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DrDevice

Scenario "Design House" Idea

I've been thinking about this concept for some time now, and wanted to see what interest the community has. I'd thought about approaching specific forum members, but think a general call might be a better start.

I want to start a sort of "design team" for scenario creation. The goal: create plausible, realistic, engaging, high-quality scenarios for Steel Beasts ProPE in a shorter design cycle than is possible for one person.

  • Plausible: the situations presented to the player are reasonably believable within the established fictional game world.
  • Realistic: the tasks, missions and units presented to the player are derived from real-world sources and the expectations of those units in combat conditions.
  • Engaging: the scenarios have robust “you are there” feel, and tell a story that the player gets to take part in.
  • High-quality: all aspects of the scenario demonstrate an attention to detail and a well-finished product. Additional materials beyond the scenario file are provided to enhance the experience.

The key is that there are often more good ideas than there is time to complete them. (At least in my world) Also, community members often have different skill sets or aptitudes that would work better in collaborative environments.

Some example skill sets:

  1. Scenario concept, design and briefing
  2. SB editor programming and logic
  3. Map and theme editing and creation
  4. Skins and visual enhancements
  5. Translation to multiple languages

For instance, I am comfortable with 1 and 2, less so with 3 and 4, and downright unable to do 5. The group would be project-oriented, collaborative on project choices and would provide self-testing and error correction as well.

For practical purposes, the group would likely remain about 3-4 people, with enough skill coverage to do each of the above. The time requirements will fit with "real life" needs, since that's one of the prime drivers for this group in the first place. I'll be employing an off-forum collaboration tool to work projects, if there is interest.

I'm looking for people who can cooperate, devote at least a little time to reasonable deadlines, and have some skills and creativity they'd like to share.

Anyone interested? What skills do you bring to the table? What scenario ideas would you like to see come to life that collaboration might help make possible?

Replies or PMs are welcome.

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This idea has been suggested before. SBDG anyone?.

One of the biggest hurdles to cooperative mission design is the lack of a mission merge function. It has been requested many times but nothing has come of it.

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An interesting concept, but like Dark said, it would be hard to coordinate who does what when only one person can work on the mission at a time. That factor may actually elongate the time it takes to complete a mission.

Edited by Tacbat

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1, 2, 3: OK

4: nope

5: Dutch, French - but who would be waiting for this ?

And main problem: free time - work once or twice a week on a scenario, won't be enough, no ?

But we could try of course.

Rgds,

Koen

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It is worth a try. There have been all kinds of attempts who have tried and failed over the years, mainly because no one wants to put out much effort. But maybe you can devise a system that works / produces results?

One idea might be to have people meet in TS Sce Design Channel once a month to throw ideas around for a new scenario, then someone in that group does one defined part of it, who passes it on to the next person who works on another aspect of it, and so on. Something like that might work...

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Actually, from a project management perspective, I think the hurdle of versioning is much less than perceived.

SBDG was not concrete in the "who was doing what" part of the project. It was much more information-based than project-based. The goal of the SBDG was not to create a specific scenario, nor a group of scenarios. It was to catalog design techniques for scenario designers to use on their own. We weren't working toward at common scenario goal, more like "common scenario knowledge."

The main idea here is quite simply "project management." As averse to corporate jargon as I am, I do see the value in having one person coordinate the effort of several resources. This whole idea rides on the concept that organization, tasking, milestones, etc. are kept in some sort of order. That's kind of what I am hoping to do.

We don't need multiple people working on ONE file, we just need a chain of ownership for the various stages of said file.

Example of the envisioned process:

  1. Scenario concept is agreed upon by the stakeholders. Ideas are bounced around, one is decided on for action, and that becomes "the project." Time from incept to decision is D+5.
  2. Map selection and customization. (Contributor A is responsible for completion by D+15. This involves map creation, map editing, and theme creation and editing. Time is very dependent on action required - wholesale creation vs. editing existing stock.)
  3. Scenario design. (Contributor B selects the map zone and adds units to the .sce file. Appropriate ammo selection and other time-based factors are applied. Due date is D+15, with possible concurrent action with map creation.)
  4. Scenario programming. (Contributor C works with the provided .sce file to work on routes, events, conditions, etc. to enact the desired actions of computer-controlled units. This may involve several contributors trading versions of the .sce file. Completion date is D+30. Could involve map updates since .sce file is not dependent on map information.)
  5. Scenario briefing, visual modifications, etc. (Concurrent with the programming phase, Contributor D works on briefing and additional materials for the scenario. This may include additional contributors working on skins, web site information, etc. Due date is D+30, as it is not dependent on .sce file completion.)

With this basic sketch, we can get a scenario done in roughly 1 month, if the workload requirements are 1-3 hours per contributor per week.

What we have lacked in the past is the structure of project management. The focus on one goal, and a person to coordinate many resources. We have lots of good ideas, and lots of contribution, but no real focus on getting one project completed. Even the MP/Campaign world has been largely driven by highly motivated individuals with background support. (Yours truly included! :) )

The proposed platform for collaboration is Basecamp. I have worked with web teams in this environment before for many successful web projects. A SB scenario is really no different. The keys are skill groups, task management, and setting realistic milestones.

