// Lost In Space: Basic Intro to Navigation

Share your experience by writing tutorials to help other players.
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Dwarf-Lord Pangolin
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Tue Mar 20, 2018 8:57 pm

So there you are, minding your own business, admiring the sleek control panel of your brand-new Correlian shuttle. True, it cost you a fair amount, but the freedom your little ship will bring you more than makes up for it, and you can't quite suppress a small tremble of excitement as you gaze up at the rings of the gas giant above you. Then one thing in particular catches your eye, a big sliding bar that looks like it belongs on a DJ's mixer board. Curiously, you gently slide it up to the top.

Next thing you know, your ship's ripped a hole in the spacetime continuum, flung you through a trippy purple hellscape, and dumped you out unceremoniously in orbit of a blue star in lord-knows-what part of the galaxy.

Welcome to Skywanderers.

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Now, we've all been there. The ships are so cool, and the buttons and switches so tempting, that you just can't help yourself. But, now that you're lost in space, you'd probably like to have a little more control over your fate when zipping around the galaxy. So let's get started.

The first thing to know is that your ship has two main ways of going unreasonably fast, the engines and the jump drive. First we'll cover your engines, and these have three modes.

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•The first mode is Maneuvering; you can move your ship in any of the six basic directions (up, down, left, right, forward, backward) with this, and you can rotate freely while doing so. It's very versatile -- and very slow. It's mostly useful for docking, squaring yourself up on a landing pad, and maybe doing a little juking and dodging while trading fire with another ship at long range. But it gets you nowhere real fast. By default, you control this mode with the WASD keys, as is usual, with the addition of SHIFT and CTRL for up and down, respectively.

•Second mode doesn't really have a name, so we'll just call it flying. This is what your engines are mainly for, and this is where you need to start paying attention to ship design; the more engines you slap on a ship, the higher its top speed, and (I believe) the higher its acceleration. Problem is, those puppies run hot -- real hot. And they draw a fair bit of juice from your reactors as well. So the more engines you have, the more hull mass you need to soak up that heat, and the more power you need flowing to 'em. You increase throttle with the ] key, and decrease with [. You can see what percentage of your throttle you're using by looking at the upper-left of your HUD. So if you're using 34% of your throttle, it'll say "T: 34." Oh, and you can see how fast you're going by looking at the bar on the left side of the HUD -- speed will generally be given in meters-per-second. Unlike maneuver mode, you can only go one way while flying: forward. There's some tricks you can pull that are exceptions to this rule, but we'll save those for flight school.

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•Third mode is what we're really interested in for this little guide. Folks call this mode a bunch of things, but the ship calls it hyper mode, and it'll let you know you're in it with a little tag saying "HYP" on the upper-right corner of your HUD. To activate this, you need to be moving at least a little bit already, so push your throttle up with ]. Once you're in motion, press and hold down your ALT key until the little bar that pops up in the center of your HUD fills up all the way -- oh, and you might wanna fasten your seatbelt at this point.

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Hypermode is what you'll be using to get around solar systems; at its slower settings, your speed will be measured in kilometers per second, while at the upper end, you might be cruising at multiples of c (that's speed-o'-light, for all you budding space cadets). Your ship will intelligently adapt its speed based on your proximity to what's around you; if you're in orbit of a planet, your max speed at HYP will be pretty low, so you can take in the scenery -- and more importantly, not miss your destination by a couple thousand kilometers. But if you're out at the edges of a system, your ship will let you redline things a little, since you've got places to be and there's a whole lot of nothin' out there. And, just like the normal mode, you can use [ and ] to adjust your throttle while using HYP. To get off this ride, press ALT again; the drive won't disengage until you release that key, meaning you can hold it down until you're at exactly the right spot you want to drop out at, if you want a little more fine-control over your arrival point.

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I know, I know. None of that's why you're here. You're here because you're still stuck around that big blue ball out your viewport, and probably starting to get a little hungry. But you need to understand what your ship's jump drive isn't before you can understand what it is, and why you got yourself lost.

