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Odyssey - Aurora's Gamemode Revolution


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Today I announce to you the fruit of half a year of constant thinking, scheming, going back to the drawing board, questioning, and whatever else. Our gameplay loop is not sustainable and not fixable. Aurora as it is right now cannot continue existing.

We need a revolution. I present to you Odyssey - there won't be any TL;DRs as reading the entire document is expressly required to understand the implementation, its goals, what it entails and its effects on the server.

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1CU2KY5Pwzu5izL5eu9l6k5cH1Rit7t_8RalDpgDnJG8/edit?usp=sharing

Please leave your feedback here ONLY AFTER YOU READ THE ENTIRE DOCUMENT.

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I cannot agree enough in regards to that antags really just don't work for HRP and haven't for a very long time. Pretty much any regular player who's been here for more than a few months is probably going to say the same. The issue is however is that the people discussing this, working on the discord, and in the forums themselves, are always the same dozen or so people which can lead to something of an echo chamber. I'm concerned what this might do to the wider player base, though I suppose there's a line of thinking that if they're not getting involved, it's really their problem. So I think feedback really needs to be actively encouraged in game as well as on here, and absolutely not with any kind of default poll.

I suppose my general concerns are:

- The 'GM' role as that's really what this is, is going to be very high intensity and stress. Given how the player base is and the expectations will be, I think this is probably going to VERY quickly lead to burn out. I GM pretty regularly with close friends and even then it can be quite taxing, so having an entire server watching your every move may honestly be too much. The scenario blueprints will help but it'll still be a lot.

- 2 hour rounds may not be long enough. It's the engineering issue where once you're actually finished with your project, it's time to go onto the next one. I'm not sure if this is a bad thing or not. For me, 2 hours out of my day to play a round is a really big chunk of free time. If that goes up even higher, it's going to be a headache for the folks who work long hours and have other responsibilities. Using the template system is probably useful but I can't see how the round timer isn't going to need to go up. You see this in events where getting the volunteers ready always takes longer than expected. The storyteller will absolutely need time to set up before going in.

- The options you've given are pretty much admin level. I have my own thoughts about how mods/admins work and how frustrating being in the former category can be, and this might make it a bit worse, though it's going to depend on how this story teller role comes to be - is it a staff role? As I think it's probably going to have to be. The other thing is more from a practical PoV that the perms there - especially build mode - are extremely fiddly and I very much expect some unfortunate accidents to take place. Again, not a bad thing, but it'll need to be really well documented.

- This might further increase the lean into 'LARP' territory. It'll probably do away with some of the quieter, social RP types of rounds which I don't think is a good thing.

In general these points are negative, but mostly as I'm not sure what to say positively - in the sense that this is absolutely where I think the server should go. So it's more just stuff in bear in mind.

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3 minutes ago, Peppermint said:

- The 'GM' role as that's really what this is, is going to be very high intensity and stress. Given how the player base is and the expectations will be, I think this is probably going to VERY quickly lead to burn out. I GM pretty regularly with close friends and even then it can be quite taxing, so having an entire server watching your every move may honestly be too much. The scenario blueprints will help but it'll still be a lot.

 

That's why the Missions themselves don't need a GM to run - they're made to work as is, then someone can roll a GM and run their own thing if they want to. I'd also like to police expectation in a sense - this is a good excuse to cut down on the antag toxicity we have and to go towards a more sane "roll with the punches" culture. At the same time, I don't think Storytellers need to do anything too out there if they don't want to... they can do something fairly simple if they'd like to as well, like just adding some extra roles to a Mission. But that's all up in the air as "ifs".

4 minutes ago, Peppermint said:

- 2 hour rounds may not be long enough. It's the engineering issue where once you're actually finished with your project, it's time to go onto the next one. I'm not sure if this is a bad thing or not. For me, 2 hours out of my day to play a round is a really big chunk of free time. If that goes up even higher, it's going to be a headache for the folks who work long hours and have other responsibilities. Using the template system is probably useful but I can't see how the round timer isn't going to need to go up. You see this in events where getting the volunteers ready always takes longer than expected. The storyteller will absolutely need time to set up before going in.

I think whether or not two hour rounds are long enough is something that'll only crop up once we start playtesting, so I have no definite answer. The volunteer stuff is soft-handled by there being a delay in the Horizon getting to the Mission (it'll probably take 15 mins to get to the planet).

5 minutes ago, Peppermint said:

- The options you've given are pretty much admin level. I have my own thoughts about how mods/admins work and how frustrating being in the former category can be, and this might make it a bit worse, though it's going to depend on how this story teller role comes to be - is it a staff role? As I think it's probably going to have to be. The other thing is more from a practical PoV that the perms there - especially build mode - are extremely fiddly and I very much expect some unfortunate accidents to take place. Again, not a bad thing, but it'll need to be really well documented.

Storyteller isn't a staff role. My idea is to implement it as a "player state" where you have the verbs to do things that staff do, but no actual normal perms. Build mode is being updated right now actually, there's a PR up that ports a much better version of it.

6 minutes ago, Peppermint said:

- This might further increase the lean into 'LARP' territory. It'll probably do away with some of the quieter, social RP types of rounds which I don't think is a good thing.

This is a valid concern, though I think a Non-Canon Mission should be no different from a normal antag round, and Canon Missions really shouldn't be anything LARP-y unless required by the current arc/sector.

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Hi Matt.

As a preface. I am someone is quite unsatisfied with the current antag system. Primarily because yes, it ends up with repeating non-canon stuff that gets very wearing, even more-so that whenever I played high pop it seems to almost always be merc or another "high intensity" antag that soaks up lots of attention and time away from other roleplay once they show up. It has gotten to the point of groaning every time the 50 minute - 1 hour merc announcement pops up and I know my time spent roleplaying with characters who will actually be present and matter is gone in place of dealing with a gimmick, which, frankly often leave a lot to be desired. I am also someone who doesn't really play antagonist for the reasons stated as well. I only turn on head loyalist/rev for where I feel it'd be appropriate for the character.

Overall, the proposal is very exciting. We need to make a change, and any change is a good place to start in my opinion. I do however want to echo peppermint and focus on my own critiques of what's presented as at it's core I already heavily agree with and support the proposal, so there's not much I can say on that front other than "please please please do this"

My main concern is this is inevitably going to be a lot of work, not only to implement originally, but also to keep fresh. Especially the canon interactions part. There's only so many times you can canonically save the same golden deep ship or visit the same temple map, especially with no storyteller involved which I feel will end up being a good chunk of mission rounds due to the demands that role will place on people at times compared to how many rounds we will roll of it. Is there going to be enough interest going forward and enough content put in to keep things fresh? The thing I would hate to see happen is this fall into the cycle of repeating content, so people get tired of it and go to secret, and then it just doesn't get worked on as much as secret becomes the new standard again.

Which brings me to another concern, how will the standard be shifted from secret to mission? People are used to secret. It's almost always the voted round type in 90% of cases. Obviously you can make mission the default and people will be interested at the start but I feel like there will be players who want secret still and it has the benefit of being the established "norm" for a roundtype to fire. Once again. It worries me that even with the effort put into it, people might just return to wanting secret instead. 

