Is the captain The Captain? Some thoughts on tactics.

Discussion about PULSAR: Lost Colony including talking about factions, classes, ship systems, playstyles, etc.
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Jingo
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Is the captain The Captain? Some thoughts on tactics.

Post by Jingo » Tue Sep 22, 2015 12:47 am

As the captain, I don't really feel like a captain.

Is is my lack of leadership skills?

I don't think so.

Let me explain.

After playing PULSAR for several hours now, everyone in my crew is well trained and knows their jobs and everyone else's jobs. It's good to be cross trained. But it feels like there isn't anything crucial for the captain to really do. Oh sure, he plots courses and he manages inventories and the ship. But really that's about it. Maybe I'm not explaining it very well, but it doesn't feel like that should be the role of The Captain.

Coming from playing Artemis first, the Captain's role in that game feels more crucial. He directs the movements of the ship. He gives targeting and ordinance instructions. He has a larger perception than the rest of the crew, with his captain's map (with the exception of the science officer). The game just has a more tactical feel, like what the captain says matters and where the ship goes matters.

PULSAR has a very different feel.
In an encounter, for example, can the Captain really tell a ship to move somewhere, does he have a 3D view to know where to tell the pilot to move somewhere? No, the Pilot is the one who has the eye-in-the-sky view. The captain has a targeting box, but usually there's only 1 enemy to fight anyway, so it's pointless.

I just feel like I'm a glorified quarter master. The supply guy. The money handler. The keeper of the bag. Alas...

In a fight they don't need me. What can I possibly shout or what decision can I make that really makes a difference?

I want to shout "Give me TACTICAL" and have a tactical map show up on the front of the ship and make tactical decisions that MATTER. (Yes, I like tactics and war games). But maybe that's not this game?

Perhaps a different but related issue is, even if there were such a way to direct movements, is there a chance for tactical prowess in an engagement?
More often than not, the only thing you can do is move your ship out of range or behind the single asteroid and try to dodge the enemy's shots. Perhaps if there were more things, more asteroids, more mine fields, more space stations, more things to work with on a single map encounter, it'd be different. As it is, many times, by the time your ship actually reaches the single non-moving asteroid to do something at least sort of tactical (hide and use cover, for example), the encounter is over. If I could shout, "Give me Warp Factor 5 Mr Helmsman" and have it chew through my fuel cells but get the ship somewhere in a jiffy, that'd at least be something in a captain's toolbox to use.

The armaments the ships, in my opinion, also don't do enough to influence tactics. Do lasers really offer anything other than hit at longer range? It's better to get two rail cannons of similar level in my opinion. You get much higher damage.

In a fight, I largely twiddle my thumbs until it's done. Am I missing something? What are you thoughts/experiences?

I love the game, just feel like this is an area to improve.

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Re: Is the captain The Captain? Some thoughts on tactics.

Post by Tajin » Tue Sep 22, 2015 3:32 am

I think a big part of this problem is due to the hud display in the upper right that keeps everyone informed about your and your enemies ship at all times.

Disabling that would require people to actually look at the status screens (or trust their commander to tell them what to do)


Aside from that however, I feel it's sometimes necessary to remind people to strictly stick to their own jobs unless told otherwise. It may sound harsh at first, but it makes the game more enjoyable.


I also think the commander should get a chair that allows him to view the ship from outside (like the pilot).

Maybe the captain could also have some sort of security console that allows him to lock/unlock certain systems, doors and whatnot.
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Re: Is the captain The Captain? Some thoughts on tactics.

Post by Earb » Tue Sep 22, 2015 6:31 am

Or just give the captain orders, which act as buffs, more turning speed, more weapons output (everytime with positive and NEGATIVE effects)

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Re: Is the captain The Captain? Some thoughts on tactics.

Post by GwaziMagnum » Tue Sep 22, 2015 12:29 pm

The two post suggestions above are outright golden.

Though honestly the issue might not be the Captain, but the other classes.
If they have the free time to dip elsewhere that suggests a lack of things for them to do.
If those are alleviated/fixed then they'd be sticking to their stations (through gameplay, not OOC restrictions) and be much more reliant and communicating with others to make sure everything else is going well.

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Re: Is the captain The Captain? Some thoughts on tactics.

Post by maplealmond » Tue Sep 22, 2015 2:36 pm

In ship to ship combat, I agree, the skipper doesn't do much. He's very often the one laying down away-team missions.

The order buff idea is nice, and I'd like to develop that idea further. I'd give the captain two kinds of orders, "general standing orders" which are long lasting, and "immediate orders" which can be activated under a condition. Both of those orders should, in addition to telling the Bots what to do, give a buff of some kind. So when the captain gives the general order "Relax" what actually happens is the crew gets a slow HP regen without having to visit the atrium. When the captain gives the order "Explore" the crew gets a movement buff.

