Stars End is an unfinished game (not feature-complete) that takes a lot of figuring out, what with all the bugs and lack of documentation. Fortunately, I’ve done the out-figuring for you.
Workarounds & Exploits
This game is online-only, even though they have a button claiming “Solo” play. There are three servers:
- Public Server #1 = PvP. Players can kill each other, destroy others’ bases, and steal stuff (including vehicles left unattended while the owner is offline). It looks like raiders like to break out the wooden floors of your base and come in from underneath.
- Public Server #2 = PvPvE. Players can’t steal and destroy from others. I assume they can fight, but I never saw anyone else.
- The “Solo” Server. Yes, you need to log in to a server to play solo, and may get kicked off.
Not all servers are available all the time, and they go down with some frequency. I played on all three simply because the other servers weren’t up when I wanted to play.
Although (I think) other players and their stuff is hidden from you when you are on the Solo server, I had one instance of getting killed by someone when I wasn’t looking, and another time when 50 Iron ingots went conspicuously absent (theft). I chalked it up to technical error (server rules not getting enforced, or else maybe I showed up on a public server).
You can also host a server, supposedly, but I never tried that.
Starting Off – Tutorial Mission
So, I won’t walk you through the tutorial mission; this guide is more about working around the technical and design problems in this unfinished game.
I wouldn’t recommend “watching” the opening cutscene (ESC to cancel it), nor reading the dialog for the 4-5 NPCs you are forced to talk to at the beginning; they aren’t very interesting, and the “accents” they have are very silly. In summary, you come out of cryo-sleep only to find your original body is gone; this one is a clone. Now you’re being sent to a planet with nothing but the shirt on your back.
You are expected to take an escape pod down to the surface of Beta Prairie, but you can choose a different planet if you are willing to die & respawn before you start doing anything. In your inventory is a “Respawn Pill” (tastes like almonds); use this to die, or just punch a giant robot. At the respawn screen, you will default to Beta Prairie; you can select one of the alternative options on the right … but do NOT choose the desert planet! You can’t craft anything there, because no flora grows (no wood). The island planet or the poison planet (Tigon) are fine choices. Ignore the warnings of “light atmosphere” or poison gas; that isn’t implemented.
While you are on the starting ship, you can rummage through a large number of containers for mostly-useful items. In this starting ship, your best merchant to pawn stuff to is the tech seller (second floor of the “mall”), fetching 25% of the item’s price. I ran through the whole ship and managed to sell over 500 credits worth of stuff.
Don’t try to “outsmart” the tutorial mission, such as buying a Pickaxe (or any other starting gear). The tutorial expects you to follow instructions precisely, and the text won’t leave the screen until you do so. If you find yourself “jumping ahead” of the steps they want you to take, such as staking a claim before they tell you to, just follow the instructions anyway to get rid of the tutorial text, then undo what you just did (deleted claims return to your inventory when removed).
If you are on one of the public servers, you can use someone else’s crafting stations instead of wasting time and resources making your own.
I think the devs wanted more threats than they implemented. Currently, you have four “needs” which decrease at a steady pace, regardless of activity or lack thereof:
- Exhaustion (Sleep): not a challenge, since the tutorial has you craft a sleeping roll. I think your stamina won’t replenish if you drop below 20%. You can last for some time at 0%.
- Hunger: Starts to damage you when it reaches 0%. In an emergency, eat Plant Fiber (kids, don’t try this at home). The best meal is Bug Egg Soup (find Bug Eggs in trash bins, or kill Trawlers): at your Campfire, combine 1 Bug Egg + 1 Salt + 1 Water = 3 Bug Egg Soups, each giving +50% Hunger.
- Thirst: Starts to damage you when it reaches 0%, which can happen quickly. You need to dig in the trash to get enough plastic bottles, then fill them at bodies of (dirty) water, then purify them at a campfire. I guess you could buy them, too. Carrying too much water could be heavy, so I shoot for 12 Clean Water and 3-5 empty bottles, sticking the rest in storage.
- Oxygen: Usually stays at 100%, except under water and floating in space. Caution! Not every part of space stations have air (but they should), so watch for dropping 02 when off-world (it will take a minute or two to run out of air). I once took a ferry and went AFK during the flight, only to come back to my suffocated corpse.
There’s also Toxicity and Temperature on the HUD, but they’re placeholders; nothing raises your toxicity, and your character feels comfortable in the rain at 0° C (when it should be snowing, instead) or squatting on top of the campfire. Even Tigon, which is a purportedly poisonous planet, has clean, breathable are (albeit rather green).
Crafting is executed a bit clumsily in this game. The recipes can be illogical or inconsistent, so refer to the crafting screen whenever you intend to make something. Some “component” items aren’t used by any other recipe. The output of recipes aren’t given, so you never know if you get empty containers back or if a recipe produces multiples of the intended item.
Note that you have a “Crafting Queue” that continues while you can go on to do other things, even if you are no longer at the requisite crafting station (e.g. you can purify water from a Campfire long after you’ve picked the Campfire up and walked away).
Also, many intermediate components can only be produced at specific Refinery sites (one per planet or orbital station, I think). This means many players set up base near the local Refinery.
At the crafting screen, you have access to all the recipes in the game (supposedly), but most appear disabled if the requisite materials or crafting station aren’t at hand. Sometimes (I don’t know when), the game thinks that one crafting station (like a Campfire) counts as another (like a Clothing Printer), allowing you to take advantage of this bug (“exploit”) to craft something you shouldn’t be able to, such as Cloth.
If you aren’t playing Solo, you can waltz into another player’s base and use their crafting stations for your own needs, without wasting Electrical Components on your own stations.
