Various Terms

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This article lists down the various terms, abbreviations, and other jargon used by official FreeSpace sources as well as the FreeSpace community.

Official Terminology


  • FRED - FReespace EDitor. The program created by Volition to make the mission and campaigns for both FreeSpace games. Released to the public along with said games.
  • FS2 - FreeSpace 2. The second game of the series.

File extensions

These are FreeSpace-related extensions only.

  • .ani - Animation files such as explosions
  • .fc2 - FreeSpace 2 campaign
  • .fs2 - FreeSpace 2 mission
  • .fsm - FreeSpace 1 mission
  • .pof - Model files with additional gameplay-related information like position of subsystems, turrets, etc.
  • .tbl - Table file
  • .tbm - Modular table
  • .vp - Volition Pack files

In-game Terminology

  • ETS - Energy Transfer System
  • HUD - Heads-up Display. The interface the player uses while flying.
  • Subsystem - Targetable and destroyable systems of a ship, e.g. radars, engines.
  • TSM - Training Simulator Module

Designation Prefixes

Designation Suffixes

  • _A - AWACS
  • _B - Bomber
  • _C - Cruiser
  • _Cv - Corvette
  • _D - Destroyer
  • _Dr - Drone
  • _EP - Escape Pod
  • _F - Fighter
  • _Fr - Freighter
  • _G - Gas Miner
  • _I - Installation
  • _J - Juggernaut
  • _M - Medical Ship or Missile
  • _NB - Navigation Buoy
  • _S - Support Ship
  • _SC - Science Cruiser
  • _SG - Sentry Gun
  • _T - Transport
  • _W - Weapon (FreeSpace 1)(FreeSpace 2)

Fighter Units and Roles

  • Wing - A unit of fightercraft, varying in size from one to six ships. The normal number is four. Ships of a wing are labelled by their wing name and a number (i.e. Alpha 1, Alpha 2, and so on). The GTVA uses the Greek alphabet for its wings and the signs of the zodiac for hostile wings. In FS1, Shivan wings were named after Hindu gods. Wing labels are also sometimes used for groups of larger and similar vessels.
  • Squadron - Refers to an organized group of pilots. The 242nd Suicide Kings and 203rd Scorpions are two examples.
  • Stealth Recon - Fighters that specialize in infiltrating hostile territory and acquiring information without being detected. The GTF Pegasus and the GVF Ptah are the only canon stealth fighters.
  • Interceptor - A fighter role that aims at the destruction of hostile fighters and bombers. Interceptors are fast and agile, but are weakly shielded and armored.
  • Space Superiority - A versatile fighter role that is capable in all sorts of roles, except for bombing. A celebrated example of a Space Superiority fighter is the GTF Myrmidon
  • Heavy Assault - Heavy Assault fighters have tremendous secondary capacity, heavy shielding and armoring at the expense of speed and maneuverability
  • Bomber - A bomber is a very heavy craft that specializes in carrying bombs. They attack freighter-size ship and above. Bombers are very slow and easily taken down without fighter escorts. Bombers are further categorized into light, medium, and heavy bombers.

