Last updated: August 26, 2016

Self-Improvement for Starship Captains: A Twelve-Step Program Sponsored by The Lost Raven MMO

[Bite-sized versions of this tutorial can be displayed in-game with the 'Enlighten Me' command, using the E key. The in-game version has more actual sector location information in the Tradingpost and Spaceport sections.]

Travel, by the Numbers

(Moving around the Galaxy and using the autopilot)

You can move to an adjacent sector by typing the digit in parens preceding your target sector in the available 'Jumps' line (1-6 in the example below):
Jumps: (1)18922 (2)21688r (3)22849 (4)28426 (5)31546 (6)49111

You can invoke the autopilot and fly anywhere in your Star Cluster by typing a '0' (zero). You will be prompted for a destination sector within a valid range. The autopilot will compute the shortest path to your destination and you just press the '/' key to fly there.

If you press the '/' key *without* a pre-computed autopilot path, autopilot will move your ship a single jump in a random direction. This is quite useful when you need to make a quick get-away.

Heavenly Objects and Efficient Exploitation

(Planets and ports; locating, looting, and moving them)

You can Locate a planet from any sector without a planet by typing the 'L' key. If there is a planet present, you'll Land on it instead. Goods on planets can be freely taken and sold at commodity ports.

The quality and presence of commodity ports (Machine Shops, Biostills, and Smelters) can be seen from adjacent sectors by the letter grade appended to the sector number. 'a' is the best and 'z' usually means the port is selling, not buying, what you're hauling. However, if you intend to trade between ports, you can let the Computrade computer do that routine work for you. Just hit the 'C' key to computrade. Hold the C key down for a fast series of trades.

A planet and port in the same sector can be a valuable find; free goods from the planet and a ready market in the port. Note that you don't need to manually Land and Port to trade out the pair; you can use the 'X' key to autoloot it.

The Protection Racket

(Locating and salvaging neutral drones)

Your personal drone fleet is the only way to attack anything in space. The drones with your ship will also automatically defend it against attacks, whether you're online or offline. You will pick up a few free drones while trading, but sometimes you will want to spend your excess cash on even more.

Once you have a few hundred thousand Microbots ($), you may want to salvage a few drones. Use the 'S' key to locate the nearest group of neutrals to your current position. If there is a planet in the sector with sufficient supplies of Weapons, you'll have everything you need to salvage a group of drones. (Again, use the 'S' key).

If there is no planet present, you'll need to load up your holds with weapons. The easiest way to do that is to press the 'C' (Computrade) key a few times until you buy a load of weapons from a Machine Shop. Then, use 'S' again to locate the drone fleet, then 'S' yet again to salvage a group of them.

The Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence and the Gift of Ancient Alien Technologies

(Capturing alien UFO's for fun and profit)

Once you have a few drones, you can try to find alien ships in the Galactic Core (which is the Cluster where all new players start out). You can review recent news bulletins with the ']' key if you don't yet have any ship sensors. Look for sightings of aliens with levels at or a bit above your own level and within the sector range of your current Star Cluster (the same range shown by the autopilot when you type '0').

Once you find a recent report of an likely target, use the autopilot (0 key) to go there. If you have more drones than the alien, attack with all of them. Use the 'A' key to attack. If you successfully kill the alien, you can use the Jettison command ('J' key) to inspect the ship you just captured. If it is better than your own, do NOT confirm the jettison. Instead, you'll want to go to a Tradingpost (TP). There's always a TP in sector 1). Once at the TP, use the 'T' key to trade with it, then use the 'C' key as shown on the menu, to Commandeer the alien ship. Once you leave the Tradingpost, you can Jettison your old ship.

Need to recycle drones, buy a stealth panel, sell excess fuel, or engrave a new hull number on a stolen UFO?

(Your friendly neighborhood Tradingpost does. it. all.)

There is always a Tradingpost (TP) in sector 1, and there may be more evenly spaced throughout the Galactic Core. Also, each Star Cluster has a TP in the last sector.

In addition to allowing you to swap your Starship for a captured Alien UFO, as described earlier, you may choose to upgrade your current ship with additional equipment at a TP. You can buy:

  • Cargo holds (improve your trading efficiency)
  • Attack Radar (improve your success rate in attacking)
  • Guardian Shields (improve your defense against incoming drones)
  • Ship Sensors (Pinpoint nearby ships, see stealthed ships easier)
  • Tractor Beams (Tow ports, planets, and bunkers to other sectors)
  • Stealth Panels (Make your ship harder to see, target, and attack)
  • magnetic GPS Beacons (Drop these to attach to passing ships)

You can also sell excess fuel to a Tradingpost, have foreign objects scraped off your hull, and recycle drones when cash is sorely needed.

Better Living through Science: Einstein-Rosen Bridges and You

(Wormholes, Spaceports and fast, economical long distance travel!)

There are wormholes connecting the Galactic Core to a number of remote Star Clusters. You can use the wormholes to travel to other Clusters at Spaceports. The first Spaceport location is always listed in this page of the tutorial, displayed by the 'E' key, ingame.

Once you visit a new Star Cluster, Your deployed forces report (the 'Y' key) will remember the connecting Spaceport location for you.

Each Star Cluster will have a corresponding Spaceport in its lowest sector that will warp you back to the Galactic Core.

In addition, a Star Cluster may contain undocumented Wormholes that interconnect it to other Star Clusters of the same subtype.

Friends, Neighbors, and Corporate Partners

(Other Players: who is online, who is nearby, the Player rankings and Corporations)

The 'p' key will rank online & recently online Players. To show all Players, including those who are invisible, use an uppercase 'P'. Note that the presence of a '+' in the first position of a player's info means the player is online. An '*' means a player is lootable by anyone. A '~' means a recently online player is still visible.

