LIFE ON TITAN
This is where the wonders of Titan really begin. You're at the helm of you're own Moth and ready to make money and start moving up. But, first, you've got to get out of the hangar and find out where all of these opportunities you keep hearing about are to be found.
A good place to start is with the game's set up options discussed in my Basic Training Manual. This manual tells you how to install and set up the game and configure your controls and such. A downloadable version of the manual is available here.
Exiting A Hangar
It's not as simple as you might think. Most beginning pilots bump themselves nearly to death trying to get out of the initial hangar the game starts you in. Being able to enter and exit hangars quickly and smoothly is very important, especially if you're under fire.
There are three keys to exiting a hangar without beating yourself up. The first thing to do is make sure your throttle is centered or set to 0 before you launch and to make sure your joystick is centered and properly calibrated.
Next comes the moment of truth. As soon as you're in front of the doors make sure to steady your Moth to keep it pointed straight ahead. Don't let your self nose up or down, hold steady and adjust your throttle until you are as near hovering in the hangar bay as possible. Don't apply throttle until you're steady and pointed forward. This is the big key to exiting a hangar.
Now ease your throttle forward (or use the acceleration key ("a" by default)) to around one-half forward throttle. Don't rush it. You'll be able to whip out of hangars before you know it, but for now ease to half throttle until you've cleared the hangar bay. Now blast it. Don't try to make any turns. Just go straight out until you've cleared the bay.
NOTE: Many of the hangars you'll exit are quite busy. In these cases you want to avoid bumping into other Moths if you can. It's not a big deal if you do, you don't make enemies by bumping them, but you want to keep your shields up. Stay at one-third to one-half throttle until you're clear of the hangar bay and all nearby obstacles. If you're surrounded by obstacles use directional thrust (straight up) to gain some altitude and find a clearer flight path.
HINT: In the beginning, it's easier to fly if you have your laser or a Plasma Kannon selected for your weapon. You'll get a targeting square that shows you exactly where you're going.
Straight and Level Flight
The best way to learn how to get around without bumping into things is to practice flying slowly near the ground. Now go higher, around 1000 feet and level off. It helps to sight some buildings or the crater wall. Watch your altitude. If it's increasing or decreasing rapidly you need to adjust your nose up or down to compensate. You'll stall at around 2000 feet.
If you can get to a Software Shack, you can get Flight software level 2 which provides an attitude indicator which can help you steady your nose. The key if you get lost is to lower yourself until you can see ground (or water) and then fly along it.
NOTE: You never really fly straight and level. You'll always be adjusting your attitude to hit a tunnel or turn toward something. Even on long runs, you'll find that you'll make minor adjustments to your flight path. Hardwar is not an outer space game and a good bit of manuverability is needed just to get around. Practice flying near ground level and at around 1000 feet. Fly around buildings and try to find their hangar doors.
A Moth can go as fast backwards as it can forwards. This comes in handy for two reasons: It allows you to "brake" or stop your Moth quickly and it allows you to make quicker turns with a little practice.
Stopping is easy and saves your shields a lot of bruising. Just hit full reverse throttle until your Moth slows to the speed that you want. This comes in really handy when manually docking your Moth in a hangar or slipping into a Light Well. It also helps you gain needed distance in a close dogfight.
The Quick Turn
Many pilots discover this technique for themselves. In the Quick Turn, you use reverse thrust to whip your Moth around much quicker than you'd normally turn. Essential for dogfighting and quick entry to hangars.
To do a Quick Turn begin the turn at full forward throttle. When your turn is as sharp as it gets, quickly apply full reverse throttle until your nose whips around and your Moth begins to slow. Now go back to full forward throttle to complete your turn. It really doesn't take much practice to master this simple, but very effective technique. Essential for Neo-Tiger pilots.
Directional thrust refers to moving straight up or down or sliding left or right without moving the nose of your Moth. It comes in handy in all sorts of tight or evasive situations.
Quick Ascents and Descents -- To lower yourself quickly is important to scavenge goods on Titans surface. You can drop quickly by not only dipping your nose, but by applying downward directional thrust as well. The opposite applies for a quick, "get away" ascent. Nose up and upward directional thrust.
Sliding -- Sliding is going straight left or right without moving your nose. All you have to do is be flying, generally forward, as usual and apply left or right directional thrust. If you use a joystick, you can use a POV if you've got one. This comes in handy when you're attacking a target and someone else is firing on your rear. Sliding evades the attack while making it easy to keep your prey in your sights.
Tight Spots -- Sliding is wonderful for lining up with hangar doors that you've approached from an awkward angle. It also comes in handy for jockeying for position to enter a hangar with other Moths trying to get in, avoiding exiting Moths, and getting close to salvageable cargo and retrieving your drone quickly.
