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Sandman

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Reply with quote  #1 
I've been steadily accumulating the bits to host and Artemis LAN party.  Although I haven't had a full-blown trial yet, I'm pretty confident that I'll be able to make 5-6 stations play nice with each other and project the main screen, too.  Meanwhile the kids' K-8 school auction fundraiser is coming up and we had the bright idea of offering to host an Artemis LAN party as an auction item.

While I'm pretty sure I can make the technical stuff work and will have a couple of low-key trial runs before the 'big show'; I'm wondering if any of you LAN veterans have any advice on making the event as successful as possible.  I won't be building any elaborate sets or stations.  I have ordered some DMX equipment to try to figure out since I think it will really help set the mood.  We set the age range at 4th grade to adult, but I don't know what we'll wind up with (e.g. kids, adults, or a mix).  They probably won't be very familiar with Artemis, but will certainly be interested and engaged since they're bidding on it.

I do plan to rotate everyone through the stations and have a brief familiarization/training before each mission.  I'll have keybinding maps at each of the stations.  Probably a joystick for the helm.

If anyone has any experience they'd like to share, I would certainly appreciate it.

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ricka

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Reply with quote  #2 
My 2 cents..
- Have the 15 minute tutorial video available for people waiting to play to watch, it is outdated but still has good info.
- The key binding maps are a good call!
- Place the joystick in a way that it can easily be removed (I've seen people at cons who couldn't stand it and didn't realize they didn't HAVE to use a joystick)
- Plug a decent speaker into the server
- Don't use wireless

Badgeguy

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Reply with quote  #3 
All great suggestions form ricka.

Couple more cents into the hat...

-If on a wired lan setting, reduce the Network Update Speed to somewhere around the 70-110ms range for improved smoothness of game play (found under Customize on the server).
-Make sure that you have the ability to move the mice/joystick to the other side of the computers for the south paws in the mix.
-regarding the keybindings, I have designed wedges that can be printed out, folded, and taped together to be set next to each station as reminders to the players.  See here: Artemis_2.0_Key_Cheat_Sheets.pdf
-most of all, have fun.  If you look like you are having fun, others will, too.

Captain

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Reply with quote  #4 
All great so far. I would also recommend going to the artemis wiki http://artemiswiki.pbworks.com/w/page/39352315/FrontPage it contains some useful information. 

There is also a quick start guide on the wiki and general tactical info.

last recommendation is to download a couple of missions so you can vary it from just standard invasion modes.

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"When I lost my rifle, the Army charged me 85 dollars. That is why in the Navy the Captain goes down with the ship."
Sandman

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Reply with quote  #5 
Thanks guys. Lots of good advice. The cheat sheets look good. 

I was wondering about missions.  I have yet to play through one.  Are they pretty stable and complete?  Any recommendations for specific missions?

I read somewhere where one host had his crew taking a snack break and started a game (might have been a scripted mission) by sounding red alert and having the ship suddenly be under attack or something like that. It forced everyone to scramble into position.  I was thinking I might do something like that towards the end of the session.  Obviously, I'll need to play around with missions and the GM function a bit when I get things set up.

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vfrdirk

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Reply with quote  #6 
If you don't have time to fully play test mission scripts and GM functions, I recommend sticking with the basic Invasion mode missions which are extremely reliable and very fun for new players. (I suppose this depends on the age/maturity of your winner, since really clever players will figure out the game and look for a more advanced challenge beyond a higher level and more interesting system) It takes me (flying solo) around 18 minutes to complete a Level 1 invasion while shuffling between station screens. With a more experienced full crew (though not serious players, just "beer, chips and Artemis" gatherings) we are still looking at 45-60 minutes for a mid-level game, so time may become a factor depending on how long you're planning to run your event. In our games, there's always some after-action discussion, war stories, stations that need to communicate a lot start working out methods, drinks and snacks need refreshing, etc. so time can really get away from you!

Also, the new NPC/Comms interactions create a lot of opportunity for side trips and ship upgrades, which increases the fun factor. In our early games together, our crew played a round or two at level 1, with me as captain (the only one with previous multiplayer crew experience) helping each station with their basic tasks. e.g. "Science, scan the nearest vessel please....right...just click on it and hit 'Scan'...yup...nope....lower left corner...yup...oh wait, no you can only do one at a time.... This might be a good time for Engineering to learn how to boost power to sensors!" and so forth. It's low stress because, hey, level 1, but it's fun and exciting to barely grasp the basics of your station before heading into battle. (Beware that starting as Captain may relegate you to that role for the entire event, so you may want to ask for a volunteer (or voluntell someone they'll be captain) and act as their First Officer and guide them and their crew through the first few.

I *strongly* recommend doing the DMX lights. They were incredibly popular and people would wander in from the second bridge (with no DMX) just to ask for a Red Alert so they could see them work. I think 3 people left the party with plans to make a set.

Good luck! My theater is mostly set up and this is a great offering for a charity auction, so I might do something like that for the next school fundraiser.

