Star Trek Online Producer Explains MMO Influences

Love it or hate it, J.J. Abrams' Star Trek changed the IP's landscape forever. ZAM asks STO's producer if these changes might influence the MMO.

One year ago this month, Cryptic Studios announced it had taken over development of Star Trek Online. Originally conceived back in 2004, Perpetual Entertainment acquired the rights to the IP and worked on the MMO's development for four years, until it folded in 2008. The license and some of the game's assets were then handed over to Cryptic Studios (owned by Atari), and the 'Trek community breathed a collective sigh of relief.

A few months before the announcement, news of STO's progress was getting sketchy. The game's development slowed to a crawl and left fans to wonder whether it would ever see a launch, or simply fade away as another vaporware failure. Last summer, fans finally received the news they were waiting for when Cryptic Studios announced it had picked up development.

However, STO's new developer was tasked with re-building much of the game itself, from the ground up. Launch schedule aside, the Star Trek franchise is an almost religious-like following for hundreds of thousands of fans. Considering the polarized reactions to J. J. Abrams' flashier, sexier and re-imagined Star Trek released in May, it's no surprise that many fans are wondering—now more than ever—what "flavor" of 'Trek is in store for them.

If for some crazy reason you still haven't seen the new movie and don't want to be spoiled, bookmark this story and come back later. Mass spoilage ensues.

Being both a J.J. Abrams and a Star Trek fan, I kind of feel sorry for the guy. Abrams was charged with his own "Mission: Impossible"; to create a new Star Trek movie that would not only draw Trekkers into theaters, but the same audience as the modern Transformers movie as well (e.g., pretty much every man, woman and child on earth). In that regard, Abrams knocked it out of the park. His prequel and reboot of the Star Trek movie series was a blockbuster success and is still the third highest-grossing film of the year, as of press time.

The movie was met remarkably well by critics, the majority of whom praised the fact that you didn't have to be a fan of the series to enjoy the film. The young, attractive cast looked like an ensemble you'd typically see in an average WB show, and Abrams packed in enough action and pop culture to appeal to the younger generation. It's definitely not your dad's Star Trek; an intentional move to reboot the aging franchise that might have otherwise only appealed to older sci-fi and 'Trek fans.

But just like Star Wars and other zealously-followed IPs, there's one thing that writers and directors all came to realize over the years: you don't want to mess with the die-hard fans. Despite Abrams' new film receiving critical acclaim and box office success, the forums and blogosphere were set ablaze with debate after its public debut. Many old-school or die-hard 'Trek fans felt the new movie's "alternate reality" premise was tired and nonsensical; a desperate play to re-invigorate the IP among younger audiences.

Created by Gene Roddenberry, the original Star Trek series of the 1960s—and its subsequent series like ST:TNG and Deep Space Nine—have always aspired to be more intellectual TV shows than most. One of the main reasons Star Trek stood the test of time and went on to become one of the most popular sci-fi franchises ever made was because it asked its audience to think, instead of just zoning out to watch mindless, space-opera drivel. The stories captured the imagination and engaged the inquisitive, while raising thought-provoking questions and ethical dialogue.

To sum up the original debate, many of those long-time fans felt that Abrams' new Star Trek had dumbed-down the series, forsaking its intellectual roots for wider accessibility. Granted, you can always bring up the cheese factor with movies like Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (otherwise known as Star Trek: Free Willy amongst critical fans). But for the most part, Star Trek has always been about putting your metaphorical "thinking cap" on while you watch, unlike many Hollywood shows and flicks.

After Abrams' film hit theaters, sci-fi and 'Trek gamer fans all wondered how this new movie might affect Cryptic's upcoming Star Trek Online (if at all). Since the latest movie dove into the deep end of alternate realities and timelines, it begged the question, "Will the time-traveling events in Abrams' movie affect or change the STO universe or story?"

