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DarkSpace Manual[SHOW INDEX][DOCUMENT INDEX]
5 Player's Guide
Welcome to the Player's Guide. From this point on until Section 13, you will find a continuous stream of information regarding every nook and cranny of the game itself. This information is structured in a comprehensive and sequential manner so that new, "in-game" terms that pop up during explanations do not go unexplained for too long, and so forth.

Objectives of Play:
o To aid your teammates in the conquering of target planets and/or star systems via supplying, bombing, dogfighting, transporting infantry, or building.
o To improve your own prestige and gain promotion through appropriate actions in the above categories.
o To gain access to new ships as you move up the rank ladder, adding more and more impressive abilities to your arsenal.

Your guide to DarkSpace begins here. Read on.
5.1 Game Types and the Server List


There is an easy way to get some basic detailed information on the server. Just single-click any server and leave your cursor over the server name and a tool-tip will appear with the following information:
o Server Name
o Server Description
o Map type, and/or Specific Scenario Map
o Map/Scenario Description
o Time: How long the server has been running that map. If there is a second number, it lists time remaining on the map. If not, the map has no time limit.
o Balanced: If the server is Balanced, it forces new players to join the team with the least cumulative prestige, generally the team with the least players.
o Clan: If the server has the clan flag enabled, you will be forced to join your clan's faction if you are in a clan.
o Max Rank: This lists the maximum rank allowed on the server for ship selection purposes. If you are higher than this rank, you can still join, but you will be limited to the ship selection for the maximum rank on the server, and you will not gain any prestige.
o Version: This lists the version of DarkSpace running on the server. This should be the same for all servers. If it's not, then a recent update probably happened, and the issue should be resolved soon.
5.1.1 Scenario Servers
Scenario servers are designed to provide players with a time-limited battle between two or all of the current factions. When entering a scenario server, you will be prompted to select a faction. You will be locked to that faction until the end of the game, or until you log out.

The game begins with all planets unclaimed. Several planets will be marked with a flag icon in the navigational display. The first team to capture all of these flag planets will win the scenario. If no team captures all of the flag planets, the team with the most of them when time expires will be declared the winner.

The players on the winning team receive bonus prestige based upon their rank, and the percentage of the scenario time they played. At the conclusion of a scenario, a new map is automatically loaded, and the battle begins anew.

When playing in a scenario, basic ships (scouts, frigates, engineers and transports) may be spawned at your home gate, while all other ship types must be built at a planetary shipyard. You have access to a garage for 6 ships in a scenario, but that garage will reset upon a map change.
5.1.2 MetaVerse Servers
The Metaverse is the main attraction of DarkSpace. Here, you will find massive fleet battles for control of a persistent online universe. When entering the metaverse for the first time, you will be prompted to select a faction, unless you are currently in a fleet. All fleets have pre-selected faction allegiances, which may only be changed by fleet administrators. If you are not in a fleet, you may change factions upon re-entering the Metaverse.

While in the Metaverse, players have access to a garage for storage of up to eight customized ships.
When switching factions, you retain your storage, but cannot use ships from your old factions. Garage ships will remain until your permanent storage is reset. Garaged ships may be spawned at any available shipyard or home gate. As with the scenario server, basic ships may be spawned at your home gate, while all larger ships must be built at a planetary shipyard. There is no true end to the Metaverse, although it may be reset to neutrality if one faction achieves complete dominance.
5.1.3 Clan Servers
Clan servers are not a true server type, but rather a modification to the traditional server types. As mentioned before, clan and fleet are interchangeable in DarkSpace. When a server enables the clan option, players are forced to play on the same faction as their fleet.
5.2 Entering the Game
While looking at the server list, double-click the game you've chosen or click on it and click the Connect button. The client will make a final check for any possible updates, then it will connect to the server and launch the game client.

The first screen you will see is a loading screen. This is a simple preloader for all of the various textures and 3d models the currently active map will be using. Therefore, you will see this screen whenever a Scenario game switches to a new map.


This is the dialog you will see when loading completes. The view will randomly cylcle through different battles, planets, stars, or ships. Clicking "Play" will take you to the faction selection (or spawn selection, if the game you're playing has saved your last faction) screen. This is also where you can log out of the game (Press ESC at any time in game to return to this screen).
5.2.1 Observation Mode

Clicking on "Observe" will take you to the Observation mode, where you can watch the action from afar without actually having a ship in game. You can still enter this mode while in game, but whatever ships you have on the playing field could be endangered if you do so.

The "Next" and "Prev" buttons will cycle through targets manually so you can find specific objects. The middle row of buttons are different camera angles, which can make your observation experience more cinematic, as each camera suits different situations.
The "Battle" and "Planets" buttons will set the view to scroll through ships and battle locations, or through the different planets, and the "Auto" and "Lock" buttons function as a toggle for the automatic changing of the camera target.
5.2.2 Choosing a Faction
Almost there! Upon pressing play on the Opening Screen, you have now joined the action...sort of. There are still a few specifics remaining. Your first task will be to select a faction, unless you are playing on a clan server and have a clan affiliation. Before you make this choice, you might want to consider the basic traits of each faction.

Refer to section 11 The Factions for a more detailed overview of each faction, as well as a list of their ships and the requirements for those ships.
5.2.2.1 The United Galactic Trade Organization
Called "Uggies" or "Uglies" by their enemies, the UGTO fields some of the sleekest and most well-rounded ships. Energy weapons, Proton technology and thick armor result in ships with good protection, and efficient use of their energy pool for weapons.

