Author Topic: BP: War in Heaven discussion  (Read 529947 times)

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Offline General Battuta

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Re: BP: War in Heaven discussion
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And later on, the end mission was not at all believable imo. Four UEF ships throw themselves at the Imperieuse to get cut down? If you're going to throw your life away then throw it away by ramming your ship into the Carthage. At least then you'll achieve your bloody mission objective. Having an entire fleet, fly right past the Carthage was beyond stupid in my opinion. Your ships are at knife fighting range to your target, and you just leave it unmolested to chase someone down in a surely futile attempt to buy time??

Give us some credit for sense. We tested this strategy during development and it doesn't work; the Carthage will not die in time. It's just as futile for the Wargods and they know it. If they could have taken out the Imperieuse's forward beams with railgun or torp fire, however, they could have taken out BOTH destroyers and won an overwhelming victory. Easy choice there.

It they thought there was any chance of taking on the Imperieuse they wouldn't have sent the Yangtze and Indus away. Not to mention that leaving a fully armed destroyer at your rear is seriously flawed tactically. Like I say, just ram the Carthage, there's no relative speed in freespace anyway. 20m/s from a starting point of 500 feet away is the same as 20m/s from 10 clicks out (ie the opening cinematic). Get four ships ramming the carthage I'm sure it'll go down. It just came across as contrived melodrama to me.

You'll just have to take it as contrived melodrama, then. Ramming has dramatic appeal but at the relatively slow speeds present in FS wouldn't do much damage (it's more of a slow sustained kiss than a sharp blow.) We worked out the options there and ultimately the one they took was the one that gave them the best odds of success. Sending the Yangtze and Indus away was a logical choice because they could possibly escape the Imperieuse's beam envelope; the forward echelon couldn't and had to take the option that gave it the best chance of survival.

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I think this reaction is just a case of 'the campaign wasn't for you'. Most of the things you're worried about were intentional design decisions in an attempt to smarten up the FreeSpace universe and make a sustained war believable. Ships should always jump out if they can, destroyers are tough as hell and should almost never let themselves be killed, and the player should not be a totally game-changing force.

No just the opposite. Some parts of the campaign were not believable. If the Carthage is crippled and has its back to the wall and no one's in the know of what Steele is doing, would all of her escorts abandon her one by one?

They knew exactly what Steele was doing. And yes, they absolutely would abandon her one by one, if the alternative is destruction and if their commander is a woman who is known for putting the lives of her subordinates above all else.

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Same thing with the Hood, her escorts jumping out and leaving her by herself. That doesn't make sense.

If the alternative is them exploding, it absolutely does. They don't jump out until it's clear they won't survive otherwise.

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And having ships jump capable regardless of how damaged they are doesn't make much sense to me either. Especially when in the last mission the Yangtzee for some contrived reason can't jump out with the Indus. Why is it that one ship can't jump out at 32% hull when the previous 30 ships jumped out at 12-15% hull just fine.

Did you miss all the dialogue about the Yangtze's engine failure? Her engines were wrecked by Maxim penetration. I guess you could say it's contrived, but these things happen.

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That and ships exploding isn't about gameplay, it isn't about campaign flavour, it's about consequence. People die in war. That's realism. Ships enter battles, and don't come out at the end. Not everyone can get out, even when they have the opportunity.

Tens of thousands of people die. That's realism, and it's present in spades. What wouldn't be realistic is if multi-thousand-man warship crews could routinely be taken down by small groups of one-man fighters. Why even bother with warships, then?

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Looking back at the campaign, nothing of consequence really happens throughout the whole campaign. Very few ships die. No planets change hands.

Too many ships died! We were scrambling right up until release to cut down on warship losses. Remember, we have an order of battle for both sides, and we were freaking out because half the respective combatants were blowing up just in R1. We were afraid we weren't going to have anything left to fight the war with!

Off the top of my head if you perform well in R1 you can wreck the Ajax, Essex, Juarez, Redoubtable, Norfolk, Siren, Utica, Ithaca, Medea, Valerie, blah blah

And on your side you lose the Akula, the Ranvir, you can lose the Ironhide, the Suffron, the Vatican, the Dea Icaunis, the Dea Bricta, the Auxerre, the Guerriere, the well I think you get the point. These kinds of losses in such a short span of time are pretty catastrophically huge, and there are other ships blowing up offscreen.

No planets change hands (except Jupiter) because planets are huge and it takes a long time to work up to an invasion that makes Normandy look like a tea party.

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The Tev war hasn't really advanced in any way. Yeah, there's supposedly some logistical problem but it has no visible consequence. Look at the Agincourt. They take it, but the Tevs just replace it.

The Tevs have to bring in the Vasudans to make up for the loss.

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Then 1st fleet takes it, which from the previous missions sounds like it would throw a wrench in 2nd fleet's plans, but 2nd fleet keeps doing what it's doing anyway.

I agree that the consequences there were not as well shown, but it's hard to display consequences that are 'the status quo remains'. They don't get to undertake some ops they might have otherwise, but which you'll see in R2.

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So what was the consequence of the Agincourt? It didn't affect the Tevs. It didn't affect 2nd fleet. Supposedly it affected some secret project which we never see anyway. But really that whole arc had no consequence at all.

The capture of the Agincourt forced Steele to bring in the Vasudans which led to the incident at the Pesedjet which led to the assassination of Elder Taudigani which ultimately brought about the Carthage gambit.

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In the same way they try to help the Vasudans to bring them on their side. But all their efforts end in with the Vasudans still being bad guys.

The enemy is proactive and smart. It's a chess game and you only get to see the opening half in R1.

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And what about 2nd fleet? The Wargods get destroyed. But Laporte ends up joining the Fedayeen, some super secret elite taskforce, which wasn't doing anything anyway. So do the deaths of the Wargods matter? No, not really.

Except that it marks the abrupt and catastrophic termination of the first big UEF offensive push.

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Are the uffies weaker? No, because now some new ships are joining the war to replace the ones they just lost. So overall not much really happens in the whole war at all.

They are absolutely weaker. They lost the centerpiece of their strategic offensive, their biggest morale linchpin and six front-line warships.

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Anyway, a lot of this sounds like *****ing. But I would like to emphasize that overall the production quality was very good. The writing was well done, the war was obviously very thoroughly thought out and there was also obviously quite a lot of good fredding at work. Most of the cinematics and camera moves were pretty good as well and the missions took musical cues very well. Some parts of the campaign just didn't click with me, especially the last mission. I certainly have no qualms with the quality of the campaign, I'm just not fully endeared to the execution of the story.

