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Poll Results
 
 Would you find this useful at your conventions/hosting event?
 Yes! Looking forward to it! 7 70%
 Possibly so: you have piqued my curiosity. 3 30%
 Probably not; I do my own thing and it works fine for me. 0 0%
 Nope squared. In fact, use this other thing I'll mention in this forum thread to save yourself the trouble 0 0%
Total votes: 10. This poll has been closed.


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LawsonThompson

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Reply with quote  #1 
Short version: I'm making a script to help reduce the workload at our convention appearances.  See https://docs.google.com/document/d/1goqdDCowL37A93O0GysTTiq8cSv71A67JC6hpEkBsa4/edit?usp=sharing - Artemis Newbie Mission - Automated Training Course

This Google Doc is shared with comments enable, so if you have ideas you can comment directly in the document.

ISSUE: We spend a lot of time and energy taking Artemis to conventions. We typically have over 75% of our crews as complete newbies who have never played before. I have a memorized "patter" and introduction to Artemis I present live, walking the crew through the first steps of getting scans, setting course, docking, and so forth. About 15 minutes into a 40 minute mission, I'm no longer necessary and just advise and whisper hints to crew members.

But that 15 minutes is repeated every mission; by convention day 2 my voice is starting to wane, and because I'm really "into character" as the Commodore advising a crew, I don't easily let other volunteers take the role. (Leadership lesson learned: delegation is as important as doing it yourself!

THE IDEA: I tell each newbie crew that "much like a game of chess, our Artemis missions have very similar opening moves--I'll walk you through them, then let your Captain make all the tactical decisions once the game is underway." We typically run a Siege scenario with a particular setup, but we're still at the mercy of the random number generator sometimes, with a Skaraan closing on a station way earlier than we expect. Further, if we want to make the entire experience a) consistent, b) predictable, and c) repeatable, we need to eliminate some of the human factor--namely, my narration patter!--so mission ops volunteers who aren't keen in front of a crowd can still game master without stage panic.

THE SOLUTION: I'm creating a mission script with the hopes it can turn Artemis into an escape room style experience; crews receive just enough information to proceed to the next puzzle, and a savvy team can figure things out "just in time" with sufficient teamwork. I haven't coded anything yet: I'm still fleshing out the story line, and then need to research the scripting engine quirks to ensure that everything I want to have happen automatically is actually possible. 

The final deliverable will be a mission script, voice pack, OBS configuration, and optional DMX light cues. My audience for this are Artemis fans who bring their bridges to conventions and don't have the time/space/facilities to show a training video, or who want a more "automated" training experience which is consistent for each crew. The expected mission time is 35 minutes.

TECH NOTES: Here are few things I hope to add, tech and time permitting:

  • Voice pack: will contain recorded narration for 8 characters. I'll need some volunteers to assist! 
  • OBS configuration + websocket add-on: provides a way for the Artemis mission script to perform cross-fading, PIP, and other VFX, which are shown real-time on the server main screen. This will look a bit more elegant than a full screen VLC video commandeering the entire screen.
  • Chapter jump points to resume at a particular point in the mission in the event of an early failure.
You may review the work-in-progress at the Google Doc I've linked above.

Thanks!

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MarkBell

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Reply with quote  #2 
I'll freely admit I'm not that great of a scripter, but I can volunteer my voice acting "talent" for it!
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Sandman

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Reply with quote  #3 
I definitely like the idea. Where I would be most likely to use such a thing is with the school auction events that i offer. In those situations, I have a handful of 4th-5th graders that have never played before all wanting attention and guidance on how to do their job. A well though out training mission would be especially helpful i situations like this with a really inexperienced group of players.

I could see using it at a con when most of the crew is green, but could see where it might not work for a mixed crew if it moves slowly. Often in my con experience, you have other players teaching the newbies on the job, so that takes some of the burden off.

On a different, but related topic deserving of its own thread: I'd really like to see some new training videos. 2.6 and 2.7 bring enough changes that the old training videos that are available are becoming less useful. 

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Longbowman1346

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Reply with quote  #4 
I think this is a wonderful idea.  So many times, I find myself getting tired of saying the same thing each time to a new green crew.  I always ask if they have experience or not.  If they don't then I would opt to use this.  If not, then Siege and level 7 it is!
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uxgreg

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Reply with quote  #5 
I currently only host home games, so I don't have a use for it. Happy to lend my voice, though!
Mike Substelny

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Reply with quote  #6 
The need for this is ENORMOURS!!!!

The Mission Script Language finally includes almost everything you would need to make a newbie training mission. I planned to make one after Armada, but if yours is good I would use it.

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DupeOfURL

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Reply with quote  #7 
GREAT idea!  Let me know if you can use an extra voice.  Not to long ago Adam Para was saying I made him think of the grizzled NCO.  {And I told him to "Drop and give me 50!"} 
I have some "vets" that have played before, but also have A LOT of newbians!   

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mandash

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Reply with quote  #8 
I am very much interested in this as I have the same issue. I set it up twice a year at a convention in PA and am so tired of repeating myself.

