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    FAQ/Walkthrough by AtomicRaven

    Version: 1.00 | Updated: 04/15/06 | Printable Version | Search Guide | Bookmark Guide

    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 
    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 
    The following sites are permitted to host a copy of this document for 
    public access:
    To request hosting permission, make comments, ask questions, or suggest 
    corrections contact the Atomic Raven at blair@afaproject.org.
    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
    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 
    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 
    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 
    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.
    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 
    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 
    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 
    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?
    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 
    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 
    *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 
    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,
    To request hosting permission, make comments, ask questions, or suggest 
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