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Supply Antagonists are problematic


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I want to have a discussion about what i see as one of the biggest problems with aurora just now. I'd like to see if others think that it's a problem too, and suggest some ideas that i think would fix this problem. Maybe this isn't a problem, and i'm just a silly roleplayer who likes healing people in lesbay and dislikes getting murdered constantly. But it'd be nice to discuss it.

The problem as I see it, is thus. Antagonists who play in the supply department are too powerful. They have an autolathe, hackable to make an RCD as well as a variety of weapon parts, and can order themselves any items they like, and open any crates. Locked weapon crates can be opened in a couple of ways, easily done when you have mining access. Cargo is an isolated area of the station with fairly low traffic, and it has instant access to the Mining outpost, an even more isolated area where few people ever go. A perfect place to drag people to before murdering them, and to hide their bodies.

Since it's considered a somewhat "boring" role by other players, nobody is surprised when cargo players go SSD. That's the first, and often only assumption, when people aren't recieving the supplies they need. And several departments really need supplies, especially science. When people DO come down to cargo to ask about their orders, it's easy to murder them and drag them off to the mining outpost too. Interns and assistants are often sent for this duty, people who aren't missed. You can murder people right there in the office, nobody will ever know as long as you get rid of the corpse. The HoP is never home, if there is one, and very few people pass through the west side of the central hallway because all the interesting things are on the other side

Supply is a powergamer's wet dream, and there are quite a few of these people living it up.

The worst of these is PootisManiac, who can often be found playing as QM or miner Walker Bash. But this thread isn't meant to be a complaint about him. He's a cool guy, he does RP. He's just a bit TOO good at what he does. But he's not the only one, and it's hard to blame him for being too good at the game. However it's getting to the point now where i find myself metagaming, by picking roles as far away from supply as possible, and sometimes just running away when i see him. That's not good, and i feel compelled to raise the issue

There is however a problem that he and the others get antagonist too often, which brings me to my first point

1. Antagonist Distribution

This being an RP server, a lot of people like to see a working station where they can relax and chat. In order to get a working station, you need a decently balanced crew compliment, which means there's a significant number of people who sit in the lobby for a little while after the game starts, watching the crew manifest to see what roles fill up, so they can pick places they'll be needed. It also means that less people opt into antagonist roles as they enjoy being on the station more than blowing it up.

The problem is, antagonists are allocated immediately at the round start, when comparatively few players are actually in game. And of those, not all are going to be opted into antagonist roles, so the pool of people who can actually be selected as antagonist is very small.. Those who are intent on playing antag don't care about the working of the station, they're always in right at round start, and so are always in that small lottery, they have an extremely high chance of winning it.

As a means to remedy this, i'd suggest that antagonists not be allocated immediately. Instead wait until some time has passed, say 15 minutes, and select antags from the pool of players in the server at that time. This could be done with an ingame message. For cultists, something like "You suddenly remember your mission, all of these people must die." Or for syndicate traitors, a message like "Your PDA blinks with a syndicate message transferring your orders. This message will delete itself" Something like that.

This would ensure a generally more even distribution of antags, and not lock out those people who don't immediately join. It would mean that certain people wouldn't be able to semi-reliably get antag, and be forced to actually roleplay a normal crewman sometimes. Or they'd get bored and stop coming, It would resolve the metagame problem of knowing those players who are so often antagonist. It's hard to beat powergaming without metagaming, and both are bad.

2. Opt-out antagonists

New players, often not knowing much about the server, will often ready up at the start of a new round, and be in from the start. As we all know these players tend to be troublesome anyways.

By making antagonists opt-in, aurora has made sure that only people who spend a bit of time organising their charactes and deciding upon doing that, will ever play antag. I'd hazar a guess that quite a few don't choose that.

Enabling all "Be " options by default for everyone, and allowing people to opt out of being antagonist, would also help to ensure a wider distribution. It might lead to a lot of ineffective antags, but it might also lead to various players being given a role they didn't expect, and discovering they really enjoy it.

3. Nerf the supply department.

I can think of a few simple ways to do this. One would be giving some or all heads of staff an automatic notification whenever anything is ordered (including what it is) which would allow tracking down troublemakers in supply more quickly. If not all supply orders then perhaps certain suspicious ones, like weaponry and anything potentially contraband.

Another would be a new Nanotrasen policy recognising the security risks cargo poses, and advising that security officers visit there more often, or that one be stationed there.

Moving the autolathe out of the office, and into a hall somewhere, could make it more difficult to make contraband with it, and more likely to be noticed by a competent engineer if it's been hacked, who could report that.

4. Upgrade the Crew Monitor

One thing that annoys me about the crew monitor, is that people who have their sensors completely turned off (which is usually done by antags, and TO murder victims) don't show up on the monitor at all, there's just no list entry for them. This makes it hard to know when certain crewmembers have gone missing

As an enhancement, i'd suggest that the crew monitor should always show everyone on the manifest, and those with sensors turned off entirely would still have a list entry, but with "Deactivated" beside it, and no other information. This would allow medics and the AI to notice, perhaps with some concern, a growing number of sensor-less people on the list, and start investigating. Suppply department tends to become corpses on the outpost quite quickly, and this would help a lot. but it would also depower ALL antagonists, i don't know if that's a good thing.

