Difference between revisions of "V0.3 Quick Play Guide"

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In v.2, victory is achieved by eliminating all planets belonging to other empires. There is no AI currently implemented, so computer players will just sit around and wait for the inevitable.
In v.3, victory is achieved by eliminating all planets belonging to other empires. There is no AI currently implemented, so computer players will just sit around and wait for the inevitable.
=Last Word=  
=Last Word=  

Revision as of 19:28, 27 October 2005

A Quick Start Guide to Playing FreeOrion v0.3

The Galaxy Setup Screen Options

  • Stars - The total number of stars in the galaxy. Use the spinner to adjust, or click on the number and type an amount.
  • Galaxy Shape - The shape the stars are arranged in.
  • Galaxy Age - Older galaxies will tend to have more blackholes, red stars and neutron stars, younger galaxies will have more blue stars.
  • Starlane Frequency - The number of starlanes per star. Ships in FreeOrion must travel by starlane.
  • Planet Density - The number of planets per star.
  • Specials Frequency - The chance that a planet will be generated with a special when the galaxy is created. Possible specials are defined in /default/planet_specials.xml.
  • Empire Name & Color - Self explanatory

The Galaxy Map

Clicking with the left mouse button and dragging will move the map around. The scroll wheel zooms the map in and out. Alternatively the plus and minus key on the numeric keypad, or the E and R keys, may be used to zoom the map.

There are numerous stars on the map, but at the start of the game only one star is explored: your home-system. The name of explored systems appear below the star picture on the map. Any starlanes connecting the system to its neighbours are shown as white lines. Any fleets you know about in a system are shown by and accessed by clicking on the coloured triangle at the top right corner of the star picture.

System Sidepanel

Clicking on the home system or any other star with the left mouse button will pull up the System SidePanel (though there may be a short delay while the game first loads planet textures for the first time). You can also press the D key to pull up the Sidepanel for your empire's home-system, which also centers the galaxy map on the home-system. Later, after colonizing other systems, the X and C keys will walk through each star system with colonies owned by your empire. Clicking on empty space on the galaxy map or pressing the S key dismisses the sidepanel.

The system sidepanel lists information about the contents of a system. At the top of the sidepanel is the system name. Once you have two or more systems under your empire’s control, you’ll be able to quickly move to them by clicking the arrows on either side of the system name. Or you can click the system name itself to choose a system to jump to from a list.


Planets in a system are listed in a column on the sidepanel. Extra planets that don't all fit at once can be seen by moving the scrollbar at the far right of the screen and sidepanel. All planets on the sidepanel have a name, size (eg. medium), and environment (eg. terran).

Populated planets have a population shown by the white icon resembling two people standing next to each other is Population. The first number is current population, the second is max population on that planet. If the first number is green, the planet’s population is growing normally. Unpopulated planet just have a size number, which is what the max population of the planet would be if you colonized it.

To change the name of a planet your empire owns, right click it and select "Rename".

If you have a colony ship in a system, an uncolonized planet that can be colonized will have a "Colonize" button. Clicking this button will create a new colony on the next game turn, though will consume the colony ship in the process. After clicking to colonize, if you change your mind, you can click the "Cancel" button to recover the colony ship. Terran planets make the best colonies, followed by Ocean and Desert which are the next best. Gas Giants and Asteroid belts can’t be colonized or otherwise used in v0.3.

Focus and Meters

If your empire controls a colonized planet, there will also be a box with five pictures, two rows of little bars, and some numbers below it. This is the focus selector, and meter indicator. The icons in the boxes represent the five resources in FreeOrion:

  • The yellow icon resembling wheat is food. You need one unit of food every turn for each population unit in the empire. Excess food is automatically shipped to needy planets that aren’t growing enough food. Terran worlds grow the most food.
  • The green icon resembling a test tube is research. Research is conducted on the Research Screen, accessed by clicking the "Research" button at the top right of the screen.
  • The red icon represents minerals. Minerals are used to fuel industry — you need one mineral point and one industry point to generate one Production Point. Production points are are used to produce things on the Production Screen, accessed by clicking the "Production" button at the top right of the screen.
  • The blue gear represents industry. Industry is used with minerals to to calculate Production Points. You need one mineral point and one industry point to generate one production point.
  • The orange icon represents trade. Trade does absolutely nothing in v0.3.

