View Full Version : Transcript from the Q&A (AMA) with the devs on Reddit

06-07-2017, 10:02 PM
Here's all the info and answers from today's AMA (ask me anything) on reddit with the Bridge Crew devs

Hi everyone,
Thanks for all the questions! Let me first start with the most frequently asked question which is related to additional content for the game, and things that the community would like to see added. With Star Trek having been around for over 50 years now there is a huge amount of additional content and features that fans would want to see, and that we would love to add. Of course the flipside is that in the early days of the VR market, while the user base is still in early growth mode, there was only so much that we could feasibly put into the game.

We’ve certainly discussed various ideas, many of which have been mentioned in this thread. TNG era content is a clear top choice, and of course crew based PvP multiplayer would be a great addition at some point. We actually did quick experiment in the past with two crews being able to see each other and communicate over the view screen, and it was as awesome as it sounds!

We had developed numerous ideas for more advanced mechanics of the stations on the ships, diplomacy options, additional science based gameplay, and of course we’ve gotten the request for Away Team gameplay down a planet’s surface (that’s adding another genre, so a bit out of scope for the initial game ;).

The ideas mentioned above are still around for us to consider and I’m sure there are many more that could be brainstormed. So while we don’t have anything official to announce at the moment, we would love to hear from the community on your wish list desires and ideas to suggest!

We’ve also seen the feedback on a few issues that players have been seeing, thank you for that, and for your patience while we tracked down the cause of the infinite warp/impulse bug. We are pleased to report that this bug has been found and fixed, and will be released in a patch this coming Tuesday, June 13th.

This patch will also include improvements to issues surrounding AFK players in lobbies, and avoiding lobbies and situations related to this.

Hey guys, love the game.
I think I heard somewhere that you will be integrating IBM's Watson into the game, how will that work? I really hope it gives us speech recognition for the AI and the ability to control the missions.
Also, I am finding that the controls, especially for the Captain, are too low. Other than pressing center while almost standing, is there a workaround?

Yes Watson is coming soon, and indeed it does allow the player as Captain to use voice recognition to give commands to the NPC. Stay tuned, there will be quite a bit more information on this very soon.
Regarding height adjustment and re-centering we would like to hear more information from you on what exactly the problem you are encountering is. Please let us know how you sit when re-centering and the results you are getting.

Was the Original Ship gameplay and design a early design concept? Did it inform gameplay of the new ship?
Are there any plans to add more classic or next gen star trek enemies?

We always wanted to transport players back in time to the Original Series bridge. The biggest challenge was how to be faithful to the look and design of the 1960s Enterprise, but actually make it work! The original design predates a lot the wonderful progress made in user interfaces over the last 50 years.
So we chose to start with the Aegis, where we had more flexibility, and focused on how to make it easy to pick up and learn. Then we built the Enterprise bridge and remapped Aegis functionality to exacting recreations of the original consoles, etc. Along the way, we consulted with multiple experts on the original bridge, notably Michael Okuda and James Cawley, to get their input and blessing. It was so much fun to build!

First off, love the game and all the output from Red Storm. Bridge Crew is awesome, but I there's a few issues that have been bothering a my crewmates and me.
Any particular reason that Oculus finger tracking is largely ignored? The only thing you can do is point with your index finger, which has zero effect on anything. You can't tap buttons with them.
Any word on adding thumbs up?
Any word on being able to tap buttons without pulling the Oculus trigger?
Any word on an option to disable hand collisions with the panels? It's intensely immersion breaking for me and many of my crewmates that our virtual hands are very rarely mapped to where out physical hands are.

Hi. Yes, doing more gestures is something we would have preferred to do. Touch availability and implementation actually came quite late in our production cycle, so we missed out on things like adding thumbs up, and ever so sadly, the Live Long and Prosper Vulcan gesture… If we have a chance to add these in we certainly will.

Also it’s a very interesting question regarding hand collision with the panels. Our first control scheme implementation was the gamepad which used panel surfaces with collision. When hand tracking was added the initial result was that hands still collided with the panel, and my feeling was that it was actually a happy accident because it gave players spatial feedback on how far/low they need to reach, and of course avoids hands intersecting into the panels. We have demoed the game to probably hundreds of people at this stage and I’ve seen the physical nature of the panels do the job of informing players when their hand has reached the panel.

