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Basic Starship Navigation

So…. You've just finished configuring your brand new starship – or maybe you've just hired onto somebody else's ship as a crew member. How do you make this thing move?

Basic Orientation

To see what's outside your spaceship, you have the viewscreen command, also known as: viewer, view, vs, window, win. Any of these aliases will work.

To get a closer look at something outside your ship, you can use the scanner or scan commands.

You can also find your current coordinates in space with the nav #status command.

You can perform starship-sized emotes using the vehiclepose or vp command. These will be visible to anyone outside of the ship, as well as anyone in a room that has a working viewscreen.

Also remember…. To see a list of spaceship commands, you can type look controls anywhere on your ship and see a list of them. Most commands have on-line help available in the form of <command name> #help.

Takeoff & Landing

First let's try to land and take off. Assuming your ship is in space, you'll want to type landingsites. This scans the sector for places you can land your ship, and lists them. You get a display something like this:

| Landing Site Scan |

Landingsite Name Class Cap. Free
Epiphyte City Landing Strip 2 10 7
Annyrion City Spaceport 2 15 4

Note that some landing sites have restrictions on the sizes, types or numbers of ships that can land there. For example, if your ship isn't designed to land on a planet, you won't be able to set down on Oceania or Annyrion. If your ship's size class is too big, it won't fit into some space stations or other sites. And a landing site can simply fill up if too many ships land there.

To land, you need to enter the pilot command and the name of the landing site. A partial name can work for this. For example, let's say you want to land at Epiphyte City Landing Strip. You can enter: pilot epiphyte.

Taking off is even easier. In most areas you can simply type pilot launch to blast off into orbit.

The same commands are used for moving a small ship into a space station or aboard a carrier, and for launching again back into space.

To move your ship around after landing, such as to taxi around the spaceport, you use the pilot command. Give it the name of the exit you want in the form of pilot <exit name>. For instance, if you were taxiing your ship to a spaceport's repair yard, and the exit name was “repair yard”, you would type pilot repair yard.

So, in summary, the pilot command is used for landing, launching, taxiing, and also for maneuvering your ship through a hyperspace jumpgate – as we shall see later on.

Realspace Navigation

Every location in space has three coordinates, called X, Y and Z. To find the location of your ship, type nav #status. It shows where you are – and if your ship is moving, you can also see your destination. To travel to any place outside of the sector you are currently located, you need to know its coordinates.

Navigation computers are available, and show local coordinates within a 100 sector range by typing nav #map, which, in Sol Sector for example, might display something similar to the following:

Displaying LOCAL REALSPACE map coordinates. . .
Sector Name X Y Z
Mercury 39 1 -3
Venus 56 -46 -1
Earth/Luna -80 -60 2
Mars -23 151 -3
Sol Jumpgate -142 55 1
Gaspra -161 151 7
Mathilde 130 230 15
Jupiter 129 -503 3
Saturn -126 -950 13
Uranus -602 1826 34
Neptune 2211 2043 1

Note: Sol, of course, is centered at 0 0 0 in Sol System.

So, in order to visit Mars, while located anywhere in Sol System, I would type: nav -23 151 -3

There are some limitations. For one, the navigation system won't accept any destination over 100 AU away from where you are. For another, moving on the spacegrid requires fuel. If you run out of fuel during flight, you could be stranded until somebody comes to help you (fortunately, in those situations, your ship will behave in a very non-Newtonian manner and stop in its tracks, instead of coasting forever until it collides with another object). If you need to conserve fuel, you can throttle back your engines (using the throttle command) and travel more slowly. More powerful engines are available as a ship upgrade, but these have increased fuel consumption unless throttled back.

If, for whatever reason, you discover that you've entered the wrong coordinates, or you've just changed your mind, you can use the nav #break command to abort your current flight plan.

nav #help will give you a set of useful commands.

Hyperspace Navigation

The distance between star systems is far too great to travel in normal space, so Furscape has a system of hyperspace jumpgates. To use these, just navigate to a jumpgate location in normal space and type pilot jumpgate (pilot jg or fly jg also works). This should drop you into hyperspace.

Hyperspace uses a coordinate system similar to normal space – there are still three coordinates, but each sector you travel in hyperspace is equivalent to going 30 sectors in normal space! You can use your navigation computer in hyperspace by using the starmap command, just like you would in realspace.

When you arrive at the destination jumpgate just pilot jumpgate once again, and it will take you back to normal space.

