Remembering the old days, and requesting the new ways

General discussion for players of Oolite.

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Robbeasy
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Remembering the old days, and requesting the new ways

Post by Robbeasy »

When I was but a wee nipper, Elite was THE game. Played it on a BBCMicro first of all, then the Spectrum version. Have since played most of the PC varieties, of which Oolite is, of course, the best.

BUT - there has always been a niggle in the back of my mind. The gameplay engine has always been about trading and exploring, but as we play the game more, the game becomes familiar, exploring doesn't mean what it did.

So what else was there?

Missions. The excitement of something new happening on a simple trade journey was unsurpassed back in the old days, and still causes a thrill today with the Oolite community missions.

Which brings me to the request. More missions! Missions are the lifeblood of Elite and Oolite, they create the interest in getting to a certain status, or going to a certain galaxy, they just increase the plain old fun in playing the game! - we all strive for Elite status, but it's not enough any more just to explore our way to it. We need to be engaged in our Ooniverse. The missions so far put out by the community are excellent in every way - this is just a plea for More!!

Don't build a new ship - we have hundreds of those!! Create a new mission instead, increase the pleasure for us that love to play the game!!

(p.s. This is not meant to denigrate those that build new ships - i love them as well.. :lol: )

(p.p.s I am also sure there are plenty of people out there already working on missions, or thinking 'why doesn't he do his own then?' - I await with baited breath all new missions, and personally have the programming skills of a three toed Sloth, otherwise I would be attempting my own :lol: )

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Post by Commander McLane »

Hi, Robbeasy,

I couldn't agree more! I am seeing it exactly the same way. For me the lifeblood of Oolite is not ships and eye-candy, but missions!

Myself I am working on two big mission OXPs right now, Ghostsfromthepast.oxp and Cataclysm.oxp. Both are not yet ready for release, but Cataclysm is not far from it. And the feedback of a board member who had a sneak preplay wasn't bad at all. :wink:

So, please be patient, there are things waiting out there... :D

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Post by Jar »

Commander McLane wrote:For me the lifeblood of Oolite is not ships and eye-candy, but missions!
Yes! Yes! Yes! :D
Jar
Have fuel scoop will travel.

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Post by Amen Brick »

ships is easy, missions is hard.

Most people who want to oxp either struggle with the more complex nature of mission oxps (i am, but I'll get there :) ) or stop at making models because the effect is more noticeable sooner, plus models are easier to chect to see if they are working and so forth, making model making just a lot less of a pain.

But you're right, imaginative and well written missions are the best for keeping up the atmosphere. I'd like most missions to be secret and a surprise, but since few people on the boards can (at least at the beginning) program an error free mission oxp, it means that the surprise can often be little for those who hang around the boards while it is made.

Still, the more the merrier. maybe we should have a oxp help thread that has a spoiler warning? Maybe.

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Post by Robbeasy »

Maybe a shout out from everyone that is currently working on a mission, so we know what is coming, and can salivate accordingly??

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Post by Gunney_Plym »

I have to agree with everybody above.

Adding to the Ooniverse is a progressive thing, people will start with the easy stuff and work up to the more difficult. Hence the large number of eye-candy add-on's and the relative scarcity of missions as people lose enthusiam or meet their skill ceiling as it get harder.

I've started really easy, designing a HUD to my preferences. Next up are a series of ships that I'm currently working on. Take a look at my Wiki page if you want a look at the progress so far.

While designing the ships it's given me an idea for how they interact with over vessels, and with a great deal of inspiration from the Random Hits OXP has in turn has given me the gist of a mission scenario or two. It may take a while for it to come to fruition, and will require a much better understanding for how the Oolite engine works. However as one of those weirdo's :lol: that writes programs for entertainment it may eventually happen.
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Post by flimflam_machine »

I'm still in Galaxy 1 so I haven't started many of the missions yet. I've destroyed the Doomsday Asteroid, and I'm looking forward to some more challenges.

Do people fancy a quick brainstorming session for possible mission themes? I'll start, let me know if they've already been done. I can't programme for toffee so I'm not going to build these, but maybe someone will take them up.

