TextSpaced: An infinite and shared text-based universe.

Getting Started

If you haven't played a text-based game before, you are not alone, text-based games are not common. We are hoping to change that, however, by dragging text-based games into the present based on modern principles unshackled from the constraints of the past. As a web app, TextSpaced can be played on any device with a web browser, allowing you to pick up and play investing as little or as much time as you want, as the perfect companion where there is always something to do. Moreover, the text-based nature makes it accessible and we are pleased that a high percentage of players are blind, enjoying the game through the use of screen-readers and other assistive technology.

TextSpaced has many concepts you may not be familiar with and terms that are seeded from science and science fiction. This basics section aims to help demystify much of this and explain the concepts from the ground up.

The Basics

TextSpaced is a sci-fi MMORPG, this means you are in one shared universe along with other players. When you start the game you create a character and are given a Shuttle as your starting ship. You play the role of the character within the ship and thus there will be circumstances where you can leave your current ship to interact with the world. The entire universe is a living entity with players and non-player characters (NPCs or computer players) going about their business the same as you. When you start the game you choose an ancestry and you can either choose to be “starborn” where you will be the founder of your new faction or choose to be born of an existing factions colony - a player colony, becoming part of their faction starting at the rank of ensign. Put simply, a faction is a collection of players operating under the same name. The general aim of TextSpaced is to make your faction successful in a way you and your faction see fit.

The universe itself is infinite but for ease of understanding is one dimensional - you can think of it as an infinite ribbon where the zero position is the centre of the galaxy and both ends continue into infinity. A position-based system is used by the game to convey where you are, it might read something like #11106.40, meaning you are 11,106.40 light-years from the centre of the galaxy. However, in most circumstances, a more friendly name will be shown in the form of a system name and body name but a position number will always be your absolute position.

Movement in TextSpaced is measured in light-years, or LYs and each ship has a maximum range it can travel in one ‘FTL jump' and how quickly it can regenerate travel charge used, consuming fuel in the process. The range is measured in LYs, such as the starting Shuttle having a range of 2 LYs, meaning it can move 2 light years instantly in a single FTL jump. The charge cycle is measured in minutes, a charge cycle of 5 minutes for example means a ship can recharge 0.1 LYs every 5 minutes in real-time. This type of instant travel is called faster-than-light or FTL and can only be performed if the destination is a system, however, you can also travel at sublight speeds to any system or position you require. Travelling at sublight speeds consumes no fuel and simply takes time depending on the sublight speed of your ship, the Shuttle can travel at 0.2 LYs per minute.

A system can either be a solar system or another type of system with bodies and is where structures can be built. The space between systems cannot be built within although you can travel to any position between systems if you require, most commonly this can be required for missions. The bodies within a system can be all sorts of planets and other spatial oddities and the systems vary in size. Structures can be built on stable ground or around stable bodies and structures provide services to the entire system, such as a Merchant Station structure providing the “trading commodities” service, so that commodities can be traded in that system. The system itself might have been given a name as well as the bodies within that system, this is what is shown when navigating and when within a system.

Layout

The layout of the game is persistent and uses a menu and window based system. At the top of the screen is a large heading letting you know where you are. If you are not in a system this will read as a position number, if you are in a system, this will read as the body you are orbiting followed by the body type and which system the body belongs to (where a body is a planet or otherwise). For instance “New Earth. Garden World, New Sol” informs you that you are orbiting a garden world called New Earth in the New Sol system - this is the same format wherever system and body names are mentioned. It is worth noting that whenever you are in a system you will always be orbiting a body, when you arrive either by FTL travel or sublight travel, you will always be orbiting the systems star or anchor point by default.

On the right edge of the screen are “tidbits”, these are useful pieces of information related to your current location split into 5 categories. The first is bodies and will state the rarest body in the system followed by how many others there are. The second is an indication of how many exotic commodities there are in the system that could be mined, with the most exotic being stated. The third category informs you of how many other ships there are at the location, with the strongest ship being listed. The penultimate category is related to structures and will inform you of how many structures there are in the system with the strongest being listed first. The last category of tidbits is around adrift cargo and will inform you of any adrift cargo that can be recovered with the most exotic being listed first.

