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Author Topic: Star Trek Online - could it even work?  (Read 3449 times)

Offline KristianTNA

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Star Trek Online - could it even work?
« on: 19 June 2008 06:24 PM »
I've been a Star Trek follower for a number of years canon and in the past few years fanon.

Star Trek Online has always puzzled me on how could it even work and is probably the real reason its so damn hard to develop.
Choosing an era, configuration of vessels, what races are included are pretty generic discussion and nailed in the first few weeks of development. But its the more difficult ones such as

- Concept of speed. If a 3D galaxy map is included then players pretty much would have the galaxy as there oyster and could literally go anywhere.
Titles such as Mass Effect touched and effectively got round this fact of speed by way of the Babylon 5 like Jump Gate/Mass Effect drives to jump from system to system though there are millions of stars and systems in all directions you could only jump around the galaxy point to point with a Mass Effect drive/Jump Gate.
Star Trek doesnt have this. We have Warp Drive to travel from system to system. but with at least 14 different speeds as in impulse 1/4,1/2,3/4 and full impulse now in the show Impulse is used when they enter a system and can transverse the system with quite rapid timing. then theres ten levels of warp speed. so how fast if you look at the map is everyone travelling.

If the vessel is called back to earth and youre on the other side of Beta quadrant how long is it really going to take gametime wise. months?

- Map - Stellar Cartography
Can you indeed visit every planet, doubtful.
the main ones will be there earth, vulcan, kronos, romulus etc. in the 3 years of TOS they laid out the boundaries of the Klingon and Romulan neutral zones and borders. So if you cross them what will happen will a you be turned back or destroyed after violating their space.

Playing Races outside of the federation so the ability to crew a warbird or talaxian garbage freighter can they be done. Can for that matter, be discharged from starfleet if you fail to many missions or make wrong decisions.

On board a starship - is every position a playable position. such as helm, navigator, tactical etc. so if interior play is MMO so youre going to need a team that will actually "take commands" and in play execute them, and the tactics of a battle will be squarely down to the captain and commander. This I doubt will ever work in a MMO scenerio as everyone wants to turn the vessel, everyone will want to press the fire button. rather than telling someone else to do it. because if they didnt, got on and left their post or just for instance logged off as battle wasnt going wel. then what?
perhaps interior lobbys at a Starbase - would work as "Lobbys" to go out on missions as a team.may work better.

Random threats - ok, so imagine youre out in space and suddenly in star trek style a anomaly appears a gravity well or time distortion. in the show its typical of a member of the crew being the link to solving the situation if nobody is an android for example how do you deal with an onboard reverse evolution virus.
Or can occurrences happen like the Caretaker situation and end up in the Gamma Quadrant of the galaxy...it is a 75 year trip at maximum warp to get back to Federation space or even about Q flicking the vessel across space and time.

But one the big ones that everyone and i know i want to do is deal with a confrontation on a big scale - Battling a borg cube or number of cubes as a fleet of real time commanded starships. Its going to take coordinatation not just shooting the tracker beam hub. Like those Big Daddys in Bioshock they should take time to take out and take down. So could a team be manually controlled beam over destroy those internal node generators that exist in places in the cube 1st person style while the starships outside continue to take a pounding and perhaps be destroyed.
your team is successful is destroying the node generator.
Scenerios likely to happen - the manually controlled transporter chief player has got bored looked at the transporter and the walls of the small room what if he/she wanted to be part of the action and went to his quarters to look out the windows at the action. or like everyone will want to see the action from the bridge. How does the team beam back?
- If the ship the player comes from is destroyed. where do they return to? sure another ship but they dont know anyone there....from here also what happens to the players of the destroyed starships.

- Respawning and injury.
I just touched on this is paragraph above, respawning ok youve died dont know maybe you fell off a cliff on a away team mission or got killed by your console blowing up (as theres no fuses in the 24th century) likewise you got injured by your console or plasma burn. how do you return to playing again? in a single player campaign itll be restart mission or something like waking up in sick bay before or after the accident. In MMO terms...respawning back at the beam down point is possibly the only option (as your pattern is still saved...in the buffer or something) if you have an accident like the console blowing up or plasma burn do you wake up in sick bay instantly, before or after the events. after could be in battle a reasonably long time and anything longer than 10 seconds the real time player is likely to log off.

