StarDart Game Play Tutorial
and Frequently Asked Questions
by Fred Haslam
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Jump to FAQs Central
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?
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:
|0) It says 'Loading' but never goes further?|
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.
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|1) How Do I Start Playing|
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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|2) What do the Controls Mean?|
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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|3) How do I Handle a Battle?|
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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|4) How do I Manage a World?|
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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|5) How do I Pay the 'Cost' Listed in Construction?|
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.
|6) Which Type of Ship is Best?|
|Sloop||50 BPs||1 Gun
||Sloop are the smallest and cheapest ship. They have a combat bonus
when attacking Frigates, but are vulnerable to Corsairs & Rangers|
|Corsair||250 BPs||5 Guns
||Corsairs are medium ships. They have a combat bonus against Sloops,
but are vulnerable to Frigates.|
|Ranger||250 BPs||5 Guns
||Rangers are like Corsairs. They are a little weaker in combat,
but provide ECM for the fleet.|
|Frigate||1000 BPs||20 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.|
|Station||100 BPs||2 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/a||2500 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.|