I played FE2 on my PC from the get-go, so might be able to answer a couple of questions. Would have loved to play this on ST. Would be interesting to see how the programming was brought across from Atari to PC. However, from what I understand the bugs are consistent over the two formats.
First up, there are wormholes in the game and you will occasionally find little out-there colonies. The vast majority of systems fall within the (-10,-10) to (10,10) coords, but sometimes there are mad outliers. They aren't huge systems, but they do have starports. Just be careful if visiting with a military drive. Sometimes this type of system just won't have military fuel on the market.
Because of a bug (some have argued that it's a deliberate bug - "citation needed" I think) you can triangulate routes to most systems in the galaxy using wormholes. Note that this is not a feature of FFE. I haven't been able to find a decent wormhole calculator so far, but here's a couple of navigation cheat sheets to get you started. http://www.sharoma.com/frontierverse/wo ... routes.htm http://www.ironfrost.co.uk/elite/wormroute.html
While on subject of jumps, the biggest drive in the game is the class 8 hydrogen drive in the Panther Clipper. Retrogader is totally correct about fastest drive / ship combo. I think if it's speed you're going for, you can shoehorn a 24 tonne class 3 military drive into a 32 tonne Asp, with a range of 40 lightyears in a week. But you won't even have enough room for all the fuel it would need, let alone autopilot and atmospheric shielding. My courier ship was a VDC (viper defence craft) with a class 3 mil, 1M beam lazer, autopilot, atmospheric shielding, naval ECM and full hold of military fuel (then radioactives!). She'd do 27 LYs in a week.
Couple of other interesting things. While the Thargoids feature heavily in the FFE storyline, they probably don't exist in FE2. A big rumour is that there's a thargoid ship hidden in the game somewhere. Personally, I think it's the lock ness monster of the frontier world. Surely someone would have found it by now?
When it comes to rank, you can either do it the hard way or the cheaty way. Here's a chart of how many "mission points" you need to go through the ranks.
Federation Empire Points
None Outsider 0
Private Serf 1
Corporal Master 16
Sergeant Sir 81
Sgt-Major Squire 256
Major Lord 625
Colonel Baron 1,296
Lieutenant Viscount 2,401
Lt. Com Count 4,096
Captain Earl 6,561
Commodore Marquis 10,000
Rear Ad Duke 14,641
Admiral Prince 20,736
assassination = 14
photo = 16
bombing = 18
excellent photo = 20
Do not however try to do gain ranks with BOTH the Federation and the Empire. It is theoretically possible to switch allegiances with each incremental rank, but punishment for failing at a mission can be a serious demotion (this is another possible bug in the game).
Otherwise, try the following cheat to fire through the ranks!http://www.ironfrost.co.uk/elite/cheats.html#rank
Lastly, don't worry about criminal records. Pay the fine and it just won't matter. It's true that records never goes a way, but while some people like keeping a clean
record for some strange reason, I like collecting the full list of offences!