Thanks, I'm glad you enjoyed it.

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Also I for one, dislike this notion of "rebalancing" missions in a campaign. Forced Entry from AoA was one of the most memorable from the campaign, and it was memorable in part because it was hard. A campaign should have both medium difficulty and hard missions. From what I understand, the climatic battle of this campaign was at one point harder but was later dumbed down. Personally I won it on my second attempt playing on medium. Conversely to what many people say, it is good to have challenging missions. One shouldn't always rebalance things because people are having trouble. If they're having trouble they should put it on very easy.

Ultimately we need to balance our missions between accessibility and challenge. If you want your missions to be very hard, please play on insane. Delenda Est is absolutely challenging, but if an experienced player beats it on their second try on medium, then that sounds like it's balanced perfectly.

 
Re: BP: War in Heaven discussion
They knew exactly what Steele was doing. And yes, they absolutely would abandon her one by one, if the alternative is destruction and if their commander is a woman who is known for putting the lives of her subordinates above all else.

Not according to you they didn't. From page 10 in a response to -Sara- you wrote:

"During the events of Pawns and Delenda Est, she wasn't just acting (at least I think so), she was genuinely concerned for her crews and her own ship. She didn't know exactly how Steele was planning to run this - she probably had no idea the Imperieuse was lurking in-system - and for all she knew she was going to be left out to dry while Steele captured Earth or something."

So not knowing that Steele would come to save the day, they all left her one by one to die. That don't make sense. Unless of course you were mistaken in your previous post.  Anyway I might respond to some the other points later but don't want to make this seem like an argument as opposed to a discussion anyway. Plus I'm at work so really should be working not internet forum chatting :P

 

Offline General Battuta

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Re: BP: War in Heaven discussion
They knew exactly what Steele was doing. And yes, they absolutely would abandon her one by one, if the alternative is destruction and if their commander is a woman who is known for putting the lives of her subordinates above all else.

Not according to you they didn't. From page 10 in a response to -Sara- you wrote:

"During the events of Pawns and Delenda Est, she wasn't just acting (at least I think so), she was genuinely concerned for her crews and her own ship. She didn't know exactly how Steele was planning to run this - she probably had no idea the Imperieuse was lurking in-system - and for all she knew she was going to be left out to dry while Steele captured Earth or something."

So not knowing that Steele would come to save the day, they all left her one by one to die. That don't make sense. Unless of course you were mistaken in your previous post.  Anyway I might respond to some the other points later but don't want to make this seem like an argument as opposed to a discussion anyway. Plus I'm at work so really should be working not internet forum chatting :P

She knew that Steele had a plan and she knew that Steele had quite specifically told her to put her battle group in harm's way. She didn't know the endgame (you're right, I shouldn't have said 'exactly what Steele was up to') but when I fumbled with that 'exactly' what I should have said was that she was well aware that this was all 'part of the plan'. She knew her ships were going to be shot to hell and so she ordered them out.

There is zero doubt in my mind, knowing Lopez's concern for and loyalty to her crews, that she briefed all her captains ahead of time to jump out when badly damaged.

You also have to understand that they don't gain much of anything by staying on scene to fight to the death. We clocked this out too and generally they're only giving up fifteen or twenty seconds of station time - not enough to make a huge difference before exploding.

While it might seem like this is me hastily retconning my own response to Sara, the fact that she was ordered to put her crews in harms way was established before R1 was even released; check out the BP Library, thread title 'Conversations from War in Heaven'.

Honestly even if she believed this were her last stand, I believe she'd order her escorts to withdraw. (Whether they'd obey the order is another question.)

And just to expand on a broader philosophical point.

Honestly I suspect the harshest critic of the story out there is me. I can go on for hours about everything I think is wrong with War in Heaven, to the point of mockery and cruelty. But it's not totally clear to me that makes a huge difference.

For any given narrative the experienced quality is a function not just of the narrative itself but the viewer's expectations and standards. I know there are people out there for whom this story would just be facile, sophomoric melodrama, and others for whom it's a profoundly moving work. (I've been particularly touched by the notes we've received from GLBT people who thanked us for giving them a space in the story).

As a creator, there's just a point where you have to accept that kind of variability in response and do the best you can. It always stings to get a negative reaction, ironically more than it pleases to get a positive one, but while there are some criticisms that are pretty much universal, there are other fixes that you can't make without a price.

During development we made it a goal to deconstruct, first, the FreeSpace gameplay model, and second, the narrative model of FreeSpace in which vast amount of death occurs with little impact on the relatively faceless characters. But we knew that those decisions were going to carry a price, because :V: picked that gameplay model and that narrative model for a reason. A powerful Alpha 1 allows the player to feel like they really impact the outcomes of the missions and, in turn, the story. Faceless characters and a fast-paced, clean narrative allow the story to keep the player engaged without becoming bogged down in philosophy and introspection.

You make choices and you work with the consequences. Sometimes they're bad choices, sometimes they're merely divisive. But I think we'd rather produce something divisive but at least grasping for artistry than something safe and by-the-book. Believe me, there are times when I wish we had a nonspeaking character and our briefings could just say 'here are your targets, here's what you've got to do', a la retail - because in many ways that approach has some major advantages, and it's definitely safer. But what we're doing works for enough people to make it worth it to keep doing it.

Which isn't to say your criticism is in any way invalid or wrong, Akalabeth; honestly it's flattering to get that degree of thought.
« Last Edit: May 25, 2011, 04:29:25 pm by Jeff Vader »

 

Offline -Norbert-

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Re: BP: War in Heaven discussion
Will we learn what happened to the ships disbled prior to Delenda Est and if not, can you tell us?
To capture a Deimos and an Aeolus would help the UEF quite a bit, if they can pull it off (material for research and development, material for the secret project or just as additions to the fleet), even tough their weapons are pretty much completely destroyed during the mission.

 
Re: BP: War in Heaven discussion
Well, a lot of it maybe seems like nitpicking, but to expand upon some thoughts in what may be a more constructive way.

-The Yangtzee's jump drives failing-
I don't have a problem with a damaged ship not having it's drives working. That's fine and makes sense to me. But the precedence from all of the preceeding missions are that damaged ships can jump out so long as their drives are recharged. So you have 30 or so ships jump out no problem, and then at the most critical moment, a story-centric ship can't jump. You've established one precedence, and then contradicted it for the sake of the story. If previously you had other ships unable to jump due to damage it would set the precedence that most ships make it out, but sometimes they simply can't.

-Ships exploding-
On the subject of ships dying, you say you have a battle order and that in fact many ships were lost in that battle order. And that's cool, but the player doesn't know the battle order (unless maybe it's in the techroom). I think perhaps the problem is not that ships don't die, but that those ships aren't central to the mission. Sometimes stuff was happening in a mission and I didn't even know what was going on. The Agincourt mission for example. What were those Jovian cruisers doing? I assume they were supporting. But they jump in to left field, then apparently their AWACs dies, and then they die. But honestly the first time I played that mission I wasn't even aware they were there until the Medea started slaughtering them.

The ship I honestly cared the most about was the taskforce in the opening cinematic. Part of that is due to the music. But I feel the cinematic had a sense of drama that the rest of the campaign lacked. It's a very cliche sort of set up, someone taking themselves on a futile suicide run but shows desperation and sacrifice and I didn't find that same desperation in the campaign myself. I think it's easy to make a player care about a ship that has been around the whole time, they just get used to it. It's harder to make a character care about someone they know nothing about. So when you pull it off here it's good work. But in reference to the FS2 campaign, one of my most memorable moments was not the Colossus dying, or the Psamtik dying, or hell even the Galatea dying(FS1), it was the faceless Sobek in Capella defending a fleeing convoy from a Moloch and bomber wings. The player's first or 2nd mission in the Blue Lions and their thrown in, in media res into a mission and the first 10 seconds tells you its a desperate struggle and that thousands of vasudans just gave their lives to save thousand of other faceless people. Though of course that mission also has 3-4 acts of build-up behind it to support that moment.

I don't know, drama is hard to pull off, though you obviously pulled it off effectively with some players.

It might be the everyman approach taken with the campaign. Part of the problem for me with the Agincourt mission was that I wasn't part of the central action. All I did was:
1. Try to not die
2. Defend the AWACs
3. Call for Reinforcements
4. Take out an AWACs.

The player is certainly involved in the mission, but it's very much a supporting role. And when you're in the background, you're disconnected from the main action. So when the main action starts going, you have no real connection to it. For example, the mission starts off by introducing the Hood and the Serkr Team. But then player has no direct interaction with either one of them throughout the whole mission. The first time around I hadn't even known whether Serkr team left or were destroyed, had to hit F4 and check what happened because I was like "where did they go?". Obviously that's partly a VA thing as well. But not entirely.

I'm not saying the player has to be winning the war himself/herself. But if you're not directly connected to what's going on, why would you care? Those two Jovie cruisers might as well have been casualties listed in a debriefing for all it mattered to me. So far as I can tell their only purpose was to keep the Medea busy so it didn't immediately glass the Indus and Yangtzee.

EDIT - But you could have accomplished the same thing by having the Medea jump further out and then have everyone freak out about its slash beams as it came in to range on one of the flanks. It would have lacked the impressive entrance, but when you kill a bunch of guys I don't care about and/or didn't even know where there it's not as impressive (to me anyway).

« Last Edit: October 19, 2010, 02:48:31 pm by Akalabeth Angel »

 

Offline General Battuta

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Re: BP: War in Heaven discussion
-The Yangtzee's jump drives failing-
I don't have a problem with a damaged ship not having it's drives working. That's fine and makes sense to me. But the precedence from all of the preceeding missions are that damaged ships can jump out so long as their drives are recharged. So you have 30 or so ships jump out no problem, and then at the most critical moment, a story-centric ship can't jump. You've established one precedence, and then contradicted it for the sake of the story. If previously you had other ships unable to jump due to damage it would set the precedence that most ships make it out, but sometimes they simply can't.

I agree it would've been a good idea to have a previous ship suffer a 'critical hit' of this sort. That's a fair point.

The notion here was that Maxim fire had penetrated the Yangtze's armor decks and specifically ripped up the jump drive, which doesn't normally happen in battle.

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On the subject of ships dying, you say you have a battle order and that in fact many ships were lost in that battle order. And that's cool, but the player doesn't know the battle order (unless maybe it's in the techroom). I think perhaps the problem is not that ships don't die, but that those ships aren't central to the mission. Sometimes stuff was happening in a mission and I didn't even know what was going on. The Agincourt mission for example. What were those Jovian cruisers doing? I assume they were supporting. But they jump in to left field, then apparently their AWACs dies, and then they die. But honestly the first time I played that mission I wasn't even aware they were there until the Medea started slaughtering them.

Yeah, that's something voice acting would help with, knowing that those cruisers are there.

As for the order of battle - don't confuse 'the player' with 'you, Akalabeth Angel, the player'.  :p We got a lot of complaints during testing that too many ships were dying, and on top of that we based this campaign in part on complaints from FreeSpace 2 that capships blew up too often there.

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But in reference to the FS2 campaign, one of my most memorable moments was not the Colossus dying, or the Psamtik dying, or hell even the Galatea dying(FS1), it was the faceless Sobek in Capella defending a fleeing convoy from a Moloch and bomber wings. The player's first or 2nd mission in the Blue Lions and their thrown in, in media res into a mission and the first 10 seconds tells you its a desperate struggle and that thousands of vasudans just gave their lives to save thousand of other faceless people. Though of course that mission also has 3-4 acts of build-up behind it to support that moment.

Again, something voice acting would help with - the Vatican in Darkest Hour does almost exactly that, refusing to withdraw in spite of imminent destruction. So too do the cruisers in mission 1, if badly battered.

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It might be the everyman approach taken with the campaign. Part of the problem for me with the Agincourt mission was that I wasn't part of the central action. All I did was:
1. Try to not die
2. Defend the AWACs
3. Call for Reinforcements
4. Take out an AWACs.

Expanding player agency is something we're looking at in R2. But again, the player is directly connected to what happens in that if they do not perform well (on medium+ difficulties), the mission will fail. So again, this is just a difference in how much you value a design goal. We very intentionally tried to place the player in the context of a team effort.

I mean your list of 4 items...those are some pretty key actions there. Calling in the reinforcements alone is more impact than a given soldier will ever likely have on a battle, and (today) is probably enough to win a pretty major medal.

I'm not saying you have to like it, a few other players have said they don't, and the story in R2 places the player in a situation where they get to have a much bigger impact on the course of battles.

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I'm not saying the player has to be winning the war himself/herself. But if you're not directly connected to what's going on, why would you care? Those two Jovie cruisers might as well have been casualties listed in a debriefing for all it mattered to me. So far as I can tell their only purpose was to keep the Medea busy so it didn't immediately glass the Indus and Yangtzee.

