Armada is a real-time strategy game in which you build fleets of starships, research weapon systems and all that for four different parties, but without a complicated economy, such as in Stronghold Crusader. In particular the special weapons offer a rich strategic moment. Basically, it's all about overpowering the enemy with good attack tactics and a good selection of special weapons. In multiplayer, however, you quickly notice that macro management also contributes a lot to who wins and who doesn't.
The game was developed by Activision and also released by them on 22nd of March 2000.
The storyline starts after the Dominon War and covers the four races Borg, Federation, Klingons and Romulans. While the first tries to assimilate the Alpha Quadrant (and take possession of the Omega particle), the Federation fights against those very attempts. The Romulans also have an interest in the Omaga particle. The Klingons, on the other hand, are driven by Toral, who tries to install himself as ruler with the help of a fake sword of Kahles.
The game was released by Activision, but after some disputes with Paramount (represented by Viacom) they returned the license for Star Trek games in general. For this reason, Armada and the other Star Trek games from Activision will no longer be distributed. Therefore the game is not available at GOG or other retailers. Therefore, only the second-hand trade remains, e.g. via eBay or Amazon Market Place. You can find it also on http://archive.org.
The installer mentions the following minimum system requirements:
Along with this goes the information, that a vanilla EF 1.0 installations takes up 511 MB of hard disk space.
As always: Install, patch, if necessary copy crack over. Patch 1.3 should be applied after patch 1.2. The installer from the CD is unfortunately not the fastest and the game tends to have sound bugs on XP. On XP it runs in principle. Basically you should either install the game regularly or at least copy it. For the details, see below. For a fresh installation the patches should be applied. Depending on whether you use 1.2 or 1.3, the crack for the single player might be useful. 1.3 also allows widescreen resolutions and fixes a few bugs beyond the 1.2 patch. And last but not least, it removes the CD check, so you don't need a crack anymore. If you want to play 1.2 with crack, you should make a backup of the
armada.exe, because network games don't work with the cracked version. The English version has much better unit messages and cutscenes.
At least under Win 98 it is almost mandatory to install the game. On a fresh Win 98 Armada does not run from a copied folder. So install it regularly and apply the patches. Under Win 98 the 1.3 patch doesn't work. Therefore, keep a pre-installed version to be able to copy it over. The game comes with its own installer, which (especially on older computers) takes quite a long time to install the game, but that's normal. The game requires DirectX, but this is included. If you install the game, then the first major problem may already occur during the installation. Under Windows ME, I've found that the moment you click Change Directory, the installer freezes the entire system. In this case it is necessary to copy the game manually by simply copying all the files from the
setup directory of the installation CD to a directory named accordingly, with the exception of the data directory. The contents of
data must be in the same directory as the rest, but without the directory
data containing it. Only its contents. In this case the patch cannot be installed normally, because the information from the registry is missing. Then you have to get the corresponding files from someone else and copy them in manually (the patch installer looks in the registry for the path in which Armada should be installed, but it doesn't exist with manual “installation”). Therefore it is recommended to install the game completely at least once and to apply the patch 1.2. Then you can simply compress the game directory as it is and store the resulting archive. On LAN parties the game might work without patch 1.2 if the other players play the same version. But patch 1.2 fixes some annoying problems of the game (e.g. units can now be handled better than before). It's definitely worth it. Only the AI is somehow totally overprivileged, in difficult mode, and medium mode (you'll quickly notice that when you switch to 1.2). It then cheats by ignoring the tech tree and requiring a lot less construction time/-cost.
Here you can install, patch and crack everything straight forward without any problems. I don't know if a pre-installed version is still running without an installation, if you use patch 1.3. The difficulties here are more with the sound problems. If you leave the DirectX settings as they are by default, the sound will stutter, or the sounds will be chopped or not played at all. This can be fixed by turning off the sound acceleration or setting it to the lowest level. You can do this with the tool
dxdiag, which you can start by Run in the start menu. However, it is advisable reset this after playing, as otherwise the sound will be stuttering in other applications (e. g. VLC). If you want to get a Win 98 version 1.3, you can do the installation on XP & Co. and save the resulting directory. With that you can use the instructions above.
