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Category: Rants

Hi all. Well it has been along time since I did a StarbaseUGC Log and with all the material I wish to add to this article, I feel it’s only fitting. For those who are new to StarbaseUGC, I’m the lost wolf, the hard copy reporter not scared to speak his mind, however have got allot softer with wisdom towards the game and player base. My StarbaseUGC Logs can be filled with all sorts of tid bits and foundry resource material or they can just be me talking about me and my opinion towards stuff. Well I work hard for foundry authors and feel I’m aloud every now and again.

So today we take a look at “The Foundry Till Now” a nostalgic look at the Foundry back on the TTS and what missions stood out to me and changed the way we conceive UGC within STO, “How Too… FOUNDRY” which is the title of my new planed livestream series, my first tutorial which looks at Map Transitions and my collaboration with STOmedia in order to get my Cryptic/STO Ezine of the ground. Enjoy!

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TribbleHelnaSig

It’s recently come to light over the weekend that Cryptic has updated Tribble to include a stipulation: all tribbles and pets previously purchased or awarded that were account wide will now be per character. Every time you want the Tribble, you will have to pay real money to claim it, and if you discard or lose the tribble, you will need to pay real money again to RECLAIM it.

This is an unprecedented and outrageous violation of our trust in Cryptic to deliver us a product fairly and reasonably. To make matters worse, its been discovered that each Tribble is a one time purchase. You can only buy the Tribble for ONE character: players that have logged into other toons and looked for it within the C-Store after purchasing it on one, cannot find it in the C-Store on their other characters. It’s gone forever. This is intolerable.

And this is only the next, in a long line of F2P transition changes, that have crapped on, insulted, or plainly disadvantaged players of Star Trek Online, from making ships per character purchases, outrageous dilithium requirements that destroy the concept of fleet crafters, and ultimately pay 2 win items in the C-Store. Additionally, the Foundry has been widely ignored for over a year, decaying and broken from unrepaired bugs, and they want us to start paying for slots on top of all of this? NO MORE.

As a community, its up to us to stand up to this and make it known that in the USA, this kind of underhanded and unfair tactic is NOT what MMOs are about, and not what we will put up with in Star Trek Online. I’m calling on all Star Trek Online players, all Starbase UGC users, to put your foot down and pledge that you will make Perfect World and Cryptic LISTEN to us this time, with equal and opposite reaction. If they continue to push changes, ask what we think, ignore us, and move ahead in ways that can ONLY be described as TROLLING, then we will treat them like trolls. We have a moral obligation to vote with our wallets against actions we dislike. Hence, I’m calling on everyone to BOYCOTT THE C-STORE. If they want a game structure that needs C-Store purchases to survive, then we will SHOW THEM that we won’t put up with mistreatment and items we don’t believe are morally okay for the game. WE ARE Star Trek Online, we determine whether this game lives or dies, and if they want to alienate us to try to rip off a new base of players, we can’t stand for it.

I believe we are OBLIGATED to warn everyone we can about Star Trek Online. Go to gaming sites, tell people in comments. Warn your friends how Perfect World will take your money if you give it to them and then change the agreement of the item that you purchased! Tell them that playing Star Trek Online isn’t worth their time and their money, if Cryptic/PWI doesn’t listen to what the fans of the game NOW overwhelming want out of Star Trek Online!

Use the forum signature above to show your support. You see? They’ve taken tribbles from Helna. Tribbles comfort Helna. How can you let them do that to her?

Additionally, here are some metaphorical images for your simultaneous amusement and anger.

Riker Troll

Picard Troll

Tell your friends, tell your fleet, tell your other favorite podcasters that only standing together will we stop Perfect World, a company that has a history of ignoring their fans. We’re not just fans, we’re Starbase UGC. We ARE Star Trek Online, and we’re this game’s community. We have the power to build and create more than just Foundry missions: we can build and create communities, and we are a HUGE part of this game, which will suffer without us. Don’t forget that!

I’m just wanting to use this photo I took as an example from the Queensland Floods in Australia back in January 2011. Yes I was a victum of the floods, acutually it is 6 months to the day I took this photo to when I post this Blog.

