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Ships which have a cloaking device built into their space frame can cloak by setting their mission to "cloak". Cloaked ships do not show up on enemy scanners and are protected from enemy attack. The host person can implement a chance of failure for cloaking devices, the default failure rate is 0%.

Most ships burn fuel to cloak or stay cloaked, this is host-configurable. The amount of fuel that a ship must burn is based on the hull mass of the ship and the cost of cloaking as set in the Hconfig. The amount set in the Hconfig also serves as the minimum cost of cloaking: ships with a hullmass below 100 kilotons burn this amount of fuel. Heavier ships burn an amount of fuel that is equivalent to their weight.

The formula used to calculate the amount of fuel burned:
FuelUsed = MAX[CloakCost, (TRUNC( (Hullmass/100)*CloakCost) )]

The fuel is actually burned in the phase where the Host program checks for cloak-failure. If a ship is decloaked by a Loki before that check or when the cloak fails, no fuel is burned. When a cloaked ship is burning fuel to stay cloaked and it does not have enough fuel to remain cloaked, the ship will decloak and not burn the fuel.

The Resolute and the Darkwing have advanced cloaking devices .They do not burn any fuel to stay cloaked, although they do need as least one kiloton of fuel onboard to activate their cloaking device and to keep it activated. They can cloak in an Ion storm; they are the only ships that can cloak inside an ion storm.

Birdmen ships with a cloaking device that have their mission set to "Super Spy" will automatically cloak, the same rules as above apply. The Loki Class Destroyer when it has fuel on board automatically emits a Tachyon field that disrupts the cloaking devices for all races but the Federation, Lizards and Birdmen.

Cloaking does not work in the following circumstances:

  • Presence of a Loki within 10 lightyears before or after movement (does not apply to Fed, Lizard and Birdmen cloakers). Before movement, the Loki actually decloaks ships before the cloakfail check. If a ship is decloaked by a Loki before movement it will not burn any fuel.
  • Damage is greater than 'cloak prevent damage': by default, ships with 1% damage or worse can not cloak and cloaked ships suffering damage beyond this point will immediately decloak. Ships can be damaged through battle, Ion storms, hitting a (web) mine or getting hit by an exploding glory device.
  • Ion storms: apart from the Darkwing and the Resolute, ships can not cloak inside an ion storm.

Cloak failure
Sometimes, regardless of circumstances, the cloaking device of a ship simply malfunctions. How often this occurs is configurable by the host person. By default this is 0% in which case cloaking devices will never "fail".

It is at this point in the Host order of actions where the fuel used to cloak is actually burned, if the cloak does not fail. If the cloak fails, no fuel is burned. The owner of the ship attempting to cloak does not receive a message if the cloak fails because of fuel-shortage. If the cloak has already been disrupted by a Loki, no fuel is burned either. In that case the owner of the cloaker receives a message about being decloaked by a Loki.

There are some other reasons why ships attempting to cloak might not actually cloak. Note that those reasons all disturb the cloaking device on a moment other than the "check cloak failure" phase.

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