There are no more sound problems here (at least not with patch 1.3), but on some systems there are graphics problems in the main and campaign menu. Sometimes the textures from the previous menu are displayed, so that the buttons are no longer visible. The combination Win 7 x64 + Nvidia driver version 320.49 causes problems. But an update fixed that. Apart from that it works quite well.
The only requirement for playing: Run it with XP SP 2 or 3 compatibility mode and with administrator rights (or fall back on Runas Spc). After that, however, it runs pleasantly smoothly on current systems. With GameRanger you can even play Armada via internet under Win 7. The only problem are occasional crashes when the game has been running for a while (not only multiplayer is affected). However, there are more and more signs that this has something to do with the Windows updates in the background. Most problems with sudden crashes obviously occur when updates are searched for in the background or when the notifier reports that updates have been found. It is recommended to turn off the update service for testing purposes. Experience shows that crashes only occur after a while. 3 PC opponents on easy are no problem considering play time. An 8 player map with 7 PC opponents on medium or heavy takes sufficiently long to be confronted with the problem in general. In principle, a loss of progress (partly) can only be avoided by frequently saving (this also works for non-campaign rounds). How this works in multiplayer is still untested.
There's more to be done here:
The actual installation may pose a bit of a problem, when trying to use the installer
setup.exe from the root directory of the game under Win 10 x64. Instead, use the
setup.exe from folder
setup on the CD. It will work in any case. It is possible that the game cannot be started via the starter (
slaunch.exe), but directly via the binary (
Armada.exe). In addition it can happen that Armada “takes a few rounds”, i. e. the screen turns black, then the splash screen appears again, until the actual game finally comes up.
On Windows 10 1909 some players have reported, that it is impossible for them, to join an existing LAN game. You can see it in the ingame match browser but when trying to connect to it, the attempt fails. This is however not a general problem, as other players seem to be having no problems with it at all.
The game is basically a bit sluggish when it comes to control. But you can compensate with lower resolutions, especially on slower systems. It doesn't look so great, but it's certainly more pleasant than dropped inputs and slow reactions. The 1.3 patch gives the game 16:9 and 16:10 resolutions in addition to the original 4:3 resolutions, if supported by the hardware. On current systems, however, one can enjoy the full range.
There's basically not much to explain. Most of it is like in other games:
One small annoyance can be remedied if one is not completely satisfied with the standard overview. Armada starts by default zoomed in quite far, which in my opinion doesn't help the overview of the events at all. In principle, you can now adjust this zoom by holding down both mouse buttons at the same time. (It's a bit bumpy, but once you got the hang of it, it works. First the right button, then the left one, in between make sure that you don't move the mouse.) But you can also adjust this setting in the
RTS_CFG.h file. There you can find this line:
float OVERVIEW_INIT_HEIGHT = 1000.0;
That is the value of how far the game starts zoomed out when a match or campaign mission is loaded. I usually use the maximum value here because everything else is kind of silly. Who likes to limit themselves unnecessarily? You can set the maximum value in this line:
float OVERVIEW_MAX_HEIGHT = 1000.0;
1000.0 are deliberately chosen in this example. If you set more, parts of the map start to disappear. At least with the default settings. You can also increase the clipping area by adjusting the
ART_CFG.h file accordingly. The line with:
float FAR_CLIPPING_PLANE = 1400.0;
is the reason why you can't see anything on the map after a certain distance. You can set it generously to
20000.0. Then you can extend the
OVERVIEW_MAX_HEIGHT accordingly. Normally it is sufficient to be in the range of 5000. With this you can already see practically the whole map.
At this point, a warning is in order: The larger overview of course requires more computations from the system, so that the CPU/GPU load will increase and the game may start to jolt. Especially if many nebulae and other elements have to be rendered, the game jolts even on current computers.
If one uses such zoom levels, one will notice very quickly that even at maximum scroll speed, the scroll is sufficiently slow. This can be changed by turning up the parameters
MAX_SCROLL_SPEED in the
RTS_CFG.h, e. g. to 20. This is not only useful when zoomed in, but also at higher resolutions, e.g. when playing on full HD. The scrolling always feels a bit slow then.
The sound settings are interesting, because Armada causes problems with WinXP and 2000. The unit messages and notifications sound choppy, in Armada 2, for example, the music even breaks off all the time. So if the following tricks don't work and the sound still sounds terrible, just set the speech volume to 0. It doesn't have to be, if it sounds crappy anyway.
