LIFE ON TITAN
I started playing hardwar around 1999 and read your site extensively. I have recent rediscovered the game and your site, and thought it was time I got off my arse and contributed something.
I've spent a bit of time working out how to get the most dps (damage per second) out of particular weapons setups. Since I've been unable to find any online games, this only applies to offline play but I see no reason it can't be adapted.
After watching CPU pilots and using autopilot on more than one occasion to kill AI pilots (I'm lazy) I've noticed that they scroll through weapons at an incredible rate, although not in a very organised fashion. I went out with a variety of setups to see what was what. I found that the humble laser, rapidly alternated with a plasma cannon achieves near full fire rate on both weapons simultaneously. You need some serious dexterity and speed of thought to keep alternating and working the throttle and flying, but using this pair and switching to turret and laser simultaneously once shields are down can kill a deaths head (toughest moth in the game iirc) in nine seconds. NINE SECONDS! And I'm a rookie. I'm sure others could get it down lower.
I've tried a few combinations, throwing missiles into the mix and a pulse laser. THe pulse laser slows down your damage output considereably, even when paired with a plasma cannon (surprising). Adding a groundbase and opening with it, I've managed to have moths into structure before they hit the ground and dead before they get very far at all afterwards.
Sprats are nigh on pointless as they just take up an extra slot in you cycle and can cause confusion in the heat of the moment. Their damage/reload time is bad in this context and they're not very good to open with.
A swarm or fireburst to follow up the groundbase can be devastating if the moth doesn't get pulled out the way.
I avoid afterburners, they just annoy me if I accidentally cycle to them (I'm sure you've mentioned this somewhere).
One word of warning, since you're effectively firing two weapons at once, the drain on a normal cell is much higher, and you won't get as many dogfights even if you are quick. Fusion cell highly recommended.
Also, for the manufacturers:
1 scrapmetal = 8 sheetmetal
At worst, scrap metal costs 250, if this is the case, you can manufacture machparts for $15 a piece and sell them to all the component and manufacturing shops around Misplaced Optimism for well over $700, along with the excess sheetmetal. You should never run out of customers, they all need this stuff constantly, so you can shift it in huge volumes if need be. Doing your own runs will make you more than just selling it out of your hangar, but even at $650, thats over $10000 per lump of scrap, and at that price they go like hot cakes.