Engineering reports/20110215

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Greetings!

First, I wanted to give a big thank you to everyone who logged in and joined us for our One Year Anniversary. The team enjoyed spending time with players on Earth Space Dock and Qo'noS and there have been many great screenshots passed around the office from that event. We were happy to see Q replace Earth Spacedock with something more familiar and look forward to where he might show up next and make another big change. Not to steal thunder from the Anniversary, but there are two much bigger topics I'd like to talk about right now. The Feature Episodes and Foundry.

Our latest Feature Episode Series, "Cloaked Intentions" shows the efforts the team have been making to bring quality story-driven mission content to Star Trek Online. The little details are really adding up in these episodes are we are continuing to give the teams more time than we had initially planned so that they can add that extra 5% that seems to always make it better. The entire series is going to feature some of the most original gameplay we've added to Star Trek Online since we launched. If you've enjoyed the series so far, I really think you're going to enjoy the next few weeks as we explore the turmoil at the heart of the Romulan Empire. That is, if the servers can stay online.

What the heck? I can't possibly apologize enough for how frustrating it has been these last two Saturdays for players who have logged in at or around 11am to experience the new episode release. The servers have been crushed under the weight of players wanting to dive into these missions and as much as we plan to prevent downtime, it was unfortunate that we've had a few emergency restarts for the last two weeks.

Rest assured that addressing this issue has been a huge priority for the team the last two weeks and we've made some interesting discoveries on the load balancing and server management side of our game. We expect to be much more prepared this upcoming weekend, and fingers crossed that we'll be able to weather it without a restart.

But then there's the Foundry. The team working on the Foundry mission authoring tools continue to impress me and seeing the changes that are about to hit Tribble, I think players are going to really enjoy the new branching dialog and mission triggers we've added to the toolset. I can't wait to see some missions that make amazing creative use of these features. If all goes well, we could see the Foundry on Holodeck by the time the Feature Series is wrapping up. Very Exciting!

Every day it feels like there is so much more to talk about. Our Season 4 is the next big update to the game and many members of the team are starting to transition from the Feature Episode over to new features and content we'll be adding when Season 4 releases near the end of June.

We not only have a big ground combat update and the new duty officer system, but we've also made the decision to let players create their first character as a Klingon instead of needing to play a Fed up to level 6. This means adding a new tutorial and reworking some Klingon content to ensure that new KDF players have a solid progression path. So you can expect yet another good update for the Klingons in our next big release.

We also recently released a remastered, replayable, level-scaling Stranded in Space episode as a way to show how we plan to update existing missions to give them a level of coolness that makes them more like our Feature Episodes.

So in all, lots of great things on the horizon. Its going to be a very busy year for STO in 2011 and both myself and the team are excited for what the future holds.

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: Update 1 - Triggers, Branching Dialog, Cut-n-Paste, plus other improvements
  • New Melee Weapons: Lirpas and Swords
  • Open Jacket Uniform Pack (http://twitpic.com/3u8ke5)
  • Feature Episode Series 3: Cloaked Intetions
  • New playable shuttles and fighter craft
  • 400 Day Veteran Rewards (including Valiant title, Fed Captain's Yacht or Klg DujHod class Aux craft, and a 5% skillpoint boost up to LT Commander 6.)
  • Better ways to promote and inform players about Feature Episodes in game
  • Updates to Beam Fire at Will so that DPS now scales as expected
  • Fixes for 360 degree weapons only using 250 degree arc when using Fire at Will
  • Various bug fixes for Vault and Mine Enemy episodes (including no mission xp reward for Mine Enemy)
  • Fix for Reman psychic FX shooting at your feet
  • Tweaks to Thalaron Device

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.