This error can be partially overcome by turning off the sound acceleration. To do this, enter the command
dxdiag into the Run field of Windows. This should open a window that offers settings for DirectX. On the tab Sound you should see a slider bar with the description Hardware acceleration which you set to No acceleration (far left) or Minimum acceleration (second position from left). This often helps, or at least reduces the effects a bit. But there are also two other methods that do exactly the same.
Start → Settings → Control Panel → Sounds and Multimedia → Audio tab → Advanced Audio Properties → Performance tab → Hardware acceleration to second lowest value, two times OK.
Start → Settings → Control Panel → Sounds and Audio Devices → Volume tab → Advanced in section Speaker settings → System performance tab → Hardware acceleration to second lowest value, two times OK.
If you rarely play Armada, you can reset the slider afterwards. It can happen that the sound will be quite awkward in other applications, such as media players. There is one last recommendation: The problem can be solved partly by installing new sound drivers. Just try new drivers for the sound card. Maybe you can solve it this way.
H, the settings are normal again and you will end up at your starting position. The settings can also be done with the keyboard (more precisely the numeric keypad):
*for turning to the right
/for turning to the left
+to zoom in
-to zoom out
To get an impression of the singleplayer campaign, have a look at the Web links
To get an impression on the multiplayer see section Web Links.
A basic requirement for armada and multiplayer games: You need an uncracked Armada version to play Armada in multiplayer! Neither in the net, nor on LAN a game will be possible. You won't see a single open game otherwise (not even if all players use the same cracked version). The 1.3 patch is better here. Then the game in singleplayer doesn't require the CD anymore, but still works on the network. So much for the warning. Since the WON network has been shut down, classic online gaming is no longer possible without tools. VPN is an adequate solution for this problem. When starting a new match, the game calculates the check sum of itsef, which is what this message is all about:
On the other hand you need the CD (also with 1.3 patch cracked to 1.2). You need at least one original CD, for five or more players even a second CD. But this can also be a CD image, because the copy protection doesn't deserve the name. It doesn't matter who inserted the CD. It doesn't have to be the creator of the game. But the CD must be inserted before loading the game. Otherwise Armada asks for it after clicking on Join which sometimes ends in a nice graphic bug. Occasionally it turns out that a later insertion does not result in the desired result. But sometimes it's enough to just insert the CD after the first request, and it still works. Since this is ultimately all a dice roll, it is best to have a CD inserted right from the start. Ideally you arrange, who's inserting the CD. Instead, you should have inserted an image or a CD prophylactically.
As usual, firewalls don't necessarily make life easier here. Especially the Windows firewall doesn't show up at first because of the query. But in the background it certainly is there. So until you have confirmed at least once that the game is allowed to access the network, nothing works. For example, you see an open game, but you can't reach it. That applies equally to server and client.
Under Windows 10, by default, DirectPlay is not installed. The game requires it. So during the first attempt to join or create an Armada match, you might get asked, whether or not you want to install it.
You have to, if you want to play it via network.
Armada has a certain tendency to produce (allegedly) asynchronous games. So you play for a while and at some point you get the message that the game is asynchronous. Unfortunately this happens often enough, but not always. In principle, this means that the same thing doesn't happen to all players. While player 1 has ship X at position Y, player 2 has ship X at position Z. This can be mitigated by granting the game more data rate. To do this, edit the
net.ini in the root directory of Armada and increase the values for
MaxBandwidth. More than standard 4 kb/sec. should easily be feasible with today's DSL connections and especially via LAN.
To create a game in the LAN, you must follow the menu path Multiplayer → LAN (TCP/IP).
You can of course also use IPX, but only up to Windows Vista. So TCP/IP is usually mandatory.
In the menu Multiplayer you should not forget to enter the username (at the top of the text field). It just sucks when the player “Player” plays on a map x times. Now you should see the multiplayer menu with the other players and possibly open games.
With Create game you can start your own game, with “Join” you can join an already open game. If you participate, the server creator has to take care of the settings. You can ask him via chat if he could do this or that setting. Since this is not very interesting, here is a little guide to the server: As soon as you click on
Create game, you will be asked for the name of the game.
