Welcome to a guide to get you started with Starmancer! This will introduce you to the basic game systems and get you started by outlining some recommended steps to take the first few days in game.
Definitive Guide How to Start
Enter Your AI Name
After beginning a new game the first thing asked is your name. Remember, in Starmancer you’re an AI, so this will be the name assigned to the station’s computer intelligence and will be displayed on the computer core.
Design your core
Next you’ll design your core’s appearance. The core is the physical representation of the station AI, and is at the center of every starting station. The differences in design and color are purely cosmetic, so select the style that suits you best!
Name your Station
Lastly enter the name you’d like to call your station and it’s time to get started!
Your First Days
Your station is damaged and drifting in space. Immediately you’ll be greeted by KAT – a helper AI which offers tutorial information. Your first job will be to create a colonist and activate the station’s SOS beacon.
Welcome your colonists
The Incubator, used to grow your first colonist
Click on the Incubation Tank, it’s a small machine which will have a green arrow above it. Once selected the object information window will appear, select the highlighted option ‘Unlock more Colonists’.
The ‘Generate Colonists’ window is where new colonists’ consciousness can be purchased for the Incubation Tank gene-pool. These are called Egos, and once purchased they can be planted into a body grown in the Incubation tank.
Initially you’ll see three available colonist egos – each with a mix of attributes.
The icons in each of the colonist ego details indicate key traits which will drive the colonists behavior and determine how they’ll interact with other colonists. Negative traits are colored red, positive traits are green, and neutral traits are grey. Each of these can be hovered over to display more details.
Under traits are a set of other preferences – these are specific tasks which the colonist may love, hate, or refuse to do. These are important, as your colonists willingness and ability to perform certain tasks and how they interact with others is critical to how smoothly the station will run.
There’s a small icon showing DNA currency in your topbar – and at the bottom of each colonist’s information is a DNA cost to unlock. Ego DNA cost is directly proportional to the value of the colonists positive attributes. Colonists with negative traits, who may be more difficult to manage, cost less to unlock – while a colonist with more positive values will cost more. You’ll start with 400 DNA, and can have up to three colonists to start – so budget accordingly!
It’s recommended to use the ‘Refresh All’ button to browse a variety of Egos from the computer’s memory banks. Refreshing costs zero DNA until you purchase three colonists – so don’t be afraid to refresh until you find colonists you like with a balanced attribute mix. For example having a colonist who hates to clean is fine – but with three colonists who hate to clean you may have a hard time keeping the station tidy.
You don’t need to unlock all three to start – just the first one you’d like to begin with!
Grow your first human
Once you’ve purchased a colonist ego select ‘Grow Colonist’ inside the Incubation Tank window.
The ‘Colonist Selection’ window shows all the purchased egos stored inside the station’s memory – players select the colonist ego they want to grow into a body here. Select an ego inside this window and your Incubation tank will power up to grow your first human!
Mousing over the incubation tank will show the progress toward the development of your colonist. Once it reports ‘Ready for Harvest’ clicking the ‘Harvest Colonist’ button inside the incubation tank information window will allow them to leave the tank and take their first steps onto the station!
You can opt to grow more colonists now – or take a little time to familiarize yourself with how managing just one is before adding more to the colony.
Your first task is to activate the station SOS Beacon, you’ll need to direct your colonist to operate it. By default colonists will do available jobs based on their preferences and specific needs, but you can direct them to do specific tasks through the order command in the information panel.
Information & Orders
The Colonist Information window
Click on a colonist to bring up their Information Panel. This window displays basic details about the selected colonist, and has tabs which give much more breakdown of information, attributes, skill levels – even their current inventory. It’s good to take note of where this information is, as colonists grow and gain skills their needs become more complex & these menus become more important. If a colonist has a problem, this information panel is where you’ll likely find the details to understand it.
