BC3K is not particularly intuitive, so this section could be rather long. Many gameplay questions are answered by the manual, although it is easy to miss certain information – try keyword searches of the electronic manuals that come with v2.x. Ensure you have the most recent set of manuals and appendices – see Where can I get the game, patches and manual? above. This section does not specifically deal with issues dealt with by the manual, or techniques covered by the Tutorial above.
On this page:
- 4.1 Flight
- 4.1.1 Is there a map showing all flux field links?
- 4.1.2 Are there any hidden planets?
- 4.1.3 Can I automatically plot a route via flux fields?
- 4.1.4 Why am I stuck in space? How do I leave nullspace?
- 4.1.5 How much fuel is used by hyperspace jumps?
- 4.1.6 I ran out of fuel and have lost control of my ship. What can I do?
- 4.1.7 Do afterburners and retrorockets use extra fuel?
- 4.1.8 How do I orbit a planet? What’s ORBSCAN?
- 4.1.9 Can I stop my autopilot bumping into other ships?
- 4.2 Space Operations
- 4.2.1 Why can’t I manually aim turrets upwards?
- 4.2.2 Can I completely destroy stations and ODSs?
- 4.2.3 What does the Minelay order do?
- 4.2.4 Do AI ships break the speed limit?
- 4.2.5 Can I capture enemy ships? Can I beam troops onto them?
- 4.2.6 Why does Fleet Command and Control not work?
- 4.2.7 When using Fleet Command and Control I ordered a ship to return to a station. Why can I not re-launch it?
- 4.3 Crew and Support Craft
- 4.3.1 How can I stop intruders stealing shuttles and interceptors?
- 4.3.2 What does the airlock do?
- 4.3.3 How do I raise crew AI level?
- 4.3.4 Why don’t my crew stay off-duty when I tell them to rest?
- 4.3.5 Why won’t my crew leave the galley?
- 4.3.6 Why don’t the deploy and collect orders work when issued from the Tactical Launch Menu?
- 4.3.7 Why does my shuttle not deploy the ATV?
- 4.3.8 How do I replace a destroyed mining drone?
- 4.3.9 Can I buy a new ship?
- 4.3.10 How do I recover a support craft that is so damaged it cannot move?
- 4.3.11 Why do support craft not recharge?
- 4.3.12 How do I switch between interceptor pilot seats?
- 4.4 Cargo and Trade
- 4.5 Planetary Operations
- 4.5.1 Why do my Battlecruiser’s sensors not work correctly close to the surface?
- 4.5.2 Where are the starbases?
- 4.5.3 Can I dock at starbases?
- 4.5.4 How can I move a waypoint which has been placed below ground?
- 4.5.5 Why don’t my OTS weapons hit?
- 4.5.6 How can I assure I make planet-fall on the light side of the planet?
- 4.6 Other
4.1.1 Is there a map showing all flux field links?
4.1.2 Are there any hidden planets?
Yes. Supernova-1, linked from Obsidia, Vega Eridani, contains a planet named Stargazer. None of the other supernova systems do. Powercow writes: “Derek Smart commented that it was going to be the homeworld of a new race called the ‘Odsidians’ (maybe Galaxians).” The planet has one mission zone that appears to contain colonist buildings from various races. If you have the Hyperion Subspace Device in operation you can access a hidden system called Garidian IV. This contains three regions – XC1, XC2 and XC3, which include the planets Farstar, Trion, Hellseye and Satini. This is the same system used in Xtreme Carnage mode.
4.1.3 Can I automatically plot a route via flux fields?
No. Flux fields must be flown through manually, and as such a route cannot be plotted via them. Eclipse adds: “When you tell it to go through, the AI goes crazy looking for a way to accomplish the task without using the Flux Field.”
4.1.4 Why am I stuck in space? How do I leave nullspace?
If for some reason you find yourself stuck in a part of normal space, the easiest method of escape is to target and then jump to a distant object, such as a jump point. Nullspace is BC3K’s way of handling space beyond a region. Once you enter nullspace you will find a single flux field which you must fly through to return to the previous ‘real space’ region. In earlier versions, if you entered nullspace with AI ships targeting you they would continue to try and find you, slowing down the game, which in turn made it hard to jump out successfully. That problem seems to have been removed.
