Basic Flight

Your ship is a fast and lightweight fighter spacecraft. As well as being equipped for use in space, it also has a gravity-cancellation device that allows it to float above the surface of a planet.

To move around, the ship has four sets of engines. The main engines, mounted on the rear of the ship, propel it forwards. The retro engines on the front of the ship can be used to slow yourself down or fly backwards. On each side of the ship are slew jets that move the ship sideways, one set to the left and one to the right. It depends on the kind of ship you're flying, but it's usually the case that the main engines are the most powerful, the retros are a little less powerful, and the slew jets are the least effective.

Small ships like fighters aren't turned by engines, but by gyros. Consequently, turning does not affect the performance of your engines.

The ship is also fitted with automatic airbrakes. They are activated when all of the thrust controls are released, and will bring you to a halt quicker than thrusting in reverse. You can still turn without disengaging the airbrakes.

In order to get the best from your ship, you'll have to use all of the controls in conjunction with one another. For example, you can fly a little faster by using the main engines and slew jets at the same time. If you want to reverse direction quickly, you can do it most efficiently by firing the retros briefly before you start to turn, firing the slew jets to slow down further as you turn, then kicking in the main engine just before the turn is completed. This ensures that you are always accelerating in the direction you want to go.

Equipment

Each kind of fighter has two weapons, denoted primary and secondary. The primary weapon is usually the most immediately useful, fastest firing weapon, and the secondary weapon is slower and more powerful. See the armaments list for more information.

Ouch!
This guy's shields have powered up, but his engines are on fire!

All military ships are fitted with deflector shields to help protect against gunfire and impacts.

The deflector shield completely protects the ship from harm as long as it has power. When drained by impacts, it will slowly recharge, but if it runs out of power completely, it will shut down for a few seconds.

With your shields down, your ship will be vulnerable and impacts will damage the hull directly. Hits to the hull may also cause an engine fire, in which case you have only a few seconds to exact your revenge before your ship explodes!

Full Gauges Empty Gauges
Shield at full power and hull undamaged Shield recharging after a scorching dogfight

The ship defences appear in the bottom left corner of the heads-up-display. The outer ring represents shield power, the inner ring the hull strength.

When your shields are down, an audible warning will be sounded. This is a good time to turn put some distance between yourself and the enemy!

Your heads-up-display also has a holographic target scanner which appears as small semicircular blips in a ring around your ship.

The position of the blip relative to your ship shows the direction to the object it represents, so if the blip is directly in front of you, the object is also directly in front of you.

Brighter blips represent closer objects. When the object gets so close it crosses the circle of blips, its blip disappears (because you can already clearly see it).

Combat

It's not enough to charge into battle with your guns blazing! You must adopt sophisticated tactics to survive against skilled opponents. The following tactics and manoeuvres will help you:

  • Keep moving all the time!
  • Don't charge straight towards your target, fly around them and attack from the sides or behind.
  • Anticipate your target's manoeuvres. Watch their movements and try to establish where they will go next, then fly an intercept course to head them off.
  • Use your slew jets to dodge incoming gunfire, but don't try to dodge alternately left and right. Your ship's inertia can be quite difficult to overcome, and very rapid changes of direction will probably result in your ship going nowhere.
  • When using weapons that fire slow moving projectiles, you must aim ahead of your target, not directly at it. Primusses, however, should be fired directly at the target.
  • When using weapons with slow repeat rates you must time your shots, not fire continuously.
  • If you hear the shields down warning (rapid beeping), break your attack and fly away! Turning 90° from your attacker and accelerating away in a wide arc will help to get you out of trouble.
  • If there are other friendly ships about, fly alongside them for better protection. Don't get stuck between your wingmen and the enemy, though, or you'll be blown away in the crossfire!