The bottom right of the screen contains communication channels split into log, local, faction, squad, SOS and spotted. The log channel is a complete log of all actions you perform in the game, including events that might have happened while you were away from the game, additionally, you can type into this channel to write your own log. The local channel is for chatting with other players in the local area (10 LYs radius) and similarly the faction channel for chatting with players in your faction. The squad channel is for chatting to members of the squad you are in if you have joined a squad. The SOS channel is an automated channel that contains SOS messages sent from combat and the spotted channel is for combat or adrift cargo spotted by other players in the local area. Upon login, a sound will play once if the channels contain new messages and you have sounds enabled, this is accompanied by a flashing indicator and label.

The primary navigation toggle can be found at the bottom left of the screen and opens to reveal different sections of the game that when clicked will show windows for that section.

Broadly, the first section that bears your name is all about you and your skills. The cargo section is about the cargo you are carrying, adrift cargo and locating cargo. The command section is about remote commands such as structure commands and reviewing faction karma. The computer section contains facilities to search for people and review information, such as the codex or tutorials. The crafting section is where you perform all crafting and fabrication. The engineering section is where you can review blueprints to ultimately build structures. The helm section is centred around navigation and your local system and contains many ways to find a destination. Missions as expected contain missions available in a system as well as quests and raids you can partake in. Preferences is a non-game section where you can set volume levels and manage your account. The services section is for using the available services at a system such as trade services or amenities. Finally, the tactical section is for reviewing your tactical status and defining your combat deck of cards.

Navigating

An activity you will do often in TextSpaced is finding a destination and travelling there, this could be for various reasons but commonly is to locate systems with services that allow you to trade.

Navigation can be done entirely from the helm window and when you open the window, the information panel at the top of this window informs you of your current ship, its current charge and fuel level. The first group in this window is “local” and details bodies within the current system and ships at the current location. Both of these items can be clicked to view more details about them and like most things in the game, have contextual options to perform actions. Commonly, you may need to change your orbit to a different body and this can be done by selecting the orbit option for a body row.

Below the local group is the “nearby” group that lists all of the local systems relative to your current position. Each row within this group tells you the system name, how far away it is and if a faction owns the system. Clicking the system name will give you more details about the system (if known) and clicking the faction name will provide details about the faction that owns the system, if applicable. At the bottom of this list of nearby systems is a search field that allows you to search for any system by name. This group also contains the first instance of the “engage” button, that when clicked confirms travel.

The travel confirmation message informs you of your current FTL fuel levels, your charge level and the time it would take to travel to the system at sublight speeds (not using fuel). This allows you to decide whether to use instant FTL travel and consume fuel or spend time travelling at sublight speeds. Once you confirm to engage in either sublight travel or FTL travel you will travel to the destination. During sublight travel, you are informed of your progress both in terms of remaining time and distance but can stop at any time if you wish.

Below the nearby group is the “sublight” group which contains options to explore and the option to travel to a specific galactic position. Travelling to a position is not something commonly done and only really performed by power-users, the explore option is however very useful. Using the explore options you can choose to explore in the negative direction or positive direction. Once in this mode, your ship will automatically travel in that direction at sublight speeds until a system your faction has not discovered is found, in which case your ship will stop there. This is a very useful activity for new factions as the galaxy can provide all sorts of wonder and bounty.

The last group of the helm window is the “services” group, this allows you to filter nearby systems by the services they provide. For example, if you require the port trading service as you wish to buy weapons for your ship, you can select the port trading service to view systems that provide this service. Clicking the engage button will show the same travel confirmation as mentioned before.

What follows are the tutorials listed in-game so you can read them inside or outside of your play sessions.

Buying your first ship

Step 1

The starting ship you begin with, the Shuttle, is pretty useless. It is slow, doesn't have a large cargo hold and is basically target practice in combat. Your first priority should be to earn enough credits to buy a new ship that is more capable.

