We’ve released the beta for the STL Mission Editor for Star Trek Legacy, along with the source code. We also plan to launcha STL Wiki page to give modders online documentation that can be expanded on easily. Our experience with the Elder Scrolls modding community tells us that fans love making their own stuff. Legacy has a small but vocal modding community and I hope this helps it grow even more.
A few caveats – the source code is only for the Editor and NOT the game. The toolset is a beta and not officially supported by Bethesda Softworks. We’re hoping there are programmers in the community who can take over maintenance of the Editor and source.
Special thanks to Ryan Lea, Jason Hammett, and Shannon Bailey (pictured above). This effort was entirely on a volunteer basis done in their own free time because they wanted to help and get this tool released. So kudos to those guys for stepping up and helping out. Following is a post mortem that Shannon wrote up. Good read if you plan on modding Legacy, or if you are interested in development, in general.
Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Shannon Bailey:
Although most of the coders on the Fallout team make occasional changes to the editor, I’m one of the few for whom it’s a major part of the job. So when Ashley asked if anyone was interested in helping Star Trek Legacy fans modify missions, I immediately volunteered. Not only is that sort of thing “what I do,” it’s rewarding to write tools that help people, whether inside or outside of the company, make what they design playable. Ryan Lea and Jason Hammett, both testers in our QA department and programmers themselves, came on board as well.
After learning that missions in Legacy were essentially sets of DLLs compiled with Visual Studio, the task seemed simple: we isolated the minimum amount of source files required to make this process work and wrote instructions on how to change the key files that Legacy read. The instructions grew daunting, though, and it began to make sense to write an application in C# that would intuitively handle creating, editing, and compiling missions with a few simple data tables. I handled the coding; Ryan and Jason, whose reverse-engineered knowledge of Legacy’s mission system was now encyclopedic, contributed to the design and did an awesome job finding and helping fix the inevitable issues. Though I’d been the single developer on a few projects before joining Bethesda, I’d never worked on a small team for which I was responsible. Delegating work to others was a new experience, but it ended up working well, with all of us having pivotal roles.
The only problematic aspect of this project was that it wasn’t part of our regular jobs and hence was done quickly, during the lunchtimes, evenings, and weekends that could be spared (and occasional stolen moments while Fallout 3 was compiling). Despite the fact that the editor does a lot of things, there are features we’d love to add, like support for more compilers besides Visual Studio and a slightly slicker interface. We’ve been talking about releasing the source code, though, so perhaps there will be people in the mod community who want to pick up where we left off, not only making new missions but also contributing to the process of making them.