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Communications Station: Player Guide


The Communications Officer is responsible for manning the Comms console. This role is strictly optional; it is the least important of the five major roles on the Artemis, and can be ignored if you have only four or five players. However, a good Comms Officer can vastly improve gameplay in two very specific circumstances.


First, if you have selected to have a lot of Allied Ships in your sector, the Comms console is imperative for mobilizing them into a fighting force to take on the enemy. In fact, if you are playing the Peacetime mission, you will definitely want to have Allied Ships so you can take on the Side Missions. Second, if you are playing a scripted mission that calls for a Comms Officer, you will be able to do things that you can't do in any other mission mode.


The Comms console has been significantly redesigned in Artemis 2.6. If you are playing Artemis 2.4 on a tablet, or any other earlier version of Artemis, you may wish to check out the Version 2.0 page for a description of the old interface.


Comms: Abilites and Responsibilities

  • Comms can do the following things, represented by the options in the transmit menu in the column to the left of the screen:
    • Contact other Player ships (if there are any) and
      • Send a simple message (such as yes/no) from a predefined list 
    • Contact Enemy ships and
      • Request they surrender
      • Taunt them 
    • Contact Stations and
      • Request their status (available armament, shields, etc.)
      • Request they focus on building specific types of kinetic weapons, i.e., homing torpedoes, nukes, mines, EMPs, or (starting in v2.3) Pshocks
      • Prepare for docking. If this message is sent, the station will resupply the ship with torpedoes and energy much faster than if not. 
    • Contact Other (friendly) ships and request they
      • Set a specific bearing
      • Adjust their bearing by 10 or 25 degrees. (Useful for headings not available in the option above)
      • Engage the closest enemy ship (they must be armed with beams and close to an enemy ship)
      • Defend friendly ship (including the player ship) or station by numeric designation
    • When any option in this menu is chosen, the menu will clear, and the submenu for that menu will appear in its place. Choosing "Cancel" on the submenu or pressing the 0 key will restore the previous menu. Script defined buttons (see below) are part of the top level menu and will not appear in submenus, but will return when the submenu is closed.  
  • The two columns to the right of the transmit menu allows Comms to monitor communications between
    • Artemis and other ships, displaying their response to Comms message (and echoing the message)
    • Friendly ships and stations reporting enemy contact, shield status, and side missions which may give rewards (see below)
    • Enemy ships, reporting their status, intentions, and whether they have surrendered
  • The center column is a filtered list of messages that Comms has selected to display.  
    • Messages are filtered by message type, and each type has an associated color, which is shown at the top of each message as the originator of that message:
      • Alert - Red - These messages generally are important messages that the Comms officer should pay particular attention to, such as declaration of war in the Border War scenario.
      • Side - Cyan - Side missions, the mini-missions that bases and friendly ships in the sector will offer you will appear as this type.
      • Status - Orange - Status messages from base stations. Note bases can send both Status and Station messages.
      • Player - White - Messages from other player ships. They would only show up in PvP or Co-Op games. (Or Solo games with more than one player ship) You will also be able to see your own requests for surrender, and messages to other player ships, but for the most part you will not see your own transmissions, only the response. As above, you can only see your own side's messages in PvP, so it's not currently possible to taunt the other players through the Comms menu. (Although it may be through text messages. See below)
      • Station - Yellow - Messages from base stations, other than status messages.
      • Enemy - Red - Messages from enemy ships. These messages will be a slightly lighter shade of red to distinguish them from Alert.
      • Friend - Green - Messages from allied ships in the sector.
      • Undefined - Grey - This will only appear in older scripts or those that don't set the type. Comms text messages also currently appear in this color. GM Messages can also appear in this color unless the GM selects another type. They will only appear if no other type is selected. 
    • Selecting one of the message type buttons at the top of the center column will cause only messages of that type to be displayed. Two or more buttons may be clicked on, displaying a combination of the chosen types. Messages will also be displayed in chronological order with the most recent at the top.
    • Clicking on a message type button will also refresh the display of all types selected. Since clicking a selected message type will deselect that type, Comms may wish to click on an unused type, such as "Player", to view new messages. See below. 
  • The column to the right displays all messages that have been received, with only the first line of the message showing. This is similar to many email readers, in that you can click on the message to display it in the middle column.
    • New messages are displayed in the right column first, not in the center column. The message must be clicked on, or the center column refreshed by clicking on a type button, before the new message can be seen in its entirety.
    • Clicking on a message in the right column will cause the center column to scroll to that message, allowing older messages to be viewed quickly.  
    • Clicking on a message to display it will also cause that message's type and only that type to be selected. This can be somewhat annoying, because all other selected types are deselected. It can be better to display a new message by clicking on a type button in the center column. 
  • Red Alert: The red alert button will sound an alarm, and change certain elements of some consoles to red. It will usually be requested by the Captain, but if enemy ships are approaching and the Captain has not given the order, Comms can make the decision to activate it. It can also help with a crew that is falling asleep!
  • Comms should be careful not to log out of the game or back out to the Console Select screen. In such a case, all Comms messages received will be lost, possibly deleting an important bit of information that may be needed. Fortunately, new messages will come in as usual.  
  • In Artemis 2.7, a text chat interface was added to Comms, which is located at the bottom of the screen. This interface can be used to communicate with other player ships, the Game Master, or just to role play. It can be ignored for most games with only a single ship.
    • This text chat interface will also appear on the client setup screen, if the Comms station is selected. This can be helpful in networked games if you do not have access to voice chat.
    • To prevent key binds from interfering with text chat, CTRL must be pressed along with R or the number keys, to open the menu or sound Red Alert.  


Mission Requirements

  • In a scripted mission, additional buttons may appear in the Comms menu, as shown above. These buttons will be orange to distinguish them from normal menu buttons. The image above is taken from the script "The Waning Dark", which was re-written for this example. The button names, "Admiral Grankov" and "Doctor Barnard" refer to two characters the Comms officer can communicate with during the course of the mission.
    • Comms buttons are able to do anything the script is able to do. What they do will depend on the script, but they will usually do one of the following:
      • Play a sound file.  In the case of the script shown above, the buttons "Admiral Grankov" and "Doctor Barnard" will play a sound file to the main screen, in which a voice actor reads the text that Comms sees displayed in the center column for those characters.
        • Script writers will often echo the text of an audio message to Comms as part of the script, so the message can be reviewed without having to play it again. The text may be displayed as the audio file is played, or as in the case of this scripted mission, Comms is given the choice to read the text out loud instead of playing the audio.
      • Display one or more additional buttons in place of the one pressed. Again, the above scripted mission does this, clearing the Comms buttons and replacing them with "Back" and "Delete". Comms can go back to displaying the "Admiral Grankov" and "Doctor Barnard" buttons without deleting them, or remove the buttons to conserve screen space. Note the audio will not be able to played again once the button is deleted. 
        • This behavior depends on the script. Some scripts may make use of submenus, others may simply delete the button when the audio is played.
        • In this specific case, the behavior was specifically chosen to emulate the behavior of the original script, which used an obsolete feature to display two buttons on the screen for "Play and "Delete". Making the "Back" and "Delete" buttons work no matter which button was originally pressed was a bit of a challenge. :) 
      • Play a video file. This behavior is new to Artemis 2.6, but it allows actors to record a video message to be displayed "on screen" on the mainscreen of the ship!
        • There is one caveat with this feature: It can only be displayed on the game server, i.e., the mainscreen for the first ship. In multiplayer games, neither audio nor video can be displayed on the Mainscreen consoles of additional ships. This is not that noticeable with audio, as long as the ships are all in the same room, but it will be obvious with video messages.
        • The script will usually make use of buttons to clear the message once it has been played, as above, and will also typically pause long enough for the video to play, so the crew don't get caught off guard by an enemy attack.
      • Execute script actions, such as activating a fuel scoop or similar technology. This overlaps somewhat with Upgrades, but is easier to implement in a script, and has more variety.
    • Buttons will typically appear only when the player ship is in position to make use of it. For instance, a button to interact with a Quartermaster or a Scientist on a station might appear only when a ship gets close to that station.  
    • These features don't even have to be triggered by Comms buttons. They typically are, so the players are in control of when such events happen, but some scripts may play scenes on the Mainscreen without input from Comms, just in case no Comms officer is available, or Comms is not paying attention. A script may display a message on the screen, (as "The Waning Dark" does) play a sound, or in rare cases a video, in order to alert Comms that a Comms button is now available.
  • Other text messages in a mission may come from named individuals, like the Admiral that gives the Captain his orders, or a Commander of a station in the sector. This feature may give players an opportunity to role play.
  • In a scripted mission with a GM, or a "Module", the GM can interact with the players through the Comms console. Again, this may give an opportunity to role play. As of Artemis 2.7, Comms can use the text chat interface to respond to the GM directly, or respond verbally if the GM is in the same room. (or makes use of a team chat feature)   
  • As above, logging out of the Comms console while a game is in session will cause all Comms messages and the Comms buttons to be lost. This is particularly important in scripts, as script writers often include important information when the game starts, without considering whether Comms is logged in or not.
    • Very robust scripts written by creative script writers may include a means to restore the Comms buttons if they are lost, such as by pressing a key on the console or asking the GM to reset the Comms menu. The former may not work at times, since client keypresses do not always work, but the latter should work well, as long as there is a GM.  


