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ryleyra

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Reply with quote  #31 
I have finished the Construction mission, and oh, boy, is it a long one! Then again, it's likely to be a lot of fun, too. It is in the beta release in the download, at least until I can get home and test it out, but if anyone wants to check it out in the meantime be my guest. Just be warned, it's likely to crash.

There are a couple of fun little surprises. I tried to keep the different dialog down to a minimum, to keep the file size down, but the Pirates can still do their usual shenanigans. There's also a way to trade in your shuttle for two replacements on the station, but I think I will have to make that more obvious in some way.
ryleyra

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Reply with quote  #32 
Okay, I have finally finished debugging the latest mission. I found a bug in the Pirate frequency jamming code and fixed it, so that should work correctly too. While I was at it, I changed the message that warn Comms that the jamming is about to expire to appear on the button instead of as a popup, so if the player has popups disabled he will still be able to see the warnings.

There are also popups associated with the shuttle Icarus, and some popups in the Crew Rescue mission warning that the Niobe is about to explode. While I considered making those specific to the Artemis (so they won't show up for other ships) I decided to leave them as is, since that function is currently broken. The Comms messages are fine if popups are disabled because the Niobe will send a message letting the Comms officer know it's about to explode, and you just won't have a ten second countdown.

As for the shuttle popups, there really isn't any other way to send feedback to the fighter console, so I'm leaving it even though it will show up for ANY fighter, not just the Icarus. Again, if popups are disabled, the Icarus can still get feedback from Comms, I just wanted the Icarus to not have to wait for Comms.

The new mission (Construction) is now in the main script file, and I've removed the beta, at least until I start adding the next mission.
mandash

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Reply with quote  #33 
I plan to run this at a convention next month, so I'm eagerly watching the updates. I just need to find some folks around home to test it out so I'm ready for the con.
ryleyra

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Reply with quote  #34 
I found a couple of bugs in the new mission. First, I had noticed that from time to time the Battleship Steadfast would refuse to spawn, and couldn't figure out why. I finally figured out it was a misspelled variable. Second, although I separated the reward of two shuttles in exchange for the Icarus into Pirate and non-Pirate, I was still rewarding them at DS1 instead of Tortuga Base.

I probably need to run this through the Mission Editor again to check for typos like that. I had been checking it with the Editor, but got caught up in the Construction mission and stopped.

The good news is, I'm starting on a new mission, which is Resource Gathering. I've decided the Trade missions will all have useful rewards that will allow you to keep playing longer, and in addition to adding fighters (which another mission will also do) I decided to give the players the ability to deploy a minefield. While I could have them do it themselves, I instead decided to create a Mine Layer and have Comms direct it. 😃 It should be fun.

This is in the beta version, of course, but there's actually no mission yet, just the rewards.
ryleyra

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Reply with quote  #35 
One more mission down. I have finished Resource Gathering. Basically, you have to race three Pirate ships to the anomalies in the sector. You can also gather resources by killing monsters, but that is optional. There's no variation if you are playing a Pirate, they will attack their own in order to get the "booty". 😃

You have to dock at the base to end the mission. (I probably should have made that more obvious) If you are successful, you will be given a choice of rewards. As noted in the last post, you can earn two nukes, a new replacement fighter at one of the bases, or a minefield deployed by a Mine Layer.

The next two missions I will probably use the same code I used for the Construction mission. They will be a series of trades and investigation of the terrain you will have to do. The next mission will be a Peace Treaty in which you have to make an enemy delegation happy. Among the tasks will be killing a Whale for the Torgoth delegation, so they can make a Whale Heart Stew. 😃 Other tasks will be along the same lines.

Likewise, the final mission in the Trade category will be an Ambassador Tour, in which you'll fly the ambassador around in your shuttle. I think by reusing the code I'll be able to finish both very quickly.

Mike Substelny

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Reply with quote  #36 
Out of curiosity, Ryley, do you have a planned duration for your Sandbox missions?

We will have a video booth bridge at Armada on which crews may play a scripted mission and get a produced video record of their adventure. These missions will be held to very strict time limits. I might enjoy being on a crew that plays one of your missions, since I have already playtested all of the other video booth missions numerous times. Of course to be played in the video booth the mission must fit into the allotted time period. For that reason all of the video booth missions we are preparing allow a game master to intervene and make sure the mission ends exactly on time no matter what the players do.

I think we are probably looking at perhaps 3-4 adventures per hour.

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ryleyra

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Reply with quote  #37 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Substelny
Out of curiosity, Ryley, do you have a planned duration for your Sandbox missions?


I'm aiming for 15 minutes per mission. I've been able to finish many of them, on low difficulty, in 5 to 10 minutes. The Escort Duty mission, as I believe I mentioned previously, tended to run about 30 minutes because it depends on the transport being able to make it across the map. I believe with my tweak to its movement speed I got it down to 15 minutes, and at high difficulty it can take as little as 5 minutes, if the transport is a Science vessel. The Crew Rescue mission is also hardcoded to end after 10 minutes exactly.

