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X3:TC for Dummies
By Techno and 1 collaborators
X3:TC for Dummies has been designed with brand new players of the X universe in mind and comes with all the necessary information required to get started and good hints to get successful even faster.

The inspiration of this guide was knowing how the new players feel, being thrown into a new world with no direction or bearings. We wanted to correct that, and this guide was the result. The main features of the guide include:

Pre Start

Introducing Useful Controls
The Ship Classes
Race Ship Characteristics
Getting Acquainted with the Interface
Useful Gameplay Options


Starting Gameplay

Getting Bearings
Mission Types and Descriptions
Basic Trading Strategy
Basic Combat Strategy
Useful Upgrades


Early Expansion

Buying New Ships
Creating a (Successful) Empire
Exploring the Universe



A PDF version of the guide is available here[forum.egosoft.com]. Note that there are some minor differences between the PDF version and the Steam version of the guide.

K-64 and Technojerk36
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Legal
If you wish to host this guide or use any element of it on your site, please be sure to give credit. If you have any questions feel free to post a comment.
Special Thanks
A thank you to Starlight_Corporation, Geek and Reimu Hakurei from the Egosoft Forums for providing information on ship characteristics.
Introduction
So you've found the wonders of the X-universe in Terran Conflict, but don't know where to start? This guide should make things easier and start you on your way to making an intergalactic empire. Please note that this guide is mainly for those of you who are completely new to the X series and space simulations in general, so if you have past experience in either or both of those things, some of what is in this guide might not be new to you.

One thing to note is that this guide is written with a more of a combat orientated money maker approach to things, so if you are more into the trading aspect of the game and want to keep out of combat as much as possible, then this guide may not be as useful for you. I personally prefer playing with a gamepad as I find it makes controlling ships a lot easier. I use the Speedlink Strike 2 Gamepad. You however, might not like using a gamepad. It is a matter of personal opinion. So go ahead, try using a gamepad and see how you like it. Please note that this guide is based on the default keyboard and mouse configuration. (Unless specifically stated)

Well, that's the end of the introduction to this guide; the useful stuff starts in the next section, good luck!
Ship Classes
Before getting into the actual game, there are a few things you should know. A major part of X3: TC is how it classifies ships. (For the purposes of this guide, all the ships shown below are of an Argon make.)

Combat Ships
These ships are made for fighting. They can be used as escorts but it should be noted that due to their comparatively smaller cargo hold, these ships are not as efficient at trading as ships that are made for trading.

Capital Ships
Capital ships are the slow, expensive and heavily shielded behemoths of the X universe that are used generally for blowing stuff up. Also, because of their size, they can only dock at Equipment Docks, Shipyards, Military Outposts and Company HQs.

M1 - Carriers
M1s are the center piece of any large fleet. They have massive hangers (The Argon M1 has a hanger space of 60) but even without the fighters, they can hold their own against other capital ships.


M2 - Destroyers/Battle Ships
The M2s are the jumbo jets of the X universe. Being able to mount insane amounts of firepower they are arguably deadliest ships in the game.


M7(M) - Frigates
M7’s bridge the gap between the small and the big, think of them as a mini M1 or M2. They are good for when you can’t afford a M1 or M2 and when the situation doesn’t call for a M1 or M2 but is a little too dangerous for the smaller ships. M7Ms are missile frigates. They don’t have any guns (not counting one or two turrets) but instead, have missile launchers. They are also the only type of ship that can launch boarding pods which are used for boarding and capturing ships.


Corvettes
Corvettes are a special class as they are not large enough to be a capital ship but are definitely not fighters. They can also be used for small trade runs as they have a somewhat largish cargo bay.

M6
The M6 is a unique class. They are heavily shielded, well armed and in some models, faster than the M3 fighter. They make for great player ships (the ship that you fly around in).


Fighters
Fighters are the backbone of any fleet. They are mainly used to fight but the larger variants can used to haul freight around or make small trade runs. There are three main types of fighters.

M3(+)
The M3 is the heavy fighter. It has the most shielding, can mount the most guns and is the slowest out of all the fighters. They can be used to gun down other fighters or for small trade runs. The M3+ is basically an enhanced version of the M3 with stronger shields, more laser power and a larger cargo bay. The M3(+) can be docked in a ship that has hangars.


M4(+)
The M4 is a medium-light fighter. It has moderate shielding and can mount just as many guns as a M3. The difference is that the laser power generator is around half of what the M3 has. The M4 is faster than the M3 but slower than the M5. The M4+ is just an enhanced version of the M4. The M4(+) can be docked in a ship that has hangars.


M5(+)
The M5 is a scout craft. It has very little shielding and can mount one or two weak weapons. It is, however, very fast. All the M5s can easily do 300m/s+. M5+s are the fastest ships in the game. The fastest one can manage 635m/s. The M5(+) can be docked in a ship that has hangars.


M8
The M8 is a bomber craft. It has no guns (some models have a rear turret) but instead has missile launching tubes. It can fire the Tomahawk Heavy Missile. The Tomahawk is a very powerful missile. Shields and speed wise the M8 is comparable to the M3.