- Leveling up. does this mean at the very start of the game everyone is an ensign at starfleet academy (a good idea for training and learning how it all works) so who is in control of the vessels out in space, how long is development through the military ranks. can i multi task/multiclass while training for helm develop engineering skills as well. You never know when theres a stricken vessel out there that needs assistance. having a points system for each rank and leveling up through them fair enough so once a team has developed with your friends online what happens when youve all reached captain? if youve played together youll be ranking up around the same. so would you be forced to step down from your role on your vessel with your friends as say Helmsman to become captain with a new crew on another starship?

So these are some of the development woes of STO. Dont get me wrong i would like to see them pull of a Star Trek MMO universe and i will buy it. im just spectical of how it will actually function.


Offline Nova

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Re: Star Trek Online - could it even work?
« Reply #1 on: 19 June 2008 07:24 PM »
Wow....

All I can say is that you certainly know how to make an entrance with your first post!

At any rate welcome to the community! You know In your post you really do make a lot of really good points and I wish I had a more in depth knowledge of game development that would allow me to really answer or even offer some degree of solutions to what you are talking about. a particular point that you made and I had never considered it was your Transporter scenario and how players would be impacted not only by the action on the outside but by the actions of others within the game. that is a really fascinating concept.

I will need to spend some time thinking about this thank you again



Offline Kinneas

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Re: Star Trek Online - could it even work?
« Reply #2 on: 19 June 2008 07:54 PM »
Allow me to second what Nova said!  :)
--

On traveling: There has been an update to the roll-out times for artificial wormholes that may allow them to exist fore the 23rd century.  Canon tech has to give way to the real projected roll out dates.

So: Impulse, warp, trans-warp (existing Borg conduits), artificial wormhole.   Not to forget other 'gate-ing' technologies that have been seen and acquired by the Federation but never used in canon afterwards.

" There are no problems.  Only solutions." -John Lennon.
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MAP: If only UFP space is rolled out in a stage 1 launch, then I would enjoy seeing as many of the locations that exist in star-charts available.
Only a few seems way to ...dumbed down.   

I appreciated what Perpetual had planned: To allow you to travel to the major places keyed into navigation...but as you advanced you could have the ability to go 'off-road'.   

Even more advanced players seeking very special places that have been hidden on all public and star fleet maps could tap into S.I.N.S. and plot courses manually.
---

On BRIDGE PLAY!   Last we spoke to Perpetual, BRIDGE PLAY was going to be doable. It has caused them a lot of headache and it was something they figured they could not do until a stage 2 or three...but they seemed to have made a breakthrough and were willing to talk about it.

It seems very important to not give up on this aspect of play for people in this MMO.

Nor give up entirely on Player Ship Interiors (PSI's).  It makes sense to have only a few HUBS with PSI's to start.  Technology may allow more and more PSI's as we go on.
--

On MASSIVE.  There have been so many great ideas on how to provide truly massive experiences where everyone could be involved.

--
On ships: People hated the idea of permadeath for ships too.

--
On managing fleets:  Again. Many amazing ideas have been laid out on how to control everyone. 

From the idea of a full fledged, human run 'Starfleet Command' that issues orders to admirals that direct orders down to small guild/fleets.

The priority stressed was the illusion that starfleet command really did exist and that you feel you are very much a part of a military organization.
--

Random threats: A combination of instanced missions and to take advantage of new 'adaptive A.I.' technologies so the encountered NPC's remember you, can be taught lessons by you, can be influenced by you.  They can also teach and influence other A.I.   This is probably one of the most exciting aspects to talk about for future RPG's.


Offline DocSean

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Re: Star Trek Online - could it even work?
« Reply #3 on: 19 June 2008 10:08 PM »
As regards to injuries and the like:

I think the way SWG handled wounds (a very long time ago) would apply fairly well here. Over time injuries would pile up and actually start reduce your health (/mind or whatever they will be called) bars if you ignored them. If you didn't stop to rest you could actually keep going for a good while, but eventually it was beneficial to stop, rest, see a show etc in order to be at your very best. I think it was a great way to force players to stop every once and awhile to socialize (you could reduce certain "wounds" by watching a dance or listening to music), without really forcing anything.

It also brought a great cycle and economy to the med centers and cantinas because people were needing to rest and there were people providing services to help them. I think the wound system would fit nicely here and I hope something similair is implemented.


