Hi I'm SoundlessScream and this is stuff I type a lot that would be easier to share a link for.
A lot of new players find the controls to be a little unwieldy, so I have a few suggestions to alleviate the more delicate movements like landing and manuvering in asteroids.
Set L3 to "Set throttle to 0%" that's your brakes now, so so helpful.
L1 set to "Verticle Thrust Up"
R1 "Verticle Thrust Down"
Horizontal thrust isn't used by most players unless they're landing, so you can set it to something like
L1+R1+directional button for thrust forward, right, left, and backwards.
Horizontal thrust is separate from your throttle.
The throttle is adjusted like a big boat or plane, it's not as easy for delicate small movements, and I find myself throwing it into reverse when I try to stop, it was so frustrating when I started.
Your screens in your ship are how you navigate space, you can even travel to something with no windshield hud if you understand your dashboard.
In the center is your hull% and shields. Above it is a crosshair. When locked onto a destination, a white dot will represent the destination. If it's hollow in the middle, your target is behind you.
Also in the middle is your radar. Squares are ships, triangles are ships with guns deployed, hollowed out objects are player ships (squares or triangles) white squares are inanimate objects, such as resource canisters, mined rock bits and so on.
So your square+down screen is just your available ship seats and who's sitting in them. If you have a ship with multiple seats and have an AI fighter pilot,
or a player aboard you'll see that there.
Square+Left is your missions and navigation. I use filters for navigation to make finding stations really easy.
Square+Up is your social and chat. You can see player names in the area.
Square+right is ship information and pilot info. You can check on your internal components health, cargo bay, engineering materials, pilot's reputation and money, your rank status, fire group keybinds for weapons, all that stuff.
After that, you will be interested to know that when accessing station services, you can check the mission board for quests, commodities market to buy or sell things, contacts for doing things like paying off a bounty or fine as well as other activities, universal cartographics for selling your discovered system data. Eddb.io, Rougey, and Inara.cz are excellent websites for finding things like ships, parts for them, mining spots, resources, trade routes, all kinds of stuff. Choose the format you are most comfortable with.
You should get a message at some point containing 10,000 credits that you can invest into upgrading your ship. Most people get a better frame shift drive so that they can complete some data delivery missions. You could potentially buy some very minimum and cheap mining equipment, obsidian ant has a video about mining in a sidewinder that can guide you if you choose to do that. But being as your cargo space is extremely limited in a side winder, your time would be best used completing low risk missions that don't require much cargo capacity.
Outfitting in station services is how you will edit your ship's parts.
Oh, you should also get a message guiding you to some nearby systems for quests relevant to fighting, mining, or trading.
So on the topic of getting around.
Your ship has 3 modes of travel, starting with conventional engines, then you have "suipercruise" and finally frame shift drive.
Engines are familiar to us and work in a way that makes sense, we speed up and slow down and we have inertia because we're in space.
But super cruise is different. It speeds up and slows down slowly, and can reach very high top speeds. Your ships computer compensates this by trying to make your speed peak at the middle point of your travel to a planet or station around the star that you're orbiting around. On your throttle, there will be a little blue section as a guideline for your speed limits when super cruising to a destination.
Go too high above the blue wedge and your ship won't slow down in time, go under too far and it'll take a long time to arrive to where you're going.
So I suggest to adjust your throttle into the bottom 25% or 1/4 of that blue wedge there, and allow your ships computer to adjust the speed for you otherwise. All you do then is steer, and "safe disengage" supercruise when close to your target.
Lasty you have your frame shift drive, which just teleports you to the next star in whatever course you have plotted in your galaxy map, accessed with Triangle+left. Which, by the way, you'll want to set to off of realistic. Many players also diasble white dwarf, non sequence, wolf rayet, and pulsar stars from their galaxy map star filter till they learn more about it.
I will talk a little more about things to do, I'm copy pasting this from productive conversations I have had. So please, forgive me if there is some topic overlap.
Figuring out a trading route can be kind of complicated without having a program do it for you, luckily we have those available.
Finding pirates is easy. If you open your system map (triangle+right?) and find a planet with rings, lock destination, fly somewhere nearer in proximity, you will find there are "resource site" locations available to set a destination to in your square+left screen.
They appear as "low", I can't remember if there is a medium, "high" and "hazardous" Pirate ships are bigger and more numerous, and there are less space cops (green i.d ships) the higher the danger level is.
Having any part in the killing of a pirate gets you a bounty. It is safest to get a shot in on a pirate the police are attacking, careful not to hit the authority, then keep your distance and let them do the fighting for you. You sell bounties at a space station, with the "authority" contact on the station services screen, contacts tab.
And lastly, exploring. You can collect data with your discovery scanner. When you enter a solar system, you can "honk" to gather the data and go to the next one. Space stations like to buy that updated data.
For example, the farther you go to collect data, the more it is worth at the place you started at. But you can go and sell anywhere.