The Toolbar

This file explains the row of controls near the top of the screen. There are over a dozen, but don't worry about memorizing them; holding the mouse pointer over any control for a second or so will show the name and hotkey for that control.

The sections of this file are:

Mouse Drag Mode


These three buttons determine what happens when you drag an object with the mouse. Only one of them can be pressed at a time.

If the first button (Select) is pressed, dragging the mouse has no effect. This is a good choice when you've got all of your ships right where you want them, and don't want to accidentally move something.

The second button (Select and Move) is pressed by default. This lets you move objects by dragging them with the mouse.

The third button (Select and Rotate) lets you rotate objects without changing their position. The direction of rotation depends on the Axis Constraints.

The speed of movement and rotation is controlled by the Speed Menu.

Rotate Locally


This button determines what happens if you rotate several marked objects. When it is not pressed, the entire group rotates, as if they were connected to each other by invisible sticks. When it is pressed, each object rotates without changing its position, sort of like a marching band turning a corner.

The picture below shows three groups of GTC Fenrises. The group on the left has been rotated non-locally, while the group on the right has been rotated locally.

Axis Constraints


FreeSpace 2 missions take place in three-dimensional space, but the mouse can only control two dimensions at a time. These buttons determine which dimensions objects move along when you drag them with the mouse. For example, if X is pressed, you can drag a ship along the X axis, but its Y and Z positions will not change.

If you have the Mouse Drag Mode set to Select and Rotate, the axis constraints refer to the axes relative to the object in question, not the normal location axes. Rotating around the X axis is pitching up and down, rotating around the Y axis is yawing left and right, and rotating around the Z axis is rolling left and right.

Select List


This button lets you change which objects are marked. When you have dozens of objects in your mission, this can be easier than marking things with the mouse.

When pressed, this button pops up a dialog box. All objects in the mission are listed in the upper left. Click on an object's name to highlight it, and ctrl click to highlight additional objects.

You can filter out various kinds of objects by unchecking the boxes in the upper right. (Player Starting Points are ships flown by players.)

The All button highlights everying. Clear removes all highlighting. Invert highlights all of the unhighlighted objects, and vice versa.

The box in the lower left lists wings and waypoint paths. Click on one to highlight all of the objects in that group.

Close the dialog box with Okay to mark the highlighted objects (and unmark everything else), or Cancel to discard your changes.

Selection Lock


When this button is pressed, clicking with the mouse does not change what is marked. Instead, it acts as if you dragged the currently marked objects to the spot where you clicked.

Form / Disband Wing


These buttons let you group ships (usually fighters) into wings, or break up those wings.

The Form Wing button puts all of the marked ships into a wing. It pops up a dialog box asking for the name of the new wing. If some of the marked ships are already in a wing, you will be given the opportunity to reform that wing, that is, redefine it to consist of the currently marked ships. When ships are grouped into a wing, their names are changed to reflect this.

Disband Wing breaks up the marked wing. The ships remain where they are.

You can put as many as six ships in a wing. If a fighter or bomber wing is going to show up in the player's HUD, it can have at most four ships.

The HUD wingmen status guage only supports Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta, and Epsilon wings. For a single-player mission, the player must be Alpha 1. You can't have a Gamma wing without a Beta wing, and none of the first three can be reinforcements.

For cooperative multiplayer missions, the players must be in Alpha, Beta, and Gamma wings. For team vs. team multiplayer missions, the players must be in Alpha and Zeta wings.

Ships in a wing want to stay together, and want to be in particular positions within the wing. If you place them differently, they may crash into each other while maneuvering into place at the beginning of the mission. The picture below shows the standard positions of the ships within a wing.

Standard wing names are:

Friendly Enemy



These buttons let you zoom in or out to see just the things you want. Of course, you can also move the camera manually.

Zoom Selected moves the camera forward or back so that the marked objects are all visible.

Zoom Extents moves the camera forward or back so that all objects in the mission are visible.

Show Distances


When this button is pressed, you will see the distances between marked objects, as in the picture below.

Rotate Around Object


When this button is pressed, the currently selected object is centered. The Camera Movement Keys now act differently: keypad 4 and 6 move left and right in a circle around the object, keypad 2 and 8 move up and down in a circle around the object, and A and Z move toward and away from the object. The other camera movement keys don't do anything in this mode.

If nothing is selected, this button has no effect.

Selection Box

The last control on the Toolbar, and probably the most useful, is the Selection Box. Clicking on the triangle at the right side pops up a menu from which you can select any of the ship types in FreeSpace 2, as well as waypoints, jump nodes, and lone asteroids. (If you want an asteroid field, use the Asteroid Field Editor.) The selected object type will be created when you ctrl click with the mouse in the main area of the FRED2 window.

If you have a waypoint selected when you place a new waypoint, the new one will be added to the same path (right after the selected one). Otherwise, the new waypoint will be in a new path.

Lone asteroids aren't terribly useful; ships and weapons fly right through them.

The prefixes for the different ship classes generally indicate the government that originally produced that class and the ship type. For example, something with the prefix GTSG is a Galactic Terran Sentry Gun.

Abbr. Government
GT Galactic Terran
GTV Galactic Terran-Vasudan
GV Galactic Vasudan
NT Neo-Terran
PV Parliamentary Vasudan
S Shivan
T Terran
V Vasudan

Abbr. Class
F Fighter
B Bomber
C Cruiser or Container
Cv Corvette
D Destroyer
J Juggernaut
A AWACS (Advanced Warning And Control System)
AC Armored Container
DR Drone
EP Escape Pod
Fr Freighter
G Gas miner
I Installation
M Medical ship
NB Nav Bouy
S Support ship
SC Science Cruiser or Standard Container
SG Sentry Gun
T Transport
TC Tech Container

You can learn more about the different ship classes in the Tech Room within FreeSpace 2.