side missions in scripts will generally be like the "Situations" which require the names of all the ships and bases to be known at the time the script is written.


__________________
"The Admiralty had demanded six ships; the economists offered four; and we finally compromised on eight."
- Winston Churchill
Previous Topic | Next Topic
Print
Reply

Quick Navigation:

Easily create a Forum Website with Website Toolbox.