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Mike Substelny

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Artemis Armada IV: The One With the Whales reached its climax Saturday night when negotiations broke down and the combined Torgoth & Ximni fleets launched an assault on Beachwood Station. Then, at the height of the battle, the Kraliens unleashed their mighty Inquisitor class dreadnoughts.
Armada4Inquisitor.jpg
Every TSN crew's worst nightmare!
 
When Armada IV ended there was no question: The Galaxy was at war!

Our plans for Armada V include letting participants pick up where we left off but in a persistent theater of war. We will set up a number of Artemis servers representing sectors on the front lines of the war. Some sectors will start out in friendly hands, some will start out in enemy enemy hands, and the sectors in between will be up for grabs. All of the sectors will continue to run under the supervision of game masters, even when no player ships are present. Enemy ships, monsters, etc. will always be up to something, constantly trying to thwart your plans.
Armada5Concept2.jpg
The war will run like a gigantic Real Time Strategy game.



We will ask some participants to play the role of TSN Admirals. The Admirals will be stationed in their own section of the ballroom with a gigantic map of the entire theater of war. The Admirals will not have computers; they will make strategic decisions and push miniature spaceships around the big map. They will not know what is happening in any sector unless a player ship goes there and reports back about what they saw. The Admiral's map will look something like this scene from the classic film Sink the Bismarck!


BismarckMap.png
Sometimes British Admirals make awkward gestures.

Like a typical RTS game, the players will earn "build points" by completing missions, seeing to the safety of convoys, raiding enemy shipping, etc.. The Admirals will decide how to spend the build points. Should we upgrade sensor range of all TSN ships? Should we build a Command Base? Should we build a Dreadnought? The Admirals will spend the points, the Game Masters will deliver the shiny new goodies, and the crews will use the goodies to fight the war.

Periodically, emergencies will crop up in other sectors. The Admirals will need to select one or more ships to withdraw from the front lines and embark on an adventure to solve the current crisis. If the crew fails a TSN ship may be lost, but if they succeed the players may receive a build point bonus, a clue to help end the war, or some other boon that may save humanity.

What do you think? Does crewing a ship in a persistent war sound like a fun way to spend a weekend?

I hope to know the date and location of Armada V some time tonight, or possibly next week. Don't touch that dial!



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NoseyNick

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Isn't this ALMOST exactly what the War Server used to do?   [crazy]
notsabbat

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Quote:
Originally Posted by NoseyNick
Isn't this ALMOST exactly what the War Server used to do?   [crazy]


The War Server kind of did that, though it was meant to be played in an hour or so. It also didn't have resources to modify ships.

This seems like it will be intended for a much longer time period. I am certainly intrigued.

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e4mafia

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Im going crazy waiting to find the dates so I can figure out if I can come or not [crazy]
I didn't miss them posted anywhere, did I?

Unrelated - Ship refitting is going well. 2 laptops arrived this weekend, getting ready to place an order for a pile of monitors next, woohoo!
Angel of Rust

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Reply with quote  #5 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Substelny


What do you think? Does crewing a ship in a persistent war sound like a fun way to spend a weekend?

I hope to know the date and location of Armada V some time tonight, or possibly next week. Don't touch that dial!



Sounds like a riot! I like the idea of advancing a dynamic story through our combined (and hopefully coordinated) efforts with fellow crews. As long as Normandy doesn't mine the Gungnir at close range again* we should be good to go!

*note: the incident in question was arguably the most unexpected and nearly the most memorable event at Armada IV for me. I take full responsibility for a badly worded order at the time. The near simultaneous acclaim and disbelief of the Gungnir crew was provided by others.

ogremasch

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I am interested in this play style. It is really interesting to me to see the roleplay take on a larger scale and incorporate the chain of command. I think it may be prudent to add an Intel officer or two that can compile reports from the ships into usable data by the admirals. Maybe that was already part of the plan, I think it makes sense to have a central point person/team getting reports from players and relaying that to the admirals.

This would allow the admirals time to plan rather than fielding real time reports or messages unless they wanted to.

I hope to be at Armada, it would be interesting to see there be some additional skills or missions that involve something other than combat. I enjoy combat but if that's the only way to win it makes the game more of a shoot first and cleanup later sort of deal but if there are additional Intel pieces buried in science scans or comms messages it makes the captain try to gather Intel before blowing the enemy ship to smithereens.

