The Atomic Raven's Cheap and Cheesy Guide to Sierra/Relic's

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FAQ Version 1.00  January 1, 2006
===============================================================================
Sierra/Relic's 3d RTS was one of the first games of its type to include an 
engaging storyline and logical technology progression in its single-player 
campaign.  For these reasons, and of course because of how cool the ships 
looked (who among us failed to drool over those Ion Cannon Frigates when you 
first saw them!), it became immensely popular.  True, it was Game of the Year 
several years ago, but it's still well worth playing.  This guide will help 
you enjoy a quick evening of smashing fleets in either campaign or versus 
scenarios.

The Atomic Raven is proud to be known among fellow gamers as a "munchkin":  
the kind of player who mathematically minimizes penalties and maximizes 
benefits no matter what sort of rules apply to any given situation.  Some call 
this approach cheap, or cheesy.  But let's face it--you're not concerned with 
how honorable your victory over the CPU is, you just want to win, right?  
Listen to my advice, and your journey from the galactic boondocks back to your 
forgotten Homeworld will be a walk in the park.

For the purpose of this document, I assume basic familiarity with gameplay.  
If you see words or abbreviations that are incomprehensible, go play the 
tutorial, then start reading again.  I have also attempted to avoid repeating 
information from the game's documentation, with the exception of noting what 
technology must be researched to make each ship type available--that data is 
an important part of planning strategy for builds.

Legal Statements:  

The Atomic Raven is not an employee and has no relation to the corporations 
who created Homeworld.  Their names and trademarks are entirely their property.

Copyright 2006 Blair Burroughs.  All rights reserved.  This text may be not be 
reproduced under any circumstances except for personal, private use. It may 
not be placed on any web site or otherwise distributed publicly without 
advance written permission. Use of this guide on any other web site or as a 
part of any public display is strictly prohibited, and a violation of 
copyright.

The following sites are permitted to host a copy of this document for 
public access:
  GameFAQS.com
  Neoseeker.com
  DLH.net
  1up.com
  Supercheats.com
To request hosting permission, make comments, ask questions, or suggest 
corrections contact the Atomic Raven at blair@afaproject.org.

INDEX
=====
I.  Comparative Anatomy of Buildable Ship Types
  A.  Scout
  B.  Interceptor
  C.  Defender
  D.  Attack Bomber
  E.  Cloaked Fighter
  F.  Defense Fighter
  G.  Light Corvette
  H.  Heavy Corvette
  I.  Multi-Gun Corvette
  J.  Repair Corvette
  K.  Salvage Corvette
  L.  Minelayer Corvette
  M.  Assault Frigate
  N.  Ion Cannon Frigate
  O.  Support Frigate
  P.  Drone Frigate
  Q.  Defense Field Frigate
  R.  Destroyer
  S.  Missile Destroyer
  T.  Carrier
  U.  Heavy Cruiser
  V.  Resource Collector
  W.  Resource Controller
  X.  Probe
  Y.  Cloak Generator
  Z.  Gravity Well Generator
  AA. Proximity Sensor
  BB. Sensors Array
  CC. Research Ship
  Final Recommendations
II.  Dirrrrty Tricks
  1.  Stealing Victory
  2.  Banzai!
  3.  Fun Without Formations
III.  You CAN Go Home Again
  01 [Kharak System]
  02 [Outskirts of Kharak System]
  03 [Return to Kharak]
  04 [Great Wastelands]
  05 [Great Wastelands]
  06 [Diamond Shoals]
  07 [Garden of Kadesh]
  08 [Cathedral of Kadesh]
  09 [Sea of Lost Souls]
  10 [Supernova Research Station]
  11 [Tenhauser Gate]
  12 [Galactic Core]
  13 [Karos Graveyard]
  14 [Bridge of Sighs]
  15 [Chapel Perilous]
  16 [Hiigara]
Closing Remarks

SECTION THE FIRST
In which the relative merits of the different buildable unit types are 
compared.  Campaign availability assumes you research all available 
technologies during each mission.
===============================================================================

[Fighter Category]

A.  Scout
    Cost 35 RU.  Requires "Fighter Drive" tech.  Available in campaign 
mission 1.

This is the cheapest and fastest combat craft available.  It can outrun any 
ship in the game with its 1.5 kps "speed burst" maneuver.  In single player, 
its low firepower rating makes it ineffective as an offensive weapon against 
anything larger than another fighter, and its primary usage is to serve as 
filler for your strike groups until you have enough spare RU to retire 
squadrons of Scouts in exchange for Interceptors, Defenders, and Attack 
Bombers.  It is best used in decoy maneuvers--send a group of five or more 
Scouts set to Evasive tactics in just before your main attack.  While the 
enemy ships are uselessly attempting to track down the dodging Scouts, they 
aren't attacking more easily hit targets, like your vulnerable frigates and 
corvettes.  In multiplayer games, you may find it advantageous to build three 
Scouts rather than two Interceptors; you can quickly amass a large group of 
quick attackers in this manner.  Especially when your opponent has only a 
Carrier rather than a Mothership, it may be possible to eliminate him with a 
"kamikaze rush" from a large squadron of Scouts (see Banzai! below).

B.  Interceptor
    Cost 55 RU.  Requires "Fighter Drive" and "Fighter Chassis" tech.  
Available in campaign mission 1.

This fighter is the bread and butter combat craft of this size.  Not quite as 
fast as a Scout, and lacking afterburners for dashing, it does however have 
much better capacity to deal and survive damage.  In numbers, Interceptors can 
deal with just about any kind of foe except groups of super-capital ships or 
specialized anti-fighter craft.

C.  Defender
    Cost 65 RU.  Requires "Fighter Drive", "Fighter Chassis", and "Defender 
Subsystems" tech.  Available in campaign mission 5.

This ship is more of a turret than a fighter.  As the name implies, it is far 
more useful on defense than offense.  In the earlier versions of the game, its 
firepower was almost as intense as a corvette's, but the more recent patches 
have downgraded it to only about the same damage per unit of time as an 
Interceptor.  It is cripplingly slow for a fighter, but does have slightly 
better armor than an Interceptor, and its guns fire hypervelocity projectiles 
which seldom miss, a major advantage against highly maneuverable opponents.

D.  Attack Bomber
    Cost 80 RU.  Requires "Fighter Drive", "Fighter Chassis", and "Plasma Bomb 
Launcher" tech.  Available in campaign mission 5.

Against really big targets, most fighters are like a cloud of mosquitoes--
annoying, but not truly deadly except in huge numbers.  The Attack Bomber is 
the exception to this rule.  Tough resourcing ships and frigates are easy meat 
for a small group of Bombers, and in larger formations they can mince 
Destroyers, Carriers, even Cruisers with ease.  Against targets which have no 
turreted weapons to return fire, or which are already distracted by another 
foe (psst, remember those Scouts?) punch F10 to lock into Sphere formation and 
drop a hard rain of plasma onto the foe.

E.  Cloaked Fighter 
    *Kushan fleet only.  Cost 85 RU.  Requires "Fighter Drive", "Fighter 
Chassis", and "Cloaked Fighter" tech.  Available in campaign mission 13.

Wouldn't it be nice to be invisible?  Yes?  Well, try something else.  I'm not 
kidding.  It sounds neat--a fighter size ship incorporating a cloaking sail--
but in practice, the results won't satisfy you.  For the price, I'd rather 
have Scouts, and I hate Scouts.  These ships are expensive, sluggish and 
flimsy (less maneuverable and about 2/3 the hit points of an Interceptor), and 
burn fuel so fast it seems they've barely left the docking bay before the 
pilots start whining about needing their tanks topped off.  If you have Repair 
Corvettes or Support Frigates available to gas them up repeatedly, they might 
be worth trying in multiplayer games to sneak a quick peek at your opponent's 
base area or resource zones.  But I doubt it.  By the time your fleet has 
access to this ship in either single or multiplayer games, your opponent will 
be able to see it coming with Proximity Sensors they've built to keep far more 
dangerous ships grouped with a Cloak Generator at bay.  Take my advice and 
build something that will make it to the enemy's location and actually do 
damage before being shot down instead.

F.  Defense Fighter 
    *Taiidan fleet only.  Cost 85 RU.  Requires "Fighter Drive", "Fighter 
Chassis", and "Defense Fighter" tech.  Available in campaign mission 13.

Wouldn't it be nice to be invincible?  Well, this ship sports a laser array in 
its domed nose which attempts to vaporize incoming rounds before they strike.  
It makes an excellent part of an escort for extremely valuable units you don't 
care to lose as it blocks cannon fire.  Aside from its expense, its only real 
disadvantage is that it can't shoot back at the attackers.  You'll get more 
effective coverage by building a Defense Field Frigate (which is available 
much earlier in the single player campaign) and sending along some 
Interceptors or Defenders.

[Corvette Category]

G.  Light Corvette
    Cost 135 RU.  Requires "Corvette Drive" and "Corvette Chassis" tech. 
Available in campaign mission 2.

