Commanding a Spacecraft
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This topic describes how to command spacecraft that are crewed by non-player characters. NPCs already know how to operate each control station of a spacecraft. This topic does not describe the details of operating the various control stations of a spacecraft.
You must be aboard a spacecraft to become the captain. The spacecraft must not already have a captain. If it has a NPC officer, you must be in the chain of command of the spacecraft to become the captain.
To become the captain, open the Comm (F3) window. Select the Intercom channel. If necessary, open the Intercom channel using the list of standard channels.
Use the Request Berth button to request the captain's berth. The ship will automatically assign the captain's berth if it is available. The occupant of the captain's berth is the captain of the ship.
A berth aboard a fleet spacecraft can be requested on any comm channel they monitor. Read farther to learn more about the channels monitored by officers and crew.
A spacecraft can have only one captain. Only avatars can occupy the captain's berth of a spacecraft.
Crew operate the systems of a spacecraft. Avatars and NPCs can occupy the crew berths of a spacecraft.
Many spacecraft can be operated solo. The pilot must know the details of operating every control console. This is a great way to learn how the systems of a spacecraft interoperate but the work load will keep the solo pilot running from station to station.
A competent crew reduces the task of operating a spacecraft to simply issuing orders.
Crew members are loaded from cities. To load crew members, the ship must be sitting on a road slab in a city or it must be stopped within the trade zone of a space station. A ship equipped with transporters may board crew from cities in transporter range.
Use the Comm (F3) window to board crew members. Crew members are taken from the population of their city of origin.
New crew members move to operate control stations as soon as they are aboard. The Unit Orders (Shift+F3) window is used to issue orders to crew members.
Crew may be members of any empire that is at least neutral toward your empire. Read about political stances to learn more.
A spacecraft can have one or more officers, regardless of whether it has a captain. Officers can be avatars or NPCs. If a ship will have a captain and an officer, it must be designed with two officer berths. One berth is for the captain and one berth is for the officer. Additional officer berths will accommodate more officers.
An NPC officer is the officer in command when they have the con. The con is a symbolic token held by the officer in command. The officer in command executes the mission of the ship. While it is possible to give the con to more than one officer at once, only one of them actually commands the ship. Avatars in the chain of command of the ship always have the authority to execute mission orders so they do not hold or maintain a token representing the con. The Unit Orders window is used to give an officer the con and to revoke the con. It also shows which officers have the con.
NPC officers are loaded from cities just like crew members. However, each habitable world only deploys one NPC officer at a time, making them a precious resource. Frontier worlds, those in the inner or outer orbit zones, do not produce NPC officers, even if they have habitable environments.
Officers accept orders from all players in their chain of command. The captain and other human officers of their ship are in their chain of command. In addition, officers are in the chain of command of all the players who govern their home world. That means, they will take orders from the ship's captain, human officers, their home world's administrator, their home system's administrator, their home sector's administrator, the vice emperor, and the emperor.
Officers monitor comm channels aboard their ship for communications, regardless of whether they have the con. Officers monitor the Fleet channel, the Hail channel, the Crew channel, and the channel that matches their ship's name. The crew monitors the Crew channel, regardless of the presence of an officer.
If you issue a mission order to your crew over the comm, the officer aboard will take the con if he doesn't already have it. The officer will notify you of this, in his reply. This is necessary to carry out your orders.
The mission of a spacecraft is defined in a list of one or more mission orders. The Spacecraft Mission (Shift+F2) window is used to manage the mission of the ship you are aboard.
The mission of spacecraft can be controlled remotely using the Comm (F3) window. Broadcast mission orders on any channel monitored by the crew or an officer. Use the Crew channel to issue orders to your ship and to manage your ship's mission when you are not aboard. If you are a governing official of your empire, you can hail on the Fleet channel. Each spacecraft commanded by an officer in your chain of command will open a channel to you that is the name of their ship. Mission orders can be issued on any of these channels, including the Fleet channel.
