Rodger Young combat interfaces

The interfaces aboard the Rodger Young in combat are hard to take seriously. The captain’s interface, for instance, features arrays of wireframe spheres that zoom from the bottom of the screen across horizontal lines to become blinking green squares. The shapes bear only the vaguest resemblance to the plasma bolts, but don’t match what we see out the viewscreen or the general behavior of the bolts at all. But the ridiculousness doesn’t end there.


There’s also Barcalow’s screen, which has an amber graticule of the planet below them, and screen-green rounded-rectangles falling in soft arcs down the screen. These rectangles are falling far faster than the dropships (the only thing descending to the surface we see), and are falling in semi-random vectors across nearly half the arc of planet.


Ibanez’ interface might make sense, since it shows the same spinning graticule of the planet below (though at a completely different orientation), with an overlaid shrinking rectangle. Maybe that’s the corridor of her optimal flight path? Maybe, it’s missing any 3D cues that might actually help with that task. Oh, but look! It also has the familiar spinning pizza graphic in the upper right.


Granted, the dots might indicate plasma bolts from the bugs, and the falling rectangles might indicate the dropships trying to make their way to the surface, and the rectangle might indeed indicate the corridor of optimal flight path, but why on Earth is this information on separate screens being used by separate crew?

Imagine playing a videogame distributed among three players where one sees the goal, another sees the obstacles, and a third sees the other players. Sure the chaos of shouting instructions and information at each other might be fun, but you’d have little hope of success. Given these terrible screens, the main surprise is that anyone in the Federation survived the trip to the Bug Planet at all.



Addendum. I’d failed to notice these flailing bar charts that attract attention, but the type of which is too small to be read. Only adding to the pointless of the interfaces in this scene.


6 thoughts on “Rodger Young combat interfaces

  1. Are they even in orbit? The speed of the bug plasma farts are slow enough that if the Rodger Young was at orbital speed, they would appear to be standing still. It’s like the RY is flying at around a couple of hundred miles an hour, not thousands.

  2. Regarding your last paragraph, I’d be interested in your opinion of the computer game Artemis.

  3. Pingback: Report Card: Starship Troopers | Sci-fi interfaces

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