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Role Playing (Games) Sci-Fi

The Visual Look of Star Trek Online 92

Posted by Zonk
from the corridor-after-corridor dept.
Gamasutra has a piece on the development of the visual look of Star Trek Online. From the article: "We set out to reproduce the interior of a starship from the television show, so we began by examining shots of the sets. Looking over the images, we made a few observations. There are many light sources. The lighting is diffuse. Shadows are soft. There are several types of material with different reflectivity and specularity. These were the features we wanted to reproduce in game. We thought they were the key to the look."
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The Visual Look of Star Trek Online

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  • They just need to take a look at that. I think I may even still have mine.
    • Just be careful when referencing the blueprint set for the Enterprise-D: the regular bridge crew's quarters are rotated 180 degress so that the doors that should lead into them intead lead into the crawlspaces behind them. Either that, or the doors should be on the other side of the next hallway.
  • by Random Utinni (208410) on Tuesday February 21, 2006 @06:26PM (#14771815)
    Forget replicating the look of the TV show... focus on building a decent game. It's not like if they get the lighting in the game world 'just so', they'll have a smash hit that people want to play... or these days, maybe they will.
    • I am a lighting guy.. and it is important. It has to go with the feel of what is around you. The problem is that you need a hook for the fanbois, so you get a reasonably passing grade. But they have an uphil climb. SW:Galaxies bombed even though it looked good. However I still havent checkked the pictures.
      • I am a lighting guy.. and it is important. It has to go with the feel of what is around you. The problem is that you need a hook for the fanbois, so you get a reasonably passing grade.

        The thing is, and I'm not sure if these guys realize it or not, the lighting schemes in ST:TNG (which they're using for reference) were changed in about season two or season three. It's obvious if you watch the shows - the first couple seasons had a much darker, hard-edged look. That worked well later in Enterprise and it w
        • The fact that you can bring something like this up shows exactly how hard it is going to be to please the Star Trek audience. I can't think of another group of "fanbois" that obsess so much about a fictional universe (and I hang out with Firefly fans ;)).
          • I'll be happy no matter what it looks like as long as I don't have to grind for 3 days just to get Academy approval to set my phaser on "2 shots to kill a rat" from the original "5 shots to kill a rat".
            • I'll be happy no matter what it looks like as long as I don't have to grind for 3 days just to get Academy approval to set my phaser on "2 shots to kill a rat" from the original "5 shots to kill a rat".

              In United Federation of the Planets the rats kill you !

              At least until you learn to reverse their polarities.

        • Plus, any star trek fan will tell you that the corridors are way too tall. They should end just above the doors, not way up there.
          • I wonder if the body design slider will let you make a human 6'6". I had no idea Riker was actually that tall, and Worf only a little shorter (and looking equal thanks to the headridge.)

            Not that a 3 foot tall human wouldn't be just as strong, or be able to take the same 72 shots from a phaser before dying, er, becoming stunned.

            And I can't wait to play a Vulcan and their "streakbreaker" random number generator code makes first attempts at neck pinches fail 85% of the time. Woo hoo!

            Yeah, I'm pissed. My dan
        • I think that there will be many forum posts about those elements of the content. As long as they make the game plausible. Many of the problems with the galaxies game were thematic. There was a great post makng suggestions.. such as having bounthunters and smugglers start on Tatooine. Have all the 'legend' characters actually involved. Instead of taking the easy way out, and turinging everyone into a jedi. I think the major part of these games, you need to maintain some sense of continuity. If this took p
    • Forget replicating the look of the TV show... focus on building a decent game.

      While I certainly agree with this sentiment when considering high-level game design decisions, TFA was specifically talking about the art department's initial set design process for a game that comes from a very specific, very recognizable pre-existing setting. Gameplay and overall experience are going to be the most important factors for me when the final product comes out, but from this department, at this stage, for this gam

    • the Star Trek crowd would burn down the studios of even the slightest thing was off.
    • Follow the trends: MMOs are the new golf [1up.com]. Sure, there are people who will log in and actually want to play, and in time they'll be viewed with the same cocked eyebrows and muttered, gentle admonishment about 'some people having too much time on their hands.' The majority of the people will log in because the course is well-groomed and the clubhouse is nicely appointed, er, the screen-candy is choice and the sounds make the most of the user's tricked-out dolby 7.1.

