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FAQ/Strategy Guide by KChang

Updated: 03/11/03

                                
                          Space Trader
                                
                Unofficial Strategy Guide and FAQ
                                
                         by Kasey Chang
                                
                     released March 11, 2003


0    Introduction
   
This section is for "what the FAQ is about" and things like that.
Feel free to skip this section.

If you like the FAQ, please send me a dollar. :-)  See [0.3]

This FAQ is about Space Trader, the Palm platform game by Pieter
Spronck.


0.1   A WORD FROM THE AUTHOR

There doesn't seem to be any FAQ for this fun little game, so
here it comes.

This is a FAQ, NOT a manual. Not that you really need a manual to
play this little gem.

This USG only covers the Palm Version, which is the only one that
exists.

Some of you may recognize my name as the editor for the XCOM and
XCOM2: TFTD FAQ's, among others.


0.2   TERMS OF DISTRIBUTION

This document is copyrighted by Kuo-Sheng "Kasey" Chang (c) 2003,
all rights reserved excepted as noted above in the disclaimer
section.

This document is available FREE of charge subjected to the
following conditions:

1)This notice and author's name must accompany all copies of
  this document: "Space Trader Unofficial Strategy Guide and
  FAQ" is copyrighted (c) 2003 by Kasey K.S. Chang, all rights
  reserved except as noted in the disclaimer."
  
2)This document must NOT be modified in any form or manner
  without prior permission of the author with the following
  exception: if you wish to convert this document to a different
  file format or archive format, with no change to the content,
  then no permission is needed.
  
  2a) In case you can't read, that means TXT only. No banners,
  no HTML borders, no cutting up into multiple pages to get you
  more banner hits, and esp. no adding your site name to the
  site list. [Small exception: a "small" toolbar with no banners
  embedded is okay. See IGN or Neoseeker for examples.]
  
3)No charge other than "reasonable" compensation should charged
  for its distribution. Free is preferred, of course. Sale of
  this information is expressly prohibited. If you see any one
  selling this guide, contact me (see below).
  
4)If you used material from this, PLEASE ACKNOWLEDGE the source,
  else it is plagiarism.
  
5)The author hereby grants all games-related websites the right
  to archive and link to this document to share among the game
  fandom, provided that all above restrictions are followed.
  
  Sidenote: The above conditions are known as a statutory
  contract. If you meet them, then you are entitled to the
  rights I give you in 5), i.e. archive and display this
  document on your website. If you don't follow them, then you
  did not meet the statutory contract conditions, and therefore
  you have no right to display this document. If you do so, then
  you are infringing upon my copyright. This section was added
  for any websites that don't seem to understand this.
  
  For the gamers: You are under NO obligation to send me ANY
  compensation.  However, I do ask for a VOLUNTARY contribution
  of one (1) US Dollar if you live in the United States, and if
  you believe this guide helped your game. If you choose to do
  so, please make your US$1.00 check or $1.00 worth of US stamps
  to "Kuo-Sheng Chang", and send it to "2220 Turk Blvd. #6, San
  Francisco, CA 94118 USA".
  If you don't live in the US, please send me some local stamps.
  I collect stamps too.

0.3   VOLUNTARY CONTRIBUTION

Gamers who read this guide are under NO obligation to send me ANY
compensation.

However, a VOLUNTARY contribution of one (1) US Dollar would be
very appreciated.

If you choose to do so, please make your US$1.00 check or $1.00
worth of stamps to "Kuo-Sheng Chang", and send it to "2220 Turk
Blvd. #6, San Francisco, CA 94118 USA".

If you don't live in the US, please send me some local stamps. I
collect stamps too.

For the record, out of ALL the FAQs I wrote (37 at last count)
over the past nine years or so, I've received exactly 7 dollars
and 2 sets of stamps, as of release of this guide. So I'm NOT
making any money off these guides, folks.


0.4   HOW AND WHEN TO CONTACT ME

PLEASE let me know if there's a confusing or missing remark,
mistakes, and thereof... If you find a question about this game
that is not covered in the USG, e-mail it to me at the address
specified below.  I'll try to answer it and include it in the
next update.

Please do NOT write me for technical support. This game is free
under GPL license and I haven't seen it crash even once, after
HOURS of playing.

Please do NOT ask me to answer questions that have already
answered in this FAQ/guide. It makes you REALLY idiotic.

I will NOT answer stupid questions like the ones above unless I'm
in a really good mood. If you send questions like that, do NOT
expect a reply.

The address below is spelled out phonetically so spammers can't
use spambots on it:

Kilo-Sierra-Charlie-Hotel-Alpha-November-Golf-Seven-Seven AT
Yankee-Alpha-Hotel-Oscar-Oscar DOT Charlie-Oscar-Mike

To decipher this, simply read the first letter off each word
except for the numbers and the punctuation. This is "military
phonetics" or "aeronautical phonetics" in case you're wondering.

This document was produced on Microsoft Word 97. Some editing was
done with Editpad (editpadclassic.com).


0.5    THE AUTHOR

I am just a game player who decided to write my own FAQs when the
ones I find don't cover what I want to see.  Lots of people like
what I did, so I kept doing it.

