The Beginners Guide to Battleships Forever
(Title suggestion by DarkenShroud)
If you're new to BattleShips Forever or have just been away for a while, these forums and this thread specifically has been created to get you up to speed quickly.
It's hard when you're new to a community and don't know where to start. This document and these forums are where the veteran players of BSF can really help you learn about the amazing game, BattleShips Forever.
The game itself is beautiful, in design, appearance, and play; and is eminently customizable. The game is even more so when you add player made ships and content.
This is a good forum. When we are at our best, we are a dynamic, creative, and friendly community. Approach us with these positive traits and you will be welcomed, marveled at, and complimented.
So welcome. Come lurk for a while if you are shy, read the forums and become familiar, and review this document for any questions you may have. Please ask if you have any new ones. Many technical facts and much conventional wisdom has been included to help you get started.
You are encouraged to participate, and create, and share your creations. Please help us add resources to the game and community, and enjoy the incredible (and free) game that Sean "th15" Chan makes better and better, everyday.
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Where can I download the latest version of Battleships Forever?
There are always links to several download sites here.
Where can I find the latest version of the Battleships Forever readme file or manual?
The readme file comes with the game.
The manual also comes with the game and may be accessed by pressing F1.
An electronic copy of the manual is mantained at
How do I learn to play Battleships Forever?
Start BattleShips Forever, select CAREER. As you complete the levels, you unlock both them and more ships for play later. You can return to earlier levels as you choose.
If you still have any questions, please come to the forums and ask. Ship tactics, beauty pageants, and special weapons, among other subjects, are always in discussion.
Are there any other ways to play Battleships Forever?
Yes. Once you start Battleships Forever, go to SKIRMISH, there you can select several special ways to play the game. Your high scores can be loaded to an online score board.
I've read the directions on how to play Blockade. Do you have any hints on how to get a high score?
I've read the directions on how to play Raid. Do you have any hints on how to get a high score?
I've read the directions on how to play Grinder. Do you have any hints on how to get a high score?
I've read the directions on how to play Leviathan. Do you have any hints on how to get a high score?
One of the easier methods is to fleet together a group of Enyo's. This is because the Enyo comes equipped with six Pulse guns, and when massed together they inflict a lot of close-range damage, and overwhelm Point defences. Plus with the Railgun they can damage multiple sections at once, and the Teller Torpedo provides attack from a distance.
(Contributed by TheBlueEcho)
Why do I need so many ships? Why can't I just use that big battleship with all the weapons?
It is necessary to have all kinds of ships when taking on challenges. Each weapon, and in turn, each ship carrying them has a different role that only it can play.
A big battleship may be able to take the blows well, but they cannot be deployed in numbers great enough to have effective point defense and flank protection. A few destroyers may be able to be deployed in numbers for good point and flank defense, but they are not able to put out much firepower. A few patrol craft may be able to put out a lot of firepower, but they do not have the survivability of the larger battleships.
Another factor is weapons. Although it may seem some weapons are far better than others, and yes, there are a few weapons that are truly better than others, it is still important to have many of them.
An example is the Gatling Pulse. It has huge DPS (Damage per Second), but it's range is less than great and puts the ship in the line of fire of a well-balanced fleet. However, a look at the Demeter, it has huge range, can operate independently of the firing ship, and go 'through' ships, but it has one of the lowest DPS in the game. However, if you had both demeters and gatling pulses, with the demeters you would soften up your enemy a bit first, as well as get them to draw closer, and when they come close enough, your gatling pulses go in for the kill.
(Contributed by Normandy)
How do I make my own ships for Battleships Forever?
Battleships Forever comes with BF Shipmaker (the ship editor). To create a ship, start BF Shipmaker, read the help file, and start creating.
Ships are built from a core with sections added that can be rotated, sized, and colored. Once a piece is selected any new piece added will be attached to that piece even if they are placed far apart. When a parent piece is destroyed in battle all children pieces are destroyed as well.
You can also add, change, or modify weapons, modules (devices that have special properties such as shields or boosters), and doodads (the pretty flickering lights on your ships).
There are so many tools and options that we suggest you look at the Battleships Forever Custom Ships forum
and the sister document to this one, The Beginners guide to ship building.
