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Join Date: Dec 2007
04-14-2012, 12:43 AM
When maxed out, STO has one of the best - if not the best - indoor lighting model of any MMO I can think of (probably the best other than EVE Online, which I'm not counting given it's just one room).
Both ground and space maps - which were already good - have improved a lot, thanks to better textures and better design of models and environments (slightly less rushed than before launch, I'm thinking). The new huge planet in the Alpha space map was epic, really awesome (I've only seen something like that elsewhere once in STO so far, in another Klingon mission IIRC).
The character models are good - they are actually much more detailed than in most MMOs, but could do with more face and hair models for humans (and the more human like races) as that's most recognisable to people.
The outdoor environments are it's handicap, specificlaly open outdoor spaces. The foliage doesn't blend in especially well, but the limitations are be totally manageable (especially by leveraging the nice lighting engine - something I've found noticeable when using the Foundry) when a bit more care is taken:
What tends to suck is stuff that can be avoided:
- The poor quality mountain "back drop" that gets reused in many outdoor missions (and being able to see the square edges of ground maps). It's not just me who notices this every time I see it and hates it, right?
- Very obviously angular terrain and poorly placed buildings suspended partly in mid air (mostly this occurs in older, "Genesis" maps - but not always). Some new with larger flatter areas would really help Foundry authors here.
- Outright errors in maps. From holes in the DS9 interior, the Odyssey bridge and on Klingon C-Store bridges to missing elements on the main building at Star Fleet Academy, to - more trivially - misaligned textures.
- Fights or spawn points in space maps that take place on the edge of the map, or right next to a planet so that you end up bumping into it awkwardly mid battle ("All Around the Mulberry Bush" I'm looking at YOU).
- While the models are actually really good the animation undermines this - the AI behaviour especially (namely how they move - the erratic jumping, BO's moving too often even when they are already right next to you, enemies standing too close to the player in combat - so much the models are on top of each other).
While I like the combat mechanics and being able to have an away team, ground missions where you are alone or only have one BO with you seem work best currently due to these limitiations (judging by how some of the FE's are designed I may not be alone in thinking that :-). I'm really hoping the Foundry can be updated so that missions can be player, or player and one BO only.
- The player AI in social areas aren't isn't great either. They always seem to be jumping on counters and standing on top of me. Can we get a patch for that too? 8)
Err wow, I just went totally off topic didn't I? o_0 I think what I meant to say was:
"Yeah, I agree, that foliage shot probably does kind of show STO's least attractive environment assets and not in a flattering situation." 8)