4.1.5 How much fuel is used by hyperspace jumps?
Only your Battlecruiser uses fuel during jumps, not support craft. Radine is used upon each jump. In older versions, 10 units were used per jump, but this is now modified according to equipment fitted, as shown in the table below. The Radine usage for the appropriate reactor and engine is summed:
4.1.6 I ran out of fuel and have lost control of my ship. What can I do?
Use a shuttle to buy additional Radine. In the meantime you can turn your ship 180 degrees to help it slow down. You can also align your battlecruiser so the solar reactor is working at maximum efficiency – this will provide enough power for critical systems such as life support and shuttle launch control. Once you have fuel on your ship, you must restart the nuclear reactor using SHIFT+R.
An alternative option may involve towing. A tow can be requested by pressing CRTL+S, but this is expensive and likely to be slow. Apollon comments: “I also launched the shuttle, but instead of just running to the base to buy Radine, I towed the whole battlecruiser home. The shuttle’s tractor beam is immensely powerful, and it holds on the battlecruiser even when you hyperjump.”
4.1.7 Do afterburners and retrorockets use extra fuel?
The manual states the battlecruiser uses additional fuel; but in my experience, not significantly more. On support craft there is no fuel usage – the use of afterburners and retrorockets decreases available reactor power, potentially affecting your ability to fire the main laser.
4.1.8 How do I orbit a planet? What’s ORBSCAN?
Early versions of BC3K theoretically had a command that put craft into orbit around a planet. This feature does not exist. The same limitation applies to ORBSCAN mode for probes, intended to put the probe into orbit and allow it to observe the surface of the planet. Although not a true orbit, it is possible to simply stop (halt) at about 200-300 clicks from a planet, and remain at that distance: The planets are turning on their own axis, but they are not orbiting anything else, so your position relative to the centre of the planet will remain the same.
4.1.9 Can I stop my autopilot bumping into other ships?
No. Not without taking control yourself. The problem is worst when following ships through jump points – both tend to try and occupy the point in space, with the inevitable bumps that normally cause light damage. Perfect collision avoidance is said to be beyond the AI. The best tactic is to drop out of autopilot when you see another ship in your path and take manual control. Or just accept the damage.
4.2 Space Operations
4.2.1 Why can’t I manually aim turrets upwards?
This affects manually operated Battlecruiser turrets, which appear to automatically re-centre when using the mouse, making manual targeting very hard. Aramike01 answers: “Some of us have been complaining about this since the beginning of time. Nothing you can do about it.”
4.2.2 Can I completely destroy stations and ODSs?
No. All such platforms repair themselves. That’s the theory, anyway. Some may momentarily disappear as radar contacts, but they normally return within a minute.
4.2.3 What does the Minelay order do?
When issued as a general order, from the v2.0 tips file: “They [craft with this order] will lay mines around the entry anomalies to the region,
as well as in random locations.” The aim is to keep newly arrived hostile ships busy. When attached to a waypoint, mines are laid around that waypoint. Only your battlecruiser can deploy mines, not interceptors.
4.2.4 Do AI ships break the speed limit?
Yes. Derek Smart explains: “The ships moving faster than their max speeds is not a cheat per se. It is a design decision in order to minimize the length of time required to breach vast distances.”
4.2.5 Can I capture enemy ships? Can I beam troops onto them?
You cannot beam troops onto enemy ships. The enemy can only beam troops onto your ships. Occasionally during missions other ships will claim to be beaming troops onto enemy ships or stations, but these acts are primarily scripted storyline. You can capture ships by tractoring them, however you cannot physically take control of them. Such a captured ship can be delivered to a station for a small reward.
4.2.6 Why does Fleet Command and Control not work?
You must either be Supreme Commander yourself, or have ‘Karl Reines’ as a guest on your battlecruiser. ‘SCMDR Karl Reines’ is not the same as ‘Karl Reines’, and will not grant Fleet Command and Control, see Fleet Command and Control in the ACM walkthrough below. In addition, communication and tactical systems/officers must be working/on-station. Left-clicking on FLEET in Tacops will show the reasons why Fleet Command and Control is not available.
4.2.7 When using Fleet Command and Control I ordered a ship to return to a station. Why can I not re-launch it?
From the v2.0 tips file: “NPC ships also have to be ‘ready’ before they can launch. Therefore, ships that dock will not be immediately listed in the platform’s manifest until they are ‘ready’ to launch.” I remain to be convinced ships are ever available for re-launch – I have waited more than a week in one case.
