Norwest

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Norwest last won the day on February 15

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  1. I'm a fan. Count me as a yes, please.
  2. I really do like the idea of a "Security Instructor" on the whole, and I think you've put a lot of good work and effort into the concept. I hope this does get adopted in the future, and I hope you don't give up on it yet.
  3. I'd personally recommend the 1980s-copper look, in order to encourage approachability. The student-instructor relationship is a key element of successful education, and while making a Drill Instructor (DI) as the teacher might make for some decent Full Metal Jacket parodies, it also actively discourages new Sec Officers from seeking out help. Meanwhile, the "grumpy-but-approachable old vet" is a timeless and tireless archetype, and would help improve the students' confidence to speak up in the first place.
  4. I'd also like to expand on the question of the motivations underlying the PR. To quote the rationale given: "Pulls back some of medical's powercreep." ...Medbay. Powercreep. Um. Gents, you are aware that the Science department is A Thing, yes? I'm aware that this doesn't obviate minor powercreep on Medbay's part, but from an outsider's perspective, it seems absurd that you'd focus on cutting Medbay down to size when their next-door neighbors combine ludicrous firepower with negligent responsibility. Even in Medbay itself, Virology is a far worse culprit with regards to overpowering capability than sleeper pods (put three viruses of Toxic Filter/Toxic Comp together, give one of the viruses Self-Respiration, and you can go for a spacewalk in your skivvies). The rationale given is obviously a bit short, so do note that I'm not getting their explanation in detail. That being said, I would urge the PR's proponents to consider what sort of gameplay you're trying to create by making Medical more difficult to get into, because I see this as generally unhelpful to the cause of making Medbay a decent place to work. I'm guessing that this PR is meant to "make injury more meaningful," in line with the other stated motivation of "making death more meaningful," but if so, then I'd like to offer some advice on the subject: In real-life hospital care, death is pretty easy. Resuscitation (the process of trying to save someone) is labor-intensive and effortful, sure, but once they're dead, things get much simpler. There's no 1:1 care with RT (Respiratory Therapist) hovering over their ventilator, there's no wrangling an ICU bed and getting the trainwreck-patient transformed into someone else's problem, no nothin'. You clean up the room, call in the family if they're around, call the morgue, and hey presto you're off to the races paperwork. If you want to make injury meaningful and limit Medbay's capabilities, then I'd recommend focusing on disability. As it stands, medical care in SS13 can rapidly restore someone to 100% in no time flat; if you want to make people more hesitant of getting horribly injured, then include possibilities for long-term harm which can't be easily cured. Add more long-term diminished capability (even if surgically repaired, a broken leg could mean a 15-minute mobility reduction, or a broken arm could mean occasionally dropping items), make sepsis be an issue for regular wounds rather than just during surgery, add a longer recovery time for pharmaceutical organ treatment (i.e. mannitol and mitocholide will need some time to work if taken in pill form), have severe injury reduce the subject's maximum health, and so on. No matter what element of Medbay we're talking about, if your goal is to make injury a scary thing that people want to avoid, I would recommend focusing on the end product rather than the in-between - in other words, consider making someone leave Medbay at 90% rather than on tossing a few more roadblocks onto Medbay itself. Concurrently, I'd suggest soliciting more suggestions for changes from the community itself. If you want more community buy-in, just state your intentions in detail ("I want to make [X], because [Y], and I'm currently thinking of doing it through [Z]. What are your thoughts?") and field some questions and comments from the players. A couple test-merges, along with explicitly looking for feedback from the start, would avoid much of the criticisms and similar messes that this PR has generated.
  5. I am a bit leery about these nerfs as they relate to newbie doctors. A mild passive heal doesn't mean much alongside an amazing "mito-manni-cryo" mix, but it does matter significantly when someone who's trying out Medbay for the first time tries tossing someone into a pod without first loading them up. Similarly, I feel like the sleeper nerf disproportionately affects newbie docs who don't have stacks of pills on their belts. Neither of these changes will make too big a difference for experienced MDs who can work their way around the changes, but they significantly complicate matters for people who are just starting out. Regarding implementation, I think the process was rushed without good reason. Compare this change, which AFAIK was merged practically overnight, with the multiple test-runs and rounds of feedback that preceded the Medbay and Security mapping changes. The map alterations didn't satisfy everyone's little desires - I shed a tear at this time for the eternally fax-less Coroner - but they resulted in effective, popular changes which actually gave people the things they wanted. Compared to those "gentle" approaches, this merge feels excessively rushed and poorly thought-out. Given the notably negative reaction it got on arrival, I would guess that the people who merged this did so rapidly with the expectation of pushback - a spessman fait accompli, as it were. I'm not going to pretend that I have any insider knowledge of forum or coder politics, and I'd urge everyone to take my assessment with a healthy grain of salt. That being said, I would ask the people pushing these changes to better outline exactly what they want. What events or situations gave the motivation for these changes? What sort of desired end-goal are they looking to achieve? What failure states are they trying to avoid? The current environment feels excessively antagonistic on both sides, and I'd like to encourage everyone to put a little more effort on cooperating.
