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Recently, a group of us over at TGwS have been exploring and experimenting with the tactics we’ll use to succeed in Star Citizen in 3.0 and beyond. To simulate some of the challenges, we’ll face on a multi-crew ship we’re leveraging other games -most recently including a lot of Pulsar: Lost Colony and Worlds Adrift to good effect. Today, I’d like to talk about what we’ve learned about planetfall strategy playing the latter, a new open world survival game by Bossa Studios.
In Worlds Adrift (presently in closed beta) your goal is to build an airship used to explore a planet filled with floating ‘islands.’ In the process, you will gather knowledge and resources allowing you to build progressively more sophisticated ships, making it possible to travel to other parts of the world for exploration. Because of this core shipbuilding mechanic, a lot of time is invested in ships, making them prized possessions. Crews become very attached, and many salty tears are shed over their loss.
But beyond any emotional attachment the team may have to the home they worked so hard to build (or otherwise procure), these vessels serve as floating repositories for everything found along the way. Items gathered over hours, days, or even weeks including clothing, weapons, ammunition, and the raw materials necessary to trade and progress can all be lost in the blink of an eye, leaving you and your crew stranded and penniless.
During our time in Worlds Adrift, we’ve come across more than one raider, whose only objective was to destroy our ship and materials without warning or negotiation. Individuals who showed great skill and joy in how they executed their chaotic plan. This alongside the rest of the pirates and thieves is a very real risk, making the game all the more enjoyable to play. But it also suggests a higher level of organization and strategy are required, to avoid potentially devastating setbacks.Planetfall Security is a Team Effort
In Star Citizen, the crew I roll with is looking forward to exploration and discovery, but we know space is a dangerous place. To balance the overriding goals of our team with emergent security needs (while ensuring we’re all still having fun) a high-level strategy for planetfall is suggested. Referred to by its acronym the RADER-Plan, the three, key elements of our strategy are:
- Reconnoiter the zone
- Assess the situation
- Define and communicate
By the way, acronyms are a useful way to make a process more memorable. Just look at how many are used by the United States Military!Communicate and Collaborate
Before we explore each element of our strategy in greater detail, a word on leadership, communication, and roles on an exploration vessel. When it comes to security and navigation, someone on the crew should be designated the Officer in Command (OIC) at all times. On smaller ships, it might make sense that the OIC is also the pilot, but this isn’t necessarily the case. On larger ships, the pilot and the OIC may need to work together to maneuver the ship, particularly when close to land masses.
On a side note, you may wonder why it might be necessary for two (or more) crew members to drive the ship. An often overlooked yet vital aspect of security is the projection of strength and confidence. When a ship enters a new area and gracefully slides to its mooring with professionalism and pride, this display of competence says to observers: We know what we’re doing. Perhaps you should prey on the herp derps over there, crash landing on the beach.
You may also wonder: Is the OIC the Captain? In my opinion, I don’t think it should be on an exploration vessel, but results may vary. In general, I think an exploration ship should be a collective endeavor, choosing long term goals and style of operation collaboratively. It should strike a healthy balance between civilian and military style operation in order to keep things enjoyable while maintaining a reasonable degree of security. After all, exploration vessels will often be outside of lawfully protected space.
While an exploration crew may decide to have a formal, full-time Captain, this role is different from the OIC. Ideally, the Captain will work with the entire team to set and plan an overarching, long-term strategy for the ship. This role may include setting goals and objectives, communicating ideas, and supporting the other officers.
The OIC is accountable for the security of the ship and the health and safety of the crew at all times. Ideally, on an exploration ship, this would be a job, rather than a career, and everyone on board should take turns with the responsibility. On to the RADER-Plan.Reconnoiter the Area
In Worlds Adrift we’re approaching new islands or regions of islands for exploration. However, this is not altogether unlike approaching a new planet, asteroid, or space station in the Star Citizen universe, for any other reason. The bottom line is, when you make planetfall, your crew and assets are entering an area which holds unknown risks. Therefore, it makes sense to proceed carefully
After identifying the theater for your next mission, the OIC should assign scouts, and dispatch them ahead of the principal assets. This individual or team’s goal is to reconnoiter the area in search of a safe landing zone and determine the presence of potential threats. On contact, the scout’s job is to interview other ship crews or locals in the area to assess their risk profile. We’ve met many friendlies in Worlds Adrift who were interested in trading knowledge and materials, and this is likely to occur in Star Citizen as well.
Once an LZ is selected, the Scout should radio back to the mother ship with instructions with a standardized 12 line message:
- Landing type (Main ship, landing vessel, scout vessels, HALO)
- Location of the landing zone
- Description of the landing zone
- Regional contact count (Friendlies/Neutrals/Enemies)
- Landing marker
- Landing start and window
- Local weather conditions with wind speed, wind direction, air pressure, and temperature
- Atmosphere condition.
