Starfleet Veteran
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 716
# 71
09-15-2012, 12:29 PM
Seeing the way interior maps are currently built in-game and in Foundry, it's very obvious that they're all room boxes connected with hallway boxes. This may be fine if you're digging out an underground cavern facility or dungeon, but it's not the way ships or even most buildings are made. You don't make rooms in ships or buildings by "placing rooms" and connect them with "hallway pieces", you have an outer area in which you place walls. Rooms are created by partitioning the spaces inside the ship or building. To use the naval parlance, compartments are the spaces in the hull separated by the bulkheads. Hallways and corridors aren't separate "pieces", they're the space between the compartments.

My ideal way to have ship interiors made would be to have a set "outline" for each class of ship (no need to distinguish the individual variants of each class, they're all about the same basic shape and volume). This "outline" would represent the interior volume of the ship for a particular deck, and the outer walls would be auto-populated with windows corresponding to the shape of windows selected in the ship tailor. There are three decks, as we currently have: the command deck, the crew/main deck, and the engineering deck.

Within these deck outlines, you place bulkheads (walls) at your discretion, compartmentalizing your decks to your specifications. You populate the compartments you make with appropriate items and label them accordingly. There are key rooms that everyone must have: at least one main engineering, one main transporter, one main sickbay, etc.

However, looking at the Neverwinter Foundry demo at PAX (relevant clip starting at 11m30s in), Cryptic appears to be firmly in the mindset of keeping interior mapmaking as a set of room boxes connected by hallway boxes though. What does this mean when STO gets Neverwinter's Foundry update? Will we be able to configure ship and building interiors that in no way conform to their exterior shapes and volumes? Probably.

But it doesn't have to be that way. There is a way to compromise. Check out this video for Starship Corporation (about 2 minutes in). Here we see prefab rooms (not unlike Neverwinter's Foundry) being arranged within deck outlines. This ensures that the overall volume and shape of the ship interior conforms to what it's supposed to be in order for that deck to be inside the ship. If STO did something like this however, you probably wouldn't see things like windows in crew quarters (which I would argue is a bad design scheme anyway for ships that have a high likelihood of seeing battle), but you could feasibly still have an outer corridor with windows looking out (as is depicted in the blueprints for the NCC-1701-A's saucer section).

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Last edited by direphoenix; 09-15-2012 at 12:49 PM.
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 1,043
# 72
09-16-2012, 07:28 PM
Most intriguing ideas, direphoenix.

I concur that room-by-room building would only make sense for ground structures rather than ship interiors.

The way I see it, there are two ways ship interiors could be implemented:

Tumerboy / Tacofangs' musing of a fixed deck / room layout
Players simply choose their carpet / arches / doors / LCARS. The Foundry tool could be used to position minor decorative objects.

A hybrid of Starship Corporation, Cryptic's Foundry and 0 A.D.'s Atlas 3D real-time editor
  • Each ship class would have a set number and shape of decks

  • Rooms can be arranged within the boundaries of each deck, although important places like the Bridge, Ready Room, Engineering, Sickbay, airlocks, docking ports etc will have permanent canon locations that players would simply have to "build around"

  • Using "Windows anywhere" (a variant of NW Foundry's "Doors anywhere"), the system automatically places interior windows in rooms that are located adjacent to the hull

  • Player selected choice of carpet / arches / doors / LCARS as usual

  • Foundry also used to position minor props in realtime 3D


Game features I'd like to see improved / expanded: Better Ship Interiors // BOff Costume Slots
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 11,107
# 73
09-16-2012, 07:46 PM
Originally Posted by sumghai View Post
Tumerboy / Tacofangs' musing of a fixed deck / room layout
Players simply choose their carpet / arches / doors / LCARS. The Foundry tool could be used to position minor decorative objects.
I would actually like this better. Architecture is complicated, and I am the kind of person who would spend hours trying to get it to look just right. As you can imagine, I really hate The Sims. As cool as it would be, it would just be too time/resource consuming for both the Developers and the Players to implement. I would just be fine with picking textures/colours for carpets/floors/walls/lights/etc. and choosing the type/size of chairs/tables/etc.

Starships are supposed to be standard issue with the same interiors. Sure, let me carve out a home in it, let me hang banners on the walls, place trophies, awards, paintings, decorations that I've been awarded, given (Stolen ), but building stuff from scratch would just be silly. I have Minecraft for that.

There is a point where it becomes too customisable, so this would be one that should be kept simple, and you don't have to have an engineering degree to use it.
Career Officer
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 6,969
# 74
09-16-2012, 07:50 PM
I think having them make sense should be optional. There are plenty of good reasons for them NOT to make sense in the context of a mission.

However, a map underlay of the various ship types would be helpful for authors.

