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 Starscape Manual

How To Play | Hints

Technical Click on the questions to reveal the answers.

+ How do I know if I have the latest version?
When the game starts up, the version number is shown on the bottom left of the screen. If you log into the customer area you can then download any patches that might be available.

+ I've bought the game but I didn't receive an email, now what?
Most of the time this is because there is a problem at your end. Usually it can be things like a miss-spelled email address, over zealous spam filter, temporarily unavailable email box or a full email box. If you send an email to , including your name and the email supplied at time of purchase, we will be happy to help.

+ How do I unlock the download version of the game?
If you buy the game using an actual in game link and want to register the game to that computer then you will automatically be emailed everything you need. Just type in the password you receive in the email, or to make it easier, use the clipboard to copy and paste it. If you want to register to a different computer, or didn't use an ingame buy button, then use the customer password we email you and log into the customer area . There you can request a number of unlock codes for different computers automatically. If that all sounds too complicated just email and we will do it for you; or buy the game on CD-ROM.

+ How long will it take for the CD-ROM to arrive?
It is sent by airmail and the time varies widely but is usually around 7 days. We cannot guarantee anything under 28 days so in the meantime you can unlock the demo version anyway. So if you buy on CD-ROM you can still start playing straight away.

+ I can't get the game to work properly, what should I do?
First thing to do is try turning some of the options down in the game. You could run in a lower resolution or reduce texture quality. You should also make sure nothing else is running in the background as it could be using up all your resources. For absolute safety run the game full screen, this could free up even more resources for the game. It is always a good idea to make sure you have the latest version of DirectX (at least 8.1) and your video drivers (check the manufacturers web site). If you are still having problems then email us at and we will be happy to help.

+ I cannot get my controller working, what should I do?
There are so many different types out there that occasionally one will cause a problem, the first thing to do is to make sure you have the latest drivers installed for the device. If there is still a problem you can try changing the game's input configuration from DInput8 to DInput5.

+ What is a joystick "dead zone"?
When you aren't touching your joystick it will still send noisy signals to the computer; the amount of noise differs depending on the make and quality of the joystick. The dead zone defines a range of noisy input that the game will ignore, in the options screen you can change this setting to suit your joystick. If the ship will not settle then you need to increase it, if the ship wont move then decrease it.

+ Why do ship names have to be unique?
Within a single game the progress screen lists the top 5 ships you make and records what happened to them. This history is based on the name of the ship so you cannot reuse that name or the history would make no sense. You could always try adding a number after the name.

+ Can I use the download version on multiple computers?
Yes, just get an unlock code for each computer you want to play on automatically from the customer area of the web site. Each key will be unique to that computer's challenge code. You can get up to three unlock codes, the intended purpose of this is to cover any hardware upgrades you may make, however we leave it up to the customer how these are used. If you use a lot of computers we would recommend you buy the game on CD-ROM; it doesn't need registering and is therefore much more convenient. You can still get unlock codes if you buy on CD-ROM making it the most flexible option. 

+ I bought the download version by mistake and want a CD-ROM version instead, what do I do?
No problem, just log into the customer area and you will see an option for upgrading to a CD-ROM, you just have to pay the difference in price.

Warning! (**spoiler**)
Don’t read on unless you are stuck, this section contains many spoilers for the game and explains just about everything in detail. Resist!
Click on the questions to reveal the answers.

+ How do I defeat the zone1 boss?
Always look for something that flashes when you shoot it. The central area is invulnerable until the four legs have been blown up. Once all the legs are gone the boss will pull in magmasteroids and fire them at you. Keep moving and avoid the asteroids while shooting the central section. Eventually the boss will explode and the command fighter will be launched; it is slow but very powerful. Dodge its shots, keep shooting it and eventually it will be destroyed.

+ How do I defeat the zone2 boss?
Always look for something that flashes when you shoot it. Avoid the energy weapon that fires up/down and left/right. The four spinning discs must be eliminated first, they take a lot of damage. Periodically a disc will detach, you must be very careful not to get hit by it or the glowing trail it leaves behind. This boss is quite easy if you just take your time and don't rush. Once all the discs are gone the central body can be attacked, but be careful as it will move around quite quickly.

+ How do I defeat the zone3 boss?
Always look for something that flashes when you shoot it. The main weapon periodically releases an electrical charge, there is no defence against this so you must get out of range. You can get some indication of when it is about fire from the noise it makes. The boss is also protected by a number of laser turrets firing strobing overlapping beams. Underneath the boss are two openings blocked by barriers which must be destroyed before you can gain entry. Inside the boss are sensitive generators which must be destroyed to kill the boss.