Mini-Carrier
This is a class of its own because it doesn’t really fit anywhere else (kind of like the Corvette class). Think of these ships as TSs, but instead of a large cargo bay, it has (in most models) 4 hangars. They can be used for trade.

TM
The Transport Military is a ship that is capable of traversing the more dangerous trade routes as it can carry its own escort. Seeing as it is able to house up to 4 M3+s, the TM should not be underestimated.


Trading Ships
These ships are the backbone of the X economy. With large cargo holds, the merchant navy has brought many pilots profitsss.

Capital Ships
The civilian fleet only has one capital ship, the TL. Also, because of their size, they can only dock at Equipment Docks, Shipyards, Military Outposts and Company HQs.

TL
The Transport Large is a capital ship that can transport station kits. It is comparable in size to the M1 or M2. Many players use it to store wares that will not be needed until a later date or to store wares such as missiles that are overproduced at their missile producing complexes. It is also used for various miscellaneous functions such as a casino or a hospital.


Transport Ships
These ships make up the bulk of the trading fleet. They have large cargo holds and are normally lightly armed. Pirates tend to target these ships, so if you plan on traversing the more unlawful sectors in one of the following ships, you might want to invest in some escort or a few fighter drones.

TS
The Transport Small is the main trading vessel of the X universe. It has a large cargo hold and can make some very profitable trade runs. The average speed of the TS is around 100m/s and is capable of mounting shields that are comparable to M3 standards.


TP
The Transport Passenger has an inbuilt cargo life support system. This allows you to carry passengers without having to buy the CLS system. The TP is sometimes required for taxi missions. The TP can also be used for trading as it has a slightly smaller cargo bay but is slightly faster than the average TS.
Race Ship Characteristics
Now that you know about each type of craft, these are the general characteristics for each of the race’s ships. There are some exceptions but they have been omitted for the sake of simplicity.

Argon
  • The Argon fighters and capital ships are slower than average, have good shielding and weapon generator but have an average cargo bay.
  • Their transports are average in all areas.
  • Their TL (Mammoth) is slowest but has the largest cargo bay for a buyable ship but comes at the cost of having the smallest hangar among all TLs.

Boron
  • Their fighters have a good speed, good cargo but mediocre shielding and a low weapon generator.
  • The Boron capital ships have similar pros/cons to fighters but have average shielding.
  • The Boron have the largest (cargo bay wise) and slowest transports.
  • The Boron TL (Orca) has good speed and cargo space with a hangar to match.

Teladi
  • Their fighters are the slowest and have a small laser generator in the X universe but are best shielded and have the largest cargo bays.
  • The Teladi capital ships are similar to their fighters except they do not always have the best shielding for their class.
  • The Teladi have large and slow transports.
  • Their TL (Albatross) is slow with average cargo bay and hangar.

Split
  • Their fighters are fast, have an average cargo bay and can mount minimal shields but in general their fighters have a good weapon generator.
  • The Split capital ships are fastest and have the largest weapon generator but sport mediocre shielding.
  • They have the fastest and smallest trading vessels.
  • The Split TL (Elephant) is the fastest TL and has the largest hangar but has the smallest cargo bay.

Paranid
  • The Paranid fighters and capital ships have average speed and shielding with low cargo space but come with a good laser generator.
  • The Paranid transports are small (cargo bay wise) but fast.
  • Their TL (Hercules) has an average speed and hangar but comes with a low cargo capacity.

Terran
  • All Terran ships have the best generators but have a limited weapons choice.
  • USC fighters and capital ships are fast with an average cargo bay and good shields.
  • ATF ships are similar, with more speed. (ATF ships cannot be bought and are notoriously difficult to capture, second only to the Xenon)
  • Aldrin ships sacrifice some shielding for a large speed boost.
  • USC transports have small cargo bays but are fast.
  • Buyable TL (Mobile Mining Base) that is similar to the Argon TL.

Xenon
  • Most Xenon ships can use Terran and Commonwealth weaponry.
  • Their fighters have an average speed with good shielding but come with a low weapons generator.
  • The Xenon capital ships have good speed but with average shielding and weapons generators.

Kha'ak
  • All Kha’ak ships use unique Kyon Beam weaponry.
  • Fighters have fair speed, average shielding and low firepower per ship but, they can be extremely dangerous in groups.
  • Their capital ships have fair speed, good shielding but low firepower for their class.

Pirates
  • They have different versions of Common Wealth race ships.
  • Faster than the originals, but with less cargo space and shielding. They also have more laser power.
  • Their own ships (Galleon, Brigantine, Carrack, Caravel and Blastclaw) have average speed, low shielding, high laser power and often have a larger than average cargo bay.

Yaki
  • High speed (but slow turning rate for capitals), low shielding and high laser power for all their ships.

OTAS (Corporation)
  • Mostly the same as Argon ships but with significantly boosted stats in all areas. This improvement comes with a much larger price tag.
Game Interface
Now that you’ve acquainted yourself with the ships of the game, it’s time to learn about the HUD.
Please note that for the menu descriptions, only the more important features are mentioned.