With that said on a few occasions I’ve received feedback that people feel it would be more immersive to see a ghosted version of their hands when the real world version goes through the panel, and the fully rendered hands would stay on top. This in many ways is one of those subjective aspects of VR immersion and proprioception, and I’d be happy to hear more from both sides of the community on this.

I'd love to be able to walk over and stand over Helm's shoulder as I dictate destinations and commands to enter warp. Are there plans to add roomscale movement or larger "head boundaries" for PC players?
Will we ever be able to beam our engineer to a jeffreys tube to manually reroute a critical subsystem?
Will we be able to play the 3d chess game in the ready room while waiting for others to join the room?
Whats the highest prologue score in the office, and did you have medals made for the crew that scored it?

Room scale is more complicated to consider when talking about multiple VR platforms with different capabilities, as well as cross-play. But I certainly understand the desire to allow the Captain to stand up, and even for players to transition to different stations on the bridge is all of course very Star Trek.
3D chess, we get that question a lot :) We will have to keep this in mind!
I believe the office record as of last week is 168 on the Kobayashi Maru, and I believe that has already been broken by the community. 204!!

Considering most people like to role play in this game. What about options to give a general StarDate speach to the captain and allow them to ad-lib.
Also what about allowing individual stations to say "X is repaired" instead of an ai crewmate?

JP: I am so happy that you asked this question (and another dev participating in this thread probably isn’t, but I TOLD YOU SO :).

The “let human Captains give their own mission intro” debate was one we had a few times on this project. In the end, there were some technical challenges to implementing it as well as some valid concerns about potential misuse of the feature. Because it was considered a nice-to-have, this was another situation where, given the scope of the project, we just couldn’t quite devote the resources to getting all the concerns addressed at the level of quality we would have needed. It’s absolutely a great idea, though, and I think it’d be a feature we’d all love to continue to explore.

As for the “X is repaired”, this was another area where we had a lot of discussion. In this case, because we considered subsystem status to be critical information and we knew we couldn’t guarantee that an Engineer would be looking at the repair panel all the time, we decided to err on the side of caution and use the ship computer to reinforce feedback. This was also intended to help keep the entire crew informed of the ship’s status, even if they had a player who wasn’t actively communicating that level of detail.

We knew there was a risk of stepping on human players somewhat, but felt like it was important enough information for everyone to have that it was worth it (and hoped that our players would forgive us).

I always thought the Captain's log idea was cool :)

The VR market is small, but growing, therefore if we did anything more, it would either be a new game, or paid DLC at an appropriate price.

We're just not making any announcements today, but we want to hear about your ideas and suggestions for what could come next!

As a Vive and Rift user, I'm wondering if there is any plans to loosen the "blackout bubble" around head movement. For PC players used to much more freedom of movement, and playing is a wide variety of chairs, it's very immersion breaking. To some, it's too frustrating to play.
That's really my only gripe about the gameplay. Like others, I'm certainly hopefully of more content releases in the future.

Brian Tate: We found in both STBC and Werewolves Within that having a full, first-person body (as opposed to, say, just floating hands or a partial body) changed the way players experienced the world and interacted with one another, in a very positive way. It’s part of what makes players really feel like they’re on the bridge of a starship together -- a key ingredient of our Social VR recipe, if you will.

But doing this presents some tough challenges, like what to do when players move around in ways that their in-game avatars shouldn’t. We chose to limit your range of head movement to something plausible for your character, and fade to black if you went outside that range so that you wouldn’t see any disconnect between yourself and your avatar. Those disconnects can be really disturbing for some people, by the way!

But clearly, based on community feedback so far, we were too restrictive. The upcoming patch will expand the allowed range of motion as far as we can push it without you getting into positions that look and feel really uncomfortable.

Congratulations. You've managed to make a game that not only satisfies us massive Trekkies but is also one of the most-commended VR experiences. You even pre-empted multi-ship crew in Elite, and massively lowered the bar for entry for that kind of co-op seated experience :)
I'm left-handed. VR is in early days so many developers forget about wrinkles like us 10% with no fine motor control in our right hands. Since the Aegis uses touchscreens, might we see a left-handed mode for Helm? Keeping my right arm up is quite taxing.

Thank you! I'm left handed as well but honestly hadn't considered this before. I will keep it in mind as we consider future additions!

