Timotheus -> The New Guy Newbie Guide to Fully Non Automatic Manual Play - Distant Worlds, The Manly Man Way to P (12/29/2013 8:47:26 AM)
The New Guy Newbie Guide to Fully Non Automatic Manual Play - Distant Worlds, The Manly Man Way to Play (tm).
So you watched the intro.
You belatedly have realized that this game has graphics that Commodore 64 would be ashamed of.
This game is awesome, and will give you many great moments and experiences, and will take over your life, and result in you getting a divorce, the taking away of your children and you losing your job, all of which will result in a new life style choice for you: the hobo-life (tm).
But we are getting ahead here.
See the Automation list and dropdowns? This means that the game will play many aspects of itself automatically. That is the wrong way to play.
But I've heard that this game's automation is awesome and that new players should just leave it on to see what's goi...
But people on the foru...
Man up! That's the pussified way to play! Are you a man, or are you a neckbeard!?
Uncheck colony taxes, colony population policies, you know what? Uncheck them all!
Next, see the dropdowns on the right side? Some of them say "Fully automate", others say some other gibberish. Put all of them to "Suggest" stuff. That way, the game will remind you of stuff to do if you forget it, but the choice of when, what and how to do stuff is yours. This is actually a great way for new guys to learn this game, as you will be prompted to upgrade, refit, attack, etc. Always Decline, and then if you choose to do so, manually, quickly and efficiently do the suggested action (or not). Keep in mind that you may WANT to have private ships use ion thrusters, because they are cheaper and use different resources than the more advanced Proton Engines. Similarly, you may want to have your private ships use a Gerax hyperdrive while your warships use the Magic Super Speedy Hyperdrive 2000 (which may use a frightening amount of energy gasoline).
Bottom window - scrolling Messages. Keep them all checked in. Popup messages - same, all checked in.
Later in the game, you can always change every and all of these settings to suit your needs (except the automation dropdowns- because you ARE a man, AREN'T you!?).
Hit the Empire Settings button.
For both the Default Engagement Stances - Auto and Default Engagement Stances - Manual, I pick Engage When attacked. This gives you ALL the control over your warships (in the beginning, you will get one crappy one, so a warSHIP, singular) and allow you to pick the target(s) you want engaged. Otherwise they will fly on their own all over to engage pirates, kaltors and whatnot and you DO NOT want that. Later, when you have 20 (or 200) ships, you might wish to change the stances.
Fleet Attack Settings - 30 sounds good to me for refuel. For assemble a fleet before accomplishing a task, I go as high as 50 or more (after all, why have a big kickazz fleet when only 30% of them choose to attack and the rest are spread out goodness knows where).
Discoveries - for flavor, I pick Ask What to do for both (hint - you ALWAYS investigate) but if you want, or you misclick a lot, dropdown to Always investigate for both.
For the sake of all that is holy, DO UNCHECK "Newly built ships are automated" and DO UNCHECK "Suppress all pop up screens".
QUESTION FOR EXPERTS: What the **** is Attack Overmatch?
If you want, check the autosave button, you are safer that way in case this monster game crashes once your empire has 30 planets and 300 ships and that memory leak literally eats your CPU core - as always in PC gaming, save early, save often!
Close the Options window Microsoft style by hitting that big "X" symbol top right (hint: if you know Windows OS, you can navigate this game).
Hit "Play as normal empire in Age of Shadows"
Screen: Start a New Game: Galaxy
Pick Spiral Galaxy
Star Amount: 700
Medium 8x8 sectors
Expansion: Pre Warp
Research Costs: Normal (120K)
Space Creatures: Few
Pirate Proximity: Average
Pirate Strength: Weak
Go to next screen: Colonization and Territory
Colony Prevalence: Normal
Independent Life: Normal
Colony Influence Range: 80% i.e. what the game suggests
DO check the checkmark "Enforce Colonization Limits". (This will keep the empires in nice geographical boundaries).
