Can we merge Station Engineer and Atmospheric Technician?

I understand why the distinction exists in an in-universe context, but I think seperation between the Station Engineer and Atmospheric Technician causes more trouble than needs be. Being good at engineering requires an in-depth understanding of every system. Being able to keep the station running at the simplest level requires knowledge of power management, construction, atmos and engine management. Hell, the two most common power sources (SM and Turbine) require all of these fields to properly operate and modify, atmospherics in particular is one of the most fundamental mechanics for both of them. So why is atmos arbitrarily seperated into its own job, while every other field is lumped onto the engineers?

All this seperation does for most rounds is leave the engineers to handle all the mundane problems that come up while the atmos techs fiddle with the pipes, occasionally make engineering uninhabitable with fusion and pick their noses until a breach occurs and they’re begrudgingly asked by an engineer to unlock the air alarms for them so they can refill the room. I know that they’re intended to be fire fighters, hence the fire axe, but station fires are rare and are even more rarely fixed by atmos techs because: A. The AI can clear the room remotely, or B. The atmos tech was the one who lit the fire in the first place.

The only benefit I see in seperating the two is that Station Engineer is the ‘fix stuff and maintain the station’ job, while Atmos Tech is the ‘fuck around test things out’ job, meaning that you can pick one or the other based on how you feel that particular round, but even then engineering has plenty of down time and atmospherics has some basic obligations so neither label is exclusive. Department cooperation for engineering isn’t like other departments, like medical, which require people fulfilling defined roles which can’t be done by one person alone. Most engineering projects can either be quickly solved by a single engineer, like small repair jobs, or require the whole department, like with most station goals or large-scale disasters which don’t always require the same roles. Grouping the two jobs would only make it easier for engineers to adapt and cooperate in different situations, rather than diluting the need for communication (unlike science).

TL;DR: Most departments have jobs because certain roles need to be always filled and divvying them up helps coordinate those roles. Engineering, however, expects the entire department to be filling a variety of roles as they become useful, so locking one of several roles behind a job only makes it harder for engineering to do their jobs, rather than ensuring some kind of bare minimum functionality.

I realise this rant is painfully over-long, but you must understand that I have suffered too long under smart-ass HoPs who think they’re hot shit for rejecting my access request because ‘we already have an atmos tech’ who has no idea what they’re doing and only picked the job for the fire axe.

Edit: Added TL;DR.


It’s only logical to merge those two jobs. Other jobs also suffer from this access segregation:

Medical doctor / chemist
Scientist / roboticis
Botanist / chef / bartender

Which is why I doubt you’ll have much success with change.

Personally, I very much enjoy being able to legally give 0 fucks about SM delaminating as an atmos tech because I don’t have access to it.

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I don’t think arbitrary access segregation is bad on paper, I think the jobs you describe there make sense because they manage a very distinct facet of their department. I’d say science could even do with some light segregation a la Paradise’s job title system to make it easier to divvy up science’s various sub-jobs like toxins and xeno. I just think engineering is a job that asks you to be able to understand and use all of its mechanics, so it’s pointless locking only one of its several technical areas behind a job that’s fairly anaemic on its own, especially considering the fact that the crew entrusted with station repairs actually need atmos access more than the techs themselves (outside of accessing their offices, obviously). The only way I could see this problem being solved without giving atmos techs the axe would be making it so station engineers also get air alarm access, though that would only be a bandaid for the most problematic part of the division and make it more obvious how deprived atmos techs are of an actual role in engineering.

Edit: Grammar + rewording.