And I could see where the new system could be used to generate canon-ish deck plans as prefabs.
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 7,336
# 75
09-16-2012, 08:01 PM
I would prefer it if interior designs are transferrable. There are a ton of people better than me at producing awesome interior designs and it would be nice if I could use other people's designs with a few minor changes to personalize it.
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 1,043
# 76
09-16-2012, 10:18 PM
Originally Posted by centersolace View Post
Starships are supposed to be standard issue with the same interiors.
Originally Posted by stoleviathan99 View Post
And I could see where the new system could be used to generate canon-ish deck plans as prefabs.

So, going by my original proposal:

Each major ship class (ignoring cosmetic variants) would have a unique number and layout of decks e.g. 15 for Intrepid, 42 for Galaxy.

Where possible, canon locations are used for the important rooms / facilities like the bridge, ready room, sickbay, engineering, transporter room, shuttle bay and so on.

Each class of ship would have at least one additional, unique room with an unique mini-game only found on that class.

The most basic form of customisation would happen at the Ship Tailor / Shipwright, where in addition to choosing the ship hull material, windows and external cosmetic variants, one could choose the carpets, doorways, corridor walls, LCARS panels, enable/disable holographic displays etc.

The next level of customisation would occur in the ship interior itself, where players can set shipwide uniforms for the wandering crew, control gender/species proportions, assign BOffs to bridge stations / rooms, choose what trophies to display and even customise the appearance of DOff contacts.

The most detailed (and final) level of customisation would have players use the Foundry to position individual props.

In addition to the various mini-games I've mentioned in the past, the player customized ship interiors can be used in missions e.g. the observation lounge for First Contact missions.

I think an fictional example case study would be the best way to explain the above points:

FED player @sumghai flies a standard Intrepid-class ship, and decides to check out the new ship interior customisation system.

He first stops by Earth Space Dock's Shipyard, where via the shipwright he chooses the canon Intrepid exterior with Windows 1 and Hull Material 2 (he's a Voyager fanboi, y'see). For the interior, he chooses the canon Voyager carpet, corridor and door, but opts for a 2409 blue LCARS, as well as enabling holographic displays.

Next, he goes into the ship interior, and is pleased that Cryptic has finally scaled the hallways and rooms properly (no more silly auditoriums!).

Looking around the canon Voyager bridge, he notices that the wrong BOffs are at the wrong Station, and decides to remedy this by walking up to each station and choosing a BOff from a list, with the following result:

- First Officer Commander Tom Richardson, Human Male in the First Officer's seat.

- Tac Officer Lt. Commander Christine Barber, Human Female at the helm.

- Ops Officer Lt. Commander Geoff Ong, Human Male at the Ops station

- Security Officer Lt. Commander Mirra Shran, Andorian Female at the Security / Tactical station

- *Junior* Science Officer Ensign Akorem Rolan, Bajoran Male at the Science station

- The Master Systems Display is unoccupied

- The Engineering station is unoccupied

Satisfied, he enters the turbolift, consults the 15-deck ship's directory and heads for Deck 2.

When he arrives, he swings by the Mess Hall, and sees the generic chef, bartender and counselor DOff contact NPCs:

- The default counselor NPC is changed to have the skin of an otherwise unused BOff, Counselor Lt. Commander Natasha Klay, Female Human

- The bartender NPC is changed using a tailor interface to recreate a Rulian Mazan lookalike. The NPC's name simply uses the name of the custom saved costume "Rulian Mazan"

- Similarly, chef NPC is tailored into a Male Bolian in civilian garb called "Chett Brott"

He then toys around with his trophies and accolades.

On Deck 3, he find his Captain's quarters, which he decides he would deal with later.

On Deck 4, he first heads into the Transporter Room, and changes the Transporter Chief NPC's skin into another unused BOff, Transporter Chief Lt. Michael Andrews, Human Male. He then visits the Security Complex and changes the Security DOff NPC to use the skin of yet another unused BOff Lt. Chavek, Romulan Male.

On Deck 5, he changes the Doctor DOff NPC in Sickbayto Lt. Commander Lelania Tigan, M.D., Trill Female, and the Science Officer DOff NPC in the Science Lab to Chief Science Officer Lt. Commander Corat Remara, Cardassian Male

On Deck 6, he pops into the holodeck and plays a mini-game of Velocity, choosing First Officer Cmdr. Richardson as his AI opponent. He wins a few hundred EC, and decides he will check out the other minigames some other time.

Decks 7 and 9 weren't all that interesting to him, other than nice doorways for Foundry missions, while on Deck 8, he visits the Cargo Bay to dump some inventory.

On Deck 10, he swings by Astrometrics, checks out the Stellar Cartography minigame, before heading into the shuttlebay, which is populated with two Type 8s. He mucks around with the inventory of the shuttles he owns (a Type 8, a Delta Flyer and a Runabout) before moving on.