  6. That's certainly a good point, but to be frank, I don't recall cloning being much fun for a newbie either. Surgery was the interesting and engaging thing for me when I was starting out in Medbay, because a) it required a significant number of actions, while b) the Operating Computer meant that I had a pretty good idea of what to do, and c) the patient was unconscious and therefore wasn't in a position to complain. Cloning has the issue of being pretty boring even for someone starting out ("put mans in cloner, press button, wait"), and I see the recent changes as being unhelpful in that regard, because they push attention away from the ORs. The key changes between a newbie and a veteran MD, in my opinion, is less about knowing esoteric knowledge and more about rapidly applying it. A newbie doc would be absolutely overwhelmed if left alone to handle an MCI, but frankly, they'd be overwhelmed with an MCI under any circumstances. Under more-routine circumstances, the older system of "defib, then clone" for newbies worked fine, and my proposed system would still allow for that to happen. There'd be more of a penalty to cloning, yes, but it'd still function as before. I envision cloning as the backup option, and I agree that we shouldn't remove it entirely. I like the idea of it serving as the last resort, and I believe that Clone Memory Disorder + a mechanical penalty wouldn't make it completely useless. IPCs can still function with 1.5x brute/burn damage, albeit with lots of salt about their EMP vulnerability in dchat, and my proposed changes would still allow for the cloner to function like it currently does otherwise. Newbie MDs would still be able to toss a dead character inside if defibrillation fails, and players would still be able to re-enter the round using it; the idea is to allow for a newbie to start there and to graduate up to knowing the different drugs, knowing how2SR, and so on.
  7. Thanks! I'll admit, I know very little about Botany, but making SR dependent on their help seems like a decent compromise. That way, even if all the Botanists are traitors/incompetent/dead, the Garden, Permabrig, and R&D all provide backup options for growing plants in a pinch. My reasoning with regards to increasing decay speed is because it can be halted completely with formaldehyde. That would provide a sense of urgency, since there's a looming penalty for not getting SR'd or hit with formaldehyde, and would require Medbay to practice triage. MCI (Multiple-Casualty Incident) triage, a.k.a. "walk through the car wreck and pick out the survivors," is pretty fulfilling work in my opinion, so I think it's something I'd like to see implemented in some manner. Defibs provide that to some degree, but with a greater reliance on SR over the cloner, I'd like to see SR have some form of "temporal urgency" (a time limit) which forces the triaging MD to be on the ball. And of course, if all else fails, there's still the microwave cloner to let dead people get back into the round eventually. While defibs already have downsides, I'm sure you'd agree that brain damage is extremely easy to fix. I'd like to add an element of suspense and danger to the defibrillator, so that the success stories are that much more meaningful - there should be a reasonable chance of failure, even if it's something that a competent player can manage without too much difficulty under normal circumstances. Defibs inflicting a harmful-but-manageable amount of cardiac damage would ideally provide some risk without keeping people from using them. After all, a 10u mitocholide pill can patch up cardiac damage, as can efficient task-prioritization like "patching up the heart along with the patient's fractured chest" that experienced MDs already do. I'm open to discussion here, of course, but I do think there should be some form of failure-state in order to heighten the successes.
  8. I'm linking my effortpost on the topic from the 'Community Poll - Medbay Changes' thread, since it seems applicable here.
  9. Introduction: Let me tell the story of a round I played earlier today: The station is full up on jobs, >80 players. Every single Medbay role is filled to capacity...except for Doctors. Previously, there'd be up to five MDs on the manifest, with at least one or two bouncing around the Medbay at any given time. Yet in a round absolutely stuffed with players, with everything from Chemistry to the Coroner all staffed up properly, only two people even bothered to play MD. Needless to say, both of them are nowhere to be found. Two large bombs go off, in the middle of the station. Casualties are everywhere. Of course, between fastmos and the explosions themselves, it's >2 minutes by the time the bodies are brought to Medbay. None of them are revivable. Previously, MDs would receive them and begin the difficult and dangerous job of trying to SR and revive these players. Instead, they're all dumped at the Cloner like a stack of logs, where a Chemist and the CMO take turns shoving each corpse through like it's a microwave. Cloning was jam-packed, and both surgical theaters were literally spotless. I have a very, very hard time imagining the ORs being clean back when they were still relevant...but when no one's revivable, who needs 'em? This same pattern has repeated itself almost every single round that I've played during the recent changes, with only slight variations in each one. Reviving and Strange Reagent made for interesting, suspenseful resuscitation efforts, where you had to repeatedly zap someone to keep their heart afloat, do surgery to patch up their many injuries, transfuse to keep them from bleeding out again, clean as much as possible to prevent infection, etc etc etc. The new changes make Medbay - even worse, death itself - downright boring. The problems: Speaking as a real-life RN, the old approach of suspenseful, high-acuity action alongside regular, low-acuity fractures or cloning made for surprisingly on-point gameplay. The actual practice involved in treating someone is surprisingly simple most of the time; the issue in RL care is not some Dr. House-esque mystery solving and much more a question of efficiently managing resources. The new medical system, though, is less like working at a trauma center and more like working at a community health clinic (where I've seen nurses downright panic over epistaxis, a.k.a. "a nosebleed"). To try and summarize the basic issues in play: 1. Predictability: Past the two-minute mark, it's