Starfarer Manual

Controls Quick Reference

Piloting

Movement

Miscellaneous

C2 (Command & Control)

Basics

Piloting

Strafing

Looking around

Flux

Venting

Overload

Engine Boost

Energy Weapon Bonus

Damage

Damage types

Kinetic

High Explosive

Fragmentation

Energy

Special

Weapons

Linked vs Alternating Groups

Missiles and Targeting

Autofire

Point Defense

Shields

Omni

Frontal

Fighters

Interceptors

Bombers

Heavy Fighters

Assault Fighters

Other

C2 (Command & Control)

Deployment

Giving Orders

Assignments

Direct Orders

Other Commands

Battle Objectives

Search & Destroy

Full Retreat!

Fleet Goals

Mission Scoring

Hints & Tactics

Autofire

Torpedoes

Bombers

Shields

Deployment

Carriers

Objectives

Controls Quick Reference

Piloting
Movement

W

Accelerate

S

Accelerate backwards

C

Slow down

A/D

Turn

Shift + A/D

Strafe (ship automatically turns toward mouse cursor while strafing)

Weapons & Shields

1/2/3/4

Select weapon group

Shift + 1/2/3/4

Toggle autofire mode for group

Left-click

Fire selected group (cancels autofire if it’s turned on)

Right-click

Toggle shields on or off. “OMNI” shields always follow the mouse, “FRONT” shields always point to the front

R

Target ship under the mouse cursor. Clears target if no ship is near the cursor.

Miscellaneous

V

Vent flux

Z

Lock view on target. Press again to set view back to your ship.

~

Toggle weapon arcs and friendly ship status overlays

TAB

Bring up/dismiss command & control interface

C2 (Command & Control)

Left-click

Select ship/objective/waypoint and bring up its context menu

Left-click on empty space

Create waypoint and open context menu. Exiting the menu (right-click, or Escape) without creating a task will remove the waypoint.

Right-click and drag

Pan view

UP/DOWN/LEFT/RIGHT arrows

Pan view

G

Deploy reinforcements

O

Standing orders

General

SPACE

Pause/resume

U

Toggle autopilot

ESCAPE

Leave/back out of something. While in a dialog, Escape cancels.

Mouse Wheel

Zoom in/out

Print Screen

Take a screenshot (goes in the screenshots/ folder)

Basics

Piloting

Use standard WASD controls to move the ship. The ships have inertia and generally follow Newtonian mechanics.

Note - S accelerates backwards. You can also hold down C to make your ship slow down and come to a full stop.

Strafing

Hold Shift and A or D to make your ship strafe instead of turn. While strafing, the ship will also automatically turn to follow the mouse. This is useful for dodging incoming torpedoes or to simply stay out of the enemy weapons firing arcs without turning away from them. Small ships like frigates and destroyers strafe much faster. Capital ships can barely strafe at all.

Looking around

Move the mouse to pan the view around, and use the mousewheel to zoom in/out.

Pressing Z locks your view on target, if you have one. Pressing Z again returns to regular panning mode.

Flux

Firing weapons and using shields builds up flux. When the flux level reaches maximum, the ship can't fire or use shields. Flux dissipates naturally over time.

Venting

You can get rid of flux quickly by shutting down and venting all critical systems. While venting, the ship can't fire and use shields, but dissipates flux at twice the normal rate. The ship stops venting flux once the flux level reaches 0.

Press V to vent flux.

Overload

If the flux level is maxed out due to damage taken by shields, the ship systems will be overloaded. While overloaded, the ship can't fire or use shields, and dissipates flux very slowly. Overload lasts a lot longer if it was caused by a big hit (for example, overload caused by absorbing a torpedo will last a long time).

Engine Boost

When the flux level is at 0, the ship is able to direct additional power to engines and gets a 50 unit boost to maximum speed. It's much more significant for large ships, whose speed is low to start with. Residual energy discharges prevent this boost from working on a ship inside a nebula.

Energy Weapon Bonus

Energy weapons get a damage bonus equal to the current flux level - more flux, more damage! Weapons that get this bonus glow to reflect the size of the bonus.

Damage

A ship has shields, armor, and hull with which to absorb enemy fire.

Shields absorb damage at the cost of increasing flux, with better shields creating less flux per point of damage absorbed.

Blue floating numbers represent damage to shields.

Armor is positional and absorbs and reduces damage. Once armor on a part of the ship is fully destroyed, hits in that area will damage the hull.

Yellow floating numbers represent damage to armor.

