Abandonware DOS title

Tau Ceti manual

                           Software Presents
                          THE LOST STAR COLONY


An abandoned space colony near Tau Ceti has been taken over by robot
warriors run amok.  Earth is pushing to recolonize the planet, but all
previous attempts to overcome the robots have failed.  It has been
determined that a single highly skilled pilot would have a better
chance to successfully slip through the unstable defense system than a
whole squadron of pilots.  Your mission is to disable the robots by
shutting down the damaged defense system controlled by the Main Central
Reactor.  You must collect and assemble the reactor rod pieces located
throughout the colony's many cities.  After assembling the rods, go to
the Main Central Reactor in the capital city of Centralis.  Put the
reactor rods in place before the radiation becomes too much for you.

You will be flying a highly sophisticated skimmer (so named for its low
flying maneuverability).  The skimmer has been outfitted with a 4-way
view screen, a computer and a complete control panel.  Special features
will help you navigate the planet's unusual landscape.  Infra-red
sights will help guide you in dangerous night battles, which occur often
due to the short days.  Use the ship's specialized directional
indicators to get a bearing on a city's layout and to locate the nearest
jump pads. The skimmer is equipped with a limited supply of weapons and
fuel. If you run out of any supplies or sustain any damage, return to a
supply center or the landing craft to resupply or refuel your ship.


UP     Forward
       Increase Speed
DOWN   Decrease Speed
LEFT   Left
RIGHT  Right

KEYBOARD CONTROLS  (used in flight)
S      Increase speed
X      Decrease speed
O      Move to the left
P      Move to the right
H      Increase altitude
G      Decrease altitude
L      Land on planet surface
J      Use approaching a Jump Pad to transport to other cities
Space  Fire laser cannon
I      Infra-red viewer enables you to see in darkness
F      Send up flare for temporary illumination
M      Fire missile
A      Fire antimissile
R      Status, for checking ship's condition
V      Select viewer to see forward, rear, left and right
-      Set scanner for long or short range scanner


After you load the program, start the game by pressing the space bar or
the fire button on the joystick.  The game begins with the skimmer
docked in the landing craft's airlock.  The screen is split up into three
main parts: the view screen (now showing the interior of the airlock),
the computer readout at the bottom of the screen and the information
display area.

The computer is operational only while docked in certain buildings or
after you have landed on the planet's surface.  The computer readout
also serves as a message and warning screen.  Type HELP to get a list of
the available commands (listed below).  To return to the view of the
airlock, type LOOK.

Help             Lists the commands available.
Launch           Launches the skimmer from airlocks.
Look             Shows the view inside buildings and airlocks, and
                 provides information on any useful object that might be
Status           Displays damage and progress report.
Equip            Allows access to repair, refueling and rearming
                 facilities when docked in certain buildings.
Map              The computer will display a map of the planet and
                 provide information about the cities.  Use the mouse to
                 move the cursor around the map; press the button to
                 obtain information about a city.
Rods             Displays the reactor rod pieces you have collected.
                 Use the mouse to manipulate the rod pieces for assembly.
Reactor          Gives access to the reactor room when docked at the
                 main Central Reactor in Centralis.             
Library          Enables entry to the library facilities when docked in
                 a city library.              
Pad              Allows you to type progress notes for future
New Pad          Gives you a new notepad and erases existing notes.
Save             Saves the current game being played.  Follow the on-
                 screen prompts for complete instructions.
Load             Loads a game from disk.  follow the on-screen prompts
                 for complete instructions.
Name             Type in the pilot's name.  You can also change an
                 existing name.
Keys             Allows you to edit the key commands used in flight
                 mode.  Select the command you wish to edit, and type in
                 the desired letter or key.  Mouse may be used during
                 flight mode by selecting left, right, up and down
                 arrow buttons when redefining keys.  The mouse works
                 best when used for left and right movements only.
Pause            Freezes the game.  Press the space bar or fire button
                 to resume.
Wait             Time out from the game for 5 minutes.
Quit             Abandons the game without saving.
Score            Gives the number or rods collected and assembled, and
                 the number of robots destroyed.
Sights On/Off    Turns the sights on and off.
Dir              displays a list of the games saved to disk.
Timevault        Allows access to any unopened timevaults loaded on your
Joystick         Enables the use of a joystick
Inventory        Displays a list of collected objects loaded on your

The control panel, on the right side of the screen, contains many
instruments necessary for navigation and combat.