1 – Player Tab Property List, Personal Stats, Message Log and Encyclopaedia.

2 – Navigation Tab
Sector/Universe Map, Jumpdrive and Best Buys/Selling Price Locators.

3 – Current Ship Tab
Info, Autopilot and Freight.

4 – Target Tab (not available while docked)
Info, Comms and Autopilot: Follow.

5 – Station Tab (only while docked)
Info, Trade and Comms.

6 – Undock (only while docked)
Undocks your current vessel from wherever it’s docked at.

7 – Eject (not available while docked)
Ejects you from your ship. (You appear outside your ship in a spacesuit)

8 – View New Messages
Shows any new messages.

9 – Weapons Load Out
Shows you your currently equipped guns and their groups.

10 – Current Missiles
Shows you your currently equipped missile.

11 – Auto-Aim Status
Crucial to fighting, always keep it on “On’’. Press ‘K’ to toggle between modes.

12 – SETA Button
Turns on SETA.

13 – Current Ship Status
Shows your current ship’s name, icon and speed. The green bar is hull integrity and the blue bar is shield strength.

14 – Target Status
Shows your current target’s name, icon and speed (If applicable). Also shows distance to target and target shield and hull strength.

15 – Display Target on Monitor
Button to display target on a monitor.

16 – Gravidar
Basically a mini-map of sorts.

17 – Station indicator (off screen)
Let’s you know there is a station off screen to your right. (Also works with ships, just with the ship’s symbol instead)

18 – Monitor (right)
If Auto Target is on, then what ever you target will appear here.

19 – Target's Current Speed
Your target’s current speed.

20 – Your Current Speed
Your current speed.

21 – Cross-hair, Autopilot Indicator and Distance to Target
The cross-hair points towards where your ship is moving. The Autopilot indicator informs you that the autopilot is activated. The distance to your current target is also shown.

22 – Game Options
Save, Load, Quit and Options.
Gameplay Options
Before going on to the main controls, it is strongly recommend changing some of the HUD and game options. Firstly, open the Game Options menu and select the Gameplay. On the window that opens up, change the SETA factor to X10. This means that travelling will take less time as you won’t have to wait quite so long while transiting between stations or sectors. Another thing to change is the Monitor; change the Right Monitor to Auto Target. This means that whatever you target will be appear on your right monitor. Also, change the Health Bars to Numeric, it makes deciding whether to change tactics much easier. For aesthetic purposes you could turn on the show warp tunnels (although this is not really recommended as it can take up a lot of time if you play the game long enough) and perhaps activate “Run game in background” if you want to do something else while waiting for something. It should look something like the image below.
Controls
If you are using a gamepad then you may have to configure the controls to make shooting/targeting easier. With the Speedlink, I have L2 and R2 as select next and previous targets. Fire currently selected missile is L1 and fire (boresight) is R1. Once you have finalised the ship controls you should fly around a bit and get more used to the configuration and tweak if necessary.

After you have tailored the controls to your tastes, you will need to learn the autopilot commands. For basics, ‘Shift’ + ‘C’ opens up the command menu for your current ship. If the targeted ship is yours, pressing ‘C’ opens up the command menu. If the targeted ship (or station) is not yours, then it opens up the comms channel (more on that later). Another hotkey that will be used often is ‘Shift’ + ‘D’. This initiates docking protocols and autopilot will dock you at the targeted station. It's a lot safer and easier than trying to dock manually at a station. SETA is also an essential hotkey to know. Press ‘J’ to speed up everything around you, making those long waits not quite so long. Deactivating SETA is done by pressing ‘J’ again or any other control that directly affects your ship or accessing menus.

Once you have got a few more sectors mapped out in the galaxy you will need to use the universe map more and more often. It can be accessed by pressing the comma key by default, and the sector map is accessed by the period key by default, these make travelling much easier since the universe map is essentially a giant roadmap. Some other hotkeys to take a note of are ‘Shift’ + ‘E’, which ejects you from your ship and ‘Shift’ + ‘M’ which opens your message log.

Once you have familiarised yourself with the control scheme, you are on the fast-track to being a successful power in the X-universe. If, however, you’re looking at all these hotkeys and thinking that you’ll never be able to remember even half of them, don’t worry. The keystrokes will become natural to you within a few hours of game play.
Starting Off
First things first, this guide assumes you have chosen the Humble Merchant start. Also, this map[eng.x3tc.ru] might prove incredibly useful in your quest to dominate the universe. (In fact the entire site is invaluable)

Okay, so you started your game, have two ships and some credits to spend, but have no idea what to do? The first thing to do is to sell that other ship that you are given at the start, it won't be all that useful considering it is a scout ship See Ship Classes>Combat Ships>Fighters>M5(+) and is not built for fighting. Tell it to follow you (open the command menu [C], select the navigation menu [1] and then select follow me [6]) and fly through the South Gate to Argon Prime. When you have entered the sector, look around for the shipyard, it is usually below the point where you come out of the gate. Once it has appeared on the HUD, select your Discoverer, open the Command menu [C]and go into the Navigation menu [1], then select Dock At.... At his point the Galaxy map will show up. Select Argon Prime and then select the Federal Argon Shipyard. You will then see your Discoverer starting to head off towards the station. You will have to also be docked to sell the ship. Later on when you have more money you won't need to do this with a certain ship upgrade (Trading System Extension). But since you don’t have this upgrade, you will need to select the shipyard and dock with it [Shift + D].

