Hi. I think i have all the gameplay understood. I just keep running into troubles during missions. For example, things will be going well, i’ll have 12k in the bank, and then all of a sudden, my ship will get messed up in space requiring major repairs, or maybe my crew will get sick. Then maybe I’ll start getting demands for pay increase. Either way, my money ends up getting sapped, I’m in debt, and have to start again. I understand i need things like repair upgrades, the sickbay, etc, but I can’t just start the game and have everything purchased in one turn. Is there a general strategy to follow? Like, should I be holding back on uprgading my ship until a certain point, or limit my crew members, or focus on either trading or transporting passengers? It seems I can’t really get past things without being forced to play on easy. That sure hurts my ego. :blush:

Also, how does the trade economy work? When I land at a planet, will the goods and passengers required for other planets be totally random?


the bigger your ship gets, the more it will breakdown, unless you have some engineers on board. Engines especially have a high maintenence cost, so if you have a ship with lots of engineers you will need a lot of them. You can tell your ships starting to fall apart when its fuel economy drops down.
Best advice to make money is to get extra fuel tanks and do some long cargo hauls. That way you earn more income in relation to the costs of docking / bribes etc.
And pay attention to the different cargo prices, not all hazardous cargo is being shipped at the same rate etc.
Hope that helps.


I definitely hear you on this one - starting off is tough, especially with paying salaries to the crew. What I usually focus on first is cranking up the passenger rate a good amount, and start transporting people.

Start with 2 passenger bays (so you don’t need a steward) and a couple of extra fuel tanks (in case of repairs slowing you down) and start doing milk runs between planets. This will be very slow going at first, but save, save, save. Then, when you have about 15k or so, buy 3 more passenger compartments and hire a steward right away. Your income per run will be much better now. Also, upgrade them to a 1st class cabin when you can and get the nanorepair and fuel converter next.

Finally, find a droid pilot and droid steward to replace your crew, make more runs to pump up your $, and gradually buy a droid for all other functions as well. Also buy more cabins as you get more droid stewards. Soon you will be carting 15 people or more on each trip.

Remember that with all purchases, make sure you have at least about $20k banked away in reserve.

I’ve never had much use for the cargo so far - it seems like that’s small potatoes compared to passenger fares. Whenever I did transport cargo, it was mostly incidental rather than planned.

Also, one thing you should keep in mind - it seems to me that you can add more things to your ship almost indefinitely, but only if you have a navigator or 2 on board. So, keep buying fuel tanks and turbo engines when you can afford it.

Anyway, hope it helps!

First off: Cliffski, I’m so impressed with the quality and quantity of games you are able to produce by yourself. I didn’t think it was possible to do anymore.

In my experience, the hardest part of the game is getting over the hump at the beginning. There is a VERY (too?) vicious feedback loop where if your ship starts to fall apart, it will both cost you money and inhibit you from making money and your crew will disappear because they don’t want to work on a deathtrap. It seems that once you approach this situation, it’s very hard to get away from it. The difference between occassional problems and constant breakdown is very minimal, so you want to prevent breakdown all together. As you stated, that’s hard to do when you don’t have a lot of money to begin with, but there’s good news.

Breakdowns become more prevelants when you upgrade your ship, so only upgrade if you absolutely have to. It may be necessary to take some risks early on, but usually there’s a planet within 10 LY of where you start, and you have a few thousand dollars to work with. Your first runs should only be between those planets, if it is at all possible. You don’t want ANY breakdowns, so try to hire an engineer on one of those two planets. Make sure to buy a second crew bed if you don’t have one before leaving the first planet, because the second planet may not have one for sale. If you have less than 2 passenger beds, try to get two if you can afford them, and the same with cargo holds (hazardous if at an industrial planet). However, controlling breakdowns is your first priority always. This takes a lot of risk out of the equation.

You don’t want to have to hire any extra crew until you’re financially more secure, which is why you want at least 2 passenger beds and 2 cargo bays before you even worry about anything else. Then judge your situation and decide what you want the ship to focus on. I usually go with hazardous materials because they have less risk than smuggling and time doesn’t matter for them. They are quite lucrative, too. However, that doesn’t help if you don’t start near them. As soon as I can safely afford it, I’ll get an extra couple pods for whatever I’m focusing on and an extra crew to deal with them, and another fuel pod for backup. Usually sticking between the starting couple planets is still okay, especially if the fee per ton for docking is low. Make enough money to get the auto-repair station before doing anything else. It saves you a TON of money in the long run. Once you have an engineer and an autorepair station, you almost can’t lose.