New to Zero-K? New to RTS games, even? This Newbie Guide will show you the ropes.
Basic Gameplay, Commands and Controls; This chapter will teach you everything you need to know to play the game.
- 1 Zooming
- 2 Scrolling
- 3 Choosing your Start location
- 4 Selection
- 5 Construction
- 6 Queuing Orders
- 7 Multiple Building Placement
- 8 Factories
- 9 Assisting Factories
- 10 Orders
- 11 Chat
- 12 Labels
- 13 Unit states
- 14 Command queuing
- 15 Factory orientation
- 16 Factory repeat
- 17 Placing markers, drawing, erasing
- 18 Custom formations
- 19 Area commands
- 20 Shortcuts
- 21 Manuals
- 22 Map views
- 23 Build modifiers
- 24 Starting to fight
First try to zoom out to get an overview of the map. Use your mouse wheel, or PageUp/PageDown to zoom out/in. You can also press Ctrl+Tab to toggle full-map view.
You can use the arrow keys, hold the middle mouse button, or move your mouse to the edge of the screen to scroll. Middle-click on the minimap in the upper left will centre on that location
Hint: Use zooming to scroll: zoom out, move cursor to the desired position, then zoom in
Choosing your Start location
Click anywhere in the green area to chose your starting location. Assuming it has not been chosen for you, normally, this is first phase of the game. The map will be divided into red tinted and green tinted areas. The green is your start box, the red is the enemies. This page has more detail about what your typical opening moves to a game would be.
Good starting locations are near metal spots, usually depicted as grey marks on the map. Pressing F4 will toggle metal view mode, which makes metal easier to see by circling them along with showing their output below the circle (Alternatively you can mouse over them to see their output value). Grey circles indicate they are unclaimed, teal/green ones indicate that you or your allies have claimed it, and red ones indicate that an enemy player has claimed it.
F4 will also highlight metal sources (such as rocks or wrecks)
Note that the game will only start when all players have placed down their commanders or when a certain amount of time has passed. You can try to speed this up by typing !force in all chat.
To select construction units such as your commander, left click them. Holding down the left mouse button draws a rectangle that selects all units inside the area. Your commander can also be selected with the keyboard shortcut CTRL+C.
To add to/subtract from current selection, hold Ctrl + click on the unit.
First, start your economy by making a Metal Extractor - often referred to as Mex (Shortcut X-Q).
With your commander selected, select the Econ tab at the bottom left of the screen or press X to access the economy build menu. The Metal Extractor is at the top left of the economy tab, left click to select it.
Click the left mouse button to place the building on top of one of the metal spots, right next to where your commander should have spawned.
You can build any other buildings the same way as you built your metal extractor.
Select the Metal Extractor (X-Q) from the build menu again, and while holding the SHIFT key, place it over the two other metal spots. This will place these orders at the end of his order queue, meaning he will execute them in sequence. Giving an order without SHIFT held cancels the queue in favour of the new order.
To cancel a single order in the queue, hold shift and click on its location- in the case of a build order, you must have a building selected to do this.
You can also insert commands at arbitrary positions in the queue by holding down Space while issuing the order.
Hint: Selecting the Area Mex command and dragging a circle radius over an area will order the commander (or any constructor selected) to place mexes over all spots in the area.
Multiple Building Placement
Select the Solar Collector (Shortcut X-S) from the build menu, you'll also find it under the Econ tab. When placing it, hold down Shift again, left click and drag to place a line of buildings. Make at least 4. Solar Collectors produce +2 energy, the yellow resource bar in the top center.
Metal Extractors produce Metal, the blue-grey resource in the upper right of the screen. Solar collectors produce Energy, the yellow resource. You need both in equal amounts for construction.
Build the Cloakbot Factory (Shortcut B-Q). Factories produce new units. Your first factory is free, and is teleported in, just like your commander.
Select your factory. You usually want to make sure it is set to repeat, for constant production. Left Click the repeat button, so that it turns green.
You can add units to your factories production queue by left-clicking the icon of the units you wish to build. The factory will then immediately start production. To remove a unit from the queue, simply right-click the unit's icon.
The repeat option will allow your factory to keep producing units indefinitely at your chosen ratio.
If you need a unit quickly, you can press Alt while clicking and you will make that many units outside of the queued loop (i.e. they will only be made once), after the current unit is finished. Shift click adds/removes 5 of the chosen unit, Ctrl click 20, and Ctrl+Shift click 100.
A good start is to order your factory to produce one construction bot and around five raiders. (remember to put them on repeat)
Any constructor, including your commander, can assist your factory's production. To do this, select the constructor and right click on the factory.
This will give a 'guard' order, which makes the unit automatically help to build anything the factory is building. This is much cheaper than building additional factories, so if you want to produce faster, assist.
Only make an extra factory when you feel like you need extra tech (or in a forward position to reduce transit time).
You can select multiple units of the same type on your screen by double-clicking one of them. You can also press CTRL-Z to select all units of all the unit types you currently have selected.
You can control-group units by pressing Ctrl+# (# being any number from 0 to 9). Pressing the number key will select that group of units.