+ How do I defeat the zone4 boss?
Always look for something that flashes when you shoot it. Fly up to the boss slowly and carefully making sure to avoid the radiating beams. Between each beam is a weak spot which must be destroyed. When they are eliminated the boss will split into four segments and begin launching extremely powerful mines. Take your time and get a few shots between the segments before each wave of mines is launched.

+ How do I defeat the zone5 boss?
Always look for something that flashes when you shoot it. The first thing to do is to destroy the four docking ports launching fighters. There are four large balls attached to the boss that move in and out in sequence. When they are fully extended they reveal a weak point on the boss which is just accessible if your timing is good. Lasers are excellent for this job as they are easier to position accurately. Once the main body is destroyed a command ship will be released. Be very careful to avoid the string of energy it fires and try to attack from the rear.

+ What are the little pods the zone boss drops?
These info pods contain coordinates to the next zone. Once you get one you should go to the nearest transfer node and enter the hyper-grid (by pressing fire2). In the hyper-grid you will be able to move to the next zone.

+ How do I get out of one zone into another?
Find a transfer node (they have a spinning map icon) and press fire2 until you are in the hyper-grid. Here you should be able to see paths connecting each zone, you can move along these paths to move between zones.

+ How do I find the friendly Xenarch aliens?
There are two kinds of enemy in the game, fighters and capital ships. The larger capital ships often drop info pods when they are destroyed which show up as orange icons on the radar. Once you pick one up you will be able to see a new node on the map which contains a friendly Xenarch station. If you don't pick up any of these pods, the boss is dead and all the capital ships are eliminated then you will not be able to find the Xenarch. The game can still be completed even if you don't have all the weapons technology.

+ How do I get new technology?
Find the Xenarch station in each zone and follow their instructions. Once you have completed the task they give you they will reward you with a new piece of technology. When you enter the warp you can visit the research and technology area of the station where you can get details about the new technology.

+ How do I get better technology?
When you are in the warp you can use all different functions of the Aegis labs. The research and development lab can improve any piece of equipment up to a certain point. With time, crew and plenty of resources the scientists can develop improved versions of current equipment. It is possible to assign some of the crew to building equipment and some to research. Nothing will get done however unless you allow time to pass.

+ How do I make things?
When in the warp you can use all the different functions of the Aegis labs. The research and development lab can build any equipment it has plans for. It has to make one type of thing at a time, but you can make many in a single run. It is possible to assign some of the crew to building equipment and some to research. Nothing will get done however unless you allow time to pass.

+ What is the warp?
The warp links together nodes space, the local grid and the hyper grid, when in the warp time does not pass. If you are in the warp you can relax and organise the crew, start research or build new equipment. The warp refers to space inside a worm hole which allows you to move from one location to another; even though they might be thousands of light years apart.

+ What is node space?
When you are flying around fighting or mining you are in node space and time is passing. If you have assigned the crew a research/build project you can check its progress when you dock. The docking screen shows whether a build or research project is busy, paused or stalled. If something is stalled then that means you have run out of resources and should get back out and do some mining. When in the zone map you can enter node space by pressing fire1. A node is a pocket of space in another dimension that exists inside the singularity of a black hole.

+ What is the local-grid?
The local-grid contains all the nodes of the current zone, each node contains a small pocket of node space for you to explore. You can move around the local grid and visit each unique node as you search for resources, crew and enemies. When on a transfer node you can move up to the hyper-grid by pressing fire2. The local-grid defines a network of worm holes linking each node together.

+ What is the hyper-grid?
Certain special nodes on the zone map are marked with a spinning icon indicating they connect to the hyper-grid, they are called transfer nodes. This means you can take large jumps across many nodes, they are shortcuts within the zone and the enemy cannot follow you through them. Once the zone boss is dead you will be able to use the hyper grid to get to the next zone. To enter the local grid just press fire1. The hyper-grid is a network of special worm holes that allow movement over even larger distance than normal.

+ How do I make time pass so I can build or research something?
Entering node space causes time to pass slowly. Traveling from one node to another causes time to pass quickly. Within the zone map you can also just skip time, but it only works if there are few enemies underneath you in the node. Hovering over a node like this causes time to pass very quickly.

+ I can't get anything made, the enemy wont leave me alone!
You need to move further away from enemy concentrations or go to a danger node or Xenarch node where the enemy will not follow. When an enemy is only one node away he can sense your presence and will move to intercept if he can. If too many enemies try to occupy the same node their mass will pull you in as well and you will have to fight or run.

+ Are the enemies just random?
No, they are built by the zone boss who is initially hidden. If you destroy him then no more enemies will be made. The zone boss is supplied by the mining barges and if you kill them then enemy production will fall.

