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Foundry Call to Arms - Article by Starbase UGC

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  • duncanidaho11duncanidaho11 Member Posts: 7,549 Arc User
    edited September 2018

    Add maps that are ingame but not in the foundry.

    We did get recently confirmation that this is one of the projects Kael is working on, Zero has shown him the ropes. ;)

    No update yet about the other stuff, still contingent on getting the right people free to investigate and fix. With the quick turn around between ViL and AoD that's proven difficult. Naturally, will keep pushing however we can.

    Best thing people in the community can do to support the Foundry: play through the ViL challenge and vote for our favorites. The more activity we get, the more it shows the Foundry is a valuable part of the game as a whole.
    Bipedal mammal and senior Foundry author.
    Last missions:
    Evolution's Smile [SSF:3-3]
    Epoch, Part 2 [AEI]
    Transcendence, Part 4
    Memorial Tour

    For the latest Tardigrades and other creative output: @Gorgonops_SSF
    Looking for something new to play? The interactive Foundry Mission Database has you covered.
  • azrael605azrael605 Member Posts: 10,135 Arc User
    > @duncanidaho11 said:
    > mattjohnsonva wrote: »
    >
    >
    > Add maps that are ingame but not in the foundry.
    >
    >
    >
    >
    > We did get recently confirmation that this is one of the projects Kael is working on, Zero has shown him the ropes. ;)
    >
    > No update yet about the other stuff, still contingent on getting the right people free to investigate and fix. With the quick turn around between ViL and AoD that's proven difficult. Naturally, will keep pushing however we can.
    >
    > Best thing people in the community can do to support the Foundry: play through the ViL challenge and vote for our favorites. The more activity we get, the more it shows the Foundry is a valuable part of the game as a whole.

    QFT.
  • ncc42662ncc42662 Member Posts: 71 Arc User
    I have to admit, the Foundry is my primary source of continued enjoyment in this game. I am here for just putting my various Faction commanders through missions designed for their faction. I do not come to STO for the various MMO reasons others come here, I just want to play it out in the universe of ST.

    To make a long story a little shorter, and as I've already stated, The Foundry is my "go to". If I am not playing other players story driven missions, I am creating my own just so I can play it out for myself.

    I'd love the Foundry to get a "refit/overhaul", and if I have to pay a yearly fee or have it included in a lifetime subscription to acquire the attention I would love to see, I am willing to do it.
    "The Prime Directive is merely a guideline to help make the right choice" -Vn'dor Phail, Capt
    :: sneezes :: Why is it no-one dusts the bridge on Starfleet vessels?" -Emsil Marat, Glinn
    "We can not interfere in the progression of one's life" -Richard Lynch, LtCdr
  • stormcrow#8086 stormcrow Member Posts: 23 Arc User
    Victory is life... and the key to victory for an MMO is content. The Foundry is a brilliant feature for the game. TSR had it's own "Foundry" call for development and that little venture brought forth "The Forgotten Realms" and look how that snowballed into an epic expansion.

    Cryptic is missing the bigger picture with the Foundry, yeah it will be inundated with "and then this happened...or something..." story tellers, but there will always be someone that hits the right cord with a story and Cryptic needs to grab it, polish it and run with it.

    There are some really amazing Trekkies out there doing some awesome stuff and if Cryptic were to throw some love on the Foundry we could see some amazing content hit STO with brilliant stories, cut scenes, enhanced "mimic" dialogue...the stuff that Devs are getting paid to do but brought to you by the Foundry Devs.

    Yeah the Foundry is a little clunky, but the core of the system utilizes software that is inexpensive or free...renderosity has oodles of STO mods ready to download for you to play with but then there is the entire "migration" issue with the Foundry.