You will find a mission accepted on your behalf in the missions window called "Basic Flight Training", completing this mission will realise all skills required to buy and command ships of every role start at level one. You can also decide to aim for a ship that requires no skill to operate such as the Battlecruiser which is a Civilian Guild manufactured ship. This ship is a solid first ship as is multi-role in design and has reasonable statistics.

The easiest way to make credits when starting out is to complete the basic flight training mission or mine for commodities to sell them, this tutorial will take you through step by step how mine, ultimately allowing you to purchase the Battlecruiser. There is a separate tutorials specifically for helping you complete the basic flight training mission.

Step 2

To begin mining you need to find a suitable system to mine within, this being a system that is not claimed by anyone (or at least a faction that doesn't disallow mining) and that has commodities available to mine. Therefore you have two options to find a suitable system to mine within, both of which are accessed via the helm window.

Firstly, you can try to locate a system that is not claimed by any faction. Within the helm window a nearby section lists all systems near to you, any system that is not claimed will be labelled as "unclaimed".

Secondly, at the bottom of the helm window there is a services section allowing you to filter for specific services. Within this drop down filter you can select "Mining Permitted" to reveal systems close to your where factions allow mining.

No matter what method you choose, once you find a suitable system choose the option to engage. If the system is close by you will be able to use the FTL option to instantly arrive in the system, if not, you will need to use the sublight option to travel there which will take time.

Step 3

Once you arrive at your destination system you will be able to see the details of the bodies in the system, these being the planets and other bodies (like a star or black hole) that are present. To do this open the helm window and the local section at the top of the window lists the bodies present. Each body in the list will state the number of different commodities available to mine, if they all read zero you will unfortunately need to find another system.

Clicking the bodies name or type will load its details and a list of commodities will be listed in tandem with a mine button for each. Clicking the mine button will begin mining, which is an idle activity, and will automatically complete once your hold is full.

Step 4

When mining is complete you will have a full hold of commodities that you can sell for credits. It is advised not to sell the commodities in the same system you mined them as you will not get a good price, instead you should check for local prices. To do this, open the cargo window and where the commodities in your hold are listed, click its name. In this new window local prices for the commodity are listed (the buy price and sell price are the same value), so now you can choose a system and again hit the engage button to travel there.

If you have no systems showing in this section you will instead need to filter for systems that trade commodities. To do this, open the helm window, scroll to the services section and this time change the drop down filter to "trading commodities". This will list all systems nearby that trade in commodities (both buying and selling).

Step 5

Once you arrive in a system that has the trading commodities service, you can sell these commodities directly from the cargo window. Open the cargo window, find the commodities in your hold to sell and use the contextual option to sell them. You will be presented with a quantity slider asking you how much you wish to sell as well as informing you of the credits you will earn. In this instance you should sell all of the commodities you have mined.

You can now repeat this process to earn more and more credits with the aim to make at least 200,000 credits to purchase the Battlecruiser. Mining by itself will also help improve your skills by slowly earning skill points over time but you can also perform missions to help bolster your credit making.

Sometimes when you mine you will also collect consumables and other cargo, if you check your cargo window you will see you have also gathered a precious stone. This stone can be sold at any system that has the "trading consumables" service, the same process of filtering for services can be applied to find a system you can sell the stone. Selling the stone will get you closer to your target of 200,000 credits.

Step 6

Missions can be found in the missions window and you will automatically have assigned missions to you. If these assigned missions are not completed within 24 hours they will be replaced at no penalty. As a new captain to the frontier you should look out for the following mission types: Light Courier, Core Samples and Raw Material. If one of these mission types are present you should accept the mission, if possible, to move the mission to your active missions and prevent it from expiring for two weeks.

Missions are stepped based and describe what is required to complete each step which must be completed in order. You will also often need to pay a deposit to start the mission to move it to your active missions list. An important note is that you often need to orbit the correct body to complete the mission. To do this, read the mission step and find the body name, this being the name after the structure type and before the system name link. With this in mind, open the helm window and find the body at the top of the window in the local section and simply use the contextual option for the body to orbit it.

The light courier mission involves picking up cargo from one location and delivering it to another. The mission details describe where to go and what to do step by step and usually contain links that will search for the destination systems for you by name.

