Entertainment, Games, MPOGs, Star Trek Online, Video Games

Improving Crafting in Star Trek Online

The following is almost my own idea. It’s actually a combination of several ideas I’ve see thrown around on the STO forums made a little more concrete.

First I’m going to provide a quick overview of how equipment in STO works:

Most equipment comes in ten levels, starting at “Mk I” and going up to “Mk X”. The stats increase through the levels and which you can use is restricted by rank. Lieutenants can only use up to Mk II, Lt. Commanders up to Mk IV etc. all the way up to Rear Admirals using anything up to Mk X.

Equipment also comes in four rarities: common, uncommon, rare and very rare. Increased rarity adds modifiers to equipment. Uncommon gains one modifier, rare gains two and very rare gains three (some equipment types like tactical consoles don’t specifier modifiers – in this case just think of it as only having one possible modifier and it’s just that modifier applied the corresponding number of times).

Now we have that out of the way, on to the actual crafting.

The basis for this idea (which many people have suggested on the forums) is a new type of item (called, for example, an “Improvement”) which provides modifiers to other equipment. You would craft the improvement (using the existing anomaly data), and then combine it with existing equipment to make better equipment.

For example, consider Impulse Engines. Impulse Engines have four possible modifiers:

[Aux] which allows you to move at 25% speed while engines are disabled
[Spd] which provides a speed boost
[Turn] which provides a turning rate boost
[Full] which provides a speed boost to full impulse.

My idea would require an improvement for reach of those. For instance:

[Aux] Additional Auxilliary Thrusters
[Spd] Increased Reactor Efficiency
[Turn] Additional RCS Units
[Full] Increased Reactor Output

These improvements would come in different levels like normal equipment (Mk I to X), but with a couple of important points (to avoid unnecessary complexity). Firstly they would only be available in even levels (Mk II, Mk IV, Mk VI, Mk VIII, Mk X) like existing crafting options. And secondly they could be used with lower level equipment (mainly for using a Mk X improvement on Mk IX equipment etc.). The different levels would require rarer anomaly data to provide, like the existing system. (What happens in Season 2 with Vice-Admirals with Mk XI (but no Mk XII) equipment, I don’t know yet :P).

Something else to consider is that this idea would apply to equipment of all rarities, so you could combine uncommon “Impulse Engines [Aux]” with the “Additional RCS Units” to get “Impulse Engines [Aux] [Turn]”. To maintain balance between rarities however I think improving uncommon equipment (to rare) should require two improvements, and improving rare equipment (to very rare) should require four improvements. So to go from common “Impulse Engines” to very rare “Impulse Engines [Turn] x3” would take a total of seven “Additional RCS Units”.

PS – I recently sold a very rare “Hyper-Impulse Engines Mk X [Aux] [Turn] [Spd]” for 5,000,000 energy credits. If anyone sees a “Combat Impulse Engines Mk X [Aux] [Turn] x2” I’d quite happily pay that much for them…

Android, Technology

Swype is amazing!

One of the things that worried me about touchscreen phones (before I got one) was typing with an onscreen keyboard. Therefore, the first touchscreen phone I got was the T-mobile G1, a phone with a hardware keyboard.

Since then I had an opportunity to get a Nexus One which I couldn’t ignore. And I generally dislike the onscreen keyboard as much as I expected.

That has just changed however.

I just downloaded the beta of Swype for my Nexus One and the improvement is tremendous. Instead of tapping letters, you press and hold the first letter and then drag over the other letters. With a combination of seeing when you pause and a dictionary lookup, it picks up the word you wanted to type (it works a lot better than you’d expect). There are a few issues, specifically it has difficulty with very short words (mainly because there are generally more possibilities) and there is the pathological case of pit/pot/put being difficult to differentiate. But on the whole, it’s definitely an improvement.

By the way, I typed most of this on my Nexus One (using the official WordPress App). I added the links afterwards.

Here are some videos.

Entertainment, Games, MPOGs, Star Trek Online, Video Games

Improving sector space in Star Trek Online

Perhaps I should just go ahead and rename my blog “Star Trek Online Forum Highlights”…

Pendra37 on the STO forums has come up with the first idea to improve sector space in Star Trek Online that actually seems it could be done without majorly overhauling the game engine.

The coolness basically boils down to one change: “If you hit the Drop out of warp button, you drop out of warp. A random deep space instance map loads up. The map may be completely random.” For more detail, read the post Sector space makes sense.

This reminds me of the fantasy RPG Rings of Power on the Genesis/Megadrive. In that game, for most of the time you controlled and oversized character walking through the landscape. At any time you could press B and the map essentially zoomed in showing you were you “really” were (and that the oversized character was just you represented on a map). Most of the time there was nothing interesting around, but there were things hidden in places that you could find and some quests required you to go to specific places.

Entertainment, Games, MPOGs, Star Trek Online, Video Games

The Voyage Home and BOff Story Arcs in STO

Another pair of interesting ideas for STO I found on the forums.

The first is “The Voyage Home“, a framework around exploration type missions based on the story of Voyager.

The second is Bridge Officer Story Arcs, missions based around your bridge officers, after you set up some personality options (most importantly, sympathies to certain factions and vendettas against certain factions).

Entertainment, Games, MPOGs, Star Trek Online, Video Games

Star Trek Online Gold Edition going cheap at Zavvi

Yes, it seems I’ll be obsessed with Star Trek Online for a while…

For those of you (at least in the UK) who would like the chance to become obsessed, Zaavi are selling the Gold Edition of STO for £17.95 £23.95 (oddly enough the normal version is £29.95).

The Gold Edition comes with loads of extras including a T-Shirt and download code for DS9 style uniforms.

Of course you should try the free Star Trek Online demo first 😛