Interstellar Rift – Starting Guide

An Interstellar Rift starting guide trying to show you how to start the game (or restart if you lost all you had), giving you a taste of the different ingame mechanics available.

Choosing Your Faction

Whatever faction you may have (already) choosen is ok. I personally prefer Hurles as it allows for a quicker startup (IMHO), as their starter ship allows you to do some mining, as well as the starting station. The starting station also comes with refineries, wich allows you to get base resources easily whenever you need them. More on that later.

Didn’t Saw Your Guide Before, I Lost Everything, and Now I’m Stranded (You’re Not)

You lost your (only) ship, have no resources on hand to build another one and not in a mining/refining station? At first glance it may seems your game is over, but there is alway a solution.

First, if you’re in a multiplayer game, you may ask for help. You could be surprised how helpfull are peoples. I was surprised, I will be surprised, and will always try to help non abusive players if I can. Help can come in multiple ways: taxi you to a station where you can rebuild, advices, not neccessarily handing you a ship. Advices are the most precious, IMHO, as you can never loose them 😉

If you are not in a position to be helped (hopefully not because you made everyone mad at you), you can always respawn. If your ship just got out of range, has a molecular assembler for you to respawn in, and enougth power left, you’re good to go. If not, you get the choice to either respawn in your starting station or in the black pit. Black pit and Hurles (if you started with this faction) will allow you to mine for another ship, allowing you to start again (don’t know for other factions as I did not visit their starting base yet, but those two have water, iron, copper & carbon to start over)

Last possibility I see (there may be other ones I don’t know about) is to get a loan from your starting station and buy another starter ship.

Now, either because you just started or because you lost all you had, let’s explain how to begin (again?) in the game.

The Basic Materials (Tiers 0)

Interstellar Rift (IR for short) is an open-world(s?) sandbox game. There is no final objective, and hopefully more than a way to achieve those you came up with. But basically, you will need minerals, and there’s more than a way to get your hands on some. Let’s describe them first.

  • Iron: if you have some iron ore, you’re a refining process away from getting iron bars. Most used and plentiful ore in IR. 
  • Water: H2O. You can process it into hydrogen for fuel or oxygen to breathe. You can also extract a few deuterium (hydrogen isotope) for more advanced uses or some good bucks. More on that later. 
  • Copper: second most used ore to be used after refining. 
  • Carbon: call it carbon, graphite, coal or whatever. I see it as a black powder filling the crate in my mind 🙂 
  • Steel: A good mix between Iron and Carbon. 
  • Nitrous Oxide: a mix of oxygen and nitrogen. Easy to get with combat, even without fighting 🙂 
  • Silicon: you don’t need some for now, trust me. We’ll get some (very few) in the section “Combat”. 

The basic materials are all you need to make a basic, working ship. But how to get some? There is multiple way to get them, and the most used are: trading, mining, combat and ship salvaging.

Trading is basically buy low, sell high, and keep what you need. Not sure more details are needed, but the three other ways wil get a full section.


Tools af the trade:

  • An extractor, used to get ores & ice.
  • Sensors for ship mining, to look for the asteroid you want.
  • A disposal unit, for unwanted ore & wastes.

There is basically two ways to mine: in a station or in a ship.

If you just need the basic materials, I strongly suggest that you start with station mining, as it is basically risk-free and cost-free. In Hurles starting station (maybe Black Pit, didn’t checked yet) you can get iron, copper, carbon & water without moving from the station. You basically go to the extractor, select the asteroid to mine, click the button and put the result in your vault. I personally don’t refine when I mine, as splitting the process is a bit less tedious to me, and allows me to use the 3 extractors from a mining room simultaneously. I don’t see any reason to ship-mine for iron, copper, carbon & water when you start: you risk to loose your ship when it is out, Hurles has 3 extractors on hand free to use, and more asteroids than in the classic belts.

Now if you want some other materials, you will have to:

  • A – Locate the system you can get the material from (and go to that system & in a belt).
  • B – Locate the asteroid you want in the belt.
  • C – Mine it, and back to b until ship is full or you are bored.
  • D – Unloading.

A – Locating the system that contains the material you’re after

Find an holotable (Hurles starting station, upper promenade for example) and switch to “galaxy” or a rift generator. Select (“E” by default) a system and look at its detailed informations. Somewhere is the list of materials available alongwith a frequency between 0 and 1. That number seems to be a kind of percentage-related where the higher the number, the more abundant the material is, in number of asteroids and in quantity in those that contain some. If you look at your starter system, you will see that no silicon is available, but you have iron, copper, carbon and water at significant levels. There may be also some other minerals that you might want to collect, like nitrogen, gold or silver

B – Locating an asteroid with the material you want

After you are in the system and in a belt (grey triangle on your hud), you will see that asteroids are far more sparse that the one sitting around mining stations. And you want to find those with the resource you want, not filling up your ship with only iron. That’s where the sensors comes into play. Switch the filter to scan for the materials you want to collect, and engage your sensors. They’ll go from seemingly half sized unstable bars to small, more stable ones. When your ship nose will point to an asteroid rich with the material you are looking for, the bars in front of the material will raise.