Pros: Good energy use, Flux and EMP weapons to disable ship systems, large fighter carriers, Armor can be repaired by depots
Cons: Armor by itself has lower all-around protection than shields and repairs itself slower.
5.2.2.2 The Interstellar Cultural Confederation
The ICC, "Ickies" to their foes, are masters of energy shields and Fusion technology. Slate-grey, angular ships blend in with the blackness of space, and their weapons have the longest range of all the factions. As such, ICC ships excel at holding defensive positions and pounding enemies at range.

Pros: Long range weapons, shields make ICC ships a tough nut to crack, fast firing pulse lasers easily defeat incoming missiles and fighters.
Cons: Recharging shields drain large amounts of energy, light armor leaves ships relatively defenseless without energy to power shields.
5.2.2.3 The K'luth
The organic ships of the alien K'Luth and the insectoid naming conventions used by humans to describe their ships have earned the K'Luth the nickname "Lobsters" or "Bugs". Psionic and Antimatter technology give the K'Luth significant damage-dealing capacity at short range, and their Antimatter engines and jump drives make them the fastest ships in known space. K'Luth armor is much lighter than that found on comparable ICC ships, but a cloaking device compensates for this deficiency, making K'Luth masters of hit and run tactics.

Pros: Most powerful weapons in terms of raw damage, fast ships, and the ability to move invisibly.
Cons: Shorter weapon range than human weapons, weak armor, weapons and cloaking device have high energy drain.
5.2.3 Options
The in-game options menu allows you to adjust audio and video settings without having to run the client setup program directly from GCQL. The downside is some options may not take effect until the game client is restarted.

The options menu can be accessed at any time during gameplay by pressing the ESC key and clicking the Options button.
5.2.3.1 Video


o Video Mode
Changes game resolution on the fly, click to set.

o Textures
This interface allows you to choose the level of detail for the in-game textures. Higher quality means better looking objects, but it will require more memory for good performance. Requires client restart to take effect.

o Graphics
This interface allows you to choose the level of detail of special effects such as light from weapon impacts. At the highest setting, LOD (Level of Detail) scaling is disabled.

o Particles
This slider adjusts the number of particles rendered when observing an explosion. It also adjusts the number of particles rendered when observing an Interdictor or ELF Field.

o Trails
This slider allows you to set the relative length of ship/missile/fighter engine trails. Experiment to find your own favorite setting. At 0%, there will be no trails visible. For the most part, this change is purely cosmetic and should not change performance.
5.2.3.2 Audio


o Music Volume This slider adjusts the volume of the in-game music. Requires client restart to take effect.

o SFX Volume
This slider adjusts the volume of the in-game sound effects.
5.2.3.3 Keyboard


Displays a list of game functions and their corresponding key commands.

To change a key command, select the command and press the Remap button, then press the desired key or key combination.

NOTE: It's a known issue that the displayed key list is inaccurate. This is a feature from an earlier time in darkspace's history which was removed many versions ago. We will get this list updated to the accurate key commands as soon as possible.
5.3 Choosing a Spawn Location
As you will learn in more detail as you continue reading, faction Jumpgates (or "Home" Gates) are the only place where you can spawn ships without resources. Not only that, but Home Gates can only spawn small ships like transports and engineering vessels. Shipyards are structures that allow you to spawn at certain planets. On these planets, resources can accumulate, allowing the construction of larger, more powerful capital ships. Any ship can be built at a Shipyard, but they all require resources.


Spawn locations are indicated by white icons on the selection map. Double-click on a location to center your camera on that location.

Some ship names may be shown in red, this means they cannot be flown, usually due to the player not meeting the rank and badges requirements to fly that ship. Ships with names shown in grey cannot be spawned from that location because the ship requires a shipyard, or the planet does not have a high enough technology level or enough resources.

When you choose a spawn location, you can choose to spawn at the Home Gate or at a shipyard. Each shipyard choice allows you to examine the resource caches of every planet, which you will understand more about as you continue reading.
5.3.1 Rank-limited Areas
Certain parts of the metaverse server are designated for lower ranked players, this includes Ursa Minor, which is the default spawn area for all new players. These areas have a rank cap in place, above which you will not get credits for any prestige-awarding actions.

There are 7 zones within the metaverse, called constellations or clusters (not to be confused with planetary clusters).


  • Andromeda - K'luth home territory. No rank cap.
  • Cassiopeia - ICC home territory. No rank cap.
  • Lacerta - UGTO home territory. No rank cap.
  • Procyon - Stronghold for an unknown mechanical race. No rank cap.
  • Rogen's Rift - Haven for pirates and other renegades. Max rank of 1st Rear Admiral.
  • Sagittarius - Most contested space in the metaverse. No rank cap.
  • Ursa Minor - Designated newbie area and default spawn area. Max rank of Lt. Commander.


  • 5.4 Choosing Your Ship
    Depending on your rank and experience, your faction's central command will allow you a choice of warships and support craft. As flexibility is vital for any fleet, you are not limited to a single ship that you "own". At any time, you can return to a shipyard or home gate and select a new ship.
    To select a new ship, locate a planet with a shipyard on it (CTRL+Y will target the nearest shipyard), and then orbit the planet. With the shipyard targeted, press CTRL+U twice to return to the ship selection screen.

