Warming up

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DarkSpace is a constantly evolving universe. Whenever code changes and content additions are released, they will be downloaded through DarkSpace's built-in updating feature. Updates may be announced in advance or they may suddenly show up without warning.

Regardless, you must have all the latest updates to play DarkSpace. When you attempt to join the GCQL chat client, DarkSpace will attempt to download all available updates for the chat client. However, some updates must be downloaded from within the GCQL client itself.

Any time you launch DarkSpace, or connect to a game server, the GCQL will check for game updates. You can manually check for update without having to start the game by clicking on the Launch Tab, selecting DarkSpace in the program list and then clicking the red "Update" button located between the Tabs and the program list.

Client Setup

The Setup window is where you will set your sound graphics, and connection options for the game component of DarkSpace. The Setup interface will automatically pop up the first time you try to enter a game.

If you decide to change your setup options at any time, you can click on the Launch Tab at the top of the GCQL client, and then double click on DarkSpace Setup in the program list, as seen in the screenshot above. There is no universal "best" way to set up the in-game graphics. It all comes down to personal choice, and the power of your computer.

In the following subsections, you will find a detailed explanation of the setup options.

Video Setup

The video tab allows you to customize the video options and graphical quality.

Auto Configure This is a quick-configure option that affects multiple settings at once based on the performance level of your computer. Players using newer generation hardware can use the Fast setting, players with low end or underpowered computers should start with the Slow setting.

Display Mode This interface allows you to set the screen resolution and color depth for DarkSpace. Additionally, if you have multiple display adapters, this interface will allow you to choose which one will be used to display the game. Resolutions for your primary monitor start with 0:, followed by 1:, incrementing for each successive monitor. It is not recommended to play at a higher resolution than your desktop setting.

Windowed If checked, game client will run in a window, rather than in full screen mode at the selected resolution. In addition, pressing Alt+Enter while the game is running will toggle between full screen and windowed modes.

Enable Specular Specular highlights make objects appear shiny. Disable this option to save system resources by avoiding the calculations to perform specular highlights.

Enable LightMaps Lightmaps illuminate portholes and other internally lighted areas on ships. Disable this setting to turn off Lightmaps.

Vertical Sync This options limits Darkspace's framerate to the vertical refresh rate of your monitor (commonly 60kHz), which prevents image tearing caused by the screen images being drawn faster than the monitor can display them. Default is unchecked. See also: FPS limit on the Options tab.

Software Cursor Uses software emulation for the on-screen position of the mouse. Users may experience disappearing mouse cursors if this option is not checked, otherwise leaving it off generally results in smoother, more precise mouse movement.

Alpha Fonts Toggle this option if you are experiencing visibility issues or graphics glitches relating to on-screen text. Default is checked.

Enable HDR This turns on or off a bloom effect in game. As this puts additional strain on your hardware, turn it off if you get any graphical corruption or to improve performance. There is also a corresponding slider in the in-game options to control the level of bloom. NOTE: Nvidia cards may have trouble with both HDR and FSAA at the same time, if you experience any graphical problems, try disabling either HDR or FSAA

Disable Shaders When checked this is intended to override and disable post-processing eye candy like HDR/bloom and shadows.

Enable Shadows Toggles real-time stencil shadows on ships and planets. Disable for performance gain. Has corresponding options for level of detail.

Texture Detail This interface allows you to choose the level of detail for the in-game textures. Higher quality means better looking objects, but it will require more memory for good performance.

Shadow Detail This setting adjusts stencil quality for shadows, higher levels look better, but increase the workload for your computer.

Graphics Detail This interface allows you to choose the level of detail of special effects such as light from weapon impacts. Setting this to High will also disable LOD (Level of Detail) scaling on models.

Ship Trail Length This slider allows you to set the relative length of ship engine trails. Experiment to find your own favorite setting. At 0%, there will be no trails visible. For the most part, this change is purely cosmetic and should not change performance.

Missile/Fighter Trail Length This slider allows you to set the relative length of missile and fighter engine trails. As with ship trails, find your own preferred look.

Particle/Explosion Detail This slider adjusts the number of particles rendered when observing an explosion. It also adjusts the number of particles rendered when observing an Interdictor or ELF Field.

Bloom Scale If the Enable HDR option is on, this slider controls the intensity of the bloom effect.

Audio Setup

The audio tab allows you to customize the audio volume and quality levels.

Mixer KHz The higher the number, the better the sound, but setting it higher will require more CPU usage.

Channels The number of audio channels to use (1=Mono, 2=Stereo).

Voices The number of simultaneous, independent sounds to play. Older sound cards may only be able to support 8 or 16 voices.

SFX Volume This slider adjusts the volume of the in-game sound effects.

Music Volume This slider adjusts the volume of the in-game music.

Music Directory The game is equipped with a built-in MP3 player. By default, the music directory is the official DarkSpace game music. You may set any other directory of MP3's that you would like to hear in game. Please note that DarkSpace will only play MP3 files, and that it will play them in alphabetical order.

General Options

This tab allows you to set your connection speed and miscellaneous interface options: Connection Speed This interface allows you to manually set your connection speed, or to have DarkSpace auto-detect it upon entering a server. Enable UDP When checked, DarkSpace uses a UDP connection. Turning this off may improve gameplay if you experiance major sync problems Enable Yaw Control When checked, you set your turn rate in game, and your ship will turn at that speed until interrupted. When unchecked, you set a heading with the "A" and "D" keys, and your ship will turn to that heading as quickly as possible. Use "ALT+Y" to toggle this option in game. Show Shield Status When checked, you will see shield/armor rings around your ship and targeted ships. This aids in detecting weakened defenses. Use "/" in game to toggle this option in combination with the following option.

Show Turn Status When checked, you will see a graphical representation of your turn rate or set heading centered on your ship. Use "/" in game to toggle this option in combination with the above option.

Show Contacts When checked, you will see diamonds on your screen for all local objects within sensor range. (Unless they have anti-sensor capabilities). When unchecked, you will not see the diamonds by default, making the game more cinematic. Use ALT+C in game to toggle this option. Left and Right Brackets, "[" and "]" will adjust the range at which contact diamonds appear on your screen, default range is 5,000gu.

FPS Limit Limits your frame rate while playing. Lower limits may increase performance, particularly on lower-end systems or integrated graphics chipsets.

Invert Mouse Buttons This option swaps context sensative mouse commands.

Disable Right Mouse Actions This option disables some context sensative mouse commands.

Enable Multi-Core This option enables support for multiple processor cores. However, due to timing issues, this setting is known to cause issues such as latency issues, or misc issues including (but not limited to) not being able to target planets, or not being able to see missiles. Most users can get by just fine with this setting off.