Guide to Bridge Officer
Naturally the captain cannot press every single button on the bridge himself, so Centcom has employed multiple HIGHLY TRAINED OFFICERS to press the buttons for him. When you join you will be automatically assigned a station to man. However, this is not a formal assignment so you and the other officers may switch places at will. This may sound dull, but worry not, many fun things await you!
The Chain of Command
As a bridge officer you are not a head of staff like the Captain or Head of Personnel. You are on the same level as a standard department crewman; the only difference between you and a standard crewman is your department is in the bridge, thus you must obey orders from all heads of staff, and your fancy uniform does not give you permission to order other people around.
Being on the bridge does not give you special privileges to jump the chain of command, although the Chief Medical Officer may opt to pass and stay in medbay to heal others, the Chief Engineer may opt to stay with their team and coordinate repairs, and the Head of Security may opt to stay with and coordinate the Sec team.
The Bridge Officers and the Munitions Officer are on the same level: none of them outrank another. While a Munitions Officer will generally take orders from the Weapons Officer about which rounds to load, they are not obliged to honor a request to, say, allow the WO into the munitions bay to get a toolbox.
Your duties will vary depending on whether you're a Helms Officer or a Weapons Officer. While these aren't formal assignments, and the HO and WO can switch places as will, you should not touch the other bridge officer's console unless the other bridge officer is MIA or you've been cleared to do so by the other BO or the Captain. If you do end up using the other BO's console, you assume full responsibility for what effects your actions may have.
As a Helms Officer, your duties are fairly relaxed. Your main responsibility is to jump the ship from point A to point B. The Captain’s orders determine where you should be going, as well as the mission assignment. Your ship has a max range for jumps, so you need to plan the best route to travel to faraway locations; the FTL drive only has a limited supply of plasma to use and needs to recharge between jumps, so jumping more often than necessary can easily screw you over if you suddenly need to flee from hostile forces.
Of course, jumping into enemy space also opens up the option to salvage, such as more phase cannons, air or plasma tanks, or other miscellaneous bits and bobs of cargo. You should consult with the Captain whether or not you should take the direct way or make a few stops in Syndie space, as well as the Weapons Officer to see if you have the capabilities to take on the extra enemies that you wouldn't have to worry about otherwise.
Remember to warn the crew before you jump, you
might will regret jumping unannounced.
As a Weapons Officer, your job is a bit more logistically involved than that of a Helms Officer. You're in charge of firing the onboard anti-ship battery, so you need to coordinate with the Munitions Officer on what to load, the Captain on where to aim, and the salvage team on when to bring the shields down and up.
Targeting an enemy is as simple as clicking the vessel's name under the Targeting section of the Tactical Console, and selecting where you wish to aim on the ship. A small reminder of where you currently are is listed at the top of the targeting section - remember, the NSV Astraeus' anti-ship battery can only hit ships at the same planet you're at, so aiming at a ship on Planet 2 while you're on Planet 1 will only waste ammo. It is also important to note that you cannot fire on ships while you are landed on a planet, but they can still fire on you. The available salvage from a ship will depend on where you aim. Shooting at the hull will destroy the cargo holds, shooting at the weapons will reduce your odds of salvaging a tenth phase cannon for your ship. Pick your targeting location carefully.
The phase cannons are designed to disrupt the enemy ships' shields long enough to get a MAC round through them (they still do damage though). All of your MAC shells (with the exception of shield-piercing) will explode harmlessly on enemy shields, so it's a good idea to fire a short burst of 2 or 3 shots from the phase cannon, then fire a MAC at the shield generator.
There are six stations on the Bridge, but in general you're only going to use two (and MAYBE the communications console to announce a jump).
This console is how you move the ship to various locations. You can click on different circles on the map. Each circle represents a solar system, each with multiple celestial bodies. Different colors correspond to different factions. When you click on them it opens a menu where you can jump to the system and see more info. At the top you can click the "Show Map" tab to view the map of the current solar system. Clicking on planets lets you see if there are any points of interest. Additionally, if you can grab a copy of a local station's yellow-pages, which will help make finding stations easier. In combat you should stay near the computer in case you need to make a
retreat tactical withdrawal. Here are some of the tabs you'll be seeing on the console.
