Over the past week I have had little time to continue writing the handbook, however today I have managed to turn my focus back to the Engineering section and it is almost complete. Currently, I am adding specific information on different ships and how their way of operating affects the engineering role. Once finished, I intend to release it as a smaller handbook specifically on Engineering, as well as including it within the larger Officer's Handbook.
Creating the Engineering section has been an interesting because of the discussions I have had and my observations as well as articles or comments I have read on managing engineering. I have found myself considering methods that many people use and advice that is widely accepted, and disagreeing with some approaches.
There is a particular tip which I recently considered to do with boosting power to beams. It seems widely known that Primary Beam cool down is calculated based on the power setting at the exact moment the Primary Beams fire, so if the power setting is at 300% when the beams fire, then cool down time will be at its minimum. Many engineers therefore boost power just before firing and drop it just after to avoid overheating to the system. It seems a sound tactic, one with a great benefit and little drawback, but yet I disagree. What if, at the point of firing, the enemy is only in one primary beam arc? What happens when your ship manoeuvres so the second primary beam is within arc? Do you then have to double your focus on boosting power at the right time, one for each beam weapon? And what about the focus on the 7 other power settings? Focusing too much on one setting means you are not focusing on others. However, the most fundamental question I occurs to me is, how long is the recharge rate of Primary beam and how do you keep track of it? Surely it is impossible to sit counting accurately whilst managing so many systems, damage control teams as well as monitoring vital ship readouts such as energy level and shield strengths.
In my opinion, it would be much more effective to set a high level to beam weapons (~200%) when the ship is in close quarter combat with enemies rather then trying boost power to maximum in time with each shot. At ~200% you don't get the quickest beam recharge rate, but it does mean you can focus on getting other power settings right. An engagement isn't won just by firing quickly, it is won by a combination of different tactics, from manoeuvring the ship in to the best position to using certain firing patterns (e.g. different torpedo salvoes).