In summary, whilst I feel like I would love this new system and almost always prefer it over secret, personally. I'm concerned about it's longevity and continuing to have content added to it, in the same way as things like away sites tend to repeat after a while of going out to them as well as it breaking secrets hold as the dominant, default gamemode. This is all very much a doomer take and once again I want to say that I really support this idea and think it's absolutely the best course forward and I'm incredibly happy that basically all my complaints with the current system are being taken into account with this proposal.

A final concern, though this is a personal one and I completely understand if the response is "Well just wait for mission briefing" but this as I said feels like it will be lots of work, and maybe a long ways off. In the meantime there's not going to be any changes to address the fatigue of the antag gameplay loop. I don't even really dislike antags personally. I just dislike their frequency more than anything. I'd probably be fine with the current system if extended just rolled more around high pop times, hence why I always vote for it over secret. 

Will there be anything to look at the fatigue people feel with antagonists prior to this update? Or is your plan Matt to focus on getting this done as the solution rather than a short-term one like as an example, making extended roll more often in secret or something. 

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45 minutes ago, MattAtlas said:

That's why the Missions themselves don't need a GM to run - they're made to work as is, then someone can roll a GM and run their own thing if they want to. I'd also like to police expectation in a sense - this is a good excuse to cut down on the antag toxicity we have and to go towards a more sane "roll with the punches" culture. At the same time, I don't think Storytellers need to do anything too out there if they don't want to... they can do something fairly simple if they'd like to as well, like just adding some extra roles to a Mission. But that's all up in the air as "ifs".

I think whether or not two hour rounds are long enough is something that'll only crop up once we start playtesting, so I have no definite answer. The volunteer stuff is soft-handled by there being a delay in the Horizon getting to the Mission (it'll probably take 15 mins to get to the planet).

Storyteller isn't a staff role. My idea is to implement it as a "player state" where you have the verbs to do things that staff do, but no actual normal perms. Build mode is being updated right now actually, there's a PR up that ports a much better version of it.

This is a valid concern, though I think a Non-Canon Mission should be no different from a normal antag round, and Canon Missions really shouldn't be anything LARP-y unless required by the current arc/sector.

What do you think about keeping it more centered on the Horizon? My worry for time also comes up for the actual briefing. It takes forever to get landing parties together and most people get pretty bored of exo ruins and similar after a while. Keeping the option to be there is good, but I think it'd be a bit better off factoring mainly on the Horizon itself - that way you also don't uproot people too often from what they want to RP separate from the conflict side.

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5 minutes ago, SilverSZ said:

My main concern is this is inevitably going to be a lot of work, not only to implement originally, but also to keep fresh. Especially the canon interactions part. There's only so many times you can canonically save the same golden deep ship or visit the same temple map, especially with no storyteller involved which I feel will end up being a good chunk of mission rounds due to the demands that role will place on people at times compared to how many rounds we will roll of it. Is there going to be enough interest going forward and enough content put in to keep things fresh? The thing I would hate to see happen is this fall into the cycle of repeating content, so people get tired of it and go to secret, and then it just doesn't get worked on as much as secret becomes the new standard again.

This is probably my biggest concern here as well, and I feel like more details would be helpful in this regard. From the way it reads, without a Storyteller role you're simply going into the Mission with a similar outline as the other times it cycled to this particular mission. I can see this being exciting for the first few dozen times it gets run, but in time it'll lead to the same issue that Adhomai/Konyang had regarding planet-side ghost-roles. After a while, people get tired of the same exact thing, and it feels as if there would be a good chunk of limitations to the average "Actor" player in regards to telling a story, since a heavy emphasis is being placed on the story-teller to create 'mini-events' almost.

 

That said:

 

Quote

To solve the problem itself, a good amount (ideally, almost all barring BCs/the XO/Captain)  of the Horizon’s crew will need to go down to the planet. The fulcrum of the gamemode will be whatever happens on the planet, so the main way to interact with things is to go down there. Players will still have a choice on where to play - off duties and (some of the) civilian department members obviously aren’t required or expected to go down.

I do think this will be a good solution for juggling the people who want high-intensity/combat in a round, and those who would prefer not to at the moment or in general without having to play extended. As it stands currently, playing off-duty doesn't make you exempt to getting kidnapped and killed by the mercs, or accidentally getting set on fire by the techno. Surprisingly, people usually don't enjoy this happening. Dividing the ship into two sections feels like it would create an environment where both subsets of players are being seen to. In an ideal world obviously, you wouldn't have people complaining about there being too little or too much action because they chose to stay on the ship or go down. Of course, that's implying this implementation works perfectly.

I think my only other comment is similar to the questions about how secret will be changed, but more specifically: what is the rollout in this going to look like? I don't see it mentioned in the Doc anywhere. Will this be something that gets drip-fed to the playerbase with like, a Mission round every weekend to get them used to idea, is it going to be a flooding-like situation where the server is rapidly shifted over to the concept? Perhaps that's outside of the current scope of the basic suggestion, but I'd still like to know how this would be implemented for the average player if it did go through.

Is there a current timeline of when these changes would be made to begin with, if they went through? I know the statement is that it's been 'in the works' for six months, as a brainstorm but is there any idea on how long this concept would take to implement? I'm assuming it would be a massive ordeal, so is this something that would be a year? A couple years?

As it stands, the concept is unique and a refreshing take that would keep Aurora uniquely different from other servers, while being a positive step forward for RP in general. I just feel like I'd appreciate more details for the finer stuff at some point.

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A long time ago, I had an idea for a server. The players would be part of a rescue ship - The Azure Rogue I was going to call it. A pipedream.

Every round would be some off ship site, the ship would have been some interstellar rescue service. The idea of the Horizon been as such tickles me in a way I cannot discribe. As we've seen in the past, ghost roles can be some of the most exciting interactions on Aurora. Having a mission for the ship as a gametype involves nearly everyone proactively.

I have a few concerns however:

  1. Having "Mission" been the "default" - I know I would personally prefer mission to just be a selectable game mode alongside the others already in the game, even as part of the secret rotation (secret is somewhat of a misnomer these days, as people tend to immediately know what it is when an antag appears. Maybe rename it "Random"). I think there should be a certain population required for it to roll at all too - with requirements like at least one pilot (be it BO, RD, Miner etc.)
  2. I hope mission can even be a combined game mode - a traitor spawning on the Horizon and working towards the same "gimmick" played by the away site ghost roles could be a lot of fun. Obviously, these would only be for "non canon" Missions.
  3. I'm concerned for making them canon by default, given the same situation will arrise fairly often. Canon missions should be heavily restricted to happening which might feasibly be common - rescuing people from damage ships, or skirmishes with pirates for example.
  4. With a greater emphesis on off ship action certain items should be added. For example easier access to expedition channel for cross departmental co-ordination, stronger security EVA gear.
  5. With the recent discussion over XO, I think having them positioned as been the default "away team" lead/co-ordinator between the Horizon/Cap and the away team could be intresting. If not, I think a role akin to Bay's Pathfinder would be a good addition.

Storytellers seem like an amazing idea - I've often thought what I would do had I the power to run events. I'd be signing upto that WL day on

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This looks extremely promising! I know there's a lot of people that have been eagerly awaiting a change like this, and I'm very glad to see it being tackled.