For example, on a ship named Pantera, the Landing 10 line may sound something like this:
Scout: Pantera, Pantera, Pantera: Stand by for a landing 10 line.
Pantera OIC: Go ahead, Scout.
- Skipper, we are clear for a Pantera Alpha landing. (Main ship)
- LZ Bravo is on the south side of the island, approximately 50 meters southwest of the ruddy red/orange colored butte and 2000 meters altitude. You should be able to see that structure now, on your 12 o’clock.
- LZ Bravo is a 15 meter, roughly square grassy plain bordered on the north by two trees with red colored leaves. There is an iron mooring on the southwest corner of the area and a small, derelict ship nearby to the west.
- Two friendlies occupy the derelict ship, interested in trading. Zero neutrals, zero enemies.
- I will mark the LZ with purple smoke.
- Time to initiate landing: Now. Landing window: 30 minutes.
- The current weather conditions are clear. Winds are light westerlies at approximately 5 knots steady. Air pressure is unknown; air temperature is nominal.
- Local atmosphere is roughly Earth-like, specific chemistry is unknown, but no protective gear is required.
At this point, it would be wise for the OIC to repeat back the information to confirm receipt. At the very least it should be acknowledged.Assess the Situation
While it’s the scout’s job to communicate intelligence about the landing zone, it is ultimately the OIC who is accountable for the security of the ship and crew. Therefore, the OIC has final say over whether they accept, reject, or would like to modify the Scout’s plan. This further assessment includes the new information provided by the scout, combined with other known intelligence regarding the identity of the local contacts and region. The OIC should also consult with the remainder of the crew before making a final determination.Define and Communicate
Upon making a final decision regarding the landing plan, the OIC should layer in additional considerations to complete the total plan and communicate it out to the team. This final planning should also be worked out collaboratively with the mission crew.
A good planetfall plan should include, at least, the following six data points:
- Purpose of the landing
- Duration of the landing
- Landing assignments
- Planetside assignments
Simply put, this phase is to carry out the plan. It’s not uncommon for plans to get off track, and it’s important to be flexible and adapt to changing conditions.Recap
Upon completion of the mission, it’s always a good idea to ask everyone who had a role to participate in an official debrief. The purpose of this meeting is for every single member of the team to have uninterrupted time to share their perception of the mission with complete openness and honesty.
High performing teams see this as an opportunity to evaluate the plan and get feedback on their performance at every step in the process. It’s important for everyone involved to feel comfortable sharing their perception and receiving criticism from their crewmates.Conclusion
So what are your thoughts on planetfall strategy, and success with multicrew operations in general? Hit us up with comments or check us out in real time over at TGwS! We’re always looking for fun people to play with.
The post Space-Ops Strategy: Protect this House with a Planetfall Plan appeared first on INN.
Hello and welcome back to Lore Builder, where we work with you, the community, to help build out the Star Citizen universe. As always, if you are new to this feature or the game in general, please consult the Caveats and Background Reading section listed in the previous issue to get an understanding of what’s already been established.
So, with that out of the way, let’s get started.GOVERNMENT
For the past few weeks, we’ve been looking at the legislative branch of the UEE, specifically how that arm of the government was structured. After getting a robust list of potential bureaucracies, agencies and departments, we started looking at the division between local and Imperial governments to try and understand where one ended and the other began.
Thanks again to everyone who submitted ideas. There were some really interesting approaches to distinguishing these boundaries. Chaucer even presented a fictional news article.
As we continue to comb through the more detailed suggestions and further refine the nuances of government, here is a high-level look at the UEE structure incorporating a bunch of your suggestions and ideas.OVERVIEW
During the Messer Era, the UEE was a pervasive presence in the lives of the populace (Carpe Caelum); they dictated everything from standardized architectural styles to how many rolls of nanowipes each family deserved. After the fall of the Messers, the government withdrew, eager for people to enjoy the freedom that had been denied to them for so long. They knew that they shouldn’t completely disappear — there needed to be guarantees that certain standards were being maintained for everyone — so they developed the Common Law: a group of baseline rights, privileges and standards that everyone in a UEE system could expect. (Amontillado)
These Common Laws include: fundamental personal freedoms, safety practices for structures and products, health services, basic education (Equivalency), a system to allow interplanetary trade and travel, jump point and exploration management, and a security force to protect from external alien threats and interstellar crime.