The Core Samples mission involves mining 100 Mgs of any commodity from a specific body, the beauty of this mission is that it will complete as soon as you mine enough (which can be done in parts) so complements normal mining well.

Finally, a Raw Material missions involves delivering commodities to a specified location, so instead of selling the commodities like before, you would instead hand them in for a mission earning you a much higher payout.

With missions you should use them in combination with mining since they have a long expiry, completing them as you pass nearby or using your best judgement.

Step 7

Once you have earned at least 200,000 credits you can afford to upgrade your ship to the Battlecruiser. Since this ship is manufactured by the Civilian Guild you will need to find a Civilian system that has the ship trading service. To do this, open the helm window and scroll to the bottom to the services section. Using the drop down filter you can select "Ship Trading" to show all nearby systems that provide the ship trading service. All systems state their owner, so you should engage to a system owned by Civilian Guild, this will usually be a system named "Oiko" or "Moresby".

If neither of these systems are within range you can manually set a course towards Oiko by using its spatial position. To do this, within the helm window scroll to the section named travel to position and in the input box provided type in "11164.90" without the quotes. This will allow you to manually engage to the system by now pressing the "travel" button next to this box.

Last Step

Once you enter a Civilian Guild system with the ship trading service you can buy a new ship by opening the services menu and finding the stock section labelled ships. This will list all ships available to purchase and the ship you should locate is the Battlecruiser. Assuming you have enough credits to purchase the ship you can press the buy button to purchase your new ship.

When you buy a new ship it is parked within the same system and therefore you will need to switch to commanding this new ship.

To do this, open the command window and scroll to the section labelled "parked ships", finding your new Battlecruiser use the contextual menu to select the option for "Command". Doing this will reload the interface and put you in command of your new shiny Battlecruiser.

It can be very useful to stow ships in bays in case you need them again. Since the Battlecruiser has two bays you can stow your old Shuttle in one of the bays.

To do this, it is very similar to before, find the Shuttle in the parked ships section of the command window but instead use the contextual option to stow the ship, which will place it into a free bay onboard your Battlecruiser.

Lastly, if you have any spare credits you may want to fit weapons or equipment to your new Battlecruiser. Within the services window the stock section will list any equipment or weapons available to purchase and assuming you have enough power remaining you can choose to buy and fit these to your ship.

Equipment can be very useful to fit, such as Afterburners that decrease your sublight travel time or mining beams that increase your mining yields.

With your new ship you can continue to perform missions, mine or try to complete other tutorials.

Building your first structure

Step 1

To build your first structure you must first realise the Construction Craft skill so that you can purchase and command construction role ships. To do this, you should complete the "Basic Flight Training" mission accepted on your behalf. A separate tutorials takes you through how to complete this mission.

Step 2

With the Construction Craft skill realised you can now purchase the Worker ship assuming you have enough credits, around 20,000 credits to 30,000 credits depending on the market and your own trading modifier.

Since this ship is manufactured by the Civilian Guild you will need to find a Civilian system that has the ship trading service. To do this, open the helm window and scroll to the bottom to the services section. Using the drop down filter you can select "Ship Trading" to show all nearby systems that provide the ship trading service. All systems state their owner so you should engage to a system owned by Civilian Guild, this will usually be a system named "Oiko" or "Moresby".

If neither of these systems are within range you can manually set a course towards Oiko by using its position. To do this, within the helm window scroll to the section named "travel to position" and in the input box provided type in "11164.90" without the quotes. This will allow you to manually engage to the system by now pressing the "travel" button next to this box.

Step 3

When you buy a new ship it is parked within the same system and therefore you will need to switch to commanding this new ship.

To do this, open the command window and scroll to the section labelled "parked ships", finding your new Worker use the contextual menu to select the option for "Command". Doing this will reload the interface and put you in command of your new shiny Worker ship.

Step 4

Now you have a construction role ship, you need components to build your first structure, the Solar Collector. The Solar Collector is a good place to start as it requires only three components to build which can be commonly found and you will need power in a system to build any other structures, which the Solar Collector provides.

The Solar Collector requires the following components to build: Solar Collectors, Station Keeping Engines and Energy Transfer Nodes.

