“A healthy dose of critical thinking and strategy. This is what a competent scientist brings with him when boarding a starship. A good scientist finds the crack in an opponent’s armour and sees vast potential in what is often disregarded.” Huu T’lia - Head of Research, Union Outpost 448
The Scientist is well trained in many different fields, from first-aid to cyber warfare. They are almost always helpful in some form - manning the sensors, executing programs and viruses, researching collected samples and applying that newfound knowledge to create new tools and items. They can search for information about sectors, ships and even people through galactic databases. Scientists are well-informed and often have an indirect but profound effect on combat.
Every ship emits 4 types of signatures through space:
EM (Electromagnetic) Signatures - Commonly the “loudest” signatures. They represent how much power a ship is using through the 4 conduits. The warp drive also delivers a large EM spike when charging.
QT (Quantum) Signatures - Teleportation and Atriums emit this type of signature. Often blocked by shields, the Quantum Signature is mostly used to find scarce quantum residue from abandoned or destroyed ships.
RA (Radiology) Signatures - High sources of radiation can be picked up through this scanner. Armed nuclear devices often cause a spike, as well as flying into a cloud of radiation.
LF (Life Forms) Signatures - Organic beings with complex cellular structures are picked up through this signature. The Sensors can detect the number and if they are humanoid.
DEV NOTES: The Radiation and Lifeforms signature types are not yet implemented.
Tactical Sensors are always running by default. They have specific ranges based on how much power is being allocated to science from the reactor screen. When objects are within those ranges, they automatically appear under “Detected Objects”. When an object leaves the range of the tactical sensors, it will become “out of range” and disappear from the screen after a short time.
Active Scans are specific actions that temporarily disable tactical sensors. Initiating an active scan will massively increase the range of that specific sensor and will allow you to discover objects from a much farther distance. Discovering a far away object using an active scan will alert you to its presence, but it will immediately become “out of range” and disappear after a while.
The Scientist can click on anything underneath the “Detected Objects” list to bring up more information about that specific item.This can include hostility, whether or not it has detected you, unique weapons it has equipped, or if it matches a GX Entry.
Players can also see the object’s power allocation to each of its four reactor conduits. This provides insight into the priorities of the specific vessel.
For example: An enemy may suddenly put full power into shields and engineering, while removing almost all power from weapons. This suggests the vessel is attempting to avoid confrontation and repair its shields quickly.
This window also displays the different signatures of the vessel, as well as its distance from the sensors.
Targeted Scans are similar to Active Scans. They temporarily disable the tactical sensors and divert all attention to a specific query. You can perform a targeted scan for lifeforms aboard a ship, or determine which components make up that specific vessel.
Viewing a ship’s components with a targeted scan may help the Scientist find an enemy’s weakness and build a strategy.
Planets can be picked up by the sensors just like ships can. The sensors will provide a brief description of the planet's environment and alert the crew if it poses any extreme hazards. You can even perform a targeted scan to detect life forms, which will provide you with results on how many were detected near the teleporter, as well as if they are humanoid or non-humanoid. Robots will not appear in these scans.
Ship Computer (OS)
Each ship is outfitted with a continuously updating computer system that is capable of executing a variety of programs and viruses.
Programs can perform different tasks that may be helpful during combat or other situations. The library of programs will continue to grow.
Viruses in this context are the programs that generate new viruses that are sent to other vessels in an attempt to negatively affect them.
Every ship OS is connected through constant stream of updates and patches, so old viruses cannot be continuously used. The ship OS will learn how the virus breached its security and modify itself to never allow a similar breach to occur, then communicate with the main galactic OS. Even pirates and criminals accept this truth for they would be at an immense disadvantage if their own computer systems were out-dated.
The result is that no two viruses can ever be the same. The programs used to generate viruses must assemble an entirely new type of virus for it to have a chance of success. If you want to use a virus twice, you need to charge it twice.
The status tab on the computer screen displays information about the ship’s current detection and cyber defense ratings.
The signature readings at the top of the screen illustrate your current ship’s detection ratings in each of the 4 categories. The higher these numbers, the more likely the ship is to detect an object.
From the status tab, the Scientist may also adjust the ship’s shield frequency. Based on information the Scientist can gather from examining enemy ship components and observing what types of weapons are installed, they can adjust this frequency for a more effective defense. There are two main settings:
Modulate: Increases defense against energy weapons such as lasers but decreases the ship’s detection rating by 20%.
Static: Increases defense against physical projectiles such as rail guns, missiles and nukes but also increases your ship’s EM signature, making it easier for other ships to detect you.
Charging Programs and Viruses
Because of their large energy requirements, programs and virus generators siphon off warp energy from fuel capsules. Specific stations and equipment are installed in ships to allow programs and viruses to be charged without having to warp. See “The Coolant Screen” to learn more about this process.
Each individual program/virus requires a specific amount of warp energy to fully charge, represented by the small circles. More complex programs will require more energy and will need more circles filled to reach full charge. When a program/virus is fully charged and ready to use, players can select the program/virus and activate it with the “execute” button.
Programs charge from left to right. The order in which you place them determines the order in which they are charged.
Enemy Viruses and Cyber Defense
The Virus Screen shows the current viruses in play and what they are attacking.
iruses labeled in green are ones sent by your ship or an ally.
Viruses labeled in red are ones that are currently attacking or infecting your ship and its systems.
The triangle to the left allows players to expand or minimize the details of each virus.
The number to the right of the virus name is the amount of time before that virus stops being broadcasted. If your ship manages to avoid being infected during that time, then you have successfully evaded the virus.
Below the name is a brief description of what the virus does. Under that description is a list of every ship in sensor range and whether or not they have been infected.
Viruses modify themselves when failing to breach a ship’s computer system. The screen counts the virus’s attempts at infecting a vessel.
Cyber Defense Processors can be installed on the ship. The more cyber defense processors you have installed increases your security rating and makes it more difficult for viruses to infect your ship.
If an enemy virus infects your ship, you may run an Antivirus program to restore control. You may also perform a ship-wide reboot. See “Ship Startup Sequence” for more details.
The Scientist will start with a Hand Held Scanner in their ship locker. This equipable item can be very useful for finding NPCs and items, locating hazards, and learning the locations of your fellow crewmembers as well as doors to interior places. Left clicking with the scanner out will allow you to move between the three zoom levels.
If some of the dots are dimmer than the rest, those are not near the same elevation as the scanner. You may need to find a way up or down to reach those signatures.
Collecting Samples / Research
DEV NOTES: The collection and research mechanics will likely be introduced during Beta / Pre-Beta!
The Atrium and Healing
The Atrium’s purpose is to rematerialize and breathe new life into deceased crewmembers.
The Atrium can only rematerialize one crewmember at a time. If more than one crewmember is killed a queue is formed. An Atrium will only rematerialize individuals within its security clearance. You cannot be rematerialized aboard an enemy vessel.
Atriums can also slowly heal non-deceased crewmembers within a small surrounding area.
Atrium Range and Permanent Death
Atriums also have ranges based on their condition and any other interference. Dying outside of Atrium range will mean permanent death, and the entire crew’s mission will fail, resulting in a game over.
When a crewmember dies outside of a friendly Atrium’s range, the rest of the crew will have approximately 2 minutes to gain control of a new atrium before that time.
This is important when choosing to abandon your ship. If a crew decides to abandon their ship and it gets destroyed, they will find themselves outside of Atrium range. If a crewmember has perished since then, they will with only have two minutes to successfully claim that enemy ship and its Atrium, or it will result in a game over for the entire crew.