Demo for this article. Instructions:
Press T to change ships (you may have to click on the map first to get focus). The demo ships are: yellow square (4 thrusters), green square (like yellow but you can make it asymmetric), teal curved, purple curved (like teal but two thrusters are broken, so it can’t fly properly), blue square (8 thrusters!), red triangle (goes fast but can’t turn well). I mostly play with the yellow and blue ships.
Change the ship by dragging the thrusters and adjusting their size and orientation. As you do this, watch the graphs. The bar charts show what happens if you press one key at a time. The polygons represent your current flight envelope for two keys at a time. I find that I use the W+A and W+D combinations often, so I watch the chart in the lower left. The shaded ovals show the “target” that you want to mostly cover if you want a reasonable ship. The yellow and blue ships are easy to improve: just increase the power of the thrusters and they will fly well. The teal and red ships are slightly harder, and the purple ship is near hopeless. In a real game the number and power of your thrusters would be limited, and fuel efficiency and fuel tank size would be additional factors to consider.
Fly the ship around with W=forwards, S=backwards, A=rotate left, D=rotate right, Q=slide left, E=slide right, Z=reset position.