Once both you and the Discoverer are docked with the Station, click on Trade in the Station tab, you should get a screen like this:


Highlight the Discoverer as shown, and press the left arrow then enter to sell it. Now that you have some money, you may want to get some light defence for your Mercury. Open up the Ship tab, then select the Autopilot sub tab. Click the Command Console button, then go into the Navigation menu then select Dock At.... Select Argon Prime on the Galaxy Map then the Argon Equipment Dock.

Once you have docked there, go into the Trade menu, highlight the Impulse Ray Emitter, press the right arrow key once then enter. The weapon should automatically be installed to your ship. Also, buy a Duplex Scanner to double the radius at which you can detect ships and stations as well as some other objects. Finally, purchase the 5 Engine Tunings. Instead of pressing right once, press it 5 times for the 5 units, or simply hold it down until it reaches the right hand side of the bar. Press enter to purchase it. Leave the Cargobay Extension until a later time when you can afford to get all of it at once.
Missions
Occasionally you will see some icons at the top right of a stations HUD indicator, these are missions that you can accept to make (mostly) easy money and gain race reputation. Reputation is awarded for the race that gave you the mission but if, for example, you accept a ‘Defend the station’ mission from a Boron in Argon space, any of the Pirates/Yaki you destroy will also net you Argon reputation.

TRADE
These missions are about economic prowess, such as ferrying goods or personnel. The specific list of trade missions is below.

Deliver Cargo
Get the cargo to the station as fast as possible, you can get the cargo by any and all means, just so long as you get the required amount in the time allocated.

Transport Cargo
Go to the indicated station and pick up the cargo and take it back to the station that gave the mission within the time limit.

Transport Personnel
Pick up the passengers from the mission giving station and deliver them to the indicated station. Please note to do these missions you will need Cargobay Life Support. (You need 8 M units of space in your Cargobay for each passenger)

Buy a Second Hand Ship
Not a mission but still something to look out for, you can buy ships for a fraction of their price this way. But be aware that they could also be much more expensive than the shipyard price. The general rule is never to buy a ship that is 100% because the buying the same ship at the shipyard will be cheaper. Also, never buy a TP because for some reason TPs are always cost more than their actual value. Other than that, you should be able to buy a ship and sell it for a profit without having to do anything. You can maximize your profits by repairing the ships before selling them.

FIGHT
These missions require you to destroy hostiles. Some example missions would be protecting convoys, destroying convoys or assassinations.

Assassination
Destroy a specific NPC ship, normally with an escort. The escort doesn’t have to be destroyed to complete the mission.

Defend Station
Get money and reputation by destroying waves of ships that are trying to destroy the specified station.

Xenon Invasion
Defend the station that gave the mission from waves of Xenon craft.

Escort Convoy
Protect a convoy from enemies as it makes its way to a nearby sector.

Destroy Convoy
Destroy all the ships in a convoy before they reach their destination, payment is given per ship destroyed.

Patrol
Get paid in credits and reputation for clearing sectors of enemies, the mission can be across multiple sectors or just a single one.

BUILD
Construct a specified station (which you must purchase yourself) to the indicated position within the time limit. Also, you must either hire a TL or use your own to transport the station to the sector it’s supposed to be built in. The station will continue to exist after the mission is completed so be careful of building a station that might compete with your own.

THINK
These missions do not require specific ship equipment or upgrades but just logical thinking.

Transport Passenger
Transport the mission giver from the station they are on to the indicated station. These missions SOMETIMES require a TP class ship. Look for the mission giver mentioning something about a luxury transport.

Return Ship
Find and retrieve the indicated ship and return it to the mission giving station. Sometimes you will be told to retrieve a stolen ship which requires you to make the pilot of the ship bail out.

Follow Ship
Trail the indicated ship while staying far enough so that they do not detect you but close enough so that you don’t lose them.

Deliver Ship
You must provide and deliver the specified ship type to the station within the time limit.

Scan Asteroids
Scan the indicated asteroids by getting within 10km of them, targeting them, going into the Target tab and selecting the Scan option. This can either be asteroids in one sector or several. You need a Mineral Scanner to be able to do this mission.

Scan Freight
Get paid in money and reputation by scanning ships in one or several sectors for illegal or valuable cargo in the specified time.

PLOT
These missions are part of a storyline. If you see this symbol, that means that that station or ship is offering a mission that will either start or continue a plot.