Radar Scanner    Shows a long or short range view of the area.  Your
                 ship is always at the center of the screen.  Objects in
                 the area appear as blinking dots on the scanner.
Game Displays    Located above the Radar Scanner.  Displays game time
                 elapsed, current location and view direction.
Information      Located to the left of the radar scanner.  Compass
Indicators       provides heading direction.  Target indicator notifies
                 you when object is in the gun sights.  Tracking
                 indicator warns you when the enemy has you in its
                 sights.  Infra-red indicator shows whether infra-red is
                 on or off.
Ship Status      Located below the Information Indicators.  Provides
                 information on altitude, speed, fuel and equipment
Directional      Lower right of the screen.  When the vertical line is
Indicators       centered in the top indicator, you are headed toward
                 the nearest building.  When the vertical line is
                 centered in the lower indicator, you are headed toward
                 the nearest jump pad (the inter-city transportation
                 system).  The lower directional indicator is used to
                 locate your landing craft while in the city of Reema.

You begin your mission in the city of Reema.  Before you take off, it
would be a good idea to take a look at the map to plan your mission.
The map will also provide information on which cities are connected via
jump pads. You are not able to fly the skimmer to other cities, due to
the great distances between them.  You must use the jump pads to travel
between cities.  To go to a city north of your current location, head
toward the jump pad to the north.  You will also be able to find out
which cities are heavily guarded and might contain supply centers.

Type LAUNCH to exit the airlock.  If you are using a joystick, maneuver
the ship through the landscape forward, left or right.  Pull back on the
joystick to reduce your speed.  When speed is reduced to zero, the
skimmer is able to hover.  If you are not using a joystick, use the
keyboard controls to fly your ship.  You must use the keyboard controls
to implement features such as the status report or the infra-red sights.

As you are flying, use the compass on the control panel to guide you
through the planet's landscape.  To see what is behind you or to your
left or right, type V to change the view.  Use the lower directional
indicator to guide you to the jump pads.

When an object is in the gun sights on your viewer, the target
information panel will notify you that it is within target range.  You
can either shoot with your laser cannon (by pressing the fire button or
the space bar) or you can fire a missile by typing M.  Since you are
equipped with a limited number of missiles, you should conserve them and
use only when necessary.

Most robots can be destroyed by using the laser cannon.  If you are
being tracked, the tracking indicator will warn you in plenty of time to
either outrun your opponent or shoot at him first.  If a robot has
launched a missile at you, a warning message will appear on the message

Robots         Robots have various forms.  The most common look like
               tall poles and move slowly.
Hunters        These are hovering robots that appear on the horizon and
               move in quickly for the surprise attack.
Mines          They are located primarily in the distant cities and go
               undetected by the skimmer's warning system.  They can
               detonate easily;  approach them cautiously and destroy
               them with your laser.
Sand Hoppers   These usually appear around jump pads.  Go slowly
               between cities and don't come out shooting.

There are also a variety of building and radar towers.  Destroy the
radar towers which inform the robot warriors of your location.  Some
buildings (such as reactors and airlocks) should not be destroyed; they
might contain parts of the rods you are to collect or might provide
necessary supplies.  Dock into an airlock slowly.  If you approach too
swiftly, you risk damage or destruction.

Landing Craft  The landing craft will remain in the city of Reema.  You
               can return anytime to refuel or repair your ship.
Radar Towers   Tall spires with flashing lights that track your location
               and relay information on your position to the warrior
Jump Pads      These low, flat structures with a tower to the side are
               used to travel between cities.  Refer to the computer's
               map for information on which cities are connected via the
               jump pads.  Approach the jump pads slowly.  As you fly
               over the jump pad, type J to be transported to next city.
Domes/Spheres  These are abandoned buildings from the former colony.
               Some may have short range lasers, so don't get too close.
Supply Centers Use the Civilian Supply Center to refuel and repair your
               ship.  The Military Supply Center will rearm your ship.
               At certain Military Supply Centers, you may find other
               useful equipment.  In Preema, for instance, you will
               also find an extra reserve shield and an experimental
Reactor        These buildings contain the rod pieces necessary to shut
Substations    down the Main Central Reactor.
Main Central   Located in the capital city, Centralis, you must place
Reactor        the rods in the reactor room to disable the defense
               system.  Because of the dangers of radiation, you should
               get out of the reactor room as soon as the rods are in

Because of your skimmer's speed and maneuverability, you will have the
advantage in most combat situations.  Robots are notoriously slow and
generally do not shoot at you until you are at close range.  However,
some cities (those that contain buildings with valuable equipment or
rod pieces) are heavily guarded.  Robots tend to collect around jump
pads and the airlocks of buildings.  Your best defense, when caught in
these situations, is to keep shooting until the area is clear of robots.
Listed below are the weapons and defense systems available to you.

