Transcript for Salami Inferno – Episode 88
A – Adrianne E- Elijah S- Salami Inferno
Interview begins at 19:00
A: We’d like to give a warm welcome to STO producer Steve Ricossa aka “Salami Inferno”, welcome Sir
S: Hey! Hows it going? great to be on again
E:Welcome back its been quite some time
S:Yeah it has been, since season 4!
E:Ooh it has, wow he even remembers, awesome! I’m glad to hear that.So its been awhile since you’ve been on the show, why don’t you tell our new listeners and remind our faithful ones what it is you do with Star Trek Online and at Cryptic
S: So I’m a producer for Star Trek Online, and I’ve been on Star Trek the entire time I’ve been at Cryptic, Until Zero got moved over to help me out I was in charge of the builds but I am currently in charge of the content team, the systems team, the character team, the environment team. I’m in charge of a lot of the micro-transactions, you know Boooo!, and a lot of working with the releases. But its mostly a lot of team management and decision making
E:How high are the stacks of papers on your desk?
S: If I could turn my emails into papers it would be FAR too high, thousands of pages high
E: Well we got alotta questions from the community, unfortunately this is sort of a last minute thing, our own executive producers had trouble on the forums, so we got alotta these coming in from Facebook and Twitter, so why don’t we go ahead and jump right on in
S: Sounds good
20:40: Facebook User Submitted Questions Begin
E: Our First question is from Charles H: “Will the games Story timeline be updated?”
S: It Comes up pretty regularly, every time we make a featured series, every time we make an episode and you’re all “Whens this take place?”, Cause you know Kestrel has to update the text, is it still 2409? yeah I guess its still 2409, we go back and forth, but for now we’re going to keep it at 2409, but I’m sure at some point in the future we’ll increment the time and perhaps keep it current with our current time rate but its still way far in the future
E: Now do you guys have to, if you don’t mind a follow up, how often do you have to touch base with CBS with any storyline that you write?
S: We meet up with them fairly regularly especially if we’re going to do something that may consider to be touching soft cannon or anything that might be kinda weird with our storys you know “Oh the Jem’hadar are going to take over Deep space 9 again is that cool?” and then if we’re gonna make a ship or anything we feel is particularly er … like for example the Borg boss at the end of the Red Alerts, that was something like “Well thats brand new we should probably run that past them”. So for the most part they mostly give us freedom but we do have to check in fairly regularly and we definitely have to get things approved that might be considered going a little close to off cannon
E: Now I just actually recently, just today I read an article on Airlock Alpha about the difference between Paramount and CBS, so Paramount has the Film and CBS has the television, Just to clear it for everybody, you guys talk with CBS right? not paramount or is it paramount?
S: We talk with CBS about everything that they’re doing, we have the rights to the movies and the shows except for the Animated Series, just like you see in the, i believe its in the foundry, the foundry requirements of what kinda topics are allowed to go over
E: Ok Great
A: This one comes from MidnightShadow7 who asks: “In previous interviews with STO staff its been mentioned about Cryptic trying to find a way to test things, like ships without being bombarded with people complaining that things aren’t to their own liking, has their been any progress on this?”
S: We’ve been talking a lot about this internally the best way to get ships out there and get them tested in a clear manner that kinda cuts the signal to noise ratio, we’re still working on fine tuning what we’re planning but we are definitely thinking about finding a way to get ships into test for players sooner if at all, so that way they can kind of find some of those bugs that our QA may not find or we may not even think of
E: Wonderful, Our next question from Joey B “Will there be any testing rewards for those who are testing Season 6 on Tribble”, Now I know that Brandon just announced something, do you think you could go over that a bit?
