Engineering reports/20110617

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It is that time again. Another month and lots more goodies to talk about as we prepare for the upcoming start of Season 4 in Star Trek Online!

As you may already know, Season 4 is on the TRIBBLE test server and we are in the midst of testing all the new features and crunching all the nasty bugs. The team is ecstatic about the Ground Combat feedback and we are glad that players are finally getting their hands on the new weapons and kit power upgrades that make up such a big part of this new season. Reading early reviews of the game, Ground Combat has always been one of the top failings of STO and the team has spent a lot of time adjusting and intentionally updating every single weapon in the game to add more variety and fun to Away Team and PVP combat. I’m personally having so much fun with the new system that I can’t stop myself from logging into TRIBBLE and hunting other players in the amazing new First City map.

The KDF seems to always get the short end of the stick, but I hope this new zone really shows how much we love and care about the Klingon Faction. We hope this new beautifully crafted zone becomes a new hub of life and activity. I hope to see plenty of new missions and stories starting from this zone. Also, if there is any possible way to get consensual Open PVP onto this map, I’ll learn the code and program it myself! The zone is just a blast to play in.

The last few months have been hard on both players and developers because we’ve been heads down crunching on all these new features that will make the next four months amazing in STO. There’s been a bit of a dry spell in terms of new content, but very soon the long wait will be over and you’re going to see some amazing new content headed your way.

The team is in development of the next Feature Episode series which will take place around DS9 and involve some great new locations and remastered existing ones. In addition, we will be introducing updated and enhanced Special Task Forces now that the Borg are finally getting interesting with the addition of assimilation powers and weapon adaptation. They will no longer be push overs and tactics will definitely come into play when fighting this enemy group. On top of that, the Borg Queen will be returning with new plans to assimilate species in and near the Alpha Quadrant. Expect new missions and events to fight back the Borg and save the species at risk.

In addition to new Borg Deepspace Encounters, you will soon experience some great changes to how Deepspace Encounters work. The KDF will not only gain access to new and additional sectors, but their patrol missions will now be spread out throughout the game zones. I’m also very happy to announce that these new KDF Deepspace patrols will be OPEN FvK PVP. So Klingons, if you want to raid those transports near Fed Space – you’re going to have to be on the lookout for Fed players who can now challenge your ability to complete these missions.

We are also starting development on several new repeatable Ground and Space Fleet Actions that will be featured in upcoming PVE Queues. These daily challenges will be some of the best ground combat maps we’ve introduced into the game.

On top of all these, the team is fully committed to constant improvements and updates to the game. The mission journal is getting an overhaul soon. We are adding an event calendar as well so that you can begin to keep track of all the invasion events as well as time sensitive missions coming to the game in the near future. Plenty of new ships are on the way. Plenty of new special loot sets are on the way. New awesome costumes are on the way. Season 4 is going to be yet another big leap for STO as we continue to turn this game into what it deserves to be.

With that said, there are some features that are being held back for a little while longer while we continue to work out details. The Duty Officer System has grown into a behemoth and while most of the code is in the Tribble build you are playing right now, the feature is turned off and hidden while we continue to expand on the system and add in new components. Once we have the details worked out, we will enable this feature on TRIBBLE so that you can begin to play with this entirely new type of gameplay. In addition, the Borg Invasion events that were planned for June have been moved to the release of Season 4. They deserve a little more time and some better rewards so that they aren’t just a re-hash of what was in Gamma Orionis.

So thanks to everyone for all the patience and great feedback we are getting. We realize that there are lot of games out there you could be playing, but the fact that you play STO makes us feel proud and the team (which continues to grow!) is very excited to be working on some amazing new content headed your way during Season 4.

Look for the fun to begin in July when we release this monstrous new update onto Holodeck.

Now onto the report…

In Testing[edit | edit source]

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

  • Season 4 Features
  • Major Ground Combat Update including major changes to Ground Weapons, Ground Kits and Power, and a new over shoulder reticle mode
  • Improved responsiveness of the power tray (removing frames of delay in most cases)
  • New Running, Sprinting, and 8 direction of movement animations (keeping your weapon pointed where you are looking as you move in reticle mode)
  • Vivox Voice Chat integration
  • Duty Officer Officer Assignments (new mission that your crew can undertake to earn rewards)
  • New Qo’noS First City zone (replaces the old Qo'noS interior location)
  • New Gorn character customization options including new body scale options
  • New uniform Combadges
  • Combadge updates: Most any combadge may now be worn with most any uniform
  • Updated Deepspace Encounter: Random Sector Space mobs no longer pull you into Encounters (this also means a new diplomatic immunity power)
  • New Trill character options: spot patterns
  • New female skirt and boot costume options
  • New Ship Acquisition Screen (preview ship options and stats directly in the requisitions UI)
  • New Animated Loading Screens
  • New material options for most costumes
  • Reorganization of in-Game C-Store categories and items
  • KDF access to most sectors
  • KDF Patrol Missions in most sectors – featuring FvK OPEN PVP
  • Fleet Action Lobby System (organize teams up to 4 teams and join or launch Fleet Action map)
  • Mob and balance updates to STFs (Especially Borg Balance)
  • New Borg Enemy Tactics (Assimilation and Weapon Modulation)
  • Releveling KDF Content Progression
  • Updating missions that take place on and around Qo'noS
  • Allowing players to purchase more inventory and bank slots
  • Adding BOFF abilities to power list on the ground (so you can slot them in your power tray)
  • Adding ability to switch ships from your interior (instead of returning to spacedock)

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. NOTE: Many of these issues are being tracked down on TRIBBLE as part of our Season 4 update.

