The older members, and those who have looked around the board may have heard of the FRED Academy, a project I ran on the FREDding board a few years ago. I'm going to dust the idea off and give it another run for Diaspora. What is the FRED Academy
The FRED Academy is an attempt by the Diaspora community to help develop the skills of new(ish) FREDders. The Academy will take people who have a small amount of experience with FRED and help improve their mission design skills (both technically and from a storytelling point of view). The idea is to also teach new FREDders how to be part of a small team, tasked with getting a campaign released, a Diaspora Developments team in miniature. Hopefully you'll enjoy working with your team mates enough that you might continue to work on campaigns together (single person campaigns tend to fail much more often than ones with a team). How does the academy work?
The Diaspora team will supply a plotline. All the FREDders who are interested will be assigned a mission to create. The missions are then playtested by the other members of the Academy and passers-by looking for missions to play. They post their impressions of the mission. What worked, what didn't and if any bugs were found.
In addition to this general testing, missions will also be tested by some of the more able FREDders in the community. Not only will these people spot bugs etc but they will be on hand to advise how to correct them. Okay. I'm interested in joining as a FREDder. How do I sign up?
The only entry requirement is that you have previously posted a mission. We don't want to take people who are completely new to FRED. We want people who have already used FRED a bit and now are ready to learn the mid-level FREDding stuff. It only takes a few hours to go through the walkthrough and start learning how to FRED anyway. Once you've posted something that people are saying is a good mission, come to us and we'll teach you how to be much better.
If you're still interested, simply post on this thread and you'll be added to the list of people awaiting a mission. As soon as one becomes available we'll assign one to you and you can start work. I'm accepted. What now?
Basically you get to work FREDding the mission you've been assigned. If you have any questions feel free to ask. Once you've done as much as you can on the mission you should upload it somewhere so that people can download it and test it. Please name the mission Diaspora_FA-CxxMyy.fs2 (where xx is the number of the campaign and yy is the number of the mission).
Once you have uploaded your mission make a new thread on the FRED Academy sub-forum. Please name the thread Diaspora_FA-CxxMyy after your mission too.
The other team members (and maybe other people) will play your mission and (hopefully) offer some constructive criticism. Take that and use it to improve the mission. Once the mission is finished you can then pick another one.
If you've playtested at least 4 other missions, and commented thoroughly on them, you can ask for an expert review of the mission. That means someone who has more experience with FRED like myself will take a look at the mission and see if there's anything you've done wrong. Reviews of this kind are a lot of work so I'll only do them if I see people spending the same amount of effort on other people's work too. If you half-arse your reviews, I'll half-arse yours too. I don't want to FRED but I'm interested in playtesting/complaining about other peoples missions. How do I sign up?
Quite simply you don't. When you see a mission you like the look of, try it and post your thoughts on it. There's no sign up at all for testers. Do some testing whenever you have time. Anyone is welcome to try the missions and state their opinions on them (as long as they keep it polite of course!)