S: Absolutely, So yeah I guess its just announced, I think I can talk about it, we’re going to be, theres going to be two rewards, if you test this coming weekend, this saturday, sunday or early monday, you can earn a Fleet Tribble (is what we’re calling it) if you pet this tribble every hour you get one fleet mark it also gives some sort of buff, I guess it was confusion, So if you play test for 1 hour thats what you get. and then we have a brand new piece of content coming to tribble this weekend called the “Tholian Invasion”, its similar to the Borg invasion except it available all the time and if you go on the Tholian invasion map and complete any mission there you will get a breen duty officer “Vahn the Terrible” I believe his name is and because Breen are very cold and Tholians are very hot he gives you a damage boost against all Tholians
E: “Aang the Vicious”
S: “Aang the Vicious!” there it is! we went through a bunch of names I wasn’t sure which one we landed on
A: Very cool
S: So yeah those are both pretty fun and you should want to play more then one mission in the Tholian Invasion because its an awesome map and you get to see the new Tholian grappers
A: Yes, Wicked wicked beasts, love em
E: I have to say the concept art for the tholians that you guys posted on the recent dev blog is fantastic
S: Yeah they look awesome, I dunno was it concept art or was it actual in game art?
E: It looked concept to me, it didn’t look ingame yet
S: Ok, well we have em in game their very cool and they’re unlike any critter we’ve done, partially transparent and its very cool
E: Can you talk to us a little about that design? how difficult was it to create a six legged creature in game or does cryptic have so much experience with creatures that it was ok?
S: It was actually very difficult, you may have seen a while ago we had STOked come though here, sorry about talking about a competitor, and they had some videos of us working on things, they went by everyone’s desks, Steve Stacy our animator he showed them some stuff and they were like “oh look a this little crazy guy on a six legged rig” that was some of our first steps of making the tholians work and that was some time ago, that was six to eight months ago , it took about three or four solid solid months of animation work and character work to get those working, to figure out how their gate would be and how to make them attack, what kind of attacks they would have
A: Thats incredible, figuring out the math for tholian webs, how these creatures were going to go
S: Yeah I mean you guys have been playing with the space critters now if you happen to get lucky and come across in any of the Tribble test maps, but yeah the amount of work that Jeremy Randal had to do to make the tholian space and ground critter group was just staggering especially with all the specific powers that they had on top of all the groundwork we had to do to make them walk around, fight and move and get that looking right, making that crystal body that crystal carapace kind of see through and really look how it did on Enterprise instead of just be flat crystal that you can’t really see through
A; Yeah, yeah thats soo cool!
S: We’re really excited for you guys to check it out cause they do a lot of weird creepy things, they just every time we see them do something new it looks weird and alien, probably the most alien group we’ve made because they’re shooting webs and pulling you towards them and stomping on you and doing all this weird stuff, they’re a really cool critter group
A: Well lets hit up our next one from Robert W who wants to know a couple things: “Are we going to seen any new ships added to the borg, like the borg diamond?”
S: Well we DO have a borg diamond, you guys just haven’t seen it yet, but you can know its in the works and hopefully we can get it to you “soon” (in qoute-y fingers)
A: Awesome, then he’s also like to know: “Are the xindi and are the 6 race ever going to be playble?”
S: We always look at adding more playable character races, it just depends if we get to the point where we want to have a Xindi storyline, like “You know what would be really awesome for players to play as a Xindi” then yeah thats something we can do, its definitely not written out saying no to Xindi
A: Very Cool, Very cool
E: We’ve got Paul D asking: “Will things such as EDC/Salvage/Lobi Crystals become account bound with Season 6 or are these still in the maybe pile?”
S: We had a lot of meetings where we went over different things we could put that would be account shared and we found too many exploits with all three of those, because we’re Free To Play now you can make unlimited characters and take advantage of promotions and different kinds of sharings in ways that may have been far too exploitable, so I think those are in the “no” pile right now unfortunately
A: Ooh, I see, I see ok, That makes sense you know at least for now as things are I can see that
S: yeah we could definitely re-evaluate later but for now we’ve found off the top of our heads too many exploits and you players are far too creative for us to let that stuff go
E: can I follow that with a quick account question?
E: Speaking of accounts and recently with the perk for lifetime of terms of the feedback recieved for that lifetimer perk in neverwinter?, so if you’re a lifetime subscriber you have access to the closed beta, I believe, of neverwinter, based on the feedback and this is only for lifetime members has there been any further discussion on what to add to lifetime perks or what to take away or modify?
