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My Atlantis Review.



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#1 Alex L.

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Posted 28 March 2007 - 11:23 PM

Alright. Its been a year since I posted one of these, but hey; Will and Anthony have produced another quality product, so why not tear it to shreds with my unlimited criticism and know-it-all cantankerousness.

Anyway, I’ll get right down to business, for my list is huge. However, before I start with my suggestions, I’d like to state that this map is the best one ever created by you guys, for various reasons.

- The brush work: unlike certain other maps, this map ‘feels’ completely trek. Its not a collection of boxes with LCARS and doors that go “whoosh”, but every shape and every form reminds me of the comfort style and ‘roundness’ we’ve encountered on TV.

- The texturing: Most maps with a grey setting tend to be bland. Though there are still some area’s which could use some more variation, my general idea of the ship is that it just as well could be a trek movie set. The corridors, for example are marvelous. It looks like the walls are made of soft fabrics and hard metals at the same time, which we haven’t seen before. Almost padded, which is terribly good and extremely trek (goes for the carpets, too)

- LCARS: Will, Anthony (and Simmo) have always been excellent with high resolution LCARS and on this map they are also spot on. (watch out for repetitiveness, though)

Alright, enough compliments. Lets get to the points that I feel could be improved upon. Do note, that I am not relying on ‘canon’ for my opinion. Its always been so that Scooter does the quality verdict on whether or not something is permissible in the trek universe; I, on the other hand, like to focus more on the practicality of the design: are things functionable? How will something affect the Roleplay, (or Roleplay potential?).

Practical examples of the above could be the following questions: “How would someone feel working in this room? Is it too big/small/dark/light/unaccessable, etc? For instance, A large starbase with a mapped OPS consisting of 53 stations would be deemed unpractible by me, since – at most – there will be 8 people roleplaying at the same time on the server. The starbase would feel empty, and as such, the Roleplay session would become psychologically less enjoyable. Note the word “psychologically”. If a map is perfect in every way, but no-one would want to play on it, what is its use? So, that is one main factors I will address in my review for the Atlantis.

Where possible, I will illustrate my opinion with screenshots. I know from experience that you will not follow up on every remark I post and you shouldn’t feel oblidged, but I’d nonetheless like to share my thoughts with you, in the hope that you may gain some insight you might not have had before, (or if you did have, have it acknowledged.).

Alright, enough psychobabble:

The bridge.
The most important ‘flaws’ I found on the bridge. Though it looks very nice, most of the important stations are placed impractically, while many other stations don’t really have a useful function (besides just existing). I really think you should cut back on stations. Even with bots, there’s just too much for its usefulness. However, with a few small cosmetic tweaks you can totally redesign the layout, cutting back on 3 consoles and make the ones there more enjoyable to sit at.
The tactical console is in a weird place, probably due to Poseidon logic. Give it the status it deserves by placing it behind the captain, removing the 2 chairs and making it 1 station. (=cutting back 1 station and giving tactical a more present position on the bridge)
Posted Image Posted Image

The OPS and Helm consoles are against the outer wall of the bridge. Would you like to sit packed to the wall of an empty box? I’d suggest placing these consoles more back (towards the captain) so they might actually see something left and right without totally turning around. They might actually be able to see the whole of the viewscreen as well, instead of just the bottom 1/8th.
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Also notice that I’ve joined the four side consoles into two consoles. Why would there be stations facing away from the viewscreen, and directly to the captain? Unless the captain is an exhibitionist, he’ll be very nervous because he’s being stared at all of the time. Joining the two consoles gives more buttons for people to push on, creating more status to the station and they’d be able to view the screen as well. Everyone wants to view the screen, especially if the nice warp-texture is playing.
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Another illustration of how the 2 forward stations should be moved back. Also, the viewscreen needs to be lowered, its too high up against the ceiling. In real life, people’d get neckcramps from looking up at it all day.
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These consoles look boxy and oldfashioned.
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I think the bridge needs more mood-lighting at red alert. You can easiliy achieve them by darkening out the ceiling during redalert. It would greatly enhance the experience of danger and alert if the map would actually (appear to) be darker. Look at voyager to see my point.
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And some small things:
- Please replace the yellow-alert sound. Its horrible! It sounds my like my alarm-clock. The yellow alert sound of the Enterprise D is perfect. Short, not too drastic and non-repeating.
- Perhaps the yellow-alert flashing should be static yellow instead. Because yellow is not really an alert status in the sense of “alert”, but more an indication of increased awareness. It should be less dominant than redalert. Right now, yellow alert is redalert, but with yellow paint instead of red.



Quarters.
The next important thing on the list are the quarters. These quarters look very nice, but with a few twists, the available space can be used more esthetically and more functional. Let me start with the Captains quarters.

