Sharoma Frontierverse Guides Manoeuvres


Following on from the Basics guide, this page will tutor you in some simple manoeuvres. For our American friends, that should read 'maneuver'. Flying around and playing the fool is what Frontier is all about. Sections on this page:

Check the Combat page for more fighting tips.

Basic killing

This section isn't really a tutorial per se, more a showcase of some of my exploits for you to emulate. Learning how to fend off numerous police ships is an excellent way to hone your combat skills and flying so close to a planet surface, with gravity, will improve your ship handling.

Laser test

'Laser test'

Sooner or later, you're going to want to start causing trouble. Target a ship that's landed at the space port. Once locked on, fire your missile and then swoop around the port and its hinterland firing your weapons.

Golden Gate bridge

'Golden Gate bridge'

Try and destroy famous landmarks. I even had time for photograph before I opened fire. (It's a shame that you can't actually destroy objects in Frontier.)

The Police appear

'The Police appear'

Once the police appear, start picking them off one by one. The training of Federal, Imperial and Independent Police forces leaves a lot to be desired. After you've shot down a few of them, they'll get desperate and attempt to ram you. Keep your wits about you.

Missile avoidance! Activate ECM!

'Missile avoidance! Activate ECM!'

The Police will often launch missles at you. If you have Naval ECM, use it. If the missiles fired at you are Navy Class themselves, well then fly around like a madman, and dive like with the determination of a Stuka pilot and hope the missile hits the ground.

Hyperspace Cloud Analyser

'Hyperspace Cloud Analyser'

Most pilots and police forces carry one of these. It's a vital piece of equipment for giving chase. However, it isn't always accurate. Commander Stott and I once followed a supposedly 88 tonne ship into the Sirius system. It turned out it was a 2000 tonne Panther Clipper!

Docking & landing



Landing manually outside a designated landing zone isn't illegal unless you're told otherwise. It's known as landing rough and is simple enough to do. Here I am in the process of landing in the Central Business District of Olympus Village. Sky-scrapers and office blocks dominate the corporate H.Q. of the Federal systems. Landing manually will take some practice but is really rewarding. You can even land on the top of buildings. Take that Vegaline Corporation!

To land, bring your ship level with the ground (switching to outside view - press F1 - will help) and lower your under-carriage. If on a planet with an atmosphere (like Earth) turn off your engines and let gravity take you down slowly. Your ship will descend slowly and land. If the planet has no atmosphere, keep engines on but only have a very slight forward thrust applied. Tilt the ship down slightly and descend. When you are about 50-100m from the ground 'level up' and you should land safely. It's important to be parallel with the ground as you enter your final descent.

Docking at a Space Station

'Docking at a Space Station'

Docking manually at a space station without causing damage can become a quite complicated task for large ships. You have to remember that the forward view in some craft, like the Panther Clipper, is not the centre axis of the ship. As a result you have to aim not at the middle of the docking bay of a station but at a point somewhere in the upper half of the back wall of the dock. One trick is to use the outside view to look at your ship from a point in front of it and align your ship such that you look at it from within the station and it keeps well clear of the dock walls. In a station you may keep your landing gear up to keep your ship as small as possible.

Landing at a space station, unless you do it all manually, is easy. In fact, if your autopilot is targeted at a starport on a planet you need to do nothing. As your ship nears the planet, it will automatically enter the atmosphere, request clearance, lower the undercarriage and begin to take you down slowly. You may watch this or just speed it up using stardreamer. Landing manually, however, is a bit more tricky. Descend slowly through the sky until you are at about 100m altitude, ask for clearance and fly so you are above the bay number you were instructed to use. Lower your undercarriage, set your speed to approximately 50km/h and fly downwards. When you are 20m high, straighten up, level your ship and set speed to zero. Using the outside view will help in getting your ship level with the ground and above the bay. Now, gravity should slowly take you down to a smooth landing but if the planet has no atmosphere, apply 10km/h of thrust and tilt your nose downwards slightly. When 10m high, correct this foward thrust, level up and you should land.

Sightseeing & observation

Olympus City, Mars

'Olympus City, Mars'

A nice panoramic view of Olympus City, with Mount Olympus in the background. Sightseeing can be a very rewarding aspect of Frontier. Despite the simple graphics the detail can be surprising. To fly low at a steady speed just take off and put your set speed to about 100km/h or even less and let your engines glide you along. Make sure you keep your nose level with the horizon and don't fly too low.

A church in Olympus City

'A church in Olympus City'

You can fly through all the domes on planets without a breathable atmosphere and land between the buildings. If you do this for the transparent domes at Ross 154 you will find in one dome administration buildings of Vega Line, the Sirius Corporation and other trading houses. In the second dome there is the usual combination of concrete blocks and green patches in between with scattered brick houses. It is definitely fun to fly between the buildings and look at your surroundings. Agriculture domes are a bit boring, because they contain nothing more than lots of green balls at ground level. Domes that are not transparent can be entered too but contain absolutely nothing. It is interesting that they present no obstacle. If you land in one of these domes, use your outside view to look at your surroundings.

In every major city that has more than a space port and industry you can find churches with working clocks. The cities are structured as large blocks of ugly concrete buildings with patches of green between them (maybe the same design companies were recruited who rebuilt Britain's inner cities in the 1960s). There are scattered brick houses and every now and then a little church. Try to rough land in the vicinity of such a church and watch the clock on the church steeple. Use time acceleration for better effect. If you are close enough you can even read the Roman numerals on the clock face and hear the clock striking the hour with a chiming noise. The buildings give you an interesting impression of the size of your ship.