Trading Tactics
Now that you are equipped for freight runs, you will need to find freight to run. The best freight to trade in is the basic materials, stuff like Ore, Energy Cells or Meatsteak Cahoonas. If you see a factory for these wares that have a surplus of the product, buy from them over the others. Once you have whatever ware in your hold, look for a station that has a shortage of these goods, once you have found such a station and sold the goods you will have substantially more money compared to what you started with. Another good idea is to check what the Minimum, Average and Maximum prices are of these goods, for example Energy Cells are priced from 12-20 credits and average at 16. A good sector to make credits in is Ore Belt. There is one SSP in the sector. If it is selling Energy Cells at 15 or lower, then buy them. Try to sell the Energy Cells to an Ore Mine that is buying them for 17+. If you’re waiting for the SSP to crank out more Energy Cells, buy Ore for as cheap as you can get it (average is 128 credits) and sell it to the Plutarch HQ at the average price of 128 credits.

Once you have a decent amount of money, say around two million credits, you may want to get a new ship. Depending on if your play style is combat orientated or trade orientated you should either get an M3 or a better TS. If you want to get an M3 then you can go to the shipyard in Argon Prime and buy a Nova. If you want a better freighter then it is very highly recommended that you get a Mistral Super Freighter from Legend's Home.

If you’ve decided to get the Nova, skip ahead to Combat Tactics. If you’ve decided to get the Mistral SF, read on.

Before going to Legends Home, get a Jumpdrive if you do not already have one from Terracorp HQ and around 500 energy cells so you can easily jump back into friendly space. This is because to get to Legend's Home you must fly through Pirate Space. See the picture below for a route from Argon Prime to Legend’s Home.

The reason why the Mistral Super Freighter is recommended even though it is through Pirate space is because of its maximum cargo bay size of 15,000. That's the most in any TS class, both buyable and un-buyable so it's a worthy investment that will break even quickly. When you buy the Mistral SF, transfer everything over from your current ship and then sell it. It will help provide capital for trading as outfitting the Mistral can be quite expensive.

It is recommended that one Particle Accelerator Cannon and one Phased Repeater Gun in each turret so that you are adequately protected against any fighters that decide to attack you. Another good thing about the Mistral SF is that it can mount more shields than all but two fighters. Of course this is useless unless you actually upgrade the shields to maximum. Unfortunately, there is no Equipment Dock in Legend’s Home so you’re going to have to jump back to the core Argon sectors (around Argon Prime) and use the Equipment Docks there to outfit your Mistral SF.
Combat Tactics
When buying the Nova, you might want to consider selling your old Mercury. It will help provide some money to buy upgrades with. For weapons, go for 8 Particle Accelerator Cannons in the main slots and a Phased Repeater Gun for the rear turret to defend against missiles and M5s. And of course you should upgrade to maximum shields so you can actually survive getting hit and not have to spend thousands repairing the hull unnecessarily.

So you have a fully equipped Nova but have no idea what to do next? Simple, you go out looking for a fight. The best way to profit from combat is by doing ‘Defend the station’ missions. On top of credits, these missions will grant you large amounts of reputation from the faction who gave you the mission. This in turn will increase rewards in future missions. If you have the reputation, it is recommended to buy the Argon police license available at any Free Argon Trading Station. It will give you credits for any Pirates/Yaki/Paranid that you destroy in Argon space. Of course if you want to survive more than two seconds you need to know how to fight. Below are a few tips on surviving a fight.

