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It’s gotten a bit busier on the Neverwinter site in the past week with a couple videos featuring the Guardian Fighter class, the lore of Blackdagger Ruins and a PAX Roundup. While none of these posts said anything new about the Foundry, mapolis and jfinderdev did clarify a few things for the community in the forums.

When asked to clarify how the reward system worked, and whether authors could create one objective missions such as the “Clickie” missions we see in STO, mapolis replied with this answer:

http://nw-forum.perfectworld.com/showpost.php?p=190111&postcount=55

Since rewards are based off of the average completion time of the quest, this kind of exploit wouldn’t work, and you would just get trash from the chest.

This is also why we don’t allow authors to directly reward XP for completing tasks. It exposes the Foundry to heavy exploitation.

Several posters then brought up concerns about players exploiting the Foundry’s time-based reward system by AFKing in missions to artificially inflate their playtime. mapolis responded with this:

continue reading…

While dishing out more and more details about UGC on the STO forums, Cryptic’s Mapolis was kind enough to give our UGC site a few more spoilers.  Enjoy! 

———–

Q: Thank you for taking the time to answer some of our questions. First, can you introduce yourself, explaining your role at Cryptic?

Mapolis: I am a lead environment artist on STO, and currently I am responsible for all things art related in the Cryptic UGC tools, including UI, props, and pre-made maps. I also work closely with the rest of the UGC team to help shape the functionality of the tools.

Q: In a recent post on the STO forums, you stated, “Our goal is to make UGC tools powerful enough to create most if not all of the current episodes in STO with the same level of complexity.” Is this a long-term goal, or do you think that it can be reached in the coming months? What “steps” are involved? What obstacles need to be overcome?

Mapolis: There is a lot of work ahead of us to get the UGC tools to a point where they can create nearly everything currently seen in the game. However, the tools are being developed at a pretty rapid rate, and enabling features that allow UGC authors to create all of the mission archetypes you now see in STO is a high priority for us.

Each mission archetype offers its own challenges for UGC. Take PVP maps for example. While PVP maps may seem like the most simple map types in STO, they’re actually a bit complicated to create using our in-house tools. To make this available to UGC authors, we first need to streamline the PVP system in general. If we were to expose every system we use to make PVP maps now, it would create more frustration and exploitation than good PVP maps 🙂

Q: It must be a struggle to make the tools both complex and user-friendly. Can a balance be reached that will appeal to all types of players, from the technically-savy software gurus to the pen-and-paper writers of fan fiction?

Mapolis: We’re expecting there will be at least a small learning curve for the tools at first, but we always have ease-of-use in mind with every feature we add. It should be pretty easy for beginners to make a simple mission, and once they understand some of the basics of the editor, they will quickly be able to make more complex missions. Personally, I think writing story arcs is the easiest part of the editor, and it only starts to get more complex when you get into detailing your own maps from scratch. Authors can create an entire story that uses only maps in the open world (DS9, Risa, Earth Space Dock, etc.), without needing to touch the map editor.

Q: Lastly, can you tell us something else that we don’t know about UGC?

Mapolis: There are over 4,000 art assets currently enabled for use in UGC missions.

Thank you so much!

Mapolis: My pleasure!
——posted by Kirkfat——

Cryptic developer Mapolis has taken the time in this thread on the official forums to answer a few more questions.

Q: Will we be able to put the players into specific roles? Like, say we DIDN’T want them to play themselves but play a specific character in a story? Maybe Data’s second cousin, Shmata. If not could we “trick” it by simply changing the characters looks for that map? Also… can we change the character’s looks? lol

A: This would be a pretty big departure from the norm in STO in general, but I can see the potential of this idea. I wouldn’t expect it in the first iteration.

Q: Can we use the Character Creator to customize some NPCs? (of course some wouldn’t be customizable but maybe just Federation and Klingon NPCs)

A: Yes, there will be a fully functional costume creator complete with costume pieces that players have access to currently as well as some extra NPC-only ones.

Q: Can we give custom abilities to players for our missions (just in that mission not outside)?
Q: Can we make PvP maps?
Q: Can we change the stats of NPCs? Maybe I want a Ferengi uber boss? This would allow for basically making Fleet actions and increase customizability greatly.

Q: Can we change the abilities of NPCs? Like give them different weapons, give them different abilities, blablabla?

A: Not in the first version of the tools.

Q: How free is the map making? Can I put stuff on a map like a paint program? Meaning select a building from a menu and plant it on the ground. Or shape my hallways to a limited extent? Or choose what planets are in my space mission? Where the asteroids are?

A: The map editor is pretty open and flexible. You’ll be able to place props freely, adjust height and rotation, and design your own space maps from scratch. For ground and interior maps, you will be able to select from pre-populated or empty starter maps that you can layer detail onto. Creating custom room layouts and editing terrain is in development, but will likely not be in the first release.

Q: Can I initiate cutscenes?

A: Not yet.

Q: How wacky can I get? Such as could I make a game of TAG with the tool? Or a DotA (for the Warcraft and Starcraft people)? A game of hide and seek?

A: I suppose you can use marker volumes to make a game of hide and seek, where the enemy you’re looking for appears when you move into the volume. Something like tag could be accomplished once we have patrols in. I’m not sure what you mean by DotA. PVP missions won’t be available for UGC authors at first, but this is something we will add.

Q: Can I make a chain mission that will automatically offer the next one after the first is complete?

A: Not at first.

Q: Can I fully control the actions of all NPCs? LIke when they attack (maybe only once attacked first), if they’re dancing, if they ally and follow you around, emotes, timing of movement and attacks, etc?

A: We’re working on a system that will let you have tighter control over NPC behaviors, but it’s unclear how finished it will be by the first release of the tools.

Thanks to Mapolis for taking the time to answer these questions on the forum, and thanks to USS Parallax for asking them!