If it is at all possible one bonus should be considered for making x number of ships surrender in a particular engagement or in a certain period of time. I am imagining it like a long term battle/enemy engagement where their moral is an important factor in their battle effectiveness. If a certain number of enemy ships are forced to surrender the Terran forces should see that have an effect on the enemy. The same is true for lost battles on the Terran side, if the Terran forces start to really take a beating the enemy should gain some sort of motivational boost like more bombastic captains or something.

Will there be a GM for the enemy ships as well? Is it possible to play a ship on the enemy side? I love being the good guy but I love a good story more and fighting AI ships is fun but when the enemy on the other side is a player or there may be players mixed in with the enemy fleet it certainly ups the ante in terms of the need for strategy.

Just a few thoughts, I'm excited to hear more.
Mike Substelny

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Reply with quote  #7 
Quote:
Originally Posted by NoseyNick
Isn't this ALMOST exactly what the War Server used to do?   [crazy]


Players liked the War Server, but complained that The War Server had limited persistence. Player ships entering the same sector saw different things. Suppose The War Server determined that a sector had 3 enemy ships, a monster, and a TSN base. One player ship could enter that sector to see three Kralien cruisers, a whale, and a Command Base. Another player ship would see three Torgoth Behemoths, a Dragon, and a Civilian Base. The two maps of the same sector would look completely different, and the player ships would not see each other.

With this system the sectors will continue functioning in real time for the entire war, and any player ship in a sector will see the same thing, including other player ships.

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Longbowman1346

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I am so in on this!  I step forward to be placed where ever you think I am best suited!  My ship and crew will be ready!
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parpar88

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I am really excited for this. I loved the concept that the war server had. I can't wait for Armada 5.

What do you plan on calling this? I like Sector War(s).

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Mike Substelny

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Reply with quote  #10 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ogremasch
I am interested in this play style. It is really interesting to me to see the roleplay take on a larger scale and incorporate the chain of command. I think it may be prudent to add an Intel officer or two that can compile reports from the ships into usable data by the admirals. Maybe that was already part of the plan, I think it makes sense to have a central point person/team getting reports from players and relaying that to the admirals.

This would allow the admirals time to plan rather than fielding real time reports or messages unless they wanted to.


We haven't settled on the details yet, or even confirmed that this will work reliably, but in my mind the players are responsible for their military organization, not the game masters. The Admirals probably DO need an intelligence officer, as well as some sort of communications process. But if they neglect to appoint an Intel Officer and runners (or whatever) by which ships communicate with headquarters then we game masters will laugh at the Admirals' mistake and gleefully kill you all.


Quote:
Originally Posted by ogremasch
I hope to be at Armada, it would be interesting to see there be some additional skills or missions that involve something other than combat. I enjoy combat but if that's the only way to win it makes the game more of a shoot first and cleanup later sort of deal but if there are additional Intel pieces buried in science scans or comms messages it makes the captain try to gather Intel before blowing the enemy ship to smithereens.


Whatever format the war takes, we hope to keep all the players engaged, including Engineering, Science, and Communicatons.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ogremasch
If it is at all possible one bonus should be considered for making x number of ships surrender in a particular engagement or in a certain period of time. I am imagining it like a long term battle/enemy engagement where their moral is an important factor in their battle effectiveness. If a certain number of enemy ships are forced to surrender the Terran forces should see that have an effect on the enemy. The same is true for lost battles on the Terran side, if the Terran forces start to really take a beating the enemy should gain some sort of motivational boost like more bombastic captains or something.


We may do this as a part of worldbuilding. You're right, surrendered AI ships should count for something, but then so should destroying a surrendered AI ship. So should abandoning your post and disobeying a direct order. We should expect the Admirals to hold investigations, tribunals, and courts martial.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ogremasch
Will there be a GM for the enemy ships as well? Is it possible to play a ship on the enemy side? I love being the good guy but I love a good story more and fighting AI ships is fun but when the enemy on the other side is a player or there may be players mixed in with the enemy fleet it certainly ups the ante in terms of the need for strategy.


We may have a group of pre-trained players act as arch enemies for the players, but I don't think there will be a chance for players to switch sides temporarily. If a TSN crew mutinies and joins the Kralien-Torgoth-Ximni side they will be stuck on that side until they die.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ogremasch
Just a few thoughts, I'm excited to hear more.


We will do an early proof of concept run at the Artemis party at my place on June 8th. You are welcome to come and participate and give us feedback. Of course if the tests don't work we will need to come up with solutions or abandon this plan for something else.

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notsabbat

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Reply with quote  #11 
The idea of playing a Ximni or Pirate crew that can have their sides swapped is an interesting concept. There is a LOT of cool potential here.

