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Subject: Starship missions generator rss

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Gottardo Zancani
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I've been working on the concept of Starship Missions for SI since day 0: basically there are several options available
- Fixed map with some variants (already implemented)
- Hive-like tiles to create the Starship Interiors
- Fully random generation (for example using a deck of cards)

In addition to those options, i've started evaluating the idea of a Starship Mission Generator, i.e. a web tool capable of
- generating a random but coherent map
- generating the mission objectives (like "recon", "reach the bridge", "destroy the xeno-weapon"
- generate special events.

The output of this generator is basically a complete Mission Map plus the Mission objectives: here below you can see one map layout generated by the current version of the code (only the layout is relevant, not the Node content)



The overall difficulty of the mission will be managed with several parameters that will also influence the layout of the ship: here below another couple of layouts (on a "minimap" version)




Now, while working on this generator I've realized that's also possible think about a totally different approach: instead of printing a Map i could let the Generator produce a text document (a PDF probably) with the textual description of the Starship sectors, including Node requirements and special events. Think about something like

[001]
//+++
Your Squad has finally entered the Starship: now is time to move!

This area is secure: no Event Checks while your Squad is located in this sector.

Available options:

**** Move South to [020]
* Description: Transit Area
* Node Requirements: Security 2

**** Move East to [109]
* Description: Living Quarters
* Node Requirements: Advance 2


This "textual" approach has several benefits

- Fog of War: you dont' know the Starship layout, but instead you must explore it.
- Highly customizable: events, special encounters, unusual terrain (like "No gravity") can be easily added to the sectors
- Green: for each mission you will only need to print 2-4 text pages in b/w.
- Nearly infinite possibilities (for example multi-level ships) and every mission will be different.

Clearly it's a different approach to the game but 100% of the SI rules apply here, the main change is on the lack of a fully visible map (and hence less planning is possible), the price to pay if you want to really play against the unknown.

What's your idea about this generator ? Here below a poll to let me know your preferences, and obviously let me know your comments.

Poll
1. What kind of Starship Mission you would prefer to generate ?
Graphical (map-based)
Hive-like Tiles
Fully Random (deck of cards)
Textual
2. Is a Textual Mission an interesting option to play ?
Very interesting
Some interest
No interest at all
      37 answers
Poll created by zak965
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Gottardo Zancani
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It seems that a Random system based on Cards is the preferred option here on BGG: i'll take it seriously in consideration for the future.

About the present, the Starship Generator development proceed quite well, and I hope to have one working prototype ready in the next 4/5 days. This first version will be able to generate a "Recon" Mission, with 3+ special nodes to reach and explore: "intelligence" will be limited but nevertheless the mission should be good enough to be interesting to play and should be capable to demontrate the generator capabilities.

I'm working on a set of event/encounters to distribute in the Map: planned mission types

- Recon
- Reach the Bridge!
- Rescue the prisoners
- Shut down the engines
- Stop the self-destruction sequence!
- Steal Xeno-Technology

As usual, let me know your comment/ideas

Zak


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John "Omega" Williams
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I think tiles like the hive would be the better option as then you could potentially mix the two. Such as creating infested ships.
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Gottardo Zancani
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The starship generator finally reached version 0.0.1: this means that is now capable of producing a complete mission with its map.

Currently the only mission type available is "Recon", where your Squad must investigate the Enemy Ship gathering Recon Points in the Special Nodes.

The generator currently has two parameters: Difficulty and Complexity.
Here below a (resized) map just generated with Complexity=6 (i think Complexity 3-4 is the best value for the size)



The full map is available here: http://zak965.it/spaceinfantry/generator/starship/examples/m...

The Map is generated with a transparent background in order to reduce the amount of toner required to print it.

The Mission rules (objectives, Special Nodes) are generated on a separated PDF file: with the current code, if you especially like a Map layout you can generate multiple missions for it.

The generator will be available next monday, after a weekend of test and improvement.

Zak
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Gottardo Zancani
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The Starship Generator is now available here:

http://zak965.it/spaceinfantry/generator/starship/StarshipGe...

This is a "beta" version since it includes only one type of mission (Recon) and a limited set of events, still is fully usable to generate new missions.

Let me know your comments/suggestions/critics: i'm planning to add a second type of Mission ("No Escape!") this week, plus several new events in order to improve the type of maps that you can generate.

Zak
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Brook Gentlestream
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I think the map should be printed with the PDF file when you hit "Generate mission".
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Judy Krauss
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Using Mac OS X 10.6.8 and Safari 5.1.7:

It doesn't work. No matter which buttons I click, there is only a white rectangle.
 
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Gottardo Zancani
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Quote:
I think the map should be printed with the PDF file when you hit "Generate mission".


It could be an idea, but the Map very often won't fit a Letter sheet and i'm not sure if it's worth the case to split it in several pages...
 
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Gottardo Zancani
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Jude wrote:
Using Mac OS X 10.6.8 and Safari 5.1.7:

It doesn't work. No matter which buttons I click, there is only a white rectangle.


I'll try to investigate the problem, probably related to Safari...
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Gottardo Zancani
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Uploaded version 0.0.4

* Added one-page map to Mission Rules
* Every mission has now a unique (sort of) identifier that is used to save both the PDF (rules) and the PNG (Map)files.
* Added button to quick save the Map image using the mission name.