  • If you want to actually hit something, make sure you have Fight Command Software Mk II installed. Also, make sure Auto Aim is on. This will make any shots fired using boresight (that were in the general direction of the enemy) hit them.
  • Watch your weapon’s energy/ammo. If you are running low on energy then you may have to think about firing in shorter bursts or choosing more efficient weapons, such as Particle Accelerator Cannons over High Energy Plasma Throwers. With weapons that require ammo like the Mass Driver, make sure that you have enough ammo for about 2-3 large missions beforehand, you may need it for unexpected fights.
  • Exploit your ship's advantages. If your ship can outrun your opponent’s ship, then you should do exactly that. If your ship is of a higher class than your opponent’s ship, then you can probably afford to take more fire than they can. You can use this to your advantage by focusing less on not getting hit but instead focusing on hitting the enemy.
  • Strafe whenever you can using the WASD keys. This throws off the targeting of enemy ships so fewer shots hit you. It also grants you a nice boost of speed since you have 2 directional movements causing the vector speed being faster than the advertised top speed. All ships can strafe and it is also useful for when you are heading towards a station or large asteroid as it provides extra thrust away from it.
  • Missiles can be your saviour... or your downfall. When used correctly missiles can turn the tide of battle in your favour. When used incorrectly, they can kill you. This happens when your missile is shot down right next to you and the resulting explosion takes you out. To avoid this, do not launch a missile when you are taking fire. Try to fly away then turn around and launch your missile. Also, don't use the wrong class of missile on the wrong class of ship. Different missiles have different speeds and deal different amounts of damage so, using a slow, heavy missile like the Firestorm Torpedo against an M5 is not a good idea. Sure if it hits the M5 is definitely history, but the chances of hitting are close to nil. Similarly, using the Mosquito Missile against an M2 is pointless, yes it will hit, but they won't even notice it.
  • Separate your enemies out. Get all of their attention and run away for a little while. This way, the ships will become divided up according to top speed making it easier to systematically remove them. (This won’t work if you have a slow ship)
  • Minimise getting hit. This may be obvious, but even if your ship can take quite a beating, there is no reason to make it if you can avoid it. Keeping shield strength for when it is really needed is the key to prolonging survival. Also, there is always the chance that the shot that missed you will hit one of your enemy's friends and destroy them, causing one less threat to face. Besides, better safe than sorry and dead.
  • If you are taking too much damage, break off. There is nothing wrong with disengaging if your shields start to get low. You can re-engage the enemy when your shields have recovered to a more sufficient level. As mentioned before, better safe than sorry and dead.
  • Utilise your surroundings. You can use nearby stations and asteroids as cover or to mess up the autopilot of any enemies attacking you. Although, you must be careful to not fly straight into whatever you are using as cover. If you think you are going to crash, instead of setting your speed to zero, turn 180 degrees. If you just need to move slightly to the left or right, don’t turn your craft, just strafe.
  • Know the enemy. Before going in and firing blindly at a foe, you should check the capabilities of their ship; blind spots and general advantages/disadvantages of that ship. Such information will be invaluable in the fight. After all, that M3 you’re chasing could have a rear turret that you could've been aware of if you had checked.
Essential Upgrades/Ship Software
So you have a bit of experience in the universe, but still need that extra edge? This section covers the upgrades which could give you just that. After all more upgrades equals more performance. (Not all upgrades/commands are listed)

Ship Software

Fight Command Software Mk1
Allows for auto-targeting on the boresight. It also allows the following commands:

Attack...
Attacks the specified target, plain and simple.

Attack All Enemies
The ordered ship proceeds to attack all enemies in its current sector.

Protect Me
The ordered ship follows the player ship and if an enemy attacks the player ship, it will retaliate.

Protect...
Same as the Protect Me command, except the ordered ship protects a ship that you select.

Attack Fighters
The ship attacks all M5, M4 and M3 class ships only.

Attack Capital Ships
The ship attacks all M1, M2, M7, TL and M6 class ships only.

Turret Protect Ship
The turret only shoots at enemy craft that attack the ship it is mounted on.

Turret Attack Enemies
The turret attacks any and all enemy craft that enter its range and weapon arc.

Fight Command Software Mk2
Allows for auto-targeting on the boresight. It also allows the following commands:

Attack Nearest Enemy Of...
The ship attacks the enemy that is closest to the specified target.

Defend Position
The ordered ship moves to the specified position and attacks any enemy ship that enters its range. Useful for defending gates.

Defend Station
Ordered ship moves to the specified station and attacks enemy ships that travel near it.

Defend Sector
The ordered ship attack all enemy ships in the specified sector.

Attack Target Of...
The ordered ship attacks the enemy ship that the specified ship has targeted, useful for concentrating fire.

Attack Shields Of...
The ordered ship attacks the ship indicated until the shields go down. It then keeps the shields down at 0%. The ship getting attacked may still take damage as the ordered ship will only stop shooting when the shield is at 0% so some shots may still be flying towards the target.

Attack Enemy and Land
The ordered ship attacks the specified enemy and lands once they have destroyed them. Ordered ship must have a home base before this command can be issued.

Attack All Enemies and Land
The ordered ship attacks all of the enemies in the sector they are in, then lands after all hostiles have been destroyed. Ordered ship must have a home base before this command can be used.

Retreat
Ordered ship jumps through the closest gate away from the combat.

Turret Missiles Only
The turret only shoots at missiles in range that are locked on to the parent ship.

Turret Missile Defence
Works like the Turret Protect Ship command, except the turret shoots at missiles locked on to the parent ship also.

Navigation Command Software Mk1
Adds advanced jump commands.

Jump and Fly to Station
The ordered ship jumps to the selected sector and docks at the indicated station. Ship must have enough energy cells and a Jumpdrive to make the jump.

Jump and Fly to Position
The ordered ship jumps to the indicated place in a chosen sector. Ship must have enough energy cells and a Jumpdrive to make the jump.

Trade Command Software Mk1
Adds basic trade commands.

Buy Ware
The ordered ship buys a selected ware from the indicated station. Player must have enough money and reputation to make the transaction. Ship must be able to hold the ware and have a home base.

Sell Ware
The ordered ship sells a selected ware to the indicated station. Ship must have the ware on board to sell and have a home base.

Trade Command Software Mk2
Adds advanced supply commands.

Buy Ware at Best Price
The ordered ship buys a ware that the home base needs at the best price within the allowed jumps. Home station must have enough credits for the ware to be bought.

Sell Ware at Best Price
The ordered ship sells a ware that the home base produces at the best price within the allowed jumps. Home station must have goods on board to be sold to start the trade run.

