Monday, 30 December 2013

The RP Mission Script & Comms Officer to Operations Officer

The mission script, tailored specifically to the TSN RP Community has continued to developed, and is starting to be used more frequently to run official missions. So far, those missions have been relatively straight forward, focusing mainly on invasion style scenarios where the enemy just need clearing out of a sector. Really, it has just been a test of the script to make sure it is all working properly, and so far there have been few bugs encountered. 

The mission script itself is purely a Game Master script. Taking the ideas from the Sandbox mission script, and adapting them to allow multiple bridges to play together, I have managed to create an open sandbox specifically for the RP Community. A Game Master can then add in enemies, allies, creatures, send messages and a number of other functions in order to take the crews through a mission or story line. I took a couple of volunteers recently and showed them the controls for the Game Master console in the hope that soon they will be confident enough and practised enough to run official missions. 

In the missions I have run recently, something that has been sorely missed was the Fuel Collection System. There have been a couple of missions that dragged on due to every ship having critical energy levels and no way to recharge. Until now, I have not included the code as it was only set up for one vessel. Today however, I have reworked the Fuel Collection System code and added it to the RP mission script. Although the code is simpler (the cascading damage effect has had to be removed), the restrictions on speed and shield state still apply, making it something that must be used when the situation allows. I have also moved the activation and deactivation keys to the Comms console.

As I completed writing the code, I realised that the role of Comms officer has been gradually evolving. During missions, they no longer sit passive, relaying standard messages that arrive and have no real consequence or bearing on the mission at hand. Instead, a Comms officer must send out instructions to activate the jump points, selecting the correct gate codes. They are responsible for activating and deactivating the Fuel Collectors. They also have to relay key mission information such as when lifepods are picked up as well as open hailing frequencies for voice communications (the voice comes over teamspeak, but a GM can hold off until the Comms Officer hits the key that puts up the "Hailing Frequencies Open" message). In a recent mission I ran, I also typed in garbled messages that the Comms officer had to decode.

With all the extra work, it means the Comms Officer role is becoming more of an Operations Officer role. There is potential for further expansion on the role too. I have ideas about how to simulate standard outgoing text messages, using a similar system to the GM controls that I developed for the script. I would have to make a few minor alterations to the script and add in a couple of new events, but I think it would be possible to generate a system for a Comms officer to send messages that a GM could then reply to. Simple messages could be Yes/No, but there could also be specific messages for different scenarios, which communicate different things. It would then be possible to play out diplomatic scenarios. Another idea I was considering bringing back was the ability to deploy extra sensors, or activate a sensor sweep. This could give extra information about the local area, or intelligence reports. These are for the future, but there is a lot of potential! 

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