    While the central commanders have attempted to provide effective ships for the fleet, they also realize that individual commanders may prefer alternate loadouts. While the shipyards cannot yet construct ships to individual specifications, you may store your ships in a personal storage "garage". These garage ships may be spawned at the shipyard they were docked at, or at your home gate. Each ship class has a unique role, which will be detailed in the next subsections.
    5.4.1 Scout
    The scout is designed to move quickly. Its jump drive is highly fuel-efficient, and recharges rapidly. Scouts can place beacons on enemy ships, allowing retreating ships to be tracked and destroyed. Scouts are also excellent decoys. A fast-moving scout near an enemy planet can draw away enemy defense base fire, allowing the rest of the fleet to safely get into position for a troop landing. While the scout has very little firepower, it is still a vital component of a balanced fleet.
    5.4.2 Frigate
    The frigate is the largest warship that can be obtained from the Home Gate. Frigates are especially useful in scenario play, as they can be used to harass enemy engineers, and prevent the enemy from building the all-important shipyard.
    5.4.3 Destroyer
    The destroyer attempts to balance speed and firepower. It is an excellent escort ship for cruisers and dreadnoughts, able to strike opponents quickly and allow the larger ship to focus on its primary mission. Destroyers are capable ships in the right hands, and a skilled pilot can make a destroyer into a formidable weapon.
    5.4.4 Cruiser
    The cruiser is the first true stand-alone vessel of the line. While not as powerful as the mighty dreadnought, the cruiser still mounts a wide array of weapons. Cruisers can easily stand alone as battleships, but perform even better when integrated into a fleet.
    5.4.5 Dreadnought
    The dreadnought is the embodiment of power in DarkSpace. The massive racks of weapons on these ships strike fear into the enemy. The powerful generators on the dreadnought class ships allow for far more powerful beam weapons to be mounted than on lesser ships. Most dreadnoughts have at least one fighter bay, allowing a small measure of long-range power. While the dreadnought is powerful, a group of smaller ships working together can remain out of its effective range and emerge victorious.
    5.4.6 Station
    Slow, heavily equipped and armored, and the biggest bulls-eyes around. If you had to pick a ship that is easy to hit with even the slowest weapons, it would be the station. However, if you flew too close to one, you would learn that it is not the easiest target in space. Boasting incredible short-range weaponry, the station can destroy anything that gets close enough. However, the station itself is extremely slow. The primary function of a station is fleet support. They are able to reload and repair friendly ships, as well as to shield them from damage. Stations are the core of a long-range assault fleet as well. Their wormhole device allows the creation of a temporary portal between systems. This wormhole can be used by all ships, making its use somewhat risky.
    5.4.7 Supply Ship
    No serious invasion fleet travels without a supply ship, or a fleet of them. While these ships have little offensive power, they are often considered priority targets on the battlefield. These ships have the ability to repair hull and armor, and fix damaged systems. As if that wasn't enough to turn the tide of battle, they can also rearm depleted ammunition stores and refuel jump drives. With a few supply ships around, your fleet will last a lot longer.
    5.4.8 Engineering Ship
    The engineer ship is the single most important ship class in DarkSpace. Without the engineers, a faction would be limited to defenseless planets orbited by mere frigates. The engineer in required to build every planetary structure. A newly captured system is worthless until an engineer arrives to build up the infrastructure and defenses.
    5.4.9 Transport
    The transport serves one function, and serves it well. If you need troops or cargo moved from place to place, the transport is the best choice. With ten cargo bays, or space for ten troops, the transport can move a planetary invasion battalion into place quickly and efficiently. As a result of the massive space devoted to cargo, these ships are light on armor and armament, and require the protection of warships to stand a chance at making it to orbit around an enemy world.
    5.4.10 Extractor
    The extractor is basically a modified transport that sacrifices cargo space for mining equipment. The extractor can mine resources from planets and asteroids. These ships are crucial to obtaining resources for engineers to quickly construct a system.
    5.5 The Basics
    5.5.1 In-game Help
    By pressing F1 in game, you can access the in-game help interface. This interface will overlay instructions and explanations on your screen to remind you of the function of each item on your display. This is a great way to refresh your memory about the in-game controls and interfaces.
    5.5.2 Basic Ship Control
    DarkSpace currently supports two different navigation control schemes, rudder and arrow.

    The rudder system is controlled from the left of the keyboard, using the keys Q, W, A, S, and D. The reason the controls are called "rudder" controls are that you can set a turn speed for your vessel and it will remain turning at that rate until you center the rudder again.

    The A,S,D keys control the rudder. To turn left, press the key on the left: A. Hold it to increase the rate of turning. The D key sets the rudder to the right, and the S key centers it so you fly straight. Q and W are used to decelerate and accelerate your ship, respectively. The velocity bar is clearly indicated on the bottom of the screen. You can manually control your speed on this bar using your mouse to move the slider.

    The arrow keys also control ships, however are not based on a rudder system. The moment you release the left or right arrow, you will stop turning, The up and down arrows are used to accelerate and decelerate, respectively.

    Tip: The number beneath your velocity bar indicates how fast you are traveling in "GU per Second". A G.U. stands for "Galactic Unit" and is the standard unit of distance in DarkSpace.
    5.5.3 Context Actions
    In addition to normal keyboard controls (outlined in a )later chapter), DarkSpace also uses a context-sensetive system for mouse clicks while on the Tactical View (the default view).

    In short, hovering your mouse cursor over an object or icon will display options for interaction, as well as a tool tip at the top of the screen that lists the available actions. As a rule of thumb, left clicking will target, right clicking will perform an action.



    For world space objects, like planets for example, left clicking will target the object under your mouse cursor, and right clicking will tell your ship's autopilot to orbit the planet. Ships can be followed, shadowed (if you're holding the Shift key), attacked or repaired



    Similarly, for weapons and other gadgets on your ship, left clicking will target a device, allowing you to set/change a grouping key for that device, right clicking will turn stuff on or off, fire weapons, and transfer shield energy, depending on your selection.
    5.5.4 Orders
    Orders are a sub-set of the context system.

    Players can issue an order by targeting a friendly player or AI-controlled ship, and hovering the mouse cursor over another object. Depending on the object under the cursor, ships can be ordered to Move/Go To, Attack, or Defend.



