With a ship in hand the player is free to explore the universe and make a name for themselves. Ships can accelerate, brake turn, tilt and strafe with the speeds based on the type of ship and equipment used. When viewed from the cockpit the ship vitals, weapon systems and targeting markers can be seen.
Ships have unique IDs displayed on their hulls and within menus. The generation of IDs is completely random.
The Playership HUD
Example HUD view:
Below the central reticle, three curved bars are located:
- Top = speed
- Middle = hull strength
- Bottom = shield strength
Warning and SETA icons
In the centre of the HUD icons may appear for the following (see diagram below):
- SETA ownership
- SETA activity
- Under attack
- Incoming missile(s)
Three monitors provide info along the bottom of the screen:
- Left = Message ticker (e.g. mission progress, guidance info, recent credit and standings changes)
- Middle = radar (shows local features and allows their selection to make them the playership target)
- Right = Display for target info and video comms with NPCs
- The position in space that main weapons currently aim at is denoted by one white dot each (see two dots in image below, up-left from central reticle)
- Turrets controls for Medium ships have quick-access icons in the top-middle (Turret controls for all ships are described on the Combat And Weapons page)
To the right and left of the central reticle are the primary and secondary weapon groups, respectively (setup via the Ship interactions menu located via the chevron icon in the top-centre of the screen).
Long Range Scanning
- A playership "Ship Mode" (see below for how to operate it)
- Detected objects are marked on the map with "?" icons
- Nebulae are highlighted with a blue/cyan glow
- Mk1 pings found objects and creates a ? at their location on the map
- Mk2 has increased scan resolution, colour-coding identified small objects:
- Blue ring = wrecks and uncommon lockboxes
- Yellow ring = explosive asteroids and rare lock boxes
- Purple ring = anomalies and data vaults
- Grey/white ring = Other
- Target size-based performance:
- Large objects (stations and gates) are detected if they are:
- Within 200 km
- On the same horizontal plane as the playership cockpit (360o)
- Within 45o above and below the horizon
- Small object (e.g. lockboxes and anomalies) are detected if they are:
- Within 50 km
- On the same horizontal plane as the playership cockpit (within 60o left or right)
- Within 45o above and below the horizon
The player ship can activate four different modes to aid in exploration and espionage. Modes can be activated/stopped directly via the hotkey or the Ship Interactions Menu. Other player owned ships and NPC ships will automatically activate Travel Mode when traveling long distances.
- Scan (Shift+2)
- Colour-codes the modules and equipment of stations and ships (& asteroids & their nodules in v1.3+) when close enough.
- Getting really close to a station module passively obtain information about it.
- Similarly, getting close to a ship, right-clicking, and initiating an active scan will reveal info about the ship too (this can be done while paused, if in combat).
- The amount of information gained being proportional to the type of scanner equipped (Basic Scanner < Police Scanner < Spacesuit Scanner < upgraded Spacesuit Scanner).
- Audio Signals and Data Leaks are highlighted with red and able to be scanned passively.
- Long Range Scan (Shift+3)
- Enables the ship to charge a pulse to scan for objects in space near the playership.
- The longer the pulse is charged for the further it travels, however charging for too long will cause the pulse to abort.
- When objects are detected by the pulse, they emit a "ping" sound like submarine sonar and a circular ring temporarily shows their location on the HUD.
- SETA (Shift+4)
- Singularity Engine Time Accelerator - Accelerates the passage of time for everything relative to the player ship by 6-times.
- Makes long journeys seem shorter, but applies to the whole X-verse, including NPCs. Think of it a 'sleep time': the game (ie NPC trading/battle/war etc) advances at its normal rate while you're asleep, whether you're aware of external changes or not.
Types Of Ship
There are currently over 60 different types of ship in X4: Foundations and with the exception of drones and Xenon ships all can be flown by the player. Ships are classed into four size categories determining where and how many can dock at a docking module or ship hanger. Ships are also classified into specific roles determining the weapon and software options available.
- Small ships are cheap and fast but fragile with only S weapon options making them useful for dangerous tasks like exploring unknown territory or for swarming larger ships (includes, scouts, fighters traders and miners).
- Medium ships are the most common ship type covering a diverse range of economic and military roles (Corvettes, and larger Frigates).
- Large ships are expensive and have limited docking options, but are considerably more efficient than their smaller counterparts at mining, trading and combat (Destroyers).
- Extra Large ships have limited combat options but cover specialised roles (station construction and Carriers of large S/M ship wings).
- Ships built to engage other ships and stations in combat to either destroy or capture them. Fight ships range from small agile Scout craft to large and heavily armed Destroyers. In general, as fight ships progress in size (Scout->Interceptor->Fighter->Corvette->Destroyer), there is an increase in shielding, fire power and cargo bay size but at the cost of being slower and more expensive to manufacture. Frigates and Carriers specialise in transporting wings of smaller ships at high speeds to where they are needed while delivering modest supporting firepower.
- Ships with large cargo bays for shifting wares around the universe for profit, manufacture, construction work and to keep front lines supplied. Traders come in may sizes balancing speed with cargo space and armaments. Small Courier ships are fast, medium sized Transporter ships offer a good mix of mobility and cargo space while large Freighter ships are good for carrying wares in bulk.
- Miner ships are capable of efficiently harvesting Solid and Liquid resources from asteroids and nebulae
- Large and lightly armed Builder ships able to construct stations
- Other ships include the player Space Suit, autonomous Drone craft used by larger ships and stations and NPC mass traffic Police Vehicle ships that scan for illegal cargo which are lightly armed.
Ship hulls, and surface elements on Large and Extra Large Ships, can become damaged and need repairs.
Methods of repair:
- Manually, slowly with the Spacesuit Repair Laser
- Quickly at a Wharf, Shipyard or Equipment Dock in exchange for credits
- Automatically (Medium, Large and Extra Large only):
- The Captain's skills influence the max % that can be repaired too
- Higher numbers of Service Personnel increase repair rate
- Service Personnel with higher skills increase repair rate
- Repair Drones noticeably speed up repair rate