Electronic (Remote Ops)

k0k0pelli

Banded Mongoose
Has there ever been a clear set of rules on how remote ops actually works? I thought the High Guard update might have some but it did not materialize. I then bought the Robot handbook but was let down (both are great books but they do not explain remote ops well).

As examples:
* When controlling a ship with virtual crew using remote ops do you use your skill (pilot as an example) or the virtual crew skill
* When controlling an avatar through BIACS, same question. if you use a gun, are you using the host's skill program, your own, or can you choose.
* If you control a ship's brain using a BIACS is your effective agility the ship's TL?
* If you control mining drones, does your skill matter or do you just need to have it? (repair drones are the only one that specify skill)

mostly I am interested in the first question but figured I would throw the others in there to give examples of where remote ops remains unclear.

My personal ruling (in absence of actual official rules) is that while controlling a ship through a ships brain or virtual crew using drone control you use your skills or the virtual crew skills with a maximum of your remote ops. If using a BIACS the remote ops skill levelh does not matter.
 

Gavain

Mongoose
My ruling would depend on the level of management the remote operator was using.
Hands off: Just sending outcomes. e.g. fly here, repair that. - Use the brain at the end of the chain for skills and rolls.
Hands on: Direct manipulation of the remote unit. e.g. controling the vehicle, diagnosing repairs and manipulating the robot to do the welding etc. - Use the remote operators skills limited by their remote opps skill.
 

Sigtrygg

Emperor Mongoose
The remote operation interface should affect this. If the remote station offers haptic feedback then more of a character's skill can be applied.
 

k0k0pelli

Banded Mongoose
Yeah, in a couple of my designs the intention is for primary control to be through BIACS where the ship has full haptics installed. The ships still have a bridge but it is not the primary control interface. I use the Alpha ship's brain, gut it of skills and add the Avatar Receiver. I tend to use the ship's brain like Ava, not an intelligence in and of itself but a conduit to connect to the ship. Not really for any reason other than I like the idea of effectively "plugging in" to operate the ship at TL14+.

That led to the question if I wanted to do the same thing but not worry about the inclusion of rules from the robot handbook how would I do it. Nominally the crew could sit in the bridge (or elsewhere on the ship) and control the ship using remote ops.

I could do things like a bridgeless ship to save space but I am not trying to optimize in that way so much as fit my vision of how I want to control the ship. I mean an Alpha brain with avatar receiver + full haptics installed on the ship is not that expensive. That would give the captain the ability to sit in a seat and effectively do normal operations without being confined to the bridge. It makes sense to me for small, say under 400 ton, ships. Not for capital ships to be sure, but for something with a nominal crew of 1-5 in the first place? Why not?

Personally if you include the rules from the robotics handbook in "canon" then IMHO any TL 14+ single seat fighter should have no cockpit and instead have a deluxe avatar chair and full haptics.
 
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NOLATrav

Banded Mongoose
Personally if you include the rules from the robotics handbook in "canon" then IMHO any TL 14+ single seat fighter should have no cockpit and instead have a deluxe avatar chair and full haptics instead.
Interesting. Maybe this is why you can have very powerful High-Burn Thrusters on small craft without mention of inertial compensation.

an Alpha brain with avatar receiver + full haptics installed on the ship is not that expensive. That would give the captain the ability to sit in a seat and effectively do normal operations without being confined to the bridge
This is a very cool idea. I've skimmed the robot handbook but have yet to dive deeply - looks like I've found my weekend chore ;)
 

Geir

Cosmic Mongoose
Personally if you include the rules from the robotics handbook in "canon" then IMHO any TL 14+ single seat fighter should have no cockpit and instead have a deluxe avatar chair and full haptics.
But where would that chair be? If it was on the fighter, it would be the cockpit, just with a mental rather than physical interface. If it was remote, then there could be a bit of a time-delay lag. Even 30,000 km is a tenth of a second - each way - and that's going to cause some degradation in reaction time. For close and orbital support, then yeah: stick a meson comm on the fighter and put the pilot under 10 km of rock, nice and safe. (Oh, and the cockpit is much cheaper than the chair, so there's that - depends on the 'value' of the trained fighter pilot, which might be more than the chair's cost.)

Or use a cheaper robot brain and no pilot at all.
 

Condottiere

Emperor Mongoose
That's the dilemma of justifying having fighter pilots in preference to drones.

Usually it comes down to financial cost and the fact that it takes about twenty two years to produce a human pilot, compared to just copying a virtual programme.

Extensive use of active electronic warfare might modify those considerations.
 

k0k0pelli

Banded Mongoose
But where would that chair be? If it was on the fighter, it would be the cockpit, just with a mental rather than physical interface. If it was remote, then there could be a bit of a time-delay lag. Even 30,000 km is a tenth of a second - each way - and that's going to cause some degradation in reaction time. For close and orbital support, then yeah: stick a meson comm on the fighter and put the pilot under 10 km of rock, nice and safe. (Oh, and the cockpit is much cheaper than the chair, so there's that - depends on the 'value' of the trained fighter pilot, which might be more than the chair's cost.)

