Console Icon Art Revamp!
Hey everyone! We wanted to give you all a heads up that there are some art changes incoming for certain console item icons in STO. After Legacy of Romulus shipped, we had a little breathing room to take a look at some of the UI art aspects that we had always wanted to improve upon. CaptainGeko mentioned that he has always thought that the icons for the various Science, Engineering and Tactical console items that provide your ships with passive buffs did not represent their item as best as they could. We felt that these items could benefit from some higher resolution icons that better represented Star Trek technology, which has a very definite style established through dozens of amazing props, sets and technical manuals.
Aside from reconsidering their visual style, we also realized they had limited utility as actual icons. Unlike other consoles, these items do not have an associated power icon that denotes their function; their bonuses are purely passive, and the only visual interaction the player has with them is through the item icon. We decided that it was time to give them a refresh with a couple goals in mind:
Goal 1: Introduce a visual language into these console icons to make it easier to understand at a glance what bonuses that icon grants and what systems they affect.
Goal 2: Recreate the artwork based on established props and drawings from classic Star Trek publications, like the TNG and DS9 tech manual, to make these items feel more appropriately "Star Trek" for those who are interested in Treknobabble.
With that in mind, please reference the linked images to see Old vs. New, along with a reminder of what each console does. You'll notice that I've grouped them together to demonstrate similar function, and hopefully you will be able to start to learn the visual language of these new icons quickly.
The most clear example of this new language is the items which give bonuses to certain weapon energy or torpedo types - they are now all color coded to the energy type they buff. Items that buff shields will have a shield bubble on them and all of the items that buff a science skill will have a little skill bar featured on them somewhere. We've also color coded the console icon backgrounds so it's very clear whether something is a tactical (red), engineering (yellow) or science console (blue).
Finally, we also snuck in a shuffle to warp core icons to add a bit more variety and make them more canon friendly. You can see the change in the image linked below, but basically we've added an icon based on the Defiant's warp core and assigned it to the "hyper injection" warp core item, which is the core that gives you a speed buff. This felt better to us than having the Sovereign core there - so the Sovereign core icon has been transferred to the "field stabilizing" warp core, which has a buff to shields. Finally, the Galaxy style core has been moved to the default/standard issue core that comes with a new starship. We've also added a new icon for standard issue singularity cores, though all the existing singularity core icons remain the same.
Warp Core Icon Changes
These should all go live in the next week or two, but I wanted to give you a heads up that they were coming. Ultimately we hope that these changes improve the STO experience by adding a little extra "Star Trek" to the art of managing your ships and items.
These are pretty nice!
A couple of questions though:
1-Are there plans to do something similar with some of the older universal consoles?
2-On the Enhanced Neutronium, It may just be me, but when I looked at the small addons to the new icon to represent the differences, it looks a little off, unless I look really close to it.
These new icons do look nice. :)
Does anyone want to dig through canon and find the references for all these new icons? lol!
EDIT: I would argue that almost all the armor icons looks practically the same now.
EDIT 2: What I mean by "looks practically the same now", I mean that the devil is now in the details of the icon rather than having a quick visual reference (gold vs. silver vs. "rock black/gray" of what's now the old icons, for example).
In any case, the new icons are a major improvement of the original artwork. I hope new icons are forthcoming for the older "Universal" consoles, as well as various consumables. Batteries could easily do with being matched with the new "Power Level Booster" console icons.
Overall, I like the new ones. However, I have some suggestions.
For one, I liked the old icons for the energy weapons consoles, it gave each its own character. All the new ones being the same device seems to take away from each console.
The Structural Integrity Field Console doesn't have that "look indicates function" aspect you talked of. It looks like a torpedo with a diagnostic console attached. Maybe take the new Alloy/Ship Superstructure icon, and add a shield like glow to the frame (because that's what the SIF does; add strength and durability to the ship's hull far beyond what its material is capable of. You don't think that a ship's hull can naturally withstand blasts from weapons that can level a city in one shot, do you?).
The Science consoles, I can't really say anything about. Things like Probes, Flow Caps, Power insulators all look good and indicate what they do, but its hard to place what looks like a countermeasure system or an inertial dampener.
