New Player Guide
From Outscape Wiki
Please Note: Many Wiki pages are still awaiting updates - some screenshots and information may be outdated due to the number of recent changes. Please bear with us!
Welcome to the Player's Guide for Outscape's Early Access! This guide is for anyone that wants to find out more about Outscape, as well as the players that have either been invited to test the game or purchased it through Early Access, to help get it ready for full launch.
Before jumping in and playing, we strongly recommend blitzing through this page - it'll get you up and running as quickly as possible. You can also refer to:
- The interactive in-game tutorial.
- The in-game Help pages.
- Other player-written guides on the Wiki.
- Other players in the in-game chat, the Discord channel, the forum or the Steam Community Hub.
If you find any bugs or want to give feedback, please let us know on the forum.
- 1 Getting started
- 2 Welcome to the galaxy!
- 3 Are you alone?
- 4 Your Home World
- 5 To Build a Planet
- 6 Researching Technology
- 7 Exploring your Home System
- 8 Help! A Pirate appeared!
- 9 To Build An Empire
- 10 Player Combat
- 11 If all else fails...
- 12 Final Tips
Before you can begin playing you will need to:
- Install Outscape via Steam using your Steam key (emailed out to invited players)
- Join a galaxy - this includes picking a Galaxy (server) to play in, and a Faction/civilization to play as. Brand-new players will only have access to the Skirmish galaxy, but can unlock the larger Main galaxy by making progress in Skirmish mode. As for the Factions, they all play broadly similarly, so if you can't decide, pick the one you think looks coolest!
Welcome to the galaxy!
Upon entering the galaxy, you will arrive at the galaxy view. The yellow panel in the image above is the first part of the in-game tutorial, containing helpful advice and videos. Be sure to follow these alongside this guide!
Your empire will always have humble beginnings - in the above image, the home star system (with a bright blue label) is in the middle of the circle. This circle of visibility of the galaxy is provided by the scanner structure on your home planet.
The images above shows the player's scanner coverage, given from their home system.
- The outer circle represents the scanner range, with a radius of 35 Light Years (LY). Stars and fleets within this range can be detected.
- The inner circle is the sensor range, with a radius of 5 LY, and can provide additional intel on objects. For star systems, the individual planets and basic information about them can be seen. For fleets, the owner, number of ships and how they are equipped is available.
On the left-hand side of the second panel above a UFO is marked in red. This shows that another player's fleet has been detected, but because it isn't within sensor range, no information other than its position is available. If the fleet is moving, an arrow will be shown to indicate the fleet's course, with the length of the arrow indicating speed. If the fleet moved within sensor range (the inner circle), the fleet owner and fleet composition would be known.
Keyboard and Mouse Controls
- Holding the left mouse button and dragging will move you around the galaxy view. You can also use the WASD or arrows keys to move as well.
- Move the mouse cursor to the edge of the map to scroll.
- If you hold your right mouse button and move you will rotate your 3-D orientation, allowing you to see things from a different perspective. The Q and E keys can also be used to rotate clockwise and anti-clockwise, and R and F can be used to move up and down (towards/away from the galactic plane).
- Use the mouse wheel or the Z and X keys to zoom in and out of the map.
- Press and hold the Spacebar to hide all labels for stars, planets and fleets. This is useful for interacting with other fleets/objects that are hidden behind labels.
- To take a screenshot using Steam's in-built ability, press F12.
- Pressing ` will bring up the debug console. Press ` again to hide it.
If you lose your bearings, use the BACK button in the bottom right corner to take you back to the previous screen and/or reset your camera view. The Backspace key can also be used to do this.
For more info, see the Star Map page (there's a couple of videos to help). As your empire grows, it can be quicker to navigate around your empire using the Galaxy Overview screen (more on this later).
Are you alone?
Your view of the galaxy may appear quiet at the start of the game, but that doesn't mean other players aren't close!
- While in a star system, a ship can only be seen by another player if they also have a ship in the same star system.
- While a ship is orbiting a planet, it can only be seen by another player if they have a ship in the same planetary orbit.