S: We have planned out what we’ve got coming out for the Thousand you guys are aware of that through the thousands we don’t have any modifications to it very much, we have some promotional ideas but for now no extra items or additional incentives
E: Cool, Thank you
A: Our next one is from Del C he wants to know: “How about an off duty uniform slot for our Boffs?”
S: Yeah we could potentially do that, its something that our software programmer tends to cry about because there is that much more costume data to store on a player, so if you have twenty extra bridge officers that all have an extra costume slot thats a lot more data on your characters and as it stands right now Star Trek Characters are usually three to four times larger than most characters, like database storage wise, most characters you’d find on any other cryptic game and possibly any other MMO
A: its a nice idea though, if thats manageable at some point that would be great
S: Yeah so its definitely something that character team is begging for cause they spend a lot of time creating these really cool costumes for you guys and they really want to see them everywhere
A: “Do you know what season 8 will be about? Hint exploration revamp? Hint”
S: I know exactly what season 8 will be about and season 7! and I will not tell you any hints!
S: Sorry, *laughs* are you kidding me right now? *laughs*
A: We know things can change and all that
S: Things can change, oh my goodness
E: Well I got this one so how much of season six is pretty much wrapped up can you hint at us a date? maybe something close?
S: Yeah, very soon, I would go as far as to say the month of July
E: Alright ok
S: But I won’t give any more details other then that Very soon!
E: Ok we got Jay R asking “Captain Gecko stated last week that there was a newer version of the fleet base system that is still in house any idea when we might see the newer version come to tribble so we can test it out and help you all work out the bugs?”
S: So a lot of the new-ness we have, Newer UI, some of it reached tribble with the push we made yesterday [Wed 4th July] it just cleared up what guild leaders see, the projects were kind of cluttered and hard to separate and the projects themselves were hard to read so we cleaned those up we’ve also done some economy adjustments based on how incredibly dedicated our players are and how they’re kind of running through the system, so we’ve made some economy updates some of those went live yesterday [Wed 4th July] and we’ll have more going live in the next tribble push but when you come on for the test weekend aside from any bugs it’ll be pretty close to what will be going live, so you guys can keep testing it then you’ll see it pretty much in that finished state with all the updated we plan on making
32:15 Twitter User Submitted questions begin
A: So here some we got from twitter, Captain Revo asks “Are there any veteran rewards planned past 1000 days or could there be a new scheme for long term vets?”
S: Well Captain Revo is one of my favorite foundry authors so I’ll be HAPPY to answer his question, unfortunately there are currently no plans past the thousand day we may start a new incentive program where we decide to extend it, as it stands right now the 1000 day will conclude the veteran program for STO
E: Awww, Can you talk to us a little about that, why the decision to end it at 1000?
S: Its a nice round number, and its just a long period of time, we’re not sure how much it incentivizes players to pick up lifetime and 1000 days is so far away from now, even though its so close to those who came in at launch
A: Maybe thats something they can discuss on the forums and everybody can share their thoughts on it, see what they would like and what they wouldn’t like
S: Yeah we currently have a little plan that we’re thinking about doing that might incentivise it but keeping that under wraps for now
E: @ClarkApps asks “I’d like to ask whether we’re going to see the STF borg arc tied up with Gozer leaving, IE Into the hive?”
S: We definitely want to get into the Hive out to players, its something we have Gozer writing us some notes about, something that we are hoping to get to in the near term future not TOO terribly far out but definitely not Season 6 close, but its something we definitely want to get out to the players cause the plans for it are very cool and we want the players to experience it
A: Cool yeah I know everyone asking about the Hive, Cool
A: So @TheSeaCat want to know if there “Any plans to drop the KDF missions down a few levels soon, I’m level 38 and haven’t completed the Fekiri missions yet”
S: The Fekiri missions are still there and their very cool so we put them a little higher up, the goal is to hopefully eventually make some content that fills in the lower levels and then we can talk about moving stuff around. In their current iteration I think they are going to stay where they’re at unless we find a problem with them
A: Now I know some people are confused because they see that you don’t really start your KDF until like level 21 and there’s some confusion as to what type of development are they even talking about, its just some banter going back and forth on the forums that maybe you could clarify and if I remember right Dan Stahl had said that you were going to be concentrating more on, when it comes to content anyways, the higher level, a lot of the KDF players are higher level and then theres bugs and little fixes that could go into the lower level missions, but maybe there is some clarity you can give on, since characters start kinda high anyway what’s there really to be done?
