2019-01-18 16:10:12 (edited by Dark 2019-08-01 18:55:29)

Introduction

Welcome to New Horizons, the latest game from Freeman69, and the first ever audio space trading and combat game to be played completely in real time. Influenced heavily by the pc classic elite the game is a complex space simulation in which you fly around a massive galaxy of 10000 systems, trade goods, mine asteroids and nebulae, and ultimately try to make enough cash to raise your rank from harmless to elite.

The game has a few place holder, line drawing style  graphics, but primarily the gameplay comes entirely from sound, which of course makes it completely accessible, as well as lots of fun.

Unfortunately, while the game is one of the most sincerely addictive we’ve seen in audio for some time, it also has a fairly serious learning curve, and that’s where this guide comes in, to explain details of the game’s mechanics, what the sounds mean, how to make cash and hopefully how not to get blown up to often.

The game uses the tolk library, so will output to Sapi, nvdA Jaws, System access or supernova, though note that if playing with NVdA you have to turn off the “interrupt speech for typed character’s option” to avoid interrupting the game’s announcements when you use navigation keys.

Keys for the game are simple and will be detailed here for reference, though note that a keys list can be found in the game’s documentation, and of course you can always change the keys for yourself in the main menu.


W or up arrow: move up in menus, increase your ship’s speed.

S or down arrow: Move down in menus, decrease your ship’s speed.

A or left arrow: go back in menus, turn your ship left.

D or right arrow: turn your ship to the right.

E: eject a cargo container from your hold. Note that they will be ejected in the order you last picked them up.

F: Activate your auto pilot, press twice to reactivate if you’ve turned your ship.

I: fire your laser, hold down for continuous fire.

Q: fire a missile.

P: when in space generate a hyperspace field in front of your ship to take you to the next system, when on a location such as a planet, land.

U: Perform a flip and roll, switching your ship's direction facing by 180 degrees.

Spacebar or enter: accept in menus, activate pause menu when in flight.
X: exit key for menus, hitting this several times will exit the game.
F3:switch between Sapi and screen reader mode.
F5: Turn off radar

1: Space, the final frontier.

The first thing to say about the game, is that   space has two dimensions, not three or four or more, just two. This means that effectively, the game view is first person. Your ship can fly in any of the four cardinal directions; north, south, east or west, and many angles in between. Because it is a spaceship, your ship will move forward at an increasing speed between one and ten, you can control how fast your ship moves with the s or w keys, and can turn left or right with the d and a keys. how quickly your ship turns, as well as its speed of movement will depend upon what model ship you have. For example the cobra with a speed of 1 will go one unit per second for each speed rating, thus meaning it moves at 10 units per second at speed ten, while the trader ship worm only moves at a speed of 0.6 meaning its nearly half as slow as the cobra.

The game takes place in a well populated star cluster of ten thousand star systems. Each system likely has a star, such as a neutron star, dwarf, medium, giant  or supergiant, and usually a freeport trade station, but will also contain one or more planets, and maybe other locations like asteroid belts,  nebulae or gas giants (known as Jovians).

1.1: locations.

Space contains two sorts of things. Large astronomical locations such as stars, planets, space stations etc, and small objects like ships, asteroids and free floating cargo containers. You will be told about any major stellar locations in your vicinity for example “free port ahead” or “Teran primary left.”

You can also hit the r key to give you distance information about the range of whatever location is in front of you, and will be told its distance, for example “dwarf 10000.”
To move to a location such as a planetoid or dwarf star (needed to refuel), just centre it (check your on track with the r key and keep going, you’ll be told when your entering the location, for example if your flying to a free port station, you’ll be told “entering docking field”, while if your flying to a planet your told “entering atmosphere.

All locations in the game, even planets can be entered and flown across (though be careful when flying into stars), this is because all locations are effectively (from a 2d perspective; completely circular, even asteroid belts. If you find yourself stuck in the atmosphere of a planet or inside an asteroid field and want to get out quickly, turn your ship until you hear the indicator beep for “shortest path to the edge” (find this in the audio indicators menu.

As a certain guide to the galaxy said Space is big. Really big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big it is. This means trying to fly everywhere at base speed would be pretty time consuming. Fortunately, your ship has an overdrive function, this is like a superfast top speed and will wiz your ship on a straight course towards whatever your facing, moving at a rough rate of 1000 units a second, though note that the overdrive function only works in open space, not in close orbit.


Sometimes, you’ll find one location behind another, for example “Terran primary beyond giant” and need to fly around one location to get to what’s behind it. Since your often having to fly through dangerous systems where attacks are frequent, its recommended to use the overdrive for this to speed things up.

Most locations in space don’t emit any sounds, you usually find their location by turning your ship and listening to the instructions from your computer, but there is one exception.
Freeports are space stations where you may buy and sell minerals, get your ship repaired and buy a few upgrades. These emit a beacon sound which you can hear when the station is somewhere in front of you, this is handy when your needing to run for repairs in a hurry.

1.2: landing

Obviously, you don’t just want to fly across planets and stations and such, you want to land on them. This can be done with the p key once you’ve entered the location, though since p is also the key to activate hyperspace jumps, you only want to press it when your within the atmosphere of a planet or the docking field of a station. You’ll also need to slow down from max speed to land, which is handy advice anyway since the last thing you want to do when trying to dock with a station is end up flying straight through and past it.

Once you land you’ll be presented with a list of all the things you can do on the location such as buying and selling goods, purchasing armour or weapons for your ship and saving your game.

1.3: hyperspace and star systems

Hyperspace  jumps are the way you travel between systems. The star systems in the game are arranged in a 100 x 100 grid, so at any time, each star system has eight other systems around it, to the north, northeast, east etc (if you go off the edge of the grid you’ll wrap around to the other side). To find out what star system is in a given direction, including important information like its danger rating and what faction owns it, hold down the c key. To travel to that system hold down the p key, which will generate  a hyperspace rift in front of your ship which you can then fly into to be transported to the next system along. Note that information on your current system, including its name, danger rating, coordinates, population of stellar locations, available minerals and gasses can be found in the status page of the pause menu by hitting spacebar.

While you can fly around within a system as much as you like, even using overdrive, hyperspacial jumps take fuel, with one unit of fuel expended per jump.