Previously, I've written Unofficial Strategy Guides (USGs) for
XCOM, XCOM2:TFTD, Wing Commander, Wing Commander 2, Wing
Commander 3, Wing Commander 4, Privateer, Spycraft, 688(I)
Hunter/Killer. Mechwarrior 3, MW3 Expansion Pack, Mechwarrior 4,
Mechwarrior 4: Black Knight, Need for Speed: Porsche Unleashed,
The Sting!, Terranova, Fallout Tactics, Starfleet Command Volume
II, DS9: The Fallen, DS9: Dominion War, Driver, Warlords:
Battlecry, Monopoly Tycoon, Dungeon Siege, and a few others.

To contact me, see 0.4 above.


0.6   DISCLAIMER / COPYRIGHT INFORMATION

Pieter Spronck created Space Trader.

This USG is not endorsed or authorized by Mr. Spronck.

The information compiled in this USG has been gathered
independently through the author's efforts except where noted
otherwise.

This document is based on the V1.2.0 release, and thus
information listed here may NOT apply fully to earlier versions.


0.7  HISTORY

11-MAR-2003         Initial release



1    Space Trader General Info
   

1.1   THE MOST FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Q: Can you send me the game (or portions thereof)?
A: It's free, go download it yourself at
http://www.picoverse.com/spacetrader/

Q: Can you tell me how to play the game?
A: It's a Palm game! How hard can it be?

Q: Is there going to be a sequel?
A: According to the author, a sequel, Space Trader II, is being
worked on.

Q: How should I allocate the points at start?
A: I prefer 9 to 10 pts in piloting, some pts in Engineering, the
rest divided up in fighting and trading as you see fit.

Q: I want something with more combat!
A: Look for a Palm game called "VOID". It has 3D space flight,
where as Space Trader does not.

Q: Can I play this on a PC?
A: Try downloading the Palm Emulator from Palmsource.


1.2   SPACE TRADER HISTORY

Space Trader is basically a Palm adaptation of the classic space
game "Elite", but without the flight-sim section.

It was inspired by Solar Wars (which in turn was inspired by
DopeWars, another Palm classic game) and influenced by Elite.


1.3   SPACE TRADER HARDWARE REQUIREMENTS

You need Palm OS 2.0 or later to run the basic B&W version. If
you want grayscale or color (and have the appropriate machines),
you'll need Palm OS 3.5 or later. The game itself takes less than
400KB of space.


1.4   HOW DOES THE GAME PLAY?

You basically run a little trading outfit from your own ship.
Take commodities from one system to another, run into pirates and
police along the way. Even encounter some special events (sorry,
can't say more now!). Make money, fight, flee, it's up to you.
Your eventual goal is to make 500000 credits, buy a moon, and
retire to it.


1.5   BUGS AND FIXES

No significant bugs noted for V1.2.0 release.


1.6   EXPANSION PACKS? SEQUELS? RELATED TITLES?

A sequel is in the works, according to the official website at

http://www.picoverse.com/spacetrader/

"Void" is a similar game that gives you a 3D flight portion. You
also need to dock with space stations and such.



2    Beginner's Guide
   
Here's a guide for those of you just getting started.


2.1   HOW DO I SETUP MY CHARACTER?

In general, I prefer a high piloting rating for the beginning. It
makes running away from pirates much easier. Of course, you also
want to avoid pirate hotspots. The rest can be divided up between
engineering, fighting, and trading as you see fit. On the other
hand, you should really hire mercenaries to compensate for
deficiencies in those areas.


2.2   HOW DO I VIEW MY CURRENT ATTRIBUTES?

Command / Commander Status. The first number is your stat. The
next number is the "overall stat" (i.e. after any mercenaries and
gadgets have been counted).


2.3   HOW DO I IMPROVE SPECIFIC ATTRIBUTES?

You... can't. Space Trader does not allow one to enhance specific
attributes. You may occasionally run into "alien learning
machines" or the special 'elite captains', or even the occasional
'bottle of brew' which will improve one of your stats (it may
cost you though). However, you can't choose what to improve...
it's all random.

The proper way to enhance a specific attribute is to hire a
mercenary with better ratings than you in that area. In general,
you want to hire mercs that are 9 or 10 in the area you are weak
at, while weak in the area you're good at to make them cheaper.
Mercs are pretty expensive at up to 95 credits DAILY. If you have
more than one, the costs can really add up.

You can also enhance the ship rating in the four areas by
installing a gadget. Damage Control computer increases
engineering, navigation computer enhances piloting, and targeting
computer enhances fighting.


2.4   HOW SHOULD I START?

Some players suggested you trade in your Gnat for a Flea, which
gives you more working capital, but a smaller ship. If you are in
a peaceful sector (minimal pirates), this may be workable.

Sell your pulse laser, as you probably don't need to fight. That
gives you extra money as well. You don't want to fight any one in
the beginning any way.

Borrow money from the bank. Even newbies can borrow 1000 cr,
which should be enough to help you get started.