Therefore, your ships won't expose your position if they are alone in a system - even while moving between planets - and you can hide from other ships in the same system while orbiting a planet. Travel between star systems - across deep space - can be seen by other players if they have scanner coverage of that area.
Of course, you and other players could be using cloaking technology...
To get an idea of who's in the neighbourhood, you can use the Player Colony Scanner. The player colony scanner can detect the approximate direction and distance of the nearest colonies belonging to other players (the typical distance between player spawns is 14 LY), allowing you to message them and potentially find some allies - or pick some fights!
Your Home World
The icons around the name of the star system indicate there are:
- One planet colonized by the player (blue circle below the system name) - your home world. This planet has a Population of around 220,000 (the number to the left of the label), which is growing (green text) and a Shipyard (hexagonal shape around the population number).
- Five planets not colonized by any player (white circles below the system name).
- Five fleets are currently present in this system, all belonging to the player (blue triangles above the star system name).
Mousing over the name of any star system will bring up the tool-tip in the first panel above, with information about that star system (if it is within sensor range) or stating that it has been unexplored. You can double left click to move into that system, or single left click to bring up a list of planets and fleets (the second panel above) if within sensor range. You can then click a planet or fleet to zoom down to. For now, double-click your home system to enter the star system view and see the planets there.
Your fledgling empire will begin with a home planet, identifiable by its blue label, with the emblem of the civilization next to its name. (Non-colonized planets don't have this label). This home planet will already have a growing population of 220,000 citizens (already taxed and generating an income for your empire) and a collection of structures already built. You should also see five fleets in orbit of the home planet (the circular region around it). These are two Scout and three Colonizer vessels, fully fueled and awaiting orders.
Clicking any planet in the star system will open the Planet Management screen for that planet. Click your home world to navigate to this screen, shown in the second panel above. The Planet Management screen is broken down into several sections, all containing useful information:
- The planet's name and owner (if colonised) is displayed at the top of the screen.
- The Star System bar (furthest left) shows all planets in the system. You can quickly navigate to another planet by clicking it from this view.
- Orbit - shows all fleets in the planet's orbit. Clicking them opens the Resource Transfer screen.
- The home planet always has a Shipyard (other planets will need to build one if required). Click it to order ship builds and complete new designs.
- The Resources tab shows the colony reserves of the main five resources (hover each to find out more about them) and the rate at which they are being mined (if they are). Below this are listed the Science Power generated from any Labs built and the colony's Power Balance (electricity grid).
- The bar furthest to the right shows basic environment data, info on the population(s) present, the Credit income generated by the colony, the colony's overall employment balance and status of ground defences.
- Queue ship and structure builds using the two Build Queues at the bottom of the screen.
Clicking a Population will open their management screen where, among other things, you can adjust the tax rate and view more details on the population's stats and Happiness. If there is a second civilization populating the planet, they will be listed in the above image next to the other population. You can toggle between them by clicking.
Credits are a crucial resource needed for every construction and upgrade. Your empire starts with a balance of 25,000 Credits, usable by all your planets and fleets, and your home world is already generating Credits by levying a Tax Rate on the population. You can use the - and + buttons on the Management screen to adjust this rate, or type the desired value in manually. Note that Syntis populations will have these options greyed out - their tax rate is always fixed at 35%.
A colony is affected by its Happiness (not all civilizations are affected by happiness e.g. Syntis). It affects population growth and normal colony operations. If happiness becomes too low, population growth stalls and rioting can begin (which can lead to the destruction of colony structures). Clicking the i icon next to happiness will show a breakdown of the contributors to happiness.
Some structures are undesirable e.g. mines. Setting a high tax rate will also negatively affect Happiness. To counter these negative impacts on happiness, desirable structures can be researched and constructed (researching Entertainment Practice unlocks one such structure).
The real-time size of the current Population is displayed under the "This Colony" panel, on the right-hand side of the second image above. The Maximum Population has two values listed; the Colony maximum and Planet maximum (e.g. 262,855 / 785,690):
- Colony max: the Population size the colony can currently support with its Farms. Build more Farms to support more population.