The captains quarters is the room with the most esteem and stature. As such, I’d give it more allure, as right now, its more of a copy of the others, but with added dinner table.
- Change the dinner table into something nice. The captain doesn’t eat from the same tables as the messhall – its beneath him. You’d want a glass or black marbel table so he can impress foreign ambassadors and female medical officers. Also, make it so that there is a chair at the head of the table, looking INTO the room (and not out to space). The captain always sits on the head of the table closest to a wall. So, place the table a little bit distant from the window, with 8 chairs, instead of 6. If you only have room for 6 chairs, use a row of 2 instead of 3.
- The captains desk should be in between of the two doors, so that he may look into space when he’s working (and view the beautiful warp texture) and people see him against the wall when they are coming to see him. Right now, the desk is behind a glass wall, so he can’t receive people from behind his desk. I’m make the desk a central area in the room. (like on Serenity-B, modeled after Picards quarters)
- Devide the room into separate spaces. Right now, the bed is in the living section. Do you sleep in your living room? I think not. The best way to accommodate this, is by expanding the quarters a bit left and right. He’s the captain of a big ship, so he deserves to have a big room. (but don’t make it a hall, devide it into smaller compartments. Proposal:

http://www.alexleend...X/captain_0.jpg
http://www.alexleend...X/captain_1.jpg

These quarters (officer) are good, although they good use a new table (instead of the messhall table) If you don’t have enough brushes left, perhaps a good table could be modeled?
http://www.alexleend...X/captain_2.jpg

This quarter could use a touch up, as there is much unused/empty space, which makes it look too large. A little work would realy make this livable, perhaps even as VIP quarters.
http://www.alexleend...X/captain_3.jpg

All the doors to quarters need to be toggleable, including chimes. (we’re in the 23rd century, we’re not gonna knock anymore.)
http://www.alexleend.../RPG-X/door.jpg


Corridor:
http://www.alexleend...-X/corridor.jpg
Like said in the picture, the ship could also use an indoor crew area, where more than one people can sleep. (bunk beds) It will be usable in “lower deck” RP’s (Dooley’s Peacemillion/Ranger/Al-Batani had them and they were used well. Smallish quarters with a couple of double bunks.

Other Area’s

The holodeck needs controls, either inside or outside. (I don’t have the hologrid texture, btw)
http://www.alexleend...G-X/cargo_1.jpg

Steller Cartography
http://www.alexleend...cartography.jpg

Engineering:
http://www.alexleend...RPG-X/chair.jpg

http://www.alexleend...gineering_1.jpg
http://www.alexleend...gineering_2.jpg

More corridors:
http://www.alexleend.../corridor_2.jpg

http://www.alexleend.../corridor_3.jpg

#2 Alex L.

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Posted 28 March 2007 - 11:23 PM

Its in two posts because I apparantly can only post 10.000 characters at a time. :P

SO... "and now, the conclusion"


Messhall:
This room is a bit bland, for the leisure and meeting center of such a large ship. It could do with a bit more atmosphere. Why not add some more blue mood-light and some more decorations.
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(current situation left, mood lighting added right)
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OBS lounge:
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Readyroom:
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Redalert:
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Shuttlebay Doors
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Jefferies Tubes:
I think its very good that Atlantis has an intricate Tube system, but right now, its nothing more than tubes and access points. There’s nothing to do inside, besides getting lost trying to get from A to B. I think you should include more LCARS/Techinical access portals in the hubs (where more tubes connect) or include more technical area’s accessable by them.
“ Deck 6” (see picture) is a very nice adition with a lot of atmosphere, but I’d actually put something behind some doors, technical area’s, perhaps even some sort of manifold/apparatus which can be toggled on and off, to provide more RP material. Right now, its more usable as jogging court for running exercise, rather than technical maintenance. Also, please give directions. People don’t know where to go because everything looks the same. I tried to find the computer core (which could be toggleable to provide RP material?) for 10 minutes until I finaly decided to noclip and float my way to it.

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These really should be toggelable, like on Serenity B. Its an on-demand display with a high ‘cool factor’. Note that the second picture (outside captains quarters) should also be LCARS. (these computer pathways look moderately nice, but they don’t have any real function)
http://www.alexleend...X/wall_lcar.jpg http://www.alexleend...wall_lcar_2.jpg

Alright. That’s about it.

Now, obviously it would be foolish to expect that you address all the above mentioned points, but I hope I’ve given you some more insight on how you can improve this map and to increase functionality, for after all, its not an artwork to be gazed at, but an artwork to be used.

Good luck with production!

Alex L.

#3 Kori Barnes

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Posted 29 March 2007 - 12:09 AM

This ship design is based off the fictional Excalibur Class (http://www.ussjaguar...etExcalibur.pdf), Its huge. Think of it as the Star Trek version of Battlestar Galactica, Andromeda or an Imperial-II Class Star Destroyer.

That you will realize why the Bridge is so big.

Think of it as Starfleet Command on warp engines.

Over all, that is pretty good review. Most of the stuff I agree with.
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#4 Scooter

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Posted 29 March 2007 - 02:21 AM

I give that the Thoroughness Award 2007.