1: Escorting a tanker of particularly volatile fuel to a military test base. The tanker will come under sustained attack from pirates because it is for a prototype GalCop interceptor that will give them some serious problems. Failing to defend the tanker will not only result in you losing your reward, but will also splatter you all over the current system if you're too close when it goes off.

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Post by Gunney_Plym »

Damn, that was roughly the idea I was looking at ...
flimflam_machine wrote:1: Escorting a tanker of particularly volatile fuel to a military test base.
Some sort of Fleet Replenishment Vessel (along the lines of the Royal Navy's RFA ships) requiring urgent escort to a deployed squadron.

Successfully reaching the target system giving financial rewards as well as offers of 'wet work' (assassinations) on the Militaries behalf, and an added bonus of them coming to your aid should they see you in a fight. Another possibility is being offered a fully kitted out Jaguar as a reward.

Failure giving a debris field full of alloy, fuel, food and weapons; with the aftertaste of being a marked man for the Fleet (any time they spot you they become a hostile force).

I don’t yet know if this is possible but it’s where I’ll be heading after I’ve designed the ships.
Gunney.

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Post by flimflam_machine »

Idea 2:

Hunt down Captain "Roadrunner" Spode. The criminal mastermind Captain Spode has stolen the crown jewels of a rich, and justifiably irritated, head of state in [insert system name here... importantly this is where the player is currently docked].

Following his usual modus operandi he has filled his [insert ship type here] with heaps of spare fuel and is witchspacing his way to freedom accross the galaxy to freedom. He never stays in one system for more time than it takes him to refill his tanks from his spare fuel and countdown to his next witchspace jump. Your only hope is to follow him through the wormholes that his jumps invariable leave. You'll have about 25 seconds in each system to bring him down before he leaps on like a whippet with a bum full of dynamite to the next system.

Once you've reduced his [ship] to scrap, scoop up the crown jewels and any other loot he may be carrying and head back to [system] for a nice reward and a tactfully rejected offer of marriage to the head of state's eldest bizarrely-tentacled offspring. Oh, and if you manage to scoop Captain Spode himself you will get a hefty bonus for his capture before he is served up as the main course at the coming-of-age ceremony of the head of state's youngest bizarrely-tentacled offspring.

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Post by Disembodied »

Just on a general note, and not wanting to be immediately negative, but I'd like to request an absolute minimum of escort missions. Possibly even zero escort missions. Escort missions suck, by and large. In my experience, anyway. I really think it's better, especially in a game like Oolite, with things like the torus jumpdrive, to keep the missions based around the player.

The mechanics of the mission are obviously important. So, though, is the plot. One of the more satisfying things about some of the missions in the (similar-concept) game Escape Velocity was the visible changes success, or failure, could have. The ability to edit the planet description text, as per Galactic Navy OXP for example, gives an opportunity for the player to "make a difference". How about curing one of those evil diseases? Or ending a civil war? Or even just – to nick an idea from one of the EV missions – just setting up a ski resort?

Or maybe something like an archaeological dig, say, on a large, inert cometary body. A big rock you can dock with, that exists in one system. The player finds out about it, that there are these scientists scratching away inside a rock and getting all excited because they've found some traces of something-or-other. They need supplies though and there's reasonable money to be made shipping stuff out to them every now and then. Maybe there's a mission in this series where you have to fight off pushy pirates, or take samples back to the main station without being intercepted by some rival. There could be, at the end, some sort of nasty surprise, where the scientists wake up, or call up, some Thing that needs to be put down again...
Last edited by Disembodied on Mon Jul 28, 2008 4:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by Thargoid »

One I'm currently pondering and working on:

Hints of Thargoid subterfuge and spying have been found, and it's the commander's job to locate the root cause and deal with it.

Thinking is this will involve a few new Thargoid ships (a fighter-style craft, a small fast lightly armed spy courier, a robot kamikaze, a covert station and perhaps a new little satellite-type item which is shielded but unarmed, and acts to control tharglets independently of a mothership) plus the existing ships.

Basically a small goose chase before a nice juicy follow the spyship to the station and large space battle style.