As you might expect from the low-end prerequisites, this vehicle isn't much to 
write home about.  Don't waste RU building any.  In single-player games just a 
few more minutes of research and patience gives you the chance to construct 
Heavy Corvettes instead, which are far more effective.  In multiplayer, 
especially if you chose to skip researching Defenders, try Multigun Corvettes 
instead.  They come with six turrets instead of one, and better armor and 
speed to boot.

H.  Heavy Corvette
    Cost 240 RU.  Requires "Corvette Drive", "Corvette Chassis", and "Heavy 
Corvette Upgrade" tech.  Available in campaign mission 2.

I give these my unalloyed recommendation.  They have excellent armor and 
paired turrets capable of independently tracking multiple fighters, plus the 
guns in those turrets do enough damage to penetrate frigate hulls.  Easily 
more than twice as effective as their predecessor, the Light Corvette, for 
less than twice as much--a bargain by any standards.  As an added bonus, their 
"charged burst attack" creates flak explosions effective against capital ships 
or tightly grouped strike craft formations.  Heavy Corvettes should be a 
staple of your single- or multi-player fleet.

I.  Multi-Gun Corvette
    Cost 225 RU.  Requires "Corvette Drive", "Corvette Chassis", and 
"Fast-Tracking Turrets" tech.  Available in campaign mission 7.

If you are faced by constant waves of enemy fighters, like the kamikaze Scout 
waves referred to earlier, you may wish you had a squadron of Multi-Gun 
Corvettes.  Equipped with six hypervelocity guns (like the Defender above), 
they can cut through waves of small ships like a knife through warm butter.  
In terms of speed and price, they also have a slight advantage over Heavy 
Corvettes.  However, they lack the Heavy Corvette's armor and ability to 
damage large targets, so unless your opponent eschews larger ships entirely, 
I'd suggest you stick with the Heavy's durability and versatility--after all, 
it's only a 15 RU difference.  The Heavy Corvette is also available much 
earlier in campaign mode, which allows you to crank out a good-sized squadron 
by the time you really need one.

J.  Repair Corvette
    Cost 150 RU.  Requires "Corvette Drive" tech.  Available in campaign 
mission 1.

Too poor to buy Support Frigates?  Try these instead.  They can only dock and 
refuel fighter-class ships (what a shock!), but they do have a weaker version 
of the Support Frigate's repair beam.  I don't recommend sending them into 
serious combat; they do have one small gun, but firing it at anything is all 
too likely to attract the sort of attention that this lightly armored ship 
just won't survive.  Personally, I've never built one in a serious game, and 
you shouldn't either.

K.  Salvage Corvette
    Cost 220 RU.  Requires "Corvette Drive" and "Corvette Chassis" tech.*  
Available in campaign mission 1.
    *(Though apparently only in multiplayer games--in single player mode these 
can be built from the beginning of mission 1.)

Pay close attention, Grasshopper.  The Salvage Corvette doesn't look like 
much.  No guns, speed and armor not too impressive either, and it costs as 
much as four Interceptors.  Yet this simple tugboat will lead you to greatness 
in the single player campaign and make your opponents howl with anguish in 
multiplayer.  Mark well this ship.  It is quite possibly the most important 
unit you can build if you can use it properly.  The reason?  Salvage Corvettes 
lock on to enemy craft with magnetic grapples and drag them back to your 
Mothership or Carrier to be boarded and captured, after which the enemy vessel 
becomes part of your fleet.  Don't begrudge those 220 RU, because a single 
Salvage Corvette, if properly defended, can contribute to thousands of RU 
worth of fleet growth.  I'll discuss the use and care of the Salvage Corvette 
in detail later (see Stealing Victory below), but in single player you'll want 
even more of these than you have Heavy Corvettes, and in multiplayer you will 
want to keep at least 8-12 in your fleet whenever possible.

L.  Minelayer Corvette
    Cost 275 RU.  Requires Requires "Corvette Drive", "Corvette Chassis", and 
"Minelayer" tech.  Available in campaign mission 10.

The Minelayer Corvette can drop tiny guided bombs in neat walls wherever you 
like, blocking avenues of approach and inflicting unanswered damage on your 
attacking foes.  Unfortunately, in real combat situations the Minelayer is an 
unarmed sitting duck, and unless your enemy sits around indecisively until you 
have created a very thick minefield, it's a relatively simple task for a 
Destroyer or larger capital ship to simply plow through.  This tactic does 
cause some pain, but isn't generally dangerous to the mine-clearing ship; some 
admirals prefer to use Missile Destroyers to take out the mines at range, or 
sacrifice a formation of Scouts.  Any way you slice it, the only time a 
minefield tends to really be effective is if you see where your opponent is 
sending resourcers and plant one right there.  With a little luck, the 
harvesting can come to an end among brilliant plasma fireworks.  Generally, 
however, your money will be far better spent on Heavy Corvettes or Salvage 
Corvettes, and your research time on improving your capital ships.

[Frigate Category]

M.  Assault Frigate
    Cost 575 RU.  Requires "Capital Ship Drive" and "Capital Ship Chassis" 
tech.  Available in campaign mission 3.

This is the bread and butter frigate class ship.  It doesn't inflict damage 
to other capital ships as fast as the Ion Cannon Frigate, but it does have the 
important advantage of turrets.  Its excellent arcs of fire mean it can begin 
attacking enemy formations, then move past or to the flanks while continuing 
to pour volley after volley into its victims.  The multiple medium guns are 
also excellent against corvettes and moderately effective against the slower 
fighter class vessels (don't plan on hitting Scouts).  Probably the most 
efficient counter to corvettes short of the much more expensive and slower 
Missile Destroyer.

N.  Ion Cannon Frigate
    Cost 650 RU.  Requires "Capital Ship Drive", "Capital Ship Chassis", and 
"Ion Cannons" tech.  Available in campaign mission 4.

Yeah, you saw those nasty looking red and blue energy beams crisscrossing in 
the screenshots and you were hooked right there.  Admit it.  Well, this is the 
fastest and cheapest beam equipped ship there is.  In both single and 
multiplayer these are going to be a major part of whatever fleet group you use 
to take out enemy capital ships.  Excellent bang for your buck; once you have 
9-12 of these puppies and some screening vessels to cover them, you can 
seriously fry an opponent.  However, please note that without support against 
fighters and corvettes Ion Cannon Frigates might as well be served to your 
enemies on a platter!  That beam weapon looks neat all right, but the ship has 
ONE of them pointing straight out the front, and frigates don't turn on a 
dime, bub!  Ion Frigates without covering escorts are vulnerable even to 
properly managed Scouts.  As with other single-weapon craft, focusing the 
entire group's fire on one hapless victim at a time is the best way to kill 
your enemies quickly while suffering minimal damage in return.

O.  Support Frigate
    Cost 425 RU.  Requires "Capital Ship Drive" tech.  Available in campaign 
mission 3.

A Support Frigate can dock 10 fighters and 4 corvettes to refuel and heal, can 
hyperspace them across the map in multiplayer games, and its repair beam is 
far more effective at removing damage from capital ships than the Repair 
Corvette's.  At less than three times the expense and more than three times 
the armor and support ability, this is a much better buy.  The only reason you 
would use the smaller craft is if you are already at your unit cap for 
frigates.

P.  Drone Frigate
    *Kushan fleet only.  Cost 800 RU.  Requires "Capital Ship Drive", "Capital 
Ship Chassis", and "Drone" tech.  Available in campaign mission 6.

If you're playing this game with an older computer system, don't use Drone 
Frigates.  Building just one creates 25 more models for your CPU to keep track 
of, often resulting in molasses-like frame rates or hangs.  That aside, much 
like the Missile Destroyer, a Drone Frigate can quickly obliterate wings of 
fighters.  The AI for this ship has some weird quirks, since technically it's 
unarmed, and its drones do all the fighting...  you may occasionally 
experience odd behavior because of this.  I find that the drones seem to 
attack on their own most effectively if the frigate is set to "aggressive" 
tactics, but this may require micromanagement to prevent your Drone Frigates 
from haring off across the map after passing Scouts and the like.  These can 
be nasty when mixed in with a group of Ion Frigates to create a battle group 
capable of taking on ships of any size.

Q.  Defense Field Frigate
    *Taiidan fleet only.  Cost 800 RU.  Requires "Capital Ship Drive", 
"Capital Ship Chassis", and "Defense Field" tech.  Available in campaign 
mission 6.

Much like the Defense Fighter above, this vessel has absolutely no offensive 
capability whatsoever.  However, it protects all friendlies within a 2km or so 
bubble from incoming cannon rounds and plasma bombs, stopping roughly 75% of 
all shots.  The shield is ineffective against beam weapons, missiles, and 
mines, but because of its spherical coverage, much better range, and higher 
durability, it's a better buy as an escort than the Defense Fighter.  Against 
wings of fighters, corvettes, and Assault Frigates it provides unsurpassed 
protection, and the shield is big enough to completely screen your own 
formation of corvettes or a small group of frigates.

[Super Capital Category]

R.  Destroyer
    Cost 1350 RU.  Requires "Super-Capital Ship Drive", "Capital Ship 
Chassis", and "Ion Cannons" tech.  Available in campaign mission 6.