over. Boom. Done. Minimize the game and go do your laundry. Needless to say, this does not make for an interesting and engaging experience. There's no question of whether you'll get found in time, because you never get recovered in time for a defib anymore. There's no question of whether or not a competent MD will hit you with SR, because all they can do is to pop you into the cloner like a Hot Pocket and wait for it to finish cooking. Death has become boring; it's now just a question of twiddling your thumbs and watching something on YouTube until the metaphorical microwave has done its work. 2. Lack of human agency: If your corpse gets recovered, you'll likely get cloned eventually. There's nothing anyone can do to speed it up beyond the basic R&D upgrades, which means that there's no point in having anyone competent in Medbay; even the best players can't do anything more than wait for the magic cloning pod to churn through the corpses. Medbay could be crewed by the A-team or a pack of dribbling incompetents, and it has little impact (if any) on patient outcomes. 3. No effect past Medbay itself: Cloning has some new temporary downsides, but those are easily fixed with a trip in the cryopod or a bit of mutadone. It may mean more time spent twiddling your thumbs (yay, such fun, much excite), but once you've done a little more time in the cryopod then you're in the clear. The new death system means more time spent being dead, but it means literally nothing once you're alive again. 4. Lack of alternate playstyles: I've had quite a few games where some whiz-bang MD patched me up in the SS13 equivalent of a back-alley medbay. Rare, to be sure, but being revived even when the original Medbay was a flaming crater made for an interesting round that I can still recall today. The current system prevents all that, because without the cloner or getting really lucky with a defib, you're basically toast. Whoo-wee, such fun, much excite. Personal aims: I'm looking to effectively reverse these four factors. To elaborate a little on what I'd like to see: 1. Unpredictability: I don't want death to be the same thing every time. Maybe I'll get found, defibbed, and get back on my feet in no time. Maybe I'll get patched up in a cave by a guy with a box of scraps. Maybe Malpracticebay is in full effect, and the best I can hope for is to get cloned. Maybe, maybe, maybe. 2. Human agency: In keeping with the above, I want a good Medbay to be able to save lives like there's no tomorrow. Sure, make SR expensive and difficult to acquire - that just means it's cooler when the Chemists are on-point and the stuff is available in spades. Make bodies rot sooner, forcing them to be quickly injected with formaldehyde in order to be saved, or put more restrictions on how it can be used...but leave the option open. It makes for much more suspenseful, interesting, and compelling gameplay when things could happen. I don't mind failure, but I want there to be a chance of success in the first place, because having an alternative to failure makes it that much more poignant and interesting. 3. Long-term effects: To put it bluntly, I want the cloning pod to be the failure-state. I want people to hate being cloned, and the easiest way I can see that happening is to put some sort of un-fixable, long-term penalty to being cloned. Having some sort of unsolvable penalty counterbalances the ease of the cloner: it can still be the simple answer, but it's also not the one which people should want to take. The possibility of a full recovery would leave an incentive for good doctors to go through the effort of patching every boo-boo and fixing every wound (and for players to sit around in their broken bodies long enough for docs to fix them), whereas the cloner would still be a potential, if undesirable, option for people to re-enter the round. More on this below. 4. Allowing alternate playstyles: I'd like to give more options for fixing people, rather than a "one-and-done" approach. Maybe Genetics has a a power which prolongs defibrillation time with few downsides; the issue then becomes one of effectively spreading that same power stationwide, or at least to the most at-risk individuals (i.e. resource management). Maybe Medbay is reliant instead on the Coroner or a similar triage person during an MCI (Multiple Casualty Incident), with them running around and moving defib-able people to the cryopod area while injecting the long-term cases with formaldehyde before they start to decompose. Maybe transplantation would remove the cloning penalty, allowing for someone who'd been cloned by MD-McDumbass to get fixed if there were other MDs and Genetics on the ball that round. Overall, though, I'd like to see the game mechanics encouraging more options rather than simply railroading everyone towards the magic cloning microwave. Suggestions: A. The defibrillator issue: -Slightly increase defib times. IIRC the old defib-capable times were up to five minutes, while the current number is two. The current number is far too small, given that defibrillators are rarely ever used in the field; unless you die inside the Medbay itself or near a mediborg, there's no saving you. I'd suggest moving it back to five minutes, to be counterbalanced with a significant penalty (see below). If you're dead-set on reducing defib times, though, then please at least split the difference and make it 3.5 minutes instead of the current "flash in the pan." -Increased defibrillator times could be counterbalanced by having defibrillation inflict severe damage on the heart like it does IRL. This would require doctors to be careful and sparing about their defib use, and make it a gamble every time you place the paddles. Inflicting variable 10-35 heart damage per shock would allow someone to survive a single defib at a bare minimum, but would make multiple uses of the defibrillator a very dangerous game (i.e. suspenseful). Heart damage requires either chest surgery or mitocholide to fix, so either Chemistry or an MD being on the ball would be able to fix the damage. This'd add additional uncertainty due to the ever-present question of player competence, and would allow for meaningful success-stories to happen, such as "a competent Chemist saves patients from a defib-happy MD's mistakes" or vice versa. B. Strange Reagent: I'd suggest limiting SR through: -Requiring a higher dose and/or more exotic materials. Space fungus might be a good 'un, or diamond, or some similarly hard-to-acquire