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Ships are built in shipyards. Your home planet at the start of the game has a shipyard already built and ready to use. Additional shipyards can be built for other colonized planets but a planet can only have one functional shipyard at a time.
Accessing a shipyard
The image above shows the planet management screen for a planet with an available shipyard (shipyards orbit planets). When a planet has a shipyard in orbit, both the shipyard icon and shipyard queue are visible (shown above). It can be accessed by clicking either the shipyard icon or the shipyard queue.
Finding a shipyard
It's possible to see if a planet has a shipyard without having to first select the planet.
- From the star map, a hexagon icon next to a star system name label indicates a shipyard in that system.
- Within a star system, a hexagon icon next to a planet name label indicates a shipyard for that planet.
- It's also possible to see a list of planets with shipyards from the galaxy overview and jump straight to a planet.
Constructing new ships
To build a ship you will need to:
- Open a shipyard (the ship designer can be opened from anywhere in the game but a shipyard can only be opened from the planet management screen of its host planet).
- Select the ship blueprint design to build (see above image - new blueprints are created using the ship designer)
- Order one or more builds of the selected blueprint (you will need sufficient resources available to that colony).
- Wait for construction to complete (larger, more equipped ships take longer).
- The shipyard queue at the bottom of the planet management screen can be used to manage construction and see what's going on.
- Completed ship(s) appear in the planet's orbit once finished.
- Each new ship counts as a separate fleet, which means it will come with an upkeep cost. Merging multiple ships into single fleets will reduce this (see below section on fleets).
Shipyard tech levels
- A shipyard can only work with ship hulls and fleets which are the same tech level as itself or lower. For example, a shipyard with a tech level of 1 cannot build a ship which has a hull tech level of 3.
- When a shipyard is first built it has tech level 1.
- Once the correct research has been performed a shipyard can be upgraded to level 2 or 3.
You start the game with a single blueprint (which your initial ships are built from). You can design new ships using the ship designer. The ship designer can be opened from anywhere in the game from the main UI or by clicking the New Blueprint button from a shipyard.
The ship hulls and modules that you have available will depend on the technology you've unlocked and their compatibility with each other. For example, to add a minelayer to a ship, you must unlock Mine Warfare Frigates technology which will give you access to the minelaying module and the hull which can use it.
Select the hull
When opening the ship designer the first screen is the Hull selection list. All hulls available to your empire will be shown here along with their basic stats and available slots.
Once you've chosen a hull, click Select to enter the ship designer view itself.
A new design starts with an empty hull and all of its module slots highlighted (parts can be placed only on these areas). For a ship design to be valid, you will need to at least add engines and a scanner.
- Modules are selected from the panel on the left and can be filtered by size. Modules can only be attached to a module slot of equivalent size e.g. small weapon on a small slot.
- The eraser tool (which looks like a red cross) can be used to remove parts added previously. Hovering a part reveals info such as its resource cost.
- When a module has been selected, compatible module slots on the hull will be highlighted in green. As you hover the module over the slot it will snap into place - left-click to place it (highlight will turn to yellow).
- Not all modules are compatible with all hulls, for example the Torpedo launcher is a large module and few hulls have a large module slot. A minelayer is only compatible with one particular hull for each civ.
- As parts are added, the ship stats panel on the right of the screen will update. If resources are tight or you need a ship fast, keep an eye on the price and time to build.
Once your blueprint design is complete, clicking the Research button will save it and return you back to the shipyard (the Back button will return without saving). You'll need to have at least:
- Named the blueprint
- Added engines (Fuel tanks are usually a good idea as well but not strictly needed in some cases!)
- Added a scanner
- The ship's engines provide a base energy level.
- Adding modules will increase the energy requirements.
- If demand exceeds supply, you will need to add additional energy generators for the blueprint to validate.
- There are small and medium sized energy generators for flexibility.
- Engines provide a continual energy source so no recharging is required.
- Energy shields can protect against energy weapons but not ordnance.
The current energy balance (demand/supply) is shown on the bottom left of the statistics panel. An energy balance of 20/300 means that 20 units of the available 300 are required by the attached modules.
- Rockets, torpedoes, kinetic weapons and mines require ordnance to function.
- Ordnance modules come in both small, medium and large sizes.
- Ordnance expires as it is used, but is automatically replenished when the ship enters orbit of a planet with a shipyard.
- Ship ordnance is shared by all ordnance based weapons, so the more there are, the quicker a single module will expire.
For a full description of each individual part see the category below: