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NAV: Navigation Workstation Overview

The NAV Workstation

This is the most general-purpose workstation and allows you to both fly the ship and engage in combat. We recommend that you use this view for the majority of dogfighting and navigation.

The main part of the display is the forward view - showing the pilot's view out into space. This is over-laid by the head-up display HUD which adds additional important information into the pilot's field of view.

Bottom right is the Orb - this display acts as a 3 dimensional radar, but can also display other information.

The remainder of the bottom portion of the screen is given over to instruments. The main one is the contacts screen. This is a tabular display showing all the ships in the area.

In this section we will cover:

  • Flying the Ship
  • Pilot Head-Up Display
  • Using Weapons from the NAV workstation
  • The Contacts Display
  • The Orb
  • Using Auto-pilots

NAV: Flying the ship

We would recommend that you use a good quality joystick to play the game.

Moving the joystick or control yoke from side to side produces a yaw maneuver in the ship. Pushing the stick forwards and back produces a pitch maneuver.

If you have rudder-pedals or a stick with built-in twist such as a Microsoft Sidewinder™ 3D or Precision Pro then this will allow the ship to roll.

Use key Y to swap the roll and yaw axes if you are more used to flying aircraft simulators.

Unlike an aircraft, a spacecraft does not need to be moving forwards to perform turns. You might want to practice turning the ship before starting your run.

The ship is a heavy warship. She will not turn like a fighter! In turning her you will have to fight against momentum. If your attitude thrusters are damaged, she will not turn at all!

Note: In Arcade mode the ship will be much more responsive, and will essentially fly in the direction you point it with little or no side slipping.

NAV: Using thrusters

The most straightforward flight mode allows the pilot to control the spaceship in a manner very similar to a conventional aircraft: In this mode, the ship will usually be moving forwards (in the direction it is pointing). This is the most useful flight mode and allows tremendous control during combat.

If you are using a joystick throttle: Zero the throttle to activate it, then push up the throttle forwards to set the desired forward speed.

If you are using keys, press and hold the + key to increase the set speed and use the - key to reduce it.

NAV: Thruster: Full thruster override

Experienced pilots may find the 0-1000 meters per second set-speed limits to be too restrictive.

Using over-ride keys, higher rates of forward and reverse z-axis motion can be attained.

The A key, while held down, selects maximum forward thrust.The Z key, while held down, selects maximum reverse thrust.

Note: In Arcade mode thruster override is limited to a maximum velocity of 2000m/s in both forward and reverse.

NAV: Thruster: Free Thruster Mode

There are two modes of flight: Assisted and Free Thruster. Assisted mode is the normal mode. In this mode the fly-by-wire system of the ship fires thrusters to counteract inertia and emulates the type of flight behavior you see in an atmosphere - the ship slows down when no thrust is applied, and turns when you move the stick.

In Free thruster mode Newtonian physics applies: If you start in one direction you will keep moving in that direction, unless you apply enough force in the opposite direction to counteract the movement. This mode enables you to perform maneuvers that you can't perform in normal flight mode. However this mode is for advanced users only, as it's very, very tricky to fly.

To toggle Normal/Free thruster mode press N.

NAV: Lateral Thrusters

The ship has weak 'lateral' thrusters that allow it to perform slow sideways and vertical movement. You can use these thrusters to move around other spacecraft or to dodge enemy fire. To activate lateral thrusters hold down the S key and move the joystick or cursor keys.

NAV: Using LDS

Using normal thrusters it would take months or years to travel interplanetary distances. The Linear Displacement System (or LDS) allows you to travel at speeds up to 99.9% of lightspeed.

To activate LDS press L, and to deactivate press L again. Use + and - to increase and decrease LDS speed. Note that you can’t use weapons while in LDS.

LDS can be tricky to use (it’s very easy to overshoot your destination at high speeds) so it’s better to use the autopilots to travel long distances – they use LDS automatically if needed.

LDS can be inhibited using a special engorge field. If you attempt to flee in LDS then your enemies may attempt to disable your LDS drive by launching an LDS Inhibit missile.

If one of these hits you then the message LDS INHIBIT will appear in the top left of the screen. You will have to wait until the effect wears off to activate your LDS drive.

Luckily you also have a supply of these LDSI missiles - you can use them to stop enemies fleeing in LDS. Press I to launch an LDSI missile at your current contact.

