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DESIGNER DIARY > A Fan Beams Up
PUBLISHED: August 23, 2007
This was originally published on the official Star
Trek Online website.
Entry 2.0 - "A Fan
Stardate 61107.8 (August 23rd, 2007)
Welcome back to the STO DevLog, our ongoing look into
the development of Star Trek Online, the most audacious massively
multiplayer online game in the four quadrants!
This month we thought we'd hand the microphone over to one of
Perpetual's more recent arrivals. Although he's only been on board for a
couple of months, he's been actively engaged in Star Trek Online longer
than nearly all of the STO team members. Confused? We'll let him
Hello fellow STO-awaiters! You might know me around
boards as Perpetual_Sorvats. I've worked here at Perpetual for a few
months now, but I've been looking forward to STO for much, much longer
than that. I actually first registered on the STOnet forums back in
July 2005 under the handle "RogueEnterprise", and I've been following
the development of Star Trek online ever since it was announced, way
back in September of 2004!
My real name is Stavros Conom, and a few months ago I was lucky enough
to be hired on at Perpetual Entertainment as a Quality Assurance
Tester. Needless to say, as a big Star Trek fan and video game
aficionado, having the opportunity to work at the company developing
Star Trek Online was too big of an opportunity to pass up. Within days
of starting here, and learning all I could about this game, comparing
my excitement to a Vulcan's uncharacteristic tendencies during the pon
farr would be a little bit of an understatement.
Christine Brownell and Mike Stemmle (the Lead World
and Story Designers) have done an amazing job organizing even the
smallest facets of Trek canon into a galaxy that, if the extensive
Wiki pages detailing STO's design are any indication, will be above
awesome to explore. That's one of the benefits that STO has, being
developed at a smaller company - every part of the game is getting
excruciatingly close attention to detail. The people here definitely
know their Trek.
Of course, a great big world would be rather pointless without
something to do in it, which is where Lead Systems Designer John Yoo
comes in, supplying the team with MMO-gameplay design know-how that
works really well with Mike's story framework and Christine's innate
sense of what makes game environments fun. In short, it really does
seem to be the "best of both worlds" (Star Trek episode pun intended).
Whenever I come across any new piece of information that rolls out of
the design department, whether it's outlining the layout of a sector,
a discussion of shipboard player roles, or the functionality of a
possible crafting system, I get really psyched.
Although Perpetual's QA Department is currently spending most of its
time testing the massively mythological adventure that is Gods and
Heroes: Rome Rising, occasionally we are lucky enough to catch a
glimpse across of an early build of Star Trek Online, during what we
call a Build Verification Test.
Let me tell you, this game looks good, especially considering its
early, early state. In fact, it's not uncommon for a few testers to
clump around a testing station when the new build comes in, showing
off the latest and greatest additions to the game.
The latest surprise came during the most recent milestone build. The
new inventory system was in place, and the latest, snazzy icons had
been implemented, opening the door for future abilities to be
But then I saw the Gorn.
Not some funny-looking man-in-a-suit Gorn, but a real, blinking,
breathing, snarling Gorn, who apparently happened to enjoy brandishing
energy weapons and who was out for QA blood. Sure, I had previously
seen Hyoung Nam's concept art, promising a dramatic physical upgrade
in these classic Trek enemies. But as intimidating as they had looked
there, seeing them in-engine was something else entirely.
After phasering him down (apparently, at this stage
of development, our weapons lack a Stun setting) I didn't feel quite
as threatened. But with a fully realized, (angry) Gorn already
implemented and a lot more on the way, STO is shaping up to be an
awesome contribution to the Star Trek mythos in a way that nobody has
seen before. Before you go off on a mission against any aggressive
Gorn, though, make sure you pack your medkit.
Testing the Final Frontier,
Thanks for the enthusiasm, Stavros! We also really
love taking shots at the Gorn. Of course, the whys and wherefores for
the sudden rise in Gorn hostility throughout the galaxy are still
something of mystery... but that's a subject for a later DevLog.
Join us next time on the STO DevLog, when we'll be revealing another
aspect of the Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations that IS the
Star Trek Online development process.
Speaking of IDIC, check out this serene bit of concept art by Ryan
I can almost taste the plomeek soup.
May the Great Bird of the Galaxy bless you,
PS Thanks to Greg, Binky, and most of all Stavros for getting this
edition of the Devlog together.
Mike Stemmle is the Story Lead on Star Trek Online. He believes that
in the end, the oo-mox you take is equal to the oo-mox you make.