Stellar Tactics

Stellar Tactics

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Official Space Combat Guide
By Stellar Tactics
The basics of space combat. Covers buying ships and equipment, basic combat tactics and ship combat systems.
If you read anything, at least read the following checklist of seven items for space combat. Without these basics, your attempts at space combat may end in frustration, damage to your ship and in some cases, defeat.

1. When you first enter your ship, arm your turrets ( press the [F] key). You will see two slider bars at the bottom center of your screen for setting thrust and shield energy levels. Before entering combat, always set your shields to maximum and your trust to 1/3. Your settings are saved for you, though you may need to adjust them during a fight.

2. Before entering combat, always press the [G] key to engage your combat shields and let them charge to 100%. Without your combat shields up, your basic ship shields will take damage and then your armor. It's always best to enter combat with your combat shields ready and full charged.

3. You should also set your directional shields forward when first entering combat (by pressing the [Q] and [E] keys). You always want your directional shields facing the majority of incoming fire so you will be using them a lot. You can also rotate your directional shields to quick-charge depleted shields. Directional (bright yellow) shields charge at a faster rate than your other shields (blue).

4. Now approach your enemy - you can use micro-warp or afterburners. Just know that on ships other than Light Fighters and Interceptors, afterburners deplete your capacitor in and out of combat. Light Fighters and Interceptors have afterburners that are designed to be used in combat.

5. And speaking of your capacitor - next to shields, they are the most important thing to keep an eye on in the heat of battle. If your capacitor is below 1/3, you have an energy problem. Adjust your thrust down first and see if that balances your capacitor so it is stable. If that does not work, reduce your shield energy slider. If neither of those are working, your ship has an energy deficit. You can see this on the Ship Information HUD as a bright, rainbow colored information bar. If your ship is equipped in a way where it is under powered, you will need to buy new equipment or a more powerful Warp Drive to power your ship. An under-powered ship is useless in battle. You may have exceptional turrets and a powerful shield, but if you don't have enough power to keep them running, your are as good as dead. Your starter ship is well balanced.

6. You have chaff - one of the most important defenses against incoming missiles. Chaff can confuse incoming missile homing systems. Just press the [T] key to launch a chaff module. That's right, do it - it's cheap, use it. You will occasionally see a missile go haywire as it loses its homing signal. Chaff can reduce the amount of damage you take considerably and give you the edge you need to survive!

7. If you are having trouble or just need to get a tactical view of the situation, just press the [P] key to pause combat. You can scan, manage turrets, target enemies, review your inventory and status. Pretty much everything is available when the game is paused in combat - a very handy tool indeed!

You are now ready for combat!
You can buy new ships from the ship merchant on the Trade Station.
Ships are expensive. If you do have enough cash to buy a new ship, you can either trade in your current ship for a credit towards your new ship or you can store your current ship on the trade station. Storing your ship will store your ship and all its equipment, ready for you in case you want to use your ship again someday.

If you have a stored ship, you can transfer between ships in the Ship Information HUD by selecting "MANAGE STORED SHIPS" button. You need to be on the station where you ship is stored for the ship to show up in the top list. Just select the ship in the top list that you want to transfer to and click the transfer button. Your cargo will automatically be transferred to your new ship assuming the amount of cargo on your current ship is less than or equal to the capacity on your new ship. You cannot buy or transfer to a new ship if you are carrying more cargo than the maximum capacity of the ship you are buying or transferring to. You may need to sell of cargo to do either.

You will also need to repair your ship from time to time. This can only be done on stations or ground locations.


Ship equipment vendors can be found on various stations throughout the universe. For now, you can find a ship equipment vendor on the Trade Station in Achmedius. When you purchase an item, it is placed in your cargo hold. You can drag and drop items to replace systems on your ship. You cannot remove ship equipment systems.

Ammo for your ship is separate from the ground combat ammo storage. Ship ammo can only be purchased from ship equipment vendors.

You can sell equipment looted from enemy ships for a healthy profit. Any vendor will be willing to purchase these items from you.

Ship vendors sell the following types of equipment:

All equipment in the game is ship specific. That means a warp drive or a turret will only fit a ship of a certain type.

Turrets:Main combat weapons that come in a myriad of configurations. These weapons come in heavy and light variants depending on the type of ship you are flying.
Missile Turrets - Missiles also come in heavy and light variants. Missiles will be configurable in a future update.

Mining turrets: These are only used when mining. Attacking enemy ships with mining turrets equipped will likely end in defeat as every turret assigned to mining takes a huge portion of your DPS. To mine, just approach an asteroid, power up your turrets and then click on a asteroid or asteroids (you can direct individual turrets at different asteroids). Your turrets will start mining and ore will be scooped to your cargo hold.

