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3.6.1 How do I change, re-equip, or create new fleets?

In order to re-equip, or add new ships, the fleet needs to be close to a planet with a Military Spaceport. Only capital ships can have equipment loadouts altered – not fighters. Modify equipment by selecting the ship, which displays an image of the vessel on the right of the screen. Click on one of the green boxes on that image, and then move the appropriate item of equipment between the ship and the inventory below – you may need to first remove equipment before you can add new items. Note that not all equipment can be removed, notably hyperdrives. To add new ships to an existing fleet, select the fleet and vessel type on the Equipment screen, then use the Add to deploy units. Fighters may also be removed to storage, capital ships may not. To add a new ship to a new fleet, first create a new fleet by selecting a planet with a Military Spaceport, then pressing “New” from the equipment screen. You may split and move ships between two fleets in the same location via the Equipment (F4) screen. You do not need to be near a Military Spaceport to split, join and transfer currently deployed vessels. If you transfer ships, the fleet receiving the new ships will be indicated on the screen as “Secondary”. If you have several fleets in the same location, you may need to move one or more away first.

3.6.2 Can I automatically re-equip or upgrade equipment on fleets and units on planets?

Yes and no. The options screen (Esc) allows you to re-equip tanks to planets, and bombs and missiles to spacecraft. This assumes you have excess stocks of such items available. You cannot automatically replace lost equipment on ships, nor can you automatically upgrade equipment. This can make upgrading ships very time consuming. Bershe comments: “Here’s a trick – if you have 10+ ships of any type in a fleet, they are categorized together… So, select the category, select the (for example) laser pod. Hit the ‘+’ button to fully load the ship, then push enter. And repeat until fleet is outfitted. This is MUCH more efficient.”

3.6.3 Which planet is unused equipment stored on?

It isn’t stored in any one place. Unused equipment (not assigned to planets or fleets, or mounted on spacecraft) is held in a virtual storage, which can be accessed from anywhere. Is this good game design? Tim Chown comments: “Deploying on any planet is fine as long as you can’t remove and add the way it is now. After all, your weapon factories are all grouped together for production purposes. But to be able to instantly transfer from 1 planet/fleet to another is something that should be corrected.”

3.6.4 How do I repair ships and vehicles?

Capital ships which have been damaged repair naturally over time. You cannot speed this process up. Heavily damaged capital ships may have lost equipment. Lost equipment will not repair over time, and needs to be re-equipped from stores – see How do I change or re-equip a fleet? above. Damaged vehicles and fighters repair instantly between battles.

3.6.5 How do I build new units and equipment?

Production is only available at Captain rank and higher. You can only build what you have researched, know to start with, or capture from aliens. You need at least one factory per type of production (spacecraft, weapons, equipment). Additional factories will allow faster production – this increases the “full capacity” value on the relevant production screen. Each colony can build up to one factory of each type. Production needs to be ordered, and paid for with credits, via the Production screen (F5). You can produce up to 5 different things at once in each category, biasing the rate at which each is produced by altering the “Importance” value. Production itself is not planet specific, and items produced go straight into the store of unused equipment. Buildings are included on the production screen, although they are not produced via it – they are simply built on the relevant colony.

3.6.6 How do I build Flagships?

Flagships, including Colonization Ships, require you to have at least one Orbital Space Factory orbiting around a planet. You do not need the orbital factory to be in the same location you wish to deploy Flagships. Flagships are deployed in the same way as other ships – around planets with Military Spaceports. This means you only ever need one orbital factory in your empire (just ensure you defend it adequately).

3.6.7 Can I build the Leviathan?

No, not in normal play. Although unpatched versions of the game may fool you into trying, and may then cause technical problems – don’t try. You can only have one Leviathan, the “Thorin”, your command ship as Admiral. From GT: “The Leviathan was removed from the game late in development. It was found that the game was too easy if you could build as many of these as you wanted.” From Karthik: “You can actually build it but you can’t research it. Use the cheat code to get all the inventions. Once done you can build the Thorin.”

