From DarkSpace WIKI
In DarkSpace, being in the right place at the right time is very beneficial to your and your teammates' careers. Engineers need to be active in their endeavours towards re-building and repairing allied planets under attack. Supply vessels have to determine the best sequence for repairing damaged friendlies. Combat ships have to be on the move, and intercept enemy forces from attacking factional assets. All of these activities take place in a huge multi-star system environment, where quickly reacting to new information and intelligence can make a decisive difference in the outcome of the never-ending war.
While every ship - from the tiny scout to the massive station - has some degree of mobility, it is minuscule and inefficient compared to the vastness of space. Thus, for the sole purpose of reaching distant planets as soon as possible, research regarding faster-than-light travel was initiated in the past. This research has evolved into what the military of the warring factions call "Jump Drives".
Every ship in DarkSpace has a special drive for reaching FTL speeds. There are many types of FTL drives, but each of them fulfills the purpose of crossing vast distances quickly. The drives which employ technology to propel ships at the speed of light are known as 'Jump' drives.
The efficiency of these drives is measured on the basis of the speed of the drive, the fuel it consumes while jumping, the maximum fuel it can store and the time to recharge it for performing another jump.
The hotkey for any kind of Jump Device is "J", which can be used to initiate the jump procedure to reach any selected target. It is extremely important, however, that you be careful to know where you are jumping, as carelessness can send your vessel hurtling into the solid core of a gas giant or through the destructively searing corona of a star.
Plotting a Jump's Course
Centuries of star mapping and advanced algorithms have made it easy to determine the collision threat of a jump course. Open the Navigational Interface (F2) and select a target ship or planet, to see a straight line joining the target to your ship.
If this line is white, then the current course is clear for initiating a safe jump. However, if the line is red, or flickering, then there is an obstacle blocking your course of a probable jump. Initiating a jump to the target in these conditions will result in the destruction of your ship when you collide with the obstacle.
Caution must be exercised at all times, as floating asteroids are invisible to ship sensors unless they are actively sensed by a friendly ship near them. If you collide with an asteroid while jumping, your vessel will take critical or even destructive damage from the collision.
The pilot must also take care to notice Interdiction fields, as they can force a ship out of jump. The navigational algorithms do not factor in the presence of potential or known interdiction fields.
In the beginning, jumping straight towards a target is sufficient for new ensigns and lieutenants. Their nimble ships can quickly cross the short distance maintained by the jump algorithm to prevent collision with planets, caused by insufficient distance for slowing down a ship in motion.
However, as ships with special roles are brought under the player's command, they invariably realise the need of making accurate jumps to maximise their effectiveness. In such cases, temporary and movable co-ordinates are required to exit a jump at desired positions.
To do this, open the Navigational Interface, hold down the Control (Ctrl) key and click at a location on the map. This will create a 'manual target' at the location of the cursor, to which you can jump.
This method of jumping has many tactical purposes, such as going through a jump gate directly, jumping at approximately calculable distances from the target, jumping into deep space for reconnaissance or escape etc.
The requirements of initiating a jump are -
- Your ship's jump drive is fully charged.
- The jump drive contains enough fuel for the travel.
- Your ship is not affected by an interdiction field.
If these conditions are met, then selecting the target and activating the jump drive (Hotkey: J) will begin the jump procedure. The steps involved in the procedure are -
- Turn the ship so that the bow faces the target. An indicator shows the time remaining till the ship is in the correct direction.
- Initiate jump drive. Your ship will enter the jump mode, and the indicator will now show the time remaining before the jump drive is de-activated.
- De-activate the jump drive and begin recharge and cooldown. Your ship will exit the jump mode.
When you leave your jump, you will exit at the same speed at which you entered. The faster you are going when you start your jump determines how far away the algorithm will terminate the jump mode, ensuring that you have plenty of time to slow down or turn and avoid a potential crash should you be cruising towards a planet at 30 gu/s.