This should be chosen meaningful, especially if several games are open at the same time. The password is optional and only recommended if you want to play privately. Then everyone who wants to join must know the password. If you leave the field empty, no password will be requested. Today there is little point, as there are no lobby servers any more. And on LAN parties you usually want your friends to be able to join the match.
Meanwhile, the game no longer works via the net with on-board resources, since the internet game ran via WON. Instead there is the possibility to play the game via GameRanger on the internet. To do this, a CD must be inserted per four players (also with Crack…) and GameRanger must be started from an admin account. If you try to start the game from a user account with admin rights (usually with password request), GameRanger seems to take too long and throws the following error message: Anti-Virus or Firewall software is blocking/interfering with GameRanger. It has nothing to do with FW or AV, but the problem has to be solved by starting GR directly from an admin account. Admin rights alone are useless, but are also not necessary from the admin account. A test in combination with Runas Spc is still pending. In addition, port 16000 (UDP) must be forwarded by the router NAT, or the computer on which the game should be run must be in the DMZ. Apart from that, everything goes relatively smoothly.
This section is now 100% obsolete and is only here for historical reasons. So you probably should skip to the next section. Today you will only get this message, when trying to use WON:
Via internet it was almost the same as on LAN, only that the menu way is different, and you could chat with other playerss who were not yet in a game. The menu path here was Multiplayer → Internet. You had to think up a username that nobody else had and assign a password for it. Of course you had to remember the password, because otherwise you were not able to get into your own account anymore… After that it's the same as in the LAN game. Only the opponents are usually much better than the AI. By the way, the Instant Action match is nothing else than playing against the AI only, as if it were humans (creating a server and so on).
In the players list you can see a column with Teams:
You can group people together in teams defined in permanently. These teams are binding until the match is over. The other variant is that you only define the teams in the course of the game by allying players. You have to press the Alliances button and then there are no more teams, but alliances, which you can enter but also dissolve…
There are three states you can have a player react to another
Both sides of a pair can set that by themselves. So when both sides set the shaking hands button, then they will not attack each other (units can pass each other unharmed). You can do the opposite to, bot set to explosion, which means, units encountering each other will attack the other side automatically. The mixture of course can also be set, meaning one player sets his units to attack, while the other does send his to friendly. This leaves on side attacking, while the other does not retaliate. This is of course also not advisable.
If you want to go back, press the same button again, but now it's called Teams. The advantages of alliance games are that you can play the game to the bitter end, because alliances do not automatically mean the gamesi over after defeating an opposing faction. The remaining players can still regroup and play against each other. Especially for very good players it's popular to first eliminate the easy opponents and then take care of each other.
You can also select which race you want to play as, named Side. You have the following selection options:
As a host you can also kick players from this match, by clicking (hold it!) on their name and use Kick.
If currently no actual real player is using this slot, you can either place an AI player in this slot, or remove it. When clicking (and holding the mouse button) this spot, you can drag the mouse and thereby select one of the following options:
When only clicking, you mark a player/slot and then can alter its color.
You can set the color by clicking on one of the color blocks below the player list. The first player in the list can choose the color first. If, for example, green is already occupied by the host, you cannot select this color.
On the right side only game-related settings can be found:
This can be either Normal Game or Head To Head. When Head To Head, only one player plays against one other.
This is important if you want to limit the number of players, to not make the game too laggy. A game of 8 players is usually really slow and tends to be asynchronous quite frequently.
You can use it to filter out people with high pings. So it has no influence on the LAN. This can only improve the game quality on the Internet.
Game Open or Game Closed: When closed, the game is no longer accessible for others. Good whenever you're already complete and don't want any more new players.
Determines how much dilithium each player has at the beginning. I recommend to be generous, because then the game starts rolling faster. But if there is a lot of time on a LAN, it's not wrong to take less.
An essential factor in shipbuilding can be having enough crew. Borg in particular quickly have the problem that they have cubes ready to use, but if they use the holding beam too excessively, the quickly run out of crew and building new ships/restoring the old ones no longer works. If the value is very low, this can happen very quickly. It depends on whether you want more resource management, or more resource battle.