Ships are almost completed, then just need real life to go away for a little while so I can try coding the damn thing... :twisted:

PS from this alien's point of view, can we have new missions in some of the currently mission-light galaxies please, and no "instant death" scenarios (no more Purple Haze's)

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Post by flimflam_machine »

Just on a general note, and not wanting to be immediately negative, but I'd like to request an absolute minimum of escort missions. Possibly even zero escort missions. Escort missions suck, by and large.
Fair point, although some of the issues raised in that article aren't really a problem in Oolite. The tanker-ship suggested would be so big and relatively slow that it can't suddenly leap in front of your lasers. Also it would be unlikely to find anything against which to get trapped since you are in space. All it has to do is move far enough away from a station to witchspace, do so, and then trundle towards its destination in the next system. Sure it would be going slowly and following it towards a planet at sub-jump speeds could be tedious. However, you could get round that by building in a mission-specific witchspace point closer to the planet/military testing base. Or make the tanker a dockable ship so that it carries you part of the way there (time-compressed), and you only get "scrambled" when there is a threat.

Certainly having other ships also escorting the tanker would be problematic. Not sure how you'd prevent them turning into lemmings.

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Post by JensAyton »

Disembodied wrote:Escort missions suck
Not a fan of Freespace, then? :-)

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Post by Disembodied »

flimflam_machine wrote:However, you could get round that by building in a mission-specific witchspace point closer to the planet/military testing base. Or make the tanker a dockable ship so that it carries you part of the way there (time-compressed), and you only get "scrambled" when there is a threat.
That's true... or you could have to protect a tanker (or a base, or a fuelling station or something) for a certain amount of time before reinforcements show up, ending with a "Thanks, Commander – we'll take it from here!" once the last of the bad guys get cleared out. That would work.

@ Ahruman: I've never played Freespace! But I've always found escorting any NPC – with the possible exception of ICO – to be a pain... I have particularly bad memories of the idiot Emperor's shuttle from TIE Fighter. :evil:

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Post by LittleBear »

Still remember the number of times Ashley in Resident Evil IV caused a Mission Failed - Game Over by getting herself stabbed / carried off by coweled figures crying "Leon help" (annoyingly). - "Can't I'm beset with monks myself ATM. I'll be right with you once I've shotguned these blighters and have a bit of peace in which to get out my sniper rifle, swing round for a head shot, zoom in and pick off the monks on the upper level (which of course I can't climb up to to defend you properly) and have to sit here on the lower level only able help you with the Sniper Rifle. Oh no whilst looking though the scope a monk has crept up on me unawares and clonked me with a big ball on a chain. I'm now in third person view - select shotgun, blast monk. select rifle, god now got to scope out the monks near Ashley again - note she's ignoring them and cranking the handle and by the time I'm zero'd in again with the rifle Ashley's been carried off and / or another monk has clonked me, back to 3rd persin view -Aggh! Stop cranking that damm handle and evade for a bit you silly girl, whilst I get these monks off me and have time to snipe the ones approaching you!".

In fairness though she did generally show some sense of self-preservation (ducking if you got out your gun to avoid friendly fire, keeping behind you in dangerous situations and so on) and thankfully you could tell her to wait or hide in safe places and you could at least see her health meter and fix her up with herbs if badly damaged. Apart from her obsessive need to turn crank handles in places inaccessable to the player with complete disregard for her own safety until the task was accomplised and to the exclusion of all other activeties such as staying alive, which meant usually she got herself killed / carried off whilst still merrily cranking away and being hit with heavy objects by enemies - she was pretty smart which make escorting her was more fun than in most games.

None the less Escort Ashley did generally mean though:- a) tell her to wait, b) scout ahead, c) find a dumpster to put her in. d) put her in said dumpster. e) don't let her out again until the coast is well and truly clear. Agree with D though. Even in RE IV where escorting was done well, it tends to be annoying and the least fun part of the game.
My OXPS : The Assassins Guild, Asteroid Storm, The Bank of the Black Monks, Random Hits and Renegade Pirates can be downloaded from the Elite Wiki here.

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