3.6.8 Can I rename fleets?

Yes. On the Equipment screen (F4), select the fleet, then click on the fleet name in the bottom left panel. You should see a cursor appear. Delete the old name and type in the new.

3.6.9 How do I use Virus Bombs?

From Matt Forrestal: “Only the Thorin seems to be able to use them, and it can only carry four.” From vakundok: “[They] lower the population of the target world, reducing the tax income of your enemy.” Alain Roy writes: “I attacked Persol 2 (20,000 inhabitants) with virus bombs. Population fell at about 8000. Another attack went down to 3000 and so forth up to about 500. Does not work below this population. After the attacks, population started to move up again, but at a lower speed.”

3.6.10 Can I build alien ships and equipment once I capture their colonies?

No. You can use the factories on alien colonies to produce your own equipment, spaceships and weapons. In rare cases you may capture existing building technology, such as Phood Factories from the Garthogs, but that’s all.

3.6.11 How do I find planets?

Most planets will only show up on the map after you fly within radar range of them. To retrieve further information about the planet, select the planet, and then click Add Sat. You’ll need a Survey Satellite in stock – you only get one to start with, but you can produce them with Captain rank. Colonized planets can be spied on using Spy satellites, which can be researched at Commander rank and higher. To automatically determine planet ownership, move a ship equipped with a Phased Array close to the planet.

3.6.12 What ships are available?

Here is a list. Satellites and Orbital Bases are listed under What equipment and weapons are available?. Optimum equipment loadouts are given after the list:

  • Cruisers:
    • Cruiser 1 (Thunder): “Another leftover from the Old Empire, it is outdated but cheap and readily available.” Cost 15,000. One available as Captain, research as Commander.
    • Cruiser 2 (Thunder-II): “The designers concentrated on the shield generators of this upgrade to the Thunder Class, but this additional mass without stronger drives made it a bit sluggish.” Cost 25,000. Research as Admiral.
    • Cruiser 3 (Cahudhri): “Advanced drive systems, coupled with heavier armor, and cutting edge targeting and fire control make this the most feared cruiser in the Empire’s arsenal.” Cost 36,000. Research as Grand Admiral. From Mega Products: “Cruiser IIIs are recommended as the ultimate goal of your research. Not only are they superlative ships-of-the-line in their own right but each carries a payload of four missiles and four bombs each. When you have these you’ll find you have the payload to conduct protracted campaigns without refit and find the subsequent rapidity of your invasions invaluable.”
  • Destroyers:
    • Destroyer 1 (Guardian): “This is the most commonly encountered light destroyer. A leftover from the times of the Old Empire, its main advantage is its low cost and ready availability.” Cost 12,000.
    • Destroyer 2 (Warrior): “The Warrior Class are just refitted Guardian Class destroyers, well equipped with more modern weaponry, but still vulnerable due to a low power shield generator.” Cost 17,500. Research as Commander.
    • Destroyer 3 (Jabberwocky): “The Jabberwocky Class is the principle of destroyer development. Good shields, heavy firepower, and dual magnetic ram-pump drive system for high speed and versatility.” Cost 22,000. Research as Admiral.
  • Fighters (fighter loadouts cannot be customized):
    • Fighter 1 (Raptor): “The Raptor is a simple no-frills fighter craft. It is armed with dual laser cannons and has a low powered magnetic deflection shield for defense.” Cost 2000.
    • Fighter 2 (Valkyrie): “The Valkyrie is a superior fighter to the Raptor in every respect. It has a quad laser battery for firepower, a higher gauss mag-def shield and more powerful drives.” Cost 3200. Available as Captain.
    • Fighter 3 (Hammerhand): “Carrying dual twin laser weapons load, the Hammerhand is an incremental improvement on the Valkyrie. It also has a new shield design with high capacity field inductors.” Cost 3000. Research as Commander.
    • Fighter 4 (Streak): “The Streak is a deadly craft, swift and lethal. 4 twin lasers, coupled with the most advanced drive tech available. When designed, it became a serious threat in combat.” Cost 7400. Research as Admiral.
    • Fighter 5 (WraithFighter): “The WraithFighter utilizes advances in stealth technology combined with a new phase coupled dipole mag deflector shield array to achieve an almost unhittable fighter.” Cost 10,000. Research as Admiral.
    • Fighter 6 (Strikebomber): “The Strikebomber is a heavy craft designed for dropping unguided high yield bombs on heavy craft. It is a real threat but must have a fighter escort for optimal effect.” Cost 12,000. Research as Grand Admiral.
  • Flagships:
    • Colonizat. Ship: “The Colonization ship is used to establish colonies. These immense vessels carry construction tools, colonists, everything needed for a new start on a virgin planet.” Cost 80,000. Research as Admiral.
    • Flagship 1 (Mammoth): “Powerful shields, heavy weaponry, and capable of carrying ground assault forces…” Cost 80,000. Available as Commander.
    • Flagship 2 (Python): “A bit slower than the Mammoth, the Python’s firepower is far superior. The ground unit payload has also been enlarged and its shields are much stronger.” Cost 130,000. Hyperdrive 5 only – although by default it may come with Hyperdrive 4. Research as Admiral.
    • Flagship 3 (Kraken): “The Kracken has heavy shields [all flagships can fit the SuperHvy shield], massive firepower, and the capability to land a fully equipped army on enemy worlds. The Kraken is the jewel of the Empire’s fleets.” Cost 230,000. Research as Grand Admiral.
    • Leviathan: “The Thorin is the only surviving Leviathan Class Flagship. It is significantly more powerful than the Kraken Class Flagship.” Cost 1,000,000 (but cannot be produced). Available as Admiral.

