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design_blog [2019/02/06 17:29]
design_blog [2019/08/13 16:55] (current)
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 This page contains entries written by members of the Game Team and other people involved in the design and running of OSLRP events. Often originally taken from Facebook and other places, they are written to give more of an understanding of why the game works the way it does, and the intent behind some game elements. This page contains entries written by members of the Game Team and other people involved in the design and running of OSLRP events. Often originally taken from Facebook and other places, they are written to give more of an understanding of why the game works the way it does, and the intent behind some game elements.
 +===== Missions & Bounties =====
 +//written by Nathan McDonald in February 2019, between Events 2 & 3//
 +Firstly a bit about me, Orion Sphere is the first game I have really been involved in the running of, having got into LRP some 13 years ago thanks to my old HR Manager! I’ve played various fantasy, sci-fi and other systems in my time and love this hobby and I fell in love with this concept when Mike and Conan spoke to me about NPC-ing for the MegaCorps. To say I ran with it is probably an understatement as I am now helping with other aspects of the game!
 +I’m going to talk today about Missions and Bounties! These are two vitally important portions of our game which we feel very passionate about, because we see them as fundamentally different to how most other Live Action Roleplay systems bring ‘plot’ and ‘activities’ to their player bases. They are also the primary mechanism for players to engage with one of our unique selling points, the Starship Simulator.
 +As Mike has already written about, we wanted to introduce new and different ways for our players to engage with the game and as we were perusing around the various inspirations,​ we thought about the things we loved in our genre, the science fictions TV shows and movies yes, the roleplaying games of course, but also computer games. All RPG or MMORPG type computer games have some kind of ‘running plot’ (or story) which is given by mainly forced interactions with a primary NPC (or series thereof), but in addition to these primary plotlines there are also ‘side-quests’;​ either given by NPC’s you cross in locations you visit or obtained from various points of interaction,​ in some cases these being as explicit as computer terminals with quests you can choose from. Thus, an idea was born; this is a sci-fi game, we can do that! This will enable players to pick and choose the types of things which they can and want to do and are not reliant on finding the right NPC to be able to go and do a mission. Albeit we have learned fast that we do need to ensure a better wider understanding of the missions is needed among our NPC team as I became a bit of a single point of failure, particularly at Event 2 where I was needed elsewhere much more!
 +At every Orion Sphere LRP game, you will find a list of publicly-available (more on that later) missions in our central ‘Corporations’ complex. This list will be updated over the course of the weekend and is made available via computer screens/​projection screens and heck even a White Board at a push, when we need to get something out to the player base more quickly than we have time to update our computer files. These missions constitute the things which various parties want the players to do, while they are on the planet/in the system where that particular event was set. The missions are all managed by the Clearance Organsiation (CO), the MegaCorp responsible for managing the contracts and money in the Universe. There will be more on the Mega Corporations in my next blog, but for now think of the CO as the galactic lawyers and bankers and you won’t go far wrong. The CO will pay you whatever value is attributed to the mission in question, if it’s conditions for completion are met.
 +Missions can take many forms and approximately 50% of them will require you to use a spaceship either to travel to a nearby location or because the objective is in some way in space. Each mission is displayed with the following information:​
 +• A unique identifier (We also use this identifier to key-code if missions are one-off or recurring (i.e. they can be completed multiple times),
 +• Name of the mission,
 +• Short description of the objective,
 +• Who placed the mission (Usually a MegaCorp or one of the factions, occasionally it is unique to the Event)
 +• How much you will be paid
 +The types of missions are varied, in space these may be thinks like combat missions to target space pirates, rescue missions for stranded vessels or survey missions for interesting nearby phenomena or to simply complete system surveys, we’ll probably do a blog about the Space Simulation side of the game in the future, but the way the simulator works allows us vast amounts of flexibility and also allows an element of random (cosmic) encounters to be thrown in to any mission. Our ground or planetary based missions may involve finding items, surveying or mapping areas, eliminating local threats, sampling local biology or progressing specific objectives which link to the main plot/theme for the weekend. The recurring missions tend to relate to the weekends primary theme, the one-off missions may or may not do so. We have also put some thought into ensuring at least a few of our missions are explicitly ‘child friendly’;​ making the objectives achievable by younger members of the game and we hope enjoyable for them! Going forward we are also going to be looking at ensuring we have some missions which explicitly consider accessibility requirements,​ we’ve put a great deal of thought into this side of our game this year, having seen some other systems doing some excellent things and we want to try ensure all elements of our game are accessible.