You can save them if you try hard enough, it's just very difficult. Again, feeling disconnected from the action is a risk we knew we were taking, and it's basically contingent upon whether the player is willing to accept being 'a grunt in the mud' rather than 'Alpha 1, the one and only competent pilot in the navy'.

There's always a fine line between 'dramatic realism' and 'fun'. If we had our way player killcounts would be exponentially lower, closer to real life where 5 kills is a crazy large number; but that wouldn't be very much fun.
« Last Edit: October 19, 2010, 03:01:50 pm by General Battuta »

 
Re: BP: War in Heaven discussion
As for the order of battle - don't confuse 'the player' with 'you, Akalabeth Angel, the player'.  :p We got a lot of complaints during testing that too many ships were dying, and on top of that we based this campaign in part on complaints from FreeSpace 2 that capships blew up too often there.

Hmmn, playtesters should be more about mission balance and less about the story you're trying to tell. I don't know if those complaints were necessarily integrated into the campaign. Either way, just tell the story and don't try to please everyone. Heed Bill Cosby's advice.

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Again, something voice acting would help with - the Vatican in Darkest Hour does almost exactly that, refusing to withdraw in spite of imminent destruction. So too do the cruisers in mission 1, if badly battered.

Actually I probably enjoyed the Vatican mission more than some of the big dramatic ones at the end because I was directly involved in the mission. I was defending the Vatican (and convoy), so I was actually central to the mission as was the ship in question. Another one I cared about for example was the Kuiper belt installations in the 2nd to last mission. I lost that mission numerous times because I kept getting hit by TerSlashes, because I put myself between the Deimos and the station so I could more easily take out its beam cannons with Paveways in an effort to save those civies.

Another example might be Forced Entry, which I never played with VA btw. When I beat that mission I was in many ways an everyman as well. I sent wings to do certain jobs, and aside from the first two cruisers I didn't have a direct role in killing ships because I didn't have time. I just disabled their main beams and the fleet mopped up with their heavy firepower. I played a supporting role, albeit more integral, but was still directly involved in what was going on.

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You can save them if you try hard enough, it's just very difficult. Again, feeling disconnected from the action is a risk we knew we were taking, and it's basically contingent upon whether the player is willing to accept being 'a grunt in the mud' rather than 'Alpha 1, the one and only competent pilot in the navy'.

Well in the end I indirectly delayed their deaths by taking out one beam with Paveways but they still died.

As for Grunt in the mud. That's fine, and I both appreciate and have at times tried to emulate that same ideal. But just because you're a grunt doesn't mean you're not on the front lines.

The last mission was actually pretty good in this regard until the ending to my mind. Nice set up. Good backdrop. The player ran bomber defense. Then they had to disable enemy beam weapons. They were directly supporting the main action. But then the Imperieuse jumps in, the allied ships abandon their mission despite having it within grasp, and the player becomes less a participant of the action than a witness to it.

 

Offline General Battuta

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Re: BP: War in Heaven discussion
For what it's worth I think one of my own complaints about R1 is that it doesn't let the player get her hands dirty often enough. I can promise R2 will alleviate that since the story setup allows the player to naturalistically assume a central role in a lot more of the missions, either as a critical strike element or a battlefield commander.

 

Offline The E

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Re: BP: War in Heaven discussion
As for the order of battle - don't confuse 'the player' with 'you, Akalabeth Angel, the player'.  :p We got a lot of complaints during testing that too many ships were dying, and on top of that we based this campaign in part on complaints from FreeSpace 2 that capships blew up too often there.

Hmmn, playtesters should be more about mission balance and less about the story you're trying to tell. I don't know if those complaints were necessarily integrated into the campaign. Either way, just tell the story and don't try to please everyone. Heed Bill Cosby's advice.

On the contrary. In a mod such as this, with the emphasis we put on storytelling, story feedback from external sources is absolutely critical. In the end, we didn't really alter the story we had, we just adressed specific issues that came up.

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the allied ships abandon their mission despite having it within grasp

Wrong. Once the Imperieuse showed up, the mission objective was unreachable, as General B tried to explain several times already. Just accept the fact that, within the confines of WiH, ramming doesn't always work, and that there is such a thing as a freak hit that can take out a jump drive.
Let there be light
Let there be moon
Let there be stars and let there be you
Let there be monsters and let there be pain
Let us begin to feel again
--Devin Townsend, Genesis

 

Offline General Battuta

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Re: BP: War in Heaven discussion
Yeah, again, there was just no way they could take out the Carthage before the Imperieuse was on them. They could have parked themselves in her hangar bay one by one and self-destructed and it still probably wouldn't have done the job.

The Carthage was defanged and hardly a threat by that point anyway.

 
Re: BP: War in Heaven discussion
the allied ships abandon their mission despite having it within grasp

Wrong. Once the Imperieuse showed up, the mission objective was unreachable, as General B tried to explain several times already. Just accept the fact that, within the confines of WiH, ramming doesn't always work, and that there is such a thing as a freak hit that can take out a jump drive.

I'll accept the fact that from the mission designer's perspective that the goal was unreachable and I'll maintain the fact that this player's perspective it was. Or put another way, I understand what you're trying to go for. I just don't buy the execution of it as a player. When the Imperieuse shows up and the fleet goes off to die I wasn't getting choked up, I was frowning and shaking my head. It was at that point that the campaign completely lost me and I pretty much ceased to care about anything that happened afterwards.

I understand what you're saying, and I understood what Battuta said in his very first post. But from my perspective in the mission you've got this: Six ships, including four frigates, within a click or 2 of the target. And then rather that throw everything they have at the target, including themselves. Four of those ships run off to face down some other destroyer knowing they'll die and knowing they probably won't do a damn thing. And they don't immediately die either, they blab about sacrifice and yadda yadda for a good minute, minute a half before they bite it. (EDIT - And not even that, but they're actively closing with the Imperieuse. Shortening their distance and their lifespans). So what, SIX heavy warships over a minute and a half can't take down an already damaged destroyer? I don't buy that for a minute.

What I WOULD have believed was if the six ships were on their final attack run and the Imperieuse jumps in and cuts through half of them in the opening volley and the others scatter and make a crash jump leaving the Yangtzee behind.

But the mission as it played out? No chance.