The table below shows the maximum equipment loadout possible, both in terms of number of items and the most technologically advanced item that can be fitted. In most cases lower-technology items can be fitted, although some of the highly advanced vessels can only fit higher-technology items. A list of abbreviations is given at the bottom. The value ‘vehicles’ refers to the number of vehicles that can be carried without a pod. For further explanation of equipment types, see What equipment and weapons are available? below.

Maximum Ship Equipment Loadouts
Ship Shield Laser Weapons Guns Bombs Missiles Radar Cargo module ECM Module Hyperdrive Vehicles
Colonizat. Ship 1xSH 1xPA 1xV5
Cruiser 1 1xSH 8xUP 2xNG 1xFA 1xV4
Cruiser 2 1xSH 13xUP 8x** 1xFA 1xV5
Cruiser 3 1xSH 16xUP 20xMG 4xV2 4xMH 1xSK 1xV5
Destroyer 1 1xMS 6xUV 1xV2
Destroyer 2 1xMS 14xUP 1xV3
Destroyer 3 1xMS 18xUV 4xNG 1xFA 1xV5
Flagship 1 1xSH 14xUP 8xPG 8xV2 6xMH 1xPA 1xHC 1xV5 5
Flagship 2 1xSH 15xMG 12xV2 12xMH 1xPA 1xHC 1xV5 8
Flagship 3 1xSH 20xUP 20xMG 20xV2 14xMH 1xPA 1xHC 1xSK 1xV5 10
Leviathan 1xSH 24xUP 22xMG 4xVB 12xMH 1xPA 1xHC 1xSK 1xV5 12
  • Notes:
    • ** = 3x Plasma Guns, 5x Ion Guns.
  • Abbreviations:
    • FA = Field Array
    • HC = Heavy Cargo Pod
    • MG = Meson Gun
    • MH = Mul-head Missile
    • MS = Medium Shield
    • NG = Neutron Gun
    • PA = Phased Array
    • PG = Plasma Gun
    • SH = SuperHvy Shield
    • SK = Shocker ECM
    • UP = UV Pulse Laser
    • UV = UV Laser
    • VB = Virus Bomb

3.6.13 What equipment and weapons are available?

Here is a list. Quoted in-game text unfortunately contains a few statements that are blatantly incorrect – my comments on these are in square brackets:

  • Bombs (damage planetary facilities from orbit, must be replenished after use):
    • Bomb v1.0 (Destructor): “Destructors are used for attacking ground based targets from space. They are needed to take out ground based defenses [you can attack ground facilities with other weapons, but bombs are often more efficient].” Cost 1400.
    • Bomb v2.0 (Heavy Destructor): “An improved destructor, it has a large blast radius and kills thousands of colony inhabitants if they are unprotected.” Cost 1950. Research as Admiral.
    • Virus Bomb: “The Vius bomb carries a payload of particularly virulent prions which are capable of killing all known lifeforms. After the planet is ‘cleansed’ the virus dies out.” Cost 5000. Research as Admiral.
  • Cargo Pods (allow additional vehicles to be carried by flagships – from Mega Products: “Cargo pods are cheap, relatively easy to research and are a vital addition to every flagship. The extra cargo capacity they add will make all the difference in any ground battle they transport tanks to.”):
    • Cargo Pod: “This allows flagships to carry 3 additional ground vehicles.” Cost 7400. Research as Commander.
    • Heavy Cargo Pod: “The Heavy Cargo Pod gives the flagship to which it is retrofitted room for an additional 5 ground vehicles.” Cost 10,000. Research as Admiral.
  • ECMs (redirects incoming missiles):
    • Fuzzbox ECM: “The Electronic Counter Measures detects incoming missiles, and redirects them. The more time the ECM has to detect the missile, the more reliable it is.” Cost 7000. Research as Admiral.
    • Shocker ECM: “The Shocker ECM is an active countermeasures system. Using lasers, radio burst beams, gravitic pulse fields and neutrino emitters it confuses and diverts missile attacks.” Cost 13,500. Research as Admiral.
  • Guns (high damage, projectile based energy weapons):
    • Ion Gun: “The Ion Gun fires streams of positive and negatively charged ions. The two streams maintain cohesion until impact where the streams collapse in a huge blast.” Cost 1200. Research as Commander.
    • Meson Gun: “The ultimate weapon, the Meson Gun sprays short lived micro-singularities, easily crippling fleets of fighter craft.” Cost 4000. Research as Grand Admiral.
    • Neutron Gun: “The Neutron Gun is an improvement on the Ion Gun. Instead of charged ions it fires electrically neutral neutrons which increases beam cohesion and fire rate.” Cost 3200. Research as Admiral.
    • Plasma Gun: “The Plasma Gun fires a burst of superheated matter. A direct hit shatters hull plates with heat and shorts out electrical systems, crippling the target.” Cost 2140. Research as Admiral.
  • Hyperdrives (allow capital ships to move; every such ship must have one):
    • Hyperdrive v1.0: “This upgrades some of your spaceships [all capital ships start with at least this]. They will be able to travel 15% faster with this improved drive system [this is the basic drive, there is nothing to upgrade from].” Cost 2000. Fleet speed (assuming whole fleet equipped) 28.
    • Hyperdrive v2.0: “The upgraded spaceships will be able to travel 20% faster, with 15% less fuel consumption [ships don’t use fuel].” Cost 3200. Fleet speed 30. Research as Commander.
    • Hyperdrive v3.0: “This module upgrades your flagships [also can be fitted to most other capital ships]. Two extra boosters help increase the speed of the ship by 22%.” Cost 4300. Fleet speed 32. Research as Admiral.
    • Hyperdrive v4.0: “Your upgraded ships will be able to travel 30% faster than their original speed […whatever that was].” Cost 6000. Fleet speed 34. Research as Admiral.
    • Hyperdrive v5.0: “High fuel consumption is the only disadvantage of this thruster system. It provides a 35% speed upgrade, with a 20% boost in manoeuvrability.” Cost 9000. Fleet speed 36. Research as Grand Admiral.
  • Lasers (accurate, low damage, energy based weapons):
    • Laser: “The Laser has been a common weapon since the early 21st century. Accurate and efficient, its main drawback is its lack of damage dealing capability.” Cost 620.
    • Pulse Laser: “The Pulse Laser is a simple upgrade, increasing the rate of fire, and thus the amount of energy delivered to the target ship.” Cost 900. Research as Commander.
    • UV Laser: “Advances in high wavelength focusing techniques allow UV Laser to deliver significantly higher energy output, increasing the lethality of the weapon.” Cost 1400. Research as Admiral.
    • UV Pulse Laser: “Once the basic technique was perfected it was a simple step to upgrade the Pulse Laser to the focusing system. This is the most powerful laser available.” Cost 1750. Research as Admiral.
  • Missiles (damage to spacecraft and sometimes orbital structures):
    • Missile v1.0 (STK-1): “The STK-1 is a simple missile, carrying a high explosive load and using an uncomplicated turn and track targeting system.” Cost 900. Manoeuvrability 6. Speed 500.
    • Missile v2.0 (STK-1F): “This new version of the STK-1 is more manoeuvrable and faster.” Cost 1500. Manoeuvrability 8. Speed 850.
    • Mul-head Missile: “This missile, when it explodes, will burst into small multi-head explosives, which clear a large area of fighter aircraft.” Cost 6200. Research as Admiral.