Static LDS inhibit fields can also be placed to prevent LDS travel around a certain location. To use LDS drive you will have to fly out of the range of the field using normal thrusters.

NAV: Using Capsule Space Jump

Even using LDS it would take years or decades to travel interstellar distances. For this reason the capsule space jump drive was developed. The drive only works in the null-gravity zones that form between planets and moons (LaGrange or L-Points).

The location of these points are entered into the waypoints list, and are displayed on the HUD as an hour-glass shape (When waypoints are selected in the contacts registry – see below), or as a circle with an arrow through it.

To make a capsule space jump you must fly through the L-Point in the direction of the arrow, (when waypoints are selected you must enter the blue side of the ‘hour-glass’) at a minimum speed. Your destination is automatically set by your navigator.

Note: A capsule space jump is required at the beginning of the mission. The Jump point is immediately in front of your ship. To jump, simply fly through the L-Point.

NAV: Nav Console & Head-up display

The head-up display presents the pilot with the most vital information needed to fly the ship. These are the main concepts you'll need to understand:

  • An at-a-glance tactical summary of every vessel
  • An indicator, showing the direction of the primary target
  • The current piloting mode and speed settings
  • A 3D reference grid - allowing the judgement of speed and distance
  • Cannon aiming points
  • Historical contrails showing the trajectory of vessels and missiles
  • Quick-reference damage indicator
Speed indicator
This shows two speeds: First, your actual forward (z-axis) rate of motion in meters-per-second. And second, it shows the set-speed selected from the throttle or keys.

Reference Grid
The head-up display projects a regular grid of lines into the pilot's field of view allowing the pilot to actually see space.

These virtual points present a visual reference of static points allowing the pilot to visually judge speed and distance. In deep space - with no other visual reference features - this system is essential. (Try turning off the HUD using the H key to see how difficult it is to navigate without it!)

Contact Boxes & Headup Center Indicator
The onboard computer logs all space ships, weapons and other objects as contacts.

To aid navigation the head-up tracks all contacts, and will mark a contact on screen with a box. Moving contacts are shown with a computer generated wireframe 'contrail'. This allows you to easily track another vessel, and judge its course and speed.

One contact is called the current-contact. The current-contact is marked with a double box. The head-up display makes it easy to find the current-contact.

In the center of the screen is the center-indicator. A small stalk points from the circle to the current-contact. This lets you rapidly find the current contact even if the vessel is off-screen.

Understanding the Current Contact Info box
See the section on contact registry (below) for more information on selecting targets and contacts.

Quick-reference damage indicator

In the top right corner of the HUD is a row of small green lights. Each one represents a ships component. When you get damaged these lights will show yellow, then red when the system is off-line. For more information on damage and repair see the Engineering Workstation Overview.

Shield status

In the bottom left corner are two green bars. These represent the upper and lower shields. Each shield can only defend against one ship at a time. If a shield gets hit repeatedly then it will deplete, and the bars will get shorter and change color: first to yellow and then to red. If the shields aren’t hit for a short time, they will start to replenish.

Note: your shields are stronger at the front where they overlap, and weaker at the back, where there’s a gap over the engine exhaust. Keep facing the enemy for greatest protection. See hints and tips for more information.

NAV: Using Weapons (Basic)

The NAV workstation allows the pilot to directly operate the ships weapon systems, albeit with some restrictions.

Pickling/Selecting targets
Before using either cannon or missiles, you will need to select or pickle your potential target.

To Pickle a target - use Joystick button 2 or the T Key to lock onto the enemy ship. You should see the double line contact box lock onto your selected target. The crosshair around this double box denotes that this contact is the selected target. The targeting computer will lock onto the ship closest to the center indicator.

Selecting Cannon
Select cannon by typing Enter or Joystick button 3. Tap the button again to select Rapid Fire. To use Rapid Fire mode you must aim the ship manually at the target as the computer will not assist you in aiming.

Firing Cannon
The ship's cannon are mounted on gimbals and swivel. The computer will assist you in aiming at the selected target. Fire the cannon using the Space Bar or the Joystick main trigger. There are both front and rear firing cannon.

Note: You may configure both cannon to fire forward using the ARM screen, if you wish.

