Friday, 4 December 2015

LCARS 47 Version 6.5 - End of Year Update

Yes it's finally time to talk a bit more about LCARS 47 version 6.5. I know it's been a long wait but we hope you find it worth while.



We finally have a release date in mind, however based on past experience and other commitments, it is not final. And as an added challenge, we've included it in the above poster as our implementation of a stardate. Determining a stardate was no easy task, with varying ideas and approaches having already been taken by others. We figured we would come up with our implementation which is true to canon, but easy to use (at least, from a computing perspective). We've aptly dubbed our implementation "Roddenberry Time" (hopefully that'll be a clue to you maths geniuses).

Eleanor's Edit:

The Stardates are now a fixed, working date system. We have implemented a standard stardate system throughout LCARS 47 as we felt it necessary to have such a thing. They will be in-universe and you will be able to accurately calculate them. All dates inside LCARS 47 will use stardates.

You'll hear more about this in the near future.

Launch Center

The New Launch Center (temporary colour scheme)


Firstly, we'll start by looking at the new Launch Center. Above you'll see an early draft implementation of what we're looking at including at release. 

The above image hints at various features. Some of these are;
  • Customisable Ship Class. Allows you to select your ship's class.
  • Customisable Ship Name. Allows you to change the name of the ship.
  • Customisable Ship Registry. Allows you to change your ship's registry.
In the new version, you no longer need to use the Master Control Panel program to change your ship name and registry. Additionally, you no longer need to run a separate setup file to change the ship class. A lot of the features offered in the Master Control Panel are going to be redundant with the new release, so we will be retiring that application.

Below the ship registry option, you'll see a list of six displays. LCARS 47 Version 6.5 will support up to six (6) monitors. If (for example) you have more than one monitor, say, a 5:4 17" monitor and a 16:9 22" monitor, you'll be able to have both Prolixus and Vexillium loaded in fullscreen mode on their respective monitor, and they will both be interconnected. 

This means you can have a Master System Display loaded on one monitor, and a Warp Core Control module loaded on the other, and when you eject the warp core, you'll be able to see [s98g7d98g798fg7dg89df9g8] happen (yes, I intentionally obscured that last part - spoilers!). The possibilities for this feature is endless and we certainly aren't short on ideas when it comes to this.

On the right hand side you'll see an option to turn Voice Commands off or on. The new Voice Command application will still be included for Microsoft Windows and improved by a factor of 10. Expect better recognition results, improved functionality, and more voice commands. For Mac OS X, we're looking at options of either developing a native application like Voice Command, using the internal recognition system, or possibly using Google Speech Recognition. More R&D is needed on this front. 

Below that, you'll see an option called Developer Commentary. This is something our great leader is looking at doing in the future. For the time being, it's a pencilled in feature that when activated. will play audio commentary when certain actions are performed with LCARS 47. Other that providing useful insights into the development of LCARS 47, listening to all the commentary may or may not reward the user. More on this later.

Ambient sound is making a comeback. A much desired feature in previous versions, using this option will allow you have an ambience audio loop played based on the class of ship selected. I'm personally looking forward to being able to set the mood in my lab with this feature.

Theatrical mode. This is a simple feature for those that use LCARS 47 in a live, interactive setup. This will prevent users from being able to change any application settings and prevents closing while running (at least, without entering an override code). This feature was requested by the crew of the USS Tydirium, an Australian Star Trek fan club (located just across the ditch from myself). 

Finally, the last few options are network connectivity related. May or may not have anything to do with network support, the Expeditus applications (LCARS 47 for Android), or wireless lighting controllers.

Entertainment Modules

LCARS 47 Entertainment Suite (work in progress)


Next up we have a screenshot of a new module. Would like to play a friendly game of poker with your ship mates? Well look no further. We've been wanting to do something like this for a while (at least, on a personal level). Now the question is, how does it know who my ship mates are?

Communications System



Perhaps that useless and overly annoying Communications button does something now?

Centralis Instant Messaging Concept




We have something to show which some of you may have heard about. We call this particular module Centralis. Centralis is our online-features module which we plan on using to help connect Star Trek fans with one another. For those of you who manage a ship and a crew, you will hopefully find this module useful. The module above shows a possible user interface for a chat client. This will allow you to textually instant message one another via the LCARS 47 application. In the future, this could expand to real time video and audio calling.

Centralis Concept Frontend
In this next image, we have another possible view of the online-features module. We're hoping to have the ability to deliver news straight to your console via the internet among other much more awesome features still to be worked on. Now you'll be be able to read about the latest victories from your favourite Klingon houses, or perhaps even order that dress you saw advertised at Garak's.

This module will require additional resourcing and will be a big commitment by us. Once we have a working module completed and battle tested, we will present it to the community for discussion and feedback. This means, that for the online features module to go ahead, we may need to charge a membership fee (or implement another community based revenue generating model), which will go towards the ongoing development and support of the project. I will remind everyone that LCARS 47 will always be freeware, this has been a consistent policy right from the beginning. Only the online features will be applicable to a membership fee. Expect to hear more about this in the future as we have some exciting features we want to roll out but can't afford to deliver on our own. This will also mean an expansion to our team, so should it go ahead, expect to see some job postings.