- Planet max: the total Population size the planet can support for this civilization, dependent on the planet's size, land fraction and the civilization itself.
All structures require citizens to operate correctly. If there isn't enough population to operate all colony structures a labour shortage occurs. Once this is reached, colony structures will fail until the population grows to a significant level or a structure is dismantled. Likewise, if there are too many citizens and not enough structures to provide employment, unemployment levels can decrease happiness.
The army size is determined by the number of constructed Military Bases. Each military base constructed adds a number of defensive troops to the army. If the planet is invaded, the army will attempt to fend off the invasion.
If no military bases are constructed, a colony will not be entirely defenseless if invaded. A proportion of the population automatically form a Home Guard which will contribute to the defense of the colony (in addition to any army present). The size of the home guard is affected by happiness.
To Build a Planet
Your empire is made up of planets and the populations living on them. To expand and thrive, you must build Structures in order to gather resources, help your citizens prosper and defend your holdings.
Your home planet has stockpiles each of the main five resources ready to use. These resources are enough to enable you to build a small number of structures and ships only.
Additional resources will be required to expand. They can be collected from the surface of other planets, or extracted from within a planet by constructing Mines.
Your home world will always have good deposits of all five resources, but most planets will only have a couple of resources available, and some may have none at all. When evaluating a resource deposit for mining, consider both the size of the deposit (listed as a number) and the Density (listed as a percentage). A low density means a mine will extract at a lower rate than if the density was higher, so the presence of a resource alone might not make it suitable for mining.
A colonized planet will have structures which can be viewed by clicking the Infrastructure button from the main Planet Management screen. For each structure, the number in the top right indicates the tech level and the number in the bottom left the quantity constructed.
Your home world will always start with the following structures built and operational. Although they may have different names and appearances depending on your chosen Major Faction, their effects are identical.
- Power Stations x 10 - all structures consume power to function, which is provided by Power Stations. When a colony's power supply has been reached, additional power generators need to be constructed to be able to construct additional structures. If this is not done, a power outage will occur and the colony will effectively shut down, so keep an eye on your power balances!
- Farms x 10 - these structures support your population on a planet. Your populations can only grow if there are farms to support them, and will die off if there aren't, making these a critical part of a planet's infrastructure.
- City Center Megalopolis x 5 - these structures boost both the population growth rate and Credit income from taxes on the planet on which they are built. Your home world starts off with five of the most powerful (Tier 3) version of these structures, so don't dismantle them - it'll be a long time before you can get them back!
- Military Bases x 10 - these structures train and support the army on a planet to defend against raids and invasions. Your home world will not start off with any troops, but these structures will train them for you over time.
- Small Beron Mine x 1 - Mines are structures which extract resources from planets. Beron mines provide beron (the grey mineral), used to build other structures.
- Small Farsu Mine x 1 - Similarly, farsu mines provide farsu (the red mineral). This is used to build and upgrade your ships.
- Scanner x 1 - This structure automatically provides your vision on the Galaxy View. With this, you can see the movements of other fleets and find other star systems to explore and colonize.
- Tier 1 Shipyard x 1 - This orbiting megastructure builds, repairs and upgrades ships - you cannot build new ships without a Shipyard! This basic Yard can build early-game ships for you, but you'll eventually have to upgrade it to build newer and stronger ship types.
- Orbital Defence x 1 - This is a defensive structure which will fire at any intruding fleet that gets into the orbit of your planet. Additionally, if an enemy fleet tries to raid or invade your home world, it will shoot down most of the troops before they can land, hopefully evening the odds. This particular Orbital Defense is unique - you cannot rebuild it if it is dismantled.
Additional structures can be constructed by clicking the Building Queue icon on the main Planet Management screen, or by clicking one of the five empty structure construction slots. Hover over a structure to find out more, or click to select it. At first, only a small selection of structures will be available, but more can be unlocked via research. The Building Stats panel shows the power and personnel requirements of each structure, as well as any effect on Happiness it has.