    However, players can only issue orders to ships of an equal or lower rank. For AI-controlled ships, they have rank equivalent to what's needed to fly that ship.
    This means that to send an order to an AI Assault Cruiser, a player would need to be Vice Admiral rank or higher, and a Captain will be unable to issue orders to an Admiral.

    Additionally, orders may only be issued while in the Navigation or Engineering/Planet screens.
    5.5.5 Contacts
    Ships, planets, and other objects in the game are referred to as contacts. Besides planetary structures, contacts are shown in three colors: Red, Yellow and Green. Green contacts are friendly objects. Yellow are neutral. However, please note that DarkSpace has a different take on neutral forces than most. Neutral forces, such as planets, ships, space monsters, and the like are hostile to ALL factions. Any cargo items floating in space will be yellow, and will turn green if claimed by a friendly, or red if claimed by an enemy. Red contacts denote one thing, and one thing only... the enemy! Any red contacts on your screen should cause you to sit up and take note. A simplification of your goal in DarkSpace is to eliminate every contact listed in red. Several planetary structures have their own color codes, and these are best learned by observing the structures on friendly planets.

    Many subclasses of contacts exist, each offering different options for interaction.
    o Vessels: Whether scout or station, vessels offer the same types of interactive options. You can follow them, setting your ship to stay as close as possible. You can shadow them, which is similar to following, but keeps a greater distance. You can even unload infantry or cargo onto them if you are close enough.
    o Fighters/Missiles/Bombs/Infantry Landing Pods: Fighters and missiles provide few possibilities for interaction. Your only real interaction is to shoot them if they belong to the enemy.
    o Planetary Infantry: Ground based infantry can be issued orders in the lower right of your screen when selected. They may be set to focus on attacking enemies, stay in place to defend a spot, or raze buildings. Additionally, you can disband infantry on your own planets. You can also load friendly infantry onto your ship.
    o Cargo: Cargo pods can be loaded onto your ship by pressing the "L" key, and unloaded onto nearby targets like infantry or sold to starports.
    o General Planetary Structures: All planetary structures can be paused or scrapped using the interface in the lower right.
    o Barracks: Barracks can be set to produce either Infantry or Heavy Infantry.
    o Starports: Starports are used to transport resources around a system. Pressing "Ctrl+U" with the starport selected will load resources into your cargo, which can then be unloaded at another port by pressing the "U" key.
    o Shipyards: Shipyards can be used to dock your ship and to spawn new ships. To dock, select the shipyard ("Ctrl+Y"), and use the structure ("Ctrl+U"). You will have to use it twice to confirm the ship exchange.
    o Asteroids: Asteroids can be mined by any ship with a mining beam. They can also be tractored or shot. They cause heavy damage to any ship that runs into them, or any planet they crash onto.
    o Planets: Planets can be selected directly, as well as selecting the surface spaces on the planet. You can orbit a planet, or unload cargo onto a surface space. Engineers can build structures on surface spaces.
    5.5.6 Tactical Interface

    The Tactical Interface, while seemingly complex and daunting at first glance, is a very comprehensive control center for your ship's movements. This is DarkSpace's default screen; you will emerge from any jumpgate or shipyard in this mode. Above is a screenshot of the tactical screen, broken down into several sections by text indicators. The small-font "Contacts" labels should give you an idea of what the previous section of the Manual went over.

    o Ship Systems: The most prominent member of the Tactical Interface is the systems display. This row-by-row, ordered sequence of systems gives you the rundown of what's charged, loaded, activated, running, and all of the opposites thereof on your vessel. The screenshot shows a few drives (lower left), then a Jump Drive (with fuel indicator at 10,000), and the rest of the ship's systems with shields at the uppermost section.
    o Cargo Bay: This is where any resources, infantry, or spare parts are loaded into your ship. Depending on the ship you are flying, you only have room to carry a certain number of items. All cargo will show up as a blue box in this empty row on the screen.
    o Vessel Control Bar: These are the two clickable bars that indicate your ship's heading and velocity. These can be controlled with the keyboard, but also manually with the mouse for fine adjustments.
    o Vessel Status: Displays the hull integrity, energy output, and signature statistics for your ship. These interrelate to each other in ways you will shortly be reading about.
    o Target Control: The "Next Target" and "Target Parent" buttons, shown as blue upwards and rightwards arrows, are used to target specific systems on nearby ships, or to re-target the main ship when you have a device already selected. The button below those allows for advanced target selection, such as selecting the last distress call's location or the closest starport.
    o System Repair: If any systems become damaged, you can use this area of your screen to monitor their autorepair rates and you can control which system gets repaired first. For instance, if you become heavily damaged and your jump drive goes out in addition to your lasers, but your lasers are first in line, you may consider it a priority to repair your drive first so you can escape. Clicking on a device here will move it to the front of the line so that it will be repaired first.
    o Communications: This is where all chat takes place after pressing "Enter" while in-game.
    o Data Windows: These are the button toggles for the data functions, F1-F6 (Help, Navigation, Planets, Chat, Profile, Mission)
    o Clock: Onscreen indicators of how long the server has been running.

    Note that many of these panels (such as repair queue, systems, communications, cargo) can be toggled using the buttons on the screen. Also, entire panels can be switched off by using the toggles in the corners of the screen (use Numpad 1, 7, and 9 as shortcuts), to give you a very clear view of the game without anything on your screen.