Colonization Range slider: 1.40 sectors (Again, this is to keep the empires in nice geographical boundaries).
Next: Your Race screen
Pick humans. This is an interesting pick, as they have a very varied set of racial victory conditions. Not just conquest or financial or colonization, but also tourism, trade and politics are in the mix. Great for teaching you the game. Also humans get good spies and all kinds of other characters: fleet admirals, colony leaders, ship captains, scientists etc. Humans are a GREAT starting race.
Next screen: Your Empire
Pick your color (I go with pukey orange myself) and your symbol.
If you leave your name blank, the game will pick a cool name for your empire for you; you can always change it in game.
Tech Level: Pre Warp
Government Type: I always pick republic. Slight war weariness, slight cost to maintenance, but +25% research speed
Starting location: I go with random; your choice.
Next screen: Other empires
I always auto generate other empires; go with 12 NPC empires.
Hit the checkmark for "Allow independent alien colonies to start new empires" to allow minors to become empires themselves to add to unpredictability.
Next: Victory conditions.
Everything is checked, but DO uncheck "Enable disasters and other events" to not get silver mists, plagues and earthquakes. You will have your hands full without extra worries.
Everything else stays checked.
Incidentally check the winning conditions: for each empire, it is a mix of territory, population and economy as well as each race's specific goals.
DO UNCHECK the "Allow tech trading" button.
QUESTION FOR EXPERTS: What size galaxy, what size sectors, pirates, difficulty etc do you pick and why?
Start the game!
Once it loads, hit the "Start Playing" from the entry window and in the next nanosecond immediately hit SPACE key to PAUSE the game.
On top of the screen, see the white "D" button? Click that or hit F8 key.
I know what you are thinking - WTF is this, and do I have to take care of ALL of this, there is no way, this game is complicated, I am going back to GalCiv2.
This game is easy, and MUST be played all-micromanaged for maximum enjoyment. TRUST ME.
See the dropdown "Show All Designs Types"? Hit that and pick "Show State Ships".
Bit better now, eh?
Building ships manually is fun and it is a very addictive activity, as well as making your ships better than the AI's and as a bonus will teach you about the game.
Look at the table: see the "Role" column? Look at the three military ships. Click on each one and click "Delete" for each one; alternatively, like a normal windows user, hit CNTRL-each one or Shift-top to bottom and delete them all. Leave only the two ships that have the Role of "Exploration" and "Construction Ship".
These two ships are the ONLY ones you care about now.
Highlight the "Pathfinder" and hit the "Manually Upgrade Design".
Holy crap, this is complicated, this will take me ages to learn, am going back to Sins of Solar Empire!
Again, this is simple.
Right hand side - see the different pukey colors window titled "Movement".
This is an explorer ship. We want it to go fast zoom zoom and explore stuff for us.
On the left side, there is the component window.
Click at the "CAT..." column (CAT stands for category, not a smelly animal). This window is now organized alphabetically by the Category of the components. Hooray!
Scroll down windows style to the "ENG" category - ENG stands for Engine (but you guessed that already).
Hello - there are two engines: Ion Engine and Directional Thruster. The Thruster makes the ship turn faster, making for tighter curves. At this point, we couldn't care less. We want speeeeeeeed - so highlight the Ion Thruster and hit the ">" button to add more engines to this bad boy.
Notice how the pukey colors window changed? The Cruise speed (lets not burn too much gas speed) and Sprint speed (which is OMG they are chasing me ruuuuuuuun speed) have increased.
Click ">" again - now the Cruise speed is 41.
That's a roadster.
Hit ">" again.
What's that? The warnings window has now extra red lines: Habitation and Life Support needed.
In the components window on left side, under category "HAB", there are "Life support" and "Hab module".
Add one of each.
But what's this? The cruise speed changed from 44 to 43... as well as the cost of the ship increased on top (the Purchase Cost and the Maintenance Cost). The Range in the pukey colors Movement window also went down - from 211 to 193...