  • Orbital Bases (game categorises these as spacecraft; deploy via Equipment screen):
    • Space Base 1 (Defender): “Space Stations are used to protect your planets from attack. They have heavy firepower and strong hull. They are the key to an effective defense.” Cost 65,000. Available as Commander.
    • Space Base 2 (Giant): “The Giant has massive firepower, and is capable of putting up a stiff resistance to enemy fleets that attempt to assault the planets it guards.” Cost 90,000. Research as Admiral.
    • Space Base 3 (Colossus): “The Colossus is the largest of all defensive stations. It can be a formidable foe for even the largest of starships.” Cost 125,000. Research as Grand Admiral.
    • Orbital Factory: “Orbital Factories provide the zero-G construction facilities needed to build your gigantic flagships.” Cost 80,000. Needs to be deployed around a planet, but once deployed flagships can be added at any planet with a Military Spaceport. Research as Commander.
  • Radars (ship based sensors that reveal the location of fleets):
    • Field Array: “The Focused Field Radar Array can be equipped onto any of your spaceships [no – not Destroyer 1/2 or Cruiser 3]. It detects any ships within 5 parsecs.” Cost 9000. Research as Commander.
    • Phased Array: “The Phased Field Array is a series of tuned Radar Arrays which can be carried by a flagship, their combined power detects and identifies spaceships and planets as well [earlier types detect planets, but this radar also provides information about colonies, such as ownership].” Cost 16,000. Research as Admiral.
    • Radar Array: “The Radar Array can be equipped onto any of your spaceships [again, not Destroyer 1/2 or Cruiser 3]. It detects any ships within 2 parsecs.” Cost 5000.
  • Satellites (game categorises these as spacecraft; deploy via starmap, by selecting the planet and clicking the “Add Sat” icon, or similar):
    • Adv Spy Sat: “This upgraded Spy Satellite has significant stealth enhancements and better sensors to detect and report on the ships and space bases around enemy planets.” Cost 2300. Gives same information as Spy Satellite, plus full building names. Research as Admiral.
    • Hubble 2: “A powerful Radar Telescope Satellite named after a famous Old Earth scientific satellite. The Hubble 2 can detect enemy fleets over very large distances.” Cost 2100. Research as Admiral. Range is about the same as Phased Telescope.
    • Survey Satellite: “The Survey Satellite is used to gather information on unexplored and unknown plants.” Cost 120.
    • Spy Satellite: “Spy Satellites are used to detect and monitor alien communications, activities and fleet movements.” Cost 1000. Reports colony ownership, population and building damage. Research as Commander.
  • Shields:
    • Heavy Shield: “This unit upgrades the shield power by 20% [there is no standard shield – default shielding is no shielding]. It uses a pulsed field technology.” Cost 12,000. Research as Admiral.
    • Light Shield: “Using higher gauss mag-def fields than standard shields, this upgrade increases the shield strength of the ships by 10% [erm].” Cost 4000.
    • Medium Shield: “Also utilizing higher gauss mag-def fields this upgrade increases the shield power of ships by 15% [another slightly odd statistic].” Cost 7500. Research as Admiral.
    • SuperHvy Shield: “Like the Medium Shield, this is a redesign of the core mag-def technology. Pulsed EM fields upgrade the shield power of flagships [and Cruisers] by 25%.” Cost 19,000. Research as Grand Admiral.
  • Vehicles (used in ground combat):
    • Behemoth: “The Behemoth uses a spun-titanium weave armor plate for unparalleled defense.” Cost 17,500. Fire range 5. Speed 3. Armor 7. Research as Grand Admiral. Unique to humans. Other aliens have their own special vehicles – see What types of aliens are there? below.
    • Heavy Tank (Rhino): “The Rhino Heavy Tank is the core of the Empire’s ground forces.” Cost 7000. Fire range 4. Speed 4. Armor 6. Research as Admiral.
    • Hvy Rocket Sled: “The Heavy Rocket Sled sacrifices armor for speed and more powerful rockets.” Cost 24,200. Fire range 8. Speed 7. Armor 1. Research as Admiral.
    • Light Tank (Cougar): “This Cougar Light Tank is often used as a recon vehicle due to its speed and armor.” Cost 3000. Fire range 2. Speed 5. Armor 3.
    • Medium Tank (Tiger): “Trading speed for armor and range, the Tiger is a battlefield mainstay.” Cost 4800. Fire range 4. Speed 4. Armor 4. Research as Commander.
    • Radar Car: “The Radar Car is a specialized recon vehicle with powerful side-looking radar, lidar, and magnetic detectors.” Cost 10,000. Garthogs counter this with their Radar Jammer. Although recon by eye is a pain sometimes, this vehicle is rarely needed in battle, and takes up a slot that could be filled with something mopre deadly.
    • Rocket Sled: “Vulnerable, but fast and agile, the Rocket Sled is a hit and run raider.” Cost 10,000. Fire range 9. Speed 6.5. Armor 2. Research as Commander. If used with care – not in the front line and firing at stationary targets, these units can be highly effective.