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Yes it was a high stress moment, I lost 3kg that week, cause alot of greef and stress, very simular to what happening now with the foundry.

But if you look at the photo, it is not acually looking at a flooded house, it’s looking down my street and starting a recovery effort.

One thing that happened though the city of Brisbane and Ipswich, where I live, is the helping hand that was received over the following weekend. There were 22000 volunteers that helped over 2 days, complete strangers, that were willing to help the victims, a really strong Aussie tradition of mate helping a mate out. This was later known as the ‘Mud Army’.

I don’t know the full extent of what the outcome of what happens to the foundry, or how it is going to come back to us, and only the author is the only one who can rebuild if it comes to that. But we can be there to play the mission.

So I’m just putting an idea down that we spend a day of forming a ‘Foundry Army’ to help with the recovery effort, and start getting the foundry back to it former glory. It will be good feeling to all of us authors to have their missions played again, even have it webcasted etc.

So what you think?

The positive impact of the Foundry goes far beyond the UGC community and, arguably, even beyond the bounds of STO itself. There’s a ripple effect of benefit, and I only came to realise it fully after the events surrounding the Season 4 disaster and a fleet event this weekend.

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(reposted from forums in hopes of a response)

Hey Devs,

The patrols need lots of love. There are so many cookie-cutter killing 5/5 ships for half-baked reasons.

Here’s an idea: How about letting us remaster them?

Give us the name of a system that has a lackluster bland kill 5/5 mission. Let us submit our version of a patrol that happens there. Then, pick the best one that can replace the official patrol.

Slowly, we’d be remastering a ton of content and a ton of systems together.

So, to sum, you’d get a workforce of authors remastering the lackluster patrols, and all you’d have to do is pick the best for each system and make it required playing.

If you need to, you could attach a disclaimer to each remastered indicating that it’s a sample of “community-authored content.”  You could also specify the exact enemies to use, etc.

Better yet, if you could turn the existing patrol into an importable Foundry project, then we’d get much to work with and not have to recreate the planets, etc.

How about it?

If you’ve read some of the books by Star Trek personalities, such as actors like Nimoy or behind-the-scenes experts like Justman and Solow, then you’ve probably come across statements about the “newness” of Star Trek when it premiered in the 1960s.  It is often claimed that nothing else like it was aired to millions of Americans prior to 1966.

While a case can be made for the “newness”of Star Trek, it would be a mistake to label its predecessors as worthless “kid’s stuff” or “merely” anthology series.  From the birth of mass media, there has been a place for science fiction.  Television has been no exception.

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Considering the exhorbitant amount comments that The Watcher War series and the main topic discussion thereof I thought I would create a new post to discuss the concept of titles in Machinima and come up with some suggestions or guidelines to be used by the STO community.

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Enormous flying creatures, cave-dwelling serpent-monsters, and fortified cities of people on the Moon… these were the imaginative speculations of Johannes Kepler in the early seventeenth century, when he penned the scientific and literary contents of the Somnium, his “dream” of a trip from the Earth to the Moon.

Arguably, the Somnium can be called the first work of science fiction, because it daringly mixed astronomical theories of the day with speculative fantasies of spaceflight and another populated world (the Moon).  Even today, it is difficult to tell what is fiction and what is science in the pages of the Somnium.

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Be advised that it is not my intend to offend anyone, including the creator. This was the first foundry mission I played, and since it relied heavily on technobabble it is a good starting point. This review is as extreme as it can get – you can forget most of it immediately save for some basics that I advise you to consider in the future. For the intent of this review, I don’t care of anything besides the technobabble, and this means the Starfleet technobabble too.

First problem I have is with the Toledo itself. Intelligence mission near the Klingon border in a Miranda? No way. I wonder that these cans are still spaceworthy.

The unknown substance itself is actually not too bad technobabble. While a sponteanously autopolymerizing/autodepolymerizing substance might be not possible, even more so at standard temperatures, it is at least thinkable. It would be no more of an laboratory curiosity though as there is already stuff than can be polymerized/depolymerized under full reaction control and not seemingly at random. Attesting the thing some sort of intelligence however, qualifies it for the Brothers Grimm award. More about that stuff shortly.