These heavyweights are essentially a combination of an Assault Frigate and an 
Ion Frigate.  With paired cannon turrets and two gimbal-mounted ion beams, 
they can engage multiple targets and deal heavy damage.  Ideal for thrashing 
anything corvette-size or larger, since their multiple rotating weapons cancel 
out their poor turning speed.  Ineffective, however, against moving fighters, 
which are too quick for them to track effectively.

S.  Missile Destroyer
    Cost 1500 RU.  Requires "Super-Capital Ship Drive", "Capital Ship 
Chassis", and "Missile Launcher" tech.  Available in campaign mission 9.

Slightly more expensive and slightly less maneuverable than a standard 
Destroyer, this class of vessel eschews standard guns and beams for four 
missile pods, achieving ultimate supremacy against small craft.  The multiple 
homing warheads from just one Missile Destroyer can turn incoming fighter and 
corvette formations into clouds of flaming scrap in mere moments.  Against 
other capital ships its performance is slightly inferior to the regular model, 
though its "volley attack" can give you an early advantage in such large-scale 
engagements by entirely emptying its magazines at extended range.  Beware, 
however, because Missile Destroyers take time to manufacture more missiles to 
replace those spent, and the delay in doing so is even longer after a volley 
attack.

T.  Carrier
    Cost 2000 RU.  Requires "Super-Capital Ship Drive" and "Super-Heavy 
Chassis".  Available in campaign mission 9.

Your home away from home, Carriers provide pretty much all the same services 
as the Mothership but can actually move.  Nice.  In single-player games 
Carriers allow you to capture enemy craft up to frigate size without the 
interminable wait for your Salvage Corvettes to drag the foe all the way to 
your starting position.  They also provide a mobile bunker for storing, 
repairing, and refueling fighters and corvettes--a fact of vital importance in 
certain missions (one which comes to mind immediately is the Supernova 
Research Station, scenario #10).  In multiplayer, these ships serve as extra 
manufacturing and resource dropoff points, and if your Mothership should 
unfortunately perish, your new command HQ.  They are unfortunately useless in 
combat except as decoys.

U.  Heavy Cruiser
    Cost 3700 RU.  Requires "Super-Capital Ship Drive", "Super-Heavy Chassis", 
"Ion Cannons", and "Heavy Guns" tech.  Available in campaign mission 12.

Once you have a Heavy Cruiser, the lumbering core of your fleet is complete.  
In fact, capital ship engagements become as easy as detailing a couple of 
destroyers, a few frigates, and a squadron of fighters or corvettes to guard 
your Cruiser, and spend all your time concentrating the Cruiser's fire on 
specific targets one at a time until they make a satisfying popping noise.  
With six huge railguns and paired twin ion beam turrets, this monster makes 
short work of anything corvette size or larger.  Keep in mind, however, that 
its cost is just as monstrous as its combat presence.  Never assign a Cruiser 
to do anything without Support Frigates to keep its health up and screening 
elements to deal with enemy fighters (which a Cruiser simply can't hit to save 
its life) or you'll lose your investment faster than you built it.  In 
multiplayer, it's wise to max out your complement of smaller ships before you 
try to field a Heavy Cruiser; in terms of price and build time smaller ships 
can deploy more firepower more quickly.  With the "rush" tactics most often 
prevalent these days in PvP RTS matchups, some players never even bother 
researching so far down the tech tree.  Personally, I admit, I just can't 
resist the sight of turrets half the size of an entire frigate.  >:)

[Non-Combat Category]

V.  Resource Collector
    Cost 650 RU.  No requirements.  Available in campaign mission 1.

With no RU, you can't build ships.  With no ships, you lose.  Simple, yes?  
Resource Collectors actually do have reasonable combat potential when used 
correctly; they are the smallest ship with self-repair capability and the 
largest ship with kamikaze capability.  In fact, it's possible to beat the 
entire attacking force of fighters and corvettes in mission 2 by simply 
commanding your Resource Collector to ram them while the rest of your craft 
remain safely inside the Mothership's docking bays.  Don't resort to tactics 
like this in multiplayer games unless you're already on the brink of defeat, 
though--they are far more useful harvesting resources so your fleet can 
continue to grow.

W.  Resource Controller
    Cost 680 RU.  Requires "Capital Ship Drive" tech.  Available in campaign 
mission 3.

In single player missions, speed is not critical for your resourcing 
operations.  In fact, in many situations you'll find you can let the game run 
an extra half an hour or more after all combat has ceased until you hear 
Karan's dulcet tones saying "Available resources consumed."  In multiplayer 
games, on the other hand, deploying a Controller to the nearest resource 
cluster greatly increases the speed and efficiency of your mining operations, 
a critical concern in an era when either using or defending against "rush" 
tactics has become the default scenario.  Carriers may be a better bet in late 
game situations, since they can build and repair as well as receive resource 
drops.

X.  Probe
    Cost 30 RU.  No requirements.  Available in campaign mission 1.

A very fast spy tool.  Unfortunately, it can't defend itself and can't move 
more than once, so be careful when giving that first deployment order!  
Curiously for what is essentially nothing more than a mass of antennae, its 
sensor range isn't any larger than that of a normal fighter.  In single player 
games, sending ANY ship within sight distance of "send a probe here" 
objectives will satisfy them, and in multiplayer games sending an armed and 
agile Scout on reconnaisance takes only 5 RU and a few seconds longer...  
Plus, since they can't move after initial deployment, you can't even take them 
with you between campaign missions.  Basically, don't bother building any 
Probes unless you plan to use them as missiles (see Banzai! below).

Y.  Cloak Generator
    Cost 500 RU.  Requires "Capital Ship Drive" and "Cloak Generator" tech.  
Available in campaign mission 13.

This frigate-size vessel is essentially nothing more than a mobile 
invisibility field.  When deactivated, its batteries recharge at about half 
the rate they deplete during cloaking.  Therefore, a set of three generators 
alternately activated can keep a small formation of your fleet permanently 
invisible if properly managed.  Handy for surprise attacks, especially capture 
raids involving Salvage Corvettes.  Keep in mind that cloaked ships briefly 
become visible when attacking, so you should keep your invisible strike group 
in motion to minimize the effect of return fire; turreted ships like Assault 
Frigates are most effective when doing so.

Z.  Gravity Well Generator
    Cost 800 RU.  Requires "Capital Ship Drive" and "Gravity Well Generator" 
tech.  Available in campaign mission 9.

Like the Cloak Generator, this is essentially a tool with an engine on the 
back.  The Gravwell Generator cannot recharge, but has two nasty effects 
within its sphere of operation:  all nearby fighters and corvettes are held 
motionless like flies trapped in amber, and (in multiplayer games) enemy 
capital ships cannot use hyperdrive.  An excellent tool for offense and 
defense in longer multiplayer games, it tends to weaken the economic advantage 
of fighter/corvette rushes--IF you can research them in time.  Since the 
Generator cannot recharge and self-destructs once its power supply is 
exhausted, you can recover some of its cost by using the "retire" command 
instead of allowing it to wear out and explode.

AA.  Proximity Sensor
    Cost 50 RU.  Requires "Proximity Detector" tech.  Available in campaign 
mission 10.

Better than a Probe, these little detector arrays are as fast as a Scout and 
can detect cloaked vessels as they reach beam and missile range, allowing you 
to counterattack.  Their superior drive systems allow them to maintain 
formation with any combat vessel to prevent invisible enemies from getting the 
drop on you, and they don't run out of fuel, which makes long-duration recon 
missions simpler.  Definitely handy.

BB.  Sensors Array
    Cost 800 RU.  Requires "Proximity Detector" and "Sensors Array" tech.  
Available in campaign mission 13.

A giant floating radar set.  Nothing more.  However, if you have one, you'll 
be able to see the exact positions and sensor ranges of EVERY ship on the 
map.  This is an extraordinarily useful ability and should not be 
underestimated.  As soon as you have the tech to build one you should do so, 
and guard it carefully.

CC.  Research Ship
    Cost 700 RU.  No requirements.  Available in campaign mission 1.

Each Research Ship is a compact module meant to become part of a rotating 
laboratory station.  Uniquely, each subsequently built Research Ship (to a 
total of six) links to the previous modules, making the lab larger and 
tougher, as well as quicker to achieve your scientific goals.  In single 
player, you can get by with just one until you've finished the Great Nebula 
missions and have more money than you know what to do with.  In multiplayer 
games, however, you'll want to build the maximum number as soon as you can 
afford to do so, both to increase the lab's survivability and to accelerate 
your all-important tech development.  Multiple modules can be assigned to 
research the same tech, getting it finished faster, or to different techs, to 
achieve variety--it's up to you.

[Final Recommendations]
These are the ships you should spend your money building.  If you don't see it 
here, don't bother even clicking on it in the Build Manager.

Fighters:  Lots of Scouts early, so you can quickly reach the maximum of 80 
fighter-class ships.  Later, replace losses with Attack Bombers.  If you can't 
afford Bombers, use Interceptors instead until your cash reserves increase.  I 
only recommend Defenders if you need a quick escort for a capital-class vessel 
and you have not researched Heavy Corvettes; they're just too slow and easily 
destroyed to handle most fighter tasks.

