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Roberts Space Industries ®






December 21st 2019



Following the launch of the ARGO Astronautics MOLE, we gathered questions about the new multi-crew miner. Here are the answers, straight from the designers themselves.

Will the crew of a MOLE be able to split mining profits?

While not part of the MOLE’s feature set directly, you can split profits indirectly via service beacons for now. However, we plan to expand this, including mission reward functionality that supports split profits in a future patch.

What makes the four-crew MOLE better than using three or four Prospectors?

The cost of running and maintaining several separate vehicles will be more than that of a single, larger vehicle. Plus, the MOLE itself has the capacity of three Prospectors, as well as the ability to utilize a mix of different mining heads in the future.

Outside of the MOLE’s greater laser range, the on-paper stats make it seem like a pretty even match in terms of raw mining capability (when comparing a single MOLE to several Prospectors). However, the real savings are on time, maintenance, and coordination, as managing a single crew is easier than managing several individual ships. Plus, the fact that everyone is on a larger vehicle with a larger storage capacity cuts down on the time spent traveling between the source and storage/point-of-sale.

How will NPC multi-crew work for the MOLE? Will there be various levels of mining-specialized NPCs, or can anyone hop into the seat?

Any NPC could be assigned to the job, but some will be better skilled than others. If you assign a non-mining-trained NPC to fracture a rock, they won’t operate efficiently and may even occasionally blow the ship up…

How will player crews work aboard the MOLE? Does someone have to stay in each seat to keep the lasers running, or can they start one and move to another?

Lasers will not function unless there is someone sitting in the mining seat, so players cannot start one and move to another.

Does the ARGO MOLE come with any refinery abilities?

No. Refining ore and materials is a separate function that the MOLE, and Prospector, do not have the capability for.

Can we control each mining laser independently, or is it all three by default?

Each mining laser is controlled independently and requires a player in the seat to work. There is no way for a single player to control all of them at the same time.

Can we have different mining attachments on each mining arm?

Yes. We want to encourage players to think about which laser combinations work best for each job.

Does the cargo detach like the prospector?

Yes, though this isn’t functioning in Alpha 3.8. The cargo pods are very similar to the Prospector’s but have a higher capacity (12 SCU per pod). There are also two in reserve per stack.

Does it filter the ore as the Prospector does?

The Prospector doesn’t currently filter ore, but the MOLE and Prospector reduce the number of inert materials stored onboard.

Can we replace the mining attachments with tractor beams?

Right now, you can only have different types of mining lasers, some of which have a better ore extractor beam. In the future, we plan to have a lot more laser variations, with some of them being heavily specialized in extractor beam operation. In regards to changing to dedicated tractor beams, this is not something we have planned. The MOLE’s mounts are mining-specific, rather than generic utility mounts. In the future, when utility mounts and tractor beam items are implemented, we’ll consider whether allowing mining ships to swap their lasers for tractor beams is beneficial, but currently that is not the plan.

Let’s assume you’re flying solo – could you park the MOLE next to an asteroid and go to each of the mining laser seats to turn them on and activate the lasers?

Yes, but as soon as you leave a mining turret’s seat, the laser will turn off. The MOLE is designed to be a multi-crew ship and though it can theoretically operate solo, it’s not particularly effective.

Can I control the mining lasers from the pilot’s seat using a computer blade?

No, mining lasers can only be operated by someone in the mining seats.

Can the mining turrets aim in all directions?

There are the same aiming arc limitations as any turret, which are mainly to prevent players from damaging the ship. However, the range of motion is generous and the turrets can converge at multiple locations.

What is the intended operating range of a MOLE, and do you expect it to perform solo or as part of a party?

For Alpha 3.8, we expect it to be used mostly solo (in terms of the ship and its crew operating alone). For later patches, the ship will be able to operate in a party with refinery and logistic ships to process and transport ore.

Do the crew facilities include beds

Yes. The rear of the ship features four bunk beds (which double as escape pods), integrated shower and toilet facilities, onboard clothing and suit storage lockers, and a shared rest area with food-making facilities.

End Transmission

Part of

Concept Ship Q&A

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