As we covered in an earlier report, Cryptic Studios released a "timeline" graphic in response to the community's questions. The graphic (shown below; click to enlarge) highlights 400 years of Federation history from 2009 to 2409. Cryptic uses the graphic to illustrate how the events of the new movie will coexist with STO, yet remain separate from one another.

At first glance, it seems like that's that, and the new movie won't have any effect on the upcoming MMO. The fan community refers to the traditional Star Trek story and timeline as the "prime" universe, while the new, "alternate" timeline remains independent. However, ZAM recently had the chance to dig a little deeper and get some exclusive information from Craig Zinkievich, Executive Producer of Star Trek Online. He revealed that, although the game wouldn't plunge players into the "Abrams universe" at launch, the reboot's story "has had some major impacts on the prime universe" in which the MMO takes place.

"In the new movie, Romulus is destroyed by a supernova, throwing the Romulan Empire into chaos," Zinkievich says via email. "That's the event that sets Nero on his path. Destroying the homeworld of one of the major powers in the Universe has a big, big effect on everything and everyone around it. The Romulans are in chaos, the Klingons want to settle old scores, the Cardassians are still recovering from the Dominion War and are choosing which path their race will walk, and the Federation is trying to hold it all together. The destruction of Romulus is the flashpoint for much of the instability and conflict in 2409 and we'll be exploring it, and the aftereffects, in many of the storylines for our game."

Zinkievich's description does seem to be a little vague, but it confirms that the alternate timeline will—at least—have some impact on the "prime" universe we'll see in STO. As he mentions, STO begins in 2409, after all of the TV series and movies thus far (excluding any of the oddball time travel story arcs). The game opens on fresh, uncharted ground; it's liberating for the MMO, but many of the hardcore "lore and continuity critics" might be skeptical of that liberty. After all, we don't know exactly how much creative freedom CBS/Paramount allowed in agreement to license out STO. It's entirely possible that the major storylines in STO will be adopted as canon in the "official" Star Trek universe, and could influence future TV series, movies or other media.

But assuming that any major continuity events are tightly-controlled by the rights holders, many of those hardcore 'Trek fans have also wondered how the theme of Abrams' reboot might influence the upcoming MMO. Studded with an abundance of glitz and glamour, the movie feels a bit unfamiliar to 'Trek fans, despite its crazy success and appeal to the younger demographics.

Don't get me wrong; I liked the movie a lot. I even thought Abrams drew inspiration from a lot of what made the original series so ground-breaking (the original Star Trek is renowned for making sci-fi sexy—often analogized to an "old Western in space"). But Abrams' movie took these elements to a whole new level, and if STO turns out to favor those same elements for the sake of accessibility, it wouldn't be the same Star Trek that two generations grew up with. In response to that concern, Zinkievich urges hardcore fans not to worry.

"We've set Star Trek Online in 2409, which is 30 years in the 'future' of the prime timeline," he says. "Because we haven't moved too far into the future, the game will feel familiar to diehard fans of the shows. That being said, one of the reasons we chose to move the timeline was that it gave us a chance to update the uniforms and advance technology to update the look and feel much like the new movie did for its era. Look at our standard Starfleet uniforms as an example—I think they do a great job of being true to Starfleet, but new and exciting too."

Zinkievich points out that the future time period also allows the developers to explore many of fans' favorite story arcs; something that they would normally have to wait for in a new TV show or movie. It's a valid point; what 'Trek fan wouldn't like to pick up where things left off, and play out the continuation of those stories themselves?

"The move to 2409 allows us to change the political landscape," Zinkievich says. "Everything's not the same as it was at the end of DS9. Old enmities have flared, and new ones have sprung up. There are new leaders for many of the major factions, and new alliances between familiar races. The Romulan homeworld is gone, and overall, the Alpha and Beta quadrants are much more dangerous and volatile than they were 30 years ago. I think that 'familiar but unexpected' vibe will appeal to fans of the new movie as well as those who have been watching the shows from the beginning."