One glaring oversight is trying to make Plastic (which is needed for Electrical Components, which are found in nearly all higher-tier recipes). It takes 60 credits worth of Oil Canisters to make 1 Plastic, which doesn’t give you the empty canisters back. Additionally, when filling the oil cans, if you don’t separate them into individual stacks of 1, each “use” consumes 2 cans but yields only 1 oil (requiring several clicks to get 6 oil). Save yourself some time and just purchase the Electrical Components, Plastic or Polymers directly.
Finally, be aware of how expensive Concrete is. Since PvP raiders want to destroy your wooden floors, you may want to make concrete floors, but consider:
- It takes 12 Concrete to make 1 Concrete Foundation.
- The foundation is 5 x 5 floor “blocks”; each Concrete floor costs 16 Concrete to make.
- Concrete costs 4 Rocks.
- To lay down a concrete floor on a concrete foundations takes (12 + 16 * 25 = 412) Concrete, or 1648 Rocks.
Each Rock resource (the mottled gray stones in the environment) takes about (30?) seconds to harvest, and yields exactly 12 items (a mixture of Rocks and Flint; I think 75% Rock / 25% Flint). It could take you several hours of breaking rocks to be able to set the floor of your base. Oh, and no merchants sell Rocks or Concrete.
It may appear difficult to afford anything in Stars End, but if you utilize the following exploits, you’ll be able to afford everything.
What to Sell
Vehicle flipping is the big money-maker: claim a horse, spaceship (NOVA) or ATV, then immediately sell it. To sell a vehicle, press Tab and go to your “Info” screen to see your five vehicle slots and three base claim slots. Click on the big X to the right of the vehicle to sell; it will ask you if you are sure Y/N (use the Y key on the keyboard). Then it will pretend that nothing happened, so do it all over again (yes, you have to sell a vehicle twice to get rid of it). I think you get 100% of the item price, which is quite a few credits. Be sure to strip the vehicle of its parts before selling it, then sell the parts individually.
If you harvest resources from stone (Rock, Iron, Salt, Sulfur, etc.) you will inevitably collect a bunch of Flint. Rather than making excessive numbers of arrows, sell your surplus Flint; they are priced at 25 credits each, far FAR more than they are really worth.
If you harvest resources in space (or set up base on the island planet) you will find more Platinum than you can use, so sell the extras for 125 credits apiece.
Reviewer MangoSun points out that purchasing a Grazer from a tech toys merchant lets you harvest Helium on Nox (a moon), which fetches a very high price.
Where to Sell
General Stores (except in the starting station/ship) buy items at 35% of their price; identify them by the “Junkyard” sign above the building/stall. If you can’t find a junk dealer, look for a tech toys seller (25% item value). The other merchants buy at 10%-20%.
On Beta Prairie, travel down the road from the Refinery to Clayton, and keep going past “Mack’s Trucks”. In the rusty metal shack between the horse seller and the small strip mall is a junk dealer with a Global Loot access point (storage that can’t be raided).
Where to Buy Weapons
The orbital space station above the poisoned planet Tigon has a weapon seller (the only one I have found). The station is 4-way symmetrical, so I don’t know how to describe which elevated platform he’s on; just look for the “set dressings” that look like large artillery.
Where to Buy Spaceships
On an orbital station, towards the back of the “parking lot” (the empty one, not the one for ferries), in parking spot #8, inside of an open shipping crate, you will find a ship seller. You could buy an easily-claimed NOVA, a Frigate or Fighter (I haven’t tried these) or the top-tier ship, the Spinner.
Note that you can also craft a Spinner; if you take this approach, only craft the frame, hull and cockpit. Once placed, the ship comes pre-assembled with components that you may have assumed you needed to craft (but you would be wasting resources). I tried crafting one, but it took a long time (excessive plastic and iron); I recommend just raising the money (less than 9000 credits) to purchase one outright.
If you feel like crafting everything (like a Spinner), you want to go to the Industry merchant to buy Polymers to craft Plastic to craft Electronic Components and all the other higher-tier recipes.
Small trees drop 10 wood logs (after sawing x5). Large trees drop 60 wood logs.
When chopping down larger trees, it can be very difficult to find the right spot — even though the CHOP sound plays, and a particle effect displays, the tree’s health gauge doesn’t go down. Make small adjustments to your position, making sure you are neither too close nor too far from the trunk. Slowly rotate around the tree trunk until you find the sweet spot. In some instances, the trees won’t even display their health gauge, so you just have to see if it falls down eventually.
It may be easier just to chop down small trees, which only take two hits.
When crafting wooden planks for further crafting, take into account that the recipe is 3 Wood Logs = 2 Wooden Planks (not just 1 plank). You can’t craft Wooden Sticks from logs, planks, or anything else, so you have to forage in shrubs or trash bins.
If you are travelling in a vehicle while letting your crafting queue run, the crafting sound will continue until you exit the vehicle and craft something else.
If you are in a vehicle when the server kicks you off (even the “Solo” server), the vehicle will be broken because the server thinks the driver seat is filled, but your local game (client-side) says you aren’t in the vehicle. You can get in to the vehicle’s passenger seats, but you won’t be able to use it as a vehicle anymore (mighty inconvenient if you’re out in space). The vehicle needs to be sold and replaced. Try to get all items out of the locker first.
Land vehicles can be flipped or get stuck on rough terrain/rocks. If the obstacle is a stone resource that you can harvest, break it and wait for the debris to sink down, then you can drive normally. Otherwise, you will need to sell and replace the vehicle.
Replenishing Resources & Fuel
If you run out (or low) of resources to harvest or fuel in your vehicle’s tank, just log out to the main menu and then log back in. Your fuel goes back to 100% (only 70% in a NOVA) and all the resources you harvested (such as that field of Iron and Tarphite you spent 20 minutes breaking apart) will be back in place, full of resources.