Tutorial Overview

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The Ingame tutorials gate mechanics and game features and unlock them as a new player makes combat and solar map progress.

pasted in XML code from game files, needs formatting

Starting the game

Clearing Notifications From Your Sidebar

Don't Panic! Yes, the notification icon you clicked just disappeared. But that's okay! The full notification log is available down at the bottom of the screen right under this list, and those never go away. Clicking the notifications on this sidebar to clear them helps you keep track of what is new (by getting rid of what you don't want to see anymore). The sidebar holds a maximum of 50 items, anyway (whereas the full log below holds as many as it needs to).


Welcome To Combat!

It's always your lonely flagship -- plus whatever NPC allies you can muster -- versus an indeterminate number of foes. Combat is turn-based, with everyone moving and acting at the same time after you give your ship its orders. Your first order of business is to give your ship a movement order. To figure out where the enemy is, you'll want to use the minimap (upper right-hand corner), pan your view around (WASD or arrow keys), and zoom in and out (mousewheel or pageup/pagedown).


Now It's Time To Attack

I promise I won't bug you constantly, but in this first battle there are a few things to point out. Look at the bottom of your screen -- you have some new options. First of all, there are three different weapon choices down there. And there are multiple attack modes, too -- hold fire, autofire, select targets, etc. Choosing the right weapon, and the best attack mode, is a big part of winning battles. Hover over enemy ships to see what weapons have the highest DPS (Damage Per Second) against them. This battle is dead simple, but future ones will not be, so use this time to get comfortable dominating these little foes. IMPORTANT: You are currently in autofire mode. Unless you change this, then your ship will always pick its own targets to fire at (best ones based on your selected weapon) regardless of where you click. Clicking just confirms your orders. If you want to attack a specific ship, switch to Select Targets mode (it's one of the buttons in the bottom left).


Check Out The Top Of Your Screen: Objectives!

Most battles have a single objective, but that objective may involve multiple parts. This particular battle has two objectives, either of which you can choose. If you choose to destroy the enemy flagships, you'll gain some Credit (currency). You can identify flagships by the fact that they are quite large, and usually there is at least one chasing you. Hover over them to be sure, if you like. Alternatively, if you choose to instead dock with their science lab, then you can end the combat (relatively) peaceably. You'll give them some techs that will make them stronger (hmmm, is that smart?), and they will like you a lot better (that part definitely sounds good). To dock with the lab, just fly over to it and wait; your tractor beams will lock on and take care of the rest. A lot of missions have completely optional side-objectives that you can take or ignore. If you destroy civilian or military buildings, there are consequences (helpful or harmful, depending on circumstances), but the battle keeps going until your primary objectives are reached.


Sweet Mother Of Space Sheep! It's The Solar Map

I'm going to introduce you to this gradually. For now, a lot of stuff is hidden. Don't worry about trying to create the federation yet -- we'll get to that later, it's not even an option yet. Right now you need to worry about gaining Credit to spend, and you also need to accumulate a goodly amount of Influence with a few races. A humble suggestion is that you start by delivering spacefaring tech to the Skylaxians, Andors, and/or Peltians, and then run some dispatch missions for them to gain more credit. Your current focus should be on making yourself more powerful and influential, and as you complete missions and political deals, I'll open up more and more ways for you to do that, culminating in the options for trying to form a fledgling federation. If you want to read this (or any other) message again, just click Your Logbook.


First Time Delivering Technical Documents

Oi! Okay, so, stuff just got real. Maybe. This is either going to be incredibly easy, or impossibly hard, depending on how many races are already spacefaring. Just be careful of alerting those spy probes, and make your way to the drop zone, and that's it. The turrets all have limited firing arcs, so if you maneuver cleverly (and are a bit lucky, and not many races are spacefaring), you might be able to complete this in just a couple of turns without firing any shots. If that's the case, more power to you! Each one of these gets harder as you go, so enjoy the ease while it lasts.


Combat Missions Where Your Abilities Are Disabled

Hey, that's not fair! The ships here are projecting some sort of field that prevents you from using your special abilities. That... bites, actually. Well, at least this doesn't happen very often; it's just certain kinds of missions. But if you see your ability bar mysteriously missing, you'll know why. The little text about the mission scenario always mentions when this is the case, too.


