From DarkSpace WIKI
You logged into the server, selected a ship and hit the "Launch" button, then suddenly you see a ship in the center of the screen and a planet near it. Wonder whats happening? The ship is yours!
You can zoom in and out of it with your scroll button or Z and X as alternative. Look around yourself by holding down the left or right mouse button, and dragging the mouse. Try flying in a circular path around the planet near you by using either Q-W-A-S-D key-set or the arrow keys. The arrows give you direct control of your heading at all times, whereas Q-W-A-S-D is more advanced, test it sometime later.
Did you complete your task? Chances are that you'll crash on the planet and you are back in the hangar again. No worries, just select your ship and hit "Launch" again to go back to space and retry flying a circle around the planet. You can use the Tab button to adjust camera mode to something that feels comfortable for you.
Now that you know how to look around, and fly around, you can travel a bit further.
To travel further, and to see what's going on in the Metaverse, we use the navigation menu. Open it with the F2 button. Hitting spacebar once will center the screen onto whatever you have selected at that time. If you haven't selected anything, the navigation screen will center on you.
On the bottom left of the navigation menu, there are 3 columns:-
- Leftmost for the nearby stationary contacts (planets, gates, stars) in the system
- Middle one for enemy ships (the red ones)
- Rightmost one for friendly ships (the green ones)
Try selecting a friendly (green) planet in the bottom left of the navigation menu. Now that you selected it, you can hit spacebar to center your screen on it. You will notice a white line between you and the planet you have selected. This is your jump-alignment. If the line between you and planet is red, or flashing white/red, then the route to the planet is obstructed by another planet, a sun, or a gate. Try selecting a planet where the jump-alignment is safe (white line).
Now exit the navigation menu by pressing F2 again, and hit the "J" button to make your jump to the planet. You will see a timer that tells you how long it will take to align your ship directly to the target (planet). When the jump is initiated, the timer then tells you how long it takes until you arrive. Once your jump is done, you are near the planet you have selected in F2. Try orbitting it, by selecting the planet (click on the green diamond at center of planet) and pressing "O". After a jump ends, your jumpdrive needs to recharge, depending on ship size this can take many seconds to as long as a minute.
The next step would be, to find a planet with a shipyard and orbit it. A shipyard allows you to change ships. Press Ctrl + Y, and go to the navigation screen again. With Ctrl + Y you have selected a shipyard, but not the planet itself. In some cases, if you jump to the shipyard, and not the planet supporting the shipyard, you may crash into the planet. Therefore, after Ctrl + Y, we go to F2 and hit spacebar to center the screen on the shipyard.
Now that we know what planet we need to go to. Select the planet, make sure your jump line is white, and hit J to jump near it, or O to activate autopilot which brings the ship to the planet and orbit it. After orbiting the shipyard planet, you can use the Shipyard by pressing Ctrl + Y (select Shipyard), then Ctrl + U (use selected item) twice. Alternatively, after using Ctrl + Y, you can press comma (,) to select the object supporting the current target. Then you can proceed to jump to it or use an autopilot as normally.
If you want to find the nearest Starport for obtaining resources, press Ctrl + P to select a friendly Starport.
Sometimes there is a big sun between you and your target. Flying around it would take hours. In these occasions, setting a manual point somewhere in the middle of space, but around the sun, will help you a lot. You can set a manual point from the tactical screen, or from the navigation screen, by holding down the left Ctrl button and then clicking on a place in space. A manual point appears with numbers, dots and dashes for a name. They look like co-ordinates...The manual point is yellow (neutral contact), targetable only by you and will disappear after you left click somewhere else.
By jumping to the manual point, you should now have a clear jump path to the planet you want to travel towards. If not, try another point in space. Utilising manual points is a skill that will become very, very useful once mastered. It's range of applications are not limited to just navigation.
Did you notice the gates? Go to the navigation menu, check the bottom left of your screen (where the planets are listed also) for any gates, and jump to it. Now, try to fly into it. You will be transported superfast to a whole new starsystem, with a lot of planets to play around with.
Gates are used in Darkspace to travel around from point A to B faster. If you zoom out as far as you can in the navigation menu, you will see all the star systems with their names. Notice irregular blue lines connecting these systems. They represent jumpgate links, with a jumpgate on each end. Entering a gate will transport you to the linked gate.
The starsystems with most other players are Tetra, R33, Dres-Kona and Kaus Borealis. If you use a shipyard planet near you, you will go back to your hangar and you will have the option to spawn at another shipyard. Try selecting a shipyard 1 or 2 systems near Kaus Borealis and say hi to the people :).
It is important not to make a starters guide to complicated, thus this ends here. This is enough to get you flying around and know your location. We hope this guide answered some of the many queries you may have had. Happy flying!