Warp-Drive: Your main power source and determines your speed in micro-warp, afterburner and docking modes. Your warp-drive powers all ship systems and your capacitor. It also comes in many varieties and qualities. A powerful warp-drive can help you keep high DPS weapons powered.

Shields: - One of the most important pieces of equipment on your ship. Your ship actually has two shields:
  • Your basic ship shield which is used to protect your ship against micro-meteor impacts and impacts with other objects in space. Your ship shield cannot be replaced, it is part of your basic ship configuration.
  • Your combat shield. This shield can be purchased on stations and comes in many varieties. You will be looking for the highest protection, highest charge rate and the lowest power requirements. These shields also have various resistances to different types of damage.

Targeting Computer: The targeting computer provides bonuses to targeting subsystems (a future feature to be implemented), chance to hit and shield bypass. Shield bypass allows projectiles to completely bypass your enemies shield defenses. You can see these bonuses when you review the equipment in your cargo hold, your ship and at the ship equipment vendors.

Ship Electronics: Electronics systems generate bonuses to your scan range, scan quality, security (a feature that will be used later) and your shields.
Hull Plating: Ship armor provides an extra layer of defense that could give you time to escape a dangerous incursion. Armor can be repaired on the surface of planets or any trade station and can be expensive.

Cargo Expansions: Cargo expansions do just that, they expand the maximum amount of cargo your ship can carry.

FTL Drives: FTL drives allow you to enter FTL space - a place where time is compressed allowing you to travel vast distances. FTL-Drives cannot be purchased in the game at this time. These will be available once the FTL gates open.


A combat shield is a sphere split into 4 quadrants - front, right back and left. Regardless of the direction you are hit from, the shield protects your ship. Making sure your combat shields are deployed and fully charged is critical to the first moment or two of combat when you will be taking a lot of direct fire from your enemy(s). Your combat shield ring is a flat representation of the 4 quadrants of the shield.

Your shields are directional. This means you can adjust power to a specific shield to give it additional power to recharge. Keeping your directional shields facing the majority of incoming fire is critical to success. If you are even in a situation where you need to adjust your shields, you can do this any time by pressing the [Q] and [E] keys. You can also pause the game to adjust your shields.

Your shields are powered by your ships power plant. At the bottom center of the screen, you can divert energy to your shields. Sliding the bar to the far left diverts power away from your shields which will give your capacitor additional charge. Sliding the bar to the far right diverts power from your capacitor to your shields, giving you a higher charge rate for your shields and your directional shield.

You can also manage your directional shields by selecting your shields on the shield HUD. Clicking the center of the shield display resets your directional shields diverting the full charge to all shields equally.

Before entering combat, always have your shields up, fully charged and your directional shields facing forward.
See this video for a tutorial on turret management and targeting.

As long as an enemy is engaged in combat with you, and the left target menu for that ship is displayed, the micro menu and upper right ship target menu will display red targeting reticles.

Clicking on the enemy target menus for any ship displayed will target all turrets to that enemy.

Selecting targeting mode for turrets by pressing keys 1-6 or left clicking on the turret ( you can select turrets 1 and 2 for example) and clicking either the left enemy ship HUD, the upper right menu reticle or the red micro-menu reticle will target only the selected turrets (the ones that have a pulsing red crosshair in them) to that ship.

You can enable and disable targeting mode for any turret by left clicking the turret a second time. If a turret is in "targeting" mode, that turret has a pulsing red reticle in the middle of it.

You can turn a turret off completely by right clicking that turret or by pressing and holding the corresponding turret number (1-6). However, if you click a ship info HUD or by using the micro-menu reticle or the red reticle in the upper left HUD, that turret will be turned on again automatically.

You can tell which turrets are targeted to which ships by rolling over that turret. You will see a green highlight around the portrait of the targeted ship.

Incursion missions are given randomly while flying in space. You can decline or accept. Once you accept, enemy ships are spawned in the system. You can attack them for a cash reward and of course loot and faction. Landing or docking at a station will clear the incursion. So, if the incursion is too difficult for you, just dock or land. Next time you are in space, another incursion will eventually be generated.

You can adjust the difficulty of space combat in the options menu.

You can adjust the frequency of incursions in the options menu.
You start with basic equipment, a heavy turret, two light turrets and a missile launcher. Your ship is fairly weak, but strong enough to take on some ships.

I recommend upgrading as soon as you can. I suggest upgrading in this order:
  • A better warp drive for more power
  • Better turrets
  • Any other systems

You can find a ship and ship equipment merchant on the trade station.

Ship specific skills are now in the game and you will gain experience by taking incursion missions and attacking ships in Achmedius.