      Why Star Trek? It's the Old School of SF
    • by tfinniga (555989) on Tuesday February 21, 2006 @07:17PM (#14772250)
      Meh. I'm sure the gameplay people are focused on gameplay. The developers are focused on development. But this article was written by the artists, which are focused on the art.
    • by vertinox (846076) on Tuesday February 21, 2006 @08:19PM (#14772738)
      Forget replicating the look of the TV show... focus on building a decent game.

      That would be kind of like releasing an MMOG about Star Wars without the space battles... Oh wait...
    • Forget replicating the look of the TV show... focus on building a decent game. It's not like if they get the lighting in the game world 'just so', they'll have a smash hit that people want to play... or these days, maybe they will.

      So under your software model its a moral imperative that you get all of the game mechanics coded before you start to consider the UI?

      Why that's brilliant! I mean its not as the users interface with the user inter... oh, wait.
  • Looks great. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Nightspark (938372) on Tuesday February 21, 2006 @06:29PM (#14771830)
    While the two screenshots they showed might look relatively simple, they definitely look like the Enterprise D -- and that may be the most important thing.
    • There's no evidence that it's the Enterprise D. More likely it's just a galaxy class vessel, and even then there's no reason to believe that hallways and observation lounges aren't modular structures that can be inserted into any class of vessel. As well, the uniform the crewman is wearing wasn't typical of the Enterprise D. In Generations, it looked like they were transitioning to that style of duty uniform (though use of it was inconsistant among the officers), but then the Enterprise D was destroyed,
      • As I understnad it, the grey-shoulder uniforms came about off the back of the dominion war, where it was decided that rank or class be less obvious in the heat of battle. ie. less red on your ensign shirt, may, just may, result in you surviving long enough to be in the end credits ;)

        -Jar.
        • An interesting idea, but the collar pip rank insignia stayed the same through all the uniform iterations. Something I had seen was that the TNG style uniforms (Mostly colored with black shoulders) were the standard duty uniforms while the other style uniforms (Mostly black with colored shoulders and then later with grey shoulders) were some kind of battle uniform, akin to today's military BDU. As such the personell on the front would be wearing the battle fatigues, and then as seen when Sisko visited eart
          • I can't believe I'm responding to this, but...

            The way it was originally envisioned, colored uniforms with black shoulders were for starship personnel and black uniforms with colored shoulders were for starbase/support personnel - that's why the crew of the Odyssey (DS9, "The Search, Part 2") were shown in the next-gen style uniforms.

            ...And then they all went to grey. THAT, I can't help you with.

        • less red on your ensign shirt, may, just may, result in you surviving long enough to be in the end credits ;)
          Us limeys may be a bit slow and traditional, but we figured that out some time between 1776 and 1900.
  • by softspokenrevolution (644206) on Tuesday February 21, 2006 @06:31PM (#14771851) Journal
    I'm sorry, but after they work on the visual look are they going to fix the auditory sound?
  • ObNitpick (Score:5, Informative)

    by Stephen Williams (23750) on Tuesday February 21, 2006 @06:31PM (#14771859) Journal
    Those shots captioned "ready room" are actually of the observation lounge, not the ready room.

    -Stephen (yes, I'm single; no, this doesn't surprise me)
    • by SpacePunk (17960)
      NERD!
    • Also, in the reference shot of the corridor, the first observation is about the black reflective paneling, saying they don't know whether it has LCARs and if it's an info pane. The answer is that it is, as I recall one episode where crewman demonstrates to a visitor that they can ask the ship for directions, and the corridor panels will light up showing you how to get to your destination.

