New Player Guide
From Outscape Wiki
Welcome to the Player's Guide for Beyond Dark's Alpha! This guide is intended for anyone that wants to find out more about Beyond Dark as well as the Alpha players that have been invited to test the game and help get it ready for Beta.
Before jumping in and playing, we strongly recommend blitzing through this page - it'll get you up and running as quickly as possible (for Beta there will be an interactive in-game tutorial).
Any questions, requests, or feedback, please let us know on the forum (clicking the forum login link will take you to the IDA Games account login page where you can login using the credentials created during the initial game setup).
- 1 Getting started
- 2 Welcome to the galaxy
- 3 First things first
- 4 Exploring the home star system
- 5 Home planet
- 6 Taking action
Before you can begin playing you will need to:
- Install Beyond Dark via Steam using your Steam key (emailed out to invited players)
- Join a galaxy
Welcome to the galaxy
Your fledgling empire will begin with a home planet and two ships. This home planet will already have a population of 100,000 citizens (already taxed and generating an income for your empire) and a handful of structures.
In the above image, the home star system is in the middle of the circle. The icons below the name of the star system indicate there are: one planet colonized by the player (filled circle), five planets not colonized (empty circle), and two ships belonging to the player (triangle). This visibility of the galaxy is provided by the scanner on the home planet.
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...
The image above shows the player's scanner coverage.
- The outer circle represents the entire range. Stars and fleets within this range can be detected.
- The inner circle, sensor range, can provide additional intel on objects. For star systems, the planets can be seen. For fleets, the owner, number of ships and how they are equipped is available.
To the right of the image 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 it moved within sensor range (the inner circle), the fleet owner and fleet composition would be known.
Hovering the mouse cursor over any of the main UI elements at the top of the screen will reveal a popup with additional info (this goes for most things in the game).
First things first
When first entering the galaxy, a notification pops up briefly at the bottom of the screen. Clicking a notification will open the galactic news panel. You can also open this panel by clicking the notification icon in the bottom left of the UI (next to the chat icon).
Research is something you should always have ticking over in the background. Any time your laboratories aren't researching a new technology is wasted. You can open the research screen at any point by clicking the research icon in the top right of the main UI.
Each technology has a difficulty which determines how long it will take to research. A few take only a few minutes to complete and are a good place to start (colony deployment is a great early technology to unlock as it will enable you to build colonization vessels).
The speed at which research can be performed is determined by the total science power of the empire (constructing additional laboratories in the future will increase science power - research centers first needs to be unlocked).
Holding either the left or right mouse and dragging will pan the camera around. Mouse scrolling will zoom in or out.
Hovering over the name of a star system will reveal an eye, which when clicked, will zoom you in to that star system (if it is within sensor range). You can also double click the star, or single click it, and then select a planet to go to from a drop-down list.
When you start zooming in to the game it's easy to lose your bearings at first. There is usually a button in the bottom right corner which will take you back to the previous screen (these back buttons are sometimes missing, the backspace key is a useful way to move to a previous screen, or mouse scrolling out).
Exploring the home star system
After navigating to the home star system, the home planet is identified by the emblem of the civiliation next to its name. Non-colonized planets have an empty circle. At the start of the game, you should also see two ships in orbit of the home planet.
Occassionally, you will see a non-colonized planet with a native population. Colonizing such a planet can provide a huge boost to income due to the taxes that can be collected.
If you have a ship in orbit of the planet, it is possible to see more info e.g. resource deposits and surface resources. Any ships in orbit of the planet are shown in a list to the left of the planet. Clicking the I icon to the right of the planet name opens the panel showing more info about the planet including the total mineral deposits and their densities.
Moving a ship within a star system
To move a ship into a planet's orbit: click the ship to select it, the mouse cursor will then change into a destination selector, and 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, move to orbit being one of the options.
Collecting surface resources
Clicking the ship in the planet management view will open the transfer screen. The colony's resources are on the right. Click one to select and send it to the ship.
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 (or build a freighter).
The colony section 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). Further to the right shows the civilization populations, the science power and credits generated by the colony, along with the power supply and consumption rate.
Colony populations and happiness
Hovering the population will reveal data related to happiness, employment and population growth.
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.
Some structures are undesirable e.g. mines. To counter their negative impact on happiness, desirable structures can be researched and constructed (researching social psychology unlocks one such structure).
Structures require citizens to operate correctly. If there isn't enough population to operate all colony structures a labour shortage occurs. Each civilization has a certain tolerance for a labour shortage. 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.
Structures and other objects in the game can be recycled/dismantled. This will destroy the object, but return a large proportion of the resources used in construction back to the colony.
If priorities change suddenly, or a unit is no longer required, recycling can come in very handy.
The army size is determined by the number of constructed military camps. Each military camp 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 camps 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.
Your home planet has each of the main five resources ready to use in its stockpiles. 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.
Most planets will only have a couple of resources available. When evaluating a resource deposit for mining, also consider the density. A low density means a mine will extract at a lower rate than if the density was higher, so the precense of a resource alone might not make it suitable for mining.
A colonized planet will have structures which can be viewed by clicking the constructed structures button from the main planet management screen. For each strucutre, the number in the top right indicates the tech level and the number in the bottom right the quantity constrcuted.
Structures consume power. When a colony's power supply has been reached, additional power generators need to be constructed to be able to construct additional structures.
Additional structures can be constructed by clicking the construction queue icon on the main planet management screen or one of the empty structure construction slots. Hover a structure to find out more or click to select it.
If a resource is lacking for the construction of the selected structure, it will be marked with a red warning triangle in the cost to build section.
Personnel states how many citizens are required to operate the structure. Depending on the size of the population, construction can either reduce unemployment or increase a labour shortage.
Commonly used structures
- Mines: are used to extract mineral resources from the planet
- Laboratories: decrease the time it takes to complete research
- Farms: increase the population size that can be supported and boost growth rates (more citizens increases income)
Before leaving the home star system to explore, it's a good idea to first fully scout it.
- 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?
One important consideration when deciding if a planet should be colonized for the purpose of mining, 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 efficient terraforming which will enable you to gradually adjust a planet's environment to that preferred by your civilization which will enable them to thrive.
Leaving the home star system
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), fleets can move much faster. To use fuel, ships need to be equipped with fuel tanks which need to be filled with olzine.
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).
Before being able to construct a colonization vessel and attaching a colonization module to it, the technology colony deployment needs to be researched.
Unlocking this technology will enable you to use a colonization hull and the colonization module. Once a colonization vessel has been constructed, it can be ordered to move to and colonize the target planet. It is automatically filled with 2,000 citizens once construction is complete.
While it can be a good idea to reduce costs early in the game and 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.
Colonization consumes the colonization vessel, so target planets for colonization should be chosen carefully. If there was a native population a tax rate will need to be manually applied.
Before constructing a ship, a blueprint must be designed using the ship designer (accessed via the main UI at the top of the screen).
To begin blueprint design a hull must be selected. Not all parts are compatible with all hulls, and only those compatible with the selected hull will be shown.
For example, in the above image a colonization hull has been selected and the colonization module attached. If another hull is selected, the colonization module wouldn't be available in the parts list.
Once additional colonies have been formed, constructing a frieghter will make moving resources between them much easier.