Corvettes:  The truly optimal choices here are Heavy Corvettes and 
Salvage Corvettes.  The virtues of Heavies have already been elaborated; see 
II/1. below for more reasons why the Salvage Corvette should be one of your 
favorite ships.  The normal class cap for corvettes is 50.

Frigates:  As soon as you can afford it, I recommend at least half a dozen 
apiece of Assault and Ion Cannon Frigates, as well as four Support Frigates.  
This should give you a well-balanced medium ship complement capable of 
handling all the tasks frigates need to perform.  Depending on your race, the 
Drone Frigate and Defense Field Frigate are handy for specialized situations 
as well.  Just remember, without stolen ships, you can only have 18 frigates 
at a time.

Super-Capital Ships:  Promptly construct at least one Carrier.  This enables 
you to build ships faster, as well as giving you a mobile secondary base.  A 
group of 2-4 standard Destroyers and 1-3 Missile Destroyers can handle most 
major engagements as long as you remember to concentrate fire from the 
Destroyers on one target at a time, working your way down from large to small, 
and "group attack" (Ctrl+bandbox) the fast movers with the Missile 
Destroyers.  As noted above, don't spend resources on a Heavy Cruiser unless 
a) you're filthy rich and b) you are at unit cap for everything smaller.  Max 
number of Carriers is 4, Destroyers is 7, and Cruisers is 3.

Non-Combat Ships:  I noted earlier that you never have to build a Resource 
Controller or even an extra Collector in the single-player missions; in fact, 
if you guard the one you're provided in mission 1 carefully, it's all the 
mining operation you really need the entire game.  In multiplayer this is 
totally untrue!  Buy yourself up to at least 4-6 Collectors and at least 1 
Controller ASAP, and in a long game on a large map, maxing out at 10 
Collectors and 4 Controllers can allow you to defeat your opponent through 
sheer attrition.  The same goes for Research Ships; in campaign mode just one 
can do all the research required, but in multiplayer scenarios the more the 
merrier--after all, no sane opponent will just sit around and wait to attack 
while you cheerfully research every tech with just one lab!  If you're going 
to try sneaking up on your opponent, go for a trio of Cloak Generators.  One 
or two Grav Well Generators are good for both offense and defense.  Keep one 
near the Mothership for emergencies and send the other along with the big boys 
whenever you suspect your enemy has a load of fighters to dump on your fleet.  
A Sensors Array is critical to show you what the bad guys are up to.  Lastly, 
keep half a dozen or so Proximity Sensors handy.  Split them up guarding your 
Mothership and other widely separated fleet groups; that way if your opponent 
suddenly whips out a cloaked attack force you'll be able to effectively deal 
with it.

SECTION THE SECOND
In which revelation is made of various underhanded tactics.
===============================================================================

1.  Stealing Victory

This strategy is so simple it's practically self-explanatory.  In this game, 
crime DOES pay.  Every chance you get, you should quickly reach and exceed 
your unit caps by stealing capital ships and non-combat craft with your 
Salvage Corvettes.  You did build some, didn't you?  "Salvaging" as many 
enemy craft as you can is critical in the first half of the single-player 
campaign to quickly increase your fleet size, not to mention acquiring bigger 
ships (often substantially before your research and budget would allow you to 
build them yourself).  In the multi-player scenarios, nothing will cause your 
opponents as much agony as watching entire resource operations dragged back to 
your nearby Carrier, or watching 3700 RU of Heavy Cruiser suddenly quit 
fragging your frigates when the salvagers lock on to its hull.  Get used to 
laughing evilly as your fleet swells with stolen vessels; for those who deride 
this tactic as "sissy" I recommend you review the cutscene between campaign 
missions 3 and 4.  Now just imagine what your pissed-off marines are doing to 
the enemy crew.  :)

Stealing CPU Ships:  There are two important tricks to this.  

First, the target MUST be distracted.  Most CPU-controlled ships are very 
sensitive to Salvage Corvettes.  In fact, all ships of frigate size or larger 
within sensor range of Salvage Corvettes will preferentially attack them first 
unless they are already in combat against a high-priority target like one of 
your own capital ships.  Scout formations are NOT a sufficient distraction 
against CPU ships--don't waste your time and Scouts trying.  Instead, use a 
super capital ship like a destroyer or cruiser as a stalking horse.  Make sure 
the decoy is set to "evasive tactics" by hitting F2 so it does not 
automatically retaliate and destroy the enemy ship before capture is 
completed.  It may prove useful to have a Support Frigate nearby to keep the 
decoy's health up while it meekly suffers the slings and arrows of the CPU's 
outrage, depending on the firepower of the ship to be stolen compared to the 
damage capacity of the decoy.  Taiidan fleets can extend the endurance of the 
decoy against most victims of this maneuver by deploying a Defense Field 
Frigate to block incoming fire.

Second, the salvage corvettes must be MOVED manually into position nearby.  
Again, the CPU quickly notices salvage attempts, and in several missions the 
prospective victims will instantly react when targeted by a capture maneuver, 
promptly ceasing their attack on your decoy and vaporizing the relatively 
helpless Salvage Corvettes.  The best way to avoid watching your tugs melt 
like clay pigeons at a skeet shoot is to take advantage of the distracted 
state of the computer-controlled vessels by maneuvering into close range 
before giving the salvage command.  If you can put your salvage team within a 
kilometer or so, preferably underneath or to the rear, as soon as they are 
told to salvage the target it will be paralyzed and unable to turn to attack 
them.  Once you get some experience with this maneuver you'll soon see that 
it can allow you to grab entire enemy formations with no losses to your 
Salvage Corvette team.

Keep in mind that there are some ships you cannot salvage (more's the pity).  
You cannot salvage the Turanic Raider Carriers from missions 2 and 4.  You 
cannot salvage the Kadeshi Needle Motherships from missions 7 and 8.  You 
cannot salvage the Junkyard Dog from mission 12.  Any stationary objects (the 
derelict in mission 9, the Research Station in mission 10, the Autoguns in 
mission 12) cannot be salvaged either.  Don't waste your time trying.  You can 
salvage the enemy Probes occasionally sent towards you, but you can't take 
them to the next mission with you, so there's no point unless you intend to 
use them yourself in the same scenario.

Also, make sure you have enough ships for the job!  Frigates and Resource 
Collectors require two corvettes apiece; Destroyers and Resource Controllers 
need three apiece; Carriers and Cruisers can only be dragged home by a group 
of five.*  Anything that needs more effort than a frigate must go all the way 
back to your Mothership, since it can't be handled by a Carrier.  Plan 
accordingly, since given how long this can take your opponent may be able to 
"liberate" the captured ship unless you provide a combat-capable escort for 
the vulnerable Salvage Corvettes.

(*Due to a glitch in all versions of the game, Kushan Heavy Cruisers actually 
need 6 tugs for successful salvage, despite their stat file being _exactly the 
same_ as the Taiidan model.  Don't look at me!  Also, theoretically, fighters, 
Probes and Proximity Sensors, and corvettes can all be salvaged with only one 
tug apiece...  except they can simply move out of the way as long as they 
still have fuel.  In practical terms salvaging these small ships is difficult 
enough that only a dedicated cheesemonkey like me would even bother trying, so 
I don't recommend it for the casual reader of this guide.)

Stealing Human Ships:  There's really only one trick to this--it has to be a 
surprise.

How you manage this is up to you.  A strike group with its admiral 
micromanaging is essentially invulnerable to capture.  As soon as the human 
commander notices what you're doing, it's over; even if you snuck your tugs 
into close range with the help of cloaking technology, the escorts will 
quickly destroy them before the big ships are "locked down".  Here are some 
suggestions for achieving the necessary stealth for this approach.

First, you can simply conceal your Salvage Corvettes in a formation of other 
corvettes.  Denied the ability to pause and examine the situation carefully 
(only available in campaign mode or in player vs. CPU skirmishes), the human 
commander may simply not notice them until it's too late.  When trying this 
method, MAKE SURE TO CALL OFF THE OTHER SHIPS as soon as the salvagers are in 
grapple range.  Trigger AI is moronic in this game... craft don't take into 
account whether friendlies are in the line of fire before attacking.  If the 
rest of your strike group continues firing at the salvage victims, they run 
the risk of destroying them instead of capturing them, or, worse, fragging the 
Salvage Corvettes!  Either way, you just wasted time and money.  It can be 
difficult to dissuade your ships from pressing an attack sometimes.  I 
recommend using F2 to put the offenders in "evasive tactics", then tapping the 
~ key a few times, then ordering them to move off to the side someplace.  This 
combination of orders usually stops even the most fanatic attack from a 
turreted ship.

