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Being an Engineer on a Multi-Crew Ship

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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. 

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While i appreciate the idea of multi-crew ships and think they are really interesting, at least in the beginning i think a lot of players will opt for single-seat ships due to their relative ease of use. 

 

The problem with multi-crew ships in this setting is that in order for the extra crew members to enjoy not being in the commanders seat, the ship has to be sufficiently complex that extra crew members actually have meaningful jobs to do. While i think this probably will happen eventually, i wouldn't be surprised if it took some time for the game to reach that point, due to the complex scripting and voxel-building inherent to the game. 

 

One application where i think multi-role crews could come into play is in large, nomad ships, or Enterprise-style deep space exploration. If you had a bunch of people who got together and said "We are going to build a fantastically complex ship, and then fly out and explore as many solar systems as we can", a la Star Trek, then having someone who actually understands the ridiculously complex engineering subsystems you've built would be really, really important

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Having the pipe and power systems not be "magic" would also help make the system more complex and have people running around the ship to fix different things though unlike ss13 there isn't just one ship to simulate with possably a few outposts

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Having the pipe and power systems not be "magic" would also help make the system more complex and have people running around the ship to fix different things though unlike ss13 there isn't just one ship to simulate with possably a few outposts

 

As much as I would like the game to be like SS13 in that respect, I don't know if that fits with the ability to script all sorts of things with LUA. Unless the two work mutually together. ie, needing to wire your LUA-programmed components up to a central core rather than just having to connect it to the structure. 

 

Would that add unnecessary cpu load requirements to the server side? 

 

More importantly, is it a level of detail players want?

 

 

 

While i appreciate the idea of multi-crew ships and think they are really interesting, at least in the beginning i think a lot of players will opt for single-seat ships due to their relative ease of use. 

 

The problem with multi-crew ships in this setting is that in order for the extra crew members to enjoy not being in the commanders seat, the ship has to be sufficiently complex that extra crew members actually have meaningful jobs to do. While i think this probably will happen eventually, i wouldn't be surprised if it took some time for the game to reach that point, due to the complex scripting and voxel-building inherent to the game. 

 

One application where i think multi-role crews could come into play is in large, nomad ships, or Enterprise-style deep space exploration. If you had a bunch of people who got together and said "We are going to build a fantastically complex ship, and then fly out and explore as many solar systems as we can", a la Star Trek, then having someone who actually understands the ridiculously complex engineering subsystems you've built would be really, really important

 

I think multi-crew ships in the beginning will mainly serve as transport ships to move groups of players around, rather than battleships and carriers or vessels actually requiring functional crews. 

 

I see it as a logistics problem in terms of needing a big enough local economy to support building massive ships and crewing them too. It's inevitable that it will happen, though they're not even sure if it will be in the Alpha or Beta release or even later according to the devblog: https://devblog.dualthegame.com/2015/01/30/multiplayer-ship-crew/

 

 

 

 

I think having complex wired systems, like SS13, would lead players into having very specialized roles on ships. Engineers would need to understand how complex machines are wired up, and builders would have to document those things accordingly.

 

People skilled in atmospherics wouldn't necessarily be very good at working as electricians, simply because they don't have the hands on experience of needing to run down a fried cable in a ventilation shaft slowly filling with toxic gas. Alternatively, an electrician might not know the intricacies of balancing safe levels of various gasses in the life support systems or how to properly pump out toxic gas from a pipe leak. 

 

Needing electricians to build larger ships would feel more realistic, and their skills would become valuable in terms of ingame monetary compensation. They'd kind of be the network engineers of Dual Universe.

 

For smaller ships, wiring would be a simple matter of running a cable from a component directly into a central core. For massive ships, complex networks of cabling would likely be lurking behind every wall and panel to route connections to the central core properly. 

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I could see multi-crewed being used in the early game for transports, but i maintain my opinion most players would rather pilot their own ships, all other things being equal. I think if the devs want to see multi-crewed ships being used effectively, they are going to have to pay close attention to the subsystems like wiring, power, weapons etc, and make sure they are sufficiently complex. From an RP perspective multi-crewed ships are really, really cool, but a lot of players have a tough time getting out of the command seat

 

Edit: I also think one of the largest drivers behind multi-crew ships will end up being player organizations. I think players will be much more likely to give up command of their own ships if its in the context of say, a large war between two rival organizations, and fielding medium to large ships was an important part of the war effort

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Multiplayer ships could be really interesting indeed, but indeed the main problem is that alot of players would like the commander seat. (I probably won't :D I prefer a more supporting role) 

I think this could be fixed by simply having larger ships like that needing people in every corner to fully work. Like an engineer is just as important as the commander, since without the engineer the ship has a great risk of malfunctioning due to the strain it is put in... Or maybe the engineer is really good when it comes to controlling turrets or the like? I dunno :D

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I think this could be fixed by simply having larger ships like that needing people in every corner to fully work. Like an engineer is just as important as the commander, since without the engineer the ship has a great risk of malfunctioning due to the strain it is put in... Or maybe the engineer is really good when it comes to controlling turrets or the like? I dunno :D

 

I think that's the best solution to the problem of people not wanting to leave the commander seat. By making each role effectively equal in importance.

 

I know I would also rather be doing something else on a capital ship other than sitting on the bridge as a commander, but the majority of people want to be in the captain's seat. Though, like real life, I probably wouldn't get on a ship being captained by someone whom I don't have faith in keeping their crew alive. 

 

I think everyone can be a captain, but not many people can be good captains. 

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I think that's the best solution to the problem of people not wanting to leave the commander seat. By making each role effectively equal in importance.

 

I know I would also rather be doing something else on a capital ship other than sitting on the bridge as a commander, but the majority of people want to be in the captain's seat. Though, like real life, I probably wouldn't get on a ship being captained by someone whom I don't have faith in keeping their crew alive. 

 

I think everyone can be a captain, but not many people can be good captains. 

Agreed. We need importance of everyone :D that is very... well important xD

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