Docking With Ships

In this mission, you need to dock with a ship. It tells you what kind right up at the top of the screen. Go and find that ship, and park next to it for a few turns. Whether you are delivering something to it or extracting something from it, your tractor beams will do their work, and then your job is done. The only catch is that you have to stay close to the target, so that tends to mean not moving much; and that in turn makes you vulnerable to enemies...


About Really Big Battles You Probably Cannot Win

Foul mother of redrash! Just look at all those enemies! Think you can win this one? Well, maybe you can. You have some pretty awesome tech. Then again, engagements like this can go south super fast, so be careful in any case. In any case, this may simply be an impossible battle to "win." And even if this one isn't the next time you see a dozen enemy flagships arrayed in front of you, THAT one might be. So listen up: your goal isn't always to "win." Whatever damage you do to the armadas here is permanent. So if you can't destroy everyone here, you certainly can give them a really bad day. Figure out how you can best do the most damage, do it, and then withdraw before you're overwhelmed. It's not retreat: it's tactics.


Fighting With Allies Against Enemies

Hey, you have some allies! Or at least some folks that are neutral to you. Either way, they don't want to shoot you during this battle. Regardless of relationships outside of battles, when there are multiple parties in a particular fight, everyone has specific stances againt everyone else: allied, enemy, or neutral. On the bottom left of your screen, you can see little colored indicators showing which races are allied against you, which are neutral, and which are enemies. You can hover over them for more information, and to see how each of them feels about the OTHER races involved in the battle. Just because two races both hate you doesn't mean they aren't also at war with one another. The state of the solar map obviously has a big impact on how everybody lines up here, but so does context. Even if a race normally dislikes you, if you've offered to help them fight off attackers, they'll be your ally for the duration of a fight. Why look a gift squid in the tentacles, or whatever.


Attacking Local Spy Probes

In this mission, you're trying to destroy spy probes. Fair enough. But there may be too many to take them all out, depending on how long they have had in which to build up. If you think you're going to die, then just withdraw. Whatever you killed still counts!


Attacking Local Smugglers

In this mission, you're trying to destroy smuggler ships. Definitely a good thing to do. But there may be too many to take them all out, depending on how long they have had in which to build up. If you think you're going to die, then just withdraw. Whatever you killed still counts!


The Solar Map Pauses When You Are In Menus!

Just a friendly note, because I suspect you might be the paranoid type. You don't need to hit pause before going into menus -- any menus. The solar map stops while you're not looking at it.


The Enemy's Shields Are Down!

Up until now, you've been attacking this enemy's shields. So the best weapon for the job was one that does particular damage against shields, or which has generally the highest overall damage rate (DPS). But NOW the shields are down, and you're going to be hitting the hull of the ship. So the ideal weapon to use against this enemy probably just changed. Different hulls have different strengths and weaknesses.



TECHNOLOGY TREE UNLOCKED 1/7: Hey, there's a new button under your Basic Info tab on the solar map! It shows you what technologies you and all the other races have researched. (By the way, don't worry about memorizing all this. You can read it again anytime in the Your Logbook window on the main solar map interface).

2/7: There's nothing super complicated about the concept of technologies. Once you or a race have a checkmark in your column in the Tech Progress screen, that's it -- you know the technology, and you get whatever benefits it confers.

3/7: There are a lot of different kinds of technologies. Some benefit you, and those ones are grouped at the top of the tech grid. These typically do things like increasing your hull strength, improving your science or manufacturing skills, etc.

4/7: A lot of them have no direct benefit for you -- you're not a planetary power, so you don't need things like safer nuclear power, for instance. But these technologies are of immense value to your allies -- and enemies. Help your allies get what they need, and you'll be that much closer to forming the federation.

5/7: Don't underestimate the power of science! If a race gets far ahead in the number of techs they have learned, they can absolutely dominate enemy races that have much larger fleets. (This takes quite a while, though, so having large fleets in the meantime is a plus, heh.)

6/7: How do you fit in? Well, there are now Research Technology dispatch missions that you can take with most races. The time requirements on most technologies will be too steep for you to research them right now, but that's okay. Once you gain access to the black market, hiring Scientist Goons to help you in your work will bring even the most expensive tech within reach.