Second, you can concentrate the fire of your strike group and escorts on the 
enemy fleet escorts BEFORE sending in the salvagers.  Especially when used in 
conjunction with cloak generators to keep the corvettes hidden until it's time 
to strike, this minimizes their exposure.  Once again, however, make sure you 
cancel the attack orders as soon as the Salvage Corvettes get a grip.  The 
disadvantage of this tactic is that a canny player may realize what you are 
doing when you concentrate solely on the escort formation, and bring 
reinforcement escorts with Proximity Sensors, thus extending the engagement 
and most likely resulting in the failure of the capture operation.

Third, you can make sure the human's attention is elsewhere!  An attack, no 
matter how Pyrrhic, on his Mothership or primary resource operation just as 
your fleets are engaging will most likely cause him to hurriedly group-attack 
your ships and jump to the "emergency" situation right away.  If your timing 
is good, either of the tactics mentioned above will increase dramatically in 
effectiveness.  Just remember that you need to make the diversionary strike 
look significant if you want it to be taken seriously--otherwise he'll just 
scoff, pop back to the original engagement and immediately see what you were 
trying to do in time to stop it.  Fighters can get to a target area quickly 
and are cheap enough to be sacrificed for this sort of thing; a mix of Scouts 
or Interceptors to deal with escort craft and Attack Bombers to pound on the 
real target looks businesslike enough that most players will spend at least a 
few moments trying to deal with it.

For those with truly superior multitasking skills, try pulling off three or 
more strikes simultaneously.  If you have local superiority in even one 
location, focus fire in another area and you may win there too.  In fact, even 
if you don't like Salvage Corvettes and don't ever use these tactics, they 
make a scary distraction themselves!  Just a couple can latch onto a frigate 
and start dragging it off, which triggers a voice message to the original 
owner.  When he panics and starts concentrating on the salvagers, use the time 
you've bought to focus fire on his most dangerous ships and quickly turn the 
tide in your favor.

2.  Banzai!

Missile Destroyers are fun.  But did you ever wish you had real, long range 
missiles that you could just toss from your Mothership all the way across the 
map?  Well, you can.  

Now, many game philosophers before yours truly have composed dissertations on 
the virtues and methodologies of the "rush strategy".  If you aren't familiar 
with it, in a nutshell, this is achieving victory in a multiplayer game by 
just enough economic expansion to fuel a continuous stream of the cheapest 
combat units you can build, then sending them in waves to wear down your enemy 
until he's finally destroyed.  I'm really not a big fan of this technique, 
though I've used it and defended against it successfully; in my opinion it 
substantially reduces the enjoyment of the gameplay the designers spent so 
much time refining.  However, I have to say that there are some fun and nasty 
things you can do with that technique, and one of them is heaving Scouts and 
Probes at your enemies' fleets.

Yep, you heard me.  Scouts can "kamikaze" (give an attack order, then press 
K), as can all other fighters, corvettes, and Resource Collectors.  They're 
the only ship cheap enough and hard enough to hit to make this an effective 
tactic, however.  A kamikaze attack sends the Scout barreling toward its 
hapless victim, firing its guns continuously until it literally crashes into 
the target's hull and detonates, inflicting further explosive damage.  Set a 
formation of at least five Scouts to "evasive tactics" with F2 to make them 
faster and more difficult to shoot down, and then when they get close to the 
intended victim, give the kamikaze command and follow up with Z to activate 
their "speed burst".  This adds extra damage to the ram and further reduces 
the amount of time the victim and any escorts have to shoot down your Scout 
missiles.

Probes can't kamikaze, and even if they could their total lack of 
maneuverability would make it unlikely that they would successfully strike 
anyway.  However, you can use them like small caliber shotgun shells.  Simply 
give them a move order that rockets them head-on towards an oncoming enemy 
formation or a large, stationary target far away (a Mothership or Carrier, 
most likely).  Then, as the speeding Probe approaches the foe, scuttle it.  
The debris created by this self-destruct damages everything in a forward 
cone.  This technique is more complex than the Scout missile tactic, and may 
require some practice to learn the correct timing, but it can be a great way 
to weaken incoming waves of strike craft.  A group of three or more Probes 
makes a quite satisfying cloud of shrapnel, possibly obliterating an entire 
squadron of fighters.

Economically speaking, Banzai! is very wasteful.  Use these tactics carefully 
and only in a situation where you already have superior resources or the enemy 
lacks a well-balanced combined fleet.  Be aware in multiplayer games that 
using either or both will likely get you called a "cheap bastard" or similar 
names; hey, you expected that after reading the title of this FAQ, right?  :)  
In campaign mode, I don't recommend either Banzai! method until after the 
Great Nebula missions, at which point you ought to have cash to burn.

3.  Fun Without Formations

If you've read the manual and played through the tutorial, you've been told 
repeatedly by the game designers that formations are vital to successful 
combat maneuvering.  In fact, this point is hammered home one more time in the 
first single-player campaign mission, when Fleet Intelligence has you testing 
the effect of formations on performance.

Guess what?  It's all WRONG.  With a few exceptions, putting ships of any sort 
in formation substantially REDUCES their maneuverability and time-on-target 
(the segment of the attack pass during which the ship's guns are pointing at 
the target and firing).

Strange but true.  Modders who examine the performance data for the ships can 
see the maneuver instructions that cause these results; I recommend Seb 
Haque's excellent FAQ on the subject of modding.  For the more casual player, 
just experiment a bit with a saved game.  Using any kind of timepiece, examine 
how long it takes for a group of fighters to move from your Mothership to a 
few kilometers away and back with, then without formation.  Then, attack 
something with the same group, first in formation, then without.  Notice the 
difference?

Essentially, formations increase the moment of inertia of a group of ships.  
This is a physics term, but in this case what it means is that the ships on 
the "inside" of a formation making a turn can't turn as fast as they normally 
could because they are in lock-step with the ships on the "outside" edge of 
the formation.  Without formations, they turn at their maximum maneuverability 
rating all the time.  The obvious conclusion is that you should rarely put 
your ships in formation, since it reduces their effectiveness both offensively 
and defensively.  There are a few exceptions to this general rule:

a)  Large groups of ships attacking a single target.
In this circumstance your vessels can sometimes get in the way of each other.  
Combined with the poor trigger AI mentioned previously, you will occasionally 
watch in disgust as your ships shoot down their squadronmates.  In the case of 
large groups of fighters attacking a Missile Destroyer or a ship with turreted 
guns, the riot-like rush of the non-formated ships may actually make it easier 
for the defender (shots that miss by only a small amount may connect with 
another fighter in the same group, since they're so close together).  In this 
case you may find it slightly more effective to use several Claws (no more 
than 9 ships in each) or  hit F2 for "evasive tactics" to make the wingmen 
split farther apart during their attack pass.  In the case of many fighters 
attacking an unarmed or distracted target, immediately put the entire group 
into "aggressive tactics" with F4 and drop them into Sphere formation.  This 
will do the most damage possible in the minimum time.

b)  You need to select a certain number of ships from the group during combat.
Often the case when setting up groups of special ships, such as Cloak 
Generators or Salvage Corvettes for one of the coordinated capture maneuvers 
detailed previously, especially when in a human vs. human multiplayer game.  
In this case your best bet is to use Broad formation for four or fewer ships, 
or Wall formation if there are more than that.

c)  Guarding a slow or immobile ship against fighters and corvettes.
Common for groups of fighters and corvettes intended to escort bigger vessels 
with little or no organic anti-fighter capability.  In this case you want the 
escorts to stay relatively close to the ship they're watching over, and the 
best way to do that is with Wall formation (for turreted escorts, like Heavy 
Corvettes) or Sphere formation (for single-weapon escorts, like 
Interceptors).  Be aware that craft in Sphere formation are much more 
vulnerable to incoming fire because of their practically stationary position, 
but hey--the whole point of an escort is to draw fire away from the ship 
you're protecting, right?

SECTION THE THIRD
In which recommendations for each campaign scenario are set forth.
===============================================================================

The storyline has Fleet Intelligence and Fleet Command prompting you in most 
situations, giving you instructions on what you must do to advance the plot.  
Therefore, I'm not going to discuss mission objectives in detail unless I feel 
the instructions are misleading or vague.  I'm not going to give any spoilers, 
though I cheerfully exhort you to abuse event triggers whenever possible to 
improve your situation.  To avoid repetition, I'll say this right now:  after 
any combat that takes place during a mission, make sure your Resource 
Collector(s) have harvested ALL AVAILABLE RESOURCES before initiating the 
hyperdrive jump to the next scenario.  If you do not do this, you will rapidly 
run out of cash and will have a fleet far too small to take on the harder 
situations later in the game.  It's boring, but very important!  You should 
also be aware that the game reacts to the size and power of your fleet by 
modifying the opposition you face--the more you've got, the more they'll throw 
at you.  For this reason, I will tell you how to set up to deal with your 
opponents but not exactly how many/what kind of ships they have.

01 [Kharak System]

*Build before jumping:  1 Research Ship, 2 Salvage Corvettes, Scouts until 
out of RU

*Specific advice:  After you finish researching Fighter Chassis, research 
Corvette Drive as well.  You are not prompted to do so, but it will save you 
time in the next mission.