It's a trade off.
10 Ion Thrusters is plenty.
The game will now make a "burp" sound (oddly fitting with the whole pukey colors theme et al).
Highlight the CST-1 Construction ship and hit "Manually upgrade design".
Add Ion Thrusters. At 17 Cruise speed, red warnings of habs and life needed will come on. Add one Hab and one Life.
Keep adding Ion thrusters until you get the now familiar red Hab and Life warnings again.
Ok, if you were paying attention to the speed, you have noticed that adding an extra Ion Thrust engine at 24 Cruise Speed and doing it again kept the Cruise speed stuck at 25. I.e. it had no effect on speed!
So 21 Ion thrusters results in 25 Cruise speed, and 22 Ion Thrusters results in... 25 Cruise speed (and more energy - gasoline - cost!).
So lets stick with 21 Ion Thrusters on this bad boy and hit "SAVE".
Now the Designs window has two glorious pukey orange ships which YOU yourself have designed.
QUESTION FOR EXPERTS: I have noticed that the Construction ships have to make two trips to make one gas/mine station. How many small cargo Bays do we need to make it just one trip?
Before I move to Bases, I want to make one very important point. Some components are one-off; what I mean is that you only need one PER SHIP/BASE to have its benefit, while others you want as many as possible. For example, you only need ONE commerce center, one medical unit, one recreation center, one long range scanner, one damage repair, one targetting unit in a ship or base. But you want as many pew pew lazors, torpedoes, shields, armor as you can pack in there.
QUESTION OF EXPERTS: You know, a complete list of all components which are one-off, only one needed, would be nice.
Click the "Show State Ships" dropdown and go to "Show State bases".
Delete Large Space Port, Energy Research, Weapons Research and Defensive Base and Medium Port. You don't need them now.
Designing bases has the same process as designing ships - except you don't need Engines for them.
But first, lets learn about research. (What, more stuff? OMG I am going back to Farmville... SHUT UP!).
Click the lightbulb, on top of the screen, centre, right next to your empire's flag (if you are cool and listened to me, it is a glorious pukey orange OK hit that light bulb now).
F*** that noise - click the "Research Stations" tab.
See the "Total Empire Research Potential" number in that pukey pink rectangle (manly spac empire pew pew pink!).
It is roughly 328K. This is the total research that can be done by our labs and scientists right now.
Hit Weapons Tab.
Right click whatever it is researching to cancel it. Left click on Enhanced Beam Weapons, then left click on Efficient blasters then on high power blasters.
Research Energy Collection, then Space Construction, then Enhanced Construction.
High Tech industrial.
You want medical systems and entertainment systems.
Exit the sciencey screen and go back to design (white "D", remember) and skidaddle to "Show State bases". We are done with science for now.
Highlight "Small Space Port" (with the catchy name SSP-1) and lets edit the hell outta it!
It has weapons and s***, wow. This design must be awesome! Let's leave it... hold on....
Upper right, the green number - "Excess Energy output". This is how much extra power is left after the habs and life support (damn oxygen breathing, H2O needing, people!) and other assorted crap to help us humans survive in space for weapons.
Simply put, this is how much power you have to do pew pew with stuff.
The firepower is 93 (Ooooo! Actually, this is pathetic), the Maximum Weapons Energy per use is 192 but the excess energy is 189... so whoever designed this made sure that not every weapon can be fired.
A politically motivated hiring, this designer, hmmm? Son of a celebrity or some such. Perhaps a great football player?
Now, bear with me, this will get... weird.
We are not going to pew pew in the beginning. No pew pew at all.
In the middle box, higlight the Pulse Blaster and hit "<" as many times as needed to take it out (alternatively hit "< x5" three times).
Right below is 9 Seeking Missiles - take them out.
Now, remember how much research your empire could do? 300 odd something, right?
There are 3 kinds of laboratories (LAB Category): High Tech, Energy and Weapons.
