Thursday, November 15, 2007

Questions for a Star Trek MMORPG DevLog

[The following suggestions were made for things I would have liked to have seen discussed by Perpetual Entertainment, the previous developer of Star Trek Online. But I think they'd be interesting subjects for devlogs from any developer of a Star Trek MMORPG.]

Originally Posted by Perpetual_MikeS:
What topics related to the development of STO would you like to see covered in future DevLogs?
Some semi-random items from my personal wishlist, ranked in rough order of importance:

0. Competitive advantage: How will Star Trek Online differ from other current and imminent MMORPGs? What will make it more appealing to more online gamers than other current or announced online games?

1. Star Treky-ness: What features of Star Trek are considered the most crucial for implementation in Star Trek Online to maximize the value of the Star Trek license?

2. Worldiness: How much attention will be given to features that support the desire of some to "live in" the Star Trek universe, versus features that implement Star Trek-themed gameplay?

3. Exploration: What percentage of ST:O's gameplay will be directly about exploration? What forms will this exploration take?

4. Crafting: What form will "crafting" take in Star Trek Online? Is it being imagined primarily as a creative (exploratory) activity, or as manufacturing/sales gameplay?

5. Socializing: What features will exist to allow players to enjoy purely social experiences in the world of Star Trek Online?

6. Project management: What tools and processes are being used to manage ST:O's software development? What roles and authorities exist to control code changes now and after ST:O launches?

7. Storyline: What's the overarching storyline of Star Trek Online? How will that big story be experienced by players? What will prevent Star Trek Online from being just a collection of unconnected missions and random spawns?

9. Economy: What kinds of object trading and/or currency will be implemented? To what degree will in-game items or money determine effectiveness within the game? What steps (at any level from software rules to legal action) will be taken to prevent item/currency farming and external sales?

9. Soloing vs. grouping: What features will support both gameplay preferences? What is the primary intended form of gameplay experience?

10. Command: How will the traditional Starfleet rank structure affect gameplay?

11. Environments 1: How many of the particles and energies mentioned in Star Trek episodes will devices in Star Trek Online be able to detect and manipulate?

12. Environments 2: How "realistic" will planets and space be? Will different planets have different gravity/atmosphere/hydrography/rotation rates/orbital periods? Will space have lots of phenomena that can affect starships?

13. Music: Who's writing it? How much will there be? How early in the game's design should composition begin?

14. Physics: Will Havok or other physics-simulation middleware be licensed? Will some gameplay benefit from Ageia's PhysX coprocessor or a similar hardware-based physics accelerator?