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## The purpose of crew when you fly the ship?

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16 replies to this topic

### #1All Names Taken  Members

Posted 01 July 2013 - 03:56 PM

Been distracted by space-sims and elite-likes of late, so if you guys would humour some ideas?

Taking into account a few requests on space-sims, the main one for this post is having a fully crewed ship ala Star Trek (or even Firefly) and a small side one is missions on foot, planetside, boarding actions, etc (to tie it in nicely with the crew, think Away-Missions).

In most space sims you have the majority if not complete control over the ship your piloting, and I can see taking away a large portion of this control and handing it over to AI crew might lead more to frustration and annoyance. So my thoughts where based around how else having an able crew would benefit you in flying your ship.

In the end I decided that crew would have abilities in up to 3 areas.

Flight Support: Rather than taking over control they can enhance certain aspects to make life even easier for the captain (you).

Independent Tasks: When left to their own devices with enough resources will go about doing useful things on the side that don't directly bump noses with flying the ship.

Away Team Role: In the vain of Star Trek, you select members of your crew to accompany you on missions on the ground, forming squad under your command. So I imagined there needs to be reasons to choose different crew members with different roles.

As such, crew come in a number of traditional classes and roles, each I wanted to give some of the above to (But some admittedly may miss out in areas such as flight support or away team role). I pictured crew gaining experience and 'levels/ranks' and becoming more efficient in their roles as well. So I was hoping you guys could help me out with ideas on abilities in these ability categories, as well as suggestions for other important crew I may have missed.

MAIN CREW ROLES

Navigator: Your expert on traveling through space.

• Flight Support: Perhaps maps out nearby star systems for you to jump to, the higher the rank the further out systems are mapped. Can be assigned to setting up routes and way points? Can find shortcuts and maybe necessary for traversing the likes of wormholes? Reduce the amount of fuel/energy it takes to FTL around?
• Independent Tasks: No idea really, can be given over control of the ship as a sort of superior autopilot?
• Away Team Role: Again no idea ...

Tactician: Experts on capital ship combat (cap-ships being the kind of ships you would captain).

• Flight Support: Can be assigned to take over fire controls, perhaps you can distribute some weapons between yourself and your tactician, so he can concentrate on aiming turrets on fighters and such. With higher rank will be able to identify weak points on enemy ships for you. Gives you faster missile locks and such. And can perform alittle move I call 'shield blocking', if you remember the likes of X-Wing/Tie Fighter or Wing Commander you could redirect the power of your shields - forward, back, left, right etc, the shield block has the tactician quickly redirect power to take on incoming fire while your busy doing other things.
• Independent Tasks: Not sure, afraid I'm not giving any examples of what I mean here yet.
• Away Team Role: Again, not sure.

Engineer: "I can not do'et captin, she needs more power!" This one is abit more fleshed out in its three roles.

• Flight Support: Mainly need to be assigned to what I'm calling 'Engineering Bays' where they will act to repair damage done to the ship. At higher ranks they repair faster and can come up with ship overhauls/overclocks? Like getting more boost out of the shields, guns, engines.
• Independent Tasks: Finally an example, on your ship you can create 'workshops' and assign engineers to them, where they will manufacture new equipment and upgrades from resources gathered (Sort of like X-Com's bases with their workshops).
• Away Team Role: The engineer will be a support role on the ground, able to repair equipment (vehicles?) and possibly construct certain buildings (monitoring posts, outposts, auto-turrets?).

Scientist: So as one performs away missions and collects 'data' and explores anomalies in space the scientist takes that info and creates new toys and technology for you.

• Flight Support: The opposite to the others so far, I have little idea what the scientist does to help you midflight. I considered having them give occasional advice when encountering new planets or spacial anomalies "It would be unwise to fly into that supernova Captain".
• Independent Tasks: Very much like the engineer, I picture part of the game is collecting research materials and artifacts on away missions, your scientist sits around trying to unlock the mysteries and will eventually give you a new technology that your engineers can often manufacture something from (Again, your ship is kind of like an X-Com base in my idea).
• Away Team Role: Not entirely sure, I imagine they could detect and identify research materials and artifacts you encounter on the ground letting you collect the more valuable items "No Captain that is not an alien death-ray ... its a spoon, made in china it says". Possibly they can also give advice on dangerous environments and lifeforms as you explore, or simply taking them along increases their research output.

Physician: The one who puts the rest of your crew back together after something tries to burst out of their chest. Doctors who provide medical assistance to the rest of the crew.

• Flight Support: No idea, apart from administering to injured crew in battles and such.
• Independent Tasks: Will typically work in the sick bay healing up the crew, possibly battling any dangerous alien viruses you may pick up along the way. A side idea was that they could at later ranks do stuff like cybernetics and such.
• Away Team Role: Easily enough the physician is your team medic while on away missions.

Security: Typically big tough bruisers who are the first to get a hold of the ray guns and kick some ass. Your soldiers and such.

• Flight Support: Again, no idea what they would do for you while you fly around space. I suppose defending the ship from boarding actions (if those where to be implemented) or performing boarding actions.
• Independent Tasks: Again not sure, I considered having them 'police' your crew to perhaps keep they from getting up to mischief and mutiny.
• Away Team Role: I imagine you would always take some security along, equipped with weapons and armour to protect you and any others from any dangers, and on the occasion when you are leading a military style operation on a planet.

Comms?: A role I was unsure of including, communications officer who deals with ... well communications.

• Flight Support: When I thought on it I decided that they could possibly be a sort translator/diplomat when you contact other vessels or aliens, a higher ranked comms will give you much more diplomatic and persuasive conversation options when dealing with them, or know exactly the best way to threaten a Graqf into surrendering. Possibly they would also need time to translate alien languages before you could communicate with them (higher ranks would translate faster).
• Independent Tasks: Eavesdropping and spying on transmissions between other ships and letting the captain know about that secret attack on Planet Z, possibly this lets you pick up extra 'missions' without having to poke around so many space bars.
• Away Team Role: Again, no idea.

OTHER CREW ROLES

Pilots: If any one has played Battlecruiser Millennium you had a number of smaller fighters and shuttles aboard your ship, basically pilots would fly these. Since these aren't part of what I consider the 'main' crew I didn't think they needed a role beyond that.

Steward/Cook?: The only other one that came to mind, would I suppose improve crew morale depending on their rank?

Thats all I have for now, any thoughts/suggestions?

Edited by All Names Taken, 01 July 2013 - 08:34 PM.

### #2Wavinator  Moderators

Posted 01 July 2013 - 08:37 PM

Off the top of my head...

Navigator - Independent tasks could be cooking up maneuvers, which allow the player to execute moves that exceed the normal capabilities of the ship (turning faster or combo moves). Away team roles would be getting the team down in one piece in hostile conditions / weather, driving any vehicles, terrain mapping (it's navigation), aerial support and recon (who says the shuttle just has to land and isn't like a combat helo), flyer of man sized and microscopic drones... should I keep going?

Tactician - Independent tasks would be coming up with combo attacks which are better than normal attacks. If he stays in the ship he can coordinate orbital barrages, if he comes with the team he gives a bonus to security.

Scientist - In flight, optimizes other equipment to neutralize status effects (radiation, sensor interference). Just like away team role, can tell you WHAT things are, in terms of other ship defenses, signals or damage effects, etc. (for example, not just that you're hit with a laser effect, but one that's slowly siphoning ship energy because it's causing the shields to resonate... and he can tell you what frequency to shift the shields so it stops happening).

Security - Independent tasks = train for specific operations and environments in advance. Rescue? Against terrorists? In arctic climate? Train and get a bonus before you get to the planet.

Comms - I think the diplomat idea works even on the ground. And languages could play a big role. Comms would be critical for positive first contact.

--------------------Just waiting for the mothership...

### #3SuperG  Members

Posted 01 July 2013 - 10:47 PM

I miss something.
Medical staff.
Counceler the ship shrink like in startrek.

But i would not take startrek aproach to away teams. TV series have a huge flaw to reality a smal pool of actors competing for screen time. So a TV series focus on a few main characters and some support requring and guest actors. That suficent for a small ship like firefly a freighter. But a starship with multi hundred of crew not. I expect more for a carrier of few 1000 crew, they have dedicated roles. Bridge commanders won't go as away team members you have specialist for that.
Stargate a archelogist and a sientist atlantis crew won't go on combat missions. Also a away team doesn't have to be TV show small.
But altho TV series have there limitation. For me they are the main inspiration for such games. Altho most of them are very much soft scifi. So I would go for game that has more a TV show point of few. You as player are the captain. I would even go for a FP point of view. With this there becomes a option to extend to 3D FPS boarding feature and real security NPC like FPS bots in a ship like Map. But also every role are NPC characters.

Then a carrier is like a mobile base or mobile airfield the navy counter part. In space these things would be much more independand. For the docked ships you have command center flight controle.
A carrier has a huge logical staff and a huge warehouse for long and independant missions.
As having similarity as needs off airfield base, they have also a large enough repair crew and maintnance toolshops.

Also for naval carrier due to the fact airplane need a land and take off deck and have a fast take off speed need. In space not. So in space there is no need to pure carriers very recognisable to it land and take off deck. In space you can easaly floot out and gain speed slowly. In naval there exist some hybrid carrier battleship alltho very rare. In space it would be common. The difference would be more space used for docking then huge honking space guns.

### #4All Names Taken  Members

Posted 01 July 2013 - 11:12 PM

The does give me ideas for 'specialist'/'guest star' crewmembers actually SuperG

Counselors: To keep up morale.

Chef/Cook/Steward: As mentioned above, possibly requests occasional rare alien ingredients as a sort of side mission.

Merchant/Negotiator: Gives bonuses to haggling/trading, gives system info on desired trade goods.

Smuggler: A rather uncouth option that grants access to black-market and piracy channels.

Chaplain: Priest who follows a (made-up) alien religion prominent in the universe.

Mercenary: Security for hire, possibly tougher/better at what they do (but worse at other stuff).

### #5Milcho  Members

Posted 02 July 2013 - 04:53 AM

It's interesting to see this because I've been working on something very similar in concept. Mainly crew types and roles.

My approach is slightly different I suppose. I mean less Trek, and more Firefly you could say.

Some of the things I have written down, copied from my notes

• Commander

• Increases survivability odds for everyone on Missions

• Can negotiate with Human Survivors or Tribes found on Missions

• Provides small morale boost for all crew on ship
• Pilot

• Required to fly any Spaceship

• Engineer

• Can Repair ship components

• Can safely recover Repair Parts while on Missions

• Scientist

• Can research Unknown Objects and analyze Recovered Data

• Can safely recover Research Data while on Missions

• Mercenary

• Increases odds to kill hostile Humans on missions

• Doctor

• Can heal Badly Injured crew on ship

• Greatly reduces odds of any crew Dying while on Missions (leaving them Critically Wounded - unable to fight or function, but not dead, instead)

• Companion (female only)

• Gives crew morale on board a ship

• Can find new Contacts in Cities

• Does not require you to pay her a Salary

I like your idea for cook, as something else that can raise crew morale. My idea was that each crew member has some base morale level that's affected by things like not getting enough rations each day, not being paid last month, having another crew member die on a mission, or the above listed boosts from other crew. The idea was that once morale drops low enough, that crew member becomes unusable, and if morale drops even lower they will leave your ship.

Still lots of things to be covered, and I have more notes working on this, but this part seemed relevant to your post. Er, as a small note though, I list things like 'survival odds on missions' because I envisioned missions as sort of just text-based, where you click "send team" and are given a report of what's going on, with maybe occasionally having a decision - and not actually playing out the mission with the crew. (this is in the style of how you send Commandos to board other ships in Nexus: The Jupiter Incident)

### #6Acharis  Members

Posted 02 July 2013 - 06:30 AM

- who owns the ship? (government - like StarTrek, self appointed saviour of the universe - Andromeda, private enterprenuer - Firefly, fugitives - Farscape)

- what is the purpose of the ship? (combat, exploration, trade)

- how many crew is on board (the structure of 1000 men Enterprise from StarTrek and less than 10 of Firefly is greatly different in function)?

Also, do you strive for realism? Note that StarTrek is a complete nonsense in term of any kind of crew management realism (sending a well trained unique space pilot capabe of operating this huge ship to an away mission where he could die by one random bullet is insane; you have a specialized batallion of space marines for this)

If we talk about a big ship the crew would be probably something like this:

- bridge staff (navigators, pilots, commanders)

- engineering (runining the power source of the ship, maintenance, repairs)

- space combat & security (tactical - and it should not be just one person like a tactical officer, artillery/torpedoe operators)

- freight and fighters (pilots of smaller ships docked on the mothership; to carry cargo/people around and to fight and for reconeisance)

- ground combat (space marines)

- crew reponsible for the main task of the ship (could be scientists, some geologists that go on away missions)

- civilian support staff (cooks, barbers, medical, administration, quartermaster, paymaster, etc)

Working on an Emperor focused, no micromanagement, asymmetric, 4X, space empire builder:

Stellar Monarch (4X, turn based): GDN forum topic - Twitter - Facebook - YouTube

### #7All Names Taken  Members

Posted 02 July 2013 - 03:13 PM

- who owns the ship? (government - like StarTrek, self appointed saviour of the universe - Andromeda, private enterprenuer - Firefly, fugitives - Farscape)

- what is the purpose of the ship? (combat, exploration, trade)

- how many crew is on board (the structure of 1000 men Enterprise from StarTrek and less than 10 of Firefly is greatly different in function)?

Also, do you strive for realism? Note that StarTrek is a complete nonsense in term of any kind of crew management realism (sending a well trained unique space pilot capabe of operating this huge ship to an away mission where he could die by one random bullet is insane; you have a specialized batallion of space marines for this)

If we talk about a big ship the crew would be probably something like this:

- bridge staff (navigators, pilots, commanders)

- engineering (runining the power source of the ship, maintenance, repairs)

- space combat & security (tactical - and it should not be just one person like a tactical officer, artillery/torpedoe operators)

- freight and fighters (pilots of smaller ships docked on the mothership; to carry cargo/people around and to fight and for reconeisance)

- ground combat (space marines)

- crew reponsible for the main task of the ship (could be scientists, some geologists that go on away missions)

- civilian support staff (cooks, barbers, medical, administration, quartermaster, paymaster, etc)

Who owns the ship? Faltering Earth government wanting to expand to new planets, but in a very Kirk/Picard'ish manner as Captain you would be pretty independent (With chance of annoying Earth in the process).

Purpose, primarily exploration and finding colonization sights but with capabilities to undertake the other two (Trade and combat). Ships could be customized for certain roles. I imagine you start off in something scout/corvette sized and can work your way up as you establish Earth's presence in the galaxy.

I imagine the crew to range from 2 to 40, no more than 100, more in the sense that I didn't want all this crew management to become to unbearable.

As for the realism aspect of away missions, nope ... because a large part of the appeal of this idea is that you get to explore planets and such in person. I would probably have it so you could send independent away teams down to do their own thing, but having the option to go yourself is big sell I think.

Edited by All Names Taken, 02 July 2013 - 03:16 PM.

### #8Archbishop  Members

Posted 02 July 2013 - 03:43 PM

Hopping back to the original topic of...

Flight Support: Rather than taking over control they can enhance certain aspects to make life even easier for the captain (you).

Independent Tasks: When left to their own devices with enough resources will go about doing useful things on the side that don't directly bump noses with flying the ship.

Away Team Role: In the vain of Star Trek, you select members of your crew to accompany you on missions on the ground, forming squad under your command. So I imagined there needs to be reasons to choose different crew members with different roles.

You mentioned that you want to have somewhere between two and forty crew members, approximately. If you're borrowing from the Trek-ish style of universe, generally members of the crew are some of kind of proficient at other things than just what they're good at. If there's a hull breach and your men aren't immediately in danger, any one who has experience in engineering can go and help with the problem, even if they aren't an 'engineer' so to speak. There are lots of roles and tasks that people can perform, and depending on how complicated you want the simulation to be, some crew members could be good at lots of things, which could tie in to the independent tasks.

Perhaps you have a small ship of five people. Obviously you aren't going to designate a crew member to be a dedicated chef, but someone could be good at it, and might in their spare time work on improving the meals of others versus them eating the gross rations out of the can. This overlap can be applied to flight tasks as well. Sure, your geologist isn't going to be an expert in the medical field, but if your medic is down, he's probably your next best bet and probably has enough training being in 'sciences' that he could figure out how to at least stabilize him if something had happened. Perhaps your crew members could have specific interests that they would like to learn or participate in. Say the helmsman always wanted to learn how to fly a ship and both him and the navigator aren't doing much (Say you're on an away mission or some such at the moment.) They might just chit chat and show him the ropes a bit, so in the future when you take a torpedo to the helm and your only navigator goes down, you might just have someone who doesn't pilot the ship like a burning blimp to take over.

Socializing in general is something that everyone probably wants and needs to do to some degree, and would be good for morale. I might have missed whether you wanted to have fine control over your crew members, but 100 seems impossible to do so with so I'll assume so not. Perhaps they could develop relationships, synergy, likes, and dislikes, things of that nature between one another on their own. Say in the previous example you simply have a rookie navigator ready to take over, but he's never been at the helm before. Not only are you not flying as efficiently because he's inexperienced, but your tactical officer might miss a torpedo shot or two more often because of shot correction issues and the bumpy ride. (That's probably not so applicable to space combat really, but you probably get the idea that I'm going for.)

For those characters who don't have 'busy work' to do in regards to their specialization, the simple socialization aspects would probably be that. Learning new things, relaxing to keep up morale, helping others if need be. Perhaps the resident biologist had discovered a new virus and your doctor is twiddling his thumbs? Why not have the doctor help him with his task? Everyone benefits, and two characters are now being busy. Not to say they should always cluster in groups for tasks, but if one is screwing around and the relationship system is in effect, it's totally reasonable to see that happen every once in a while. If you could order people around to do specific things and you have picked up a new crew member, why not assign an old favorite (or yourself!) to introduce him around to the others to build that crew synergy up with the new guy?

### #9All Names Taken  Members

Posted 03 July 2013 - 05:17 PM

Well I'll certainly take on board such things as the Navigators planetary scouting/drone control idea ... and perhaps Tacticians have the ability to call in orbital strikes or air support from your ship.

And yes, crew will be able to have skills in multiple areas, though they may need to unlock skills outside their expertise with training (or finding a Security crewmember who knows medical would be a bonus from the hiring pool ... have a good CV if you want to explore the galaxy?)

### #10Stormynature  GDNet+

Posted 03 July 2013 - 07:29 PM

The smaller the ship the more the various roles will merge into one or alternatively be dispensed with which leads to the question "what skills become vital to the running of a ship"? Larger ships tend to have larger crews due to the scale of work necessary (including 24/7 time requirements) as well providing some redundancy in case of a crew member mishap whereas smaller ships do not have the luxury of depth and have a greater reliance on what can be automated or simplified or simply disregarded such as a trained medical officer or specialist tactician.

Posted 04 July 2013 - 01:17 AM

Hmm, now I'm imagining a space game where you are the captain of a mercenary ship, and you recruit your crew.  It would be kind of like Fire Emblem for planet-based combat, or like one of those worker placement time management games (Artist Colony, Gemini Lost, Virtual Villagers) for non-combat away missions.  The captain would be the base unit and/or an elite unit.  The ship would be your home base that you developed, and the NPCs would hang out at their various posts being shopkeepers, medics, repairpeople, a farmer in the hydroponics lab, and some or all would be romanceable characters.  So on the ship you'd only control the captain and walk around the ship interacting with the others.  Also, an NPC would have one or a few special abilities that would be added to the crew pool; as captain you could just use them.  Probably you could assign crewpeople to learn or level up special abilities too.

I want to help design a "sandpark" MMO. Optional interactive story with quests and deeply characterized NPCs, plus sandbox elements like player-craftable housing and lots of other crafting. If you are starting a design of this type, please PM me. I also love pet-breeding games.

### #12Orymus3  Members

Posted 04 July 2013 - 10:36 AM

Hmm, now I'm imagining a space game where you are the captain of a mercenary ship, and you recruit your crew. It would be kind of like Fire Emblem for planet-based combat, or like one of those worker placement time management games (Artist Colony, Gemini Lost, Virtual Villagers) for non-combat away missions. The captain would be the base unit and/or an elite unit. The ship would be your home base that you developed, and the NPCs would hang out at their various posts being shopkeepers, medics, repairpeople, a farmer in the hydroponics lab, and some or all would be romanceable characters. So on the ship you'd only control the captain and walk around the ship interacting with the others. Also, an NPC would have one or a few special abilities that would be added to the crew pool; as captain you could just use them. Probably you could assign crewpeople to learn or level up special abilities too.

Did you keep notes from project Copper? I think someone mentioned that then...

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### #13Sondre Drakensson  Members

Posted 05 July 2013 - 07:09 PM

or that you get new people on your team, and all of these are different. a gunner for instance. one gunner is more sensetive to stress and misses more shots then the other, but once he hits his shots are stronger. these differences can also give them dignity or purpose if you like that word better

Posted 06 July 2013 - 02:03 AM

Hmm, now I'm imagining a space game where you are the captain of a mercenary ship, and you recruit your crew. It would be kind of like Fire Emblem for planet-based combat, or like one of those worker placement time management games (Artist Colony, Gemini Lost, Virtual Villagers) for non-combat away missions. The captain would be the base unit and/or an elite unit. The ship would be your home base that you developed, and the NPCs would hang out at their various posts being shopkeepers, medics, repairpeople, a farmer in the hydroponics lab, and some or all would be romanceable characters. So on the ship you'd only control the captain and walk around the ship interacting with the others. Also, an NPC would have one or a few special abilities that would be added to the crew pool; as captain you could just use them. Probably you could assign crewpeople to learn or level up special abilities too.

Did you keep notes from project Copper? I think someone mentioned that then...

I'm not sure I actually know what Project Copper is.

Edited by sunandshadow, 06 July 2013 - 02:04 AM.

I want to help design a "sandpark" MMO. Optional interactive story with quests and deeply characterized NPCs, plus sandbox elements like player-craftable housing and lots of other crafting. If you are starting a design of this type, please PM me. I also love pet-breeding games.

### #15Orymus3  Members

Posted 06 July 2013 - 03:34 PM

I'm not sure I actually know what Project Copper is.

It was the name you, I, John Maurer and a few others were 'meant to start' at some point. During the inception phase, someone brought an idea much similar to the one explained above, I was just wondering if you had kept any notes regarding this, since, as far as I can remember, you were the one in charge of compiling the results? (if memory serves...)

(apologies for driving the thread off topic here, if not relevant, please proceed and ignore)

Edited by Orymus3, 06 July 2013 - 03:35 PM.

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Retro Mortis - "RTS" - Article Series (4 Parts) on the history of RTS development (4th part finally released!!!)

Posted 08 July 2013 - 07:41 PM

I'm not sure I actually know what Project Copper is.

It was the name you, I, John Maurer and a few others were 'meant to start' at some point. During the inception phase, someone brought an idea much similar to the one explained above, I was just wondering if you had kept any notes regarding this, since, as far as I can remember, you were the one in charge of compiling the results? (if memory serves...)

(apologies for driving the thread off topic here, if not relevant, please proceed and ignore)

Oh!  That was the one I ran several surveys for, and popular vote decided it should be an RTS, or something like that?  I do in fact have all the notes from that, pages and pages.     I just forgot it had a codename, or I thought it was cobalt or something, lol.  I'll PM you to see if you want copies of any of that material.

I want to help design a "sandpark" MMO. Optional interactive story with quests and deeply characterized NPCs, plus sandbox elements like player-craftable housing and lots of other crafting. If you are starting a design of this type, please PM me. I also love pet-breeding games.

### #17wodinoneeye  Members

Posted 13 July 2013 - 04:38 PM

freeking thing erase my post once ....

anyway   all the stuff that keeps everyone else able to do their jobs

Commissary  feeds crew  cook  supply officer, etc...

Guy who scrubs the toilets (fixes them too) -- all the routine maintenance

Morale officer / entertainments

Law enforcement/security/brig  MPs Shore Patrol  often overlaps with marine detachment seen on many official ships)  Marine complement often worked ships guns while on board

Medical personel/hygeine enforcers

Religious/chaplain

Cargo crew/handlers and commercial agent

Ships owner and family often went with their ships

Gophers

Trainees

Prisoners (crew or otherwise)

Ships pets/mascots ?

Mission specialist who are actually for external operations but are whats being transported

Edited by wodinoneeye, 13 July 2013 - 04:46 PM.

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