A transparent, three-dimensional oval shaped energy force field which completely surrounds a vessel. Shields are passive, allowing you to enter areas without causing damage to your surroundings. They protect your ship from all weapon types, and rely on energy supplied to front and rear emitters.
Most shield systems use an extended output shield design which allows for dual shield layers. This is shown on your shield displays - 100% for a single layer, and 200% for dual layers. The display is also color coded - red for weak, yellow for intermediate, and green for healthy.
In specific situations, you may want to use the S key. It allows you to shift energy to front or rear shields. If you are taking on a capital ship, front shields are preferred, and rear shields work well if you cant shake a warhead.
Shields are not all-powerful, however. Shield energy is provided in an overal mask of the front or back of your ship, so vessels with weakened shields may still recieve hull damage if a weapon successfully makes it between energy particles. Also, certain warheads can disable or bypass shield systems.