    Remember that any button within the game can be pointed at for an explanation of its function.
    5.5.6.1 Target Window

    This screen will appear on the Tactical Interface when an object is selected. Depending on the type of object selected, you will get different information and options to interact with the object. The screenshot shows a planet selected, so the "Orbit", "Lock", "Camera", and other buttons are clearly visible. Information on the planet's faction, population, units, structures, and defenses are also displayed. This window is an easy way to get information on whatever your target may be.
    5.5.7 Navigational Interface

    To access the Navigational screen, click the Navigation button on the top of the screen or simply hit "F2". This will open up a map of the system you are in and show you the orbit paths of planets, the routes of transports, and the positions of players. Note that enemy ships, just like on the tactical screen, are not readily visible. The "Fog of War" keeps them hidden until they are in sensor range of a player or planet.
    If an enemy is detected in range of your ship's scanners while you are viewing this screen, the screen edges will flash red to warn you of the threat.

    Hit ESc on this screen or hit F2 again to return to Tactical mode.

    Some elements of this screen, such as the Data Bar and the Target Window, remain in the same place as they were on the Tactical Screen. The Data bar is a constant part of any screen in DarkSpace, as the information it offers is to fundamental to gameplay.
    o Vessels: This is a list of all members of your faction, or detectable enemies, within a 250,000 gu range. They can all be targetted from this list.
    o System Objects: On this list, all nearby stars, planets, and jump gates will appear. Note that some planets have flags on their icons. These flags denote objective planets in Scenario servers.
    o View Controls: Use these buttons to control the view of the Nav Screen. Spacebar can be used to center the camera on your ship. You can also activate filters that deactivate certain portions of the icons on the interface. The rest of the controls mirror those outlined in the upcoming 5.6.8 section.
    o Faction Statistics: This shows the name of your faction (including the tag of your fleet, if you are on a fleet server and a member of a fleet), and the number ships that your faction controls, as well as Planets and the numbers of various important structures such as Starports and Shipyards.
    o Routes: Light blue lines linking systems denote Jumpgates or Wormholes.
    o Orders: You may see numerous lines inscribed across the map. These indicate attack, defend, capture or scout orders that ships may be following.

    Note that the lists can be toggled by the "N" key, which activates the toggle button on the bottom right.
    5.5.8 Planetary Interface

    To access the Planetary Interface, click on the Planets button on the top of the screen or hit "F3". The Planetary Interface shows you detailed statistics on each and every planet under your faction's jurisdiction. These stats provide you the perfect source of information for building a planet properly, which will be explained in thorough detail in a later section of the Player's Guide. The screen also shows you a list of all structures on the planets (in addition to enlarged icons of the structures on the actual surface, as labeled), and the infantry defending it.

    This screen is also available for enemy-controlled planets as well. In those cases, much of the planet information will not be displayed, instead you will be able to order any friendly infantry units that may have been dropped on to the planet by left clicking on the desired unit, and then right clicking on one of planet hexes.


    Like the Navigational screen, many elements remain from the Tactical screen in this Interface, and also like the Navigational screen, the screen edges will flash red to warn you to the presence of nearby enemy ships.
    You can hit "F3" or Esc to return to Tactical.
    5.5.9 Communicating in the Game
    One of the most important skills in the game is communication. A fleet that does not communicate is a fleet that meets destruction. To bring up the chat bar, press the enter key.

    o By default, your chat is set to "Faction". This means that the messages you send go to every player on your faction. Faction chat shows up as bright green.
    o Team chat sends to every member of your fleet/clan on the server. Fleet chat will show up as teal.
    o Yell sends your message to all nearby players, including enemies. Yells show up in red.
    o Target sends your message only to your currently selected target (if it's a player), and shows up in light blue.
    o Occasionally you will see a bright yellow message. This is a scream, a method for staff to send a message to every player on a server.
    o Server messages will show up in white or light grey.

    More often than not, you may find that chat comes in too fast to read. DarkSpace automatically keeps a log of chat messages sent and received. To access this log, press the F4 key. You can scroll through the message log and move/resize the window using your mouse. To close the log, press either F4 or ESC.
    5.5.10 Camera Control
    While DarkSpace does not offer a true first-person view out the front (top, side, wherever the bridge should be) of your ship, it still offers a variety of camera options. By default, DarkSpace will focus your view above your own ship, and facing your current target. If you have a friendly unit selected, you can transfer the camera view to their ship by pressing the "c" key. To switch back, you must have the same ship selected before you hit "c" once more. Please keep in mind that all distances shown are distances from YOUR ship at all times.

    You can rotate your camera view by clicking and holding the left or right mouse button and moving your mouse. You can zoom with the mouse wheel or by pressing x/z.

    The camera also has several fixed modes, these modes can be cycled through with the "TAB" key.

    o Target: This is the default setting, the camera will stay locked on your current target unless you rotate it manually with the mouse cursor. Pressing after manually rotating the camera will return it to Target mode.
    o Tactical: This high angle mode centers your ship at the bottom of the screen and will track your current target, giving you a top-down view of the area between you and your target.
    o Follow: This mode locks the camera in a forward facing position, which turns as you turn, similar to a First Person view. Unlike other modes, this one is fixed, which means it wont rotate to track targets, which can seriously reduce your view of action around you.
    o Free: This mode is automatically switched to when rotating the camera with your mouse. It will hold the last position set until changed to another mode.

    5.5.11 Sensors
    All ships are equipped with basic sensors to allow detection of planets, space debris, allies, and of course enemy ships. The scanner device may be equipped on ships to increase the detection range for planetary structure, combat wreckage, mines, bombs, and other such objects.

    This game bases detection ranges on a ships's signature. Larger ships use more power, and generate a larger signature. A ship with a large signature can be detected at a longer range than a ship with a low signature. A signature of zero or below cannot be detected with sensors, though it may still be visible to the naked eye.

    ECM devices and anti-sensor bases reduce the signature of all ships in a radius around the device. Nebulae have the same type of effect, reducing the signature of everything inside them. ECCM devices and sensor bases raise the signature of nearby ships.

