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ryleyra

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Reply with quote  #1 
I have been working on this SimpleSandbox mission for a while, to be included in my update of the canon missions, which I have posted in another thread in this forum. Since I have something working that is ready for testing, I thought I would go ahead and post it as a preview. The basic framework of this script is working fine, and from this point I only need to make a few tweaks and add a BUNCH of missions.

This is essentially a sandbox script, controlled by the Comms console, not a GM. You will be given a chance to configure your choice of TSN, Ximni or Pirate missions, and choose from three different sector types. The idea is to give you as much variety as the terrain customization settings, but somewhat more limited. Once you have generated your sector (completely randomly, of course) you will be given a choice of three missions to choose from, out of a list of a much higher number. (Up to 12, eventually)

Once a mission is complete, you can end the game or pick another mission, continuing to play as long as the ship is able to survive. I've toned down the number of enemies in the Combat missions accordingly. You may also notice some minor differences in dialog when playing a Ximni or Pirate. I plan to eventually allow Pirates to ignore orders and engage in some piracy, for instance, attacking the transport ship themselves, or buying off the Skaraans and taking their data back to the pirate base.

I should mention that I originally planned for the ship to be able to leave the sector, and run missions in a sector with a different configuration. The ship would return to the bases in the "hub" sector to refuel. I've decided not to include this in the SimpleSandbox, though, and instead I may create a separate DeluxeSandbox with a lot of more advanced features.

 
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notsabbat

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Reply with quote  #2 
Just in time for my groups game. Ill see if I can try it out tomorrow.
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ryleyra

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Reply with quote  #3 
PLEASE NOTE: The links in the first post in this thread are no longer good. The thread is too old and I can't edit the post. From now on, I will be including the zip files for download in the LATEST post I make in this thread. I'll delete the older links as I add the new one. Hopefully I can get Mark to delete the thread once I have finished development of the script and post it in the "Stock Missions Updated for 2.7" thread. (I should have until April 17th to edit the first post, and until the 24th to edit the second)

Mike Substelny

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Reply with quote  #4 
This mission script is a great idea and I hope it works well.
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ryleyra

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Reply with quote  #5 
I have fully fleshed out and debugged the first three missions. I was hoping to add the two remaining Combat missions and implement AI for the transports and biomechs in the sector, but I didn't have time. This is turning out to be a lot more work than I was expecting, especially since debugging is a real pain. 😃

The good news is, all three missions have special paths for Pirates, which may take a while to figure out. I've already tried them all out, to make sure they work, but let me know if you run into any problems.

BTW, I settled on the transport ship in the Escort Duty mission going from DS1 to the edge of the map the enemies are coming from. I found that on difficulties below 6 it would take 30 minutes just to get halfway across the sector, and an hour to travel from one edge to another! Not only did I start the transport at the base in order to cut the trip in half, I also boosted the transport's speed at low difficulty, so it will only take 15 minutes at the most. That's still a long time for a mission in this script, but if DS1 is already close to the edge, that can cut it down even further.

At difficulties above 7 the transport will move so fast, especially if it is a Science ship, that the mission shouldn't last more than 5 or 10 minutes.
janx

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Reply with quote  #6 
I hate to ask if this will work with the TNG mod from mark Bell.
ryleyra

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Reply with quote  #7 
Quote:
Originally Posted by janx
I hate to ask if this will work with the TNG mod from mark Bell.


I think so. There's nothing in the script that makes reference to the stats of the ship, and the ship is automatically named "Artemis" and the shuttle "Icarus". It also makes reference to the TSN, Ximni, Kraliens and Skaraans in the dialog, but if you ignore that or have the Comms officer translate it into Star Trek canon, the gameplay should work fine.

I suppose it's possible to do a search and replace on the script to adapt it to Star Trek canon. The TSN would be Federation, Ximni would be the Klingons as a player ship, Skaraans would definitely be Ferengi, that leaves the Kraliens. They're described as "Bugs", so maybe you could make them Tholians, or just replace "Bugs" with something suited for the Klingon or Romulans. I wouldn't mind if Mark wanted to do this and include the script with his mod, but I think his own script is probably going to have more possibilities.

You actually are able to choose to play as TSN, Ximni or Pirate no matter what ship you choose, so that isn't an issue. You could play any Fed or Klingon ship as a Pirate using a stolen ship.