The - and + buttons may be used to order multiples of the same structure, or the desired value may be typed in. No more than 10 of a structure may be queued at once. If a resource is lacking for the construction of the selected structure(s), it will be marked with a red warning triangle in the cost to build section. Unlike Credits, planets can only draw from their own stockpiles of resources for construction and upgrades.
Up to five different builds may be queued at any one time, one for each construction slot.
... so what should I build first?
Your home planet could benefit from some new structures immediately:
- Beron Mines: you will need a good supply of beron to build new structures on your planets, which will not be provided by just one mine. Farsu mines are less important right now, as this can come from other sources.
- A Laboratory: this structure decreases the time it takes to complete research. Researching the Science Practice technology will unlock them. It's a good idea to build one immediately on your home world to get off to a strong start, but it might be a while before you can afford another one - they consume lots of power, resources and workers. In particular, building Labs requires supplies of both Limbalt (the blue mineral) and Ziryl (the yellow mineral).
- Entertainment structures: you'll probably burn through your starting Credits quickly, and will have to rely on taxes to get more. Researching Entertainment Practice and building these structures will let you safely set a higher tax rate, bringing in more Credits to spend. Syntis players can't build these, but can use Depositors to get a similar effect.
- Farms: these increase the population size that can be supported, allowing further growth (more citizens increases income). Make sure your planets always have room to grow!
Upgrading and Dismantling
Clicking on a completed structure in the Infrastructure tab yields options to Upgrade or Dismantle that structure. Don't worry about upgrades for now - they all require research to unlock and are expensive for new players.
Structures and other objects in the game can be recycled/dismantled. This will destroy the object, but return 50% of the resources used in construction back to the colony. If priorities change suddenly, or a unit is no longer required (e.g. a resource deposit is fully depleted by your Mines), recycling can come in very handy. However, all of your starting structures are useful and should be kept.
Researching new technologies is something you should always have ticking over in the background - even when you're offline, your scientists will keep working for you. Any time your laboratories aren't researching a new technology is wasted. You can open the research screen (seen in the first panel above) at any point by clicking the research icon (the conical flask and atom icon) in the top right of the main UI. This will bring you to the Tech Tree, which is divided into five sections.
Research does not consume any specific resources, but it does take time. Each technology has a Difficulty rating which determines how long it will take to research. The speed at which research can be performed is determined by the total Science Power of your empire, which is also displayed in the top-left of the UI. All new empires start with one Science Power for free, and constructing additional Laboratories in the future will increase your Science Power, which will be important as the technologies get more difficult.
Mousing over each hexagonal Technology icon will show a tool-tip with the technology's name, Difficulty, time needed to research and details on what it unlocks. Click the icon to add it to the Technology queue - you can have up to five Techs queued at any one time. Once the current research has finished, the next one will automatically be started. You can also remove technologies from the queue if you change your mind, or priorities suddenly change. You can also choose to use Auto Research (the tickbox in the second panel above), which will queue and research new technologies for you.
Exploring your Home System
To expand and control an interstellar empire, a player must learn to command fleets. (A lone ship is still counted as a fleet in its own right). The first step is to explore the other planets in your home system with your Scouts - at least one of them should be ideal for establishing your first new colony.
Moving a Fleet within a Star System
To move a fleet into a planet's orbit:
- Click one of your Scout fleets to select it. The Fleet Control Wheel will be active and the mouse cursor will then change into a destination selector.
- Clicking within the orbit of a planet will send the ship there. You can also click the planet itself which will open a context menu, with Exploring it being one of the options.
For details on the Fleet control wheel, see the section on the Fleet Context Menu.
For planets not scouted or colonized, the information available about the planet will be very basic (size, temperature, etc.), as shown in the first panel above. If you have a fleet in orbit of the planet, it is possible to see more info, such as surface resources, mine-able resource deposits and any native populations present. Any fleets in orbit of the planet are shown in a list to the left of the planet. Mousing over the planet name opens a tool-tip showing info about the planet, including the total mineral deposits, their densities and a habitability assessment (illustrated below).