 +Missions scroll through periodically on one (or two) computer screens, we had some issues with the pacing on this which we have looked at for our next event, but these are only one side of the publicly available activities which our players can interact with. The other is Bounties. Bounties are very similar in terms of how they are presented to the players, but there is one major difference in that they are not ‘go and do’ type things; in order to be able to complete a bounty, you will need to in some way shape or form, find some information relevant to that bounty in the game environment in order to be able to complete it. That information may be available from an NPC, it may be available via an item found lying around, an NPC may in fact be a target of a bounty, but did you find that out before they left, or were scurried away? The majority of public bounties are for people to be captured, occasionally but rarely a bounty is publicly placed for a target to be killed, but as many bounty targets typically have affinity with one or more of the factions and/or one of the MegaCorps, the CO does not look favourably on another faction or MegaCorp placing a public bounty for execution on each other. As a result of bounties being inherently more complicated and difficult to complete, the rewards are much more significant.
 +Now we’ve had a good bit of feedback on Bounties; there was some confusion about how one could ‘take up’ a bounty and progress it effectively,​ indeed at Event 1 no bounties were completed, although a few were at Event 2, one of which linked back to some player action which had happened at the first event. However we recognise that the element of having to go and find information to be able to complete a bounty requires to do a bit more signposting,​ so we will be seeding more information into the game at our next Event, Accord, in relation to the bounties. We’ll also be making sure that all players who have interacted in efforts to pursue a bounty will get some response to that. As Mike said in his blog again, reacting to what our players do and giving them a direct return on it is an imperative part of how we want to run Orion Sphere overall and so we hope those players and indeed the new ones will enjoy the follow ups we have for them!
 +One final thing to say about Missions and Bounties, which may or may not have been obvious to our players so far is that this is one of the main ways in which we are currently seeding into our game some on-running plot arcs, with their own implications and galactic impact above and beyond the focus of each individual week. Will Captain Ironhand continue to collect the spoils of her piracy, just what was that cult doing on that neighbouring planet we didn’t get around to investigating,​ is K’Ragi really that powerful he can wipe out Free Union fleets with impunity, and what really goes on deep in the heart of Texas? You’ll have to come play our game to follow up on those references!
 +Now, I’ve spoken here a lot about what is publicly available; those things which are posted on the Missions and Bounties screens publicly. But in addition to what is publicly available, like all good large and interactive environments,​ there are other missions which are available from other NPC’s which you will see around and whilst this may seem like things given out in a more traditional fashion, the CO will still be tracking these and often be the ones who will pay out for their completion. Any MegaCorps or Faction NPC, of indeed NPC’s you may meet whilst doing other missions may have some things available for you to do, if you have the right sort of reputation that those NPC’s may want to engage you to do those missions of course, I’ll come back to reputation in a later blog. They may also have alternative or supplementary objectives to complete whilst doing public missions which other factions and MegaCorps do not know about, typically these would be more nefarious objectives than the publicly stated ones, in the case of bounties, this would often be kill/​execute rather than capture. These are not openly referred to in the game, but we do still track them in the same way and in 95% of the cases, the CO is aware of them, very rarely the CO is the subject of a mission or bounty and are deliberately not looped in. This CO involvement is important, as the CO can act as arbiters in the case of any dispute, any mission or bounty undertaken without the CO’s knowledge is inherently considered ‘illegal’ in galactic terms, that doesn’t mean to say that it is policed, but it does mean for example, that payment for completion cannot be enforced.
 +I’ve spoken a bit about why we did this for in character and thematic reasons, but there is also a good reason why we do this from an out of character perspective as well. The missions and the associated activities we largely expect players to do for those missions form the backbone for our encounter-planning,​ it lets us have a set of encounters we can roll out as needed we have planned for, but without us having to have a rigid and set schedule when they must or must not happen. In fact with one or two exceptions, there isn’t really a specific schedule for any encounters at our events, we have a general flow and idea and certain missions need to happen in day time (light), others in the evening (dark), that is about it. We can respond to what a player wants to do and when, within the limitations of what crew we have available at a given moment and we are thankfully blessed to have great and willing crew members!
 +We also believe that this format provides a solid signposted and goal-based introduction for people new to Live Action Roleplay. We understand that not knowing what to do can be one of the most intimidating things for people at new systems and we recognise some LRP’s struggle with this and equally others have addressed it very well. It breaks things into discrete and manageable tasks which link to Factions, MegaCorps and elements of our game that let new players introduce themselves to (individuals and themes) as they go and get the right help to move things forward at a pace which suits them. This is equally true for experienced players as well as new players of course, with increasing recognition coming from an individual’s interactions with the MegaCorps, Faction or event specific NPC’s getting those players, new and old, noticed and drawn into the reputation side of the game, which I will go into more detail about, another time.
 ===== Balance ===== ===== Balance =====
design_blog.txt · Last modified: 2019/08/13 16:55 (external edit)