This determines the maximum number of officers/centurions/energy nodes you have at the beginning. This limits the maximum number of ships and stations you can build. If you run out of officers, you either have to build new quarters in the star bases, or if you can't, you have to build a new starbase. There is no more than the set upper limit without new stations or quarters. Resource management again… 999, for example, makes less sense, because a game shouldn't even go that long, or it only becomes stupid when you have infinite moons and players dig themselves in.
Determines which units you have at the beginning.
Determines the build order to access a certain ship/station/weapon.
The select box All Maps can be used to filter the maps for the number of player slots it provides. After clicking on one map, you can use Select Map to get back to the match settings, or you can use Cancel to not change the current map.
Even during game setup you can already chat privately about he strategy you want to use as a team. This works via the button named ALL: This defines, where your chat messages go.
It may seem trivial at first. You just leave the match when you're not up for it anymore. But there are two different methods, which have completely different effects for the remaining players. When you give up, all your units are actually removed from the game and you're completely out. However, if you abort a mission, you will be out, but a medium AI will take your place. See also section Ingame main menu on that.
It does not make a difference on LAN whether someone has hosted the game when they quit or not. If the hosting player quits the match, someone else will take its place as host. So the game creator has no reason to stay in if he doesn't feel like it anymore. Depending on the way he leaves, the game continues with or without AI replacement. Somebody else takes over the server function. Via GameRanger it turned out, however, that you have to give the game a moment until it has passed the server role to someone else, before you click on Quit to Windows at the end of the score screen. If you're too fast here, the game also closes down for the other players. So as a host you have to wait a few seconds before quitting the game. This may also depend on the data rate at which you are connected. Such a behavior has not appeared vie LAN, yet.
There's not much to say about maps. There are a lot of them, and that's the first problem: Maps all have to be placed in the
addon directory of the Armada installation. However, if you have too many of them, Armada crashes every time you try to create a server. It doesn't matter whether it's Internet, Instant Action, or via Local Area Network. If a player doesn't have a map the host is using, the client downloads it automatically from the host. And that works rather fast, especially since Armada maps are not excessively large. So don't panic if you have an exotic map and you are not sure if the other players have it. Just select it and you're good to go. The rest is done by Armada itself. In the meantime you're not hindered by the download. You can see the download status as well.
This is how the ingame interface looks like: It is pretty much identical for all factions, just the styling is different. It has a whole bunch of functions and information sources:
F4key. Only exception is the special weapon five (e. g. super weapon of the Romulans).
F5is reserved for cloaking.
y. Shows nothing, if you set that in the graphics settings, described above.
This menu serves multiple purposes. IT shows you, what team a player belongs to, defines where chat messages should go and let's you give resources to other players.
On the right hand side, the UNITS, DILITHIUM and CREW buttons transfer the corresponding amount/units to the selected player. You select a player by clicking on the arrow right to his name.
The checkbox on the left of the Team badge defines, whether you want to chat with that player. You can also filter this with the buttons ALL, ALLIES, ENEMIES and PRIVATE on the bottom of the window.
The checkbox Allied Victory is important, if you do not play in fixed teams but in allies mode. If checked by all members of the remaining ally group, the game ends automatically with a win of that group, if only players from that group are still in the game.
There are two variations of this menu, one for singleplayer missions and Instant Action games (=no human players) and one for real multiplayer matches: This is the Instant Action/singleplayer menu. This is the multiplayer menu. They show the following functions:
There are five different nebulae with different effects on your ships.
