Space... the final frontier.
Fans of space operas and dramas such as Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica, and the like have wanted to actually step onto The Bridge of one of those starships since about 5 minutes after the first episode started. Now, with Artemis, we can.
Artemis is a LAN-based computer game in which players take on the roles of the bridge crew members of a Terran Space Navy starship. Each player sets up his computer to represent one of five bridge consoles on the ship, while the sixth plays the Captain and directs the action. The ship patrols an area of space, exploring for anomalies and protecting allied ships and starbases from attacks by four hostile alien races: the Kraliens, Arvonians, Torgoth, and Skaraan.
The positions into which a player can step are:
- Helm: Controls the ship's movements and monitors some ship resources, such as torpedo and energy stores. Helm and Weapons share main viewscreen control, as well as responsibility for raising and lowering shields.
- Weapons: Controls the ship's weaponry, loading the torpedo tubes with various kinds of ordinance and firing the beam weapons in manual mode.
- Science: Performs scans, determining the identity and weaknesses of enemy ships and locating anomalies to replenish energy.
- Comms: Communicates with NPC (and, optionally, other PC) ships: relaying advice and orders to allied ships, requesting supplies from starbases, communicating missions to the captain and crew, and activating Red Alert. In games with multiple crews playing at once, the Communications officer generally relays orders from the Admiral.
- Engineering: Distributes extra power to improve system effectiveness, allocates coolant to systems to prevent overheating (and subsequent spectacular failure), and dispatches and organizes damage control teams to repair damage taken in battle.
- Captain: The only core crewmember without his own dedicated station, though a "captain's map" setting grants a tactical map. The captain takes charge, parsing information gained from his other crewmembers and directing the action of the ship. The captain requires a cool head and keen tactical awareness.
- Fighter-pilot: An optional position added in version 2.4.0 and newer, commanding a small single-seat ship.
- Admiral: An optional position for games in which three or more player-controlled ships are cooperating on a mission. The Admiral organizes the ships as a fleet, making overriding strategic and tactical decisions.
Tropes appearing in Artemis Spaceship Bridge Simulator include:
- 2-D Space: Before altitude levels were implemented in release 2.0. The supported 3D is fairly rudimentary, but it's there.
- Absolute Xenophobe: The player - well, given that every alien ship that appears does its best to destroy you.
- Averted in subsequent builds with the addition of allied alien races.
- Alien Invasion: You're defending a sector of space from the invading alien ships in a modified Type-1 scenario.
- Aliens Are Bastards: Almost all of the alien species who appear in the game are inherently hostile.
- Anti-Human Alliance: Originally played straight - as noted, every alien species originally in the game wanted you dead. Eventually averted, with the introduction of neutral and allied alien species.
- Beam Spam: The TSN Battleship specializes in this, with it's four forward-facing beam cannons.
- Competitive Multiplayer: With version 1.1, multiple player ships can fight against one another.
- Co-Op Multiplayer: Up to six players work together to run each ship.
- Crew of One: Despite the game being designed for a crew of six, it is possible to assign all crew positions to yourself, either playing solo or with everyone else on different ships. In theory you only need Helm (most of the time) and Weapons (briefly, switching to it to actually fire then back to Helm while you reload): ignore Science (or trigger scans only when you are not doing anything else) since all unknown contacts are probably hostile, ignore Comms except when you need to change starbase production, leave Engineering settings at default, and do without a Captain since you know your own orders. To say the least, this is more difficult (at the same difficulty level) than playing with a full crew (assuming they are competent and cooperating).
- Deflector Shields: Controlled by the Helm and Weapons, with power allocation by Engineering.
- Diverting Power: Naturally, though it adds the twist of having a finite amount of coolant as well. Systems with extra power but not enough coolant will overheat.
- Everything Sensor: The same scan that identifies the make, model, and (sometimes) name of another starship can help you locate anomalies to help power the ship.
- Explosive Overclocking: There's a sequence of actions you can take to result in the detonation of your warp core.
- Faster-Than-Light Travel: Implied by the warp and jump drives, though distances and speeds are rather vague.
- Inexplicably Speaks Fluent Alien: Either this, or the aliens have Translator Microbes, or the aliens understand English. You can draw the aggro of an enemy ship by saying that their "Maternal leader wears combat boots".
- Interface Screw:
- Severe damage to your ship is indicated by static and other visual glitches appearing on the displays.
- When engaging a hyperspace jump (for ships not equipped with warp drives), the actual jump itself is symbolized by all the players' screens going blank for a split second.
- I Shall Taunt You: The comm officer can send insults to enemy ships, which can be a great way to lure them into a minefield.
- Old-School Dogfight: The most common mode of battle for the more maneuverable ships, such as scouts and light cruisers.
- Real Time: There's no indication in the game that time is compressed at all.
- Red Alert: The comms officer can sound an annoying alarm, and it changes certain colors on the displays, but otherwise doesn't do anything.
- Screen Shake: Given the modding community, some of whom go pretty all-out in order to make realistic bridge sets for their game, it's only a matter of time before someone introduces this. This also tends to make an appearance in gameplay videos.
- Space Navy: The Terran Space Navy, to be precise.
- Space Whale: They show up — though you can't really do much with/to them.
- Spiritual Successor: To the old mainframe game, Star Trek. The overall format and objectives are exactly the same.
- Standard Sci-Fi Fleet: Destroyers (similar in some ways to a Patrol Boat) and Transports wander around, and Starbases offer resupply. The players get to choose between a Scout (something like a Cutter), a Light Cruiser, a Missile Cruiser, a Battleship, and a Dreadnought. Fighters are planned for an April, 2016 update.
- Standard Starship Scuffle: The common mode of battle for the less maneuverable, tougher ships.
- Stealth in Space: Some enemy ships have cloaking devices.
- Teleporters and Transporters: The Jump Drive, allowing the teleportation of the entire ship. Also resupply when docked, since no physical contact is made between the ship and the station.
- Tim Taylor Technology: All of the ship's systems are improved in some way when given increased power.
- Video Game Cruelty Potential: It gets you nothing, but you can attack the Space Whales with beams and torpedoes. You can also nuke your own allied ships and stations and destroy surrendered vessels.
- Wave-Motion Gun: The TSN Dreadnought has a beam cannon with twice the range and power of any other beam in the game.
- Work Info Title: The game has its genre in its title.
- Your Mom: Saying that an alien captain's matriarchal leader wears combat boots is one of the phrases the comm officer can use to draw aggro.