Fighter design guide

Item prices: Prices are determined by a demand-and-offer mechanism. "High price" does not necessarily mean "good item"!
Thrust: A fighter's thrust is determined by its mass, drives power (which is the powerplant power minus the power used by the other components) and drive type. A light fighter with great drives power is faster. This number is rounded down. Fighters have a thrust of 5, on average. Thrusting forward costs 1 pulse.
g-max: This is the maximum acceleration your pilot can withstand: in game terms, it limits the maximum number of forward pulses you can make every round.
Turn cost: This is given by the spinners, and represents the cost of turning one hex-side: it is 1 or 2 pulses. It is a good idea to take into account the cost of making a full 180° turn: it is 3 pulses with power spinners and 6 pulses with light spinners.
Autonomy: This is the amount of propellent a fighter has at its disposal, and is determined by the fuel tank and drives. If your fighter has a rounds-based autonomy, it will use one unit of propellent in every round in which you make at least one movement. If your fighter has a pulses-based autonomy, it will use one unit of propellent for every unit of thrust used in the round.
Movement-related items
Powerplant: This is the most important item: it produces the energy to operate the ship's weapons, shields, computer and so on. All the energy that is not used by other items goes into the drives.
Drives: These have a smaller (but still important) effect on your thrust than the powerplant: the power generated by the plant (minus the amount consumed by the various fighter components) goes into the drives. IMT drives are more efficient when the power available is low (try these with a light powerplant, lasers, strong shields); if you choose these, you will have a rounds-based autonomy. IVT drives are more efficient when the power available is high (a good idea with a heavy powerplant, OFC guns, heavy armour) if you choose these, you will have a pulses-based autonomy.
Spinners: These determine the turn cost. If you buy power spinners your turn cost will be one pulse, with light spinners it will be two pulses.
Thrusters: In advanced games, you can take dual thrusters, which allow you to thrust 60° to the right or left instead of stragiht ahead.
Cockpit: This contains your pilot, and determines your g-max: it is 3 for humans and 4 for aliens. It also determines how good the helmet-mounted sights are, this gives a bonus on to-hit rolls and damage.
Defense-related items
Armour: This gives the total damage your fighter can absorb before being destroyed.
Shields: Constant shields absorb a percentage of the damage received equal to their value.
The number before the slash indicates tha maximum range (in hexes) at which the weapon can hit, the one after the slash gives the theoretical maximum damage at the optimal distance. In advanced games, some weapons can fire only straight ahead. This is indicated by a 0, placed before the other two, like in laser 0/8/150
OFC's are the weapons of reference. Their accuracy gradually decreases with distance, the damage inflicted is constant. They are optimal at short to medium range. They are heavy, but consume little power.
Lasers are very accurate, but inflict less and less damage as distance is increased. Overall, they are good at average to large distances. They consume a lot of power, but are rather light.
QGP guns are devastating at large distances, but ineffective at short distances. They deal an extra 100% damage to the enemy fighter's shields.
LB are deadly at short distances. They deal an extra 50% damage to the shields.
Prices Prices are determined by a demand-and-offer mechanism, so the more expensive items are not necessarily the better items. If many players insist on buying the same item over and over again, that item's price will rise. Accordingly, the 'best' fighter design will slowly change with time.
Typical fighters Each different allegiance has its own qualities and drawbacks, and knowing them can be quite useful in designing your "ideal" fighter. The typical fighter from each allegiance will be equipped more often with some items than with others:
allegiance powerplantthrustersspinnersweapon classesweapon types
armour shields
imperian + single light OFC, QGP − / − / − / + + +
alien + dual light QGP, LB = / = / + / − +
terran = single power laser, OFC + / = / = / − =
comcon dual power laser, LB − / + / + / =
This means that, often, a fighter built along the above guidelines will be cheaper than the other ones. Also, the differences among some of the above items are more marked than others.
23.876 t+p
laser: 25%
OFC: 25%
QGP: 85%
LB: 85%

range 4: 80%
range 6: 80%
range 8: 60%
5 t+p
missile: 40%
thrust 7: 40%
thrust 9: 0%
grenade: 100%
rocket: 40%
1.25.660 t+p
laser: 25%
OFC: 50%
QGP: 45%
LB: 30%

range 4: 60%
range 6: 60%
range 8: 30%
11 t+p
missile: 120%
thrust 7: 60%
thrust 9: 60%
grenade: 100%
rocket: 100%
3482 t+p
laser: 75%
OFC: 35%
QGP: 35%
LB: 75%

range 4: 60%
range 6: 100%
range 8: 60%
8 t+p
missile: 100%
thrust 7: 100%
thrust 9: 0%
grenade: 50%
rocket: 80%
24.874 t+p
laser: 85%
OFC: 85%
QGP: 25%
LB: 25%

range 4: 100%
range 6: 80%
range 8: 40%
7 t+p
missile: 130%
thrust 7: 130%
thrust 9: 0%
grenade: 30%
rocket: 70%

Current allegiance odds

BlckKnght7.66Swallow2The Swallow class was developed as a survivable recon fighter, upgrading on the Wasp's weapons and armor, while keeping the unusual dual thrusters. This model mounts a full array of weapons (Laser-8, QGP-4, a missile and two rockets). To stay within budget, a simpler cockpit had to be used, and slightly less fuel was brought along. Of course, more powerful weapons and more armor also mean less power was available for the engine, so maximum thrust was somewhat diminished, though the maneuverability stayed still fantastic.
BlckKnght11.22Sparrowhawk2As the wars dragged on, the Terran high command felt the need for a stronger front line fighter that could go toe to toe with the best out there. The answer was found in a further adaptation of the recon-class Wasp fighter, into the Sparrowhawk. This dual-thrusters variation sacrificed even more from thrust (down to 4), with a wholly different power and engine system, but kept with the original Wasp's thrusters and the 4-range laser. Added to this was lots more armor and a powerful 6-range laser, which became affordable thanks to new manufacturing techniques that reduced the cost dramatically.
derekticus9Lightning2The Comcons, having suffered defeat after defeat, were seeing their mighty empire shrink dramatically in size. They knew it was time for drastic action. Desperately in need of a new space sector superiority fighter, the leadership undertook a daring project: A disgruntled Alien ship designer was "enticed" to design the next generation Comcon superiority fighter. The result was the introduction of the "Lightning", featuring a deadly one-two punch but a rather thin skin. So, the call went out, "Skilled Comcon pilots needed!" And the rest is history.
Hollander10.93Warthog SD2The Terran Warthog S&D fighter was designed as a bomber/heavy attack fighter to destroy defended static and slow moving targets like an asteroid fortress or capital ships. The core of this design is a QGP-8 to take down shields and 3 ordnance slots for any combination of missiles, inertial grenades or rockets to do serious damage. An OFC-4 was added for additional fire power and to give the pilot a fighting chance in a dogfight. Shown here is the typical armament for Search and Destroy missions. On bombing missions against a known target all three slots would be armed with inertial grenades to do maximum damage. Some pilots choose to carry a rocket pack on bombing runs as a defence against incoming berserkers during the final approach.
neko5.73first1This fighter is a survivor from the first generation of Terran fighters, back when mounting a range-4 LB looked like a technological achievement to the Earth's engineers. Poor shields, decent but short-range weapons, very good manoeuvrability.
neko6.27arrowhead1Mounting an exceptionally good guns combination for the time (a range-6 QGP and a range-4 LB), the Arrowhead was the "Fokker Dr. I" to the very first Terran fighters. Its very poor defences, however, make it a flying soda can.
neko8.28Nimble 20,0002This was the first attempt by Terran engineers to produce a more well-rounded design than the terran one. This model mounts two lasers and a light missile, first-class shields, and has a very good manoeuvrability. Its very low armour makes it an easy prey for Alien fighters, though.
neko7.9Badger1The last of the second Terran generation of fighters in the Alien/Terran struggle. After whole wings of Nimble 20,000 fighters were wiped out by the shields-crippling Alien Arrowheads, Terrans decided to revert to what they were best at: old technology. No lasers. Almost no shields. Heavy armour, two OFC's, and a bit less manoeuvrability. The Badger stays a classic to this day, and is still a lucky pilot's favourite.
neko7.27first (revamped)1As all of today's pilots study in their books, first generation fighters went into mass production and failed miserably. This left Terran engineers with a dilemma: what to do with the surviving fighters? The first-generation Terran fighters were built with such rudimentary techniques that not much could be done, except substitute the cockpits with state-of-the-art ones. Not many pilots were eager to fly one of these, though.
neko7.47arrowhead (revamped)1What to do with the old Arrowhead fighters still available? The Alien engineers came up with the brilliant idea to upgrade the fighter's cockpit, forgetting the Arrowhead D.III's lesson: the problem was the armour.
neko10Gladius2The Imperian Gladius is the nemesis of the ComCon Nova. Its design is focused on offsetting the proverbial deficiencies of Imperian pilots with an impressive array of berserk missiles (which ComCons deem more intelligent than their pilots) and extremely powerful shields impervious to the Nova's lasers. A class-4 OFC and QGP complement the arsenal.
neko10Nova2The Nova is the main ComCon fighter voidcraft. Its twin class-6 lasers and good manoeuvrability are the bane of Imperian squadrons. ComCon pilots employ their superior dual thrusters and power spinners to dodge the Imperian missiles, and then start a series of high-thrust passes, confident in their renowned piloting skills. Because of these characteristics, Novae are mainly employed in void superiority missions.
Sabelkatten9.01Arrowhead D.III1It soon occurred to the Aliens that a fighter with low defence had little chances to survive the series of head-on-passes that characterised the first dogfights. The shorter-range combination of LB-6 and QGP-4 is more than compensated for by decent armour and shields, with no loss in manoeuvrability.
Sabelkatten8.22Spitfire1A high-speed interceptor used by the ComCon navy to engage heavy fighter/bombers, the Spitfire has high acceleration and a massive short-range firepower from its battery of 5 short-range LB guns. However when engaging more conventional space superiority fighters the Spitfire's lack of range is a serious handicap.
Zarby10.17Avatar2The Avatar was the Aliens' third-generation prototype. The Aliens adopted once and for all the ComCon's dual thrusters, but with a completely different philosophy. Aliens stuck to the light-spinners philosophy, and combined it with their acquired fear of head-on passes to mount three class-8 QGP cannons, which fit with the dual thrusters nicely in the hands of a pilot with good intuition and knowledge of the enemy. An LB-6 completes the weapons mix, to discourage enemies from closing in: this model is in fact unable to make a complete turn in one round!
Zarby8.52Javelin2The first Imperian model to face Terrans and Aliens, the Javelin mounts three missiles, an inertial grenade, and a single LB-6. It mounts slightly overpowered defences for its below-average, though acceptable manoeuvrability.
Zarby8.9Fireball2The third generation of fighters began with the contact with ComCon and Imperian models, which mounted five weapons against the Terran and Alien three. The Fireball is a typical ComCon design, with the trademark dual-thrusters and excellent-controls combination. A skillful pilot will try to sneak up from behind, and then plunge on the enemy at full thrust to maximise the odds in a deadly head-on pass. A handful of rockets is usually launched then, for the fireworks effect.
Zarby8.33Rabbit1Terrans were less hard-pressed than Aliens to change their design philosophy. Their first third-generation model, the Rabbit, was an experimental attempt to emulate the Alien Javelin design, but still with a "first-generation" mindset. Stunning manoeuvrability, two class-8 lasers, and almost non-existant defences. Few models ever actually took on patrolling duties.
Zarby10.17Avatar Mk. II2An Alien attempt to upgrade the Avatar fighter by giving it better balance to its effective fighting range, by replacing 2 of the 3 QGPs with an LB and a laser. The Mk. II lost its killing blow at long range in favour of being able to strike hard at any range. The energy requirements for the new weapon systems required the shield strength to be lowered to 60, but the savings allowed the developers to install an upgraded cockpit. The reduced defences, however, are ill-matched with the Mk. II's need to get to closer ranges.
Zarby7.77Solarbeam1The radical differences in this fighter may be a surprise in combat. The Solarbeam was designed to be a close-range fighter. This was an attempt to revolutionise the Alien design by dropping the QGP guns, and reverting to a single-thruster structure. In the hands of an experienced pilot this fighter can be very deadly.
Zarby5.9Wasp2This highly agile Terran fighter is meant for light reconnaissance duty. It only carries a single low power laser to defend itself with. However, it has both power spinners and dual thrusters. This could allow the Wasp to dance around an enemy fighter, attacking from behind until it is brought down.
Zarby8.75Hailstorm1The Hailstorm does what Terrans do best: put lead in the air. This model tries to be the Terran fighter that strikes a perfect balance between offence, defense, and maneuverability. Although the designers wanted two OFC-6, the weight was too great. The closer the Hailstorm gets to the enemy, the more deadly it becomes.
Zarby9.23Thunderbolt2As the war raged on many of the best pilots were killed in action, and the ComCon felt the need to come up with a design that would work well also in the hands of a rookie. The Thunderbolt is everything you would expect from the Comcon, plus missiles. Less dual-thrusters. The result is slow for a Comcon design, but is still meant for close-range fighting. It carries its own missiles so those Imperial fighters can see what it is like to dodge bullets. It still remains to be seen if the Thunderbolt can live up to all of its hype.
Zarby8.89Catapult2In the eyes of the generals, besides the dual thrusters there wasn't much to distinguish the Catapult from other Imperial fighters. For some reason though, for quite some time many pilots preferred the Catapult, and it threatened becoming the standard fighter throughout the empire. It was the most manoeuvrable fighter the empire had in any significant number, but the generals couldn't see any connection to this and why pilots kept putting in requests for Catapults.
Zarby16.31Lone Wolf2Although there is no standard mercenary fighter, the Lone Wolf comes close. Although its missile type is based on current market price, after its inital success, the gun mounts of the Lone Wolf started popping up in most mercenary units. Unlike most pilots who will fire their missiles early in the battle, mercenary pilots will hold theirs until the time is right. Some contend that this has given the Lone Wolf an inflated kill ratio.
Zarby11.72Dragon1After some time, the Imperians started to face a similar problem as the ComCons: with the recent need for warheads at the front lines, new Imperian pilots did not go through the normal extensive missile training. Therefore, for safety reasons, the empire commissioned the Dragon. The hope was that friendly fire incidents could be greatly reduced.
Zarby9.41Spark1Deep in the third era of Void Patrol dogfights, the best ComCon pilots started complaining that the current enemy fighters didn't give them much of a chance to fight a close up dogfight. With three LB-6 and reliable defenses, the Spark was developed to give them a chance to deliver a killing blow at close range, where they could see the expression on the other pilot's tentacles. This came at the price of the signature high-manoeuvrability of ComCon fighters, though: single thruster, light spinners.
Zarby9.2Assassin2Some more successful mercenaries have managed to assemble a fighter that has 3 long range weapons and a profile that is difficult to detect. This "Stealth" fighter approaches at low speed and attacks from just outside the targets effective range taking them out before they can close.