Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Important Wing Commander Saga Controls and Hotkeys

A month ago I posted about the imminent release of Wing Commander Saga, a free PC full version space simulator. I've been playing it for several weeks now and while I've gotten the hang of the game, others new to the series and/or the genre might find the numerous controls daunting. I've made up a guide on what I think to be the core Wing Commander controls and hotkeys. If you want to have an easier time with the game memorize and utilize the list found in this article.

The list of important Wing Commander Saga controls and hotkeys after the jump.

The core controls of this freeware PC space sim that you should keep in mind: 

A – Holding down this key increases your speed rapidly until it reaches maximum. Useful for:
  •  adjusting your position relative to a large enemy vessel
  • providing a temporary boost in getting even nearer to an enemy fighter craft that’s not more than a thousand clicks away from you. 

Z - Holding down this key decreases your speed rapidly until you come to a full stop. Useful for:
  • adjusting your position relative to a large enemy vessel
  • cutting your engines and letting an enemy fly past you
  • cutting your engine to get a bead on an enemy that’s pulling a loop in an attempt to shake you off
  • letting you drop back, enabling you to get a better vantage point in guarding a vulnerable friendly (useful in escort missions where the friendly you’re guarding is being targeted with stealth missiles). 

Y – Tags whatever is in your reticule as your current target. (Note: This only works for fighters and ships; you can’t use Y in targeting a ship’s subsystems like turrets and engines. For that you need to push “V.” You can still, of course, fire away at subsystems so long as they’re in your reticule.)

Tab - Holding down this key activates your afterburner. Useful for:
  • getting rapidly near an enemy fighter/ship that’s more than a thousand clicks from you
  • in tandem with launching counter measures (x) and the 7 or the 9 key (barrel roll left or right respectively), useful in evading incoming missiles
  • in tandem with doing a loop, useful in shaking off a bogey who’s on your six. 
(Note: holding down Tab, pressing the “Glide” button, then letting go of the Tab key lets you hold afterburner mode without burning fuel reserves. See “Alt-G”, below.) 
X – launch countermeasures, decoys that draw confuse and draw off enemy missiles from you.

>>>Flabbergasted on how to access the Wing Commander tutorial? Click HERE 
Alt-G – Glide; lets you stay in your current vector even when you turn. (It’s like you’ve converted yourself into a tank—the treads still take in the direction where you want to go even if your cannon is pointed in a direction that’s different from your current heading.) And yes, “lets you stay in your current vector” means exactly that; even your speed is conserved. This means that using Glide in tandem with your afterburners lets you maintain that speed and direction even if you turn in another direction (See “Tab”, above.) IMPORTANT: Only the Excalibur and the Arrow can Glide. 

M – Match speed with the current target. Useful for:
  • killing enemies; if you’ve matched speed with an enemy and you’re on his six, he’s as good as dead in no time flat unless he pulls off evasive maneuvers
  • Also useful for taking out capital ships’ subsystems (in tandem with Glide, makes the task a tad easier).

Alt-M – Toggles auto-match speed on and off. Useful for:
  • in protracted battles where there are lots of bogeys. Soon as you take one down, you’ll match speed with the next bogey you target. 

H – Targets the nearest enemy fighter craft (even if it’s not in your line of sight)

B – Targets the nearest enemy bomber or missile. VERY useful in escort missions. 

Insert, Home, and Page Up – Pushing the individual keys incrementally increases Guns, Shields, and Engines respectively at the cost of the other two. For example, if you continually push Insert, your Guns meter will rise while your Shields and Engines will decrease. Adjust the levels according to the situation: going up against light fighters? Increase guns and shields. Getting pummeled? Increase shields. Going up against a capital ship? Increase guns and shields (with a higher priority to shields).

Alt-D – Equalizes Gun, Shield, and Engine levels 

Q – Equalizes shields. All craft have six separate shields. If you find a bogey has successfully positioned himself on your six and has worn down your rear shield to zero, pressing Q redistributes your craft’s overall shield energy to all its areas. You might get weaker front and side shields temporarily but at least you’ll have shield power restored to the area that has been rendered vulnerable. 

Tip: If you’re not playing multiplayer (I’ve never checked it out), bear in mind that the buttons, 1,2, 3, and 4 are available. You can bind some of the ones mentioned above to these. Myself, I bound the following to:

Barrel Roll left and right: 1 and 2 

Glide: 3

Toggle Auto-Match Speed on/off: 4

>>>Want more freeware PC shooter games? Click HERE. 

Are these games legal? Read about the freeware games on this site HERE. 


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the quick guide on hot keys, i've found it most useful.

Ildamos said...

My pleasure!