Is it just me or are quests underused?

Development directions, tasks, and features being actively implemented or pursued by the development team.

Is it just me or are quests underused?

Postby Mark Williamson » Wed Feb 18, 2009 10:40 am

Hi all,

Been a while since I posted here but I do try to keep up with traffic on the forums (if nothing else I stop by every so often to look at Fendorin's latest ships!)

What I remember from when I looked through the code in the past and from playing the game is that the Quest functionality is not greatly used. I'm aware it's now being used for a tutorial, which is something the game should really benefit from. The question is, what else? I remember seeing a few quests in SVN but seem to recall their being commented out so you'd never encounter them in the game. Is there a specific reason for this, or did they just lack testing? The wiki also featured an example Quest involving a docking dispute - I've never seen this in the game either but maybe I was in the wrong place at the wrong time, or perhaps it was added since I last played.

I've recently been playing Mass Effect on the Xbox 360 and one thing that struck me was the sheer number of non-essential side quests -of all sorts of different kings - that it was possible for the player to undertake. Some of these were as minor as intervening in an argument, some of them expanded on background to the game universe in ways that weren't essential to the overall plot. It would be nice if there were more missions / ad-hoc quests in Vegastrike, either to provide variety or to give the player some insight into the game universe. Even better would be to have at least some of these missions / quests spontaneously opened to the player whilst in flight - I think it would give much more of an "involved" feeling if you could be called up on the radio when you enter a system and asked to participate in some on-the-spot action.

Ideally this sort of thing would want variety in order to produce an impression of a real universe. I happen to think that this sort of thing is something that the Open Source development model could do really well - such quests don't necessarily have to contribute to an overall plot or be long and complicated. This should make them quite amenable to independent work by developers with a minimal knowledge and reasonably low commitment to learning the engine in detail.

Would such an effort - increasing the number of ad-hoc quests and one-off missions - be useful / appreciated? I'm thinking these could start with minor things like a pirate radioing you and saying "Pssst, help me bring down this ship and I'll give you a cut of the loot" or a scientific vessel broadcasting a general request for assistance (rewarding you with money or upgrades, perhaps). Some of these could later be grown into mini-campaigns if desired but I think that's not essential to the basic goal of making a more "living" universe.

Thoughts / suggestions appreciated.

Cheers,
Mark
Mark Williamson
Explorer
Explorer
 
Posts: 12
Topics: 2
Joined: Wed Feb 06, 2008 7:09 pm

Share On:

Share on Facebook Facebook Share on Twitter Twitter Share on Digg Digg

Re: Is it just me or are quests underused?

Postby loki1950 » Wed Feb 18, 2009 11:28 am

Sorry Mark but the only story elements we have ATM are the tutorial that pyramid put together and the mini-quest involving Jarek the hauler there is an Authoring group and hidden sub-forum for development and we are currently waiting on a revision of the back story document by the Minister of Information but due to a real life pressures is late :shock: but we due intend to get some connected missions and characters(fixers)in game sometime this year at least that's one of my priorities for the year.If you want to help just say so and i will add you to that effort :wink:

Enjoy the Choice :)
my box::HP Envy i5-6400 @2Q70GHzx4 8 Gb ram/1 Tb(Win10 64)/3 Tb Mint 18/GTX745 4Gb acer S243HL K222HQL
Q8200/Asus P5QDLX/8 Gb ram/WD 2Tb 2-500 G HD/GF GT640 2Gb Mint 17.3 64 bit Win 10 32 bit acer and DELL E6400 4GB ram/100 GB HD Mint 17.3 6
User avatar
loki1950
The Shepherd
 
Posts: 5706
Topics: 51
Joined: Fri May 13, 2005 1:37 pm
Location: Ottawa

Re: Is it just me or are quests underused?

Postby Mark Williamson » Wed Feb 18, 2009 11:55 am

loki1950 wrote:Sorry Mark but the only story elements we have ATM are the tutorial that pyramid put together and the mini-quest involving Jarek the hauler there is an Authoring group and hidden sub-forum for development and we are currently waiting on a revision of the back story document by the Minister of Information but due to a real life pressures is late :shock: but we due intend to get some connected missions and characters(fixers)in game sometime this year at least that's one of my priorities for the year.If you want to help just say so and i will add you to that effort :wink:


I do a lot of Python programming so I'd be interested in hearing more about what happens with story-related stuff - I have some old copies of the JackS backstory documents that I spent some time looking through when I was also fiddling with the SVN version pre-0.5.

Story aside, though, I do think the universe would feel substantially more "real" if there were some more scripted quests that could be entered without explicitly signing up for a mission at a station - just some random encounters that aren't necessarily related to the main story (potentially, though no necessarily with relevance to the universe back story). The idea would be to make these reasonably numerous but mostly independent of each other and of the more substantial campaigns that may be added at a later date. Obviously these ad-hoc questlets would still want to be of a decent quality but I think for an immersive experience a decent variety of different quests would be important too.

