Engineering reports/20110415

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Greetings!

We're another month closer to the Season 4 update and the team is busily developing all the new systems and content that will be hitting the test servers in the upcoming months. In addition there's been some great new developments since our last report. The biggest of which is the Foundry is now on Holodeck!

The Foundry has sparked imaginations worldwide and I can report that over 16,000 projects have been started since the Foundry went live at the end of April. While many of these projects are still in development, there is already a steady flow of over 500 interesting and fun missions to play on the community authored tab of the mission journal. Combined with the rating system, the Foundry is proving that Star Trek fans have a knack for creating compelling stories and fun gameplay. We're happy to announce that we'll be adding a new repeatable mission that will allow you to receive scaling rewards for playing a various number of Foundry missions. The future of the Foundry continues to look bright.

In the last report I talked about the schedule and Feature Episodes and there was concerns that there wouldn't be any "new" content until after the Season 4 update. We have been discussing the feedback and working on a way to squeeze some more content in as soon as possible. At present we are looking at an update as early as May that would add in some new surprises prior to the release of Season 4. I'll keep you posted as we finalize our plans.

As the team tackles many of the features of the Season 4 update, we often find ourselves discussing additional ways to improve the game and many of those discussions are reflected below in the discussion section. while not every feature we are working on is listed below, we are continuously making small tweaks to the game that will be reflected in Season 4. You'll be able to get your hands on these changes in late May/early June when we open up our test shard to begin hammering on all these upcoming changes.

Over the last month we have also announced that there have been some management changes at the top of Cryptic Studios with Jack Emmert now as CEO and former STO Executive Producer Craig Zinkievich returning as the new COO of Cryptic. Both of these changes have had a very positive impact on STO and I can say that I'm very pleased with the direction these two are headed with both Star Trek Online and the studio in general. The launch and follow up of Champions and STO has had a profound impact on the company in general and I'd like to think that we've learned a lot from it and are working to both address the obvious issues and also improve on our successes. It's definitely a different Cryptic than I remember just two years ago. This next year for STO is going to be even better than the last and we'll continue to pour our hearts into the game and get to all the features and content that you've continuously suggested. Keep the feedback coming, it is having a great impact on the game.

p.s. The Fan Enterprise contest finalists are being notified and we should be able to announce and show everyone the winners (hopefully) next week!

Now on to the report!


In Testing[edit | edit source]

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

  • Oberth Class ship
  • Section 31 uniform
  • Repeatable mission that rewards players for playing x number of Foundry missions
  • Playable fighter craft for FED and KDF
  • Better ways to promote and inform players about Feature Episodes in game
  • Updated “Diplomatic Orders” (P’Jem) mission
  • Remastered "Doomsday" mission
  • Season 4 features and content
  • New Gorn customization options
  • Adding in planets in the Sol System that you can visit
  • Vivox Voice Chat integration
  • Updating combadges for most uniforms
  • More female character uniform options such as additional skirts and boots

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.

  • Fire at Will Issues
  • Contacts showing blank headshots on subsequent dialog options
  • Ground Anomalies in Star Clusters giving inconsistent rewards
  • Indicators in sector space being off the mark beyond 3.5 LY
  • Weapon FX that fire twice when activated
  • VFX for KDF scanners can show blue instead of the default red
  • Camera issues when using devices while seated in a chair
  • Ability to summon your away team to your location on a ground map

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)
  • ”Jupiter” uniform series (2409 based jackets)
  • 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)
  • New persistent maps for FED and KDF tutorials (Starfleet Academy on Earth and Klingon Academy on Qo'noS)
  • Ability to skip new player tutorial after you've done it once
  • Updated Qo’noS Hub Map
  • New ship variants to fill in ship gaps at each tier (FED and KDF)
  • Removing the concept of "Off-Duty" costumes and simply giving everyone "costume slots" you can use to store costumes
  • 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
  • Many UI and HUD updates, including a much easier way to browse ships and see variations before purchasing
  • Fan submitted Enterprise

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)
  • Adding new recurring events
  • 500 Day Veteran Rewards
  • Marks, Emblems, Merit, economy overhaul and the possibility of combining Marks and Emblems to a single scaled currency system
  • 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
  • Adding some more species specific customization 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
  • 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
  • Redesign for Exploration Sectors (and Exploration in general)
  • Adding BOFF abilities to power list on the ground (so you can slot them)
  • Restructuring kit powers to be more customizable
  • Moving Kit and Armor costume options off of the items and putting them in the tailor so they can be part of your outfit
  • Allowing away team powers to be assigned to hotkeys
  • Adding ability to warp to a friend
  • Andorian Ship
  • Ambassador Class ship
  • Adding a functioning shuttlebay for ship interiors (allows you to switch to your shuttle without returning to Spacedock)
  • Adding ability to switch ships from your interior (instead of returning to spacedock)
  • Removing the restriction that you can only craft on Memory Alpha or Qo'noS
  • Removing the aggro of Deepspace encounters so that they don't automatically "pull" you in
  • Replacing Deepspace Encounters with more instanced missions
  • More shuttle and fighter specific mission types
  • Finishing the STF: The Hive
  • Adding leaderboards
  • Adding ability to display accolade score as part of player name
  • Ship customization adding Fleet emblems by default
  • Adding "neighborhood" missions to Sol System and Qo'noS that take place in nearby locations
  • Assigning bridge officers as duty officer department heads

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 Remastered Episodes
  • More Fleet Actions
  • More PVP Maps
  • 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
  • Additional Playable Factions (Romulan, Cardassian...)
  • More Species (Androids, Aenar, Talaxian, Hologram species)
  • Vesta Class ship
  • Improving Hair and Cloth tech