There are two ways of getting more fuel, either buy it at a freeport or planet or go and scoop it directly from a star.
Buying fuel takes one credit per percentage of your tank to fill, so can be a fairly expensive option, albeit you might need it sometimes if your stuck in a system with no convenient stars to visit.

Note that while some ships come with pretty low fuel reserves, you can also buy a 10 gallon fuel upgrade at freeports which will increase your fuel capacity by ten, which is a must for some of the smaller ships.

1.4: The auto pilot 

Calling it an “Auto pilot” is something of a misnomer, since it can’t actually fly your ship for you, but either way it does come in handy.
You can  bring up some auto pilot destinations from the pause menu (hit spacebar), and find others by asking for directions at a space station or habitable planet.
Each destination will come with a number such as “zocalo 2”, which represents how many systems away it is, i.e., how many hyperspace jumps you need to make to get there. Of course since stars are pretty common and most systems also have a freeport, you should be able to bank on finding fuel along the way, though its always a good idea to keep a little fuel in reserve in case you need to jump out of a particularly dangerous system in a hurry.

Once you have a destination set, hit the f key on your keyboard to turn on the auto pilot. You’ll hear  it turn your ship to the right direction (check the audio indicators), you will then be instructed either to jump, or if your already in the right system to fly to the location, which you will find in front of you with the r key.

Note that the auto pilot only works so long as you don’t turn your ship manually, hitting a or d disables it (though you can change your ship’s speed, use overdrive or hyperspace jumps as you like), this is useful in case you need to flyoff and refuel, avoid some nasty space pirates or grab any floating goodies you might pass.

To engage the auto pilot again, hit f twice to turn it off and then on.

As well as taking you to specific places, if you jump into a system with no destination set, the auto pilot will centre you on the system’s primary planet (if any), since primary planets are usually also where you can find freeports this is a handy function if you need to offload cargo or get your hull fixed up.

1.5: small objects

Of course, not everything in space is huge enough to land on or require flying through, there are lots of smaller things from other ships, to asteroids and meteors and even the odd bit of handy cargo hovering around.
Your ship is equipped with an identification beam, also called a scanner which will tell you what is  in front of you and how far away it is, you can hear what this beam sounds like in the audio indicators menu. Being space and thus having no gravity, small objects don’t stay still, especially inside asteroid fields, nebulae or gas giants. The sound of the identification beam will change direction according to where the object is travelling relative to you, which is a fancy way of saying if you want to keep something in front of your ship, keep the sound of the beam centred, especially when flying at high speed.

This is how you pick up useful or valuable salvage items such as mineral ores from asteroids or cargo from damaged ships, when you hear the identification beam sound and the announcement of say “gold 190”, then use a and d to keep the ore ahead of you as you fly closer, until you eventually here the clang of it being dropped into your cargo hold (you can hear this in audio indicators).

Tracking objects with your scanner and keeping them ahead of you is the key to many game activities, including gas harvesting, asteroid mining and of course combat, so its an important skill to master.

1.6: the radar

The radar is  a handy tool  for getting an idea of what small objects are around your ship but not immediately in front of you in scanner range. Note though that while it can be useful, understanding the information from the radar is a bit of a skill, and so you probably ought not to try one until your familiar with the usual way of targeting objects with your scanner.

Once installed, you can toggle the radar on and off with the f5 key. The radar will sweep left and right and emit honking sounds (check the audio indicators), for what objects are  around your ship in a 120 degree arc, I.e. going from to the front right of you to the front left. The lower the pitch of the honk, the bigger the object. Obviously if your looking for specific objects such as asteroids in a field or cargo containers in a battle zone, the radar can come in very handy, though obviously in crowded areas the radar can also be quite busy, particularly if your trying  to target a specific object or if your engaged in a major battle.

2: what do I do? Jobs and activities . 

The main goal of New horizons is to make money and buy upgrades for your ship, and eventually rise in rank from harmless, to elite. There are various ways of making money, some more efficient than others, and some pretty risky.

2.1: trading

Trading is the simplest of all activities, and the one you will be starting out with initially if you begin the game with the worm class ship. Trading simply involves visiting one place and buying goods then  taking them somewhere else to sell.

When you look at the “buy goods” or “sell goods” menus on freeports or planets, you’ll be told what that place sells, and whether it’s below the average price, i.e. whether you’ll make a prophet when selling it. Pay attention to the numbers beside each item which give you an idea of the deal, for example if you see “engine parts 34 -17” that tells you they might be a good buy.

Fortunately, the game lines up the goods in order of the most lucrative deal first, thus on the buying goods menu, the item which appears first is the one most below the average price and the one you’ll earn most back by selling somewhere else so that’s usually the one you want to buy. While of course trading goods you need to first outlay cash to buy them, meaning that your prophet for each item is less than if you harvested them from asteroids, pirated them from other ships or found them in some other way, at the same time, buying goods for trading you can fill your hold up in one go and sell quickly at one place, which is quite a time saver (especially if your ship has a big hold as some of the larger ships do), thus trading isn’t actually a bad way of making cash if you dedicate yourself to it. Also note, that this is very much a seller’s market, there is no need to fly round the galaxy looking for the best price on any given item, since odds are so long as you change systems from where you got it, you’ll find a prophet for your cargo pretty quickly.

There are three markets for tradable goods which are effectively independent of each other, and which will be discussed below.

2.1.1: The minerals market 

Places of trade: Freeport stations:
Tradable goods; boron, silver, gold, diamonds, lithium, cobalt, tungsten, beryllium, niobium, helium, hydrogen, neon, krypton, argon, Xenon, fluorine, ice.

Likely the market you’ll use most, especially because this is also where you sell the products from mining or gas harvesting (note that ice is only available to sell if you harvest it from a comet or ice berg).
It has the advantage that most systems have a freeport and freeports have beacons which makes them easy to find, plus you’ll get a complete hull repair when landing at any freeport. Over all though it’s a trifle less profitable than the other markets, if a bit safer.

2.1.2: Manufacturing market

Places of trade: inhabited Terran primary planets.

Tradable goods: Toys, computers, cheese, timber, super conductors, silk, medicines, engine parts, alloys, fruit, vegetables, cotton, coffee, chocolate and toxic waste.

Slightly more lucrative than the minerals market, but with the drawback that not all planets are inhabited, plus your ship’s hull won’t be repaired on planets.
Then again, since by default your auto pilot will point you at a Terran planet when entering a system, finding places to buy and sell isn’t so hard, though it might take a bit of looking.

