General gameplay
Movement and navigation:

Players can make one move every 20 hours. A move consists of taking off, performing whatever actions are available and desired while in-flight, and landing again. Upon landing, you will have your ship refueled and be unable to lift off again for another 20 hours.


While in-flight, you can make hyperspace jumps from your current system to any system it links to. You can also attack vulnerable pilots and pick up cargo for missions.


While landed, you can purchase outfits and ships, hire escorts, and buy or sell commodities.


There are three types of links between systems: jump lines, hypergates, and wormholes. Lines are the most obvious and common, being the readily obvious lines connecting one system to the next. Hypergates are substantially rarer and appear on the map as small arrows pointing at the system in question (one in the north-east and one in the south-west for entrances, one in the north-west for exits, and all three for a combined entrance/exit). They do not indicate what system they connect to on the map; the only way to find out where one leads is to go to its entrance and see what systems are available for travel via hypergate. Both lines and 'gates are displayed in the color of their government. Grey are unaffiliated and usable by all; otherwise they are only available to members of that government and its allies. Wormholes do not appear on the map at all, but act like hypergates, providing a link to another (not necessarily nearby) system. All links are stationary and unchanging.


Each jump, regardless of type, consumes one jump's worth of fuel, equivalent to 100 units of fuel as measured by the combat system. When you are out of fuel, you cannot proceed any further until you have acquired more, either through capturing it in combat or landing and refueling.


Notes:

  • Any system you jump to does not necessarily have a link back to the system you just left.


Protection and Vulnerability:

A player is considered to be protected or 'under grace' if they have been landed for over 24 hours ('landed grace'), or if they have Grace Periods remaining from starting out/respawning. A protected player cannot be attacked under any circumstances as long as they maintain that protection.

The protection of 'landed grace' is lost as soon as you lift off again. You lose one Grace Period every time you lift off, or for every 500k credits you accept in transfer. You will lose all your Grace Periods if you attack another player.

A player not under grace is considered to be vulnerable. They can be attacked by anyone else in the same system until they regain protection, either by staying landed for 24 hours, or by dying and respawning. See the respawning section for rules on how many Grace Periods are gained through death.


Systems:

Systems are either inhabited or empty. Systems colored white are empty; inhabited systems are colored to indicate their affiliation. If a system contains a filled-in circle in the center on the map, then it contains an inhabitable planet.


Empty systems can be landed on, whether or not they contain a planet. You can always refuel upon liftoff from any system, regardless of type. No other services are available in an empty system.


The outfits and ships that are available in an inhabited system are determined by its tech level and affiliation. Some planets sell technology not commonly available, if you can find them.


Commodities:

Basic staple of interstellar trade. Buy low, sell high. Live the cliche.


The price of a commodity on any given world is determined by the amount currently on the planet. The more there is, the lower the price. Planets that consume that particular commodity will slowly absorb the stocks sold there, bringing the price back up. Planets that produce it will slowly replace purchased stocks, lowering the price.


You can only hold as many as will fit in the combined available cargo space of your fleet.


Missions:

Offering a generally better credit-per-ton rate than commodities, missions are the favored method of earning start-up money. To complete a mission, you need to accept it, travel to the pickup location (you don't need to land to pick up the cargo), and land at the destination. You can have a maximum of five missions accepted at one time.


Each government generates its own missions. The number of missions generated is proportional to the number of planets that government controls. Unaffiliated missions are available to all, while government missions are only available to members of that government. Performing missions for a government improves your reputation with that government.


Accepting a mission adds two markers onto your map: a green one pointing away from a system to denote the pickup location, and a red one pointing toward a system to denote the destination.


Once per day, when the missions are refreshed, the reward of any unaccepted missions is increased by 20%. Missions that are already accepted will not have their reward increased. Missions that have not been accepted at the end of 5 days will be removed.


Ships:

Ships can be purchased or hired at the shipyard. Purchasing a ship makes it your new flagship, allowing you to outfit it as you desire and determining the classes of escorts you can hire. When you purchase a new ship, 80% of the value of your previous ship (hull + outfits) is credited to you against the price of the new vessel.


When you hire a ship, you pay 10% of its listed price immediately, and 10% of its listed price every time you lift off with it as an escort. So when hiring a shuttle that sells for 100,000 credits, you would pay 10,000cr to hire it, and then another 10,000cr every time you lifted off.


