The Chief Engineer, is in charge of managing the Engineering department. That means making sure the station is powered, breaches are fixed, damage is repaired, the air is breathable, the AI remains online, and the station is generally intact and functional. The CE commands the Station Engineers and Atmospheric Technicians.
Other than directing the workflow of the department, you're also expected to carry out general engineering and atmospheric duties and maintain the AI satellite. To be a good chief you must have a good working knowledge of how APCs, SMES cells, and power in general works, how to decipher atmospherics, how to efficiently set up the roundstart Supermatter Engine and/or Tesla Engine and ideally some other engines as well.
It's no secret that your staff is some of the laziest of the station's crew and this is where you come in! As stated above, your duties consist pretty much entirely on telling the engineers and atmos techs to work, teach them how to do it if they don't know how or just doing their jobs yourself.
At the Start of the Round
Greet your team over the radio and establish your authority. Find out who you will be working with, and determine who is going to set up the engine. Designate someone to do solars (unless someone else volunteers first) and try to ensure everyone in your department has a task to do. If you take command of these first minutes of the round, most of Engineering will follow the rest of your orders until the round ends. If you stay silent at the start, and only speak up later when you need something, nobody will listen to you. At the very least, you need to start talking on radio soon after the round starts so your team gets used to hearing your voice.
At the beginning of the round, you should make sure that you delegate people to set up the solars and the main engine. Most of the time your team will be fairly competent and you'll only need to supervise, but sometimes you'll have to step in. Read the guides, and make sure you know it inside and out. If someone's new, help them out and show them the ropes. If someone's being an idiot then correct them. If that fails, and you have a valid legal reason to demote them, you can demote them to kick them out of your department. With these points in mind, the engine should successfully come online and start generating power. It's a good idea to announce to the crew when the engine has come online.
The solars are your main backup power source and are crucial to prevent the power grid from going down if the main engine fails for any reason. Solars output enough power to run the station, and give you time to learn how to set up the Supermatter Engine without facing constant shouts from the crew about lack of power. Setting up the solars is quite easy - you can usually delegate the task to a single Engineer, who can get it done in a reasonable amount of time. Additionally, you can order your atmos techs to set up the Turbine, which is a great supplement to the solars.
Atmosia, the Great City-State of Pipes
The engine is running, the solars are wired and the engineering team are at your beck and call. The station is getting a steady supply of power and you're confident your team can maintain this and repair any damage to the hull. Your job is done, right? NOT SO FAST, my friend! Haven't you forgotten Atmosia?
Yes, as hard as it is for them to accept, that convoluted bundle of pipes and its staff are under your jurisdiction and it's your responsibility to make sure that it's keeping everybody breathing. As the CE, you are expected to know the basics of how atmos work, how to optimize it, and then how to keep people from messing it up. If possible, it's recommended that you have as much experience in Atmospherics as you do in regular construction and engineering. Nobody likes a Chief Engineer that does not know how to re-pressurize a room correctly. Again, read the guide and learn it.
All you have to do with atmos is get acquainted with its staff (typically over department radio), make sure they know how to optimize it (if not, do it yourself - better yet teach them), and then check back in periodically to ensure some one hasn't tampered with it.
Now that the station's systems are running at maximum capacity or are in the process of being made so, you can relax a little before continuing your work. Here is what you should be doing:
- Keep watch for any hull breaches and damaged machinery on the station. You can do this by listening for calls of assistance over the radio or observing the station alert consoles for any power, fire or atmospheric alarms. The engineering camera monitors let you view security cameras in any area that has an active alarm to easily get an overview of the cause of said alarm. When you locate something that needs to be repaired, send out your engineers and atmos techs to fix it.
- Make sure the Engine is still operating, safe, and providing power to the station. If there's any issue, fix it.
- Periodically check out Atmospherics to make sure nobody's messed it up.
- Talk to your team. Make sure that any engineering or atmospheric problem is seen to immediately and help your staff with anything they don't understand.
- Work on the Station Goals. They can be a chore, but in absence of more interesting things, they at least keep you occupied.
- Organize building projects on the station. These can range from small things like setting up an autolathe in engineering to larger things like building a vox room with an atmosphere of 100% nitrogen.
So you've been hired to kill or steal something on this station? Great! This is one of the easier jobs when doing this since you have access to most of the areas where the steal objectives are and, even if they are somewhere you can't get to, you can easily just hack open the door or RCD the wall down. No one will bat an eye as you construct a random room in space, and you can easily steal the AI upload circuit board from Technical Storage.
Building and hacking an autolathe supplies you with ammo for your guns, your magboots allow you to slip people without the danger of being slipped yourself. You are fully authorized to carry a telescopic baton for "self-defense", and if you want a longer stun, the components needed to make a stunprod are all easily available to you.
Learn the door wires, cut AI door control and shock doors. security/the AI cannot stop you if they cannot use the doors! You can also reroute disposals to get into areas you shouldn't; replacing a couple pipes can get you into the captain's office. Your door remote can also bolt most maint doors, handy for stopping a sec squad.
When you have finally killed your target, you can dispose of them easily via throwing them into space or even throwing them into the SM crystal, make sure that the temp/pressure/EER is low enough, otherwise you will have an angry admin on your case.