These components can be found at most systems that have the trading parts services. To find systems with this service, open the helm window and scroll to the services section towards the bottom. Using the drop down filter you can select "Trading Parts" to show any nearby systems that sell parts, which includes structures components. If you cannot find a system you will need to manually set a destination to "Syllogi" which is at position 11161.40, as described in a previous step.

Step 5

Once you arrive in a system you can check the parts available to buy by opening the services window. This window contains a stock section and the group you are interested in is the structure components group.

Browsing this group the components you should buy are Solar Collectors, Station Keeping Engines and Energy Transfer Nodes. Only one of each is required for now. If you do not have enough credits you will need to continue to mine or complete missions to earn more credits.

Step 6

With the structure components in your ships hold you can now set about finding a system to build within. You can only build in a system that is not already claimed.

To find a system that is not claimed, open the helm window and browse the nearby section. Any system not claimed will be labelled as "unclaimed". If none of the systems seem appropriate or none are listed, you will need to explore to find new systems. This can be done in the same window using the explore options to either explore in the negative direction or the positive direction. If you start exploration your ship will automatically explore and stop automatically once a new system is found.

Last Step

Once you find a suitable system to build within you can build your Solar Collector. First and very importantly you should change your orbit to which body you want to build your Solar Collector around. As an orbital structure it can be built around most bodies and the power it generates supplies the whole system. To change your orbit, open the helm window and choose the contextual option of orbit next to a local body.

To build the structure at the body open the engineering window and view the blueprints section. This section contains a filter for different structure types which you should change to "power" to reveal different power structures you can build. The build button next to the Solar Collector should be enabled and pressing it will build the structure. If the button is disabled you can click the blueprint and review the build criteria section which informs you of any problems, denoted by a cross.

Refining commodities

Step 1

To refine commodities you will first need to build a factory for your faction. If you have not yet built any power structures to power the factory you should first complete the tutorial for "building your first structure".

The structure components to build a factory can often be found at systems that have the "trading parts" service, these parts are not common though so it may require several trips to different systems to get the parts you need. In total you will need to purchase the following parts to build a factory with a construction ship: Gravity Smelt, Distillation Columns, Atomic Reformer, Faction Notation Interface and Hazmat Storage. If you are yet to realise the Construct Craft skill and purchase a construction role ship you should first complete the tutorial "building your first structure".

Step 2

Assuming you have built a factory to begin refining you must have at least 100 Mgs of a single commodity in your hold. To begin you must store the commodities in your hold in the factory. To do this, open the cargo window and find your commodities, then use the contextual option to store the commodities. When the quantity slider appears a drop down menu will also be shown in this window, you should select the factory from the list.

Once you have stored at least 100 Mgs of a single commodity in the factory you can start the refining process.

Step 3

To start the refining process open the crafting window and scroll to the section labelled "all factories". This section lists all factories in the faction including their status. To start or stop any factory processes you must be above the rank of ensign in your faction. To being, click the location name of your factory to view the factory details. This new window will automatically show any commodities that can be refined as they are present in the sufficient quantity as well as any fabrication processes that can be started. To start refining a commodity, turning it into a pure form, is as easy as now pressing the refine button.

Once you press the refine button the process will start and an estimate of how long it will take is now shown in the all factories list.

Last Step

Refining commodities coverts them into pure forms as consumables. These pure forms can be sold or when several are used together, become part of fabrication recipes.

When refining is complete a notification will be sent in the faction channel but you can also check the process in the all factories list at any time. If you stop the process the commodities will be lost.

Fabricating structure components

Step 1

If you are yet to build a structure you should complete the "building your first structure" tutorial first and if you are yet to refine any commodities you should complete the "refining commodities" tutorial as well.

Assuming you have already learnt how to refine commodities this tutorial is all about using the pure forms of commodities to fabricate structure components.

Step 2

Fabricating structure components is an important task for a faction as it breaks the reliance on other factions suppling you the components if you can make them yourself.

Before you consider fabrication you should first decide what you are going to start fabricating, a good first choice is fabricating the structure component required to build a silo, since it only requires one. You can check which structure components are required to build a structure by opening the engineering menu and clicking on a blueprint. The Silo is a storage structure so you will find it when filtering for storage structure blueprints.