  • Gorn characters with invisible heads in the tailor until they are updated with new Gorn customization options
  • Beards and other costume parts that become visible on beam-out
  • Annoying visual “pop” and delay on sliding doors
  • Vivox voice chat issue (mic test, volume, etc..)
  • Invisible item preventing targeting in shooting mode
  • Persistent weapon showing up in cutscenes and missing or improperly showing on some melee attacks
  • Star Cluster enemies not scaling properly
  • PVP Queue window issues
  • Scanner getting stuck on the first anomaly in a map
  • Ranged weapons not being properly disabled where they are meant to be disallowed
  • Issues with keybinds in shooter mode
  • Music from prior zone continuing to play after map transfering
  • 1 Year Anniversary banner showing on some versions of First City
  • Some first place Rewards giving out common quality items
  • Not all Fleet Actions are hooked up to the new Fleet Action queue
  • Some minimaps are very blurry and horrid
  • Waypoints on some maps are way too bid and don’t scale properly
  • Updates to the Fire at Will power
  • Random Client crashes when playing as a female Tellarite
  • Support pets attacking enemy faction on social zones like Drozana station
  • KDF Shield quadrants not updating after using cloaking device
  • Weapon FX that fire twice when activated
  • Chat auto-complete issues – and new channel menu changes
  • Kit icons display incorrect marks
  • Firing Arc issues
  • Tons of other Season 4 related bugs to prepare for Season 4 going to Tribble

In Development[edit | edit source]

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

  • Duty Officer Active Roster Improvements
  • Duty Officer Commendation System (progression for Duty Officer Assignments)
  • New Starfleet Academy Zone
  • New Klingon Academy Zone
  • Ability to skip new player tutorial after you've done it once
  • Ability to create a KDF character once you've completed the tutorial once
  • Several new ships and/or variants to fill in ship gaps at all tiers (FED and KDF)
  • Removing the concept of "Off-Duty" costumes and simply giving everyone "costume slots" you can use to store costumes
  • New items in crafting stores
  • Sol System planetary systems
  • More detailed Sector Space, Galaxy, and Hub Maps
  • Fan Designed Enterprise - New Cruiser Ship Class
  • New Daily Challenge Maps - 4 New Challenges - Unique "any level" Space and Ground challenge for Each Faction
  • Reworking Kerrat and KDF patrol missions
  • Overhauling the body-scaling sliders in Character Customization
  • Improved Borg Deepspace Encounters and new Accolades
  • Adding consensual open PVP melee areas to social maps (Andoria, Vulcan, Qo'noS, Rura Penthe)
  • New Admiral Level Gear (Ground and Space)
  • Feature Episode Series 4 (near DS9)
  • Improvements to DS9 areas
  • Adding ability to warp to a friend and/or improving travel between sectors
  • 2409 Cadet Uniforms (Fed and Kdf)
  • New Defiant Variant Ship
  • Removing the restriction that you can only craft on Memory Alpha or Qo'noS
  • Borg Invasion Event (new events based on the advance of the Borg into surrounding sectors)
  • Separating the ability to Aim and Crouch in shooter mode to independent actions

In Design Discussions[edit | edit source]

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

  • New Daily "Neighborhood" Events that take place near Sol and Qo'noS
  • New versions of Deepspace Encounters
  • New crafting quests
  • New PVP Map with Feature Episode Series 4
  • New Foundry Assets
  • Finishing the STF: The Hive
  • Assigning bridge officers as duty officer department heads
  • 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
  • Making KDF versions of episodes across the game (retelling some episodes from a Klingon perspective – Example: Saturday’s Child, Kuvah’Magh, etc)
  • Opening up shared exploration sectors (e.g. Hromi Cluster)
  • Updating character stances
  • Adding more species specific customization options
  • Adding melee weaponsmiths to the game that sell specific ground weapons
  • Repurposing some Feature Episode maps as new PVP maps
  • 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)
  • 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
  • Andorian Ship
  • Ambassador Class ship
  • Adding a functioning shuttlebay for ship interiors (allows you to switch to your shuttle without returning to Spacedock)
  • More shuttle and fighter specific mission types
  • Adding leaderboards
  • Adding ability to display accolade score as part of player name
  • Ship customization adding Fleet emblems by default
  • Fleet Starbases
  • Ability to construct new ships at Starbases
  • Territory Control Game
  • Customizable ship interiors
  • More Species (Androids, Aenar, Talaxian, Hologram species)
  • New advanced Tutorials for FED/KDF
  • Converting First Officer to Playable Captain and vice versa

Long Term[edit | edit source]

Designs and features being considered for updates further in the future

  • More Remastered Episodes
  • More Fleet Actions
  • More PVP Maps
  • Improved Social Planets with social gameplay
  • More Minigames
  • More parts for AlienGen
  • Additional Playable Factions (Romulan, Cardassian...)
  • New Foundry Features

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.