Mission pre-release checklist
This is a list of questions every FREDder—especially novice ones—should ask themselves before submitting a mission for community revision (or the FRED Academy). For more experienced mission designers, this list is for reminders.
Questions are categorized based on which window you must open to answer them.
For some more, general outlines: See Testing.
- Have I used the Y axis?
- Note: It is much more realistic if all the ships are not on the same plane.
- If I have changed the name of a ship over the course of development, is it consistent thorough? Is it referred to by its old name in the briefing, in a message, etc.?
- Note: This can be avoided by opening the mission file in Notepad using word replacement.
- At mission start, do wingmen collide with the player? Are they far enough to ensure a safe startup?
- Have I taken as many outcomes into consideration as possible? Have I done everything to prevent the player from breaking the mission?
- Note: FREDders aren't traditionally expected to take into account outcomes realized by cheating.
- Have I run my mission through a spellchecker?
Edit Ship (SHIFT-S)
- If I want to use Alt Names, have I used them for every ship I wanted?
- Have I replaced all the intended nameplates with the Texture Replacement tool?
- Have I used the Texture Replacement tool for any other relevant purpose?
- Do all the ships have their intended cargo?
- Have I unchecked all the Player Orders for all ships that the player is not supposed to give orders to?
- If I have used the Special Hits feature, do all the values belong to the relevant ships?
- Note: Sometimes FRED mixes up the values. If there is any ship that arrives with everything at 0%, it is because of the Special Hits feature. In case of emergency, disable the Special Hits feature on all ships. Otherwise find a way to remedy it in a text editor.
- Are all mission critical craft on the Escort List?
- Are there hostile containers with Cargo Known ticked that aren't supposed to have known cargo?
- Conversely, are there any friendly containers or transports with unknown cargo?
- If I have used the Invulnerable feature for testing, have I unchecked every instance that are not supposed to be present in the actual mission?
- If I want to make a red-alert mission, have I ticked all the relevant Red Alert Carry Status flags?
- If there are ships that are supposed to just "sneak in," did I tick No Arrival Music?
- Is it reasonable for the player to start at 0 velocity?
- If a ship is supposed to be damaged at start, have I lowered the integrity of some subsystems to make it more realistic?
Wing Edit (SHIFT-W)
- Are all fighter and bomber wings given relevant orders?
- If there are bomber wings in the mission, do they have orders other than destroying their targets?
- Note: Rookie FREDders underestimate the importance of Initial Orders for bomber wings. If their targets are gone, they will just sit idle and wait for being vaporized.
- If there are wings that are supposed to "sneak in," do they have No Arrival Music and No Arrival Message ticked?
- If they are supposed to arrive from a hangarbay, do they?
- Do all wings depart when it is reasonable? If they don't depart at all, is there an explanation to it in the plotline?
- If there are wings with multiple waves, is there some sort of delay between two waves?
- Do all wings have Squad Logos that are supposed to?
Mission Objectives (SHIFT-G)
- If I run a mission, does an "Objective Completed" window appear at once?
- Are mission goal texts descriptive enough by themselves? If not, is it made clear in the mission briefing what the player must do?
- Are all Invalid Objectives made valid at some point in the mission?
- Are primary goals really critical for the completion of the mission? Are there secondary goals that are required for a successful completion of a mission?
Mission Event Edit (SHIFT-E)
An excessively long list could be assembled here. Since FREDders use their Events very differently and they make different mistakes, even a huge list cannot serve its purpose in all cases, so only the most common mistakes (oversights) are covered here.
- Do all directives appear when they should? Do they turn true/false when they should?
- Do all directives help the player? Are there any superfluous directives that the player can do nothing about?
- If the player receives a mission update, through a message or a directive change, is it clear what he must do?
- Do I have a Return to base directive? Does it work?
- Are there any messages that are not sent at all?
- Note: An easy way to verify this is to double click on each message and see if it returns an error message.
- Are there head anis for all messages that are intended to have one? Are they consistent?
- Does mission chatter help in storytelling?
- If there are ships that are supposed to fire Trebuchets, is there a good-secondary-time SEXP somewhere?
- If there is a long pause in the mission, have I used the good-rearm-time SEXP?
- If there is a cargo transfer in the mission, have I transferred the cargo from Ship A to Ship B using the transfer-cargo SEXP?
Team Loadout (SHIFT-P)
- For a more advanced guide: Improved Team Loadout
- Are all available ships and weapons supposed to be available in the period your mission is played?
- Is it reasonable for ships to have their default loadouts while more advanced weapons are available?
- Note: Not touching anything loadout-related will result in all wingmen having the default Subach-Prometheus R loadout while Prometheus S cannons and Kaysers are available. Make sure that the default loadout (that is given to the player by the mission) is usable in comparison to what is granted in the Team Loadout.
- If I care about realism, have I made sure that not 100 or 500 pieces of everything is available?
Mission Specs (SHIFT-N)
- Does my mission have a title?
- If there are three sides in the mission that are supposed to attack each other, have I ticked All Teams at War?
- If I disallowed support ships, will the player understand why he is not provided a support ship?
- Does the mission have music?
- Have I used Custom Wing Names if I broke the Alpha-Beta-Gamma-Delta-Epsilon naming convention?
- Judging from the setting of my mission, would it be reasonable to disable automatic messages?
- If I used the Designer's Note section, is there anything in there that requires my attention?
Briefing Editor (SHIFT-B)
- By the end of the last stage, is it clear to the player what he must do?
- Is everything that is mentioned in the briefing relevant to the mission?
- Is there music?
- Does the briefing reflect the most recent version of the mission?
- Note: The briefing might say that there will be four fighters in Beta, but you may have later reduced their number to three for mission balance purposes.
- Are all intended ship icons visible?
- Have I used highlighting to emphasize mission critical craft? Have I overused it?
- Have I used colored texts to highlight some words in the briefing text? Have I overused it?
- Do all the cuts work properly forward and backward?
- Do I have an AWOL debriefing stage?
- Does the text of individual stages make it clear if the player completed or failed the mission?
- Do those stages that deal with the player failing the mission have something useful in the Recommendations field? Is it relevant and up-to-date?
- Have I made sure that the player will never receive the "No debriefing for mission" window? Have I tested it extensively enough?
- Haven't I used is-goal-incomplete or is-event-incomplete anywhere?
- Note: There is no such a thing as "incomplete" in the debriefing. If an Event or mission goal was incomplete when the player jumped out, it will be false.