Columbia Simming Guide

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Nebula-icon1.gif       "There are always possibilities."

USS Columbia SIM Handbook

Welcome aboard the USS Columbia. This document is designed to function as a guide for SIMmers on Columbia. It is our aim to bring every member of our crew up to the highest possible standards of SIMming while achieving a uniform standard of presentation across all posts on the ship.

Mentors

All graduates from the Starbase 118 Academy and all writers transferring from other ships will be assigned a mentor on arrival aboard the USS Columbia. The responsibility of a mentor is to act as first point of contact for a new player, to help them to settle in with the crew and to take an active interest in ensuring that they meet all of the requirements for promotion, providing support where necessary. In many cases, new arrivals may be self-sufficient, in which case their mentors may be in contact on a less frequent basis. Mentors may also be assigned to other writers with a specific need or interest. The First Officer facilitates the mentoring program aboard USS Columbia.

Upon promotion to the rank of Lieutenant, members may assigned a new mentor to help continue their development.

Mission Staff

Each mission on the Columbia will be facilitated by a group of officers (usually including the mission author, the writers behind any of the MSNPCs involved and the command staff). Those officers will be responsible for guiding the mission towards a conclusion within the usual 6-week operating period, assisting with the incorporation of any plot twists that may have been dreamed up by participants among the crew and keeping things as exciting as possible for all involved.

Mission Submission

If you have any ideas for a mission that you would like to run, follow the steps below:

  • Ask yourself whether or not the mission is relevant to the Region . If not, could it be adapted to be relevant, or is there a good reason for the Columbia to be diverting away from the region it has been assigned to by Starfleet?
  • What will all of the departments be doing during the mission? Preferably they should have something to do other than just their 'default' level of operation (i.e. having a security department just standing guard over a diplomatic talk is not necessarily going to provide a huge amount for those writers to do without a little further thought). If you're short of things for one of the departments to do, can another dimension be added to the mission? Or do the existing members of that department have secondary skills which they could put to good use (training as a field medic, expert in subspace warp fields etc?)
  • When you're happy with your submission and you have checked the above two points, submit the mission using the mission proposal form. Please be aware that the mission timetable may have a few missions queued ahead of your submission, so waiting a few months before it is put into place is not a sign that you're being ignored!

OOC Communication

From time to time, you may be contacted by your mentor, a member of the command staff, or another member of the crew on 'official business', or for a JP request. While you are under no obligation to write a JP with another member of the crew, please try to answer all OOC communication if possible to avoid ill feeling.

Plot Twists

Creativity in SIMming is encouraged and the general rule of thumb for plot twists is to use your common sense. If the twist you're going to put in provides you and your fellow SIMmers with something interesting or exciting to do then it's likely to be a worthwhile addition to the plot. However, it would be worth contacting the CO or a member of the mission staff if you think your plot twist may have a major or serious effect on how the mission would turn out. Examples of this may include (but are not limited to):

  • The addition of a brand new alien race that has not yet been involved in the mission. (Sir, Romulan Warbird decloaking!)
  • Relocation of another group of SIMmers other than your own.
  • Destruction of an important building or ship.

Small twists, such as locked doors, system malfunctions or personal injury can be used at writer's discretion.

PNPC Creation

If you're intending to create a PNPC, drop the captain an email with a short bio including species and intended rank and duty post. If a department is getting flooded with too many PNPCs then you may be asked to reconsider where your PNPC will be placed. It is not the intention of the CO to deny permission for new PNPCs without due cause, but remember that your PC is the most important characters that you write for on the ship.

Posting Requirements

The Columbia’s posting requirements are concurrent with Fleet full time requirements - all SIMmers are required to post 3 times per week, preferably for their main character.

Promotions (Player Characters)

Promotions usually occur at the end of missions, during Shore Leave. While mid-mission promotions may occur from time to time, such circumstances are extremely rare. All promotions will be awarded according to the Promotions Guide. Please feel free to keep an open dialogue with your mentor if you unsure what to do in order to achieve your next promotion! In many cases, service ribbons and awards will be awarded during the same ceremony. On receiving a fleet award, you are encouraged to add the corresponding image to your wiki profile.

Promotions (PNPCs)

PNPC promotions are awarded at the same time as PC promotions by command staff only. Department heads are responsible for nominating PNPCs in their department for promotion by emailing command staff, who will discuss it amongst themselves before making a decision on whether or not to add that PNPC to the promotions list. PNPC promotions are different from PC promotions in that PNPCs should be rewarded for in character actions, rather than being promoted according to the requirements on the promotion guide on the main website. All such promotions will take place during end of mission award ceremonies.

Shore Leave

Under normal circumstances, Shore Leave will take place at the end of each 6 week mission cycle and run for 2 weeks. The length of Shore Leave may vary depending on general fleetwide circumstances and may be extended or curtailed in order to provide opportunities to take part in the annual blockbuster or joint missions with another ship.

During Shore Leave, standard posting requirements still apply, but SIMmers have the opportunity to further develop their characters with a little more freedom. This is an ideal time for characters to make friends, pursue romantic relationships or interact with other members of the crew and for their writers to give us insights into their past or inner thoughts. The galaxy is your oyster!

