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Star Trek: Starship Creator
Star trek starship creator.jpg

Star Trek: Starship Creator

Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Developer: Imergy
Released: October 1998
Stardate: Unknown (Unknown)
Platform(s): Windows 9x, ME MacOS
System Requirements: 90 MHz processor, 16 MB RAM, 25 MB hard drive space, 2x CD-ROM drive
Rating(s): ESRB Everyone USK 12
Reference #: ASIN B00002SANR (Original)
ASIN B00001SVE6 (Deluxe)

Star Trek: Starship Creator is a computer-based simulation released by Simon & Schuster Interactive in 1998. While not a game in the strictest sense, the program was designed to allow a user to create their own starship, crew it with personnel from the Star Trek universe, and send it on a mission to evaluate its performance. The program was designed with input from Michael Okuda, Denise Okuda, Rick Sternbach, and Doug Drexler, who were responsible for many of the technical or reference-oriented books produced for Trek.

Game design

The user could start the program from one of three experience levels: Beginner, Intermediate, and Experienced. As the game progressed, more options for customizing a ship and newer missions were available. Different "logins" were also available, allowing multiple users or multiple fleets to exist without drawing on the crew pool or credits of another login. The interface was modeled after the TNG era LCARS format, with Judi Durand providing the voice of the computer.

Screens

Class screen

From this screen, a user picked a class to build, or was able to manage and refit ships already added to the fleet. Different ships cost varying amounts of "credits," the Miranda-class being the cheapest and the Galaxy-class being the most expensive.

Structure screen

Upon the purchase of a ship hull, the ship whose hull had been purchased was added to the user's fleet inventory, and the user proceeded to the structure screen. Typically, there were three or four different prefabricated component designs for the primary hull, secondary hull, and warp nacelles of the ship which could be combined in any fashion, although parts from different classes could not be intermixed.

Assembly screen

This screen showed a three-dimensional representation of the ship, which could be inspected from any angle.

Naming screen

Once the user had chosen a satisfactory design for the ship being built, it was named and a five-digit registry number randomly assigned, or a four-digit one for the Constitution-class. The ship was then recorded into the fleet inventory.

Systems screen

For the Beginner and Intermediate levels, the new ship generally came already equipped with a number of vital systems; they could be further customized at the Intermediate level, but not to the extensiveness offered at the Experienced level. The user had to fit the ship with a number of vital systems, such as warp drive, impulse engines, life support, and a navigational deflector. Optional systems included shuttlecraft, weapons, and holodecks among other things. The systems were organized into main categories, such as propulsion, then into subsystems, like warp engine, warp core, impulse engine, and fusion reactor. Detailed information could be accessed concerning a particular system by selecting the "info" button. Certain systems, like engines or crew quarters, could only have one version of the component installed, while others, like sciences labs and torpedoes, could have a variety of different types and be installed in different numbers.

The success of a mission sometimes depended on the presence or absence of a system or component. For instance, a certain mission might have required the use of a class-8 probe. Additionally, one component generally depended on another; for example, a shuttle could not be launched without a shuttlebay, and a powerful warp drive could not be supplied by a weak warp core. Not all systems were available to all classes; small ships or ones with limited profiles like the Defiant-class only had a small choice of available systems, while large multipurpose systems such as the Galaxy-class had a large variety of subsystems.

Components also had a credit cost; more advanced and elaborate systems cost more than basic ones. Also, energy requirements prevented large amounts of equipment from being installed. A heavily-loaded ship would generally be much slower and less responsive than one with a more balanced complement.

Custom crewmembers could be created through import of a formatted text file and a *.bmp or *.pic image.

Crew screen

After a ship had been fitted with its on-board systems, personnel of a crew could be assigned. The crew screen had two aspects: a command-crew aspect and a complement-breakdown aspect.