Ship Types

  • Cruiser - Smallest combatant capital craft classification. Cruisers are at least several times the size of a fighter or bomber and possess mainly antifighter weaponry, with one or two (or in the case of the SC Rakshasa, three) anticapital weapons. The defensive fire of a cruiser is rarely capable of stopping a determined bomber wing, and most are vulnerable to even a well-handled lone fighter. Unable to carry fighters. Canonical examples include the Fenris and the Leviathan. In FS1, cruisers were deployed for both offensive and defensive tasks by all sides to any situation not requiring the attention of a destroyer. In FS2 Shivan cruisers are often deployed in mainline antiship and strike roles, while GTVA cruisers tend to be used as escorts and patrol craft.
  • Corvette - Middle ground combatant capital craft, falling between the cruiser and the destroyer in size and capablity. Equipped with between two and four anticapital weapons and considerably more impressive antifighter armament than a cruiser. Corvettes are capable of defending themselves adequately against a small number of enemy fighters or bombers. With the exception of the SCv Moloch, corvettes are unable to carry fighters of their own. Corvettes appear to handle most of the antiship and strike duties for the GTVA fleet; Shivan corvettes are extremely rare and have only been deployed against GTVA destroyers canonically. Whether this is their role or not is guesswork.
  • Destroyer - Large combatant capital craft, combining the functions of destroying enemy ships and transporting fighters. Destroyers vary wildly in armament and effectiveness against different types of targets. They will have at least one heavy-calibur anticapital weapon and probably several more, plus a number of cruiser-corvette anticapital weapons. Destroyers tend to need fighter cover more than corvettes; some of them actually mount fewer antifighter weapons, and all have much larger amounts of surface area that needs to be defended. Any situation with the direct involvement of a destroyer-class ship is by definition serious.
  • Frigate - Semi-canonical ship class, both the Hippocrates and the Iceni have been referred to as frigates; the normally accepted role of a frigate is that of a pocket destroyer, lacking a fighterbay and fighter support facilities/crews enabling the ship to be shrunk down to only slightly bigger than a corvette.
  • Superdestroyer - Bigger, meaner, and tougher than a destroyer, yet too small for the juggernaut classification; first applied well before the juggernaut classification came into existence. Only the Hades and Lucifer have canonically been given this classification. The nature of the canonical superdestroyers was such that any appearance by them indicates the major effort by the controlling side. Their success is often decisive for that system, while their failure is a blow that is difficult to recover from.
  • Juggernaut - The pinnacle of combatant capital craft, a juggernaut is capable of making mincemeat out of an enemy fleet singlehanded and is superbly equipped to combat other capital craft. Due to its large surface area its defenses against fightercraft attack are generally somewhat thinly spread, but a juggernaut's sheer ability to absorb damage means that only another juggernaut or a mass attack by corvettes and destroyers is capable of destroying one in anything like a timely manner. Only the SJ Sathanas has canonically been given this classification, though the Colossus could also be classified as juggernaut. The presence of a juggernaut, like a superdestroyer, indicates the controlling side considers the mission absolutely essential; decisive for the system if not the campaign or the entire war.
  • Installation - A space station, described as "installation" because of its size, self-sufficiency, and permanence. The only installation classes canonically known are the Arcadia and Ganymede. The GTVA's naming system for installations generally includes something indicating their nature. Installation Riveria, Tombaugh Station, Enif Station, and the Vega Installation are examples.

Other Ship Types

  • Transport - Primarily used for transporting personnel. Sometimes used to transport marines in boarding a warship, as seen in the capture of a Shivan cruiser. However, it may also be used for repair purposes and evacuation. Transports are designed with minimal defenses and have to be escorted at all times to ensure survival.
  • Freighter - Freighters carry important cargo and usually mount a few anti-fighter turrets. The largest canonical freighter is the GTFr Triton.
  • Gas miner - Used primarily to retrieve and transport nebular gas. Because of their often volatile contents, gas miners have an explosion yield far larger than ships of comparable size. The GTG Zephyrus, GVG Anuket, and SSG Rahu are the only three examples of gas miners.
  • AWACS - AWACS vessels are primarily used for the expansion of radar detection in systems. Secondary purposes including jamming communications and detecting ships that are invisible to normal sensors. The GTA Charybdis and GVA Setekh are the only two examples of this classification.
  • Escape Pod - The GTEP Hermes and GVEP Ra carry out this role. Escape pods are primarily for escape purposes, and are deployed from capital ships on the verge of destruction to save its crew and officers.

Unique Ship Types

  • Medical Ship - Only the GTM Hippocrates carries this role. Primarily used to house patients under medical care, it is also used to evacuate refugees.
  • Science Cruiser - Only the GTSC Faustus carries out this role. The Faustus appears to be tasked as a civilian science research vessel, but is also used by the military in times of war for weapons research. Science cruisers mount very few defenses and are therefore vulnerable to any form of assault.

Others found in ships.tbl that are not classified as ships

  • Cargo Container - Carried by freighters. Cargo containers are unarmed and vulnerable to even fighter attack, and can only move via freighters.
  • Sentry Gun - A small, vulnerable structure mounting one or more primary weapons. The largest of these is the GTSG Mjolnir, which mounts a beam cannon. Oddly, Shivan sentry guns are rarely encountered in the FreeSpace 2 campaign.
  • Knossos - The Knossos is an enormous subspace portal which, with its rotating components help stabilize a nearly-collapsed jump node.
  • Meson Bomb - The TC-Meson Bomb is a remote detonation device which blasts about in a massive shockwave. The only canonical situations wherein these were deployed was in the destruction of the Knossos portal and the sealing off of the Capella jump nodes.
  • Asteroid - Asteroids are of natural phenomenon. They are basically huge rocks in space that are harmful to even large capital ships as demonstrated in Rebels and Renegades. Asteroids may collide with capital ships and deal a severe amount of damage, but can be neutralized by primary weapons easily.
  • Unknown Shivan rotating device - Known as the Shivan Comm Node in the editor, there has been no canonical description of the device as information regarding it is classified Level Omega. However, its name implies that it may be a kind of communication device of the Shivans.

