Luckily for fans of player-generated content, the Foundry has recently come back online. And with the revelations the in the July state-of-the-game letter and the recent Foundry Season 6 dev blog, it appears the system is getting some real attention from the developers. Soon players will have more tools and better customization to compose their missions and tell their own stories.
Do you have a story you want to tell? Keep reading for quick guide to the nuts and bolts of this feature that allows you to create your own bit of personal Star Trek lore.
Of course, when it comes to exciting features that allow players to create their own content, I am willing to let bygones be bygones. So now that folks can return to the creation process, I beamed myself right into the game and started puttering around in the Foundry. The trick will actually be getting myself to leave...
Thankfully, unlike a previously discussed mission creator, STO's Foundry is available even to free players, so anyone can hop in and try her hand at creating a mission. Another difference in Star Trek Online's system is that you don't create the missions from inside the game as a part of gameplay; instead, you have to start building your mission on the character select screen. In fact, you have to actually build a dedicated Starfleet or Klingon Foundry character. As a free player, I had access to one Foundry slot, but the option to buy more is clearly labeled on the bottom of the screen. An important note: If you decide to delete your Foundry character, you do not lose your missions already created or in development! This is important because if you decide to change types of missions (e.g., stop making Starfleet ones and create Klingon instead), you will have to create the corresponding character.
Now these characters don't have much in the way of customization, but that is OK; you want the character to be your crash-test dummy for your missions. Once your character is set, you jump to the actual mission creation screen, a gray, partitioned area where you choose between working on a new mission or editing one already under development. The first thing you have to do when making a new mission is agree to a EULA for the Foundry. After that, you start filling in all of the details of your soon-to-be masterpiece. Squeeeeeeeeeee!
On the story tab, you start dropping features from the library into the center to start building the tasks your players will have to accomplish. In addition to naming everything, you can add animations and OOC comments. On the top of the screen there is a preview button, which pops you into your own personal holodeck for a preview. I have to say, just going into that yellow grid was pretty exciting for me! I even forgot about checking out my mission! In this preview mode, you have some editing tools available, but the bulk of them are back in the editor. More tools are available in the top left corner of the editor; there is a menu that includes copy, paste, undo, and other typical commands that may be very helpful during the process. Undo is my friend.
For players wanting a more detailed step-by-step walk-through of the Foundry, there are a number of extremely detailed guides as well as some video tutorials. Personally, I prefer hopping in and experimenting from the get-go and figuring things out myself. And since the system is not overly difficult, it is quite feasible to avoid the abundance of details and just have at it.
If you haven't tried the Foundry yet, go ahead and give it a spin. Now's the time because things are just getting better. If you'd rather not take on the task of creating your own missions yet, enjoy any of the many missions already published by fellow players. I will readily admit that I haven't really played STO much since launch, but I got lost in the Foundry. Both making missions and exploring the missions of others tickled my love-of-player-generated-content bone. I applaud those games that offer tools to support it. So here's a round of applause for Star trek Online. May your Foundry runneth ever... but always be online!
Every two weeks, Jef Reahard and MJ Guthrie take a break from their themepark day jobs to delve into the world of player-generated content. Comments, suggestions, and coverage ideas are welcome, and Some Assembly Required is always looking for players who'd like to show off their MMO creativity. Contact us!