Command-crew aspect

In the command-crew aspect of the crew screen, there were several available positions, including captain, first officer, science officer, chief engineer, chief medical officer, counselor, and communications officer. Only the assignments of a captain and a chief engineer were actually needed to make the vessel flyable, but missing personnel in other areas could harm mission performance. The user could select a variety of Starfleet personnel as crew, ranging from the main characters to minor characters from the four Star Trek series that existed at the time. (The game was released before ENT premiered.) Assigning them to a position had an associated credit cost based on the experience of the officer in a particular area; the more experienced the officers were in a position, the more expensive they were to recruit for that position.

Certain officers, mostly the main characters, were restricted to either the captain or first officer position and their position from their respective series; for instance, Geordi La Forge could only be placed in the captain, first officer, or chief engineer roles. Also, crews from the TOS and TNG eras could not be intermixed. The Constitution-class could only be crewed with TOS-era personnel and the Miranda class was restricted to one era or the other. Also, crewmembers could be assigned to multiple ships within the same fleet.

The Biographies of available characters that have been killed in canon, such as Lieutenant Tasha Yar's, either omit or contradict details of their untimely demise.

Complement-breakdown aspect

The other aspect of the crew screen, the complement-breakdown aspect, allowed the user to devote a certain percentage of crew to different disciplines, such as command, sciences, security, medical, and operations. The number of personnel in the crew complement was determined by the number of crew quarters units that had been installed at the Systems screen.

Fleet screen

All vessels in the fleet could be managed from this screen. A summary of the ship's systems and assigned crew could be reviewed, reports from past missions accessed, a new mission selected, and vessels selected for refit, repair, or decommission. Once a ship was taken to this point, it was possible to go back to each and every previous screen and modify each of the parameters. Once a ship was decommissioned, the appropriate amount of credits were refunded to the user account. Also, custom missions could be imported, while ships could be exported to a file for import within another login or transfer to another computer. This ability was the source of a cheat, as the same ship could be imported and decommissioned multiple times, in each instance refunding the same amount of credits to the user's account.

Mission screen

After a mission had been selected from the fleet screen, it was run from here. The ship traveled across a two-dimensional grid, while symbols and icons related to the mission appeared on the grid. Systems activity and communications between the crew were listed in a dialog box to the bottom of the screen. A pop-up window could be opened which showed damage and injury reports and systems status and efficiency.

Sometimes, the main grid would cut away to different animations related to the mission. The mission could be run in real time or slightly accelerated. If a ship entered battle or a hazardous situation, it could take damage. That damage would remain until repaired; faster repairs could be effected if a more experienced engineer or larger crew complement had been assigned aboard. Crew members, including senior officers, could be injured as well; again, their recovery depended on the skill of the chief medical officer, the sickbay technology available, and the number of medical staff. Severe injuries could result in death, which would remove the crew member from the roster on the crew screen and assignment on other starships.

Very little input was needed from the user since the mission scripts were not designed to be interactive; the mission simply ran until completion or until a systems failure or lack of equipment caused the mission to end. The mission could be aborted at any time, returning the user to the fleet screen. Also, the program could be minimized and left to run in a small window, called "stealth mode." Upon successful completion of the mission, the user was given the choice to keep the ship at its present location or return it to the home starbase; a certain amount of credits were also deposited in the user's account.

Customization

In addition to the aforementioned ability to import custom crewmembers, a user could also script custom missions. The program came with full instructions on how to create missions using Starship Markup Language or SML. A mission could be written with SML, saved to a text file, and then imported into the program under the Mission screen.

Criticisms

Although Starship Creator was designed more as an interactive reference guide than an outright game, many were disappointed that there was little control or interaction with a ship while it ran a mission. The user was required to watch as the ship simply crawled across great distances and there was no way to appreciably speed up the process. The graphics were nothing particularly special or novel, and were quite similar to the ones found in the Encyclopedias or technical manuals. Additionally, many missions required a multitude of equipment which could generally be found only on the Galaxy- and Excelsior-classes, making the other classes superfluous. Crew attrition rate was also fairly high, and there was no easy way to retrieve a deceased crew member short of exporting all ships to a new login.