 

Offline General Battuta

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Re: BP: War in Heaven discussion
the allied ships abandon their mission despite having it within grasp

Wrong. Once the Imperieuse showed up, the mission objective was unreachable, as General B tried to explain several times already. Just accept the fact that, within the confines of WiH, ramming doesn't always work, and that there is such a thing as a freak hit that can take out a jump drive.

I'll accept the fact that from the mission designer's perspective that the goal was unreachable and I'll maintain the fact that this player's perspective it was. Or put another way, I understand what you're trying to go for. I just don't buy the execution of it as a player. When the Imperieuse shows up and the fleet goes off to die I wasn't getting choked up, I was frowning and shaking my head. It was at that point that the campaign completely lost me and I pretty much ceased to care about anything that happened afterwards.

I understand what you're saying, and I understood what Battuta said in his very first post. But from my perspective in the mission you've got this: Six ships, including four frigates, within a click or 2 of the target. And then rather that throw everything they have at the target, including themselves. Four of those ships run off to face down some other destroyer knowing they'll die and knowing they probably won't do a damn thing. And they don't immediately die either, they blab about sacrifice and yadda yadda for a good minute, minute a half before they bite it. (EDIT - And not even that, but they're actively closing with the Imperieuse. Shortening their distance and their lifespans). So what, SIX heavy warships over a minute and a half can't take down an already damaged destroyer? I don't buy that for a minute.

*sigh*

Maybe you'll buy this.

We built this mission as an actual military operation. We carefully gamed out how long it would take the Wargods to destroy the Carthage by main force, timing it down to the second, by simply disabling the Imperieuse's arrival trigger and watching how long it took to shoot the Carthage apart. We have archived copies of the mission where that's exactly what happens: the Imperieuse never shows up, the Wargods win.

Believe me when I say the Carthage has as a lot of safety margin. Like, minutes worth. The Imperieuse could probably have run a while late and still saved the Carthage.

The only correct maneuver here is to try to close the range with the Imperieuse, get on her flanks, and blow her to pieces. And believe it or not that will work. We also have archived versions of the mission where the Wargods manage to do just that. That's the call Captain Genady made and it was the only right one: force the Imperieuse to engage the closest targets first, instead of what it logically would've done: shoot up the farthest, then work its way in.

In fact I want to pick out a particular misconception you have because it seems to underlie some of your problems here:

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(EDIT - And not even that, but they're actively closing with the Imperieuse. Shortening their distance and their lifespans)

Beam damage does not fall off with range. You are either in range and dead, or out of range and not dead, or out of arc and not dead. Get your ship onto the Imperieuse's broadside and you have a shot, or torpedo the forward beams (and being closer helps you do that better) and you have a shot.

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What I WOULD have believed was if the six ships were on their final attack run and the Imperieuse jumps in and cuts through half of them in the opening volley and the others scatter and make a crash jump leaving the Yangtzee behind.

This is not meaningfully different from what happens. The six ships are on their final attack run; the Imperieuse jumps in, they have no chance to escape (even scattering in six directions will only save two of them), the Imperieuse cuts through half of them in the opening volley which it would do no matter whether they attempted to close, attempted to retreat, or attempted to attack the Carthage, the survivors scatter.

I understand many of your objections but on this one you're just going up against objective fact. We actually played out all the scenarios you're trying to describe, so we know what really happened. In fact charging the Imperieuse is such a good idea that we had to give her special ECM cover and subsystem guardians to prevent the Wargods from sometimes getting lucky and murdering her, then turning back to finish the Carthage. And if you want to call that contrived, well then yes, guilty as charged.

Look, to wrap it up, I'm going to make it as simple as possible.

We gamed out every option here at the end of the mission. We tried every possible course of action to ensure there really was call for a big sacrifice. Seriously, when reading these, remember that we actually FREDded these outcomes and watched them play out.

If all the Wargods run, they all die; the Imperieuse and its escort (the Hydra?) take the farthest targets first and then pick off the stragglers.

If all the Wargods shoot at the Carthage, they will, almost always, all die before taking out the Carthage. That's right: six frigates, two cruisers, not enough. The Carthage is armored to hell and back.

If all the Wargods charge the Imperieuse they can sometimes get its forward beams (before we guardianed them) and proceed to kill her. This is very embarrassing, Steele would not be happy.

If some of the Wargods charge the Imperieuse they can sometimes - very rarely, VERY rarely, but if we hadn't armored and guardianed them it might be possible - get its forward beams and proceed to kill her. The two rear-echelon ships, however, are now guaranteed to make it out if they turn and run, because the Imperieuse needs to target the charging ships first to deal with the threat.

That's what our testing showed. We really wanted to make sure there was actual call for what happened in that mission, and while it's possible later balance adjustments ****ed with it, this is the foundation we proceeded from.

At the same time, this still represents a failure for us, because if the story didn't have you hooked by then to the point where you were willing to play by its rules, it means we failed to draw you in earlier. And while that's discouraging, of course, it's just the risk you run when you put something out there; there are always people who just don't find it to their taste.
« Last Edit: October 19, 2010, 05:13:39 pm by General Battuta »

 
Re: BP: War in Heaven discussion
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(EDIT - And not even that, but they're actively closing with the Imperieuse. Shortening their distance and their lifespans)

Beam damage does not fall off with range. You are either in range and dead, or out of range and not dead, or out of arc and not dead. Get your ship onto the Imperieuse's broadside and you have a shot, or torpedo the forward beams (and being closer helps you do that better) and you have a shot.

And yet, the Imperieuse doesn't fire for a good minute or more which suggests that the fleet was out of range. Because in previous missions, ships like Sekr and the Medea fired coming directly out of Subspace.

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What I WOULD have believed was if the six ships were on their final attack run and the Imperieuse jumps in and cuts through half of them in the opening volley and the others scatter and make a crash jump leaving the Yangtzee behind.

This is not meaningfully different from what happens. The six ships are on their final attack run; the Imperieuse jumps in, they have no chance to escape (even scattering in six directions will only save two of them), the Imperieuse cuts through half of them in the opening volley which it would do no matter whether they attempted to close, attempted to retreat, or attempted to attack the Carthage, the survivors scatter.

It is meaningfully different. In my example the fleet dies trying to achieve it's mission objective. In WiH the fleet dies abandoning it. Like if attacking the Imperieuse is the best option, then what are the Indus and Yangtzee doing? Why aren't they involved in the attack. Would not 66% or so more firepower help achieve that aim? Especially if victory is both viable, and worth the risk? (ie overwhelming victory).