Ship specific skill perks are not yet in the game.

You can attack any ship - however, you may want to keep your faction alignment with neutrals or better where they are - up to you. There are plenty of ships and incursions against generally hostile (red) targets to keep you busy. If you have been fighting in the facility, you will notice your faction with the Halamis faction may be higher than the rest of the factions.

Before engaging enemies, scan them, or immediately pause combat and scan your enemies. You will be able to see what weapons an enemy has by scrolling down in the scan data HUD. If a ship has 4 heavy turrets and you only have 2, it's likely combat won't end well for you. You can always give it a try and if your are being pummeled, power down your turrets (never power down your combat shields) and micro-warp away from the encounter by pressing [R] - micro-warp.

Once you are in combat with an enemy ship, a small information HUD will be displayed on the left side of the ship. If your turrets are active ( the [F] key toggles them on and off ), just click the information HUD to target all of your turrets on the enemy ship. If you are in combat with multiple enemy ships, clicking the information HUD's lets you switch targets. For more about targeting, targeting multiple ships and turret management, read the ADVANCED TARGETING section below.

Your starter ship is fairly well kitted out for combat - however, you might want to look at upgrading as soon as possible. Some incursions just cannot be defeated in your starter ship. Upgrades for your ship can be found on the Trade Station. Upgrades are expensive. Defeated ships drop cargo containers and some of those containers may have weapon and equipment upgrades you can use. You can mine asteroids or take incursion missions to earn money for upgrades.

You can see your faction status on the Log screen - there is a new faction button on the star map.
Attacking a ship gives you a faction hit. Destroying a ship gives you a higher faction adjustment with both aligned and unaligned factions.

Ships drop equipment and ore that can be sold for a nice profit.

Combat is all about energy, range and shield alignment. You should work towards getting the best warp engine you can - it will power higher quality turrets and help keep your shields up.

You can use afterburners in combat - they deplete your capacitor. A powerful warp drive helps. Interceptors and Light Fighters have built in power systems that allow for full afterburner without depleting your capacitor.

You can escape combat at any time - You must power down your turrets (you can leave your shields up) and then micro-warp [R-KEY] way from combat assuming you are not in a gravity well. Enemy ships will go back to their previous task once you are a certain distance away. The target HUDs on the left of the screen will disappear.

You can pause combat at any time by pressing the "P" key. You can rebind this key.

You can deploy chaff by pressing the "T" key. You can rebind this key. Chaff is useful for confusing incoming missiles.
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pike Apr 19 @ 7:48am 
nevermind - so heavy turrets can only be replaced by other heavy..etc - got it
nice work with the game
pike Apr 19 @ 7:45am 
how do i install new upgrades for ship? not as straight forward as ground based fighting. I'm atempting in a space station
Stellar Tactics  [author] Jan 10 @ 7:54am 
I will remove them for now to avoid confusion - thanks for pointing that out.
Stellar Tactics  [author] Jan 10 @ 7:52am 
I see - the hardware mount points are for future content - they will be devices you can use. Those are not ready yet.

You cannot mount turrets on the hardware mount points.
HYDRA Jan 10 @ 7:44am 
I'll try to explain.Menu ship equipment there are three places available that you can install?)sorry for my English I use Yandex translator.))
Stellar Tactics  [author] Jan 10 @ 7:32am 
Hi evgen - Turrets can be mounted on turret hard points. Was that your question?
HYDRA Jan 10 @ 6:39am 
Hi all .That can be installed on a hardware mount point?
AAAAAAAAAAA Dec 27, 2017 @ 8:48am 
Glad i read this, thanks !
screeg Dec 27, 2017 @ 8:40am 
I was just venting my frustration at mixing the two types of game when most people favor one (I favor TB) or the other, and almost no one is saying to themselves "gee, I wish there was a game out there that did a great job at both!"

Naturally you're free to make exactly the game you want and despite the criticism I wish you all the best! :)
Stellar Tactics  [author] Dec 25, 2017 @ 6:26pm 
Hi screeg, I think I saw your post on RPGWatch too so I thought I would answer.

I'm just making the game I want to make - that I've always wanted to play, no ulterior motives, no plans to get rich quick and no delusions that Stellar Tactics is going to change the face of gaming.

Some people come to the game expecting another X-COM clone, others come to Stellar Tactics looking for an old school RPG. In many cases they find something they didn't expect - some like it, and some don't. Regardless, I keep moving forward gathering feedback from people who have purchased the game and making it better a few steps at a time. What I do have is a great (small) community of positive and helpful people who enjoy the game and I'm grateful for that. Without their feedback it would be impossible to build this game as a solo developer.