I'll add that the only hull tags the script makes reference to are "standard", "support", "hasspecials", "small", "medium", "large", "carrier" and of course "biomech". Transports are "cargo bulk luxury science" and friendly warships use "small" and "medium" as with enemies. So if there are any races in Mark's mod that don't make reference to those tags, they won't appear. But the script was intentionally designed not to use race names to generate ships. Mark's mod may also make the script balk if it can't find the standard base names.

janx

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Reply with quote  #8 
Thanks for the info.  I may grab this and see how it does.

some text replacements are easy enough 😉

I was worried the ST mod changed things too much.

we just want to have a good time doing Trek-like stuff and your sandbox sounds like it'll keep us busy.

I'm just thinking here as I recall the Kraliens had cloak, wouldn't they map well to Romulans?

Ferengi as the Pirates and as you said, Ximini as Klingons?

I'm not as up on the Honorverse, only what I recall through playing a few years back.
ryleyra

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Reply with quote  #9 
Quote:
Originally Posted by janx

I was worried the ST mod changed things too much.


Maybe, but I'm hopeful it works. As I said, it depends a lot on how "backwards compatible" Mark made his vesselData file. I understand he had to tweak things to make it work.

Quote:

I'm just thinking here as I recall the Kraliens had cloak, wouldn't they map well to Romulans?


No, it's the Skaraans that have cloak. Mark may have added the hasspecials tag to Romulas and/or Klingons to allow them to cloak, though. My script will probably summon them as Skaraans, along with anyone else that has that tag.

Quote:

Ferengi as the Pirates and as you said, Ximini as Klingons?


Actually, I said Ferengi as Skaraans because of their businesslike personality. Then again, I don't think Mark has Ferengi in his mod. Another race could be substituted for them, but their dialog would have to be changed to fit. The second player race would definitely need to be substituted for the Ximni.

ryleyra

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Reply with quote  #10 
I have added a fourth mission, Crew Rescue, to the available missions in the sandbox. This is basically a Kobayashi Maru scenario, where you have to use your shuttle to evacuate crew from a crippled warship. The shuttle is absolutely necessary for the mission, so the dialog will tell the players how to set up that console.

If you're wondering why I'm posting so frequently, it's because I'm using this site as a repository to move code around between my computers. 😃 Since I can't always test the code first, I've decided to include this latest version of the script as a "beta", with the name MISS_SimpleSandbox_beta.xml. That way you can be reassured the last good working version that I tested is still available, and you can play it if the beta version doesn't work.

Among other things, in the tested version included I have added the ability for the shuttle to pick up anomalies and drop them on the ship, even outside of the available missions. The script will also count how many missions you have played, and how many succeeded and failed. There are also spare shuttles on either DS1 or Tortuga Pirate base, depending on whether you are playing Pirates or not. And these shuttles will match the faction of your ship. (Whether you choose that faction on Comms or not) So Ximni and Pirate ships can destroy their TSN shuttle and get the shuttle they want. They are all named Icarus, no matter the hull type, so they will work in the script as intended.

I was planning to add AI to the friendly ships and BioMechs in the sector, but what with creating the Crew Rescue mission I never got around to it. And outside of the initial dialog, there is no difference between the Ximni and Pirate versions of the mission. I'm not sure what difference being a Pirate could make, they could steal something off the ship before it explodes, but that seems like a waste of time when they have passengers to rescue. I also don't penalize the Pirates for their smaller shuttle, since I don't want them to have any reason to keep the TSN one. All shuttles pick up 4 passengers at a time.

One minor issue, it is still possible to destroy DS1 and be unable to finish the Parley part of the Sector Defense mission. I need to work on that.

Oh, I forgot to mention, I have decided to drop one mission from each category and reduce the number of missions from 15 to 12. 9 missions will be for the stock 6 consoles and 3 missions will require the addition of the Fighter console. I think that should add enough variety to be interesting but allow me to finish this script a bit sooner. I've altered the Read Me accordingly, but I've kept a record of my original mission ideas so I can add them later. (And in fact I thought of a fourth idea)

ryleyra

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Reply with quote  #11 
I have a question on the randomization of a sector. I'm trying to set up the generation of monsters, and I'm a little unsure of what the proportions of BioMechs to other monster types should be. I'm assuming that the random number generator first selects between BioMechs and monsters, and then each BioMech and monster type has an equal chance of appearing. This is consistent with enemy generation, which first decides what race a ship should be, and then determines the hullType.

