A new "Ask Cryptic" feature was posted today at the Star Trek Online website, answering several questions about warp and power allocation, ship customization and the famed Captain's Log:
It's that time that you've all been waiting for. Exciting new questions with brand new answers! I bring you, Ask Cryptic Volume 8. Have you ever wanted to now how Ship Modification will work? You're going to have to read more to find out!
Will there be collision detection?
Absolutely. All cryptic games have always had entity to entity collision. Star Trek online will continue to make use of this tech both on the ground and in space.
How is Cryptic going to handle warp in STO? Is warp going to be instantaneous travel or is it going to be more like a sprint with various speeds allocations from 1 - 10?
When traveling within a system, you will not be able to travel at warp. Impulse speed is the norm here, but you can travel impressively fast at full impulse speeds. You can warp to another planet in a system, which is basically instantaneous. However, when travelling from star system to star system (or other points of interest in the galaxy), you will travel at warp speed. You will be able to set your warp factor and the quality of your warp engines and your engineer's skills will determine your maximum warp speed.
How will ship modification and customization work? Will we be able to move the position of nacelles and phaser banks, or will we be issued with 'standard' vessels of a class into which we can insert equipment of our choice (additional science labs, different impulse engines etc)?
Cryptic Studios has always been the forerunner when it comes to avatar customization, and Star Trek starship customization is no exception. As you progress through the game, you will gain access to new ship configurations. Each new configuration contains several known Star Trek classes that have similar profiles and silhouettes. For instance, you may start out in a light cruiser. In this configuration, you will find ships like the Miranda class and the Centaur class. Both these ships have a prominent saucer section, and two nacelles that hang below the saucer. Both these classes have a similar configuration that is nothing like, say, a Galaxy class, Defiant or Nebula class ship.
When you have a ship that is a certain configuration, you will be able to modify all the parts - the saucer, the nacelles, the pylons, the primary hull, etc. You will also be able to modify colors, decals, and other bits. However, the configuration will remain recognizable. If you are in the light cruiser configuration, you can make it look just like a Miranda, a Centaur, or something completely unique. The combinations are massive, however, you will not be able to have 4 nacelles or make your light cruiser look like a Galaxy class ship. So your ship will be unique, but others will be able to recognize its general capabilities. People will be able to look at someone's ship and say, "Hey, that's like a Nebula, so I know it's an advanced science vessel", or "Hey, look at that cool Prometheus variant!"
You will also be able to modify the ships systems. You will modify and upgrade primary items like your weapons, shields, deflector dish, impulse and warp engines, etc. You will also be able to add lots of enhancements to your systems, such as targeting computers for better accuracy, EPS conduits upgrades to improve power transfer rates, better biobeds for your sick bay, etc. Different ships will have different enhancement slots (so an escort vessel will have more tactical upgrade slots). Finally, the primary way you will customize your ship is by what Bridge Officers you assign to your duty stations. Your Bridge Officers will come with unique skills that can only be used if they are at a duty station.
Altogether, ship customization will be an important part of the game - both visually and strategically."
To what extent are we going to be able to allocate or re-route our power systems in game? Is this going to be in depth or simplified? IE: Are we going to have main engine power, impulse power and auxiliary power to redistribute amongst our ship's shields, weapons, life support, impulse engines, warp engines, sensors, deflectors and etc.?
You will be able to transfer power between your weapons, shields, engines or auxiliary power systems. Additionally, you can balance shield power to your fore, aft, port and starboard shield emitters. There is no mana bar. You need to manage these systems depending on your circumstances."
Will we be able to access stats on how we play the game? Like times we've died, enemies killed, ships destroyed, number of away mission, number of planets first contacted, etc...
There will be a Captains Log which will have a lot of info. We have considered some game stats, like kill counts, but have not given more thought to the matter at this time. It is an interesting idea and we will consider it. How about when you create your ship, you get your registry number, and then we tack on an -A, -B, -C, etc to the end each time your ship gets blown up =).
Cryptic has mentioned there will not be a traditional "mana bar" for ships, but what about a player's individual character? Will a security officer have an energy bar for his equipment? What if he has psionic powers (Vulcan/Betazed/ etc), will their biological abilities be independent from their tech/branch skills?
We are still working with different models for ground combat, but it will not be complex. There will not be separate energy pools for weapons and abilities (like the psionic powers you mentioned). Right now we are experimenting with no mana bar for ground at all, and simply limiting certain abilities with cool-down times alone. Another possible model may be a simple power bar for advanced weapon attacks (like a wide beam cone attack) but no cost for basic shots and no cost for special abilities (except cool-down times where applicable).
If you have more inquiries about Star Trek Online, drop your questions at the official forums and you might get an answer in next week's feature!