    In addition to increasing the object detection range, scanners also increase the signature of the ship which is using it. Beacons can be placed on ships to boost their signature. Each beacon lasts for a limited time, and adds 20 to the target's signature while active.
    5.5.12 Grouping
    Grouping is a feature that allows two or more players create a temporary fleet of sorts. Groups give players the ability to closely monitor their team mates and share earned prestige. It should be noted however, that prestige lost is also distributed amongst group members.

    To create a group, simply target a friendly player and click the "invite to group" button near the player portrait on the bottom right. If your invitation is accepted you will see your ship icon appear on the top right along with your new group mate's. Group leaders are designated by the yellow font and are allowed to invite and remove group members. Group can also promote group members to group leaders.

    To join a group, one must receive an an invitation. Once invited, a message box will prompt you for an acception or declination. In addition, one may remove themselves from a group by clicking the "Remove from group" button on the lower right hand corner next to their own ship portrait. You can bring this portrait up by clicking your own ship icon in the navigation screen on group roster.
    5.6 Managing Your Starship: Speed, Signature, and Energy
    Piloting a ship in DarkSpace involves a number of trade-offs. Engines and Generators produce energy, but use some of it to move. The faster you are moving, the more power is drained. On many ships, it is impossible for the engines to produce as much power as it takes to keep all systems running when your ship is moving at full speed. This includes charging your jump drive, running your sensor devices, and firing weapons.

    Your ship's signature is based on three factors. The first is what class of ship you are flying. A station is a LOT easier to spot than a scout. The second is how much energy you are using. If you are traveling at full speed and recharging all your weapons, you are going to stand out. The signature is a numerical representation of how easy your ship is to detect. A higher signature means you can be detected from further away. The third factor is any external effects on your signature. If you are running ECCM's, your signature will rise. Likewise, ECM's will drop it. K'Luth cloaking devices will mask all speed and ship class related signature as long as it has power to function, including weapon recharge and external influences to affect its signature. A nebula will drastically reduce the signature of all ships within its boundaries.
    5.7 Modifying Vessels
    After playing with the default ship types for a while, you may find yourself thinking "If only I had better engines" or "If only I could replace this missile with a torpedo, this ship would be invincible!" While the second thought is a bit too optimistic in terms of invincibility, DarkSpace allows you to purchase alternate devices for your ship, which may be exchanged for an existing component.

    To be able to change weapons or other devices on your ship, you'll need to be in orbit of any friendly planet that has enough resouces and technology to produce the device you with to install.

    For example, let's look at how to swap a railgun.

    For this example, we took an ICC dreadnought and swapped a Railgun for a Gauss Gun. Select the weapon in your components list with a right-click. Above the target info box on the right side of the screen, you'll see one or more green icons showing your replacement options. If the icons are displayed in red, it means you do not have enough resources or technology on the planet, or that you are not orbiting a planet at all. Hovering your mouse over the device will display a tool-tip that lists what the device requires in order to be mounted on your ship.
    If all the conditions are met, simply choose from the available replacement options (just a Gauss Gun in this example), and it will be loaded onto your ship.

    Most new devices that you install starts off uncharged and out of ammo. You'll have to orbit a planet, or rely on supply drones to load fuel and ammo for you. Armor and shields will recharge at the normal rate.

    Additionally, to replace shields or engines, you must deactivate them, to disable an engine or shield to be swapped, left click on it in the components list. You'll see the color change from white to green as soon as the deactivation is recognized by the server. Please note that left-clicking on a weapon, jump drive, or non-reactor special device will use that component instead of deactivating it. Using these techniques, you can refit many components of your ship, and build your perfect fighting craft. DarkSpace offers a dynamic environment, and any components mentioned here may change in future releases.
    5.7.1 Device List
    For a detailed list of all the weapons and other ships devices, please refer to the Darkspace Database's entry regarding Ship Systems.
    5.8 Enhancements
    Enhancements are a new addition that modify certain aspects of your ship, such as speed, firepower, or energy usage.

    Enhancements are randomly dropped when a ship explodes, and randomly assigned to a player from all players that recently damaged the ship. Awarded enhancements are sent directly to the player's cargo, if they have room for it.
    High-grade enhancements can be purchased with credits, which can be bought with real-world money in the Online Store or by subscribing by following the [Subscribe] link in your profile.
    5.8.1 Purchasing Enhancements


    Enhancements that are available for purchase can be found by clicking the Buy button, located above your stored ships display in the Ship Selection screen. From this menu, the stats of an enhancement can be previewed and the enhancement added to your garage with the Buy button. Players are limited to holding up to 50 items (not including ships) in their garage at one time.

    Enhancements that have finite Durability slowly take damage when your ship is destroyed. When the durability reaches 0, the enhancement is Permanently destroyed. Current durability can be viewed at by pressing [F7] and selecting an enhancement
    5.8.2 Fitting and Refitting


    With an enhancement in your cargo, clicking on its icon will display a tool tip which list the effect the enhancement will have on your ship, a -2% decrease in energy usage for lasers, as one example.
    If you wish to install it, with the enhancement selected (by clicking on it), press the Use Item button, which has a wrench icon.



    To manage your enhancements (once you have some installed), pressing F7 will toggle the Enhancements window, this window will display all your installed enhancements, and the cumulative effect on your ships. Hovering your mouse over the icons in this window will display the names of installed enhancements.

    Because you may only install a maximum of eight enhancements at any one time, per ship, this window can also be used to remove enhancements. Left click on an enhancement's icon, the window will change to show just that enhancement and its effect, and also display a Remove button, pressing this button twice will remove that enhancement, permanently.


