Ever wonder about the people behind the game? Star Trek Online's "Meet the Team" series gives fans a look at the developers behind the virtual worlds. This feature shows us that devs are human too. Unless they are Klingon. Meet Daniel Stahl!
I don't believe that it's possible to out Trek Daniel Stahl, this week's Meet the Team candidate. He's even created a Star Trek Song! Want to no more about this producer? Well then you're going to have to continue reading!
What do you do on Star Trek Online?
I'm a producer on STO responsible for ensuring that the content we make for the game is fun to play, meets our expectations for quality, and can be made with the software tools that we have developed. This also includes ensuring that the game is available on a stable build internally and that the team gets a chance to play and provide feedback as new game features and content become playable.
How long have you worked in gaming, and what did you do before Star Trek Online?
I've been working in the gaming industry for 12 years including 6 years at Wizards of the Coast working on Magic: The Gathering and 4 years at Microsoft working on the Xbox 360 and Xbox Live. I also developed a board game, Pirate's Cove, which uniquely qualifies me as the team member most likely to actually be a pirate.
Who is your favorite Star Trek character and why?
Kirk and I are cut from the same cloth, although I find myself relating to Spock frequently. There is something about Kirk from the first two movies that I strongly relate to. I admire his struggle with the career mid-point when he's being asked to take on more responsibility and yet all he really wants to do is go out there and shoot some more Klingons.
What is an interesting fact about you that players would be surprised to know?
Many might be surprised to know that I've been an active performing musician for many years and was approached a few years back and asked if I'd be willing to front a William Shatner "Transformed Man" impersonation band. I spent hours trying to get the vocals down, but in the end, no one... can perfectly... impersonate the Shatner. Especially not his singing chops.
If you could choose to be an alien on Star Trek, which species would you want to be?
Not Trill. Not Klingon. Nope. I'm all Gorn. All the time. I will throw a rock at you. And my big green sparkly eyes will see you sneaking up on me.
If you were faced with the Kobayashi Maru, what would be your solution?
I'd perform the dStahl Maneuver. This is something you might be lucky enough to see once, if you ever face me in ship to ship combat. I hear it cursed out loud by others during internal playtests. Let's just say there's Fed vs Klingon PVP and then there's All vs. dStahl PVP. Like Bones said... "Lights Out. Kobayashi Maru!"
Which is cooler: monkeys, robots, pirates, or ninjas?
Snake Eyes judo chops Jack Sparrow. King Kong smashes Snake Eyes. V'Ger disintegrates King Kong and makes a giant replica of him in his floaty 3D holographic memory banks. Definitely Robots. Even more so if they travel through space in a magnetic cloud the size of 4 AUs.
What advice do you have for someone who wants to break into the gaming industry?
There are a lot of different avenues into the gaming industry and they all start with pursuing a hobbyist's dream. Find something that you have a passion for, and develop that passion. Find time in your week to pursue your hobby and share it with others. Build relationships with the people you play games with and pour your heart into gaming with others. Never be afraid to put together a prototype and share it with your friends. Fun things will happen when you do.
What was your first favorite video game?
The first game I was deeply enthralled with was the text based Colossal Cave Adventure. The game inspired me to learn computers and programming in a day when owning a personal computer was rare. By the time I finished the 5th grade I had written my own version of Adventure set in the world of TRON. To work on STO these many years later is a childhood dream realized.
Is there anything you would like to add?
I'm the Ultimate Klingon!
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