Basic Rules Of The Universe
The universe a very simple place, once you understand a few basic things.
The most important things in the universe are the living things, without them your empire would not exist. Your colonists are what makes your empire a strong empire. Your colonists do not want much. They want to have food to eat and a little medicine to stay healthy and want to be kept safe from attack from nasty things up in space above them. Is that too much to ask for? Your colonists live in bases. Bases sit on a planet and the planet has a star. Your colonists will pay taxes every cycle that you can use to build ships and buildings for your colonists. Most of the time it is pretty easy to keep your colonists very happy, but sometimes mean nasty evil things might come to your planet a do very bad things to your colonists. They might even kidnap your colonists and take them to a prison camp and work them to death.
Your colonists live and work inside ground bases. There are many different building you can build at a ground base that serve many different functions, from production of raw materials, to the construction of starships, to the defense of the base from attack. Some buildings need to have colonists work in them to do their job. The mineral mine for example needs to have 100 colonists each for the mine to do its job of digging up metals. Your colonists work all cycle long in the ground bases to produce the raw materials that your empire needs to keep its colonists healthy and happy and to wage a war against your enemies. When ever any of your colonists land on a new planet they will form a new base for you. Bases can be destroyed by attacks from enemy ships or ground attacks made by enemy ground bases.
There will be times that you will wish to move cargo to a nearby planet to set up a new base or resupply an old base that is running out of something it needs. You could use a starship to transport the cargo, but you could also just load the cargo you want to move to the other planet into a big metal can called a pod and just boost the whole thing into space and have the cargo just fly over to the other planet on its own. Anything that can exist in storage on a base can be loaded onto a pod and boosted into space. Most pods will travel through space at a speed of at least 20 light years per cycle, some empires can boost pods at much faster speeds. Some ships have pod bays that the pods can dock with, allowing a ship to move your pods for you at a much higher than normal boost speed. All pods have a orbital thruster switch that you can turn off and on at any time. When the thruster is off and the pod is sitting over a planet not docked with any ship it is going to land on the planet somewhere. If you have a base on the planet it will land on your base. The three things that only pods (and not ships) can carry include: natives, ore, and contraband. Pods are very easy to capture, any enemy ship that sets one of your pods as a capture target and passes next to it will capture it. This is very bad if the pod happens to be full of colonists! Your colonists may end up in some prison camp and die a slow horrible death. Their loved ones back at home are not going to be very happy about that! All pods that are not docked with ships have a limited amount of power, when a pod runs out of power it vanishes. A pod that is docked with a ship uses ship power and does not draw power from its own power bank. The assault pod is the only pod that can fight in a ship to ship battle. It does not have weapons, but it is able to attach itself to the enemy's ship hull and attempt to board the ship by force if the pod has colonists, crew or troops on board. Native pods from your enemy may bring you types of natives to you planets that you do not want to have around like pesky food eating Chupanoids and for some races deadly Insectoids. Pods are produced by the pod launcher ground base building.
Your colonists pay both local planetary and imperial taxes. The local tax money ends up on their base and the imperial tax ends up in a central bank account that the ground bases have no access to. The local money can be used to build new buildings on their base, or to buy fighter craft and ground combat units. The local money can be used to build starships, combat ord and supplies. The central bank money can be used only for buying new tech levels, exotic tech, and financing spying. Money can be sent from the local base to the central bank by a government center, but the money can never be sent back the other way. Some buildings produce money every cycle for the base. Each city, for example, will produce 100mc of money each cycle and use up only 1 food unit and 1 med unit while doing so. Great sums of money can be made by trading in the contraband market.
There are 3 different types of metals: duranium, tritanium, and molybdenum. They are mined from the core of the planet your base is on by your mineral mines. Your mines will produce mostly pure metal plus some metal ore waste that can be turned into pure metal by a smelter. You can carry pure refined metals around in your starships, but you can not carry the toxic ore unless you place the ore in a ore pod first and then place the pod in a pod bay. Metals are used to build ship parts and ship hulls. Duranium is important for the production of ship armor and ship repair units.
Ore: Useless metal ore and fuel ore. Smelters can turn it into metals that you can use.
Fuel is Neutronium, it is also mined from the core of the planet by mineral mines just like a metal. Smelters will convert neutronium ore into pure neutronium fuel. Ships have special fuel storage tanks that will hold only fuel. Some base buildings use fuel for power. The base shield generator uses 10 units of fuel every cycle it is on.
These are your ship's combat ordnance units, your ship's ammo, the torpedoes for your tube, the shells for your guns, and the missiles for your launchers. Ship with mine layer devices can convert this stuff into minefields that cover an area of space and attack passing ships, wings, and pods. It is produced at a ground base's ord plant, they cost money and require supplies to produce.
These units are produced at ship parts shops at ground bases. They cost money and require duranium to produce. Ships have a repair hold in which they store this special material. Repair units are used to fix damage to a ship's systems, weapons. engines and hull. This units are the only means to repair damage to your ships, so it is important to carry some on all your ships so they do not end up dead in space and unable to repair themselves. Hull damage greater than 100% can not be repaired.
