Guide | Zones | Ships and Items | Item Specifics | Gameplay

Continuum Gameplay

Overview of Gameplay

Up until now, this site has provided alot of get-you-started information. It linked to the client download and listed and gave picture examples of zones. The links following discussed basics of ship types and items, getting into item types, usage, and details. A variety of media were utilized.

However, what will you need to know once you download the game and enter a zone to start playing? What about basic things like map elements, energy, and ship control? What type of scoring does the game feature and how is it kept track of? What about competitive play? What are the different gametypes featured within the zones themselves? This page will attempt to answer those questions and also provide video examples of the gameplay and some of the most popular zones in action.

Maps/Arenas/Subarenas

Each arena uses a 20x20 map as the field of play. Some arenas may use the entire size of the map, while others may enclose the players in a smaller space. A coordinate system (A-T horizontal, 1-20 vertical) allows players to easily identify and communicate where they are on the map.

Maps may contain obstacles such as walls or asteroids which cannot be moved or destroyed. They often use gates, which open and close at random or regular intervals. If a player's ship gets caught in a gate when it closes, the ship is relocated ("warped") to a random location on the map.

Safe zones allow a players to evade enemies or simply take a break from the game. While in a safe zone, a ship cannot take damage but also cannot fire. Most safe zones have a time limit; if a player stays in a safe zone too long, he is kicked from the game and must rejoin the zone. This prevents players from camping out in a safe zone and leaving their computer idle for an extended period of time in order to maintain their state in the game.

A flag or ball may be present as well. Their importance and role in the game depend on the zone.

The most common map elements in SubSpace/Continuum are prizes, or "greens" (for their green color). Prizes allow players to upgrade their ships and gain special weapons or abilities. While prizes are generally plentifully scattered throughout the map, the upgrades or abilities they award are randomly selected by the zone. Some zones may allow you to green ship upgrades such as increased top speed and increased thrusters, thus giving you a big advantage over un-greened ships starting from scratch.

Energy

Rather than dealing with ammunition counts and hit points separately, SubSpace/Continuum combines both of these elements into a single unit of measure: energy. Each ship is equipped with a certain amount of energy, from which it must draw its health as well as its weapons power. When a ship's energy is reduced from its capacity (whether from firing weapons or enduring enemy fire), the ship will automatically recharge back to its maximum capacity over a period of time; however, sustained weapons fire or enemy fire will inevitably cause the energy to drop lower.

Once the ship's energy drops below zero, the ship is destroyed and the player is respawned elsewhere in the area. Any upgrades, weapons, or special abilities are lost. The energy mechanic forces players to be cautious of their energy usage, as reckless weapons fire could result in a quick death.

It is usually not possible for players to commit suicide; if a player's own weapon causes more damage than that player has energy, his energy will simply be reduced to zero and begin recharging. However, suicide was possible in early beta versions of the game and the offline practice mode included with the original SubSpace client.

Ship Control

Thrust (Up for forward, Down for reverse) and rotation (Left for counter-clockwise, Right for clockwise) make up the basic movement of the ship. Ships maintain inertia once they are set in motion and cannot be brought to a complete stop except when in a safe zone. In addition, ships experience inelastic collisions with walls and asteroids but do not take damage from them. Ships do not collide with each other.

Players achieve their ship's top speed by maintaining thrust. Each ship is also equipped with afterburners (Shift+Up/Down) which allow the ship to exceed its typical top speed; however, this gradually drains the ship's energy. When afterburners are disengaged, the ship's inertia returns to its normal top speed, not its speed with afterburners.

Ships can instantly warp (Ins) to a random location on the map. This action requires the ship to be at full energy, and its energy is totally drained once the warp is complete, although the ship will begin recharging its energy immediately.

Ships may also attach to other friendly ships by using the page-up/page-down keys to put the ticker, or pointer, in the upper left on the names list on a player's name and pressing the F7 key. In this scenario, the attaching ship loses thrust control and becomes a weapons turret on the back of another ship. This is technically achieved by performing a warp, thus requiring full energy to attach and draining energy in the process. A turret ship takes damage like a normal ship and may detach at any time. In addition, a ship carrying turrets may detach one or all of them at any time.

