Galactic Conflict has been developed explicitly for the iPad and as such, we made damn sure that the controls take advantage of the platform. We have developed a touch-based interface that works very well. It is easy to pick up for players new to the genre and still maintains perfect control over the game for seasoned veterans. We playtested the game a lot and there’s nothing that can ruin a game more than sucky controls, so we made sure the controls feel natural and intuitive.
First of all, if you are new to RTS games, then Galactic Conflict is perfect for getting into it as things are much more intuitive on the iPad than on other platforms. Galactic Conflict comes with a full in-game tutorial that not only explains how to control the game but also introduces you to all ship types so once you have completed all tutorial missions, you have a good understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of each unit.
It is important to know that while you control all actions, the pilots still have a mind on their own because you can’t do everything at the same time. They will automatically dog-fight with enemies, move to the destination you want them to go or fire their guns. However, you are in charge of building the right fleet and moving it around, assigning the targets you want to attack, and much more.
Let’s start out with planet management. If you want to develop one of your planets, then tap on the planet to select it, either by tapping directly on it or by using the Planet Shortcut Menu in the top left corner. This allows you to select your planets and construct new buildings or ships without leaving the front lines. You can even switch to another planet while you have a build menu open.
When your planet is selected, then the context menu to the right shows all possible actions. You can Open the Building Construction Menu to build new buildings on that planet, Open the Ship Construction Menu to build new ships or Open the Research Menu to research new technologies.
Individual ships can be selected by tapping them on the screen. Double-tapping selects all ships of the same type visible on the screen. While this can be handy, it is more practical to select ships using the controls in the lower area.
The three buttons in the bottom-left corner Clear the current selection, Select All Ships visible on Screen or Select All Combat Ships in the whole Galaxy. The latter is the easiest way to select your whole fleet if you want to move it around without caring where they actually are.
All ships currently selected will show up in the Selection Box in the bottom right corner. For more fine-grained control, you can tap on a ship type to only select that particular space ship type. Long-pressing on a ship type or dragging it out of the Selection Box unselects that particular ship type. This is perfect for controlling ships individually.
To hotkey ships you use a lot, the control group buttons labeled 1 to 3 can be used. For one, you can select all ships and do a long-press to add them all to the control group. Later, you can tap the corresponding button to quickly recall the previous selection. Alternatively, you can drag ships from the Selection Box to a Control Group button to add them. That way, a control group can easily be extended to include new ship types.
Giving Orders to your Fleet
All orders only affect the selected ships while all other ships will continue following their previous orders. You can tell your selected ships to perform an attack-move simply by tapping on the location they shall move to. The ships will attack all enemies they encounter on their way to their destination.
If you want your ships to ignore enemies, then double-tap on the destination. This issues a move command where the ship will not be distracted by enemies it may encounter underway.
You can also assign a dedicated target to your selected ships by tapping the enemy ship or planet. Your ships will then attack that target ignoring all other ships.
By long-pressing on a position in space, you can order your ships to follow waypoints. Long-press at one position, then long-press at another one and then at a third one and your ships will move to all three positions one after the other. This can be used to give ships a particular route (e.g. to walk around a dangerous area).
The buttons on the right side allow additional actions. The first button stops all selected ships. The second button also stops them and also puts them on hold position. Ships on hold position will not chase down other targets they may encounter later. This should be used to avoid ships wandering off to chase down baits that may lead them into a trap.
The button with the microphone is only present in multiplayer games. As long as the button is pressed, you can talk to your team mates (in team games) or opponent (in a 1 on 1). If you have disabled voice chat in the Options or the network quality is too low then this button will not be available.
Pause and other Options
Pressing the pause button in the top left corner makes it possible to pause the game, see your current objectives, change the settings or surrender from a game.
In the bottom-left corner, you can also see the zoom slider. Moving it all up zooms in to see all details, moving it down zooms out of the game (for a better overview).
In the top-right area, you can see the minimap. It shows the whole galaxy, planets are shown as circles and all ships as dots of different sizes, depending on the size (and class) of the ship. Like on the normal view, you can only see what’s going on within the line of sight of your ships and planets. Everything else is hidden by the fog of war. Therefore, do not forget to scout out the enemy to learn what he may be up to.
The Minimap can also be used to quickly move your view to a different position. Just tap the minimap or hold it and move around to relocate your view.
Galactic Conflict is easy to play but it’s still recommended to play through the tutorial. It also explains all buildings and ship types and is easily the best way to quickly get familiar with the game.
This section lists some common pitfalls new players sometimes fall into. Avoid these and your gameplay will be far more effective.
Trying to Control individual Strikecraft Ships
Strikecraft (fighter and corvette class ships) are swarmers. They are constantly on the move and only effective in masses. There’s little point in trying to control individual ships in the swarm. Once you have a substantial force, it is better to focus on positioning, keeping them away from counters and using them to flank the opponent where he is vulnerable. Also, accept that these low-hitpoint ships will take losses. They are cheap and can be rebuilt quickly.
Trying to Retreat with Attack-Move
When having ships selected, a single tap will order an attack-move, a double-tap or long-press a move order. The difference is that attack-move will attack enemy’s on sight while move will ignore enemies while moving to the destination.
If you want to retreat your ships from a fight, make sure you are using move (double-tap or long-press, the latter actually setting waypoints) as opposed to attack-move. If you just do a single tap, then your ships will indeed move to the tapped location but will engage enemies on-sight. Since they are already in a fight, they will continue fighting and only move there after the fight.
Not using the Selection Box
Learn to use the icons in the selection box to select all ships of a particular ship type. While it’s possible to double tap ships on the screen, this is difficult with moving ships. Learn to recognize ships by their ship icons, select all ships in your universe and tap on the icon on the selection box to select these ships only. A long-press removes ships from the selection.
For your information, bigger ships are always listed at the beginning of the selection box.
Focus firing with your whole Fleet
It can be a good idea to focus fire key targets to quickly dispatch them. However, focus firing with your whole fleet is often not ideal. Understand that each of your trusty pilots in the ships has a brain and knows what other ship types he is good at. Let’s suppose we have a fleet of interceptors and bombers hitting an enemy ship of frigates and fighters. Then our bombers will automatically target the frigate while our interceptors will dog-fight the enemy fighters.
Focus firing your whole fleet on a frigate will override this behavior such that your interceptors will attack the frigate as ordered. However, they do little damage to frigate armor and are much better at countering the enemy fighters.
Therefore, be careful when focus firing with your whole fleet. Often, it is better to attack-move into the general area and trust your little guys in the ships to not attack things they can’t damage anyway.