In your small port, put in as many labs so that each category will have 100 each under Size column. So all of them add up to 300! Neat, we are close to fulfilling the Empires's total research threshold!
Add habs and life so that the red warning on top disappear (that's one of each).
Excess Energy is now a green 127.
But we have no weapons you say?
Very good! Take out a few Basic Space Reactors but make sure to have at least some excess energy.
QUESTION FOR EXPERTS: Do we REALLY need some excess energy? Game lets me save the design even at -9 Excess Energy? What's the penalty for this?
So we have 3 Basic Reactors, 5 Labs of each kind, 5 Habs and 5 Life.
Save this bad boy!
Hooray, pukey orange small space port!
Highlight the High Tech Research Station (HTRS-1, catchy name).
Lets edit it!
Take out the pathetic Pulse Blasters. Take out 4 High Tech Labs; leave 2. Add 2 Energy Labs and 2 Weapons labs. Excess Energy is 10, we don't need habs and life, awesome, SAVE this bad boy!
Now, why do we need only one universal station for research instead of separate ones for each category? And why 2 of each labs?
Good questions, grasshopper.
Scientists usually have 2 or more skills, which means they give you bonus research in multiple categories (race dependent, some have one skill). 2 labs of a category is just enough for that scientist's bonus; 1 lab means no scientist bonus. So if you choose to stick a scientist in a research lab, if you have 1 lab each, or 6 high tech labs, it means that a scientist's skill(s) will go to waste.
But the game is weird, because it picks the HIGHEST bonus, so usually it is best to leave your scientists in your space port (yes, where you build all those labs) because their skills/categories STACK (slight penalty to two or more scientists, but still)
QUESTION FOR EXPERTS: What is the penalty for stacking two scientists in one location together? Three? Four?
ANSWER: When more than one character is assigned to the same location, there can be synergistic effects.
Scientists are assigned to a research location. They give the research at that location a bonus that should be cumulative with the existing bonuses.
Each scientist at a research station provides research bonuses to the specific research area of the station (Weapons, Energy, HighTech). Additional scientists at the same research station provide half their skills on top of the first scientist, progressively halving with each additional scientist. Thus: Scientist 1 gives full 12% energy research bonus, Scientist 2 gives half of their 10% energy research bonus (5%), Scientist 3 gives one quarter of their 8% energy research bonus (2%), for a total of 19% energy research bonus (12 + 5 + 2).
When a scientist has a trait Demoralizing (oh lucky you - it means the guy gives everybody in around him, in same location, bad vibes which results in THEM having bad traits after a while) you might want to stick him in a resarch station, away from other people, let him talk to himself (damn anti social neckbeard!).
Exit Designs window.
OMG, game is still paused, we have't started playing yet, I am going back to Animal Crossing.... SHUT UP!
OK, do I unpause the g... SHUT UP!
Your screen is filled with your beautiful starting planet, conveniently named Sol7, or DFGR%GRGRGHTRH if you picked an alien race or something equally meaningful.
Click on the planet.
Left bottom window fills up with it.
Double click on the name in that box.
Alternatively, left top screen - click the planet or hit F2. Colonies screen - you have only one planet so you cannot make a boo boo.
Right side, the name of the planet - do yourself a favor and change it to Homeworld (i.e. overwrite Sol7 or DFGR%GRGRGHTRH or whatever goofy name the game gave you). Click population tab, the taxes are too high! Yup, I agree. Lower them to 10%.
Exit out of this screen (don't worry - your name change and tax rate change are saved and in play).
Right click your mousey somewhere centre-ish of the planet.
Highlight Build on planet Homeworld Small Space Port Mk2 (yes, Mark 2 - we have changed the standard design for labs and to make it cheap, remember?). Right click on planet again - build on planet Construction ship. Do it again (you want 2 construction ships now).
One last tiny little thing...
Goto designs, choose Show All Designs on left dropdown and Show All Design Types on the right one, and make sure that everything in the Upgrade column is set to Manual and everything on the Retrofit is set to Manual also.
