BRIDGE AND INTERIOR ACCESS IDEAS: The basic model of starship combat, mission complexity and drama, and unexpected action is already there to enjoy. But we need more Star Trek crew interaction- the Star Trek shifting of crew expectations and abilities that result from the drama that we so often loved in the original movies. This article is how I propose to implement it.
The interior missions and gameplay would take place while traveling between your departure and destination points. Usually at slow warp like warp 1, or warp .5- I noticed that if you travel at these speeds it often takes a long long time to arrive at your mission destination. Of course you can always pause your ship's movement as well. Perhaps pausing your ship could open it up to random pirate attacks while you are performing interior ship tasks (increasing the drama and excitement- interrupting certain tasks and making it more fluid).
Ship warp travel time is the perfect opportunity to go inside the ship and engage in the interior ship tasks and options. These interior tasks could eventually modify ship and crew abilities enough to affect the outcome of the mission. To obtain the desired modifications that result from ship interior tasks, you would need to slow down or pause your travel speed, and enter the ship before you arrive at your destination for each mission.
Moving to the ship interior would be implemented by accessing the option menu and clicking "Go to Bridge" or a similar successor to that option. Once you are zoomed into the bridge you can select any officer. From there, each officer would have a number of options to choose in terms of his conduct. The actual ship interior architecture could initially begin with the basics: bridge, engineering, medical, ten forward, crewman's personal quarters, captain's ready room, and holodeck. Eventually, each ship could be expanded to have its own unique interior architecture for those Trekkies that have a penchant for exploring and getting to know their peculiar vessel. The player could have the option to travel the through the ship in the old fashioned way and meet crew along the way, or zoom right to the particular room you want.
The interior task options would be social interactions with other crew members or other options relating to overall gameplay. Here are a few ideas regarding the options. Generally, it is important to game stability for each individual option task to have only a small impact on ultimate mission performance. But, performing MANY of these tasks could end up having a substantial impact on the outcome of your ultimate mission due to the significant ship modifications that could result by the time you reach your mission destination. (This would also happen to allow for substantial replayability within the game- you could replay missions after performing a different set of crew options for your crew inside the ship during the interwarp travel phase to your mission destination). Each task would have typical effects, but also there can be a small chance of a unique unexpected effect on your crewmember (for example, you decide to take a crew member to ten forward, and because he has tendencies to drunkenness decides to stay there rather than man his station when battle begins!). The surprise reactions to option tasks could especially occur during the initial phase of the game for any particular crew compliment, as the crew gets to know itself and its surroundings.
Some option tasks would be unique to each individual officer, while others would be common to all officers. You could switch between officers at any time during the phase while the ship is warping to its mission destination. Here are some specific task ideas:
COMMON OPTIONS FOR ALL CREWMEMBERS:
1. Get to know another officer (playing poker, getting a drink at ten forward with the crew member, developing friendship/romance, etc..). Using these options could have a substantial modifier effect when the ship reaches its mission destination. For example, a drink in ten forward could raise the moral of these crewmembers, while at the same time reducing their coordination or removing some of their special abilities when the mission takes place (because they are inebriated). Also, getting to know another officer before a mission could allow for a temporary new ability for each officer that is shared from the other officer. These social interactions could create for themselves unique games within games. For example, you could have a poker table, and invite the different crew members to play. While you play poker, the crewmembers are sharing their abilities with each other so that each member is enhanced or negatively affected in some way by the time of the ultimate mission.
As the crew uses the get to know each other option more, this could substantially improve ship and crew abilities for the long term (over many missions). But there is a risk to this. If an officer is lost or dies, there is a negative effect on ship and crew abilities that is proportionate to the level the crew knew each other. This negative effect would last long term through multiple missions, but would gradually improve over time. The more officer briefings you have (see below), the more the whole ship crew could feel the loss of an officer.
2. Research computer database on mission particulars- Having an officer perform this option could somehow make him perform more efficiently during the ultimate mission, or perhaps have the unexpected effect of scaring the crewmember so much he refuses to perform the mission!
3. Go to crew quarters- Resting up before a mission could have certain benefits.
4. Unique tasks that arise from time to time- As the starship travels in warp (or even while it is paused in space), and you are in interior mode, different task events could arise (the converter in subsection b is down, needs repair; this part of the computer could use maintenance, etc...) and the officers can decide whether to perform these tasks, or ignore them to do other things that they enjoy (like social interactions etc...). Each decision to repair or do something else will have an effect on the ability/modifiers of the ship and crew once the ultimate mission destination is reached.
