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Research & Development

Bugs, bugs, bugs. Most of our efforts lately have been in bug fixing. We have a great quality assurance team, and they have been a valuable tool in helping us track down bugs. Some examples of daily bugs that we might encounter are: Minor code errors, minor logic errors or design flaws that come up from game testing, minor additions we feel need to be added to the game, etc. Its amazing how many little things come up during playtesting.

Aside from bug fixing, we have also been working a lot with the scriptors lately. We have been working together to get all of the mission details into the game and working. Also, we have started working on a lot of game optimizing. Sections of the 3D engine, 2D overlays, AI, and sound engine, have been much improved, and we plan to continuing to optimize the game even more. Music has been another recent addition. We have a great system that allows the scriptors to change music themes seamlessly during a mission.

Well enough talk, back to fixing bugs.

Mark Murakami
Programmer - Klingon Academy


2D Art Department

This week saw the implementation of the different HUD's (Romulan, Federation, etc.). After much work over the course of the project, we now have most of the HUD running in a semi-translucent, full color state. What we've tried to do with the look of the different HUD's is a) match them in style to the ships they appear on, b) match them in style that is consistent with the "feel" of the Star Trek universe, and c) have them maintain a style that is current and in line with trends in today's graphic design movements. I know a lot has been made of the fact that SFA didn't have different art for the different ships, so I hope that this work will please our audience. Of course, I'm concerned that people might find the designs too different from what they might expect. I know some of the ship designs have thrown people off, but as with the HUD, we're trying to update and expand upon what little information is available about different races from the Star Trek universe.

For the rest of the week we'll be working on finalizing the black hole, user interface screens (the helm screen, engineering screen, etc.), and the celestial spheres (the star field in the background).

-manuel salazar


Today I'll be working with Brent (lead designer) on system continuity and mission flow for the final 3 missions and also with Rene (line producer) on polishing the some of the early missions.

If time permits I'll also be working with Erik (senior tester) on finalizing the music for an assault on a Fed convoy and several other missions.

Steve McLafferty


Greetings and Felicitations...

This communiqué is the first update from the Klingon Academy development team. We thought you might enjoy an insight into the development process and the people behind the interactive terrain, ginsuing and all the other cool effects in Klingon Academy.

I would like to use this first update to let you know the impact your design suggestions have had on the development of Klingon Academy. At the very beginning of the project Ron and I carefully pored over the comments that gamers like yourselves were making about Starfleet Academy. We distilled these comments along with those made by magazine editors into a list of requirements for the design of Klingon Academy.

This list of gamer requirements was a major contributor to the capital ship vision for Klingon Academy. For example, when initially designing the interfaces the words of one gamer jumped into my mind describing how he dreamed of sitting in the captain's chair barking out orders to his crew. While his dream probably won't be fulfilled until virtual reality becomes more accessible, it was while I was pondering his dream that the concept for the verbal order system was born.

Believe it or not, Ron and I consider every design suggestion that gets made on the board, though only a few make it past the technical and game play hurtles to actually make it into the game. For example, when the suggestion was made that photon torpedoes be given a slight tracking ability, Ron and I thought it would be a cool effect and we asked the programmers to put it in. Only later did we discover that making torpedoes track caused them to be incredibly inaccurate - so we had to remove it.

Another suggestion that Ron and I actually disliked did made it into the game. It was suggested on the board that we include numerical strength indicators on the HUD for shields. Ron and I were initially opposed to this idea since we felt ramping the shield colors when damaged would be sufficient and we were concerned that six sets of numbers would clutter the HUD. After discussing it, one of our programmers agreed to implement the idea as a test, and the indicators proved so incredibly useful that we've never looked back.

I realize that some of you thought it odd that we brought up ship maneuverability during our chat the other night, but this is just another demonstration of the value we place on your input. Based on feedback received on Starfleet Academy, we had initially set our maneuverability 50% below that of Starfleet. As development proceeded we reduced it further on two separate occasions. Currently, ships maneuver three times slower than Starfleet, which corresponds to Starfleet's turn rates with the speed slider turned all the way down. The team has been considered setting the default speed setting even lower, so we brought it up at the chat hoping to discuss it with the whole community. The feedback we received on the board since then, as well the new survey Tim posted on his site give you the gamer an incredible opportunity to influence the development of a major software game title.

Thank you for your excitement in Klingon Academy.

Brent Kollmansberger
Designer - Klingon Academy

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