Sector space seems to be the hot topic of the hour. Some love it, some hate the look of it, and some despise its very existence. Needless to say, traveling through sector space feels nothing like an actual episode or film. Why is this? I believe it's the complete lack of bridge use. A 3rd person ship view is fun while battling foes or perhaps scanning for anomalies in unexplored space, but during actual travel through sector space, it's more just spacing out (No pun intended) at your ship.
Imagine this as an alternative:
You've just finished depositing items in your bank on Earth Spacedock and need to meet a few fleet members on Vulcan for a meeting of sorts. You click beam to ship, the animation plays, and you are given this loading screen: Loading screen (Beaming)
You arrive on the bridge of your ship (Or perhaps the teleporter room). Your viewscreen shows your ship's current location (augmented image for low graphics settings or an actual rendered frame for high): Bridge with Earth Space Dock in Viewscreen
As you approach your officer at the helm, the sector space map with your ship's current position and heading appears on the Viewscreen (This will also be used to check your travel progress at any time): At the Helm
You talk to your officer and are given the map on your screen to select your new course. You click Vulcan: Selecting your destination
Your character says "<Bridge officer rank and name>, set a course for Vulcan, warp 5. Engage" Your officer says "Eye captain. Setting course for Vulcan, warp 5," presses a few buttons, and your ship enters warp, which is visible on the viewscreen: Traveling at warp speed
You visit your ready room, get something to drink from the replicator, and return to check your ship's progress on the viewscreen. You arrive at Vulcan: Vulcan (planet) in the viewscreen
*NEW* Your helmsman informs you (local chat) that you have an incoming hail. As you approach the viewscreen, A Vulcan greets you and states that you can beam down at any time: Vulcan (species) on the viewscreen
You speak with your helmsman or click the "beam down" prompt in the lower right of the screen and the Vulcan asks you if you're sure you're ready to beam down***: Beam confirmation
This way, you are fully immersed into the role of your character. It looks and feels much more like the show. The real benefit comes when full, functional ship interiors are completed. This way, you can perform functions of your ship while actually traveling instead of sitting, waiting for your ship to float across the grid to your destination.
*** In a mission, you would be greeted with the individual that gives your mission briefing (Like the one when you load into a system on a mission). *NEW*Red Alert!If it was space combat (Or space based for that matter), instead of beaming down, you would go to this loading screen: Space loading screen, and would enter the system as usual.
The loading screens, would also be generated from your character and your actual ship, further adding to the immersion, making it much like those fly-by commercial break clips from the shows.
When accessing the helm, there can be a 'manual control' option to maneuver through sector space.
The player may also select to make sector space (Manual control) their default transportation method. %
When choosing a destination, there will be a patrol button and/or a engage enemies en-route checkbox for those wishing to engage in deep space encounters. %
"When a pursuing enemy comes within so many LY, your yellow alert goes off ship-wide and you get a comm message form your helmsman with the option to change your stance, issue new orders, or take manual control" %
"When you hit a DSE, red alert goes off and you see a brief moment of your character sitting in the captains chair or running for the nearest lift before cutting to the DSE warp in."%
There should also be some way of players to travel together:
-A player can take a shuttle to a friend's ship. They stay in the same ship until the player decides to undock, then must navigate the shuttle back to their ship or a space dock.
-A player can set his ship to auto-follow another ship and simply beam aboard. The difference is he can use his own ship immediately when departing that of his friend. When following a ship, the leading ship is visible in the viewscreen.%
A nice addition to the beaming... why we wouldn't fly with a shuttle, out of the shuttlebay something for season 7.2 :-P
Well, actually, the cool thing about this method would be that missions requiring deployment of a shuttle would be much more plausible. Furthermore, since you aren't actually controlling the ship and are already on your bridge, it would be very easy for the devs to create "dummy missions." Basically, the mission could sound very routine, but when you select the destination, halfway there, you could receive a distress signal and have to save a stranded ship, or you could experience a power drain from a spacial anomaly and have to figure out how to repair the ship before you loose life support or something. This addition of actual idle time for you as the captain allows for plenty of random and unexpected things to happen and plenty of ways to present it (ex. ship going to red alert while you're in your quarters)
Thats would bring lot more "realistic" into that game... or bring the game into the ship... thats one of my biggest issues for the future... I hate that outer view, thats not star trek... the people or the life behind that people is star trek... I think it would be a great beginning with the ship interieurs and the noncombat mission... we will see whats comming up next
distressed ships... yeah think about a combination with spacesuit and zero gravity...
Good idea, but wouldnt it get tiresome like sector space is?
Nah; I'd just do what I do now when my ship is travelling through sector space - go do something else. You known, change a DVD if the movie/TV epsiode has run its course, run to the bathroom, get a drink... pick the cat up off the dining room table... you know, take a bit of a break.