General orders stay until the captain gives something else. Short term orders, meanwhile, are a temporary thing. "All Weapons on Target" is a good example of an order that should be temporary, it tells the weapons guy (or bot) to go ahead and use all available weapons, including missiles, to take down the enemy. "Evasive Action" only makes sense when there is a hostile enemy, and its aimed at the pilot, telling him to strafe like crazy even if that messes with weapon aim. "Go to Warp" is another good order, it tells the pilot to align and engineering to charge and go.

Giving these orders, hopefully via a VERY easy menu, would provide short buffs. A captain who says "Go to Warp" would provide a slight buff to warp engine recharge and calculations, and a slight buff to rotational speed, as well as give the (human) pilot a more clear nav marker. A captain who says "Repel boarders" would be giving those buffs to shooting and fighting. General orders would have a cooldown, however, after you shout to destroy a target, it will take 30 seconds or so before the next "Destroy target" gives a damage buff or whatnot.

Not that this is realistic, but pilot training makes the ship go faster, so why not?

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Re: Is the captain The Captain? Some thoughts on tactics.

Post by Kitchner » Tue Sep 22, 2015 7:38 pm

Tajin wrote:I think a big part of this problem is due to the hud display in the upper right that keeps everyone informed about your and your enemies ship at all times.

Disabling that would require people to actually look at the status screens (or trust their commander to tell them what to do)
I actually agree with this. I hadn't really thought of this before but even just thinking about it for a moment highlights this.

If the pilot is piloting and sees you are getting the crap kicked out of you they can start aligning to a system to GTFO. Instead, if the pilot doesn't know how much damage you have taken while piloting (because they can't pilot and see the damage screen) then the Captain has to tell them to GTFO.

Even things like the number of enemies, the science officer should be having to tell people how many ships they can scan, not everyone sees it automatically.

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Re: Is the captain The Captain? Some thoughts on tactics.

Post by Calladium » Wed Sep 23, 2015 5:15 pm

Jingo wrote: I just feel like I'm a glorified quarter master. The supply guy. The money handler. The keeper of the bag. Alas...
I know exactly what you mean, it would be nice to allow other officers to use a "discretionary fund" to purchase ship components, fuel, missiles, etc. instead of being limited to buying handheld weapons and food while on shore leave as it currently is.

I also agree that reducing the information available to certain roles is a great way to "force" teamwork, but I worry this could be restrictive. Maybe in the future there could be options (available to host) to toggle these aspects? You could set it so only weapons officer can see enemy ships shield and hull status, the captain has info on your own ships hull strength and the science officer can see shields, but still have the option to change this if you have a shorthanded crew or just don't want to play that way.

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Re: Is the captain The Captain? Some thoughts on tactics.

Post by Kitchner » Wed Sep 23, 2015 6:24 pm

Calladium wrote:
Jingo wrote: I just feel like I'm a glorified quarter master. The supply guy. The money handler. The keeper of the bag. Alas...
I know exactly what you mean, it would be nice to allow other officers to use a "discretionary fund" to purchase ship components, fuel, missiles, etc. instead of being limited to buying handheld weapons and food while on shore leave as it currently is.

I don't think this will add much.

Either you let them buy missiles and fuel which is a 2 second job anyway, or you let them buy modules for the ship, in which case you let the entire crew mess with the ship set up which isn't a good idea.

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Re: Is the captain The Captain? Some thoughts on tactics.

Post by Calladium » Thu Sep 24, 2015 6:53 am

I don't think this will add much.
I was suggesting this as a way to alleviate some of the tedium of the buy screen. Whenever I'm Captain I hate having to upgrade the ship because it's one of the few aspects of the game where the Captain directly affects the well-being of the ship while at the same time being really boring for the rest of the crew. I don't enjoy min/maxing and budgeting while everyone else is forced to twiddle their thumbs.
...you let them buy modules for the ship, in which case you let the entire crew mess with the ship set up which isn't a good idea.
I definitely see where you're coming from, this could open up a whole new playground for trolls, but they can already turn off your shields mid-fight, waste all your fuel, etc. so I doubt it'd be too much of a problem. If I could assign each crew member a cut of the loot to spend on upgrades I'm reasonably confident I wouldn't regret it. Crew members could even be restricted to only purchasing/trading components relevant to their station (ex. weapons officer get turrets and hull; science gets shields, programs, and computers).

This may be a little much just to making upgrading a little less painful, but something does need to be done. Even being able to directly compare currently installed parts with those in the shop menu would make a big difference in speeding up a relatively boring process.

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Re: Is the captain The Captain? Some thoughts on tactics.

Post by Jingo » Fri Sep 25, 2015 12:02 am

Regarding purchasing, you could still allow the Captain overall control of his ship by allowing him to sign off on whatever purchases the other crew have lined up. That way, they could prepare the purchases, but no money actually goes out unless the captain approves it.

That would satisfy both worlds. Everyone would be allowed to prepare purchases for their stations, and in situations where there isn't trust on a ship, the captain could just ignore what they've lined up and do the purchasing on his own.

You could even add an "Automatically Approve Crew Purchases" option on the Captain's console for crews where there's a high level of obedience/trust.

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