I currently have the Resource Gathering mission set for 20 minutes maximum, and the Construction mission spawns scouts every 10 minutes, but I think I'm going to change that to 15 minutes and 5 minutes respectively.  (The Construction mission ends when the players complete it, but it'll continue spawning scouts until they do)  

Quote:

We will have a video booth bridge at Armada on which crews may play a scripted mission and get a produced video record of their adventure. These missions will be held to very strict time limits. I might enjoy being on a crew that plays one of your missions, since I have already playtested all of the other video booth missions numerous times. Of course to be played in the video booth the mission must fit into the allotted time period. For that reason all of the video booth missions we are preparing allow a game master to intervene and make sure the mission ends exactly on time no matter what the players do.

I think we are probably looking at perhaps 3-4 adventures per hour.


Since the players have control over when they begin the next mission, they can take a break between missions, or take the time to repair the ship or run side missions. Most missions end when the players complete them, though. There is currently an ability to abort a mission, but the players are in control of it. (dock with the main base) I was thinking of dropping that function in the final release since it's mainly there for debugging.

ryleyra

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Reply with quote  #38 
I have updated the Sandbox to 2.7.1. Note that if you are still on 2.7.0, you should upgrade, as Pirates will no longer be given the free enemy to kill to gain access to the bases. The script also no longer relocates wrecks to work around that bug (and I've abbreviated their name on screen to "WRK" to save space) and I removed the redundant event to fix the bug with random int generation. I haven't yet made use of the ability of the if_docked command to detect when the ship is not docked, or set monster ages, but the script should work fine without those fixes.

The beta version has also been continued with more of the mission being complete now. It is possible to complete the first task for the Kraliens and then fetch a conference table. The mission shouldn't crash before that point, but after that it will act like the Construction mission and probably won't work. It's slow going, although most of the logic is in place, I have to change the dialog, and some of the tasks.

I may decide to release the script once Mission #8 is complete. It won't include everything I intended, but it will be ready to release with 2.7.x after Armada, if Thom is willing to do that. I will try to hurry on the last 4 Exploration missions, maybe releasing another preliminary version at 10 missions.


ryleyra

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Reply with quote  #39 
I am almost finished with the Peace Talk mission. I have tasks from the Kraliens, the Terrans (deliver a table) the Torgoth and the Skaraans. Only the Arvonians are left. The Torgoth task is quite neat, you have to hunt a monster and confront an Arvonian carrier (Arvonian Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Xeno-organisms) that wants to save it. As expected, there are a couple of ways to successfully complete the task, either by killing the monster or not.

I also, for the first time, had Comms hail the Quartermaster down in the Cargo Bay instead of him hailing Comms. I'm trying to think of other places where I could use that to break up the dialog without using timers to stick a delay in between Comms messages and such, but so far there doesn't seem any other good place to use it. I want to be careful not to leave Comms with no idea what is going on because he doesn't know he's supposed to click on something. (Then again, a button appearing on the interface is a good clue)

I also edited the Construction mission to report the torpedoes picked up from the bases in scan_desc. I wanted to do that originally, but that field was bugged. So it is working now.
ryleyra

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Reply with quote  #40 
Now that I think of it, I might want to describe the little universe I am creating. 😃 Mike might be interested in whether or not it fits with his vision of the Artemis canon.

The latest mission heavily implies that the Skaraans are a couple of decades behind the TSN in computer technology, if not in Warp and Jump drive. Their "fee" for negotiating the Peace Talk is some microchips, and the TSN provides them with some older technology that isn't classified or protected by patent. (That isn't as much said, as implied by the dialog) I view the Skaraans as kind of like the Russians during the Cold War, their technology is robust and gets the job done, but the TSN is much more sophisticated and versatile. Which is why the Skaraans are limited to only short bursts of Warp and Jump.

The Arvonians on the other hand, are masters of AI, and I expect their computer and communications technology is every bit as advanced as the Terrans, or better. They keep their technology secret, and the Skaraans are more interested in war anyway, whereas the Arvonians are interested in computers for their own sake. The encounter with ASPCX strongly implies they are not motivated by money, but when you suggest they could raise money and sell merchandise in order to preserve space monster habitats, they are quite excited by the idea. They would prefer if you didn't shoot the space monster, of course, but they basically turn away without giving you a reward.

Note to self: I was going to see if I could prevent use of Nukes for the duration of this mission. Not sure if I want to spend the time on implementing it though.
Mike Substelny

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Reply with quote  #41 
Ryley, this is your thread so if you don't mind a little digression we can discuss computers in canon.

On a meta level, computers must be limited because automation conflicts with Artemis game mechanics. Except for the Arvonians, everybody's computer technology is limited to about 2006 if not earlier. Every time you invent a processor more powerful than a Pentium it automatically turns evil and tries to take over your society. In the case of the Arvonians it actually succeeded but most Arvonians don't care, they love their "Supreme Understander" Lilene (Lah-LAY-nay) which keeps them happy with a dynamic pop culture.

Everyone should always be afraid of any advances in computer technology. Consider this twist on your story: The Skaraans get their hands on experimental Terran computer technology, leading to a plot somewhat akin to O. Henry's "The Ransom of Red Chief." As soon as they boot the computer it becomes evil and dangerous and in the end the Skarrans beg the Terrans to help them destroy it.

