New Player Guide
From Outscape Wiki
Please Note: Many Wiki pages, including this one, are awaiting updates. Some screenshots and information may be outdated due to the number of recent changes. Players are advised to refer to the Help pages or other player-written guides until further notice.
Welcome to the Player's Guide for Outscape's Alpha! This guide is for anyone that wants to find out more about Outscape, 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 - alongside the interactive in-game tutorial, it'll get you up and running as quickly as possible.
If you have any questions or feedback please let us know on the forum.
Before you can begin playing you will need to:
Welcome to the galaxy!
Upon entering the galaxy, you will arrive at the galaxy view. 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. 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 150,000 (the number to the left of the label), which is growing (green text) and a Shipyard (hexagonal shape around the population number).
- Six planets not colonized by any player (white circles below the system name).
- Two fleets are currently present in this system, both belonging to the player (blue triangles above the star system name).
This visibility of the galaxy is provided by the scanner structure on the home planet.
The images above shows the player's scanner coverage, given from their home system.
- The outer circle represents the scanner range. Stars and fleets within this range can be detected.
- The inner circle is the sensor range, 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-and side of the right 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 it 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.
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, allowing you to message them and potentially find some allies - or pick some fights!
Your Home World
Hovering over the name of any star system will reveal information about that star system (if it is within sensor range), or state that it has been unexplored. (Many other panels and buttons in the game also have helpful pop-ups, so make use of these!) You can double left click to move into that system, or single left click to bring up a list of planets if within sensor range. You can choose a planet or fleet to zoom down to. Do this for 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 four fleets in orbit of the home planet (the circular region around it). These are a single 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 the screen below.
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 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 colony is already generating Credits by levying a Tax Rate on the population. You can use the - and + buttons 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. 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.
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.
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!
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 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. When evaluating a resource deposit for mining, also consider 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 - 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 -
- Tier 1 Shipyard x1 -
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.
Up to five different builds may be queued at any one time, one for each construction slot.
Commonly used Structures
- Mines: are used to extract mineral resources from the planet. New players should focus on Beron for building structures and Farsu for building ships.
- Laboratories: decrease the time it takes to complete research.
- Farms: increase the population size that can be supported, allowing further growth (more citizens increases income).
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.
Controlling Ships and Fleets
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 - at least one of them should be ideal for establishing your first new colony.
Moving a ship within a star system
To move a fleet into a planet's orbit:
- Click the fleet 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.). If you have a fleet in orbit of the planet, it is possible to see more info, such as surface resources, minable 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 panel showing more info about the planet, including the total mineral deposits, their densities and a habitability assessment.
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.
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.
Clicking the fleet in the Planet Management view will open the transfer screen. 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.
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 will assist with this task.
Help! A Pirate appeared!
To Build An Empire
Hovering the mouse cursor over any of the Main UI elements at the top of the screen will reveal a popup with additional info. From left to right, these are as follows:
- Science power
- Colonized planets (Syntis will see X/X based on their cap)
- Fleet Capacity
- Corruption - brand-new players should not worry about this mechanic, but it will become relevant later.
- Ship blueprint design: before a ship can be constructed it needs to 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. Science Power impacts both blueprints and technology.
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).
Clicking notifications will usually take you to the object that the notice is about.
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).
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?
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, at their Boosted Warp speed. To use fuel, ships need to be equipped with Fuel Tanks which need to be filled with olzine.
Before being able to construct a colonization vessel and attaching a colonization module to it, the Space Colonization technology 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 4,000 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.
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 Planet Modification which will enable you to gradually adjust a planet's environment to that preferred by your civilization which will enable them to thrive.
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 freighter will make moving resources between them much easier.
Clicking the shipyard icon on the planet management screen will open the available blueprints that can be built by the shipyard.
Ordering construction of a ship is similar to that for structures and multiple ships can be added to the construction queue. Newly created ships appear in orbit of the planet.
This is a complex topic; for now, players should refer to the section on Forming Fleets.
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 harder a 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
- 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 population, 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.
How long it takes for the invasion to succeed or fail will depend on how balanced the invasion force is versus the defending colony. 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...
After one week (currently) a player may reset their game and start afresh, and can choose a different civilization to play as if they so wish.
Thank you for playing!