STARTING A GAME
When you first start Star Conquest, you will be presented with a splash screen, and three options. You can view the "Quick Guide," which is a screen pointing out many of the interface features of the main game. You can also load a saved game, or start a new one.
When you choose to start a new game, you will be presented with the screen below. It has six slots, four of which show a race and intelligence rating.
The small buttons to the left of the "Race" and "Intelligence" indicators allow you to change these settings for any of the six slots. To remove a race from a slot, keep pressing the button to the left of the "Race" indicator until you get to "No player". Likewise, you can click on the buttons to the left of "No player" to change the slot so it contains a race. You can play with 1 to 6 races in the universe, but the first slot is always filled by you.
CONTROLLING YOUR EMPIRE
The main game screen looks like the image below. The central area consists of the map of the universe. Below that is various information about your empire.
The "Empire Data" section shows your how much cash you have, the total income of all your planets, the number of research points you get per turn, and the number of production points per turn. These last two items are there for you to judge the growth of your empire.
The "Tehcnology" area shows you which level you are at for different types of technology. Here is a summary of how each type of technology relates to game play:
The next section, "News," shows you any important events that happen each turn. You can use the two arrow buttons in this area to page back and forth to see previous years' events.
The final section, "Information," gives you quick instructions about the user interface.
Look at the image above. You will see that the planet "Sturgeon" is named, while others are not. Only planets that have been explored will have names. A name in gray means that the planet has been explored by you, but is not owned by you or any other player. A name in white means that you own the planet. To own a planet, you must have a population there. "Sturgeon" is your home planet, in this case, and is owned by you. You can also see a ship symbol next to it to signify that you have ships in orbit above this planet. The little arrow indicates that this is the selected planet.
To view information about a planet that you own, click on it. If you clicked on "Sturgeon" in the above example, you would have seen the following window appear:
This window contains various information about the planet selected. It shows the name, owner and population of the planet. The population is in billions of people. There are three properties of a planet that describe how hospitable it is to life. The first is gravity. A gravity of 1.0 is the best, while less or more makes the planet less hospitable. The maximum gravity for a habitable planet is 4.0. Temperature and atmosphere work in the same way. A temperature of 72.0 and an atmosphere of type 5 is best. These last two properties can be gradually changed as a colony works to terraform a planet. Gravity, however, cannot be changed. The more hospitable a planet, the faster the population will grow, and the larger it can get.
The minerals property of a planet helps to define how profitable a planet can become. The higher the number the better.
The economics of a planet show you how much money a colony produces, what it is currently producing, and how many production and research points it contributes to your empire.
The "Production" button at the bottom of this window allows you to view more information about what the colony is doing. Clicking on this button will bring up this window:
The production queue shows you what the planet is currently producing for your empire. You can add items to it by pressing the "Add Item" button. The population efforts chart shows you what the planet is doing. You can click on the bars here to raise or lower an effort.
Terraforming is effort that is put into changing the temperature and atmosphere of a planet to make it more hospitable. Raising this effort will help your population grow faster. Research effort will increase the total number of research points of this planet, and thus your empire. Commerce effort represents time spent making money for your empire. Production effort represents time spent building things in the production queue. All efforts are greatly affected by the population of a planet. The larger the population, the greater the result.
To add an item to the production queue, press "Add Item." You will now get this window:
To add an item to the queue, click on it in the list to the left. To remove an item from the queue, click on it in the queue. Press "Done" when you are finished.
The "System Production Information" window also has buttons that allow you to "Repeat Queue," "Buy Production," and "Mobilize." The first option will take a completed item from the queue and add it back to the end of the queue. This can be used to endlessly create a series of ships. "Buy Production" allows you to spend cash to complete the current item in the queue immediately. "Mobilize" will temporarily make the planet spend 100% of its effort on production.
You can also "Design Ship," which allows you to create new kinds of ships. When you start the game, you will have four pre-designed ships: Scout, Fighter, Battle Station and Colony Ship. As your technology levels increase, these ships become obsolete. You can design new ships with your latest technology with "Design Ship." This button pops up this window:
You can define the engineering, weapons and armor of a new ship design. You can also specify whether the ship carries a colony or not. Each one of these specifications will affect the build time of a ship. If you set the engineering of a ship to 0, the ship becomes a batlle station, which is not capable of travelling to other systems, but can guard its home planet like any other ship.
To make ships leave a planet and travel to another one, go back to the "General System Information" window. When you press "Ships," you will get this window:
Click on a ship to the left to add it to the departure list. You can add more ships if you want. Then, click on a planet on the main screen to select the destination. If the window is covering the destination, then click the "<>" (double arrow) button at the top of the window to move the window. Then, click "Depart" to send the ships. You can also click "Scrap" to destroy the ships in the departure list and turn them into cash.
When ships reach another system, many things can happen. If no one else is there, you will now be able to view information about the system by clicking on it. If a colony ship was in your fleet, then it will instantly colonize this planet. The colony ship will be scrapped by the colony to establish their base.
If an enemy race is at the planet when you arrive, then combat will take place. You can choose quick or detailed combat. Quick combat simply displays the results. Detailed combat shows you each and every attack.
One last thing you need to know is how to change your technology efforts. If you press the "Technology" button at the bottom of the screen, you will get this window:
You can adjust the effort spent on any one technology by clicking on the bars.
You can take all the time you need to adjust technology, planet and production settings. However, nothing happens until you press the "Turn" button. Then the game advances one year. All of your planets produce one year's worth of items and cash and all of your ships travel according to their speed.
You can lose the game by getting wiped out, or by being in debt for 10 years. To avoid going into debt, make sure that your income stays positive.
The attack strength of your fleet is equal to the weapon level of each ship, plus the armor level of each ship. The attack strength of a populated planet depends on the planetary defense level of your empire and the population of that planet.
SAVING AND LOADING
Between turns you can save the game. Press the "Save Game" button and type a number from 1 to 9. The game is saved on your local hard drive as a Shockwave preference file. You can load the game at any time by pressing "Load Game" or by selecting "Load Game" at the start.
You can press Enter or Return (above the Shift key of your keyboard, NOT the one on the numeric keypad) instead of clicking on "Done" buttons in many windows.
Holding down the Shift key and clicking on a planet will take you directly to the system production information. Holding down the Alt or Option key will take you to the ships.
Pressing the "~" (tilde) key at the upper left corner of your keyboard is the same as pressing the "Turn" button. Make you you never hit the Esc or Tab keys, as your browser will interpret them and it may kill your game.
Many other button have keyboard equivalents. Usually, it is the first letter of the button name. For instance, "R" will press the "Repeat Queue" button in the system production window.