Also, Terran colonies will pay you to take toxic waste off their hands and go and find an uninhabited part of space to dump it in, just look for toxic waste in the “buying goods” menu and you’ll notice that it’s price has a minus, i.e. they pay you that amount of credits per unit to take it away.

To eject cargo canisters from your ship’s hold just hit e.

Just be aware that if you dump toxic waste anywhere but an uninhabited sector, you’ll earn two penalty points which will cost 10 credits each to remove (likely more individually than you were paid for taking the waste), though you can always ask directions to the nearest uninhabited sector when docked at a planet or station.

2.1.3: Manufactured goods and faction trading

Akkadian Faction, Specialty: cotton
House of Albion, specialty: cheese
Babylonian Faction, Specialty: silk
House Cortez, specialty: fruit
House Europa, specialty: toys
House Hokkaido, specialty: computers
House Lakota, specialty: timber
House Osiris, specialty: medicines
Persian Faction, specialty: coffee
Liberty Faction, specialty: superconductors
House of Saxony, specialty: vegetables
Shikoku Faction, specialty: parts
Spartan Faction, specialty: alloys
House of Zenobia, specialty: chocolate


Each of the game’s 14 factions has one particular good they specialise in, meaning your likely to find it cheaper in that faction. You can get a list of faction capitals in the auto pilot status menu, and also if you hold down the C key before making a hyperspace jump you will be told the distance to the boarder of that faction’s territory, along with the name and danger rating of the next system along. This can be helpful when planning long distance trades, though usually its so easy to find a place to sell your goods there isn’t usually a need to go Trekking too far across the galaxy.

2.1.4: contraband market

Trading locations: zocalo stations, planetoids.

Tradable goods: fire arms, whisky, organisms, firs, narcotics, antimatter, explosives, plutonium and Thargoid drones.

Engaging in illegal trading is a quick way to make money, especially if you run across one of the planetoids that specialise in the trade of illegal goods at hole sale prices.

The problem is that the police (pretty useless for most other things), will zero in on you and beam contraband straight out of your cargo hold. This means if you have a load of illegal goods, you need to fly fast to get to where your going if you want to make a profit, and keep an eye out for the police in their Viper ships.

[h2]2.2: Courier jobs [/h2]

Courier jobs are a great way to make cash with a ship with a small cargo hold, provided your not too afraid of travelling.
If you visit a robot planet or alien sector, there may be one or more courier jobs available. These involve flying to a given sector of space and are paid according to how many hyperspace jumps the target is.
Usually they wind up netting somewhere between 150 and 500 credits. When you accept a courier mission, its details will already be programmed into your auto pilot (though you can always refresh them from the pause menu if you need to).

To complete each mission, just fly to the given system and you’ll receive your payment. The down side (apart from the long travel times), is that courier jobs have a time limit, and if you take too long the job will expire and you’ll not get your reward.

2.3: Refuelling

Though not actually a profession or a way of making money directly, refuelling from stars will save you a significant amount of cash, but it does come with dangers. To refuel, you need to enter the corona of a star; the glowing cloud of ionising gasses which surrounds the main stellar mass, and then get close enough to the star itself for your ship to deploy its fuel scoop. You will know your ship is refuelling when you hear a ponk ponk sound, and your computer will tell you when you have max fuel.

The problem comes in that each star also has a danger zone, this is an area around the star rife with cme’s, that is coronal mass ejections, huge clouds of gas erupting from the main surface of the star itself. These show up on your scanner as small objects like cargo containers.

Hit a cme and your ship will be damaged pretty fast. While of course you can avoid cme’s and even fly across a star’s surface if your extremely brave, the best way to refuel is to stay still and wait until your tanks are maxed out, then find the shortest route out of the star (listen out for the shortest route indicator), and fly out of there as quickly as possible.

2.4: gas harvesting.

Gas harvesting is one of the easiest activities to do, though not always the most lucrative. Unlike asteroid mining you don’t need a mining laser, just a ship capable of flight.

First, find a nebula or Jovian (you can ask at freeports for directions to the nearest nebula), then fly into it and look for gas. Centre the gas clouds  and fly straight for them to pick them up, then return to the nearest free port and sell  what you’ve gathered, preferably at a different system to the one you gathered the resources in if you  want to make a profit.

Just watch out for methane, which is worth nothing and won’t do anything but take up cargo space in your hold, so either avoid picking it up, or blast  it away if you have a laser.

Of course, if you happen to pick up methane you can always eject it with the e key, though bare in mind that cargo will always be ejected in the order you picked it up, meaning that if you picked up one unit of methane and then several units of worth while gas, you probably want to sell off the good stuff first.

Though easy to do, and comparatively low risk, provided your not anywhere too dangerous, unless you get very lucky, most nebulae and gas giants tend to  be slightly stingy resource wise, though if you’ve got a bit of time and free space and want a break from trading or fighting picking up resources can be fun to do.

2.5: Asteroid mining.

A handy way of making cash, and rather good fun, asteroid mining is a little harder than gas harvesting but is worth the effort. First, you’ll need a ship with a laser, either a mining laser or better, meaning that if you started the game with just a worm you’ll need to transfer to a better ship since the worm cannot equip a laser.


First, find an asteroid field or asteroid belt and enter it (ask for directions at a freeport or planet). Then, look around for asteroids. When you find one centre it with your scanner and blast with the I key. Note that your laser will be inactive unless you have an asteroid in scanner range.

The asteroid will first break up into meteors which also need to be blasted, then however, the meteors will leave behind resources such as gold, diamonds and tungsten which you can then sell off at a freeport (again preferably in a different system from the asteroids).

Some meteors will also leave behind rocks. These are worthless chunks of stone that are no use to anyone and just take up space, so its recommended to blast them away or avoid picking them up.
You can also eject them from your hold of course.

To make your life easier, remember that its better to pick items up at a slower speed so that you don’t whiz right past them, so if there is something close buy that you want to get, slow down, indeed learning to alter your speed and turn fluidly is a valuable skill to acquire, not just for asteroid mining, but also in combat.

Unfortunately, though asteroid fields are comparatively empty, you will occasionally run into other ships in there. In particular, rock hermits and if your very unlucky, thargoids.