When you got enough capital to buy goods, consider investing in
the gadget that adds a 5-unit cargo bay expansion. This allows
you to trade more goods, and thus, more profit.


2.5   HOW DO I SURVIVE?

You need to upgrade to a ship that has shields ASAP, and of
course, buy a shield! Even Firefly is more survivable than the
Gnat. (See Ship References in [3])  Of course, making that
initial 20k cr is going to take some serious trading on your
part.

Remember, you can always surrender. You may lose most of your
cargo, but it's better than losing the entire ship.


2.6   HOW DO I MAKE MONEY?

Trading makes more money than anything else. It is possible to
make up to 30-50K credits in a single trip, NOT counting
contraband. Contraband can make 75K or more per run.

Initially, you have only 1000 cr, so you can't afford much. Try
borrowing 1000 cr from the bank to give you 2000 cr. That should
be able to increase your profit substantially. Just remember to
pay it back when you can. Interest DOES accumulate...

Pirating makes a bit of money, but you'll be constantly chased by
the police and not able to move to different planets in search of
better prey or trading. You also never know what you can find in
those ships... Could be anything from water to robots.

Bounty-hunting is a very dangerous profession. In Space Trader,
your shields only regenerate when you reach the next planet. So
you can only take on one or two enemies per trip (depending on
how much damage do you take on your shields). That means only a
few thousand credits per trip, and the risks are tremendous.


2.7   HOW DO I SAVE MONEY?

Your expenses are pretty minimal, but let's analyze them
nonetheless...

Fuel: you must pay this, no matter what. The larger the ship and
longer the jump, the more fuel you use. This is not controllable,
so don't worry about it. Usually it is under 20 cr per trip.

Repairs: get a ship with shields, and let shields take the damage
to minimize repairs. Don't travel to planets where you're likely
to encounter pirates or attackers. That way, no repairs, no
repair expenses. However, in general, repairs are just somewhat
more expensive than fuel.

Wormhole transit fee: if you use a wormhole you need to pay a
transit fee. This cannot be avoided except by avoiding wormholes
altogether. The cost is minimal (about 100 cr) , so forget about
it.

Newspaper: reading news costs 2 credits. When you have a lot,
this is nothing. But at the beginning, don't read any news.

Mercenary: every mercenary must be paid a daily salary, from 40
cr to 95 cr. The better the merc, the more he/she/it costs. Don't
hire mercenaries until you can afford them.

Insurance: you usually don't need insurance, esp. in the early
parts of the game. The cost outweighs the benefits, and cuts into
your operating capital. Only buy insurance when you go on very
dangerous assignments, like take out the Acamar space monster,
take out the Firefly, and so on.


2.8   HOW DO I AVOID PIRATES?

You need a high pilot rating to be successful fleeing from
pirates. Select the FLEE option, and hopefully you'll get away
from the pirate.

You can always SURRENDER the ship. The pirate gets to pick the
cargo to take from your cargo bay. However, they cannot take your
ship equipment or your cash.

There is an exception...  If you don't have any cargo in the
cargo bay, the pirate will extort you for money. Therefore,
ALWAYS keep 1 piece of cargo on the ship, doesn't matter what
type.

Worst case... use the escape pod... If you bought one. It's only
2000 credits, so you should definitely get one.


2.9   WHAT DO I DO WITH THE SPECIAL EVENTS?

Do NOT touch the "special" button until you are ready! (Read: At
least a fully-equipped Hornet) Some of those quests have a time
limit, and if you fail, there can be serious consequences!



3    The Galaxy
   

3.1   HOW GALAXY IS CREATED (I THINK)

The galaxy is randomly created for each game at the beginning.
Each system is randomly placed (roughly equal distribution), but
with one constraint: each system MUST have at least one other
system within 13 parsecs. The government type, system size, tech
level, and such are also randomly generated.

Then the wormholes are randomly added to the worlds, but at least
a certain number of parsecs apart. Most of them cross the galaxy,
but some may travel shorter distances.


3.2   HOW THE SUPPLY AND DEMAND WORKS (I THINK)

Every planet has resources it generates every game day. The
amount depends on the planet size.

At the beginning the game gives about 5-8 days of "stockpile" to
each planet, depending again on the planet's size.

If you empty the stockpile (buy out the inventory), it will take
the planet many days to replenish the stockpile. So if you
revisit the planet again and again, you'll eventually find
nothing for sale (or at least nothing that'll make money).

Tech level and government affect the price of the item. Communist
governments have lower prices than capitalist governments, and so
on.


3.3   THE PLANETS

The quests that involve specific planet names will always use the
same planet names. For example, the space monster will ALWAYS
attack Acamar, and so on.

Other quests and special events may show up at random planets.


3.4   TRAVELLING

Your ship has a jump range, and cannot be extended.

EXCEPTION: one of the quests, when complete, gives you a "fuel
compactor", which allows any ship to do 18 parsec jump. You will
need a gadget slot to install it, and the compactor costs 20000
to move to another ship.

While on the way, you may run into other ships, who can be
traders, pirates, police, aliens, or special encounters. See [4]
for more discussions on other ships.

If you have the Cloaking Device, the chances of you running into
others are decreased (but NOT eliminated!)