    Yes, Victory is life, content is the key to victory... as the Greeks have shown us, over and over, hubris kills and it seems that, perhaps, hubris is why the foundry is so neglected.
  • sirsitsalotsirsitsalot Member Posts: 1,692 Arc User
    So... Has this thread resulted in one single thing on Cryptic's end to be done to fix/improve the Foundry? We can drone on for weeks and months about what we find wrong with the system as it is, and what we think can make it better, and what we know good and well has to happen in order for it to be even a blip on PWE's priority radar. But unless there's something official stated, we might as well just be screaming into the wind.

    So is this thread actually doing some good for the foundry?
    I have no further snarky comments to make, at this time...
  • connectamabobconnectamabob Member Posts: 140 Arc User
    So... Has this thread resulted in one single thing on Cryptic's end to be done to fix/improve the Foundry? We can drone on for weeks and months about what we find wrong with the system as it is, and what we think can make it better, and what we know good and well has to happen in order for it to be even a blip on PWE's priority radar. But unless there's something official stated, we might as well just be screaming into the wind.

    So is this thread actually doing some good for the foundry?

    In a word: no.

    I just redownloaded the game for the first time in IIRC two years. And when I say "two years", I'm referring to a time I redownloaded the game for about half a week after an absence of several more years. I don't remember exactly, but I think it's been nearly half a decade since I played the game in earnest, and this is my first return to the official forums since that initial time (IIRC I left not long after the Romulan playable faction was first added, if that helps date things).

    Here's the thing: threads exactly like this were a dime a dozen beck then. This is anything but a new conversation, and it has always been ignored.

    The foundry was a big part of why I left. My mains were at cap, endgame was the empty hamster wheel it is in most MMOs and so I turned to foundry content. Loved the idea, and made the leap to making my own missions.

    I never published a one. I had three I was actively building, one of which was planned to be a series, but the process was SO long and painful due to the state of the editor. But I was excited, I was into it. One day Crypic issued a content update that broke one of the maps I was making. I'd spent a week and half laboriously building a "hidden" shuttle campsite amidst desert rocks. spending hours upon hours positioning props to make it look believably "lived in". Came back after the patch to find all the baked-in rock formations on the map had been shuffled around, completely ruing all that work. I could spend another week rebuilding, but why bother if that too could get broken at any time without warning? What if it happened after publishing the mission? I'd seen that exact sort of thing tank other people's missions via a sudden spike in negative reviews.

    Around the same time, all space maps all had their lighting effects broken. Maps where I'd worked hard to create a specific atmosphere were reduced to flat, even lighting that ignored even the basic direction of the sun. This couldn't be rebuilt at all, because entire features had been removed wholesale rather than merely changed.

    I was crushed. I walked away from the Foundry, and soon after, the game.

    Came back a few years later, checked on my old foundry projects, and found that not only was everything still broken, but even more stuff had been broken since. I could count the number of assets added in that time on one hand.

    Only reason I'm back here now, typing this, is because I redownloaded the game to use the Foundry to make character portraits for a Star Trek P&P game I'll be DMing in a few months. Only to find the foundry down, which lead me here to find out if this was a standard post update downtime, or if Cryptic had finally given up and shuttered the foundry for good at some point while I was away.

    The foundry has always been held together with duct tape and baling wire. It has always been falling apart faster than it gets fixed or added to. The community has always held onto the illusion that their shrinking band of enthusiasts can get players at large and thus Cryptic re-invested in the foundry, mostly by "promoting" the foundry primarily to a forum audience consisting of their own shrinking ranks.

    I LOVE the idea of the foundry. I still really, really want it to be the thing it promised to be back in the day. As a Trek fan, I could spend an unhealthy amount of time with the game if it was. But there's literally no avenue to that happening. Cryptic isn't interested, has never been interested, and can't be made interested without the influences that literally can't exist without them already being interested (monetization or other changes to make player foundry interest a meaningful profit metric, much better official promotion, a major re-vamp of the mission browsing and search UI, etc.).