  • Load Balancing and Server Performance
  • PVP Maps not starting properly (this should be resolved now)
  • Upgrading the amount of content Demo accounts are allowed access to
  • Additional reports of the infamous 1 shotting dual pistol exploration creatures
  • Better "Aid the Planet" rewards
  • AI Pathing in Foundry missions
  • The Captain's Table
  • Possiblity of a 500 day Veteran Reward
  • Improving mission waypoint system
  • Bugs related to the Foundry update 1

In Development[edit | edit source]

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

  • New Ground Combat v 2.0 - major update to weapons and a new over shoulder aim and shoot (optional) reticle system

Fleet Action Lobby System (organize teams up to 4 teams and join or launch Fleet Action map)

  • New Running, Sprinting, and 8 direction of movement animations
  • Removing the concept of "Off-Duty" costumes and simply giving everyone "costume slots" you can use to store costumes
  • Vivox Voice Chat integration
  • Recipes to craft shuttles and fighters (including the Delta Flyer)
  • Recipes to craft additional melee weapons
  • Ability for shuttles to gather special data samples from anomalies
  • Prometheus Multi-Vector Assault console
  • Starfleet Jackets Pack (2409)
  • Additional TOS Uniforms (Dress Uniforms with Insignias and Kirk Green Wrap)
  • TOS Replica Bridge and Ship Interior (Bridge, Ready Room, Engineering, Hallways, Dilithium Lab, Lounge, Captain's Quarters, Transporter Pad)
  • New craftable consumable items
  • New Gorn customization options
  • New Loading Screens
  • More detailed Sector Space and Galaxy Maps
  • Reviewing designs of the STFs to determine areas that need improvement and ways to make these episodes better
  • Ongoing support for new Foundry features and updates
  • Explorable Sol System

In Design Discussions[edit | edit source]

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

  • Tutorial for the KDF and allowing players to start their first character in the KDF
  • Releveling KDF Content Progression
  • Adding more KDF episodes
  • Nuking Kerrat
  • Giving Qo'noS a revamp
  • Updating missions that take place in Qo'noS
  • Adding daily crafting quests
  • Opening up shared exploration sectors (e.g. Hromi Cluster)
  • Making several needed updates to the Fed Tutorial
  • Adding melee weaponsmiths to the game that sell specific ground weapons
  • Adding open PVP melee areas to social maps (Andoria, Vulcan, Qo'noS, Rura Penthe)
  • Repurposing some Feature Episode maps as new PVP maps
  • Ability to skip new player tutorial after you've done it once
  • Allowing players to purchase more inventory slots
  • Removing restriction on number of players required to create a Fleet
  • Allowing Fleet Bank size to automatically scale with the size of the Fleet
  • Combining Ship Customization, Ship Selection, and Ship Requisitions into a single UI
  • Combining Marks and Emblems to a single scaled currency system
  • 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)
  • Adding BOFF abilities to power list on the ground (so you can slot them)
  • Allowing away team powers to be assigned to hotkeys
  • Adding ability to warp to a friend
  • Andorian, Oberth, Vesta, Ambassador, and Fan Designed Enterprise ships
  • Adding a functioning shuttlebay for ship interiors (allows you to switch to your shuttle without returning to Spacedock)
  • Removing the restriction that you can only craft on Memory Alpha or Qo'noS
  • Remastering more episodes
  • Replacing Deepspace Encounters with more instanced missions
  • More shuttle specific mission types
  • Adding a Rest XP bonus
  • Finishing the STF: The Hive
  • Prep for Feature Episode Series 4
  • Adding leaderboards to the game
  • Adding ability to display accolade score as part of player name

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
  • More iconic locations such as Starfleet Academy, Rura Penthe etc...
  • Improved Social Planets with social gameplay
  • More Minigames
  • More parts for AlienGen
  • Ability to construct new ships at Starbases
  • Territory Control Game
  • Customizable ship interiors
  • Deepspace Exploration Concept
  • Additional Playable Factions (Romulan, Cardassian...)
  • More Species (Androids, Aenar, Talaxian, Hologram species)
  • Improving Hair and Cloth tech

Reminder: Just because something on the list doesn't mean it isn't being looked at or being worked on. If you have specific issues or questions about upcoming content, feel free to post your questions below