One concern I do have is how service in particular is going to be involved in these missions. As things stand right now, the usual way service gets very unique gameplay other than the usual bar or kitchen roleplay is from antagonists that are already on the ship coming to them. Right now, nobody that isn't bridge crew, security, medical, or engineering has very much reason to be present on an expedition, and if you do volunteer as a service role, you'll have nothing to do besides trailing those people around. Expeditions for service characters basically just mean that a significant portion of the crew are about to disappear, and you'll now have the luxury of presiding over an empty bar. 

Missions relating specifically to service are cute, but I'd like if service always - or, at least, frequently - could expect to have some gameplay during missions other than playing extended back on the Horizon with fewer other characters to interact with. Forward bases are a very cute idea I like the sound of (especially since it also gives engineering something to do!), but if missions can be sent to ships or stations or asteroids, I doubt we'll always have the space to set up tents and makeshift kitchens and bars.

I assume these mission expeditions are going to be much larger than the ones currently taken on the Intrepid. I don't know if an expansion or replacement to the Intrepid is planned at this stage, but if it is, I'd absolutely love to see some very basic service amenities built into it. Perhaps a miniature joint bar and kitchen, so even when there's no space for service to set up a forward base, chefs and bartenders will be able to stay on the shuttle, keep the injured company, and make the shuttle a roleplay rich environment that's also more than tangentially related to the wider events in the mission. Service could proactively involve themselves in what's happening, rather than either isolating themselves on the Horizon, or having nothing really to do on the mission.

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3 hours ago, SilverSZ said:

My main concern is this is inevitably going to be a lot of work, not only to implement originally, but also to keep fresh. Especially the canon interactions part. There's only so many times you can canonically save the same golden deep ship or visit the same temple map, especially with no storyteller involved which I feel will end up being a good chunk of mission rounds due to the demands that role will place on people at times compared to how many rounds we will roll of it. Is there going to be enough interest going forward and enough content put in to keep things fresh? The thing I would hate to see happen is this fall into the cycle of repeating content, so people get tired of it and go to secret, and then it just doesn't get worked on as much as secret becomes the new standard again.

Repeating content is a concern with anything. No matter what kind of new gamemode or new away site or new anything I would make, there's always going to be repetition. It's up to characters, the storytellers, the missions and the actors to keep it fresh - there's now four layers (five if you count admins) to keep things new instead of just two (antags and characters), which is about the best we can do. If the community gets involved enough, they can make new missions, and keep things fresh for everyone.

3 hours ago, SilverSZ said:

Which brings me to another concern, how will the standard be shifted from secret to mission? People are used to secret. It's almost always the voted round type in 90% of cases. Obviously you can make mission the default and people will be interested at the start but I feel like there will be players who want secret still and it has the benefit of being the established "norm" for a roundtype to fire. Once again. It worries me that even with the effort put into it, people might just return to wanting secret instead. 

The gamemode will just be dropped with a few missions and people will be told to vote it. When I say it needs to become the default I mean that eventually we'll have to start thinking about a "Mission Briefing" optic when adding things rather than a "Secret" thing. If you're adding a gun to sec, at some point we have to start thinking about how if it fits with the new gamemode, rather than if it's too OP for lings.

3 hours ago, SilverSZ said:

Will there be anything to look at the fatigue people feel with antagonists prior to this update?

From me personally, no. Don't really have the time to do two things at once.

3 hours ago, Peppermint said:

What do you think about keeping it more centered on the Horizon? My worry for time also comes up for the actual briefing. It takes forever to get landing parties together and most people get pretty bored of exo ruins and similar after a while. Keeping the option to be there is good, but I think it'd be a bit better off factoring mainly on the Horizon itself - that way you also don't uproot people too often from what they want to RP separate from the conflict side.

I thought about it and I realised that adding Missions that take place exclusively on the Horizon would be pretty easy, so yeah it's possible, they'd just be different kinds of Missions. I do want to make landing parties and expedition prep way faster at the same time.

3 hours ago, Girdio said:

I think my only other comment is similar to the questions about how secret will be changed, but more specifically: what is the rollout in this going to look like? I don't see it mentioned in the Doc anywhere. Will this be something that gets drip-fed to the playerbase with like, a Mission round every weekend to get them used to idea, is it going to be a flooding-like situation where the server is rapidly shifted over to the concept? Perhaps that's outside of the current scope of the basic suggestion, but I'd still like to know how this would be implemented for the average player if it did go through.

The PR will be merged and people will be told to play the gamemode. No real way to test a gamemode other than dropping people in the frying pan.

3 hours ago, Girdio said:

Is there a current timeline of when these changes would be made to begin with, if they went through? I know the statement is that it's been 'in the works' for six months, as a brainstorm but is there any idea on how long this concept would take to implement? I'm assuming it would be a massive ordeal, so is this something that would be a year? A couple years?

End of July at the latest, probably.

1 hour ago, Fyni said:
  • Having "Mission" been the "default" - I know I would personally prefer mission to just be a selectable game mode alongside the others already in the game, even as part of the secret rotation (secret is somewhat of a misnomer these days, as people tend to immediately know what it is when an antag appears. Maybe rename it "Random"). I think there should be a certain population required for it to roll at all too - with requirements like at least one pilot (be it BO, RD, Miner etc.)

It is the plan for this to be a gamemode alongside the others, people would still be able to vote Secret or whatever. Read above on what "the default" means here.

1 hour ago, Fyni said:
  • I hope mission can even be a combined game mode - a traitor spawning on the Horizon and working towards the same "gimmick" played by the away site ghost roles could be a lot of fun. Obviously, these would only be for "non canon" Missions.

Would be up to the storyteller.

1 hour ago, Fyni said:
  • I'm concerned for making them canon by default, given the same situation will arrise fairly often. Canon missions should be heavily restricted to happening which might feasibly be common - rescuing people from damage ships, or skirmishes with pirates for example.

This is mostly addressed in the doc already (it says that Canon Missions should only be minor stuff most of the time), but yeah, things won't be autocanon. It's like if your character died to carps on an extended round. You'd just get to retcon it if you wanted. If there's an IR it would follow normal canonicity rules, aka you can retcon it if all involved agree.

1 hour ago, Fyni said:
  • With a greater emphesis on off ship action certain items should be added. For example easier access to expedition channel for cross departmental co-ordination, stronger security EVA gear.

I agree generally.

1 hour ago, Fyni said:
  1. With the recent discussion over XO, I think having them positioned as been the default "away team" lead/co-ordinator between the Horizon/Cap and the away team could be intresting. If not, I think a role akin to Bay's Pathfinder would be a good addition.

I'll keep this in mind, might be a good idea.

1 hour ago, hazelmouse said:

One concern I do have is how service in particular is going to be involved in these missions. As things stand right now, the usual way service gets very unique gameplay other than the usual bar or kitchen roleplay is from antagonists that are already on the ship coming to them. Right now, nobody that isn't bridge crew, security, medical, or engineering has very much reason to be present on an expedition, and if you do volunteer as a service role, you'll have nothing to do besides trailing those people around. Expeditions for service characters basically just mean that a significant portion of the crew are about to disappear, and you'll now have the luxury of presiding over an empty bar. 

