Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Mission Generation in a Star Trek MMORPG +

The suggestion has been made that it might be better for a Star Trek MMORPG if missions can be resolved successfully in multiple ways, rather than generating every mission to be a static Destroy, Recon, Fedex, or other type of mission. For example, a mission to "investigate subspace interference in Sector 12, subsector F" might turn out to be an encounter with a hostile ship, and you'll have the freedom to decide whether to resolve that situation through combat or diplomacy or science or engineering.

Let's say the folks developing Star Trek Online agrees that the latter approach is better. Here's my question: How should missions be written to allow for that level of flexibility?

It seems to me that this style of mission-writing is harder than "go there, do that." On the one hand, it necessarily has to leave the main description of the mission rather vague (which makes unique mission text documents hard to write). On the other hand, real-time flexibility means including a lot more active links to dynamic game information, such as the player character's chosen division (Science? Tactical?), their ship type (cruiser? science vessel?), the abilities of the people your character is grouped with (if any), the overall goals of Starfleet as they may be assigned by player Admirals, and so on.

So let's say you get the job of Lead Mission Designer for the new Star Trek Online developer. How would you define the mission creation system?

Would you stick with the simple Destroy, Recon, Fedex, etc. format? If you chose to try to allow dynamic mission resolution, how would you implement that as a mission design tool? How would you communicate to your staff mission writers the right way to write dynamic missions? Is there an outline or template you could develop for them to use?

No comments:

Post a Comment