Stinnett Talks MMORPG DevelopmentBy Michelle
December 4, 2006 - 10:41 PM
Producer Daron Stinnett of Star Trek Online said that his team has made a lot of progress lately and that Perpetual Entertainment is aiming to produce "as fun an experience as we can make it" through the MMORPG's development.
STOGalaxy has a transcript of Stinnett's interview with MMORPG.com from last month, in which Stinnett stated that the team was working on images of worlds and developing combat. "Our focus is on space combat right now, because we see that as the most risky or sort of...place where we need to innovate most for the genre," he said. "There’s not a whole lot of great examples of space combat – at least in our opinion – and so we feel like there’s a lot of innovation we need to do in order to make it pay off as a great space-based MMO experience."
Stinnett noted that while space environments had been explored in RTS-style space games and flight action, they haven't been so complex in an RPG. "Fundamentally RPGs are about building up a character," he said, discussing how ships operate as characters in that they must be equipped and brought up to new levels. "We also do have some feature ideas in mind to allow players to succeed in other ways than just blowing someone away."
Asked about market changes, Stinnett explained, "The market in ground combat anyway is headed towards a more visceral experience, a sort of a more action-oriented RPG mechanic, and there’s plenty of examples of that out there...when you're on the ground, you'll be likely engaging more than one enemy at once, and dealing with enemies maybe more quickly than in traditional MMORPG." Space combat will go more slowly, "so while the two experiences are similar in mechanics between space and ground in a lot of ways, we’re differentiating them...working with the pacing of each."
Though the news that there would be a new Star Trek movie was of some concern initially, Stinnett said, "Sounds like for now anyway it’s planned to be a prequel, so it’ll be way hundreds of years out of our way. So that’s just all good, because that gives us the opportunity to incorporate some of the things – the potential to incorporate things from the movie without having to deal with potentially being in conflict with the story they’re coming up with." He said that there had not yet been negotiation with actors to do voice work, but he expected several to be involved.
Stinnett laughed when asked when the game would be in beta and the interviewer conceded that no one ever answers that question. "These things are just too enormous to predict as this point," Stinnett said. "We’ll have the opportunity to open up and do probably private betas, small private betas, throughout the last year of development. So people will get the opportunity to check it out, but it of course won’t be until the very end until we open it up and do a public beta."
The full interview is here.