4.3 Crew and Support Craft
4.3.1 How can I stop intruders stealing shuttles and interceptors?
Remove all power from the launch control. This prevents the intruders leaving, although they may still attempt to sabotage ships’ systems or injury your crew. Assign marines to Searching. If Resnig is on-station he will do this, but he may not act quickly or assign enough marines to search. Ideally you should already have some marines on search duty ready to deal with any intruders, particularly if you are operating in hostile space. The location of intruders can be seen on Perscan (ALT+P). You cannot assign marines a specific area to search. Marines will generally kill intruders outright. Badly injured intruders will head towards the Medibay. You can send some marines to the Medibay to deal with the injured intruder.
4.3.2 What does the airlock do?
From the v2.0 tips file: “Though BC3K v2.0 has a new ‘airlock’ location, it is not activated. The idea was for the marines to press a button and eject an intruder into space through an airlock.”
4.3.3 How do I raise crew AI level?
Rico Jansen writes: “Get them to work, meaning having them on-station. Doesn’t matter if you have, for example, your flight engineers drinking coffee on the job all day until they bulge. AI will rise.” You cannot send them to the ship’s library. They may visit the library when off duty, but this occurence is very rare, and not a good strategy for increasing AI. AI development is a very slow process. It will take more than a week (and hence potentially weeks worth of play time) to raise crew AI to 100%. There are some strategies for Advancing time – see below.
4.3.4 Why don’t my crew stay off-duty when I tell them to rest?
Officers and pilots bring themselves on-station when their fatigue factors drop back to zero. There is no way to keep them off-duty unless they are fatigued. However, you can prevent them from ever coming on-station by sending them to a location such as the Medibay, Transporter or ATV, where they will wait and not do anything. When officers are on-station they will ensure at least 10 of each type of crew they are responsible for are on-station. If 10 are already on-station they will not call up additional crew. It is therefore possible to rotate 20-strong crews – 10 on, 10 off – while keeping the officer on-station and allowing half of your crews to stay off duty at any one time. Such a tactic also prevents crew quarters from becoming overcrowded. As with officers and pilots, crew assigned to locations such as Medibay, Transporter or ATV, cannot be re-assigned by your officers. On-station means just that in all cases except Medics. For example, if you have 10 marines on-station and you assign 5 to Searching, Resnig will try to call another 5 marines on-station. Medics are an exception to this rule, possibly because the Medical Officer only ever assigns the Searching order.
4.3.5 Why won’t my crew leave the galley?
You have probably run out of food – Nutripacks. Crew will try and eat approximately once every 8 hours. Their life factor will drop by a few percent. When you let them off-duty they will head for the Galley, eat, and then return to their Quarters. Sometimes they will make several trips to the galley over the course of a few minutes. If they get to the Galley and there is no food, they may wait there for food to be served.
4.3.6 Why don’t the deploy and collect orders work when issued from the Tactical Launch Menu?
Derek Smart writes: “Those deploy/collect orders in that menu, do NOT work. In fact, they were only put there for debug purposes.” Issue these orders via Tacops.
4.3.7 Why does my shuttle not deploy the ATV?
The problem relates to waypoint placement. If the waypoint has been placed below or above the ground, the shuttle will attempt, fail and then discard the order. Steve Schacher writes: “In very simple terms, the problem is that the contours of the surface are such that sometimes the waypoint is actually above or below the true surface by just enough to make it impossible for the shuttle to reach it. If the waypoint is a little bit above the surface, the shuttle will not deploy an ATV while still in the air. If it is below the surface, the shuttle will never reach it.” Some players never have any problems with waypoint placement. Others fail to find the correct spot. Tactics like ensuring the map is not rotated and waypoints are placed from a perfect top-down view, or finding an area of flat ground, may work. An alternative is to send the shuttle to the correct part of the map, switch to it, and deploy the vehicle manually (see the Planetary Operations tutorial above).
4.3.8 How do I replace a destroyed mining drone?
Purchase a new drone from a station and launch. Open Tactical–Loadout–SH–SH-n–Drone. Select different drones from the list until you see one that reads “Drone [number] – Destroyed”. Now click “Replacement from inventory” (from Pugwash). The drone must be confirmed as destroyed. If it is simply cannot find it or for some reason it cannot be retrieved, you cannot replace it.