Trade Command Software Mk3
Hires a pilot to make trade runs for you.

Start Sector Trader
Ordered ship starts trading in any and all goods in the sector that will grant a profit.

Start Universe Trader
Ordered ship starts trading runs in the most profitable goods across the whole universe. Requires a level 8 Trader before you can order the ship to start being a Universe Trader.

Special Command Software Mk1
Adds an assortment of collect commands.

Collect Wares in Sector
Ordered ship collects all cargo crates that it can in a sector. Ship will only pick up cargo that it has space for.

Collect Ware
Ordered ship collects the specified cargo crate. Ship must be able to hold the cargo.

Collect Astronaut
Ordered ship picks up the specified space-suit floating in space. Ship must have Cargobay Life-Support installed.

Patrol Command Software Mk1
Adds patrol commands.

Patrol Sector
Ordered ship patrols the selected sector until given another order. It flies about the sector continuously scanning for enemies. When one is spotted it will attack the enemy. Once the enemy is destroyed the patrol continues.

Patrol Sectors
Same as the Patrol Sector Command, but several sectors can be stacked up for a patrol cycle.

Scout for Enemies
The ordered ship flies about the sector looking for enemy craft but does not engage. This order can only be given to M5 ships.
Essential Upgrades/Ship Upgrades
Ship Upgrades

Trading System Extension
Allows the player to view price and stock information from stations that the player is not docked at.

Video Enhancement Goggles
Allows the player to zoom in many times to get a closer look at far away objects to help identify them.

Cargo Lifesupport System
Allows the ship equipped to pick up astronauts or carry marines. It also allows you to take Transport Personnel missions.

Mineral Scanner
Allows the ship equipped to scan asteroids for their mineral worth. This is required for Scan Asteroids missions.

Ore Collector
This upgrade allows ships with XL cargo capacity to pick up raw minerals from space.

Freight Scanner
Allows you to scan ships within 4km of you. The scan shows what cargo and equipment the target has onboard. You must have a Police License for the faction before using this or incur a reputation hit and possibly the sector police chasing after you.

Docking Computer
Once within a certain range, the ship can instantly dock with a station, allowing you to get the deal faster than the other guy, get instant protection or just avoid autopilot mishaps. (They do happen; you have been warned)

Triplex Scanner
This upgrade effectively triples the Gravidar range of the ship that it is equipped on.

Jumpdrive
Allows travel to distant sectors at the cost of energy cells per sector.

Transporter Device
Allows the transfer of cargo or player between ships without docking at a station or ejecting into space.

Boost Extension
When used this upgrade triples the ships current acceleration making getaways more efficient.

Engine Tuning
Increases a ship's speed by a certain degree. Useful for optimising ship performance. Each time you upgrade this, it gets more expensive due to the complexity of modern engines.

Rudder Optimisation
Increases the Manoeuvrability of the ship by a certain degree. Each application of this upgrade makes it more expensive.

Cargobay Extension
Increases the amount of cargo the ship can hold. Each time this upgrade is purchased on the same ship it gets more expensive.
Expanding Horizions (Buying New Ships)
Okay time for the expensive stuff, buying a new class of ship. Whether it is for support or personal use, you will eventually need ships of multiple classes in your fleet. The first two things to consider when getting a new ship is the money it will cost and race reputation.

The money should be your first priority as you can get race rep by doing missions to get the money. When you are shopping for a ship, it is not recommend buying a ship when you have just enough credits for it. This is because you won’t be able to afford all the upgrades that are required for it to be useful. (Shielding, weaponry, software, tunings) For fighters and freighters it's a good idea to have a few hundred thousand credits above and what the ship costs for upgrades and to have sufficient capital for trading. For the larger ships, (M6-M1) you will need to keep at least a few million in reserve as the weaponry and shields will be much more expensive for the larger ships.

Okay, now that you have enough credits to buy that ship and equip it, but does the race selling it like you enough? They won't sell their larger ships to mere acquaintances. You have to earn their trust to be able to buy their ships. The most effective way to get your race reputation up is to do missions for them. Even if you do have the required race rank to buy the ship, for some of their more powerful weapons you might need to be of even higher race rank. So before buying that ship, check whether or not you are allowed buying the weapons that you want for the ship.

The general route that is recommended for buying ships is:

Combat


Trade


It is also a good idea to get a TL as soon as possible, as it will be the backbone of your empire, and can also be used as a “poor-man's carrier”. The Split Elephant is a good starting TL as it only costs 17 million as opposed to the 28 million of the Argon Mammoth and it can hold 14 fighters compared to the 5 on the Mammoth, though this comes at a cost of cargo space, which won't matter much at the start of building up the start of your infrastructure.
Create an Empire
To become successful in X3: TC you will need to do more than shuttle goods between stations continually. You will need to build your own. To do that you will need a TL (or you could hire one). Once you have one of those you can buy stations at the shipyard. A good starter station is a Cahoona Bakery in Argon Prime. Firstly dock (or order the hired TL to) at the Federal Argon Shipyard in Argon Prime, purchase a Cahoona Bakery L. Undock from the shipyard. Open the command menu, go into the special orders menu and select Drop Station.... (Comm the hired TL and ask the captain to drop your freight)You will then be shown the sector map with your station flashing at a position on the map. You can change the location of the station by using the 2, 4, 6 and 8 keys on the number pad. If you press Insert then the sector map shifts so that you can position the station on the vertical axis. Once you are happy with the location of the station press enter, a short cinematic will play and the station will be placed.