02 [Outskirts of Kharak System]

*Build before jumping:  4 Heavy Corvettes, 6 Salvage Corvettes, Scouts until 
out of RU

*Specific advice:  Do NOT build or use a Probe here.  Keep all ships except 
your Resource Collector at the start position.  Research Corvette Chassis and 
Heavy Corvette Upgrade while supervising your Collector; when it finishes 
harvesting all the relatively nearby resources and starts heading off towards 
the Khar-Selim, recall it to dock and keep it nearby after it drops its load.  
After building the Heavy Corvettes, go to the Launch Manager and set the 
Mothership hangar to "Remain Docked".  Dock all your strike craft to keep 
them out of harm's way.  Tell the Collector to harvest once more.  When it 
nears the dust clouds at the Khar-Selim's position, the next event will be 
triggered.  Don't panic--the Mothership is not in real danger.  Simply have 
the Mothership group-attack the enemy ships and soon they will all be 
destroyed.  After docking the returning Resource Collector and finishing your 
build orders, set the Collector to guard the Mothership and launch your Heavy 
Corvettes and Salvage Corvettes.  Redock all but one of the Salvage Corvettes, 
set the four Heavy Corvettes into Wall/Aggressive and command them to guard 
the one active Salvage Corvette, then send the tug off to check out the 
Khar-Selim.  When your corvettes return, dock them inside the Mothership once 
more.  Again, the Mothership is easily capable of handling itself in this 
scenario, so just group-attack the enemy ships; this battle will go slightly 
faster if you use your Collector to ram the enemy corvettes (just remember to 
dock it for repairs after it runs them over or takes severe damage).  Do NOT 
check out the large power signature.  None of the ships you have at this point 
are capable of dealing with what you will find and you will lose them to no 
avail.  Before jumping, disable "Remain Docked" in the Launch Manager so your 
ships will autolaunch at the beginning of the next mission.

03 [Return to Kharak]

*Build before jumping:  4 Salvage Corvettes, 2 Support Frigates, Scouts until 
out of RU

*Specific advice:  Distract the enemy frigates with your Scouts set to 
Evasive.  Move your Salvage Corvettes in; as described in Stealing Victory, 
do NOT give the salvage command until the corvettes are very close.  By this 
point you should have at least 8 tugs, making it possible to capture most or 
all of the frigates simultaneously.  Don't be concerned about the damaged Cryo 
Tray; the number of trays remaining has no effect on the rest of the game 
(though it is certainly a challenge to save all six--see if you can manage 
it).  Research Capital Ship Chassis and build the Support Frigates while your 
Resource Collector harvests.  You should enter the next mission with plenty of 
Scouts, at least 3 stolen Assault Frigates, and at least 12 total Salvage 
Corvettes.

04 [Great Wastelands]

*Build before jumping:  2 Support Frigates, Heavy Corvettes/Salvage Corvettes/
Scouts until out of RU

*Specific advice:  It is not necessary to spend money and time building and 
placing a Resource Controller.  Before sending your Resource Collector to 
harvest, queue the Support Frigates and other craft in your Build Manager and 
let the projects run until you are broke and construction pauses.  Then send 2 
Salvage Corvettes roughly 3 km to starboard of the Mothership, 2 the same 
distance to port, and the remaining 8 about 10 km aft.  Now initiate 
harvesting.  If you have set this up correctly, the Bentusi should see 650 or 
fewer RU in your bank account when they arrive and offer to sell you Ion 
Cannons for only 300 RU instead of 500 RU.  Every penny counts!  To be a true 
disciple of cheese, don't accept the traders' offer until your Resource 
Collector has drained every RU from the nearby asteroid belt, since the 
departure of the Bentusi ship triggers the next combat event.  Your Heavy 
Corvettes and Scouts can assist the Mothership in dealing with the incoming 
attackers--you need to be proactive this time, or they will zero in on your 
helpless Salvage Corvettes.  After the first wave of enemy corvettes, be 
watchful of the area immediately around the Mothership.  Shortly, a group of 
frigates hyperspaces in.  Immediately command your Salvage Corvettes to 
capture them.  If all goes well, you'll suffer no losses and own a new group 
of combat frigates.  When the enemy Carrier attacks soon thereafter, use your 
captured capital ships to destroy it while capturing some more frigates from 
its escort.  If the Mothership or any of your frigates suffers severe damage 
during this episode, make sure you heal up promptly with your Support 
Frigates.  (The Ion Array Frigates do NOT self-repair, unlike all other ships 
that size.)

05 [Great Wastelands]

*Build before jumping:  Heavy Corvettes/Salvage Corvettes/Scouts until out of 
RU

*Specific advice:  Do NOT build or use a Probe here.  Save your game before 
moving a Scout about 48 km down the V-shaped dust cloud formation straight 
towards the "ping" on the sensors manager.  If you move it a little too far, 
the enemy fleet will see it and attack right away--reload and try again.  Now 
you have a reference mark.  Send your Resource Collector out to harvest in the 
dust clouds until it gets near the Scout you parked earlier.  Supervise the 
Collector's progress so you can get all the resources possible without 
triggering the Imperial attack.  Use the RU gained this way to max out your 
fleet as much as possible.  (See how much you saved your bank account already 
by stealing all those frigates?)  During your harvesting efforts you should 
have plenty of time to complete research on Plasma Bombs.  When you are ready 
for a major set-piece battle, move your main combat group over the boundary.  
If you keep your Salvage Corvettes stashed someplace safe, you'll have the 
opportunity to capture several Assault and Ion Cannon Frigates, a Support 
Frigate, a Carrier, two Destroyers, and two Resource Collectors.  Quite a 
haul, especially the Destroyers and Carrier.  After the enemy fleet is 
destroyed or captured, Defender Subsystems is researched, and all harvesting 
is complete, dock your fighters and corvettes with the Mothership and select 
"Remain Docked" in the Launch Manager.

06 [Diamond Shoals]

*Build before jumping:  Retire all Ion Array Frigates and replace with 
Drone/Defense Field Frigates, max out numbers of fighters and corvettes

*Specific advice:  Send the Carrier and all your noncombat ships except the 
Resource Collectors at least 30 km to the starboard of the Mothership to keep 
them out of danger.  Divide your capital ships into 2 or 3 groups, each 
responsible for a specific "lane" in front of the Mothership.  After the first 
couple of rocks fragment, command your Resource Collectors to harvest; 
otherwise, you'll get no cash out of this mission.  When the Mothership is 
safe, buy Drone or Defense Field tech from the Bentusi.  This will be your 
last chance to build any frigates of your own if you are using my Steal 
Victory tactics; scrap the inferior Ion Array Frigates you hijacked earlier 
and fill their spots with your race's special ships, both of which are quite 
useful.  Make sure you have 20 Salvage Corvettes and as many Heavy Corvettes 
and fighters (preferably Interceptors or Defenders) as you can afford to 
build, and research Super-Capital Ship Drive before initiating hyperspace.

07 [Garden of Kadesh]

*Build before jumping:  2 Destroyers, replace fighter and corvette losses

*Specific advice:  Create a bastion of defense against fighters BEFORE sending 
one Resource Collector out to harvest.  If you have enough Drone/Defense Field 
Frigates, you may be able to leave all your fighters docked for protection 
(even Defenders don't last long against the fighters you will see here!).  In 
any case, set up as if you will be attacked twice from ahead, twice from above/
port, twice from the rear, and twice from starboard-- because you will be.  
Heavy Corvettes and Drone/Defense Field Frigates are your best defense, though 
your Assault Frigates and Destroyers will be handy as well since the enemy 
fighters tend to hover momentarily at the end of each attack run.  Command 
your Support Frigates to be ready to repair all your capital ships.  After 
your Collector harvests one load, send it into the middle of one of your 
defense clusters for safety--on at least two attack runs, most of the enemy 
fighters will concentrate on your resourcing craft.  The key to victory is to 
either destroy or capture the Fuel Pods accompanying the enemy fighters.  When 
they run out of fuel they become sitting ducks for defensive fire; you may 
even be able to salvage a few of them if they don't self-destruct first 
(apparently a popular choice).  Do NOT initiate hyperdrive when told to.  This 
simply drops all your ships out of their prepared formations and orders, 
opening you to the next attack wave.  Instead, wait until the enemy Mothership 
gets tired of beating on you and departs.  Then send all your Resource 
Collectors out to drain the nebula dry while you build another pair of 
Destroyers, replace any losses you suffered, and take a moment to research 
Fast-Tracking Turrets if you haven't already.  When your Collectors are 
finished, try to jump out.  Then, when Fleet Command reports the inhibitor 
field gone, jump out for good.