substance. The goal here should be to make SR achieveable to make, but only by someone who knows what the hell they're doing. Alternatively, it could require help from another department, such as needing a high power draw from Engineering, ambrosia gaia or a similar higher-level plant from Botany, or upgraded parts from Science. -Shortening the time available before a body begins decaying. I'm not sure how long the current time is until bodies start decaying, but the first stage (i.e. "They are beginning to smell") is the cutoff point for SR. If you shorten that time down, then formaldehyde and good corpse-triage becomes vital to saving them. In other words, something like this. -I think the current system of "SR revives with brain/genetics" damage is good enough as-is. It allows for revives in the field, but inflicts a serious penalty if you lack access to a cryotube, and also requires that the field medic have remembered to pack along some mannitol as well. C. Cloning: As mentioned, I'd like cloning to be the "failure-state" of Medbay. People should have a real, lasting reason to not want to be cloned, and I'd suggest the following mechanisms for doing so: -Implementing Clone Memory Disorder (CMD) for an in-character penalty. A rule like "you aren't able to remember anything that happened for the past thirty minutes" would allow for some interesting RP opportunities for anyone who's so inclined, and also keep people from being able to easily nail their killers. After all, if someone starts yelling "JOE IS A 'CLING!" the moment they pop out of the cloner, that's fairly bwoinkable. There won't be 100% compliance, and the initial implementation will be patchy as usual, but having some IC penalty for getting cloned should make RP-heavy, powergamey-light players want to avoid it. If possible, I'd like to also include some mention of "You will only be able to retrieve these memories with heavy counseling" or the like, to provide people with an IC reward for visiting the Psychiatrist. Basically, if you sit down and RP out talking through "shit I'm a clone, what happened back there," you can circumvent the penalty (and ID your killer). This should hopefully make the Psychiatrist a little more relevant, while also allowing for a method of dealing with the penalty providing the player is willing to put in enough effort. -Implement some sort of [was cloned] penalty tag for anyone whose body was cloned. This would have a significant mechanical drawback which cannot be easily removed (that part is key). Options here include a brute/burn damage multiplier like IPCs, decreased maximum health, or a similar significant mechanical disadvantage. The goal here is to provide a penalty which even the powergamey-est of players would have to sit up and pay attention to; even if you don't give a shit about CMD, the mechanical cloning penalty would still make you sit up and pay attention. This could then be circumvented by brain transplantation into a humanized monkey (which would require both Genetics and an MD to be on the ball), or a similarly-circuitous method for anyone who really wants to get around it. -I don't mind autoprocessing and autocloning, and I'd suggest keeping it in light of the above penalties. This would make prescanning a gamble: do you hope that your body gets found, or do you just say "screw it" and hop into the cloner, hoping that you can find a competent Geneticist and MD to help you out on the other side? (or will you be too busy once cloned, and have to just deal with the penalty anyway?) Conclusion: Thank you to whoever took the time to read all this, and I hope this provides some decent food for thought. I agree that the previous Medbay system was definitely flawed in some respects, but I don't this approach is a positive one to fixing it. In lieu of the current changes, I'd like to provide labor-intensive methods to circumvent death, and to make cloning a last-resort option which no one wants to have happen. If you have any questions or comments about my proposal, feel free to make 'em.
  10. To try and summarize the issues you're bringing up: 1. Limited supply of minerals. 2. Departmental Protolathes will still be dependent on Research doing their job. 3. Scientists are sometimes at the R&D desk to handle requests. To respond to each of these in turn: 1. I'm not sure what evidence you're basing a lack of resources on, because the only times I've seen a sustained lack of resources is when Mining has had multiple traitors or been completely incompetent. Those incidents are functionally irrelevant to the question of an ore silo, because the issue is upstream of ore distribution. Miners usually end up goofing around on-station with teleportation jaunters or oodles of minebots by the 1-hour mark, because they've so oversupplied the ORM that there's more resources than the station could use. The paradigm of mining supply is "feast or famine:" either the Miners are somewhat competent and rapidly stock the ORM with gobs of resources, or they're terrible for some reason or another and provide nothing. In both cases, distribution is not an issue. Even assuming that mining stocks were depleted, that logically implies that nearly everyone is getting the kit they needed. That's hardly a problem, is it? 2. Yes, I agree that departmental Protolathes will still require Research to do their job. I thought that was the idea, no? Aren't we supposed to be encouraging inter-departmental cooperation and the like? 3. Yes, Scientists are sometimes at the R&D desk. Believe me, they aren't there for all two hours of the shift. Even if someone had the stamina to sit through two hours in a crowded room, they'd be swarmed by oodles of requests - the Janitor wants a floor buffer, Medbay wants IMSes, Engineering wants loaded RPEDs - which are draining and largely un-rewarding to deal with. Why go through the effort of making someone have to do a deliberately-terrible job when you could just make department-specific Protolathes to take the bulk of the work off of them? Logically speaking, having departmental Protolathes would eliminate the regular requests like the ones mentioned above, and cut things down to either greytiders or someone with a very unusual request (an Engineer looking for a crew monitor, for instance). That means many fewer yells of "; SCIENTIST TO R&D I'VE BEEN WAITING FOR TEN MINUTES DAMNIT," and less-frustrating gameplay for everyone involved. I still don't really see where the issue is here.