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The jump drive is a completely different system from the engines. It's not used for flying from planet to planet. The only thing it's used for is getting from one star system to another. You need at least one of these on your ship if you don't want it to be limited to just one system. After you've put it on your ship, you then need some way to select where you want to go --this'd be the step you forgot to do before you started pushing all the shiny buttons (oops). For that, you need a holo display. These come in two sizes, big and little. The big ones can be stacked on top of each other if you want a really big hologram, if you really want that.

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Once you've got your holo display placed, you need to link it to the system you're interested in -- in this case, the jump drive. Right-click on the holo display, then drag that little blue line that just popped up over to the jump drive. The line will turn green, meaning the display can be linked. Right-click again to link it. Helpfully, you can do this even if the jump drive is on the other side of a wall or the hull, though you'll want to double-check that you linked to the right system.

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Next you'll want to turn the holo display on. You can just right-click on it, or you can hook a switch up to it if you want to. Once it's on, you'll be rewarded with a view of the galaxy in miniature. I know, it's beautiful. I'll give you a minute to bask in the grandeur.

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OK, that's enough basking. There are three blue icons you should see on the holomap. One is a little rocket ship, one is an eye, and one is a flag. Each of these will have a line going down from it into the galaxy, and each one means something important.

•The eye shows the current focus of the map; this is the part of the galaxy that you'll zoom in and out from. To move the focus, double-right-click on part of the galaxy, but hold the button down on the second click, and drag. You should see a little blue line originating from the center of the galaxy. Drag that line to the part of the galaxy you want to look at, and then release. The little eye should move to where you released. To zoom in and out, use the mouse wheel; if you zoom in far enough, you'll start to see individual star systems.

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•The flag shows your destination system. Double-right-click to set a system as your destination. You can also double-left click on a system to select it with brackets, though this doesn't do much right now. Thanks to a funny little quirk, you can't select a system as a destination if it's bracketted; so if you're trying to set a destination and it won't take, check to see if it's got those little brackets around it. If it does, go double-click some other system, then try again.

•The rocket ship indicates what star system you're in right now. If you want to view this system directly, you can double-left-click on the icon, and the map'll zoom in to give you the system view.

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To look more closely at something in the system view, double-left-click to select it (you'll see a little bracket pop up around it), then mousewheel zoom in on it. This can be necessary, because some planets have moons in orbit, so selecting your destination may require you to go down multiple levels. You can also see your ship in this view sometimes (another little rocket), and other points of interest like ringworlds (these look like little cubic diamonds). Once you've got a destination selected (double-right-click, same as selecting a destination star), it'll show up on your HUD while you're flying your ship, along with some helpful information on how far away it is, and how long it'll take you to get there at your current speed. To get out of system view and back to the galaxy view, put your cursor over whatever's in the center of the holomap, and zoom out with the mouse wheel.

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Now that you've got all that, let's try a jump. Go open up your holomap; if it's still in the system view, zoom out with the mousewheel over the centered object until you can see neighboring star systems. Double-right-click on a star system that you aren't in (remember, the one you're in has the little rocket over it). Once you get the flag to show up over that system, close the holomap, get back in your pilot seat, and hit the jump switch. You'll be treated to the same light show you got the first time, and -- with a little luck -- be greeted by a new star, the first of many you'll visit in your wanderings.

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Good luck out there, space cadet.

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Le minaw
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Tue Mar 20, 2018 9:56 pm

Thank you, the amount of work behind this is incredible.
And it's really a pleasure to read. Pinned!

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schlid
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Tue Mar 20, 2018 10:34 pm

Incredibly high quality! Great work Pangolin :D
fantastique

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Talrey
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Tue Mar 20, 2018 10:49 pm

Fantastic work. I may actually be able to use the galaxy map now, wahaha!

As an aside, it's always a good idea to put a safety on your "engage hyperdrive" button using an And gate or a Kill-Switch gate. Also, you can label buttons! Of course, neither of these tips will help anybody who's in this guide's scenario - it's too late then! - but I felt like they should be mentioned down here.

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Dwarf-Lord Pangolin
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Mon Nov 05, 2018 10:35 pm

I've been waiting to update this until the flight model settled down a little more, but it looks like Tsuna's putting this on hold to focus on more gameplay stuff (wooo!) after he got the build system refactored, so I'll get started with the updates to this.

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