Unit Movement and Combat
You can order units to move by simply right-clicking at a location. Holding down the right mouse button when having multiple units selected draws a line or curve, which orders your units to spread out and proceed towards their position in the formation with equal spacing.
If you give an explicit order of "Attack Move" (A on keyboard) or "Move"(M on keyboard), you can also draw a line or curve for formation (without bringing up the build menu if the selection includes cons).
You can order units to attack a specific target by right clicking it. Note: Units will automatically fire at enemies in range, so may not fire at the target first.
Nearly all units can shoot while moving.
Hold down the SHIFT key while having units selected to take a look at their current command queue. While doing so you can also add new commands to your selected units, which will then process all commands one after the other.
The Attack Move order will make units stop to engage enemies they encounter (like Attack Move in other RTS games). Additionally, they will also attempt to dodge enemy projectiles and kite enemies automatically; see UnitAI for more information.
If you hold down CTRL while giving an order of Move (right-click) or drawing a line with right click, all these units, whatever their normal speed, will move at the speed of the slowest units, i.e. they will stay exactly in the same configuration while moving.
By holding the key giving the order and dragging the mouse, you can create an area where the order applies. This works for the following orders: Attack (F on keyboard), Reclaim (E on keyboard), Repair (R on keyboard), Areamex (W on keyboard), Load (L on keyboard), Unload (U on keyboard).
Group of Combat Units
If you have a group of units selected, holding down CRTL and giving the order of "area Attack" (holding "F" on keyboard + dragging mouse) will have each of these units attack a particular target in the area selected, whereas if you select this group of units and "area Attack" only (without CTRL), all of these units will together attack one target after the other in the area selected.
If you have a group of units selected, holding down ALT and giving the order of "Attack" ("F" on keyboard) and drawing a line will spread targets along the line (useful for bombardments and laying down mines with Badger).
- Alt+Enter: Talk to allies
- Ctrl+Enter: Talk to everyone
- Shift+Enter: Talk to spectators
- Enter: Talk to last recievers
- ~: Draw on the map
(Existence of unit states + very basic ones) For a complete guide refer to Unit States
You can queue any command (attack orders, build orders, movement orders, patrol orders, repair orders, etc).
To do so, hold down Shift and give one or several units multiple orders. Holding down the Space key will allow you to insert an order at the start of the queue. If you hold down the Space key and the Shift key, the command will be positioned so your units will have to spend as little time traveling in total as possible. Note that this calculation ignores obstacles, it's nowhere near perfect.
You can use Insert or Delete to change which way your factory points.
You can set your factories to repeat unit production (see [unitstates Unit States]). Any units you queue will be at the end of the queue upon completion. Holding down the Alt key when queuing a unit will add this unit to the front of the queue and, even when repeat is enabled, not repeat it.
If repeat is currently on, alt insert will place the new unit after the one currently being built.
- Currently constructed: Reaver (r)
- In queue: Glaive(r), Glaive(r), Envoy(r), Conjurer(r)
- Alt+Click on Knight
- Currently constructed: Reaver (r)
- New Queue: Knight, Glaive(r), Glaive(r), Envoy(r), Conjurer(r)
here (r) means a unit will be put at the end of the queue upon completion - "repeated"
Placing markers, drawing, erasing
Hold down the key below Esc. Depending or your keyboard this could be a tilde(~) a circumflex(^) or something else. With this key held down, use your mouse..
- left click and move to draw
- middle click to place a marker
- right click to erase
- double left click to place a marker with text
Simply select a command and draw a line anywhere on the battlefield using the left mouse button. With no command selected the right mouse button will draw a move formation. Depending on your unit selection, one of the following will happen:
- If only a single unit is selected, commands will be queued along the line. This allows you to quickly draw a path to go around obstacles such as static defenses and more.
- If a group of units is selected, one command for every unit will be created along the line. This can be used to draw a formation before engaging the enemy, to spread up and so on.
Works for the following commands:
Attack Move, Manual Fire*, Force Fire*, Jump, Move, Patrol, Unload*
- To use a custom formation Attack or Unload order, you have to hold down the Alt key while drawing a line.
Area commands will order units to perform a task on every "reasonable" and visible target. To use them, select a command and press and hold the left mouse button, then move your mouse to set the size of the area. This works for the following unit orders:
Attack, Area attack, Reclaim, Repair, Resurrect
Retreat is a special case
Note that there are various modifiers available for these commands. (For now) refer to http://springrts.com/wiki/Using_Orders for further information.
Most buttons have a shortcut (hotkey). It is either displayed right on top of the button or revealed when hovered over. To edit shortcuts, hold down Space and left click on the command menu. This will bring up a list of existing shortcuts.
For further information refer to Custom Keys.
- F1 toggles the height map
- F2 toggles the pathing map
- F4 toggles the metal map
- L toggles the line of sight view, it displays different colors for radar and direct line of sight and red where one of your units jams enemy radars
(For now) refer to http://springrts.com/wiki/Using_Orders#Building_Buildings
Starting to fight
You have a choice of several factories, each with its own set of units. Of these, the Cloaky Bot Plant offers the best combination of flexibility and ease of use, and is recommended for new players.