Player Contribution Corps
The Vendetta Online Player Contribution Corps (PCC) are a group of Vendetta Online players who wish to be as involved as possible with the ongoing evolution of the game. These players are not Developers or Guides, they have no special privileges within the production universe. This is not intended to be an elite club of any sort, any paying VO player is welcome to join.
The Corps simply represents those players who would like to dedicate some part of their time to improving the game, just for the fun of it and the benefit to everyone. There is no recompense for this activity, only the appreciation of other players and the enjoyment of creating or influencing new content for the universe. This type of involvement can take the form of everything from making new missions, to writing special storylines or just interacting more directly with the development team.
This is a separate group only because the members are expected to strictly adhere to certain standards of Trust, Maturity, Involvement and English. Trust, because we give them access to the test server and development tools that could be used to effectively crash it. Maturity because we require people to be able to accept constructive criticism and feedback. Involvement, as we want people who join this group to actually paticipate, and not just pass through for a short time before vanishing. English, as all members must be able to write well in English (grammar, spelling, punctuation), since the development team does not have time to correct submitted mission text. People who speak English as their second language are welcome, as long as they have a native speaker to help proofread their text.
The PCC participates in the creation and testing of new missions for the game, new Lua code for the game's user interface, and other helpful projects. They are also often called upon to help test new features that are in need of a wider userbase, but are not yet ready to be public. For instance, when Voice Chat became integrated into the game, the PCC people were among the first to know. This is another aspect of the Trust that is requested of the membership.
The Mission Editor
The most prominent tool available to the PCC is our web-based Mission Editor, constructed from scratch to allow almost anyone to create interesting missions for Vendetta Online. Using the relatively easy-to-use editor, PCC members build missions, which are then submitted for review by the rest of the PCC community. A messageboard thread is then posted for the mission (or tree of missions, if there are several related) with links to the mission in the editor, and discussion is started on the merits or problems of the mission. During this period, the author usually implements community suggestions and refinements, and also fixes any bugs found. Once the PCC community gives the mission a clean bill of health, it is kicked up to the developer staff for final review and integration into the public game.
Usually one of the first questions we get from people is something like "Do I have to program or write code?" The simple answer is No. Although the mission editor does follow a certain flow-chart structure that will be intuitive to any programmer, it is relatively easy for anyone to immediately start making missions. The editor is designed such that, while capable of constructing complex and powerful mechanics, the user is only exposed to as much as they choose to use. Thus, anyone can create simple missions right away, while slowly working up to making greater use of the editor's feature, if they choose. For instance:
Missions are fundamentally made up of Stages. Each stage must be completed for the next stage to be started. Missions may have any number of stages.
Each stage contains Actions, Objectives and Events. Actions are what you want the mission to do, each action firing in order. Objectives are what you want the player to do: all of the Objectives of a stage must be met before the stage will fall through to the next one. Events are special conditions where you want some unusual action to be taken, such as the player dying or logging off, a special NPC dying, etc.
Here is a picture of the most basic mission interface, immediately after having clicked on "New Stage" on a blank mission:
For this example, we'll click on "New Action" to create a new action that will tell the user to launch from the station. To do this, we'll use the Write to mission log.. action.
Once we select Write to mission log.., we'll enter some text for them to read.
Now that the player knows what to do, we'll create an Objective to watch and see if they do that. We'll use Launch from station, so as soon as they launch, the stage will complete and fall through to the next stage.
Here we've created an additional stage that, once the player is launched, causes several DenTek Assault ships to warp into the sector and attack the player. Plus, we've created an objective for them, to kill all five of the enemy ships in order to complete the stage (the "Visible" tag put it in the Mission Objectives in their interface). If this were the last stage of the mission, it would successfully complete once they destroyed the enemy NPCs. That's it, a new mission in only a few clicks.
This is a very simplistic example, of course. Drastically more complex scenarios are possible, with conditional jumping between stages allowing missions to branch based on user actions and the like. A fleet of capships can be spawned as simply as the five NPCs above. Menus can be constructed in the mission log interface, and lots of other cool stuff. The point here being, the editor is very simple to get into, and you should not be afraid of it simply because you aren't a programmer.
Anyone is welcome to join the PCC, as long as you are a game subscriber in good standing who fits the above-mentioned parameters of Trust, Maturity, Involvement and English Writing. We presently also require 25 hours of in-game time, to be sure you are familiar with the game and storyline.
If you are logged into a subscribed account, you will see either an application link below, or information about how much more time is needed to qualify.