Oh, also, the Energy Type Specific Armors, perhaps you could have color coded armor segments for each type it resists? (Pha/Dis armor could have equally Orange and Red Segments; Pla/Tet/Pol/AP could have Teal, Blue, Purple, and Red segments)
What about changing all the other items equipment per ex. Shield, Engine, Deflector all of the weapons if some are old need to change???
Still really nice icons I loved them :)
these look awesome, but the armor consoles, not even i will be able to keep them strait. the differences are too subtle. i like the general shape of the new icons, but apply something reminiscent to the old texture to them.
i liked my galaxy class looking core were it was, making it default is sort of insulting to the core with the most raw power in the franchise. the sovereign core might have been taller, and with multiple tubes been more efficient, but the total volume the core displaces is quite a bit less then a galaxys. makes sense, a sovereign is less then half a galxay's volume, and big power drawers like phaser arrays are a fraction of the size the galaxy has. the defiant had a big core for its size of ship, but its still a VERY tiny power plant.
this is more of the newest introduced thing is the best way of thinking so many fans, and the devs have about everything in star trek. no cannon federation ship, other then the nebula, was even in the galaxy's league even tactically. not the defiant, not the sovereign, not the prometheus, none of them. its stats in game are absurd in light of that.
well, anyway, the defiant tiny core would make more sense as an underpowered stock core. or a weapons power core, but there seems to be resistance to that, for good reason. how about one of the cores, say the sovereign core, being a core that instead of boosting a specific power level, has a lot more skill bonuses instead?
how about general shield, deflectors, and impulse engines too? a combat engine icon could look like a conne refit or excelsior vent, stranded like the main engine on a galaxy, and hyper like a sovereign impulse engine. for deflectors, a galaxy, intrepid, soverign, ambasidor/connie/excelcior look fo those types would be cool. shields you could get creative with. like a bridge display of shields status like shown in star trek 2, 6 and nemisis.
While the artwork does look nice, I do question the logic in making these icons add more 'Star Trek' immersion to the game when they actually simplify and take away the uniqueness that makes Star Trek technology so alien from each other.
From a producer's perspective, I can understand in trying to dumb down the game to appease the lowest common denominator, especially in an oversaturated gaming industry where racing to the bottom of the IQ chart is the only way to stay in business. But from a Star Trek fan's perspective, I can't in good conscience endorse simplifying the artwork as such.
In particular, the energy weapon icons make my soul hurt. The game once more categorizes weapons by color alone with little distinction they came from different ways of invention and innovation. Phasers are orange, disruptors are green, plasma is cyan, tetryon is blue, polaron is purple, antiproton is red. One of the things I enjoy about the current artwork is that they exemplify truly alien technology. Polaron technology is different from phaser technology. The 'props' of the icon art truly portray the different energies as coming from different worlds with different ways of thinking.
This outside-the-box thinking is what makes Star Trek... well, Star Trek. The Dominion created polaron weapons through an entirely different culture than the Federation created phasers, but through these new icons... it simply makes every energy weapon type appear as if it was created in one singular factory instead of alien places where one faction came up with the idea of killing people with polaron particles instead of nadion particles and went a completely different way of developing said technology.
This generic 'energy weapon' artwork is just that... generic. And Star Trek technology is anything but generic, especially when it comes to completely different technologies developed independantly from one another by completely different cultures and societies.
You had might as well just stop calling weapons "Polaron" or "Tetryon" and refer to it as "Blue Energy" and "Purple Energy" if you want to make it 'easier to understand' for the lowest common denominator that plays the game.
While I don't disagree this new artwork overhaul achieves the goal of simplifying and watering down Star Trek technology, I do disagree with the language that this makes it 'more' Star Trek instead of less.
I don't see extremely diverse alien technology represented in the artwork, I see the same energy weapons (and projectile weapons) being given different colors, and nothing more. And less diversity is not only less Star Trek, it's less Cryptic Studios.
Edit: New art updates provided later on in the thread has addressed my concerns. Diversity is shown once more within the art while making it more easily recognizable as belonging to a 'family' of consoles.
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