3.5   HOW TO LOOK FOR MARKET OPPORTUNITIES

In general, you want to shuttle between agricultural planets and
industrial/hi-tech planets, the more of them in a sector, the
better. The planets need to be as big as possible (they generate
more cargo).

You take food, fur, and low-tech items from the low-tech planets
to the high-tech planets, and you bring back things like
medicine, robots, machines, and so on.

Use the galactic chart and look for the different systems and
their governments, and look for the two near each other. You
should be able to locate some nearby. Also avoid anarchy
governments as such planets are always full of pirates.

One very lucrative route is to smuggle narcotics between hi-tech
(or post industrial) and theocracy. You can make over 1000
credits per cargo unit if you make it, depending on exact
circumstances. I've seen the profit go as high as 1500 cr per
cargo unit.


3.6   GOING LONG DISTANCES VIA WORMHOLES

When you need to go to a specific place for a quest, look at the
galactic chart first. It may be possible to go through the
wormhole and get there much faster.



4     Fighting and Fleeing
   
You will do a lot of fighting and fleeing in Space Trader. They
are the only ways your ship can stay alive.


4.1   FIGHTING

I haven't looked in the source code, so this is my impression of
how it works. it may not be accurate.

You have your ship, the other side has their ship.

One side initiates the attack (usually, that's the attacker). He
uses his FIGHT rating and "shoots".

The target uses the PILOT rating to see if the shot lands.

If the shot lands, the ship then have the ENGINEER run a dice
roll to see how much damage is actually done.

The damage is applied to shields if there are some installed. The
remaining is applied to the hull strength. When the hull strength
reaches 0 (the hull is all black) the ship blows up.

The two sides will take turns shooting at each other until either
one side is destroyed, or flees, or surrenders..


4.2   IMPLICATIONS OF FIGHTING

The better your pilot rating, the less hits you will take.

The better your fight rating, the more hits you will make.

The better your engineer rating, the less damage you will take.

The more weapons you have (and the better they are, military
laser being best), the more damage you will do when you hit.


4.3   FLEEING

When one of the ships in a battle chooses to flee, the other ship
may choose to continue the attack. Depending on the piloting
skill of the fleeing ship, this chase can be very short, or quite
long. The fleeing ship may continue to take damage.

Success in fleeing depends on the pilot rating. The better the
pilot rating and the smaller the escaping ship, the more likely
he will get away.


4.4   CHASING

If the ship you're targeting chooses to flee, you can elect
continue ATTACK (which means you chase him), or IGNORE (which
ends the encounter).

If you attack, he MAY still get away, or he may even surrender to
you.

The better your pilot rating, the less likely your target will
get away.


4.5   YOU SURRENDER

If you surrender to pirates, they will take all your cargo. If
you have no cargo, they will take a LOT of your money, or if you
have no money, they will extort you for more.

[Developer's Tip: Always carry one unit of cargo, even if it's
just water]

If you surrender to police (contraband?) you'll likely go to jail
and receive a big fine.

You may surrender in other instances, that will be discussed
later.


4.6   YOUR OPPONENT SURRENDERS

If your opponent surrenders, you can choose to accept the
surrender, or continue to attack.

If you accept the surrender, you get to loot his cargo (anything
he has). You can "dump" some of your existing cargo to make room
if needed.

If you continue attack, your opponent will attempt to flee.


4.7   GENERAL FIGHT/FLEE  TIPS

Invest in good equipment when you can. A military laser does a
LOT of damage compared to pulse laser. On the other hand, a pulse
laser is better than no laser at all.

Hire mercenaries to help you flee or fight as you see fit.

Get shields as soon as possible. You need those to survive. Even
the cheap energy shield is better than nothing.

Get gadgets that improve those ratings.



5     Other ships
   
The other ships you encounter roughly falls into the following
categories: police, pirates, neutral traders, aliens, and special
encounters.


5.1   POLICE

Police use all sorts of ships, everything from Gnats to Wasps,
with all sorts of crew and equipment.

They may occasionally demand you to stop for inspections. You can
FLEE, SUBMIT, FIGHT, or BRIBE.

If you FLEE, you will run away from the ship via the standard
"flee" procedure. The chances of you doing that is dependent on
your pilot rating vs. their pilot rating.  As you are running
away from the police, your record immediately changes to
"dubious". This has consequences, as you will make less money on
sales, you lose credit at the bank, and so on.

If you SUBMIT, the police will check your cargo for contraband.
If you actually have contraband onboard, you'll get a chance to
countermand that. However, if you do let them search and they DID
find contraband, you may be fined heavily and/or go to jail for a
period of time.

If you FIGHT, you fight the cops similar to the pirates, and you
get the "dubious" reputation. Depending on how far you go (like
destroying dozens of cops), you can go as far as "psycho".

If you BRIBE, the police will shut up in exchange for payment.
Beware that SOME police cannot be bribed. The payment is usually
QUITE expensive (10000 cr or more). However, if you make enough,
this may not be a bad idea.


5.2   PIRATES

Pirates comes in all sizes as well, and all sorts of equipment
and crew levels.