Once a valuable planet has been identified, the next step would be to colonize it to be able to take advantage of its resources (mining) or any native population (apply a tax).
Occasionally, you will see a non-colonized planet with a native population. Colonizing such a planet can provide a huge boost, due to the extra population to operate structures and provide tax income. Some alien species will also provide unique benefits to your colonies, which are detailed at the Minor Factions category page.
Collecting Surface Resources
When a ship is in orbit of a planet, it is possible to transfer any surface resources from the planet to the ship - even if the planet is not yet colonized. The ship must have Cargo and/or fuel capacity to do this, which your Scouts have.
Clicking the fleet in the Planet Management view will open the transfer screen. This can also be accessed from the Fleet Control Wheel (see this link). Once in the transfer panel, the colony's resources are on the right, and the fleet's on the left. Click one to choose a quantity to send to the ship. You can then send your ship to the orbit of your home world and repeat this process to unload the ship's cargo onto your planet. You can also use this process to transfer resources between planets you control to help your empire develop.
Early-game ships cannot carry many resources, so you will need to make a few journeys around the system to collect all of the freely available surface resources to bring back to your home planet. Building a Freighter with extra Cargo modules will assist with this task.
You may have noticed coloured clouds in your home system; these are asteroid fields, which also contain resources. To mine them, you will need to build specially-equipped ships - see the Asteroid Mining page for more details.
Help! A Pirate appeared!
You won't have to wait long before meeting unwelcome guests - NPC Pirates will frequently appear to test your defences. Pirate fleets have orange icons on the Star System view, as shown in the first panel above. You might see them parked outside a planet you control, hiding in orbit of an uncolonised planet, flying across a star system or traveling in deep space.
To find out what you're up against, double-click on the fleet to see the ships it contains. Mousing over any of the ships will bring up the tool-tip shown in the second panel above, displaying the ship's name, speed, armour (HP) and firepower (DPS). In this case, the enemy Sparrow frigate has only 120 HP, and its one gun only does a feeble 0.5 DPS - it will be no match for your scouts!
To maximise your attacking strength, you should combine your two Scouts into one fleet so they move and fight together. To do this:
- Select one of your Scouts.
- With the Scout still selected, click on your second Scout.
- Click 'Merge fleet' from the menu that appears.
The first Scout will then move to the other Scout's position and automatically merge with it, forming a single fleet of two ships. To manage a fleet, click on the magnifying glass icon on the top-left of the Fleet Control Wheel, or double-click on the fleet and then click a ship. This will bring up the Fleet Management view, shown in the second panel above. From here, you can view the status of all ships in the fleet, change the fleet's name, upgrade or dismantle ships and set the positions of individual ships, either manually by clicking and moving the ships or using the pre-set formations at the bottom of the panel.
For now, position your Scouts such that they can both fire at targets in front of them. For further details, players should refer to the section on Forming Fleets.
Spectating a battle between two Leap scouts and a Sparrow frigate.
Now that you're ready to deal with this intruder, select your Scouts, click on the Pirate fleet, and select the Attack option shown in the first panel above. Your scouts will now fly across the system, intercept and engage the enemy fleet. If the Attack and Return option is chosen, your fleet will attack and then return to its starting position if it wins. Do not send your Colonizers to attack - they are unarmed, and will stand no chance against a Pirate ship!
The battle site is shown by the grey crosshair icon shown in the second panel above. Clicking it while the battle is in progress will allow you to spectate and watch your ships do battle, as shown in the third panel. When all enemy ships are destroyed, the battle ends, and your fleet will once again be visible in the Star System view. You can replay the battle again from this window if you so wish.
Congratulations on your first victory! But don't rest on your laurels - Pirate fleets will get stronger as your empire does, so make sure to keep your combat fleets up to par to deal with them.
Your victorious fleet will now be surrounded by a cloud of parts. This is Wreckage from the destroyed pirate, and contains salvageable resources - to the victor go the spoils!
