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Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 46
02-20-2009, 10:41 PM
Quick reactions....

1. Cargo bay/laboratory

Nice. The lighting is excellent in this image; it really sets a mood when applied to the high level of structural detail.

Plus the table in the middle looks like it can be repurposed into a futuristic eight-hole pool table.

Which is nice.

2. Cargo ship

My honest reaction here is that the background is more exciting than the ship, which is probably not the reaction you want from players. (Or maybe it is, for the Briarpatch?)

The rendered appearance of the cargo ship, while it's probably the Groumall-type Cardassian freighter, just does not say "Star Trek" to me. If we were talking about a generic science fiction MMORPG, I'd still gripe that the ship's appearance is too "flat." But this supposed to be a Star Trek MMORPG, and as such that ship doesn't have the glossy qualities that are a hallmark of starship in the Star Trek universe.

The background is definitely interesting, though. Mmmm... space donuts....

3. Miranda in a debris field

NICE. Flatfingers like.

I'm still not seeing the glossy look that ships in the Star Trek universe should have. (Just my opinion there, but I think it's a pretty well-supported opinion.) That said, the lighting on this ship is better than that of any other ship I've seen so far.

Part of the reason for this may be the relative sparseness of local space in this picture -- there's not nearly as much of the pretty "space stuff" floating around here as in other screencaps. Is it possible that there's a setting for "ambient lighting" that could be toned down so that ships in relatively cluttered space don't get washed out by an ambient light effect, but are lit (like the ship in this image) only by a single key light (presumably from the nearest star)?

That, plus more specular reflection for a glossy look, would significantly increase my satisfaction with the appearance of the ships of Star Trek Online as communicating the feeling of being in the unique and distinctive Star Trek universe.

One other request: I would expect the ambient light on this ship to be redder to reflect (literally) the color of the light reflected from the nearby planet. The blue tone on the ship is pretty, but it's wrong for the lighting environment in which it's set.

All that said, I like this image very much. Not only is the ship approaching nice-to-look-at, the debris and the odd formations on the planet suggest interesting stories to be told. Yay for that!

(One other small note: take a close look at that blue star in the upper right-hand corner: it's got diffraction spikes! Diffraction spikes like these are an imaging artifact that is sometimes deliberately added to astrophotographs to enhance the beauty of bright point stars. As seen in the Miranda image, it's a very pretty effect. Some artist is paying attention to the details, and I for one really appreciate it.)

4. Ground location

Let's see... Klingon architecture... snow planet... ah. It's Rura Penthe, isn't it?

A little too bright, perhaps, but that's quibbling. Something I do like is that the LOD is pretty good even out to what appears to be a decent range. I hope we'll be able to set that level as players on our clients in the actual game; I like being able to see everything as far out as possible.

Incidentally, I notice that there are absolutely no UI elements displayed in this image (or any of the others). So when will we get a peek at that?


Overall, a quite nice collection of new images. Thanks!