When you encounter a pirate, you can FIGHT, FLEE, or SURRENDER.

Pirates want you to surrender. If you surrender, they take as
much of your cargo as they can fit into their cargo bay. Mostly,
they leave you with nothing.

You can FLEE, which means you outrun the pirate. The chances of
you doing that is dependent on your pilot rating vs. their pilot
rating.

You can FIGHT, which means you hit the pirate until either of you
decided to flee instead, and actually get away, or surrenders.


5.3   NEUTRAL TRADERS

You can find fellow traders in the space ways. You can choose to
ignore them, or you can trade with them in space. It's up to you.

Personally, I don't trade in space, as I have NO IDEA what the
prices SHOULD be.

You can set Preferences so you ALWAYS ignore neutral traders.


5.4   ALIENS

You may encounter alien ships in the galaxy, esp. if you are on
specific quests. The alien ships are tough, but not impossible to
beat. In any case it is quite possible to run from them.

In one of the quests, you have an artifact you must deliver, but
it's an alien artifact and the aliens want it. If you surrender
in one of those fights with aliens, the aliens will take the
artifact, and the quest will end.


5.5   OTHER ENCOUNTERS

You may occasionally encounter other ships, esp. on quests, but
sometimes at random.

One of the random encounters is a special captain. The name is
randomly picked from a list, but they're always in a Wasp, and
they want to meet you. Basically, you have either military
laser(s) or reflective shield(s). That captain needs one in a
hurry, and they will raise one of your skills in exchange for the
item. Basically, you're trading 20000 to 30000 cr to raise one
stat.

Another random encounter is for a bottle of enhancing tonic.
However, the chances for this tonic to work are... low. The
expiration date can't be read. Still it doesn't hurt to try it.

Another random encounter is for the Marie Celeste, a Flea that
appears to be abandoned. There's some cargo onboard, but if you
attempt to remove it, police may come after you.



6    Career Paths
   
There are many career paths in Space Trader... Trader, Bounty
Hunter, Pirate, and Smuggler.


6.1   TRADER

Trader is the way to make the most money. Some commodities (non-
contraband) can make up to 150 cr profit per unit. Some really
expensive stuff like robots and such may even reach 1000 cr per
unit profit.

To make money trading, you need to locate the right market, make
money both ways, and be ready to move to another market when this
market runs out of things to buy and sell.


6.2   BOUNTY-HUNTER

Bounty-hunters go out and hunt pirates. This is a VERY dangerous
profession, and the rewards aren't that good. You make anywhere
between 50 to 2500 per kill, depending on the ship and the
equipment onboard.

You need to be very nicely equipped, and don't fight more than
you can handle. It is tough living.

Occasionally you may be able to pick up a unit of cargo from the
wreckage of the pirate you killed, but that's few and far in
between.

You can also accept pirate surrender, in which case you take as
much of cargo as you can, and let them go.


6.3   PIRATE

Piracy actually is a lousy way to live. Other pirates are
constantly trying to kill you. The police are after you, and the
traders can fight back. And you have NO IDEA what you're going to
get from the next target... Water, or robots? Or anything in
between? You may not even be able to sell that cargo!

Still piracy is almost pure profit (except fuel costs, and
initial outfitting of the ship).

You will need a decent ship, preferably one with more weapons
than shields, and good FIGHT and PILOT ratings.


6.4   SMUGGLER

Smuggler is basically a trader that deals on contraband. His ship
is usually fast, nicely protected, and probably has a cloaking
device. Profit in contraband can be very good, but the police
will always be after you.


6.5   MIXED

The best way to make money is be trader until you worked your way
all the way up to the Hornet or Wasp. Then you can start making
kills, indulge occasionally in smuggling, and start making your
reputation.



7    Developer's Tips
   
These tips are found on the official website.

  ú    It is best to travel with at least one of your cargo bays
     full, if only with a canister of water. That way, if you have to
     surrender to pirates, they will find at least something to steal
     and won't resort to extorting you. Besides, when one of the
     pirate ships in a system has robbed you, he will probably have
     sent the message to the other pirates in the system that you are
     picked clean, and in all likelihood the others will leave you
     alone after that.
     
  ú    Special situations in a system, like war, a cold spell, or
     boredom, last a while. It may be worth your while to bring such a
     system the goods they require from neighbouring systems, since
     you can sell them with great profit. Newspapers may give
     information on special situations on nearby systems.
     
  ú    When you find two systems close to each other which require
     goods which the other one produces cheaply, you might find it
     tempting to keep travelling between them. However, since it will
     take a while before the stock of a system is replenished, this
     usually works only for a few short days. After that, you better
     seek your luck elsewhere.
     
  ú    Be warned that when you become richer, you will attract
     stronger types of pirates. Also, when the police starts to
     consider you a real villain, they will send more and stronger
     ships after you.
     
  ú    Sometimes you get an offer to go on a special assignment for
     someone. You should remember, that if this assignment would be
     easy, the person who offers it to you would probably do it
     himself. So don't be too eager to follow up on such an
     assignment, unless you are fairly sure that you can stand your
     ground when things get a bit troublesome.
     