Damage that gets past shields and armor is applied to the hull. Once the hull integrity reach 0, the ship becomes disabled and remains on the battlefield as a crippled hulk. Further damage will eventually destroy the hulk completely.

Red floating numbers represent damage to the hull.

Damage types

Each weapon has an associated damage type which affects how effective it is vs shields and armor. All damage types do 100% of the base damage to the hull.

Kinetic

Relies on impact to do its damage, usually a solid slug. Usually long-range. Projectiles are usually white.

200% to shields, 50% to armor

High Explosive

An explosive shell or warhead, usually slower and shorter-ranged than a kinetic weapon. Projectiles are usually orange/yellow.

50% to shields, 150% to armor

Fragmentation

An explosive warhead that relies on shrapnel to do damage.

25% to shields, 25% to armor.

Energy

Directed energy weapons.

100% to everything.

Special

Some weapons (such as the Ion Cannon) raise the target's flux level, in addition to doing regular damage. This damage can cause the target to overload, but is only applied if the armor or hull are hit. Shields are a good defense against these types of weapons as they usually do very low base damage.

Weapons

Weapons are organized in up to 4 groups. Each weapon can only fire in a fixed arc.  Weapons in the selected group will turn to track the mouse cursor, and turn much faster when not firing.

Press 1, 2, 3 or 4 to select a group, and press the left mouse button to fire.

Linked vs Alternating Groups

A group can be set to “linked” or “alternating” mode during ship loadout (not during combat).

In a “linked” group, all weapons fire at the same time.

In an “alternating” group, the active weapon changes with each mouse click. You can also press the group number to keep cycling through the weapons. This mode is most useful for missiles and other low-ammo weapons. For example, if you have 4 torpedoes in an alternating group, you can select the group and one torpedo will be launched for each mouse click.

Missiles and Targeting

Press R with your cursor near a ship to expand the target reticle around it and get more information.

Guided missiles will go after the targeted enemy ship, or the enemy ship closest to the cursor if you don't have a target/your target is friendly.  Guided missiles (such as the Harpoon MRM) will not hit friendly ships. Unguided missiles can and will hit friendly ships.

Autofire

Weapons in a group in autofire mode will track and attack their own targets, even while you have another group selected. Using autofire allows your ship to fire multiple groups at once. It also makes it possible to attack multiple small targets that are tough to target manually (such as fighters) at the same time.

Using autofire with too many groups at the same time will max out flux levels quickly.

Press Shift and 1/2/3/4 to toggle autofire mode for a weapon group.

Point Defense

Some weapons are marked as point defense weapons, PD for short.  Point defense weapons will target incoming missiles when in autofire mode, while regular weapons will not. All weapons will target fighters. Note that you can still target incoming missiles manually with regular weapons.

Currently, the PD weapons are: Light MG, Vulcan Cannon, Heavy MG, PD Laser, LR PD Laser, Flak Cannon, Dual Flak Cannon, Guardian PD System.

Shields

Shields absorb damage at the cost of raising the ship's flux and are controlled using the right mouse button.  A shield has an arc that it will cover, ranging from relatively small (~90 degrees) to full coverage (360 degrees).

Shields start take some time to fully fan out and expand to their full coverage. Shields also reduce the rate of flux dissipation while they're up.

In addition, flux increases due to absorbing damage will not dissipate while shields are up, so shields will need to be turned off occasionally to allow any flux buildup to dissipate.

Exception: flux generated by absorbing beam weapon damage will dissipate while shields are up.

Omni

Omni-directional shields are toggled by right-clicking and turn to follow the mouse.

Frontal

Frontal shields are toggled by right-clicking and always face the front of the ship.

Fighters

In addition to ships, your fleets also include wings of fighters. Fighters in a wing always stick together and take orders as a single unit. If you have a carrier deployed, fighters can go back to repair and re-arm mid-battle, and come back with the wing at full strength - any destroyed fighters are replaced.

Interceptors

Fast and fragile. Great for capturing objectives and taking down enemy bombers. Can be a match for frigates, but get torn apart by any kind of significant point defense.

Bombers

Carry a small number of strike weapons (bombs or torpedoes) and preferentially target larger enemy ships. Very dangerous - a single successful attack run can cripple or destroy a large ship. Have a tough time dealing with frigates and other fighters.

Heavy Fighters

Heavily armed and armored fighters. Effective against all types of smaller craft, these pose a credible threat even to destroyer-class ships.

Assault Fighters

Assault fighters are slower and even more heavily armed than heavy fighters. Instead of making attack runs, they engage their target in close quarters and stick with it, much like interceptors do.