When you wish to import your ship in to Battleships Forever from Shipmaker, press Cntrl+S to save and start Battleships Forever with your ship in game. You will start in the SANDBOX mode, where you may add friendly ships, allies, enemies, powerup, and terrain, all to test your designs.
Is there one design standard for making ships?
No. There are as many styles to ship making as there are players. Some players enjoy making ships that are approximately the same size and strength as the ships that come with the game. These are often referred to as 'balanced ships'.
Others enjoys making ultra-large ships or ships that are based on existing film, television, or other media licenses. Some players enjoy ships that are humorous, gaudy, silly, or just plain strange. Many players cross styles as creative inspiration does not reside in the sole domain of one style.
The wonderful thing about all of these ships and styles is that you can place any of them in combat along side or against each other. If you don't care for a certain ship or style, you don't have to download or play them. Play Battleships Forever as you choose.
What's the best way of making a ship?
Since Battleships Forever is a completely free-form game, there is no 'best way'. The most efficient ships can be defeated by even yet more crude designs. The best way of making a ship, then, is by following your heart's content - if you're a space fan, surely, you've tried to think up your own insane designs! The sky's not even close to a limit here.
(Contributed by Aralonia)
Where can I download other player's ships for Battleships Forever?
The main wyrdysm (the company that made Battleships Forever) ship database is located at http://www.wyrdysm.com/battleshipsforev ... se/uploads
Many players keep copies of their own ships on their personal websites. You'll often see links to these sites in the player's signatures in the forum.
Where do I put player made ships, so that I may use them in the game?
You can put the files anywhere you want. When you import a ship, a window opens and you can move to the folder where the files are located. We do suggest a folder system that you can remember, such as under the Battleships Forever folder (commonly in root/programs/Battleships Forever) or in it's own Battleships Forever custom ship folder, but any place on your computer should work.
How do I edit the ships that other players have made?
Start the editor (BF Shipmaker), go to FILE, then OPEN, then go to the folder where you have put the ship files. If you have the appropriate BF Shipmaker files, you may select one and import that ship for modification. Now you may play with and modify the ship (including the name), and save it. It is polite to ask before publishing anything made from other people's work, and to always give credit for their assistance.
How do I play the ships that players have made?
There are several easy ways to get custom ships into the game.
Start BattleShips Forever, then SKIRMISH, then SANDBOX, click on the box with green ship and the plus (or push F2), and a window will open. Choose the directory where you've put your .shp files and select one. That ship is now on a blank field (empty space). You may add terrain, allies, friendlies, enemies, asteroids, special items, etc.
You may also play in any of the special SKIRMISH modes with custom ships by clicking the box on the right bottom of the screen (Sandbox mode). Your high score will NOT be saved.
You can also go from BF Shipmaker to BattleShips Forever with the ship you were editing by pressing cntrl-S (which saves the ship and starts BattleShips Forever with the ship in play). When you exit BattleShips Forever, you will still be in BF Shipmaker, and can make modifications to your ship.
What is a .shp file?
.shp files are made by the ship editor (BF Shipmaker) to be played in Battleships Forever. Other file types that you might see will not work in Battleships Forever. Older file types may not work in newer versions of Battleships Forever. Remember that the game is still in beta and gaining features everyday that necessitates the modification of the file formats.
What are .sb1, .sb2, and .sb3 files?
.sb1, .sb2, and sb3 files are files for various versions of BF Shipmaker that players use and trade to make and modify ships. Earlier files may not work correctly with the latest versions of BF Shipmaker.
So, an older file type might not work on a newer, changed version of Battleships Forever or BF Shipmaker?
Yes, that is correct. As mentioned before, the game is still in beta and gaining features everyday. This necessitates the modification of the file formats. This can and often does break compatibility. Ships you made in one version will very likely NOT work in the next. This is regrettable, but part of the process of improving the game.
Could someone make a converter from older file formats to newer ones?
No one who has the know-how is able to do that right now. It would be very difficult.
Is there any way to edit a .shp file (the Battleships Forever game file for a ship) without the .sb2 or .sb3 (BF Shipmaker) file?
No, there isn't. And even if th15 could make it, he wouldn't, because if someone doesn't post an .sb2 or .sb3 file up, and only posts a .shp, then that means they likely don't want people editing them.
(Contributed by Anna)
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Your entries and corrections are encouraged and greatly appreciated.