This is the most basic tab, and shows the FTL charge and what planet the ship is positioned at. If you're in FTL then this tab will tell you where you were and where you're going to.
This tab shows the type of planet, a picture of it, whether it has satellites or not, and allows you to orbit, dock with a station if it has one, and land on the planet if it isn't a gas giant. Orbiting a planet with rings will bring you close to the belt and allow miners to mine the rings.
Important: Undocking from a station is done by hitting Orbit.
See Also: Guide to Planets
This tab shows the system you're in, and will display all planets in orbit around the star. Clicking a planet will bring up a variant of the Planet Info tab for you to jump to. It should be noted that you can jump between planets without the FTL being at max charge. Planets here are named after their star with a number as their designation (i.e. you're in a system called Zulu with three planets, the planets are named Zulu 1, Zulu 2, etc.).
This tab brings up a bunch of colored dots which represent stars that you can jump to. You may notice you're in the center of a very large green circle, which represents the range of your FTL. Obviously you cannot reach stars that are outside the circle, but you can jump to them if you move in closer.
The systems in the star map are color-coded according to who controls them:
- Blue systems are friendly systems, controlled by Nanotrasen.
- Orange systems are neutral systems, and are controlled by SolGov.
- Red systems are enemy systems, and are Syndicate-controlled.
- White systems are not controlled by any one "faction", but tend to be infested with pirates.
You may also notice that some dots have the word "CAPITAL" under them, which basically just means it's the capital of the faction if you hadn't already guessed. You can expect to see a lot of the faction's bigger ships there. "RELAY" is another word you might see, which represents the miners who have been dropped off at a planet and turned on their telecoms relay, and for you to retrieve them if they don't have Quantum Pads.
Remember: Inform the crew before you jump so they can get back on the ship or get busy things done such as moving prisoners or handling a supermatter shard delamination incident. If you make an unannounced jump and it causes someone's death (such as leaving a salvage team behind), you may face consequences both in-character (manslaughter charges) or out-of-character (job-bans).
Remember This Too: Undock from stations that you're connected to. The ship is connected to Centcom at round start, and going into FTL while docked will tear the docking clamps and create a nightmare for both parties.
This console is everything in ship combat. You can see your shields, your weapons systems, and the location of other ships in the system. Not all ships are hostile, but if you shoot at a neutral or friendly vessel, expect to start an intergalactic war.
FTL Shield Status
At the top of the screen you have your shield status and control. While the shields are up, they act as a physical barrier, easily blocking small objects from entering or exiting the ship, meaning you'll want to turn off the shields if the Supermatter Shard is delaminating. This also works for crew - salvage teams will not be able to bring scrap in or head out to salvage while the shields are up. An important note to make is that while the salvage team is outside the shields, they are not vulnerable to incoming fire and thus do not have to worry about being shot by the enemy (they can still be hit by your cannons if they're in the way, though).
Important: Likely a bug, whenever a ship is destroyed it will spawn it's wreckage in front of the ship, meaning if anyone is out salvaging and the wreckage spawns on them, they will be killed.
When looking at enemy vessels, be sure to note their location. If they are not at the same planet/nav beacon you are, then you are out of range and your shots will do nothing. Also, when firing at enemy ships, you can select various subsystems to target. Damaging and destroying these hinder the enemy ships. Destroying the shields allows more of your shots to do damage, destroying the engines reduces their evasion, shooting the bridge will also reduce their evasion, and shooting at the hull will destroy the enemies' cargo holds. Where you target determines the state of the salvageable wreck. Use this strategically to salvage certain items for your ship!
The weapon systems are sorted by type, with the MAC cannon(s) on top and the phase cannon(s) on bottom. Each phase cannon shot takes 200 energy and will fire almost as fast as you can click - be careful not to run it completely dry. A decent tactic is to use a couple of shots with the phase cannon to knock down the shields, then fire the MAC before their shield system recharges.