Other

Some fighters don't fall under these categories. An example is the Mining Drone (slow, heavily armored, but poorly armed).

C2 (Command & Control)

The C2 (or more simply, map) is where you give orders to your fleet.

Press TAB to bring it up, and press TAB again to hide it. By default, the game will pause when you bring up the map, but you can pause/unpause by pressing SPACE.

Deployment

At the start of a battle, you have to deploy some of your fleet. Deploying each fleet member costs some "fleet points". The amount of fleet points available depends on the relative strength of the enemy fleet - the larger fleet gets more points to deploy.

Your flagship is marked with a special icon. Note that you don't actually have to deploy your flagship with the first wave of ships.

If you lose a ship or a ship retreats, or you capture battle objectives, you will get more fleet points that you can use to deploy your remaining ships into battle. Press the "Deploy reserves" button or the shortcut G to bring up the deployment dialog again.

Giving Orders

There are two types of orders you can give - “Assignments” and “Direct Orders”. Each cost “command points”, which are limited.

At the start of battle, your fleet has no assignments and every ship will engage the enemy at will. It’s a good idea to order the capture of some objectives and at least one “Assault” to make sure your fleet acts with a purpose.

Assignments

An assignment is a task you create for your fleet to achieve as they see fit. Your subordinates will organize the fleet and assign ships to particular tasks automatically. Creating an assignment costs 1 command point. An assignment can be cancelled at any time at no cost.

To create an assignment, open the map, click on an objective/waypoint/friendly or enemy ship and select it from the context menu that appears.

Capture

Order an objective to be captured. Once your forces take the objective they will proceed to other tasks. A small number of fast ships is assigned.

Assault

Order an assault on an objective. Heavily armed and armored ships are preferred, and all ships not required for other tasks will be assigned. If your forces take the objective, the task is automatically converted to “Defend” at no cost.

Defend

Order the defense of an objective or waypoint. Requisitions similar ships to “Assault”, but with a lower priority. Automatically converted to “Assault” if objective is lost.

Patrol

Orders some fast, small craft to patrol around the target objective or waypoint.

Harass

Order some fast craft with medium-range weapons to engage the target ship.

Strike

Order strike craft (i.e., bomber wings, and ships with torpedoes and other strike weapons) to attack the target ship.

Light Escort

Orders some fighters or frigates, preferably with point-defense weapons, to accompany the target friendly ship.

Destroyer Escort

Orders a destroyer, preferably with point-defense weapons, to accompany the target friendly ship.

Rally Civilian Craft

Rally civilian ships at waypoint or objective. Civilian ships are usually freighters. This is useful in a mission where your fleet is trying to escape.

Rally Fire Support

Rally fire support ships at waypoint or objective. Fire support ships are ships that can attack at extreme range - usually armed with long range missiles.

Rally Strike Force

Rally strike craft at waypoint or objective. Strike craft are bombers and other ships armed with strike (anti-large-ship) weapons.

Rally Carrier Group

Rally carrier group at waypoint or objective. A carrier is any ship with flight decks, that is capable of refitting fighters during the battle.

Direct Orders

Direct orders are orders you give to a specific ship, breaking the existing chain of command. Each direct order given costs 1 command point. Direct orders can be rescinded at no cost.

To give a direct order, open the map, click on a friendly ship, and select an order from the context menu that appears.

Assign Task...

Override the chain of command to assign a specific ship to a particular task.

Repair & Refit

Order a fighter wing to go back to a carrier to repair and rearm. Note: fighter wings will go back automatically when they take too much damage or run out of ammo, but this order can be used to make them do it earlier than they otherwise. would

Retreat

Order a ship to retreat. Useful to get a damaged ship out of action to avoid its destruction. Does not cost a command point if your fleet’s goal is “Escape”.

Search & Destroy

Order a ship to engage the enemy at will. The ship will not be assigned to any tasks unless this order is rescinded.

Other Commands

Show Video Feed

Switch view to selected ship.

Transfer Command

You and your command staff take off from your flagship and move to another ship. May take some time if the target ship is far away. Can be used at any time, even if the flagship has been disabled/destroyed or not deployed yet. You can also change your destination while the shuttle is in flight.

Autopilot

If autopilot is on, it will take over control of your flagship until you turn it off or attempt to control the ship manually again.

More Info

Brings up the Codex interface with more information about the selected ship.

Battle Objectives

Objectives are small installations scattered throughout the battlefield that can be captured to give your fleet an advantage. If one side captures all the objectives on the battlefield, they're considered to control it and the enemy may not bring in any reinforcements.