+ Do the enemies just appear and move randomly?
No, the enemies are made by the boss who initially hides his location. If you look at the zone map and skip time you will see the enemies appear in a specific location and then slowly spread out. Some are escorting mining barges who are looking for resources; others are hunting you.

+ How is the score calculated?
Most actions get a reward; just collecting resources increments your score slightly. As you take on tougher enemies the resulting points total increases proportionally. Special bonuses are awarded for completing the game and these are increased even higher if playing on hard mode. There are no time penalties so you don't need to rush. Points are also awarded for non-combat activities like rescuing crew and researching all available technologies.

+ Why can't I research my equipment up to level4?
When you play on easy mode you can research anything you know how to make all the way to the top. When playing on medium or hard mode your research potential is limited based on how many zones you have unlocked up to zone4. Some people play on easy and research all the initial technologies to their maximum level in the first zone. Such a technique does not work on medium or hard and therefore the game is a bit more challenging.

+ What should I research and build first?
Most people find it a good idea to get the Aegis up to full strength as quickly as possible; the Aegis can take four turrets and a central cannon. The turrets and cannon can be upgraded three times, so by zone3 or 4 you should really have fully upgraded your station weapons. The Aegis can be a portable sanctuary, use the call button to keep it with you and retreat to it if things get too hot. The Aegis will automatically attack any approaching enemy and if it is fully upgraded it can put down more firepower than you can!

+ What is the best strategy for taking on the enemy?
As soon as you feel your ship and station are ready you should go into a new zone and skip time for a while so you can see where the enemy units are entering the zone. After a while you should see an orange enemy icon, this is a mining barge. If you can take these on early you can limit the rate at which the boss can make new enemies and stop the zone quickly filling up. Try and stay close to transfer nodes as you can use them to jump away from the enemy if you get crowded.

Each zone will introduce a new capital ship and they always carry coordinates for the friendly Xenarch station. It is very important you find the Xenarch as soon as possible because the enemy will not enter that node and you and the Aegis can be repaired there for free. Xenarch nodes make good jumping off points into the rest of the zone. If you have a fully repaired station and three ships at maximum health you can journey deep into enemy territory changing to a fresh ship as you take damage. As long as your ships aren't destroyed and you can get back to the Xenarch in time you can get everything repaired for free. You should hopefully have filled your cargo hold with resources along the way and can now relax while making upgrades.

If a zone proves too hard or you make a mistake and lose a ship you can always go back to a previous zone to make repairs and harvest more resources. If you visit a zone that has been completed and there are no enemies left then the space worms will venture out of their danger node and become a real hazard. More and more worms will enter your node so when it gets too hot just warp out and go to another one.

When in a node use your radar to predict which direction the enemy will attack from, face them early and start firing before they get on screen. Your weapons usually have a slightly longer range than the enemy so you will gain a small advantage. Once you start getting surrounded keep moving and don't stop, you will be a much harder target to hit. Consider blowing up a few large asteroids to make fairly dense fields to hide in. The enemy cannot move quickly through a dense asteroid field and large groups will be forced into different routes through the field.

+ What are the danger nodes?
They have their own node icon on the map and the enemy will never go there. Danger nodes are filled with special asteroids called Magmasteroids that are the natural home of the space worm. The worms move quickly and are very dangerous. The Magmasteroids explode with a great deal of force when you shoot them and you should stay well back. Normally rare resources are quite common in danger nodes and unlike other nodes the asteroids come back on their own. If the zone is mined out and you need more resources you can always go to a danger node as they never run out, just keep warping in and out.

+ What weapons should I use?
In each zone you get a new more powerful weapon. When you first enter a zone you should upgrade your current weapon and use it while you get enough resources together to research and build a full set of new weapons. For example, you would enter zone2 with blasters which should be upgraded asap and will perform well; before trying to take on the boss or major enemy concentrations you should have found and equipped the new weapon for that zone which will give you an even better advantage. Don't forget to use the charge up effect if your weapon has one, for example, blasters can be much more effective if you charge them up before firing.

Some weapons require ammunition and therefore need to be used sparingly, like missiles and nova bombs. These weapons are automatically assigned to the secondary fire button and make great "emergency weapons" to be used when you are getting swamped by the enemy. You can enhance an ammunition based weapon by fitting ammo-pods to your ship, these add a bit more ammo to all suitable weapons on the ship.