Hardwar doesn't have the plethora of targeting options that many mission-based games have. This is a blessing overall. You can play the game with a pretty simple controls' set-up. You can cycle through the Moths and salvageable objects on the surface by using the "Next Target" function ("y" key by default). I always keep this function on a handy button on my joystick. It cycles through targets that will appear as red triangles on your radar (bottom-right of your HUD) and shows up in your target view screen (bottom-left of your HUD). It always pays to know who and what's around you. Always.
NOTES: Buildings are not included in the Next Target function. You only cycle through the objects withing your Radar Range. It takes Radar software level 3 to target salvageable objects on Titans surface.
You can also target anything in your center reticule by hitting the "t" key for Target. I've also got this on my stick. It comes in particularly handy for targeting buildings that aren't on your "Local Services Menu" (discussed next). It's sometimes easier to target salvageable cargo using the Target function than cycling through all of the nearby targets or using "Radar Range" (explained next).
These are more sophisticated targeting options than the ones above. You access the below funcitons by opening your Navigational Menu ("n" key by default). Your Nav Menu has two very important options: Radar Range and Local services.
Local Services -- The Local Services Menu lets you target hangars that provide essential products and services to all pilots. The nearest Light Well is always included as is the local Trading Post, a repair and weapons shop, and the closest police station.
Radar Range -- This comes in handy when there are a lot of targetable objects around. Cycling through them all to find one you want just takes up too much time. Just click the Radar Range function and you'll get a buttoned list of the pilots and salvageable goods around you. Just click the objects name and you've got it targeted.
HINT: Get very fast at using all of your Nav Menu options until you can readily use the Nav Menu while in flight. HINT 2: When you're looking for the nearest Light Well, Just open the Nav Menu and click the Local Services Menu. The cursor falls on the nearest Light Well's button by default. Just click again quickly.
Well we're almost back to where we started exiting hangars. Entering a hangar is much trickier, but it really pays to learn to manually dock your Moth. Don't rely on Auto-Pilot. It will get you killed when you're entering a hangar under fire. Auto-Pilot takes over twelve seconds to get you safely inside. Most experienced pilots can manually hangar themselves within seven seconds. Remember, every second counts. You can be destroyed in the extra five seconds Auto-Pilot costs you.
The first thing you have to do to enter a hangar is to find a hangar that's open to the public. Start out with a trading post or repair shop or something. Target it and approach it.
The biggest difference between an Ace and a new pilot at this point is knowing where the hangar door is. Fly around the building until you see the door. Notice the rectangles eminating from the door. You must align yourself within these rectangles to activate the opening of the hangar door and enter the air lock.
On your first few attempts, just take it slow and easy and try to manuver into a good alignment. Don't forget directional thrust. Be patient. When the doors open, enter at one-third throttle and bump gently against the inner doors. Now try to maintain a very slight forward thrust until the hangar takes over and lets you in. It may take a few bumps to get inside.
When you get the above down, try entering faster and from odd angles. The method that works the best for me is to get really close to the door and whip around using the Quick Turn and directional thrust. I bump the outside doors. This almost always insures that you are aligned in the rectangles and that the door will be activated. Creep in when the doors open.
Next try to enter the bay as quickly as you can. Enter near full throttle and then hit full reverse to stop at the inner doors. Have some fun. Explore Misplaced Optimism and see what various hangars have to offer by browsing their stock. Before you know it, you'll know the best approach to every building on Titan from any angle. This is the true secret of the Ace's. They've done it dozens of times before.
Your Moth can't go over crater walls so you have to go from one crater to another through tunnels between the craters. These tunnels can be a nusiance when you're starting out, but a real lifesaver once you know how to use them.
It's important that you be able to find and enter a tunnel by using nothing more than the compass at the top of your HUD. Do this: Get some altitude and start a slow turn. You'll notice the names of craters appearing in your compass at the top of your screen. If you fly toward this coordinate, you'll go to the tunnel leading to that crater. Practice going from one crater to another without targeting anything. You should now be able to fly completely around Misplaced Optimism without having to target anything.
Get used to what each tunnel is like. Some are easy like the Gamma/Riverside tunnel. Straight and no monorail track to bump into. The worst are Alpha's tunnels. Curvy, humpy, and with twisted track. It doesn't take long to remember the best approach to each tunnel. Get your altitude on roughly the same level as the tunnel's entrance and line up with it before you hit it. Get good at hitting and getting through tunnels without bumping into anything.
Tunnels are a great friend if you're carrying valuable cargo and have a fast, smart pirate attacking you. Flying through a tunnel holds up the computer-generated pilots up a bit. If you're good at hitting tunnels, you can outrun them even though you've got a much slower Moth. More on this in the next section.
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