    The rumors back in the day were that Cryptic's STO team was essentially a skeleton crew who had to spend all their combined time on new monetizable official content, to the extent that even major bug fixes for the main game were relegated to occasional lunch break work. This does not appear to have changed either. Even if a non-trivial number of that crew were very interested in the foundry, they didn't/don't have the time to spare for it without preexisting numbers showing it to be more profitable than the main content. And the main content is a story wrapper around a power-creep and collectible treadmill designed to sell zen store stuff, so that's big ask even if the foundry was tied into that economy, which it isn't.

    The foundry adds content that keeps people playing.,. but foundry content is outside the base game's balance ecosystem, and thus does not even indirectly contribute to the cash shop economy. On a business level it's superfluous, especially if you barely have the staff/man hours to cover the stuff that actually does make money. The foundry could be monetized or integrated into the game economy, but with an understaffed team doing so would require a potentially suicidal diversion of resources.
  • halfmoon10halfmoon10 Member Posts: 43 Arc User
    Yeah turn it back on and let us play please. There is just not enough new content coming out and when it does it is dripped fed over a long period time.
    The foundry does help a lot to keep STO alive and kicking !
  • chritmarsh#4963 chritmarsh Member Posts: 62 Arc User
    halfmoon10 wrote: »
    Yeah turn it back on and let us play please. There is just not enough new content coming out and when it does it is dripped fed over a long period time.
    The foundry does help a lot to keep STO alive and kicking !

    This post has brought to my attention the lack of 'Like' or 'Love' or 'Upvote' options there are for when you come across a post that you feel needs the praise and attention it deserves. I could not agree with you more on this. The foundry is perhaps one of the greatest features this game has to offer (aside from the fact that it's Trek... need I say more?)
    I published my very first mission the night before the foundry went down. No one has even had a chance to play it yet and I already have my next mission planned out. This wait is driving me insane!

    All of that being said- word in the forums is that the devs are trying, but things keep coming up. As I'm sure we all know, AoD was pretty bug ridden. Add the crash of 'Arena of Sompek' last week and they've had their hands full. Apparently one of the main things that has slowed the foundry's relaunch down is some bug in the tailor system that, if not fixed, would effectively ruin A TON of previously created foundry missions as well as interfere with it's functionality in the future. From what I've heard, though, they finally fixed the bug on the test server and will be implementing it on Holodeck any day now. After which, I'm sure the foundry will come back online.

    Granted... all of that is just hearsay but with the developers lack of communication when it comes to the foundry, it's the best we have to go on atm.
    "Today is a good day to die... but I'd rather go to Risa."-Fleet Admiral Christopher D. Marshall
    O1P2m6v.png
  • duncanidaho11duncanidaho11 Member Posts: 7,549 Arc User
    edited November 2018
    Couple reminders for Foundry folks:
    • Once the Foundry comes fully back online, there's going to be four days left to play and vote in the Victory is Life foundry context. Winners will be announced on the Foundry Roundtable podcast to follow (live on twitch, Saturday 7:30est).
    • After that, we'll probably start considering what to do for the next Foundry challenge. Odds are it'll be Discovery themed, though we'd like to hear what players would like to work on or play (player and author perspectives welcome.)
    • It's fair to say that the winner of the ViL contest will be considered for spotlighting. We haven't had one in a while and I think it would be good to keep some momentum going in the following months. So, if you have a high quality mission you want to nominate (yours or another's) you can either submit it to Kael directly (ambassadorkael @ gmail.com) or send it to any of us on Foundry Roundtable. If you're on the fence, then you can send it to Roundtable and we can provide some feedback. :)

    Bipedal mammal and senior Foundry author.
    Last missions:
    Evolution's Smile [SSF:3-3]
    Epoch, Part 2 [AEI]
    Transcendence, Part 4
    Memorial Tour

    For the latest Tardigrades and other creative output: @Gorgonops_SSF
    Looking for something new to play? The interactive Foundry Mission Database has you covered.
  • sarvour0sarvour0 Member Posts: 382 Arc User
    So the ViL Challenge Deadline was reached, and the Foundry went down during the Voting Period?
    For a bit there I was getting hopeful I might still get the chance to make the story idea I had. I might still make it, once the Foundry is up & running again.