Despite the fact that we know STO will at least begin in the "prime" timeline, Zinkievich again alludes that we might be in for quite a bit of material based on Abrams' story. That means we already have a major stage set to launch from; whether or not it's the right stage remains to be seen.

Regardless, my gut tells me STO has a lot of potential. I believe it will give existing fans the chance to explore a lot of the Star Trek lore and story arcs that we wouldn't be able to experience any other way—especially now that we're more likely to see rebooted stories on the big screen, rather than a new TV show or film set in the "prime" timeline.

I still come across the occasional screen cap or video that pangs the Trekker in me, like the character creation trailer released awhile ago. I don't know if I like the idea of players being able to "add to the universe" and "create your own race" like the video describes. I realize it's an MMO and there has to be differentiation between characters, but having the ability to toss in dozens of new, hybrid races irks me a bit. I suppose you can write it off by saying they're just the children of a new generation of inter-racial parents; one of the many new elements we'll be seeing in Star Trek's future.

Hell, as long as I can create my own little Jolene Blalock-looking Vulcan to look at all day long, I suppose I can live with Cryptic taking a few liberties here and there. As long as the developers don't create an unfamiliar MMO that might as well not even have the name "Star Trek" in its title, I think most fans will embrace the future with open arms.

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"Time travel"
# Jul 18 2009 at 10:46 PM Rating: Decent
15 posts
WaxPaper, I seriously think you're wasting your time here engaging in a fool's argument.

Gindorn, it's been proven that one object travelling through spacetime at a higher velocity than a "stationary" object (I place "stationary" in quotes since due to the relative motions of planets, solar systems and galaxies no object is ever truly stationary in spacetime,) the faster object ages slower than the "stationary" object. You are correct in the sense that "time" for both objects remains the same, but the faster object is not as "old" as the slower one. Of course this phenomenon is not apparent and barely even measurable at anything less than relativistic speeds, but it is still a proven phenomenon. This effect was mathematically postulated by Einstein's work and has been experimentally proven more than once. In each case, the experimental data corresponds to the mathematical predictions precisely.

In a very functional sense, this does allow a form of "time travel" for a man travelling at near light speeds, since during a one-year jaunt he would perceive a passing of 365 days and his body would age the same amount, while the rest of the Earth would have aged, say, 10 years (this is not at all meant to be accurate, only for illustrative purposes.) If a lightspeed pilot left in 2020, by his reference it should only be 2021 when he returns to Earth, but the Earth calendars would all read 2030. To the inhabitants of Earth, the lightspeed vessel would have been gone a decade, but to the pilot, merely one year. So, who is "correct?" If you go with the majority, then ten years have passed but the lightspeed pilot only perceived it to be one year. If you listen to the pilot's point of view, then a year has passed and the rest of the galaxy perceived it to be ten years.

In a very real sense, BOTH are correct, for they each had a different frame of reference during the elapsed time period, and that reference frame was VERY real and valid for each party. You cannot discount the lightspeed pilot's reference as invalid just because he's the only one who experienced it. Just because the rest of the universe experienced the other reference frame doesn't mean it's the only "real" one. There is no constant universal clock that says it's "really" 2030 just because all the other objects in the universe have "aged" ten years while the lightspeed pilot was travelling. There isn't even a true "flow" of time as we think of it, we only perceive it as such because we observe things that change as time passes: chemical reactions unfold and breakdown, clock hands turn, stars and planets move, things are born, things die, metal rusts, etc. Without these external indicators there would be no indications time was "flowing" at all. Hence, to wrap all this up, just because one planet orbited its sun ten times while the lightspeed pilot was travelling does NOT automatically mean the pilot is "really" ten years older than when he left. It seems logically counterintuitive to think ten years could pass for one man and only one year for another, but that is exactly what is happening. It is NOT just a difference of perception either, it's actually because the influence of time itself is less for the lightspeed pilot. Think of him as being inside a bubble, an alternate reality, where time itself behaves differently and maybe it will make more sense. Also, don't assign more importance to the influence of time on the surrounding universe just because it's bigger.