Also @AngelOfRust: I dont think I knew the full details about that i cedent until right now 😃

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ogremasch

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Reply with quote  #12 
I was thinking less switch sides temporarily and more like acting in the role of an adversary for the whole weekend. I don't think the goal would be to win the war for the enemy but rather to provide a bit more variety in the enemy strategy that players have to face. It would be neat to have full time enemy players but that takes some of the control out of the GMs hands in terms of how the story unfolds.

I like playing against AI but playing against human baddies would provide an interesting element to the game rather than just PVP. I am not suggesting mutinous or pirate like play either as I think that isn't the spirit of the game either. Not saying it cant happen or anything like that but willfully disobeying the orders of high command during a war time operation could pretty easily be dealt with via the ship being suddenly declared a loss with all hands and that captain and crew removed from play aka allowed to be killed ingame by other players and not spun back up, which would stink but I'm not sure how else to really deal with that situation.
notsabbat

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Not gonna disagree with you generally speaking. I think that it could be interesting to do a team V. team in an RTS strategy environment, mostly because it could end up being less of a direct PVP game.

However I find that I very much dislike PVP elements in my Artemis games. I very much prefer the feeling of working with other people to achieve a goal. That's ultimately why I like Artemis as a game so much. Its about people coming together to be something greater than their individual parts, not about beating another person or groups of people in a competition. In co-op we can all win and I feel like thats part of the magic of the game.

That being said, at Armada III, Thom captained a Ximni crew and fought against 3 TSN ships and that was a really awesome experience. So, there are obviously times were it can be really cool.
Guess the difference for me is that Thom wasn't really trying to WIN per se' so much as trying to give us an interesting experience. He certainly did as he used tactics not generally known to the rest of us to pull off surprise maneuvers.

Hmmm.....I may have convinced myself that having some bad guy ships would be cool. Is it too early to volunteer the Gungnir for bad guy duty?


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ogremasch

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Reply with quote  #14 
that is more in my line of thinking, basically use players to fill some key roles (maybe like a big boss) on the"enemy" side and have the chips greatly stacked against the enemy for those moments where a real captain is engaged for the role play sake. I wouldn't want to have team vs. team with the outcome of the war being decided that way, that is another game for another time.

The way that I am understanding this style of play is pretty much just as you describe with the goal being the accomplishment of the players as a whole. I believe that the hero is only as good as the villain he has opposed and there fore to make better heroes, to make better stories, and to have a better sense of accomplishment there should be an element of intelligence within the enemy fleet that I feel can really only be accomplished with human players. AI could certainly win, I have no doubt about that but like you mentioned the goal of these few trusted players(in my mind anyway) is not to take over the story but to enhance the game play.

I could imagine it being a few players sprinkled in the enemy fleet and even playing as though they are the AI and mimicking the actions of the regular AI until it is more interesting for them to reveal that they are piloted by a crew or human at least. Like playing GM, the goal isn't to make an easy victory but to bring your players to the brink and balance their battle with good story telling and difficulty. killing players for the sake of killing players is just as much fun as providing little to no challenge for them to overcome. 

Several years ago I served in the US Marine Corp and during pre-deployment training we took turns being the opposing forces and such, it was an amazing experience and really opens the eyes of those Marines who go through such training as to where the enemy might look to place IEDs and trip wires etc.  Any way one of the goals of the training/role playing was not to obliterate the other side but to give them a realistic experience so that they could be prepared to face a real enemy. I am in a similar mindset with respect to this experience, the goal is not obliteration of the Terran forces but a realistic experience with actors playing parts in terms of the enemy. Sort of like a murder mystery perhaps where the actors have to improve the experience to a point but have a script they follow and guidelines to stick to, the Terran forces would have no such restriction.

This is just one suggestion and even if it is not taken I think the game as described sounds great and I whole heartedly look forward to making it to the Armada.
Mike Substelny

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Reply with quote  #15 
Quote:
Originally Posted by notsabbat
Hmmm.....I may have convinced myself that having some bad guy ships would be cool. Is it too early to volunteer the Gungnir for bad guy duty?


Notsabbat, wasn't it a member of your crew who played The Anarchist in the Armada V trailer video? We might find a rationale for her to command an antagonist ship for at least one mission. It's an interesting thought.

The plan is far from set in stone, but these are cool ideas worth considering. Maybe we could give every crew that wants it a chance to play the enemy in one mission. We might have a Pirate enemy, a Ximni enemy, and even a TSN rebel enemy.

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