4.3.9 Can I buy a new ship?
The battlecruiser cannot be exchanged. You can buy replacement support craft, however these can only be used as replacements for destroyed Interceptors, Shuttles or ATVs. You cannot have more than four of each. To replace a destroyed support craft, purchase a new one at a station, launch, select Tactical–Loadout–[Craft], and select Replace [Craft]. If you lost crew when the craft was destroyed, pilots or officers can be cloned in the Medibay; other crew can be hired (purchased) at stations.
4.3.10 How do I recover a support craft that is so damaged it cannot move?
Use a shuttle to tow it back to your battlecruiser. The shuttle will deliver the craft to the flight deck, where System Engineers can be set to work repairing it. You cannot send System Engineers to the stricken ship, they only conduct repairs when on the battlecruiser.
4.3.11 Why do support craft not recharge?
There is a discrepancy between the charge level shown via the bridge view CVD and the charge level shown under Tactical–Launch, notably for Shuttles. The charge status of the former never seems to increase, only decrease with use. There are no reported cases of support crafts’ reactors ever running out of power.
4.3.12 How do I switch between interceptor pilot seats?
When in the pilot seat, press F4 to switch to the co-pilot seat. Press F1 to switch back to the pilot seat.
4.4 Cargo and Trade
4.4.1 How do I find things in Debris Fields?
Fly to within 200 clicks of the centre of the field in your battlecruiser. If nothing appears on the radar, switch to Tacops and back again quickly. Debris fields only contain debris while your battlecruiser remains there. You cannot enter a debris field, launch shuttles to cargosweep the field, leave, and expect the shuttles to be able to find cargo pods. Some debris fields contain a high proportion of empty pods. The manifest of the pod can be checked by targeting the pod and pressing V once or twice.
4.4.2 Can I sell or hide illegal items?
Illegal items can be docked and sold at any station listed as illegal under manual Appendix E. “Illegal” items are those considered illegal by Galcom, so no Galcom stations deal in illegal items. If you dock at a legal station with illegal cargo in your hold, you will normally be reprimanded. Papi suggests several methods of dealing with this: “(a) Pack your illegal items in shuttle and launch it with, for example, cargosweep order, and then dock with the station; or (b) jettison the illegal items prior docking (you can do it through Logistix computer) and collect them after launching with your shuttle. There’s danger that someone will collect it before you.”
4.4.3 How are trade prices calculated?
Rico Jansen writes: “The prices to buy and sell are not fixed (they change over time) and can differ across the entire known BC-universe. The prices are determined by the economy on the planet/moon. More precisely, prices are dependant on the inflation level and technology class of the economy on the planet/moon. There is no difference in buy and sell prices. You will not loose money if you somehow bought too much of an item.”
Manual appendix S includes the technology class and standard price of all trade goods. Manual appendix E shows the technology level, technology class, and initial inflation rate for each station. Technology level affects the overall availability of goods. Technology class is the specialty of the station – normally one of AD(vanced), H(igh)T(ech), AG(riculture), M(i)N(erals), or RO(botics). Inflation values are shown 0-5 in the appendix – actual inflation values multiply these by ten – for example, 4 indicates 40%.
Rico Jansen continues: “Prices are determined by summation of the effects of inflation and technology class on the standard price. So the price is: the standard price (STDP), plus the additional inflation (0..5 * 10% or the TRADCOM inflation value)*STDP, plus the class price reduction/increase (-10%*STDP for specialty, +10%*STDP for non-specialty).
“Or in equation form:
- price_of_station’s_specialty = STDP * (100% + inflation_level*10% – 10%)
- price_of_station’s_non-specialty = STDP * (100% + inflation_level*10% + 10%)”
For example, compare Radine (base ‘STDP’ price 2,500) at Galcom HQ, Earth (AD, 0% inflation) and Genesis, Moon (HT, 10%):
- Galcom HQ = price 2,250: (100% + 0% – 10%); no inflation, specialty.
- Genesis = price 3,000: (100% + 10% + 10%); 10% inflation, non-specialty.
4.4.4 How do I steal cargo or artifacts?
Target the ship carrying the item, and press V until the manifest is displayed. Assuming there is someone ready to pilot a shuttle, order the shuttle to steal the cargo in one of two ways: (1) Bridge view Command Menu–Current Target–SC-n Collect, or (2) in Tacops, zoom to the target, left click on it, and select the Collect option. Rico Jansen adds: “Make sure that shuttle isn’t carrying it’s drone and ATV around with it. Or else it will be likely that stuff will be left in the victim craft. … You can’t steal someone’s cargo if you have Fleet Command and Control, which is hardwired when you have debug mode enabled.” See Why does the freeware version ask for the CD? Why is it running in debug mode? below for further explanation of debug mode. The shuttle also needs adequate spare capacity to carry the item. You cannot tractor or steal cargo directly into your Battlecruiser using its tractor beam – you must use a shuttle.