Fleet Window

There will be a tiny triangle hovering near your home-system. This is a fleet: you begin the game with two scout ships and a colony ship. Clicking on a fleet will pull up the Fleet Window. Right clicking on empty space will dismiss the Fleet Window, as will left clicking the tiny X in the upper right corner. The V and B keys will walk through each fleet owned by your empire. The F and G keys can be used to walk through each fleet owned by your empire that is idle (as in, not moving). When playing multiplayer, press “Enter” to send to type a chat message. Press Enter again to send the message. See Manual for an overview of keyboard commands.

Game Menu

Pressing the menu button in the extreme upper left of the screen or pressing F10 will open the game menu. You can save or load games from this menu, or turn off the background music.


Pressing the siterep in the upper left of the screen or pressing F2 will open the "Situation Report". This is a listing of events that occured in your empire during the last turn.

Setting Focus

You can control how much of each resource is produced by a planet by “Setting Focus”. Left clicking on any resource will set the “Primary” focus. Right clicking on any resource will set the “Secondary” focus. In the middle of the resources is a tiny cross arrow. Clicking on it will set focus to "Balanced", meaning the planet will concentrate on producing a little of everything.

Try it out, and see what results you get. In v.2, each Focus setting adds a bonus that is multiplied with population to determine the number of resources produced.

You can also set focus from the planet information window. Left click on any planet to view this window and manipulate focus.

Building Stuff

In version .2 of FreeOrion, you can build Defense Bases or ships.

On any colonized planet, you’ll see a little yellow arrow at the bottom of the planet’s slot on the sidebar. Next to the arrow will be the words “No building” if no building is in progress.

Click on this arrow to select a build project.

  • Defense Bases You can’t build defense bases until your empire has finished researching ‘em. They defend the system from attack.
  • Scout A fast civilian ship, cheap to build. They are good for exploration, but can’t fight.
  • Colony Ship You’ll need colony ships to colonized planets.
  • Mark I Attack ships. Eventually, your empire will research more powerful attack ships, labeled Mark II-V.

A green bar indicates the progress of the current project. When a project is completed, you’ll receive notification and a new ship of the same type will begin building.

You can also select a build project from the right side of the planet information window. Click on any colonized planet to summon this window.

The Fleet Screen

You can see fleets hovering near stars: tiny triangles colored depending upon which empire they belong to. Click on your fleet to pull up the fleet window.

The top of the fleet window is a listing of fleets at the current system. Every ship is in a fleet. Clicking on a fleet will display the ships contained by that fleet.

You can drag-drop ships to change their fleet. Click on a ship and drag it to a fleet name. Drag a ship to “New Fleet” to create a new fleet. You can select multiple ships to drag by clicking on each ship: clicking once selects the ship, clicking again deselects the ship. CAREFUL: in the release version of FreeOrion .2 the game will crash if you move the *last* ship in a fleet to a new fleet.

You can also drag-drop fleets. Dropping a fleet on to another fleet will combine the fleets into one.

Just like planets, you can rename fleets and ships by right clicking on them and selecting “Rename”.

You can move fleets to a new system by selecting the fleet, then right clicking on the star you wish to move to. You’ll see an animated dashed line marking the path the fleet will take. There must be a known starlane leading to a star system in order to move ships to it.

You can right click on stars that are many starlane hops away—FreeOrion will automatically suggest a path for the fleet to take.

Each turn, you’ll see the fleet triangle move along the starlanes to its destination. When a ship enters an unexplored system, your galaxy map will update with newly discovered starlanes.

If a military ship enters a star system containing ships or planets belonging to another empire, combat occurs. In v.2, there is no tactical combat: this will change in v.4. For now, you’ll just receive a brief overview of the combat results.


In v.3, victory is achieved by eliminating all planets belonging to other empires. There is no AI currently implemented, so computer players will just sit around and wait for the inevitable.

Last Word

Have fun experimenting with this early demo of FreeOrion, and thanks for helping test it.

Feel free to drop by the FreeOrion forums if you have questions, want to share you experiences playing the game, or want to pitch in and help build the next version of the game.

If you discover bugs in the game, please use the Sourceforge bug tracker to report them.