Great game! Hands down my favorite VR experience on the Vive, and that's even after having pretty high expectations going into it.
The main questions I have have been asked a few times, about new content time frames, quantity, and tools allowing the players to create missions, so I guess I'll ask something else:
To each of you individually, what's your favorite Star Trek series? Favourite episode? Anything in particular inspire specific details of the story missions?

DV: For me it’s kind of a split between TOS and TNG. From TOS I really enjoy the inventive and even zany creatures and space mysteries that the crew would face. My favorite episode is probably Balance of Terror, though I also really enjoy the Doomsday Machine. From TNG the standout episodes for me are all related to the Borg. One of the best and scariest enemies in science fiction!

BT - Hands-down, my favorite episode is TNG’s “The Inner Light.” And I love both TNG and The Original Series for different reasons. Every episode of ToS stands on its own, like a unique experiment in sci-fi writing for TV. Then TNG really fleshed out the Star Trek universe. But just recently I’ve started rewatching DS9 at the urging of some of my teammates, and it’s definitely growing on me!

I love the game.
The only thing I hate are the AFK hosts. I've joined so many rooms where the host is sleeping or afk. And always rejoining their rooms is annoying. It takes forever to find rooms sometimes.
Will you implement some kind of auto-afk kicking in a patch?

We’ve seen the feedback on a few issues that players have been seeing, thank you for that, and for your patience while we tracked down the cause of the infinite warp/impulse bug. We are pleased to report that this bug has been found and fixed, and will be released in a patch this coming Tuesday, June 13th.

This patch will also include improvements to issues surrounding AFK players in lobbies, and avoiding lobbies and situations related to this.

Why did you decide to make transporter and disruption function aviable for tactical and helm and not exclusive for engineer?

The goal here was to empower the crew to balance the workload between themselves. As each mission and each objective requires different activities at different times, the best approach for balancing the duties seemed to be to give some of the control to the players.

Awesome game, it's the first based on the franchise that I really love to play over and over.
Any plans for bigger crews?
In single player it would help a lot to be able to order helm a direction rather than target and approach to navigate around anomalies.
Enterprise should have more stuff to do instead of less if it's meant to be harder. Engineer can't redistribute power for example.
Armada add-on for engaging a fleet of enemies together with other crews would be awesome :)
How about referring to time in UTC instead of local usa time zones people have to google and find out if they use DST or not. It's really annoying that everything (I don't care if I can't win anything on startrekbridgecrew.influitive.com because of where I live, I'll still top the list) is focused on american players when there are no borders on earth in the federation of planets.

Thank you, so glad to hear you are enjoying the game. Some answers to your various questions:

Bigger crews: The reason we went with the four stations we have is that they were not only some of the most iconic, but also had the most minute-to-minute activity. Of course Science and Comms are also iconic stations/roles, but making full time gameplay out of them is certainly more challenging. There are various approaches that could be taken with stations such as those, and I’d love to hear community ideas on this as well.

Ordering a direction for Helm: At one point we had a menu pop up allowing to specify headings to Helm, but ultimately decided not to continue to develop and support it since we found that the Captain would nearly always give a target as the destination. It would be interesting to hear from the community on how desirable they feel the additional heading direction commands would be.

Enterprise functionality: The Enterprise wasn’t designed to be more difficult, rather it’s more difficult because we aimed to maintain authenticity to what is shown on the TV series/set from the 1960’s! Adding more complex mechanics such as power re-routing and system intrusion seemed to run the risk of making the Enterprise too complex to play because of the limitations of using physical buttons and very few screens on the bridge.
Armada add-on: That would be cool :)
We will also look into the time format, thanks for the note.

How much did you or your team play other bridge sim games like Artemis to play test and discuss?
So far most Artemis players I've shon Star Trek Bridge Crew really like the division of labor. You have given more to each station to do, always keeping the action going. Also by allowing multiple stations access to the teleporters and disruption systems, you enabled those players not doing much at that moment an extra way to get into the action.
Excellent work.

Hi. Yes, we of course played some of the other Star Trek and spaceship crew simulator like games in the past, but ultimately we took our inspiration from aiming to deliver the bridge experience as defined by the Star Trek brand itself. Also doing it in VR is obviously a first, so there were many new trails to blaze as we went.