Rock hermits are hyper rich galactic citizens who’ve hollowed out asteroids as luxury homes, firing on them instantly gives a penalty and will have you declared a fugitive, so if you run into one of them, don’t get too trigger happy with the laser.

Thargoids are the nasty aliens who caused human kind to colonise this star cluster in the first place. Very fast, equipped with interceptor drones and very aggressive, unless you’ve got a ship capable of taking them on, if you run into thargoids the best thing to do is get out of there.

It’s not just asteroids that have resources though. Like the gas giants of our own solar system, some Jovians also have rings. Rings are full of icebergs which can be blasted apart into easily pickupable chunks, just like asteroids which can also be sold off for profit, though often not too much.

You can also get ice from the  odd comet you see too.

In general asteroid fields are a pretty good source of income,  though of course some  fields have more resources than others so there is still a bit of luck involved.

2.6: robot mining

A higher expense form of mining, yet one which can earn you significant amounts of cash, as well as a very easy activity since the process is entirely automated.

First you’ll need a robot miner. You can sometimes find these in loot from combat if your very lucky, but the main way to get them is to buy one from a robot planet.

Once you have a miner, find a public domain planetoid where you can start mining, land and use the menu to deploy it.

Before you set your miner going, you’ll also need to by a mining license, for 1000 credits.

Once your miner is running, it’ll produce whatever mineral that planet has at a constant rate for a while, you can see how the mine is doing from the pause menu (hit spacebar). If you land on the planet again, you can load the resource the miner has gathered directly into your ship and take it to a freeport to sell as normal.

Bear in mind, that mines are not inexhaustible, and once your robot miner has mined everything it can it will shut down and self-destruct, though it will leave all of the resources there for you to pick up at your leisure.
Also, while you will need to buy another robot miner (and find another planetoid), if you want to start mining again, your mining license is  yours forever once you’ve bought it, and the more licenses you have, the more robots you can have working at a time.

2.7: missions 

Though not really a career choice, missions provide background to the game’s world and are generally fun to do. You can start missions by going to an alien sector and landing on a planet there (ask for directions at most places to find the nearest alien sector).

Most missions require you to go to a special location, these can be found on the special locations list under your auto pilot menu.
Some special locations can’t be accessed without either the correct cargo in your hold, the correct ship, or even  in one case, a police record.

You can always find the next step of your mission under the “mission journal” section of the status menu.

While missions can be done in any order you want, note that some parts of missions do have a time limit, so when your instructed to do something “as fast as possible” pay attention. Also note that the milk run mission serves as a tutorial of sorts, and thus should be done first.

For some brief, slightly spoiler related notes on missions see chapter 5.

2.8: owning your own moon

So you’ve done all the missions, have the top rank, the best possible ship and still want more? How about buying a moon of your own. Sadly these don’t generate income, or even provide you free gear for your ship and just exist for bragging rights, but hay if you’ve played long enough to earn the thousands of credits to buy one, much less more than one, then your well entitled to a bit of bragging.

3: Combat. 

Combat in the game might seem tough at first, and you will find yourself ending up as space dust a time or two, but with a little practice and some knowledge of what is happening, you can turn yourself into a regular killing machine and clock up those 1000 kills for an elite rank.

3.1: detecting other ships, friends and foes 

As you fly around, , you will hear the engines of ships flying past you, and you can turn to scan them like asteroids, cargo containers or other small objects. When you scan a ship you will be told it’s type and distance for example “moray 110.”

Sometimes however when you scan a ship, your scanner beam will change to a higher pitched (check the audio indicators menu), this indicates the ship being scanned is hostile. Just like with asteroids, as soon as you hear that higher pitched sound, you can hold down the I key to fire your laser (if you have one).

You will hear the laser sound rise in pitch as you hold the key and damage the ship and of course the more powerful your laser, the more quickly it’ll destroy your target.
While asteroids need only a single blast of your laser to break up, enemy ships are a good bit tougher and so will take a longer bust of laser fire to destroy, especially the larger ones with heavy armour.

Of course, your enemy won’t just passively sit there and be fired upon, as when targeting asteroids, you’ll need to keep the sound of the foe indicator centred to continue you’re barrage.

Also note, some ships when hit will eject cargo containers, so if your foe indicator changes to the normal scanner sound and you suddenly hear an announcement like “silk 22 you’ll know your enemy has dropped some of what it is carrying. ”, You’ll then have the choice to hunt down the cargo, or target the enemy again to continue the assault.

In addition to the change to the scanner beam, the game will also sound an enemy beacon to indicate the enemy’s position when its outside of scanner (and laser), range.  A higher pitched beacon means the ship is ahead, a lower pitched one means it is behind you. Note that ships can also fly past you, so keep a watch for distance if your flying straight at the enemy.

The final sound associated with enemy ships, is the indicator that a fugitive is entering the area which sounds like a short tone going low to high.

Fugitives are pirates, criminals and smugglers, this means they’re desperate and far more likely to fire on you than other sorts of ships. On the plus side, it also means they’re worth a bounty if you can get them before they get you.

Note that while all this is going on, there are also the normal scanning sounds for cargo containers, and (if you have your radar turn on), the continuous  sounds of other ships and objects around you, indeed its recommended to turn the radar off in combat situations at first just to make the audio landscape a bit less crowded.

3.2: taking damage and survival 

Of course, most enemy ships are equipped with lasers just like yours, some will attack you straight off (especially fugitives), though even comparatively peaceful natured pilots will use their lasers if fired upon.

You will know the enemy is firing at you when you hear a continuous low pitched thrumming, since as mentioned previously, lasers do continuous damage so long as the target is in range. Note that you will also hear the enemy beacon indicating the shooter’s position, which could be useful in getting some payback or running from the enemy if the situation is looking too grim.

obviously the sturdier your hull, the more damage it will take, so be careful when getting into battles if you’re flying a tin can.

Your computer will say “damaged” when your hull hits %50 and “scram” when your hull hits %10, so listen out for those indicators, and remember that docking at a freeport will repair your hull completely.

You can of course extend your ship’s survival value by buying armour at freeports and other destinations. Armour gives you a full %100 upgrade of your ship’s maximum hp, however, once armour is gone, its gone, you’ll need to buy more at a rate of 1 credit for every percent. This means if you’re getting shot up a lot it can be expensive, though it can also be helpful in a pinch sometimes, especially if your docked at a place which sells armour and your hull is on its last legs.

