Frequently Asked Questions

What does it cost to play the game?

Dark Expanse is free to play. However, should you choose, galactic credits can be purchased. These credits can be redeemed for in-game bonus items. These bonus items will make you a more competitive player. Also, Galactic Credits can be converted to Imperial Chits and redeemed in the Supply Depot for specialty items.

Do I need to download any special software?

Dark Expanse does not require you to download any specialized software. It works well with most browsers, but it does utilize some JavaScript. Since many browsers cache the JavaScript methods, after a code drop, the game may not display properly, in this case, you will need to manually reload the page, or to flush the cache in your browser.

What browsers are supported by the game?

Dark Expanse works well with most browsers. However, we recommend either Firefox, Chrome or Safari. There have been a few display issues with Internet Explorer which we are working to resolve. Links to other browsers can be found on the main page.

Do I need to stay logged in to play the game?

Dark Expanse is a game that is intended to be played over weeks and months not hours. Therefore, you do not have to remain logged in for your actions to take place. After you have made your moves in the game, feel free to log out and come back later. Any builds you have started, or fleet movements made, will complete even if you are not logged in.

What is the difference between Profile and Preferences?

The Profile contains all the data that will be displayed within the game to other players. Specifically, it is the game information about you. The Preferences contain all other parameters that can be modified by the player.

How do I change the planet's name?

First select the planet whose name you want to change. A planet can be selected from the main menu list of Planets, the Production Overview or Technologies Overview pages. Then select the Edit Preferences page from the main menu. On the Edit Preferences page, edit and save the appropriate field.

What happens if all my planets are conquered?

In the unfortunate event where all your planets are conquered, the next time you log in, you will be allowed to select a new race, government and starting sector. Afterwards, you will receive a new starting planet.

How do I quit the game?

Leaving the game can be done on the Edit Preferences page. There is a 3 day grace period should you change your mind.

After I quit the game, do I still have an account?

Yes, your account will still be there. Should you decide to return, you can log in and start on a new planet with a new race and government.

What happens to my account when the galaxy ends?

You old galactic account will be added to the new galaxy. This means that your login and password, along with any unused Galactic Credits will be there in the next galaxy.

How do I set my current time zone so that my dispatch times display properly?

To get your dispatches to display using your local time zone, you must set the time zone using the Edit Preferences page. Be sure to select the appropriate time zone to include any seasonal offsets.

The servers are set to Grenwich Mean Time (GMT), therefore should your time zone change for instance as day light savings time, you will need to reset the correct time zone.

How do I start or leave a federation?

Starting, or leaving, a federation can be done on the Edit Preferences page.

What is Government Corruption?

As empires grow in size, the management of them tends to become more and more corrupt. Corrupt bureaucrats steal from public funds and larger bribes are required to complete public works. As a result, the empire becomes less efficient and the resource production rates will slow down. Therefore, Government Corruption is the decreased rate of production. Empires with greater than 5 planets will have corruption. Each additional planet will increase the overall corruption within your empire.

How does Government Corruption effect my production?

Government Corruption effects a planet's production. For each planet over 5, 2% corruption is accumulated. This is mitigated by an individual planet's Social rating and Security technology. A Social rating of 100 will reduce that planet's corruption by 20%. While a maximum Security technology will reduce the corruption by 40%.

Does my government type add to my Government Corruption?

All government types have some form of corruption. However, within Dark Expanse, your government type does not modify the Government Corruption.

Does the racial and planet type effect resource generation and population growth?

The planet type do not have any effect on resource generation. Racial types do effect resource generation. See racial descriptions for details.

The racial and planet type does have an effect on population growth. Each race does a little better or a little worse based on the planet type.

  • Terrans population growth does the best on fertile planets, and the worst on hostile, vacuum and gas planets.
  • Chitters population growth does the best on arid planets, and the worst on hostile, vacuum and gas planets.
  • Saurians population growth does the best on primitive planets, and the worst on arid, hostile and vacuum planets.
  • Silicates population growth does the best on hostile planets, and the worst on fertile, vacuum and gas planets.
  • Methenes population growth does the best on gas planets, and the worst on fertile, primitive and ice planets.
Why can't I build a ship?

Before any ship can be built, there must be some points in each of the ship technologies. Also, the shipyard must be large enough to handle that ship type.

