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The potential promised by multiple transmit antennas has raised considerable interest in space-time coding for wireless communications. In this paper, we propose a systematic approach for designing space-time trellis codes over flat fading channels with full antenna diversity and good coding advantage. It is suitable for an arbitrary number of transmit antennas with arbitrary signal constellations. The key to this approach is to separate the traditional space-time trellis code design into two parts. It first encodes the information symbols using a one-dimensional (M,1) nonbinary block code, with M being the number of transmit antennas, and then transmits the coded symbols diagonally across the space-time grid. We show that regardless of channel time-selectivity, this new class of space-time codes always achieves a transmit diversity of order M with a minimum number of trellis states and a coding advantage equal to the minimum product distance of the employed block code. Traditional delay diversity codes can be viewed as a special case of this coding scheme in which the repetition block code is employed. To maximize the coding advantage, we introduce an optimal construction of the nonbinary block code for a given modulation scheme. In particular, an efficient suboptimal solution for multilevel phase-shift-keying (PSK) modulation is proposed. Some code examples with 2-6 bits/s/Hz and two to six transmit antennas are provided, and they demonstrate excellent performance via computer simulations. Although it is proposed for flat fading channels, this coding scheme can be easily extended to frequency-selective fading channels.