Graphically, very little was ever shown on the screen of the tricorder, so with the exception of a couple of screens, everything we have put together to display on this tricorder’s screen is a blend of our imagination and the stylistic cues seen in the various The Original Series’ Enterprise systems and displays.
As the tricorder was an integral component of away-party equipment, we surmised that information about the status of the Enterprise itself would have been certainly amongst one of the most useful things a tricorder user would want to know. After all, a serious piece of tech such as the tricorder should not only be able to let its user know about the status of its own internal systems, but also the larger systems of the most important life-preserving piece of kit protecting every member of the crew from the cold vacuum of space… The Starship Enterprise.
Due to their importance, the status screens are accessed directly from the home screen by jogging the centre button to highlight the STATUS box and clicking it to select that function. Initially, the tricorder presents its own status, reporting battery charge level, chip core temperature, which disc is inserted in position #1, how much audio recording space remains available (for personal logs), if the sensors are all functioning as expected and the current stardate.
From the tricorder status screen, clicking the left-hand button will take you to the SHIP status screen. An outline separates the ship into 22 main functional areas that show the user the current operational health of the ship at a glance. While the tricorder status reporting is driven by real world system function, the ship’s system status event reporting is generated dynamically by the tricorder’s software. Obviously, for the majority of the time the ship will be functioning correctly and so most of the time there will be nothing to report. Occasionally however, one of the ship’s critical systems will become degraded and either require time for self-repair or the skills of an Engineering party to fix it.
Affected parts of the ship are illuminated and three bar graphics show the state of the most important ship systems, dilithium crystals, shields, and the integrity of its hull. A text box describes the nature of the issue in a brief message of 140 characters or less.
For our Enterprise event status engine, the status fault alerts, the illuminated alert areas, and the supporting text are served up as the result of an event-weighted random-number-generator, where each event (including a null event where everything is working as it should) occurs only a certain percentage of the time. Favourite events from known episodes but also other imagined simple or complex event episodes are gathered together in a database and served up in a dynamic way each time a user accesses the Enterprise status screen. The time taken to fix each fault is also logged in real-time and no new faults will occur until the event described has been cleared down.
Coming next time
Mechanical fit and finish
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