7/7: Lastly, under Hostile Actions for each race, you can now Raid For Technology to steal what you need. To do this, you first have to Recruit An Informant, which is your general link into the criminal underworld of each race. Except the Andors and Thoraxians, who have no criminals (for very different reasons). One way or another, you need to get techs.


SPECIAL ABILITIES UNLOCKED 1/6: Ooh, shiny new toys for your flagship! You may think that combat is easy now, but as the game progresses it gets steadily harder. As combat becomes more tense, you will need to rely on an ever-growing list of special abilities -- as well as the tech upgrades you've already been introduced to.

2/6: Using a special ability sacrifices a "normal" turn (one where you move and/or attack). Instead it just uses the ability, and whatever previous momentum your ship had is retained (so you may drift some more, depending on how fast you were going at the end of the last turn).

3/6: That said, special abilities ALL have a very powerful side-effect: they cause an energy ring to burst out of your flagship, destroying all shots that come into contact with it. This is HUGELY useful in complex battles. You may find yourself using this secondary effect even when you don't need the specific main function of an ability.

FLAGSHIP CUSTOMIZATION UNLOCKED 4/6: There's a new Customize Flagship button right on your main solar map HUD. Clicking into this screen lets you choose which six specific abilities are assigned to your flagship -- and which three guns are equipped, too.

5/6: As you progress through the game, you will unlock more guns and abilities. Excess unequipped abilities are also useful -- whenever you use up the ammo from an ability on your bar during a battle, a new unused ability of the same category is swapped in after 30 turns, if there is one. Except for operational abilities, which can't be swapped in that manner.

6/6: Ammo? Oh yes, abilities have both ammo and a recharge time between uses. Don't worry, though -- ammo is completely restored after each battle, just like your health and shields. (Your ship has the ability to make some pretty amazing stuff out of all the space junk you wind up creating during a battle.)


THE BLACK MARKET HAS APPEARED ON THE SOLAR MAP! 1/3: Looks like you're no longer the only mercenary in the solar system! That's okay, there's some professional courtesy extended between all mercs (unless you find yourself on the wrong end of a bounty -- it's nothing personal, you know). But you'll always be welcome at the black market.

2/3: There's a lot of stuff you NEED that you can only get on the sly, and the black market is where to go. Once you click on the black market to visit it, you'll see the above button. That then opens up whatever purchasing/selling options are currently available to you.

3/3: Some of the deals are just behind-closed-doors trade in perfectly legit items. This is a great place to pick up hydral technology (in other words, guns and special abilities). It's also a great place to hire goons, which are essential to doing any sort of research or construction. There are also... less savory options available to you, if you're THAT sort.


FLAGSHIP POWER MANAGEMENT UNLOCKED 1/6: I swear, this is the last time I'll interrupt you during this battle. But now that you're getting a few turns in, there's one more bit that you probably ought to know. It's time to give you direct control over power distribution to your three subsystems.

2/6: A. Increasing power to your Weapons gives you higher damage output as well as longer range. B. Increasing power to your Shields gives you faster shield regen, and makes your shields more resistant to shots that hit them. C. Increasing power to your Engines gives you faster movement, better turning arcs, and a further distance you can move per turn.

3/6: To set your power levels, just click the various bars, or use hotkeys. There are instructions in the tooltips. However, during each turn your ship automatically changes power based on context. Let's suppose you don't issue a movement order -- well, it diverts engine power to weapons and/or shields instead. Not attacking? Diverts to shields. Etc. This keeps you from needing to fiddle with it for minor adjustments.

4/6: Automatic management doesn't make manual management pointless. Consider: - "I'm low on health, so I'm going to crank up my shields for a while at the expense of..." - "I need to be able to maneuver very carefully here, so I'm willing to sacrifice..." - "I am so OP here, let's get this over quick. Nothing to shields, all to weapons, let's go!" - And so on. Those sorts of larger decisions are the point of the power system, not moment to moment fiddling.

5/6: What was that about better turning arcs with different engine power levels? Well, see for yourself above. At the default levels, which is all you've had until now, you move pretty well. But you can move super precisely if you crank it all the way up. You can barely move or turn if you crank it all the way down.