  11. ^This. The problem with Science as it stands is twofold: 1) Science only has a single, easy job to do, and 2) That job is utterly awful. R&D itself is a sad joke, and the actual work involved is completed in no time (there's quite literally a guide titled "R&D In Ten Minutes Or Less" on the forum). The hard part is implementing upgrades, and once you've upgraded the departmental machines, Science's job for the rest of the round is Retail In Space. You sit at the front window, waiting for people to show up, and give 'em what they ask for. You get yelled at for not doing the job, yelled at for giving out the wrong kit to the wrong people, yelled at for being too slow, for using too many resources, etc etc etc. None of that is a recipe for fun, engaging gameplay. It should therefore come as no surprise that Scientists skive off their actual job in favor of dicking around with pointless-but-fun side jobs like Toxins, telescience, or just placing bluespace tiles across the entire station. When your actual, assigned job is such a downer, and when you've got oodles of tools at your disposal, it's understandable that Scientists would ignore Retail In Space in favor of making fartonium. Adding departmental Protolathes wouldn't resolve the issue of R&D being stupidly easy, but it would at least address the issue of Scientists having to man the front desk (and by extension, improve Science's reputation across the station). If I could wave my magic coding-wand, I'd like to see the whole research process overhauled, so that different areas of R&D actually contribute to the station as a whole. I'd argue that much of the poor perception of Scientists and Research as a department is that they simply don't have anything to do beyond answering the front desk and upgrading other departments' machines. I'd like to see Toxins, the EXPERIMENTOR, Xenobio, and Sci-Chem actually meaningfully contribute to research in some way. As with the departmental 'lathes, I think /tg/'s setup is a pretty good model to follow. Still, just having a better system for distributing advanced gear would be a hell of a step forward. I can think of multiple alternate avenues for creating R&D besides that, and under the current conditions, I have every incentive to try one or more of them. Think of this as like dealing with the IRL illegal drug economy: trying to reduce the supply is difficult, because people are creative as all hell and will come up with many different routes around whatever impediments you place. Simply legislating "Don't Do R&D" is much like going "Don't Do Drugs," and I imagine most of us are old enough to remember how badly D.A.R.E. failed. You're better off trying to reduce the demand, via providing other departments with a legal means to acquire the gear they need. The departmental Protolathes and ore silo would largely resolve the need for another department to build their own Protolathe in the first place.
  12. I was HoS that round, and yeah, I think I know the person you're talking about. It's a good thing the rest of the team was so competent, because he and one other officer were...new. Very, uh, new.
  13. As a longtime Seccie, I have frequently benefited from X-ray. It is the single most dangerous and effective power I can get, bar none - give me a choice between a roundstart backpack of AEGs and X-ray, and I'd take X-ray in a heartbeat. When I say that X-ray ruins people's fun and makes for less-interesting rounds, I am speaking from extensive experience. Yet I'll still take it if the power becomes available in a round, because the only thing worse than remotely ruining antagonists' rounds with X-ray is having them do the same to me. To try and summarize my issues with X-ray as it stands: 1. Issues: A. Combat utility: "Winrate" can be a tetchy topic to discuss, but it's worth noting just how good X-ray's combat utility truly is. Full-screen vision lets you see around every corner and spot every flanker. You know when someone's inbound to bushwhack you, and simultaneously know when your flank is clear to pursue. You know when your target's alone and easy pickings, and when you should fall back and wait for another day. That sort of always-on intel capability is unbelievably powerful, and turns failed attacks into legendary ambushes. That's all well and good for the winner, but we have to think of the losing party as well, and getting thumped by someone with near-perfect intel is not a fun way to play. B. Cost: Credit where it's due, the X-ray implant is difficult to acquire. Between the research levels and the materials required, it's not something which is easily acquired every single round. Genetics, however, can throw around X-ray injectors like candy should they stumble across the DNA block. I've seen decent Science players get the entire Sec team kitted out with X-ray implants before, but they've got nothing on a halfway-competent Genetics player who's lucky enough to stumble across the DNA block early-ish in the shift. There's no cost other than the slight delay in between printing injectors, and unlike Hulk, the possibility of misuse is fairly low; Geneticists would be insane not to distribute X-ray around. C. Subterfuge (or lack thereof): Sec getting X-ray capability means that antags have nowhere to hide. It's far worse than 'just' thermal vision, since X-ray lets a competent Seccie spot small clues which can (and often do) lead to a big payoff. Dirt on the ground, a water tank that was shifted, a patch of rust that was removed, and you've got a lead on someone's hidey-hole from halfway across the station. Ditto for antags: it's obnoxious as all hell when an antagonist can simply spot most plainclothes efforts or similar tricks from a distance. And worst of all... D. Counters: Sec's starting gear can be largely countered with a pair of HUDglasses and a bowman headset. Someone with a pack of implants (CNS Rebooter, Anti-Drop, etc.) beastmoding up combat? Apply EMP, and you can take your sweet time getting 'em cuffed. Most in-game abilities have a hard counter, whose existence provides some real risk to using that ability in practice. Everything from energy weapons to flashbangs have a series of counters, and incurs a certain risk as a result. X-ray has no counter. Zip. Zilch. Nada. It is a tremendously capable ability, with no real downsides to speak of. SOP restricting it is ignored, because the mechanics are just too damn good. For both Security and antagonists, with thinking and capable enemies after them with murder on the brain, it'd be insane not to take X-ray if it's available. Even thermals, an ability significantly less capable than X-ray, comes with flash vulnerability. It's utterly ridiculous, through and through. 