At the bottom of the screen beside the info panel is a button with an exclamation mark labeled ‘Order Colonist’. Orders override whatever task they’re doing allowing you to take direct control of what their actions. Use the Order button to direct your colonist to the orange module on your Starmancer core – it should be highlighted by a large green arrow. After clicking the module a small action sub-menu will appear – select the first button with a power button symbol here titled ‘Activate S.O.S beacon’
You’ll see the colonist immediately move to the beacon and activate it! Activating the beacon will connect you to a member of a nearby Scavenger faction. He’ll introduce himself and send you a construction schematic for a ‘Trading Pod’ a launch module which will allow you to sell goods and resources for currency, called Zipher, used to purchase station objects and upgrades.
You’ll want to build this right away – it will be important for establishing your station!
Placing the Trading Pod
With the newly unlocked Trading Pod you’ll be able to sell resources & generate income. Expand the ‘Build Menu’ by clicking the orange ‘Build’ button at the bottom of the game window. This will open a panel containing station objects and infrastructure which you have available to construct. Select the ‘Trading Pod’ (it’s a large orange box) and you’ll have the object available to place with your cursor, you’ll need to place it beside the walkway outside of your station.
Take note when placing – there are green highlighted areas next to the object. These indicate the areas which colonists can interact with the pod and supply it, so make sure areas overlap the walkway so colonists can access the pod. All objects which colonists interact with have these areas – so pay attention when placing objects to make sure they’ll be accessible!
After placing the Pod you’ll see a colonist travel through the airlock to outside and construct it. Now we’ve got two new objectives – earn 10,000 Zipher and collect 10 ore. We’ll focus on the ore first, as selling that will earn us the Zipher.
Mining Your First Asteroid
Although the station has some basic supplies in storage they’re not going to be enough to survive for very long. We’ll need to send off a ship to gather more resources if we want to make it out here!
Map to the Stars
Select the large ship docked outside your station, and in the information window click ‘Open Starmap’. The starmap displays the stellar objects in the local solar system. These can be asteroids, planets – even other stations.
Mousing over each of these objects displays information about the resources available. Some locations are unavailable unless the ship has specialized upgrades or the colonist has a high enough skill level.
Find an asteroid which has the Ore resource available and select to ‘Mine’ it. After clicking the mine button you’ll have to choose a crew for the mission – highlighting colonists here will show attributes like their health, happiness, and their skill level as a miner.
Once your crew have been set the ‘Create Mission’ button will send them on their way. Be sure to check the success chance at the bottom of the mission info panel – this is the chance your colonists will either succeed or come back empty handed. Also by default the ‘Repeat’ checkbox is toggled next to ‘Create Mission’. This means that after returning the resources to the station the colonist will unload, and travel back to the same location to collect more – it’s fine to leave checked for now!
Click the ‘Create Mission’ button to initiate. You can check the current status of a ships mission by looking at the progress bar in the ship hangar area – once the colonist is ready they’ll board the ship and fly off to collect the resources.
Tip – Speed up time if you’d like the wait for their return to be shorter!
Once they’ve returned a mission report will display if they succeeded, and outline how many resources they collected and the value. Colonists who travel on these missions level up their mining skill, which allows them access to more new and resource types on missions.
To Sell or not to Sell
Toggling items for sale inside the Trading Pod
Now that you’ve got some ore – we can refine it or store it, but let’s sell it! Click your Trading Pod, and a list of items will appear. As you discover more items this list will become longer – for now, we’ve only discovered a few things available to sell – one of which is ore.
Next to Ore in this list there’s a sell button which displays Z500 (the sell cost). Toggling this will set ore to be loaded into the pod to be sold. If you’d rather keep the ore, clicking the button beside the sell button will disable selling and instead direct colonists to store it inside your station.
Once filled with resources the Trading Pod will depart to unload resources and shortly return with money.
Assuming you’ve left ‘repeat mission’ on we’ve created a small income loop! Your colonist will mine ore and return it to the pod for money, then go mine more ore. If you’re feeling comfortable you may want to grow yourself a second colonist if you haven’t already done so.