Selecting Missiles
To fire a missile at a target, select missiles, by tapping the Backspace key or Joystick button 4

There are three types of  missiles available, depending on the weapon loadout selected:

  • Seekers - Standard homing missiles
  • Disruptors - Disables an enemy ship for a short time
  • Remote Missiles - remotely guided heavy warheads. Great for use against capital ships or closely packed groups of smaller vessels.

Firing Missiles
Now the main fire button will launch missiles at the target. Seekers and Disruptors are self-homing, but you will have to pilot remote missiles manually, via an automatic remote link.

The status of missiles in-flight will be displayed on your head-up display. This will show the target the missile is locked onto, along with the range from the target.

Firing LDS Inhibit Missiles
If an enemy is severely damaged it may try to flee using LDS drive to regroup and repair. To prevent it fleeing using LDS you can launch an LDS Inhibit (LDSI) missile.

To launch an LDSI missile target the enemy you want to stop and press i. When the missile detonates it will temporarily deactivate the LDS drive of the targeted enemy, allowing you to catch up with them easily.

NAV: Contacts Registry

The contacts registry screen shows a listing of multiple ships. Each line in the display represents a single ship, and that line summarizes the name and status of that ship as well as what side it’s on.

In this game RED represents the frendlies (IND), BLUE represents enemy ships (NVY) and GREEN  represents Neutral (e.g. commercial) shipping (NEU).  See the table below for details:

Color Designation Allegiance
RED IND Indies - Friendly vessels
GREEN NEU Neutral vessels
BLUE NVY Commonwealth Navy vessels - the enemy!
YELLOW UNK Unknown vessels (Possibly out of range).

The registry can be set to operate in different modes of operation depending on what you need it to show.

Type M to switch between the VESSELS, WEAPONS, INERTS, and WAYPOINT modes.

For more advanced weapons modes please see the WEP Workstation Overview.

NAV: The ORB

The orb is a display device with three modes: 3D Radar, Contact View, and Tactical Resource Interface (TRI). You can cycle through the modes by pressing V.


Radar
This is a 3D radar device able to show the position of contacts both in front, behind and above the player ship.

In concept the orb is simple. The display represents the three dimensional space surrounding the player's ship as a sphere. The player's ship is at the center of this sphere. The sphere is 1 kilometer in radius.

Each contact in range is then shown as a point and a stalk connected to the sphere. The further away a ship is the further out from the sphere is its point (and the longer the stalk). The current contact is marked out as a larger, flashing point.

Contact View
This mode shows a small close-up of the current contact – useful for keeping track of what a ship is doing, or getting a better view of the target.


Tactical Resource Interface
Allows you to distribute power between the shields, engines and weapons. The display is triangular, with the top corner, and the color blue representing shields, the left corner and green representing engines, and the right corner and red representing weapons.

Using the cursor keys and CTRL you can move the triangular cursor to any position in the display to boost power to one or more systems. The display will change color to represent which system(s) have the most power.

Note: Boosting power to a system reduces power available to the other two systems!

CTRL + CURSOR UP Boost power to shields (Stronger shields - blue)
CTRL + CURSOR LEFT Boost power to engines (More powerful engines - green)
CTRL + CURSOR RIGHT Boost power to weapons (More powerful weapons - red)
CTRL + CURSOR DOWN Re-balance power back to default (central) settings. (White)

NAV: Using Auto-pilots

The ship-board computer can assist with many basic piloting operations, and there are several pre-set auto-pilot functions which can be called up with a single key-press.

Most autopilots require a target to be selected. When an autopilot is operating, to switch to a different autopilot or to switch autopilot targets you must first quit the current autopilot by pressing Esc.

Auto pilot functions are particularly useful in the following circumstances:

  • Bringing the ship to a rapid halt.
  • Approaching a distant point (especially when using LDS)
  • Docking with a space station or another ship.
  • In combat, matching velocity with an enemy ship while bringing weapons to bear.

Autopilot Functions:

F5 - HALT Brings the ship to a halt. Remains active until quit.
F6 - APPROACH Get closer to the target. Program terminates when near target.
F7 - FORMATE Maintain fixed position with respect to target. Continues to hold position until cancel
F8 - DOCK Docks onto the target. The program terminates when docked
F9 - MATCH VELOCITY Tries to match the velocity of the target. Never terminates - continues to velocity match. In match velocity the control yoke continues to function.
ESC Cancel Autopilot

Next section: WEP Workstation Overview

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