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Tubatic avatar 10:15 PM on 04.07.2008  (server time)
Steal This Game Idea: Star Trek 7 year mission sim

Hot on the heels of my second Monthly Musing article , I got to thinking
about a pretty righteous game idea I had few years back. Like I mentioned in that article, I love
managing personnel in video games. Somewhere around the 2005 edition of Madden, I got
to thinking about what type of game could really take the fun of franchise/team
management in a different direction. What resulted was this kind of malformed game idea,
using the Star Trek license.

At this point, at the ripe age of nearly 30, I've kind of given up on actually "growing up" to
make this game. So, instead, I'm going to just share it with the community. Just for fun.

So the short pitch is this: You play the role of ship's captain of any number of specialized
or general function ships in the Federation Fleet, and you follow the progression of your
ship through at maximum seven years of duty (like the TNG era shows), and make choices
to shape the universe through continued peaceful and non-combat missions.

It sounds like plenty of games that have come out before (and honestly, I haven't played a
Star Trek game since that single ship 3D space flyer on PlayStation1), but stick with me

The hook here is the passage of time. Lets say you start with the maiden voyage of a
medium sized medical ship. You hand pick your core crew, the "Stars" of the show, and get
a random but named population of starfleet officers to fill in the rest. Your roster is huge,
but everybody has the same depth of stats. Technical prowess, medical skill, diplomancy,
leadership, etc. Just enough to give each character just enough "personality". You'll get to
do all sorts of nice customization like ship specs, ship amenities and special equipment,
motto, etc. After initial setup, you start out with your initial long term and short term
missions, and start your 7 year journey.

Now I'm not sure if we have enough lore to pull from here . . .

And it goes from there into a semi organic tour of duty with your ship and your crew. You
take missions, you complete (and fail) a few missions, you dock at starbase, head out
again, work on your general mission (maybe medicinal research tour around the quadrant,
for example) and complete specific missions as they're transmitted from Command.
Crewmen gain experiences and skill,they die, they encounter strange anomalies, they find
more warp power in dire situation, and even form relationships based on shift assignments
and how much they work together (and any number of other silly factors)

But the twist, is that somewhere along the line, the climate of the Federation can and will
change part way through that our of duty, in some unforeseen but logically progressed
way. The Dominion War happens, or the Klingons decide to break off from the Federation,
or even something as personal as your crew being flung lightyears away by some all
powerful being. The game play continues though. You manage your resources, you take
the missions they give you, you manage your crew through their ups and downs. Transfers
happen. Your XO might get an early command. You might hold them back. Random
crewman #5 might be a spy that causes the big war scenario in your tour of duty.

Yeah, I think we have enough lore here . . .

By the end of 7 simulated years, you'd have told yourself a pretty personal, but very game
assisted story about your fine crew and its trusty ship. The game would go that extra step,
and create assets for you to remember the voyage by: wallpapers commemorating key
moments that you can export from the game. Videos of exciting and pivotal action
sequences. Group photos from each "year" of your crew.

Some games in the Trek series have dabbled in all these ideas, but none have truly
presented the continuous narrative and wonder that came from following you favorite crew
through their 7 seasons of shows. Instead of focusing on a specific show, this game would
transcend the show of the moment, and really allow the user to have a more intimate and
personalized Star Trek experience.

Yep, plenty of Lore . . .

Of course, the idea doesn't even rely on Trek. You could probably pull this off with a new
IP. However, considering the rich "lore" of the Trek Universe, it feels like an easy fit that
will allow plenty of development attention on the mechanics of things, rather than the
establishment of a new IP.

That's my crazy idea. What do you think?

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