  ú    Don't be a hero. You have only got one life. Fleeing is an
     option.
     


8    Kasey's Tips
   
I generally play a regular trader, and only later branch into
smuggling and bounty-hunting. I don't do pirating as it doesn't
make enough money for me. Initially you don't have enough of a
ship to do pirating any way.


8.1   USE THE AVERAGE PRICE LIST A LOT

The average price list is your most important screen in Space
Trader. Set it to "relative price" mode, and it will tell you
what commodities are available in the current system can be sold
for a profit if taken to the target system.

For example, if the screen says Cheron, medicine is in bold and
says +22 cr, that means if you take medicine to Cheron, you can
make 22 credits for every unit you sell (subject to fuel costs,
price fluctuations, and so on).

However, before you buy the commodity, use the system info to
make sure you're not flying into a pirate's nest.


8.2   SMUGGLING ONLY WHEN IT'S REALLY WORTH IT

In general, you should not smuggle unless the profit is extreme,
and I mean over 300 credits per unit, more like 500-1000 cr per
unit.

It is best to earn "trusted" police rating before you even
attempt smuggling. At that rating, police inspect you less than
normal.

Having a cloaking device would help, but that cost 90000 cr!

If you get caught, try bribing. Usually the bribe is not that bad
compared to the profit margin, and it preserves your police
rating.

However, sometimes, you just have to FLEE. Run for it, and with a
high enough pilot rating, you should be able to get away. Then
just make it to your destination, sell the stuff, buy some
innocent stuff and leave. You have to survive until the "next
day" when the police will simply inspect you rather than
demanding you to surrender.


8.3   TRY TO MAKE PROFIT ON EVERY RUN

Even if you have to carry commodities that only shows like 1 or 2
cr profit. At least you've covered the fuel costs.


8.4   AVOID FIGHTS UNTIL YOU CAN WIN THEM

That means don't fight any one until you have a fully outfitted
fighter, like Hornet or Wasp. Before, then, just FLEE.


8.5   GET ESCAPE POD ASAP

If your ship was destroyed, your game ends, unless you have an
escape pod.

Also, you MUST have escape pod in order to buy insurance.

Thus, an escape pod is a "must-have".


8.6   BORROW FROM THE BANK INITIALLY FOR MORE CAPITAL

You start with only 1000 cr, which can't buy much. By borrowing
another 1000 cr from the bank, you should be able to buy some
more commodities for trading, and earn more profit as a result.


8.7   BUY INSURANCE ONLY WHEN YOU NEED IT

Insurance in Space Trader is expensive in general. However, the
rate goes down for every day of no-claim, up to 90% discount.

Still, insurance is not really needed until you have a bit of
money, and maybe not even then (it's called "self-insured").

Consider buying insurance just before going on a dangerous quest.
It'll cost a LOT to buy insurance with zero no-claim, but
spending 1000 cr a day for 5 days is better than not buying it
and losing a 250000 cr ship, right?



9    Ship References
   
The ships will be listed with all their stats. The WSGC stands
for weapon slots, shield slots, gadget slots, and crew quarters.


9.1   FLEA

A Flea is cheap and tiny. It is essentially your escape pod with
a fuel tank and a cargo bay. It has ONLY 25 hull pts and 10 cargo
spaces. However, it can jump 20 parsecs, the longest of all
ships.

If you eject from a dying ship, your escape pod can be converted
into Flea for 500 credits.

Hull: 25  Cargo: 10 Jump: 20  W/S/G/C: 0 / 0 / 0 / 1

Suitable for: nothing, except getting you to a system where you
can buy another ship

Survivability: F (a kick in the shins will blow this ship up)

Pros: cheap, long range

Cons: not likely to survive in this ship except in the quietest
sectors.


9.2   GNAT

Gnat is your starting ship. It is a suitable ship for a starting
trader, but lack of shields means it wouldn't last in anything
except the safest systems.

Hull: 100 Cargo: 15 Jump: 14  W/S/G/C: 1 / 0 / 1 / 1

Suitable for: trading

Survivability: D (no shields!)

Pros: you start with this ship for free, and it's... bearable

Cons: no shields, low cargo


9.3   FIREFLY

Firefly is the ultimate small ship. It has excellent jump range,
large cargo bay, and a shield slot, making it far more survivable
than the Gnat.

Hull: 100 Cargo: 20 Jump: 17  W/S/G/C: 1 / 1 / 1 / 1

Suitable for: trading

Survivability: C (single shield slot)

Pros: has some of everything, good all-around beginner's ship

Cons: expensive for a small ship, no extra quarters for mercs and
such


9.4   MOSQUITO

Mosquito is the smallest combat-oriented ship you can buy,
excellent for bounty-hunting or pirating. Its main problem is its
short legs, at only 13 parsecs.

Hull: 100 Cargo: 15 Jump: 13  W/S/G/C: 2 / 1 / 1 / 1

Suitable for: pirating / bounty-hunting

Survivability: C

Pros: 2 weapons put you ahead of other small ships (except other
Mosquitos)

Cons: low jump range, low cargo space


9.5   BUMBLEBEE

Bumblebee is a larger firefly, with slightly more cargo space,
gadget slot, shield slot, AND crew quarter, so now you can
finally hire a mercenary.