Of course it's your story and you can do whatever you like, but consistency with Artemis game mechanics demands that automation never works out well in the Artemis universe.

Aside: I've got a mission script in the works ("No Bed of Roses") about a Terran attempt to make a computer that's about as smart as Siri. Within a few minutes Siri goes on a rampage and tries to destroy all life in the universe. High Jinx ensue. This script involves complex dialog trees which turn out to be very difficult to write. Unfortunately it won't be ready for Armada.

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Mike Substelny

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Reply with quote  #42 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ryleyra
Note to self: I was going to see if I could prevent use of Nukes for the duration of this mission. Not sure if I want to spend the time on implementing it though.


It's actually pretty easy to implement this. I did it in the 2016 LARP adventure, where an artifact of the Kralien Gods disabled all nukes in the sector with a field of (technobabble) energy. At the start of mission I removed all nukes from all bases (missileStoresNuke=0) and all player ships (countNuke=0). Then I checked to see if any base did build a nuke (missileStoresNuke=1). If that happened I deleted it (missileStoresNuke=0) and sent a message to the players "We built a nuke as ordered, but it was immediately deactivated by the (technobabble) energy field."

You can do something like that in just a few lines of code.

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"The Admiralty had demanded six ships; the economists offered four; and we finally compromised on eight."
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ryleyra

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Reply with quote  #43 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Substelny

Everyone should always be afraid of any advances in computer technology. Consider this twist on your story: The Skaraans get their hands on experimental Terran computer technology, leading to a plot somewhat akin to O. Henry's "The Ransom of Red Chief." As soon as they boot the computer it becomes evil and dangerous and in the end the Skarrans beg the Terrans to help them destroy it.


I LIKE that idea. I don't think I'll have room for it in the current Sandbox, but it sounds like a mission for the Deluxe Sandbox. 😃

Quote:

Of course it's your story and you can do whatever you like, but consistency with Artemis game mechanics demands that automation never works out well in the Artemis universe.


It does neatly explain why the Arvonians are the only race to develop AI. The Terrans may have actually developed "constraints" that keeps their more powerful technology from going rogue. But that very code keeps it from being used to, say, lay in a course across the sector and execute turns. That's why Helm has to do everything manually. Note I'm assuming the computing power it takes to run a Warp or Jump drive greatly exceeds that of your average navigation app. 😃 It works because it's not allowed to think for itself.

Oh, and I welcome setting discussions in this thread, that's one reason why I'm posting it. I want to work all this stuff out and make sure it is consistent with the in-game canon.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Substelny


It's actually pretty easy to implement this. I did it in the 2016 LARP adventure, where an artifact of the Kralien Gods disabled all nukes in the sector with a field of (technobabble) energy. At the start of mission I removed all nukes from all bases (missileStoresNuke=0) and all player ships (countNuke=0).


Well, I need it to be temporary, so I was planning to see if the players load a Nuke in the tubes and if they do, the peace treaty is violated and all heck breaks loose. However, I'm unsure of how they can defeat a Dragon without Nukes, and they'll (probably) have to defeat a Dragon for the Torgoths.

It will be helpful to have a way to fail the mission beyond letting the Profit Margin be destroyed by attackers, though. So maybe I will lift the ban on Nukes during the monster hunt. That's going to be a good part of the mission, though, and the players can just wait and destroy the saboteurs once they get the permission to use Nukes.

ryleyra

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Reply with quote  #44 
Oh, I forgot to mention. I figured out how to stop the script from picking duplicate missions, so it should always give you a choice of three. 
ryleyra

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Reply with quote  #45 
Okay, I have finished the Peace Talk mission. I have tested it out until the very last step, but at that point it crashed. I have fixed the crash and some other bugs that showed up while I was testing, but I have NOT actually gone back and played it through. I am about 90% sure the mission works, but I am about 90% sure any of the missions actually work. That's why I would like folks to download the script and throw rocks at it.

This mission is easily as long as the Construction mission, and when I timed it, it took almost 30 minutes. So I may be a bit optimistic in hoping I can keep the missions under 15 minutes. At least as it is, the Trade missions can be avoided if you only have 15 minutes or so to play. I would try to trim the missions down to size, but really, I can't think of anything I would want to remove.

The good news is, I think this Peace Talk is one of the funniest and most enjoyable missions I've written so far. The interaction with the different races really gets you into the game world, and while the mission can seem pretty hard at first, once you learn the secrets you can bypass the bigger battles. This mission also includes everything, the Ximni, the Space Junk anomaly, enemy bases, and beacons attracting dragons. I even wrote a special algorithm to place objects in a minefield. (As in the regular game, minefields are arranged in rings, so you can't just place them at x,y coordinates) You may have to carefully navigate a minefield, or send Icarus in.

Following up on Mike's post, I even changed the dialog to introduce the idea of computers going evil once they get too powerful. No computer actually goes rogue, but the dialog fits in the plotline.

As usual, let me know if there are any problems. The shuttle mission to ferry a Diplomat around will be the next mission I'm working on.
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