C – Mining the roid

Now the resource is nearly in your pockets (well, carghold). Try to find the direction where the signal is the higher, and, when the asteroid is in excavator range, the signal will turn green. Do not go to a full stop. Try to locate and approach the asteroid, so it won’t leave the excavator range while you’re running to reach it. The asteroid will have the time for you to leave the seat until you press the “mine” button to leave the excavator range, so having a short distance between your pilot seat and your excavator is a must. You ca also, if you located the very asteroid, go behind it and match its velocity to give you more time to get it.

D – Unloading

There is basically 3 ways to unload your ship, from slowest to fastest:

  • Load yourself with 10 stacks, teleport to station, unload to vault and teleport back to ship.
  • Using the cargo teleporter (direct transfer to vault possible) 8 stacks at a time.
  • Ship salvaging. This one has its own section.


Tools of the trade:

  • A powered, functionning ship.
  • At least 1 salvager.
  • Weapons & ammos (optional).
  • Shields (highly recommended). 
  • Armor generator & nanobots (recommended).
  • A disposal unit, for unwanted scraps & wastes. 

In IR, there’s an alien specie, called “Skrills”, that can be farmed with more or less risks, to get materials & money. As the intent of this guide is to cover the beginning of the game, I’ll only talk about the grunts found in the starter system. There’s 2 ways to get some skrill loot : active fight & passive fight. If active fighting may be more rewarding, “passive” fighting can be a good powerstarter for you… And remember, if you loose everything, get back to chapter 2 😀

First, let’s talk about the rewards. There’s quite a few (cumulative) rewards to the fight:

  • Mission rewards (money & materials) if the fight was part of the mission.
  • Bounty for each skrill you kill.
  • salvaged scraps, nitrogen oxide & biomatter.

I’ll start with the passive (no weapon fired) fighting, that can be called free looting. The aim here, is to leave a station defenses do the job, and grab what you can with salvagers. You can start with as few a 1 salvager, but having 8 of them is quite good IMHO. You can take as few risks as “When the station I’m in is under attack i wait for the fight to be finished before unstoring my ship to salvage what I can from where I popped” to having a ship that tanks the incoming fire with its shields while i’m salvaging what station drones are killing. You will get plenty iron, copper & steel scraps, nitrogen oxide and biomatter, but also, if a pirate drone was killed, some brass, silicon and aluminium scraps.

Now for active fighting… You may have noticed that you got plenty nitrogen oxide while scavenging the dead skrills. We’ll put some to good use, as it is used in ammo making. I personally use only the small laser, so the recipe to make that kind of ammos only takes carbon & nitrous oxide (mine a bit for the carbon if necessary). My basic combat ship will have 6 small lasers, 2 ammo loaders, 8 salvagers, 2 small shields (I prefer 3), a small CPU, a max speed of 220 m/s, a rotating speed at least of 0.4 and enougth power, power cells & batteries to warp & maintain shields and other systems up. Feel free to use any combination that fits you. My reasoning is that I prefer an overpowered ship I won’t loose easily. The 6 lasers will dispatch the skrill quickly and the shields must sustain the damages long enougth for you to put the killblow in. Now choose your mission wisely for max reward : yellow one need you to rift to another system, so pick only white ones. If it is a defend station, I will try to exit warp the closest I can from the station (no more than 2km if possible, ideally a few hunderd meters). All the skrills will come after you, but the station drones will help you. Just take care about friendly fire or you will loose rep & get fined. If it is a search & destroy mission, I’ll exit warp a couple (7-10) km away from them and start approaching. The aim is to aggro the skrills one at a time, kill & loot it before aggroing the next one. to do that, reach the 4km mark from one (not the others) and backpedal while it is following you. when significantly out of reach from the other, let him approach the 2km mark and kill it (still going backward near the 2km mark helps IMHO). Close on the remains, scavenge and call the next one the same way. you’ll easily get rep, mission reward, bouties & scraps that way 😀

What if you made a mistake and aggroed them all or if a group spawns right on you? That’s why your ship goes at 220+. Stay calm, face them going backward at max speed, kill the closest to you first. They’ll stop shooting when a bit over the 2km mark, and you are faster than most of them (if not all). Just hope your shields stays up the whole time…

