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Mike Substelny

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If you want to have some Game Mastered adventures but can't run or don't want to learn the TSN Sandbox, you are welcome to use the Armada IV Sandbox. I wrote it for use at Artemis Armada IV: The One With the Whales but I had no opportunity to use it there.

Click here to download the Armada IV Sandbox Script

Features of the Armada IV Sandbox
  • It works perfectly with stock Artemis. No changes are needed.
  • It has intuitive GM controls that are very easy to learn.
  • It is relatively lightweight and should work with all servers.
  • It allows the GM to create:
    • A number of pre-designed sectors at the click of a button.
    • Individual enemy or friendly ships.
    • Enemy Ximni ships with jump drive.
    • Space Pirates!
    • Pre-built fleets of enemy ships that behave as fleets.
    • A variety of Space Monsters to investigate or deal with.
    • Enemy captains with personalities (edit brains and elite abilities on the fly)
  • It lets the GM change the side_value of any ship. For example players can have TSN enemies or Ximni allies, or they can bribe a Space Pirate to stop marauding and help defend the sector.
  • It includes four "situations" that can be used as mini-missions (see below).
  • It intentionally allows non-carriers to pick up some fighters and bombers as singleseat reloads.

Limitations of the Armada IV Sandbox

  • It forces the players to use a ship named Artemis, though they can choose any class.
  • It is intended for a single bridge crew, though you'll probably need at least two crews cooperating to win The Inquisitor boss battle.
  • It does not include enemy space stations, so you cannot make missions to attack enemy territory.

The Mini Mission "Situations"
The first three situations can be used to train newbie crews or just to give a veteran crew a short 10-15 minute adventure. To avoid confusing newbies, these three intentionally have the Comms Officer use the regular Comms interface. The fourth situation is for killing crews that get too full of themselves. All of the situations should work in any of the pre-designed sectors with any class of player ship.
  1. Ambassador Situation is a simple, slightly challenging escort mission.
  2. Pirate Situation is a complex, more challenging escort mission.
  3. Mad Scientist Situation has the players help with a dangerous experiment gone awry. It is moderately difficult to win this situation.
  4. Inquisitor situation puts the players in an epic boss battle that they will probably lose. Still, it is a bit humorous and it gives the players some extra insight into the Kraliens.

My Intended Uses at the Armada IV Convention
(and how you might use it at a convention)
  1. I would use this script if some crew asked me to GM an adventure for them. No one did.
  2. I would use this script to train newbie crews at the convention. But there were no newbie crews at Armada IV.
  3. If Shawn became exhausted GMing the Photobooth bridge I would use this script to give him a break. In that case I would run one of the 10-15 minute mini-missions to be recorded on video. But Shawn GMed all weekend and never needed a break. No video exists.

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LawsonThompson

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Reply with quote  #2 

Some quick feedback on this script:

This fits a great niche in our newbie-friendly small convention setup. The Tombstone sector is my current favorite, mainly because it doesn't spawn any dangerous creatures.

There are some typos, easy fix:

  • Pirate spawn location: search for 41o000.0 and remove the extra "o".
  • Some commented-out blocks can spawn in a bunch of enemies on a timer, but you probably don't want to do that if you're in GM mode anyway.
  • Ambassador: unless Arvonians are far more "fluid" than I expected, the message to Comms at mission start says "he is on a mission of pease. Please see her to safety." Doesn't affect the mission flow, just made Comms sound funny!
  • A few speling eroors: equiped, indestructible/able?, preceless,

Pro tip: In our standard setup of difficulty level 5 and a Dreadnaught player ship, the built-in scenarios are too difficult for newbies. They're certainly going to survive most of them, but the enemies just move in way too fast and escape before newbie crews have time to respond. If you want to do built-in scenarios with newbies, consider a lower difficulty.

Oddity I'm still trying to work out: the Inquisitor confuses many crews. At first it appears unbeatable, then surrenders after a captain switchover and subsequent minor damage, then un-surrenders to continue the fight. However, we had one crew chase the Inquisitor after it surrendered, it reached the edge of the map and stopped… and just sat there plainly visible even though it couldn't be targeted or destroyed. We called it a "win" and declared victory!

With your permission Mike, I'd like to release a tweaked version of this, with additional logging to trap a server crash I'm trying to duplicate.

Thanks for a great little script!