2. Proposed fixes: Plenty of people have already proposed quite a few sensible fixes, so I'll be liberally cribbing from their ideas here. My objective is to make X-ray a more balanced power, something more equivalent to Thermals rather than an exponential step up, without nerfing it to the point of complete uselessness. I'm open to critiques and criticism as to how to alter the changes. Design goals: X-ray in its current form is utterly incomparable to any other vision booster. If we compare it to Thermals, we see that it provides significantly improved vision without the flash vulnerability. Perfect night vision comes along for the ride to boot, which is just the icing on the bloody cake. In order to make X-ray more in-line with other powers, I'd like to do the following: I. Provide a significant mechanical tradeoff which would make X-ray less of a 'no duh' choice. II. Trim 'excess' capabilities (i.e. nightvision) III. Provide a significant mechanical drawback, which would allow other players to counter X-ray with sufficient knowledge and preparation. IV. Decrease its availability from Genetics, to prevent it from being handed out like candy. A. Tradeoffs: Several other people have proposed making X-ray a timed capability, with fifteen seconds on and a two-minute cooldown. I would agree with the general idea, but I'd recommend replacing the fifteen-second 'on' timer with a requirement to be stationary. X-ray would still let you see through walls, but you would only be able to do so once every couple minutes from a single location. My issue with the fifteen-second timer concept is that letting someone run around while still seeing perfectly through walls means just fifteen seconds of superpowers, which is plenty of time to work with in a combat situation. Conversely, forcing them to stay still in order to use their superpowers makes it a more balanced capability, and makes Thermals much more useful. I'm imagining X-ray being used in more of an 'investigative' role, which would would let Thermals keep its fast-paced combat utility. B. Mechanical drawback: The obvious option here seems to be flash vulnerability. Flash vulnerability from Thermals is a right pain in the ass when I'm a Seccie or antag, which I take as a sign that the mechanic is doing its job properly. I really like flash vulnerability because it makes Sec's non-lethal equipment much more viable again: flashes and flashbangs are rendered useless the moment an antag steals some newbie officer's gear, and of course, Sec officers come equipped against their own kit. Making that gear effective again adds to gameplay by providing additional options to victory. The actual mechanics of flash vulnerability also stack on each other (vulnerability is on a sliding scale which is adjusted upwards or downwards by factors like sunglasses), which would further penalize anyone who wants to use both Thermals and X-ray at the same time. It wouldn't be impossible, but it would impose a significant vulnerability which could be exploited by a capable opponent, which I think makes for much more fun and rewarding gameplay than just going "no, bad, can't do [X]." C. Availability: I don't have as easy an answer here, because my ideal solution would be just 'port over Goon genetics (and hopefully Goon artifact, reactor, and /tg/ research-points mechanics, pretty please?). That being said, some potential solutions for avoiding X-ray spam under the current genetics code includes increasing the mutability of the X-ray gene*, making the genetics X-ray power come automatically with black&white activated**, or increasing the duration of the power's activation cooldown compared to the R&D implant version. *Increasing the gene's mutation effect would make Genetics X-ray give minor damage and annoying "your skin is bubbling off!" messages even when it's the sole power activated. While not lethal on its own, this should hopefully provide enough disadvantages to turn away 'casual' users, doubly so when combined with the proposed nerfs above. **While making Genetics X-ray come with black&white, I'd argue against doing so for Science's X-ray implant. Cost-wise, X-ray implants are already fairly well balanced: they require literally tip-top research levels, they need diamond, and they need to be manually installed. My only issue with R&D-given X-ray is the ludicrous capabilities which X-ray itself gives; the actual costs of acquiring it seem fairly well balanced. 3. Recap and Conclusion: Rather than removing X-ray entirely from the game, I want to limit its combat capability and provide some mechanical drawbacks for using it. A recap of the proposed changes: I. Timed power/stationary activation: Instead of being always on, X-ray can only be activated once every 2 minutes while stationary. Movement deactivates the power. II. X-ray no longer provides automatic nightvision. When activated, X-ray vision will be similar to that of a camera given an Analyzer upgrade. III. Similar to Thermals, X-ray increases flash vulnerability. While not crippling in and of itself (a -1 to flash vulnerability a la Thermals just means you can get stunned for a half-second by a flash), this would provide a significant drawback to stacking X-ray and Thermals on each other. IV. The Genetics X-ray route could use an additional barrier to entry rather than just "hope they don't stumble across the gene in the first five minutes of the round." I'd recommend an additional minor drawback like black&white vision, as others have proposed. Simply making X-ray a timed-activation capability dependent on remaining stationary should significantly nerf its combat utility, since SS13 combat is based around movement. Given the supremacy of stuns in the game's combat paradigm, adding a slight stun vulnerability should also increase the risk of taking X-ray for combat use. I'm open to further suggestions, of course, but I think the above changes should be sufficient to make X-ray a more balanced - and more importantly, interesting - ability to both use and fight against.