Once hired, escorts will remain part of your fleet until you fire them, they are destroyed, or your flagship is destroyed. You will be able to store cargo in them, vastly increasing your available cargo space should you hire freighters, and they will join in battles on your side.


Each ship hired cuts into your pools of 'escort points'. Ships are divided into two broad categories, combat and freight, which determine what pool they draw from. You have a total of 12 combat points and 4 freight points. Each freight escort takes up only one freight point. Combat vessels, however, can take up several points depending on their type. Fighters and Bombers take 1, Frigates take 2, Destroyers take 3, and Cruisers and Carriers take 6.


Ships are also classed as 'heavy', 'medium', or 'light'. You can only hire escorts with the same class as your flagship or lighter.


Escorts who have been captured from an enemy in combat cost only 5% of their listed price to lift.



Outfits:

Modifications to your flagship that you can purchase and install. Depending on its attributes, an outfit can improve your defenses, increase your firepower, add to your engine power, or a number of other things.


Bounties:

Place as much money as you want (minimum 10,000 credits) on a target of your choice. The value of a bounty is deduced from your account as soon as the bounty is placed. The money from placing bounties is non-refundable. Whenever a player is killed, the victorious pilot collects the full sum of the bounties placed on their victim.


Credit Transfers:

You can transfer a portion of your cash to another player, so long as these conditions are met:

  • They have less money than you do
  • The amount transferred will not give the recipient more money than you would have.
To illustrate, if Dash Rantic has 500,000 credits and Angle O'Saxon has 750,000, Dash Rantic would be unable to transfer any money to Angle O'Saxon. Angle O'Saxon would be able to transfer up to 125,000 credits to Dash Rantic, because he has more money than Dash does, but would be unable to transfer 125,001 credits because when the transaction is completed, Dash would have 625,001 credits while Angle would have less than him, with a mere 624,999 credits.


Once the transfer has been offered, the money is deducted from your account, and is non-refundable. The recipient may choose to accept the transfer or decline it. Declining the transfer will not refund the money to the player who offered it.


If you accept a transfer while still under grace, it can remove some of your grace periods. For every 500,000 credits accepted, you have one grace period removed. Accepting less than 500k will not remove a grace period.


Governments:

These are overarching organizations which control planets, offer their own specialized ships and weapons, and war with other governments. Joining a government is easy; simply go to the Governments page underneath the Government tab and apply. Once you are in, your ship is repainted in the colors of your government, all planets currently controlled by that government are added to your map, and you can purchase the ships and outfits of that government on appropriate worlds.


All government relations are proposed by Faction Leaders (supreme leaders of their respective factions with dictatorial powers, as opposed to the Officers, whose positions are created by the leaders), and can be voted on by every member of the government. The vote runs for five days and ends at midnight, at which point either the proposed action occurs or not (depending on the votes). All government relations are government-wide, rather than faction-wide. If your government is allied to another government, you can purchase any technology belonging to that government with a tech 3 or lower rating, should you be on an appropriate world and have a high enough reputation.


You have a reputation count with each government. Performing actions favorable to a government (like running missions or killing its enemies) will gain you points with the government, while performing hostile actions (like killing its members) will cause you to lose points. If your reputation goes low enough, you will be unable to purchase anything from that government, even if you are a member.


With less than 20 reputation, you are unable to purchase anything above a tech 3 rating. With less than 10, you are unable to purchase anything above a tech 2 rating. Less than 5 and you cannot purchase anything above tech 1. Less than 0 and you cannot purchase anything for sale by that government.


Attacking and killing any target will result in a drop of 30 reputation will that target's government. Attacking and killing an ally or a member of your own government also results in a drop of 30 rep with your own government (this means you will lose 60 rep total for killing a member of your own government). Attacking and killing an enemy of your government will result in a reputation gain of 10. Various fractions of these rep changes are awarded in the event of forcing an enemy to flee. Reputation changes are only awarded for offensive actions, not defensive ones.


Reputation can be transferred from one player to another, under certain restrictions:

  • You cannot transfer reputation if you have a negative amount with that government.
  • You cannot transfer reputation if you have less reputation with that government than the person you're attempting to transfer to.
  • You cannot transfer reputation to a player if that transfer will give that player more reputation with that government than you.