You change by clicking on the word itself.
Note that the Private Ships and Bases you cannot change the Upgrade to manual - this is the private sector, and THEY decide when they want to retrofit stuff to YOUR design. If you want to make sure, STATE ship and BASES are both manual, while PRIVATE ships and bases are Upgrade - manual and Retrofit - automatic.
The moment has arrived.
You are now ready to....
Unpause the game (dum dum DUM!).
Hit SPACE key to unpause the game and TA DA! We are playing this biat**!
Uh, it's going kinda slow... No worries, hit the >>> button on top left to increase the game to ludicrious speed! Uh, actually to 4 times the normal speed...
As you hear the hammering and welding (sounds... in space!) and see the spiffy special FX this game has (Oooo! This has better graphics than my favorite text MUD!) notice that the planet's population grows steadily in the left bottom Selection Panel thingamajig.
More people means more taxes - the faster you can get the pop of your planet to hit max, the better for you and your cashflow!
Top right of screen - Money (whatcha got now in your pocket), Cashflow (white is positive, red means negative - a wanky, approximate number of cash you will get in a moment, not closely approximating to actual reality) and Bonus income (trade income from private sector and the like).
QUESTION FOR EXPERTS: What EXACTLY is bonus income; list everything?
Any moment now - Ding ding!
Game pauses, a weirdo in a picture shows up and says "Hello to our victims - pay us money or we kill you!".
But you told me to take all those Pulse Lasers and Missiles from the space port, you suck!
Actually, please notice that the space port is STILL building. Meaning there are no weapons on it YET. You can choose to not click the "We accept your protection", but that means that the pirate guys will happily swing by and blast your unbuilt space port to dust. And all that money lost... And when you try to rebuild, they will happily do so again, usually BEFORE it is built.
Pay them, however much they want.
Pirate Raiders window - yep, they are scum, whatever. Close it and wait for the spaceport to build.
Spaceport constructed! Hooray!!
Go to event location and hit SPACE to pause the game.
Left Click on the space port - Build at space port - Exploration ship (you CANNOT mess this up - you can only build the Exploration ship now). Do it again, so you build two.
Star Ship constructed; it's your scouts! Awesome!
Go to event location - space to pause...
Use the middle mouse button to scroll out to see the whole system. Don't go too far, mind, because at this point I do not want you to lose your sanity...
AAAAAAIIIIIIIIIIGGGGHHHHH..... !!! Yes, told you, quickly, scroll back into the system using middle mouse button.
Crap, it scrolls into where my mouse pointer arrow is, I am lost now! Fuuuuuuuuuu!
Chill, bottom left, strategic selector thingamajig, click planet, you have only one, right bottom side, you have different zooms, click the zoom to selected. You're back, baby!
Again, zoom out only to see your system on full screen.
Left side, middle of screen - see the icons? Click the one below the hammer, one that looks like... your scout ship!
You have two, as the nice popup states.
Click the 1st one, and right click on nearest planet to your homeworld. Explore planet. Then, 2nd nearest, right click on it, Queue next mission, explore planet. I swear to gods, my first planet is named Afegovkij (hooray for ability to rename planets!). Then 3rd closest, queue next mission, explore.... catch my drift?
But wait, one (or two) planets have the weird three dots symbol on them.
Ruins... of ancient races (every space game MUST have a precursor, ancient powerful race, it is THE LAW).
Explore those three dots planets with your 2nd explorer (queue next mission - explore).
Space to let the game run!
Now, you might get a deserted ship discovered message in a few momemnts (in fact, I guarantee it). Go to event location. See the cool warship! Oh, wait, it has no hyperdrive, and its firepower sucks... or is zero. Right click, retire, at nearest shipyard. No pew pew for you!! (yet). You will get a research bonus from scrapping a alien design - no small thing. ALternatively you can keep the ship and try to fend off pirates and space creatures (space crabs and herpes and whatnot) - I do not.