I haven't had a chance to check out the Atlantis yet myself, but I noticed something yesterday on the Poseidon that bugged me a little bit: having to push the doorpad to exit crew quarters. There should be a trigger_multiple just inside the door to trigger it open when you walk towards it. I suspect this practice hasn't changed with the Atlantis so I thought it worth mentioning.

I won't bother saying too much about the canonness of it all because last time I made remarks along those lines it wasn't well received. I wanted to back what Alex said regarding the shared quarters. Shared quarters are indeed usually smaller rather than larger. It's also correct that quarters are usually more rectangular than square; when I enter the door, I expect the windows to be roughly 15 feet away instead of twice that. And yeah, the bridge does seem overly big. These are design decisions that Will and Anthony made and I'm not going to expect them to change. I do expect each map to be better than the previous, because that's what self-improvement is all about.

#5 Jake Conhale

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Posted 29 March 2007 - 02:40 AM

my take on the shuttlebay: Its too small, really.

Here's what I would do:

Remove the armory from Deck 4, put it somewhere else, if necessary you could put it at one of those false corridor ends you have about.

Take the shuttle bay and line it up with the balcony entrances on the Deck 4 corridor with a door to the Deck 5 corridor on the lower rightside wall of the shuttlebay. (note left and right refer to entering the bay's perspective from here on).

The balcony would have two doors, one in the current right position, but nix the left side door. Instead, have a standard door going straight into the control booth, in case the bay loses atmospheric containment so the operations aren't trapped. The balcony doors are still standard doors. The balcony itself might benefit from being arched onto the sides, but not too sure on that.

For the lower level, place two doors similar to the exit doors behind the shuttles, suggesting a service area. The door leading to deck 5 should be a cargo hatchway.

As for the operator's booth.

Sitting at the stations all you can see are the doors, not the shuttles.

What I would do is move the lower edge of the viewport to right up against the console and slant it outwards so the operator can see the shuttles as well.


I have an idea for the bridge that I will post as soon as I can articulate it.
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#6 Anthony

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Posted 29 March 2007 - 04:17 PM

I'll be short with you all...

I really like some of the ideas above and think tehey'd make great additions. I'll see what we can do :P

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#7 Marcin

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Posted 29 March 2007 - 06:35 PM

Good review, but remember that Will and Ant cannot create new entities without removing others because they're already on the max, I think. So stuff like deactivatable consoles are just waste of entities. Or does ioEF have a bigger limit?

#8 Kori Barnes

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Posted 29 March 2007 - 08:49 PM

Well Ant just said would make great "additions" So I don't think they've hit max entities yet :P besides, the Tac panel doesn't have sound yet, I hope they have entities left :D
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#9 William

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Posted 29 March 2007 - 09:08 PM

Thanks Alex, always as thourough as usual :D

As anthony said, alot of the asthetic changes could be easily made (providing we get the atlantis operational). I doubt we'd be able to add too many new entites to the map (buttons to doors).

And just a note about the sit animation at consoles, IMO it looks silly sitting so far away from the console. So I moved the chair closer, just use an ofset of 10 in the emote screen :P

PS: Your review is 10 printed pages long! Just had to print it :P

#10 Slayer

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Posted 30 March 2007 - 02:52 AM

If there is one thing that the bridge needs changed its those consoles facing the captain. It really bugs me. And I do agree that the shuttle doors should be cargo bay doors.
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#11 William

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Posted 30 March 2007 - 08:10 AM

Since we've now got a new cargobay style door (ala holodeck) I think I can easily replace those doors :P

#12 Jake Conhale

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Posted 30 March 2007 - 04:13 PM

don't forget the actual cargo bay, i couldn't believe you put a standard door there rather than a hatchway.
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#13 Slayer

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Posted 02 September 2007 - 09:08 AM

So did any of this happen...
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#14 William

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Posted 02 September 2007 - 01:24 PM

the map doesn't even load properly for everyone

#15 Alex L.

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Posted 02 September 2007 - 06:42 PM

In time, all will be solved and fixed.... or not and than my review was an utter waste of energy, LOL.

Anyway, RPG-X wouldn't be the same without Will&Anth's maps, so I hope things will work out. :P

#16 William

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Posted 04 September 2007 - 12:00 PM

I've redownloaded your review and will 'review' it again tonight :(

#17 Alex L.

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Posted 04 September 2007 - 05:04 PM

be sure to feed that paper to your printer, lol. (I recall the last time you printed it :()

#18 William

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Posted 04 September 2007 - 08:17 PM

Heh, its okay I used the works printer hehe

#19 Slayer

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Posted 10 September 2007 - 07:36 AM

You guys made some good changes, but now we just need to be able to have more than two or three able to play it. How can we help?
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#20 William

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Posted 10 September 2007 - 01:37 PM

Hmm

I'll try a few beta patches if we can actually get people to test it




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