Special objects found in ships.tbl

  • SpaceHunk - The SpaceHunk is never used in the main FS2 campaign. It appears to be a large piece of debris from an SJ Sathanas juggernaut.
  • SJD Sathanas - The SJD Sathanas is a small, triangular object that is used to represent a distant Sathanas juggernaut in Into the Lion's Den and all missions from Dunkerque onwards.
  • Volition Bravos - The Volition Bravos is an easter egg that can be summoned onto the field using a cheat. It resembles a pirate ship manned by members of the Volition, Inc. staff. Although the Volition Bravos mounts nothing more than a few flak cannons and turret lasers, it is nearly impossible to destroy due to its incredibly high hitpoint count of ten billion.


  • Aspect-seeking - A type of secondary that must acquire a lock to track the target. See GTM Harpoon.
  • Countermeasure or CM - An anti-missile defensive mechanism for fighter-sized craft.
  • Dumbfire - Secondary weapons cannot acquire any kind of lock on the target. See GTM Tempest.
  • Heat-seeking - A type of secondary weapon that acquires instant lock on the nearest target and chases it until it gets out of its cone.
  • Primary - Primary weapons in FreeSpace are energy-based lasers.
  • Secondary - Secondary weapons in FreeSpace are missiles and bombs.
  • Turret laser - Primary weapons found on capital ships, transports, and freighters. An example would be the Terran Turret. See also blob turret.
  • Anti-fighter beam - Small beam weapons on ships at least cruiser-sized. They are used to fire at enemy fighters and bombers, but can also provide fire support against small capital ships.
  • Anti-capital beam - Beam weapons are the main armament of capital ships. They range from small such as the SGreen, to large such as the BGreen and the juggernaut-scale BFGreen.
  • Slash beam - Beams which are used to sweep ships clean of subsystems. Only Terran and Vasudan warships arm these beam weapons.
  • Swarm missile - Swarm missiles are secondary weapons that are fired in multiple numbers. See GTM Hornet

Fan Terminology

In-game Terminology

Designation Prefixes

Designation Suffixes

  • _BS, _Bs, BB - Battleship
  • _Ca - Carrier
  • _Dn - Dreadnaught
  • _Fg, _Ff - Frigate
  • _Gs - Gunship
  • _H - Hive
  • _SD - Superdestroyer
  • _SJ - Super Juggernaut
  • _TB - Tactical Bomber

Ship Types

  • Carrier - Ship of any size whose primary purpose is to carry fightercraft, whether directly into combat or standing off and lending fightercraft support to ongoing operations as needed.
  • Dreadnought - Generally understood to be a destroyer-sized craft, but built for the sole purpose of ship-to-ship combat and lacking a fighterbay or supporting a very limited number of fighters purely for self-defense.


  • 162 - The Phoenix sub-forum on the Hard Light Productions Forums.
  • AAA - Anti-fighter beam cannon(s)
  • AB - Afterburner(s)
  • Blob turret - A primary weapon-based, warship-mounted turret. The Terran Turret is an example.
  • CM - Countermeasure
  • CB - Command Briefing
  • CBAnim - Command Briefing animation
  • Colly - The GTVA Colossus
  • FA - FRED Academy
  • F2S - FreeSpace 2 Sector
  • FS1 - Descent: FreeSpace—The Great War. Also called Conflict: FreeSpace—The Great War in Europe. The first game of the series.
  • FS.PL - Defunct polish freespace community
  • FS2_Open or FSO - The open source version of FreeSpace 2
  • FS2NetD - FS2 Network Game Monitor; utility used to monitor FS2 network games being operated on the FS2Net servers.
  • FS3 - FreeSpace 3, the theoretical sequel to FreeSpace 2
  • GOG or GoG - Good Old Games. A digital distribution website that sells copies of FreeSpace 2. See Getting FreeSpace.
  • GW - Game-Warden
  • Hattie - The GVD Hatshepsut
  • HLP - Hard Light Productions
  • HOTU - Home of the Underdogs. This website used to host a stripped-down version of FreeSpace 2.
  • Lucy - The SD Lucifer
  • MediaVP or MVP - VP files with graphical enhancements for FreeSpace Open
  • Peggy - The GTF Pegasus
  • Pers - The GTF Perseus
  • Retail - The original version of FreeSpace 2, as released by Volition in 1999, plus the official patches. (=not FreeSpace Open). Retail may also be used to refer to an official campaign, depending on context.
  • RTB - Return to Base. Used to refer to the directive that tells the player to return to base.
  • SCP - Source Code Project. The people responsible for creating, maintaining and debugging FS2_Open.
  • SEXP - Symbolic EXPressions. Special function strings within FRED that allow for complex mission objectives and other things to be carried out by a mission bulider.
  • SG - Sectorgame. This website hosts the FreeSpace 2 Sector.
  • ST - Silent Threat
  • TC - Total Conversion. See Total conversions
  • V or [V] - Volition, Inc., the developer of FreeSpace and FreeSpace 2.
  • VBB - Volition Bulletin Board. The boards Volition maintained as a centre for the FS community. Now defunct.
  • VW - Volition Watch, developer fansite covering the FreeSpace, Red Faction and Summoner series. Awaiting demolition.
  • Zod - A term used to describe Vasudans. Derived from Zodiac because their fighter wings were designated based on them in FS1. The term has been coined by Eishtmo.