Follow-ups

Deluxe

Star Trek Starship Creator Deluxe

Cover art for the deluxe version.

The basic Starship Creator program was followed by an add-on pack, reissued with the original Starship Creator as Star Trek: Starship Creator Deluxe. (The add-on pack could also be purchased on a separate CD which required the original Starship Creator program.) New features included three new starship classes - Akira, Oberth, and Prometheus, several new missions, the ability to assign custom registry numbers, the ability to import *.jpg file types for crew portraits, new commands for custom missions, and the ability to run two ships on the same mission simultaneously (yet independently), and a number of bug fixes which had plagued the original program engine.

Warp II

In 2000, a new edition, called Star Trek: Starship Creator Warp II, was released. The program was quite similar to the original Starship Creator but featured a number of new features and a slightly rearranged ship lineup. However, ships and missions that had been created for the original Starship Creator were fully compatible with Warp II, and they could be used by importing certain files from the original CDs. In Warp II it was also possible to export the created ships and import them into Dominion Wars.

Appendices

Starship classes

Equipment references

Propulsion

  • Impulse engines
    • Engine Class C (Miranda', Constitution)
    • Engine Class A (Galaxy, Intrepid)
    • Engine Class A8 (Miranda, Constitution)
    • Engine Class A10 (Galaxy, Intrepid)
    • Engine Class A12 (Intrepid)
  • Warp engines
    • Drive System Type 2 (Galaxy, Miranda, Oberth, Excelsior)
    • Drive System Type 10 (Intrepid)
    • Drive System Type 13 ()
    • Drive System Type K (Intrepid, Excelsior (would fail halfway through missions))
    • Drive System Class XP (Prometheus)

Power

  • Matter-antimatter reactor
    • Class C (Constitution, Miranda)
    • Class A (Miranda)
    • Class 7 (Galaxy, Intrepid)
    • Class 9 (Galaxy)
    • Class 11 (Intrepid)
    • Class XP (Prometheus)
  • Antimatter storage pod
    • Mod 1 (20 max: Galaxy; 30 max:Intrepid)
    • Mod 3 (20 max: Galaxy; 20 max: Intrepid)
    • Mod 8 (50 max: Intrepid)
  • Fusion reactor
    • 1 gW (Galaxy)
    • 4 gW (Galaxy, Intrepid)
    • 7 gW (Galaxy, Intrepid)
    • 10 gW (Galaxy, Intrepid)
  • Deuterium storage tank
    • 0700 kg (Galaxy)
    • 2500 kg (Galaxy, Intrepid)
    • 7000 kg (Intrepid)
    • 10000 kg (Galaxy)
  • Power distribution network
    • 100 rating, max (all)
  • Auxiliary power generation
    • 5 redundancy, max (all)

Weapons

  • Phasers
    • Point phasers (3 max: Constitution, Miranda, Oberth)
    • Array (6 max: Galaxy, Intrepid)
    • Pulse Phaser (2 max: Defiant)
    • Disruptor Cannon (2 max: Bird-of-Prey)
  • Torpedo system

Defense

Science

  • Sensors
    • Pallet 1 (10 max: Galaxy, Intrepid)
    • Pallet 2 (10 max: Galaxy, Intrepid)
    • Pallet 3 (10 max: Galaxy, Intrepid)
    • Pallet 4 (10 max: Galaxy, Intrepid)
    • Pallet 5 (5 max: Galaxy, Intrepid)
    • Pallet 6 (5 max: Galaxy, Intrepid)
  • Probes
    • Class-1 (20 max: Galaxy, Intrepid)
    • Class-2 (20 max: Galaxy, Intrepid)
    • Class-3 (20 max: Galaxy, Intrepid)
    • Class-4 (20 max: Galaxy, Intrepid)
    • Class-5 (20 max: Galaxy, Intrepid)
    • Class-6 (20 max: Galaxy, Intrepid)
    • Class-7 (20 max: Galaxy, Intrepid)
    • Class-8 (20 max: Galaxy, Intrepid)
    • Class-9 (20 max: Galaxy, Intrepid)
  • Laboratories
    • Stellar Cartography (Galaxy)
    • Planetary science (5 max: Galaxy, Intrepid)
      • Basic or advanced level
    • Exobiology (3 max: Galaxy, Intrepid)
      • Maximum containment field rating 5mC
    • Cybernetics (2 max: Galaxy, Intrepid)
      • Basic or experimental level
    • Cultural anthropology (2 max: Galaxy)
      • Basic or advanced level