Your colonists need a small amount of food every cycle to live. If a base runs out of food your colonists will begin starving to death. Colonists really hate that. If your base is on a planet that is not too hot and not too cold you can build farms that will produce 1 unit of food each per cycle. There is a limit on now many farms a planet can have and how fast you can build new farms. You are limited to around 10 new farms per cycle. Chupanoid natives are known for stealing and eating food. Every city that you build will need 1 unit of food per turn in order to produce its income of 100 units of money.
Med units are made using food and money. One unit of food plus one unit of money will make you one med unit. Cities require 1 med unit each per turn in order to produce its income of 100 money units.
Most natives are harmless and even helpful. You can collect tax money from most natives. The amorphous worm natives produce free contraband, but do attack and eat your colonists if they are running free on the planet. The Chupanoid natives will eat your food if they get unhappy. The Ghipsoldals will produce free engines for you if you can get them to join your base. If you build a base on a planet with natives they may join your base. If you build a public space port on your base they are free to move to your base from other planets and bases, but they are also free to leave your base anytime they grow unhappy with you or what is happening at the base. Natives all dislike high taxes, so if you tax at the lower tax rates you will tend to make the natives happier. There is a special native pod that was made just to carry natives around. It is very hard to get Chupanoids into native life pods, unless they are very happy.
The stuff is mostly useless and harmless luxury items that are just a waste of time and money. The stuff is labeled illegal contraband in order to drive the price up in order to make trading in it by the governments of the different empires in the galaxy more profitable. The best thing to do with contraband is just to sell it. You can sell contraband at any base. You can make a great deal of money in the contraband market if you buy a bunch of it when the price is really low and then resell it when the price goes up. Some contrabands are more popular than others. Grecken Blood Wine is a favorite contraband among the colonists of many empires. If you can buy some of that for under 3 megacredits each and left it age for 20 to 30 turns you can sometimes sell it for well over 100 megacredits each and make a huge profit.
Wings of Fighters:
You can build fighters if you have a fighter plant on your base. Building fighters only requires money. Any fighters you have at a base will fly out and attack any incoming enemy ship that attacks your base. If you have an air attack base you can form wings of fighters that are able to travel through space on their own and attack enemy ships, bases, and wings. Fighter wings have a very limited fuel supply, but can be refueled by any of your ships or bases that they end their movement next to. Wings of fighters can be placed inside of ships that have fighter bays. Every fighter bay on a ship has a limit as to how many fighters will fit in the fighter bay so keep that in mind when forming your fighter wings.
Minefields: When your ships fly through an area of space with a minefield in it they risk hitting a mine and taking damage. The faster they are traveling the greater the odds of hitting a mine. It is best to avoid areas with minefields and send in mine sweeping ships to clean up the mess.
Ships are the cargo carriers, the explorers, and the defenders of your empire. If your empire has a weak fleet you may loose a battle and in turn loose your ground bases full of colonists. If you loose your colonists you will loose your means of producing metals and money and your empire will die. Ships are second only to your colonists in importance to your empire.
What are starships made of? Lets have a look. . .
Notes on each system:
Hyper Jump Drive: Some ships have a jump drive, many do not. These drives allow a ship to instantly jump great distances and avoid most space hazards. They burn a fixed amount of fuel no matter what distance they jump. The two things that can stop a jumping ship include gravitonic minefields and gravity well generators, which can both stop a jumping ship and pull it out of hyperspace back into normal space.
Engines: These move ships through normal space at a speed of up to 190 light years per cycle. As the ship moves through normal space it may come into contact with many different hazards, including minefields, fighters, and enemy starships. Generally the faster you travel the more fuel you will burn. The more cargo you carry the more fuel you will burn to move. The faster you travel the more noise you will make and the easier it is for your enemies to detect you. Engines also produce energy that is used to power your ship's weapon systems. A ships engines can be damaged and that can limit the top speed of your ship until you can repair the damage.
Power Generator: These devices produce extra power for your weapon systems when your engines are unable to meet the weapon power demands alone.
Shield Generator: Produces an energy shield around the ship that protects the ship from incoming weapons fire from enemy ships and fighters. When the shield power reaches zero the incoming weapons fire will begin hitting the ship's armor. Shields are regenerated between battles so that every ship begins each battle with full shield power. Some weapons can arc through thin shields as if they are not even there.
Active Armor: This is a thin layer of duranium armor plate that covers the ship. Once the armor is destroyed it is gone for good. You must replenish the armor at a base that has a supply of armor. In an emergency you can use repair units to rebuild the armor.
* Note: Hyper jump drives, engines, power generators, shields, and armor are all produced at a ground base's engine plant.
Super Weapon: A weapon so powerful that it can destroy most enemy ships with a single shot. There are 5 different types of super weapons and the few ships that are able to mount a super weapon can only choose from 1 or 2 weapon types at most.
