Permission to Come Aboard
After we started the new game in the station, we need to take a teleporter to our starter ship.
We can move between ships or station and ship by selecting the destination from the teleporter’s terminal, and then an optional pad destination if our destination offers more than one. We can see a map of the destination on the top screen, and can move through the ship using the controls on the right side.
Upon arrival on the ship, we get an immediate notification that we’re low on Oxygen. As a newly commissioned ship, we’re simply floating in space. It’s up to us to get the vessel ready for action.
First we’ll take care of the Oxygen issue by taking the Oxygen out of the cargo hold where it was transported to from the station and placing it in the life support system.
Cargo is stored in blocks of up to 8 mix-and-match items. You can add or remove items using the E key to pick up the box under the central cursor or, in cases like the one above where the boxes in the rear aren’t accessible, can use the icons displayed on the foot of the cargo pad by left-clicking on the icon. The Oxygen box is indicated by the white 3-paneled icon (bottom row, second from the right). We’ll click on that icon to get the Oxygen into our inventory.
Although we’re in a space suit, life support is critical to operating a starship. When we first find our life support system, we have no Oxygen supplied and consequently no Carbon produced.
Scrolling through our cargo inventory, we’ll select the Oxygen, move the crosshairs over the open platform on the left, and press E to place the cargo box on the platform. This will immediately load the Oxygen into the life support device. All ship-board devices that use cargo items work this same way: select the cargo inventory item, hover over the machine’s input, and press E.
Ah! Breathable air! As time goes on, the Oxygen will deplete and the Carbon will rise. This makes the life support device a Carbon generator for when we need Carbon in our manufacturing. We can extract the carbon by clicking on the Carbon button on the panel, and picking up the delivered box using the E key.
Ships use Hydrogen for fuel. Hydrogen fuel is also the most basic, least efficient — but most abundant — fuel in the game. As we start with no fuel in the tank, we’ll need to add Hydrogen in order to be able to power the batteries and get the ship under way.
Once the Hydrogen has been added to the tank, we’ll see a readout at the top showing how much Hydrogen is available. Normal operation of the ship uses fuel, so this number will be declining at all times (not sure if it is used when no one is on board, though).
Life in space is harsh, and if we don’t have a shield generator, all that stands between our soft squishy selves and the cold embrace of the Universe is our armored hull. In order to make sure we don’t suffer from any structural issues during combat, we need to replenish our armor using the Armor generator.
This device uses Nanobots as it’s fuel. And unlike life support or fuel, this is full up right out of the box.
Our starter ship is equipped with some small, pea-shooter lasers, but even these relatively ineffective weapons require charges to fire. Our employer provided us with some charges for our cannons, and the Ammo Loader device is where we reload our weapons. I have yet to run into a ship with weapons other than lasers, but I assume this is a one-stop-shop for any weapon which uses ammo (ballistic weapons and missiles, if this game has missiles).
Terminals are stations aboard the ship that provide information about the ship and its surroundings.
System info displays info on our current standings with various factions, the system we’re in, stations in our vicinity, and the prevalence of materials to be found through extraction.
The Ship Map gives us an overview of our ship. I’m not completely sure what this is used for, unless it provides location information on other people on board our ship.
Sensors provides a list of objects in our vicinity. We can drill down into each category to see specifics on items.
Finally, the Ship Status is an overview of how our ship is doing. As you can see, writing this post as the game is running in the background has seriously depleted my Hydrogen fuel. There’s a few other panels accessible through the buttons on the right-hand side of the screen, but I haven’t yet or had to deal with them, so I can’t really explain their benefit.
There are only a few styles of bridge in the game, and this is one of the large-sized ones. It has a captain’s chair, a pilot’s chair, and a…I dunno…”guest” chair? There is no co-pilot station in this game, and as far as I know the captain’s chair has no functionality aside from making its occupant look awesome.
As a prelude to the next post — flight and navigation — here’s what our ship looks like from the outside.