I share these concerns but I'm not really 100% sure at the moment how to involve every single department, it's a good thing to keep in mind. The service FOB idea is about the only one I have other than Service making MREs and shit to send groundside or serving off-duties/anyone who stayed on the Horizon.

 

1 hour ago, hazelmouse said:

I assume these mission expeditions are going to be much larger than the ones currently taken on the Intrepid. I don't know if an expansion or replacement to the Intrepid is planned at this stage, but if it is, I'd absolutely love to see some very basic service amenities built into it. Perhaps a miniature joint bar and kitchen, so even when there's no space for service to set up a forward base, chefs and bartenders will be able to stay on the shuttle, keep the injured company, and make the shuttle a roleplay rich environment that's also more than tangentially related to the wider events in the mission. Service could proactively involve themselves in what's happening, rather than either isolating themselves on the Horizon, or having nothing really to do on the mission.

Agreed with everything here.

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2 hours ago, hazelmouse said:



I assume these mission expeditions are going to be much larger than the ones currently taken on the Intrepid. I don't know if an expansion or replacement to the Intrepid is planned at this stage, but if it is, I'd absolutely love to see some very basic service amenities built into it. Perhaps a miniature joint bar and kitchen, so even when there's no space for service to set up a forward base, chefs and bartenders will be able to stay on the shuttle, keep the injured company, and make the shuttle a roleplay rich environment that's also more than tangentially related to the wider events in the mission. Service could proactively involve themselves in what's happening, rather than either isolating themselves on the Horizon, or having nothing really to do on the mission.

This would be SO fucking cool.

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Hi Matt, I'll drop my five cents in on this.

All-in-all, this is a very cool idea, Antagonist play can easily get very stale, especially if bad game-modes constantly roll due to population issues / Antagonist ready issues and it just gets very frustrating over the time having to fight John Changeling for the morbillionth time and having to act surprised because their gimmick was not special in any way. It's like having someone Zeus in an Arma 3 Operation, it's just way more lively and interactive and much better than playing something 'pre-defined' (which is also the case here most of the time, because a majority, not EVERY, but a majority of Changelings think they have to big gigakiller John C. Ling). I am entirely supportive of this idea and would love to see it, though I have some question about this 'Whitelist' which will give quite some privileges to people:

First of all, the Command Whitelist as we have it is supposed to keep bad actors out of command roles and enforce higher roleplay standards, though, I am most likely not the only one that knows this, but the regulations all around getting it are not strict at all, anyone that gives a bit of writing effort and played a few rounds, even people not in the community for long, can easily get it. Now, how is that related? Well, the first question is:

Will said Whitelist be much much more restrictive than what we have in terms of other whitelists?

Don't get me wrong, I am not trying to gate-keep it here, though, in my opinion this should only be given out to very trusted members of the community, that have established a foothold and made a name for themselves in some way or form. No new members to the community, people that don't regularly play the game or interact with the community and people with a bad history of staff interactions as in notes, warnings, bans etc. should get this whitelist, in my eyes. Which brings me to the second question, I know peppermint kind of cut into this already, but I will just get straight to the point:

Will non-administrative staff members, in spotlight here, moderators (or CCIA), which are anchors of trust in the community get the whitelist as-is or preferably?

Again, I might seem totally biased because I fall exactly into that group and whoever reads this can gladly think I am, though I would say that we do quite a lot for the community overall, especially with just keeping the server clean and fun for the majority of people, I think most if not all of us are well-known community members that are regularly around, and I think we'd deserve getting a bit more into the fun-factor of things, running 'mini-events'. Sorry to everyone that isn't a mod, but someone had to say what nobody else wanted to hear, and that will be me.

Anyway, thanks for all the effort you put into the server regularly Matt, I hope this goes somewhere. o7

Edited by Loorey
ccia deserves some love too
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This is a perfect opportunity to actually tie the research department into the setting of the server; as they are and do feel very irrelevant. You'd think doing these types of missions would absolutely be in their realm of play: almost always. So when I read the bit about "how do we make this not security centric" I really don't know how to feel about it anymore, it sets this precedent that everything will be default security centric. I KNOW this was addressed in the faq, I just don't like that it's already a concern.

 

Antags now feel bad because of security balancing issues, and this is seen by the common comment "x round type is so much better with low sec or low med." I cannot fathom a scenario that this gamemode will solve the issue of antags feeling bad when going into it, it's already designed around security. Beyond that, implementing something like this will no doubt lead to older gamemodes getting shafted from lack of maintenance, already the case but made worse by the focus on missions. We also start running into scenarios where people who would rather stay on ship are completely excluded from mission rounds, something to keep an eye on during testing I suppose.

 

So my concerns are;

- if this isn't including the whole crew in some way, what's the point. You can focus certain away sites for certain departments but that doesn't feel good if you're not playing the "right" department.

- how do we balance security so they don't just steal the round type like they have done in the past and present?

- what will happen to the old round types going in to this, and for people who prefer them, how will they be maintained if at all?

 

Antag rounds as is involve the whole crew by design, but security has been so over balanced that they cannot try to interact with more than a few people without getting shot down 15 minutes in. Fixing current issues before deciding to completely redesign the gameplay loop feels like a better use of time, and adding more involved away sites can test the waters for an idea like this.

 

I think regulars are less interested in playing antags MOSTLY for the reasons above. Ofc canonicity ties in a bit; but when the examples are "zombie outbreak" are missions /really/ going to be cannon? Beyond that how much reconning are people going to be doing with violent missions, regardless of how plausible things are? Is cannonicity really the problem? Plus, conflict drives narratives, regardless of if you decide to keep those conflicts cannon or not.

 

All in all, I think it's a not a baaad idea, but it would really suck if it gets implemented and everyone just votes secret anyways after the "new gamemode" awe dies down. And it would suck just as bad if it meant the good things we do have get neglected, for a new gameplay loop people may or may not like. 

 

Sorry if this is a mess, typing it out on my phone

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1 hour ago, Loorey said:

Hi Matt, I'll drop my five cents in on this.

All-in-all, this is a very cool idea, Antagonist play can easily get very stale, especially if bad game-modes constantly roll due to population issues / Antagonist ready issues and it just gets very frustrating over the time having to fight John Changeling for the morbillionth time and having to act surprised because their gimmick was not special in any way. It's like having someone Zeus in an Arma 3 Operation, it's just way more lively and interactive and much better than playing something 'pre-defined' (which is also the case here most of the time, because a majority, not EVERY, but a majority of Changelings think they have to big gigakiller John C. Ling). I am entirely supportive of this idea and would love to see it, though I have some question about this 'Whitelist' which will give quite some privileges to people:

First of all, the Command Whitelist as we have it is supposed to keep bad actors out of command roles and enforce higher roleplay standards, though, I am most likely not the only one that knows this, but the regulations all around getting it are not strict at all, anyone that gives a bit of writing effort and played a few rounds, even people not in the community for long, can easily get it. Now, how is that related? Well, the first question is:

Will said Whitelist be much much more restrictive than what we have in terms of other whitelists?

Don't get me wrong, I am not trying to gate-keep it here, though, in my opinion this should only be given out to very trusted members of the community, that have established a foothold and made a name for themselves in some way or form. No new members to the community, people that don't regularly play the game or interact with the community and people with a bad history of staff interactions as in notes, warnings, bans etc. should get this whitelist, in my eyes. Which brings me to the second question, I know peppermint kind of cut into this already, but I will just get straight to the point:

Will non-administrative staff members, in spotlight here, moderators (or CCIA), which are anchors of trust in the community get the whitelist as-is or preferably?

