Generally speaking, the key to developing the ability to cope with the environments the CED faces you with in the insane forces is learning to take advantage of all the affordances available to you in the environment.

An affordance is simply a thing that something lets you do. For example, one of the affordances of a knife is cutting. Another example is that the primary affordance of a chair is sitting. But other, less obvious, affordances of a chair are holding your coat, propping open a door, and letting you stand on it to reach high places.

The average pilot is only aware of and makes use of the primary affordances of the objects in vus environment. But the pilots of the insane forces have learned to use all of the affordances of those same objects.

An example from combat is the primary laser weapon. The novice pilot only sees that the laser affords the ability to cause damage to bots. However, most intermediate pilots also realise that because a bot dodges away from the lasers, the lasers can be used to herd the bot into bad positioning. In other words, one of the less obvious affordances of your laser weapons is the ability to push bots where you want them.

Another affordance of the lasers is alerting bots of where you are. At first this might not seem like a good thing but it can be used to your advantage. For example, if you know there are several bots waiting to ambush you in a room, quietly set up a network of proximity mines at the entrance to the room and then retreat to a safe distance. From there, fire one laser into the room. Both the sound of the laser and the beam itself will alert the bots to your presense and location. But when they move in to attack you, they will be damaged by your mines.

An even more essoteric affordance of the lasers derives from the scorch marks they leave. You can use the scorches to mark a place as having been explored, or even to leave encoded messages to allied CED pilots during com blackouts. Also, the darkness of the scorch marks can be used as a background against which to hide mines or even your whole ship from enemy organic pilots.

Notice how even though you already knew that bots dodge your lazers, that your lasers leave scorch marks, and that those marks are dark, you probably didn't realise everything those things afforded you. It is precisely the ability to discover these affordances in your environment that will assure your future success in the CED's elite forces.

John LeFlohic
February 12, 1999