S: Yeah, I mean again if we do featured series again and more episodes that can always get shuffled into the order, its true we are focusing on higher level content because we noticed that there are so many players up there, you know we want to get Endgame in there for them and this fleet starbase system is a first stab at that on focusing on the higher end player so we’re going to continue to do that if we have an opportunity to make missions lower level or mission that can slide in any where we’ll definitely try do that
E: We have Alex Calderwood who would like to ask you a personal question, related to STO of course “If you could have anyone one from Star Trek come in for a Voice Over session who would it be?”
S: Oh thats an easy question, that would be Patrick Stewart, too iconic, he’s great in american dad, he’s in a lot of commercials, he’s making the rounds, we gotta get him in here so he can make an answering machine message for my phone, he seems great, really cool, I’d love to meet him and he’s got a very iconic voice on top of his great performance in Star Trek so that would be great
A:Totally yeah, You know Alex he’s a big fan of Kate Mulgrew, so he’s wondering if thats someone you could get? Kate Mulgrew
S: Maybe, I don’t know if she has any major stipulations, but if we can get in contact with CBS or with her agents, I don’t think its out of the realm of possibilities that we could get anybody but yeah its not always easy
A: Sure sure, Well very cool, thank you
E: So there’s be discussions on the forums that these interiors of these Fleet Starbases are looking kind of bland, is there any update on it?
S: Yeah so we have a goal to have featured unlocks, notice that special section that has extensive projects that don’t really have huge payouts it allows people in fleets to get fleet credits if you have larger fleets, what we’re gonna do is we’re going to have different parts of that starbase be unlockable through the projects system. just like any other project you can go through you make donations and once you finish the donations you unlock things like a fancy bar or in the Klingon starbase more stuff for the hunting lodge, pics of the hunting lodge were released a few weeks ago by Brandon but if you got to the hunting lodge now on the klingon starbase theres nothing there so we’re going to be releasing those though the Projects System and the fleet can run the project and they complete it on time then they can get the the different objects to fill out their starbase interior
E: Have there been any other features that players are necessarily aware of yet that you want them to be? or you haven’t heard buzz about that you wish there was buzz about?
S: Well all the content everyone is checking out that was our big thing was making sure all thats pretty fun and we’re getting a lot of good feedback on that, we’re getting a lot of feedback on the boards from the fleet system there are some concerns about the economy itself, there were some software bugs that were causing twenty times the amount of fleet credits granted and people were worried they had so much fleet credit and nothing to spend it on, its bugged so they have too much so the economy will be more in balance if you start a new fleet in the next patch or it goes to holodek, we’ve definitely addressed those issues
E: You mentioned earlier that you noticed people were kind of flying though the fleet progression, can you comment a little about that? like what was going on and what you guys did to remedy it?
S: Oh I don’t think they’re flying through but it seemed like the values may have been a little too low for fleets of even moderate sizes, single players were filling them up too quickly, so we increased the cost to an amount that we felt was fair but wasn’t too painful but was fair enough that allowed more players a chance to contribute to each projects lower tiers
E: I want to ask a quick question about DOffs, when the DOff system was first introduced everyone was crying for some kind of an app that allowed you to check in on your doffs or do some missions, is that still on the table, what’s the status of it?
S: That is definitely on the table and we’re doing a little legwork right now on some lighter systems that don’t involve the DOff system but thats definitely something thats on the horizon, I wouldn’t say terribly soon but we are actively working towards it at Cryptic to get web and mobile integration into our games
E: Which team is working on that if you don’t mind my asking?
