Engineering reports/20110119

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Welcome to 2011! We are only a few weeks away from Star Trek Online's 1 Year Anniversary, and the team is as busy as ever! The development team continues to operate at Warp 9, continuing to develop new free content updates and features. The team is happy with how far the game improved in 2010 and this next year promises to bring even more exciting features to look forward to.

First up is the next Feature Episode series featuring a continuation of a Romulan storyline that was introduced at launch. The team is constantly pushing the envelop with these missions and we hope to deliver a quality story and game experience for players of both factions at any level (well at least above level 6). The next feature series will introduce some new storytelling tricks as well as bring with it some awesome new rewards. So mark your Calendar for Saturday January 29th and prepare to experience the first episode in this series - titled "The Vault". This series is scheduled to run for 5 weeks and take us through the end of February.

Next up is Star Trek Online's 1 Year Anniversary which include a weeklong event featuring an old "friend" who will be giving out some fun and collector item worthy rewards on the major faction bases. Bring your knowledge of Star Trek and perhaps your finest dance outfit as we celebrate one year of Star Trek Online together.

In other news the Foundry continues to perform wonderfuly in Beta on the Tribble Test Server. The development team is preparing the first major feature update for the Foundry which will introduce some much requested storytelling features for mission creators. Once this update is on Tribble in February, we will begin to make plans to migrate the Foundry beta from Tribble to Holodeck so that everyone can begin to see the awesome fun that is making and playing player created content.

In addition to new Feature Episode missions, we are also working to go back and rework some of our older content to bring it up to our new mission architecture. I've dubbed these as remastered episodes and the plan is that we will be working on these as time allows with the intent that all episodes will eventually get the treatment. Doing this will allow us to make some long term changes to how away teams function and provide avenues to pursue more complex enemy AI in missions.

One feature that is also underway is the PVE Queue Menu which will at the very minimum allow Fleets to organize, invite and create their own private instances of Fleet Actions. Similar to how the PVP Queue functions today, Players will be able to create private maps and then organize invitees into multiple teams via a lobby prior to starting the Fleet Action. Once everyone is set - all those in the queue will be transported to the Fleet Action and then back to where they were after the action ends. Were'nt available when the invite was sent out? No problem. You'll be able to see Fleet Actions in progress, and if you know the password you'll be able to hop into the action in progress. We hope to extend this system in the future to also include organizing STFs, Replayable Missions, and any other LFG uses we can find that make sense. This is a Season 4 feature.

You may have also seen some of the early postings I've made about the new Duty Officer system we have planned for the release of Season 4. Duty Officers will represent the various departments that make your ship crew compliment different than other player's ships. Every player will have a set number of slots in thier officer roster that they can fill with Duty Officers. These officers will have different specialties and training that they've received at the Academy. Depending on how you comprise your Duty Officer Roster, new abilities, new craftables, and even new game options could open up to you. Locating and recruiting specific duty officers will allow players another form of customization that has become a Cryptic trademark.

There's so many other things in the works, that it is hard to give everything equal justice in this reports. Updated Ground Combat continues to develop, new UI updates, and minor features are all underway as well and you'll have to keep checking the release notes every week to see what was added or improved that week.

In the meantime, there is a lot of other great things happening around the office. Champions Online has set a date of when they will open the doors for Free to Play - starting January 25th. We will be watching closely to see how the public responds to this offer and evaluate whether or not it is something that would make sense for Star Trek Online.

For those wondering about the change of CEO at Atari, I personally feel that this is a positive move for Atari and the support for Star Trek Online has never been stronger. Our subscriptions remain strong and there are new players rolling up new captains every day. The number of lifetime subscriptions continues to grow and I'm thankful for all the support I've received since taking over the EP helm. This is a challenging task to keep us on course, but I hope you're finding that the ship is headed in the right direction, and that we have some great fun ahead of us.

Here's to an awesome 2011 and beyond!

Now on to the rest of the report.

In Testing[edit | edit source]

These items are currently being tested on either an internal test shard or on TRIBBLE/REDSHIRT

  • Foundry: Mission Creation Tools
  • New Playable Vulcan Ship
  • TNG: All Good Things Uniform
  • Open Jacket Uniform ("PC Gamer Cover")
  • Feature Episode Series 3
  • New playable shuttles including the Delta Flyer

Under Investigation[edit | edit source]

These issues are hot topics in the QA and CS world. It by no means represents all the bugs we're looking into, but instead new issues that I want you to know we are on top of.

  • Reports of expired exchange items not being returned to the user
  • Daily PVP Reward Balance
  • Fine tuning warp in and out animations
  • PVP wrap up screens closing too quickly
  • A way to edit prior captain's log entries
  • Error Messaging related to "Unable to take down your sale. Please try again later."
  • Increasing number of players allowed in social zones
  • Adding a way to obtain the the Guramba Siege Destroyer using in game currencies
  • Upgrading the amount of content Demo accounts are allowed access to
  • Ridiculously difficult Borg in STFs
  • Additional reports of the infamous 1 shotting dual pistol exploration creatures
  • Better "Aid the Planet" rewards
  • Distribution of Anomalies in various Star Clusters
  • Interaction problems in STFs
  • The Captain's Table
  • Future Veteran Rewards past 400 days

In Development[edit | edit source]

These items are actively being worked on by the at this time by the development team.

  • Feature Episode Series 3 missions
  • 400 Day Veteran Rewards
  • Ways to boost XP gain while leveling up (new type of consumables)
  • PVE Mission Queue System (to allow Fleets to run private fleet actions, initiate episode replay etc)
  • New Ground Combat v 2.0 - major update to weapons and a new over shoulder aim and shoot (optional) reticle system
  • New Running, Sprinting, and 8 direction of movement animations
  • New craftable consumable items
  • New Gorn customization options
  • New Loading Screens
  • Imroved Sector Space Map
  • New Earth Spacedock Exterior and Interior
  • Andorian Playable Ship
  • Better ways to promote and inform players about Feature Episodes in game
  • Ability to spend Atari Tokens as well as Cryptic Points in STO
  • Reviewing designs of the STFs to determine areas that need improvement and ways to make these episodes better
  • More voice over and cutscenes in missions
  • Ongoing support for new Foundry features and updates

In Design Discussions[edit | edit source]

The lead designers are currently discussing these features for implementation in an upcoming update

  • Feature Episode Series 4
  • Duty Officer System (formerly known as the crew system)
  • New Bonuses, items, craftables, and game mechanics related to Duty Officers
  • Redesign for Exploration Sectors (and Exploration in general)
  • Off-Duty Costumes and ways to improve the feature so that costume rules are clearer and better defined
  • Adding BOFF abilities to power list on the ground (so you can slot them)
  • New Prometheus, Oberth, Vesta, Ambassador, and Future Enterprise ships
  • Exchange Updates
  • STF: The Hive

Long Term[edit | edit source]

Designs and features being considered for updates further in the future

  • Converting First Officer to Playable Captain
  • Fleet Starbases
  • Fleet Action Updates
  • More Fleet Actions
  • More PVP Maps
  • Updated Game Tutorial and ability to skip it
  • More iconic locations such as Starfleet Academy, Rura Penthe etc...
  • Explorable Sol System
  • Improved Social Planets with social gameplay
  • More Minigames
  • More Borg parts for AlienGen
  • Ability to construct new ships at Starbases
  • Territory Control War
  • Deepspace Exploration Concept
  • Additional Playable Factions (Romulan, Cardassian...)
  • Android species
  • Aenar species
  • Talaxian species
  • Hologram species
  • Improved Hair Tech