Imho atmos techs should remain separated from engineers because fixing air and managing atmos takes a ton of time compared to the rest of engineering work.
The problem with atmos getting so much bad publicity is a complex one but it mostly boils down to:
- Doing any quality atmos work being tedious as hell
- Doing any fun and engaging project requiring much more experience than a beginner can muster (and being tedious as hell)
- CEs being lenient towards techies
- Majority of atmos techs completely ignoring the rest of their department and often being straight up rude to new players that want to learn atmos (the I can set up fusion so I’m at the apex of human thought attitude at work)
Holy hell it’s tedious to do it
Atmos players avoiding work isn’t completely their own fault.
Fixing damage takes a ton of time relative to the round duration - most of the times I put effort into fixing large fires or overpressures/overheats the emergency shuttle gets called immediately after the damage is done and isn’t recalled after the fix - the work done is pointless in the end.
This is mostly due to the fact that fixing air properly takes time - with the coming back of slowmos fixing breaches and temperature differences properly doesn’t just boil down to setting an air alarm to refill/draught or just spacing the area and calling it a day.
Fixing large fires takes atmos resin, which in turn requires lots of water. Most stations equip atmos with a laughable 1000u water tank which is often not enough to fix even a medium fire. Not to mention the fact that greyshirts love breaking resin while you work on it, and exposing hot air to fixed air casually undoes the effort of fixing it.
Refilling areas is also rather tedious due to gas flowing somewhat slowly and refill setting vents to target around 300kPa, which will cause overpressures if not under supervision of an atmos tech.
Gas miners are also seen as a perfect, infinite source of gas, but in reality they’ll have a hard time supplying the station if their tanks get breached or have their supply spent on projects.
Not to mention redesigning atmos layout to be optimal and working correctly, which is an interesting challenge when done first time and a chore later that must be done at the start of every round. I’ve personally reached the point where I don’t bother to do it and watch the world burn.
Players don’t help
As for atmos lacking responsibilities relative to the rest of engi - here’s a table listing the responsibilities of both roles. Marked with bold font are ones that, at least from my experience, are usually neglected by them.
Monitor distribution and refill or restore it to normal temperature it if needed
||Set up and monitor the station engine
|Monitor waste for contamination and set up cooling for it
||Monitor tcomms and fix them if needed
Fix fires which can be caused by other atmos techs, AIs, anomalies, incompetent toxins, chemist being careless with plasma beakers and more.
||Fix breaches and structural damage to machines and the power grid
|Fix the pipes around the station and set up air alarms with AI’s cooperation
||Work on station projects
|Set up auxiliary power should engineers fail with the engine
||Work on personal projects to improve the station
|Actively monitor station atmos alarms and fire alarms
||Actively monitor power alarms and atmos alarms to find breaches
|Refill breached areas
||Set up aux power in the form of solars in case the main engine fails
|Supply engineering with gas for their engine in case of emergencies or setup changes
|Handle cargo bounties that require gas canisters
||Handle cargo bounties that require tesla
As seen, the problem isn’t just with the job but also with the people that play it.
This also works the other way with engineers breaking into atmos (or entering it in Delta’s case) and taking away the work from techs by doing it themselves. If I had a penny for every time I kicked out someone from my department (and was complained at) so I can provide the service myself rather than have it done by someone not just in engineering, I’d be rich.
CEs should start with pulse rifles to efficiently eliminate lazy engineers and techs
Content is there, people don’t care (or don’t know)
Contrary to @llol111
In terms of content atmos has a ton of different gas reactions to set up and experiment with. Most atmos techs limit themselves to fusion because it sounds fancy, but isn’t actually difficult - mix tritium, CO2 and plasma, heat it to 10000K and there, fusion. Meanwhile BZ farms, oxygen farms, N2O decompositors, pluoxium generators and many more are left alone due to them not being as flashy as fusion.
To top it off, all of it is on the wiki, ready to be learned and tinkered with. Implementing a working design takes some experience and from what I’ve seen most atmos techs are unwilling to teach new players the underlying principles in their designs and instead feed them ready solutions, which makes them unable to develop their own things. That said, wiki is very exhaustive about the job and offers a lot of insight into how it actually works, so it’s not really an excuse not to experiment.
In terms of engines, SM requires no atmos intervention to set up on every station, and similarly turbine requires zero input from engineers to set up, TEG too.
Said projects also take quite a lot of time to set up, which makes them even rarer.
The art of flamethrower crafting is also left rather neglected nowdays.
Merging might actually make it worse
Giving everyone in engineering access to atmos would cause quite a lot of issues, namely:
- There are many ways of approaching topics like refilling distro, handling waste and alike, the more people have access to atmos, the less work will be done due to constant arguments over how it’s meant to be done
- Atmos is equipped with an unique hardsuit designed for fire control - have one lazy engineer yoink it and you’re left with no spaceworthy fire protection other than CE’s and captain’s
- Fire axe, used for
killing greyshirts that break resin removing resin and breaking into depowered areas, is quite the target for powergamers to take for themselves
- Giving an entire department access to the gas storage and control over distro contents can go wrong very easily as @Caecilius previously wrote
- Due to engineering and atmos work requiring a different set of tools, new atengineers would be forced to specialize anyways to do their jobs efficiently.
@DrMacCool There is a significant difference between having to break in somewhere to sabotage and being allowed to be there - the difference of a toolbox in said person’s forehead before sabotaging can be done
On a side note, atmos is basically toxins deluxe - you can make R&D TTVs looks like firecrackers if you’re bored/curious enough and steal one from them.