Koen: if "once or twice a week" translates into "one or two hours per week" then I think your contribution is totally viable. If we have 4 contributors that can average 1-2 hours per week, that's about 16-32 hours of work in one month. That's a reasonable amount of time to get one high-quality scenario out per month. (This is simplified, as each part may require different amounts of time, but you get the idea.)

Consider this rate vs. the usual rate of production for a solo worker. I would guess that each would be more likely have one good contribution every 3-4 months (or less) due to having to tackle all of the above tasks by themselves.

Bottom line: of you have skills and desire, time is probably the least of your worries, of we can all chip in. "Many hands make light work" as the saying goes.

This concept may not work. There may not be enough interested parties with the right skill sets to make the overall goal possible. I'm just testing the waters to gauge feasibility. Thanks for the feedback so far!

Edited by DrDevice
Spelling silliness.

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1, 2, 3: OK

4: nope

5: Dutch, French - but who would be waiting for this ?

And main problem: free time - work once or twice a week on a scenario, won't be enough, no ?

But we could try of course.

Rgds,

Koen

Dutch would be good in this household as it is the language spoken here. We live not far from the tank ranges at Leopoldsburg, infact about halfway between the ranges and the F16 airbase at Kline Brogel

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I prepared to this audaros

to me what I would like more edificion models where there are very simple

and models that are not found in most models Europeras Spain I mean

I lend my good collaboration:debile2:

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Dr D,

I might be interested in item 4 but the rest probably not.

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Koen: if "once or twice a week" translates into "one or two hours per week" then I think your contribution is totally viable.

Yes, that would be the case.

Dutch would be good in this household as it is the language spoken here.

Hallo Alicatt, nog een Belg, of inwoner van België ? Tof !

Ik woon in de buurt van Brussel. Doe wel geen MP.

Ken je al lang SB ?

Mvg, rgds,

Koen

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Ik ben een inwoner, Ik ben een Schot! Ik woon in Hechtel-Eksel, mijn vrouw is een Vlaaming van Limburg

and there I run out of Vlaams. lol

I've had SB for a few months and just got my 13yo. lad intrested in it, he is Belgian with very good english and has been pushing me to get SB set up so we can both use it together and so bought a second licence for it, but have not tried it online yet with a wider audience.

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So we have some interest from a scenario programmer and a skinner. Now we're looking for someone who's savvy in the map editor and has some free time. Most likely, we are going to be focused on map modifications, rather than full-scale creations. This is mostly due to the time burden that good maps can require.

Any takers?

Koen and Congo - I'll drop a pm with info on Basecamp. You can poke around and decide if you are still interested. :D

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The phrase 'herding cats' comes to mind, but I'm in and will serve in whatever capacity is deemed fit.

If you want me to sit in a corner and get plowed on beer, I can do that. Really, it's not a problem.

Shot

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The phrase 'herding cats' comes to mind..

The key to herding cats is to keep the herd small. ;) I'll shoot you an email with details.

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DrDevice,

THX for the MP -> sent you an email.

Alicatt,

Must be great to do SB with your son - hope to do that later as well.

Rgds,

Koen

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If you want me to sit in a corner and get plowed on beer, I can do that. Really, it's not a problem.

I could probably be your assistant in that case

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Im in and have 2-3 hth missions that are at the 75% done stage that I could use some outside help with finishing.

Its kinda selfish but im only interested in working on hth missions and possilbe campains.

Btw Dr D this is Luke of ts.

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I kinda like writing briefings and orders, and can pull off clever tricks with conditions.

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DrDevice,

Aah, those malfunctioning modern communication tools !

Therefore:

.-. . ... . -. - / . -- .- .. .-.. / -....- / ... - --- .--. / -....- / .- .-.. ... --- / ... . -. - / .--. -- / -....- / ... - --- .--.

Rgds,

K

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DD, the email addy is fossdotrogeratgmail.com. As with HH, I can do briefings and orders. Plus, I have a cool utility written by someone who has posted here and who's anonymity I will protect, that will let me do briefings without having to type every single word.

Shot

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HH and Shot - you have email. Panzer - you have a PM.

@panzer: there is nothing selfish about wanting to just work on HtH or campaign-type stuff. Pitch it to the group, get buy in, and we'll get resources assigned to help you out. With your progress on your scenarios so far, it might be the "last mile" help that you need to crank out

I also think that SP missions will require more programming time, but MP usually requires more testing time to "dial in." We'll learn more as we move forward.

With the number of interested parties, we'll very likely break up into multiple projects. I think that focused teams is the key here. Only so many hands can help, and beyond that it just creates friction.

Still looking for someone to jump on the map grenade.

I will be trying to set up Teamspeak or Skype calls with the folks involved so far to discuss concepts, answer questions, get feedback and help on Basecamp questions.

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I replied about the online meeting, but may have done it wrong. I'll be on tonight (late), tomorrow (probably also late) and Friday (probably 2100MST-ish).

Wish I could help with the maps, but I genuinely can't think of any part of the design process that I'm less talented with. If you made me choose between making the map and doing the mission briefings in Spanish, I'd have to think about it.

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I am at present without capacity to speak VOIP, but I think I told you that.

I expect to be re-VOIPed by April, in the meantime I left both you and HH a contact number.

Shot

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