 

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ogremasch

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Reply with quote  #3 
This is great, I plan on having a game this Saturday at around 3pm EST and am looking forward to testing out this sand box. I hope to get to play with it before Saturday so I can better acquaint myself with the controls. 

Thanks very much for putting this together, My crew is somewhat new and I think this will be just the thing to give them a good taste of what this game can do.

If you feel like watching we will be twitching the game on http://twitch.tv/gr8alphaogre.
Longbowman1346

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Reply with quote  #4 
Thank you!!!
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Mike Substelny

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Reply with quote  #5 
Update: Artemis 2.7.2 has added some new features such as new Elite Abilities and monster characteristics. I have updated the Armada IV script to take advantage of these features. Unfortunately, Artemis 2.7.2 still has at least one serious crash bug so I won't release the revised script until that bug is fixed.
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Mike Substelny

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Reply with quote  #6 
LawsonThompson: Thank you for the feedback. I will fix the typos. I need to think about the Arvonians a bit - their language has no gendered pronouns so translating to English should probably be "he/she" or "they."

I will also look into the Inquisitor bug. The Inquisitor is surrounded by a gigantic generic object and I probably forgot to destroy that object if the Inquisitor leaves the sector.

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ogremasch

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Reply with quote  #7 
I got a chance to play with this on Saturday, thank you for putting this together.

I should have played with it a bit before testing it out on an unsuspecting crew but we worked out the kinks. The kinks were my inexperience with the scenarios and the script, not anything with the script itself. I would make one suggestion and it may or may not be possible. I lost the buttons and couldnt get anything to work, I tied to get them back and ended up restarting the game. Turns out I should have hit the space bar, I feel silly for not having tried that but maybe you can add the I instructions to the F1 help file for that module? Not sure how that works in detail.

I didnt know anything about the scenario and I think I sent the comms officer competing instructions based on what I heard the comms officer read as having come from Beta Labs. Again, this was my own unfamiliarity with the scenario.

I don't think you can do anything about this but I don't know if there is a way for comms to send a message to the GM.

I created a sector during a game and didnt know that it would change the map in the way it did. My familiarity, not the scripts fault.

Is there a way to create or choose side missions? I wasn't able to figure that out. I had cargo ships and maybe I needed to click on one then try to create a side mission but I couldnt quite figure it out while playing on Saturday. Specifically is there a way to customize the side mission? Maybe by setting the pickup XXX deliver to YYY and reward will be ZZZ. Not sure if it is there and I missed it.

Again really really appreciate this and it allowed me to add and remove things easily to help a crew.

One mission we were flying and within 1200M of the space station and ran out of power, enemies closing in on all sides and no Damcon teams left. In order to save the mission and keep the story going I was able to get the engineers on the space station to activate an experimental tractor beam (I teleported the ship) to get the ship in range for tractoring the resr of the way to the station. It was great to have this option as without it we would have just sat and waited or self destructed.


I did have one crew member atte.pt to solo a ship while playing the script and it did not let him join, this was our first attempt at soloing so instead of working on a fix we just had him jump into a fighter and that worked. Is there a way to have multiple ships? I think there was a thread on that topic but cant recall it.



Check out this clip!
https://clips.twitch.tv/VictoriousCuriousPresidentAllenHuhu
Mike Substelny

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Reply with quote  #8 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ogremasch
I got a chance to play with this on Saturday, thank you for putting this together.

I should have played with it a bit before testing it out on an unsuspecting crew but we worked out the kinks. The kinks were my inexperience with the scenarios and the script, not anything with the script itself. I would make one suggestion and it may or may not be possible. I lost the buttons and couldnt get anything to work, I tied to get them back and ended up restarting the game. Turns out I should have hit the space bar, I feel silly for not having tried that but maybe you can add the I instructions to the F1 help file for that module? Not sure how that works in detail.


I thought SPACEBAR was in the file. If not it's my mistake.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ogremasch

I don't think you can do anything about this but I don't know if there is a way for comms to send a message to the GM.


Most Comms officers just speak to the GM. I think there is a text chat feature, though.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ogremasch

Is there a way to create or choose side missions? I wasn't able to figure that out. I had cargo ships and maybe I needed to click on one then try to create a side mission but I couldnt quite figure it out while playing on Saturday. Specifically is there a way to customize the side mission? Maybe by setting the pickup XXX deliver to YYY and reward will be ZZZ. Not sure if it is there and I missed it.