|Cerulean Nebula||Shields and weapon systems are inactive, units inside are hidden from outside scans.|
|Metaphasic Nebula||Increases shield energy, repairs ships systems.|
|Metreon Gas Nebula||Decreases shields, damages ships systems after there failure until total destruction of the unit.|
|Mutara Nebula||Renders sensors and shields inoperative, hides units inside from outside scans.|
|Radioactive Nabula||Deactivates life support systems, so the crew slowly dies, until the ship is empty.|
|Asteroid field||Blocks the way, can only be overcome with worm holes, phase cloaks or transwarp gates. There are two variations of it, the stationary and the mobile version. The mobile version has asteroid belts moving on fix paths, often with small gaps to have a chance of getting through.|
|Black hole||Ships without active propulsion systems (damaged, deactivated by special weapon, empty ship) which are too close to their gravity wells are sucked in and destroyed.|
|Dilithium moon||Primary source of dilithium, besides captured and own ships. Starting amount of dilithium is 20.000 units.|
|Infinite dilithium moon||Same as dilithium moon but holding infinite resources.|
|Ferengi||Not actually map objects, but not part of a real faction. When a ship is adrift (no crew, damaged/deactivated propulsion) the Ferengi will attempt to steal the ship (salvage). If they succeed in getting to the border of the map, the ship is lost.|
|Planets||Planets are depicted by big planet like graphics in the background of the game grid. Star bases placed in their vicinity increase crew faster than usual. If this is the case can be seen by a blue instead of green representation when placing a new star base on the map.|
|Wormhole closed||This is the closed depiction of a worm hole. There is always a pair of worm holes, never one alone. One side is connected to the other side of each pair. Allows ships to travel to the second one, when sent into the first. During a short period of time while traveling through a worm hole, ships cannot be commanded.|
|Wormhole opened||This representation is used, while a ship is traveling through the worm hole pair. The depiction is the same on both ends.|
In the game you can play on the side one of the following four factions:
There are more implicit factions, which you cannot play as:
The four main factions have considerable differences in gameplay and properties but the unerlaying concepts are closely related to each other.
All factions have two ships they can build right away in the tier one ship yard. They are the scout ship and a weak attack ship. Depending on the selected tech tree, also two other ships may be available right away. If limited by the tech tree the first research station might be necessary to unlock the second two ships. The two stronger ships consist of one only featuring phaser weapons, the other only featuring torpedoes. Torpedoes cause more damage when hitting but have a certain chance to miss the target. Phasers and pulse weapons will always hit but do less damage then.
The second tier of ships can be unlocked with an advanced ship yard. Here the a caster ship can be build, along with the capital ship of that faction. The latter's special weapon is available for research right after completing the advanced ship yard, so not from the point where you have the first research station. The capital ships all have phasers and torpedoes, making them deal more damage and they also have more hit points.
The super weapons of all factions are a powerfull advantage, but their buildings and build units are rather expensive, both in time and resources cost.
See also Star Trek Armada 1 Units on details of the available ships, stations and weapons.
The Borg have a rather strong offensive capability in form of their assimilation mechanics. The special weapons are not to powerful aside from this. Borg crews are the games most effective boarding parties. The faction suffers from the crew drain the assimilation mechanics puts on the economy (holding beam kind of beams boarding parties of 50 crew/sek. onto the ship, draining both vessels crew amount until either energy of crew runs out or the target ship/station is claimed successfully). On the other side they have a strong regeneration capability for all their units ans structures. Their drawback is the fact, that many units take a lot more resources to build, incl. the amount of time required to build them. So they kind of come a bit later, but once they come, they pack quite a punch.
The super weapon of this faction is the Transwarp Gate, kind of a deployable Wormhole with a fixed end on the structures side and an arbitrary second end anywhere on free parts of the map. This allows Borg players to deploy and recall units very fast. There is a (probably) unwanted side effect of the TG: Once the player uses it on a part of the map, a small section of it is freed from building restrictions (yellow grid around structures), which allows to place buildings a lot closer than usually possible.
The Federation is strong on special weapons and medium at building/regenerating and strong at defending. They have the second worst boarding parties and their ships are medium expensive.
The Temporal Research Facility is the Federations super weapon, freezing a small port of the targeted area for a short time. Only works on units and structures already present in the area when casting it. All units can enter a frozen region freely. Makes it possible to attack any ship or structure frozen without getting retaliation.
The Klingon Empire is particularly strong at offense and has rather cheap ships (this factions capital ship, the Neg'var, costs only 720 dilitium). They are medium at regenerating and have the second best boarding parties. Some ships are cloakable, making them invisible except for upgraded scanning stations and scout vessels.
The Klingons super weapon is the Jach'eng ship, built at the Shockwave Facility. It is rather slow moving, has medium shields and no phasers or torpedoes of any kind. Its only weapon is the subspace shockwave, which destroys everything within a certain angle and distance, including the ship itself. A specific advantage here is the possibility to aim this weapon. So a fleet can send out this ship only a bit ahead and once the special weapons effect fades, can move in quickls, much in contrast to the Phoenix ship of the Romulans. On the other hand, with 3500 dilithium it costs almost twice as much.
