Guide to Command

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Wikipori says:
“Watch it, bub! This page is still under construction!

Got questions? Wanna lend a hand? Kindly visit the discord.

Additional Information: "This only covers the very basics, and is very vague regarding non-captain command roles"
Marked by: "Meem (talk) 04:45, 26 December 2023 (UTC)"

Wiki Moth says:
"Command isn't suited for beginners. It's recommended to have a basic grasp of how every department within a ship functions and some knowledge of the ship you're playing on, but you can host your own ship and learn on the go!"

Ship Command

Captaincy in Shiptest is (in the humble opinion of this page's writer) much more relaxed than captaincy on a station. The job remains as establishing the stability and productivity of whatever you're a Captain of, but everything is far smaller, and you can get a good grasp on how leadership works easier without all the pressure of a larger everything, but delegation is less effective. It's mostly just helping everyone else do their job that's the hard part. This guide will, hopefully, go through what you need.

First in Command: The Captain

The role of captain is forced onto whoever spawns a ship, or can be chosen if the ship was spawned via an admin. Specific duties may vary with crew size, ship role, and similar factors, but before all duties remains one above the rest - the bridge is going to be the place you stay the most at to pilot the ship somewhere interesting. Every single ship benefits from going to different places, be it for materials or simply ruin looting, but it keeps your crew busy so they don't get bored. And while you're piloting the ship, KEEP YOUR EYES ON THE CONSOLE! If you leave it, you WILL run into an asteroid storm and blow everything up. Many Captains have met their demise from keeping their helm console turned on.

Your second, presumably more important duty, is determining the ship's gimmick. To elaborate - all ships, as it currently stands, are specialized in their own sector (e.g. an Aegis-class is a roleplay medical vessel, while a Ranger-class may be more of a generalist). While the general social ambience of a ship is determined by its faction (or lack thereof) and existing equipment, you are the final factor in tweaking or adding the requirements within it, ranging from minor changes, like running a more strict or relaxed crew, to major changes in your gameplay loop, like charging for medical services or selling contraband to other ships.

Apart from piloting, most bridges are equipped with a wideband intercom, a handy device for easy communication with other ships in the sector. Holopads serve a similar function, where by standing on them and calling another holopad, you can call other holopads and look around their surroundings. You may also call emergency ghost-controlled holograms in holopads in case you need advice or help.

If there's nothing going on in the bridge, search for things to help with. Maybe medical needs help dissecting the twenty corpses the miner brought back, maybe there's a hull breach caused by your own piloting that needs to be patched up, or maybe there's a naked, screaming moth onboard stealing and eating everyone's shoes, and security keeps stepping on glass shards. Either way, there's almost always something to do.

I'm Alone!

Though it is expected to be operating with a skeleton crew, being in a ship alone changes things up considerably. There's nobody to boss around, and there's nobody to help you if you get in trouble either. Every area of the ship is unmanned, and left completely up to you as how it is operated (if at all). This might get tedious, tiring, or otherwise boring very quickly. The reasons why nobody joins your ship can be multiple and of dubious justification, but if you really do not wish to be in a solo ship, you are within your right to start a bluespace jump and join another ship.

Second in Command: The Lieutenant

If you are not the Captain, but still a command role and don't have a specific job, you may be what is known as a Bridge Officer. You'll likely be staying by the bridge as well and act as a Helmsman, or a similar role. The same principles still apply - you both are in charge of the crew, and must aid them. One can coordinate the crew, the other can take over the jobs in the bridge, or viceversa.

Acting Captain

Maybe the Captain went to cryo, has no idea what they're doing, or faced a horrible, traumatizing incident and can't/won't be the Captain anymore. You're the next higher rank. What Do?

First of all: You are always welcome to give up command to someone else, or to start a bluespace jump. Do not feel forced to be a role you don't want to be.

Chances are you should notify your faction higher-ups that the older captain is unable to do their job anymore, and you're going to have to make space within your normal duties to pilot the ship. It's not all bad, mind you, you'll most likely still be able to do them, but you will return to the bridge every once in a while.

Damage Control

Things are blowing up, on fire, being mauled by a massive creature from outer space, or glowing an unearthly green. Even when you do things right, they are still bound to go very, very wrong. It's your job to stay calm when emergencies occur, and to determine how to deal with them appropriately. It's in these cases where your authority will be pressed the most for weaknesses, because some people will fend for their own lives before they listen to you. Take a deep breath, get your shit together, and assess damages:

If you are in movement, either STOP THE SHIP or PILOT IT SOMEWHERE SAFE Land it in empty space or a nearby planet before things get worse! This will give a chance to crewmembers who have obtained space suits and oxygen to provide damage control without dying to hyperspace!

After you've gathered a report on what damage you have suffered and a head count, you'll probably want to call for another ship for help. There are three main methods to do it:

  • Through a Fax Machine. Scribble a message into a paper, and then send it to another vessel's fax machine. Fax machines are very loud, so if they're on their ship, they're very likely to hear it.
  • Through Wideband. Wideband is a radio frequency that can be heard by every other ship with wideband. Alt-click on the intercom to enable the microphone and then speak into it. Even if you're not heard at first, wideband intercoms have a log.
  • Through a Holopad. If you stand on the Holopad and click on it, you can call another holopad. Holopads constantly beep when receiving a call.

If nobody is answering your pleas for help, there is another solution:

Distress Signals

A distress signal is a term for a server-wide announcement that your vessel is in distress. With any luck, someone will see the large red text on their screen, and head to the coordinates listed there. While there aren't any automatic ways to launch a distress signal, if you pray, fax an Admin Fax, or create an ahelp ticket, an administrator can create a distress signal for you.

Ship Owner Menu

This is an OOC utility that will help you in managing the ship. Within the different categories:

Ship Status

How members join your ship. If set to Open, anyone can join. If set to Apply, members can send in one, and only one application, that can be accepted or denied, and optionally linked to their Ckey. Applications are ship specific and not job specific. If set to Locked, nobody can join. It is worth noting that people are more likely to join Open ships rather than Apply ships.

Ship Memo

This is shown to everyone who is trying to join your ship. It is recommended that you set application requirements, and the general jist of the ship so newcomers have expectations of what is happening/going to happen. The ship memo is a good way of directing the people you want in your ship. Make a ship with one-armed plasmamen! Charge people outrageous sums for medical services! The power is in your Memo (and within the server rules)!

As an aside, do NOT set roleplay levels. You are required to always be in roleplay.

Ship Owner Status

Determines who can be owner, and allows you to transfer ownership. Useful if you're going to cryo or need someone else to hold ownership.