    I have at least two Cardassian Captains, made pre-ViL, and several Cardassian BOffs (Alien/Unknown edited), and I plan to get that Dominion Bundle, so my characters can get all the Cardassian goodies therein; I have wanted the Galor since 2010.

    Search Tool; if it can't be fixed it needs to be replaced by one that works. One of the things that kept me from playing Foundry Missions, was the Search Tool's inability to find the episodes I was looking for. In the case of Foundry Featured Content (missions they were putting spotlights on) this was a disaster as whenever I tried to play them, the Foundry Interface neither listed them, nor was able to find them when searched.
    So I look forward to the Relaunch of the Foundry; either as a Beta 2.0 with major issues fixed, or preferably as a finished engine allowing us to create and play in a bigger, better sandbox.
    4073703.jpg
    [SIGPIC]Sarvour Shipyards[/SIGPIC]Sarvour Shipyards
    =A=Commodore Joshua Daniel Sarvour, S.C.E.
    U.S.S. AKAGI NX-93347, Enterprise-class Battle Cruiser =A= U.S.S. T'KORA'S WRATH NX-110047, Odyssey-class Battle Cruiser

    "There Ain't No Grave, Can Hold My Body Down..."

    PS - I fully support a T6 Nova, fixing the Nova skins. I am also rooting for a T6 Science Cruiser, that can use Nova/Rhode Island skins.
    T6 Nova/Rhode Island, T6 Oberth & T6 Constellation are needed. Also needed a T6 Science Cruiser, that can wear any Science or Cruiser skin.
  • duncanidaho11duncanidaho11 Member Posts: 7,549 Arc User
    edited November 2018
    sarvour0 wrote: »
    So the ViL Challenge Deadline was reached, and the Foundry went down during the Voting Period?

    Yup, we (Roundtable) were concerned that the challenge could run into AoD but we had no way of knowing for sure. It did, after all, start 8 weeks before. Cryptic probably didn't know either since release dates are subject to change until they close in on the target time frame. This is most easily noted now with the development road map (it only provides the months for release.)

    There's a few things we can do for the next challenge that could help avoid situations like this. Ie. start them earlier in the release cycle (ex. soon after downtime) and consider whether maintaining the voting period by 4 days or is worth holding up the conclusion of the challenge by a potentially large factor (we also made that call thinking the Foundry wouldn't be down for long.)

    To that: Cryptic's identified what went wrong with the Foundry and was playtesting missions last week. Soon(TM).
    Bipedal mammal and senior Foundry author.
    Last missions:
    Evolution's Smile [SSF:3-3]
    Epoch, Part 2 [AEI]
    Transcendence, Part 4
    Memorial Tour

    For the latest Tardigrades and other creative output: @Gorgonops_SSF
    Looking for something new to play? The interactive Foundry Mission Database has you covered.
  • spartacus#0692 spartacus Member Posts: 2 Arc User
    I really enjoy the foundry missions, story and content a lot. It is one of the primary reasons I come back to STO online. I always leave tips and try to give feedback. I greatly appreciate the authors who put time and energy into this as they are truly trekkies. I wish Cryptic would wake up to this valuable side of the content, but it seems my voice is one of many. Hopefully the will understand the marketing and promotional value of a strong foundry presence in STO...otherwise they will simply start losing more players.
  • sarvour0sarvour0 Member Posts: 382 Arc User
    I haven't checked, but are any of the previously completed Foundry missions playable at this time? Or is it all down completely?
    4073703.jpg
    [SIGPIC]Sarvour Shipyards[/SIGPIC]Sarvour Shipyards
    =A=Commodore Joshua Daniel Sarvour, S.C.E.
    U.S.S. AKAGI NX-93347, Enterprise-class Battle Cruiser =A= U.S.S. T'KORA'S WRATH NX-110047, Odyssey-class Battle Cruiser

    "There Ain't No Grave, Can Hold My Body Down..."

