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Old April 26 2014, 10:23 PM   #1
Enterprise1701
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Would you want the STO Iconian look in the novelverse? - SPOILERS

For anyone who hasn't played, watched, or else otherwise heard about the recent Star Trek Online feature episode "Surface Tension", it concludes with the official debut of a living Iconian, as can be seen in this screen capture.

http://hydra-media.cursecdn.com/sto....conianFEST.png

Obviously the Iconians in STO are completely different from the Iconians in Gateways, but would you want the novelverse Iconians to look like this?
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Old April 26 2014, 10:41 PM   #2
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Re: Would you want the STO Iconian look in the novelverse? - SPOILERS

It's like a cross between a Tzenkethi and both the Protheans and the salarians from Mass Effect.
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Old April 27 2014, 04:17 AM   #3
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Re: Would you want the STO Iconian look in the novelverse? - SPOILERS

If we hadn't seen the Iconians at the end of Gateways I'd say sure, but we did and I don't really don't see any need to retcon them just because of STO. At this point STO and the novelverse are so different I don't really any reason to allow something in one to change something in the other.
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Old April 27 2014, 08:22 AM   #4
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Re: Would you want the STO Iconian look in the novelverse? - SPOILERS

They look way to generic 'videogamealien' to me. Nothing really special.
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Old April 27 2014, 10:41 AM   #5
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Re: Would you want the STO Iconian look in the novelverse? - SPOILERS

Mage wrote: View Post
They look way to generic 'videogamealien' to me. Nothing really special.
This. They're not particularly unique. Nor can I really picture a room full of them in that outpost from "Contagion"

I wonder if they could be reconciled with the degenerate humanoids from the novelverse by saying this is ancient Iconian battle armour and helmet?
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Old April 27 2014, 01:28 PM   #6
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Re: Would you want the STO Iconian look in the novelverse? - SPOILERS

It's an okay design for what it is (although is that meant to be a female with tiny strips of "armor" covering her breasts, one of the most ridiculous video-game tropes?). But I've always found it disappointing that even in the modern age of CGI, when designers are no longer limited to the human form by logistical or budgetary concerns, it is nonetheless still the norm to make most aliens humanoid. I'd like to see more artists take advantage of the freedom to create nonhumanoid aliens -- along the lines of novelverse species like Choblik, Irriol, Syrath, Alonis, etc. or TAS species like Nasat and Vendorians.

Then again, I suppose that Iconians would have to be more or less humanoid, since their buildings and equipment in "Contagion" and "To the Death" seemed to fid the humanoid body plan. So I guess it isn't as arbitrary in that case.

Could it be that video games are limited to humanoid forms because they're superimposing these "alien" skins on the same movement sequences they use for human characters? In which case they kind of would be under the same sort of limitations as a TV show putting alien makeup on actors.
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Old April 27 2014, 01:46 PM   #7
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Re: Would you want the STO Iconian look in the novelverse? - SPOILERS

Christopher wrote: View Post
...is that meant to be a female with tiny strips of "armor" covering her breasts?
Good question. I assumed it was a female, since as you say it seems to have breasts, but I suppose we'd need to see more of them before it becomes clear.
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Old April 27 2014, 01:53 PM   #8
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Re: Would you want the STO Iconian look in the novelverse? - SPOILERS

Christopher wrote: View Post
Could it be that video games are limited to humanoid forms because they're superimposing these "alien" skins on the same movement sequences they use for human characters? In which case they kind of would be under the same sort of limitations as a TV show putting alien makeup on actors.
I do know that in the Mass Effect multiplayer, the only species from that universe unavailable to play as are the elcor and the hanar, the two least-humanoid races; presumably because all the species are using the same base model.
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Old April 27 2014, 09:46 PM   #9
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Re: Would you want the STO Iconian look in the novelverse? - SPOILERS

Christopher wrote: View Post
It's an okay design for what it is (although is that meant to be a female with tiny strips of "armor" covering her breasts, one of the most ridiculous video-game tropes?). But I've always found it disappointing that even in the modern age of CGI, when designers are no longer limited to the human form by logistical or budgetary concerns, it is nonetheless still the norm to make most aliens humanoid. I'd like to see more artists take advantage of the freedom to create nonhumanoid aliens -- along the lines of novelverse species like Choblik, Irriol, Syrath, Alonis, etc. or TAS species like Nasat and Vendorians.

Then again, I suppose that Iconians would have to be more or less humanoid, since their buildings and equipment in "Contagion" and "To the Death" seemed to fid the humanoid body plan. So I guess it isn't as arbitrary in that case.