Size and space are simply illusionary constructs that our feeble minds have yet to overcome. We seem to think of ourselves as the "middle point" between small and large. The Earth and outer space are "large" and anything smaller than us is "small." Truthfully, there is no limit to "small," either mathematically or in any practical way we've yet to identify. i.e. If "small" is infinite, then there's as much space inside my body as there is in the entire universe depending on your frame of reference. It's all relative, but one lightyear is no larger than 1 millimeter if you think along these lines. In practice of course it's a **** of a lot easier for me to move 1 millimeter than it is one lightyear, but that's only because of my current "size." My point here is to not assign too much importance or canon to our frame of reference as humans since we experience such an infinitesimal fraction of what there really is.

As to your other point, I hold no Ph.D in any subject.
Need a slight correction ;)
# Jul 16 2009 at 8:49 PM Rating: Decent
1 post
Quote:
I'm not sure why Zinkievich mentions the Romulan homeworld being gone, since that event took place in the new, "alternate" timeline; not the "prime" timeline that STO takes place in. It might have been a slip of the tongue, or it could indicate that we'll be seeing more influence from the new timeline than he previously alluded to. Unfortunately, we couldn't get a follow-up question in by press time.


I think this paragraph needs to be corrected. As mentioned, this is basically the event that sets up the chain of events leading up to the new universe.

Yes yes I know, pedantic :p

Need a slight correction ;)
# Jul 16 2009 at 11:51 PM Rating: Excellent
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93 posts
Yeah, I'm trying to make sure it's right before I change it though. There's like three or four different sites that all "claim" to list canon events and timelines...I'm pretty sure the OP is right now that he explained it that way, but I wanna check a couple more places before I change it. Actually, let me do that now.

EDIT: Oh my God; I thought I was a "hardcore" fan when it came to canon. There are conflicting ideas all over the **** Internet. I'm pretty sure whether it's been "officially" accepted as canon yet or not, it's meant to be. So I'm just gonna change the article. Problem solved.

Thanks all. ;)

Edited, Jul 17th 2009 3:02am by WaxPaper

Edited, Jul 17th 2009 3:03am by WaxPaper
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Time travel in Star Trek universe??
# Jul 16 2009 at 4:05 PM Rating: Default
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175 posts
After all these years I still cringe whenever I read people discussing time travel,and alternate realities resulting from the time-travelers' actions,especially when it occurs in a so-called science-fiction TV show/movie/book. Time travel is 100% impossible,therefore it's based in FANTASY,not science fiction.

Every "time travel" theory relies on one basic,simple principle: Arriving at your destination before you leave. Period. You can go between 2 points faster and faster,but NEVER arrive at your destination before you leave. People who "believe" in time travel only prove how limited their intellect truly is,for they refuse to believe in limitations and impossibilities. It's good to have an open mind,but not to the point of shutting down common sense.

But,...<sigh>...I suppose someone will argue how it IS possible,we just haven't discovered it yet,just like flying was considered impossible until it became a reality..etc.... But,as I said,it IS impossible...
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Time travel in Star Trek universe??
# Jul 16 2009 at 5:54 PM Rating: Excellent
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93 posts
Well, if you're specifically talking about my reply to the original poster's comment, I'm talking about the "movie logic," not logic in general.

But you shouldn't be so dismissive. After all, you travel in time every time you get on an airplane. Every astronaut that has ever been launched into orbit has traveled in time even more so. The faster you reach the speed of light (even at unimaginable fractions of it), the "slower" time passes for you. That's a really dumbed-down way of putting it, but if you know anything about physics then you probably know what I'm talking about.