      You know it wouldn't be difficult for them to hire a Trek nerd consultant to relentlessly correct and inform them of a

      • That would be the pilot episode. The visitor is Riker, who had just come aboard (and wasn't terribly familiar with Enterprise's features, I guess) and was looking for Data.
    • Re:ObNitpick (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Triv (181010)

      Those shots captioned "ready room" are actually of the observation lounge, not the ready room.

      the thing is, I don't want the people who are designing this game to make those kinds of mistakes - keeping the thing consistent with the Star Trek universe is what's gonna make or break this, and goofs like this are really going to irritate people.

  • Say what you will about the show itself, but I really liked the interior design of the NX-01 from Enterprise.
    • The interior looks good, but the uniforms look like sewn side gusseted sacks. And were are the dresses and skirts. That's not my Enterprise.
    • I agree. The NX-01 has a gritty, real interior. The other ST TV shows all had sterile interiors.
      • The thing I like about the NX-01 is that if you remove all the "trek" tech like the warp drive and the photon torpedos and the transporters and so on, all the other stuff (the consoles, the displays, the living quarters, the cargo storage, the doors and so on) are all items that could exist in the real world. For example, the display monitors that are all over the ship can be bought from just about any computer/electronics store (even the software could be written if you took the time to do it) and the door
        • . . . (the consoles, the displays, the living quarters, the cargo storage, the doors and so on) are all items that could exist in the real world.

          I don't disagree with you, but I do wonder if in thirty years they'll look as dated as the TOS toggle switches and goosneck viewers. (Don't get me wrong - I love TOS - but it does require a rather sympathetic viewing to accept their gizmos as the very best of 23rd century technology.)

          So far, the TNG environment seems to have held up pretty well. Granted, they ha

    • Say what you will about the show itself, but I really liked the interior design of the NX-01 from Enterprise.

      I would argue that the NX-01 makes for the better game.

      The technology is immature. But perhaps more accessible. Star Trek idealizes the military. But there must have been others out there with very different values and objectives.

      Contact with other "races" in Enterprise should have been tentative and fragile.

      I would welcome the chance to jettison The Prime Directive.

      ST:TNG was nortorious for cre

  • It's not hard to reproduce the bland Federation look since it's really one step above 21st century cubicle design. The Borg techno-look is much, much better.
    • It's not hard to reproduce the bland Federation look since it's really one step above 21st century cubicle design. The Borg techno-look is much, much better.

      The Borg look's not hard to reproduce either. You should see some of the dark workshops I've worked in as a repair tech: whole rooms covered in disassembled machines, miles of assorted cables and wires hanging from the rafters, the green shade of assorted dead circuit boards decorating the walls, isolated hanging lamps illuminating your workspace... not
    • I must be the ultimate designer... the inside of my dull, boring cubicle is filled with a frenetic mess of electronics that resembles something Borg-ish...
    • If by better you mean dark, foggy, and generaly representative of a heavy-handed frankenstien motif, then yes the borg look is better.

      Not saying it doesn't have it's place. It's just that we already have a game with that look to it, it's called Doom 3, or Quake 4, or any of the recent Unreal games.

      The bland Federation look is required for a Star Trek game, and actualy is pretty well suited to the MMO genra. Besides, they no doubt will work in borg, Klingon, Cardasian, Vulcan, and many other visual st

  • Back on Earth, after a 5-year mission on board the USS Weberschiff, I found the official Star Trek website startrek.com invested by the Macromedia Flash Virus. They won't let me in unless I install this junk. Apparently the good old idea of interoperability had to surrender corporate ignorance. Or did the transport malfunction again?
  • Game Design (Score:4, Funny)

    by cubicledrone (681598) on Tuesday February 21, 2006 @07:06PM (#14772174)
    1. There will be a massively powerful race/class combination (Borg Shadow Priest) that can do 350 dps perpetually at extreme ranges against which no other class will have any defense. When the other classes complain, they will be told that PvP isn't balanced for 1 vs 1 (unless you're a Borg Shadow Priest) and that it's Rock Paper Scissors (unless you're a Borg Shadow Priest, which is a block of solid iron)

    2. The system of rank will be exactly like World of Queuecraft's pvp system, meaning there will be one Admiral and 175,934 Ensigns on every server.

    3. Experience will be the most fun. Since there are no murlocs to fight, grinding will be retuning the deflector dish 150,000 times a day.