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Brook Gentlestream
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zak965 wrote:
Quote:
I think the map should be printed with the PDF file when you hit "Generate mission".


It could be an idea, but the Map very often won't fit a Letter sheet and i'm not sure if it's worth the case to split it in several pages...


Yeah, but that's going to be the case no matter how we print it, right?
 
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Gottardo Zancani
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lordrahvin wrote:
zak965 wrote:
Quote:
I think the map should be printed with the PDF file when you hit "Generate mission".


It could be an idea, but the Map very often won't fit a Letter sheet and i'm not sure if it's worth the case to split it in several pages...


Yeah, but that's going to be the case no matter how we print it, right?


Correct, but with a full-size image, depending on the map size and your printer capability you can choose how to split the pages, for example reducing the map to fit an A3 sheet or use several A4 pages.
I've tried today to automatically split a map, and in order to avoid to cut a node in two different pages, i've in the end produced 8 A4 pages.
I don't think this is an easy problem to solve since there's not a "perfect" solution: i will continue to investigate, and any suggestion is more than welcomed.
 
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Gottardo Zancani
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Version 0.0.5 uplodaded

New mission type added: Intruder!

You must explore all the ? nodes and eliminate the unknown Xenos lurking here. The system is now capable of generating Xenos with variable skills and attributes, basically creating a nearly unique adversary on each mission. EPT and attributes are based on the Difficulty parameter.

Zak

PS: Still investigating on Safari - something fixed but still a few problems with the PDF library...
 
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Brook Gentlestream
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zak965 wrote:
New mission type added: Intruder!


I first misread this as "New mission type added: Interlude!" and I was like, What the hell?!?

Suddenly, I had weird visions of Space Marines sitting in the lounge, smoking exotic cigars, and playing table tennis.
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Gottardo Zancani
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lordrahvin wrote:
zak965 wrote:
New mission type added: Intruder!


Suddenly, I had weird visions of Space Marines sitting in the lounge, smoking exotic cigars, and playing table tennis.


Well... this is for a sure one of the most original suggestions I've ever received
 
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Judy Krauss
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zak965 wrote:
Jude wrote:
Using Mac OS X 10.6.8 and Safari 5.1.7:

It doesn't work. No matter which buttons I click, there is only a white rectangle.


I'll try to investigate the problem, probably related to Safari...



It wasn't working on Firefox or Opera, either. But, I think I found the problem.

First, I updated Firefox. I can't update Safari past version 5 with the Operating system I am using (OX X 10.6.8).

Then I downloaded and installed the latest versions of Adobe Flash and Shockwave.

Now it seems to work.
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Jude wrote:

....
Now it seems to work.


Great! Not sure why you needed to update the Adobe files, but if you can now test the generator is ok for me.

 
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Gottardo Zancani
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Version 0.1.0 released

* New mission type: Prisoners! added. Your squad must board an enemy starhip where some xxxx are illegally kept as prisoners. The Map will include a Cell block that you must reach and investigate.
* tons of minor fixes and improvements

With this release i'm ready to go "live" on the SI site: with the three Generators available you can now create your own Units, your own Enemies and now also generate new Missions at your willl...

Zak
 
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Judy Krauss
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zak965 wrote:
Jude wrote:

....
Now it seems to work.


Great! Not sure why you needed to update the Adobe files, but if you can now test the generator is ok for me.



The Adobe updates seemed to be what was needed. I only updated Firefox because my version was too old for the Adobe Flash and Shockwave updates system requirements.

Is "Generate Mission" supposed to provide text or anything other than what is shown when "Draw Full Map" is clicked? The description for it is:
"Generate Mission" creates a new
Mission Setup based on the current
Map layout (as a PDF file).

Yet, it doesn't seem do do anything other than display the full map image the same as "Display Full Map" does (except clicking "Display Full Map" does change the pics inside the boxes).

Also, "Generate Mission" does not seem to create a PDF file, either.
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Gottardo Zancani
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Jude wrote:

...
Is "Generate Mission" supposed to provide text or anything other than what is shown when "Draw Full Map" is clicked?


Of course it should. Pressing this button should open a new window with the mission rules in PDF format.

Not sure why this is happening on Safari but i've found at least the portion of code where the problem is generated: it's the code related to the minimap creation. While I try to fix the problem i've uploaded ver 0.1.1 with a checkbox to specify if the minimap should be included in the mission rules: from the tests I've done (also from my iPad) you should be able to generate the PDF at least without the minimap.

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Judy Krauss
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zak965 wrote:
Jude wrote:

...
Is "Generate Mission" supposed to provide text or anything other than what is shown when "Draw Full Map" is clicked?


Of course it should. Pressing this button should open a new window with the mission rules in PDF format.

Not sure why this is happening on Safari but i've found at least the portion of code where the problem is generated: it's the code related to the minimap creation. While I try to fix the problem i've uploaded ver 0.1.1 with a checkbox to specify if the minimap should be included in the mission rules: from the tests I've done (also from my iPad) you should be able to generate the PDF at least without the minimap.



Okay, it is working now thumbsup in both Safari and Firefox under OS X 10.6.8.

Looks good! Thanks.
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