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Roberts Space Industries ®






September 4th 2019

Q&A: AEGIS Nautilus

Q&A: AEGIS Nautilus

Following the launch of the Nautilus from Aegis Dynamics, we took your community-voted questions to our designers to give you more information on the recently unveiled strategic minelayer.

How long is the lifespan of the different mine types and how long do they persist during logout? What happens if the parent ship is destroyed – can mines be retrieved afterwards in such occurrences?

Once deployed and in use, a mine’s components start to degrade, though their lifespan is dependent on the environment and how they are used. For example, regularly engaged weapons platforms will likely wear out and proximity mines will likely detonate before they degrade. If live but untriggered, we envisage a mine’s lifespan to be measured in days rather than minutes. Mine lifespan is not influenced by the state of the parent ship, be it destroyed or not. Deployed mines ‘remember’ the original deployment ship, so can be retrieved afterwards.

Are drone bays like the one in the Nautilus universal? For example, can they equip repair/refuel drones and likewise, can other drone-carrying ships like the Vulcan and Carrack equip NEMO drones?

The Nautilus can equip and use drones from the Vulcan and Carrack but lacks the equipment to repair or refit them for their specified roles. Similarly, the Vulcan and Carrack can equip NEMO drones but don’t have the means to store mines, so they would have to disable them and leave them behind.

What’s the rationale behind a near-capital size minelayer only having 24 mines to use in the infinite vastness of space?

A single mine covers a significant area, so a huge number of mines aren’t necessary. This combined with not wanting players to have to deal with an unwieldy number of mines and the technical implications of keeping them around resulted in the capacity of the Nautilus.

Will the mines communicate data back to the mothership, for example, where they’ve autonomously moved to, whether they’ve been activated, and what they’ve detected (hostile vs. friend)?

Once deployed, mines enter a pseudo ‘read-only’ state where the deploying player can see limited information about them, such as the expected wear and degradation level and their status.

Since the mines track and follow targets, can they operate within a planet’s atmosphere?

The mine’s thrusters only work in Zero-G. If they’re deployed or end up in-atmosphere, they will be unable to maintain their position. The mines will abort tracking a target if it’s beyond their capability to intercept.

Could a stealth ship (like an Eclipse, Raven, or Sabre) bypass mines with relative ease? Will other ships be able to scan their surroundings to detect mines or is the Nautilus the only ship capable of doing that?

Any ship can detect (and be detected) by mines as it uses the game-wide signature and radar system. Stealth ships will naturally be harder to detect, so stand a better chance of safely bypassing mines. Ships with specialized radar/scanners will find themselves much better suited to detecting mines at distance.

Can the cargo hold be used to store additional mines? If so, how many can it store?

No, the cargo bay is purely for cargo storage and is not large enough to get mines in or out (mines are approximately 4×4×4m).

Are mines set to friend or foe targeting? If a teammate lays a minefield, will it automatically only target enemy/unknown contacts?

The player deploying mines can set a friend or foe status using the existing faction/hostility system. Providing a player’s teammate is in the same faction or has the same hostility level, they will not be targeted. However, players can deploy mines without any of these protections if they wish.

Are more mine variations being considered?

There are plans for more mine types in the future, but none have progressed to the point we’re happy to discuss their details yet.

What is the detection range of the mines and sentries (how far away before the mines engage an enemy)?

The maximum detection range is another tricky statistic to quantify as it completely depends on both the components of the mine (they use regular adjustable ship items) and the emissions of the target. That said, we expect each mine to have at least a minimum engagement radius of between 5 and 10km. They will pursue targets a fair distance beyond that too to allow relatively small quantities of mines to cover a moderately large area.

Will we be able to create precise patterns for our mines, such as spheres or triangles, and have the mines go to their designated locations without having to fly the Nautilus in said pattern and guess when to release?

The mine control room allows the operators to see the position of where the mines will end up, but we don’t currently plan to let the user pick from specific post-deployment patterns. Instead, the Nautilus crew must work together to place mines in what they deem to be the best pattern given the ship’s movement capabilities and the launcher’s tube position. Flying at a lower speed allows for much more accurate deployment.

Will the laying of mines be considered a crime?

As you might expect, it depends. The legality of minelaying is dependent on the laws and jurisdiction of the area, as well as the authority (or lack thereof) of the organization tasking you with laying mines. You can probably assume that laying mines in the vicinity of a heavily inhabited UEE planet would be a very criminal act. On the other hand, being tasked by a UEE mission giver to deploy mines around a Jump Point to a Vanduul-occupied system would likely be legal. There are all kinds of possible circumstances in between too, which inhabit various legal grey areas.

Can mines be remotely hacked?

Yes. The NEMO drone performs this task as the range that mines can be hacked from is short.

The brochure says the Nautilus has two large quantum fuel tanks, but the stats page says it has one. Which is correct?

The brochure is correct – the stats page will be updated. Also, the brochure doesn’t specifically list the missile turret as a separate item, instead it accounts for it in place of one of the listed S3 gun turrets. These differences were due to adjustments that took place after the brochure had gone to print, which was many weeks ahead of the release of the ship and before some of the internal review gates.

Why do mines have a much smaller payload compared to their size? A S7 mine correlates with a S5 torpedo’s payload despite being more challenging to deploy and retrieve.

Once all the internal components of the mines are accounted for, the remaining space is appropriate to the current payload. If in further testing we find that mines are under or overperforming, we’ll adjust their performance to suit.

End Transmission

Part of

Concept Ship Q&A

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