Author Topic: Noob on the run  (Read 3640 times)

Scrogneugneu

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Noob on the run
« on: February 10, 2006, 08:04:31 AM »
Hi there,

I'm what you could call a noob with creating campaigns. By that, I mean... never done it, never tried it, and don't ever know how to do it, neither as where to start.

I found FS2 on the net like 2 weeks ago, and I fired it up pretty fast, as I already played the demo (which I got bundled with my Wingman joystick) and absolutely fell in love with it. Then, I found out FS2_Open. Quickly installed the 3.6.7 revision, and proceeded to complete once again the full campaign. Still needing more, I went and got the Derelict campaign, with voices (as I see it, it was indeed a good timing to start :)) and went through.

As of now, I am trying to make my choice. Either I download other campaigns (over and over, until there's nothing left unknown) and play them (BTW I'd like to know if Derelict is the only one including voice acting, as I lose some interest when it's only written on screen, and I wish to kill Microsoft Sam and his *wonderful* voice), or I go on with that idea I had and create a whole new campaign.

What would you, international experts of SF2_Open, suggest me? Should I first make sure I know everything shown in the existing campaigns, should I first try to learn how to FRED, or should I first try to put my idea on paper (which I believe I'm gonna start just after posting anyway)?

Or, should I consume myself and burn forever because I've never played the original FS?



As a side note, I'd like to let you know that even if I'm noobish with FS2 (and total noob with campaign creation), I do have *some* linking to the game universe. I'm a programmer (well, will officially have a paper proving it in 4 months) and I'm a big fan of pretty much anything space-based (played X-Wing vs Tie Figther for ages, loved HomeWorld, loved X-Wing Alliance). I prefer to let you know what I can do before you suggest me to burn in hell forever (or something else, if not playing FS isn't that bad of a crime).

Finally, I'd like to thank you for taking time to read me, and thank everyone here for helping the FS world to live (foreva!)

karajorma

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« Reply #1 on: February 10, 2006, 10:38:09 AM »
Right. First thing is that you shouldn't create a campaign just cause you want to create one. If you don't have a good idea for a campaign you'll just be flailing about until you do get one. So make sure you have something first. Otherwise you'll probably think of something halfway through and you'll have wasted your time until then.

Someone once said something in reply to a similar topic which I feel is good advice. Write down your plotline and then leave it for 2 weeks and go play FS2 a lot. If when you come back you still think it's great then you've got something worth developing.

Experience of the other campaigns isn't needed but it's certainly not harmful. Figuring out what works and what doesn't by playing more missions is a good idea. I would suggest getting hold of the FS2 to FS1 port from HLP and playing that too though. It's always a good idea to have a handle on the canon universe unless you can find someone to double check everything for you.

Since you have programming skills you probably won't find FRED hard to learn at all. FRED is simple enough that many non-programmers can understand it. The fact that people write entire working missions and still get confused by how to use variables should give you an idea of how easy it actually is to learn for someone who knows how to program already.
 You'll find a whole bunch of help in my FAQ.

 Of course if your expertise is in C++ you might want to consider helping program for FS2_Open in addition to making a campaign. We need good coders and "Helped in the development of an open source game engine" looks great on your CV. :)

The last choice available to you is to join one of the teams. There are quite a few that need FREDders. You may not need to go it alone.

Scrogneugneu

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« Reply #2 on: February 10, 2006, 06:13:10 PM »
Thanks for the advice :)

I already began writing it down, actually. The more I think about it, the more I get ideas of new missions, all putting some meat around the bone of the campaign. I'll continue and finish it, and then play FS with it in mind, as suggested :)


As for what FS I'll be playing, I believe it will be the FS1 to FS2 port (I guess that's what you meant, because a FS2 to FS1 port wouldn't be that great ;)). I was also considering the Sync / Transcend duo, as they seem to be considered good by the community. I'll look into them, but as I asked in my first post, is there any other campaign than Derelict and the original FS2 campaign with voices?


If FRED is that close to programming, then I shouldn't have that much trouble understanding it. I'll make sure my idea is very complete before launching myself in that adventure, though. However, as of now, it's pretty clear that I'll need some new models to make my idea live, and new models include new textures. That field is pretty different, and I have no idea on how to do that kind of stuff. I'll have to look into it later.

I was already considering helping with FS2_Open, but what I might lack are both experience and time to get it done. As of now, I have 2 jobs (a full-time programming job and a part-time programming job), and a girlfriend to please. Squeezing FS2 into it is already kind of hard, but as soon as I see an opportunity, I'll hop in :)

As for going in on another team, that might be useful to learn how to create such a campaign, but wouldn't let me put down the storyline I've thought about. Well, I guess it's better to have 4 completed campaigns than 45 in progress, so I might help a little in order to hunt for experience. I'll have to see which project seems very good before choosing (I must create myself a reputation!).

Thanks again for the help :) Continue to make suggestions if you feel you might add anything useful.

karajorma

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« Reply #3 on: February 10, 2006, 07:23:52 PM »
Quote from: Scrogneugneu
I was also considering the Sync / Transcend duo, as they seem to be considered good by the community.


Haven't played Sync but Transcend is a good example of why a good plotline is much more important than technical skill with FRED (not that I'm maligning RA's skill). Many of the missions in Transcend are fairly repeatative but the campaign's plotline is so good that there's no way you can abandon it halfway through.  

Quote

I'll look into them, but as I asked in my first post, is there any other campaign than Derelict and the original FS2 campaign with voices?


The Babylon 5 Total Conversion has voice acting. I can't think of many FS2 campaigns which do though. There are a few older ones on the volitionwatch archives that did but I can't remember any names.

