By PWE_BranFlakes @ August 13, 2012 at 12:00pm
Season 6 Foundry Updates
Star Trek has always been about exploring strange new worlds, seeking out new lifeforms and new civilizations. One thing that makes this possible in STO is the Foundry – a tool that allows players to create their own worlds to explore or destroy. Hi, I'm Zero. You may remember me from such podcast interviews as Priority One and BroadcastUGC. I'm a producer on the STO team, specializing in ships, FX, and the Foundry.
Since the Foundry launched last year, more than 60,000 projects have been created. Now Season 6 brings with it an update to the Foundry that gives authors new options and new maps to use in their missions. When the Foundry first launched, the toolset was more limited. There were no triggers. No branching dialog. No way to customize the body and face scaling options for custom costumes. Since then we've added all of that. One of my favorite improvements is the ability to leave a Dilithium tip for an author.
Season 6 sees us updating the Foundry toolset even further. We've added new behaviors, like Timid Creature, for authors to use with their NPCs. The addition of multi-select means no longer do authors have to select items one at a time. Most objects in the editor will now show 3D image previews, instead of 2D. There are also more customization options, like the ability to specify display names for interactive objects and dialog windows. On top of all of the above we've updated the flow for creating a new story, and improved the UI by adding things like character limit displays and sorting. On top of toolset improvements, we've reached out to the authors and added a number of new maps and props that they requested, such as the banners from Utopia Planitia and Drozana from Night of the Comet. (I can't wait to see all the TOS-era missions that are created!)
For those that don't know me, "No spoilers!" is pretty much my catch phrase. I don't generally talk about upcoming changes that haven't already been seen on one of our test servers. And this is no exception.
Ok, just one thing. We're working on implementing the ability for authors to create patrols. We have been working on it throughout the Season 6 development cycle, and now we're polishing and debugging it so we can get it to Holodeck soon. (Some of the NPCs wanted to go patrolling off into the horizon. We've sent them back to the Academy so they can relearn how patrol routes work.)
Another upcoming feature I can talk about is our upgraded Foundry Spotlight. Each week the Community team and I work together to manually update the Spotlight information using our bulletin system, but we'd like to see a more elegant solution that allows us to show off more than one mission per week. To that end, our development team is working on a way to incorporate the Foundry Spotlight into the mission journal. This is still under development, but we're planning to get it out in the near future.
The Foundry holds a special place in my heart; I've worked with the Foundry team for almost as long as there has been a team. We're all very passionate about the project, and have been so eager to see what new stories our Foundry authors will create. The authors have been a great group of people to work with, and the tool wouldn't be what it is now without their feedback, testing, and dedication. From the early closed beta up through the recent Season 6 testing on Tribble, they have proved invaluable. Anyone who wants to help the Foundry improve is welcome–nay, encouraged–to get on our test server when we're rolling out new features and help us try to break things. The feedback we get from our Foundry authors is taken very seriously and helps us improve the editor for everyone.
If you've not used the Foundry and you want to, there are myriad resources available! The best place to start is the Foundry section on our own website. From there you can read the FAQ, view a brief photo walkthrough, and get access to tutorial videos created by some of the dedicated author/testers. If you want to discuss the Foundry and get even more help, there's a section of the forums dedicated to it. Also, make sure to check out this Guest Blog on the Foundry — it was recently written by StarbaseUGC and featured on StarTrek.com. The whole of the STO Foundry team regularly checks the threads there, even if sometimes we're too shy to post.
So, why are you still reading this? Go make a mission! Create a world. Tell a story. Build an intricate combat scenario. Or just give me some more space mobs to kill in my tricked out Prometheus. Whatever appeals to you most, jump into the Star Trek universe and use the Foundry to bring people into your final frontier.
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