Of course, if you have a faster ship with damaging lasers and are getting hit less, generally you will be making enough money from bounties and selling loot to make the armour a reasonable investment.

More expensive defensive upgrades are available at robot planets. These include the sensor scrambler for 2000 credits, which will effectively drop all damage you take by a third, and the hull regeneration system which costs literally as much as your ship.

Though extremely expensive for larger ships, the regeneration system is well worth the money, and can pretty much insure survival, unless you really run into trouble. It repairs one percentage of damage to your ship for every unit of space you fly through, and since even in combat your flying a lot, that means your hull will regenerate pretty quickly.

3.3: Flip and roll

The flip and roll function is an extremely useful ability possessed by some ships. Hitting the U key you can instantly flip your ship 180 degrees to face the opposite direction. Handy for scanning a system, compensating for ships with slower rates of turn, and of course getting enemies in your sights who are creeping up behind you.

3.4: missiles 

Missiles are an extra combat option besides your laser. Launched at right angles from your ship by pressing the q key, they will automatically fly out sideways and target the nearest fugitive, so best used when you hear a ship’s enemy beacon to one side, but can’t quite turn fast enough to bring your laser to bear.

While they cost 30 credits each, often the bounties you get from destroying ships will cover that, assuming the missiles hit, plus of course you might be able to pick up loot as well.

Of course the biggest drawback is that missiles are limited, so you have to use them sparingly.

3.5: ship behaviour.

While you will encounter various sorts of ships (check the below list), not all of their pilots behave in quite the same way. Some hostile ships will fire on you straight off, some will attempt to flee if you fire on them and some will pay you no attention so long as you don’t bother them (especially in safer star systems).

one important thing to remember, is that just like you, other ships are out there to make money, which means they’ll make a bee line for  freely floating cargo. This means often when you shoot up one ship which drops cargo, a whole bunch of others will pop along to say hello. This is another reason to only use the radar in combat when you’re comfortable with it, since space can get pretty crowded.

Keep a watch out for fugitives particularly since they’re far more likely to fire on you, and always be aware of how dangerous the system your in is, since the higher the danger rating of the system, the more likely aggressive ships are to show up, especially if you have a fugitive status yourself.

The game’s documentation states that you should eject cargo with the e key to get pilots off your back. The problem is that free floating cargo usually means more ships turn up rather than less, thus, the best use for ejecting cargo is as bate to lure in rich bounties (a particularly good use for worthless rocks or methane).

3.6: Danger ratings. 

If you hold down the c key, you will be told the danger rating of the next system ahead of you, i.e. the system you will jump to if you hit p for hyperspace, (You can learn the danger rating of your current system in the pause menu). The danger rating directly corresponds to the aggression of the ships in the system, as well as how quickly fugitives and other hostiles will appear around floating cargo.

While a successful pilot with a good combat vessel should be able to take on the highest danger systems, note that smaller, less armoured or less manoeuvrable ships will end up in more trouble, so always watch where you’re going, and if you need to go through dangerous systems, remember to use the auto pilot and quick hyperspace jumps.

3.7: fugitive status 

Under the status screen of your auto pilot you will notice you have a note of your police record which begins at clean. If you accumulate more than 25 penalty points, you will be declared an offender, while over 50 penalty points will have you declared a fugitive.

The worst your status, the more likely aggressive ships are to show up, indeed for fugitives, even danger rating one systems can be dangerous places.

Ejecting toxic waste from your cargo hold in a populated sector will earn you two penalty points, while shooting at a police Viper ship or a unarmed worm ship will earn 30 penalty points.
Shooting at a rock hermit in an asteroid field will earn you 50 penalty points and an instant status of fugitive.

Any other ship is fair game, indeed you can even shoot at a none aggressive ship of another type and be absolutely fine.

You can pay off penalty points at ten credits per point, so be careful with your laser.

One thing to note, is that not all worms or vipers are in the hands of the police, some belong to smugglers with a price on their heads.  If you scan a worm or a viper and hear the foe indicator instead of a normal scanning beam, it’s a smuggler therefore can be freely destroyed, and will likely earn you a high bounty as a reward.

Speaking of bounties, note that there are some  elite class pirates out there who are worth quite a bit more to take down, when you hear a short fanfare (actually the theme from Battle star Galactica), you know you’ve taken out an elite pirate and earned yourself a good reward, though these are comparatively rare.

3.8: flight and survival tips

The key to surviving fights is manoeuvrability. This is why the ships better suited to combat are those with a higher rate of turn, such as the adder, Asp or the Gecko and especially those with a flip and roll function available.

if a ship is behind you, you will have a far easier time turning to hit it if you aren’t moving yourself, while if it is ahead of you moving towards it can be helpful, especially if you blow it up and it leaves loot behind (though don’t blow up the loot by mistake). Always keep a track on how far you are from the enemy, if you look like your over shooting slow down, while if the enemy is a fair distance away, speed up, also, slow down to grab cargo containers fast. In general remember that your flying a spaceship with variable speed and a constant engine, and try to practice until you can turn and throttle up and down smoothly. If an enemy is shooting at you, take note of the direction of incoming fire and whether the enemy is above or behind, then either turn and slay it or run.
Use the flip and roll function to target ships quickly, or to run out of trouble if you’ve got something nasty on your tail.

always listen out for the sound that fugitives are entering the area, though of course if you want to prepare a nice surprise, you can centre this sound and start firing as soon as they appear.

For avoiding combat, or even just getting out of sticky situations fast,  overdrive is your friend, indeed often if you’ve run into trouble whilst making your way to a destination, its wiser to just jet somewhere else with overdrive, line yourself up using either the auto pilot or freeport beacons then try again.
In particular, be extra careful when entering major locations where overdrive is disabled such as asteroid fields Jovianss and stars, and if your refuelling, try not to do it in a system where your likely to be attacked, since getting stuck between the corona of a star and some attacking pirates is a very bad idea,

If you are attacked, Listen out for who is firing at you, and respond accordingly, especially if your getting fired on by multiple enemies at once. also bear in mind that since new ships tend to be drawn to floating cargo, your better off running from a situation than trying to kill all your attackers, since inevitably there will be a new wave coming in, also don’t stop around to pick up absolutely every cargo container out there unless you’re in a system with a low danger rating and things look quiet.

while you will only receive a full hull repair at freeports, landing on other locations, even uninhabited planets is often  a good way to get incoming ships out of your hair, also at a pinch don’t be afraid to just jump out of the system, since there is always a less dangerous place you can sell your goods at.

