The Galaxy View
This is the main game screen and displays the Galaxy Map with buttons at the top and bottom of the screen. You can zoom the map in or out by using the mouse wheel. You can also pan the map by mouse-click dragging (hold the left-mouse button down and drag it in the direction you want). Double-clicking takes you to Sector View. The Galaxy map is divided into 6 sectors each containing 100 sub-sectors. Selecting a sub-sector will open a panel displaying information about that location including if it has a star system and planets. If there are planets you may click on them to enter Planet View. A taskforce panel will also open on the sub-sector selection if there are any visible ships in the sector. From this panel you can give orders to your taskforces and view taskforces belonging to others.
Buttons on the top bar:
- Game Options: Displays the Load/Save and Preferences panel
- Game Stats: Displays various stats between all the races in the game
- Last Turn Events: The list of important events that occurred in the past turn
- Journal: A list of your missions with details including progress and next steps
- Colonies: A list of all your colonies with important information
- Fleet: A list of all your taskforces with important information
Buttons at the bottom:
- Races: Takes you to Relations View. Here you can review current relations with other races, view reports, declare wars and most importantly conduct Diplomacy with Alien counterparts
- Techs: Takes you to Research view where you can see and manage your technological advances. Techs are divided into 6 main categories. You can choose to set focus on a category to divert more research into it at the expense of others. You can also set a focus on one technology in each category (recommended).
- Turn: Ends the turn (the current year) and advances to the next one.
The Tactical Phase
The tactical phase is the period between turns. It begins after you click the Galaxy Turn button and ends when you are returned to the galaxy map. During the tactical phase each vessel and object in the game gets 20 rounds of action based on their Initiative (speed). The round and initiative is displayed at the top right corner. After the 20th round the tactical phase ends and you are returned to make strategic decisions once more on the Galaxy Map and related screens.
The Sector View
The Sector View screen gives you a tactical level view/control of a sector. During the tactical phase you will be shown the Sector View if there are any combat or other meaningful events. At which point you can take control of your ships and engage in various actions including ship combat. If combat occurs you will be given manual control of the ships in that sub-sector one at a time based on the ship initiative (smaller ships have faster initiative and take action before slower ships and planets). At any time you can press the Auto Mode button (or press space) to let the AI take control and automate actions for you. Press again to take manual control back of your ships (control is returned on the next initiative). Sector View is also accessible (in a paused state for viewing only) from the Galaxy Map by double-clicking on a sub-sector.
If you just want to jump in and play the game, we strongly recommend that you play with the game tutorial enabled. The tutorial will introduce you to the basic game elements step-by-step so you can learn while you play through the early storyline. Tutorial steps are logged in your journal (press J on your keyboard to open the journal at any point in time to view). Remember that you may also press the F1 help key at any time for additional information to the particular screen. There are also many tooltips throughout the game that give additional information and details.