Welcome to some more Star Citizen with Updates on Minelaying Gameplay and the Nautilus, this is information from the Q&A: AEGIS Nautilus post that answered the most asked questions about the ship & mechanics – As well as Jump Point’s – WORK IN PROGRESS… AEGIS DYNAMICS NAUTILUS article. Between them we have quite a lot of info.
Let’s start talking about Mines & their Maintenance – Once deployed and in use, a mine’s components start to degrade, though their lifespan is dependent on the environment and how they are used. For example, regularly engaged weapons platforms will likely wear out and proximity mines will likely detonate before they degrade to a point they are deactivated. A live but untriggered mine’s lifespan is expected to be measured in days rather than minutes. Mine lifespan is not influenced by the state of the parent ship, be it destroyed or not. Deployed mines ‘remember’ the original deployment ship, so can be retrieved afterwards.
Once deployed, mines enter a pseudo ‘read-only’ state where the deploying player/ship can see limited information about them, such as the expected wear and degradation level and their status.
Mines will relay information on things like power level, friend/foe status, and degradation back to the Nautilus that deployed them.
This will let players keep track of mines and minefields whenever they are within direct communication range. Outside of that range, such as when in another star system, those values are estimated based on the last data the Nautilus had available.
The mine control room allows the operators to see the position of where the mines will end up, but we don’t currently plan to let the user pick from specific post-deployment patterns. Instead, the Nautilus crew must work together to place mines in what they deem to be the best pattern given the ship’s movement capabilities and the launcher’s tube position. Flying at a lower speed allows for much more accurate deployment.
“The lifetime of a mine is directly related to its power source. As this degrades, it reduces the mine’s functionality to a low enough level that it requires a maintenance visit. However, once deployed, there is very little direct control over them. Information is relayed back to the owner’s ship to inform them about the mine’s status or give a best estimate if they’re outside direct communication range.”
Mines can be hacked from quite a short range and not just with NEMO Drones, Mines can also be disabled for a time with EMPs.
Mine Range & Tracking – The maximum detection range of any given mine dependant on the components of the mine which use regular adjustable ship items and the emissions of the target. They expect each mine to have at least a minimum engagement radius of between 5 and 10km. They will pursue targets a fair distance beyond that too to allow relatively small quantities of mines to cover a moderately large area.
As a single mine can cover a significant area, a huge number of mines aren’t necessary to protect an asset or zone. They didn’t wanting players to have to deal with an unwieldy number of mines for example the Nautilus is able to carry 24 ready to deploy mines, however it can also pick up other active or defused mines to then redeploy, allowing it to convert and expand an enemy minefield potentially.
Any ship can detect (and be detected) by mines as it uses signature and radar system mechanics. Stealth ships or ship managing their signatures will naturally be harder to detect & stand a better chance of safely bypassing mines. Ships with specialized radar/scanners will find themselves much better suited to detecting mines at distance.
The player deploying mines can set a friend or foe status using the existing faction/hostility system. Providing a player’s teammate is in the same faction or has the same hostility level, they will not be targeted. However, players can deploy mines without any of these protections if they wish.
Mine’s thrusters only work in Zero-G. If they’re deployed or end up in-atmosphere, they will be unable to maintain their position. The mines will abort tracking a target if it’s beyond their capability to intercept.
Drone Sharing – The Nautilus can equip and use drones from the Vulcan and Carrack but lacks the equipment to repair or refit them for their specific roles. Similarly, the Vulcan and Carrack can equip NEMO drones but don’t have the means to store mines, so they would have to disable them and leave them behind.
This does mean however that Vulcan’s and ships that can equip drones are viable minesweepers, it’s another string to the Vulcan’s bow.
Other ships in the future may be able to lay mines as part of a customized loadout, the Nautilus was built for minelaying as a focused role though.
Types of Mine – Mines are currently planned to be S7 items but with the equivalent to S5 torpedo payloads, this is due to various internal components that the mines need to survive in space, track targets and move. There are plans for more mine types in the future, this could potentially be other types, loadouts, sizes and more BUT nothing confirmed yet.
Minelaying can be a Crime & is dependent on the laws and jurisdiction of the area, as well as the authority (or lack thereof) of the organization tasking you with laying mines. You can probably assume that laying mines in the vicinity of a heavily inhabited UEE planet would be a very criminal act. On the other hand, being tasked by a UEE mission giver to deploy mines around a Jump Point to a Vanduul-occupied system would likely be legal. There are all kinds of possible circumstances in between too, which inhabit various legal grey areas.
Some more Nautilus Specific Updates – The nautilus cargo bay is purely for cargo storage and is not large enough to get mines in or out (mines are approximately 4×4×4m). The main minelaying system takes over at least half the internal volume of the ship
The Nautilus has 2 large QF tanks as the brochure states and not 1 as the ship matrix incorrectly states. The Ships engines can turn downwards for VTOL.
The Ships internals are adapted from the Hammerhead & Idris Aegis Kits.
CIG refer to the Aegis Nautilus as a military style medium-sized multi-crew warship.
The Nautilus focuses on Defensive Combat & Support – Defense-based combat is a viable playstyle to consider and the Nautilus is just one of many ships that can provide a more defensive focus. Laying mines is the perfect way to provide a defensive perimeter to key assets, such as a base or resource, that doesn’t require players or NPCs to maintain an active presence in the area. A minefield can also provide reliable coverage to a much larger area than a patrolling ship can.
If you’d like to know more about the Aegis Nautilus & Minelaying Gameplay, please checkout the video links in the description below where I look at the concept for the ship in more detail.