Startopia


The RTSC Guide to Startopia
Part 17: Security


Security Centre with Comsensor and TurretSecurity is an essential service to your Station, and failing to implement enough of it can lead to your downfall. Apart from your glorious opponents trying to wrestle ownership of the Station off you, there's an unending stream of criminals and Agents coming in through your Ports, and Peeps themselves can succumb to corruption and start committing crimes. There is also the risk of those big black bugs, the Skrashers, running rampant on the Station, causing devastation and loss of life. Unchecked, these horrors can destroy large areas and hurt the population.

Security and a lot of combat is handled by the Kasvagorians, who work best with a Security Centre (pictured left). This oval building monitors all activity on the Station and enhances your Station's ability to handle battles and police actions. While they enjoy a good fight and are the toughest Peeps on the Station, don't expect the Kasvagorians in the Centre to actually get outside and do anything. Much of the actual policing footwork of security is performed by your robot Security Scuzzer force, and it takes a violent disturbance that requires a big firefight to shift them.

Several alien species double as security operatives, mostly the smaller and "lower class" ones. Groulien Salt Hogs, Grekka Targ's, Greys and of course, Kasvagorians. The hulking Kasvagorians are obviously the toughest and most enthusiastic fighters on your payroll, and receive slightly less physical and mental harm when struck by lasers. While only the smaller species who happen to be passing by get involved in a fight (unless you specifically target the enemy), Gors will zero in from all over the Station onto a major disturbance. Even so, you'll frequently see diminutive Salt Hogs and Targ jumping in and bravely holding the fort on their own even against those big black bugs.

The effectiveness of the Security Centre is determined by the skill of all the Kasvagorians manning it. The Centre's function is to improve the sensor coverage and efficiency of your Security Scuzzer and increase the firing range of your Security Turrets. Station Segment Doors are hacked faster and Bombs are more quickly found and defused by your robot police. You'll also need (I think!) Comsensor coverage to go with it to properly extend your intelligence network. I'm not entirely sure of this, but with Comsensors not only do you receive outside messages from inbound traffic, but you may also find out more info about your rivals and detect nasty things like Bombs, enemy Agents and other criminal activity in the area more readily.

You can also beef up security and fortify your Station with Security Turrets. These rather malevolent towers suspiciously train their weapon on anything, even dutiful and clean-as-a-whistle employees. A single Turret will have difficulty downing a single perp fleeing the scene, despite its apparent firepower. But their usefulness against enemy incursions, Skrashers or Agents can not be overstated: they function as a support weapon for your guys, helping to tip the balance in your favour. They're especially effective if you build zones of crossfire. They are, however, vulnerable against massed attackers. They will take out anything that looks even remotely suspicious at the drop of a hat. Keep them near troubled boundaries, your Ports, Station segment door locks or anywhere else you think might be under threat. The presence of a Security Centre increases the operating range of Security Turrets, represented by the big green glowing circles on the floor.


Security Scuzzers

Yer nicked!But the most important component of any onboard security system is that humble robotic footpad: the Security Scuzzer (or Fuzzer). These short little robot policeman waddle around the Station, little blue light flashing and sensors alert for any trouble, automatically dealing with security issues that stray into sensor range. They home into disturbances, arrest criminals, hack Segment doors and defuse bombs. They're sluggish in the fighting department, but can stomach a fair bit of damage. They'll disengage from a fight and run off for repairs, and you can set the cut-off point to preserve these rather expensive bits of equipment. Sometimes Criminals will be let off the hook when a Security Scuzzer disengages for a recharge. Security Scuzzers tend to run out of juice fairly frequently, so to complement any large Scuzzer force build Rechargers everywhere so they can juice up and receive repairs with a minimum of fuss and travel time.

Security Scuzzers are absolutely essential to any Station regardless of its size, and there's no such thing as having too many of them. Improving the effectiveness of your Scuzzer force boils down to having sufficient skill levels back at the Security Centre. The Security Centre improves the sensor range of these robots and also improves their ability to defuse bombs and hack door locks. You'll know Station security has been effective when you start finding defused bombs all of the place instead of big craters. 'Course, you can have fun dropping live bombs out of Star Docks or use them like grenades from your Pattern Buffer...