Ship Salvaging

I must admit I *love* to salvage my ships. For 2 main reasons : upgrading my ship, and, maybe surprisingly, to unload my ship. Upgrading is straitforward : slavage your ship, design another one and build it. But why do I salvage it to build back the exact same one seconds later? When you salvage a ship, all its materials, cargo, ammo, fuel & whatever goes into your vault. Yep, 1 click unload of the ship. So it is often more efficient, at least when starting out, to salvage your ship and load it back with fuel, oxygen (don’t forget it), ammos and whatnot instead of unloading everything by hand. And don’t forget you can teleport the fuel directly into the tanks with the cargo teleporter…

I have also seen (never tried) a way to get a few silicon using this : if you can buy the GT hauler and salvage it, you get 250 silicon and the other materials. If you really need the iron, copper & steel that come with it, it may be a good deal, but otherwise, it sounds like a very costly way to get only 250 silicon.

I Want Plenty Silicon! Not Just a Few…

To reach that goal both efficiently and safely we have a few things to do. The first one being being able to rift in another system, as you will ultimately want to reach a T1 system. So, your ship will need a T0 rift generator, and some Xanthium to fuel it. Let’s begin with the fuel, as having a rift generator without some is useless, adds useless weight to your ship, slowing it down, etc. We want 1.5K xanthium as a start. You can either mine for it, or get it from missions from your starter base. Missions offer the benefit of raising your faction status, and you will need it afterward. If you want to mine some, you will need (check the ingame encyclopedia as it may have changed) berylium, deuterium & nitrogen. All those should be available in your starter system (see Mining section). I would recommend to do both so you can train to combat while missioning (pick those with fuel rewards first) and to mine without having too much invested into your ship.

Now that we have the fuel, and a little combat & mining experience, we can move to the next step before mining silicon : automating a bit the mining process. we aim in this step to make an extraction cartridge wich will allow extration automatization, so we won’t have to leave the pilot seat for you extractor to work. We will still have to empty it manually for now, but that will limit the asteroid hunt & miss greatly. As you ingame encyclopedia shows you, we will need 10 silicon, silver & gold per cartridge. If you had some silicon in the upward chapters, keep some in your vault for now, we will use it soon. We just want to grab at least 10 silver & 10 gold for now. You will have to select a system (T0 as you can’t and don’t want to rift to higher tiers for now) with a not-so-bad silver and gold index (I suggest 0.1 at least for both, the higher the better) and with a skrill faction score as low as possible. Make sure you have a disposal unit to get rid of all that unwated ore & water. I recommend to have a combat-ready, mining-ready ship (6 lasers, 3 small shields, 2 loaded ammo loaders, small CPU, 1 extractor, 1 refinery if fuel or anything else lacks, 1 assembly to be able to make ammos, cargoholds, 1 disposal unit, 3 big antenna sensors, 220 m/s speed and 0.4 turning rate at least). Double-check you have more than the double fuel (for cargo weight increase) needed to go to that system, rift to it, grab that silver & gold (more is better), and come back.

The next step is to automate extration, get your faction standing up to 1K, and make some fuel again. Automating the extractor is easy if you have 10 silicon on hands : install a 3D printer in your ship, fill it with at least 10 silicon, 10 silver and 10 gold and program it for an extractor cartridge. Go to you extractor, insert the cartridge (put it in your hands and look at the cartridge slot to be able to install it), access the upgrade to program the extractor priority list. Warning : the cartridge will loose durability when turned on, even without extracting, so don’t forget to turn it off whever you don’t plan on using it. If you weren’t able to get the few 10 silicon before, get your fuel & faction stading anyway, you’ll automate when you’ll get some.

Wether you were able to automate (recommended) or not your extraction, you got your faction standing up to 1K and got some fuel. Head to the faction stand on your starting base, and buy a T1 rift cartridge from them. Install it like you would have with the extractor cartridge. Select your system (same cautions to take), and rift. If you weren’t able to get some silicon beforehand and the T1 system has a station that offer missions, check if there is one you can do without too much troubles that gives silicon as a reward, or grab a first silicon roid to refine and print your extractor cartridge.

With your automated extractor, you should be able to grab a few thousand silicon, both to be able to use better performing systems and to finish the ship automated extracting capabilities. So spare some silicon and build a couple ATCR and heatsinks (in the 3D printer). My first ATCR will be to throw the iron ore by the disposal unit, just keeping 1 cargohold worth of it, just in case of urgent need (first destination is a cargohold with 4800 max, then disposal unit). Do whatever configuration fits you best on the differents materials. I tend to only have a couple ATCR I reconfigure when needed. Helps keeping ship weight low, speed & turn high, and much less costly if ever I loose my ship 😀

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