Construction ship built - space to pause! (This is a theme of this game, the minigame of timely hitting of the pause button).
Left hand side - hit the hammer.
One ready construction ship, one in pukey orange (i.e. still building).
Click on the nearest to homeworld planet, explored by your intrepid scout ship. If it is a gas giant, with casion, helium, etc (you can click on each planet's resources, it will bring up encyclopedia - for ease of use, a planet is either a gas giant or a normal planet). Select your construction ship from the popup window from clicking on the left side hammer, or click it on screen and then right click on planet - build at planet (in my case, Afegovkij hahahaha.... sigh) mining station or gas station.
That's one way.
Another way, very useful when you have roughly 30 colonies or so (is your sanity going yet?) is to click on the blue square with lines next to blue planet left top screen, or hit F3.
See the resources? Scroll through it - you are responsible for it all. You will make mines to get ALL of them, all 41 (fourty one!!) of them. Muahahahaha! Err, excuse me.
See the dropdown "Potential Colonies"?
Clicky, and pick "Resource Targets by your Empire priority".
You probably have scouted only one or two planets, so pick one (perhaps the one closest to your homeworld), and click Send <name of construction ship> to build mining station. The computer knows whether to make a mine or gas mine.
See? Easy peasy.
Space to unpause.
As your scouts will explore more planets, once the construction ships will end their jobs, you will get notified. Hit F3, and pick next in line planet to build another mine - the UI tells you what stuff your people need most, whether gas fuel, or steel, or luxury to make them happy - build as many mines as there are planets in the Expansion Planet F3 Resource Targets by your empire priority dropdown.
Now, when your scout hits upon a ruin, you have a choice to explore it or leave it alone. Tip - ALWAYS explore them (in fact, you can put that in automatic - hit "O" (that's the letter O, not a zero) key, Empire settings button, for discoveries put dropdowns on Show all results for both ships and ruins. See, the game is noob friendly! "_"
Pirates - if more pirates show up, just pay them. For now. Don't worry, you will get your revenge.
Now, wait for it, you will get a message that a mining station is built. And wow, you will see ships that you have not built going to and fro, from your homeworld to that station. In fact, other ships - miners - will go to scouted planets and mine them for your peeps even though you have not built a mining station on them yet. This economy is alive, like X-Rebirth's! Err, in fact, this economy is real time, live, unlike that flop of a game. Moving on...
The first big retrofit!
This happens when I research energy collectors, medical systems and entertainment systems.
Go to your design small spaceport, add one medical, one entertainment (they are under HAB), add as many energy collectors as you need so that (top right corner of window) Energy collection equals or is slightly greater than Static Energy Usage. That means that when the spaceport is not churning out ships or shooting at bad guys, all that fuel will not be burned but will be saved. Hooray! Cash money in your pocket. Of course, habs and life, and tweak number of basic reactors to have enough power, which results in possibly needing just one more energy collector, which results in needing hab and life units which....
Go to your planet homeworld, right click on spaceport, retrofit to the latest design!
But wait, you want ALL the control, which means that you also design private ships and bases.
No worries, Design, Show Private Bases, add Energy collector (just one is enough) to gas mining and mining station and save those designs. Burp, burp! Pukey orange, pukey orange! But hark! (hark?). You do not need to right click on each of your mining stations and retrofit them. In fact, they are NOT YOUR stations.
These are private sector - you know, Joe Sixpack working class guys (but in spaaaaaace!).
Click your empire flag, top absolute centre of screen. See that Economy box? STATE means your cash - this is in your pocket, and you can use this to build spaceships, spaceports, spacestations, etc. PRIVATE means Joe Sixpack - this is not your money, but is used by your highly intelligent peeps to make their own ships, and do trading.
Now, wait, you say - I build the mining and gas mining stations myself, and they are not mine? Yep... game is weird like that. I know.