I guess what I'm really saying is: if I get the chance to do so, is it worth me knocking up some quests along these lines and sending patches? Is this something that would be wanted?
Mark Williamson
Explorer
Explorer
 
Posts: 12
Topics: 2
Joined: Wed Feb 06, 2008 7:09 pm

Re: Is it just me or are quests underused?

Postby loki1950 » Wed Feb 18, 2009 12:27 pm

Please do as you say knock off a few random encounters that can turn into mini quests no sure how we would go about that in-flight as ATM most missions start and end at base terminals but maybe an SOS or some other comm message accepted/declined by the player could be the start.

Enjoy the Choice :)
my box::HP Envy i5-6400 @2Q70GHzx4 8 Gb ram/1 Tb(Win10 64)/3 Tb Mint 18/GTX745 4Gb acer S243HL K222HQL
Q8200/Asus P5QDLX/8 Gb ram/WD 2Tb 2-500 G HD/GF GT640 2Gb Mint 17.3 64 bit Win 10 32 bit acer and DELL E6400 4GB ram/100 GB HD Mint 17.3 6
User avatar
loki1950
The Shepherd
 
Posts: 5706
Topics: 51
Joined: Fri May 13, 2005 1:37 pm
Location: Ottawa

Re: Is it just me or are quests underused?

Postby pyramid » Thu Feb 19, 2009 1:40 am

Just for the purpose of aligning our understanding: Quests or Adventures are typically triggered in space contrary to Missions or Campaigns which are started on a base in the mission bbs or when talking to a fixer.

The side quests (adventures) that are implemented and working are registered in data/modules/adventures.py:
Code: Select all
    "Crucible/Cephid_17":quest_tutorial.quest_tutorial_factory(),
    "Sol/Regallis":quest_dispute.quest_dispute_factory(),
    "Crucible/Elohim":quest_blockade.quest_blockade_factory(),
    "Sol/Alpha_Centauri":quest_shipyardbomb.quest_shipyardbomb_factory(),
    "Sol/Iris":quest_slaver.quest_slaver_factory(),


You can use that as a base for functioning quests.
Further, I have documented my approaches in the wiki under Development:Quests&Campaigns, in particular under Quests and Adventures and some fundtion tips & tricks under Useful Python Functions.

The tutorial quest is probably the best documented (in code) adventure as it was the first I have started and the last I have finished. Though it's a bit long code, there are many useful wrapper functions and situation handling. Still, it is good to look through the other quests, too.

Any further questions -> just ask. And good luck and fun with coding.
User avatar
pyramid
Expert Mercenary
Expert Mercenary
 
Posts: 960
Topics: 44
Joined: Wed Jun 14, 2006 6:02 pm
Location: Somewhere in the vastness of space

Re: Is it just me or are quests underused?

Postby Mark Williamson » Thu Feb 19, 2009 8:58 pm

pyramid wrote:Just for the purpose of aligning our understanding: Quests or Adventures are typically triggered in space contrary to Missions or Campaigns which are started on a base in the mission bbs or when talking to a fixer.


Yep, good. This is the sort of stuff I've been wishing there was more of - it's nice being able to choose a mission that pays right etc. But sometimes it'd be nice for the missions to come to you ;-)

The side quests (adventures) that are implemented and working are registered in data/modules/adventures.py:
Code: Select all
    "Crucible/Cephid_17":quest_tutorial.quest_tutorial_factory(),
    "Sol/Regallis":quest_dispute.quest_dispute_factory(),
    "Crucible/Elohim":quest_blockade.quest_blockade_factory(),
    "Sol/Alpha_Centauri":quest_shipyardbomb.quest_shipyardbomb_factory(),
    "Sol/Iris":quest_slaver.quest_slaver_factory(),



OK, cool, that's more quests than I remembered being available. I vaguely remembered there also being one about investigating the source of unknown signals but can't remember the details of that. Anyhow, it sounds like this stuff is in a decent state - I had seen that you had been developing a tutorial quest, which sounds really handy.

You can use that as a base for functioning quests.
Further, I have documented my approaches in the wiki under Development:Quests&Campaigns, in particular under Quests and Adventures and some fundtion tips & tricks under Useful Python Functions.


Thank you. I think I'd come across some of that but it's good to have all the links in one place. I'm optimistic that having this stuff in Python should enable rapid development of interesting scenarios - I'm really glad it's available.

The tutorial quest is probably the best documented (in code) adventure as it was the first I have started and the last I have finished. Though it's a bit long code, there are many useful wrapper functions and situation handling. Still, it is good to look through the other quests, too.

