NetStorm is Free, that is to say it would appear that Activision washed its hands of Netstorm once it shut down its online servers (see The NetStorm History)
If you do not already have the game, you may want to read How to Download.
The ultimate goal of any game of Netstorm is to sacrifice the enemy's High Priest(s) on your altar. In the single-player mode, victory is rewarded with access to the next mission; in multiplayer, you are instead rewarded with knowledge, the ability to use a new unit; or storm power, to help you defeat other your other enemies in the same battle.
In order to achieve this, you must use attacking units to attack the enemy and immobilize their Priest(s). They, of course, can use units to attack your units and your priest as well – in order to prevent their attacks you can use defending units to absorb the damage and to protect your units and your Priest.
The units in Netstorm are static and require no orders – they automatically attack the nearest enemy unit within their range. This means that the positioning of the units is vital to ensure that they attack the right enemy units. Units can be placed on any free space on an island, or on the ends of bridges.
To create units, they need to be within the ranges of the necessary generators in order to have the power to be created – this power is only required for the building of the units, and it is not needed afterwards. When a unit is placed, the storm power require to build it rushes out of the temple or the nearest outpost, along islands and networks of bridges, to the unbuilt unit. The unit is then created and functions on its own.
Units can only be created when you have put them into production in a workshop.
Workshops are the source of all battle related units in NetStorm as well as collecting units. Four different workshops exist in the world of NetStorm. Three of them are each aligned to one of the three furies: wind, rain, and thunder. A fourth "Sun" workshop is capable of producing neutral units with no alignment as well as generators -- its units may receive their power from any of the three generators.
Each workshop has the ability to put different units into production, and they must be aligned with the workshop, so choose carefully. Unfortunately, if a Workshop is destroyed you will lose the ability to build anything that Workshop was currently producing, until you build another workshop to replace it and put the units back into production.
Each workshop also has a limited capacity for production. A workshop starts with two slots of production. If the workshop is upgraded, the workshop is given one extra slot of production and more than one workshop of a single type may be constructed, if necessary. To save precious island space, all workshops have the ability to be upgraded four levels, with a maximum of six technologies in production per workshop.
When a Workshop creates a unit, the storm power streaks from the workshop to the build site. When the storm power combines with the build site the unit will be created and will begin functioning by itself.
Buildings are created by right-clicking the priest and selecting “Create,” then choosing the type of building you want to create. The buildings which you can create are: The temple, in order to create bridges, collect money, have ownership of an island and as a power source; workshops, in order to put units into production; the Altar, in order to sacrifice captured enemy priests; and outposts, in order to claim ownership of a foreign island. Each Island also has a Residence on it which can not be destroyed, nor can it be built on.
Bridges are used to extend your reach beyond your home island and into the skies. They allow a pathway for Walking transports, such as golems, to collect money from floating geysers, as well as enabling you to create units away from your home island, by placing them on the ends of bridges.
Bridges are free to create, and there is no limit to the amount you can create. Bridges cannot overlap each other, but they can connect at the ends. They are created by the temple, and you can have up to 6 bridges to choose from at any one time. When a bridge is used, a new bridge is created in the old bridge's slot.
There are two main types of bridges: cracked and uncracked. When a bridge is first created by the temple, it is cracked – as it remains in its bridge slot unused, it becomes uncracked. As bridges remain in the sky without being connected to anything, the ends weaken – uncracked bridge becomes cracked, and eventually cracked bridge breaks off and falls.
Bridges can also be broken by exploding units, salvaging units next to the bridge or using meltdown on the generators: The advantage of meltdowning a generator next to a bridge is that it destroys the bridge regardless of whether it is cracked or not (only available in Multiplayer), whereas salvaging a unit will only weaken uncracked bridges.
See also Building Bridges for more info
Netstorm originally came with four campaign sets: Early Missions (for training,) Struggle for Freedom, A Nation Rises, and Complete Victory, the last two of which cannot be started until the previous campaign set is complete. Newer version of Netstorm also come with BlueCheese's Priest Training campaigns, designed to teach new players slightly beyond the pure basics taught by the Early Missions -- these missions are still no substitute for multiplayer experience, as Netstorm's AI cannot compare to the skill of other human players.
Additional campaign sets can be added by installing them into your /d/ folder -- these can be found at Downloads. You can also create your own missions with the Editor, although it can be quite hard, as scripting is also involved.
If you are having problems with the original campaigns, you may want to read Durak's Walkthroughs.
Netstorm comes complete with a Help library, but if you seek additional help, you may be able to find it by searching this wiki, asking other players in the zones.