4.4.5 Can I unload all my mining drones whilst in station?
No. You should unload as much as you can from the drones into your Battlecruiser’s cargo hold before docking. If you run out of space, you will need to dock, re-launch, unload some more, and then dock again. The majority of minerals are placed in Cargo Bay 1. Additional space can be created here by moving goods from this cargo bay to locations such as Shuttles, ATVs and the Transporter. This should create enough space to be able to unload at least one full drone per docking.
4.5 Planetary Operations
4.5.1 Why do my Battlecruiser’s sensors not work correctly close to the surface?
AIR or GND modes do not work correctly from the battlecruiser. Other oddities have been reported. The battlecruiser was never intended to be flown into planetary atmospheres – indeed in early versions the battlecruiser would explode if it tried to enter a planet’s atmosphere. Although battlecruisers can now fly close to the surface, the battlecruiser is still not designed to function correctly close to the surface.
4.5.2 Where are the starbases?
Starbases are planet based equivalents of space based star stations. Manual appendix V (pzone.pdf) contains a list of all planetary mission zones, including starbases. Ausraider2 has tips for finding starbases: “(1) There is a building that MUST be tracked in the CVD named something like TER/MIL EARTH – which is the exact title of the earth base in the CVD. It MUST have the planet name included in the CVD title, for example EARTH – there are a lot of other un-dockables such as TER/MIL BUNKER. (2) It’s different looking from the rest – for example, on Earth it’s a funny looking thing; a distinct green colour with what looks like wings coming out the sides – it’s not in any other of the compounds – flashing or otherwise. (3) Most importantly, Tacscan mode switch key. This is actually how you find it regardless of Tacops. For example, Shuttle – scan [NID] must be in Topographical map mode in order to lock-on to the starbase so press the ‘J’ key until the ground map is displayed and simply cycle through until TER/MIL EARTH is displayed in the CVD.” See below for precise instructions on targeting starbases.
4.5.3 Can I dock at starbases?
Only support craft can dock with starbases. Battlecruisers cannot. Starbases are not targeted in the same way as other buildings. Instead, select GND mode using K in Tacscan, then switch to the NID – press J until the left-hand monitor shows a brown coloured mini-map. Now cycle the targets – you should be able to target the starbase. Display the target in the CVD (press V). Quite why starbases are handled by the NID while all other buildings are handled by Tacscan remains a mystery. Docking is identical to orbital station – fly within about 25-30 clicks and press ALT+D.
4.5.4 How can I move a waypoint which has been placed below ground?
Surface waypoints may appear below the surface, invariably making them impossible to reach. Derek Smart suggests: “If you viewed the map from the side, after clicking on the waypoint to pick it up, you can raise it by moving the mouse up.” It may be easier to delete the waypoint and start again.
4.5.5 Why don’t my OTS weapons hit?
Cmdr Nova writes: “You should set up a close orbit to the planet. Somewhere less than 300, should do. Once I fired it on a moon, and forgot to get close, and the missiles exploded part-way there. It doesn’t matter what side of the planet or moon you fire it.” If an OTS weapon hits its target, you will hear the slightly surreal sound of birds singing, followed by a cut-seen of the target being destroyed.
4.5.6 How can I assure I make planet-fall on the light side of the planet?
Pan writes: “Your entry point is not calculated at all. Time of day says if it is night or not.” The same night/day conditions apply to all parts of the planet simultaneously.
4.6.1 Can I communicate with other races?
No. The only influence you may have on inter-galactic diplomacy is by conducting a hostile act against an ally, which in some cases may change overall relations between Terran/Military and whoever you attacked. There is an undocumented key command to open a communication channel to the current target (C), but it never does anything other than draw a blank response. [There is a certain cruel irony to the fact that SHIFT+C, ALT+C and CTRL+ALT+C all have commands attached to them, and other systems starting in C (such as CVD) have unrelated key commands (L in the case of CVD), while in the final analysis plain old “C” does not officially do anything…]
4.6.2 Why does the game start on the 4th April?
It is developer Derek Smart’s birthday.
4.6.3 Can violations be cleared?
No. A system where experience points could be offset against violations was considered, but not implemented.