I’m glad to hear you appreciated the Distributed Systems feature. Designing missions that keep every station busy all of the time is very challenging to pull off in practice, so the idea behind Distributed Systems was to empower the players to distribute workload between who was in the best position to handle additional workload.

Love the game and think it's a great foundation to build on (whether via DLC or in a sequel). One question I had was whether or not there was ever conversation about implementing decision trees for the captain in some missions?
Personally I think it would add alot to a mission if the captain could simply choose from Mass Effect/Walking Dead style options and negotiate with enemies/Star Fleet and/or make branching choices that impact the directions missions took. A lot of room to add more mission variety this way as well and give the captain role more weight.

(Jay P. here): Absolutely, there were many, many conversations about diplomacy gameplay at several points during development. Diplomacy from the Captain’s chair is such an iconic part of Star Trek, and it was one of the challenges that we wanted to tackle from the very beginning of development (and that we revisited multiple times over the course of the project).

There were some very significant technical hurdles we had to overcome with Bridge Crew, and as a result we had to make tough decisions about how best to focus our efforts. Our anchor for this game has always been the social interaction between the human players on the bridge, and since the Captain Diplomacy gameplay would have required a significant investment of our resources and would have been largely a single player interacting with NPCs, we decided to develop other aspects of the experience first.

Now that we have a solid foundation of a compelling bridge experience though, giving players the opportunity to resolve conflict through diplomacy is highest on my list of features I’d like to expand.

I absolutely love this game! It's like Bridge Commander (one of my favourite ever games) had a VR baby!
I'm not usually a fan of DLC, but might you be able to add a proper 25-30 hour single player campaign, a significantly greater variety in the procedural missions, and especially a mission editor? If so, I will give you all of my money! A new bridge or two and slightly more complex ship systems (e.g. shield facings) would be nice as well. Come on Ubisoft and devs, make it so. You have an incredible framework of a game here that just needs building on! If you don't you'll really be missing a trick to support a game that could remain popular and be played for years.
I have only one friend who has PSVR and this game, but the general player base seems to be friendly and mature. I primarily play with randoms, and they talk, help you out and are usually forgiving of mistakes. This is possibly the best online social experience I have had in years. On a lighthearted note devs, how on earth did you manage that??

Thank you and glad to hear you are enjoying it! I talked about DLC above, but on the social side of things it's really a testament to the power of VR.
The social connection that is possible in VR is incomparable to what is possible in traditional games. The feeling of actually being in a shared space with someone is unique to VR, and we suspect part of the reason why community behavior may be more likely to be friendly and positive, since many of the real world social cues translate into VR!

Hi David! Thank you so much for doing this AMA. Most of my questions have been asked already (what is the possibility of getting TNG-era bridges like Voyager or Enterprise-D, will there be more missions in the coming months, etc), so my question is, what, if any, other positions would you add to the game if you could (i.e. OPS, Security, Sickbay, Communications, etc)?

Science and Communications are of course notable candidates, though they raise the question of having enough to do throughout each mission. We have some ideas :)
I would be very curious to hear from players what types of activities they would want to do not only the other stations, but in other areas of the ship? Keeping in mind the context of what Star Trek: Bridge Crew is so far.

Hi David, thanks for doing this! I have a question regarding audio stuttering. I am currently playing on a Vive and have severe audio drop out from other players (and seemingly from myself as well). My internet connection should not be an issue (200/200), so I was wondering if you could pass this along to the technical team. Other than that, the game is incredible!

Thank you for reporting this. We are not having much luck reproducing this issue in the office, but we are continuing to investigate it. If it’s not due to a slow or unreliable internet connection, then we suspect it may be something specific to the Vive hardware. As soon as we find out anything further we will communicate it. If you have any additional information to share on it, please contact the Ubisoft support team so they can collect it for us.

Lots of good stuff in there and plenty to be optimistic about :D

06-08-2017, 06:28 AM
"One question I had was whether or not there was ever conversation about implementing decision trees for the captain in some missions?"

This is one I haven't heard before and an excellent idea I think. Turning this into a true role playing game would be a lot of fun.

I just wonder if there are extreme limitations to developing a VR game like this. Content so far is pretty minimal.

