StarDart Game Play Tutorial
and Frequently Asked Questions
by Fred Haslam
Updated: 2005-10-10


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Frequently Asked Questions :
0) It says 'Loading' but never goes further?

1) How Do I Start Playing?
2) What do the Controls Mean?
3) How do I Handle a Battle?
4) How do I Manage a World?
5) How do I Pay the 'Cost' Listed in Construction?
6) Which Type of Ship is Best?



0) It says 'Loading' but never goes further?
Something is preventing the game from contacting the server. This may be either your virus protection, or a 'hi-speed' setting with your ISP. Read the following FAQ for more details on fixing the problem. It says 'Server Not Responding', but it is the same issue as 'Loading' in StarDart:
http://www.fiends.com/Company/Faqs/Site/cantplay.html#not_respond
1) How Do I Start Playing
First, you must be able to see the game applet. When you select a game (Elemental, Scorpions, etcetera) a window will popup with the applet. If the central box remains gray or shows a small red x, then you may need help getting the applet to operate. Please read this FAQ:
Applet Gray or a Red X If the applet is working, you will see a number of buttons and text fields. You will need to enter an name and password in the name+pass fields, then click on the 'send' button. Where do you get a name and password? You simply *choose* a name and a password. If the name is not being used, it will be created and assigned the password you picked. The name and password pair will only exists for the duration of ONE GAME of StarDart. Once the server restarts, everyone will have to select new names and passwords (although it CAN be the same ones). After clicking on the 'send' button, some information will appear about your position. If you played earlier and were destroyed, you have the option to 'rebirth' your empire. This will give you a new fleet to play with. Click enter and the game will begin. NOTE: Some people have trouble with the sound effects. There is a switch to disable sound on the front page. Back to Top
2) What do the Controls Mean?
In the center of the star display is a small ship. This is your fleet on the edge of a large galaxy. You have some ships, but you will need to capture some worlds in order to build more ships. Your primary controller is the mouse. Click on a world or a fleet (little ship) to see information displayed in the 'target' area on the left. Click on the same thing again and your fleet will move towards it. World Information: Worlds have a name, an owner, a type, population and industry. When you see the numbers '20p 10i' that means the world has 20 population and 10 industry. Worlds also have small flags (little triangles). If the triangle is yellow, then you control the world. If the triangle is light blue then it belongs to another player. If there is no flag, the world is neutral. Fleet Information: Fleets have an owner, a squad count, a gun count, and an ECM value. Squads, guns and ecm can be used to judge a fleet power. In addition to worlds and fleets; there are gateways, nebulaes and neutron zones. Gateways will jump your fleet to another section of the galaxy. Nebulaes will make you move slowly. Neutron Zones will make you move rapidly. When your fleet reaches a world or another fleet you will switch to a battle screen where you have to direct your squadronis against enemy forces. 'ENGAGE' - the engage button is the same as the second click on a world or fleet. It will send you towards that target. 'HALT' - halt will stop your progress towards a destination. 'OPTION' - this will display another screen with information about your empire and some game options. Screen Markers: You will see some green numbers next to a little diamond. The diamond indicates the direction to Old Earth, located at the center of the galaxy. The number indicates the distance. If you wander too far from your own worlds, you can find them by looking for a purple marker.
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3) How do I Handle a Battle?
Again, your primary controller is your mouse. You will see a number of ships in the central squares on the screen. If this is your first fight, you most likely have 3 squads. Each squad will display its type and number of ships (eg. Sloop 300). Below the ship image will be two bars. Then yellow bar is a countdown to the ship firing. The red bar is accumulated damage for the squad. When the red bar 'rolls over' - the squads size will go down. Click on one of your squads and DRAG the mouse towards another square. If the square has an enemy squad, then your squad will begin attacking. If the square is empty and in your central grid then the squad will move to the new square. This can be handy for more advanced fights. If you are fighting at a world, you will most likely face a single squad of space stations. Drag all your squads to target this one squad. Your ships will begin to fire. At the top, you will see the power of each fleet expressed in 'guns'. You will also see an ECM rating. More guns makes you more likely to win. High ECM also helps you to win. The types of ships also make a difference. More on that later. If you are losing (ie. your guns dropping faster than his guns) you may want to retreat. It will take time for your ships to all retreat, during that time they will take more damage. If you have enemies on both sides you won't be able to retreat. If you win, you will be switched to the Planetary Control screen. There you will designate contruction for the world. You will be able to build more ships to power your fleet. If you lose, your will be left with an escape pod to try to run to a friendly world. If you have no friendly worlds then you have been destroyed. You will return to the opening screen where you can 'rebirth' and get another fleet to fight with.