Factions:

Player-created and run sub-organizations inside of governments. Anyone can create one in a government for 500,000 credits, and any members of that government can apply to join it. The player who created the faction is its Supreme Leader until leaving or being kicked by an Officer. In the event of the sudden absence of a leader, the Officer who has been in the faction the longest becomes the new leader. If there are no Officers, the senior-most member becomes the new leader.


The leader of the faction can create new leadership positions (called Officers) and assign powers to them. These positions can be filled by voting of the members. A player must have at least two votes to successfully be elected to a position. The ownership of a position is checked and updated with every vote cast. The player who currently has the most votes and who is neither the Supreme Leader nor currently holding an Officer position will be given the position.


When resigning from a government, a player is also removed from their faction.



Combat
Combat Summary:

Simulated battle between the opposing fleets, ending when the flagship of one of the two combatants has been destroyed or has fled (gone more than 1,000u from 0,0). It is divided into ticks, each 1/100th of a simulated second.


Movement:

Ships will turn to face their targets. If their target is within a 90ยบ arc from their 'nose', they will accelerate towards their target, attempting to stop at the user's set Preferred Distance to Target. If they find themselves traveling away from their target, they will try to slow to a stop while also turning to face their target.


Ships have no effective top speed and can accelerate to theoretically unlimited velocity. Acceleration mods will increase or decrease the possible acceleration of a target. Because they typically consume fuel (and you don't always want to close on a target faster than the rest of your fleet), acceleration mods can be disabled unless your ship is fleeing.


The ability of a ship to accelerate can be damaged by particular weapons, which has no effect on their current velocity, but hinders their ability to alter their velocity. Rate of turn can similarly be damaged by certain weapons. Weapons which damage speed will cut the current speed of a vessel, but not damage their ability to regain that speed.


Notes:

  • Deceleration occurs without the ship needing to turn around; effectively the ship "brakes" at the same speed it can accelerate at.
  • In this version ships only take into account their target's current position, not the target's velocity or acceleration. I hope to eventually make the movement AI 'smarter' and take this into account.


Targeting:

Ships target the nearest enemy of their own class first. If there are no enemies of the same class on the battlefield, it will target the nearest ship of the nearest class. So a destroyer (6) will target the nearest enemy of the destroyer (6) class in the field. If there are no destroyer-class enemies on the field, it will target the nearest frigate (5) or cruiser (7) before the nearest freighter.


A ship attacks its target until the target is destroyed or fled. Once its target is gone, the ship retargets.


Firing:

Weapons fire at the ship's current target, as long as the target is within range of the weapon, the weapon is not currently reloading, and the target is within the rotation radius of the weapon. If the weapon uses ammunition or fuel, it will only fire if those have not been depleted.


Ship bays will create a new ship which, once created, acts exactly like any other ship in the battle.


Should a ship's main target be out of range of any of its weapons, it will continue to pursue it, and attack it with any weapons that have sufficient range, but will also use its currently out-of-range weapons to attack targets that are in range, following the same targeting routine. This will only happen if the 'retarget weapons' option is selected in preferences.


Ammunition depleted and fighters lost in combat will be automatically restored for any escorts in your fleet, but not for your flagship.


Spawning:

Ships spawn at a randomly generated point within 50u of the zero coordinate on the X-axis. Defending ships will spawn within 25u of the zero coordinate on the Y-axis. Attacking ships will spawn within 25u of their set start distance on the Y-axis. Attacking ships will have an initial heading of 270 degrees, which points them more or less directly at the defending fleet. Defending ships will face a randomly assigned direction between 0 and 360 degrees.


Victory:

Should you be victorious in your battle, either offensive or defensive, you can capture a portion of your enemy's worldly goods. Which items are captured depends on your combat settings. You have a choice between a portion of your enemy's credits or fuel. You can also try to capture your enemy's flagship, either to take it as your own or use as an escort.


You can set a primary and secondary capture target. You can capture between 30% and 50% of your primary target and 20% to 40% of your secondary. Having a smaller or larger crew than your opponent can increase or decrease these limits. The exact percentage captured is determined by a random number generator. In the case of fuel, the amount you capture is limited by the capacity of your ship's fuel tanks. Should you attempt to capture your enemy's flagship as your own, you have a 40% chance (plus crew modifier) as a primary objective, and a 25% chance (plus crew modifier) as a secondary objective. Capturing as an escort gives a 60% chance as a primary, and 50% as a secondary, plus the crew modifier.


