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Tutorial Part 3: Helm Controls

Darkspace ship movement is based only on a 2D plane. This means you can only move side to side or forward, and you cannot move up and down. To control ship movement, you have to master two components: the actual ship movement (moving left, right, and forward), and using the camera angles to gain the best perspective of the current situation.

Helm Controls
The controls of your ship are basic. Your ship only moves on the x and z axis, and cannot move on the y-axis. Here are the keys to moving you ship:

Command Keystroke Result
Turn Left A or Left Arrow Rotates your ship to the left
Turn Right D or Right Arrow Rotates your ship to the right
Stop Turn S Cancels turning commands
Increase Speed W Increases your ships velocity
Decrease Speed Q Decreases you ships velocity
Jump J Activates the jump drive.

When you enter a game, Shield Display and Turn Display will automatically activated. The shield display will be discussed later. The turn display will show a green display in front of your ship, indicating how much your ship is currently turning. You can also view your turn radius by looking at the velocity/turn meter in your interface. The velocity is also shown in the velocity/turn meter.

Using the Jump command will activate your jump drive, also known as your Tachyon Drive. This will allow your ship to travel at faster than light speeds, making interstellar travel relatively quick.  Your jump drive runs off of fuel, so make sure that you have enough to get to where you're going and to come back.

Jumping
Jumping is the quick and easy way to travel at faster than light speeds.  This is used for interstellar travel. To jump, all you need to do is select an object, and click the "J" button. This will cause your ship to align with the object you have selected.  Once you are in alignment, your tachyon drive will be activated, and you will travel at faster than light speeds. However, you must be careful that no planets or stars are in your way, or that you are going to be traveling too close to a star. If you jump too close to a star, the gravitational pull of the star will pull you in and destroy your ship. To make a successful jump, follow these easy steps:

1. Choose An Object
The first thing you want to do is choose an object that you wish to jump to. Usually, you want to do this in the Navigation screen, since most object you want to jump to will be farther than your tactical screen will display. Hit F2 to bring up the Navigation Screen. Move the display to the object you want to jump to, then select that object. You will notice a line will appear. This connects your ship to the object you have targeted. If the line is white, your sensors are telling you that there are no obstruction in the way, and you will successfully complete the jump. If the line is red, then there is something in your way, and if you make the jump, you will run into it. However, you should not always trust the white line, since many times it has failed me. The best way to make sure there is nothing in your way is to check the path of your jump and see for yourself.  After you have done all this, you will want to return to the tactical screen by pressing F2 again. Here is a zoomed out view of the first stage of the jump.

2. Check Your Drives
A jump cannot be completed if you tachyon drive has been damaged. When the tachyon drive is ready, its ship systems box will be green, indicating that it is not damaged or repair enough for you to make a jump. When it is currently recharging, the tachyon drive icon will flash blue, indicating its recharge situation.  You also want to check how much fuel you have. If you attempt to make a jump without the necessary fuel, your interface will prompt you, telling the maximum distance you may travel with the current fuel.

3. Engage The Jump
If you are all clear to make the jump, you may do so by pressing the "J" key. This will cause your ship to go into two stages: the alignment stage and the jump stage. During the alignment stage, your ship will decrease its velocity to 0, and point towards the object you have selected. The time (in seconds) will be displayed in the middle of your interface prompting you on how long the alignment will take. After the alignment is complete, your ship will engage the tachyon drive, and the jump will be made. Now your interface will display the amount of time you will be jumping before you reach your destination.

4. Finishing The Jump
Once the jump is complete, your ship will arrive at approximetely 250 gu away from the selected target. Your ship will also be at a complete stop, and will only move when you command it to. Here are two views for the final jump.

Emergency Jump
Your ship can also engage in an emergency jump  This is primarily used when you are under heavy attack, and need to escape quickly. To engage the emergency jump, hold Shift and press J at the same time. This will cause your ship to jump to a distance of about 5000 gu away from your current position, and in the direction you are facing when you activated your emergency jump. However, if you proceed with the emergency jump, your tachyon drive will be severly damaged, and you will be unable to make another jump until it is repaired.

Sometimes when you try an emergency jump, you will see your ship going into jump alignment, and the countdown will appear in the middle of your screen. This means you did not properly hold Shift and J at the same time. To cancel, simply hit J before the countdown ends, and then hit Shift J again to perform the emergency jump.

Canceling a Jump
Cancelling a jump can occur in two situation: While you already in a jump or while you are aligning to make a jump. To cancel a jump, simply hit J. If you are already in a jump, this will cause your ship to come to a complete stop, and it will destroy your tachyon drive. You will not be able to make another jump until it is repaired. If you cancel during a jump alignment, your ship will simply stop, the countdown will disappear, and you may make another jump whenever you want.

Expert Jumps
Jumping can be made even more effective by means of the Expert Jump. This will allow you to jump to any object so you are in position to orbit a planet or attack an enemy ship at the moment you finish your jump. To learn more, visit the Tactics section. (coming soon)

Camera Controls
Camera control is very important in Darkspace. This will give you a good perspective on what you're doing and will better let you see the situation at hand. The Camera Controls can be manipulated primarly by using the mouse. Here are the controls:

Command Keystroke Result
Zoom In Z or Mouse Wheel Forward Zooms your view closer.
Zoom Out X or Mouse Wheel Back Zooms your view further away.
Rotate Camera Hold Right Mouse Changes the angle of your camera view.

These commands will work for both Tactical and Navigation views. In the Navigation view, you may also move your map position by holding down the Left Mouse button and dragging to the wanted view.

Tutorial Part 2: Entering A Game < Tutorial Part 3: Helm Controls > Tutorial Part 4: Learning The Interface
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