3.6.14 What limitations are there on fleet sizes and speeds?

Individual fleets have limited stack sizes – you can only add so many of certain types of vessel. Each fleet may have up to: 3 Flagships, 25 Cruiser/Destroyer, and 30 Fighters per type. Fleet speed is determined by the lowest rated hyperdrive fitted to any capital ship (Flagship, Destroyer or Cruiser) in the fleet. In order for hyperdrive upgrades to make any difference, the entire fleet needs to be upgraded. Fighters that travel with capital ships maintain the same speed as the ships they escort (I presume they are carried with the capital ships). Fighters in a fleet that contains no capital ships (i.e. just fighters) will travel far slower.

3.6.15 How do I sell excess or obsolete equipment?

You can sell items which are not deployed via the Production screen (F5). Slect the item and click on the “sell” button. You cannot sell capital ships that have already been deployed, although you can strip them of most of their equipment.

3.6.16 Can I train ships’ crews?

No, however, capital ships’ crews gain experience with every kill. Five or fewer kills they are classed as “Novice”, 6 or more kills as “Advanced”, “Pro” at 12, and “Ace” by 30. You can view this information when in space battles. Unfortunately trained crews cannot be transferred between ships, so by the time crews become experienced, their ships tend to have become obsolete and their experience is increasingly useless.

3.6.17 What is the difference between ship weapon types?

Lasers are rapid firing, but do light damage. They tend to be most effective against smaller fast moving targets. Guns are projectile based, and are more likely to miss moving targets, but will do a lot of damage when they hit. Bombs are used against planet based targets. Missiles are used against space based targets. Bombs and Missiles must be replenished after use, and there is a chance they will be shot down before they reach their target. Fighters can be turned into effective missiles by ordering Kamikaze attacks (proper missiles are cheaper, but kamikaze attacks can sometimes be an easy way out of a particularly difficult battle).

3.6.18 How do I upgrade Space Bases?

Once you have three of an older type in orbit, additional new types will start to replace older types. You may have no more than three Space Bases in orbit around each planet. Space Bases cannot be downgraded. For example, adding a Base 2 around a planet with three Base 1s will result in two Base 1s and a Base 2. Adding a Base 2 where there are only two Base 1s will result in two Base 1s and a Base 2.

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