08 [Cathedral of Kadesh]

*Build before jumping:  Replace losses, retire Fuel Pods until you have no 
more than 20

*Specific advice:  Much like the previous mission, fort up around the 
Mothership.  You will suffer repeated fighter attacks from above/ahead, below/
behind/port, and below/behind/starboard.  Use the same tactics to deal with 
them.  During these attack waves a new kind of frigate will move in, generally 
in pairs or trios, to take on your fleet--first a group from directly ahead, 
then from above/starboard, then from above/port, then from directly ahead once 
again.  It's wise to try to capture as many as you can, since their massive 
firepower will prove quite useful in subsequent scenarios.  Once all the 
frigates have been destroyed or captured, one of the enemy Motherships will 
move in to directly attack your Mothership.  Concentrate fire on it.  As soon 
as it expires, the second enemy Mothership will also begin an attack run, then 
the third.  Rinse, repeat.  When the third Mothership has been badly damaged 
it will flee towards the opposite end of the map from your start position; let 
it go for now, it's invulnerable until it reaches its final resting place.  
After you rebuild any lost ships, send your Destroyers, with the Support 
Frigates tagged to repair them, off toward the fleeing Mothership.  Behind 
this group your Carrier and all your fighters and corvettes should also 
advance.  The Destroyers will be attacked by two groups of enemy fighters; 
shortly after these are dealt with you'll see another large group of frigates 
approaching.  While they are trying to maneuver around your battle group to 
head towards the Mothership, send in the Salvage Corvettes.  Even if you 
didn't get the earlier groups, this bunch practically captures itself, so you 
have no excuse not to acquire them.  Leave the capital ships in place while 
the rest of your Salvage Corvettes snag the undefended Fuel Pods left over 
from the fighter attack, and order your own fighters and Heavy Corvettes into 
Sphere formation.  Target this huge "ball of death" on the last enemy 
Mothership, which should still be burning unless you took WAY too long to get 
this far.  Creating this massive Sphere formation prevents the Mothership from 
being able to fire back at more than a couple of your ships (the formation is 
so big most are just out of range!) while killing it as quickly as possible.  
If properly executed you should lose only a couple of fighters at most.  Send 
the strike craft back home to dock and let the Resource Collectors do their 
thing.  There are a LOT of RU waiting for them, so be patient and let them get 
it all.  IMPORTANT--Save your game before you attempt to jump to the next 
mission.  If you have captured many Fuel Pods their parade formation may be 
too large to fit within the map borders...  this hangs the game, since you 
lose control of the fleet after the hyperspace command is activated.  You may 
have to manually exit the game, restart Homeworld, reload your saved game, and 
retire some Fuel Pods.  As I noted above, I recommend keeping no more than 20 
if you captured all of the frigates on this level.

09 [Sea of Lost Souls]

*Build before jumping:  Replace losses, 2 Missile Destroyers, 3 Carriers, Grav 
Well Generators to taste

*Specific advice:  Gather all your remaining Scouts, put them in Evasive, and 
send them off to one side of the Ghost Ship to distract its zombie escorts.  
While they are busy chasing shadows, use your remaining fighters and Heavy 
Corvettes to trash the ship itself.  It can't be destroyed, but when the 
control field drops the zombie escorts automatically become part of your 
fleet.  Do NOT send capital ships to do this job--they become zombies 
themselves as soon as they get within attack range.  Do NOT attack the zombie 
escorts--it's pointless, and if you destroy them you don't get them for free!  
(This is especially significant in the case of the Missile Destroyer--it's 
scary, but if you kill it you will not be able to build Missile Destroyers of 
your own for another three missions.  D'oh.)  When sending a salvage team, 
make sure you manually move the corvette around to the upper aft end of the 
wreck...  for some reason the pilot AI for the Salvage Corvettes likes to 
suicide-crash into the hull if attempting to dock from the front.  ?!  There 
are a number of small asteroids floating around in the vicinity of the 
anomaly, so once again be patient with your Resource Collectors; there's 
enough dough here to cover the expense of rebuilding your fighter and corvette 
squadrons as well as a couple of Missile Destroyers.  After you research Grav 
Well Generators, you'll once again have the opportunity to trade.  Note that 
swapping tech with the Bentusi during this mission costs you nothing.  Dock 
your Salvage Corvettes in one of the Carriers and all your other fighters and 
corvettes with the Mothership, then enable the "Remain Docked" flags in the 
Launch Manager before jumping.

10 [Supernova Research Station]

*Build before jumping:  Replace losses, adjust corvette forces to 30 Salvage 
Corvettes/20 Heavy Corvettes

*Specific advice:  Immediately after jumping in, check the far edges of your 
parade formation.  Ships that are sparking and showing damage need to be moved 
closer to the Mothership.  The only safe locations in this mission are inside 
the dust belts (clearly visible on the Sensors Manager) and the asteroid 
fields.  Next, take your Missile Destroyers and send them up the dust vein 
that angles up and to port, heading almost directly towards the research 
station.  Between your start position and the top of the arc of this dust 
belt, the MDs should meet and annihilate several groups of fighters and 
corvettes, as well as clear three minefields (each is equipped with a 
Minelayer Corvette to maintain it).  At this point, there should be only one 
remaining enemy signature along this dust path, which represents a Heavy 
Cruiser and two Destroyers.  Bring the Carrier-full of Salvage Corvettes and 
your Support Frigates up to hold position just behind the Missile Destroyers, 
assign the frigates to repair the MDs, then use the MDs as decoys to capture 
the Cruiser and escorts.  In the lulls before and after this little bit of 
excitement, send a Resource Collector and either a Carrier or Controller to 
each of the two nearby asteroid fields (making sure they stay inside the dust 
as much as possible on the way!)  Check up on the progress of each mining 
operation regularly--the moment the last rock has been digested, your retarded 
Collector pilots begin cheerfully wandering off into the radiation trying to 
continue harvesting, so dock them and then cancel their harvest orders after 
they have dropped their last load.  Don't neglect to research Proximity Sensor 
tech, and Minelaying too if you're really a completist.  Once the Cruiser and 
Destroyers are captured, send the Cruiser and your salvage Carrier farther to 
port.  The two small enemy signatures in the lower and narrower dust paths 
each represent a small squadron of Assault Frigates.  If you like, you can 
easily destroy them, but it's far more useful to capture them.  You know the 
drill by this time; the Cruiser is your decoy, and you took the Carrier along 
so that your Salvage Corvettes wouldn't attempt a suicidal straight-line trip 
into the radiation zone.  (If you have Defense Field Frigates, they work even 
better as decoys than a Cruiser, since they are practically invulnerable to 
all the weapons an Assault Frigate carries.)  Having added further to your 
fleet, bring all your big combat units back up to where the Missile Destroyers 
are still waiting.  Keep the salvage team Carrier with you, since there are 
another half dozen or so frigates near the research station itself that you 
can grab.  Move the whole group along the same dust belt past the station 
itself to the point where the upper belt and the one containing the station 
nearly meet, then drop straight down into the lower belt.  Be careful at this 
assembly point; if you have a large force you may have to adjust the positions 
of several ships to keep them all out of the radiation.  From this location, 
storm the station!  Generally, I assign the Heavy Cruiser to take out the 
escaping Carrier, my Destroyers and Frigates to fry the fighters and 
corvettes, and use the Salvage Corvettes to snatch the frigates.  After you 
deal with the combat craft, lay into the station with every gun handy and 
watch the pretty fireworks.  Finally, before you go, you CAN get that last 
scattering of asteroids near the station--just remember to send the Collector 
and its dropoff ship through the dust rather than straight there, and you can 
pick up another few hundred RU before departing.  Uncheck "Remain Docked" in 
the Launch Manager for all ships carrying Salvage Corvettes, and jump.

11 [Tenhauser Gate]

*Build before jumping:  Replace losses, 6 or more Proximity Sensors

*Specific advice:  Simple exercise of the Stealing Victory protocol.  There 
are no enemy fighters or corvettes.  Use your Cruiser, healed by your 
complement of Support Frigates, as the decoy while you move your entire wing 
of Salvage Corvettes to point-blank range of the enemy capital ships before 
commanding the capture.  Executed properly you may have a smoking Cruiser and 
a couple of badly damaged tugs, but zero casualties for this entire mission.  
When all the Imperial ships have been assimilated, enable "Remain Docked" for 
all your hangars once again before you enter hyperspace.