I'm a skeptic and I don't buy into a lot of stuff, but I still wouldn't claim that "time travel is impossible," especially when it's been proven otherwise already. I realize you're talking more about "Back to the Future" kind of Hollywood time travel, but still...I wouldn't make such a bold claim unless I had a PhD in Astrophysics, personally. Who knows? Maybe we'll end up sending a photon "back in time" within the next decade.
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Time travel in Star Trek universe??
# Jul 16 2009 at 8:22 PM Rating: Default
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175 posts
Ummm....flying from one time zone to another has nothing to do with actual time travel. That's just mankind's interpretation of "time" being manipulated by the rotation of the Earth. If you shoot a missile from say,...Boston to Sacramento,with reporters from all over the world attending the launch,they will report it at the same time,but their "audiences" may be in different time zones. The missile may cross time-zones,but it's still on the same clock in Boston. If it left Boston at 5pm EST and landed in Sacramento at 2:25pm PST,does that mean it "traveled through time"? No. Just time zones.
The same can be said of space travel. I realize people have been "theorizing" that a man can travel for a year at the speed of light,then return,only be 2 years older,but everyone on Earth would be like...20 years older,...but that is only a theory and will most likely be disproven IF we ever reach the technological advancement required to perform the experiment.
As for the Ph.D in Astrophysics,...a piece of paper has nothing to do with actual intellect,it only indicates someone spent a lot of time and money learning a specialized field of science,nothing else.
Even a genius can make dumb mistakes and a moron can have brilliant ideas. Intellect is a matter of subjective interpretation,so it should never be used as an argument of "superiority".
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Time travel in Star Trek universe??
# Jul 16 2009 at 10:50 PM Rating: Decent
1 post
He's not referring to time zones but the Hafele and Keating Experiment carried out in 1971 using atomic clocks. In the experiment, atomic clocks were put on two planes flying round the world in different directions. When they arrived back they were compared with reference clocks in the US Naval Observatory. At the end of the experiment, the clocks on the planes were no longer synchronised to the reference by several nanoseconds. That's why we have Ph.Ds, because it's one thing to have a keen intellect, but another to have knowledge of one's subject. To paraphrase Newton: we only see far when we stand on the shoulders of giants.
Time travel in Star Trek universe??
# Jul 16 2009 at 11:48 PM Rating: Excellent
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93 posts
Not to get too far off topic here, but that atomic clock test is exactly what I was referring to. I remember learning about it my freshman year in astronomy. As I mentioned in the post, the faster a mass moves toward the speed of light, the slower it relatively "travels" through time. The thing about astronauts going into space and being only 2 years older when they return, even though 20 years passed for everyone else...it's not just a theory; it's been empirically studied and it's considered a law of Einsteinian physics.

But I don't mean to split hairs with ya...I know what kind of "time travel" you're really getting at, and what you're trying to say. ;)

EDIT: Here, I found a link about the subject if anyone's curious about it...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Time_dilation

Edited, Jul 17th 2009 3:24am by WaxPaper
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Time travel in Star Trek universe??
# Jul 17 2009 at 7:37 AM Rating: Default
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175 posts
As for the story of astronauts traveling for 2 years at the speed of light and returning to Earth,they would be 2 years older and so would the people on Earth. The theory implies that the people on Earth would be older. What you seem to be thinking is,the astronauts traveling for 20 years in a suspended animation state,thereby slowing their aging process,so when they return to Earth after 20 years,they would still be roughly 2 years older not 20.

