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Last time we met to talk controls, we detailed our space combat control layout and how we iterated to bring that system to a controller. However, Star Trek Online features both space and ground combat throughout all of our episodic flow. After we had our space controls well in hand, we had to tackle our ground control layout and make sure it played just as well as our space layout.
Early in the development process, the ground control scheme came along quickly. We wanted the control scheme to feel accessible and familiar, so anyone that has played a third-person action game would feel immediately comfortable. We started by making shooter mode the standard, so all combat will involve a reticle on the screen for selecting targets.
The face buttons will control weapon swap, melee, interact, and kit powers, with captain powers on the left bumper. Both kit and captain powers will operate just like bridge officer powers in space, with a single selectable power set to fire whenever you want, a radial menu to choose between your remaining powers, and auto-activate for abilities that support it. This layout makes it easy to immediately pick up and play ground combat.
Next up, the right trigger will fire the primary fire mode of your weapon while the right bumper will fire your secondary fire mode. In order to facilitate targeting, pulling the left trigger will put you into a target lock mode. You will always face the target and circle them as you move in this mode. This is effectively the Aim Mode we see in the PC version, so you will get the same Aim bonuses as well as the slow movement and animation you see there. By releasing the left trigger, you’ll re-enter free shooter mode, and can move or select targets freely.
Other tactical movements are also available. Double flicking the left stick will make you roll, clicking the left stick will put you into Sprint mode, and clicking the right stick will make you crouch.
Bridge Officer commands are currently limited, and are being iterated on. You won’t be able to give orders to individual Bridge Officers, but you can give the team limited commands using the D-Pad. As in space, you can access all menus from the Start/Options button.
Finally, we did a tuning pass on all ground weapons in the game. For instance, we sped up their responsiveness, so weapons feel much better. We also updated all melee weapons to no longer require a target. Like Palm Strike and Rifle Butt, all melee attack will just swing and hit whatever is directly in front of them. This change came with an improvement to the targeting zone for these type of attacks. Overall, these changes are subtle, but contribute to an overall more responsive feel to ground combat. Note - these changes to ground weapons will be headed to the PC version soon as well!
We are very excited to have you get your hands on the new Star Trek Online ground combat controls. As with the space controls, some specifics may be refined and adjusted between this blog posting and our release this fall. We hope you are as excited as we are to play Star Trek Online in a whole new way!
Stephen Ricossa Jr
Star Trek Online