+ How do you take on mining barges, I keep getting killed?
Mining barges get harder in each zone, they can take more damage and they are fitted with more gun turrets. The mining laser is the main danger and you need to watch it carefully. A mining barge will warp out of a node once its jump engines are recharged as long as it isn't too damaged so you need to be quick. Start at the head end, if you are careful you will be able to hit the barge while being out of range of the mining laser. Once all the little cargo pods from that end of the barge are eliminated you can attack the tail end where the real danger is. If you have shields then move away and let them recharge occasionally. Move in when the mining laser is recharging and keep moving, a glancing blow is bad but if you are stationary when the laser hits you lose half your health. Don't be afraid to back off and get repaired, even if the barge warps out you can just jump after it and it wont get far. If you are using homing missiles or plasma weapons then they will have a tendency to impact harmlessly on the armoured centre section. If you position yourself carefully you can still get them to hit the vulnerable cargo pods, just practice and learn the skill.

+ I'm quietly mining resources when I am just swamped by hundreds of enemies warping in around me!
You have probably gotten too close to the hidden zone boss. He is making units which then move into the zone through one specific location, this forms a natural high enemy concentration. If you get in the middle of this you will take on the full brunt of the enemy forces.

+ I managed to kill everything in the zone but now there are space worms everywhere and I can't handle it!
The space worms will stay in their danger node while there is a zone boss or any capital ship in the zone. So one strategy is to kill the boss and all other enemies except for one or two larger capital ships. The few remaining ships can easily be avoided and you can take your time to harvest resources without being attacked by the worms. If you are attacked by worms make sure you warp out before too many congregate.

+ I've killed a mining barge but still can't get a pod to unlock the zone boss, what should I do?
Each zone is harder than the last and you are less likely to get an info pod from the mining barges. So just keep looking for mining barges and taking them down, you will get an info pod eventually and then you can attack the boss.

+ I can't find all the survivors!
You don't have to find them all to win the game, but their locations don't change. You just need to search. Care must be taken though because if you enter a node containing survivors, but don't pick them up, then the enemy will get them and kill them.

+ My ship is really slow, what have I done wrong?
When you build a ship you have to achieve a ballance between engines, power and weapons. It sounds like your ship is too heavy for the engine and it is therefore a bit sluggish: you need to either reduce weight or fit a better engine.

+ How do I set which fire key fires which weapon?
When you build a ship the weapons automatically get assigned to fire1 or fire2, but you can override this by modifying each weapon and changing the weapon group.

+ I just lost a custom fighter and the game saved automatcially meaning I can't go back to an older save.
You are playing on hard mode which means losing a custom fighter to the enemy is permanent, it is meant to make you take more care over your custom ships and generally be a bit more careful. If you don't like it then play on easy or medium difficulty setting instead.

+ I finished zone1 and went into zone3 but it is REALLY difficult, I just keep getting killed!
The zones get incrementally more difficult so you would be better off going into zone2 instead. One strategy is to zip into zone3, kill a capital ship to get an info pod, then go to the Xenarch and get the new weapon technology. You can now leave and go into zone2 where you will have a real advantage with your new weapons.

+ How do I know which equipment will fit in my ship?
Some items need a certain number of spaces to fit properly or need to go in a specific place, so if you aren't careful you can make things you can't use yet. Look at the ship construction screen and see what space is available then check the description on each bit of equipment you are considering and check you can actually fit it.

+ There are no more resources and I can't build anything!
The larger capital ships drop equipment pods when you kill them, these are placed in storage on the Aegis. A lot of the equipment will be useless to you so you can just recycle it into raw resources and make something else. You can even recycle a spare ship and use the resources to make something more useful. If all else fails you visit a previous zone or go to a danger node where resources never run out.

+ I don't seem to be able to fire my weapons consistently, sometimes they don't all fire.
You don't have enough power on your ship to fire them all, this is especially true if the engines are on as they use lots of power. Try fitting a larger generator or more batteries.

+ What is the point of fitting a battery?
Sometimes you might not have room for a bigger generator, or perhaps the engine can't take the extra mass. In this situation you can use batteries to give you extra power for short periods such as when boosting and firing. Batteries are especially important if you are using shields as they draw a lot of power when you are taking enemy fire.

+ What is the point of upgrading the gravity beam, all it does is suck in resources?
Upgraded gravity beams are lighter and draw less power, they also protect the resouces slightly from collision damage.

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Starscape Manual
How To Play
Getting Started
Default Controls
Tactics and Strategy
Basic play guide
Your ships
Ship configuration
Other equipment
Grid map
Game modes
R & D
Game Options
Advanced play guide

Managing your ships
Ship configuration
The enemy
Buying the game
The full version
How does it work?
What do I do?
Technical Issues
Tested Systems
3D hardware
Configuration File
License agreement