The jump algorithm works as follows :- Assume that there are two ships of different sizes, the player in a ship with radius 10 GU and the other ship with radius 20 GU. The ships are 2000 gu apart (that is, the center of the ships are 2000 gu apart). The player ship is travelling at 20 GU/s, and the other ship is stationary.
The calculation is done as follows:
Jump Distance = Distance - ((ship's radius + target's radius) * 2) - (Ship's current speed * 30)
= 1000 - ((10 + 20) * 2) - (20 * 30)
= 2000 - (60) - (600)
Ship 1 will travel 1340gu and exit (60 + 600) GU from the target.
Jump Fuel and Refueling
When in jump, the jump drives constantly burn jump fuel synthesized from hydrogen, to keep you in jump mode. Prolonged use of the jump drive will result in depletion of this invaluable resource. If you run out of jump fuel, you need to refuel to use your jump drive again.
The main methods of refuelling a ship are -
- Supply ships: Flying within the range of a friendly depot will refuel you. Supply ships will also replenish your fuel reserves.
- Hydrogen Planets: Orbiting a planet which has hydrogen gas in mass quantities (gas planets and sometimes terran planets) will enable self-refuelling. This process is slower than being resupplied.
- Orbiting Planets: Orbiting a friendly planet will refuel you, but this process is very slow.
Jump gates are large space installations which are capable of transporting ships from one point to another. These jump gates are used complementary to jump drives. While jump drives are for moving between planets of a system, jump gates are used for moving between star systems.
On the Navigation Interface, a jump gate is indicated by a yellow ring and star icon. To use a jump gate, a ship has to move into it. The transportation process is automatic, so the ship is instantly sent to the pair gate.
Wormholes and the Wormhole Drive
Wormholes are tears in the fabric of space-time which can be used to instantly move between two places. They are used as a method of transportation within and between star systems.
Special devices known as Worm Hole Drives are used for artificially making wormholes. These drives are found only on stations and command-grade dreadnoughts. When activated they create a wormhole in front of the ship and another near the selected target. Worm hole drives do not need fuel, instead they require massive amounts of energy and a long recharge.
Worm holes cannot be created very close to planets or stars, but are not affected by interdictor fields. Also, they cannot be closer than 2000 gu to each other.
When travelling as a fleet, autopilot functions as an aid for maintaining the formation during group travels. To use the autopilot, select the desired target and press the appropriate autopilot mode hotkey.
- Follow: This autopilot makes the ship move towards the target, and then tries to mimic its velocity and heading when at close range. This mode is suited for combat ships following the flagship of a group. Hotkey - F.
- Shadow: This autopilot is similar to Follow mode, but mimics the motion of the target ship at a longer range. This is better suited to combat/supply pairs, missile/interdictor pairs and bomber/supply pairs. This autopilot does not work on planets. Hotkey - G.
- Orbit: This is a special autopilot which works only on planets. When activated, it moves the ship towards the planet and then enters 'Orbit' mode at close range. This mode is used for accessing shipyards and starports, and for building on large planets. Hotkey - O.
Interdiction is the usage of interdictor devices to prevent jump drives from functioning. These devices are mainly found on technologically advanced planets. Factions also possess unique cruiser models which feature the interdictor device.
When the interdictor field is active, all jumpdrives upto a radius of 1000 gu stop functioning. When a ship is in jump mode and enters an interdiction field, it is forced out of jump, and is left at the mercy of the fleet accompanying the interdictor.
Interdictors are highly tactical vessels, which can turn an outnumbered and outmatched fleet into the victor of a conflict, and turn the tide of many battles. As such, interdictor cruisers are often the primary targets in battles. The cruiser itself is mainly an armored warship for carrying the large device, with an expanded laser battery for defending against missiles. It cannot move fast, as the device consumes a lot of energy, and it does not have offensive weaponry to deter hostiles from attacking it.
Piloting the interdictor cruiser is a very hazardous but prestigious task in any and every fleet. Alone, even a frigate can overpower an interdictor and force it to flee, but the interdictor can prevent entire fleets from fleeing. A skillful interdictor pilot can distract enemy ships into breaking formation and scatter, at which point the allied ships move in and pick off hostiles one by one.