Comms: Basic Play

  • Situational awareness: If the Comms officer is silent, they aren't doing their job. Lots of info comes into the Comms station, and the Captain needs to know about it. The Comms station is not for someone who just wants to say "Aye, Captain" - an important part of the Comms officer's job is to let the crew know about things happening elsewhere in the game.
  • Build requests: Stations build and store mines, torpedoes, nukes, EMPs, and (starting in v2.3) Pshocks. As of v2.7, stations can also build and store non-lethal ordinance like probes, tags and beacons. The Comms officer can request that a certain starbase build a certain type of munition or probe.
    •  Starbases can only build one type of ordinance at one time, and it can take several minutes to complete a single build, depending on which ordinance is being built. (See the Munitions page for exact times.) Therefore, planning is often necessary for effective use of this ability.  
    • Scouts and Pirate ships cannot pick up Nukes from stations, therefore there is no reason to request Nukes be built for those classes. EMPs or Beacons (in v2.7) are a good alternative. 
  • Fleet Coordination: The Comms officer can issue orders to neutral ships, both unarmed ships like Transports, or Escorts and Destroyers. These orders can be used to get ships to safety, or to position ships for defense or attack. Therefore, it is common for a Comms officer to have the responsibility of coordinating fleet actions. This means that the Comms officer needs to know which ships are where, and be able to efficiently issue orders to them. 
  • Taunting and Demanding Surrender: The Comms officer can communicate with enemy ships. You can either:
    • Taunt the enemy: If you choose the correct taunt, this will get the selected enemy to stop whatever it is doing and chase towards the player's ship. Useful for saving a beleaguered base or drawing enemy ships through minefields.
    • Demand surrender: If the enemy is heavily damaged, they will occasionally surrender rather than be destroyed. In a protracted fleet engagement, this can save precious time and missiles.
  • Full list of commands:
    • Enemy: Surrender; three Taunts
    • Other Ship: Report status; turn to heading (0, 90, 180, 270); Turn (left, right) (10, 25) degrees; attack nearest enemy, proceed to your destination; go defend: (starbase, Artemis, other ship)
    • Station:
      • Stand by for docking: This will cause the station to be more efficient for the next 60 seconds.
      • Report status
      • Request construction of homing torpedoes, nukes, mines, EMPs, Pshocks, (starting in v2.3) probes, tags, and beacons. (starting in v2.7)


  • Workload: Outside of missions and multiple-ship engagements, comms can find that it doesn't have as much to do as other stations. Doubling up comms with another station is one common solution, as is making sure that comms is making the most of the ability to order around NPCs.
    • Good consoles to double up with Comms are Weapons and Science. Comms actually can benefit from the Science map or Captain's map because it allows them to see the location of ships they contact. The compatibility with Weapons is that Weap does not have to wait for Comms to report that the enemy refuses to surrender before resuming the attack.
    • Comms can become much more useful when the server is set up to include friendly ships. Not only can these NPCs be ordered around, as noted, but side missions and rescue missions become available. Comms can also be much more important in scripted missions, and some missions are written with Comms in mind. This can be a way of adjusting a mission to the number of crew members you have available.