Nav Buoy

Gives 10 extra fleet points and a 25% movement bonus to your ships. The bonus to max speed is a flat 25 units, not a percentage. Capturing grants 1 command point.

Sensor Array

Gives 10 extra fleet points and a 25% range bonus to your ships. Does not affect missiles. Capturing grants 1 command point.

Comm Relay

Gives 30 extra fleet points. Capturing grants 2 command points.

Search & Destroy

Fleet-wide order that cancels all current assignments and lets your ships engage the enemy at will. Useful for mopping up at the end of a battle. Does not cost any command points.

Full Retreat!

Orders your entire fleet to retreat. After this order is given, you can’t deploy any more reinforcements, give orders, or create new assignments.  Does not cost any command points.

Fleet Goals

A fleet may engage in battle for different reasons. For example, pirates may be keen on making sure the enemy fleet can not escape, while a trader attacked by superior forces may be intent on escaping.

Goal: Attack

The fleet engages in an all-out attack. Penalty to starting fleet points to represent relative lack of organization. Retreating ships will move to the nearest edge of the map, and may be captured by the enemy after the battle if the battle is lost.

To win, the enemy fleet must be routed - this can either mean total destruction, or capturing all the objectives and then mopping up the enemy's deployed ships. Enemy ships will also retreat if damaged too badly.

Goal: Defend

The fleet is either holding ground or cautiously advancing on the enemy. Bonus to starting fleet points to reflect good organization. Retreating ships will move to the starting edge of the map, and are unlikely to be captured if the battle is lost, to represent an orderly retreat..

To win, the enemy fleet must be routed - this can either mean total destruction, or capturing all the objectives and then mopping up the enemy's deployed ships. Enemy ships will also retreat if damaged too badly.

Goal: Escape

The fleet is trying to disengage from the enemy. Retreating ships will move to the enemy edge of the map, and will never be captured. Ships remaining in reserve will always be captured if the enemy has ships in play when the battle is over.

To win, at least 25% of the fleet must successfully retreat.

Mission Scoring

TBD

Hints & Tactics

Autofire

Use it! (Remember: Shift - 1/2/3/4 to toggle for a group) Especially effective for point defense weapons and anything in a turret. With so many weapons firing at the same time, you'll have to watch your flux. Vent periodically, and don't get caught with your shields on and flux near maxed out - that's asking for an overload. The risk is worth it, though, as you'll put out a lot more firepower.

It's usually not a good idea to turn autofire on for missiles - chances are they'll be wasted quickly.

Torpedoes

Pay attention to torpedoes. They're big, red, and menacing for a reason. Even one will cripple a destroyer. Using Shift - A/D to strafe can be a good way to dodge them, as can turning away just in time to avoid a torpedo passing too close for comfort. Friendly torpedoes can hit you as well, though friendly ships will take care not to launch them at you.

Learn which enemy ships / bomber wings can launch torpedoes, and be careful around those.

Torpedoes do a lot of splash damage.  So don't launch them at a nearby target - you'll take almost as much damage as the target does!

Bombers

A well-lined-up bombing run can be as devastating as a torpedo strike - pay attention to enemy bomber wings. Torpedo bombers are especially dangerous, as they can launch a large number of torpedoes with little warning.

Shields

Shields are particularly good against missiles - most of those do high explosive damage, which is reduced against shields. It's almost a waste to fire missiles at a target that's capable of raising shields against them.

On the flip side, kinetic weapons drain shields extremely quickly (remember, white-colored projectiles mean kinetic). So if you're taking a lot of kinetic fire, it's usually best to turn the shields off and take the hits on the armor.

Deployment

In a small battle, you'll be able to deploy your entire fleet immediately. In larger battles, it helps to deploy the faster frigates and fighter wings first. You can use those to capture objectives, and use the fleet points gained from that to bring in a wave of reinforcements containing your heavy ships.

Carriers

Carriers allow your fighter wings to come back at full strength, even if its down to a single badly-damaged fighter. Carriers are weak in direct combat, though, so you'll want to place them just outside the melee, but close enough so the fighters don't have a long way to go to repair and refit.

On the flip side, don't let enemy fighter wings escape back to a carrier - they'll just come back at you again at full strength! Try to eliminate fighter wings completely if possible.

Objectives

If you have lots of ships to deploy, capturing a Comm Relay can be key - each one gives you 30 fleet points. On the flip side, denying the enemy a Comm Relay can make a big difference if they have lots of ships to deploy.