New Modules

Up next, Astrometrics. We're now working on a new Astrometrics module where you can check out some stunning imagery of the universe outside those lonely quarters on deck 15. Be sure to check this section out when we release.



Drydock

And finally (because hasn't this post gone on long enough?), the first five (5) ships to be included at launch with an additional two following shortly after within the second month from release. These pretty little ships will be included with the launch version and will be selectable within the application.


And Finally...

A couple of other things to touch on before I conclude this post.

1. Mac OS X will be supported. The Voice Command feature may not however. More R&D is needed in this area.
2. Expeditus (TR-600 and PD-600). Yes Expeditus is still in development. The plan is to have this ready to launch with version 6.5. No, there are no alpha/beta tester vacancies (thanks for thinking of us though). 

There's still a lot of things I haven't covered which we will hopefully cover some time in the new year. We will be looking forward to winding things down over the holiday period, but should be back sometime late January with some fresh new updates for you.

Until then, you can always contact us via email or our Facebook page. Got a question? Well then, drop us a line.


This message is brought to you by Shaun, your local LCARS 47 Lead Developer and Assistant Project Manager.

Sunday, 7 June 2015

Behold. The Tricorder


Project Expeditus (LCARS 47 for Android). It's been asked for and asked for. Yes we are actively working on it and yes, it will be absolutely free. No ads, no paywalls, no in-app purchases. It's currently in closed alpha and we're planning a release along side LCARS 47 v6.5 itself. You guys have shown so much support for our small non-profit, and I'd like to thank you on behalf of my entire development team. You make all this worth while.

In four words: I love my job.

Performance subject to device spec. Starfleet issue case not included with app.


This is the actual tricorder from Star Trek: Nemesis (above). It had no official name, but We decided that "TR-600 - Mk XI" would be the most logical choice. There are a few stylistic differences between the canon "TR-600", and the Expeditus TR-600, but this is mostly to allow for conversion of the UI to better suite high end, high PPI screens.

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Master Systems Display and Unique Starship Abilities

Here she is. The Galaxy class starship. This took an entire month of work. It's loaded with animation and interaction. We're also confirming that this is the finalized user interface for the Master Systems Display Engineering module. This module will probably become the centre point of your LCARS 47 experience because with the rollout of 6.5, this screen will update to reflect the current shipboard situation. 

What does all that mean? Well, you probably already know that 6.5 will support multiple monitors and even have networking features. Thanks to our new event management mechanic, Eventus, LCARS 47 will now communicate with all other instances of LCARS 47, even those running on separate networked computers. For you, this means that if you eject the warp core, the MSD will update, to show that the warp core is not present, the nacelles will show a powered down state, and all systems reliant on the warp core will go offline. The core eject feature is standard across all the ships we'll be including in Drydock, but some ships will have unique abilities. Here's a class specific list of the most prominent unique ability (these aren't the only unique abilities each class will, have, just the ones we're confirming now).

The Sovereign
Those of you with Sovereigns will have the ability to detach the main deflector which will mean that shield systems lose a bit of stability, you won't be able to go to warp, and certainly not be able to navigate an asteroid field.

The Intrepid
If the Intrepid is more your thing, then you can play with the nacelles. They move and unless they're in the upright and locked position, you ain't going anywhere at warp speed. 

The Galaxy
The Galaxy has of course a wonderfully dramatic ability to separate the saucer section completely. You guys don't need details as to what happens during separation, so I'll skip the info for this one.

The Nova
Being a small ship appearing as featured ship in only two feature length episodes, deciding what unique features the Nova has was tough. We're still thinking of things to add, so, ideas on a post card, people.

The Prometheus
MVAM, MVAM, MVAM... MVAM. Plus a megatonne of other tactical systems, not limited to a sassy EMH.

That's it for now. Stay tuned for more updates, and don't forget to share the news. Peace!

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Renovation in Progress

Excuse the mess, we're currently working on the Development Blog. Deleting old junk, sifting out 404s and 410s. Replacing old links with 301s before everything 503s. Has anyone 302ed my sanity?

Sunday, 19 October 2014

LCARS 47 Version 6.5 Update

Hi guys. Here's a quick update regarding the development of LCARS 47, version 6.5. The development is going well and we are pleased to announce that both Microsoft Windows and Mac OSX will be fully supported. The features will be consistent between the Windows and OSX versions. The only exception will be the VoiceCommand feature, which will require a bit of creativity on the OSX platform.


 Here's a quick list of confirmed features to hit 6.5.
  • Multiple monitor support as standard
  • Drydock version III
    • Multiple ship class customization (with five ships available at launch and more to follow)
  • Multiple ship profiles, which allows you to have more than one ship saved. This includes
    • Multiple ship classes
    • Independent names and registries for each ship profile
    • Independent logs for each ship profile
  • Theatrical mode, which disables the deactivate and settings buttons inside LCARS 47. This feature was added for those that use LCARS 47 at conventions and want to prevent the application being closed by users
  • Ambient sounds are making a return. This was a feature that many users requested be re-added
  • The "Jukebox" media player (below).
There will be many more features added and more information will be posted as we work through our list.