    Sounds like fun!
  • Looking good! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Rob T Firefly (844560) on Tuesday February 21, 2006 @07:54PM (#14772534) Homepage Journal
    Star Trek is one property where the look and feel might possibly outshine the actual gameplay. There are many fans out there who would gladly subscribe to just hang out on a virtual Federation Starship, never mnd the actual play mechanics.

    If they can put together even a mediocre playing experience, this will take off like, well, a starship.
  • Big Booty (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Supurcell (834022)
    Did anyone else notice how big the ass of that crewman was in the ready room demo pic at the bottom? I'd hate to see female characters forced into the same stereotype that all MMORPGS seem to be doing. I wouldn't be surprised if they change the female Starfleet uniform to a string bikini.
    • You have bunch of computer nerds and star trek nerds making a demo female for display, how did you think she was going to look?

      In any case, I'd imagine that during the real game, players will have the option to make their own body type for their character. Something like city of heroes where the character creator can make an "Incredible Hulk" type character just as easily as it can make a "Joe from Accounting" type character. It would ultimately be up to the player to decide how well endowed or "Ensign
    • I do understand and agree with the sentiment, but realistically, would it be that surprising if they do have the sex appeal aspect in a Star Trek Online game? I mean, it's not exactly like the Star Trek franchise itself has ever really shied away from that (hell, look at those miniskirt uniforms in the original series...... and that's not to mention the more blatant attempts with 7 of 9 in Voyager, or those Hoshi/T'Pol shower scenes in Enterprise. DS9 had some sex appeal even, in Jadzia Dax, and in those
    • Considering the infinite diversity in Star Trek, you might just be ogling the booty of a shapely male crewmember. Heck, if the show could put skirts on male crewmembers... [memory-alpha.org]
    • That crewman WAS a female. And my initial thought was, if all of the women have asses like that I can't wait to join up.

      Remember, big asses are nice asses. White boy!

      LK
    • It honestly didn't register as booty to me. I seriously thought it was maybe a chair headrest or some sort of shadow. Now that you say it, I don't know how I feel.

  • 3rd demo shot (Score:3, Informative)

    by Quell (956342) on Tuesday February 21, 2006 @11:46PM (#14773791)
    Change the URL to final_01.jpg and there is a shot of the turbo lift.
  • Precise copying of the look & feel of Star Trek is important for suspension of disbelief, especially for the kind of fans ST has. I generally do not like RPGs (the fantasy medieval setting is not my preference), and I do not have time to play in a MMORPG. But If Star Trek Online comes anything close to what we all ST fans dreamt of, I will be signing up as soon as possible.

    I am also happy that they selected the TNG looks. In my heart, the last real Star Trek was TNG. That does not mean I did not enjoy D
  • Crossover? (Score:4, Funny)

    by Cyno01 (573917) <Cyno01@hotmail.com> on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @05:16AM (#14775114) Homepage
    Could one go to the holodeck and play WoW?
  • Why is it that StarTrek seemed to get darker as time went on. With TNG, there was good lighting on the ship. Maybe Cardassians didn't like bright lights and the Federation budget didn't allow for new bulbs, but why was Voyager do dark? Surely the power needed for some lights is a tiny fraction of what the Warp Core chews up.

    Worst of all, when there was a red alert on Voyager, all the lights turn off! The bridge goes dark, with just some low red lights and the glow of the computers to see by. Not exactly wha
    • Hey, how's Voyager going to get to a Walmart when the bulbs blow?

      I can just see the Enterprise stocktaking now:

      "50 photon torpedoes - check. 20 tonnes of replicator stuff - check. 1000 boxes of hundred-watt filament bulbs - check..."
    • Worst of all, when there was a red alert on Voyager, all the lights turn off! The bridge goes dark, with just some low red lights and the glow of the computers to see by. Not exactly what you want in a battle.
      How so, Einstein? Assuming the controls, panels, screens and whatnots are self illuminated or backlit it wouldn't be a problem. Do you drive at night with bright interior lighting?
  • Can anyone mirror the images for those of us stuck by the man?

    It would be much appreciated.

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