Asp Explorer, flying at altitude

'Asp Explorer, flying at altitude'

A breathtaking shot of my Asp Explorer (KV-514) over New San Francisco. It's likely that the original city was levelled in a large earthquake. Maybe that explains why the bridge on the site of the Golden Gate bridge is silver. Notice my HUD contains four Navy missiles, a Hyperspace Cloud Analyser, Escape pod, Naval ECM and an Energy bomb. The space empty is reserved for a military camera or an MB4 Mining machine.

Lion Transporter, landed

'Lion Transporter, landed'

Despite it being a terribly flawed vessel, I have a peverse love for the Lion. It comes painted in a variety of whacky colours, and has a unique shape to it.

Fuel scooping

Fuel scooping Barnards Star 4

'Fuel scooping Barnards Star 4'

To fuel scoop a gas giant (or even a star), aim at the horizon and set your speed to 15,000km/h. Use time acceleration for this brief period if you prefer and decelerate to keep the target tunnel frames coming at constant speed; when the atmosphere gets visible, aim for the middle and reduce your speed to 4000km/h. The fuel scoop will first fill up the cargo space and then the internal tanks. Once done, pull up and power off. Remember, you will need atmospheric shielding to fuel scoop. Fuel scooping from a star is the same, but the risk factor is increased. As well as atmospheric shielding you will need a couple of shield generators.

Fuel scooping from both gas giants and stars results in hydrogen fuel, which you can use or sell for a profit. Since there is an unexhaustible supply, fuel scooping can make an altruistic enterprise if you notice a certain station is always low on fuel.

(The indicated altitude of 0m in the screenshot seems to be a bug.)

Dumping radioactives

Dumping radioactives over Tokyo

'Dumping radioactives over Tokyo'

One way to get rid of the radioactive waste from military drives is to dump it into space right out of your cargo bay. If you are in a system where a strong police force is watching this can get you in trouble even if you dump directly after your jump into the system. In such systems you should simply sell your waste or (if radioactives are illegal) find a reliable merchant on the black market who will charge you a fee to take it away.

You can have loads of fun if you try dumping the waste somewhere where it's highly illegal. A space port, for example. Some people prefer to dump their radioactives into the still open landing bay of an underground space port. You can even fling your waste into a long range cruiser that waits outside of some space stations. Of course you can do the same with mines for the thrill of finally seeing a mine hit something!

There seem to exist systems where you can get real money for your radioactives. Look out for systems in the state of civil war. Sometimes you can sell your radioactives there on the black market.

Hyperspace mis-jumps

A forced mis-jump

'A forced mis-jump'

Hyperspace mis-jumps occur when a jump goes badly wrong. This is often due to failure to adequately service your hyperdrive. If you don't service your drive at least twice a year, you are pushing your luck. When a mis-jump occurs, you'll end up in a totally random area of space, sometimes not even in a system at all. This is one concrete reason to always carry surplus fuel so you can get back somewhere remotely civilised.

To force your ship into mis-jump, line up the galactic map as you would when normally preparing for a jump, then press Alt-F8 or Alt and the jump icon at the same time. As shown in the picture, you will then be transported to a random location, anywhere in the galaxy, regardless of your jump range and fuel supply. So why do it? Well, for fun-- to be taken to an unknown and out-of-range system and see if you can survive to tell the tale, or to get away from pirates or anyone who is attacking you. Even if they have a hyperspace analyser on their ship, they still can't detect a mis-jump, so it is an ideal way to escape a predator.

Resultant random area

'Resultant random area'

As you can see, you will end up in a completely random location, often hundreds of sectors away from the core and often not even in a system, just in space. You can jump to nearby systems and you may even be able to make it back home, providing you have a fuel scoop, a reliable ship and plenty of patience!

More info & testing

Hi Robin,

Love your Frontierverse site -- funny and informative. I played
Frontier extensively in the '90s, and now that I have a horrible cold,
I'm drinking Lemsip and playing it again :-)

I've used forced mis-jumps before to explore the galaxy, and while
your site has a bit of info on them, I wanted to explore further. So
I've done some scientific (well, ish) tests. I performed 100 forced
mis-jumps with one setup, and 100 with another (reloading to the exact
same point after each jump).

1. Eagle with class 1 drive, max 8LY, jump Sol to Barnard's Star

65 jumps ended up in range of target
23 jumps destroyed the drive
2 jumps destroyed the whole craft
10 jumps ended up at distant places, of which: max = 967LY from
target, min 224LY, average 610LY

2. Cobra Mk 1 with class 3 drive, max 24LY, jump Sol to Laexla (-3, 0)

73 jumps ended up in range of target
9 jumps destroyed the drive
4 jumps destroyed the whole craft
14 jumps ended up at distant places, of which: max = 1134LY, min
150LY, average 659LY

So I think there's some stuff you can add, from this "research" :-)
Notably, around 1/8 mis-jumps end up wildly off target; the results
are random locations, but not "anywhere in the galaxy" it seems --
there's a range. Engine destruction is quite common, and there's a
small chance the whole craft can be wasted. Mis-jumps always land in
bare space, never in another system; you will always have to make
another jump, if possible, after mis-jumping.

Hope that's useful! Probably a better use of my time than just lying in bed :-)