Building Your First City

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After getting used to the basic controls and maybe explored your world a little, you are ready to found your civilization's first city.

This guide assumes that there are no other cities in the solar system, and that you are on a habitable world.

Gathering Age

The construction menu, with Mine selected.

The first step to start a civilization is the construction of buildings; houses, farms, mines, workshops and so on. But to start any construction you first need construction materials.

Press Backspace to enter the top-down view and use \ and Shift + \ to cycle through the different overlays. The first thing you will need to find is stone or wood.

Stone icon
Log icon

Once you have found one of the basic construction material resources, open your Construction (F11) window, by pressing either F11 or by clicking on the icon with the small orange construction sign on it. Now, in the building menu, select the Manufacture category at the top, and then select either the mine or logging camp depending on your choice. It is important to select a small building blueprint, bigger buildings cost a lot of materials and you currently have none. Place the building in an area that has the resources.

Hint: Recommended building blueprint for a mine is the "Quarry by Haxus". It is very cheap and quick to construct.

Material Foraging

With the construction site of your first building down, you need to collect a few construction materials manually. This is done by foraging the stone or wood needed.

Go to the construction site and open the Building (F10) window. A construction tab will show what is needed to construct the building.

Use the top-down view to locate the needed materials and move to them. In first-person view, you should be able to find the resources and click it with the hand curcor.


Once you have have the needed materials, go back to the construction site. While on the construction site, open your Gear (F4) window and then drop the materials on the ground.

Open the Building (F10) window again and press the "Work Construction Site" button. Stay at the construction site and keep the Building window open until the building is fully constructed.

There is a small chance that some of the materials are wasted when applying them to the construction site. If so you will have to go forage replacements to the lost materials.

Basic Tools

Some building blueprints might require some tools to construct, or might be faster to construct if specific tools are available. Basic tools are hammers and shovels, and they can both be handcrafted using stone and logs.

To use a tool it most be in either a ready inventory slot, or in a utility pouch in the a belt slot.

Stone Age

With a basic mine or logging camp constructed, you now have a source of construction materials so you don't need to forage anymore. Any construction site connected to you building will be able to automatically fetch needed construction materials from it.

While you are standing at the mine or logging camp the Building (F10) window will have a tab for manufacturing. There should be a manufacturing line set to produce stone or logs, if not then delete the manufacturing line and create a new one for stone or logs.

Start the manufacturing line by clicking the "Run" button. It will then count down for the process to finish. You do not have to stay at the building while the manufacturing line is being run, you can even construct a second building of the same type and alternate between multiple buildings to speed up production.

Mine a large amount of stone. 100 units of stone is a good start. This is the most tedious step of getting your first town going. After the first town, you should rarely ever need to do this again.

On the Building (F10) window's building tab you can the current inventory of the building.

Food and Shelter

The construction menu, with Farm selected.

A town with homes attracts people to become its citizens. Citizens fetch materials and apply labor to construction and manufacturing jobs of your town, freeing you from that tedium. Citizens need to have food to eat or they will not be very happy; they might even die.

Use the Construction (F11) window to build a farm near your other building. Go to the construction site and push the Work Construction Site button on the Building (F10) window to start manually constructing the farm, construction materials will automatically be fetched from the other building's inventory; you may have to go back to your other building if you run out of construction materials.

Homes will be needed. Most farm building blueprints have homes included, but it is not a requirement. Use the Construction (F11) window to build a house, so we are sure you have homes in your town.

Time is needed for citizens to move into your burgeoning town. Now is a good time to take a break from building the town. Explore the surroundings. Hunt animals. Go eat lunch or dinner, maybe even log-off for the night.

After some time, the town will have an abundant supply of food and construction materials, because citizens are running the manufacturing lines. Your little town will be ready for growth. From now on, you should only have to plan the buildings and roads and your citizens will do the work.


Roads are used to connect buildings together. On the Construction (F11) window, click the a road type button to start building a road.

Use the hand cursor to select a location. Click the terrain to establish the starting point for the road segment. Click the terrain somewhere else to finish planning the road. Hold the Shift key to constrain the road angle.

