Star Trek Online: Bringing Daniels to STO
Matt Winston joins the Star Trek Online, reprising his role as the enigmatic temporal agent known as Daniels. A key player in the Temporal War, Daniels will join Captains on many a mission throughout time and space.
In our timeline, Daniels has continued to defend the timeline against rogue agents after working with Jonathan Archer during the Temporal Cold War. There are many more battles in time to be won, however!
We first began by gathering reference for Daniels by taking screenshots of him in the episodes of Enterprise that he appears in. From there, we made a single, large image with multiple shots of him from all angles. Most of these shots were of his “resting face” so that we could easily animate it later for expressions. One thing that we noticed is that Daniels’ hair had changed. In his first appearance with Captain Archer, his hair was asymmetrical. But later on in a later episode, he appears with hair that is completely symmetrical in every way –perhaps a new hairstyle in his own time? Regardless, we chose the more asymmetrical hairstyle since it felt more natural.
One of the programs used to sculpt heads digitally is ZBrush. This is an amazing tool that allows character artists to sculpt organic forms digitally – it’s literally like sculpting with clay. But instead of clay, we use a digital pen and tablet. This is a common tool in the video game and movie industries. Often, you will find many artists use ZBrush for all sort of things. It’s certainly very popular to create characters with!
Rather than spending a lot of time entirely in ZBrush, we work in conjunction with our proprietary Character Editor to achieve the likeness we want.
Since the Cryptic Character Editor already has a lot of built-in controls and features, we only needed to sculpt the more subtle shapes in ZBrush instead. This ultimately saved a lot of time, which was allocated to creating other characters.
Once we had the subtle features we wanted from ZBrush, we imported those features as normal maps and geometry into Cryptic’s proprietary game engine. Then, using the existing features from the Character Editor, we added eyes, hair, nose shapes, mouth size, etc. While the process was not 100% accurate the first time, it was surprisingly close. We then went ahead and continued to adjust every aspect until we achieved the look we wanted.
Daniels will prove to be important in our game – just as much as he was on Enterprise. We feel his appearance in our game will give the players the feeling of urgency as they deal with the new challenges that await. Daniels is a man on a mission – and we hope that players will find their gameplay experience enhanced by his presence.