SIM Format

The Columbia SIM format corresponds with that used in the academy and detailed in Tutorial #1, as follows:

Comm-Links

When conversing over a comm-link of any kind, the following set of symbols is used: =/\= (equals, forward slash, back slash, equals), e.g.:- Hanson: =/\= Engage the second ship! =/\=

Talking to the Computer

When talking to the computer there is no need to use =/\= if you are in the same room:

Livingston: Computer, what was the last known location of the Columbia? Computer: The USS Columbia was last detected in orbit of this system's fourth moon.

However, where a character is on the surface of a planet and communicating with the ship's computer over a comm-line, =/\= becomes necessary, purely due to the use of the comm:

Livingston: =/\= Computer, lock onto my location and beam me back aboard the runabout. =/\=

Descriptive Text

All non-dialogue descriptive text should be marked with two colons (::) at the beginning and end of each paragraph, e.g.:

::He climbed up to the top of the ladder with his eyes closed. On opening them, he immediately regretted it.::

OOC

OOC communication should be surrounded by doubled brackets. If you have an OOC question or a sizeable OOC comment, consider using the ship's OOC mailing list rather than posting it as part of an IC SIM. E.g.:

((OOC: This takes place before the JP, "Profit and Pancakes"))

Speech

To introduce speech, use your character's surname (lower case) followed by a colon (standard script form), e.g.:

Picard: The line must be drawn here! This far, no further!

Stage Directions

In some cases, you may wish to combine speech and 'stage directions' or 'in-line actions'. In this case, simply use the symbols to indicate descriptive text to surround the actions your character is taking or anything that is not dialogue. E.g.:

Perring: ::Sarcastically:: Oh, well that's just great isn't it. ::Waving the acrid smoke out of his face and coughing:: I suppose I'll have to get a repair team to fix that.

Tags

To leave a tag for another character, simply write their name as if you were going to fill in a line of dialogue for them, but instead write the word 'Response', e.g.:

Leigh: I think it's broken, Doctor... T'Ril: Response

Telepathy

Telepathic speech should be symbolised in the script style, similar to speech, but surrounded by tildas (~). E.g.:

Grax: ~Don't be alarmed. I'm a Betazoid. I'm here to help you escape.~

Thoughts

Thoughts should also be symbolised in the script style, similar to speech, but opened with 'oO' and closed with 'Oo'. It’s important to include your Character name in front. This is particularly important when doing JP’s. E.g.:

Weyoun: oO If they're not going to agree to allow us a presence on this planet then we'll just have to take it from them by force. Oo

Where a character has a thought mid-sentence, the thought tags can be included in-line rather than starting a new script entry, as follows:

Rascon: Yeah, this has to rank up there with the best receptions I've ever been to. oO It still royally sucks, but hey, at least I'm not lying because this is the only one I've ever attended. Oo Hold that thought, I think I'm gonna get some more watered down blood wine...

SIM Format Supplemental

Displaying Locations

For the purpose of clarity, all SIMs should start with the location of your character, surrounded by OOC double brackets. E.g.:-

((USS Columbia, Deck 1: Bridge))

or

((Prak Zel, Zakdorn IV))

Signatures

Signatures should be placed at the end of your SIM, and should follow the format below:-

Rank and Full Name Duty Post Ship Assignment

e.g.:

Commander Ben Livingston Commanding Officer USS Columbia NCC-85279

Subject Lines

Email subject lines should follow the format below:

Rank and Name, "Custom Post Title" (who are you tagging?)

e.g.:

Commander Ben Livingston, "In At the Deep End." (Tags Brek, Taybrim)

If you are writing a JP, use this format:

JP: Rank and Name 1, Rank and Name 2, "Custom Title" (who are you tagging? If no-one, feel free to omit this part)

PNPCs, MSNPCs and NPCs should be indicated as such by using those abbreviations before their names.

As a general formatting point, make sure no "Re:" text strings appear in your title. Also, there is no need to manually type in [sb118-columbia] - the group list will do that for you!

Rank Abbreviations

Ranks in subject titles may be abbreviated or written in full. Abbreviated ranks are as follows:

  • Ens (Ensign)
  • Lt (j.g.) / Lt(jg) / Lt. JG / LtJG / Ltjg (Lieutenant Junior Grade)
  • Lt (Lieutenant)
  • LtCmdr (Lieutenant Commander)
  • Cmdr (Commander)
  • Cpt (Captain)

Duty Post Information

If you need help SIMming your duty post, the SB118 wiki contains a wealth of resources including guides for each duty post. You can find more information on the forums, as well as talk to people who have been writing for the post you are serving in for a while already.

General Help

Send questions to the ship's OOC email list, in our ship's section of the forums, or in any other relevant section. You should also feel free to contact your mentor or a member of the command staff with any specific questions (see below).

Ship Information

The nav bar on the right hand side of this page provides information on the USS Columbia’s capabilities and deck listing. USS Columbia is a Nebula-class vessel.

Species Information

When looking up species information, your first port of call should be the Starbase 118 wiki. If you don't find what you are looking for, try Memory Alpha or the Forums.

Other Information

Anything to do with the science of Star Trek is most likely to be found on Memory Alpha.

Who To Contact

Any specific questions that you would like to ask can be directed through one of the following channels:

  • The ship's OOC list (sb118-columbia-ooc@googlegroups.com)
  • Your mentor (you should have been given an email address when they were originally assigned and they should be in contact with you regularly!)
  • The ship's command staff
    • Commander Brek (CO)
    • Lieutenant Commander Rendal Rennyn (FO)
  • Wiki Team
    • Ensign Antero Flynn
    • Lieutenant Theo Whittaker