The "Level grade" option makes roads level the terrain by forcing the second end of the road segment to be at the same altitude as the first end, which significantly increases the labor required to build them.

After clicking both ends of the road segment on the ground, the terrain changes to a road construction appearance. Move your character to stand within the road construction area.

To construct the road you have planned, display the Building (F10) window. The left box shows the materials consumed in construction, but for roads these are automatically foraged from the environment if available. The right box shows tools that are required or give optional bonuses is present. Bottom left is a check box labeled Employ Citizen. This has no effect if your town has no citizens, but if you do this will allow citizens to construct the road for you. Bottom right shows the amount of labor needed. Press the Work Construction Site button to apply labor. Construction of the road section is complete when all labor has been applied.

Hints and Tip

  • Place all buildings and roads, using the top-down view. This will make planning, placement and organization a lot easier. It is essential when you are placing resource harvesting building because it lets you see where the natural resources are.

Metal Age

Metal production is needed to advance any farther. Metal is an essential component needed for producing electricity and manufacturing vehicles and spacecraft. Your city cannot progress without metal.

Metal is smelted from ore. Ore is a mineral resource that is mined from the environment. Use top-down view to locate ore. Build a mine there. You may need to do some exploring to locate ore.

Ore icon

The icons on the top-down view just indicates that there are ore rocks in that area, but not how many or exactly where. When you are placing a mine, hover it over an area for a second and it will show how many rocks are within the mine's site. The mine won't be able to have more ore mining workshops than there are ore rocks at the mine's site.

When using a bigger building blueprint for ore mining but there isn't enough ore rocks to use on all the workshops. Consider mining some stone and retire your old stone mines.

Build a smelter. The smelter will create metal using ore gathered by the mine. The resulting metal is stored in the smelter's inventory.


The Building window showing manufacturing lines of a machine shop.

With metal it becomes possible to manufacture a wide range of metal tools. Tools are required in some more advanced building construction and manufacturing processes. Some tools also increase the efficiency of manufacturing processes or construct speed of new buildings.

Construct a machine shop in order to start producing tools. Configure manufacturing lines to produce the desired tools. The most important tools at this stage are hammers, shovels, and sew needles, but having all types of tools is always good.

Tools aren't directly consumed when used, instead tools have a chance to take durability damage. Tools made from good quality materials will be more durable.

Nation Age

With metal available your town is ready to become a real city and a capital.

If you haven't already created an empire, you need to either handcraft or otherwise aquire a flag in order to create a new empire. You will be unable to turn your town into a real city if you aren't in an empire.

For more information, see the Starting as an Emperor.


Build a capitol building in your town. When you place it you will be prompted to give it a name and possibly name the solar system and sector if they aren't named already.

The capitol building has a small jurisdiction radius around it, buildings inside this area are considered part of the city. This jurisdiction area can be extended by constructing police stations.

The capitol building allows easy remote access to all factory manufacturing lines in the city's jurisdiction. It is also possible to remotely do construction using the capitol building.


To declare the city as your capital you need to go to your capitol building.

Declare it as both an empire capital and a sector capital. To do this, stand at the capitol building's site, open the Building (F10) window, on the Capitol tab click the two buttons in the upper-right corner.

The empire capital city will be the city that you respawn at after dying.

City Report

Every 13 minutes, your city creates a status report for you, commonly referred to as a city report. To request a city report, use the Governance (F12) window, Cities and Bases tab; then right-click a city. City reports provide all the information needed to manage a city.

City reports show factors affecting the morale of the citizens. Morale determines whether the population will grow or shrink. A positive morale causes citizens to immigrate into the city faster. A negative moral causes citizens to emigrate out of the city.

Review the status report periodically as you continue building the city. Each new building will add jobs to the city. More homes and food will be needed as the number of jobs increases. The demands of the citizens will change as the city grows.


Build a bank and start minting metal bullion. Set a tax percentage on the Governance (F12) window's Taxes tab. Any tax below 50% should be ok, but the higher the taxes the less productive your citizens will be.

The introduction of money will allow the city to begin researching patents. This will be important going forward, because all manufacturing processes beyond the metal age will require a patent to be researched first.

