Greetings to all… I’m G. B. Jackson, aka Captain Quirk. This is my introductory posting to Starbase UGC. It is my intention to be among UGC authors who intend to tell stories that are worthy of the name Star Trek. As such, I have some thoughts as to what STO’s UGC should be… At least in terms of how I will approach my storytelling process.
You might be asking yourself, “Who does this guy think he is to think he can judge what is or is not ‘worthy of the name Star Trek?'” It’s a fair question. I have, like many of us, grown up with Star Trek, having watched every single episode of every series, and every movie to bear the name. And while each incarnation of Gene Roddenberry’s creation has touched us all in different ways with different personal meanings, there lies at the heart of all things Trek certain undeniable tangible defining principles that solidify them as unquestionable parts of a whole. One in particular is the exploration of the human condition. Whether its exploring strange new worlds on a Starship, or defending a strategic sector on a space station, we are shown an ensemble of characters from a wide variety of species, races and creeds united under one goal. So whether it’s TOS, TNG, DS9, VOY or ENT we’re watching, principles like this are at the core. So I believe that any of us, knowing what Star Trek is about, are qualified to judge whether any unofficial endeavor to write stories that would carry the name are worthy of it.
So it is not an exersise in elitism, but rather an application of common sense.
Now clearly, the tools Cryptic will put in the hands of the community for the development of UGC content will lend themselves to the creation of as much nonsense missions as it will to the creation of missions that can be deemed to be worthy of the name Star Trek. This is not a treatise on the condemnation of the former or the exaultation of the latter. It is a declaration of my intent as one who would seek to achieve the latter. Therefore, when I speak of what I think that UGC should be, I am speaking of how I intend to approach it.
In search of a theme…
What lies at the heart of every good Star Trek TV Series episode is the story of each character, and how their threads intertwine throughout the course of the show from start to finish. Unfortunately, at this time, STO does not really give us the means of treating our supporting characters, the Bridge Officers, meaning or purpose beyond the scope of MMO pets. My Vulcan Science Officer who has been with my main character has never been any more or less than what someone else’s first BO. The closest I can get to setting him up as my First Officer is intentionally keeping the rest of my BOs one rank degree behind him. So how will I be able to explore meaningful character backgrounds in my UGC scenarios?
The approach I am planning to take is to write my UGC scenarios so that the player is assigned to joint efforts with another ship and crew. It will be the crew of the other ship which I will bring to life by giving them backgrounds and personalities that make them feel “real”. Each episode will bring the player opportunities to interact with this crew on their ship, to go on away missions within them. And to pilot his/her ship along side this other crew’s ship.
Because this ship and her crew will be entirely my own creation, and the fate of its crew in my hands, I will do things according to how I feel the story I am trying to tell requires. Some of these characters will come and go. Some will leave. Some will die. I will never let on what will happen. Except to say, humanity will happen. And the players will be in the middle of it…
Rather than go on with a long, drawn-out post, I’d like you to comment on this approach I plan to take. If you’ve got ideas as to what might be done, I’m interested. If you’ve got questions, I’ll answer.
This will be my personal approach to UGC storytelling. I think that STO’s UGC should be about telling a story of humanity in the Star Trek universe. And my scenarios will do exactly that. It is my hope that many aspiring UGC authors will tell stories worthy of Star Trek, and the more creative they can be in the delivery, the better I feel those stories will be. So I am not trying to say that everyone should adopt my approach. I’m saying that they should adopt an approach and try to stick with it for consistency.
Thank you all for reading. I look forward to discussing this.
-G. B. Jackson