This week, we’re putting up a few brief tutorials on the game’s control scheme and travel systems for our newer players.
One of the things that made the original Freelancer such an attractive game was how it made the excitement of space travel and combat more accessible through the use of a more simplified control scheme than many of the older space combat sims, like X-Wing or Freespace.
Rather than requiring a joystick and a complicated control scheme, Freelancer allowed you to fluidly move with just the mouse and a few basic controls. The control scheme for Freeworlds: Tides of War is a bit different from vanilla Freelancer, but it still maintains the user-friendliness of the original.changed the controls from the original Freelancer a bit, the control scheme still
Today, we’ll be going over the basic keyboard layout, as well as cruise-mode, how to use hyperspace, and how to dock with stations and planets.
The image above shows you the default layout for keys that we’ve set up in the game. These can be changed at any time through the options menu in-game. For your convenience, I will list the controls and how the function below. Please note that this list does not include everything on the image above, but covers everything you’ll need to move around and interact in the game world.
- MOUSE – Orient Ship in Free Flight / Left Click + Drag to Direction to Orient Ship in Non-Free Flight
- SPACE – Toggles Free Flight On/Off
- W / Mousewheel Up – Increase Throttle
- S / Mousewheel Down – Decrease Throttle
- A – Roll Left
- D – Roll Right
- X – Cut Throttle to 1/3
- TAB – Afterburner
- Shift + W – Full Sublight Speed / Cruise
- Slider Goes from 100% – 400%. Hold to increase to maximum.
- M – Match speed of target
- Mouse 2 / Right Click – Fire weapons
- Mouse 3 / Mousewheel Click – Open Radial Menu
- C – Launch Countermeasures
- Q – Launch Missile
- Shift + Q – Launch Torpedo
- Shift + E – Launch Magpulse Missile
- Z – Cycle Fire Modes
- B – Tractor Beam (To pick up debris and dropped cargo)
- H – Turret View
- J – Initiate Hyperspace Jump (Must be above 90% throttle)
Please view the keyboard layout for further details. Many other functions in the game are also accessible through point-and-click with the mouse, though there are keyboard shortcuts for most functions.
How To Use Cruise Mode / Full Sublight
Cruise mode, or as we call it, full sublight, is a means of pushing your vessel to up to 400% throttle, or 3x faster than your normal 100% throttle.
The T indicator on the bottom center of your HUD is your current throttle. When in normal flight at max speed, this bar will appear as above.
When you hit Shift + W to enter cruise, the bar will progressively raise and change color until you’ve hit the maximum of 400%. You must hold Shift + W until you reach the maximum. Cruise works on a sliding scale, rather than staged. You may theoretically hold cruise at any percentage point between 101% and 400%. Your manueverability will get worse the faster you go, and over 300% you will no longer be able to fire your weapons.
How To Use Hyperspace
In the original Freelancer, intra and inter-system travel were handled by tradelanes and jumpgates, respectively. Freeworlds has replaced both those methods with our custom hyperspace system. It’s a bit more involved to use, but once you get the hang of it, it gives you a lot more freedom of movement.
First, there are two types of hyperspace jumps:
Preset, preplotted jumps. These show up as constant, shining-blue points in-game. See below:Custom, self plotted jumps. These show up as white-shining points in-game. See below:To use a preplotted jump, simply orient your ship to the point so that your vessel is pointing at it dead-center, go above 90% throttle, and hit J to enter the jump. These jumps ignore gravity-well restrictions and do not require time to calculate. One further consideration: you must be within 20k of the preplotted buoy before you will be able to jump.
To create a custom jump, you must follow a certain procedure, which I will now describe:
Open your nav map and right click on your desired jump location. Your ship is represented by the blinking blue spaceship icon. Once you’ve right clicked, select the waypoint button (it’s the button to the right of the white square).Once you’ve set the waypoint, it will appear on your navmap similar to the below image:
Be careful not to plot jumps too close to any stellar bodies, as these will have gravity wells which custom jumps cannot intersect. The best advice is to plot your jump a safe distance away from planets, moons and stars, and attempt to plot the jump. If it allows you to plot, it’s a valid course, if not, repeat the steps and try again.
Once you’ve plotted your course, close the nav map and open the radial menu by clicking and holding your middle mouse button (mousewheel button). This brings up the menu as seen below. Drag up to the calculate jump option and release the button.
If your jump is valid, the game will plot a white, pulsing point like the one below. You will see a percentage ticker on the right-hand side of the point that will begin going up. It is advisable to wait until this ticker hits 100%, as that means your jump is completely stable and will be a straight line. However, you can hit J to jump at any time (as long as you’re above 90% throttle), but the jump will be progressively more challenging to navigate (more twists and turns in the tunnel) the closer the percentage is to zero.
Once you’ve jumped, you will enter the hyperspace tunnel, as seen below. The white display on the right side of the screen will show you a preview of your hyperspace course. At 100%, this will be a straight line. Anything below 100% will show the twists and turns coming to face you, to give you some degree of preparedness in a more difficult jump.
Also worth noting is that when you are in hyperspace, you need to stay inside the tunnel. Hitting the walls can eventually toss you out of hyperspace somewhere along your course and can damage your vessel.
Docking With Planets And Stations
Finally, that brings us to docking with planets and stations. Freelancer originally handled docking automatically. One would simply get close enough to a station or docking ring, hit dock, and the rest would be handled by autopilot. We prefer a more hands-on approach to docking.
Docking with stations is a relatively simple affair. As in the image below, target the station you intend to dock with, and hit the dock button, or F3. Begin manuevering closer to the station.
Maneuver your vessel so that it is inside the brackets. The game will automatically drop your speed to a third of your normal throttle. Proceed through the brackets until the endpoint and the game will transition to the docking screen. Any deviation from the path can cause your ship to collide with the station. So be careful!
As in the next image, the game will provide you a long, curving path to the planets surface. Once again, you must carefully guide your ship through this path without deviating outside of the brackets.
Once you’ve reached the end, the game will transition to the planetary docking screen. Also worth noting is that your throttle is not capped at a third for planetary landings, so you may go faster if you like, but at your own risk. If you deviate from the path at any time, the landing may fail and you could damage or destroy your vessel.
That concludes the tutorials for now. Please let us know if you’d like any of these, or other game topics, to be covered in more detail in another development blog.
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