Can I build more than one item at a time?

Yes. Each build is generated on the currently selected planet. Only one type of item can be built at any one time, unless the Extra Build Item bonus is turned on. Essentially, each planet has a primary build slot, and if the extra build bonus is turned on a secondary build slot becomes available. This means, when building factories in the primary build slot, nothing else can be added until all the factories are built, or the bonus is turned on. Should the bonus be turned on, a second item type can also be built. Any items in the second slot will be completed after the first completes. This means the build times of the second slot will be extended based on first slot time.

If I log out, will the item(s) complete building?

Yes. All timed actions, including items in the build queue and fleet movements, will continue to be executed regardless of whether your are logged in or not.

How does the Auto Build bonus work?

Like many bonus features, this one runs for one week. To start the auto build, turn on the Auto Build bonus on the bonus page. A build slot needs to be available, prior to launching the auto build. The auto build will build one item on each planet.

The auto build attempts to build until the maximum amount is reached or the bonus ends. If the maximum is reached, or the bonus ends, the auto build will terminate itself. The auto build will check each hour to determine if the planet can build more of the selected item.

If a zero, or an empty amount field, the auto build will build until the maximum amount is reached or the bonus ends. If an amount is entered, then the auto build will build until that amount is reached, or the bonus ends. For example, a planet has 1500 Astrogation, and there are enough resources to build 200 Astrogation, and the commander enters 500 Astrogation. The auto build will build the 200 available first, then keep checking each hour, and building more Astrogation until it reaches 2000 Astrogation, then automatically terminate. The commander can terminate the auto build at any time by simply selecting the cancel item button.

Why can't I travel between stars? Or What is Astrogation used for?

One of the things that makes Dark Expanse unique is how ship travel is handled. The distance a fleet can travel is based on the best planetary astrogation for each star. Therefore, before your fleet is be able to leave the star system, you will need to raise a planet's astrogation to the same technical level as the distance to the star you are trying to reach. Another option is that if you are a member of a federation, and one of their astrogation spheres overlaps the star where the fleet is located, then you will be able to use the federation astrogation system to travel between the stars. Also, the Jump Gates can also be built to connect your empire and those of your federation members.

What is the galaxy size?

The galaxy shape is a cube. Each galaxy side is 60,000 ATUs long. (ATU = Astrogation Technology Unit.) Each point of Astrogation technology allows your fleet to travel 1 ATU away from the star. There are 1728 sectors within the galaxy. There are 12 sectors along each galactic side and the sectors are cubes too. Each sector is 5000 ATUs per side. Sectors are invisible boundaries used by the game to help populate the galaxy. The galaxy is populated from the core outward. When a sector becomes 25% full, it is no longer available to new users and another sector is opened for colonization. New user population of the galaxy should roughly spiral outwards.

How is fleet combat initiated?

If the fleet is detected, combat happens automatically upon fleet arrival at the mission destination. When any fleet is assigned a mission, it will travel to that location. Upon arrival, there is a detection check, and if the fleet is detected, and should any non-federation fleet(s) be at that location, combat will be initiated.

The only time fleet combat will not occur with non-federation members is if as a federation member, that federation has a Non-Aggression Pact (NAP) with another federation.

How do Planetary Alerts and Fleet Detection work?

Planetary alerts and fleet detection are based on two things, primarily the number of combat assets involved and to a lesser degree, the level of sensor technology of both sides.

Planetary Alerts may be initiated when a fleet travels between stars using Out System Ops missions. Sending the alert depends on the number and type of PDB, and the number and type of ships being sent. Orbital Defense Bases excel at detecting long range fleets and Defensive Satellite are weak at long range detection. All other types of PDB are moderately successful. Civilian ships are easily detected, while Recon and Black Ops Ship are very hard to spot. All others fall into the middle category with regards to detection.

Most In System Ops missions will generate a planetary alert. The exceptions are for the black ops missions when a stealth fleet is used. This is because once the fleet is within the local solar system, it can easily be detected. Should a planetary alert be generated, a dispatch will be sent to the commander who owns the planet. If the player has turned on the Receive Planetary Alerts bonus, the player has the option of also getting an alert via personal Twitter and/or email.