12 [Galactic Core]

*Build before jumping:  Replace losses (you'll likely lose most if not all 
Proximity Sensors)

*Specific advice:  Launch your Salvage Corvettes but no other strike craft as 
the mission begins.  This should ensure that one of your frigates or 
destroyers is the subject of the initial Missile Destroyer and frigate 
ambush.  Retreat and heal the targeted ships while your Salvage Corvettes 
cheerfully capture the MD and its escorts.  Try to capture the Support 
Frigates assigned to each of the enemy Grav Well Generators also, or they'll 
retreat and you'll have to deal with them again later.  As soon as the Grav 
Well Generators have been destroyed or run out of juice, launch all your 
remaining strike craft.  Leave them, your combat frigates, and your standard 
Destroyers here to protect the Mothership.  Next, press directly forward with 
your MDs, some Support Frigates to keep them healthy, and your salvage team 
Carrier.  Assign some Proximity Sensors to guard the salvage team force, since 
on at least two occasions it will intercept enemy frigate groups using Cloak 
Generators.  This force will serve as your "gatekeeper"--the MDs can 
obliterate most strike craft formations headed toward the Mothership, while 
the Salvage Corvettes snag the frigates and Cloak Generators.  (CPU ships 
grouped with a Cloak Generator always target Proximity Sensors first so they 
can maintain their invisibility.  Keep several extras handy, or build one or 
two more from the Carrier each time such a group approaches.)  If you get the 
chance, capture the Resource Collector and Controller nearby to reduce how 
many attackers are thrown at you and to increase the amount of resources 
remaining for you to harvest at the end of the mission.  The next serious 
attack comes from a Heavy Cruiser and a squadron of Ion Cannon Frigates 
guarded by formations of corvettes and Defenders.  When you see this group 
approaching from below and ahead of the Mothership, send your own Heavy 
Cruisers and Missile Destroyers down to take care of business.  If you've 
captured a Cloak Generator, send it along with an invisible crew of Salvage 
Corvettes.  Let the big boys take the heat while the salvage team waltzes off 
with the Cruiser and frigates.  About the same time this group is done being 
assimilated, you'll want to detail a crew to ahead starboard to dispose of 
some Interceptors and destroy or capture some more Frigates.  Instead of 
activating hyperspace immediately, however, push forward still further with 
your MD/Cruiser/salvage fleet.  Use the capital ships to dispose of the 
fighter and corvette screen around the two carrier groups while your Salvage 
Corvettes have a field day stealing the Carriers and the Frigates that guard 
them.  Finish up by harvesting all remaining resources, as usual.

13 [Karos Graveyard]

*Build before jumping:  Replace losses, consider adjusting corvette forces to 
50 Salvage Corvettes

*Specific advice:  You'll have plenty of time here to research Cloaked/Defense 
Fighters and Heavy Guns, though if you've followed my advice you won't have 
any room in your fleet to build new Heavy Cruisers at the moment.  Cloaking 
won't help you with all the Proximity Sensors about, though.  Your best bet is 
to line up every ship with weapons right near the beginning of the Graveyard 
itself, then send one single frigate across the border.  This will activate 
the Junkyard Dog, a giant and incredibly tough Salvage Corvette capable of 
dragging off even the largest ship all by itself.  When it approaches, let go 
with every weapon you've got.  By this point, your fleet should be able to 
obliterate the thing with just a few seconds of sustained fire.  Without the 
Dog to contend with, a single Heavy Cruiser with two or more Support Frigates 
trailing to perform repairs can clean out every Autogun in the entire 
Graveyard.  After doing so, you can harvest the dust clouds at the center with 
impunity and easily dock any kind of strike craft at the office station.  If 
you are a real Scrooge like me, you can also use Salvage Corvettes to steal 
all the Proximity Sensors lying around (as if your fleet wasn't large enough 
already!).

14 [Bridge of Sighs]

*Build before jumping:  Replace losses, 1 Sensor Array

*Specific advice:  This mission requires extensive patience.  To be truly 
thorough about it may require twelve hours or more of play.  Keep in mind that 
even with the massive ship inventory you should have at this point, there are 
over a hundred Ion Cannon Frigates guarding your primary target, and a carrier 
group right on top of it, not to mention the three hyperspace gates and their 
reinforcement fleets.  Your best plan is to defeat each of these forces in 
detail, thereby ensuring you can't be overwhelmed.  Step one is to use your 
Resource Collectors to harvest all but one of the dust clouds outside the 
frigate fortress.  When they have done so, dock them and then park them.  
Before much time passes, the carrier group's Collectors will harvest all the 
resources in their immediate area and mindlessly head for the one remaining 
dust cloud.  Smile evilly, and send your salvage team to steal them.  Keep 
their Carrier and some escorts nearby--your MDs work well, since the CPU often 
sends a squadron of fighters or corvettes in a vain attempt to save its 
Collectors when the Salvage Corvettes come into view.  Having terminated the 
computer team's economy, deploy a strong battle group of Cruisers, both kinds 
of Destroyers, and your salvage team to the closest hyperspace gate.  As soon 
as your ships attack the gate, a group of strike craft and capital ships will 
jump in.  Direct your own capital ships to dispose of the small enemies while 
your salvage team briskly disposes of the larger vessels.  Repeat this process 
for the other two gates.  Next, the most time-consuming part of the 
mission...  dealing with the huge number of Ion Cannon Frigates.  For best 
results, group a Cloak Generator with your salvage team and position them no 
closer to the sphere of frigates than the former locations of the port and 
starboard hyperspace gates.  Then select one ship which is the same speed or 
faster than an Ion Cannon Frigate; I recommend one of your own frigates or a 
Resource Collector.  Move it directly towards the sphere and watch the Sensors 
Manager carefully--as soon as the nearest few frigates "wake up" and respond 
by leaving their positions and accelerating to attack, instruct your decoy 
ship to flee directly past your salvage team.  If all goes well, your Salvage 
Corvettes can lock on to all of them without batting an eyelash.  If things 
don't go so well, fire up the Cloak Generator to hide your salvage team and 
move in your Destroyers and Cruisers to dispose of any stragglers.  Repeat 
this maneuver until you fall asleep at your keyboard or all of the frigates 
have been captured or destroyed.  Dealing with the final fleet is pretty well 
anticlimactic at this point; you can capture some more capital ships, 
including another Heavy Cruiser, if you like, before you destroy the 
inhibitor.  Be prepared with Proximity Sensors guarding your attacking force 
and salvage team, because the enemy carrier group does have enough resources 
to build Cloak Generators and usually will do so.  Before you jump to the next 
mission, you will probably want to retire many of your capital ships, 
particularly frigates.  The extra RU won't hurt your bank account, and if you 
keep all of them you'll have two problems:  a)  The size of the defense fleet 
in the next mission will be ridiculous, and b) Probably more importantly, 
you'll have too many total ships in the fleet and will no longer be able to 
replace destroyed fighters and corvettes even if you have fewer than the 
class-based unit cap.

15 [Chapel Perilous]

*Build before jumping:  Replace losses (if possible)

*Specific advice:  Priority one is breaking up the rock.  Send the Multibeam 
Frigates you've been saving for just such an occasion, your fighters in Sphere/
Aggressive, and your Heavy Cruisers to do the job.  Detail your Destroyers and 
Missile Destroyers to  take on the approaching squadrons of enemy fighters and 
corvettes.  As for the enemy capital ships, you can salvage some or you can 
leave them for later destruction by the rest of the fleet.  You will probably 
need to give your Heavy Cruisers and frigates "move while attack" orders to 
keep them from being rammed and demolished by the incoming asteroid.  The 
moment it is destroyed, retask your fleet to deal with whatever enemy ships 
remain.  Prior to jumping into the last mission, replace whatever losses you 
can (considering unit caps, max fleet size, and that there are no resources 
available in this mission) and adjust your fleet composition and organization. 
You will want a burly defense fleet for your Mothership capable of taking on 
heavy capital ships (Heavy Cruisers, Support Frigates, and your salvage team 
work well for this task), a slightly smaller and faster battle fleet to 
intercept incoming attackers farther away (Destroyers of both types and a mix 
of Frigates), and a skirmish group of fighters and any remaining combat 
corvettes.  Even after dividing your fleet this way you'll still probably have 
plenty of ships left over for reserves, which is a good thing.  Make sure the 
Launch Manager has all "Remain Docked" buttons checked so your fighters and 
corvettes don't launch immediately after jumpdown, and engage hyperdrive.

16 [Hiigara]

*Build before jumping:  Whatever you can afford and fit in!

*Specific advice:  Launch all fighters and corvettes once the enemy Missile 
Destroyers have begun to attack your capital ships.  Main defense fleet deals 
with the forward threat, expeditionary force and skirmish group take care of 
the threats from above and below.  In the meantime, send your Resource 
Collectors and their service vessels off to harvest (this gets them out of the 
immediate line of fire, and more money never hurts in a massive battle like 
this one).  When the first conflict has subsided, send the expeditionary force 
towards aft/above and hold the main defense fleet just forward of the 
Mothership to deal with the next waves.  One more fleet will approach from aft/
below; remove it with the expeditionary force, command the skirmish group to 
guard Captain Elson's ships, and order the main defense fleet to advance 
toward the Emperor's Mothership.  During this whole scenario, you can capture 
yourself another couple of dozen capital ships, but it's not necessary to 
spend time doing so--remember your primary goal, and that it doesn't matter if 
the only thing left in your fleet is your Mothership, you still win!

Closing Remarks
===============

Thanks to the Sierra/Relic team for creating the first truly 3D RTS, and 
making the gameplay so enjoyable that it's still worth running six years after 
I bought it.  Uniquely at the time, Homeworld included a real and 
well-designed plot and music so excellent it was worth purchasing a soundtrack 
album.  I still consider this a benchmark for judging similar games today.

Thanks to Seb Haque and his extracted .shp files, which became the final proof 
of the maneuvering logic underlying Fun Without Formations.

Thanks to my wife and kids, who had to suffer through many a night of the 
Raven disgruntled while examining quirks of Homeworld.  (I _still_ can't 
figure out why the dust clouds in mission 2 and mission 13 can't be entirely 
harvested, or what exactly my Resource Collectors are looking for at the aft/
port/rear of the radiation zone in mission 10...)

And, once again,
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