These Common Laws can be found/enforced on every planet (represented or not) in a UEE system. The planets within these systems can build upon these Common Laws if they want, but cannot lessen them (Ramblin, Ski).PLANETARY CITIZENS
We’ve talked extensively about the Local and Imperial government, but what about Recognized and Unrecognized planets? If you aren’t familiar with the distinction, a planet is considered Unrecognized until it petitions the UEE for recognition. This can be granted based on the planet’s contribution to the Empire or its growth or because it has a valuable resource. Once recognition is granted, the Senate lets the planet choose its name (up to this point it’s officially known as its planetary designation (Sol III) even though it would already have a name created by locals) and allowed to elect a Senator.
So would Unrecognized planets have to abide by these Common Laws? In short, yes. If the system is claimed by the UEE, then the Common Laws apply, even to unrecognized worlds. As in the distinction between Civilians and Citizens among people, think of the recognized planets as Citizens and the unrecognized as Civilians. All are subject to the law, but Citizens/Recognized have the voice to try and change the law.
Now we’ll continue to flesh out this system, adding in some of the departments that were suggested as we go.
Moving on to next week’s topic, something you might possibly be interested in:GUNS
As you are probably aware, Star Citizen is going to have a lot of pieces, from ship hulls down to smaller components like maneuvering thrusters. We have an internal corporations list that outlines all of the various manufacturers of these pieces and we’re developing style guides for each of them so they have a consistent look and feel to their parts. The goal is to infuse consistent design elements among the various parts so you could almost identify the manufacturer by the style of the part.
Therefore, we aren’t going to ask for corporations, instead we’re going to ask for Gun Names.
First off, here’s a format to work within:
Manufacturer: (chosen from the list below)
Gun Series Name:
Weapon Type: (energy, ballistic, plasma, neutron)
Naming Scheme: These weapons should come in various sizes 1-5. Do they have individual names for each class version, or a numbering system (Behring M3A = Size 1, Behring M4A = Size 2, etc.)
Tagline: How would they market this weapon? (“Behring M3A: The last word in any fight.”)
So now that you have the format, here are some Corporations that manufacture guns and a little description to help get your mind rolling on potential names:BEHRING
Example Weapons: M3A, Mk III
Description: Terra-based weapons consortium. Outsources to a lot of designers and subsidiaries to be a one-stop shop for all your defensive needs. Think of it as a conglomerate of Springfield Arms and General Dynamics. They make guns, missiles, tanks, dropships, sentry drones, etc. mostly for the UEE military, but they build civilian models as well. Usually favor quantity of production over quality. Popular models: P4AR – Standard issue rifle for the UEE military, about as basic and recognizable as the modern M16. Also comes in the P4SC, a more compact and collapsible carbine version.
Adjectives: Very military-centric construction. Not a lot of flare. Very functional, utilitarian.
Further Reference: Galactic Guide Behring Applied Technology
Examples: Omnisky III/IV/V/VI/VII, PyroBolt C1/C2.
Description: Formed early in the Messer era by recent veterans Marcelo Amon and Travis Reese, A&R Co. is one of the oldest weapons manufacturers in the UEE. Due in no small part to their friendly reputation (especially to those who are currently or have previously been in the military) and their incredibly popular line of Omnisky laser cannons, it must be noted that the company always stayed in a neutral position during the time of the Messers. Never directly associating with or claiming allegiance to that family, while considered a huge risk at the time, has only bolstered the positive outlook the public has on this company, and insured its relevance in the UEE almost permanently. Their weapon quality has helped them erode Behring’s stranglehold on the civilian ship market. Very well liked by military enthusiasts. Tends to lean politically right.
Adjectives: Clean industrial, heavy, military.
Examples: CF-007 Bulldog, CF-117 Badger
Description: Formed in 2893, Klaus & Werner makes guns, and they make them well. This simple philosophy was the brainchild of Hector Klaus, a successful weapons inventor who believed above all else that simplicity of design would triumph in a combat situation. They have some government contracts, but mostly trade in personal defense. Their line up is almost exclusively handguns, rifles and shotguns (both energy and hard-ammo). Popular models: Model II Arclight – handheld laser made famous as Kyle Fenris’ sidearm on the hit vid The Frontier.
Adjectives: Elegant, clean, good quality.
Further Reference: Galactic Guide Klaus Werner
Examples: Volgin Coil A
Description: Hurston Dynamics is the United Empire of Earth’s premier producer and distributor of both quantum cascade lasers and a wide variety of electron guns. This family-owned company is also the single largest outsource producer of standard munitions warheads for military contracts and the third-largest refiner of antimatter precursor in today’s economy. Though few finished products bear the Hurston name, their raw materials and manufactured components are found in nearly every piece of space technology in flight today.
Adjectives: Old-fashioned, elegant, precise, family-owned.