Again, I might seem totally biased because I fall exactly into that group and whoever reads this can gladly think I am, though I would say that we do quite a lot for the community overall, especially with just keeping the server clean and fun for the majority of people, I think most if not all of us are well-known community members that are regularly around, and I think we'd deserve getting a bit more into the fun-factor of things, running 'mini-events'. Sorry to everyone that isn't a mod, but someone had to say what nobody else wanted to hear, and that will be me.

Anyway, thanks for all the effort you put into the server regularly Matt, I hope this goes somewhere. o7

This is absolutely not what I was trying to say, by the way. More that it being it's own staff role on the side would likely be better for inclusion across things like lore.

Being staff is a voluntary role and I don't think things like whitelists in anything should be handed out in return and I feel I can say that pretty comfortably given I used to be in the same place. There will probably be a big overlap in staff and applications given you're more likely to join in one area or another if you're into the server, but moving from player antags to staff getting preferential treatment for stuff like this would really not be great.

A new feature lots of people will want to try should not be locked behind a different colored name. It seems kind of against what the whole plan here is, in giving players room to tell their own stories. Though should it be a higher requirement than command? Absolutely.

If anyone was given extra treatment it should be developers, given they're essentially doing paid work for free. We're a community and should help one another because we want to. Whenever extra things are added, it goes badly - can see it on any other server.

Edited by Peppermint
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It sounds promising, but I question how many players precisely would be required for this to work well - I tend to play a lot of mid-to-low pop rounds, If there's only ten-to-twenty players, and a portion of that are actors, it leaves for a lot less crew during such rounds. I do like how Secret is still a votable option in case this system doesn't pan out as well for lower pop rounds, though.

Also, ideally there would be good enough room in that most missions don't require everything to occur off-ship, as I feel like it bears too much resemblance to Colonial Marines in terms of its overall round loop, where a distress beacon is picked up, the ship flies to it (if there's a bridge crew in our instance) and then the horizon deals with the threat, and it would equally pull characters out and off of the Horizon too often.

Time as mentioned here before, may also be an issue, it would be nice if there was an option to leave mid-round during one of these rounds, and the time it would take for storytellers to set up the round would equally need to be factored in.

Another concern of mine is that the fact that the Horizon is primarily a Phoron Mining and Research vessel would get lost, if there's a considerable amount of danger, the SCC's involvement in one of these missions, along with the possible risk of loss of assets on what is supposed to be their most expensive project combined would need to be justified each round (even if it's non-canon). I would rather the overall story for each of these "mission rounds" to be events occurring to the Horizon and its crew itself, as opposed to the Horizon getting purposefully involved in some distress beacon. (The SCC is not a humanitarian aid charity.)

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I’m glad that people are asking questions and being skeptical. That is a sign of an engaged community. However, I hope the developers and maintainers are not put off by this. As you can tell by the comments above, there are some cautious comments, but everyone agrees this is a really promising system. Even if there are certain oddities and kinks to iron out, Aurora really needs a shake-up from the status quo. I doubt many regular players will be opposed to this. Thank you for your hard work!

 

I also think this is a great way to tie in to the canon events that occur with lore. For example, during the Bad Moon Rising Arc, Alb would have cult shenanigans occur on random extended rounds. Assassins would pop out, weird items would be spawned, etc. Not every canon mission has to be super inventive—if it’s an extended round with some bells and whistles (like a PRA commissar visiting to investigate anti-Hadiist activity, some smugglers pretending to be a civilian ship to restock, etc), I think people would enjoy the chance to roleplay and have their actions effect real people that exist in the setting, even if they go away at the end of the round (we might see them later!)

 

This is a great way to involve oft-underused factions in the game, like Kataphracts, Purpose, Ceres Lance, etc. I wonder if an intensity meter would also work well with the system? Like a low intensity game could have multiple storytellers doing their thing (an Idris team investigating some poor characters who may default on their loan, Ceres Lance searching for untagged synths, the IAC running a drill with the horizon medbay, etc). This would be a good way to engage many departments if multiple low intensity missions are occurring at the same time. We can also have those medium and high intensity rounds that involve everyone.

As a previous commenter said, service should be included too. It can be in obvious ways, like an Izweski noble or Imperial noble is boarding and we have to make them a feast, but I would appreciate if service/cargo can be used as a logistics role for creating FOBs or transporting supplies and making food and bev. Just a thought.

I feel like a research rework would go well with this, too. I find the gameplay loop for research very boring, and maybe we can retool the department to make it more mission-focused once the server gets used to missions.

 

That’s all the thoughts I have right now. I am so excited! I have been waiting for this for a long time. Even though it might be jank in the beginning, I feel like this a step the server has to take, no matter how game-altering it would be. Go forth boldly!

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I feel I can't really contribute further than many of the good questions on the viability, roadmap, and complications this may have.

But conceptually, it's very very badass and a great idea. We'll just need to make sure we maintain a constant culture where storytellers are given oversight to involve people instead of the same cast of 5 dudes who may become the 'favourites' in situations. One of the best things I learned to do as a DM in tabletop is be everyone's characters biggest fan. We'd really want to do this on the storytellers.

On the inverse, I feel we may want to emphasize for the player side giving storytellers more to work with. We should give mechanical incentives for people to have exploitable information, weaknesses, and so on for the storyteller to weave in. Mayhaps below our medical records and so on we could have a small collection of storyteller related questions that could help them out in planning for say... them selecting people who might be the correct 'fit' for being the selected traitor of the narritive or so on.

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10 hours ago, Peppermint said:

- 2 hour rounds may not be long enough.

there is no time limit on rounds, technically they can go on forever, if the majority of players are enjoying the round, then it will continue?

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Hi. My offship antags are always on, I’m speaking as an offship antag main. I don't know what to make of this. It feels like something I'd have to see. I have more misgivings than excitement, though.

 

As much as coming up with original (or at least underused) antag gimmicks is hard, it's fun when it works. My primary concern is that actors, subject to the whims of mapgen, lack that flexibility.

All current antags worthy of my mention are restricted in that whatever they do, they must have a reason to have come to Horizon, whether by ship, by teleporter, or by an admin making it look like they’d already been aboard. There can be a billion reasons.

An actor is restricted in that whatever they do, they must have a reason to be on e.g. a Golden Deep vessel with its distress beacon running. I can think of two reasons. You're not going to get a pack of Eridanian mercenaries trying to steal Pickle's secret burger recipe out of that Golden Deep ship, especially if this is canon: the people onboard are either Golden Deep, or they're the intruders that caused the distress (inevitably at least some of every group must be intruders because 2 of them don't have the WL). Implement this with a dozen away sites, and if the average holds true, there are about 24 specific reasons for actors to be present in the gamemode.

 

If this is addressed and there's going to be much room for creativity, then actors will need time to think. "About 15 minutes and then Horizon is on you ready or not" isn't generous, and I can picture there being a few occasions where Horizon will bumble into the actors canonically half-dressed as two different factions who have no business being in the same place. Similar blunders already happen with the antags dictating the schedule.