The loss of the Toledo is at best shaky. We never get an idea what the substance did to the Toledos reactor, but I think there is some lack of understanding how a MARA does work. There can’t be criticality or a chain reaction. As long as the injector nozzles are closed no fuel will enter the MARA and no energy is created. Problem solved, death avoided, thank you, good night. And even if that would be not possible you can simply vent off any surplus plasma via the emergency vents or the injectors in the nacelles themselves – the second option could possibly yield in spontaneous creation of a asymmetric, that is propulsive, distortion field. Could be dangerous inside a nebula/debris field. How the substance would have got from the nacelles to the MARA I don’t know – surely not via the PTCs. The plasma exits the MARA at more than a trillion K (though I am not sure if that is an error in the manual, sounds a little bit to high)…

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And theres another point with the technobabble. One that doesn’t consider the underlying science of nebulas, emissions and fields.

The one that takes the underlying science of Starfleet itself into account. Remember my Tom Clancy comment in my last entry? Writing about the military not only needs knowledge about the used technologies and systems. Sure, it is important to know how far a HARM missile can actually fly or what the average output of Have Stare is. But those numbers nowadays can be researched easily by anyone on the internet, sometimes even on Wikipedia.

The thing that distinguishes those who read the numbers and those who read the numbers and understand is that the latter ones are those who have the knowledge of how those numbers are actually applied in combat. They know the principles of operation that are used to bring those weapons to bear (not in a tactical sense, but in an operational or even strategic one). And those things are usually not found on Wikipedia – they can’t be found in the field manuals either, however one might manage to get them. You either learn them by undergoing the necessary education, at Westpoint, Quantico, Colorado Springs or wherever; or by studying historical scenarios, readying in depth-literature and applying common sense.

Now, if we move back to Trek, one would learn things like that in San Fran. Since most of us will never attend the academy we have to resort to option 2. Studying historical scenarios is a dangerous one, because those things we saw on the show usually apply bad technobabble (now the military science one, not the natural science) – look no further than the shows depiction of the Dominion War. In depth literature is a good start, but since there is not that much available one would have to resort to the real life, that is ‘non trek’, version of it. But when it comes to it, common sense is unbeatable.

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Depending on how much you are really into this Trek stuff or how closely you followed the franchise since its beginning half an eternity ago you may have noticed the downward spiral that Trek went over the years. Taking TOS and TAS aside (for their quite awful 60s/70s production style, overflowing amount of cheese and sometimes really strange plots – but don’t take me wrong, friday currently is TOS day for me, watching a double feature of TOS-R in the evening; and I’d still prefer most TOS episodes over your average Voyager one…) the first features and TNG were – mostly – smartly written and well played science fiction, setting the standards until today, just like the original SW-trilogy did for the other half of the SciFi-world.

It got worse from there on – when the Ent-Delta crashed on Veridian, brought down by an antique BoP thanks to really bad technobabble it was more than the end of an era. It was the end of smart trek. DS9 was able to cover that with action, lots of, but Voyager was 172 episodes of awful writing and technobabble.

It was therefore no surprise that we ended with a reboot run by the same guy that should have been imprisoned for letting loose abominations like Alias, Lost and Fringe upon the TV viewers, with a script written by the same guys that brought back Peter Cullen from the Hundred-Acre-Wood. Go no further than reading Bernd Schneider’s movie review with which I concur in every aspect.

Smart writing in itself is tricky enough. Most novels or movies today fail in delivering a believable and realistic story anyway, but they have one limitation which is an asset at the same time. They are able to neglect science. This both limits the scope of the story (‘Friends’ on Alpha Centauri? ‘The Sopranos’ featuring the Orionian mob?) and leaves open more paths. Monica and Chandler sure don’t need to care about the solar cycle of Alpha Centauri B and Tony Soprano doesn’t have to hide bulks of GPL – I wonder how you would launder them?

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I AM NOT A NAUSICAN!

I have received reports that I have been missed the last couple of weeks. No at the captains table, no reviews and no spelling mistakes. Well that is because I’m saving it for the magazine. Yes community it’s going to be a magazine. I have been in contact with allot of people who want to be involved. If you have let me know you would like to be involved and unfortunately I don’t get to contacting you this week, please don’t feel discouraged. I would like every one to be involved and it is probably because I have for some reason or another just simply forgot. Going for a neutral title at the moment, as it will probably branch out to start covering Never Winter as well as STO.