Remember, that until you’ve got a top of the line ship with a hefty laser a pirates or bounty hunter’s game is mostly hit and run, and it’s always better to live another day.

don’t start anything unless you intend to finish. In low danger systems most ships won’t bother you unless you bother them, and if you’ve got a hold full of goods already or a severely damaged hull, it might be better to save your aggression for later, especially if your flying one of the less combat ready ships.

Lastly, don’t give up, nobody learned to become an ace pilot in a day, and in space accidents happen. All it takes to become a better pilot is experience and better hardware, and you’ll acquire both in time.

3.8: combat upgrades 

Laser upgrades: mining laser 200 credits, beam laser 400 credits, pulse laser 800 credits, military laser 1600 credits.

Available from anywhere in the equipment consumables menu, while the mining laser is only good for asteroid mining, any of the three better types of laser will help in combat, though be careful if using just the beam laser, especially against big ships like the boa or the fer de lance.
Note that the max laser type you can have is dictated  by what type of ship your flying.

Missiles: available anywhere costing 30 credits.

you can only store as many missiles on board as your ship’s max complement, which can range from 0 to 12.

Sensor scrambler: only available from robot planets costing 1500 credits, this effectively reduces all incoming damage by %33, expensive but worth the money.

Hull regeneration system: This costs exactly as much as your ship does, meaning it’s a very expensive option for larger ships. On the other hand it regenderates one percentage of hull damage for each unit of space you fly through and so you never need to buy armour ever again. It also virtually insures your survival unless you’re getting completely swamped, so is well worth the expense.

3.9: Other upgrades

Radar: bought from anywhere, costs 150 credits, see section 1.4.

Armour: bought from anywhere available at 1 credit per percent, effectively  the maximum hp of your hull, but needs to be bought again once it’s been blown away.

Fuel: bought from anywhere available at one credit per percent, the percentage  fuel the ship uses at each jump is relative to the ship’s total fuel capacity. Not really worth buying though since refuelling in stars costs nothing.

Ten gallon fuel tank extension: effectively gives your ship the capacity for 10 more hyperspace jumps  therefore pretty much negates any concern about a ship’s fuel capacity, since even basic ships can have a capacity of 12 with the upgrade.

4: Ships.

When you begin the game you must first choose a faction, this affects where you start, since you always begin at a faction capital but doesn’t affect much else throughout the game. Your second choice however is far more serious since you must choose your starting ship. Each ship has the following stats:

Max speed, how fast the ship moves when you’ve throttled it up to speed 10.
Steering: How fast the ship turns from side to side, extra important for targeting your enemies.

Cargo capacity: how many cargo units it holds, especially relevant for trading and robot mining.

Fuel capacity: how many hyperspace jumps it can make before refuelling. This stat should be important, but in practice since all ships can buy the upgrade for 150 credits which gives an extra 10 hyperspace jumps worth of fuel, it doesn’t matter as much as you might think.

Max laser type: the highest level of laser that can be installed on the ship by default, you’ll need to buy it.

Max missile complement: how many missiles the ship can hold at one time.

Most ships can be obtained from Terran planets, though a few specialist ships can be obtained from robot planets as well.

4.1: worm.

Price 1000 credits or freely available at start up.
Hull: 40.
Max speed: 0.6.
Steering: 0.8.
Fuel tank capacity: 2.
Cargo capacity: 10.
Max laser type: unavailable.
Max missile complement: 0.
Flip and roll: yes.

The worm is intended as an easy level of the game. Built primarily for trading and gas harvesting without even a mining laser. The major advantage of the worm of course, is that since its illegal to fire on the worm, you are completely safe from all combat, giving you a chance to get used to other aspects of the game first. To begin it’s recommended to trade resources until you can afford the 250 credits for the Fuel tank expansion upgrade, this will vastly extend your range of jumps and let you explore more of the galaxy.

Note that firing on a worm who doesn’t fire at you out in space will earn you 30 penalty points, though sometimes you will encounter worms with a foe indicator being used by smugglers who can be freely despatched, as well as being an easy kill.

4.2: ophidian.   

Price 1200 credits or freely available at start up.

Hull: 40.
Max speed: 0.6.
Steering: 0.85.
Fuel tank capacity: 2.
Cargo capacity: 15.
Max laser type: mining laser.
Max missile complement: 0.
Flip and roll: No.

This is the hardest option at start up, since effectively it’s a worm that can be freely shot at by other ships and has no flip function, yes, it has a mining laser, but it doesn’t have much else.

4.3: Cobra

Price: 7000 or freely available at start up.
Hull: 80.
Max speed: 1.
Steering: 1.
Fuel tank capacity: 7.
Cargo capacity: 30.
Max laser type: Military laser.
Max missile complement: 4.
Flip and roll: Yes.

This is the classic start from the original Elite which famously featured the Cobra ship. The problem in a way is that the cobra is actually a pretty good ship as its price shows. Equip it with a pulse or military laser and it’ll hold its own in a fight, plus with a large hold trading can be quite lucrative.

if there is one problem with the Cobra, it is that starting in it you won’t have much incentive to change ships until you’ve earned a lot of money for one of the high end models.

4.4: Sidewinder

Price: 1200.
Hull: 40.
Max speed: 0.7.
Steering: 1.5.
Fuel tank capacity: 3.
Cargo capacity: 8.
Max laser type: pulse laser.
Max missile complement: 0.
Flip and roll: Yes.

The in game description lists this as a one man pursuit and intercept craft, which it pretty much is. The highest steering in the game, but not much of anything else.

4.5: adder

Price:
Hull: 40.
Max speed: 0.8.
Steering: 1.4.
Fuel tank capacity: 4.
Cargo capacity: 12.
Max laser type: Pulse laser.
Max missile complement: 1.
Flip and roll: yes.

Take a sidewinder, add a missile and a bit more cargo space at the price of a jot less speed and you have a handy little combat vessel, though this one might need armour to compensate for the low hull rating.