 

If canon briefings are common, it would turn Horizon's state from "nothing real ever happens" to "wow holy shit there's 7 major problems to solve every day and one of them is always a GD ship overrun by pirates for some reason how is this one section of the Spur THIS busy I can't keep working here."  If canon briefings are uncommon, good?, but I think that's against the objective of this change.

 

Storyteller might be pretty boring to play. There's a very limited selection of sane things you can do with it. Upfront, you might spawn the actors their outfits and decorate their home. Once the audience arrives, what are you going to do? If the ship's supposed to be falling apart, you might delete some walls, or drop a bomb without knowing what the first number means and accidentally (no really) eradicate half of the server. If the SCC is supposed to be interested in what's happening, you'll draft some emails and ahelp for a CCIA agent to tell you if they're good because this is canon and SCC communications with bad grammar or weird lore implications aren't acceptable. Maybe spawn a reaver in some closet not knowing that the crew have already cleared it, like Left 4 Dead, canonically. You're still not really playing the game. I don't imagine that they'll appear any more often than pAIs and drones once the novelty is past.

 

What if Horizon has no pilots?

 

This seems to be going for a sort of automated implementation of mini-events. While I advocated for them, I don’t trust this as a means to make them good on a most-rounds scale. Here are some quick fixes that come to mind:

- Having these be usually non-canon lifts many concerns, but isn’t canonicity the point?

- Separate storytellers into degrees lest we have none at all. Someone expected to run a canon mission, as in run an almost-event independently, as in alone, as in without oversight or consultation, must be both pure of heart and very good at it, so probably extinct in practice. Noncanon storytellers with looser expectations could be common, depending on whether many people enjoy it. I foresee running jokes about L4D versus spawns either way, but that’s fine.

- Facilitate limited OOC communication between actors and audience so that Horizon knows when to come. Also do this in a way that doesn’t look like Horizon is just dawdling for no reason after receiving an urgent call every time.

- Emphasize actor control over their setting and identity, even if it’s just the freedom to say that their map that was a Solarian corvette yesterday is a Coalition freighter today, with or without a storyteller to back them up. If six people who don’t know what Gadpathur is or don’t like Gadpathur roll an explicitly Gadpathurian ship, there will be problems. Ideally, they get to choose their map wholesale, whether in round or in prefs.

Edited by Sniblet
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I disagree with some of your statements, Sniblet.

"An actor is restricted in that whatever they do, they must have a reason to be on e.g. a Golden Deep vessel with its distress beacon running. I can think of two reasons. You're not going to get a pack of Eridanian mercenaries trying to steal Pickle's secret burger recipe out of that Golden Deep ship, especially if this is canon: the people onboard are either Golden Deep, or they're the intruders that caused the distress (inevitably at least some of every group must be intruders because 2 of them don't have the WL). Implement this with a dozen away sites, and if the average holds true, there are about 24 specific reasons for actors to be present in the gamemode."

This is true, but I presume the Storyteller will have the ability to be flexible depending on what actors spawn in (perhaps we can even see who's readied up to be an actor on roundstart, and maybe actors can latejoin into the round in the first 1-20 minutes of a round). So if they want to run that Golden Deep thing, they'll see if there are even enough IPC whitelists to do the story they want. I think your point about actors not having whitelists is a fair point, but the majority of our lore goes into human factions and human lore. Every single player will be able to represent 50% of factions, at least. The storyteller could also announce in OOC before the game for people with a vaurca whitelist to join as actors if they want, encouraging people so they can tell the story they want. Also, I presume most away sites can be configured for a variety of situations. There could be several reasons why people are on a ZH installation--they work there, they stoyawayed there, they responded to the distress beacon, they're pirates/smugglers, they're merchants, etc. Additionally, this holds true for the ships as well, so we're not bound by away sites only. I think there are more reasons for actors to be in a certain spot than you are presuming, and you are also forgetting that ships can also be the fulcrum of a mission, not just away sites (or having the mission occur on the Horizon).

"If this is addressed and there's going to be much room for creativity, then actors will need time to think. "About 15 minutes and then Horizon is on you ready or not" isn't generous, and I can picture there being a few occasions where Horizon will bumble into the actors canonically half-dressed as two different factions who have no business being in the same place. Similar blunders already happen with the antags dictating the schedule."

Fair point, but I doubt the Horizon will be on the actors within 15 minutes. Also, the Storyteller could have ways of preventing the Horizon from stumbling on the ship/away site before it's ready, like hiding the distress beacon/icon on the map until it's ready, or distracting the Horizon with another minor problem (like hivebots or carp or asteroids or something). They can also just OOCly communicate to the Horizon, which is something you suggest later. It would most likely be against the rules to powergame and blitz the actors before they've had ample time to prepare.

"If canon briefings are common, it would turn Horizon's state from "nothing real ever happens" to "wow holy shit there's 7 major problems to solve every day and one of them is always a GD ship overrun by pirates for some reason how is this one section of the Spur THIS busy I can't keep working here."  If canon briefings are uncommon, good?, but I think that's against the objective of this change."

From MattAtlas's document, it does not seem like canon briefings will be the majority, and I automatically presume canon events will be less intense/less lethal due to it being canon and Storytellers and players subconsciously or consciously playing it more safe. Additionally, I think most players would prefer the second option over the first option. I prefer chaos and conflict roleplay and stories happening over many rounds over... nothing, which is the status quo, from a canonicity perspective. Aurora needs a change, and if the change is too much, that will still be preferred over no change, which has been the state for the entire time I've been playing.

"Storyteller might be pretty boring to play. There's a very limited selection of sane things you can do with it. Upfront, you might spawn the actors their outfits and decorate their home. Once the audience arrives, what are you going to do? If the ship's supposed to be falling apart, you might delete some walls, or drop a bomb without knowing what the first number means and accidentally (no really) eradicate half of the server. If the SCC is supposed to be interested in what's happening, you'll draft some emails and ahelp for a CCIA agent to tell you if they're good because this is canon and SCC communications with bad grammar or weird lore implications aren't acceptable. Maybe spawn a reaver in some closet not knowing that the crew have already cleared it, like Left 4 Dead, canonically. You're still not really playing the game. I don't imagine that they'll appear any more often than pAIs and drones once the novelty is past."

I kind of disagree with this on a basic level. DMing in TTRPGs is very popular, and we have many TTRPG-enjoyers in our community. Sure, you aren't playing a character, but seeing real life people (and real life people in the setting) engage and work with the story you've created with the actors you've curated is a fulfilling feeling. Just watching it play out will be satisfying to most storytellers, I assume, and besides, storytellers will have to stay engaged to react on the fly, maybe by adding a hazard here or there and giving cool ideas to the actors to mesh with. 