Drydock III

In Drydock-related news, I can also confirm that the artwork is coming along nicely. We're nearing completion of the first five ship classes, the Galaxy, Nova, Intrepid, Sovereign, and Prometheus. 

As part of our quality assurance, we've optimized the way we do our artwork, which means we can add way more detail (as seen in the image to the left) than in the previous Drydock iteration. And yes, in true LCARS 47 traditions, Easter eggs are plenty. Have fun finding them all (although we will not be keeping a record of what, how many, and where they are).









Please note: these screenshots are of a current development and may include errors or omissions, and may not reflect the final product.

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Drydock Update and Artwork

Good news, boys and girls, we've finalized the UI for the Drydock module. This will also include red and blue alert visual change, plus something that we'll save for you to discover on your own...

Here is the Nova class, one of the first five starship classes that will be released with LCARS 47 version 6.5.



In related news... For those wondering what the first five starship classes will be released, we can confirm that they are as follows...

  1. The Nova class light explorer,
  2. The Intrepid class medium explorer
  3. The Galaxy class heavy explorer
  4. The Sovereign class heavy explorer, and
  5. The Prometheus class medium tactical cruiser.
And for those of you wondering... yes, starship separation will be fully supported in both the Galaxy and Prometheus classes. We may add separation capability to the Sovereign at a later date based on John Eaves concepts.

After the first five starship classes are released, we will be releasing 2 classes each month. Each month will have a specific theme. Details will be posted here, nearer the time.


That's all for today, don't forget to hit share so you can help spread the word.

Friday, 5 September 2014

6.5 and Drydock III

During the development of LCARS 47 version 6.5, we've decided to prioritize Drydock, the feature that allows a user to select their own class of starship to be displayed throughout LCARS 47. The previous incarnation of Drydock was admittedly limited due to the time required to design and animate cutaway diagrams.

Well, that's changing in 6.5. Not only are we gonna release more ship class selections than ever, we're also thinking of including refits and variants further down the line. Moreover, Drydock III plugins will be even more detailed and even more animated. 

Here are two I just finished. They're ready for handing over to Lee for Quality Controlling before being approved for use. It's the Nova class (and its Rhode Island variant below), one of several classes on our highly classified list of inclusions (don't worry, the Sovereign, Intrepid, Galaxy, Defiant and Prometheus are confirmed).


Saturday, 26 July 2014

Expeditus Delays and the Criminal World

As some of you are already aware, we were recently broken into, just as Shaun was packed and preparing to depart the UK. The thief made off with Shaun's carry-on luggage containing his tablet and several mobile phones. As such, we're having to put Expeditus (LCARS 47 for Android) on hold for a while while we replace the stolen assets. I would like to apologize for the upset this may cause (we're pretty beat up about it too). I'd also like to take this opportunity to commend our local police force, the South Yorkshire Police, for their rapid response and deployment post break-in. And although, we have not been successful in recovering the stolen hardware, we thank them for their time and effort.

As soon as we have been able to replace the development hardware, work will continue. In the meantime, here's a screenshot of what the PD-600 (PADD version of Expeditus) might look like...


Sunday, 11 May 2014

Expeditus Update (new modules)

Just a quick one today so you're not all left hanging around waiting for LCARS 47 to hit Android. Expeditus TR-600, is nearing its second alpha release.

In a few weeks, a public beta will be released to the Google Play store. As some of you have asked, I will state again, that as with all LCARS 47 apps, LCARS 47 for Android will be completely free—it will also be ad free, for those wondering what the catch is. There are no catches. We just love doing this kind of stuff.

Feature requests are still open until Friday, so if there's something you want to see in there, then let us know as soon as possible. 

One final thought, if you're not with us on Facebook, please feel free to hit us up, we really could use the extra help getting our project out to even more people, so if you like what you see, please tell your friends and fellow Trekkers. Our very own Lee has appointed himself the project's PR guy and is managing our new Twitter account, so if microblogging is more your thing, we have that too!

That's all for now.

Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Project Expeditus Update

As you know, LCARS 47 for Android (Project Expeditus) is now in development (beyond the small Alpha test initiative). We're now running the line for a public production app. Wel, more accurately, two. The TR-600 and the PADD (although, the latter's name is subject to change).

In this post, I'll be talking about the TR-600 (the name we've given to the Nemesis-era tricorder). Many users complained at the landscape layout, despite the intended operational orientation being portrait (who holds a tricorder on its side?). Anyways, the text labels need to stay landscape (since switching them would basically require a fundamental redesign of the UI). Having said that, however, the main anmation will respond to the hardware's gyroscope, thus flipping orientation. It's a compromise, but it's the best we can do.

That's pretty much all I can say at this point, unfortunately, since this is all we have so far. We should have a release inside a month, so stay tuned.