    There's a handy table of the current enhancements in Tactics & New Players Unofficial Player's Guide to Enhancements
    5.9 Gaining Prestige and Checking Progress
    At last we reach one of the real goals of DarkSpace: The acquisition of prestige. Prestige is DarkSpace's equivalent of ranking points, experience, or other such concepts. Prestige is awarded for a variety of different tasks, and the total prestige calculated is a weighted sum of all your profile attributes. Below, you will find a list of all the current prestige categories and how to gain points in that category.

    Note: Categories marked NCC are Non-Contributing Categories that do not reward or restrict you in any way.
    o Games Played: Every time you enter a server, this count goes up by 1.NCC
    o Time Played: A count of your total time in-game by the second. Dividing this count by 3600 will give you your Time Played in Hours.NCC
    o Ships Destroyed: The number of ships you personally finish off. This is awarded to the player who does the final point of damage to a ship. NCC
    o Deaths: The number of times you have been vanquished by an enemy ship or planet, no matter how it happened. NCC
    o Bonus Prestige: Given for winning some contests, or for winning scenario maps. This can also be awarded by the successful completion of missions, once they are reinstated.
    o Ships Damaged: This number increases when you damage an enemy ship's hull. Damage to Armor and Shields contribute this category at a much lower rate than hull damage.
    o Ships Captured: Every ship you capture with infantry adds to this category.
    o Planets Damaged: Every structure or unit you bomb off of an enemy planet adds to this count.
    o Planets Captured: For dropping infantry on a planet that survive until it is captured, you are awarded points in this category. The amount of points you get per planet depend on the level of construction on the planet.
    o Friendly Fire: This keeps track of how much damage you do to your own teammates.
    o Units Repaired: Spending time repairing ships in a supply will net you points in this category.
    o Construction: Building structures on a planet adds to this value. Scrapping structures takes away from it.
    o Kamikaze: This is awarded for damage done to enemy ships with the explosion of your own ship.
    o Self Destructs: This is the number of times you've destroyed your own ship.
    o Jumps: Every time you engage your jump drive, this counter increases by one.
    o Planet Collisions: If you run into a planet, this goes up by one.
    o Scout: Earn scout points by beaconing enemy ships.
    o Resources Lost: This value increases when you lose ships and detracts from your overall prestige.
    o Credits: Amount of credits you have purchased on your account for buying enhancements. NCC
    5.10 Rank and Badge Requirement List
    Ranks
    o Midshipman: Starting Rank
    o Ensign: 40 Prestige
    o 2nd Lieutenant: 80 Prestige
    o 1st Lieutenant: 160 Prestige
    o Lieutenant Commander: 320 Prestige
    o Commander: 640 Prestige
    o Captain: 1280 Prestige
    o 2nd Rear Admiral: 2560 Prestige
    o 1st Rear Admiral: 5120 Prestige
    o Vice Admiral: 10240 Prestige
    o Admiral: 20480 Prestige
    o Fleet Admiral: 40960 Prestige
    o Grand Admiral: 81920 Prestige
    o Marshal: 163840 Prestige
    o Chief Marshal: 327680 Prestige

    Note: All badges are based on cumulative points, with the exception of Privateering and Navigation badges, and the amount of points received per action may vary.


    Navigation Awards
    o Bronze Navigator: 50 Jumps
    o Silver Navigator: 500 Jumps
    o Gold Navigator: 1000 Jumps
    o Platinum Navigator: 5000 Jumps

    Combat Awards
    o Bronze Combat: 50 Ships Damaged
    o Silver Combat: 500 Ships Damaged
    o Gold Combat: 1000 Ships Damaged
    o Platinum Combat: 5000 Ships Damaged

    Support Awards
    o Bronze Support: 50 Units Repaired
    o Silver Support: 500 Units Repaired
    o Gold Support: 1000 Units Repaired
    o Platinum Support: 5000 Units Repaired

    Bombing Awards
    o Bronze Bomber: 50 Planets Damaged
    o Silver Bomber: 500 Planets Damaged
    o Gold Bomber: 1000 Planets Damaged
    o Platinum Bomber: 5000 Planets Damaged

    Transport Awards
    o Bronze Transport: 25 Planets Captured
    o Silver Transport: 50 Planets Captured
    o Gold Transport: 100 Planets Captured
    o Platinum Transport: 500 Planets Captured

    Engineering Awards
    o Bronze Engineering: 50 Construction Points
    o Silver Engineering: 500 Construction Points
    o Gold Engineering: 1000 Construction Points
    o Platinum Engineering: 5000 Construction Points

    Privateering Awards
    o Bronze Privateer: 25 Ships Captured
    o Silver Privateer: 50 Ships Captured
    o Gold Privateer: 100 Ships Captured

    Miscellaneous Awards
    Note: Star awards include Combat, Bombing, Transport, Support, Engineering and Navigation badges only.
    o Bronze Star: All 6 Bronze Medals
    o Silver Star: All 6 Silver Medals
    o Gold Star: All 6 Gold Medals
    o Sirius Combat Medal: Bronze Combat, Bronze Bomber, and Bronze Transport
    o Defense Medal: Silver Combat and Gold Engineering
    o Star Fury Medal: Silver Bomber and Silver Transport
    5.11 Key Command List
    Comprehensive list of keys and their functions.
    5.11.1 Movement
    A Rudder Left

    Left Arrow Turn Left

    D Rudder Right

    Right Arrow Turn Right

    S Center Rudder

    Q Decrease Throttle

    Down Arrow Decrease Throttle

    W Increase Throttle

    Up Arrow Increase Throttle

    J Start/Abort Jump, Activate Wormhole Device
    Wormhole Devices available only on stations and command dreads

