July 3rd 2015
Part of our commitment to providing information during concept sales is doing followup community Q&A sessions! All future concept sales will include at least one ‘post launch’ Q&A post. This week, for the Genesis Starliner concept sale, we’re answering questions backers have posted to this thread. A special thank you to designer Randy Vasquez for answering your Starliner questions!
Yes! This is an easy way to generate missions for pilots who might not be able to afford their own Starliner. Meridian Transport, introduced on Around the Verse, is one of these companies, and we envision their hiring pilots who have earned their commercial transport license in the finished universe. You’d draw a salary (with a modifier based on performance) rather than earning credits from individual NPC tickets… and of course continued poor performance would mean you wouldn’t be invited back.
We imagine two processes for this: playing a character who is physically located in the back with the passengers (like a flight attendant) who can observe their needs, or operating a panel in the cockpit with holo footage and other informational readouts. The former situation would be more for crews that have more than one real player operating the ship, the latter would allow solo pilots to interact with both NPCs and steer the ship.
It will not be especially difficult; you’ll modify the internals of the ship using a holoviewer style interface much the same way you modify exterior hardpoints. Note that you won’t, however, travel with an unlimited supply of alternate seats, cabins and the like: you’ll need to plan in advance to make sure you have the needed stock at your destination.
We have not put into place any restrictions of this nature; rather, this balance will be enforced by individual passenger NPCs: some might be willing to fly in the co-pilot seat on a Caterpillar, while the majority will prefer what they perceive to be commercial transport. (Please note that we will conduct a more in-depth Q&A on the passenger mechanic in the future; the team responsible for them has been hard at work on developing science systems this week.)
The boarding process will involve the same ‘security scan’ recently developed for customs checkpoints. A video from this segment showing a scanning grid was recently released on Around the Verse.
We have not locked the specifications for any of the variants yet, but we are heavily considering different weapon configurations than the base model. That said: the idea behind the Starliner as offered today is that it is heavily protected with advanced powerplants and shields, able to survive an engagement without needing to fight back.
The players will use a combination of the two. They will plot the most effective course in which they need to refuel, resupply, and drop/pick up passengers. Some things can be automated by the player while others will require the players attention. And of course you’ll have the option to break out of autopilot at any time and street the ship yourself.
We have not done any work on a medical variant of the Genesis Starliner. With modular medical equipment available for ships like the Cutlass, it’s something we expect players might build themselves. We have done work on a prisoner transport variant, which would be a good base for such a ship! (And a great setting for Con Air… in Space!)
Some of these variants will involve external changes. These designs are going through the approval process now, to make sure they fit into our vision for the Persistent Universe. When we have their stats (and appearance) locked down, we’ll share them with the community.
The main benefit of the Starliner to a player is as an economic resource – it’s a way (relatively safe, all things considered) to start earning credits quickly. Adjusting pricing on seats, change configurations to adapt to the most desired routes… make a business out of it. The PU team wants to make sure that players have many options with which they can make money, and the commercial captain career is just one of them. Starliners can also serve as a base for many less-structured PU goals. Want a flying headquarters, or a heavily protectred guild transport? The Starliner chassis is here for you!
Seats were placed in there for take off/lift off. We designed it this way to better fit logicially and aesthetically with what the norm of travel is now and how we handle it in other ships. We could however have a variant where all seats are removed. We have the technology. And I would love to see more variants be built up for this ship using the modularity of the interiors. I think this is a great challenge for the community to design interior layouts, and come up with Roles.
I would love to challenge the community to make the ultimate Starliner. You need to be able to explain its Role, purpose, and give us an interior layout that if and when the winner is chosen, we could build out using our current assets and functionality already planned. This ship really is a chameleon. No additional hardpoints, and use the stock model as a base.
The current hardpoint is a size 5, which can accommodate a size 4 remote gimbal that will be fired by a gunner station. The Starliner also boast systems like Chaff and Flares for when they are speeding away. The Turret is meant as a deterrent. The pilot/owner can and may hire crew, or have friends man the various stations aboard the ship. The stock model is intended to be defensive.
Please consider the military variants named in the post as announced; if they are offered during the pledge campaign, they will not come with LTI. Any variants not listed in the post (such as the prisoner transport) may be offered with LTI in the future. Please note that while the military variants are being developed for the final game, they are not currently scheduled for sale; please do not purchase additional Starliner hulls expecting them all to be finished during the pledge period.