interception techniques

  A common question amongst bounty hunters is: How do pirates track me down, match speed then attack me in the vastness of space? This section will educate you on how they do that. Why is this information of use to a bounty hunter? Well, pirates often jump into systems too - and you can track them down and give them a dose of their own medicine.

  This is only a short section: it's actually very easy to intercept other ships. To prepare for this, it's a good idea to understand and be highly practised at moving relative to other objects (see the It's All Relative tutorial to learn how to do this). You will also need an autopilot fitted - due to limitations of the HUD, ships greater than about 10,000km don't appear (but the autopilot can still track them).

Selecting the target hyperspace cloud Hyperspace entry clouds appear as blue dots on the System Orbit Map. Pull up the map, and zoom out. If you've just hyperspaced in, your own cloud will appear on the orbit map. You can tell it's yours because when you select it and go back to the front view, the cloud will be very close (you can also check with the hyperspace cloud analyser). To select a cloud, press T then click on the blue dot.
Start the intercept This cloud is quite a long way off. Something with a mass of 75t is going to come through. When selecting the cloud, it's a good idea to press F5 to go to the Battle Console, then select it again so the hyperspace cloud analyser can tell you what's coming through.
Catching the ship The target ship has emerged. However, it did so when we were still over 2 AU away. Unfortunately, it won't appear on the HUD. However, the autopilot will continue to track it. Leave the autopilot and stardreamer on until you notice your ship making a couple of wild gyrations (the autopilot is then adjusting course for a final intercept). Going to the Battle Console will tell you what sort of ship it is, so long as you have a radar mapper.
Catching the ship We are now getting reasonably close, and the target is on the HUD. We can even have a quick chat with the other commander, if we wish. The information here shows that this guy isn't a pirate after all, so we won't blow him up. But we'll continue the intercept just to be sociable.
Flying formation We are now with the other ship - only 90 meters away in fact. As you can see, the Cobra is now decelerating as he starts to approach his destination.

  What about faster ships? I've heard a lot of people say "Alright, so you can intercept a ship. But I've got a really fast ship, how can anyone intercept me?" It's really quite simple. Sooner or later you are going to start decelerating for your destination. Assuming that the pirate who attacked you started at pretty much the point you arrived in the system, they will catch you shortly after you start decelerating. The autopilot is quite capable of doing this manoevre.

  Special thanks to Commander Zeke Smith for taking part in this demonstration in his Cobra Mk.1 HW-175.

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