4.6: Moray

Price: 2000.
Hull: 50.
Max speed: 0.9.
Steering: 1.2.
Fuel tank capacity: 7.
Cargo capacity: 16.
Max laser type: Pulse laser.
Max missile complement: 3.
Flip and roll: No.

Required to visit one special location, but not really a top of the line ship there are ships available for a little more money with a lot better stats.

4.7: Krait

Price: 2500.
Hull: 50.
Max speed: 0.92.
Steering: 1.3.
Fuel tank capacity: 5.
Cargo capacity: 20.
Max laser type: pulse laser.
Max missile complement: 1.
Flip and roll: yes.

If you’re not fond of missiles, this is definitely the better choice over the moray, the cargo capacity means it’s a reasonable trading vessel, and the high steering, flip and roll function  and not too bad speed means it’ll survive relatively well in combat.

4.8: Mamba

Price: 3000.
Hull: 60.
Max speed: 0.94.
Steering: 1.1.
Fuel tank capacity: 6.
Cargo capacity: 24.
Max laser type: beam laser.
Max missile complement: 2.
Flip and roll: Yes.

If  it weren’t for the terrible laser this would be a relatively decent ship, but  the speed and steering aren’t quite high enough to make up for the lack of fire power..

4.9: Asp

Price: 6000.
Hull: 70.
Max speed: 0.96.
Steering: 1.1.
Fuel tank capacity: 6.
Cargo capacity: 28.
Max laser type: Beam laser.
Max missile complement: 3.
Flip and roll: no.

Like the adder, this would be a great ship if it weren’t for the cruddy laser and lack of a flip and roll function, sadly the cobra outclasses it for pretty much everything and costs not too much more.

4.10: fer de lance

Price: 15000.
Hull: 100.
Max speed: 1.2.
Steering: 1.
Fuel tank capacity: 8.
Cargo capacity: 40.
Max laser type: Military laser.
Max missile complement: 6.
Flip and roll: No.

While there are more manoeuvrable ships out there, a high class trader with a big cargo hold which can hold its own in a fight is certainly a handy vessel to have, though with no flip and roll this one is only recommended for experienced pilots.

4.11: Python

Price: 14000.
Hull: 120.
Max speed: 1.1.
Steering: 0.9.
Fuel tank capacity: 10.
Cargo capacity: 60.
Max laser type: Military laser.
Max missile complement: 4.
Flip and roll: No.

The lack of flip and roll and low steering on this makes it a bit clunky for most combats, though the masses of cargo space could come in handy.

4.12: boa

Price: 20000.
Hull: 150.
Max speed: 1.2.
Steering: 0.8.
Fuel tank capacity: 12.
Cargo capacity: 80.
Max laser type: military laser.
Max missile complement: 8.
Flip and roll: no.

Cargo space just gets bigger with the more expensive ships, and since trading bulk cargo is a quick way to make lots of money later in the game, that’s not a bad thing, though this one will be relying on missiles to get it out of trouble.

4.13: anaconda

Price: 30000.
Hull: 180.
Max speed: 1.3.
Steering: 0.75.
Fuel tank capacity: 15.
Cargo capacity: 100.
Max laser type: military laser.
Max missile complement: 12.
Flip and roll: No.

Pretty fast when flying in a straight line, yet not so quick to manoeuvre, still the big missile bank and hefty hull should make up for a lot of issues.

4.14: Viper

Obtained from robot planets.
Price: 4000.
Hull: 60.
Max speed: 1.2.
Steering: 1.2.
Fuel tank capacity: 5.
Cargo capacity 15.
Max laser type: beam laser.
Max missile complement: 2.
Flip and roll: No.

Only used by the police and the odd smuggler, if you see one of these and have illegal cargo, run for it, and don’t shoot them down unless you want criminal status, well not unless they shoot at you first, in which case fire away.
On the other hand as a ship to own yourself there are some distinct plusses, including great top speed and steering which might just help out with the lack of fire power.

4.15: Cottonmouth

Obtained from robot planets.
Price: 4500
Hull: 20
Max speed: 0.8.
Steering: 1.
Fuel tank capacity: 10.
Cargo capacity 35.
Max laser type: unavailable.
Max missile complement: 0.
Flip and roll: No.

Essentially a higher class worm, the Cottonmouth is effectively a ship specialised for trading and nothing else. It is entirely immune to laser damage, and likewise has no weaponry of its own.

4.16: Gecko

Obtained from Robot planets.
Price: 10000.
Hull: 70.
Max speed: 1.4.
Steering: 1.2.
Fuel tank capacity: NA
Cargo capacity: 25.
Max laser type: military laser.
Max missile complement: 0.
Flip and roll: Yes.

The fastest ship in the game and awesome in combat with a reasonable sized cargo hold, plus it has the benefit of a revolutionary fuel system which means it never needs to find a star to refuel (ignore the stats that claim fuel tank 2, the tank always shows as full no matter what).
Really the lack of missiles is hardly a drawback.

4.17: Thargoid

Obtained from robot planets.
Price: 40000.
Hull: 200.
Max speed: 1.3.
Steering: 0.9.
Fuel tank capacity: 15.
Cargo capacity: 120.
Max laser type: military laser.
Max missile complement: 6.
Flip and roll: Yes.

Yes, you too can own one of those intimidating alien ships, though sadly without the ability to throw out drones of your own.
A huge hull and great top speed, plus lots of bling factor for flying around in an alien death machine. Buy one at a robot planet if you have the cash.

5: The galaxy 

Here is some miscellaneous information about the galaxy, which is just added for convenience and to help pilots along the way.

5.1: list of common stellar locations

Stars.
dwarf, medium, giant, supergiant.

Range in size from small to large, all can be used to refuel your ship.

Neutron star: Similar to a dwarf star, but no use for refuelling.

Worm holes: will take you to another system a long way across the galaxy when you fly into the event horizon and hit p.

Proto star, quasar, black hole: found in some special locations, cannot be interacted with and (surprisingly), don’t do you any damage when entering (yes you can freely fly across a black hole without trouble).

Nebulae: Contain various gasses which can be picked up, all can be sold on at freeports for cash accept methane.

Jofians: Gas giant planets similar to Jupiter, can be flown across to find gasses like a nebula.

Asteroid fields and belts: Contain asteroids which can be blasted into meteors, then into small chunks of ore to be picked up and sold for cash at freeports, but be careful of picking up worthless rocks.