You will see that the Silo only requires the "Inventory Monitor" component to build so the next step is to find out what is required to fabricate this part. To do this, still in the engineering menu, scroll to the section "structure components" and browse the recipes. Once you find the "Inventory Monitor" you will see that the pure forms required to fab this component are: Pure Carbon, Pure Silicon, Pure Nickel and Pure Cobalt, all of which are pretty common.

Last Step

Since you require Pure Carbon, Pure Silicon, Pure Nickel and Pure Cobalt you will need to add 100 Mgs of each of these commodities into the factory and refine each into their pure forms. Once this is done when you click into the details of a factory again you will see the components automatically appear in the list of structures components that can be fabricated. To start the fabrication process simply hit the fabricate button and the process will begin. When complete, the structure component will be found in the hold of the factory which you can then transfer to your ship and use.

Fabrication isn't quick but a faction message will be sent when it is complete.

Basic flight training mission

Step 1

When you start the game you will find a basic flight training mission automatically accepted for you. This mission will step you through basic mechanics and completing the mission will unlock craft skills, allowing you to buy and command different roles of ships.

To begin, open the missions window from the primary navigation to review the details of your flight training mission.

Step 2

The first step of the mission is to locate and recover a training beacon. The spatial position where this beacon can be found is listed. You can click on this position link to copy the position into the helm window, or type the position manually. The place to enter this position can be found in the helm window within the section labelled travel to position.

With the position entered into the position box clicking the travel button will begin sublight travel. Sublight travel is an idle activity that takes time to complete, for this mission you will not have far to travel however.

Step 3

Once you arrive at the specified coordinates you will need to recover the training beacon. To do this, open the cargo window and scroll to the section labelled adrift cargo. Within this section you will see the training beacon adrift, using the contextual options you can choose to recover the beacon adding it to your ships hold.

With the beacon recovered you are ready for the next step, delivery of the beacon.

Step 4

When reviewing the mission steps you will see the location the beacon is requested to be delivered too. Just like before, you can click the link or search for the system to deliver the beacon to by name. To do this, open the helm window and within the nearby section type the name into the input box below. The location will show in the list and clicking the travel button will begin travel to that location.

Once you arrive you will need to orbit the correct body in the system to delivery the cargo. Review the mission details first and then open the helm window, at the top of the helm window you will see a list of local bodies. Clicking the contextual option for the relevant body will provide the orbit action.

Once in orbit of the correct body you can complete this step of the mission by pressing the deliver button for the relevant step.

Step 5

The last step before claiming your reward is to simulate combat against any target - this can be a ship or a structure. To do this, the easiest way is to open the helm window and towards the top of the window you will see listed local ships. Using the contextual options against any of these ships you can select the option to is simulate combat.

You are only required to simulate one turn of combat, so once you are within combat you can play a retreat card at any time to end the simulation.

Last Step

Lastly, you now can claim your reward for this mission. This is done as before by clicking the relevant button for the step, in this case the claim button. This mission has a credit reward but also realises all craft skills, meaning you can now purchase and command ships of any role that are level one or any ship that does not require skill to use.

To see all the ships you have access to, below this tutorial section you will find a ships section. Within here you can filter ships based on various metrics such as skill or cost. You can also see all ships by using the options that start with all, this allows you to plan for the future.

For more help, feel free to join our Discord server to converse.

reviews

  1. Roverto Renteria

    Kumar L

    I have to admit... this has totally blown me away, the game HUD makes it feel like I'm a future pilot, the music is awesome and it runs at a pace I can play it... I am so stunned about this.

  2. Karoly Hemm

    Sarah R

    The interface and the accessibility of the game is amazing.

    Unlike similar games, I never found myself stuck once regarding to navigating the interface.

  3. Karoly Hemm

    Jamie S

    This is the most beautiful text-based game I've ever seen.

    It's a masterpiece.

  4. Corey Bailey

    James A

    I look forward to playing this game every day.

    I don't understand how this huge game can be free. Keep up the fantastic job!

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