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The player can utilize ships outside of controlling the ships themselves as a player. In order for the player to have a fleet, more than one ship is needed to be owned, and the ships that the player does not control must be controlled by a ship captain.
The in-sector fleet can be managed easily by switching to to the strategy mode by pressing F9 (the default key). This mode provides an overhead view, and at this point the player can control ships their ships. From this mode, the player can drag-select groups of ships and command them where to move to. Once they arrive at their location they will begin carrying out their previously issued orders. Standard orders that would normally issued through the interaction function by pressing F (Default key) cannot be issued from the strategy mode.
Fleets can also be controlled via the galaxy map. When the player highlights the sector the ship to be given orders to is in, the player can then select that ship and apply it orders. By holding Shift key (the default key), the player can chain-link orders.
It is more efficient to build your ships in your fleet for a specific purpose, as all turrets on automated ships will fire given targets .
A mining ship outfit could be created simply by adding some mining turrets to it. It is recommended to never have these ships mine in systems that are out of their mining tiers. Another recommendation is to give the mining ship orders to jump to a sector that has a refining station and refine the materials for the player, if the ship has raw mining turrets applied.
Ships that are outfitted with any combat weapon fall into this category. Combat ships equipped with hangars and fighters will automatically utilize them and re-dock them during and after combat events. Combat ships equipped with salvaging beams as weapons can still use them in combat to do damage, and it will still collect resources. It should be noted that salvage beams cannot penetrate shields and have short reach, so it should be used sparingly.
Players can outfit ships with salvaging lasers and order them to salvage in a given sector, which will cause the ship to start salvaging the different wrecks. The AI is not programmed to seek out dropped turrets, modules, or trading goods, though they will be picked up if the ship gets close enough to draw them in, so it is recommended to apply tractor beam upgrades.
A player can also use any ship with a cargo bay to have automated trade routes, by giving it orders from the galaxy map to buy from one or more factories or trading posts, and sell it to another factory or trading posts. Higher credit/hour rates can be achieved by having larger cargo space.