Quote

If FRED is that close to programming, then I shouldn't have that much trouble understanding it.


The basic skills you need to be a good FREDder are similar to those needed to be a good programmer. You have to be able to think about what state a mission will be at any given point and write the mission so that all possible outcomes are predicted and dealt with.
 Understanding how SEXPs work is pretty simple providing you do the walkthrough that comes with FRED. Reading it will help but if you take the time to actually make the mission it describes rather than simply reading it I doubt you'll need much further training in how to use FRED. All you'll need is some pointers on how to use the SEXPs it didn't cover (basically anything in FS2_Open and a few of the older ones). That stuff is largely covered in my FAQ anyway.

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 I'll make sure my idea is very complete before launching myself in that adventure, though. However, as of now, it's pretty clear that I'll need some new models to make my idea live, and new models include new textures. That field is pretty different, and I have no idea on how to do that kind of stuff. I'll have to look into it later.


Be very careful of falling into the trap of thinking you need brand new models for everything. There are hundreds of publically released FS2 mods floating around. Simply posting a topic on HLP saying "I need a small cruiser about the same size as the Fenris" will have people flinging their mods at you :)

That's not to say that you shouldn't try if you feel you may have the aptitude but just to say that you shouldn't try making an entire campaign with lots of new mods singlehanded.

Quote

I was already considering helping with FS2_Open, but what I might lack are both experience and time to get it done. As of now, I have 2 jobs (a full-time programming job and a part-time programming job), and a girlfriend to please. Squeezing FS2 into it is already kind of hard, but as soon as I see an opportunity, I'll hop in :)


I'd suggest you get started with little things and work your way up. New SEXPs are relatively easy to add from what I've heard and I'm sure Goober wouldn't mind someone taking the pressure off him to add new ones.

[dw]-hunter

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« Reply #4 on: February 10, 2006, 07:42:05 PM »
Quote from: karajorma
Of course if your expertise is in C++ you might want to consider helping program for FS2_Open in addition to making a campaign. We need good coders and "Helped in the development of an open source game engine" looks great on your CV. :)


Well said, i hope you consider multiplayer a good project to work on :D (im a multiplayer nut, and 6 year multi veteran)

Star Dragon

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« Reply #5 on: February 11, 2006, 11:11:20 AM »
If you are doing a [FS2 oriented] mission, then new models are really not needed. What you need are three things: Story, story, and did I say story?

That's what seperates good campaings from GREAT campaigns.

You can't compare TC's (like TBP) cause that's a whole other ball of wax and they have to be judged by the source they are emulating, not the FS2 storyline.

Use of "new goodies" are nice for eyecandy or maybe a twist or technological innovation/improvement which logically happens over time. It's not everything though. :D

Crap, wasn't Dues_Ex_Machina voiced? Take a gander at that sometime. PURE COMEDY! bet you never would have believed someone would make a campaign like that... (Insert blatant product advertisement here: "Drink Bosch Beer, or else!")

Hope this gets you into the right mindset, l8tr!
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Goober5000

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« Reply #6 on: February 11, 2006, 06:44:59 PM »
Deus Ex Machina wasn't voiced, but I think it works just fine on its own. ;) It helps to press F4 if you want to make sure you see all the messages.

Scrogneugneu, we'd be thrilled to have another coder. :) All you have to do is chip in every once in a while.  Fixing bugs and adding sexps are two really simple things new coders can do to get started; you wouldn't believe how many bugs in Mantis are simple enough to be fixed quickly but just need someone to spend time testing them.  Of course, we'd love it if you'd be able to spend time on some of the more requested features too, like a cross-platform FRED. ;)

Scrogneugneu

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« Reply #7 on: February 12, 2006, 09:42:46 PM »
Quote from: Star Dragon
If you are doing a [FS2 oriented] mission, then new models are really not needed. What you need are three things: Story, story, and did I say story?


Agreed, playing FS2 for me is following a story in a universe I love, much more than killing ships. I've already written down the main plot, mission by mission, and I'm currently up to 21 missions, with my idea somewhere near half completed. Some of these are what I would call "interactive cinematics".

Quote from: Star Dragon
Use of "new goodies" are nice for eyecandy or maybe a twist or technological innovation/improvement which logically happens over time. It's not everything though. :D


It depends on the context. For my campaign, using existing models would be totally impossible. It is indeed advisable to use existing models and such as much as possible, but there are some ideas that just require something new ;)


Quote from: Goober5000
Scrogneugneu, we'd be thrilled to have another coder.  All you have to do is chip in every once in a while. Fixing bugs and adding sexps are two really simple things new coders can do to get started; you wouldn't believe how many bugs in Mantis are simple enough to be fixed quickly but just need someone to spend time testing them. Of course, we'd love it if you'd be able to spend time on some of the more requested features too, like a cross-platform FRED.


Well, I would love to get in. However the main problem is the time I have to do it.

I'm starting a new full time job tomorrow, and can't possibly know how much time it will take from me every day (as of now, it should be around 2 hours of transport, twice, each day, plus the actual work and preparation before going, which would account for roughly 13-14 hours every day spent on my job). Plus, I already have a part time programming job, scheduled anywhere when I have some time, AND I have my girlfriend, with who I'd like to spend some time with.

If you take the whole picture, I should have around 1 hour (maybe 2) of free time every day of the week. And I still want to make that campaign idea I have...


However, if you can just send me a little task with the "do it if you find some time to do it" deadline, it might be possible to make it. And since I can start testing how much time my job will take from me tomorrow, I'll have a better idea of if I can actually help a little bit with it :)