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There are other topics about whether a single crew-member should be able to fly a large ship here and here. This is not about that. This topic is more about what actions a crew could make to benefit a ship over what a single person could do. These are... Things You Could Do On A Large Multi-Crew Ship The design idea is as follows: Players can "do actions" on specific elements to improve the effectiveness of a large ship. A single person would *not* have penalties to flying the large ship, but neither will that single person be able to activate all the different actions at the same time nor with the same effectiveness as a crewman skilled in a specific area. Let us assume that for a small single-seater ship, the option to activate these bonuses do not exist due to their complexity i.e. the extra manned bonus only comes from a bigger guns/engines/power source/scanner etc. Character Roles I will split the different actions by crew-member roles. Any crew-member can fulfill any role, though having certain skills will make that crew-member much more effective at that specific job. In smaller ships, some roles could be combined while in larger ships, multiple crew-members could fulfill the same role. Pilot The helm of a ship is one of the few mandatory parts every ship needs. A pilot already has a very active role simply steering the vessel, which could easily require both in game skill investiture as well as player skill. So what "extra" actions could a pilot make? Specific maneuvers comes to mind (barrel roll anyone?). But rather than dictating specific maneuvers, the turning speed (roll, yaw and pitch etc) could be reduced allowing for the pilots to come up with their own maneuvers (of course the effectiveness also depends on the ships design). Engineer This role has more options to tinker with the inner workings of the ship or repair the ship directly. For example routing more power to shields, guns or thrusters giving them a small boost in effectiveness, recharge time or speed. Perhaps the Engineer could push a reactor past its normal limits to provide an extra boost, but at a chance of shutdown if not managed correctly (like the extra power is not used within a specific timeframe). This topic gives quite a few more suggestions. Gunner This role is no surprise. A turret just works better with a player actively aiming and firing it. What about when the weapon is not being used during combat, such as when the ship is facing the wrong way? How about a preparation load action that allows a second shot to be fired a little sooner than it otherwise would? If the game had large fixed weapons that could only be aimed by the pilot by pointing the ship in the correct direction, then the gunner could man one of these to allow a bit more leeway in its aiming. Navigator Keeper of the star-maps, maker of navigation way-points (how else will the pilot know where to point the ship to). A navigator would not only plot a course but also actively update the course as new information becomes available from scanning. Scientist Scanning and analysis is the scientists role. Detecting something (like a large amount of iron on a nearby asteroid) needs to be analyzed by the player (with skills giving valuable clues) to discover if that iron is just an iron deposit or if it is actually a potential enemy ship made of iron. Actively scanning opponent ships to pinpoint weaknesses as well as jamming opposing scans could be an interesting interplay all on its own. The scientist could decide to do targeted or general scans with the targeted one covering a smaller area but delivering more accurate information. A large ship could even have multiple scientists, one monitoring deep space scans and another running close space scans. Captain The captain of the ship already has a massive job to make all the best decisions based on information given to him by his crew. And who doesn't want a large fancy captains chair? A captain sitting in his chair might be able to boost a single action of another crew-member a little as chosen by the captain. Of course only one such boost could function on a ship at a time, because there can only be one captain. This is a great way to have the captain contribute mechanically (even if only a little bit) and to shore up a role that the ship might otherwise be lacking. What other things do you think would be beneficial to do on a multi-crew ship? Edit: This post inspired by Starfinder which I played over the weekend.
I've been thinking about what non-bridge crewmembers on Multi-Crew ships will actually do while the bridge crew is busy navigating and ultimately flying through space or making strategical decisions in combat. Specifically this post is about Engineers, and the passive/active roles they play on Multi-Crew ships. I imagine, based on the way LUA is used, that we won't be seeing electrical wiring and ventilation running through structures and ships in the same way that something like Space Station 13 does. However, while engineers might not be manually wiring/repairing cable, that doesn't mean that they can't serve another purpose outside of simply doing repairs to hulls in the middle of combat. Based on what we know from the game so far, I'd like to see the Engineer role to encompass things like: - Being able to manually divert power to different components of a ship to get more performance out of them - Being able to make critical decisions about reactor stability in the heat of battle Based purely on speculation, or what I'd like to see out of the game: - Being able to eject reactor cores going critical - Being able to reroute power around broken power conduits/components - Being responsible for making sure power output remains stable throughout ships/stations/etc. - Being able to make on-the-fly improvements to the way components work or their performance - Having a role in maintaining the life-support systems on ships and stations. - Being able to make emergency repairs while in combat This is all based on speculation that Multi-Crew ships will actually need crews to operate them, and aren't simply just being controlled by one person with a crew that sits around doing nothing while ships are travelling through deep space. We've all seen Star Trek, and are familiar with scenes of the Captain communicating with the Chief Engineer about some issue with the warp core and the engineer saving the day somehow. That kind of tension and responsibility put on various departments in a capital ship should be possible in DU. Whether it's needing the Science Officer to devise a way of breaking through a cloud of radiation in space while you are being chased by someone, or needing to call the security crew on your ship into action to deal with an unfriendly boarding party. Or, in the case of this topic, trying to find a way to stabilize the reactor core while your ship is otherwise being torn apart by enemy fire. As to how these mechanics can play out ingame, I keep hitting a roadblock when thinking about how many of them can fit into what we know about game already. Earlier today there were two active threads discussing minigames, but I didn't think this topic really fit into them. However, perhaps minigames are a way of adding "action" to engineering tasks. Although, there would need to be a way of making them difficult based on a given task, and also "fun" in the sense that they aren't just repetitive. I'm not sure minigames are a complete solution to the problem though, if even a good solution.