Comms: Advanced Play

  • Coordination between ships: Things get complex with two or more bridge crews.
    • Conflicting Orders: When you have two ships with two Comms officers in the same game, the Comms officers run the risk of issuing conflicting orders to NPC stations and vessels. For example, Artemis Comms may order De27 to come to a course of 180, then seconds later Intrepid Comms may order De27 to come to a course of 90. If they keep fighting like this the poor destroyer will never get anywhere! 
    • Build requests: The same rule above applies in to build requests. It's possible to inadvertently reset the production timer by issuing conflicting (though not duplicative, fixed in 1.46) orders. This makes multi-ship scenarios even trickier. With multiple Comms officers sending orders to the stations, it's possible that nothing will ever get built. Communicate, collaborate, and keep the big picture in mind.
    • Communicating: While not a hard and fast rule, it's often a good idea to delegate responsibility for general communication between ships to the Comms officers. A VOIP service such as Skype or Mumble can be useful if the two crews are in different physical locations.
    • Text Chat: Although it is usually better to use voice chat to communicate between ships, as a last resort, the text chat feature in Artemis 2.7 can be used. This can also be used to relay messages that aren't meant to be overheard by the Captain or other crew. (Either because the messages are not "in character" or because the noise level is too high) 
      • As an alternative, crews may choose to give the Captains the voice chat feature and limit voice communications to important information, and have the Comms officers use text chat for minor communications and "opening the channel" between Captains.
  • Side missions: As of 1.51, friendly ships and stations will, at random intervals, transmit chatter alerting you to possible side missions that can improve the Artemis in various ways.
    • The errands and rewards vary, but typically involve meeting with two ships or stations in turn and receiving a benefit upon arrival at the second rendezvous. 
      • Be on the lookout for these announcements, make a note of them, and look for ways to take advantage of them without deviating too far from the main mission.
    • For a full list of the potential rewards from these missions, see the Side and Rescue Missions page.  
      • One of these rewards is the only way that Scouts and other ship classes can pick up and make use of nuclear torpedoes.  
  • Rescue missions: Several new friendly ships were introduced in 2.0, including transports, luxury liners, and science ships. Many of these friendly ships may offer additional combat or non-combat missions. 
    • If a friendly ship is in need of help, it will not send a distress message. Hailing the vessel will reveal that it is in need of assistance. Some ships may display observable behavior, like racing about at high speed.
      • Comms may wish to take the time to hail all friendly ships at the beginning of the game and ensure that none are in immediate need of assistance.
      • When approaching any friendly ship, Comms should hail the ship, to check for any unusual or suspicious behavior that could be the sign of a trap. This is important even if running the ordinary missions described above.
    • For a full list of the possible rescue missions, see the Side and Rescue Missions page.



Official Help Text: This is a transcription of the official helptext from the game 

The comms station has a text scroll on the right side. Here you read all the messages that get broadcast, anywhere in the sector. Click on a message on the right side, and you'll see the FULL message in the center, as a separate scrolling sector. Filter buttons across the top let you see only certain types of message. The comms station also has a 'RED ALERT' button which is entirely cosmetic. However, if your crew is falling asleep, your captain can ask for a red alert, and you can give it to her. 


There are four buttons along the left side, that let you talk to all the objects in the game. Click a type, choose a specific game object, and choose a statement. The message you assembled will be sent, and you may receive a reply. 


You can tell stations to 1) give you a status report, 2) prepare for docking, or 3) focus torpedo production. Once you ask for docking prep, the station will be more efficient for the next 60 seconds. 


You can also send a variety of different messages to the other player ships (if they exist in your sector).


You can tell enemies to surrender, but they won't consider it until they're damaged. You can taunt enemies, but there are three different taunts, and each enemy will respond to each taunt only one (at most), so don't waste your taunts. 


You can scroll your message list simply by dragging up or down. 


The Comms help text in game is cut short halfway though, and is followed by the help text for the Fighter console. This is a bug and the text should be ignored. The second half of the text can be seen by pressing F1 on the Fighter console. The two parts of the text have been assembled here and are complete. 


Hot Keys 

  • CTRL+R: Toggle Red Alert

  • F1: Help

  • F9: Prev Console

  • F10: Next Console

  • CTRL+1-9: Select TX

  • CTRL+0: Cancel


Pressing CTRL with R or the number keys is new to Artemis 2.7, prior to that release only the key needed to be pressed.


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