Campaign Abbreviations

This list is incomplete and not necessarily up-to-date. See also: Narwhal's Campaign List


The following is a list of some terms commonly seen on multiplayer chat screens.

  • AI - Artificial Intelligence. This refers to any computer-controlled ship.
  • Coop - Cooperative game. All players are on the same side and work together to accomplish the mission objectives.
  • Dogfight or DF - A free-for-all type of game, essentially the Deathmatch of FreeSpace. All players are on their own and fight for survival.
  • EMP - The EMP missile
  • Fire - The Infyrno missile
  • Fish - The Piranha missile
  • Lag - Latency. This refers to the "jumpiness" in a multiplayer game due to slow Internet connections. FreeSpace has always had a lag problem, and even modern, high-speed connections have trouble hosting and playing online FreeSpace games. Can be greatly mitigated by having all players set their "Object Update" setting to Low.
  • Lag bombing - Double-linking your secondary slot, firing, then quickly switching to your other secondary slot and firing it. Continue cycling and firing secondary slots until the server finally updates and you must wait to reload. This is often outlawed in multiplayer games.
  • Lag loading or Tab loading - An exploit that allows a player to load their ship with weapons that it is unable to carry by default, such as the Helios on a Perseus. This is achieved by first selecting the weapon in question with the mouse button, keeping it selected while using the Tab key to switch to the Ship Selection screen, moving the cursor over the bank where the weapon is to be loaded, and finally pressing the Tab key one more time to change back to the Weapons Loadout screen and letting go of the mouse button just as the screen changes. The server will still think that you have your old ship selected, so its weapons permissions will not update in time to prevent you from loading something illegal. This is usually discouraged in multiplayer and considered cheating, but some multiplayer maps were actually made to accommodate this tactic. Lag loading is also possible in single-player. Contrary to popular belief, does not have anything to do with lag, nor is it harder to do in single player.
  • Lock/Unlock - Refers to the "Lock" button on the mission briefing screen. The host (or in TvT game, team captains) have to click the "Lock" button to allow other pilots/wingmates to make ship/loadout changes.
  • Low - Setting "Object Updates" in the Multiplayer tab of FreeSpace 2's options to "Low". This is the preferred setting for MP clients. The "Low" setting limits the connection bit rate between the MP host and the client in order to make the game run smoother for everyone.
  • Quick jumping - A technique that involves all players in the Briefing menu to commit in order for the host to end the mission without needing to host again. It is usually used to give players not yet playing an opportunity to join the game instead of needing to wait for another match.
  • TvT - Team versus Team game. The players are divided into two sides and fight for supremacy.

Terms related to modelling

  • Greeble - Small piece of detail which serve no other purpose only to make a ship look better.
  • HTL - Hardware Transformation & Lighting. This abbreviation has since mutated into shorthand for any user-created high-polygon ship, or generally any retail ship with extra details added by the community.
  • LOD - Level of Detail. The further you get away from a ship, the less detailed it will be rendered.
  • Multi-part turret - A multi-part turret is, in a word, a turret with one, two or three barrels.
  • Single-part turret - A single-part turret, is, in a word, a turret without any barrels.
  • TrueView - A plugin utility for trueSpace. Ideal for building hierarchy. However, not a must.

Forum Terms

  • OP - Original Post / Original Poster: The first post in a thread.
  • Stickies - Threads which remain at the top of the list and are highlighted, as they are always needed and relevant. Sometimes referred to as 'Pinned' threads in other forums.
  • Splitting a thread - Sometimes a thread goes a little off-topic. When this happens it may be split. When a thread is split, the original thread remains, usually with most of its posts, and a new thread is created with the split posts.