  14. The Issue(s) There are two fundamental problems to the IA Agent's job: 1. Everyone hates them, and 2. No one has to listen to them. Let's call these issues 'unpopularity' and 'lack of authority,' for the sake of brevity. No one wants to see IAA outside their department, because literally nothing good will ever come of it. IAAs cannot reward, only punish, so logically the department members will failing to cooperate with IA and ignore them as much as humanly possible. That's not an environment which will encourage a newbie IA to return for another round of the same, no? But hey, let's suppose that someone is a dedicated IA fellow and keeps on the job long enough to find a clear example of malfeasance. Maybe it's just something small like Robotics not getting their cyborg forms stamped, or maybe Cargo is setting up another Tesla engine in the Cargo Bay again. Either way, IA can't do a thing themselves; they have to radio and hope that someone listens. Problem is, they aren't really in the chain of command: they don't head up a department, they don't have any underlings themselves, and the best they can hope for is for someone else - the Captain/HoS, CentComm, etc. - to act on the info they provide. Given those circumstances, it shouldn't be much wonder that IAs jump to faxing early and often. CentComm might be unreliable, but they definitely have the oomph to make things happen if they /do/ act. The Fix(es) IAA has only one job to do, and it's a job which everyone else hates. This is something which can be addressed with fairly minimal in-game intervention: give them a means to commend people. The obvious inspiration here is the SS13-CM 'medal printer,' where a medal's commendation text is displayed on the end-game screen. A commendation system can be implemented without difficult architectural changes, it has no effect on an ongoing game, and it provides a robust means for IAs to give other players a visible kudos (I assume that obvious misuse of the system, a la giving oneself a half-dozen commendations, could be warned about with some in-game text and would be spotted pretty easily). The goal here is pretty simple: I want to be happy to see IAAs. As it stands, they can basically never do anything good for me; seeing an IAA heading into my department means that I can expect someone warbling at me over minor breaches in SOP. Having some means for them to commend and congratulate good work would ameliorate that effect a bit. This brings me to the second problem, however, namely of authority. Real-life IAAs have several assets which are missing in-game, and can't be easily duplicated. SOP or its equivalent in real-life jobs is usually taken much more seriously at all levels, and there are fewer distractions like rampaging vampires to keep that enforcement from occurring. Ideally IA would send along their report to Security and that'd be that, but Security generally has bigger fish to tase, shoot, or (literally) fry than an SOP violation or three. I don't have as neat an answer for the issue of IA authority. My best guess would be to bundle SOP enforcement under the NT Rep's job, so that they're the metaphorical gorilla which an IA Agent calls in when they're getting stonewalled. Unlike IA, the karma-locked NT Rep role commands a good deal more respect from Command, and sometimes from Sec to boot. Between that and their presumed fax-writing competence, I think they'd be capable backup most of the time when an IAA is facing resistance. Conclusion As it stands, IA is not a fun job to play. In my own experience it consists of standing at the edge of other departments, yelling at people about issues which are important to you and literally no one else, and casting faxes into the void which you're sure will never be read. It's all the irrelevance of being the Coroner (and without the fun detective work of that job, to boot), combined with having to chew people out for not doing their paperwork while the station's literally exploding. If I were to distill the issues with IA, I'd point to their lack of a beneficent side and their lack of authority. As they are now, their job is to be easily ignored.