Hull: 100 Cargo: 25 Jump: 15  W/S/G/C: 1 / 2 / 2 / 2

Suitable for: trading

Survivability: B (double shields)

Pros: survivable, lots of gadgets, room for mercenary

Cons: small cargo space for a medium ship


9.6   BEETLE

Beetle is a very weak freighter, with weak hull, and NO weapons.
It, however, has a huge cargo bay, and THREE crew quarters.
Still, it is not really survivable, and thus not recommended. If
you must use it, visit only safe systems.

Hull: 50  Cargo: 50 Jump: 14  W/S/G/C: 0 / 1 / 1 / 3

Suitable for: trading

Survivability: C- (single shield)

Pros: huge cargo bay, lots of crew

Cons: lousy hull, no weapons, lousy jump range


9.7   HORNET

Hornet is mainly meant as a shooter, with 3 weapon slots. It can
be a dangerous ship in hands of right crew.

Hull: 150 Cargo: 20 Jump: 16  W/S/G/C: 3 / 2 / 1 / 2

Suitable for: pirating / bounty-hunting

Survivability: B (double shields)

Pros: 3 weapon slots for lots of firepower

Cons: lousy cargo room, minimal gadget space


9.8   GRASSHOPPER

Grasshopper is a more "civilized" Hornet. It gave up one weapon
for larger cargo bay, 2 more gadget slots, and one more crew
quarter.

Hull: 150 Cargo 30  Jump: 15  W/S/G/C: 2 / 2 / 3 / 3

Suitable for: everything

Survivability: B+ (extra gadget slots)

Pros: very "average" ship, okay in everything

Cons: jack of all trades, expert at nothing


9.9   TERMITE

Termite is the largest trading ship you can get, and the only
ship with 3 shield slots! With a monstrous 60 space cargo bay,
you can buy out entire inventory of a planet! Its only problem is
its lack of range...

Hull: 200 Cargo: 60 Jump: 13  W/S/G/C: 1 / 3 / 2 / 3

Suitable for: trading

Survivability: A+ (3 shield slots!)

Pros: HUGE cargo bay, 3 shield slots

Cons: lousy jump range, minimal weapons


9.10  WASP

Wasp is the ultimate ship, with strong hull, 3 weapon slots, two
shield slots, 2 gadget slots, and three crew quarters, AND 35
spaces of cargo.

Hull: 200 Cargo: 35 Jump: 14  W/S/G/C: 3 / 2 / 2 / 3

Suitable for: everything

Survivability: A- (2 shield slots, but lots of room for gadgets)

Pros: 3 weapons AND 2 shield slots makes this the ultimate
attacker

Cons: extremely expensive, lousy jump range



10   Gadget and Equipment references
   
Note: Special items, such as lightning shield and trash compactor
cost 20000 cr to move to a new ship. The special anti-laser
coating of the Scarab cannot be moved to another ship.


10.1  WEAPONS

There are three types of lasers: pulse lasers, beam lasers and
military lasers, in order of damage done.

Two weak lasers is better than one medium laser.

Military lasers are only sold on hi-tech worlds.


10.2  SHIELDS

There are two types of shields: energy shields and reflective
shields.

You need at least "industrial" world to buy reflective shields.


10.3  GADGETS

extended cargo bay (5 extra spaces): useful for most traders,
this extends the cargo bay so you can carry more commodities. It
is also cheap

navigation computer: increases your effective piloting skill by 3

targeting computer: increases your effective fighting skill by 3

auto-repair system: increases your effective engineering skill by
3

cloaking device: reduces your chance of being detected, also
depends on your engineering skill (the better you are, the less
likely someone will find you). In a fight, it also makes you
harder to hit and more likely to escape.


10.4  TRADE-IN

Equipment cannot be transferred between ships in ST. When you
sell off a ship, you sell off all the equipment with it as well.
The total value of the and the equipment is given as the trade-in
value for the ship. You then buy a ship with nothing in it, and
must outfit it again.


10.5  ESCAPE POD

You can buy an escape pod for 2000 cr at most shipyards.

If your ship has an escape pod, it will be used automatically
when your ship blows up. Rescue service will pick you up and drop
you off at the nearest planet, where you can convert that pod to
a Flea to continue your journey.

If you had purchased insurance, see next section.


10.6  INSURANCE

If you have an escape pod installed, you can at the bank buy
insurance for your ship.

If you have insurance the bank will refund your ship's trade-in
value in the case of an escape pod ejection. Remember, trade-in
is 25% lower, so this is nowhere NEAR the replacement cost of the
ship. Still, it's better than losing everything.

You have to pay a daily rate, which depends on the worth of your
ship, for the insurance. This rate will drop 1% for every day you
don't claim, up to a reduction of 90%.

Since the no-claim gets transferred to a new ship when you buy
one, it may be useful to rack up your no-claim days with a cheap
ship, before you buy an expensive one.

