Greetings fellow Foundry Authors,
My name is A.J. Stoner and I currently have eight published projects with three more in various states of disrepair waiting on completion. I can only speak for myself but I consider the Foundry to be the centerpiece and beating heart of Star Trek Online, even if a pitifully small number of its players have thus far come to realize it.
We all know the problems with the editor and, more specifically, the lack of props, maps, and so forth. We also know the frustration of trying to come to a working point of equilibrium with Cryptic and the necessities of their agenda as one company which answers to another. The metrics for massive support of the Foundry (and its improvement) simply isn’t there and, until certain things change, is not likely to appear. We could complain about it (I love complaining myself) but if we really want to break out of this catch 22 we will have to be proactive and creative. Period.
We have all heard the old saying about turning a difficulty into an opportunity: what I propose is a coordinated effort by the community’s most productive and dedicated authors (especially the higher profile ones) to work together in moving things along. Now, in practical terms:
In other words, we should do as much of the work for them as it is in our power to do. This puts the whole thing closer to finished when they agree to take it up which, in turn, means not only faster results but a better position for our supporters in Cryptic (which I think we have) to argue on its behalf if questioned from above. I have done both community and union organizing professionally and a vocal group, sticking together and speaking as one, carries a lot more weight than the sum of its constituency.First, we assemble a group of knowledgeable Foundry veterans to put together a viable, and to start with modest, repair and upgrade itinerary which we can present to Cryptic. This should be exhaustively thorough to ensure nothing potentially important is missed but also to show the devs that we are both serious and a valuable asset to them to be taken advantage of.
*It should contain a list of concisely defined and manageable improvements that can be done with relatively small effort on their part, but which will have significant effect on our ability to make better and more diverse missions.
*A list of the most useful new maps that they can add and a list of those which are already in game but problematic or just plain worthless and there are a few of those.
*A list of duplicate, pointless, and non-working props, costumes, and what have you to make it simple for them to be found and eliminated without having to allocate man-hours to hunting down themselves.
*Every ship, uniform, etc that isn’t in there and should be.
Even if no one at PWE gives a rat’s ass about the Foundry I do believe there are those at Cryptic who do—the recent changes to the wrapper mission show us at least they are open to seeing how things go. Think about the nature of Star Trek in Western culture a moment and what it has come to symbolize. People throw around “Gene’s vision” all the time on the STO forms, usually in frustrated resignation. While I would not presume to speak for the man, that is was most assuredly NOT his vision.Secondly, we need to find a way to get the wider player base interested in playing Foundry missions for reasons other than dil grinding without resorting to removing those rewards since that will only hurt us in the end. How do we do that? The first step is for creative people in the STO community to make missions for the sheer love of storytelling. CHECK! See, we’re half-way there. The next is for us to give them what they want—quality content—and give it to them in spades.
My idea for this? A group project of truly epic proportions: The group will, once stage one is complete, decide upon a project and elect authors for a series interlinked missions that will bring the house down. We have the chops to do it; I’ve played the missions that prove it.
Say, for example, 5 authors each one writing a series of 3 to 5 40-minute missions that lead into each-other and create a full story arch with common themes, npcs, places, cross-referenced events, and with a carefully laid-out underlying plotline. We out-do not only any featured episode series but eclipse the game’s mission library. Sound like a lot of work? It will be, but not so bad at all if we work as a unit. The Great Wall of China, the pyramids, and Stonehenge were all built by hand—I’m reasonably confident we can pull this off.
This “ip” is beloved and part of us. Look at the sheer amount of fan fiction that even exists for it, regardless of its underlying quality. The Foundry could make this game last 20 years if it can find its niche; I honestly believe that as someone who has been an avid game modder since the mid 90’s and has seen everything he needs to justify the most pessimistic of attitudes regarding the game industry.
Let’s do this.
NOTE: I think it would be best to use this thread to discuss this and not the STO fourms as we would just attract trolls and it will be more effective if we come to Cryptic ready to go instead of (potentially) floundering about right in front of them.