The crew modifier is determined by subtracting the crew onboard the loser's ship from the crew onboard the victor's ship, and then applying the difference to the percentage captured or the change to capture. The crew modifier has a maximum value of 20 and a minimum value of -20.


You can set the same item as both your primary and secondary objective, which results in only the primary objective being calculated, but adds a flat 10% onto the amount captured or the chance to capture.


This means that with the best of luck and all modifiers in place, it is possible to capture 80% of your primary target, if you have at least 20 more crew than your victim, have Credits as both a primary and secondary capture option, and get the highest possible value from the RNG.


A victorious defender will capture credits as if he'd had them selected as both a primary and secondary target.


Notes:

  • Lifting with a captured escort costs half of what a hired escort would.
  • When firing escorts, the hired escorts should be fired before any captured escorts.
  • It is possible to go over the normal limit of escort points by capturing escorts, however, you will not be able to lift off again until you fire or otherwise lose enough escorts to be back inside the point limits.


Defeat:

If you are defeated by your foes, then you lose your ship, your fleet, any missions and cargo you are carrying, and respawn in a shuttle on a random world belonging to your government.. If your killer chose to capture credits from you, then that amount is subtracted from your account.


Notes:

  • Yes, it does feel like you always respawn on tech 1s. No, the system does not weight the selection of respawn worlds in any way. If I wanted to screw with you, I'd do it much more subtly, like lying about how respawning works in the official guide.
  • I'm not lying.


Combat Options:

Start Distance: The point along the Y-axis you will spawn near if you are attacking. See the section on Spawning for details.


Preferred Distance To Target: Your ships will try to stop at this distance from their targets. They will not attempt to maintain this distance should the enemy close with them.


Flagship Cowardice: The percentage of health remaining at which your flagship will begin to flee the battlefield.


Combat Escort Cowardice: The percentage of health (armor + shields) remaining at which any combat escorts of yours will begin to flee the battlefield.


Freight Escort Cowardice: The percentage of health (armor + shields) remaining at which any freight escorts of yours will begin to flee the battlefield.


Afterburner Only When Fleeing: When this is turned on, any acceleration mods in use by any ships in your fleet will only be applied and (if applicable) draw fuel when your ship is fleeing.


Escorts Flee With Lead: Select this option to have all of your escorts begin to flee as soon as your flagship does.


Just Destroy: When this is selected, you won't try to capture anything from defeated opponents, but just destroy their ship and fleet.


Primary Capture: Select what will be your primary objective for capture in the event of victory while you are the attacker.


Secondary Capture: Select what will be your primary objective for capture in the event of victory while you are attacking.


Relevant Outfit Stats:

Shield Damage: The amount of damage one shot will do to the shielding of a target. If a shot does sufficient damage to a shield to reduce it to zero, the percentage of unused damage (i.e. any damage that would have taken the shield below zero) is applied to the armor damage of the shot, and then that amount of armor damage is done to the target's armor.


Armor Damage: The amount of damage one shot will do to the target's armor, so long as its shields are down.


Speed Damage: A shot dealing speed damage will cut the target's current speed by the damage listed, down to a minimum of 0. It will not affect a target's ability to accelerate or turn.


Accel Damage: The damage a shot will do to the target's ability to accelerate. This will not alter the target's current velocity.


Reload Rate: The number of ticks that have to pass between shots fired by this weapon.


Range: The maximum range at which this weapon can fire at a target. Depending on combat preferences selected, both Launcher and Gun-type weapons will automatically fire at other targets within range if their primary target is out of range.


Fuel Use: The quantity of fuel used (each jump requires 100 units of fuel) each tick this outfit is in operation. For turn-mods and accel-mods this means that each tick the ship is turning or accelerating. Shield mods draw fuel as long as the shields are still up. Armor mods also draw fuel only as long as armor remains intact. Fuel-using weapons only draw fuel when they are fired.


Turn Mod: The rate of turn this outfit will add to the ship.


Rotate Range: The number of degrees this weapon can turn clockwise and counter-clockwise to attack an enemy.