See the player doesn't know how many hitpoints the Carthage has. They don't know how many hitpoints anything has. The only thing I remember is that Serkr was supposed to have special armour, but then three Serkr ships gets their butts kicked by a pair of frigates (with maybe some help from the Jovie cruisers). So their armour I guess wasn't all that special.

As far as I know the Carthage is an Orion with a fancy jump drive. Maybe it said something about armour, I don't know. Either way, another alternative might be for example to have the Indus and Yangtzee join the battle line and then only crash jump out when defeat is obvious. And have the captain say "we can't take the carthage down in time, our only option is to attack!" sorta thing. Maybe he says that, I was too busy shaking my head. But of course if the Indus joins it would allow the player to potentially muck things up, or to see that things are fixed and they can't do anything about it. So instead, the player has to run off, even with the hand-holding objective "stay close to Indus" because they might break the mission.

That's why having the Imperieuse jump in and scrag half the fleet before the player can even flinch is a better solution in my mind. It's like FS1. They always said the Lucifer was invulnerable, but really was it? The player never gets to even take a shot at it. It jumps in at 3 clicks, kills the Galatea, jumps out. Jumps in at 5 clicks, kills an Arcadia, jumps out. If the Imp jumps in, and kills half the dudes, it's clear to the player that "yeah, we really are screwed. Let's get out of here before those beams recharge". Doesn't give him a chance to do anything in return either.

That and brevity is the soul of wit. Having all that self-sacrifice dialogue by the Frigate captain can be arguably less effective than the Imperieuse just jumping in and blowing ships apart. Then after the Indus crash jumps out of there you do the slow truck out with the Yangtzee. The death of the other ships is quick and surprising, the death of the Yangtzee is long and drawn out. Good contrast.

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At the same time, this still represents a failure for us, because if the story didn't have you hooked by then to the point where you were willing to play by its rules, it means we failed to draw you in earlier. And while that's discouraging, of course, it's just the risk you run when you put something out there; there are always people who just don't find it to their taste.

The story had me hooked up until that point but that bit at the end I jumped off the hook and back into the water. I'm not saying the campaign wasn't necessarily to my taste. Sure I preferred AoA, sure I didn't always know what was going on but that's fine.  I was interested in it and playing it up until the end, then at the end the train went off the tracks. I'm only mentioning other things because the suspensions of disbelief was broken at the end. Had it not been, I probably would glaze over the things. All stories have flaws, the better the story, the more flaws you can accept. But the end to me broke the story.

Oh well. Good stuff anyway. We'll see what Part 2 offers.
Anyway, that's all I'm gonna say. Think I've expressed my objections to the story clearly enough.
« Last Edit: October 19, 2010, 06:06:19 pm by Akalabeth Angel »

 

Offline General Battuta

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Re: BP: War in Heaven discussion
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(EDIT - And not even that, but they're actively closing with the Imperieuse. Shortening their distance and their lifespans)

Beam damage does not fall off with range. You are either in range and dead, or out of range and not dead, or out of arc and not dead. Get your ship onto the Imperieuse's broadside and you have a shot, or torpedo the forward beams (and being closer helps you do that better) and you have a shot.

And yet, the Imperieuse doesn't fire for a good minute or more which suggests that the fleet was out of range. Because in previous missions, ships like Sekr and the Medea fired coming directly out of Subspace.

It was passing telemetry with the Carthage and taking no risks with its beam emitters. This isn't the kind of stuff a player who we've succeeded in hooking should be worrying about. We told you the Carthage had extra armor that was beam and torp-resistant, we established that frigates have pretty good onboard ECM, we did everything we could to avoid having to say it right in the moment. And for every player but you so far it's worked.

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What I WOULD have believed was if the six ships were on their final attack run and the Imperieuse jumps in and cuts through half of them in the opening volley and the others scatter and make a crash jump leaving the Yangtzee behind.

This is not meaningfully different from what happens. The six ships are on their final attack run; the Imperieuse jumps in, they have no chance to escape (even scattering in six directions will only save two of them), the Imperieuse cuts through half of them in the opening volley which it would do no matter whether they attempted to close, attempted to retreat, or attempted to attack the Carthage, the survivors scatter.

It is meaningfully different. In my example the fleet dies trying to achieve it's mission objective. In WiH the fleet dies abandoning it. Like if attacking the Imperieuse is the best option, then what are the Indus and Yangtzee doing? Why aren't they involved in the attack. Would not 66% or so more firepower help achieve that aim? Especially if victory is both viable, and worth the risk? (ie overwhelming victory).

Seriously. I just told you that we spent all this tame gaming it out. The presence of the Indus and Yangtze there is not all that helpful because they're so far back. They cannot meaningfully help.

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See the player doesn't know how many hitpoints the Carthage has. They don't know how many hitpoints anything has. The only thing I remember is that Serkr was supposed to have special armour, but then three Serkr ships gets their butts kicked by a pair of frigates (with maybe some help from the Jovie cruisers). So their armour I guess wasn't all that special.

Okay, this is getting absurd. They get their butts kicked because they can't hit anything with their main guns. C'mon, I enjoy the criticism but that kind of distortion is unfair.

And you're explicitly told the Carthage has special armor, right where you're told it has a fancy jump drive.

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And have the captain say "we can't take the carthage down in time, our only option is to attack!" sorta thing. Maybe he says that, I was too busy shaking my head.

See, I think this is the problem. I don't think we ever had a chance with you because we hadn't hooked you by there. And that's not your fault, it's ours.

But I gotta say it pisses me off a little to do something better than :V: and then get told it ruins the whole campaign for you. Because if you managed to enjoy the FreeSpace 2 campaign with 'Their Finest Hour' and the Colossus declaring it was going to stand and fight to buy time for the Bastion and then getting beamed to death about ten seconds later, I don't see why you're hung up here.

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But of course if the Indus joins it would allow the player to potentially muck things up, or to see that things are fixed and they can't do anything about it. So instead, the player has to run off, even with the hand-holding objective "stay close to Indus" because they might break the mission.

No, it would get the player killed, because we're smart enough to put steps in place to prevent the player from hitting the obvious scripted bits, like giving the Imperieuse a nigh-insuperable escort screen.

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That's why having the Imperieuse jump in and scrag half the fleet before the player can even flinch is a better solution in my mind. It's like FS1. They always said the Lucifer was invulnerable, but really was it? The player never gets to even take a shot at it. It jumps in at 3 clicks, kills the Galatea, jumps out. Jumps in at 5 clicks, kills an Arcadia, jumps out. If the Imp jumps in, and kills half the dudes, it's clear to the player that "yeah, we really are screwed. Let's get out of here before those beams recharge". Doesn't give him a chance to do anything in return either.

