I’m excited to bring you up to speed on all of the amazing things that have been happening within Star Trek Timelines since my last letter. We continue to be driven by our goal to create the ultimate, immersive Star Trek experience for all Trek fans. As we get closer to launch I am happy to report that desire is within our grasp!
As I write this, we are on the verge of achieving a major milestone - closed beta! This is the phase of game development where a select group of players from our Bridge Crew - you are in the Bridge Crew, right? - check out the game and provide us with valuable feedback. Last month at Star Trek Las Vegas we learned a lot from watching people play a brief introduction to the game, but now it’s time for Timelines to leave Spacedock and take a practice lap around the planet.
Unlike Star Trek Vegas or PAX East, beta participants will be able to download Star Trek Timelines and play it at their leisure. That means for the first time there won’t be a friendly member of the Disruptor Beam team standing next to our players, ready to help them through any tricky spots. And in order for us to reach this moment, the team has put considerable effort into every corner of the game, fixing bugs, improving graphics, and balancing numbers. Here are some specifics of where the team has been focused recently:
New Player Experience - An early version of this was seen at our Las Vegas booth. The beginning of any game must simultaneously excite, entertain, and educate a new player. Though this will likely be iterated upon several times before the game launches this fall, the basic structure for Star Trek Timelines’ introduction should stay the same, namely the player encounters a temporal anomaly, a certain single-lettered omnipotent being, and some Romulans on a hair trigger.
Starship Battles - See our previous post and video on how awesome ship battles are going to be! And, we’ve actually made a lot of changes since this video was captured. Most recently, we’ve adjusted the control scheme for ship battles to make them easier to understand, and added more visual effects and of course more ships (and opportunities to battle them) to the game. They look great!
Away Missions - Away Missions, where you send three crewmembers on a branching assignment that puts their distinct skills to the test, have received a visual facelift as well as depth to the system’s rewards and strategic options. As you would expect, we’ve also made a lot of them to play across the galaxy!
Shuttle Missions - While some of your crew is busy on Away Missions, you can send the remainder out on Shuttle missions. These gameplay opportunities allow you to level up your crew and gain loot with a more hands off approach, and have also received a visual and usability pass from the dev team.
User Interface Visuals - In general, every menu in the game has received a visual and usability pass from our UI team. No more placeholder, “graybox” assets: Our buttons look like the real thing, which really adds a lot to the overall Star Trek feel and experience.
Crew and Item Art - As you have hopefully heard by now, we’re going to have a lot of familiar faces in our game! For a long time during development, the crew (and their items) in our game were represented by empty silhouettes. No more! Based on our previous blog posts, fans are already clamoring for more crew art reveals. They are coming and I assure you they all look awesome!
Places of Interest - Planets, space stations, derelict ships, temporal anomalies, wormholes, nebulae, you name it. More and more places are being added to the game each week, with various mission types waiting to be found within by an intrepid captain (that’s you!).
Music and Sound - As with our 2D and 3D art pipelines, audio assets keep rolling in, making the game feel bigger and deeper. Have we mentioned that we’re working with our friends at CBS to add voice clips directly from Star Trek episodes to the game? We’re having a lot of fun firing up episodes trying to find the perfect quote (or quotes) for each of our dozens of characters. Be sure to mention some of yours in our forums!
Those are some brief highlights of what’s going on with the game right now. Up next for us is to keep broadening the beta to more-and-more players, studying their reception of the game and making adjustments to it in time for our global launch later this year. We of course have plenty of ideas of our own that we still need to get in, as well as plenty more art and audio and mission content. It’s not too late to be considered for beta, join the Bridge Crew today, and we’ll see you in the game soon!
Executive Producer, Disruptor Beam