To get these resources, fly your Scouts to the wreckage (if they aren't there already) and open the Resource Transfer screen, just like you would for a planet. The Wreckage should now be listed as an option, illustrated in the first panel above. Click it to see what it contains - in this case, 3,815 Farsu and 125 Ziryl, both valuable for building your own ships. Fighting Pirates and salvaging their wrecks will save you having to build Farsu mines early on, as they can be quite lucrative.
To Build An Empire
With your home planet secured against Pirates and starting to grow, it's time to push out and establish your first new colonies. Establishing new planets, building new ships and researching new technologies will all be crucial for your empire to expand and prosper.
Hovering the mouse cursor over any of the Main UI elements at the top of the screen will reveal a tool-tip with additional info. From left to right, these are as follows:
- Your total Credit balance.
- Your empire's total Science Power for researching technologies and ship blueprints.
- The number of planets you have colonized (Syntis will see X/X based on their cap).
- Fleet Capacity - players start with a limit of 14 fleets.
- Corruption - brand-new players should not worry about this mechanic, but it will become relevant later.
- Player colony scanner
- The Diplomacy window - view and make Treaties with other players through here.
- Ship Blueprint Designer - before a ship can be constructed, a blueprint must be designed here.
- Galaxy Overview: a breakdown of all fleets and planets.
- Research - opens the Research and Technology screen.
- Leaderboard - find out how your empire shapes up compared to others in the same galaxy.
- Settings - opens the main menu.
Note that a green circle indicates on-going research.
You may have already seen notifications popping up briefly at the bottom of the screen. Clicking a notification will open the Galactic News panel illustrated above. You can also open this panel by clicking the notification icon in the bottom left of the UI (next to the chat icon).
Clicking notifications will usually take you to the object that the notice is about. Notifications for individual planets can be found by clicking the calendar icon in the lower left of the Planet Management screen.
Clicking the graph icon on the right hand side of the Main UI will take you to the Galaxy Overview screen. As your empire and fleets grow, this will be a powerful tool for tracking what is happening where. The Fleets tab lists all visible fleets, including what they are currently doing, their compositions, and any fuel or cargo that they are carrying. The Planets tab lists all of your colonies, along with (among other things) their resource stockpiles and mining rates, Happiness and tax values and the number of structure and/or ship builds queued.
Click the tabs at the top to switch between the two panels. There are several other filters which can be applied, through the checkboxes, sorting columns or searching for a specific object.
Scouting other Star Systems
Before leaving the home star system to explore, it's a good idea to first fully scout it. To recap:
- Are there any native populations?
- Do any of the planets have a good resource supply that should be mined?
- Are there any surface resources that can be freighted back to the home planet?
With this done, ships and fleets can be sent to explore other star systems. Ships are able to travel at warp speed without using fuel (Free Warp) but progress is slow. Using fuel (olzine, the blue liquid), fleets can move much faster, at their Boosted Warp speed. To use fuel, ships need to be equipped with Fuel Tanks which need to be filled with olzine.
You will not be able to order a fleet to move to a destination at Boosted Warp if it does not have enough fuel to get there. For more details, see the Engines page.
Having scouted your home system, you should have found at least one planet worth colonizing. Time to put your Colonizer vessels to good use!
To colonize a planet, select one of your Colonizers, click on the target planet and choose the Colonize option, shown in the first panel above. Upon reaching the planet, your colonizer will disappear, a brief animation will play and the planet will come under your control, with a population of 4,000 and a free Power Station structure. You can now queue structure builds, set a tax rate and generally set about building up your new territory.
Colonization always consumes the colonization vessel, so target planets for colonization should be chosen carefully. One important consideration when deciding if a planet should be colonized is whether the planet's environment would be hospitable to your civilization. If not, colonizing the planet would result in the citizens quickly dying. It is possible to later research the Planet Modification technology, which will enable you to gradually adjust a planet's environment to that preferred by your civilization through building terraforming structures.