That and brevity is the soul of wit. Having all that self-sacrifice dialogue by the Frigate captain can be arguably less effective than the Imperieuse just jumping in and blowing ships apart. Then after the Indus crash jumps out of there you do the slow truck out with the Yangtzee. The death of the other ships is quick and surprising, the death of the Yangtzee is long and drawn out. Good contrast.

I'm sorry we didn't do it exactly the way you'd like. Please pardon us for wanting to avoid the instant beam-rape cliche as per our design objectives.  :rolleyes:

Your proposed solution is not one that works for us. And this is why. If the Imperieuse could jump in and sodomize everything in its path in an eyeblink it could have done that at any given time. It could probably have done it when the Wargods were sitting around in Mars orbit.

The Carthage was parked in a prepared killzone, gathering targeting data to pass to the Imperieuse to give it a clean beam shot, and even so the Imperieuse needed time to fight through the ECM, lock up its targets, make sure of its shots and take them. I'm sorry we didn't spoonfeed that to you, the player, but that would've made the sequence even longer.. Your suggestions would have destroyed the transition to Sunglare, rendered the entirety of Delenda Est into a big plot hole (why let the Wargods even get that close? Why not jump the Imperieuse in right away? They were waiting until they could be sure they could get them all.)

Look, you've got a whole (one mission!) minicampaign right there designed to explain why Captain Genady would rapidly and willingly sacrifice himself to save others. Go make use of it. Because like I said above, the double standard being applied here is starting to piss me off. Why bother setting up an elaborate mission with a carefully constructed trap and a separate minicampaign to explain the psychology of Captains Genady and Altan Orde when you could just, y'know, have the Imperieuse jump in and kill everything in .31 seconds?

Pardon my snark but there was a lot of effort put into this and hearing you say 'no, no, do it like this' is...not helping.

I can't say you're wrong, because of course your subjective opinion is valid, but this is just getting really frustrating for me as a creator, because there is nothing I will ever be able to do to address your complaints short of letting you make the mission. And that feels unfair.

I mean ****ing seriously. We simulate every possible mission outcome to make sure ours makes sense, we go to hours of unnecessary effort to get that done, and while of course the player can't know that you're not even willing to take that as evidence that we knew what we were doing?

Any creative effort is a gamble, and I'm okay with different opinions, but please do not tell us to do it your way over ours, because that suggests we were simply incompetent rather than making a choice. There's no FreeSpace moment that's worked less for me than the Lucifer's various insta-kill beam ambushes; they just made me giggle. We really wanted to avoid that.

Probably getting a bit worked up here. Must chill.  :blah:
« Last Edit: May 25, 2011, 04:28:08 pm by Jeff Vader »

 

Offline Darius

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Re: BP: War in Heaven discussion
Would you like a kitten picture?




 
Re: BP: War in Heaven discussion
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See the player doesn't know how many hitpoints the Carthage has. They don't know how many hitpoints anything has. The only thing I remember is that Serkr was supposed to have special armour, but then three Serkr ships gets their butts kicked by a pair of frigates (with maybe some help from the Jovie cruisers). So their armour I guess wasn't all that special.

Okay, this is getting absurd. They get their butts kicked because they can't hit anything with their main guns. C'mon, I enjoy the criticism but that kind of distortion is unfair.

And you're explicitly told the Carthage has special armor, right where you're told it has a fancy jump drive.

I'm talking specifically about armour here. Both the Carthage and Serkr have special armour.

Serkr, when unable to fight, did not stand up long against 2 Fed Frigates
Carthage, when unable to fight, therefore should not stand up long against 4 Fed Frigates and 2 Cruisers.

Assuming that the special armour is comparative. Maybe the Carthage has extra special armour. It's not uncommon for corvettes or even cruisers to have hitpoints comparable to a destroyer. I don't have a clue what the hitpoints are. All I know is that 3 ships didn't take long to flee from 2 ships, so why would 1 ship survive long against 6?

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But I gotta say it pisses me off a little to do something better than :V: and then get told it ruins the whole campaign for you. Because if you managed to enjoy the FreeSpace 2 campaign with 'Their Finest Hour' and the Colossus declaring it was going to stand and fight to buy time for the Bastion and then getting beamed to death about ten seconds later, I don't see why you're hung up here.

It doesn't ruin the whole campaign. Just that mission. It doesn't make the rest of the campaign any less enjoyable, the things that bug me about it are just more apparent. Heck I could probably play through most of that mission, still have fun, until the last minute or so.

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I'm sorry we didn't do it exactly the way you'd like. Please pardon us for wanting to avoid the instant beam-rape cliche as per our design objectives.  :rolleyes:

Instant beam-rape cliche, or futile charge for nothing cliche, take your pick.
I pick the former.

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Your proposed solution is not one that works for us. And this is why. If the Imperieuse could jump in and sodomize everything in its path in an eyeblink it could have done that at any given time. It could probably have done it when the Wargods were sitting around in Mars orbit.

The Carthage was parked in a prepared killzone, gathering targeting data to pass to the Imperieuse to give it a clean beam shot, and even so the Imperieuse needed time to fight through the ECM, lock up its targets, make sure of its shots and take them. I'm sorry we didn't spoonfeed that to you, the player, but that would've made the sequence even longer.. Your suggestions would have destroyed the transition to Sunglare, rendered the entirety of Delenda Est into a big plot hole (why let the Wargods even get that close? Why not jump the Imperieuse in right away? They were waiting until they could be sure they could get them all.)

And yet they didn't get them all.
There's all manner of ways to do it, all I'm saying is that the way it was done didn't work for me. You could have just as easily had the Carthage getting data on them from the get go, with better data the closer they are. Then soon as the Imp jumps out of subspace, she transfers that over and the Imp fires. If you wanted to take it one direction you can make up all manner of reasons why that would work and another approach would not, same as someone could do just the opposite. If that's the way you wanted the mission to end you'll achieve that end by whatever provides a suitable means to that end.

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Look, you've got a whole (one mission!) minicampaign right there designed to explain why Captain Genady would rapidly and willingly sacrifice himself to save others.

Is that Blade of whatever? I thought that was just a one-off test mission. And all I got from that campaign was that he was willing to sacrifice an Arcadia full of civies for the sake of the military assuming I'm thinking of the right character. I can take another look at it sometime though.

