October 9th 2015
You’ve got questions, we’ve got answers! Last week, we kicked off a concept sale for the new Endeavor science ship and its modules. Today, we’ll be answering questions collected on the forums. Special thanks to Persistent Universe Director Tony Zurovec for addressing questions about the Endeavor’s science and medical mechanics. Enjoy!
The medical profession is one of the more important occupations within Star Citizen, and it’s intended to be one of the larger and more flexible roles. On the FPS combat front Medics will be invaluable. They’ll be able to perform field triage that can heal some injuries entirely and mitigate others enough so that the injured party is at least more functional. The effects of more serious injuries can often be slowed so that there is a better chance of reaching a hospital where more advanced medical apparatus can improve the chances of survival. Depending upon the cause of death, a well-trained Medic can occasionally restart a patient’s heart, although death may soon reoccur if the root causes are not quickly addressed.
The Hope-class Endeavor opens up an entirely new range of possibilities for the aspiring healer. As previously noted, Endeavors with an attached Medical Bay may serve as respawn points for players that have died, and the associated Hangar Bay allows those players to – for a price premium – have one of their existing ships or a new purchase delivered quickly so that they can get right back into the action. The greatest demand for Hope-class Endeavors will therefore be in those areas where lots of player deaths are occurring, but of course a valuable and unescorted medical ship in a dangerous area will be a tempting target for pirates and other less savory types. In addition to respawn services, an Endeavor that has enabled its ID Beacon – thus broadcasting to others its position, services offered, prices, and reputational information – can also serve as a field hospital for any player or NPC requiring urgent medical attention. In such cases, the party in need would attempt to quickly close the gap with the Endeavor and then either request access to dock in its landing bay or simply EVA into the external hospital pressure lock. Upon arrival in the hospital it’s up to the Endeavor’s crew to employ their expertise to try and save the patient, with the ultimate outcome contributing to their medical reputation.
With an ample supply of hospital beds, Hope-class Endeavors are also ideally suited to tackle a variety of rescue missions. A destroyed Idris might leave a vast wake of severely injured crew members floating in the debris, with only limited oxygen left in their personal evacuation suits. Hope-class Endeavors can quickly retrieve such individuals, administer enough medical attention to stabilize them, and then transport them to the nearest outpost – all for a nice profit, of course. A research station close to the sun whose shielding has failed might be filled with scientists that have suffered severe burns and high doses of radiation. They might need to be dragged out of the station one by one, placed into suspended animation to minimize the effects of the radiation, and quickly taken to a particular hospital that’s able to better deal with such complicated medical issues.
The pilot of a Hope-class Endeavor – as with any other ship – has complete control over who can see their broadcast beacon. They can specify that only certain individuals can see such signals, only certain organizations, anyone, or anyone with a particular reputational rating beyond a certain value. Individual players and organizations can also be blacklisted. Thus, you’ll have total control over who is allowed to spawn in your Medical Bay. Expedited ships will arrive very quickly, as sitting on another player’s ship for an extended period of time wouldn’t be particularly fun, and the longer that you remain the more likely that the pilot might decide to leave the area, which would defeat the entire purpose of selecting them as a spawn point in the first place.
One thing to keep in mind, however, is that even this “abbreviated” respawn mechanic will not allow you to immediately get back to where you were. Upon respawning you’ll have to navigate to the Hangar Bay’s waiting room, request a ship – and there might be others in front of you, wait for the ship to arrive, traverse to it, board it, exit the Hangar Bay, and navigate back to your desired destination. This will not be Call of Duty – with instantaneous respawns – by any stretch of the imagination, and there will be a tangible penalty to death in terms of how long it takes you to get back to where you were even if an Endeavor is strategically placed. This is actually a critically important mechanic for the game as it will allow us much finer control over precisely how much of a penalty death should inflict, rather than it being exclusively linked to the distance from a major landing zone. This provides yet another way in which players can cooperatively work together, as some will be able to offer a valuable service to others in need. At the same time, it will also foster a lot of competition amongst those service providers, who will battle on both the pricing front and in terms of how deep into dangerous territory they’re willing to go – and thus how much more attractive their spawn point might be to a player that just died – in order to differentiate their offering.
Farming is certainly intended to be a viable profession within the Star Citizen universe, and depending upon the level of risk a player is willing to endure and the skill and knowledge that they bring to bear anything from a meager existence to an opulent lifestyle may be attained.
Two major advantages of farming on a ship as opposed to a planet are that you can much more effectively adjust your plan given the current economic environment, and you can overlap your growth and delivery efforts. A farmer interested in maximizing profits as opposed to minimizing effort would procure their seeds and other required materials wherever they’re cheapest, and then grow those crops while traveling towards the intended marketplace. With a stationary farm you’d often either wind up paying a significantly higher price for those materials, or having to make a special trip to acquire them, at which point you’d have to return to your farm, grow the crops, and then travel to the intended marketplace. That’s potentially a lot more travel and a lot more time, and time equates to money.
Further, some of the most exotic seeds – those that will generate the most lucrative crops – may only be found on remote planets, and may need to be planted fairly quickly if they’re to remain viable. Some plants may only bloom once, and some farming outputs – whether complex molecules critical in the production of a particular medicine or edible delicacies that can’t be preserved without affecting the taste and thus diminishing the value – will have a very limited shelf life. This, again, points to the value of mobile farms, as perishable goods can be utilized, in the case of seeds, or produced, in the case of crops, while en route to the actual marketplace at which the final goods will be sold, thus extending the distance at which you can deliver such products, which will in turn likely translate into better profit margins.
Farming, then, is about considerably more than just mastering the growth requirements of rare and temperamental plant species and assuming that the profits will follow. As with most things in an economy driven by supply and demand, if something is easy a lot of other players and NPCs will do it and the prices will collapse. If you’re to truly succeed at the occupation, you’ll need to also be an astute businessman, capable of weighing a wide range of different factors in order to determine where you can generate value that others are missing.
Research requires constant intellectual analysis and decision-making as opposed to automated number crunching that lasts for an extended period of time. As such, progress is typically only made when a player is actively involved and pushing forward.
Farming is different in that it’s more labor intensive, but also in that plants continue to grow – regardless of whether the player is in the immediate vicinity – according to their environment. A player that leaves their ship behind and wanders off with a friend or into a city for too long, then, might return to find their crops withered and dead. Logging off entirely, however, will cause all plant growth to cease, so the expensive seeds that you just planted and that require constant attention will still be there when you return.
When a player on board an Endeavor orders a ship, the request is added to a queue that controls access to the Hangar Bay. External ships requesting landing access interface with the same queue, such that only one ship ever has access to the Hangar Bay at a given time. The pilot may depressurize the bay at any time, which will blow any ships or players contained within it back out into space. This would typically only be done to clear out another player actively trying to cause problems by refusing to leave. Such ejection would often be followed by the pilot blacklisting the offender so that if they ever again attempted to dock the request could be automatically denied.