Fleet detection occurs between two hostile fleets. For the defending fleet, the chance of detection is increased when using Recon ships and reduced when civilian ships are used. However, the reverse is true for the arriving fleet. The ships that are harder to detect, are the same as for Planetary Alerts.

When a fleet arrives at the solar defense position, and is performing a recon mission, there is a detection check. There is also a separate check to determine if the fleet is made up entirely of Black Ops Ships. If the fleet passes these checks, or if no hostile fleet is at the solar defense position, then combat does not occur and the fleet is undetected.

Another check is performed when the fleet arrives at the planetary defense position. If the fleet is performing one of the black ops missions, and is made up entirely of Black Ops Ships there is a chance it will not be detected. There will be a fleet vs fleet and a fleet vs PDB detection run to determine if the fleet is spotted. Should the fleet be found by hostile forces, combat will occur. Since all other missions are overt missions, detection will occur and defending forces will engage.

Can I bombard a planet from the solar defense position? And if so, does it engage any defending fleets or PDB?

Yes. A fleet can bombard a planet from any planetary or solar defense positions. Bombardment from the solar defense position, or a neighboring planet, produces less damage and does not engage the target planet's fleets or PDB. Should there be any enemy forces from which the bombardment launched, then combat will occur at that location. This means, that should you launch a bombardment from solar defense position, and there are enemy fleets at that location, combat will occur with those solar defense fleets, but not with the target planet forces.

Is each ship or Planetary Defense Base (PDB) unique?

One of the things that makes Dark Expanse different from other strategy games is that each ship and PDB is unique. Each of these combat assets takes on the technology level of the planet where it was built. For example, if a Destroyer is built, and then Ship Weapons technology is increased, then a Destroyer built afterwards will have a different capability than the previous built Destroyer.

How do I upgrade or repair combat damage for each ship or PDB?

For Maintenance information, see the Fleet and PDB Maintenance section of the manual.

Why doesn't the game have a research tree?

Dark Expanse was designed without a research tree. Instead of buying levels of research or technology, the game was designed that all spent resources go directly into the appropriate technology. Therefore, the individual player has the freedom to focus on where they want to spend their resources instead of being locked into a pre-determined research tree.

Why is there a soldier limit on each planet?

One of the game designs is that there is a limit to the number of soldiers each planet can support. This limit is based on the maximum population a planet can support. A planet starts with the maximum soldiers being 40% of it's maximum population. Should you wish to increase the maximum soldiers, this can be done through spending Imperial Chits within the Supply Depot. Remember, for maximum soldier added, the overall planet population will be reduced the same amount.

How do I create a colony?

Once your planet is at its maximum output, it's time to colonize. All planets are colonizable, and each has various strengths and weaknesses. First, determine which planet you want to colonize. Additional information, about the solar system, can be gained by running a Recon Planets mission. Second, build colony ships. Third, if the planet you wish to colonize is in a different solar system, send the colony ship there by using the Out System Ops page and choosing the Expedition mission. Lastly, once your fleet is in the solar system, with the targeted planet, use the In System Ops page. Select the planet to colonize, which colony ship(s) you are landing, and the Colonize mission. Note that one colony ship may not be sufficient to establish an active colony. Also, additional resources may need to be landed using the Load and Unload Cargo missions.

Colonization can be done with a minimum of 4 to 6 colony ships, but has a much faster development time and success rate with 8 to 10. Each colony ship adds 1000 of each resource (Manufactured Goods, Refined Metals, Energy Units, and Consumables), plus 5000 colonists to the new planet. Each colony ship also improves the planet's social level by 5 points. A successful colony requires that both Social and Environment are at a minimum of 40 points, or else the colony will have a population drain instead of a population growth. It is also suggested that the new colony be reinforced several times with fully laden cargo ships containing equal amounts of Manufactured Goods, Refined Metals, Energy Units, and Consumables. This will allow the colony to get off the ground faster, and be built up to a fully self-sustaining and contributing planet much sooner.

Now start building up the new colony the same way that you built up your first planet. Feel free to use cargo ships to deliver extra resources to the new colony to build up its production capabilities in less time.

Colony ships can also be used to transport personnel between worlds. If one of your planets is in need of extra personnel, it is suggested that you send a few colony ships from one of your more populous worlds.