Scoring and Competitive Play

Players primarily increase their score by killing other players. Each ship has a bounty, which is increased by collecting prizes, killing enemies, or other in-game mechanics. When a ship is killed, its bounty is added to the killer's score. Some zones add to this by introducing a flagging element into the gameplay. For example, a zone may have 25 flags you hold for 3 minutes, after which your frequency (or team) wins a jackpot of points. Each player on the winning team would get the sum of points built up by all the killing in the arena up until then.

Each zone can also implement its own scoring system and may award bonuses for certain other achievements.

For competition, many SubSpace/Continuum players are organized into squads. These squadrons serve the same purpose as clans or teams do in other online games and allow players to cooperate and improve their skills, as well as to become more familiar with fellow players. In addition, many squads compete in competitive leagues hosted by various zones. These leagues are typically run like professional sport leagues, with a preseason, regular season, and playoffs for the highest-ranked squads. Dueling is another favorite pastime of many SubSpace players, and many zones have separate arenas for this purpose alone. Players in a squad have their own chat channel for communication.

Game types

Flagging

  • War - Standard flag game whose name is derived from its original zone (War Zone). The objective is to claim all flags for one's own team. Flags can be picked up by opponents only. Flags that are picked up are dropped after a set time. Flagging games usually involve bases to store flags and are heavily team-oriented.
  • Bounty Rabbit - One player is the rabbit, and has the 'flag'. The rabbit's kills are worth 101 points while a regular players' kills are only worth 1 point. Kill the current rabbit to become the new rabbit. The player with the most points at the end of the game wins. This game is usually run by bots in a main arena or sub-arenas.
  • Turf - Territorial flag game in which flags are located at specific locations around the map. Ownership is claimed by simply passing over the flag by any player. Turf games can either be won or involve periodic point rewards.
  • Basing - Similar to Turf, except there is a base with one flag. The team that controls that flag controls the base, and thus the base is often completely populated by the controlling team. Trench Wars is an example of a popular basing game.
  • Running - Flags in running zones do not have drop timers, and may only be claimed by killing an opponent carrying flags or picking up neutral flags. Variants include Rabbit Chase.

Killing

  • King of the Hill - Each player starts off with a crown, which may be lost if the set amount of time runs out. A player's timer, which is displayed at the top right of the screen, is reset every time they kill another player. However, if a player has already lost their crown, they may only regain it by either killing a flagger with a crown (sometimes marked by a red dot on the radar), or by destroying any two players. Generally though, flaggers with low bounty do not give others their crown. The game is then won when there is only one crowned player left standing.
  • Speed - Each round of a Speed game has a time limit. The winner of a round is the player with the most kills for the round. In Speed Zone, ships began with a higher "bounty" (and more weapons and other power ups) than in other zones. Speed Zone proved to be less popular than the Jackpot/Running, Chaos, or "flag" zone games and support was discontinued shortly after SubSpace went to retail.

Balling-Also Called Goaling

  • Hockey simulates futuristic ice hockey in a space setting. the "ball" is the equivalent of the hockey puck. Each ship's settings have been modified to fit that ship into a unique role on the team; for instance, Lancasters and Sharks are "goalie" ships. the Warbird, Javelin and Weasel are Forwards, Spiders and Terriers make up the midfield, and the Levithan is a defensive beast. The rules of the game are based on real hockey rules with some variations due to the 2d nature of the game.
  • Powerball (Soccer) - is similar to hockey, in that it also features two teams (Warbirds and Javelins) and goals at opposite ends of a symmetrical map. In Powerball, the Warbird and Javelin have identical ship settings, creating two evenly matched teams. Each ship starts with 100 bounty and comes "greened" with a number of basic upgrades and randomly selected special abilities (e.g. burst, repel, etc.). It is not possible to choose any other type of ship. Although scoring goals is the primary objective of Powerball, shooting and killing other players is very much an important part of the game.

You've read all about it, now see it in action! Then be sure to download the game for yourself-the link is at the top of every page-and join me in my zone, SSCX Devastation!

Promotional Video for Continuum on Steam with Gameplay

Promotional Video for Continuum Featuring Extreme Games Zone

Promotional Video for Continuum Featuring SSCX Devastation (Where I Am An owner/System Op)