The first order in the list of mission orders is the current order. Crew members continuously work to execute the current order. Not all mission orders are carried out by the crew.
The commander of a ship must decide when the current order is complete. The commander is an officer with the con or an avatar in the chain of command of the ship, typically the captain. Some orders require actions to be performed by the commander, such as buying and selling cargo. Tooltips when issuing mission orders indicate who is responsible for carrying out each order. When the commander determines that the current order is complete, the Mission Order Complete button must be pressed.
When a mission is "cyclic", the current order is rotated to the end of the mission order list when it is completed. This is typically used when configuring a trade route for an NPC commanded spacecraft. The mission acts as a repeating cycle of orders to be executed by the officer and crew.
When a mission is "do once", the current order is deleted when it is completed. This is typically used aboard spacecraft commanded by humans. The mission acts as a continuous stream of orders for execution by the officer and crew.
When the current order is do once, the current order is deleted when it is completed, regardless of the cyclic state of the mission. An officer who decides to attack an enemy spacecraft inserts a do once Attack order as the current order. That way the original mission resumes when the attack is complete. An officer whose ship is damaged by pirates on a plunder mission will insert a do once Stand Down order as the current order, enabling the mission to resume after the pirates have their way with them.
When a mission is active, the crew executes the current order. When a mission is inactive, the crew holds the ship at its current position.
Troops operate the weapon turrets of a spacecraft. Avatars and NPCs can occupy the troop berths of a spacecraft.
Troops are loaded from cities that have military bases. To load troops, the ship must be sitting on a road slab in a city or it must be stopped within the trade zone of a space station. A ship equipped with transporters may board troops from cities in transporter range.
Use the Comm (F3) window to board troops. Troops are taken from the military bases of their city of origin.
New troops move to operate turrets and stand at guard posts as soon as they are aboard. The Unit Orders (Shift+F3) window is used to issue orders to troops.
Troops must belong to the same empire as the ship to take a berth aboard it.
Chain of Command
Chain of command enables avatars to control spacecraft without occupying a berth aboard those spacecraft. All avatars in the chain of command of spacecraft have authority over those spacecraft.
Chain of command enables one avatar to command several spacecraft. It also enables one spacecraft to be commanded by more than one avatar.
- In an arena, everyone on the same team as the spacecraft is in its chain of command.
- Captains and officers on the roster of a spacecraft are in its chain of command.
- Everyone is in the chain of command of a ship with no captain's berth and nobody holding the captain's slot, regardless of empire. A spacecraft with no berths has only a captain's slot. Such spacecraft are typically utility shuttles. When a spacecraft with only a captain's slot has no captain, all players are in its chain of command.
- Owner is in the chain of command of all of their company ships.
- Everyone is in the chain of command of a company ship with no captain or officers, regardless of empire.
- The chain of command of the officer is also in the chain of command of the ship, on ships with an officer, whether company or fleet.
- Governors who have dominion over the ship's current location, on fleet ships with no officer, are in the ship's chain of command.
Officers have a chain of command.
- In an arena, everyone on the same team as the officer is in its chain of command.
- Governors who have dominion over the officer's home world are in its chain of command.
Demiavatars are in the chain of command of their parents while they are AI controlled.
Use the Comm (F3) window to broadcast a Hail message on the Fleet channel to contact fleet spacecraft. Each fleet spacecraft in range will open a separate channel to you with the name of the spacecraft. Use the Fleet channel to issue orders simultaneously to all fleet spacecraft. Use individual channels to communicate with individual fleet spacecraft.
Use the Comm (F3) window to broadcast a Hail message on the Company channel to contact company spacecraft. Each company spacecraft in range will open a separate channel to you with the name of the spacecraft. Use the Company channel to issue orders simultaneously to all company spacecraft. Use individual channels to communicate with individual company spacecraft.