And what a great first post, KristianTNA!  :wink:

Offline Random Redshirt

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Re: Star Trek Online - could it even work?
« Reply #4 on: 19 June 2008 11:42 PM »
As regards to injuries and the like:

I think the way SWG handled wounds (a very long time ago) would apply fairly well here. Over time injuries would pile up and actually start reduce your health (/mind or whatever they will be called) bars if you ignored them. If you didn't stop to rest you could actually keep going for a good while, but eventually it was beneficial to stop, rest, see a show etc in order to be at your very best. I think it was a great way to force players to stop every once and awhile to socialize (you could reduce certain "wounds" by watching a dance or listening to music), without really forcing anything.

It also brought a great cycle and economy to the med centers and cantinas because people were needing to rest and there were people providing services to help them. I think the wound system would fit nicely here and I hope something similair is implemented.


And what a great first post, KristianTNA!  :wink:

Can you say Quark's? Shore leave anybody? Risa here we come! Free horgons for everybody! :)
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Offline Zach

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Re: Star Trek Online - could it even work?
« Reply #5 on: 20 June 2008 09:06 AM »
I am going to fly with what Kinneas said on this one!


Offline MrJuliano

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Re: Star Trek Online - could it even work?
« Reply #6 on: 20 June 2008 09:50 AM »
I'm not going to Risa. Bad memories.  :'(
<a href="http://hailingfrequency.co.uk/kinneas/swf/vip3.swf" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://hailingfrequency.co.uk/kinneas/swf/vip3.swf</a>

Offline KristianTNA

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Re: Star Trek Online - could it even work?
« Reply #7 on: 23 June 2008 11:21 PM »
Thanks for the wow nods guys and girls.

I was going over the concepts that would have to be applied for Star Trek Online, then applied the logic of star trek and it just doesn't fit together to well. Star Trek gaming has always been a rocky one. some are great some i wonder how they left development.

I'm sure the transporter chief would probably be an NPC and would beam you back when requested. there was a game for XBOX called Mace Griffin Bounty Hunter and during the course of the any mission or even mid dogfight pressing Y allowed you to get up and wander round your vessel - no bigger than a runabout. some of my concerns stemmed straight from there. leaving your post when you want just wasn't a good idea. but itd happen players leaving their post

most space faring flight titles are just follow the nav marker games oh aliens appear shoot them continue to nav point.
Remember ST Shattered Universe...go to asteriod scan it. oh no a klingon vessel, go to asteriod belt oh no 2 klingon vessels. go scan asteroid oh no 3 klingon vessels. it just became dire. Star Trek to be truly labelled as Star Trek needs to lose this system. attending summits and conferences, opening up trade with planets.
but in a gamer orientation even this will be tedious. they want to follow orders,"ie fire" give orders "ie fire" and shoot stuff "ie fire".

Imagine if you come into contact with another race and the real player at tactical opened fire? what could you do. imagine all the other scenerios
"Open hailing frequencies lt"
"no sir, you come and do it yourself"

With an MMO RPG, players need to drop in and drop out at will. considering itll need shift work to run a starship and starring at the viewscreen if youre lucky enough to work on the bridge...imagine how bad itd be watching a viewscreen for 8 hours and its just travelling across stars... youre just wanna get up and mutiny... kill the captain and act like a kilngon or someone onboard a ISS (Mirror) or GSS (Alternative OGAM) starship.

Interactive areas sure arent a problem are they- 10 forward/mess hall, sitting around having convos playing 3D chess. can you see that happening? id like to.but what everyone would want to be doing is be in a holodeck. Wouldnt in game "acceptance" of user created mods be great for holodecks. that way the developers dont have to pre program loads of mini simulations let the fans and players do it! and it wouldnt alter the external game.

why go to 10 forward and socialize when you can go to eachothers cabin and expect a bit of WOW style, take your clothes off and txt s ex with an albino orion slave girl - Helena Chronicles style :)

If i remember correctly is SWG most people were running round as Jedis after a month of play. despite it being the hardest level to endure gettnig to, just because everyone wanted to be one. What level can you obtain highest do you think Admiral, fleet admiral, president of federation? youd have a 100,000 fleet admirals within 3 months and 1million in a year. so who is in control. i doubt the game would let a player obtain higher than captain to abstain from that happening.

my thoughts seeing all the vessels in star trek shows they are all pretty much face on and same height level and rarely "tilt" as it were, the games galaxy map could in effect be a large 2D playing field. the distance and speed issues would still be there though. but its one less worry than playing, navingating 3D space and warping in any direction. from there Han Solo explained it best...what if you go to lightspeed and go into a planet or asteroid.

my barin is working to hard the gerbil is showng no signs or resting up and ill keep writing so im going to stop it now. lol