When navigating, you do not have to memorize the coordinates for every world, or keep a list of them written down. The navigation has a command to keep track of them for you, called bookmark. Here's an example of how to add a bookmark to your ship:

bookmark #add
Please specify the position to add to memory
Use the X Y Z format
( Or type A to abort )
3 3 3
I read this as 3 3 3 , is this correct? (y/N)
Please specify a bookmark name
test zone
I read this as test zone, is this correct? (y/N)
Bookmark was added

Now I can set a course there without having to remember or type the coordinates. All I have to do is type nav test zone. I can also get a list of all my bookmarks anytime by typing bookmark #list.

For example…. Let's imagine I am starting a trip at Luna and plotting a course to Epiphyte on the planet Annyrion. First I would launch my ship, then navigate to Sol Jumpgate, whose coordinates are 8 3 7. I pilot my ship through the jumpgate into hyperspace, then navigate to the Thinora Jumpgate, whose coordinates in hyperspace are 16 7 -1. From there, I pilot back into normal space, and navigate to the planet Annyrion, whose realspace coordinates are 521 236 -28, and finally land at Epiphyte. The basic commands would be:

pilot launch
nav 8 3 7
pilot jumpgate
nav 16 7 -1
pilot jumpgate
nav 521 236 -28
pilot epiphyte

If I have been making clever use of the bookmark system, the same trip might look more like this:

pilot launch
nav sol jumpgate
pilot jumpgate
nav thinora
pilot jumpgate
nav annyrion
pilot epiphyte

One important thing you should note when using bookmarks in hyperspace…. The bookmark list is completely different: bookmarks you make while your ship is in hyperspace are only listed and used when you're in hyperspace, and bookmarks made while you are in normal space are only used in normal space. For example, I could have a bookmark in hyperspace called “thinora” which holds the hyperspace coordinates of the Thinora System jumpgate (16 7 -1). In realspace I could have another bookmark, also called “thinora”, with the normal space coordinates of the jumpgate (509 223 -30).

Engine Power

By default, ships navigate at 100% of their rated engine power. This is the highest output you can achieve when your engines are in good repair without risking some damage to the engines. If you are in a hurry and willing to take a chance – if you need to outrun somebody – you can increase engine power beyond its rated limit and make your ship go faster. You should be aware that higher speeds burn more fuel, so keep an eye on that fuel status! You can also reduce power if you want to go slower than normal, if you need to conserve fuel, or if your engines are damaged and can't operate at full capacity.

To check your engine's current power setting, type throttle by itself. To set your engine power to 100%, type throttle 100 by itself. To set any other level, type throttle <powerlevel>. For example, to set your engine power to 105%, enter this: throttle 105.

The maximum setting is 200%, which should only be used in dire emergency since damage is almost certain within a short time.

Whenever running your engines beyond their safety limits, you must stay alert and watch for damage. If the engines become damaged, you need to reduce speed immediately. Failure to do this may result in a chain reaction causing even more damage, and if not stopped quickly it could completely disable your ship's engines. (Note: It's particularly unwise to run engines over their rated speed if you have bad network lag, or if you may have to go away from the keyboard for any reason. Think of this before you crank them up.)

You should be aware that more powerful engines are available as an upgrade. The throttle setting is always relative to the engine you have installed. Thus. . . If you remove an engine with drive power 2 (standard for a class 2 spaceship) and replace it with a Turbo engine that has drive power 4, your ship will go twice as fast – and burn twice as much fuel per trip – with the throttle at 100%. You can throttle back to 50% and get the same speed and fuel consumption you had with the old engine.

Fuel Stations

You will need to visit a fuel station to tank up your ship. Some stations are located in orbit around moons or planets, while others can be found in spaceports on the planet's surface. Bring your ship near the station – in the same sector, or room – and enter this:


You will see something similar to the following:

Preparing to transfer fuel from Orbital Refueling Station to Free Trader Beowulf. . .
You have 105192 credits, which can buy up to 210384 units of fuel.
Your spaceship can accept 13 units of fuel.
Enter the amount you wish to purchase (0-13):

The amount is not too critical. If you try to transfer more than your fuel tanks can hold, the transfer program will automatically reduce the amount to a level your ship can accept. If you type 0, the program will abort.

You can get your current fuel level by entering fuel or transfer #inventory. These commands will give you slightly different information, and both can be useful.

Remember that fuel costs money, in the form of credits. The transfer command will inform you how much you will be charged ahead of time, and will give you a chance to abort the procedure.