QUESTION FOR EXPERTS: Game gives me an option to actually retrofit a gas mining/mining station; I assume that it does not work as it is a Private Sector Base?
Once you get a message about hyperdrive discovered (it is on one of the ruins in your system - that is why you put one explorer scout ship hell bent to scout them ASAP) you have a choice. Many people immediately go to Research Screen, Energy and Contruction, and immediately cancel every other research and go to Warp Field Precursors. Me, I do things differently. I am a weirdo - I mean, I PLAY Distant Worlds on manual FOR FUN.
I finish Energy Collection first, no matter what (and redesign my space port and private bases to have them - I usually give energy collectors to my construction ships also, as they stand around a lot when there is no more good planets to rape the resources from). Then I make sure to finish Space Construction - this will allow my ships to be slightly larger, and make the designs so much better (i.e. better range, cargo, more ion thrusters and most importantly, once you research warp bubble/gerax hyperdrive, enough space for the hyperdrive AND reactors AND fuel to go places).
One last thing for this first lesson to end.
Left side screen, where you choose your hammer/constructors and scouts... Click the pukey yellow, third from bottom, Potential Research Locations. If nothing is available, skip to "So what have you accomplished so far?" last paragraph below.
If something is there, lucky you!
Go to design screen, State Bases, manual upgrade High Tech Research (your universal station, remember?). Put two energy collectors in that bad boy (as static usage is 36), hit save.
Now, once a construction ship finishes whatever job it was doing, click on the pukey yellow comet Potential Research Locations, double click on it from the list, the screen jumps to that location in a jiffy (magic!). Click on that planet, you will see in the description on bottom left that it has a set percentage to research of either weapons, energy or high tech. Pick a constructor from the list, right click on planet and build that research station on it (note - you can build many buildings on a planet, so don't worry, even if a mine exists on it, it won't be destroyed).
Once built, after a few days game time (a few seconds your time), you will get research bonus to that category. Hooray! This means that instead of waiting for a research to finish in 5 minutes (your time), it will finish much, much quicker. Say, 4 minutes and 55 seconds, or even faster. Hooray! Well, every little bit helps... and sometimes the boost in research is tremendous...
At this point, you usually get a scientist (or maybe you already had him, and didn't check). If you don't have one yet, skip to last paragraph. Now, to check, click on characters screen, the little person icon on top centre screen, or hit F4.
It is usually safest to place the scientist dude in your spaceport. Unless, he has a trait of Demoralizing (you can see traits by putting your mouse on his face - incidentally, there are no women scientists, because this game is realistic, it is just like reality not political correctness, pshaw!). Then stick the anti social neck beard on that station. Unless he has a Genius trait, which boosts your empire wide research. Then no matter what, stick him to your spaceport and do not ever let him get killed! I got 20% boost to all my research from a genius nerd dude my last game.
Basically, experiment where you place your scientists - whether all in space port, or some in space stations, to get the best boost in every category on the Research (Light bulb F7) => Research Stations Tab. Or perhaps you want the best boost in your newly built research space station? Then put him there, you have 2 of each labs, so each of his skill is used.
Basically, experiment until you get the research boosts you want.
QUESTION FOR EXPERTS: Where do you place your scientists, if you are blessed with more than one?
Note on taxes and population growth - you want your homeworld planet's population to grow as fast as possible. I cannot emphasize this enough. It is sometimes worth it to have your STATE money and cashflow in the red, and be in a big bankrupt hole, to accomplish this. Find a happy medium where you just eek out in the beginning of the game, so that your homeworld's population grows at roughly 10%, and you are still able to build ships and stations that you want. Important thing to note is that the game does not end when you are at negative cash, it is really not a big deal. All it does is prevent you from building new ships/stations and retrofitting old ones. The PRIVATE sector has its own purse and if they are in the positive cash white color, all is good.
QUESTION FOR EXPERTS: Are there any penalties to the player when cash on hand is red/negative?
