Congratulations Commander on your purchase of the Wasp Mk.1 multipurpose interstellar vehicle, one of the most popular, reliable and affordable spacecraft on the market today! This manual contains everything you need to begin plying the spaceways, be it for trading, bounty-hunting, exploration or just for getting from planet A to planet B.
Please take some time to read this manual thoroughly and be sure that you understand your vessel’s systems before leaving spacedock, in order to avoid potential injury, death or property damage for yourself or your fellow commanders.
Since the introduction of the Standards In Space Vehicle Operations act of 3242, all commercially licensed interstellar vessels are required to implement a common interface. If you are a seasoned pilot, then the controls of the Wasp Mk.1 should be immediately familiar to you. If, however, this is your first vessel, then the skills you will acquire by learning to operate it proficiently will serve you well for years to come, even if you move up to much larger spacecraft.
Upon logging in to your ship’s holographic interface, you should be presented with a view that looks something like this:
This is the local view, and we will go into more detail on it in a later chapter, but for now please observe the row of icons along the top. This toolbar is always visible, and allows switching between your ship’s various displays. The icons are as follows:
Local View. An external view of your ship and its immediate surroundings.
System Scan. Displays your vessel’s position relative to the nearest planet and other vessels traversing the system.
System Info. Presents information about the current system, including economic and demographic data.
Galaxy Map. Displays nearby star systems and allows for plotting of interstellar hyperspace jumps.
Commander Info. Your personal information, including current bank balance and legal status.
Pause. Produces a short-range temporal field around the vessel, making it appear to its occupants as though time has stopped.
The local view display shows your vessel and its immediate surroundings. If docked, you will also see the “Click To Launch” button that will begin the takeoff procedure. Along the bottom of the display are indicators of your ship’s current shield and hull strength. (Note that shield generators are not provided as standard, and the shield strength indicator will remain at zero until such time as one or more shields generators are installed.)
If another vessel in in the vicinity, it will appear on the local view display as above. Of the two icons that appear on either side of the ship, the one on the left will display information about it and its commander, while the one on the right will, if offensive weapons are installed, open fire on them. Note that in most systems, firing upon a commander who does not presently have a criminal record is a violation of interplanetary law and may result in a bounty being placed upon you and your ship.
If you are approached by another vessel, local view will be enabled automatically. If said vessel is hostile, your ship’s defensive systems will be activated automatically. Note that there is no penalty for firing upon or destroying another ship in self-defense.
Once in combat-mode, most of your weapons will fire automatically once charged. Homing missiles, however, are a consumable resource. If you have missiles on board and they are ready to fire, the “launch missile” icon will appear in place of the “attack” icon, and can be clicked during battle.
The system scan shows all vessels currently in transit around the nearest planet. Each dot represents a ship in flight, while the arrow shaped blip is your vessel.
You may observe blips disappearing from your scanner. This indicates one of three things. Either the ship has docked with a space station, made a hyperspace jump, or been intercepted by another ship.
Clicking on a a blip presents two icons. Clicking the “I” displays information about that ship and its commander. Note that additional information can be gathered by upgrading your ship’s sensor package with equipment or cargo scanners. Clicking the arrow sets that vessel as your current destination. You ship will approach the target until reaching interception distance, or the targeted ship docks or jumps to hyperspace, in which case your ship will come to a halt, relative to the planet.
Clicking on the planet in the center of the scanner gives similar options, displaying either information about the planet, or setting it as your destination.
Upon arriving at a planet, your ship will automatically dock at one of the space stations in orbit around it. Hyperspace generators contain highly dangerous and unstable materials, and vessels so equipped are banned from atmospheric flight on planets where life is present.
The system info screen displays important demographic, political and economic data about the nearest planet.
Government – Planetary governments fall into one of eight categories: Anarchy, Capitalist Democracy, Communist, Corporate, Dictatorship, Feudal, Monarchy or Socialist Democracy. Pilots should be wary of entering anarchic systems in particular without appropriate defenses, as the lack of security services in these systems makes them havens for pirates, assassins, and other ne’er-do-wells.
Economy – Indicates the primary source of income for the system. Although the publishing of real-time commodity market prices across interstellar bounds is banned, the economy type of a planet can be a good indicator of what to expect in terms of pricing and availability and is an invaluable tool for the budding trader.
Tech Level – A rough estimate of the planet’s technological capabilities, expressed as a value from one to ten. Planets with higher tech levels are more likely to have advanced ships and ship modules in stock.
Population – Demographic information on the planet’s dominant life-forms.
The galaxy map shows all stars with inhabited planets near your current location. It is always centered on your current system. The circle shows your ship’s current hyperspace range. Note that seven light-years is the maximum hyperspace jump range of any ship in use today. This range decreases with the amount of fuel in your ship’s tank. The larger the ship, the more fuel is required to make a seven light-year jump.
To gather information about a distant system, simply click on it, then the “I” button that will appear beside it.
To make a hyperspace jump, the ship must not be docked with a space station. Simply click on a star in the galaxy map that is within your current hyperspace range, and click the arrow-shaped button that appears. This will initiate a ten-second countdown, at the end of which the jump will take place. If during the countdown period you wish to cancel the jump sequence, simply click the “x” button that will have appeared beside the selected star.