Or use a cheaper robot brain and no pilot at all.
The chair would be in the location where the cockpit would normally be, though with no windows, controls, etc... Just a cocoon to set the pilot with any spare space being used for sensors, etc... Indeed something like that would be more comfortable and likely could keep the pilot safer. So yes, the chair becomes the effective cockpit but in rules terms would be a avatar chair, not a cockpit component.

I am not looking to replace the pilot, nor am I looking to do everything remote, though under some circumstances I can see it being done. As I said before, it is purely personal preference but I do not like the idea of ceding control to a robot brain. RAW however, having a robot brain is the only way to control the ship mentally (using a BIACS or Avatar chair) so I lobotomize the brain. As far as remote ops are concerned, for something like a fighter I would argue towards disabling or not installing any wireless connection, requiring the use of the chair which is hardwired into the system.

For civilian ships of high tech level I see the operating of a ship from the bridge as a convention more than a necessity. Operations under normal circumstance could be done via a drone control of some sort... BIACS, Drone Control Helmet, Drone control console, or even a generic computer in a pinch. It could also be used to control the civilian craft remotely with the limitations you mention, but distance and bandwidth should not be an issue when you are sitting in the craft being controlled.
 
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NOLATrav

Banded Mongoose
I guess I've misunderstood the concept of the fighter described above, I need to read up on the material.

I was imagining a pilot-less fighter, with a brain of some sort, and a bank of pilots back on the mother ship in control stations like gunners. Remote-opping the fighters from the safety of the carrier or whatever via tight-beam laser or maser comms.

Lag time, yes, but protects the human investment and allows faster flight via uncompensated high-burn thrusters. Not really close range strafing attacks but more stand-off weapons. Maybe like bomb-pumped lasers.

But I guess from there it's just a short hop to autonomous drones.
 

Sigtrygg

Emperor Mongoose
Having a person in the loop so to speak makes people feel safer, even if all that person does is press the big red button marked "kill everything as per programming".
 

k0k0pelli

Banded Mongoose
I guess I've misunderstood the concept of the fighter described above, I need to read up on the material.

I was imagining a pilot-less fighter, with a brain of some sort, and a bank of pilots back on the mother ship in control stations like gunners. Remote-opping the fighters from the safety of the carrier or whatever via tight-beam laser or maser comms.

Lag time, yes, but protects the human investment and allows faster flight via uncompensated high-burn thrusters. Not really close range strafing attacks but more stand-off weapons. Maybe like bomb-pumped lasers.

But I guess from there it's just a short hop to autonomous drones.
That can be done too. In an experiment I discarded I had a 400 ton breakaway hull with 30 6 ton remote operated fighters 20 with missiles, 10 with beam lasers for missile defense. For the tonnage 26 missile volleys (2 triple missile turrets on the base hull) are pretty nasty.

The idea is that they all stay in close range of each other and effectively make a swarm missile platform. Same thing could be done with other armament but for it's tonnage the mother ship is a priority target so I was focused on long range bombardment and the ability to outrun most opponents.

It is excessively specialized so probably not practical (not to mention insanely expensive once you start firing missiles) but was interesting.

I also built a mother ship with small remote mining vessels, basically a mining laser, small grappling arm, and cargo net. The idea is the 2 remote mining ships went out and mined for ore, collected into the cargo net, then came back to the mother ship. I also had the same ship a little larger with mining drones too but I think I settled on the version without the drones in the end. Without current rules for mining though I sort of put that one to the side.

Most of my builds are for well heeled Travellers who want a ship to explore in though so remotes outside of probe drones is not a priority.
 

Arkathan

Cosmic Mongoose
It is amazing how well reminding Travellers how much it costs to fire a small missile bay once works to curb their desire to fire said missile bay...
 

heron61

Banded Mongoose
Electronics: Remote Ops skill acts as a limit for how many skill levels a character can use with a robot they are controlling. So, both the TL 11 Advanced Drone Control Interface and the Drone Control/2 software each give a +1 Control DM. Obviously, this bonus adds to Remote Ops skill rolls, but does it also increase the skill cap useable when teleoperating a robot? For example, if a character has Electronics: Remote Ops 1 and is using Drone Control/2 software (which provides a +1 Control DM) are they still limited to only using 1 level of any skill when controlling the drone or can they use 2?
 

Gavain

Mongoose
I expect that the Advanced Drone Control Interface is using the Drone Control/2 software to generate it's DM+1. I certainly wouldn't allow them to stack. Because the bonus is specifically called "Control DM" I would think that it wouldn't also increase the skill cap. The swarm controller specifically states the max skill level available depending on the software level.
 

k0k0pelli

Banded Mongoose
Electronics: Remote Ops skill acts as a limit for how many skill levels a character can use with a robot they are controlling. So, both the TL 11 Advanced Drone Control Interface and the Drone Control/2 software each give a +1 Control DM. Obviously, this bonus adds to Remote Ops skill rolls, but does it also increase the skill cap useable when teleoperating a robot? For example, if a character has Electronics: Remote Ops 1 and is using Drone Control/2 software (which provides a +1 Control DM) are they still limited to only using 1 level of any skill when controlling the drone or can they use 2?
I would say that it is your "effective" Remote Ops skill that limits other skill use. So in you example Remote Ops 1 +1 from the use of Drone Control/2 software would allow you to use skills at level 2.
 
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