And another thing about the 1971 experiment...if we conducted that today using 50 aircraft all calibrated exactly alike,all outfitted with modern atomic clocks,flying 25 different directions,with each pair being 100 feet above/below each other,I 'm very sure the clocks would be out of synch when they return,even if they return at the exact same time. Why? Because the clocks would be influenced/manipulated by many different factors. Fluctuating gravitational occurrences due to bodies of water,low &/or high elevations of Earth
s crust(mountains,deserts,etc...),as well as different exposures to energies/radiations emanating from the Earth and space(cosmic,gamma,ultraviolet,etc...). The experiment will only prove the clocks,though very powerful and reliable,aren't perfect. When we can create a clock that can't be affected by any of the occurrences hinted here,then the experiment could be conducted successfully,with all clocks remaining synchronized,thus proving time travel is NOT possible. Well,until someone comes up with another theory,that is....<sigh>.....
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Time travel in Star Trek universe??
# Jul 17 2009 at 8:15 AM Rating: Excellent
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93 posts
Quote:
What you seem to be thinking is,the astronauts traveling for 20 years in a suspended animation state,thereby slowing their aging process,so when they return to Earth after 20 years,they would still be roughly 2 years older not 20.


That's exactly what I'm saying, and most of the world's leading physicists say the same thing. If you think they're all crazy, then there's just nothing more I can do to try and explain it. See the "Twins Paradox" link in my post below.

Quote:
And another thing about the 1971 experiment...


Again, see the post I just made below. It's an Empire State Building's worth of text, you can't miss it. I'm getting the feeling here that you're basing your viewpoint on gut feelings or something, and not science and fact. But at the same time, you're almost saying that same thing of me. You're like a paradox yourself! ;)

Seriously, I dunno what else I can tell ya. This are cold, hard facts. They've been reproduced. The government and military changed the way their GPS satellites work as a direct result of these findings. I'm not talking about Biff and Marty McFly here. I'm no expert; I'm just a writer...but if you understand even the most basic principles of general and special relativity, I don't understand how you're not "getting" this...and that's actually a compliment, because if I thought someone was an idiot, I wouldn't even bother engaging in this conversation...I wouldn't try to explain to someone why it rains if they don't can't grasp the concept that a cloud is made out of water; ya know what I mean?

Oh jeez, I'm late for *********** science. Brings out the hyper-nerd in me every time.
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Time travel in Star Trek universe??
# Jul 17 2009 at 9:14 AM Rating: Default
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175 posts
You keep referencing "Back to the Future" as if it's a different concept of time travel. If your entire argument is based on the suspended animation/space travel story,then we're not talking about the same thing.
Time Travel is a theory in which a person or object can be transported to another time either forward or backward,instantly. As in "Back to the Future",and several episodes of "Star Trek" and it's offspring. That IS what I've been referring to. This is 100% impossible and always will be because Time is a constant,...what happened cannot be changed.
If you mean we can manipulate time to the point of moving faster and faster through space,then yes...that would be possible,but this isn't what has been mentioned in these "time travel" stories. Will we ever be able to travel to other galaxies? Sure,IF the human race survives long enough to advance the technology to that point. That can only happen if we colonize Venus,the next planet to occupy this orbit Earth currently occupies,about a billion or so years from now LOL Venus is currently in a very volatile,volcanic state making it impossible to colonize yet,maybe in a few thousand years it'll be cool enough and stable enough for us,in specially-insulated pods.

On the subject of Ph.Ds,...you're right. They prove someone had the fortitude and discipline and desire to learn a specified craft. It doesn't prove intelligence,but it does prove one's ability and desire to learn. I just get distracted when it's mentioned because so many use it as a testament that they are intellectually superior,when that isn't really true.

As for you getting fired....hopefully your boss isn't as tyrantical(spelling) as that. You should have the patience to wait until you're home before posting. I know it gnaws at you,but resist LOL
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Time travel in Star Trek universe??
# Jul 17 2009 at 3:44 PM Rating: Excellent
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93 posts
Quote:
As for you getting fired....hopefully your boss isn't as tyrantical(spelling) as that. You should have the patience to wait until you're home before posting. I know it gnaws at you,but resist LOL