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Go make use of it. Because like I said above, the double standard being applied here is starting to piss me off. Why bother setting up an elaborate mission with a carefully constructed trap and a separate minicampaign to explain the psychology of Captains Genady and Altan Orde when you could just, y'know, have the Imperieuse jump in and kill everything in .31 seconds?

Pardon my snark but there was a lot of effort put into this and hearing you say 'no, no, do it like this' is...not helping.

I can't say you're wrong, because of course your subjective opinion is valid, but this is just getting really frustrating for me as a creator, because there is nothing I will ever be able to do to address your complaints short of letting you make the mission. And that feels unfair.

Believe me when I say I understand how much work can go into a mission, it's not my intent to devalue the blood sweat and tears that went into the quality of the campaign. A quality that I'd aspire to and a quality that far outweighs any of my previous personal efforts.

But any artist who puts their work out there has to be prepared to take criticism. In my case, I simply don't like one ASPECT of the campaign, that being the ending. I can still appreciate it for its other virtues. The other quibbles about ships jumping out all the time are more nitpicks than anything, and I understand your intent in doing that. Oh I don't like the Solaris either, because it killed what should have been a climactic end to an otherwise important mission. If it killed the frame rate for other people as much as it did for me, it should've been cut from the mission and replaced imo.

You can't please everyone all the time. You pleased me most of the time, so that should be good enough. When I'm giving you examples of how it might have played out, I'm not telling you how to do it. I'm just saying "this didn't work for me, but if it were like this, it would have". Not "you should've done this, you suxxxor!!!!!".

Not everyone likes the same thing. For example some people love Transcend, I thought it was a repetitive bore fest. But I had fun playing Sync. We're all just playing and/or modding this game because we like it. So if you play a campaign and enjoy most or even some of it that's all you can ask for. And I got as much from WiH.

« Last Edit: October 19, 2010, 09:29:25 pm by Akalabeth Angel »

 

Offline General Battuta

  • Poe's Law In Action
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Re: BP: War in Heaven discussion
That's fair.

Obviously as someone who does creative stuff I understand that everything can be improved, almost ad infinitum. There's always something wrong and it's always going to catch somebody's eye. It's just frustrating to be told it threw people out of the campaign, because it means we didn't quite do a good enough job, y'know? Even if it works for 99% of players it's the one that gets away that's going to rankle at you.

But I still think you have to admit it's infinitely better than Her Finest Hour. Also:

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And yet they didn't get them all.

Yes, because most of the Wargods sacrificed themselves to prevent it, which was the design goal.

 
Re: BP: War in Heaven discussion
Obviously as someone who does creative stuff I understand that everything can be improved, almost ad infinitum. There's always something wrong and it's always going to catch somebody's eye. It's just frustrating to be told it threw people out of the campaign, because it means we didn't quite do a good enough job, y'know? Even if it works for 99% of players it's the one that gets away that's going to rankle at you.

If you serve everyone chocolate pudding there'll always be some person who wanted lemon.

Again, most of my comments are not a 'you should do it this way' but rather 'I might have enjoyed it this way instead'. Take it or leave it. Just trying to elaborate or say something more than "I didn't like the ending"

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But I still think you have to admit it's infinitely better than Her Finest Hour.

Apples and Oranges.
A mission is only as good as it fits/serves within the context of its story. In that way simple missions like one might find in Homesick can be more interesting than a complex mission in another campaign with a poor story. Point being, look at your work on its own, and at each piece in how it relates to the whole. Comparing it to predecessors or other campaigns should be completely secondary to considering how well it achieves what you set out to achieve. If a lot of people experience it, and if most people enjoy it, and if even some people say it surpasses previous campaigns like AoA or FS2 then consider it a victory.
« Last Edit: October 19, 2010, 07:13:04 pm by Akalabeth Angel »

 

Offline -Sara-

  • 29
Re: BP: War in Heaven discussion
Indeed, each to their own. I personally liked the deviation from the usual way FSO campaigns are told. I think that with BP's genre and style of storytelling a movie-like approach was taken: unlikely events pile up to bring the protagonist into deep trouble against all odds. For some that is a turn off, for others such as me it turned this campaign into a space opera rather than just a gameplay experience. :) I'm glad people have different opinions, or this world would sure be a boring place if we all always agree. :D

Would you like a kitten picture?

 :wakka:
« Last Edit: October 19, 2010, 07:17:57 pm by -Sara- »
Currently playing: real life.

"Paying bills, working, this game called real life is so much fun!" - Said nobody ever.

 
Re: BP: War in Heaven discussion
Hmmn, not to re-stir up a hornet's nest (and more importantly not to piss anyone off- - - again) and there's no need to reply to this, but as an addenum, I take it back. That is my specific reason for disliking the ending.

Having had time to ponder it on my 40 minute walk/transit home, if it helps understanding that 1%, I don't think my problem was with the mission design specifically. It was just with the story in general. Aside from a mission here and there (ie saving civies, defeating the SOC), the Wargods and/or the player never really get a victory the whole campaign long. Lost ships die. Agincourt's taken away. Logistics hole filled. Elder dies second before relaying info. Vasudans duped. Two Hecates get away, said to be back in a "few weeks". Hell even the rescue op some uffie comes in and fouls it up. And then of course the final mission. I guess the intent was to have most people feel sad. Or to get pissed. Well I got pissed, but not at steele, just at the story. It was too much, and I just stopped caring. I think I literally said, "Whatever, this is stupid.". To have so much happen and for nothing to go in their favour? Riiiiight. Anyone ever heard "the best laid plans never survive contact with the enemy?" Steel never heard it apparently. And then to put the icing on the cake the Yangtzee can't make it out, and Karen sticks around to die. And then to put more icing on the cake the Indus is doomed, and everyone is dying, and simms is dead and Noemi waited 5 second too long to say she loved her. I suppose you can also throw in the Vasudans have a miltary force insystem now too but I didn't bother. At that point there was so much icing on the cake I couldn't see the screen.

But yeah, my apologizes for the previous argument (and for the touch of sarcasm in this post). I knew I didn't like the ending, but I often start arguing before I know what my reason is. In this case I wasn't clear on the details of why I didn't like it. Some of the other stuff I touched on does play a role, like ships escaping to be repaired in a few weeks not counting as a real victory for example.

And as I said before, I did for the most part enjoy the campaign before it went off the rails for me. With a few bumps here and there maybe.