Engineering reports/20110315

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Welcome to another edition of the Engineering Report. With the release of Season 4 just a few months away, I’m updating the report with several new items that we are moving onto the development schedule as well as some new discussions we are having about future plans. The big two topics you may be curious about are Feature Episodes and the Foundry. Let me give you an update on those two items first.

The most recent Feature Episode series, “Cloaked Intentions”, was our most popular series yet. More people logged in to play this feature episode series than any other and the general consensus among the team is that the series represents some of the best missions we’ve done yet. Despite a few hours of overloaded traffic on Saturdays, “Cloaked Intentions” was a great success and we are already planning out details on the next upcoming series. But when is the next series going to release? Good question.

When we first started the Feature Episode concept, we were uncertain how well it would be received and we tried several different types of episodes in order to see what mix of gameplay seemed to be the most desired. We learned a lot from these past series. We’ve learned that we want to take our time with them and ensure they get more development time. This has led to the idea that at our current development level, we’d be able to deliver about 5 series a year. Given the success of this last series, we really want to release these series more frequently. This means more development time and more resources.

We are currently going back to our master schedule and reworking it so that we will be able to deliver more Feature Episodes more frequently. This means more than 5 series a year and hopefully closer to 9 or 10 which would be ideal and lead to little or no downtime between new episodes. I’m also in discussions with Jack over how we could staff up to support more content in general. So that is all the good news. The bad news is that in order to restructure the team and schedule to accommodate this, the next feature series will most likely need to start shortly after the release of Season 4. This way we can have more content “in the can” and ready to roll on a non-stop basis. In the meantime, we will be releasing more content updates not related to the Feature Episodes. Plus there is the Foundry.

The Foundry update on Tribble is going well and some of the new missions being made are just fantastic. Earlier today I watched “Rise of Darkness” (created by jake81nx) being played and was truly impressed by this player created episode. This is the promise of the Foundry. This is the reason we have been pouring so much effort into these tools because you will be able to make some amazing missions that everyone will have the opportunity to enjoy. In a world that talks about the power of Crowd-sourcing, the Foundry will add a huge amount of energy into STO mission gameplay. We are looking forward to getting this feature onto Holodeck as soon as possible.

March 28th is the tentative date on when we expect the Foundry to go live on Holodeck. The team is diving through all the Foundry bugs and working to get as many of those last minute assets as we can into the system before it is unleashed. So within a few weeks, you could be experiencing amazing missions like “Rise of Darkness” for yourself. We are STOKED about this!

In addition to the pending release of the Foundry, we also have more content events planned for the next few months as we work on Season 4 and the new Feature Episode Series. We will be releasing more Remastered Episodes which will allow players to go back and replay fan-favorite missions at their current level. We will also be creating special highlight missions for the Foundry. These will be missions that offer special rewards for playing specific Foundry created missions we select. We also plan to feature some Feature Episode re-runs where you will be able to go back and replay previous Feature Episode series and have a limited time chance to earn the special reward if you missed it the first time around (Breen Officer, Devidian Staff, Reman Officer).

We are also working with CBS on selecting the finalists for the fan designed Enterprise contest. We expect to have more news on this by the time the next Engineering Report rolls out.

So lots of great things coming down the road as well as a few secrets we still have up our sleeves that I have yet to mention. The future of STO is looking good and I can’t wait to share with you some of the new things we are planning for 2011

And now on to the report! (see post below)

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

  • Additional costume options for Foundry missions
  • Playable fighter craft for FED and KDF
  • Better ways to promote and inform players about Feature Episodes in game
  • Delta Flyer Crafting Mission
  • Ability for shuttles to gather special data samples from anomalies
  • Updated “Diplomatic Orders” (P’Jem) mission
  • TOS Bridge
  • TOS Ship Interior
  • TOS Tunic
  • TOS Dress Uniform
  • TOS Medical Uniform
  • TOS Shuttle

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.

  • Foundry: Update 1 Feedback from Tribble
  • Foundry Publishing issues
  • Foundry character creation issues
  • De-cloaking when you are prompted by a contact
  • PVP rewards window not displaying all of the items a user wins.
  • Weapon FX that fire twice when activated
  • Ability to summon your away team to your location on a ground map
  • Ship customization adding Fleet emblems by default
  • Indicators in sector space being off the mark beyond 3.5 LY
  • Players being moved to less populated social instances when they beam in
  • Possibility of a default FED and KDF Shuttle Interior for use with missions
  • New tech for Ship interiors
  • Tractor Mines

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
  • Improving responsiveness of ground weapons and powers
  • New Running, Sprinting, and 8 direction of movement animations (keeping your weapon pointed where you are looking as you move)
  • Fleet Action Lobby System (organize teams up to 4 teams and join or launch Fleet Action map)
  • Oberth class ship
  • ”Jupiter” uniform series (2409 based jackets)
  • Bajoran Security uniform
  • Duty Officer System (formerly known as the crew system)
  • New Bonuses, items, craftables, and game mechanics related to Duty Officers
  • New Tutorial for both FED and KDF (existing FED Tutorial will become a FED prequel mission for Khitomer Accord)
  • Updated Qo’noS Social Map
  • More Remastered Episodes
  • New ship variants to fill in ship gaps at each tier (FED and KDF)
  • New Gorn customization options
  • 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 additional melee weapons
  • New craftable consumable items
  • 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
  • Adding in planets in the Sol System that you can visit
  • Tons of UI and HUD 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 (most likely to take place in Cardassian Sector)

  • Possible designs for fan submitted Enterprise
  • 500 Day Veteran Rewards
  • Marks, Emblems, Merit, economy overhaul
  • Re-leveling Fleet Actions and restructuring the Fleet Action reward system
  • Considering 5-man versions of existing Fleet Actions
  • Releveling KDF Content Progression
  • Making KDF versions of episodes across the game (retelling some episodes from a Klingon perspective – Example: Saturday’s Child, Kuvah’Magh, etc)
  • Reworking Kerrat and KDF patrol missions
  • Updating missions that take place in Qo'noS
  • Adding daily crafting quests
  • Opening up shared exploration sectors (e.g. Hromi Cluster)
  • Overhauling the body-scaling sliders in Character Customization
  • Updating stances for characters
  • Updating combadges for all uniforms
  • Adding some more species specific customization options
  • More female character uniform options
  • Allowing for additional material options “leather” vs. “matte fuzzy” etc.
  • 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
  • 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, 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
  • Finishing the STF: The Hive
  • Adding leaderboards
  • 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 and vice versa
  • Fleet Starbases
  • 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.