Health warning: Disorientation, dizziness or nausea are common side-effects of hyperspace jumps. Some individuals have also reported headaches, hallucinations and genetic mutation. Please ignore any dead loved ones who may appear on your vessel. They will vanish once your ship returns to normal space. See your doctor if symptoms persist.
Check in on your bank balance, legal status and other personal stats in the commander info screen.
Credits – The amount of cash currently in your bank account.
Bounty – If you have broken the law recently, you may have incurred a bounty. If you are docked at a space station you will see the “pay” button, allowing you to pay off your debt to galactic society. Be sure to do so promptly, as carrying a bounty excludes you from protection by the law, and bounties may be claimed by other commanders or system police by destroying your vessel.
Current System – The name of the planetary system in which you are located.
Ships Destroyed – The total number of ships that have fallen to you since the beginning of your career.
Time Elapsed – The amount of time you have spent in command of a space vessel so far.
Displays the status of your trusty space-vessel.
Type – The class of ship you are currently piloting, in case you have forgotten.
Shields – The current strength of your ship’s energy shielding. Shields are weakened by weapons fire but continually recharge unless drained completely, at which point there will be a short delay before they can recover. If no shield generators are presently installed on your ship, then this value will always be zero.
Hull – Current hull integrity, represented as a percentage. If this reaches zero your ship will be destroyed. It is in you best interest to avoid this scenario.
Fuel – Amount of hyperspace fuel in your ship’s tank, expressed in tonnes. In general, larger ships have larger tanks and require more fuel to travel the same distance.
Range – Your ship’s current hyperspace range, based on available fuel.
Trade-in Value – The value of your ship that will be reimbursed should you trade it in for another one. This includes the value of the base ship, any optional modules that have been installed, and the value of any cargo presently being carried, based on the local system’s commodity market rate.
If you are ready to trade-in your present vessel in exchange for a different model, dock with any space station and head to the shipyard. Here you will see a list of ships that are for sale, along with your current bank balance and the trade-in value of your current ship (including installed modules and cargo).
Note that not all stations will have all types of ship for sale, and the more advanced models are likely to be found only in systems with a high technology level.
Interested in a particular ship? Click the “I” button to invoke the ship comparison dialog.
This allows you to compare the selected ship with the one you are currently piloting. If your combined cash and ship trade-in value is sufficient to cover the cost of the selected ship, then the “purchase” button will allow you to make the exchange. You will be asked to confirm that you genuinely wish to make the transaction, and, if so, you will be immediately transferred to your new ship.
Note that your current vessel’s trade-in cost includes all optional modules and cargo on board, and these are sold along with the ship. Your new ship will come without modules, so make sure to keep enough cash in reserve to equip it to your requirements.
The equipment screen displays the optional modules presently installed on your ship, if any. Larger ships may have slots for more modules.
When docked at a space station, use the Outfitting screen to buy and sell ship modules and request hull repairs, if necessary.
Not all stations will have all optional modules for sale, and systems with a higher technology level are likely to have more modules available for sale. Click the “+” icon beside an entry to purchase an item and have it automatically installed on your ship, or the “-” button to sell one already installed.
Commanders may purchase the following items, if available:
Hydrogen Fuel – Available at all space stations, regardless of technology level. This is the standard fuel used by all publicly-available hyperspace engines. Use the “>>” icon to fill your tank to its maximum capacity (assuming funds are available).
Cargo Bay – One cargo bay module provides your ship with 10 tonnes of cargo-carrying capability.
Cargo Scoop – Standard cargo containers are extremely tough and designed to survive even the explosive decompression of their host vessel. A destroyed ship may have multiple cargo canisters among its wreckage. If you find yourself in combat and the opposing ship is destroyed, a Cargo Scoop will allow you to collect these.
Cargo Scanner – An enhancement to your ship’s sensor package allowing for the detection of cargo within a nearby vessel.
Equipment Scanner – An enhancement to your ship’s sensor package allowing you to analyze a distant vessel’s energy signature and detect which modules it has installed.
ECM – Electronic Countermeasures. A defensive mechanism that will destroy any missiles currently in flight near your ship, including any that you have fired. If installed and charged a button will appear on the local view during combat that will activate the ECM unit immediately. Note that the ECM system must charge for a period after each operation.
Shield Generators – Projects a powerful field around your ship, protecting it from damage by energy or kinetic weapons. Shield generators with a higher rating are more expensive but regenerate more quickly. You may install multiple generators for greater effect.
Pulse Lasers – Ship-to-ship energy weapons that operate by firing a short, concentrated burst towards the targeted vessel. Pulse lasers with a higher rating are more expensive but charge more quickly, enabling a higher rate of fire.
Beam Lasers – Ship-to-ship energy weapons that operate by firing a stable beam towards the targeted vessel. Beam lasers with a higher rating are more expensive but charge more quickly, enabling a higher rate of fire.
Missiles – Single-use homing missiles. If equipped and ready to fire, a “missile” icon will appear beside the targeted vessel during combat. One missile takes up a single module slot. Missiles can be destroyed while in flight by ECM systems.
If your vessel has sustained hull damage, then the option of repairing up to 10% of it will appear in the form of a button at the top of this screen.
Shows any cargo presently in your ship’s hold. Note that in order to carry cargo you must have at least one cargo bay module installed.
To buy and sell cargo, access the Commodity Market while docked with any space station. This lists all items available, their cost, and the quantity that the station presently has in stock. Click the “+” to purchase one unit of the given item, and “-” to sell any in your hold.