I thought I'd put together a guide for Resupply ships, since these days every other thread seems to contain questions about them.
I have added some images, so you can see what's going on onscreen when using Resupply ships. I realized later, I have quite a lot of mods installed, so don't be scared if ships or symbols don't look like they do in your game. Namely I use all of Sirian's mods (what a surprise, yes...) parts of Martian's GEM and Das' Chrome mods. And I do hope I didn't forget anyone else.
First things first: Resupply ships are mobile refuelling bases. They can fulfill other roles as well, but thats the one they were made for.
Begin by designing a Resupply ship. To do so, you must first research Accelerated Construction in the Energy research tree. A Resupply ship needs to have gas extractors, docking ports and a cargo bay (see red box in image above) Everything else is optional. Don't save on cargo bays, you will need lots of fuel to refuel large fleets. The design shown in the image was created to be able to scare off small fleets so it has a lot of weapons and even fighter bays but weapons aren't really necessary.
If I designed the same ship today I would probably reduce the weapons, put (far) more engines on it and more cargo bays.
One of the most important things to do when using Resupply ships is: organizing your fleets. In this image you see my 2 Assault fleets and a little farther down two Logistics fleets. The logistic fleets contain one Resupply ship each. If you put your Resupply ship into your Assault fleet, these won't be able to refuel at the Resupply ship - which is their sole purpose. (Why is it so? Because a refuelling order will implicitly have the Resupply ship undeploy from its location which makes the rest of the fleet unable to refuel there, but we will get to that later)
Note: The whole resupplying process also works if you do not put your Resupply ships in to a logistics fleet. I did it because it makes finding the ships easier. Finding a ship takes me longer than finding a fleet..
Resupply ship at a planet
Look for a nice, cozy planet to deploy the resupply ship. "Deploying" means: Put the ship in orbit and "change it into a gas mining station". If the planet has a fuel resource, the ship will mine this resource(s). You can deploy a Resuplly ship at any planet, even rock planets. It is not necessary that the planet is "free", your ship can deploy next to an enemy gasmining station if necessary. Of course, your ship will only fill its cargo bays with fuel if it can mine this fuel at that planet.
For now, we look for a gas giant planet with a fuel resource. After it is built, the Resupply ship's cargo hold is empty, so we need to fill it with hydrogen and/or Caslon - the two fuel options in the game. It is advised that you fill your Resupply ship prior to being deploed in a battle zone so you won't have embarrassig moments of not finding a fuel source in the battle zone or having fleets in need of refuelling but your Resupply ship is empty.
This is a nice planet for filling a resupply ship. It has hydrogen as well as Caslon plus some Krypton we do not need. Send your ship there.
You cannot deploy fleets, only individual ships. Even if the fleet only contains one single ship, you cannot issue the "deploy at..." order when having the fleet selected. So first select the fleet (left part of the image) then select the Resupply ship by clicking on the small icon. You will see a "not deployed" in the status bar of the ship.
Now right click on the planet and select "deploy at planet". Then wait. Seriously. The next step is going to take some time.
When right clicking the planet to initiate the deployment process, it might be necessary to press the Ctrl key when rightclicking to bring up the rightclick-contect-menu.
The Resupply ship will eventually go to the planet, enter orbit and "deploy". Deploying and undeploying takes 30s, when deployment is finished, you can see the gasmining animation under the ship. See he arrow in image above.
After a while, the cargo hold will fill up with hydrogen and Caslon. Half the cargo bay will be reserved for hydrogen and the other half for Caslon. Other gases will not be mined. Even if only one source is availlable, the cargohold will still be reserved for the other gas. (Tested that)
To refuel a fleet: select a fleet and either:
- right click on the Resupply ship and select "Refuell at [shipname]"
- just click the "refuel at nearest fuel source" icon (red circle) This icon will look a little differently if Das' chrome mod is not installed.
It is possilbe that your fleet will ignore your Resupply ship and head to another fuel source (at the other side of the galaxy) This only happens if the Resupply ship has insufficient fuel to refuel the whole fleet. So be sure to give it enough cargo holds and fill it up before issuig refuelling orders.
Your fleet approaching the Resupply ship.
Resupply ship at a gas cloud
images will follow as soon as I edit them
In principle, this works exactly like deploying on a gas giant with a few small differences
1.) When right clicking the gas cloud to initiate the deployment process, it will probalby be necessary to press the Ctrl key when rightclicking to bring up the rightclick-contect-menu. This happened to me frequently when trying to deploy a filled up Resupply ship at a gas cloud. The standard "patrol" icon would not allow that. But pressing Ctrl when rightclicking solved the issue. You can deploy your ship at a cloud even if there already is a foreign gasmining station there.
2.) There are two distinct gas cloud objects that can confuse you. The first one is the system-class gas cloud object, it represents the gas cloud at starmap level. It is needed so you can see the gas cloud on the galaxy map. The other gas cloud object represents the gas cloud at planet level. You can only deploy at the latter gas cloud object. Since you can't see planet objects at galaxy-map zoom level, you must zoom in to be able to select and therefore deploy a resupply ship at the gas cloud (planet-level)
To illustrate the object hierarchy:
Solar System object (star on galaxy map - cannot deploy here)
-> Planet 1
-> Planet 2
-> Planet 3 (Gas giant - can deploy here)
Solar System object (gas cloud, white cross on the galaxy map - cannot deploy here)
-> Gas clouds planetary object (can deploy here)
A gas cloud could be described as a gas-cloud planet inside a gas-cloud solar system.
In the image above you can see the gas clouds system object. If you are zoomed out on the galaxy map - see the mini map for reference - you can only interact with solar system type objects. As you can see you cannot deploy a Resupply ship at a gas clouds solar system type object, there is no option to do so in the right click menu.
If you zoom in far enough to have the gas clouds planet type object visible - again see the mini map for reference - there is an option in the right click menu to deploy the Resupply ship. As always, you need to have the Resupply ship selected, not the fleet!
Your resupply ship is deployed at a gas cloud.
Ordering a fleet to refuel at a Resupply ship that is deployed at a gas cloud.
So this is it, I hope to have been of assistance. If anyone feels the need to add more information or tips, don't restrain yourself!
< Message edited by Sirian -- 7/15/2014 7:08:04 AM >