If you need a female voice, I'm happy to step in! Edit: I've done some voice over work for videos before and have decent recording equipment as well 😉
ryleyra

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Reply with quote  #9 
This is WAY out of date, but it's still out there: https://artemis.forumchitchat.com/post/shakedown-cruise-ii-training-mission-7543522

You've got my permission to use any of the code or text-to-speech sound files in your own Training Course. (I'm assuming Mike doesn't mind anyone reusing the code from his original mission that I reused, either)  
LawsonThompson

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Reply with quote  #10 
Thanks for the ideas, all! I've updated the Google Doc with voice-over volunteer names and such. 

That Shakedown cruise of Ryleyra's has some neat ideas too... hm.... now if only the latest 2.7 officially supported .OGG files!

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MarkBell

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Reply with quote  #11 
looks pretty well thought out so far!  Did you have voices in mind for the different parts?  Or should we just start recording and hope for the best? 😃
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LawsonThompson

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Reply with quote  #12 
I'm still adjusting the narration bits, depending on the results of upcoming testing. I'm almost done with coding Chapter 1, which has the vast majority of the narration.

I expect to release this in many stages...

  1. Chapter 1, 2, and 3 (no transition) with placeholder Comms messages for narration.
  2. Chapter 1 thru 4, with focus on testing 4 (via GM skip-ahead) to ensure the timing is reasonable.
  3. Chapter 1 thru 5, with focus on 4 and 5 (with GM skip-ahead to 4) to ensure it's possible to gather enough resources in chapter 4 to complete 5! At this point, the plot line should be stable enough to have a final draft of narration.
  4. All chapters complete, release with placeholder audio generated via text-to-speech tools. Begin gathering recordings from volunteers. I'll ask those who have volunteered their voice-over skills to indicate which roles they'd be more interested in and get samples of some narration added in quickly from those who have time and gear.
  5. Narration gets a final brush-up, with any final recommended edits for better vocal flow, etc. Gather all recordings from volunteers.
  6. Another release with the "real" narration place, including additional sound effects and digital "munging" to make the audio more gritty where needed (static), plus "roger beeps" to indicate start/end of messages.
I hope to have release step 1 (Chapter 1 thru 3 with placeholders) complete this week. Ideally I'd have up to release 4 done by March 24 because we're hosting a bunch of Artemis Newbies at a private party and could try it out on them... but not sure that's going to happen along with sleep and whatnot!


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LawsonThompson

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Reply with quote  #13 
Update: 21 March 2018

The original purpose of this mission is being adjusted to fit reality. In particular, the following original ideas are being reworked:

  • Escape Room mindset: the goal is to ensure all participants enjoy the scenario, and that the Game Master does not need to interfere under typical conditions. This means eliminating edge cases and reworking the premise slightly to fit.
  • Not Training "EVERYTHING": this mission is being adjusted to be not a full training experience. For example, the need for energy management is too much to expect on a brand new crew. Therefore, transitioning to enemy space without the capability to dock with a friendly station to resupply is not appropriate.
  • Entering enemy territory: the entire “crossing to enemy territory” subplot where there are no friendly bases defeats the purpose of having practiced docking in the first place.
  • Fighters are Hard: providing the means to replace fighters without docking would require extremely creative scripting. Therefore, fighter replacements will be provided via the normal game mechanics... which means having a more normal single-sector map.Multi-sector crossing to rift space: this mid-game portion has the potential to be boring, and introduces a lot of “extra features” that typical Artemis gameplay isn’t likely to encounter. So... nope!
This will result in a less complex and newbie-friendly experience. I was well on my way to an "everything but the kitchen sink" script; there's nothing like some playtesting and hitting scripting engine limitations to help you reign in your expectations a bit!

Regardless of the plot line, the need for significant voiceover and crew "nudges" will still be in place. This should speed up the release schedule too! I hope to have the first real-world playtest this Saturday with a crew of mostly newbies.

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Mike Substelny

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Reply with quote  #14 
I think your plan is sound. In theory you could someday make money at conventions selling copies of Artemis and assorted merchandise. In that case it's a good idea to train people to play the stock game that they could experience at home.

I have been putting a lot of thought into a training script for many years. I believe I could do it without a game master.

I believe it is possible to write a fully automated mission script that will train every crew member in the stock game, with the possible exception of Communications. I could have a character on Main Screen announce "And now the Communications Officer is receiving a message from DS1. Click on the message and do what it says." I would need to take it on faith that the Communications player will actually click on the message - - - the script will have no way of knowing. Then if the message says "Captain, order Helm to turn to course 180!" my script could tell when the player ship reached that heading and it could react accordingly.

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Newcommerin

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Reply with quote  #15 
Where can I buy it?

It would be a great help, even if I would have to redo all the messages in german - at least as text for coms.

If you like to have a female german voice I would be proud of helping you, but I have no experience. I did some explanation videos for my bridge, so you have a „sound sample“ at

I’ve been told to have an oxford accent if I speak English but maybe you’re more in need of a crew member to „curse“ in german. [wink]

Edit: The forum has kindly turned my link directly into the video and I am to stupid to know the difference between oxford and camebridge...

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