Command and Control

  • Computer core
    • Mark 1 (3 max: Constitution, Miranda, Oberth)
    • Mark 10 (3 max: Galaxy, Intrepid)
    • Mark 70 (3 max: Intrepid)
    • Mark XX (3 max: Galaxy, Intrepid)
  • Data network
    • ODN Version 17Q (Galaxy)
    • Bioneural net type 1 (Intrepid)
    • Bioneural net type 2 (Intrepid)
  • Communications
    • RF transceivers (Galaxy, Intrepid)
      • 5 AU, max range
    • Internal comm system (Galaxy, Intrepid)
      • 5,000 kquad/sec max speed
    • Universal translator (Galaxy, Intrepid)
      • Level 5, max sophistication
    • Subspace radio (Galaxy, Intrepid)
      • 20 LY, max range

Transport and Cargo

  • Shuttlebays
    • Primary (Galaxy, Intrepid)
    • Secondary (2 max, Galaxy)
  • Shuttlecraft
  • Transporters
    • Primary personnel transporter (1 max: Galaxy, Intrepid)
      • 6 pads, max
    • Secondary personnel transporter (5 max, Galaxy; 1 max: Intrepid)
      • 4 pads, max
    • Cargo transporter (2 max: Galaxy; 1 max: Intrepid)
    • Targeting scanners (10 max: Galaxy, Intrepid)
      • Sensitivity 10, max
    • Emitters (10 max: Galaxy, Intrepid)
  • Cargo bays
    • Primary (1 max: Galaxy, Intrepid)
    • Auxiliary (10 max: Galaxy; 1 max: Intrepid)
  • Tractor beams
    • Main emitter (Galaxy, Intrepid)
    • Auxiliary emitter (5 max: Galaxy, Intrepid)

Support

  • Environment
    • Class M
      • Redundancy 5, max (Intrepid)
      • Redundancy 10, max (Galaxy)
    • Alien supplemental (Galaxy)
  • Living quarters
    • Spartan (1000 crew max: Galaxy; 800 crew max: Intrepid)
    • Modest (800 crew max: Galaxy; 600 crew max: Intrepid)
    • Comfortable (600 crew max: Galaxy; 400 crew max: Intrepid)
    • Luxurious (400 crew max: Galaxy)
  • Medical systems
    • Basic (Galaxy)
    • Advanced (Galaxy, Intrepid)
    • Advanced + Alien (Galaxy)
  • Facilities
    • Holodecks (10 max: Galaxy; 2 max: Intrepid)
    • Crew Lounge (5 max: Galaxy, Intrepid)
    • Arboretum (Galaxy)
    • Salon (Galaxy)
  • Utilities
    • Package A (Galaxy, Intrepid)
    • Package B (Galaxy, Intrepid)
    • Package C (Galaxy, Intrepid)
  • Turbolift system
    • Simple (Galaxy, Intrepid)
    • Complex (Galaxy, Intrepid)

Structure

Personnel references

TOS-era

TNG-era

Reginald Barclay Starship Creator personnel file

Personnel file for Reginald Barclay

Melora Pazlar Starship Creator personnel file

Personnel file for Melora Pazlar

Simon Tarses Starship Creator computer file

Personnel file for Simon Tarses

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