I have also been wondering what type of youtube blog I’d like to do for the Foundry. Always thought why not Tutorials, but I think enough people cover that topic. It has been encouraged by a certain number of the community for me to start doing news reports. So finally I’ve come to terms with how to approach these blogs and have started to work on them. The biggest challenge has been to figure out the quickest way to produce them as I currently have had a little bit more time on my hands than usually.

Okay, okay! What’s today’s post about. I have been undercover ladies and gentlemen. I have seen the belly of the best and Cryptic’s handle of the situation has been less then admirable. Yes Rigelian’s and Phlox’s, I’m talking about exploit missions and the newly formed unofficial underground movement that keep them secret.

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I’ve successfully posted a single Foundry mission. I’ve worked on four others that I have been unable to complete due to Foundry limitations. Occasionally, I’ll get a flash of inspiration or discover a new work around, and will go back and make progress (I’m nearing a complete, if unpolished, version of my Dominion War first episode, finally). But the missing pieces keep annoying me because you see these things happen in regular Cryptic missions so the engine can handle it.

So anyways, I just wanted to rant about all of the things I think are missing and should be there, mainly to share my pain.

1. Ability to Remove NPC’s
I have a contact I’m supposed to rescue or a bad guy whose supposed to get away. I can place them. I can talk to them. But once on the map, they will forever be on the map.

2. Ability to set effects to NPC’s/Objects
I can remove items (and should be able to remove NPC’s) but they just vanish. If they are supposed to blow up, I can add an effect for that. But what if something is supposed to beam up, warp out, cloak, turn into Q, disintegrate from a phaser, etc? I can cause a trigger to make a beam out effect happen on me while making the object vanish. Where’s the logic there?

3. Ability for NPC’s to go from Good to Bad and from Bad to Good
I would love to make a mission where I meet an alien species, and then depending on what I say, they either are friendly or try and kill me. But NPC’s are either non-combat or combat.

4. Ability to make a friendly Klingon that fires disruptors
In my Dominion War missions I’m trying to have Federation and Klingon (and eventually Romulan) fighting side by side. I can skin Fed ships to look like Klingons and Romulans, but the effect is ruined when they enter combat and are firing phasers instead of disruptors.

5. Dialogue Triggers
I would love to have a dialogue tree that had three choices, and depending on what you picked, something happened. But dialogues can’t trigger stuff.

6. More Effects
The nebula effect is called over used but it’s that way because there is nothing else that can make combat different. I used it once because the player was supposed to lower their shields to use the transporter and then they were supposed to be jumped by Klingons while their shields were down. The sensor static was unnecessary but there is no way to just lower the shields. Or an effect to dampen energy weapons so you have to fight hand to hand. Or plasma fire that did actual damage instead of just looking cool. Or all kinds of things.

Now this is not a comprehensive list and certainly doesn’t include all of the wished for assets, maps, better interface (placing stuff in the 3D environment would be SO MUCH EASIER), etc but just some stuff I’ve been thinking about.

Since the days of beta one thing which has bothered me about STO is the way that our bridge officers all too often order us, the captain, around.

At best, they give us “suggestions” which we have no alternative but to follow and, at worst, they talk down to us as though indulging a four year-old.  At times it feels as though we’re being condescendingly allowed to push buttons and steer the ship not because of our skill and experience, but because the people around us are trying to make us feel like we’re contributing something while they do all the heavy decision making.  It’s like a parent letting their child push the button to close the garage door and telling them, “What a good job you did!”

On the surface this appears to be a result of the way Star Trek Online presents missions and dialog to us, the player.  The bridge officers fill an essential role in providing exposition and explanation to things which, due to limitations in the game’s engine, cannot be presented in another way.

But looking beyond the surface I’ve come to realize that it’s not because of STO’s limitations that this obnoxious captain-bridge officer interaction is required.  Still working within the framework STO and the Foundry give us, it’s possible to step beyond ‘the Cryptic method’ and add another dimension to our storytelling.

