Basicly I want to remake FASA's version of the Starship Tactical Combat Simulator as a fan-based project using 3d starship models (perhaps opengl with full shaders and effects), animations for weapons and manuevers, playable online, and eventually integrating a decent AI.
And I am willing to work with others...
Someone has already done this using VB; he created an excellent 2d version shown here: http://ststcs.slightlysilly.com/ BUT he tells me his code is not compatible with OpenGL , nor does he have time to recode his game.
3d modeling, animation, effects, and web based programming,
I have modded games in the past, but my hard programming skills (such as C++) is very amature, yet I am a very QUICK study when it comes to programming and very willing to learn almost anything to get the project going.
I already have several 3d models in 3dsmax ready to go.
Game rules and stats have already been designed (more than 25 years ago), although I am as yet undecided whether it should be turn based, or real time with a tactics and strategy emphasis.
Your thoughts and direction is GREATLY appreciated on where to start.
You have to decide if you want to go through the copyright issues for Star Trek. Lucas Arts is pretty strict about it and has killed quite a few fan based games. BTW FASA quit because they lost their Star Trek licensing. Many of these games were near completion when they were killed and fans had spent years of work on them.
That would be #1. Most engines that have peer to peer networking would work for it. It's not really worth writing it in Opengl unless you are into it. I would suggest changing the name and not using anything trademarked.
Lets assume that the licensing is not an issue (and I will take some time to rsearch that) as the trek game at slightlysilly.net has gone forward as a non-profit project.
Lucasarts is draconian with their copyright protection (how about the guy that got sued for making bobba fett and strom trooper hoodies to sell) - just as they should be, however the Star Trek universe is not so tightly controlled when it comes to fan-art and fanfiction. I have NO intention of selling this game.
Just so you know that the same rules apply to fan made games as for any game. I personally would never contribute to one. I've been in the adventure game community and know about fan games closed down by Lucas Arts, but also many haven't. It depends on popularity, but their lawyers can send a notice at any time and there is nothing you can do about it.
I haven't really seen Paramount or CBS put pressure on fan made content, but they can if they decide to. Nevertheless, just plan ahead of time to change the name and theme if they do come knocking. It's not like it's difficult to make any other space type game.
As for the game itself, you should start planing. I don't mean daydream about it, but actually document something. You can start here. It's a high level overview with some missing topics, but that's because there are books out there that cover this sort of thing in detail. I just want to present to you an idea how you should start with proper development. Once you have the architect and storyboards laid out for your game, you will have a clear picture of what needs to be done and what you will need to do, or who you will need to find (if applicable) to help you achieve those goals.
It is true and before ST: First Contact came out there were lots of cease and desist letters sent out to fan-based trek sites, it was because paramount wanted to create a website of its own to promote the movie.
However since it is a 'dirivitive' work that will incorporate a lot of original content; in court (if it goes that far) it should fall into the fair use terms of Copyright laws.
And what about the Star Trek online foundry - talk about a HUGE user generated content legal grey area - dirivitve fan fiction and stories, although sponsored by a lisenced company, is pretty subjective.
Now that Viacom and Paramount are partners they have allowed MANY fan-based films, fiction, and games, to go forward...
Either way - I am making this game and determined to see it through. Hell, I would even pay for consultation with a copyright lawyer. Even if I am told to cease and desist by CBS/Paramount/Viacom then I will have at least gained a great deal of game-making experience for future projects or to add to my portfolio.