You might choose to use all three of your starting Colonizers in your home system to build up a single base to expand from, or send them out to other systems you have scouted, in order to colonize good planets before other players can get to them. Once these three have been used up, you will have to build new Colonizer ships at your Shipyards.
Before being able to construct a new colonization vessel, the Space Colonization technology needs to be researched. Unlocking this technology will enable you to build new Colonizer hulls, using the special Colonization Module. Once a colonization vessel with this module has been constructed, it is automatically filled with 4,000 citizens once construction is complete. It can then be ordered to move to and colonize a target planet.
While it can be a good idea to reduce costs early in the game by adding only the minimum required ship parts, adding a cargo hold to a colonization vessel could speed up development of the planet to be colonized, by carrying the minimum resources that would be required to construct the first couple of structures.
For a fuller overview of the colonization process, including the kinds of worlds that players might establish, see the Colonization page.
Before constructing a ship at your Shipyard, a blueprint must be designed using the ship designer, accessed via the main UI at the top of the screen. This will bring you to the screen in the first panel above, where you can select a hull to base your design around. New players will only start with the Scout hull available, but more can be unlocked through research. This example uses the Columbus, the Colonizer hull for Mankind.
Once a hull must be selected, the design can be made (second through fourth panels above). Click on available components on the left of the screen and place them onto the hull. Empty slots for components are highlighted in blue, with those that are compatible with a selected component highlighted in green. Slots with a component already fitted are highlighted in yellow. It is also helpful to name your design using the box at the top of the page, so you can find it later.
All ship designs must be fitted with Engines and a Ship Scanner. Beyond this, players are free to design their ships as they see fit. Not all parts are compatible with all hull types (e.g. only a Colonizer may use a Colonization Module), and only those compatible with the selected hull will be shown.
Once the design is complete, click the RESEARCH button to start researching it. After some time, the design will be completed as a blueprint and ready to use. You may research as many different blueprints as you like, but only one design may be queued and researched at a time. Once you have a blueprint, you may use it as many times as you like.
Once you have a blueprint, your Shipyard can use it to construct new ships. Clicking either the Shipyard icon or the Shipyard Build Queue on the Planet Management screen will open the available blueprints that can be built by the shipyard, shown in the first panel above.
Click a blueprint to select it, bringing up the screen illustrated in the second panel above. The blueprint stats and parts to be fitted are shown. Provided that you have sufficient resources on the planet hosting the Shipyard, click the BUILD button to order the construction. Alternatively, the blueprint can be modified with the CLONE option (useful for updating existing blueprints with new components), or deleted by clicking REMOVE.
Ordering the construction of ships is similar to that for structures; multiple ships can be added to the construction queue using the - and + buttons, and a maximum of five different ships can be queued at any one time. Newly created ships appear in orbit of the planet as individual fleets, which can then be merged into larger formations in the normal way.
Once you begin playing, it probably won't be long until you spot movement from other players. They could be making a multi-hour journey to explore a neighboring star (high probability of being seen), or very brief journeys between planets in their own star system (very low probability of being seen). If you've noticed them, it's likely they've noticed you - or will do very soon - and not all players will have peaceful intentions!
Defending your Home Planet
When it comes to protecting your empire, it pays to be proactive, particularly with your home planet. Waiting until you see an enemy fleet a couple of hours away could have disastrous consequences!
The four primary defensive strategies to consider are:
- Building military bases
- Placing military fleets in orbit
- Laying minefields
- Intercepting incoming enemy fleets
To successfully capture a planet, a ship must reach a planet's orbit, defeat any ships also in orbit, and have their invading assault troops overwhelm any home guard and army (defensive troops related to military bases) the planet has.
Building Military Bases
Building Military Bases will provide your planet with trained defensive troops that will automatically attempt to fend off any invasion. Your home planet starts with 10 Military Bases, but you will need to build more for your new colonies. The more Bases a planet has, the larger its army will be, and the harder the planet will be to capture.
Placing military fleets in orbit
It's a good idea to have an armed fleet either in orbit of your planet or at least close by. Before any assault troops can be launched to start a ground invasion, any fleets in orbit of the planet must be defeated.