When you go to your Colonies F2 screen, each planet is rated by value (which has a lot to do with planet quality - but that's for later, when you will colonize other planets (... in spaaaaaace!). Take my word for it, your homeworld is an AWESOME planet, and the value is decent, and WILL get sky high later, once trade gets going, once you get luxury resources into your planet(s). So a high quality planet with 10000K pop (that's a billion folks, folks) will pay more in taxes than lower value planet.
But that's for later. Right now, you want the tax rate so you just squeak by, and watch your folks sex it up like crazy (10% or better is very good, it is situational though). In fact, I recommend a slight cashflow loss in the beginning. That means that in a few minutes real life time, you will watch your pop grow, which results in negative cashflow, but you will watch it shrink, and then finally hit the glorious white positive money into your pocket. More, when you start colonizing other planets, your Max Pop Homeworld peeps will be more than happy to leave (especially since, once you get medical and recreation unit on your homeworld spaceport, and some luxury resources, they will be happy happy - and at Max Pop, you THEN crank the tax rate to... 20... 30... hell, I am at 55% right now in my current game, and they are still happy. I am rolling in cash).
Right now play some R. Kelly songs (I recommend "Pee on you") and watch the population number grow.
One last thing - quick check on research.
You want to research beam weapons, ultimately to Titan Beam. You also want torpedoes. As soon as I can, I am on Impact Assault Blaster (that's High Power Blasters researched) and Shockwave torpedo (that's High Energy Cohesion done).
Do NOT forget armor - ASAP get Enhanced Armor (High Density Alloys). I recommend researching armor while you are paying the pirates' protection and are defenceless, so get that done first.
Mid game, you want some troops on your worlds for some safety, so get Improved Defence Tactics and Improved Logistics (to save monies).
Energy Construction Tab:
Energy Collection, and Space Construction, ASAP. Before hyperdrive. Then Warp Field Precursors and Hyperdrive Technology (Warp Field Bubble and Gerax Hyperdrive, the one we want, f*** that bubbles noise). Get shields and improve them.
After that, your choice - but Energy Collector, Space Construction and Gerax hyperdrive is the first three, in that order. I go for Enhanced Construction (bigger is ALWAYS better in this game), Advanced Nuclear Fission, Deucalios Shield (under Intensified Shield Strength) and then go for Proton Engine for fasta speedz (I do not consider a faster engine necessary for peacetime, under pirate protection economy run - you do need fast speeds for your warships).
High Tech Industrial Tab:
Medical Systems, Entertainment Systems ASAP and retrofit your spaceport (with Energy collector also). Then Storage System (for Standard Fuel and storage, because small fuel cell SUCKS and you want RANGE for your explorers and warships). I go for Transport Systems next (no, not colony - you want Passenger ships designed and ready to go when you colonize). Then and only then do I click Colonization, Marshy swamp colonization and Continental colonization, in that order (there ALWAYS is a Marshy swamp planet in ALL of my human start games).
So what have you accomplished so far?
You have kickstarted your economy by building gas mines and mines (in spaaaaaaaace! oh, right, sorry, enough of that). You have researched warp bubble crappy crap not-hyperspace and then the awesome GERAX HYPERDRIVE, you have standard fuel and storage, you have shields, you have weapons, you are ready for... PHASE 2 (dum dum DUUUUUUUUUUM!).
Spoiler for phase 2: You will put hyperdrive in your ships, and watch in amazement as the explorer, construction and private ships which took 10 minutes (real time... not game time) to fly throughout your system zip by in one second from one planet to the next. You will put weapons and shields and enhanced armor on all your state bases, AND all your private ones too!
You will watch as giant kaltors eat up your science base and your genius scientist who's in it also, resulting in roughly 50% less research for your species!
You will design a kicka** warship, and then you will tell the pirates to kiss your a**.
All that, in the next installment of The New Guy Newbie Guide to Fully Non Automatic Manual Play - Distant Worlds, The Manly Man Way to Play (tm).