The GM can make a side mission from scratch. In that case the GM must type all the Comms messages manually and affect the player ship manually (e.g. reward player by dropping high density power cells, carapaction coils, cetrocite crystals, etc.). This was the reason for the "situations" - so a new Comms player could get familiar with the way communications are normally done in the game without thinking messages always come from the GM.

Did I give the GM buttons to give away nukes and other torpedoes? I cannot remember.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ogremasch

One mission we were flying and within 1200M of the space station and ran out of power, enemies closing in on all sides and no Damcon teams left. In order to save the mission and keep the story going I was able to get the engineers on the space station to activate an experimental tractor beam (I teleported the ship) to get the ship in range for tractoring the resr of the way to the station. It was great to have this option as without it we would have just sat and waited or self destructed.


That's a good option. Of course you can just drop a high density power cell and vigoranium nodule for them, too. I think the script also lets you create nebulae of different colors and select their properties, so (for example) you could drop a blue nebula on them and then set blue nebulae to provide power.

Even with no power a player ship can creep along at 1/4 impulse. But if the engines are totally destroyed I think they cannot move at all.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ogremasch

Is there a way to have multiple ships?


The script works with multiple player ships. It is only the "situations" that require a single ship named Artemis because the AI is programmed for Artemis and the Communications messages say "Hello, Artemis . . ."

Quote:
Originally Posted by ogremasch

Check out this clip!
https://clips.twitch.tv/VictoriousCuriousPresidentAllenHuhu


Thank you for sharing your video! Nicely done!

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ryleyra

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Reply with quote  #9 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Substelny

Most Comms officers just speak to the GM. I think there is a text chat feature, though.


The text chat is an option, but IIRC it does not address the GM directly, just as a generic message sent from the ship. I also believe the GM has to be logged in to the same ship as the Comms player, or at least a ship on the same side. (in PvP) The GM does need to monitor the Comms messages, so he will need to have a Comms console selected.

You can probably manage the same way you might send a message to another player ship, by starting the message with "GM, <message>" or "TSN Command, <message>" or whatever else you want to give as the recipient.

ogremasch

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Reply with quote  #10 
Thank you, the space bar note is in the instructions but not in the Help file that I saw. Maybe it was and I missed It but I believe it was just blank blue screen when I hit F1.

I don't think weapon rewards were available, I'll have to check next time I pull it up but I don't remember seeing it.

Most of the back 2/3rds of the ship had been destroyed so we were stuck. I see that the scenario in the video was actually the 3 bases module but I learned how to use Teleport by trying out your sandbox. So I'm still going to attribute that maneuver to your sandbox. :)

When we attempted to have another ship, Intrepid, or Horatio for example, the game didn't nt let us add it in. However similar to the above correction it could have been the 3 bases module I was running so that may have been the trouble.

In regards to the GM role and comms, I will be running a convention and "off ship" so I was looking for a way to keep the immersion/that there isn't a man behind the curtain pulling strings. I will try loading the comms role as well next time. Knowing what the comms officer has been told by other events in the script will help me.

Thank you again for adding this great tool to the GM arsenal. I really appreciate the work you put in and with some more practice I think I will get better. I love the nebula color and heat, energy, neutralizing effects.

Not to ask for spoilers but is there a general situation map or something that can tell the GM who's who and what is what? I was surprised to find Beta labs telling Artemis about creatures and experiments in their labs before I had really kicked off the story I had in my head. Again I should have taken the time to fly through that space myself and get a feel for it.
Mike Substelny

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Reply with quote  #11 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ogremasch
Not to ask for spoilers but is there a general situation map or something that can tell the GM who's who and what is what? I was surprised to find Beta labs telling Artemis about creatures and experiments in their labs before I had really kicked off the story I had in my head. Again I should have taken the time to fly through that space myself and get a feel for it.


Technically Beta Labs doesn't tell the players about creatures and experiments. The information is part of the base's listing on the star map. Any time Science selects it the caption should say:

Beta Labs

Containment facility for dangerous space creatures.

Of course it is possible that the script could add the description after the Mad Scientist Situation has been selected, and that I should create alternate versions. I will probably add new situations wherein Beta Labs will be involved in physics experiments or even experimental weapon development.

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