10-08-2017, 12:02 AM
firstly I want to thank you for developing a good new Star Trek Game! But I have a few questions about the future of the game.
Why do the graphics look so...ehh..."simple"? Probably because VR needs a lot of processing power bla bla bla. But it would be nice if you would be able to turn up the graphics and get some J.J Abrams lightrays etc.
Please remove the touch based navigation in the helm. A joystick would be much nicer. Oh and vibration feedback in the Touch Controllers when you push the Warp handle. Also the Warp handle should be improved generally speaking doesn't work as good as you would expect it to work. Can't press it when I'm looking away, that time of stuff... Also vibration feedback when something hits the ship, torpedoes and so on. Also "earthquake like" movement and maybe paint chipping of the ceiling or cables and other stuff falling on the bridge and staying there, cracks in the glass of the "(wind)screen"(I'm from germany) All those little details not only in damage but all areas. The next thing that bothers me is the x and y axis system, kills the outer space feeling for me.
More complex enemies and more complex controls would be nice.
Are there going to be more ships to choose (Dreadnought-class, New Enterprise...)?
Also unpredictable errors during missions you have to handle would be interesting.
Crew against Crew Combat of course.
Negotiation with enemies and other complex tactical stuff.

Would be glad if some of this would find it's way into the game! :p:)

12-14-2017, 11:35 AM
I'd love to see some new updates with more content.

-New ships

-More avatar customizations

-more missions

-Perhaps a multiplayer Klingon-vs-bridge crew mode (obviously that's a lot more work and i'm guessing the idea fancies you but it would be difficult)

Thank you very much!

12-31-2017, 06:53 AM
loving this game would be good to have control of more ships like Klingon romulan or dominion would be great and pvp would be fantastic between all of these ships.

even co op with another ship to do a mission such as take on a borg cube together or stay alive for a amount of time against one

03-26-2018, 07:18 PM
This is an amazing game that needs new content to bring in more players. I am with all other players, that wish for more ships and new enemies and more missions to be added to the game, as it can be quite rinsed and repeat. I have some suggestions as to adding on two roles for both the Science and Comm stations and how they may be engaging to those that may want to play those roles.

Science Officer:
Data analysis of the anomalous clouds in the system that tactical has scanned. Example: wave pattern matching aligning the two waves with one, or aligning a harmonic pattern, particle analysis on an atomic scale needing to send the atomic particles through a filtering/particle screen, not unlike billiards/pong... I guess

Building system intrusion programs so as to help hack the enemies subsystems (thus explaining the need for cool down time) and if PVP is added the need to protect the ship subsystems with firewalls and counter virus. Umm insert game title that you have already own and created, won't say it...

Triangulation of arrays in star systems to plot warp and impulse jumps that can be coordinate with Comm Officer to ping the arrays. not unlike a navigator would on a map.
Coordinating with Engineering on power for the sensor array systems and requesting repair or rerouting.

Communications Officer:
Keeping a direct line of communication with a Starfleet array not unlike the Science Officer with wave pattern matching and harmonic pattern matching. and adding on to this the use of the deflector array on the ship as an added weapon to send particles to stall enemy ship engines, or disrupt their communications, or to help stabilize the warp bubble. (PvP calling for reinforcements)

Casualty Report sending medical teams to injured crew members on the ship in various decks of the ship, and crew readiness in combination with engineer repair crews sending in an expert to fix subsystems faster (AI crew manifest/skill sets)

Monitor enemy communications to alert Captain when ("they know we're here").... Comms can hear enemy communications or a call for backup to intercept or block this
Boost Signal to help with system intrusion or transporter.

Transmit data back to Starfleet bouncing the info to each communication array.

03-28-2018, 12:15 PM
So I last played this game on release and a little bit after voice comms were added. Anything new added since then or is is just the same boring rinse and repeat game. The game was fun for about a day but then you have done ever mission. You find captains are pointless, helm and tactical would know the missions off by heart so would have done everything before the captain is even aware what to do (which added a big spoiler to the game and role)

dj faceplant
03-28-2018, 01:29 PM
You find captains are pointless, helm and tactical would know the missions off by heart so would have done everything before the captain is even aware what to do (which added a big spoiler to the game and role)

I understand your ire, but as an experienced helmsman, I'm more than happy to follow orders from the Captain, and not pre-empt their commands. Unless I'm playing with a captain I know, and he knows me, so we understand how we're working together. But I won't plot a course, follow a ship or anything unless otherwise ordered.

The only thing I do right at the start is bring the ship to Full Stop. then I await further instructions. We're not all ready to jump the gun out here.