During a variety of missions, I am given tips referencing how I should manage my power distribution, or group weapons to use low heat weapons to avoid unnecessary attention.

What systems can I control in my ship, and how can I manage them?

1 Answer 1


First and foremost you should learn how to navigate your cockpit. This is done using the following (default and customised) control bindings:

  • 1 - Navigation and enemy subsystem view
  • 2 - Communications
  • 3 - Targeting and ship health view
  • 4 - Modules and fire groups view

If you press the corresponding key for the cockpit section you're currently viewing, it will take you back to the default/straight ahead view. While on a subsystem view with multiple tabs, you can press Q and E to navigate between the tabs, Space to make a section, and W, A, S and D to navigate the menus (up, down, left and right, respectively).

The cockpit of the ship in alpha build 1 is made up of four sections;

Straight ahead view/main window

This is the default view and shows you directly in front of the ship... pretty much used for flying but there are a variety of control bindings available to target ships and cycle through targets etc. You'll be using this view in general when flying the ship. You do have an overview of several important systems in this view;

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From left to right, you can see the following;

  • Current system name and location (I'm in the Zelada 2 Asteroid Belt in the Zelada system)
  • Visualisation of your target including health and shield strength (currently targeting a planet)
  • Radar containing all active targets using white for objects, red for enemies, yellow for neutrals
  • Visualisation of your ship including health and shield strength
  • Power distribution (more details below)
  • Your ships current signature (lower means it's harder for other ships to detect you)

Your ships signature is a visual representation of how detectable you are in space. Toggling silent flying mode will dramatically reduce your signature at the expense of storing all of the heat generated by your ships systems in the ship. While this reduces your signature, running hot for too long will burn out your ship.

Power distribution is controlled using the arrow keys by default and allows you to assign power to various subsystems presented by a power bar (indicating current power level) with up to four dots below it (indicating current power distribution).

  • SYS - System power, controls things like shield recharge speed, also deals with Life Support, Power Distribution and Sensors
  • ENG - Engine power, providing more power to the engines will increase your maximum speed
  • WEP - Weapon power, allows your weapons to fire longer
  • RST - Resets power distribution to 2/2/2

To redistribute power, press LEFT to provide more power to system, UP to provide more power to the engines, RIGHT to provide more power to the weapons, and DOWN to reset to default settings. Since there are up to four blocks per system, it is possible to divert all of the power away from any of the systems to provide more power to the other two. This will not discharge a system if it already has power. For example;

  • diverting power from the shields will not make your current shield go away, but it will prevent your shields from fully recharging
  • diverting power from the weapons will not prevent you from firing your weapons, but also won't discharge the heat generated by your weapons (causing them to overheat, which will stop them from firing)
  • diverting power from the engines will not prevent you from using your engines but will cripple your maximum speed and reduce your manoeuvrability

Navigation and enemy subsystems view

This is the view to the left of the cockpit. This view shows a contact list (list of available targets/objects in space) for the near vicinity/scanner range. Also gives an overview of how much health the targets in the list currently have.

To select a target using the Contacts list, use W and S to move up and down the list, and then press Space to select the target.

Once you've got a target, the subsystem tab will show you information regarding your target's subsystems and their current status.

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Targeting and ship health view

This section shows many of the cockpit sections visible when looking straight ahead;

  • Visualisation of your target including health and shield strength (currently targeting a planet)
  • Radar containing all active targets using white for objects, red for enemies, yellow for neutrals
  • Visualisation of your ship including health and shield strength

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Visualisation of both you and your target is shown as multiple blue circles around your ship showing your current shield straight, and a "HULL" indicator below the ship visualisation showing the current state of your hull. Once the shield has been depleted, you get a recharging indicator in its place:

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Modules and fire groups view

This is the view to the right of the cockpit. The modules group shows the current health of each of your subsystems and allows you far greater control over the configuration of your power systems. From here you have control over the following;

  • Drives (Engines)
  • Shield Generation
  • Life Support
  • An entry for each of your weapons
  • Power distribution
  • Sensors

Each module can be switched off, or have its priority changed. Changing priorities means that in the event you start running low on power, certain systems will take a priority in terms of power draw over those set at a lower priority.

Again, to change settings on this screen, use W and S to move up and down the list, press Space to toggle the power state of the module, and use A and D to change the priority of a module.

This is especially useful to limit the amount of heat being generated when you fly silent as flying silent prevents heat from being radiated out into space, resulting in your ship overheating. By customising the systems that are on and generating less heat you can fly silent for longer, and thus, fly undetected for longer.

Note: switching off life support in space is a bad idea.

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The Fire groups tab allows you to bind your weapons to fire in groups, and also bind weapons to primary fire and secondary fire. This allows you to fire all of your laser beams at once by pressing primary fire, in the instance that you placed all of your laser beams into the primary fire category.

You'll be using W, S, A and D to navigate this screen again, like the others, but Space on this screen toggles between "Not grouped" (off), "Primary group" (yellow square) and "Secondary group" (blue square).

  • FYI, in the latest Gamma the panels and the keys to get to them have changed a bit. In particular, you now use "4" to get to the rightmost panel where modules and fire groups can be found. Dec 5, 2014 at 22:50
  • 2
    +1 for a very detailed answer. Though I'd clarify that turning of Life Support isn't always a bad thing, provided you can get back to a station before it runs out.
    – user109166
    Apr 28, 2015 at 21:40

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