Tips for New Players
If you're reading this you're either
* Considering it but don't know what makes it special really
* A new player starting out and want some tips for getting better and having fun playing single player.
this mini-guide is to help you understand what you're looking for in settings for some of your first games, as well as explain stuff you may not understand in detail. First thing i need to emphasize is this: this is not your regular RTS. Think of this as a bit like an RPG game only in space RTS form; your goal is to go through the levels beating enemies and freeing friends till you have enough power and skill to take on the final boss. Major differences from Regular RTS games are:
* This game operates over an entire galaxy size, populated with planets (from 10 to 120) which you fight on.
* there is no competitive play mode. You can either duke it out against the AI yourself or battle it with friends.
* Games start at "long" and go to "epic" in duration. There is no way (outside of a couple edge cases perhaps) that you can actually finish a game in one sitting, so don't even try. Use the savegame feature liberally!
* A small fleet consists of several hundred ships and large ones can go into the thousands (mostly in the late game, though i've gotten an early game fleet of a couple thousand)! The AI also has hundreds of ships up to several thousand as well per planet, and these ships are usually more advanced than the ones you have.
* You need to pick and choose your targets. While you may expect that you are supposed to just steamroll every planet you come across, that will quickly get the AI worked up and slamming massive amounts of ships into you, far more than you can handle. Each planet has a Command station that you need to destroy in order to take control of the planet, but doing so makes the AI more agressive in attacking you. There are a lot of planets in a given galaxy that have little to no strategic value, so it's best to just leave some sentries on those to take care of any reinforcements they get. I can't emphasize this point enough; if you try and take every planet, you will also feel that this game is too boring and mostly a grind.
* The AI is smart. This AI can handle as many fronts as you can battle on, and do it well. It has a main strategic mind, but it also relies a lot on individual ships having intelligence and knowing what defense group to join, what targets to attack, that sort of thing. Think of the AI as like a a general; it will control what happens on an overall level without getting bogged down in the details.
* One ship tpye isn't going to do. If you only use one ship type there's sure to be some enemy ships that can counter it, so make sure you're well covered in terms of ship types in your group. This means an absolute minimum of 2, and most often 3 or more.
So you're thinking, "All of this is great but i can't figure out what settings to play on! what map size do i want, how strong should the AIs be, should i use this setting what about that one" etc. I will help you with all of that one thing at a time.
First up is your ship type. You're going to want a ship that will work well in most conditions, especially when paired with only one or two other ship types. That ship is the Lazer Gatling. It's fast, can be built ins swarms, and does reasonably well against most ship types. The other thing is that you'll need something to attack forcefields with, and something to cover you against cruisers. The ship types that handle these are Bombers and Fighters respectively. Most of the time you only need bombers and lazer gatlings, but if you expect a large number of cruisers then add some fighters.
Next up is the map size. If you start on a map too small the gameplay will be far too "fast and furious" for a new player, and if you select too large a map you'll be overwhelmed by the sheer number of planets. These factors are affected by whether you're new to the genre or have played other games like Supreme Commander, Starcraft, etc.
* I found that 40 is just the right size after a bunch of experimentation with various map types, at least for those who like a faster paced game. Knowledge is limited here, but so is the AI size.
* the general size recommendation for new players is 60+ planets. Personally i find this a little confusing and bewildering, but that might just be me. Try it if you don't like the smaller maps.
* 10/15 planet maps and 70/above would probably be to hard for a new player, but if you want you could try them i guess...
Another setting i will refer to is the Fast And Furious option (in the Game Options tab); If you like your games with a faster pace turn it on otherwise off.
You can use the random map generator to make a planet set you like or use one of the following seeds. I'm explaining them based on you using a starting position of the lazer gatling planet, and you need to use the "simple" available ships option (under the Ships tab)
1651855469 - A well protected starting place with only two wormholes into/out of it. If there's something important on it (like lots of resources or something) then take the dead-end planet other wise just clean it out and leave th command station.
119140626 - It may not look like it but you're in a good position here as well.
Now that the main settings are taken care of, i'll cover the rest.
Ships tab: Turn off astro trains and mines but leave the rest on.
Game options: Set the AI progress to 1 every 15 minutes and leave the rest alone (except for fast and dnagerous which i covered earlier)
I'd best leave the AI type to the game, setting it to Random Moderate/Easier if you have played RTS games before or Random Easier if you haven't.
AI Strength: again, have you played RTS games before? if so, proceed directly to 7. Otherwise go directly to 5.