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4) How do I Manage a World?
The world management screen has two major tools. At the top are two green blocks that display the fleets. At the bottom are ten yellow blocks where you create construction commands. The fleet blocks show you the size of the squads in your personal fleet and in the world fleet. You can transfer ships from one fleet into the other by clicking on the name of the ship squad INSIDE the green block. There is no way to split the ships, you get all or nothing. There is a maximum size for squads, and this limit is smaller for the larger ships. If two squads are each at the maximum, then they have the same number of guns. The yellow blocks will hold and take commands. Click on an empty block. Then click on button from 'sloop' to 'facility'. The 'nothing' button is used to erase commands. The construction command will not stick until you click on the 'send' button in the yellow block. If you select facility, you then pick the type of facility to build. Each world can have exactly one facility. They are expensive. If you leave a world before the facility is built, it may never finish. If you have picked a ship or industry, then you need to select a number using the slide bar. The maxiumum is 240. You can also specify that the command 'repeat'. This means that when the construction is complete, the command is send back to the end of the line to be done again. You can mix repeat with non-repeat commands. This is a good way to create mixed fleets and rapidly build a world.
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5) How do I Pay the 'Cost' Listed in Construction?
Every ten seconds construction occurs. If you have sound on, you will hear a little construction sound. Worlds will produce one build point for each population and industry. A world with 30p and 80i will produce 110 BPs every ten seconds. Your command fleet gives you a production bonus. This varies depending on the game and on how many Merchant Facilities you have built. If you look on the options screen you will see a 'Command Build' value. This is how many BPs your fleet produces when it is at a world. *REMEMBER* your command production bonus only applies to the world you are orbiting. You can increase world production by building industries. Most worlds can hold a maximum of 4 industry per population. This means that their max production is five times their population. Worlds can save up BPs for multiple turns in order to build big projects. This is displayed as 'storage'. BPs in storage suffer from DECAY. Storage will lose 10% (one tenth) of the BPs every ten seconds. This means that you need a production of 100 BPs in order to be SURE you can build a Frigate which costs 1,000 BPs. (trust me on the math, it works out) There are other factors that affect production. Poor worlds produce less. Rich worlds produce more. Small worlds hold less industry. Large worlds hold more industry. Merchant Facilities can give a bonus to all worlds (look for 'Planets Build' on your Options screen).
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6) Which Type of Ship is Best?
StarDarts are the best by far. They have thousands of guns, incredible ECM bonuses, capital ship range, and they ensure the loyalty of a world. The trouble is getting them. You aren't able to build StarDarts, you have to find them. Star Darts begin the game defending neutral worlds. When these are destroyed, they will re-appear in the center of stellar phenomena: Nebulae, Neutron Zones, Gateways, and Stellurae. (Stellurae are built on worlds) Here are the other ship types with their advantages and disadvantages: BPs = build points, see the question on world management Guns = attack power and hit points. A ship with 5 guns can take 5 hits.
TypeCostGunsDescription
Sloop50 BPs1 Gun Sloop are the smallest and cheapest ship. They have a combat bonus when attacking Frigates, but are vulnerable to Corsairs & Rangers
Corsair250 BPs5 Guns Corsairs are medium ships. They have a combat bonus against Sloops, but are vulnerable to Frigates.
Ranger250 BPs5 Guns Rangers are like Corsairs. They are a little weaker in combat, but provide ECM for the fleet.
Frigate1000 BPs20 Guns Frigates are capital ships, capable of firing from the second row. They have a combat bonus against Corsairs & Rangers, but are vulnerable to the agile Sloops.
Station100 BPs2 Guns Stations cannot join mobile fleets. They are stuck at worlds, but have better combat ratings and a small ECM bonus. Stations are vulnerable to StarDarts.
Star Dart n/a2500 Guns Star Darts are the ultimate capital ship, able to fire from the second row. They have an enormous ECM bonus and a bonus to attack Stations. They also recover from damage given enough time.

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