Monday, December 17, 2007

Uniform Colors in a Star Trek MMORPG +

Originally Posted by Captain Crowl:

Well Flatfingers...I hate to do this to you, but I've got to punch a few holes in your least #1...#2 seems to be accurate.

Promotion to the rank of Commander does not mean that you automatically get the red uniform, to which there are many examples in canon. Here are a few:

Don't forget:

The Lt Cmdrs I listed all wore command red even though they were not in a direct command role...that was my point.
Excellent list!

I did goof on Chakotay. Thanks for the correction.

It does seem pretty clear that while most Commanders wear red uniforms, they don't always. Which means that what matters most in determining uniform color is the role in which one serves.

So I'm thinking now that each of the Lt Cmdrs you listed were considered to be in some kind of Command support role. Hobson and Chakotay are pretty easy; they each served as first officers. The others... Shelby, Hudson, and Remmick... although these individuals were "only" Lt Cmdrs, they each were serving in roles that were considered important to Starfleet, so perhaps that's enough to qualify for being a "Command support" position that makes the red uniform appropriate.

Doing additional damage to my simple theory, it also turns out that even Admirals don't always wear red uniforms. Here's what Memory Alpha has to say on the subject of Admiral Toddman's attire:

Quote from Memory Alpha:
Admiral Toddman was played by Leon Russom, who also played the Starfleet commander in chief in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. He has the unique distinction of wearing an operations division gold admiral's uniform. To date, he is the only 24th century era flag officer to not wear command red as his division color. However, there is a 23rd century precedent to this practice, as all TOS flag officers wore command division gold except for two Commodores, Stone and Stocker. Interestingly enough, the background behind Admiral Toddman (with the setting sun on a dark sky) appears to be a partial homage to the set and matte paintings created for Starbase 11, for the office of the very same Commodore Stone in TOS: "Court Martial".
So that leaves us with a choice: either Toddman was a one-off special case that can be ignored, or my relatively simple theory has to be extended to say that all officers at Lt. Cmdr. or higher rank assigned to Command or Command support roles regardless of rank wear red, but officers in other roles wear their departmental color regardless of rank. (Have there been any non-Helm Lieutenants wearing red after the first couple seasons of TNG?)

Any point in trying to salvage a relatively simple theory of uniform colors? It's fun playing with this in the context of the Star Trek universe, but I'm also interested in figuring out what the best rule ought to be for the online game.

Maybe for the game it just needs to be something like "if most of your prestige points are spent on rank or Command abilities instead of on department specializations, then the trim color of your uniform is automatically set to red regardless of whether you're running a ship, crewing someone else's ship, or are on the ground or visiting a hub."

I'm not really happy with that as a defining rule, but maybe it's a place to start.