Any further questions -> just ask. And good luck and fun with coding.


OK cheers. I'm going to brainstorm a few plot ideas in this thread in case anyone has feedback / suggestions and also so that developers can pick them up if they feel like it. Hopefully I'll be able to have a look at doing some of them in due course. I really like Python coding and I'm not getting to do much in my "day job" (i.e. degree) at the moment.
Mark Williamson
Explorer
Explorer
 
Posts: 12
Topics: 2
Joined: Wed Feb 06, 2008 7:09 pm

Re: Is it just me or are quests underused?

Postby Mark Williamson » Thu Feb 26, 2009 10:08 am

OK, last night I had a fiddle with the quests stuff using the information on the wiki. I have an idea for a simple quest that I'm playing with implementing.

The idea is that this quest will appear on one of the first systems you jump to after Cephid 17, so a player has a chance of meeting it early in the game. I have the following goals:
  • Easy to join in - no need to dock at the right base to get access to it.
  • Simple quest goals and behaviour - easy for me to code and for the player to understand.
  • Dialogue and rewards vary depending on the outcome of the Jennek campaign - in particular, if you helped the mob there, the rewards here are greater.
  • Expose the player (if they join in) to some aspects of gameplay they won't have met yet.

I've written some initial dialogue and sketched out a rough timeline for events and started implementing the state machine in Python - it works, as far as I've got, so it looks like I've got the basics right.

The quest itself aims to give the player a chance to get some piracy experience early in the game. An anonymous communication when the player enters the system invites them to a meeting location where they should find a small wing of pirate vessels (some reasonably weak fighters / cargo ships - plus maybe something larger like a Mule to make the later battle interesting). The player is invited to join in a raid on a sabotaged freighter - once the freighter and escorts are destroyed, their payment will be to get the chance to tractor any cargo they can reach, plus a modest payment of credits. If the player assisted the mob in the Jennek campaign, the pirates act as if they know of Deucalion and call him by name - offering him a slightly higher rate of pay. If the player didn't help the mob (and didn't dob them in to the investigator!) then they'll treat him as a random mercenary and pay him somewhat less.

Ideally at this point I'd like to have the player able to accept / decline participation using a comms message. I'm assuming this is possible since the tutorial quest is able to tell if you're using the comms system - ideally I'd like some custom dialogue saying "Yeah, I'll help" or "No, go away" and I'm not sure how to do that. Pointers on this would be appreciated. I'd really like the mission to be "spontaneous" as part of a "live" universe so it's important to me that the player doesn't have to dock at a base as he would if he were explicitly looking for work.

The battle should be reasonably simple - tell the player to head to a jump point where I'll spawn a disabled freighter (maybe with some hull damage) and some weak fighters. At this point, the player should be encouraged to get stuck in with the combat - if they do more than a modest minimal amount of damage then they'll get paid, whereas if they sit on the sidelines they'll only get the chance to salvage cargo. If I get the mule involved here too I'm hoping there'll be some rather modest "big ship" action, just for the purposes of impressing a new player early on :wink:

I'll have the pirates tell the player that he can use his tractor beam to pick cargo up - and that if he doesn't have one, he should get one. I'll also have them mention that if he fancies starting some raids of his own he can hire some wingmen at a base or space station. The idea here is that the player will now know how they ought to go about doing some plausible piracy, should they choose to play that way.

I think it would be nice to have quests like this, exhibiting a certain aspect of the gameplay, offering themselves to the play on entry to each of the systems available on jump from Cephid 17. I'm not saying at this stage that I'll write all those :wink: but I think it'd help with the "drowning in freedom" problem (compare: http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2007/11/19/).

Cheers :D
Mark
Mark Williamson
Explorer
Explorer
 
Posts: 12
Topics: 2
Joined: Wed Feb 06, 2008 7:09 pm

Re: Is it just me or are quests underused?

Postby safemode » Thu Feb 26, 2009 12:35 pm

My only suggestion with this is to make sure you can deal with players who dont have tractor beams yet. ideally, have the pirates ask him if he does, and based on the response, make his payment and mission dependent on that. If the player lies, then that's on them.


edit: ack i see you already thought of that.

Then of course, the other suggestion would be to possibly make the pirates act more like pirates. They would probably test him first to see if he's pirate material, since it's early in the game. Perhaps instead of just jumping into a system to trigger this quest, have a disabled type ship floating around and depending on how the player deals with this ship, determines if the pirates attack him or ask him to join them, as they are waiting off in the distance watching the disabled ship.
Ed Sweetman endorses this message.
safemode
Developer
Developer
 
Posts: 2150
Topics: 84
Joined: Sun Apr 22, 2007 6:17 pm
Location: Pennsylvania



Return to Engine Development

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests

cron