I have another day-job that I meant I was late for...I was at home, and needed to get out the door. But as for the other thing, I wasn't serious about getting fired. That was just my facetious way of saying, "Oh boy, I better stop posting off-topic comments and get back to the actual topic of the editorial." Smiley: wink
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Time travel in Star Trek universe??
# Jul 17 2009 at 4:29 AM Rating: Default
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175 posts
Well,...the 1971 experiment only proves my point about people with Ph.Ds thinking they're more intelligent just because they have their papers saying so LOL. If anyone relies entirely on man-made objects as a source of absolute proof,they're fools. Even now,with the technology advanced far more than 1971,computers make mistakes and no 2 devices are perfectly synched 24/7. They have to be monitored and occasionally,recalibrated. If scientists have learned anything,it should be that machines AND people make mistakes. The more advanced technology gets,the more accurate and reliable the information becomes,but we're still FAR from proving ANY sort of "time travel". It's still just fantasy. And,always will be. We'll never prove it,so scientists will always try to do it. Sort of like dangling a carrot in front of a mule,metaphorically.

If you want to base your entire belief system on one experiment from way back in 1971,fine. Keep believing. It's what drives people to discover better technology. Just don't depend on one experiment and many years of ********* as your source of absolute "proof" that time-travel is possible. Fantasies are dreams that can never come true,but are inspirational and imaginative,therefore,help people to discover new ways of doing things. Teleportation may be possible some day,but time-travel never will be. That's a fact,but you'll never believe it.
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Time travel in Star Trek universe??
# Jul 17 2009 at 7:56 AM Rating: Excellent
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93 posts
Oh man, I'm like a little kid who can't stop talking back when his buttons are pushed...my bosses are gonna kill me for humoring this thread to stray so far off path...but then again, that's one of the points brought up in the editorial; leave it to Star Trek to be able to inspire dialogue about time travel and physics, even when the actual story is about a video game. Smiley: grin

Okay, you understand the differences between general relativity and special relativity, right? I'm not sure what you mean about man-made objects; the use of a man-made object to measure a constant or variable dates back thousands of years, and just in the same way the ruler on your desk allows you to measure out one meter, atomic clocks can be used to measure time (relativistically, as is the point here).

Atomic clocks work by measuring the resonance of atoms. Even the atomic clocks of the 1970s were able to measure atomic resonance up to something like BILLIONS of cycles per second. We're not talking about how a cell phone clock loses a few milliseconds every day and needs to be re-synced. Atomic clocks work by measuring an insanely higher resonance than something like quartz. These things don't go out of sync just from going up in an airplane for 14 hours. But if that's not enough for ya, there was a similar experiment carried out on the 25th anniversary of the original one, using modern-day technology, in which the same conclusion was found. Also, the government ended up using those measurements to help tweak the GPS system to accommodate and correct for these relativistic differences, because those satellites are flying in orbit faster than ****, which causes them to "pass through time" slower than everyone on earth.

To try and help you understand the concept (if you're interested), here's a good link that explains the old "twin paradox" thought experiment:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twin_paradox#Specific_example

That article doesn't specifically detail time dilation like other sources would. There is a pair of twins, and one twin stays on earth while the other twin launches into space at sub-light speeds. When the traveling twin comes back to earth, he is 5 years older, but his twin brother that stayed on earth is 10 years older. It's just a thought experiment used to help people understand how the theory can't be disproved, which is why it's called the twin "paradox." However, it's not really a true paradox, because a paradox contradicts itself. Assuming one has a fundamental understanding of general and special relativity, it's just useful in wrapping one's head around the idea of how "time travel" IS possible. Even with the tech we have today, it IS an effect that we've measured and proved.

It's not like wormholes or exotic matter...this is an actual, accepted tenet of relativity that's been postulated since the early 1900s. It would be like saying that "gravity is not the result of an object's spatial influence over another body." Or saying the world is flat. I really, truly don't mean to come off as patronizing, because you seem like you're pretty intelligent. I'm just not sure how you can grasp the concept of relativity and still reject this notion. I mean, it's like saying all of history's top scientists are wrong, not just one or two. And when people start talking to me about empirical truths as being "dreamed up" or something by scientists and accepted just because they have a PhD, I start to cringe and basically put them in the same category as the same people who think the world is only 6000 years old. It kind of makes me feel like this ---> Smiley: banghead Just like you mentioned, there's science, and there's fiction (or fantasy).