Criminals

A Crim gives themsevles awayCriminals are Peeps that are corrupt. Corruption sets into any Peep that loses sufficient Soul points. You'll see them occasionally sporting a little red unsmiley face floating above their heads. Criminals can also enter through the Station's Ports. Some scenarios have parties of convicts coming aboard that require rehabilitation in a Lockdown Brig.

The Lockdown BrigMany criminals aren't violent, and most crimes are low level ones where Crims attempt to defraud the Station by surreptitiously using Station facilities and pocketing the profits for themselves. The quality of service and work they do is also reduced, and usually counter-productive. For example, Criminal medics and Sirens make clients feel worse rather than better; and corrupt Monks curse their flocks rather than bless them. Be wary when checking out a Peep's character: CV's can apparently be forged, and also take note that even your own staff can succumb to the temptations of corruption and will sometimes need incarceration and rehabilitation.

Serious crime, like murder, is much rarer unless the Peep's Soul is so far gone they've become psychotically depressed. Depending on how good your security is, these characters should be located by a nearby passing Security Scuzzer and arrested. Once apprehended, the villain is marched off to the nearest Lockdown Brig, or, if you lack a Brig (or sufficient lockup space), promptly put off the Station via the nearest Port. The technology in the special holding Cells inside a Brig soon rehabilitate the inmate, and via the magic of future fantasy, transform them back into happy, well adjusted citizens again. A red progress bar appears by the Cell door to let you know how much rehabilitation is required. Isn't that sweet? You are also awarded 1000e bonus for every rehabilitated crim. Fantastic!

For any outraged Texans reading this, you can adjust those bleeding heart pinko liberal Fuzzers to adopt more healthy conservative values and placate those cravings for closure. Just right click on a Fuzzer to access its options menu and set all of 'em to just blast on sight any perps that stray into sensor range. More forgiving Administrators may instruct their Fuzzers to just issue warnings or, even more radically, ignore all criminal activity entirely!


In the Lock-Up
All Peeps, regardless of who they are, are universally rehabilitated the same way inside the Cells of a Lockdown Brig. For every second of their incarceration, they score:
+10Mind +10Body +10Soul +10Fun +30Nourishment +30Sleep +10Toilet
It's actually better than most Station accommodation! Oddly enough, inmates don't get sobered up. The Lockdown Brig is not a Drunk Tank.


Public Enemies 1, 2 & 3

Camper than a row of tents, but very deadlyReally serious crime comes in three major forms. Undercover Spies, Agents from the Guild of Assassins and of course, those ferocious space monsters, the Skrashers.

Undercover Spies look exactly like regular Peeps. You simply can't tell the difference until your mouse pointer suddenly changes to a cross hair when you brush it over one. Only after you've clicked on the Spy and declared them a target will they be dealt with. Permanently. Spies give intelligence on your territory to rival Administrators and can also engage in murder ("One of your Visitors has been murdered!") and sabotage.

Secret Agents are camp little fellows in black leather that look like they've escaped from a pantomime. They sneak around planting big clumsy bombs everywhere. If you hear VAL alert you to one then its time for you to start frantically looking for that flashing green light from the timer - unless you're confident that your Fuzzer force will do it for you. Bombs are planted in strategic locations, at Lifts and Door controls (making them easier to find if they're on the Bio-Deck) or at the corners of facilities. For all intensive purposes that can mean anywhere on the Entertainment and Engineering Decks.

While they make a loud noise, often kill a few Peeps and can occasionally destroy a room, Bombs are not that earth-shattering. If you beam them up while they're live they are rendered harmless - until you beam them down again whereupon they'll probably explode if their timer has expired. You can drop them out of Stardocks (always fun) or teleport them into the middle of a fight (very nasty). They are completely neutralised and disposed of within a Recycler. Their cumulative effects on the general public can become problematic. During a netgame you may be approached by the Guild of Assassins offering to do some dirty work on your behalf...

Agents, Spies and Skrashers are never given the benefit of the doubt like other Peeps. You might set your Security Scuzzers to ignore all criminal activity, but these three groups are summarily executed the moment they're spotted.


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Last polished Tue, Oct 18 2005 by Lindsay Fleay.