The 'Unionized' player rankings, a listing of Corporations, can be shown with the 'U' key.

To see players and active aliens who are both Online and nearby in your current Star Cluster, use the 'O' key.

To apply for membership in a player-run Corporation, use the '&' key. If you choose to remain solo, you will eventually become eligible to create your own Corporation with an option in this same menu.

Print is Dead; Please Subscribe to our News Feed!

(And other fun things you can do from the control panel)

As mentioned earlier, you can redisplay recent news entries with the ']' key. You can also turn off live news updates if you find them distracting. The '^' key takes you to the control panel where a menu lets you disable or enable news, change your password, see a Galaxy status summary, and enable live reports from any deployed GPS beacons you might have on other players' Starships.

Also, should you have trouble remembering any of these single character commands, note that typing ? from any sector prompt will show the full menu of commands, including the Radio controls and how to get to the control panel and the Corporations menu.

Amateur Radio; the Hobby of the Future

(Mass communications on the public broadcast channels)

Every Starship is equipped with an elaborate radio system capable of sending and receiving broadcasts on a large number of radio frequencies.

You can change your radio channel with the '#" key. All Starship radios automatically pretune to the local Star Cluster Public radio frequency whenever you enter a new Star Cluster. That group of frequencies is autoselected from the 'G' or Galactic channel.

There is also a Universal Text-Talk radio channel that will let you communicate with players throughout the entire galaxy who are also tuned the the 'U' channel.

The 'C' channel tunes your radio to your Corporation's private frequency. Unlike the other public channels, if you are on any named channel (U, G, P) you can still *receive* broadcasts from your own corporporation's radio channel. To transmit on the Corporate channel you will have to explicitly tune your radio to C, however.

Note that you can't hear your Corporate channel from a raw numbered channel. Also, unlike corporation members, unaligned players will not be able to hear their 'Unaligned' C channel from *any* other channel.

Texting at Warp Speed

(Chat with friendly aliens and text online and offline players)

Your Starship radio is also able to create a private connection between you and any other Starship in the galaxy. This is a point-to-point connection and, unlike broadcast radio, will also let you send messages to offline players. They will receive the text immediately upon their next login.

This Private channel, labelled 'P', lets you talk with a single player after selecting the player with the /playername method from the radio prompt. Once you have selected a communications target, be it an online or offline player, or even an active alien, you can simply type at the radio prompt and it will be transmitted directly to your target.

Note that you can receive private texts from any channel. You can also send text from the radio prompt on any channel as follows:
/playername [your text here]
But on the P channel, once your target is selected, you don't need to type the '/playername' command in front of every text.

Good Fences Make Good Neighbors

(Building your first Starbase)

A Starbase is a military structure that will defend a sector and its contents from players in other corporations as well as from unaligned players. A player with enough drones, however, might opt to destroy the Starbase if they really want access to the sector. Further, they might just damage the Starbase out of spite -- even though that won't grant them any additional access.

Therefore, while Starbases are arguably defensive structures that don't attack players, making one remains an 'act of war', since you're forcing a claim to shared public space and blocking an access route.

That said, imagine that you found a wealthy and unoccupied star Cluster, full of clueless aliens in fancy UFO's, that you wanted to reserve for your own personal use. You *might* decide to build a fat Starbase in the Spaceport sector leading to that Cluster to prevent other players from jumping your claim.

While that situation might be the most obvious, there are surely other situations and places where you might want to build a Starbase.

Terraforming the most Lovely Planets for Player Housing

(Bunkers: a little piece of heaven to call your own)

When you land on an abandoned planet -- and sometimes when you land on a claimed but infrequently looted planet -- it will be claimed in your name. This has only one practical effect; you alone have the option to build a bunker on any planet bearing your name.

While it may be difficult to haul away all of the goods on a planet, it is a necessary step before you can terraform it. The easiest way to empty a planet requires a Tractor Beam. Beams will allow you to tow commodity ports to the planet and autoscoop the goods with the X key. This has the added benefit of earning you cash as well. Once the planet is completely emptied of goods, Land on it one more time (with the 'L' key) and you will be prompted to build a bunker -- *if* you have the required microbots and grams of antimatter.

Once the bunker is built, you can dock your ship there (L), deploy forces to guard it, and upgrade it up to level 20. High level bunkers are a very cost-effective way to both defend and hide your ship. As a bonus, members of your corporation will also be able to dock inside the bunker. And, if you have twelve Tractor beams, you can tow the bunker to another sector whenever you wish.

Understanding the Energy Signature of your Starship

(What contributes to your ship's visibility)

Your ship emits energy, mostly in the form of heat, that allows other ships to detect your presence. Ship scanners and other ship detection technology are based on this 'energy signature'.

Your ship's communication channels to your deployed forces also contribute to the total energy signature. Smaller ships with fewer deployed forces are, therefore, harder to detect.

You can add Stealth Panels to your ship to significantly reduce the magnitude of these emissions.

When you log off, your ship cools and eventually becomes quiescent. This takes longer if you've recently been in combat or have been flagged in the news for the dishonorable act of lowbie killing. Once your ship becomes completely quiescent, it acquires a 100% stealth rating and becomes invisible to other ships. This period of quiescence can only last for 10 days -- at which point your ship's maintenance systems will autostart and raise your energy signature back to your normal operating stealth rating.

With Friends Like These...

(Getting along with other Starship Captains -- and what to do if things go very, very wrong)

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