Lasers         Your lasers are good for shooting down most things.
               However, they tend to overheat easily when used for long
               periods of time.  The lasers work more effectively at
               close range and robots tend not to be very quick, so it's
               best to destroy them as they approach.  Other objects
               such as spheres, domes and mines are best to destroy at
               long range.
Missiles       These are best for close range fighting and when you
               want to make sure you hit your target.  However, certain
               robots are equipped with AMM's (Anti-Missile Missile) and
               will defend themselves against missile attack.
AMMs           The message screen will notify you if a robot has fired
(Anti-Missile  a missile at you.  Respond by either shooting down the
Missiles)      missile (they move slowly) or using an AMM to destroy
               the missile.  If you are in the midst of close range
               fighting, you might want to use AMMs to protect yourself.
Infra-Red      A day (or "Spin" as they're known on the planet) lasts 12
Sights         Earth minutes; therefore, night will fall quickly and
               often during your mission.  Objects on the screen are
               shaded and when night approaches, they will become
               difficult to see.  When using infra-red sights, objects
               will seem blurry.
Flares         Use when your infra-red sights are damaged or when in
               heavy night fighting--it will temporarily light up the
               area and get rid of the infra-red blurriness.
Shields        Your defense shields can wear down quickly, especially
               during heavy fighting.  To replenish your shields and
               avoid burning them out, wait outside the city away from
               attackers.  If you pick up the reserve shield in the
               Military supply center at Preema, you will be able to
               use that one should your first one burn out.

Damage can be sustained during heavy fighting or by running into
buildings. If your skimmer requires repair, return to the landing craft
or a supply center to repair your ship.  Once inside the airlock, type
EQUIP and a list of repair functions will appear.  Select the items you
wish to repair.

Battling the robot warriors may be hard enough, but you must also find
the reactor pieces and assemble the cooling rods that will shut down the
Main Central Reactor.

The rod pieces are located in Reactor Substations throughout the
colony's many cities.  There are 40 rod pieces to assemble into 20
complete rods.  Once you are docked in a Reactor Substation, the message
screen will notify you of any rod pieces in the building.  They will
automatically be loaded onto your ship.  Type RODS to display the rod

To assemble the rods, pick up a rod piece by positioning the cursor over
the rod piece and pressing the fire button.  Place the rod piece in one
of the circular pods by moving the rod piece over the pod and pressing
the fire button.  Find its mate and place it in the same pod.
You might need to rotate the pieces to fit them together.  To do this,
place a rod piece in a pod.  Position the cursor over one of the
direction arrows on the screen, and press the fire button.  Now, you can
pick up its mate and assemble the rod.

If you have succeeded in finding and assembling the rod pieces, your
next destination is Centralis.  Centralis is heavily guarded, so go
slowly. You do not have to have all of the rods assembled to go to
Centralis. Once you have several rods assembled, you might want to go to
Centralis to deposit those rods first, and then continue your mission.

After docking in the Main Central Reactor, type REACTOR to gain access
to the reactor room.  The rods will automatically be placed in the
reactor room. Don't stay in the reactor room too long; there are
dangerously high levels of radiation in there.  Once all the rods are in
place, the damaged defense system will be shut down and the colony will
have been saved.

*Head for the city's center to find any buildings, such as reactor
substations or supply centers.  After you have collected any reactor
rods and supplies in the city, work your way to the outskirts and
towards the jump pads to go to the next city on your list.
*To avoid being tracked by the enemy's radar, move slowly and shoot at
close range. Destroy radar towers located near the city's center.
*Plan your strategy before you launch, and keep a list of objectives
and information (such as jump pad and supply center locations) on your
note pad.
*Use your 4-way viewer often.