S: We have a core team that’s working on that, we have a UI team member that’s helping make the UI on star trek but other then that setting it up is off team, so you’re not losing Star Trek Online programmer resources to make this mobile app, we have an internal team that’s dedicated to that at Cryptic Studios
E: But they are doing it for all the projects that are on at cryptic right now?
S: Star Trek First
E: Oh Wow, Nice!, that’s good to hear, fantastic
E: Well we’ll leave it open to you, is there anything you’d like to share with the audience? any special messages that you’d like to leave the community with?
S: Well I’ve really excited for season 6, we’ve been working on this for a long long time, I remember when Free To Play launched and it wasn’t that exciting as we were raring to go to season 6. So a lot of work and a lot of effort went into putting this fleet system together and making all this content, We’ve done more play test then we can count on all that stuff and the Tholian Invasion, that map took a long time, critter group took a long time, theres a lot coming to fruition here for season 6 , seems a lot of people are liking it but I look forward to people coming into playing it and give us their feedback and hoping that they’ll really enjoy it when it goes live sometime this month
A: This question is just a quicky and it comes from Dang, one of the players who was talking to our executive producer about the fighter count for carriers and was wondering if you knew anything about that?
S: As in increasing or reducing the fighter count?
A: I’m guessing so
S: Currently we’re going to keep it the same, we feel like we already reduced it before because it was too spammy, used to be able to have 18 fighters out at once but we reduced the amount of fighters but increased their potency so that way people weren’t nerved, it was just the numbers of fighters out there, we had recently added on tribble if anyone noticed the UI the little reticles that are on fighters and mines are off by default, you can turn them back on but it increases performance and reduces the spam, alotta people in PvP would drop a bunch of mines and carrier pets and it would be tough if you were a clicker or even a tabber to target the proper target, that’s the biggest change we’ve made to carrier pets recently
A: Cool, well thank you
S: No problem
E: I think that about wraps it up, anything else you’d like to leave us with?
S: No, I think I’ve said everything I could say, thanks for the interview it was good, it was a pretty fun time
E: Good, thank you so much for stopping by, we really need to have you on more often that’s for sure
S: Yeah that would be great!
E: We’ll talk more season 7 and season 8 as they come along
E: Again thank you so much for stopping by and we hope to talk to you again
S: Great, actually I have one last question
E: Oh? Go ahead
S: This is something I asked someone else, its a big debate here on the STO team, which do you two prefer? the gooey center of a brownie, if you made a pan of brownies, or the crispy outer edge of the brownie?
E: Ooooh, You know what, I like corners because you get both!
A: Ooh no I like a combination! like the inner of the brownie where you get the crispy top and the smooth center and especially when its really warm, I mean I’ll eat the outside like Elijah said I’ll eat that, that’s cool too because brownies are awesome but I gotta say its a combination! its like when someone asks me if you like Kirk or Picard and I’m like “Nooo Its a combination!”
S: Adrianne is the closest the answer is the gooey middle! other people disagree but because I’m the only one here its the correct answer
E: Well played, now I know what to send you guys, I know what to bring when I go visit out there, which will totally be soon
E: Thank you so much for stopping by
S: No problem, No problem, thanks for having me
E: Take Care
Interview Ends 44:00
Elio is a Northern New Jersey Cuban-American and graduate of Kean University, having earned his Bachelor of Arts in Theatre Performance in 2011. He has performed in internationally renowned performance halls such as Avery Fisher Hall with the New York Philharmonic, as a member of the Westminster Symphonic Choir, and in Beijing, China as a representative for Kean University. Since 2012, he has had the wonderful opportunity to Executive Produce Priority One – the premiere Star Trek Online podcast. Whether recruiting, managing the global team of talented volunteers, arranging interviews with special guests, editing, web-development, finding sponsors, managing crowd funding, or writing content for the podcast, Elio has a hand in it all. A long-time Trekkie, Elio has been watching the series since he was a child and sneaking in late night, back-to-back, episodes of TNG reruns. He finally embraced the Trekdom in college and spent many hours catching up on the entire multiverse…. instead of studying.
Elijah July 8, 2012
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