    PS - I fully support a T6 Nova, fixing the Nova skins. I am also rooting for a T6 Science Cruiser, that can use Nova/Rhode Island skins.
    T6 Nova/Rhode Island, T6 Oberth & T6 Constellation are needed. Also needed a T6 Science Cruiser, that can wear any Science or Cruiser skin.
  • ashstorm1ashstorm1 Member Posts: 620 Arc User
    edited December 2018
    sarvour0 wrote: »
    I haven't checked, but are any of the previously completed Foundry missions playable at this time? Or is it all down completely?

    It is still down, no official word on when it will return.

    The Foundry was briefly up two days ago, at least the editor was, and seemed to work fine. However, it seems Foundry missions in-game were unplayable, as upon entering a system, the initial popup dialogue would not appear ; instead, the words "Completed" would fly across the screen, and it was impossible to progress, even though the objectives were mentioned in the progression window.

    Now the Foundry has been once again taken down. That makes us pretty much back to Step 1.
  • duncanidaho11duncanidaho11 Member Posts: 7,549 Arc User
    edited December 2018
    Editor was also FUBAR.

    1. Almost all assets had no 2D art. All you had were push-pin icons.
    2. The exceptions were a couple of ground scale FED ships. These you didn't want to have 2D art. With the push-pin icon in view there was nothing but as you zoomed the art for those ships grew. No matter where you zoomed in with those on the map your screen would be filled with groundscale FED ship.



    These art bits are usually updated with major auto republishes so this might just be a factor of the Foundry not being turned back on correctly. That said, it's still a problem and it does feel like QA/Cryptic dropped the ball here. I ultimately was the one to make enough noise on social media with the collected "Oh TRIBBLE!" reports to highlight the severity of the problem, 3 hours after the first reports came in on reddit. StarbaseUGC took it up from there (I really haven't been in a place where I can deal with this stuff) but simply trying one mission (any mission) after the Foundry went live would have found the core problem for why missions had to be taken back offline.

    That's not a big ask to verify a fix. The result was that the team was already off work by the time "the Foundry is not playable" was identified and thus Foundry was left in a broken state overnight and accumulating one-stars from people who couldn't read the situation (ie. it wasn't the mission's fault) or didn't much care and wanted to vent their frustrations. Those can be difficult to recover from since folks who read reviews will be hesitant to jump in if they see a lot of "it's broken!" reports without context (ie. understanding that those are from this event.) That's something Foundry authors and other community members can help with (just play people's missions and leave a written review, demonstrating that the mission does in fact work.)

    After a similar thing happened last time (though thankfully with reviewing turned off), I think Cryptic does need a better procedure in place for how to bring the Foundry back online (do it earlier in the day and verify that it's working with a very quick playthrough of a very quick mission, for which we could certainly find a candidate or build one for consistent system testing.) The Foundry is important not just for providing alternative and supplemental content to the official pipeline (satisfying niches Cryptic can't easily fill themselves both in terms of content breadth and frequency) but also providing a focal point for very positive community dynamics (collaborations, contests, and direct player-author interactions that can span across series of work) which in summation helps keep players invested with the game and in ways that aren't replicated by other systems. The company needs to support it better (because it is a stand out feature of STO and its community.)



    Editor problems: we'll see but I have a feeling with the unusual availability of features (reviewing was on, editor was on, publishing was off, autopublish had completed for some but failed for many) this could have simply been a biproduct of things not being turned on correctly (ie. key step of generating the art wasn't done.)

    PS. the ship tailor did have new assets...
    Post edited by duncanidaho11 on
    Bipedal mammal and senior Foundry author.
    Last missions:
    Evolution's Smile [SSF:3-3]
    Epoch, Part 2 [AEI]
    Transcendence, Part 4
    Memorial Tour

    For the latest Tardigrades and other creative output: @Gorgonops_SSF
    Looking for something new to play? The interactive Foundry Mission Database has you covered.
  • somtaawkharsomtaawkhar Member Posts: 6,232 Arc User
    While I can't claim to have Cryptic's figures, generally speaking, player made content like the Foundry doesn't normally support long term player activity in-game from a significant number of people.