Dirk

Sandman

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Reply with quote  #7 
The First Officer role seems like a good way to insert myself at the beginning.  Depending on who I get, ramping up invasions might be the way to go for the auction winners.  I want to be able to give everyone a turn at each of the positions - if they want to, that is.  I'm budgeting about 30 min per rotation (plus some time before and after), expecting that the earlier sessions will be shorter and that he later ones wont need as much time to familiarize.

I'll have a chance to put the D&D group my daughter and I play with through a trial run and see how the missions might fit.  That will give me a chance to smooth out the presentation part of my role.

As for the auction; I hate asking businesses for donations and one of the stated objectives is to build community within the school. I thought Artemis would fit the bill nicely; it's a unique experience and an alternative to the usual material stuff like bottles of wine and dinner gift certificates. We have a lot of tech industry parents who probably could do this sort of thing (possibly on a grander scale than I), but I guess it hasn't occurred to them or they're just not inclined.  ... also, I had a chat with Captain earlier and mentioned that I would try to get some video and put it up. 

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vfrdirk

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Reply with quote  #8 
I love watching new players learn and adapt to the requirements of the game. It's hilarious to hear them go from saying things like "OK. I'm trying to steer us to heading 213 but I can't quite get it, is 215 OK?" to figuring out that 215 *is* OK and you can micro-correct later and not bother anyone, to just saying "213, aye!" I love that the stations start talking to one another without any prompting when they realize what the other one needs. That's the coolest part of Artemis to me, so I hope you can capture that in some video.

In my experience running a few full bridges, there may be a few players who wish to switch stations between games and a few stations (Engineering comes to mind) that want to stick to their guns and keep learning it. Do you have a limit on the number of guests?
Sandman

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Reply with quote  #9 
We just set it at a group of six and only offered one session, but if the bidding gets run up we may do a second session for the second highest bidder, too. (Hopefully no one there reads this - remember, "Loose Lips, Violently Decompress Ships".)  Anyway, no one will be waiting for a turn.  If someone does want to sit out, I could fill in or my daughter would be happy to.  Heck, she could probably take the First Officer role.
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CDR Callisto "Sandman" Bold
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Sandman

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Reply with quote  #10 
So; I was looking over Badgguy's Artemis_2.0_Key_Cheat_Sheets.pdf and for Weapons, he has a note under Toggle Auto Beams that reads "Do not do this! No! Really, don't do this!" I can get why you might not want a rookie to do it, but Badgeguy's pretty adamant about it.  Is there something about switching off Auto-Beams and manually targeting that I don't know?  Does it cause the weapons console to start smoking and sparking?
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CDR Callisto "Sandman" Bold
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Shipwright of Project Harbinger (Seattle WA)
Arkantos

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Reply with quote  #11 
I wondered about that myself. The only reason I can think of is what you said: a rookie might turn it off and forget to turn it back on.
vfrdirk

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Reply with quote  #12 
If you forget to turn it back on as Helm is trying to gain position on an enemy, it can make the Captain start smoking and sparking...  If I had to guess, I'd say that if Engineering is doing its job in close combat, shields and beams are boosted to the point that specifically targeting weapons and propulsion doesn't outweigh the risk of failing to re-enable auto-beams. Additionally, I think I remember that you can't fire a targeted missile while off of auto-beams and, if the enemy isn't destroyed and you switch back, it's no longer targeted, resulting in no beam firing until a new (or same) target is selected.


Sandman

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Reply with quote  #13 
I expected it probably that sort of thing.  I might tell weaps to not use it in encounters with more than 2-3 ships.

---

On another note, I finally got the last pieces of my bridge setup in the garage. I don't have all of the DMX equipment to try yet.  Still, it's pretty cool to have the monitors for all five stations, a rear projected main screen, and a decent sound system for the main audio.  The kid in me is pretty jazzed to have a working starship bridge to play with.

My 6 year-old is halfway competent on helm and science and my 12 year-old can do most everything, so between the three of us we can do some missions, but I can't wait to try with a full crew.

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CDR Callisto "Sandman" Bold
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Badgeguy

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Reply with quote  #14 
I placed that there because I have had so many inexperienced crews playing around with controls and not understand what they did during non-combat periods, then not understand what had come up on the screens when they target something.  Disengaging target lock seems to be an advanced concept, even amongst many experienced crew I have played with.  Auto-beams is not explained, or even shown, in the training video.  Players then don't correlate that clicking auto-beams was the cause of their funky and bizarre screen that now appears.  If I have walked away to try to take a breather, someone will at least realize that they probably did what the cheat sheet is telling them explicitly not to do, and will turn it back on, giving them the ability to defend themselves and play again.

Additionally, it gets people to ask, "why shouldn't I do this?", thus getting them to realize that there is more to the game than the surface level they were playing at at the convention, getting them to look into it further after the fact.  These cheat sheets are meant for the complete inexperienced crews, but I tried to make them at least useful to the more experienced, like those of us in these forums.
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