The Romulans rely more on cloaks and powerful special weapons but are weak with regards to regeneration and boarding parties. In general the game play is more sneaky and scouting dependent.
The super weapon of the Romulans is the Phoenix. It is a slow moving ship with weak shields and no ordinary weapons of any kind. The main weapon, the Rift Creator is the only means of causing damage. All units and stations within a medium range will suffer massive damage, usually destroying them. This makes it necessary to keep quite some distance between the Phoenix and an accompanying fleet. The Phoenix is the cheaper one of the two mass destruction units of the game. It only costs 2000 dilithium.
This weapon has a control key definition bug. By default, all normal cloaks are used with the
F5 key. This also goes for the Phoenix, which actually has a cloak. But as its special weapons F-key slot is also activated by
F5, the cloak is not usable for human players. It is neither visible as a button nor can it be used with the F-key. Instead, the super weapon is triggered. The AI on the other hand can use both functions independently, which leaves the AI with the advantage to be able to send the Phoenix into battle cloaked.
Although the game features only four very similar factions with regard to tech tree and ship properties, still these differences make it not a simple matter. It already begins with the differentiation in two fractions with cloaks and without, the underlying mechanics of detector units and the discovery of opponent maneuvers. Then there is the deviation of factions with and without artillery ships. To make matters more interesting, all stations and ships can be captured, including the constructions ships. This allows for combinations that can be very powerfull, e. g. Nebula Class starships with their Engineering Team in combination with the Shadow class vessel with its Shield reloading combination. This allowes to quickly restore entire fleets and base positions after a strong but repelled attack. Or take the combination of Transwarp Gate (Borg) and Phoenix class (Romulan). Once this combination is achieved, the opposing team is pretty much done.
But also the differences of the ships of each faction can even lead to certain counter unit mechanics, e. g. the Souvereign class ship's Corbomite Reflector vs. the Akira class Chain Reaction Pulsar: Pulsar gets reflected multiple times at the attacking Akira unit, inflicting a lot more damage at the attacker than at the attacked. Similarly works the combination Souvereign vs. Negh'var: The Ion Cannon's attack will be fully reflected to the Negh'var. The Shadow Class ability Holo-Emitter can also leave an attacking fleet devastated as especially the more powerful units will damage friendly units hard. But also smaller units can have surprisingly big effects. E. g. a single Bird of Prey can slow down ships by using Gravity Mines while being cloaked. This can make hit and run attacks impossible, when placing the BoP on strategically important positions, waiting under cloak for their deployment.
But Hit and run Attacks still can be facilitated for example with groups of Interceptors, which can engage a target and once the reinforcements arrive, simply Tranwarp jump back to the home base. So mostly the special weapons and factions differences bring a certain depth to the game play, even when they may look very similar at first glance.
You create them with
Z. But it only works in the game, not in the menu. This means that you can't take screenshots from the final list (stats). However, for some it works that you switch the game with
Enter into the window-mode when you are still in the game, and then just make the screenshot with Windows. It's cumbersome, but you get a result. You just have to switch early enough, because
Enter doesn't work in menus.
Armada itself has quite an efficient control if you know how to use it. Almost everything in the game is accessible via shortcuts. All special weapons can be triggered via the F keys. Units can be combined with
<number key> to squads of maximum 8 units and then directly selected as a squad by pressing the corresponding number keys. Saves a lot of time, especially since you often lose track of single units in the heat of the battle, because all ships of the same class are (optically) indistinguishable. This also gives you an option to quickly unmark whatever unit or building you are currently using. Just use a group number not assigned any units. Group
0 seems to be an appropriate one.
The game makes it a bit difficult to create screen shots. The
Enter. This however, only works when in a match or single player mission. Once you are in windowed mode, you can safely end the match and get to the menu. As long as you are in windowed mode, you can use the
The game offers only the WON servers for the Internet game and in the LAN it searches automatically for open servers. Unfortunately it is not possible to enter an IP address. This requires LAN games, or games via VPN, or via GameRanger. The port forwarding for routers below make little sense, apart from GameRanger. Known ports that the game used at some point:
So it doesn't seem to be just the DirectPlay area that is used, but something more. The usual DP-Ports can be found here.
For GameRanger it is sufficient to forward port 16000 (UDP).