Crew Monitoring Console
If the Chief Medical Officer wishes to be on the bridge, they'll most likely be manning this console. Functionally, it is identical to the crew monitoring console in their office. You could use this to coordinate with the mining team to recover a deceased miner if you wish, or ensure everyone's back aboard before making the takeoff announcement. Or, if you're bored and there's a lull in the action, you could see who's where and take guesses as to what they're up to.
If the Chief Engineer wishes to be on the bridge, they'll most likely be here watching the power. Functionally, the consoles are identical to the two in the engine bay. The console on the left can be used to monitor power draw and generation, and the console on the right can be used to transfer power from one area to another. You could monitor it from the bridge and see when engineering finally sets the SMES units, or nag at them to increase the power output if the power draw is close to or exceeding the available power.
If the Head of Security isn't up to their knees in dead detainees and wants to be on the bridge, they'll most likely be manning this console. These consoles are identical to the two in their office and two of the three at the dispatchers' area of the Security Offices - one is the recordkeeping console, the other is the cameras. You won't be able to access the records unless the Head of Security forgets to log out, but you can look through the cameras and see yourself looking at the cameras, or see if the Supermatter shard is on fire and then yell at Engineering before the SM shard does.
The Communications Console is similar to the ones found aboard modern stations, albeit with some differences. The Captain will usually be manning this station. He will usually leave the console unlocked, so you can use this to ask Centcomm for guidance in an emergency, check your objectives, or make an announcement regarding jumps. Expect the Captain to be rather cross with you if you use it while he's present, however.
Miscellaneous Tips and Tricks
Helms/Weapons Officer is an informal assignment - you are free to switch with the other Bridge Officer as long as they want to as well.
- You will only be able to see if a planet has a station if you're orbiting it.
- Obtaining a station's yellowpages will help you locate nearby stations, as well as see their stock and pricing.
- If Centcomm is feeling generous, they may respond to you if you ask where a station is.
- Coordinate closely with Engineering.
- They are in charge of the FTL/shield plasma. You cannot jump without power or plasma. Jumping into enemy territory before the FTL plasma is connected can and will easily cause mass casualties.
- They are also in charge of the engine. Extended planetside stays play hell on the cold loop's ability to cool the engine. If you stay down there too long and Engineering isn't prepared for it, you could cause the Supermatter to delaminate - and you can't readily eject the Supermatter planetside, as it'll destroy the enginebay.
- They also need your help - you cannot safely eject the Supermatter when docked at a station or planetside. In the case of the former, it will bounce off the docking wall; the latter, the atmosphere will allow it to damage the enginebay if it explodes.
- With all of this, it is a good idea to check in with Engineering regularly on how the engine is functioning.
- There is no shame in retreating if you're outnumbered. Sometimes it's better to retreat, regroup, and try again than it is to stay in the fight and continuously take hits.
- If you accidentally fire upon Nanotrasen, ahelp it immediately - it is impossible to get Nanotrasen to stop firing upon you without admin intervention.
- Like with the Helms Officer, coordinate closely with Engineering.
- They can set up cannons you salvage from combat. Get enough and you can take down ships easily without having to fire the MAC.
- They are in charge of the FTL/shield plasma. If the shield plasma is unwrenched, you only get one hit to the shields before you're exposed to incoming fire.
- They also need your help - in the event they need to jettison the Supermatter, you will need to lower the shields so the Supermatter Shard doesn't bounce off them and go back in.
- Due to a bug in spriting, unscrewing the maintenance panel of the phase cannons or loading an unarmed round in the MAC will cause its sprite to disappear. Ensure Engineering and Munitions are aware of this. (The in-character excuse for this is 'due to a glitch in the firmware, doing either will engage their stealth systems'.)
- Phase cannons can be upgraded with better batteries to be able to store more charge. However, you need a Bluespace RPED to do so (see above bullet).