Ok, thank you. How do I manually set up the configurations?
On your Power Setting icon you see a 1, 2, or 3 option - 1 is the default. If you click on 3 your icon will change and you can manually adjust the values there, then click the Save to make them permanent. You can adjust all 4 settings to make them different if you wish. Then simply return to 1 - assuming you do not wish to use display type 2 or 3.
I had one more question - will I notice a significant difference in damage if I go Defense Mode rather than Attack Mode in Space Combat? What are the benefits/drawbacks of each?
What you are using are not combat modes, per se. They are Power Profiles which callocates your ship's power to the 4 subsystems. And I mean profiles as you can customize each of them to your liking. Ships Power is a very broad subject that hits on a lot of things. Rahter then even attempt to cver it here. I suggest my "Beginners Guide to Ship's Power". The link to my guide in below in my .sig.
Warning: It's a LOT of information,but I do try to be thorough.
You guys have been extremely helpful, and I greatly appreciate it. I have one final question and I think I should be set.
What type of Consoles do I want to look for running a Cruiser? Science, Tac, and Engineering?
I think with that question answered i'll be firmly squared away!
It really depends on they way you play. There's no one perfect way to outfit a ship. For example, if your ship is torpedo heavy (a torpedo boat) then Tac consoles which buff torpedo damage are helpful. Plus you'll probably want Turn or Engine power buffs in Engineering Consoles to get your Cruiser into the firing arc more easily. A "beam boat" would have different requirements in Tac and Engineering Consoles.
It's really more about finding your own play style over time and then building to that play style, IME.