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Full Tutorial

Creating Your Character

The first time you log into a game server, you will be presented with the character creation screen. Here you can choose a name to be known by, and a portrait. There are 3 character stats you can choose, Charisma, Dexterity, and Wisdom. You have a total of 15 points to distribute among them, with a maximum of 10 on any one. Charisma helps in trading by getting better prices. Dexterity helps in combat by allowing your ship to turn faster. Wisdom is the most popular character stat and helps to conserve warp fuel when you travel about the galaxy.

Game Objective

Your goal is to have a successful career as starship captain. Success is measured by your character's Experience total. Successful achievements will earn experience for your character. Experience determines the character rankings. The characters and teams at the end of the game with the most experience points are declared the winners. Your character also has a Reputation rating. Good deeds will earn positive reputation points, and evil deeds will earn negative reputation points. You can play the game as a good character or an evil character. Each way has its pros and cons, and the choice is up to you.

Ship Controls

Your ship is shown in the center of the screen and you can control it using the arrow keys on your keyboard or using your mouse. Use the up arrow key to thrust, and the right and left arrow keys to turn. Use the control key to fire your primary weapon, and use the tab key to fire your secondary weapon. Press the End key to turn on Enter Mode. IMPORTANT! Enter mode must be used in order to land on planets, dock at ports, and enter warp tunnels. The Delete key will turn on Anchor Mode which will keep your ship anchored. These commands can be accomplished with the mouse as well, using the six quick buttons on the right hand side of the game screen.

Menu

There is a menu of options at the top of the game screen. It appears when you move your mouse cursor to the top of the screen. None of the menu options will have bad results if you click them so just try them out to see what they do. The term "jettison" means to throw away cargo.

Galaxy Map

Take a moment to view the galaxy map. You can open it using the menu, or by clicking the 4th button down on the column of quickbuttons on the right side of the game screen. From the Galaxy Map you can view the layout of the entire galaxy. Use the buttons labeled + and - to zoom in and out on the map. The colored dots on the map represent star systems, and the lines connecting them represent warp tunnels. The red diamond shows which star system you are in currently. The stars connected by red lines show U.N. Space, which is a protected group of stars surrounding Earth's system, Sol. Click on a star on the map to highlight it and see more information. Use the Goto button to engage Autopilot to the highlighted star system if you desire.

Warp Tunnels

On the edges of every star system, you will encounter swirling blue warp tunnels. This is how you move from one star system to another. To use the warp tunnel, first turn on enter mode (either click the 3rd button down on the column of six quick buttons on the right hand side of the game screen, or press the End key or the F1 key on your keyboard). Once enter mode is on, collide your ship with the tunnel to warp to the next star system. This is also the way you can enter planets, starports, and biodomes.

Communications

It's helpful to know how to converse with other players in the galaxy. Any text you type will be transmitted as a communication to anyone in the same star system as you. Often you will be the only one in the vicinity, so in order to send a message to everyone online in the whole galaxy use /shout or /s. In order to send a private message to one person only, you can use /tell name message (or /t name message for short). Type /help to see a more detailed list of commands! The text display in the game can be enlarged by dragging the top of it with your mouse.

Starports & Starbases

There are two kinds of man-made bases you will encounter in space. In Earth's home system Sol, there is a StarBASE. Starbases are the major stations and there are only 4 of them in the whole galaxy. At Starbases you can purchase new ships, and important hardware, among other things.

 

The other kind of station is a Starport, which is smaller but much more common. About 1 in every 4 star systems has a Starport. Starports are where you can buy and sell cargo for a profit. You can also recruit colonists from the Lone Star Lounge.

Warp Fuel

It is important to know about warp fuel so you can properly conserve it. Warp fuel is one of the most precious resources in the galaxy and can only be generated slowly over real time. Warp fuel is required to warp from one star system to another, and to land on planets and ports. It generally requires about 8 gallons of warp fuel to make one jump through a warp tunnel. You can see the amount of warp fuel in your ship's tank by looking at the top of the screen. The lower, rainbow-colored bar graph shows how much warp fuel you have remaining. Warp fuel is replenished at a steady rate over real time, no matter if you are online or offline. A typical rate of generation is 1 gallon every 3 minutes. If you are getting low on warp fuel, it is advisable to find a safe place to log out. Warp fuel will continue to generate while you are offline for you to use when you return.

Credits

Money, money, money makes the galaxy go 'round. You will want to amass as many credits as you can in order to buy new ships and cool hardware. The best way to make money is by selling cargo to Starports. You can obtain cargo to sell either by collecting the raw resources off of planets, or by buying them at another starport. Cargo is stored in your ship's cargo holds, which are represented by the grid of gray boxes on the right hand side of the game screen.

Shields

Pay attention to your Shields amount! Should you encounter hostile forces in the galaxy, shields are what save your ship from blowing up. Your amount of shields is shown by the blue bar graph at the top of the game screen. Any damage you take will reduce your shields level. The only way to replenish shields is to buy them from a port. Repeat, shields do NOT regenerate, you must buy them. If your shields level is below 1,000 or 500 is definitely advisable to buy some more. You never know what could be lurking out there.

Energy

The red bar graph at the top of the game screen shows your energy level. Energy is used when firing weapons and when turbo-thrusting (turbo-thrusting is accomplished by holding down the shift key while thrusting). Energy regenerates after you use it. Entering warp tunnels and landing on planets requires full energy.

Combat

You will no doubt encounter other spaceships in your travels. Sometimes they will be hostile and attack you. You might want to just run away if you get attacked, but if you decide to fight back, use your ship's weapons with the control and tab keys on your keyboard. Combat is a good way to earn experience, but is dangerous. Getting blown up is not much fun, so watch your shields!

Colonies

You can start colonies on planets by purchasing a Biodome at a Starbase hardware store in the shipyards. See the "Starpedia" in game for more information on colonies.

Non-PK "Pax Galactica Server"

One of the game server's is "No-player-killing." This server is recommended for new players as it is less dangerous. In this server players can't harm each other, and colonies you start can't ever be invaded. You can still fight NPC ships, and you can still take damage trying to invade certain colonies. In this server you are also safe while offline instead of having to find a safe place to park. Some people prefer this game type.

Taxes, U.N.Protection, and Logging Out

In the PK servers, which is most of them, your character stays in the world after you log off. Because of this you'll want to find a safe place to logout. You can't be harmed if parked in U.N. Space (the 20 or so systems around Sol denoted by red lines on the Galaxy Map). You are also safe from harm if you log out in a Starport. Both U.N.Space and Starports charge a tax while you are parked there however. Your character must have enough credits to pay the tax or he will be kicked out into dangerous open space. In U.N.Space the charge is equal to half your experience per hour. In Starports the charge averages about 2,000 credits per hour.

Starpedia

For further information, see the Starpedia inside the game, or ask around. If you have technical problems, or would simply like to share your impressions of the game, you are welcome to email  support@playtechtonics.com  with your comments.