Continuing the discussion from Gunnery challenges:
I’ll make the new thread
I was thrilled to see someone doing crewed ships, but seriously disappointed at the presentation in that video.
The players spent a lot of time navigating a series of corridors and passageways, then waiting for the gunnery console to do its Transformer thing, then watching the boot sequence for the gunnery software. It was way over the top. It makes a great cut scene, but it’s devoid of gameplay value other than to ensure that players understand it takes non-trivial time to move between crew stations (which is a good thing). I’m really not interested in watching canned animations more than once or twice.
For my money, I just want to click on a crew station and let the game go through its thing of getting my character there. If it’s my first time on a ship, then maybe I have to figure it out once. After that, it’s autopilot. I do not want to click USE, then wait for an animation, then move my character, then click USE, then wait for an animation, etc.
Once the action started, I had no idea what was happening. Oh, I saw the scans, the shots and the explosions, but at no point did the demo attempt to present crewed ships as anything but a bunch of players stuck in the same ship - which is how detractors of crewed ships think of them . There was no communication between the crew members, no coordination, nothing.
Contrast that with my go-to game - ARMA 3. When we run a tank, we prefer to crew with three guys; driver, gunner and commander (really an anti-infantry gunner). The crew has to keep their heads on a swivel to locate and engage targets (and only enemy targets). The driver is responsible for picking a good location for the tank, preferably hull-down. The gunner is responsible for engaging vehicles and the commander engages infantry. The driver does not have target acquisition aids, just the gunner and commander. So he has to rely on communication from those two to know what’s going on. At the same time, the gunner and commander get tunnel vision once the shooting starts because they’re focused on their targets, while the driver is looking around for obvious dangers nearby, new asymmetric threats (e.g. aircraft), or understanding what’s going on in the larger picture, etc. All three are constantly pushing to optimize their own responsibilties. For example, gunners call “Stop!” to the driver when they see a target, but the driver knows that the vehicle is in a vulnerable position and engaging right then and there would likely be a disaster. The commander’s gun has a much wider field of fire than the turret, so we use him to peek over ridges and such (the main gun cannot depress enough).
And on and on it goes. What to do when the tank is damaged. Run versus fight decisions. That’s proper crew structuring, where no single player is empowered to do everything. It requires teamwork.
Of course, the same pattern is used for good multiplayer even outside of crewed vehicles - players don’t have all the information and they can’t do everything, so they have to coordinate and negotiate to achieve a common goal. Crewed vehicles just require tighter coordination.
In my experience, it’s a different level of gaming. Teams get to know each other. How they work. What their weaknesses and strengths are. Who they work well with and who they do not. Again, this happens in any good multiplayer game, but in my experience that dance becomes much more intricate when crewing a single vehicle.
Crew isn’t for everyone. Some folks prefer to run entirely solo, without any teamwork at all. Others prefer to lead combat teams - but only lead. Others prefer to follow in combat teams. Others still prefer support roles that allow them to move freely around the battlefield. There are many preferences among players. I enjoy most all of them, but find the close teamwork of a crewed vehicle to be the most challenging, memorable and overall fun.