Greetings, this is Captain Allen of the Federation star ship Andromeda here again to continue my mission to bring technical speaking to every star ship Captain in the galaxy. Last week we got up to speed on our Chief of Medicines’ commonly used phrases, medical conditions, medicine and technology. This week I have a very amibitious goal, to show you how to make your technobabble a solid part of the mission and not just an afterthought. Technobabble must be carefully used, you don’t want to confuse or frustrate your player character Captain, but at the same time technobabble provides a wonderful way to tie your mission to the episodes of Star Trek and provide mystery, intrigue and wonder that captured our hearts when we saw our first episode (or movie) of Star Trek.
Before we get started we need to take a look at our competition, Cryptic’s missions. Let’s consider the average Patrol, Genesis or repeatable Daily mission, Featured Episodes and various Enemy Front Episodes that are played by every star ship Captain in the galaxy.
- The patrol missions frequently start with a very simple 1 sentence dialog box from your tactical officer explaining you are about to get attacked, then you get attacked, then you kill everything on the map and leave.
- Genesis missions are either a space combat mission, ground combat mission, scan 5 things while there are enemies around, Aid the Planet, or the rare but beloved walk around and collect 10 DXP.
- Repeatable Daily missions are a little better, the dialog is dramatically improved, but players only read them once.
- Featured Episodes do a fantastic job of slowly building plot, such as a mysterious ship decloaking and then warping out, or otherwise giving you a non-combat interactive cut-scene where player is happy to read what’s going on because they know the story is going to be good.
- Enemy Front episodes (in Season 3 see your Ready Room computer for the reason I use this term ‘Enemy Front’), such as the ones delivered at launch and in Season 1, are themed around a region of the galaxy populated by the bad-guys of the episodes. These episodes aren’t quite as polished as the Featured Episodes and don’t employ as many cool tricks, but they are really fun the first time you play through the game.
I know what you’re thinking, ‘get to the point, Allen’. Well here it is: We can do better than 1, 2, 3 but not 4 or 5, at Foundry’s launch. Why do I say this? Cryptic’s well thought out episodes employ tricks we don’t have access to, but that’s okay because we have one advantage over them that they will never have: Time. We can write, rewrite and ponder and wait to release a mission when we feel like it is ready, and Cryptic does not have that luxury. This is why I am so passionate about technobabble and dialog and presentation of the mission, because we can slow down and take our time and not have t0 resort to abbreviations like we see in Genesis. I could do a fantastic mission surrounding a ‘kill 5 things’ objective if I just add a little mystery, a little story, and a little believability with the help of technobabble.
I’m so confident that I can create a compelling ‘kill 5 things’ mission, that I’m going to do it, right now. That’s right, I’m going to take my least favorite mission and make it shine like never before. And here it is: