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LoB

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Reply with quote  #1 
Hey guys,

I've been playing Artemis for two years now, have established the largest Steam group for the game together with mates (http://steamcommunity.com/groups/UArtemisPG - Join up!), have established the game within friends and colleagues - and now, I have two big projects on my list:

  • One I cannot disclose yet [smile]
  • And one professionally:
I want to use Artemis as a team building tool in my job: In a department consisting of >50 people who work in ~10 interdependent teams we want to enhance communication and cooperation. The idea is to basically set each team into one bridge and let the ships cooperate against one goal.
Additionally (later) we want to create "scenarios" which make things more difficult: Priority conflicts, communication failing, personal interests, sympathies/antipathies, traitors/trust issues and so on.

I would like to
a) hear feedback from you guys. What do you think about the idea?
b) get advice, experiences, tips and ideas from you...
  • about multi-ship environments at all. What do I need to worry about, what should I be aware of?
  • about fitting mission scripts. We are talking about 7-9 ships taking part. I've downloaded the USN missions already, anything more?
  • about possible scenarios. What roles and secret agendas could we give people at hand to make things difficult?
  • about debriefing sessions. Any idea how people could actively learn and transfer the learnings to business life? I thought of creating a debriefing sheet that all teams could fill out... not too creative yet.


I'm curious what you think and say. [wink]
ryleyra

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Reply with quote  #2 
I have heard stories of a number of businesses using Artemis as a team building exercise. Alas, I have been unable to talk my boss into trying it... at least so far! [biggrin]

I would definitely look into the various tutorials and "cheat sheets" the folks on the board have put together to quickly familiarize a player with their console. You don't want to waste a lot of time on training, the point is to get to the team building part. Likewise, you aren't going to want any challenges that require the players to have advanced knowledge of their console. The Gun Camera on the Weapons Console, for instance, might be something you might introduce very late in the sessions, if ever.

Nighthawk

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Reply with quote  #3 
gather your people, pick two at random out of a pile of names, and designate them as captains.
write some concepts on a board that they can all see, for instance "tactical planning", "spatial orientation", "persuasion" or "micromanaging", and tell the captains to pick people out of the group whom they think would fit best on one or several of those concepts.
do that without telling them what the grouping is about, so that they can focus on the team and not on the task or future objectives.

if there is someone left out, you make yourself the last captain and command that group yourself.

ask the captains a few questions about why they chose their groups the way they did, and then tell them what it's all about

that's how I envisioned one of my teachers from high school would form a team for a project... he would first make us build the personal relationship, and then give us the task.
Xavier Wise

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Reply with quote  #4 
Hey, sounds cool. I am not sure about what feedback you are aiming for or your own experience running things like this, so I apologise in advance if you already know/ have considered much of what I post already. Please take all my comments in the manner in which I wish to present them, as helpful additions and points to consider.

I think the most important part is considering the team building aspect above all else. No matter what exercise you do with the people involved, it always has to come back to the skills developed and how that can be used outside of the situation - the 'transferrable skills'. At the end of a session, there needs to be serious discussion on the issues that need to be overcome and what worked, as well as what needs to be improved. That time for reflection is vital. Also, the time to put into practise the new improvements, to reflect again and to adjust is important. At every stage, there needs to be thought about how this applies to real life situations. Without that, you are just playing a game and having fun and the whole thing could potentially be a waste of time.

I would focus on one objective and make this explicit e.g. to communicate effectively as part of a team. For initial briefing this would be made clear and a preliminary discussion and ideas generated about what 'effective communication' is and how it could be handled in the bridge scenario. For a debrief, I would personally use some pointers noted down from the session and then a couple of areas to talk about to prompt the team and guide them in an open discussion. If you have clear and specific aims to fulfil, it is easier to prompt and guide the sessions. Using notes on specific instances that occurred in the actual game session will provide examples to highlight too.

Using Artemis, I think you can highlight how people have a specific role, and if they know their role and do it well, it will contribute to the overall effectiveness of the team. Knowing what other people need to do is important, but trying to do their job for them, or interfering with their role has two potential consequences - general confusion of who is doing what and a devaluing of the contribution of an individual, and potential breakdown of the team.

Something I have learned from the TSN RP Community is that having and following some kind of protocol and procedure is important for effectively working together too. We have combat orders to efficiently communicate to a crew what we are doing, and fleet attack patterns to communicate between multiple ships. This allows us to quickly get across a message, and because we all know what that message means, we all know who should be doing what. It is the shared understanding of expectations that I believe would be transferred to the corporate world. When the boss calls for "all hands on deck - something big needs sorting" then everyone knows what their job is and that they need to pull their weight. It needs to be said quickly and effectively so people can get on with the task in hand.

Something else we have developed is a status report from ships. This is a way for a ship to update the lead ship on what they can/can't do. Though orders are coming from the top, if I know a ship has low ordnance, I can better deploy them in combat. Transferring to the corporate world - you need to tell the boss what state you are in e.g. snowed under with work, or ready for more. If they know you are snowed under, then they will be able to take that into account when thinking how best to allocate new work/ tasks.

As  for missions and scenarios, there are lots of mission scripts out there. For something entirely tailored and adaptable to the situation though, I would use one of the sandbox scripts available. They can be controlled by a dedicated Game Master, and tailored to fit the crews, adapting to be more or less challenging depending on how the crew is performing.  You can find my own here:


It is a pretty comprehensive GM Sandbox and more complex than some of the others. The sandbox has been used extensively by the TSN RP Community though, and has proven to be an excellent tool.

One more thing to note - Artemis is limited to 8 ships. I'd recommend having at least 4 people per ship. 5 is an effective number, and 6 would be good for a lead ship. Interestingly, with lots of friendlies on the map, there could be a whole conversation about the effectiveness of the Comms officer. It often is portrayed as a boring, passive position, however a good comms officer can form up combat capable allies and use them effectively against an enemy, taking the pressure off and at least delaying enemy forces. They are also instrumental in saving vulnerable allied ships in the area. A good point could be made that every job is therefore important, no matter how mundane or boring it may seem initially (talk to some of our experienced comms officers and captains in the TSN RP Community and they will tell you just how important Comms can be!)

I hope this helps! My background is in teaching and learning, and as part of my degree (some years back now!) I had a module on corporate team building. It doesn't make me an expert in corporate team building itself, but I am in the teaching profession. Like I said before though, please take these as helpful ideas and good luck with this!

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Mike Substelny

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Reply with quote  #5 
Unfortunately the mission scripting system is explicitly made to not accommodate more than one player ship. You can spawn multiple player ships, but IMO the game doesn't shine in this mode. Perhaps some day in the future it will.

I have some suggestions:

  • Do not count exclusively on wi-fi to run your bridges, no matter how robust your wireless network is. While it (mostly) works fine for the consoles, you should put the server(s) on wired ethernet. Servers on wi-fi can get very laggy.
  • Start out with every ship playing an Invasion Mode mission in its own sector with plenty of friendlies, monsters, and terrain. Set difficulty 6-7 but boost the player weapons and shields while nerfing the enemies. Let every crews learn how the game works playing this way for one or two games.
  • Remember that if you put a lot of ships in one co-op battle many of the players will have little to do, specifically Science and Communications. That is, the entire fleet only needs one Communications Officer, and once the enemies are scanned Science only gives course headings so it should be doubled up with another job.
  • Consider using the War Server in a gigantic co-op war. Arrange the fleet as some single ships (battleships or dreadnoughts) and some squadrons of 2 ships (mixture of scouts, light cruisers, and missile cruisers). All ships will be using the same War Server, but ships in the same squadron will use the same Artemis Server and actually fight side-by-side.
  • The War Server will give you a chance to establish a chain of command. Each ship can have a captain, each squadron can have a squadron commander (optional), and the overall war will be supervised by an admiral (not optional). The admiral will give orders to the captains and squadron commanders as well as manage the build points for creating friendly bases.
  • Use relatively aggressive settings on the War Server so that the game is tense and challenging for everyone.

Good luck and let us know how it goes!

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"The Admiralty had demanded six ships; the economists offered four; and we finally compromised on eight."
- Winston Churchill
janx

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Reply with quote  #6 
Building on something Mike said, consider running each bridge on their own, so each team gets the same basic experience.  It will also simplify your technical.coordination problems...

Artemis has a lot to teach 6 people about working together.

You could do 3 runs of the game at an hour each and rotate the roles.  One of the key things I like to see is putting the leaders into the workers seat and vice versa.  It's not just humility, it's giving somebody else a chance to lead, which often turns out, they are just as capable.
Arrew

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Reply with quote  #7 
While scripting might not have been meant for multiple player ships you can do just that, it's just more work.

While most mission scripts are for single ship there are quite a few multi-ship scripts. The Summer war ones are good examples, but they are pretty hard. There should be a ton of Old USN ones I made that have YouTube mission briefings.
LoB

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Reply with quote  #8 
Wow, great feedback guys! I'm too busy at the moment too answer each of those, but I consider all of them and will eventually answer, so keep it coming. Thank you guys.

Just one question that I couldn't get my head around yet:

  • Remember that if you put a lot of ships in one co-op battle many of the players will have little to do, specifically Science and Communications. That is, the entire fleet only needs one Communications Officer, and once the enemies are scanned Science only gives course headings so it should be doubled up with another job.
Why is that the case? Does scanning ships transfer over the fleet?

Thank you all again!
LoB

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Reply with quote  #9 
Oh, and one more question: Following your advice I've quickly tested the war server on my machine and have a huge performance problem: When I connect to the war server, as soon as I enter a sector the Artemis server becomes really really slow, like one frame in 3 seconds or something. Do I have to configure something differently?
Arrew

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Reply with quote  #10 
Yeah scanning something makes it visible to the whole fleet. Similarly there are only so many neutrals for Comms to order about, even if one takes military ships and another civilian that's only two. For this reason Science and Comms are often bundled together on more experienced ships.

An added advantage is the Comm/Science officer, sometimes called Ops, has a map to view neutrals as well as ordering them around.
Arrew

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Reply with quote  #11 
As to number two I don't think the war server is really what you want, though I don't have much experience with it so others could say more. Getting lots of player ships in one place rather than on different servers is way more fun. More people means more fun. So Coop Games would suit you more I think.
Mike Substelny

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Reply with quote  #12 
Quote:
Originally Posted by LoB
Why is that the case? Does scanning ships transfer over the fleet?

Thank you all again!


Yes, scanned information is available to every player ship in the sector. Also communications messages (e.g. taunts, surrender demands, etc.) obviously aren't needed by all the ships in the same sector. If you are going to have a bunch of ships in the same sector then you will not want full crews of six.

I suggest one flagship with a full crew of six.
All other ships have crews of four (Captain, Helm, Weapons, Engineer, but give the Captain the Captain's Map).

You can double up a lot of stations to make game play more efficient, but then it cuts down on the team building. Consider Arrew's suggestion of a mixed Comms/Science Officer. Yes, it makes both jobs easier since Comms and Science never need to speak to each other, but that cuts down on the very thing that makes Artemis great for team building.

For your purposes, you DON'T want to make things easy or efficient. You want the players to need to shout at each other. As soon as you put two or more ships in the same sector you actually reduce the need for communications between players. This is why I recommend the War Server. It's challenging, stressful, and possibly a little less fun than a giant co-op battle. But it also demands the most player-to-player communication. It should be good for team building with a large group.

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"The Admiralty had demanded six ships; the economists offered four; and we finally compromised on eight."
- Winston Churchill
ryleyra

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Reply with quote  #13 
As Mike said, in the furball of eight ships all going up against a single group of targets you aren't going to have much use for Science or Communications. However, if the ships split up to take on different fleets at the same time, you will need more Sci and Comms, and they won't interfere with each other so much. Having different types of ships with different purposes will help with that. Have some players on a Scout with the job to seek out single enemies, while others are on a Dreadnought to take on the big fleets.

I would actually come up with mission ideas that revolve around ships working together while not in the same location, or even in the same sector. Say, maybe there is a mission where a single Scout or two has to infiltrate an enemy location and retrieve a codebook. They can then relay the code to an attack fleet about to take on an enemy base. The two missions can be played on different servers, in totally separate sectors, but their success still depends on each other.

The War Server is kind of like that, but simplified. (In that you just have to wipe out enemies in multiple sectors at the same time, before the Turn ends)
ryleyra

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Reply with quote  #14 
I will add that while in general only one Communications officer is needed to order friendly ships around, IIRC the ship that an enemy aggros on when taunted depends on which taunts it. So a Comms officer WOULD be needed on each ship if you would like for each ship to be able to draw enemies towards them with a taunt.

A minor point, but a good argument for combining Science and Comms on ships other than the flagship. Also, depending on your setup, Comms may be needed to direct communications BETWEEN the ships. This can actually give them more to do than just taunting and ordering around allies.

LoB

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Reply with quote  #15 
I'm not decided yet whether to use the war server or not. But as I can't get it to run smoothly and it doesn't really allow for live cooperation between ships I tend to prefer the classic game.
What server specs would you suggest for a 48 player/8 ship game? What network speed should I set (wired network, 100 mbit, each ship on a single switch connected with one uplink)
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