    Shift + J Emergency Jump

    O Orbit Targeted Planet

    Alt + Y Toggle Yaw Control

    5.11.2 Targeting
    E Target Nearest Enemy

    R Target Nearest Friendly

    F Follow Target

    G Shadow Target

    H Target Last Distress

    Control Create Target at Cursor

    Ctrl + J Target HomeGate

    Ctrl + P Target Nearest Starport

    Ctrl + R Target Nearest Depot, Target Nearest Supply Ship

    Ctrl + Y Target Nearest Ship Yard

    [ Decrease range at which IFF contacts are displayed

    ] Increase range at which IFF contacts are displayed

    , Object Parent

    . Next Object

    Alt + A Order Attack Target

    Alt + C Order Capture Target, Toggle Contact Diamonds
    Capture if Enemy targeted, Toggle Diamonds if Friendly or no target

    Alt + D Order Defend Target

    Alt + S Order Scout Target

    Alt + X Cancel Order

    %t Note: this isn't a key-command, but rather a variable you can use in the chat box. Typing %t as part of the message will fetch the name of your current target. For example, you could type "hey everyone, lets all attack %t" and the resulting message that other players see would be something like "hey everyone, lets all attack Joe Station McPlanet-Campy".
    5.11.3 Combat
    Mouse 1 Select Target

    Ctrl + Mouse 1 Target Point

    Spacebar Alpha Strike

    Shift + Spacebar Manually Detonate All Weapons, Toggle Point Defense

    1 - 9 Use Group

    Shift + 1 - 9 Detonate Group Weapons, Toggle Group Point Defense

    0 Remove Selected Device From Group

    B Fire Bombs, Drop Mines

    Shift + B Manually Detonate Bombs, Mines

    Ctrl + B Toggle Point Defence

    I Toggle Interdictor, Station Area Reload

    N Launch Fighters

    Shift + N Recall Fighters

    V Use Flux Wave, Use Pulse Wave, Toggle Cloak

    Shift + H Send Resupply Distress

    Ctrl + H Send Attacked Distress

    T Toggle Tractor Beam, Fire Beacons

    Shift + T Deactivate Beacons

    Y Repair/Reload Target

    Shift + Y Repair/Reload Self

    M Toggle ECM

    P Toggle ECCM

    K Toggle Scanner

    Ctrl + S Toggle Shields

    Numpad 2 Transfer Shield Energy to Aft

    Numpad 4 Transfer Shield Energy to Left

    Numpad 5 Tranfer Shield Energy to Full

    Numpad 6 Transfer Shield Energy to Right

    Numpad 8 Tranfer Shield Energy to Fore
    5.11.4 Camera
    Camera:


    C View Camera

    X Zoom Out

    Z Zoom In

    Mouse 2 Rotate Camera

    MouseWheelUp Zoom In

    MouseWheelDown Zoom Out

    Tab Cycle Camera View

    Alt + T Take Screenshot
    Saved as 000000xx.tga in your Darkspace folder
    5.11.5 Miscellaneous
    G Toggle Mining Beam

    Ctrl + D Self Destruct
    Press twice to initiate

    L Load Infantry, Load Cargo

    U Unload Infantry, Unload Cargo, Sell Cargo To Selected Starport
    Also Transferes Infantry/Cargo to other Players

    Ctrl + L Toggle Planet Lock

    Alt + P Toggle Profiler
    Shows Ping and Framerate

    Ctrl + U Use Ship Yard
    Press twice, must be within 250gu

    Ctrl + X Scrap Building, Disband Infantry, Remove Device, Eject Cargo

    / Toggle Shield/Armor Status, Toggle Turn Indicator

    Enter Type/Send Chat

    Esc Play, Observe, Log Off options

    F1 Toggle Context Help

    F2 Toggle Navigation Screen

    F3 Toggle Planet Management Screen

    F4 Toggle Chat Log

    F5 Toggle Player Profile

    F6 Toggle Missions Unused

    F7 Toggle Enhancements Display

    Numpad 1 Toggle Ship Status HUD

    Numpad 3 Toggle Target HUD

    Numpad 7 Toggle Communications Console HUD

    Shift + Numpad 8 Set Throttle to Full

    Shift + Numpad 2 Set Throttle to 0

    Shift + Numpad 4 Set Rudder to Full Left

    Shift + Numpad 6 Set Rudder to Full Right
    5.11.6 Navigation Screen
    Alt + A Order Attack Target

    B Toggle Orbit Paths

    C View Camera

    Alt + C Order Capture Target

    Alt + D Order Defend Target

    E Target Nearest Enemy

    F Follow Target

    G Shadow Target

    H Target Last Distress

    I Toggle Ship Icons

    J Jump to Target

    K Toggle Grid

    Ctrl + L Toggle Planet Lock

    N Toggle Contacts List

    O Orbit Targeted Planet

    P Toggle Planet Icons

    R Target Nearest Friendly

    Alt + S Order Scout Target

    Ctrl + T Transfer Credits

    Alt + T Take Screenshot

    X Zoom Out

    Shift + X Instant Zoom Out to Maxinum

    Alt + X Cancel Order

    Y Toggle Ship Orders

    Z Zoom In

    Shift + Z Instant Zoom In to Minimum

    Spacebar Center Map on Target

    Enter Type/Send Chat

    Control Create Target at Cursor

    Esc Return to Tactical

    Numpad 1 Toggle Ship Status HUD

    Numpad 3 Toggle Target HUD

    Numpad 3 Toggle Communication Console Hud

    MouseWheelUp Zoom In

    MouseWheelDown Zoom Out

    Mouse 1 Nudge/Drag Map, Select Target

    Ctrl + Mouse 1 Target Point

    Mouse 2 Rotate Map

    , Object Parent

    . Next Object


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