6/6: Hey! How the heck did you do that curlicue? Waypoints! Simply hold down the shift key while issuing movement orders. You lose a little speed with each curved waypoint, so your total distance goes down a bit, FYI. Are you feeling a little overwhelmed with all this info? Sorry about that -- but you do NOT have to memorize it. You can review it at any time by viewing Your Logbook in the menu that pops up when you hit the escape key.


ACTION AND EVENT NOTIFICATIONS ENABLED 1/7: Even though you might not have known it, you've been flying a bit blind until now. The eight races are all the time taking various actions, and periodic events are happening on planets and space installations throughout the solar system. A new sidebar on the right-hand side of the solar map will show you the major ones only, and the button below that lets you see EVERYTHING.

2/7: Each little icon, or each row in the full notifications log, has information on who did it, where it happened (if relevant), and what happened. Oh, by the way -- those icons on the sidebar? They are color-coded by race so that you can tell at a glance which race each icon corresponds to.

3/7: This is what the full notification log looks like. You can click the text of any item to get a popup with the details about it. You can also click any icon in either of the two columns to the left to filter to certain kinds of notifications.

4/7: For instance, this is the view you get if you click the Thoraxian icon. We just see all the actions and events that are theirs.

5/7: Or here is what you see if you click the "Research Tech" icon. This shows you all the techs that have been researched by any race.

6/7: And on that last screen, here's what happens if you click the Acutian icon. You can see the history of all the techs researched just by them! Pretty handy.

7/7: But wait, there's one last little bit. If you click into the Planet Details on any planet or outpost on the main solar map, you can get specific event logs just for that location, too.


GRAPHING ACTION TOTALLY ACTIVATED AND AWESOME 1/5: Ooh yeah, I know you like them graphs. No? Really? It's just me? Well, I am a computer... Anyway, if you find you want to get an idea of trends over time for... lot's of stuff... then there are a few new buttons on your Detailed Intel tab on the main solar map. More will also open up later.

2/5: Let me show you a quick few examples of ways in which graphs can be useful. Check out this military graph, showing the total power of all the races. See how the Skylaxians overtake the Acutians? That's from techs, not outpacing them in ship production. You could verify THAT in the notifications log, tech progress tab, or racial power grid -- there are lots of ways to figure out how things came to such a dire end, when the end comes. Er -- I mean, I have total faith in you.

3/5: Bam, check out THIS one. Population graphs of all sorts abound. I mean, there really are a lot. This one shows total raw citizenry. Look how many freaking Acutians there are! By the way, these numbers are totally for example purposes only and aren't from your specific situation -- thank goodness. Even with 112 BILLION citizens, the Acutians don't look like they stand a chance against the Skylaxians.

4/5: Boom, ground troops graph. Looks like the Skylaxians and the Acutians are actually pretty evenly-matched here. Though Acutians have the ability to rapidly repurpose their citizens, so a ground invasion by the Skylaxians wouldn't go well, anyway. Better bomb 'em from orbit. Seriously, I'm not just quoting the cliche: actually go bomb them from orbit. I mean, if this was your situation. Which it's not. But if you find yourself in a similar one, that's totally what you should do.

5/5: All right, last graph. I'm giddy from all these numbers and lines. Anyway, this shows smuggler populations. Too many smugglers of one race, and they'll collapse into a Smuggler Empire, which isn't the best. Fortunately there aren't many smugglers. Well, that was a few of the many graphs. Do you need to study them intensively? Of course not. Are they fun to look at? Depends on you, I guess. Are they useful for answering historical questions? Heck yeah -- nothing better.


GEOPOLITICAL FANCY ANALYSIS ENABLED (RCI DATA) 1/4: All right, I've delayed showing you these things long enough. There are four overall "RCI" scores for each planet (from left to right in the bottom row of icons above): Economic, Medical, Environmental, and Public Order. Usually these range from -100 to 100, but not always. The tooltips for each icon tell you more about the consequences of each value getting negative.

2/4: These represent overall societal trends and quality of life on a planet. A poor-quality planet -- even a planet you like -- is not necessarily bad for YOU. These affect the likelihood of each kind of (bad or good) event and quest at each location. In some cases you can only get the best quests when a planet is doing terrible -- desperation motivates. Then again, as noted, the chance increases for really awful events to happen (diseases, typhoons, etc), so it's a gamble.