After an ejection, you have to buy a new escape pod and thus new
insurance. Your no-claim will be reset to 0% when that happens.



11   Quest and Special Events
   
Note: You can have maximum of 4 quests active at once (except the
final "go to your moon and claim it" quest, which counts
separately).

This list is by no means complete. If you spot one that's not
here, or if you have more details, please contact me!


11.1  QUESTS YOU GET ON PLANETS

You get one of these quests when you click on the "special"
button at the system information screen. Or you can get one of
the special events (next section).


11.1.1     Space Monster
     
Quest: Space Monster is attacking Acamar. Go destroy it.

Opponent: The space monster is a pretty tough opponent. Do not
tackle unless you have a Hornet or Wasp, 2 reflective shields, 3
military lasers, and a GOOD fight rating.

Reward: ??


11.1.2     Scarab
     
Quest: The Scarab, an advanced ship with a hull coating that can
ONLY be damaged by pulse laser, has been stolen. Go destroy it.

Opponent: Scarab can only be damaged by pulse laser, and you'll
have to chase it down

Reward: You can get that coating applied to your ship. However,
the coating cannot be transferred to another ship.


11.1.3     Firefly
     
Quest: Firefly, the ship with advanced lightning shield
prototype, has been stolen. It was last seen at _____

Opponent: Firefly is not a hard ship to destroy if you have a
fully outfitted warship (Hornet or Wasp, fight rating of 9 or
higher, and so on)

Reward: you get a lightning shield as reward


11.1.4     Warn the doctor
     
Quest: Travel to _____ and warn the doctor not to perform the
experiment, or the universe will be ripped apart!

Opponent: just time... 6 days or less

Reward: Portable Singularity for instant jump to any planet

Failure: if you warp between systems you may be thrown in a
random direction and emerge elsewhere.


11.1.5     Warn alien invasion
     
Quest: You must travel to _____ and warn the local defenses about
an alien invasion.

Opponent: just time

Reward: fuel compactor? (gives any ship range 18 jump)

Failure: the planet gets blasted back into pre-agricultural
anarchy


11.1.6     Take the diplomat home
     
Quest: Take the diplomat home to Devidia.

Requires: a free living quarter

Reward: price haggling computer?


11.1.7     Take the Criminal Home
     
Quest: Take the crimianl home to ________

Requires: a free living quarter, negative reputation (you only
get this quest if you have negative reputation. If you have
positive reputation, you'll see the diplomat quest instead).

Complications: the police will be after you all the way

Reward: You get a Merc for free (supposedly?) and your record's
reset to "neutral".


11.1.8     Deliver medicine to plague planet
     
Quest: Deliever special medicine to a plague-stricken planet

Requires: 10 cargo space

Run the cargo to that colony

Reward: _____


11.1.9    Alien Artifact
     
Quest: Take this alien artifact, and search for the scientist,
who only said he'll be visiting a hi-tech system (but not which
one!)

Requires: none

Complications: Alien Mantis ships will be chasing you all over
the place. If you can't fight them, surrender, and they'll take
the artifact.

Reward: just some more credits.


11.2  SPECIAL EVENTS


11.2.1    Alien Learning Machine
     
You get to use the alien learning machine for 3000 cr, but you
can't pick the skill to learn


11.2.2    A Wondrous Item
     
Someone offers to sell you a "wondrous item" for 1000 cr.

It turns out to be a tribble. And yes, just like the tribbles on
Star Trek.

If you load up any food, they multiply like crazy.

If you load up any narcotics, some of them turn into fur.

The only way to get rid of them permanently is to visit a planet
where they'll pay you 5 cr per tribble onboard. However, to
locate such a planet, you'll have to check the "News".


11.2.3     Erase your Record
     
Someone offers to erase your police record if you pay him
________

It works, and if you trade or smuggle a lot, it may be worth it.


11.2.4     Buy a Moon
     
If you pay 500000 cr, you can obtain a small moon at Utopia
system, and retire to it. That would be the ultimate retirement.


11.2.5     Sealed containers
     
A second-hand dealer wants to sell you 3 sealed cargo units for
1000 cr. It could be anything from water to robots. Do you buy?


11.3  SPACE WAY ENCOUNTERS

There aren't that many space encounters, but they are usually
beneficial.


11.3.1    Captain needs shield
     
This only happen if you have at least one reflective shield
onboard.

A captain in a Wasp requests a meeting. He asks that you give him
your reflective shield in exchange for some training.


11.3.2    Captain needs laser
     
This only happen if you have at least one military laser onboard.

A captain in a Wasp requests a meeting. He asks that you give him
your military laser in exchange for some training.


11.3.3    Marie Celeste
     
You ran into this tiny Flea that seem to be abandoned. It has 10
units of cargo onboard. Do take a chance and grab it?

If you grab the cargo, there's a GOOD chance cops will shop up
and attempt to arrest you. You can flee. It's up to you.


11.3.4    Enhancing Tonic
     
You may run into a bottle of enhancing tonic, with no readable
expiration date. It will do something to your stats, but what it
will do precisely is not known.



12   Miscellaneous
   
Nothing at this time.

--THE END--

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