Now that it is built, you will need some ships to ferry goods to and from the station. For the bakery you will need 3 freighters, one to buy Energy Cells, one to buy Argnu Beef and one to sell Meatsteak Cahoonas. You should also come up with a naming convention so that you know what ship is doing what and is owned by what station. For example I have the ship buying Energy Cells at my Cahoona Bakery named “CBLA AP B E-Cells”, which stands for “Cahoona Bakery Large Alpha, Argon Prime, Buy, Energy Cells”. Once you have the ships named, select the Cahoona Bakery as the home base for each of them.

Once the ships are purchased (be sure to equip them with Trade Command Software Mk II), named and home based you will need to set them out on their job. Give them orders (buy/sell ware for best price) based on the jobs that they have been named for. Once that is done, give the station some money, say 150,000 credits. You do this by selecting the station, going into the Station Properties tab and transferring 150k credits from your account to the station's account. Also set the maximum jumps to 3 so that the freighters don't go into pirate space and get blown up. Once that is done, select the Command tab on the station, and select Automatically Transfer Credits to Account, enter 150,000. This means that when the factory gets over 150,000 credits, the excess gets transferred to your account.

That should keep you with a steady income, but it will take time before it really gets going so you should go about completing more missions in the meantime.
Keep One Step Ahead
One of the most important things to do in X3 is to keep even or above the enemy in terms of tech. There's nothing as bad as getting attacked by a M1 when you are still buzzing about in a M3. As such it is good to keep your fight rank and trade rank as close as possible. Remember, human tactics can only get you so far, when you seem to be getting killed a lot more often than what you deem normal, try bringing a bigger ship to the fight! It should be noted that enemy ships in missions are always poorly equipped for their class in terms of shields and engine tunings.
Explore the Universe
Staying in a small cluster of sectors, while safe isn't all that profitable. To maximise profits and find more opportunities you need to get out there into the wider universe. There are super-shipyards of sorts that are in the more distant sectors that sell even more ships than the standard ones. You may also find some derelict ships, ready to be claimed by you. There are many sectors out there, each with their own needs and products needing shifted. Only by exploring you can become an integral part of their industry which in turn could help your empire expand.
Now the Universe is Yours to Profit From
By now, if all things have gone well you should have a solid foothold in the galaxy. The path you take from here is up to you. We hope that this guide helped you as it is a collaboration of our experiences and what we have learned from others whilst playing X3: Terran Conflict. Though this is the end of the guide, it is just the beginning of your fortune!

Here are two more guides that may be of use as you start to leave the early game:

Trade Command Software Mk3 for Dummies[forum.egosoft.com] (Have your ships automatically do trades for you!)

SETA Repair for Dummies[forum.egosoft.com] (Complete repairs with your repair laser up to 10 times faster!)

Once again, feel free to leave comments with any questions or feedback you may have and thanks for reading this guide!

/hamfistedconclusion

55 Comments
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Suomi Aron Aug 15 @ 8:05pm 
resolution widescreen 32' 80cm
Suomi Aron Aug 15 @ 8:03pm 
i have tried various fov's and they all give me a bad fish perspective. Not sure what is the problem at all.
Techno  [author] Aug 7 @ 5:49am 
Suomi Aron, what resolution and fov are you running at? I've never ran into this problem before.
Suomi Aron Aug 7 @ 5:19am 
the real issue with this is that on larger screens like 32' the planets look like ovals and you look at things as if its a fish eye. Trying to find some mods that will fix this, because to me its completely unplayable which is a shame. Tried changing stuff but it still stays like a fisheye and egosoft have done nothing to fix it
DirtyDick(IamtheConduit) May 1 @ 6:38pm 
i would just like to add that your inclusion of "If you have decided..." really struck a chord to the way back and the "Choose Your Own Adventure" Books. Thanks for writing the guide.
Sergeant Hobo 93 Mar 9 @ 8:59pm 
Very helpful man!
j.jamo55 Jan 23 @ 1:54pm 
Nice job
Falcon777 Dec 26, 2013 @ 7:40am 
Very nice. Without help like these, many potential-great-X-plyrs and therefore potential-fans steered away from games like these, unfortunately!
Ostemaden Dec 10, 2013 @ 1:11pm 
And another thing, don't buy trade products unless you've found a profitable trade route IN THE SECTOR YOU ARE IN. It's really really bad when you buy argnu beef cheaply, only to realise that you can't find a great place to sell it, while passing by profitable trade routes.
Bodin Dec 9, 2013 @ 11:55pm 
Added to my list for future reference--thanks for the info.