As the races crawled off the surface of their respective planets in primitive spacecraft, their control schemes were crude. Instrument clusters were hardwired
directly to the systems they monitored. There was often little interpretation between a system and the buttons and switches that controlled it. Often, many
separate controls needed to be manipulated in order to achieve simple responses from the crude craft that carried the races into space. The
that controlled ships were inefficient and complex.
Very quickly, as the races achieved more mastery over and confidence in their craft, they introduced more integrated control schemes into their craft.
Translative instrument cluster were developed... "fly by wire" integrated computer control between the activated control and the system. Controls became more
intuitive and practical, with a single control or cluster being used to achieve a desired result rather than a single step toward a goal. Ships became more
responsive, systems easier to activate and control under duress.
Fly by wire control also allowed controls to move away from crude buttons and switches that suffered from mechanical failure and required frequent maintenance.
Touch screens quickly became commonplace, even in the early years of the Ancient period. They allowed users to custom configure their control clusters and even
assume control of other stations without switching location. The redundant routing of multiple signal paths made them less
susceptible to failure than their
old mechanical counterparts.
Another methodology for configurable fly by wire controls was the Projected Interpretive system. Low powered lasers would project an outline of controls onto
a blank surface. Crew members could access the controls by touching the projected controls, while scanners and sensors would pick up the location of their
fingers and motion of their hands.
Dactyl Interpretation was a very significant progress in the control system of starships, devised in early Archaic times. A small pull-down monocle, visor,
glasses configuration was used to provide visual feedback to a user. Cameras or scanners located around the starship or on the user themselves would
monitor the motions of the user's hands and fingers to accept commands. Random movements and accidental issuance of commands was eliminated through strict
protocols, intense training, or requiring crew to be in a certain location before issuing commands. In any event, Dactyl Interpretation allowed quick, intricate,
and personal control of systems making starship control as much a language as a technical process. It allowed crew to control a ship from anywhere they went,
not just limiting their control to a "bridge" location. Emergencies could be dealt with quickly and remotely by the most capable staff.
One of the most important technologies to develop in the Prodigal
Void, essentially defining the barrier between what we think of as
Archaic and Antiquity, was the Neural Implant and Interface,
often colloquially referred to as "Fly-by-Neuron". Through
nanotechnology, a microscopically thin transmitter/processor network
is constructed inside the users head and/or shoulder. Some models build
outside the skull, some inside, and a few, for the hardcore user,
build themselves in and around the users brain, augmenting and replacing
pieces of the host. The host sends and receives communication,
processing, and other information directly between the host brain
and external biocomputer networks. The host receives a Heads Up
Display fed directly to their visual cortex, receiving IntelligNet
feeds, information from sensors mounted on the host, and
broadcasting control information to their assigned systems.
Most modern starships are controlled through neural implant. The
main broadcast/receiver and processors are mounted within a
sparsely appointed "bridge" in the center of the ship which can be
occupied and sealed in emergency but is generally unnecessary in
daily operation of the ship. Called by a variety of monikers
including Bridge, Control Room, Safe, or Stand, the command area
of the ship generally consists of the transmit pedestal, several
chairs, and emergency backup hand controls and screens. In normal
operation of the ship, the entire crew is linked to each other and
the resources of the ship. Each crewmember has redundant duties
that reinforce and reassure the operations of the others, all at
the speed of thought. Crew can pass back and force not just crude
messages but also emotional impulses and sights and sensations
which creates a very tight and interactive environment. The crew
receives information from the ship and its sensor networks
directly to the sensory sections of their brains. Essentially,
they see what the ship sees, hear what the ship hears, and smell
what the ship smells. Conversely, the crew is able to manoeuvre the
ship with a thought, controlling its systems as easily as moving
their own arms. Strict control protocols are implimented to ensure the proper system
is being controlled by the proper host and that random thoughts and sneezes don't
accidentally lead to disaster. Regardless of some early hysteria regarding the
system, it has proven to be one of the safest and most foolproof control schemes devised.
A large amount of equipment,
particularly within the Prodigal
Void, is linked to neural control. Most vehicles, many buildings,
and a lot of consumer appliances are controlled directly by thought
broadcast through the IntelligNet.
Neuralinks have significant and varied impact on traditional positions on starships and in society in
general. Gunners on starships can sense, functionally see and hear and anticipate
the presence of targets around their ship. They can think out, in their
mind, complex firing patterns and conditional responses to changing
situations which biocomputers can prioritize and respond to, adjusting
targeting priorities, weapons configurations, and lead based on the gunners'
subconscious opinions of target priorities and shot qualities.