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# Gameplay

ES is a tactical strategy game about three things: ship positioning, special item usage, and using the environment to your advantage.

The "meta" game is about fleet management: repairs, choosing armaments and choosing missions.

## Commanding your ships

Your ships will only move if you tell them where to go or if they detect a target nearby. Large ships (such as your flagship) will not move without instructions. To instruct a ship to move, hover your hand over a ship and click the trigger to drag and drop it. The ship will draw a movement path as you move your hand. If you drag and drop it onto an enemy ship, you will instead assign your ship to target that ship.

## Pausing Time and Selecting Ships

Depending on your platform, pressing the Vive Pad, Index A or the Oculus A/X button will slow the passage of time almost to nothing. This allows you to make decisions and plan your next move. Pressing the same button when you hover over a ship will select it. This is how you access your ship’s Special Items.

## Targets and Formations

All ships can have a target. Select your ship, then click trigger on the ship you want to set as the target (click it twice to unset the target). Unless AI is disabled, smaller ships will automatically move to attack their targets. If you assign a friendly ship as a target, then this ship will attempt to fly in formation with that ship. It will pick a formation position automatically.

If you want to assign the formation position, select your ship, then draw a path to the ship you want to be the leader of the formation and hold over it for a second. This will put you in formation mode - drop the target to set the formation position. Now your ship will attempt to maintain this position relative to the other ship, and will point in the same direction as the target ship.

If you give the ship a movement path now, it will do the path first then return to formation. Movement paths always take precedence. To remove the formation, simply give the ship another target or click on the leader again to unset the target.

## Targeting Specific Systems

To target specific systems on an enemy ship such as their shields, engines or weapons, first select their ship. Then zoom in using the grip buttons until the ship's system icons appear. Highight the system you want to target and click the trigger. A diamond shaped reticle should appear over it. All your ships will attempt to shoot at this system which increases your chances of disabling it. Disabled systems will be unusable until they are repaired (usually for around 15 seconds).

Some missions will require you to target specific systems on enemy ships.

## Equipment

There are several types of systems you can install on your ships:

Type Icon Description
Specials (square icon) items you can use that have a cooldown
XL Specials (square icon with a plus) your flagship's main weapon is one example
Weapons (triangle icon) These can go in certain spots on your ship. Each spot (hardpoint) has a certain firing arc that it can hit.
Mods (trapezoid icon) modify Weapon slots
Shields, Engines etc. (circle, square) These you cannot assign

## Combat Damage Basics

Ships have three levels of protection. Shields, armor and hull.

Shields provide 360° protection against damage. Armor is divided into 4 zones (forward, backward, left and right). Hull is also omnidirectional. Damage first penetrates your shields, then your armor, then the hull. When hull reaches zero, your ship will begin to explode. Dying ships will detonate immediately if upon receiving more damage.

Some weapons like missiles can bypass shields. Different types of weapons have varying effectiveness against shields, armor and hull. See the table below.

Type Description
Energy Energy weapons are effective against shields, less so against other types
Disruptors Very effective against shields, ineffective against armor and hull. Disables ship systems.
Missiles Bypass shields, but ineffective against armor.
Acidic Ineffective against shields and hull, very effective against armor
Piercing Ignores shields and armor

All weapons have limited firing arcs. This means they can only hit a ship when it passes within the turning radius of the weapon. Each ship has it's own set of hardpoints where weapons can be mounted, and each hardpoint may have a different firing arc.

Most weapons will automatically fire whenever a hostile can be hit. If you have specified a target for your ship, that target usually takes precedence. Some weapons, like the Fusion Beam may set your ships' target when used.

## Special Systems

Gif 2

Special systems are systems that will not fire automatically, and usually will have a bigger impact on the course of the battle. Special systems can come in several types. For most types, you will need to grab and drop the icon and place it where you want to target the effect of the item.

Type Description
Instant Effect happens as soon as you click it
Target Ship The item targets a single ship
Target Area The item targets a specific area, indicated by a sphere
Target Area + Direction Certain systems, like Fold and Inflector need a position and direction. Orient the icon in the direction of the intended effect.
Passive Not usable, item provides a constant benefit

All special systems will have a cooldown period before they can be used again. Systems can also be damaged or disabled, which will make them unusable for a time.

## Repairs and upgrades

You will collect scrap from destroyed enemies that can be used for repairs. You can also buy additional scrap from the starbase store. To repair your vessels, click the wrench icon from the Equipment page. It's recommended that you repair your ships after each battle. Since your ships explode when their hull reaches zero, you'll want to keep that from getting too low.

From the Equipment page you can also upgrade your ship's hull/armor, shields, engines and fighter compliment.

## Environment

There are several environmental objects you should be aware of

Object Description
Asteroids Explodes when destroyed, damaging nearby vessels. Asteroids come in small, medium and large and can take a varying amount of damage.
Dust cloud (Grey) Grants your ship invisibility (cloak) for a short time
Ionic clouds (Blue) Ionic clouds charge shields.
Unstable clouds (Red) damage ships
Dimensional rifts Pull nearby vessels and cause damage
Space mines Automatic mines that explode on contact
Turrets Stationary guns that defend an area. They lack armor in the rear.