So you've joined the FSF and been assigned to the Academy...but you've never done any role playing or trek simulations before. Feeling kind of lost? Maybe frustrated because everyone else is having such a great time and you're not sure where to fit in. Perhaps a few pointers for beginners would be in order...
Chat simulations meet in a chat room. Each person assumes a role they've been given. In the Academy you are normally given a specific duty or duty position to perform by the Host. You then perform tasks as assigned and follow the sim plot. So what are the available duties? Those can be wide ranging depending on the type of ship and it's inherent mission. To simplify let's start with the basic starfleet vessel which most of you are probably familiar with and relate it to the Academy training environment.
CAPTAIN or COMMANDING OFFICER <CO> - Primary HOST
EXECUTIVE OFFICER <XO> - HOST or an experienced player
OPERATIONS MANAGER <OPS> - synchronizes various ship's functions from life support to sensor utilization. Provides the command staff with updates on ship's status.
SCIENCE OFFICER <SCI> - collects scientific data, makes conclusions based on that data, and advises the command staff on courses of actions based on conclusions.
HELM CONTROL <HELM> - steers the ship, takes evasive maneuvers when ordered, and provides the command staff with navigational information (flight times, hazards to navigation, etc.).
TACTICAL OFFICER <TAC> - handles incoming and outgoing hails. Alerts the command staff to incoming vessels and manages defensive and offensive weaponry (main phasers, photon torpedo, etc.).
SECURITY OFFICER <SEC> - responsible for the internal security of the vessel from both guests/crew and intruders. Manages defensive screens and weapons systems within the ship as well as the various hand weaponry (phasers, etc.).
ENGINEERING OFFICER <ENG> - performs maintenance and upkeep of all ship systems. Provides the command staff with the technical solutions to situations.
MEDICAL OFFICER - various positions all based on the health and welfare of both the crew and guests. Usually a Chief Medical Officer <CMO> and Assistant Medical Officers <AMO> are assigned.
So now you know what duty position (or post) you're going to fill. How do you go about simulating this character? First, play your position. If you're an engineer you won't ordinarily be taking astrometric readings. Just as important, follow the orders of your direct superior and coordinate your actions with him or her. This will make it much easier to perform you duty because your superior will tell you what they want you to be doing. Your job is to provide them with input based on those orders. So how do you do that?
BASIC SIMULATION SYMBOLOGY
There are various symbols that we use in trek simulations. Your Academy Instructor (HOST) will help you through them, but some of the basics include:
TAGS - a label for your position that you place in front of everything you say. Extremely useful when you don't know everyone in a simulation and especially if you don't know their duty position. Adding a tag for the character you're speaking to can also makes things much smoother.
<ENG><CENG>Sir, Cadet Goldsmith reporting as ordered
<CENG><ENG1>Nice to meet you Goldsmith...monitor the matter/antimatter injectors
<CMO><CENG>Don't forget, Goldsmith needs to report for a physical as soon as possible
ACTIVITY and THOUGHT - Character activities and thoughts are symbolized by enclosing them inside of the symbol ::
<HELM><CO>::sets course for SB254:: Course laid in, Captain
<CO><HELM>Thank you, Ensign Garritey ::smiles at the XO:: Engage!
<CO>::stands and steps towards her ready room::
<CO><XO>Scott, you have the bridge ::disappears behind the doors::
<XO><CO>Aye, Sir. ::just another day in the fleet::
COMMUNICATIONS - The symbol + placed on either side of a character's tag depicts tapping your communicator to speak to them in another area of the ship or when they're on an away team.
<AMO>+CMO+Doctor, the tri-ox compound seems to have no effect
<CMO>+AMO+Attempt to regulate the dosage and initiate life support if necessary
<AMO>+CMO+Aye Sir, recommend we beam the patient aboard immediately
COMMAND STAFF ACTION - Normally indicated by capitalization and the word ACTION followed by some sort of direction or imput. PAY ATTENTION - You may be the one who is supposed to see the action and report it!
<SCI>::activates sensors and scans the planet::
ACTION:THE PLANET APPEARS STABLE...UNUSUAL POWER READINGS IN THE POLAR REGIONS
<SCI><CO>Captain I'm picking up power fluctuations in the polar regions
<CO><SCI>::looks up to the science station:: What's causing it?
<SCI><CO>Some sort of terraforming device...highly unstable
<CO>::pulls the data to her console:: Very odd.....
ACTION: POLAR ICECAPS BEGIN TO MELT
<SCI>::oh crap...what now.::
<CO>::oh crap...just another day in the fleet::
Explore the possibilities while you train, but keep it simple. Borg implants, superhuman powers, and telekinetic ability can, within reason, be great for characterization, however, you need to focus on the basic aspects of simulation, treknology, discipline, and logging if you want to be a "player" in the FSF!