Separating atmospherics from engineering actually makes a lot of sense.
Dealing with air issues may take quite a while so its good to have people who would deal with fire or stick around after breach and make sure airmix gets to proper proportions, pressure and temperature, if needed will fix piping or slowly resin affected area tile after tile (leaving pocket of hot gas actually makes whole operation a waste of time so its good if someone could work on it methodically and slowly, while engineers are free to go and deal with another issues

There are two issues I see
First heads and sec need to pay attention and deal with derelict of duty.
Completely ignoring issues around station is not only a problem with atmos technicians, a lot of station engineers do the same, they just choose the role to get tools and access they need for their project and off they go building shuttle, small station, rage cage or god knows what. Its all nice and dandy, do what you please with your free time, but when we have meteorite shower and only 1 person out of 5 engineers and 3 atmosians is setting up sats and then dealing with breaches, there’s clearly something wrong. Even if I’m not CE, which is usually the case, I try to stay in touch with each engineer, check on them regularly, talk about each breach or other issue on radio-first informing about it, then asking if anyone is on it, if I’ll handle it then reporting when its done, if someone else said they’ll deal with it I ask if they need help, if they finished and then thank them for their work, but there’s only so much you can do by trying to keep them involved, carrot won’t work on everyone and we sometimes need stick.
Sadly heads and sec are rarely interested in dealing with IC issues, they are focused on antags so they will often ignore the issue and this is where I would look for way to fix issue of engineers and atmosians ignoring their duties

Another issue has more to do with the fact that we actually took half of atmos duties away when we introduced gas miners. I was opposing it when it was still a proposal and I still do. Atmos technicians don’t care about gas management any more, they don’t have to. They don’t monitor temperature and pressure of distro and each tank, they don’t care about bringing waste gas to proper temperature or about bringing it back to tanks at all, its not uncommon to see them ejecting waste to space or run turbine all shift with no care in their mind.
I understand why it was introduced when we had fastmos, we were losing incredible amounts of air with each, even smallest, breach but fastmos is gone now, we can remove miners and give atmosians their duty of maintaining this closed loop system back.
If we consider breaches to be still a big waste of air then maybe it would be possible to code air alarms so they would shut down vents if they detect that room is open to space until it is sealed or vents are manually switched back on.

Complete opposite. Adding gas miners allowed atmos techs to actually do their job. None of the maps have atmos pipes in a way that allows any practical form of gas recycling. You can’t expect people to rebuild their entire department every shift just to prevent every gas storage tank from becoming too hot or too cold the moment something gets scrubbed.

The default atmos setups in every map are downright dysfunctional and will heat/cold flood the entire station if not reconfigured. Even with atmos miners you can frequently see 300C+ air storage tanks because the know-how required for the job is too high for a playerbase as casual as ss13.

Dumping all waste gas into space is currently the only way to prevent this in any reasonable manner.

I would compare it to watering plants as a botanist: sure it is expected from botanists to water their plants, but it’s the least engaging and most mindless activity there is. Which is why the first thing anyone remotely experienced will do is remove the need to water plants.

Same with techs, watching a pipe meter stay at 20C is the most mindless part of the job. Everyone plays it for the crazy atmos projects which are actually fun.

There is a very important balance reason for their separation: merging them would grant one job too much sabotage power. Allowing one job to easily sabotage power, the engine, telecomms and atmospherics all at the same time is far too much power to hand to an antagonist for free.

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delta station engine


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I should probably move the supermatter on delta station to the singulartiy area and have an atmos experimentation room with burn chambers in place of the supermatter engine.

But i just wanna say that i’ve kinda always felt that atmos tech has to little content besides putting some better pumps or such and making fusion, to be their own job.
Though i guess in theory they’re also suppsoed to be the ones fixing atmos issues aroudn the station, while in practive its engineers often.

Cea brings up a good point though.

I’d agree with you there if both jobs weren’t already in close proximity with each other and also didn’t get unrestricted access to tools. The only difference between an engie that wants to sabotage atmos and a tech who wants to sabotage engineering is what two or three doors they have to hack. One being in the others office is rarely a concern either because there are engineer players like myself who usually ask for full engineer access anyway because not having access to atmos/engineering makes everything uneccesarily more difficult.

Edit: Grammar.

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.

Atmos Tech Engineer
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.


Everytime I play engineer I always ask the HOP for atmos access at round start anyway just so I can reset air alarms and repressurize a room after patching a breach.

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