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Base sensors (or really, giving the Comms officer something else to do)

posted Apr 12, 2013 05:23:51 by Denis Bloodnok
We tend to find in Invasion mode the Comms officer is often not so hard pressed as other officers. I'd like to propose the following:

If the Artemis's sensor range is not infinite, a sensor range for bases and friendly ships can be configured. These will then contact the Comms officer and report when they sight an enemy ship (and the ID, and the bearing, and if it "moved" into range or "appeared" suddenly (presumably by virtue of Elite abilities)). Additionally, the Comms officer could contact a base or friendly ship and ask it to report on the currently visible contacts; it would report ID, bearing, and range.

They wouldn't scan targets, or identify their types (bit artificial, but then a lot of Artemis is); but this would make it more practical to play with more limited sensor ranges, while keeping the Comms officer busier. It would also give something to do with friendly ships which isn't "send them to a base in the hope of cheesing the fetch quests".
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4 replies
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xavierwise.tsn said Apr 12, 2013 09:48:45
I like the idea of base sensors, but I have to disagree that comms officer needs more to do. Besides, it wouldn't give them tons more to do, just another option in the orders menu.

For comms officer, on high level (6+) interesting and very interesting sectors in invasion mode, they can easily keep themselves occupied. I expect my comms officers to manage all the allies in the sector, which can be a task in its self. With the comms console and the captains map, the comms officer become vital. They can set things up so allies are of use. You can have them out of the way, or even supporting you in an attack (looks impressive when it happens!). They need to make supplies are properly organised, with bases building what you needs WHERE you need. In battle their ability to demand surrenders can have a massive impact on how well the engagement goes. I have had a comms officer get half an enemy fleet to surrender, which really makes a difference when it is a heavy carrier fleet!

If your comms officer is complaining he is bored... sack him.
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Captain said Apr 12, 2013 11:43:39
Agreed Xavier. My comms spends the whole mission organizing ships and peeping supplies. If that's done and we don't need anything for a bit she uses the captains map to find anomalies and assists in giving beam frequency's so science can focus on scanning. Then proceeds to try to get surrenders. In our games usually one third to half the ships surrender. It completely changes the game. So there is always something for comms to do.
To Mankind
And the hope that the war against folly may someday be won, after all

Isaac Asimov
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Denis Bloodnok said Apr 13, 2013 00:32:29
We do those things, although I admit the effectiveness of having the Comms officer push out surrender requests was a recent revelation to us. I still don't see it as a large workload, though - bases start with large (10-30) stocks of mines [1], so it's really just a choice between nukes and ECM; allies take so long to get anywhere, you're not going to be giving them regular orders unless your captain has a bit of a case of indecisiveness. Certainly whenever we are short-handed the first question we ask is "who's doubling up with Comms?".

And I specifically disagree about the captain's map. Anyone can use the captain's map; if Comms is (say) giving out beam frequencies, that is precisely because the Comms station has more slack time than anyone else.

(Somewhat parenthetically, I think I try to discourage non-Captain use of the Captain's Map - Artemis does rely to a degree on artificial difficulty, where the information station X needs is in station Y, and that is diminished if Helm uses the Captain's Map to look up their own bearings, Weapons reads off shield frequencies themselves, etc. Of course it's more efficient if everyone takes the Map, but I'm not sure it improves the game.)

I don't think it would just be another option in the orders menu; that would let you get in touch with an ally for a recap of what they could see, but the allies would also contact the Artemis reporting sightings. A Comms officer would need to communicate those to the Captain, ideally making intelligent choices about when to wait a few seconds to see if it's just a group of chaff coming in some way out vs. an Elite that just decloaked 2km from the base.

[1] speaking of which, Tuesday's novice captain's discovery was that it is ill-advised to retrograde while dropping a mine. :-)
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michael said Apr 13, 2013 01:06:40
Above level 6 an involved Comms officer has plenty to do, but there is an element to the game that I would like to see as an option. I know the sensors can be put to unlimited, or limited, but the Sciences map is always omniscient. This can come across as a little hokey at times.
The idea that Artemis can tap into starbase and friendly sensor networks explains how Sciences can see the edges of the map, but when an attached sensor net is destroyed the accompanying sensor range should disappear also.
This would also have a tremendous dramatic impact for newer crews. After watching people play for the first time, I noticed that unless Comms makes a dramatic announcement they rarely noticed when a starbase or friendly was destroyed.
Having portions of the map go dark for Tactical and Long Range would certainly add tension and impending doom to game play!

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