And like the other guy said, yeah, a PhD or other degree doesn't measure intelligence. I never said it does. I went to college with some frakkin' MORONS. But for most of the college-goers who aren't morons, earning a PhD or other degree isn't just a piece of paper. Well, it IS; but it's a piece of paper that represents years of studying a specific field. Intelligence is just the ability to learn. That PhD just proves that someone used that ability to learn, which is why pretty much 99 percent of all the world's leading scientists have one. Even scientists like Issac Newton have the equivalent of what would have been a PhD back then...he studied at a university for years in the 1600s. I'm not a high-brow elitist...I kind of used to think the same thing, until my second year in college as "undeclared" and realized there's a reason why people go to school and get a degree. It's not just to help get a job, it's to learn an expert understanding of one's subject, rather than just being a "smart person," like the "marscentral" guy said in his post above.

But anyway you seem like a really cool guy (or girl), so lemme say again, I'm not trying to berate you or anything. I just can't hold back when my **** little buttons are pushed. Okay, now I'll probably be fired by my boss for entertaining a discussion of spatial-time relativity on his MMO site. Smiley: wink
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...because I'm so hella smoooooth.
Romulus blowing up is NOT alternative timeline!
# Jul 16 2009 at 12:19 PM Rating: Decent
2 posts
You made a common mistake when dealing with time-travel story arcs. The ORIGINAL timeline doesn't change when the time-traveler goes back in time, only when he APPEARS in the original timeline does the Alternate timeline split off from the Prime. The destruction of Romulus occurs in the Prime timeline. It's the action of Nero going back in time and changing things that creates the alternate universe. It's perfectly clear in the graphical timeline.

So, Original timeline: everything that has been shown in all of the movies and TV shows prior to new movie happens, then Romulus blows up (since it happens farther along in the future in the Prime timeline, no stories have dealt with the destruction of the Romulan homeworld yet.) Nero and Spock go back in time (both are now absent from the Prime timeline from this point on.) Life continues on, with the Romulan homeworld being gone, but everything that has happened in the past according to Star Trek canon still happened.

Alternate timeline: Nero and Spock appear, creating the new timeline. Prime timeline continues on. Alternate timeline splits off, on with the death of Kirk's father caused by Nero, two Spocks in the universe, etc. Then, the Romulan homeworld blows up, just like in the Prime timeline (unless Spock manages to keep it from happening, since he already knows whats going to happen, he can be there earlier, etc.)

So, regardless of whether the game is in the Prime timeline or the Alternate timeline, Romulus is kaput, leading to the upheaval in the sector, etc.

Edited, Jul 16th 2009 4:21pm by JohnHackworth
Romulus blowing up is NOT alternative timeline!
# Jul 16 2009 at 2:02 PM Rating: Excellent
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93 posts
Hmmmm....I think I follow ya, but if that's the case...Man, I can see where some of these critics are coming from when they call the Abrams plot convoluted. The only thing I don't understand is where you're basing the logic on saying that the alternate timeline only splits from the prime when the traveler appears back in the prime.

Edit: Okay, I went back and re-read the official timeline canon again, and I think I see what you mean. For some reason, when I saw the movie, I had the impression that the prime universe still had not only Vulcan, but both the Romulan worlds too.

Edited, Jul 16th 2009 5:10pm by WaxPaper
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...because I'm so hella smoooooth.
Romulus blowing up is NOT alternative timeline!
# Jul 19 2009 at 9:27 AM Rating: Decent
2 posts
If you want to read a REALLY mind-bending time-travel story, read Robert Heinlein's short story, "All You Zombies." Probably one of the finest time-travel stories ever written.

Cheers!
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