The ship is navigated in full 3D space using realistic physics, with a flight assist system to help out the pilot as needed. Full real physics controlled by a human can quickly get out of control and become non-fun, so the flight assist option is enabled by default, and can be toggled on and off as needed for maneuvers.
(A) Main Map
The main map shows sensor objects around the ship. The map is aligned to the plane of the vessel, and objects that are above or below the ship are indicated with + or – pips next to the object’s icon. More pips are added the further away the item is. Map icons can be clicked on for more options, such as select as target, add to course waypoint, rotate ship to align with object, or send to science and/or tactical.
By default the main map is rotationally locked with the ship (the map objects rotate, and the ship always points “up”) and zoom controls are located to the left. Above the main map is a mini map that always shows the most zoomed out view.
(B) Mini Map
Above the main map is a smaller version of the map that shows a small version of the most zoomed out view of the main map. By default this map is rotationally fixed to global “map” orientation (the ship rotates). A swap control between the main and mini map allows the navigator to swap the 2 map types, making the main map be synced to the global map orientation and the mini map fixed to the ship.
(C) On Screen Movement controls
In addition to keyboard, mouse, and joysticks, there is a set of on screen controls to steer the ship and set the main throttle. On screen joysticks provide access to 6 degrees of motion (linear and rotation). The main throttle slider on the right sets the forward or reverse acceleration of the ship.
(D) Motion Display
The motion display shows information about where the ship is and how fast it’s moving. There are also controls to toggle the flight assist system on and off, as well as force the ship to stop moving in all axes.
(E) Course Plotter
The navigator can plot complex courses using waypoints provided by the course plotter. Once plotted the ship can automatically align itself and proceeded to waypoints in order, using ether sub-light drives (for local waypoints) or the FTL system for more distant locations.
(F) Course History
The list of previous waypoints is shown in the course history. Any item can be reloaded into the current course, or simply selected as the current navigation target.
(G) Navigational Database
The navigational database provides the navigator with information about all known systems, objects, and locations. The database is searchable. All available science information and last known locations are shown to the navigator in this display. The results of database searches can be used to plot courses. Databases updates can be provided by other ships, stations, or settlements.
(H) FTL Controls
The FTL system is a jump drive type system that requires a vector and a distance to jump. The vector is always relative to the ship’s location and may need to be updated if the ship moves before executing a jump. The vector and distance entered are desired results, and are fed into a Navigational Computer (NaviComp) that will do the required FTL jump computations to correctly and safely make the jump. These computations take time. Jumps of longer distances have more variables and take longer to compute and introduce additional inaccuracy in the exact destination location. Jumps to know locations from the navigational database can be computed quicker due to the database having cached components of the jump equations.
The FTL system must be charged before a jump can be made, but once charged the actual jump time is short. Items near the ship may be pulled into the jump, or damaged.
(I) Shield Inspector
The shield inspector shows the status of the 4 shield quadrants of the ship (shaped like orange slices). Any inbound beam weapons or munitions are shown on the outer ring to allow the pilot the opportunity for evasive maneuvers, or to spread damage over multiple shields.
(J) Ship Status
The status display shows a quick overview of the important ship properties, fuel, thruster power, maneuver power, and hull damage. Engineering has a much more detailed view, this is just to give the pilot a quick glance overview of what is available to them.