Space Combat

For players who are playing small, privately-owned spacecraft with small crews, vehiclepose is an accepted means of simulating spaceship combat. It also tends to work well for post-combat boarding actions, or pursuit scenes where two ships are chasing each other but not necessarily exchanging weapons fire. An example of a role-play log generated during combat using vehiclepose can be seen here. Vehiclepose only has one major restriction in place: the “Minimum Online Crew for Ship Movement” rule, if the ship is being actively moved from sector to sector. The actual table is available on the Spaceship Construction page.

SCRAT, on the other hand, is Furscape's advanced space combat system. It is designed to allow multiple ships to engage each other in combat maneuvers, fire weapons at each other, and resolve damage from any weapons hits. While vehiclepose is good for resolving combat between a single ship and an 'imaginary' opponent (think 'Player vs Environment'), if two or more ships are involved, SCRAT is the best way to resolve ship-to-ship combat quickly and as realistically as possible.

Players might note that the turn-based nature of SCRAT may not allow them to freely write long, descriptive poses. A ship-to-ship combat action (compared to 'pursuit' or 'boarding action' scenes) in a hard SF universe is a very rapid, very lethal sequence of events. This is one of those instances that, like real life (and even in movies), there just isn't enough time to hold a long, intimate conversation with coworkers about family, friends, and relations if they expect to stay alive.

Think of it this way: SCRAT is a means for generating outcomes for two or more ships while keeping things interesting for players, while vehiclepose is a means for generating outcomes for a small group of players aboard a single ship. Both options are equally valid in the end, and players are encouraged to post logfiles.

In any event, both sides should OOCly agree which method to use - and when. If two or more ships are involved, SCRAT must be used unless ALL ship crews agree to use vehiclepose.

Battle Maneuvering Commands

The combat commands available to a pilot are:

engage <ship> – This is a special command, used only to start battle. You must provide the name of another ship in the same sector as yours. Engage does not count as a combat order, so you can engage and then immediately enter another command such as attack run without waiting until the next turn.

attack run <ship> – Try to close range on the enemy. If successful, this can result in giving your shots a to-hit bonus. The bonus only applies to the specified ship that you are making an attack run against.

evasive action – Try to increase distance from the enemy. This also gives anyone shooting at you a to-hit penalty, but it also gives you a smaller to-hit penalty (it's harder to aim weapons while evading).

drift – Engines are turned off. This is the sitting duck command. Anyone shooting at you will get a huge to-hit bonus. You will also be required to use this command if your engines have taken too much damage.

hold course – Continue on course through the sector. No bonuses or penalties.

parasite <ship> – A special form of attack maneuver, used by small ships against much larger ones. The idea is to get right up against the hull of the larger ship so that many of its weapons cannot bear upon you. The greater the difference in size between the two ships, the more likely that this maneuver will be effective.

break away – Attempt to escape from the battle sector. You must use the break away command for two consecutive turns. If successful, your ship will be dropped into a random sector adjacent to the battle, and you will be able to navigate from there. (Be careful that your new course doesn't take you back into the battle!)

When battle begins all ships in the sector have their nav commands disabled and cannot fly away, and this also applies to any ships that enters a sector where a battle is in progress. The only way you can get away from the battle is by doing a successful break away maneuver, or by waiting for the battle to end. The battle ends when a turn goes by without anybody in the sector issuing battle commands.

Each combat turn is currently defined as 40 seconds long, though this is subject to change based on our testing. During each turn a player can do one of three things: issue maneuvering commands, fire guns, or launch missiles. This means crew members need to act as pilots or gunners, not both. (Exception: class-zero and class-one ship pilots will be able to maneuver, fire guns and launch missiles without restriction.)

Note that issuing a maneuver command in battle doesn't automatically mean it will work. Other ships are also trying to maneuver against yours.

Weapons Control

It is possible to have a lot of weapons on a ship, especially a larger-classed ship. You can divide control of these weapons arbitrarily among different gunners. The control panel allows different players to choose weapons and take control of them. To enter the weapons control panel, just type control guns or control missiles. It looks something like this:

Cannon & Beam Weapons Fire Control
(1) General Products ETG-30AP electric cannon
Damage:0 Ammo:260 Gunner:NONE
(T) Tracking enemy vessel: –NO TARGET–
You are targeting: ENTIRE SHIP
Select new targeting mode: (E) ENGINES, (W) WEAPONS
(M) Release guns and switch to MISSILE control.
(R) Release control of all weapons.
(Q) Quit weapons-control console.