However, if anyone's ever generated a bunch of sectors, and noticed for instance that whales show up more often than any other monster, (ignoring that whales typically are in pods while others are not) please let me know. I want to get the sandbox as close to the non-scripted modes as I can.
ryleyra

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Reply with quote  #12 
All right, I have implemented side missions. I think I did a pretty good job on it, although it's limited compared to the real game. There can only be one side mission at a time, if another comes in and you haven't run it the last one, you lose it. However, if you start running the mission, it won't be replaced until you finish. Also, the missions will only run from bases to bases or bases to ships. It doesn't run from ships to bases or ships to ships. It was easier to implement it only one way. Note the receiver of a cargo makes the request. (So it can be a ship or a base)

One possible problem is if you destroy all but one of your bases. I'm not sure what it will do, but it shouldn't work, since you need two targets. I'll try to fix that problem, but it's not a priority, especially since you aren't supposed to be destroying your bases. I also didn't bother to have some of the missions be data downloads instead of cargo, I see no real reason to add the complication.

I have also implemented a basic AI, and the neutral ships and BioMechs now wander around the sector. If there are enough asteroid fields, the BioMechs will stick to them, otherwise they will range around the bases and nebulas as well. I do not have the kind of side mission where a friendly ship is malfunctioning and needs help. I will probably leave this out. I also haven't given the friendly ships an allocation of energy to give the player ship, although I probably will.

I have tested the Crew Rescue mission and there are some interesting ways to complete it. I'll let you experiment and find out. I have confirmed that even with the secrets you can't rescue the whole crew. I maxed out at about 250 out of 300, and I've made it a little bit harder than that since then.

Pirates can also raid transports! I'll let you figure out how to do it! 😃

I still need to give rewards for the side missions, and test them, although I got about halfway through them. I invite everyone to try them out and try to break them. 😃 Next I will start adding more missions, including trading and exploration missions.

I'll add that the reason why I concentrated on side missions is that it's important in order for Scouts and Pirates to have access to Nukes. Unfortunately I can't double production speed, but I can implement all other rewards. You won't know the reward up front, though, again, it's just easier to implement that way. Since you have plenty of time between missions, though, you should just be able to run them until you get a Nuke.
ryleyra

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Reply with quote  #13 
All right, I have completed the side missions, and I was able to report the reward when the mission is first sent, so you can choose to do only the Nuke ones. Unfortunately, properly increasing shield strength by 50% for all ships was more difficult, since I have no way to read the current shield strength except by guessing it, so I made the shield enhance a constant 40 points. This will double a Scout's shields, and raise a Light Cruiser's by 50%, and the script is designed for those two classes anyway.

The shuttle is also able to pick up and deliver these side missions, so the shuttle can run around doing them while the ship is busy elsewhere. Other uses of the shuttle have it transfer cargo back to the Artemis by Microspace Jump, (just so I don't have to bother checking to see when the shuttle docks) but in this case I assumed the cargo would remain on the shuttle until delivered. It is possible to pick up a cargo by shuttle and then deliver it by ship WITHOUT docking the shuttle, but I consider this an edge case that doesn't matter. (It could still make use of Microspace Jump, it just doesn't report it)

Since it's a feature I make a lot of use of, I made up rules for Microspace Jump. It can only be used from shuttle to ship, it's not a two way teleporter, and it makes human beings VERY sick. 😃 If you lose your shuttle during the Crew Rescue the passengers are saved by Microspace Jump, but the Hangar worker mentions they are "throwing up" and some of them were injured. The pilots are hearty folks who are used to it.
ryleyra

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Reply with quote  #14 
Okay, I've got another request for input. I've been giving Pirates alternate paths through the implemented missions, to give the option of more Pirate-like play. So far, though, the Ximni are only different from the TSN in terms of dialog. I don't have any ideas about how I might make their missions different. I think considering the Ximni character they might take bigger risks, with an eye towards a greater reward, but I'm stumped for ideas about how to implement that.

Any ideas? Should the Ximni have the option to make clever use of Jump Drive where appropriate to the mission? Maybe give them the ability to use Jump on their shuttle/fighters? I had that ability in my Fighter mod back when we didn't have fighters in the game; the ship had an option to recall the fighters back to the ship, once per game/mission, with recharge possible at a base.
mandash

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Reply with quote  #15 
I'll be trying this script out with a group of folks this coming Monday. I'll let you know how it goes.
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