On Deck 11, he heads into Engineering, and changes the Engineer DOff NPC in to Chief Engineer Lt. Commander Vrin K'vov., Andorian Male, and the Ops DOff NPC to Ensign V'ruk, Reman Male.

The remaining Decks 12~15 were again mostly doors for Foundry missions.

@sumghai then pops back onto the Bridge, where he uses his Ready Room computer to set his ship's standard uniform(s) and decides on a nice mix of various canon and original alien species - only 20% of his crew are humans like himself.

After exploring around the ship interior a bit more, @sumghai then heads on into the Foundry, where he adds a mug to his Ready Room table, some books inside the Captain's quarters, and a damaged panel section to one of the corridors near Engineering.

Before he logs off, he invites stoleviathan99 and centersolace to team up with him and two PUGers and play a 5PvE boarding action scenario using his customised ship interior. The game is a fairly close one, and centersolace suggests to @sumghai that littering crates throughout the corridors might help impede the boarding party in future games.

The following day, @sumghai plays a First Contact mission, which takes place in the Intrepid-class observation lounge next to the bridge. After one playthrough, he decides that the canon Voyager conference table is fugly, so he pops back into the Foundry to have it changed to something from the Enterprise-E.

Originally Posted by starkaos View Post
I would prefer it if interior designs are transferrable. There are a ton of people better than me at producing awesome interior designs and it would be nice if I could use other people's designs with a few minor changes to personalize it.
It has been mentioned that making custom ship interiors tradeable between players would help create a true "crafting" economy in STO.

Game features I'd like to see improved / expanded: Better Ship Interiors // BOff Costume Slots

Last edited by sumghai; 09-16-2012 at 10:20 PM.
Career Officer
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 6,416
# 77
09-17-2012, 12:32 AM
I admire you're enthusiasm, but the amount of manpower it would take to create all that would leave us in a content-less limbo for a very, very long time.

Cryptic has one advantage, is that Star Trek typically used redressed sets. So they can create chunks and mimic parts of the ship and reuse them in other parts. For instance the Sets used in Star Trek 6 was reused for the Prometheus bridge. The hallways of the Enterprise-A and the Engine Room were redressed Galaxy sets.

But unfortunately, Cryptic doesn't have the time, resources, or the skill necessary to completely create a fully archtectually-accurate starship. More or less doing this for every ship in STO. And they can't use outside help since that would also cost money in legal fees for contracts and agreements to do the work.

Right now, the best bet is what they did currently with the ship interiors and just limit them to the necessary parts and do their best to recreate the archetecture as best they can. They got away with the Defiant because it's a tiny ship, and the TOS Consitution set was mainly limited to the canonical set design.

But personally, I know Cryptic with some incentive could make architectually accurate ships. Meaning you look at that map and you know automatically you are on a Prometheus or on a Galaxy-class. I know because right now I'm actually making a good chunk of the D7 Interior for my Foundry Mission and just using the Foundry, I made a fairly accurate ship, complete with sets seen in TOS, TAS, and Star Trek 6. So with time I know Cryptic can throw things together than just more than simple hallways. Cryptic's artists with the tools could do such a thing with the remaining ships.

However, like I said earlier, they just don't have the manpower to do that. And it was mentioned they need a reason to make accurate interiors. So are people willing to pay for them to make your player ship accurate?
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 72
# 78
09-17-2012, 01:51 AM
Why aren't players given access to create interiors and submit them to Cryptic for use in game? Fans have made canon interiors for several other Star Trek games once the tools to make them became available. (EF1 & EF2, Bridge Commander)

Cryptic could offer rewards in terms of Dilitium or Free points to spend in the store. It would be cheaper in terms of manpower to have players make them instead of having them hire additional staff or spend a significant amount of time building these.

I dont understand why this business model isnt implemented, when so many players on the forum have been asking for better interiors since launch. It would speed up game development and create a greater satisfaction amongst players.

PWE restrictions?

Le sigh...
Cryptic Studios Team
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 2,518
# 79
09-17-2012, 08:27 AM
There is a lot of enthusiasm in this thread, and while I appreciate that, my original (hypothetical) proposal was meant as a guideline of something that is feasible. Building 42 fully flushed out decks for one ship, is not feasible.

For those spouting that the Foundry room layout tool is the answer, remember that the foundry's room layout tools only work on a grid. You could make a "starship" interior with it, but it would all be square rooms, with square hallways, all lined up at 90 degree increments from each other. My memory isn't so good anymore, but I seem to remember a fair number of curved corridors and oddly shaped rooms from my ST watching.
Only YOU can prevent forum fires!

Lt. Commander
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 236
# 80
09-17-2012, 09:24 AM
Originally Posted by tacofangs View Post
For those spouting that the Foundry room layout tool is the answer,
"Spouting"? Really? Just because you may not agree with what someone is saying does not mean you have to refer to it like that.

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