  15. Issues: 1. Station goals are a neat idea, but with only three different goals, they get pretty boring in practice. Once you've seen one station shield, you've seen them all. 1(a). More complicated station goals aren't easily implemented due to the extensive coding involved. You can't code a way to evaluate "put on a play" without human involvement in the loop. 2. Station goals require the entire station, which leaves you screwed over if/when Botany some other department fails to come through and renders all your hard work pointless. 3. Station goals also only involve a few departments; when the station's job is "haul some satellites into space," the entire Service department can't do much more than Advanced Thumb-Twiddling. Design Goals: 1. I'm looking to make a flexible system which provides a goal which both departments and individual jobs can strive for. 2. I want to avoid consistency: the system should have a lot of different goals, which ideally challenge people's playstyles in some way. 3. The system should reward both departments and individuals in a way which provides some bragging rights, without incentivizing them enough to make them want to game the system. Design: 1. Each department (Security, Cargo, Engineering, Medical, Science, Service) receives a specific goal from a pre-determined list. Similarly to the station goal form, the paper with the departmental goal would appear in the head's office (HoP, HoS, CMO, etc.). The departmental goal is intended to involve the primary job of the department (Engineers, Cargo Techs, etc.), with a goal such as "send back at least 20 empty crates" or "hold a pizza party." Suggestions for goals to complete are definitely appreciated (see below). 2. Individual jobs which are different from the primary department's job in some way (Geneticist, Chemist, Botanist, Mime/Clown, etc.) receive a role-specific goal which they're intended to implement. A Coroner, for instance, could receive a goal like "hold a funeral for at least one deceased individual this shift, complete with a eulogy." 3. Goal completion is evaluated by IA Agents, who can mark a department's or individual's goal as completed (I'd suggest having a particular form to fax to CentComm or something similar, to avoid complicating things). While this system could certainly be gamed, the low reward potential should keep people from gaming it for actual powergame-y reasons. And if someone wants to bribe or coerce an IA Agent into claiming they've done something good...well, that seems like perfectly decent RP, no? 4. Departments would be rewarded with a plaque or some other commendation that goes on a wall (either shipped in or stocked in the IA's office), and a minor greentext at the end under the Station Goal section ("Science Department Goal: 'Create multiple maximum-capacity bombs' - completed!"). Individuals who completed their role-specific task or contributed strongly in some other way would be rewarded with a commendation from their Head of Staff. Each Head of Staff would spawn with their own medal box in their closet, with up to three relevant medals inside (distinguished conduct for the HoP, nobel sciences award for the RD, etc.) Obviously, some medals like the 'medal for exceptional heroism' would still be Captain-only. This: a) allows for many more goals to be implemented, ranging from more conventional goals like "Engineering: repair and re-open the Med-Maint Bar" to off-the-wall stuff like "Service: serve a full-scale feast in the Bar, complete with a reconstruction of an ancient Viking longship" or "Mime/Clown: act out a scene from a Shakespearean play"), b) gives IA Agents more stuff to do and a reason to visit other departments rather than the usual interaction of "You're doing your job? Cool, keep doing that," c) improves IA's interaction with other departments, since now they can provide something good rather than just being the bearer of bad news, and d) Gives both recognition and reward to a particular department for the work they've done. Expected issues: a) People gaming the system for kicks (IA Agent being a shitter, Head of Staff pinning all their medals on themselves, etc.). I see this issue as a largely self-resolving one, since people being shitheads like this should invite enough public condemnation to limit it. b) People simply ignoring their goals. This is also a fairly self-resolving issue, since the goals themselves don't provide any major risk or reward other than a shiny plaque or medal. c) People mocking a weird goal they're given. This could be addressed by making the goal papers themselves fairly humorous ("Hey Atmos Techs, Comms Officer Steve here. So I know it's normally banned for being 'suicidally dangerous' and similar stuff, but here's what: how about you make a special room for plasmamen? I'm sure the Chief Engineer would commend you for that!"). This should hopefully provide the right tone for the goals, without detracting from the fact that they're a new and interesting thing to try on some slow round. Suggestions for departmental goals: General: -Educate new members of the team / provide public education to anyone who wants to learn about your job Medical: -Remove at least ten appendixes / install at least five MedHUD implants -Get half the crew to maximize their suit sensors / ensure the front desk is staffed during the shift Science: -Destroy the Toxins Testing Range with toxins bombs -Build a quantum-pad network connecting the station -Build and install two additional AIs / build a secondary comms array Engineering: -Complete and pressurize the Construction Site (the one east of the Engineering Outpost) -Build a new room in the Assembly Line area (theater, lounge, etc.) -Repair and re-furnish the Old Bar or Medical Maintenance restaurant Cargo: -Send at least twenty crates on the supply shuttle -Ensure that every order submitted has properly stamped paperwork -Provide every Civilian on station with a Station-Bounced Radio Role-Specific Tasks: Chemistry: Provide every other department with healing grenades / provide Engineering with at least five metal-foam grenades Coroner: Ensure all corpses are disposed of via cremation or mass-driver once autopsied Roboticist: Ensure the station has at least one 'borg with every module type before the shift ends / Build at least two Odysseus Mechs Chaplain: Provide a service dedicating the station to your god / hold at least one funeral service for any person or thing, complete with firing them out the mass driver Librarian: Create a role-playing game in the Library / provide books to all other departments Atmos Tech: Destroy at least one dangerous item in the Incinerator / create a vox-specific (or plasmaman-specific) room this shift (etc. etc. etc.) I'd appreciate any other suggestions you have to offer, especially suggestions for additional goals to complete. I'd like a large number of goals to avoid people seeing the same ones too often, so if you can think of anything else, lemme know! If the maintainers are willing to go forward with this suggestion then I'll be happy to provide the fluff for it like the department/job papers, IA's new SOP regarding inspecting and completing goals, assessing and suggesting new goals, and so on.