I sincerely doubt the role will be as unpopular as pAIs or drones. Those roles have little to no impact on round, and provide few opportunities to roleplay, which is why they are rarely played. This is the exact opposite case with the storyteller. I imagine they would be less common than command whitelists, but more common than AI whitelists. I disagree with the novelty wearing off--storytelling-minded people are always coming up with neat ideas and stories they would like to try in the game--hell, I think some storytellers might want to run the same story but with different characters to see what happens and how different the story ends up. I'm not just speaking out of my ass here--on the AI CM ss13 server, there is a similar storyteller role that gives players the ability to control the story and the round for the players. It's a significantly smaller community (600 players in the discord), but the storyteller application regularly gets 20 applicants despite knowing the maximum amount of storytellers the admins will train at a time will be 3. On Aurora, with a significantly bigger playerbase, sandbox, and an unlimited amount of storyteller whitelists to hand out, I do not think we will be bereft of storytellers nor stories to tell, and people excited to do that. By your logic, DMs would have died out a long time ago.

 

"What if Horizon has no pilots?"

This is a fair point that is connected with a bigger issue of highpop versus lowpop. I imagine we will have MORE storytellers than we need who will be wanting to storytell during a round during highpop (only 2-4 rounds a day). On the margins of highpop, we may have storytellers most of the time, but in lowpop, there may be significantly more rounds without a storyteller. And that's fine, since the actors are being built in a way that they don't need a storyteller and they could just vote extended/secret, but I'd imagine mission rounds with storytellers will be significantly more unique and interesting than rounds without storytellers. Also, without pilots, it may be difficult for the horizon to engage in away sites/ships (but a storyteller, if present, could account for that and bring the mission to the horizon). This is something that will be a problem no matter the gamemode so I don't see it as a reason to nix the Missions/Storyteller idea, but it is something to keep in mind.

 

"- Having these be usually non-canon lifts many concerns, but isn’t canonicity the point?"

The point, in my mind, is to have unique rounds (or more unique than the status quo) more than the time, that engage the Horizon in the best ways (by involving other parts of crew, by using the overmap, etc). The canonicity is also very cool, but I think the main reason to have this system is to break up the painfully repetitive gameplay loop of the same antagonists we've been playing with for over 7-8 years. The point is not canonicity--the point is generating unique and interesting roleplay situations, which is something that is majorly difficult in our current system.

 

"- Separate storytellers into degrees lest we have none at all. Someone expected to run a canon mission, as in run an almost-event independently, as in alone, as in without oversight or consultation, must be both pure of heart and very good at it, so probably extinct in practice. Noncanon storytellers with looser expectations could be common, depending on whether many people enjoy it. I foresee running jokes about L4D versus spawns either way, but that’s fine."

I disagree that there are no players that are not pure of heart and good at storytelling. We already have all the lore staff and admins/mods, who have proven they know how to tell a good story and run an event, so we have a base amount of storytellers there. I disagree with separating storytellers into degrees, but it's an interesting idea. I imagine there would be a trial period for storytellers, like command whitelistees, where we can determine if the storytellers would be good at their job or not beforehand (and they can always apply multiple times, gaining experience as they do so). I just plainly disagree that there are no players we can trust with this power that are good at it. These players exist and we will prove that they can do the job by going through the whitelist, alleviating the need for a tiered system. I can think of at least 15 players I know, who are not on the staff team (the base pool), that would make for excellent storytellers, and who will not abuse their power and be mean. There are doubtless countless more I do not know who would be a great fit for the role. As I said before, there would probably be less Storytellers than Command players, since I imagine the whitelist process will be more in-depth and strict, but we will have good storytellers.

"- Facilitate limited OOC communication between actors and audience so that Horizon knows when to come. Also do this in a way that doesn’t look like Horizon is just dawdling for no reason after receiving an urgent call every time.

- Emphasize actor control over their setting and identity, even if it’s just the freedom to say that their map that was a Solarian corvette yesterday is a Coalition freighter today, with or without a storyteller to back them up. If six people who don’t know what Gadpathur is or don’t like Gadpathur roll an explicitly Gadpathurian ship, there will be problems. Ideally, they get to choose their map wholesale, whether in round or in prefs."

These are both good ideas, and I bet there will be systems in place to allow these things to happen. I can also imagine a world where actors, without a Storyteller, would be granted certain small permissions so they can customize their story, like maybe editing their ship in the start of the round or OOCly communicating to the Horizon if they need to.

 

 

 

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Echoing what @Rabid Animal said, I think a good idea would be to nerf Security a bit. I don't want this to be a ramble about how Security is too OP or just how deadly weapons can get in general (which, in turn, make for even more violent resolutions), but I do think that if this gamemode is adopted, we need to adopt a more "diplomatic" approach. I'm not asking for the Horizon to go full TNG LARP, but we really can't expect the default missions to be violent or that will require using the whole armory. Even if there's a threat, escalating to a conflict wouldn't make sense, especially since now you'd be dealing with the possibility of a war if you just start shooting on a random planet. I think this gamemode has the potential for more engineering or research-centric rounds, and while I do agree that the "security default" won't disappear overnight, the design of many mission presets can be a turning point.

As a side note, I don't agree with the complaints of "oh this might end up being stale." Every game, no matter how much freedom you have, can be stale if you don't escape the same gameplay loop. I think there's a lot of freedom here to basically turn each round into a compact minievent, but it will depend a lot on the players. I trust players to know how to work with this system and develop interesting concepts, but a few suggestions that you can start today:

  • If a round is "boring" because there's no action, don't just stand there in silence! Roleplay, talk to others, do basically anything other than just wait for the mercs to show up at 1:58.
  • Don't be afraid of ghost off-ship roles and how they can interact with the Horizon. I think a problem right now is sometimes trying to catch up with the ship because you can't communicate from afar, but consider joining more off-ship roles instead of just spectating and waiting for that security slot to open. It can be fun, but it needs more than one person. This is very important, in my opinion—many maps need more than one person, so maybe ask around if anybody wants to join with you on a ghost ship and do something cool once you're in.
  • Don't shy away from quieter gimmicks. I know many times the gimmick is not the cup of tea of everyone, but I've seen people just not interact because they're waiting for a showdown to happen. This is especially true with how hyper-alert some security players can be, basically just waiting for the antags to do something wacky so they can get their valid.

Overall, the server culture needs to change. While it will take a while for us to get there and have mechanics that encourage some of these changes, we can all do our part and pave the way so that when Mission Briefing is tested, it doesn't fall into the same pitfalls as our current loop.

Edited by Desven
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I agree with the general sentiment, this is a very exciting idea. As someone who isn't completely bored of on-ship antags, I do think I would miss them - I know missions are going to just be another game mode, but if efforts are being focused there, the on-ship antags will suffer. Which I guess is mostly already happening.

The other main thing I can think of is that these missions have the potential to be too generic. A lot of the best gimmicks involve someone on the ship for a specific reason. Would we be able to incorporate that idea into missions? Even then, I fear that programmatic choosing of target/interest players on Horizon could fall short, or feel shallow. Maybe that would be up to the Storyteller each time a mission with a possible on-horizon hook happens, to find someone to apply the hook to.

Also, as a medical player, I do worry that reducing Security's role will inevitably reduce Medical's as well. Obviously not every mission can be hellishly dangerous, but I think a combination approach would do well: security must secure an area, which involves medical for triage, and then engineering or whoever can build the thing they need to build. While diplomatic missions and resolutions can be really satisfying for players who are well versed in lore, we have to think about the new player experience as well - a lot of the finer points of that kind of mission can go over their heads, and they could end up bored if there's no action.

