=/\= The 2nd Fleet =/\=
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Join Date: Dec 2007
05-17-2011, 10:00 PM
i found good new from dstahl posted like 15 min ago.
This is a great point and something I want to shed more light on. Well - more like type up a commentary/manifesto about it
Cryptic Studios has no less than 4 development teams using the same core engine codebase. Most of the time, the games are running on their own "branch" of this code while the core engineers continue to work on new featuers, game performance improvements, and big huge sweeping features that make the engine and game mechanics better.
In order to get all these fancy new features, bug fixes, and performance updates into our respective games, we have to synch up from time to time. The Season 4 update is one of these times. It has been a massive undertaking from the entire company to synch up all of our code to get it "current" with all the amazing improvements that have happened on games such as Neverwinter and our other unnamed projects. It is a way for our humble STO team to gain the benefit of several other teams improving the core game code.
Most of this stuff isn't very sexy to talk about and doesn't necessarily amount to the sort of patch notes that make the average player excited. It does make the development teams very happy though as it takes care of many lingering issues and introduces ways for us to greatly improve the game experience moving forward.
Some of the great new "behind the scenes" features included in Season 4 have names like "micro-patching" and "partitioning" and "animation sequencing". Not super sexy - I warned you.
But what this allows us to do for you is making patches much smaller, improve game performance in busy maps, and add amazing new combat animations for our ground combat system. In addition it will improve things such as our cutscene engine - allowing us to make better cut-scenes faster. It allows us to make new types of loot and items. It will bring an integrated voice chat solution to the game. It will improve mouse and keyboard responsiveness. It brings new texture and lighting code as well as improved graphics performance and crossing fingers - even DX11 support. Again - not the sexiest things - but features that will make the game better. Tons of code from many programmers on all of our games - synching up so that we get the benefits of everyone's efforts.
The drawback is that it has consumed my development team for the last few months implementing these new features and making sure that things work properly in our game. We still have a full month of bug bashing and integration testing in June, but we at least hope to get the Season 4 pre-launch build to you on TRIBBLE asap.
So to go back to the original idea of - things aren't moving very fast on the Engineering Reports over the last few months - well that is true because we need to get this new Season 4 codebase live. Doing so bring us the tools and features and time to let us start tackling all of the tasks listed.
Everything on the Engineering Report - especially the items in Discussion are things we want to tackle once Season 4 goes live. Once we finigh our primary code crunch on May 27, the entire time is pedal to the medal back onto new mission content from here through the rest of the year at least.
We are already planning out new Fleet Actions, New Feature Episodes, new Daily Missions, New Patrol Missions, new DSEs, new STFs and yes - a few new PVP maps as well.
The beautiful thing is - for some of this stuff - we don't even have to wait till S4 launches. You could see new DSEs and possibly new Daily Missions before S4 launches. Soon after you'll start to see that we have big plans in store for upcoming dealings with the Borg as well as a slew of amazing new feature episode series. In fact there is so much stuff on the schedule for the rest of the year that we're also making a new in game Calendar so you can see all the missions and events available each week. There may be a few content casualties - the tutorials were eating up a ton of time and not getting anything 'critical' into the game - but that doesn't mean Starfleet Academy and Klingon Academy aren't coming your way. They still are. And if you're a Klingon - you'll be getting full access to every sector in the game sometime during Season 4. As we do you'll get more and more access to patrols, DSE, Fleet Actions and new content events we have planned as well. Not to mention you'll need to keep the Borg from assimilating the Gorn. That should keep you pretty busy.
We also have new blood starting in June as the team adds a new character artist, a new software engineer, and a new content designer. We're still looking to hire an additional systems and content designer as well. I don't know about you - but that has me really excited. Anytime our team grows like this is means more awesome is on the way.
SO yes - it has been a long haul since the last feature episode series and I cannot wait to get back to a real cadence of content releases. It is driving me nuts too. Just a few more weeks and you'll start seeing a ton more sneak peaks from me as we begin to tease the stuff you'll be playing soon.
Don't let the news or other worries get you down. STO is doing very well as a game and I'm not going anywhere and the team is rock solid behind making this game more awesome every day.
Thank you to everyone who gives us credit across the web for continuing to improve this game. We are still going strong and have high hopes that by anniversary year 2 - you'll be saying that the game has improved yet again since even year 1.
Live Long and Prosper STO
Follow me on Twitter @ Cryptic_dStahl