Could it be that video games are limited to humanoid forms because they're superimposing these "alien" skins on the same movement sequences they use for human characters? In which case they kind of would be under the same sort of limitations as a TV show putting alien makeup on actors.
In the designers' defense, at least it looks like Iconians have 6 eyes and not just 2.
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Old April 27 2014, 11:33 PM   #10
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Re: Would you want the STO Iconian look in the novelverse? - SPOILERS

Christopher wrote: View Post

Could it be that video games are limited to humanoid forms because they're superimposing these "alien" skins on the same movement sequences they use for human characters? In which case they kind of would be under the same sort of limitations as a TV show putting alien makeup on actors.
Depends on how much development ressources are available at any given time. STO's Iconian seems to be a new skin on the standard humanoid "bones" (as it's usually called in 3d modelling).
However, STO also has canon Tholians, Species 8472 and dinosaurs (I am not kidding) who all have unique non-humanoid bones and animation sets.
So it's not like they couldn't do it.
I guess it's due to the canon Iconian equipment and structures suggesting a more humanoid appearance.

That being said, they could be energy beings who simply put on humanoid looking full body armor suits. There seems to be some kind of pulsating/flowing energy beneath the Iconian armor.

For reference, see the entire scene:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IlZzP61VDZY
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Old April 28 2014, 07:30 AM   #11
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Re: Would you want the STO Iconian look in the novelverse? - SPOILERS

Deranged Nasat wrote: View Post
Christopher wrote: View Post
Could it be that video games are limited to humanoid forms because they're superimposing these "alien" skins on the same movement sequences they use for human characters? In which case they kind of would be under the same sort of limitations as a TV show putting alien makeup on actors.
I do know that in the Mass Effect multiplayer, the only species from that universe unavailable to play as are the elcor and the hanar, the two least-humanoid races; presumably because all the species are using the same base model.
Yeah, I'd say it's probably something to that effect - I'm judging this on what little knowledge I have of video game design and development, but I would figure that if you want a character capable of movement in and out of combat, it's probably easier to have a baseline for each alien design (sticking to the standard 'humanoid' style) then to have to design a new one for each species tailored specifically for that one design. If unlimited time and resources were available, they could probably have a more 'alien' design to them, but then, that's true of a lot of things.
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Old April 28 2014, 01:51 PM   #12
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Re: Would you want the STO Iconian look in the novelverse? - SPOILERS

Okay, but -- if the universe allows for multiple different species to share a humanoid design, whether due to common ancestry or convergent evolution or whatever, doesn't it stand to reason that there might be other body plans shared by multiple species? For instance, in Trek Lit, Pahkwa-thanh and (cyborgized) Choblik have a body plan similar to that of a therapod dinosaur or a kangaroo -- a horizontal body with a cantilevering tail and a head on a long, raised neck. And Xindi Insectoids are built similarly to the antlike creature (a Kaferian?) seen on the Elysian Council in "The Time Trap."

So in a video-game universe, one could perhaps come up with four or five "core" body plans that technology-using sophonts would tend to converge around, and vary their "skins" and proportions to create dozens of distinct species.
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Old April 28 2014, 03:19 PM   #13
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Re: Would you want the STO Iconian look in the novelverse? - SPOILERS

I think any intelligent, technological advanced species needs free hands. So upright walk would be a requirement. And even if you give them 3-6 legs and 3-6 arms, they will still be just a variation of a humanoid shape.

What puzzles me to no end is the idea that aliens wear (almost) no clothes. Clothing is useful, it protects, it's not solely a social requirement. No matter how far we evolve, I can never see humans run around naked constantly.
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Old April 28 2014, 05:00 PM   #14
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Re: Would you want the STO Iconian look in the novelverse? - SPOILERS

Programming body plan diversity into the game is not easy indeed. All playable species are baseline humanoid to fit with all clothes, emotes and gear.

In-game, the Gorn are a slightly deviant species. They can use all gear except for a variety of clothes.

All the non-humanoid species, of which we have been seeing more since pets and wildlife diversified, are non-playable, e.g. Undine (Species 8472), Tholians, small and flying Fek'Ihri, snow- and gingerbreadmen.

For example, using an orphidian cane on Undine does not pull them off-ground struggling, it just incapacitates them.

Early in the game, in 2010/11, playable Horta were discussed and dismissed.

Btw, all species native to Dewa III (New Romulus) are six-eyed. Go figure.
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Old April 28 2014, 06:03 PM   #15
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Re: Would you want the STO Iconian look in the novelverse? - SPOILERS

Markonian wrote: View Post
Programming body plan diversity into the game is not easy indeed. All playable species are baseline humanoid to fit with all clothes, emotes and gear.
I'm not talking about adding a patch to a game that was already designed around humanoids. I'm talking about how a hypothetical game could be built around multiple body plans from the ground up, how its designers could balance creativity in alien design with the need for recurring "skeletons" and movement animations. After all, if a cowboy game can have animations for horses and buzzards, say, then it must be possible to program forms other than human bodies. So if the designers of a new SF game wanted to allow for multiple alien body types, having a few baseline types that were presumed to recur across multiple species might be a viable way to do it.

After all, as I said, why should the humanoid body plan be the only one that recurs on multiple worlds? If it repeats itself, it just makes sense that others would too.
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