Finally, I wonder about the role of AI in all of this. If the missions are encouraged to use the overworld map (which I think is good in general), will AI players be reduced to babysitting a mostly empty ship? Perhaps there could be a way to create a FO-Core so the AI can interact with any offsite happenings as well?

Overall it's a very interesting idea and I'd love to see how it goes once implemented!

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I have ranted and rambled like a deranged lunatic seeing visions granted by eldritch gods about how I think the server needs to evolve past the tired SS13 gameplay loop if it wants to keep saying it's HRP. I will continue to do so even in this reply.

This proposal is something I think a lot of people have been wanting (and judging by the other replies do want) for awhile now. Antags as you yourself and others point out and have pointed out in the past are a tired holdovers from SS13's very foundation. Simply put RP and Antags the way they are currently implemented just doesn't mesh well together. While in theory antags and the tools we've given them should be capable of enhancing a round's roleplay or "spicing it up", in the average secret round they don't do much more than distract people from the roleplay they were having. As a security main I can say that most of my rounds in secret consist of starting an interesting conversation IC and then being pulled away. Now I admit I'm signing myself up for this sort of thing by playing security in the first place, but what I truly desire is gameplay that generates an engaging narrative and roleplay without sacrificing one for the other.

The reason I bring this all up is that I think Mission Briefing is a fantastic way of bridging this gap and a proper step in the right direction, however I'd go so far as to say it needs to be more extreme in its implementation. I will be frank: having secret still exist kind of defeats the point. And I mean that in the sense that secret should be wiped and replaced. Now I understand this and probably the rest of what I have to say about secret likely goes against the wider, more quiet, side of the playerbase, so all of this is little more than a pipe dream. We can't really just nuke secret overnight. But if we did I think it would be an overall net gain. If we want the current server culture to change, if we want proper consequences to craft better narratives with, if we want there to be meaningful canon interactions more than non-canon goof garbage then we have to just bite the bullet and change our approach without as many compromises. Keeping secret and antags in rotation? That's a compromise. Hell even the non-canon Mission Briefings would be a huge compromise as some people have pointed out. The phrasing of this proposal being a "Revolution" I think is very apt, but for it to really change things we need to discard the old traditional SS13 gameplay completely.

Now I understand this is might be some pretty radical thinking here. There's been years of work put into our antags (this is true for some more than others) and recently there's even been a lot of work to try and make antags like merc something that fits into our current overmap system. What I think should be highlighted better here is that we don't need to sacrifice the cool parts of antags for this new gamemode to work. The tools and in some cases the abilities can still be something the actors or even "antagonistic overmap ships" can use. One of the biggest reasons antags become stale for so many people in the first place is that when you know the telltale signs of one it just becomes a boring act where everyone is pretending that the assistant sucking blood or a ling on the loose is something you've never seen before. Why shouldn't a ling just be some horrible experiment Zeng-Hu made and is now on the loose? Why bother pretending to care or be intrigued by Vampire or Cult when both of those things "don't exist" and are non-canon when they could be integrated into it in a convincing way? It's here so we should use it. Otherwise get rid of it all and let the "grounded" stuff we like stay in a canon capacity. Let the concept of "antags" be something of the past so we can create a gameplay loop that encourages meaningful roleplay instead of non-canon non-adventures where nothing means anything.

All in all I don't really have that much to say about Mission Briefing itself beyond I approve of it as a concept and hope to see it implemented soon. I think having a DM, who is hopefully someone that can be trusted with the amount of control they have over the round, is brilliant and something that other RP servers in other games have done before to much success. I think the whole concept of having canon missions evokes the exact spirit I always wanted from Bay and hoped to find here when we moved to the Horizon, which is to say I want cool exploration that generates RP in an organic way by letting us react to our environment as our characters. Shifting us to a system where we basically have extended+ or mini-events to pad out the time between proper arcs is exactly what I've been wanting for a long time. My only real concern is as I've stated above. That to truly break us out of the tired loop we find ourselves in we have to be willing to leave behind antags as we currently know them. Is that something the server will ever do? I don't know, but I think it's the best way forward. At some point we have to decide if we want to be a ROLEPLAY server or an SS13 server with roleplay elements.

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On 08/04/2024 at 22:04, Rabid Animal said:

- if this isn't including the whole crew in some way, what's the point. You can focus certain away sites for certain departments but that doesn't feel good if you're not playing the "right" department.

It isn't possible to always involve everyone, nor do I expect the first missions to. The point is never to have a fully functioning perfect utopic system right out of the gate, because that's unreasonable and impossible. The idea is always to get something that works out, and then let people iterate over it. Don't expect things to be fully calibrated on the first round.

On 08/04/2024 at 21:11, Loorey said:

Will said Whitelist be much much more restrictive than what we have in terms of other whitelists?

No. I want as many people to play Storyteller as possible. That doesn't mean it'll be handed out to everyone, but I don't see it as being much harder than a command whitelist.

On 08/04/2024 at 22:04, Rabid Animal said:

- how do we balance security so they don't just steal the round type like they have done in the past and present?

Not sure. The only way we'll know if it's a problem or not is to try it out and see what happens.

On 08/04/2024 at 22:04, Rabid Animal said:

- what will happen to the old round types going in to this, and for people who prefer them, how will they be maintained if at all?

Generally when things become abandoned they won't be maintained. Current gamemodes aren't maintained either, since nobody is really interested in the massive amount of work needed to make a gamemode or even to maintain it. I don't see it as a bad thing, personally - we need a new gamemode loop, not a parallel thing. Antags will stay but like I said before, they won't be the main focus of the server after a while.

On 08/04/2024 at 22:04, Rabid Animal said:

. Ofc canonicity ties in a bit; but when the examples are "zombie outbreak" are missions /really/ going to be cannon? Beyond that how much reconning are people going to be doing with violent missions, regardless of how plausible things are? Is cannonicity really the problem?

The examples are just examples to make people understand the scale of what can be done, I'm not going to put much effort into them obviously. I need to come up with a concept first and the implementation comes second.

The doc also says that canon missions will be restricted in nature and they won't be shooty typically. I can't give an exact idea of what they'll be until I code them, though.

On 08/04/2024 at 21:11, Loorey said:

Will non-administrative staff members, in spotlight here, moderators (or CCIA), which are anchors of trust in the community get the whitelist as-is or preferably?

I think it's possible, but I won't say yes/no yet.

On 09/04/2024 at 17:47, Alaunus_Lux said:

The other main thing I can think of is that these missions have the potential to be too generic. A lot of the best gimmicks involve someone on the ship for a specific reason. Would we be able to incorporate that idea into missions? Even then, I fear that programmatic choosing of target/interest players on Horizon could fall short, or feel shallow. Maybe that would be up to the Storyteller each time a mission with a possible on-horizon hook happens, to find someone to apply the hook to.

Can't really give a real response to this hypothetical right now, it's a "wait and find out" thing here.

On 09/04/2024 at 17:47, Alaunus_Lux said:

Finally, I wonder about the role of AI in all of this. If the missions are encouraged to use the overworld map (which I think is good in general), will AI players be reduced to babysitting a mostly empty ship? Perhaps there could be a way to create a FO-Core so the AI can interact with any offsite happenings as well?

No idea. It's a valid concern (and a helpful one to bring up) but I have no ideas on it off the top of my head.

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