Freeports: Space stations where you can buy and sell minerals. You can also get your  hull repaired here and buy some common equipment such as lasers and armour. All freeports will show up with an audio beacon which is audible when your close buy, though also note that freeports are always in orbit around a planet, Jovian or planetoid.

Zocalo: Space stations where criminal transactions take place. Go here to buy and sell illegal goods.
Like Freeports, Zocalo stations are usually found orbiting another body.

planets.
All will show up as “Terran primary” to your scanners, but when you land you’ll find them of different types.

Terran colonies: you can land here to buy new ships and buy and sell manufactured goods.

Robot planets: you can land here to buy some specialist equipment and ships.

Alien planets, found in alien sectors, this is where you get missions.

Uninhabited planets: You can land here, but not do much else.

Planetoids.
All will show up as “planetoid” on your scanners, but like planets they come in different types.

Primary planetoid, where you can buy illegal goods cheaply to sell off at a Zocalo, just watch out for vipers.

Public domain planetoid: where you can land to setup an automated robot miner and then land later to load your ship with what it digs up. Note that mines will eventually be tapped out, but the goods will stay there until you get around to picking them up.

Uninhabited planetoids: like uninhabited planets you can land here but not do much else.

Moons.

Uninhabited moons: baron chunks of space rock with no value, just like uninhabited planets and planetoids you can land on them but not a lot else.

Inhabited moons: These can be landed on and bought if you have a lot of spare credits, though note they’re the most expensive things in the game and basically just exist for bling factor.

Note that at most locations, you can ask for directions to the nearest asteroid field, nebula, primary planet, public domain planetoid, inhabitable moon, uninhabited sector (for dropping off toxic waste without penalty), or alien sector for obtaining missions.

5.2: ranks list

In the game, your rank is determined by your kill count. You begin as harmless, and one aim of the game is to raise your rank to elite (which will also give you access to the legendary dark wheel space station where you can earn a special reward).

You can always see your rank from the status page of the pause menu (hit spacebar), which also gives important information such as your criminal status and lets you read the mission journal.

The ranks are as follows:
Harmless: 0 kills.
Mostly harmless: 25 kills.
Average: 50 kills.
Competent: 100 kills.
Dangerous: 250 kills.
Elite: 1025 kills.

5.3: saving your game   

Whenever you land on something, the game is automatically saved for you, you can restore it by using the “autosave” option when loading your game from the main menu. The game also contains 14 permanent save slots for alternative games, or points you might want to make a different decision. You can access the save menu whenever your landed.

You can also quit without saving mid space flight from the pause menu.

5.4: mission outlines 

Since the missions come with really interesting flavour text about the world, this is not going to be a complete walkthrough, just one or two pointers for each mission in points people have got stuck before.

5.4.1: Milk run

Somewhat of a tutorial since it requires you to go and grab a unit of methane from a Jovian and deliver it, also a useful mission to do first if you’ve started playing with the worm since it nets you a handy reward.

To complete the mission, just fly into the Jovian and grab some methane, then fly one system east and dock at the freeport, then fly one system east again  land on the planet.

5.4.2: A fare exchange

You will need offender status or better to dock on Babylon 5 station. While you only need 1 unit of fire arms for the mission, its recommended you  buy some more just in case you run into a viper. Remember to get to the  fragment quickly or the mission will be failed.

5.4.3: What’s your poison

You will need a Moray ship to dock on the rogue moon, and also need at least one unit of organisms in your hold, though as with the previous mission more are recommended for safety’s sake. You’ll also need a criminal record to dock on Babylon 5.

5.4.4:Acquiring hardware

This is one of the harder missions but one its recommended to do before you have a really expensive ship. ~You will need engine parts in your hold before docking at the military ship yard and also get there quickly or fail the mission.  You will also need to  make sure you can find the zocalo in the  sector two southwest of the ship yard,  because you will have no weapons when going there and it’s a danger 7 sector, remember that space stations can always be found orbiting around planets.

if you are quick enough you will be rewarded with a new krait ship and no further hassle.

If you take the rather tempting prise offered you (it is something quite awesome), consequences will be bad, and you’ll find many locations inaccessible to you. You aren’t completely doomed, but you’ll need a Viper to access police hq and your eventual reward will be smaller.

5.4.5: Missing xeno archaeologist

This is the most complex mission and should be undertaken last, particularly since it serves as a game finale of sorts.
First, visit the generation ship, then find the zocalo six sectors north , do not dock anywhere else on the way or you will fail the mission. You can of course go to an alien sector, but this ends the mission prematurely.

Then, visit the next locations your pointed to, and then the ancient station, this will reward you with some information and a very awesome artefact, as well as a final pretty epic location.

Note that getting in to said final location requires a thargoid ship, which  is damnably expensive.

if at any time you visited the Dredger, you can go to the military HQ. You can land there if you have any illegal goods on your ship, but the ending you get is a grim one, amusing though it is.

5.5: Secret reward.

Warning, this section just exists for the sake of completeness and contains major spoilers.
If you manage to clock up your Elite rank, you get access to the Dark wheel station.
There you can buy the Constrictor class ship, seen briefly in the “acquiring hardware” mission, it has the following stats:

Constrictor.
Price: 16000.
Hull: 100.
Max speed: 1.4.
Steering: 1.2.
Fuel tank capacity: NA.
Cargo capacity: 45.
Max laser type: military laser.
Max missile complement: 5.
Flip and roll: No.

Basically a bigger, tougher version of the Gecko, with the fastest speed in the game and a very respectable cargo hold.

If you want an untouchable  ship to go cruising round the galaxy, making Thargoids tremble and  earning money to buy moons with, this is it!

Conclusion

I hope you’ve found this guide helpful, and are now equipped to start prospering and spreading terror through the galaxy.
Thanks again and congratulations to Freeman69, for one of the most truly awesome audiogames produced in a very long while.

needless to say, if (as we hope), the game gets updated with new content, this guide will be updated too.

Any questions, feel free to ask.

Now I’m off to slay some pirates!

With our dreaming and singing, Ceaseless and sorrowless we! The glory about us clinging Of the glorious futures we see,
Our souls with high music ringing; O men! It must ever be
That we dwell in our dreaming and singing, A little apart from ye. (Arthur O'Shaughnessy 1873.)

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