Note to anyone with questions about game rules: read manual.txt--it's got all kinds of useful information, including a list of hints at the end if you're having trouble.
The game isn't very easy on beginners, but once you get the hang of it you should be able to beat the first few levels without much difficulty. Beyond that you'll have to start developing effective strategies to survive. I've still only made it to level 6 myself. Highest score is 9453 (Don't be discouraged though, obviously I know a lot about the game
I keep getting swarmed by soldiers who go "HEY DAWG I HEARD YOU LIKE LIVING, SO LET ME SHOOT YOUR WEAPONS BECAUSE IT'S NOT FAIR FOR YOU TO BE ABLE TO SHOOT ME BACK" and then they crit my weapon systems while I somehow hit everything that isn't them.
Lots of things you can do about that:
-fight enemies up close to increase hit%
-always carry extra weapons, because it sucks not to have any
-make sure you have as many parts equipped as possible, to decrease the likelihood of losing weapons (attaching parts mid-battle is essential!)
-later on you can equip targeting computers to increase hit%
-look at the components of the hit calculation (listed in manual.txt) for a better idea of what kinds of factors affect your aim
I find having a lazer or assualt rifle is useful for when stealthing around taking out lone enemies is useful, along with a deactivated rocket launcher or grenade launcher for when lots of enemies feel like runing your day.
Yep, that's what I do, carry around an extra launcher for the groups (but I usually wait until I have three weapon slots--before that you can usually fight groups around a corner and kill them one by one if you're fast enough)
Heat gets too high you'll shut down for a bit.
When you make it to later parts of the game, you'll find that overheating has a wide range of other nasty effects as well, depending on how hot you are. It's hard to overheat in the early game, since nothing produces much more heat than you can naturally dissipate. After a few levels you'll need to consider using heat sinks and cooling systems depending on your build.
Not sure about coverage and support. I think I had figured it out at one point, but have since forgotten.
It's covered in the manual, but there's no example (and it probably needs one) so here it is:
"Each part has a "coverage" rating which determines its likeliness to be hit by an incoming attack. Values are relative, so attacks are weighted towards hitting parts with higher coverage. Robot cores also have their own "exposure" rating which determines their likeliness to be hit; this value is considered along with part coverage when determining whether an attack will strike the core. The exact chance of a core/part to be hit is shown in parenthesis after its rating on the relevant info screen." (manual.txt)
Ex 1: Cogmind's core has an exposure of 100. Say you equip only one part, a weapon which also has a coverage of 100. Their total value is 200 (100+100), so if you are hit by a projectile, each one has a 50% (100/200) chance to be hit.
Ex 2: You have the following parts attached:
-Ion Engine (60)
-Light Treads (70)
-Light Treads (70)
-Medium Laser (100)
-Light Assault Rifle (100)
With your core (100), the total is 440, so the chance to hit each part is:
-Ion Engine: 60/440=13.6%
-Light Treads: 70/440=15.9% (each)
-Medium Laser: 100/440=22.7%
-Light Assault Rifle: 100/440=22.7%
Enemy robots work the same way, of course, so the more parts you blow off, the more likely you are to hit and destroy their core.
Armor plating has a very high coverage, so it's more likely to be hit, while tiny utilities such as embedded processors have very low coverage, so you can expect them to last much longer (unless you have little or nothing else covering you, so keep covered!!!).
As you progress, your core will become more and more protected by attached parts (b/c you'll have many more of them...), but by that time there are other dangers you'll find out about...