This guide learn to play science in 30 seconds.
Science in 30 Seconds
You just loaded into a new game as science officer. Hit tab, choose talents. Scroll way down, spend 1 point on Scanner Mode Research Materials. Spend all your remaining points on Frequency Amplification.
If you have points left over, ask your captain when he's not busy.
Immediately look to the upper right corner of your screen. The first ship listed is your ship.
The narrow bar on top is shield strength. If it's below 30%, go immediately to your Science Station.
Find the window marked Computer.
In the upper right of that window, click on Programs.
Click the box marked "Sh", click Execute Program. This is how you keep the shields up. It is the most important thing you will do.
The little circles below Shield Boost indicate if it is ready for use. Empty circles mean not ready.
The shield boost above is not ready for use. In this case, speak clearly into your microphone (T key for push to talk) "Engineer, I need fuel for program recharge." He will know what this means. If combat is ongoing, you may need to repeat this cycle many times, shield boosting and asking for fuel to recharge it.
30 seconds are up! You are now a bare minimum functional scientist.
Science in 60 Seconds
Got a little more time? Let's get more into specifics.
Your computer screen shows you two very important things. The first is your Shield Frequency. Modulated shields resist beams. Static shields resist bullets, explosions, and collisions. Beams are by far the most common player ship killer, you should have shields on Modulate unless your pilot or captain specifically requests static.
The second is your EM Strength. This is how strong your sensors are. If your captain is looking for something hard to find (a wreck, a cloaked ship, a ship hiding in a nebula) your EM Strength will determine how well you can find it. If your EM Strength is below ten, ask your Engineer if Science is damaged or currently has its power cut. If your ship is persistently unable to find things, ask the captain to upgrade the EM Sensor using scrap.
Walk up to your science computer and hit R. You are now plugged into the Sensor Dish, looking out into space. Left click will fire probes, which extend the range at which you can spot stuff. You have infinite probes. Holding Right click Sensor Locks a target, making it harder for them to hide from you. Probes will decloak you. If you're unsure, ask your captain if he's okay with decloaking before you probe around the system.
If you see something weird floating in space, probe it! Mushrooms, crystals, weird blue shimmers, all these things can get you Research Points, to unlock upgrades.
Sometimes, especially after combat, the space around your ship will have blue glowing metal garbage floating around. This is scrap, the currency for ship upgrades. Aim your sensor dish at it and Hold Right Click to tractor in that sweet reward.
Hit R again to leave the Dish view.
Science in 3 Minutes
Sensor Lock, Sensor Focus
You may have noticed that depending on your EM Strength, the distance to your target, and whether you Sensor Locked them first, you have a Lock Strength on that target. This is how clearly you can see the target.
This matters, because if you have a very strong lock, you have access to Sensor Focus. Want all your ship's damage output to strike the enemy's weapon systems, rendering them unable to shoot back? Choose Sensor Focus: Weapons. Is the ship's damage trivial, but too fast to catch easily? Sensor Focus: Engineering will wreck their engines, slow them down and make them easy prey.
When you're inspecting an enemy ship, the sensor focus icons may not appear. If this is the case, your ship's sensors are too weak to do Focus abilities. Make sure you're Sensor Locked, and if it's still not working, ask the captain for upgraded sensors!
Research materials go into the atomizer, turning them into spendable Research Credits. If you are a new player, let your captain spend your research. There's a finite amount of it in the game and you can screw over your comrades by buying the wrong thing.
As Scientist, you're the odd man out on away missions. While everyone else is blasting aliens with laser guns, your job is to use the Healing Beam gun to heal your friends. Headshots count here, and heal faster. The gun shoots through walls, and can damage enemies (slowly).
Your other responsibility is the scanner. Red dots are enemies, and you should advise your crew if they're walking into an ambush. Light blue dots are research materials, and you're probably the only crew member with a scanner. It will fall to you to go get them (ask for an escort if there's enemies).
If the enemy is on your ship, or you on theirs, expect fast, brutal combat. You should be using whatever weapon is at hand to defend yourself and your friends, only using the healing beam when it calms down (the beam is so slow that you can't keep someone alive who is being shot. You are not the TF2 medic).
During lulls, get your scanner and count the enemy dots. If there are zero, say this aloud to your team. They need to know that this is an opportunity to grab vital objectives while the enemy are trapped in a respawn.