Large Weapon Mount: The size of large weapons range from as small as 30 kilotons to as large as 2000 kilotons. The size of large weapon that will fit on a ship depends on the size of a ship`s large weapon mounts. For Example: A ship with large weapon mounts of 50 kt can only be fitted with large weapons of 50 kt or smaller. Large weapons tend to be more powerful and slower firing then their little brothers, the small weapons. Most fighting is done with the large weapons. Many ships are so small that they do not have even a single large weapon mount, but there are also a few very large battleships that can mount 20 large weapons with the size of 2000 kilotons each. There are many different types of large weapons to choose from that have wildly different characteristics. Mass dampeners are installed on large weapons above 200 kiloton to reduce fuel-consumption.
Small Weapons: These are weapons that have a mass of only 1 kiloton each and do only a limited amount of damage to the enemy ship. But they recharge at a very rapid rate.
Point Defense: These are purely defensive weapons that are used to destroy attacking fighters and intercept incoming weapons fire.
Fuel Tank: Holds all the ship's fuel. Fuel is a rather heavy substance at a mass of 1 kiloton per unit.
Cargo Hold: This holds all the ship's standard cargo. These are all goods that can be moved around by the transporters. Standard cargo items are: duranium metal, tritanium metal, molybdenum metal, food, med, and supplies.
Ship's Safe (not shown): This is the place that the ship stores all the megacredits that it is transporting from base to base.
Transporter: The transporter moves standard cargo to and from the cargo hold, takes on or drops off money, fuel, repair units, ord units, guests, or crew. The transporter can transport to and from bases, ships and planets. You can use a transporter to move troops to a damaged enemy ship and try to take it over in a hostile boarding action. Your transporter can only target one transfer target object.
Repair Hold: The repair hold is the storage area that the repair units are kept in. Repair units are used to fix damage to your ship's systems.
Ordnance Magazine: This hold stores all the ship's ammo for its weapons, which is also know as ord. Ord is also used to product minefields if the ship has a special mine layer device built into its hull.
Pod Bays: Holds one pod of any type. To dock a pod to a ship you give the order to the pod to dock with the ship. When the ship gets close to the pod the pod will dock. Docked pods will travel with the ship where ever the ship goes, safely tucked inside the bay. The pod will only detach from the ship when the ship passes the pod's drop target or the ship gives the order for the pod to drop.
Fighter Bays: Holds a fighter wing. To dock a fighter wing give the order to the wing to dock with the ship, when the ship and the wing are close enough the wing will enter the ship's fighter bay. If a ship with docked wings is attacked the fighters will launch from the ship to defend the ship from attack and return to the ship after the battle.
Crew Quarters: This is where you ship's crew lives and works.
Guest Quarters: These are extra rooms just for non-crew members. Colonists, troops, and high guard rangers can travel on board the ship in this section of the ship.
Important Ship Stats
Maximum speed: The maximum speed in normal space a ship can travel without breaking up. Even if the ship has engines that are able to move ships faster than the rated maximum ship speed the ship can not go any faster than this.
Maximum hyper jump distance: The maximum
distance a ship can jump using a hyper drive engine.
Stealth Rating: How hard it is to see the
ship on scanners. A stealth rating of 0 means the ship is
completely invisible. A stealth rating of 100 is normal for most
Important things that ships do
Move cargo: Ships move money fast and safely between planets. They can move pods inside their pod bays or standard cargo in their cargo hold. They are also useful for transporting colonists to new planets to set up small bases to keep and eye on the edges of your empire.
Explore: Just move out there with the scanners on looking for planets with important resources and to see where the enemy is and what they are doing.
Act as lookouts: Watch for incoming invading enemies so that the fleet can be warned.
Lay Minefields: Protect your space with a wall of minefields that will at least slow the enemy down enough that you will have time to move your defending ships into position
Sweep Minefield: Remove enemy owned minefield hazards that are endangering your fleet
Use Their Special Devices: There are over 70 different special ship devices. Many ships have none at all and some ships have a few different ones. These devices give some ships very unique powers and the ability to do special jobs and actions.
Fight: When the ship comes in contact with and enemy ship, base or wing and the ship has the orders to attack it will do its best to make an attack on the enemy. Hopefully the ship will have enough ord and the right mix of weapons to get the job done. Ships always work better in groups. Groups of ships can combine their fire power to take out larger and stronger enemy ships.
Building a New Ship
You can build ships at any ground base that has a military space port. It is helpful if the base also has an engine plant and a weapons plant. From the base's ship build screen you can select a hull type and parts to be placed on the ship. You can only use parts that have already been built and are in storage. The new ship will appear next cycle.
Tech Levels: Your empire needs to buy tech levels so that you can build more powerful ships and weapons. You pay for tech levels with money in your central galactic bank account.
Exotic Tech: When you have an excess of money in your central galactic bank account you can use it to buy exotic tech. You have to pay for exotic tech each cycle, if you fail to make the payments the exotic tech goes away.
Spy: You can spend central galatic bank money on spies that can gather information or do damage to one enemy empire. The more money you spend the more spy power you will have for spy missions.
Friends and Enemies: Any empire that you have given the general order of ATTACK is considered an enemy empire. Any empire that you do not have a gerneral order to attack is considered a friend. Your ships will not attack ships of a friend. Your friends will not run into your minefields.
The Goal: Your goal is to keep your colonists safe and happy. Your colonists are your most important assert. To win kill your enemy's colonists by any means possible.