You will be presented with a list of all guns or missiles (depending on the mode) installed on the spaceship. It will show their damage and ammo status, and who is controlling each gun. If nobody is controlling a weapon, you can type the number of that weapon to take control of it. If you are controlling a weapon, you can type its number again to release it. If somebody uses the console while you are asleep or while you are not on board the ship, any weapons you were controlling will be released.

For convenience, you can release all weapons with a single command R, or you can release all guns and switch to missile controls M, or release all missiles and switch to guns G. If you release a weapon after starting its firing sequence, the sequence will abort.

The weapons console also allows you to choose a ship in the sector to target T with your weapons, but you must already know the ship's name – it doesn't give you a list of ships in the sector. All the weapons controlled by one gunner must aim at a single target. When using guns, the console allows you to target engines E or weapons W. As long as you are targeting engines or weapons, you have a reduced chance of hitting the enemy vessel, and there is still a small chance that you might hit some other part of it. Guided missiles do not allow for special targeting.

Once you've gotten control of the weapons you want, and have them aimed at your chosen target, you should quit Q the weapons console. You can then issue the fire guns or fire missiles command. You can enter these commands every turn without having to start up the weapons console again. You only need to re-enter the console if you want to change targets or change the mix of weapons you are firing.

After you have issued a firing command, the system takes a while to track the target ship and fire the weapons – basically, weapons fire at the end of the turn. In some circumstances the firing sequence can abort before the weapon fires, such as if the gunner released control of the weapon for any reason.

Buying and Reloading Munitions

Currently ammunition for spaceship weapons is available at our major shipyards, and other munitions depots may be set up as time goes by. You need to taxi your ship into the munitions depot. Then enter: 'buy munitions'

The program will ask you if you want to load munitions onto a ship or into a crate.

If you're directly reloading a ship, enter ship. The program will ask for the name of the spaceship you want to arm. Then it will present a list of munitions available at the depot, so you can select the type you want to buy. The munitions vendor will automatically load the selected munitions into your ship's weapons.

It is also possible to buy ammunition and have it loaded into a portable crate, which can then be taken away to set up supply caches at your organization's HQ or on board a carrier ship, and so forth. Crates are special objects that you have to purchase from the vendor using the buy crate command. Once you have a crate, you can use the buy munitions command, enter crate and, when prompted, enter the name of the crate into which you want your ammo loaded.

(Note: Unlike most ship upgrade modules, munitions crate ARE intended to be portable, and can be ICly loaded into composite vehicles that have been set up as containers (using put or pull commands) for transport and resale (think 'black market'). - Hagalaz)

Don't forget to use a mecha to get your crate and load it onto your ship (load <crate> onto <shipname>).

Reloading From a Crate

To reload weapons such as ETG turrets and missile launchers, make sure your ship has a munitions crate on board, use the load munitions command, and follow the instructions. You will be reminded that loading weapons from a crate disables your weapons for twelve minutes, so think twice before reloading if you are in the middle of battle!


You should have already learned to use the damage status command to see what components you have installed, and which ones are hurting. When components are damaged, you need to use the repair command. It has four forms.

Typing repair #help will show a screen similar to this:

Help information for repairs:
Repair <position>
Repair <position> [on <target>]
Repair #abort
Repair #status
To repair, you need to have a supply of parts. These
parts are used up when you make repairs, so you will
need to restock when you run low.

The position of a component is the mounted location on your ship. For example, if you were repairing a 30mm ETG cannon mounted in Medium Turret 1, you would have to type:

repair medium turret 1

If you don't have repair parts (or “supplies” as the system calls them), you can't perform any repairs. You can purchase parts at a spare parts vendor by typing resupply. The transfer #inventory command will show you how many units of spare parts you have on hand.

Repairs are also limited by your location. If you are in open space without any repair facilities, you can't repair components beyond damage level 4. At a class 1 repair yard, you can repair components from damage level 5. A class 2 repair yard can handle damage level 6, and the repairs will be done at double the normal speed. A class 3 yard can handle damage level 7, and repairs are done at triple speed. Damage level 8 means a component is destroyed, and there's nothing to do but replace it.

While repairing a component, you must stay on board the ship or else in the same room with it. If you leave the area (i.e. navigate out of the sector), repairs will be halted. If several crew members are doing repairs, you can use repair #status to see who's working on what. Only one person can repair a given system at any given time.

spaceship_operations.txt · Last modified: 2011/10/11 02:50 by abiri