You know what the chain of command is? It’s the chain I go get and beat you with until you understand who’s in ruttin’ command here.”  – Jayne Cobb, ‘Firefly’

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Likely many of you are already aware, but Wishy confirmed Cryptic’s stance on the above type of missions yesterday. link to Wishstone’s post on the matter on the STO forums

Changes have also been made in the current tribble build to avoid exploits. In short, such missions are no longer allowed in the Foundry.

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As the Foundry enters its third week on Holodeck, some of the… limitations of the Mission Journal’s searching functions are beginning to show. Slowly but surely, accolade-oriented grind missions are climbing the “Hot” chart, while the sheer number of missions means that finding a good, underplayed mission is like panning for gold.

I’ve developed some opinions about these so-called accolade missions (I don’t like ’em), but I recognize that many do, so I’ll try not to speak on that issue. Instead, read below for a few general criticisms of the Foundry’s search functions, and several possible solutions.

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When I first published Evangeline I sat back, happy with my creation, and waited eagerly to see what other players thought of what I’d made.

I hadn’t done anything with the Foundry before making the mission.  I hadn’t played any other Foundry-made missions by anyone else.  I had no idea what to expect, what I was being compared against or how harshly I would be judged.  I just put it out there and hoped for the best.

One star?! How dare you!

The first few people who reviewed the mission really loved it.  Five stars and praise for the writing, for the sets, for the combat… I was feeling really good about my little project.  Then someone gave it 3-stars, and I took it personally.  Someone else gave it 2-stars, citing there was way too much dialog for their taste – despite the fact that the mission description plainly says that the mission has an emphasis on dialog.  A couple of days later my first 1-star rating came in, with only one word to back it up: ‘nah’.  This apathetic player couldn’t even muster up the motivation to tell me what was wrong. continue reading…

Hav likes shooties! Hav only likes story! Hav doesn’t know what he likes! Hav is actually a terrible Foundry author!

I’ve heard it all! But after playing several missions this past week, I decided that maybe I should flesh out what I like in a Foundry mission. Not just so everyone can stop being so surprised when I two star your mission, but also, hopefully, so somebody out there can start making more missions of the kind I like. And who knows, maybe you’ll get a couple of ideas. continue reading…

So in one way or another I have been apart of the STO community since the idea of a Trek MMO was mentioned. I may not have been an active member because of bad net connections, work commitments or living location, but I have been eagerly awaiting or playing STO for over two years now. I have admired Dev’s, fleets and players for there commitment to the game. Podcasts have had me giddy with excitement and Vets have had me waiting on baited breath for answers within threads. One of those Vets is LordOfPit.

“From mindless combat, to story-heavy non-combat missions and anything in between.”

I asked  LordOfPit in the StarbaseUGC chat room if he’d like to be the next Captain at the table. He responded with, “Maybe I should wait till I have a mission up on Holodeck.” I wasn’t taking No for an answer. There is not a STO Podcast, Website or Tutorial Blogger that hasn’t mentioned the name LordOfPit.

“For better or worse, I’m really big on subterfuge and trickery,”

As I have put him on a pedestal, not too far as no one can reach him, but high enough to understand that this Captains Table is a special one. Combining COH and STO UGC, as well as STO, Foundry, Cryptic and personal mission insights and impressions from LordOfPit.

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Hi All,

Your faithful friend Filbones here. I’d like to thank you, for all the support I’ve gotten recently for these Noob Guides, as well as the reviews I’ve been doing for you all. Hope they haven’t been too critical and help you make constructive changes to your mission. I as always start out my Guide with this.

“I only know what I know and that changes every second of my life. I do not call myself a Vet or Professional towards the Foundry tools. I only share what I think I know and hope that you may find something I know that you can use.”

For those of you just visiting or only hearing of me for the first time, feel free to check out my StarbaseUGC posts here or have a look at Noob Guide One and Two by clicking on the numbers. If you’re interested in my reviews you can check out the STO Forum Thread here.

So this week we will be covering Map Transitions and Social Map Objectives. A big shout out to LordOfPit [LOP] for Helping me use this post and by playing and talking about his mission Project Revava.

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