    Bethesda games for instance are famous for their modding scenes. However, a few years ago, someone looked at how many people own Skyrim on the PC, and how many times the most downloaded mods on nexus were downloaded(using the unique download numbers to get rid of any duplicate downloads from the same person) and found that only about 20% of people downloaded the singularly most uniquely downloaded mod on the nexus. Even other mods on the front page of the most downloaded mods had download rates of less then 10-15%. Generally speaking, the number of people who partake in modding is very low, those who partake in modding long term, and stay in the game for an extended period of time due to it, is in the single digits.

    This is very likely the case for the Foundry in STO as well, which is why it has received little in the way of updates over the years. The Foundry is likely going to be pretty low on Cryptic's list of priorities because of it, whereas new ships, story missions, TFOs, and even silly events like the Tartigrade thing, are more likely to draw in more players.
  • where2r1where2r1 Member Posts: 5,924 Arc User
    I think I the main issue is: there isn't enough people at Cryptic. And no one at Cryptic with time to concentrate on a broken Foundry, right now. And it is the fricken' holidays...who knows who took off for it.

    Sad as it is for Foundry users and authors, ViL, AoD, and Mission Journal is the main part of game. Buggy as hell. Kael's fat fingering of the Foundry program couldn't have come at a worse time.

    Yes, tired of waiting. But I have enough to keep me busy....between Winter Wonderland and real life.

    The Tardigrade quiz...It is PWE, not Cryptic. (Shoot, it may even be CBS, themselves.) CBS wants to keep Discovery in the minds of Star Trek fan, ahead of season two of the TV series. And they are implementing marketing it from any angle....including to us.
    "Spend your life doing strange things with weird people." -- UNK

    “Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” -- Benjamin Franklin
  • where2r1where2r1 Member Posts: 5,924 Arc User
    edited December 2018
    Quick heads up: The emails are being collected only by Perfect World, and ONLY for sending out the Tardigrade email updates. They'll never be used for anything else.

    See...Perfect World. Ambassador Kael works for Perfect World, too. And Perfect World owns Cryptic and all their games. So, if they want to use Star Trek Online to represent themselves for marketing, they will. Besides it probably makes more sense to put "Star Trek Online" in there.

    Edit....Anyhoo...the fact that Kael, a PWE employee, is trying to add things to the Foundry....
    Should reflect something about PWE and that they are trying to help, not hinder the Foundry.
    "Spend your life doing strange things with weird people." -- UNK

    “Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” -- Benjamin Franklin
  • where2r1where2r1 Member Posts: 5,924 Arc User
    where2r1 wrote: »

    Edit....Anyhoo...the fact that Kael, a PWE employee, is trying to add things to the Foundry....
    Should reflect something about PWE and that they are trying to help, not hinder the Foundry.

    I would hate to see what they could do if they WERE trying to hinder it then, because with help like that I wish they'd just leave it alone.

    LOL! That is life, though. TRIBBLE happens.
    "Spend your life doing strange things with weird people." -- UNK

    “Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” -- Benjamin Franklin
  • duncanidaho11duncanidaho11 Member Posts: 7,549 Arc User
    edited December 2018
    Le sigh...

    The team's working on it but as where2r1 said, stuff happens.


    #KeepCalmAndTardigradeOn
    Bipedal mammal and senior Foundry author.
    Last missions:
    Evolution's Smile [SSF:3-3]
    Epoch, Part 2 [AEI]
    Transcendence, Part 4
    Memorial Tour

    For the latest Tardigrades and other creative output: @Gorgonops_SSF
    Looking for something new to play? The interactive Foundry Mission Database has you covered.
  • mihajlorsmihajlomihajlorsmihajlo Member Posts: 8 Arc User
    We more foundry and support from Cryptic.
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