Further Reference: Galactic Guide Hurston Dynamics
Examples: Justice XI/XII/XIII/XIV/XV, Alpha1/2/3/4/5, Peacemaker Stone/Iron/Bronze/Steel/Carbon
Description: Beloved by bounty hunters, local police and militia, Preacher prides themselves on making high-quality, reliable and effective weapons. Most of their media messaging and public persona tend to focus on justice, righteousness and black-and-white morality. The company was founded in 2931 by Kino Walton, who started modifying weapons out of his workshop. In 2940, Preacher was bought out by the conglomerate Eon Group, who ramped up their manufacturing and production capabilities to put Preacher products in stores across the Empire.
Adjectives: High-end, powerful, sleek, dark.That’ll do it for this week. As always, please try to keep responses as concise as possible, but we’re really looking forward to seeing what you come up with.
Until Next Time …
Stay tuned for more interesting news coming your way!
It’s the seventeenth episode of Around the Verse, the show for Star Citizen’s community! We’re working to build a program that interfaces you more directly with the team behind the game.
The seventeenth episode features a ship discussion with Travis Day! We’ll also spotlight the latest news from Cloud Imperium and the amazing work the fan community is doing!
Stay tuned for more interesting news coming your way!
First day off. Set out through Orion and checked in with Yezzel on Armitage for his latest Vanduul movements. He was about to head out on a scrap run himself so he felt pretty confident. That might have been the booze talking though.
Though I have performed several expeditions into Tiber, Orion and Virgil, this marked the first venture into Vanguard. With equal parts exhilaration and abject fear, I set towards my first jump into new territory.
Upon exiting the jump point, I quickly found a quiet and dark place and sent out a drone for a scouting sweep. It eventually came back with an all clear and some interesting images. One of the planets showed signs of Vanduul harvesting. Even from orbit you could see the deep scars on the surface. Every time I see a planet being slowly consumed by the Vanduul, it gives me pause.
What are they using all these resources for? The incredible thing is how indiscriminate it appears their harvesting tech is. From my research, it doesn’t appear like they are isolating and extracting specific elements or ore, they simply scrape entire sections of the planet off.
If the system stays quiet, I will try to take a closer look.
Found a spot to power down. I’ve been losing efficiency on one of the cooling systems, so I spent the past few hours digging through the guts of the ship. The culprit turned out to be a switcher cable. I thought I just replaced that. I think I’ll be okay until I get back.
I’m about to crack open some foodstuffs and put the ship on watch.2943.10.14/05:03 LOCATION: VS-2/Vanguard
I’ve been staring at the screen for about an hour, trying to calm myself down enough to start recording this. I got up after about six hours of sleep and did a quick check of the scans, seemed the system was pretty quiet the whole time. I went through my morning regimen (food, exercise, pills) before working out a course through the system. I was going to try and land on Vanguard III to get some samples of the Vanduul harvesting, so I flashed up the engines and set out. Such a stupid, stupid move.
I’ve been spending too much time in Banu and Xi’An space. I’ve forgotten what life is like out here and particularly rule number one: you always sweep before you move. That chilling realization lanced through my spine the second I accelerated. Then, almost on cue, I picked up a contact.
I cut off everything and went dark.
It was a Kingship. Whole sections of the massive capship’s skeletal frame were bare and exposed, indicating … actually, I want to be clear that all of this insight was in retrospect, so you don’t think I was being calm. When it was happening, the only thought ricocheting around my head was “please, please, please don’t see me.”
But based on the level of construction to their flagship, I think they must have been a relatively new Clan. The ‘younger’ ones (if that’s an accurate way to put it) use their initial raids to build onto their Kingship, “fleshing it out” as I once heard a bounty hunter call it.
I watched the Clan’s trajectory, ready to take off if they shifted a degree toward me. I was so focused on their path that I wasn’t paying attention to my own. I had cut the engines off so quick that I was still moving forward, right towards an asteroid about the size of a small space dock. With my systems down, there was no proximity alarm to warn me. The impact nearly cracked the hull.
Then the Vanduul Clan stopped. They set themselves in orbit of the harvested planet, sending down their own machinery to start processing.
Eight hours later they finally pulled their harvesters and Scythes back to move on. Finally the Clan disappeared into the jump point back to Orion. Hope Yezzel’s already back and under cover.
I spent the rest of the day patching up the ship and cursing my stupidity.2943.10.14/12:41 LOCATION: VS-2/Vanguard
I sent out a few probes to make sure I was alone and slowly approached Vanguard III. I wasn’t going to risk getting too close to the planet, but I managed to position my ship for a good look down on the planet surface. Made me so glad I sold off my house for that new scan array.
Not all the Vanduul had gone. It was an encampment.
I had no idea that Vanduul ever stayed in one place long enough to have encampments.
I think if I post up on the opposite side of the planet (after yesterday, I’m not going to take any chances), I could sneak a short-range down for a closer look. This is unbelievable.<<<COMMUNICATION STREAM ENDS
Stay tuned for more interesting news coming your way!