5. Holodeck! Of course, you can't forget the holodeck. Take an officer (and his staff) to the holodeck, and create a unique holodeck mission according to your own player selected parameters. Beating these player created missions could have positive and negative effects on the crew member's performance and mission success.
6. Have chosen officer perform a crew briefing- IF you have a particular officer brief the entire ship crew (i.e. in ten forward) on how to perform under his command during the mission, you could somehow modify the crew's abilities according to the officer's skills. This effect would wear off after each mission.
7. Announce and hold a party at ten forward- the Captain of the ship could send an subspace communication to all ships announcing a celebration in ten forward, along with the expected time of the celebration. Benefits would accrue to the ship (more credits, more skillpoints) as a result of holding the party and forging these important diplomatic and starfleet connections. The extent of the benefits would depend upon the number of players that actually show up at the party. Unique crew tasks could also arise during the ten forward party.
8. Reach out to other ships in your sector- You can send a subspace communication to any ship in your sector, hold a rendevous with the particular ship, and temporarily share crew skills and abilities for the mission- or even temporarily swap crew members for the mission!
9. Conduct security drills- This would have the obvious effect of enhancing ship capabilities. It could have both long and short term benefits. Drills would come at a cost. Conducting drills would turn off other interior tasks for the player while the drill is being conducted.
These are all wonderful ideas. But do you have any notion of the time and expense it would take to design and implement them, especially since they haven't already been incorporated in the game's design? Not to mention the server space to handle it all? Mind you, I've only played two MMO's in my life (WoW and SWG), but I have friends in the game design business, and I'm just not sure all of this is feasible. Heck, Cryptic is having trouble expanding the current game server space to accommodate the current crop of players - you expect them to be able to handle all of this increased functionality, too...?
Really, I love your ideas, and would love to see them in SFO. The things you describe would add to the "Trek flavor" of things significantly. But they ain't gonna happen.
for customization we need the option to collect plants from the planets we visit i mean comeon who wouldn't want one on those musical plants (the blue and yellow ones that hum in different tones when you get close) or lava tree (one of those trees that looks lint it has lava running down it) in their ready room
That's good news on the bridges [I mean ship interiors]... can't wait.
And, be-dang it, I want bathrooms and (sonic) showers, too. If Sims 3 (rated Teen by the ESRB) can do it (with nice little clouds put in), then so can 25th Century Sim-Trek, er, I mean Star Trek Online.
NVM, probably International issues (though I would think that we in the U.S. have most of them)... OK, at least a door labeled "Restrooms". That would make me happy, some sort of acknowledgement that a Captain's bowels are important. (Hey, not to derail the thread or anything... ).
I do believe that the little things are important, though. Why? Something to do with almost daily having to face the prospect of certain death in Space... ah, but I wax imaginative.
EDIT: Whoops. Back to bridges...
EDIT EDIT: Hmm, I'm afraid that restrooms may not be canon. Oh, well.
Make the Captain's Chair an Interactable Object
The Captain Chair is a very important element of the Star Trek universe. Make our Captain's Chair interactable objects so that when we get near it, we can select the option to sit in it. The emot sits are hard and goofy to work. Allow the computer to position us pleasently in the chair.
Allow Sector Space Travel while on the Bridge
One idea is to allow you to set courses while on the bridge, and travel while on bridge view. Obviously, you might not be able to allow player steering, but there is no reason that if a system is selectable as somewhere to set a course to that you couldn't do this from the bridge. This could also allow for better travel graphics, such as a viewscreen with the starfield at warp.
Give me those first two and I'll be a happy camper.
EDIT EDIT: Hmm, I'm afraid that restrooms may not be canon. Oh, well.
Hahahaha. Too true, too true.
We heard about toilets a few times on DS9, but they referred to it as "waste removal." Rom used to work midnight maintenance for waste removal, and Quark heavily implied that meant Rom worked knee deep in...ahem...you know.
Also, in DS9's "Little Green Men" when Quark returns to the bridge he is shocked to learn that Nog and Rom know about his contraband. "We did a scan while you were in waste extraction" Rom tells him, which basically means, "We peaked while you were in the can."
Finally, in "You Are Cordially Invited" when Jadzia finds Kira and Odo in her bathroom, Odo is clearly sitting on a toilet.
I remember a behind the scenes special once where Jonathon Frakes points to a schematic of the Enterprise-D and says, "Here is the bathroom. There's only one, and it is a long wait."
I also remember an episode of ENT in which Archer records a video to answer questions from Earth children and Charles Tucker is asked how the corporal waste is dealt with (I really don't know how to say that in proper English but you get the idea).