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Kurock

What could you do on a multi-crew ship?

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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.

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Space Janitor

When your ship needs that little extra sheen. When the captain thinks the chrome can't be buffed enough. When enemy bodies need to be removed after a failed boarding attempt. Who are you going to call?

 

The floor won't mop itself.

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- Security Crews for dealing with boarding parties (or being the boarding party)

- Biologists/Botanists, if we need food at any point in DU 

- Programmers, for fixing issues as they come up while in space, unless that's an engineering role

- Passengers, there will be people who just don't do anything and are just there for a ride to the next planet or station. 

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Logistician

A role especially useful on larger ships and longer travels, sorting and checking the cargo, supplying different stations, buying supplies and keeping an oversight over the overall ship inventory.

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Some excellent suggestions so far...

 

Medical Officers

To keep a crew mentally and physically healthy, this role might extend to preparing stim-packs (or other medical paraphernalia of your choice) as well as perhaps enhancing the refresh speed of rez-nodes.

 

Cyberspace Security Specialists (aka Hackers)

A specialization of the scientist mentioned earlier, instead of just scanning, the hacker might be able to prepare malicious programs and defenses against such programs that might negatively affect a ship.  Direct access would make any such malicious programs easier to inject, especially direct access to a core.  With this combat between ships could be fought on multiple different levels: pilot/gunner vs pilot/gunner, scanner vs counter scanning, hacker vs security engineer.

 

Keep them coming :)

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Signaller/Radio Operator

A crew member that communicates and coordinates with the rest of the fleet, manages docking procedures and incoming transmissions. If you ever played a multiplayer game you know that communication is the key to victory. You have to keep active planning and execution of orders with the fleet commander. Assigning that job to another crew member could relax the captain in a combat situation and could manage diplomacy and trade outside of combat better. can be done by the logistician as mentioned by @Croomaron smaller ships.

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In a single-seat fighter, the pilot will do everything.

 

So, when does a ship become "large enough" to start splitting functions into different roles (i.e crew positions) ?

 

Will it be decided on module size (small, medium, large) ? For instance, would a "large" turret require a dedicated player as gunner ?

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