Now that you’re generating a little income you should build a Research Station. This computer console will allow colonists to work toward unlocking new items/objects and management abilities in the technology tree.
Select the build menu, and select and build a ‘research station’. Once placed, wait until it’s been built, click it, and select the ‘open tech tree’ button.
Here you’ll find the research tree to instruct what research colonists should be working on. Available modules are highlighted, and locked modules are greyed out. To unlock new modules players must either complete previous research in the tree or have colonists which have reached certain Ego Levels.
Wiring together a Small Battery and a Treadmill
After Unlocking the ‘Basic Power’ technology, you can develop a basic power generator. Place a ‘Treadmill’ and a Small Battery beside it. Using this treadmill, colonists can generate electricity which is stored inside the battery.
You can connect the power in your battery to the rest of your station using wire – this will automatically provide power. If an object requires power and isn’t receiving it, a red power icon will display over the object. Electric objects act as wires as well – allowing power to pass through them to wires and machines on the other side.
In addition to machines, electricity can power lights on your station to illuminate dark rooms! Be sure to place some and wire them as well!
Once the ‘Ore Refinery’ unlocks, build that as well, and make sure it’s provided power by connecting it to the small battery with a wire.
Refine Ore to Metal
First make sure to toggle Ore to not sell in your Trading Pod! Then open an order in your ‘Ore Refinery’ for metal, and click the infinity symbol to repeat craft whenever materials are available. Now colonists will bring ore to this machine and it will automatically be processed into metal.
Metal is made using two ore. It sells for 20% more than raw ore and can be used to craft other materials. Continue to gather more ore for the refinery and it will be processed there
Tip – Remember to pay close attention to your colonists’ needs – and to pause if you need a moment to catch your breath!
Engage your Warp Drive
After making metal you’ll be able to use it to repair your warp drive! Order your colonist to pick it up and place it in the terminal which activated the SOS beacon on the core. Once deposited, use the order on that terminal to activate the station warp to another system…
That’s up to you! You’ll see some additional objectives to repair the communications array and develop new materials – but you may instead want to spend some time developing your colonists’ needs and getting to know them.
Construct your colonists a bedroom, and decorate it
Build a bathroom stall to keep biowaste off the floor
Build a Waste recycler to convert your bio waste into food bricks – your rations won’t last forever
Research into water storage and purification to open up the ability to grow your own food!
Tips for Moving Forward
- Decorations, entertainment objects and furniture can keep colonists happy – make sure to provide them spaces to relax.
- Organization is important! Construct shelves and storage containers to organize your resources – you won’t have room in your station to keep everything on the floor! You can inspect shelves to set what type of items they’ll store.
- Pay attention to environmental conditions – some machines generate lots of heat and noise and will disturb nearby colonists. Don’t be afraid to move machines to separate rooms.
- Under ‘Job tasks’ in the colonist inspection window you can adjust the priority of jobs your colonist will do, and can set them not to perform specific tasks they may not like.
- In case of fire – vent atmosphere! The easiest way to put out a fire is to remove a wall and suck out oxygen – just make sure your colonists are clear before you decompress!
- Remember to slow down if you need to! It’s okay to pause often to assess and plan – there’s no penalty for stopping the simulation to organize yourself.
- If a colonist dies – don’t worry! You can’t make an omelet without breaking some eggs!! You can regrow them a body in the Incubation tank at no cost, only their skills and ego level will be reset.
- Asteroid Ice can be purified into clean water for crops. Build a sink to deposit clean water into, a tank to store it, and pipes to connect things which need it. Biowaste and fuel can use the same pipes as well to distribute to connected objects from tanks.
- Using airlocks between rooms can provide a seal from heat and temperature between them.
- If you see alerts that some areas of your stations are too hot or too cold, there are ways to manage extreme temperatures, such as building a Thermal Regulator, adding vents to hot rooms and airlocks to vent into space, or even putting ice in warmer rooms.