5. Increase traffic to supply.

A more mapping oriented change, supply's location is pretty isolated, which is one of the things that makes it so attractive to antags. In the new map it'd be nice to see it rearranged a bit, so some more sociable areas (like the chapel and library are near it, encouraging some foot traffic. This would increase the chances that someone would chat to the cargo techs and befriend them, and thus create someone who might notice when their friend vanishes. If nothing else, it might at least increase the number of people a cargo tech has to murder before he has the freedom to do as he pleases.

I'd like others thoughts on this situation. Do you feel there's a problem with cargo, or with the antag distribution?

Is asking for changes the wrong way to go about my personal issues with this situation? I do feel it's impacting my fun on the station, whether it's being murdered by walker whenever i bump into him, or playing roboticist and consistently never getting to build anything due to no metal deliveries. It's also making me really not want to play Shaft Miner, which i'd say is already a heavily needed but underpicked role.

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The issue here is, that this all sounds like a lot of work to make essentially minute changes. We already have an opt-in/out system, in your character creation screen. Antags need some advantage over the crew, like secluded locations and hacking of lathes, otherwise security steamrolls them, more than they already do so. The crew monitor is to be checked against the manifest as a basic rule. None of these seem worth the effort you're asking, unless you have the know-how and will to do it yourself.

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Guest Marlon Phoenix

I have never seen this as a consistent problem on Aurora. It's the common consensus from antagonist players (and myself) that Aurora's decks are actually very heavily stacked against antagonists, supply included. Antagonist action in supply and on the outpost are already checked quickly if there's an active AI. All of these changes would just hamper antagonists and not provide any engaging roleplay for antagonists or the crew.

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I don't think this change really matches how much effort it would take to make this happen. I never really play as antags and I really have not seen a problem coming from Supply with them being overpowered. The odds are stacked against an antag especially with a proactive AI that has tabs on everything in the station. I think it is fine how it is and really shouldn't be changed.

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I blame the fact that CTs get called at 2 hours so every round for antags is a shitty rushed speed-run and there's no pacing to do anything interesting and elaborate anymore. This is mostly why antags are shit right now (even supply), because they don't get time to plan. They have to be on-station or doing something within 20 minutes or they'll miss their shot and people will even call 3 minutes early.

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I blame the fact that CTs get called at 2 hours so every round for antags is a shitty rushed speed-run and there's no pacing to do anything interesting and elaborate anymore. This is mostly why antags are shit right now (even supply), because they don't get time to plan. They have to be on-station or doing something within 20 minutes or they'll miss their shot and people will even call 3 minutes early.


I think this post is the most important part of this discussion, the shortened attention span of people on the station these days. I can think of multiple instances where people call crew transfer for an extended round, and then proceed to vote in a new extended round, like what. But I think the most important part of this discussion is that antagonists these days run on a very tight schedule. The trend I've noticed is that most rounds I'm there for are two hour secret rounds chained together, giving antagonists a strict two hours of stage time to get anything done. A fair counter-argument to this is that antagonists are often caught and everything is wrapped up by the two hour mark, but I think that if people could vote to continue round more often, then they might have more time to plan things out to get cleaner crime scenes and create bigger plot arcs than random acts of criminal activity.

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As the Estonian saying goes, "You don't strike the mouth of the person asking." But that doesn't mean we'll go with what you're suggesting, either.

Change one is silly, except for autotraitor that needs to be fixed. Change two will effectively be covered once I port our age ban system from old code. Change three is also silly. It is the heads of staff's job to know wtf different departments are doing. If they don't feel like doing that, then they can get blown to bits for all I care. Change four is silly, and fits in line with your apparent mentality of, "Make everything easy for me, please." Change 5 is too large for me to bother the mappers with at this time, as they're working on the new map.

I do agree with the discussion about timing, and wonder if we should either return the majority voting system, or simply increase the harddeck of when voting is allowed.

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sick essay, watch as i refute your college thesis in less than 5 paragraphs:

certain antags will have a harder or easier time doing certain things, this is an intentional game design point that has been crippled by aurora's lack of traitor objectives because lol

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Change one is silly, except for autotraitor that needs to be fixed.


I'm disappointed at this swift dismissal, i'd like to request more information.

Change one is the most important idea here, and i believe it'd give the biggest benefit. I feel there's a significant problem with antagonist distribution due to the circumstances i described

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The shortage of crewmembers at roundstart was something I had a suggestion about a while ago; what you've got here is a different approach, but might be simpler to implement.

The "mail heads when something is ordered" doesn't sound like a very good feature, though.

The whole point of Cargo is that the potential criminals and the supervisors are the same people; it's intended, like most features in this game, to lend itself to abuse.

Hell, separation of duties is literally Financial Accounting 101 - having the man writing the purchase orders be the same guy who handles receipt of shipments was the very example the textbook used to illustrate the dangers.

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