[WARNING - REALLY LONG POST!! Brace yourself with a stiff drink before continuing...]
I've been playing around with the ship/uniform customisation options recently, trying to replicate canon ship styles and uniforms as accurately as possible...
...and it's so very, very frustrating!!!
For ships, I find that using the 'None' pattern as a default works best to approximate the appearance of ships from the shows - it doesn't use any additional hull colours and markings. However, this doesn't work for all ships, and the current materials don't allow for all ships to be screren-accurate:
- the B'rel/D12 Bird-of-Prey should have vibrant red wing patterns on the underside only. The current options only allow for a muted red using the 'Andromeda' pattern which doesn't work well elsewhere, and also colours the topside wings red, which is wrong.
- the Nova-class science vessel's RCS thrusters are coloured white unless the 'Andromeda' pattern is used and one of the colours set to brown. There are currently no accurate shades of brown, either!
- similarly, the Excelsior-class nacelles should be a teal colour for the top surfaces - again, this can only be done manually, using an approximate colour and the 'Andromeda' pattern, which, again, looks wrong for the rest of the hull. Also, none of the current material options replicate the almost-white hull colouration from the movies and shows.
- the Constitution-class refit (Lt. Cmdr.-level cruiser) and Miranda-class are usually off-white, but no such colour material exists.
- the new D'Kyr Vulcan cruiser only has one material option, thus not allowing the terracotta hull colour famously seen in on-screen.
These are just a handful of examples - there are also general issues, such as:
- not being able to turn off Fleet Emblems on ships (leaving a default neon-blue Federation emblem on your ship)
- the lack of an option to choose the colour of your ship's registry border (normally red on all TMP and TNG ships)
- not being able to choose window types/escape pods separate from each other, or to not have visible escape pods at all (which would suit the Constitution/NX classes)
- the wrong lettering type for the TOS Constitution name/registry
- the inability to select rollbars on/off for the Danube runabout/Miranda-class light cruiser
There's a similar problem with the 'canon' uniforms - apart from accuracy issues, like the shape of the TNG combadges, the lack fo screen-accurate TOS/TNG uniform options for Klingons, the fact that sashes don't go OVER shoulder-pads for Klingons, the lack of non-Admiral options for the TMP/TWoK uniforms, etc., it's hard to know whether or not the colours selected are screen-accurate. I've certainly seen several different interpretations of things like the colours for the TNG Movie uniforms, for example - it's hard to tell which colour shades are the 'right' ones.
There are many issues that affect this, such as monitor settings, colour blindness, etc., and for another thing, it's quite time-consuming to have to check all the minutiae for accuracy (LOTS of alt-tab needed, for starters!).
Therefore, I reckon it'd be a great idea to have 'preset' colour schemes and patterns, based on the canon versions we all know and love. Not only would they be a great time-saver, but they'd also help people know that their characters look exactly like what we see on-screen, regardless of differences in people's vision, monitors, and so on.
Here's an example - someone wants their uniform to be the classic TNG uniform, and they want their Nebula-class ship in TNG pale grey with the right escape pods/decals/lettering/windows.
Instead of the current system, of going through every option and picking what they perceive to be the closest approximation, all they need to to is click a preset button for each:
Uniform - 'TNG series (command)'
Ship Appearance - 'Default (TNG)'
Each of these would be set to make the uniform/ship use the canon colours and patterns. That way, players would be certain of how their character/ship looks in-game to everyone regardless of individual screen settings, and would save a lot of time and effort, too. Plus, for people wanting to emulate the shows/movies, it'd eliminate any doubt of how accurate things are.
Hopefully this is a possibility at some point, as it's rather frustrating to have so much great canon material in game but not have it looking accurate to the 'Trek' we're all familiar with.