3/4: Let's talk about trends. Exactly one RCI value per planet is going to be trending either up or down at all times. On the left we see public order trending up for the Acutians (that's why it is a blue icon), and on the right we see the red public icon for the Peltians, showing that it is trending down for them. What causes trends? You know... life stuff. People do things, butterflies flap wings, and trends emerge.

4/4: Hey, a whole bunch of new political deals opened up to you! Dozens, literally. These tend to be called Planetary Advice, and you can use them to convince a race to focus on eradicating crime, or enact tax breaks, or whatever. Remember, one trend per planet: if you execute a political deal with a race that starts a new trend, it replaces the old one. Experiment. Don't try to max them out. They are a useful tool, and higher is often better. But when they are maxed, you lose some cool opportunities.


ALLIANCES IN GENERAL - AND THE FEDERATION IN PARTICULAR 1/7: It's time to start thinking about the federation at last. New political deals relating to the federation have now opened up with every race. Some races are easier to get into the federation. The Peltians and the Andors are very easy. The <span style="color:2/7: But nothing's ever that simple. A lot of the other races are much more resistant. And if you have bad influence with any race, you may never be able to directly convince them. If that's the case, then you have only two options: make sure that race gets exterminated, or use another race to "backdoor" them into the federation. The Skylaxians, Acutians, and Boarines are excellent for convincing other races to join -- under the right circumstances.

3/7: Special circumstances can also lead to the formation of a federation. For instance, if the Burlusts, Acutians, and Thoraxians all really like you, you can convince them to make a federation (but they may then betray you in return, so watch out). Or if the combined might of the federation military is strong enough, you can convince the Burlusts to join based on... we'll call it respect.

4/7: Bear in mind that it DOES matter which goverment you approach. This same deal that was so cheap when approaching the Andors to form a federation with the Peltians is not something you can afford in Peltian Voting Proxies on the other end of the bargain. Your influence with the government you are directly brokering with is a big factor.

5/7: Well, hey, that still doesn't sound too bad! I repeat: nothing's ever that simple. Once the federation has formed, resistance and resentment immediately start building against it. The Anti Federation Alliance, or AFA, will start gathering demonstrators, some of whom eventually turn into insurgents. You and the federation governments can hunt them down, but this doesn't always go over well with the enemy governments. And AFA sympathizers even crop up within the federation itself.

6/7: More bad news! The federation is not remotely the only kind of alliance that can form. At least half a dozen distinct kinds of hostile alliances may form if the situation... progresses a certain way. I'd tell you, but I don't want to spoil the surprise. Suffice it to say, once a hostile alliance forms, it must be destroyed -- one way or another. Once one forms, details on what conditions must be met to break it are revealed.

7/7: Remember: your goal is for a federation that unites the solar system. Until all the (surviving) races and planets are members, your work is incomplete. There is no one way to accomplish this. It may be a bloodbath, or it may be very behind-the-scenes political. All eight races may survive, or as few as one may actually wind up living. Whatever gets the job done.


DETAILED PLANET STATS 1/1: The Planet Details screen that you are accustomed to now has substantially more insight into the guts of the simulation. There's not much point in me explaining all those stats, because they each have tooltips that already do just that. I just withheld it from you until now so that you could first focus on the really key information before seeing this sort of thing.


PLANETARY RAW RESOURCES NOW VISIBLE 1/3: This seems complicated, but it's actually pretty straightforward. Raw resources are a secondary economy. They don't have any impact on anything that you've been doing up until now. However, they do let you do NEW things (and the races have already been doing those things).

2/3: There is now a Property Development dispatch mission type that you can take. These cost you time, and you may need to use construction workers. But they also let you improve the RCI values of a planet, its science output, its defensive capabilities, or otherwise. The AI builds according to its own priorities, so anything you do to help it is supplemental. You aren't redirecting the AI, you're adding to it.

3/3: Constructing a building costs some amount of a single resource. The value is different for the AI and for you. When you do a property development dispatch, you are spending the raw resources of the AI, not of yourself. Having raw resources in your own inventory serves no purpose -- sell it or give it away. You'll notice that it's cheaper in resources for you to build structures than it is for the AI, because you bring along the extra labor and expertise.

The Last Federation