Fleet guard mode
A fleet will automatically attack an enemy entering the same orbit. If there are multiple fleets defending an orbit, the strongest fleet will attack first.
Minefields are an excellent defensive solution but can take a long time to gain access to via research. Minefields can be detected and swept by the relevant ship parts.
Intercepting incoming enemy fleets
The most proactive measure you can take to protect planets is to intercept any possible invaders before they have a chance to get close.
Patrolling your borders will enable you to spot a potential issue early. If you have time to head them off, then you can intercept and hopefully either deter them from encroaching any further, or defeat them in a battle!
If it looks like you might not be able to reach them in time, you might have to send your patrol directly to the planet. If your fleet arrives in time, it can fortify the planet from its orbit. If you're too late, and the worst-case scenario has already happened (your planet has been conquered), if your fleet has a population onboard, you can at least launch a countering ground invasion of your own in an attempt to take back your colony!
Conquering a Planet
If another player's civilization is proving to be a thorn in your side, conquering a significant planet of theirs would have huge upsides:
- Neutralize the threat
- Annex the population, infrastructure, income and resources of the planet
- Gain notoriety and the respect of other players
Launching a ground invasion
Conquering and capturing a planet can be achieved by launching a successful ground invasion. If the planet has a large army, conquering it will require a very large invasion force of assault troops.
To be able to launch a ground invasion, you need to equip at least one ship with Assault Troop Carriers and transfer trained troops to it from your Military Bases. For a ground invasion to succeed, a fleet with assault troops on board needs to reach a planet's orbit, which should be clear of any defensive fleets, and overcome the army and home guard that are defending the planet.
Once in orbit of the planet, select your assault fleet, click on the target planet and select the Attack option, as shown in the first panel above. A summary screen will then appear, shown in the second panel above, including the number of your attacking troops, the number of defending troops and/or Home Guard you'll be facing, and any Orbit Defence System present (which will destroy some percentage of your troops automatically). If the odds are in your favour, shown by the Win Chance in this summary, click ASSAULT to launch the invasion.
How long it takes for the invasion to succeed or fail will depend on how balanced the invasion force is versus the defending colony - the minimum time (for a one-sided fight) is nine hours, with long invasions lasting up to 48 hours. You'll get a notification letting you know when it's over - and possibly a new planet to rule! Just make sure to do a better job of holding on to it than the previous ruler...
If all else fails...
If you're trapped in a losing battle, want to play as a new Faction or just want to see if you can do better next time, you can reset their game and start afresh. All of your previous colonies, fleets and populations will vanish by resetting. You can do this at any time and rejoin the galaxy immediately, which will then trigger a cool-down period of five days before you can reset again.
- If you're not sure what a number means or what something does, try mousing over it. Many panels and buttons in the game have helpful tool-tips, so make use of these!
- Each civilization has a certain tolerance for a labour shortage and unemployment - do not be afraid to make use of this to get structures built more quickly.
- Try not to stockpile Credits - unless you're saving for something big, money in the bank is money not being used to make yourself stronger!
- Keep an eye on your scanners - new players and veterans inhabit the same galaxy, who will be better-equipped than you. For pointers in avoiding an early defeat and controlling your space, see this guide.
- Make sure to build and improve the defences of all the planets you control, not just your home world.
- Don't colonise planets in systems where other players are already established, as they will have an easy base from which to attack and capture your new planet. Make sure to scout beforehand.
- Always harvest surface resources when colonising a new system - they will help you build more quickly, and it ensures they can’t be stolen by other players!
- Always make sure to salvage resources after defeating Pirates.
- Don't neglect your scientists! Build and upgrade Laboratories to increase your Science Power and research new techs, or you risk falling behind your neighbours.
- Always make sure your populations have room to grow by building enough Farms, and colonising more planets. Wide empires are better than tall ones – more planets means faster overall population growth, more potential resources and less need for structure upgrades early on, but does mean that more space needs defending.
Thank you for playing!