The bank also allows you to redeem rewards earned while during construction or manufacturing work, also allows taking 0% interest loans for a quick startup. With money you can more easily trade for supplies from the city, no more need to forage for food.

Airport Immigration

Constructing an airport terminal allows for citizens to immigrate into your city from outside your city's local wilderness. Citizens immigrating via an airport will potentially double your immigration rate. This works even if you don't have any actual aircraft in your city.

An airport terminal can be built using a basic building blueprint that doesn't use anything else than metal. So making it early can greatly increase your city's growth rate.

Electrical Age

Your city will grow very slowly until electrical power is generated. This is because the citizens do not work at night when there is no electricity. Once the city has electricity, the lights come on brightly at night and the citizens work all the time. The pace of development in the city increases dramatically once it has electricity.

Resources and terrain at your city will determine which power plant is best to build first. If you are near a coast line, build a hydroelectric power plant. It is built with relatively simple materials and it does not consume any fuel. A tooltip showing the amount of each item needed appears if you hold the cursor over the row of Construction Materials icons in the Construction window.

If you are not near a coast line, the coal power plant is probably the next best choice. This requires you to locate coal in your area and to build a mine there. Coal is also a necessary component of gun powder, if you decide to make firearms.

Alternatively consider a wind power plant.


With a power plant constructed electricity will have to be researched. Research is done by creating patents. Electricity production is one of the first manufacturing processes that need to be research before it can be produced.

Patents can be researched directly at the building that need them or at a university. Once the patent is researched the manufacturing process will appear in the manufacturing list of the building.

Industrial Age

The first step to advance your civilization towards the stars has been taken. Now your civilization will start its industrial revolution. Electricity allows for faster manufacturing and working at night, but it also opens up the possibility for electronic parts and computers.

An airport radar is a good example of a building that your civilization should be able to build at the end of this stage. Place down an airport radar construction site, once constructed it will allow your civilization to watch the skies for threats and greet visitors.

Look at the Building (F10) window to review the requirements for the airport radar. You do not have all that is needed. Build the industries that are necessary to make those things needed to complete construction of the airport radar.

Your town will grow to considerable size by the time you complete this stage. As you place each new building, the Building (F10) window will show what is required to build that new building and it will show what is required to manufacture that new industry's products.

Keep working your way down the production chain until everything needed to complete construction of the airport radar is being manufactured. It's not hard to figure out now that you have learned the basics of construction and manufacturing.

Industrial Resources

A few additional resources will be required in this stage of development. Most notably oil, but also minerals and crystals.

Oil icon

Some of the resources can be rarer than others depending on the randomly generated world. Oil is especially critical and can be a hindrance. Exploring the other resource zones of your world might ne necessary.

Trade Connections

Trade routes allow for cities connected together to trade and share commodities with each other.

An airport terminal will allow a trade connection with all other airport terminals in the solar system. Alternatively If near a body of water a wharf can do the same for other cities with a wharf.

Cities can be connected by road, sea, or air.

  • Two cities that are connected by road will have the fastest trade connection. It also allows the two cities to share electricity.
  • Any city with a wharf is connected to all other cities on the same world that also have a wharf.
  • All cities with an airport terminal in the same solar system are connected.

This allows you to travel to other resource zones on your homeworld and get any resources you might be missing or resources of better quality.

For more information, see the City Trade page.

Rocket Age

Imbox notice.png This section is in need of revision.

Please help improve it or discuss these issues on the talk page.

The reason given is: Sections beyond this point need to be better segmented and more links added. Possibly some updating and rewriting too. You can go directly to Building Your First Moon Colony from here instead.

Your goal in building your first city is to develop space travel. To do that, you will need a spacecraft factory. Build the spacecraft factory.

By the time the spacecraft factory is finished, your town will have grown into a city. You are close to slipping the surly bonds of your world.

But wait! The spacecraft factory needs a spacecraft design to manufacture. You quickly read Designing A Spacecraft and build a design studio. After spending a day designing the ultimate ship, you return to the spacecraft factory, design disk in hand, only to discover that two things are needed that you don't have, grav couplings and lumenite. You look up into the sky. Somehow, you know the things you need are out there.

Build an aircraft factory. This is built quickly given the production capacity of your city. Set the aircraft factory to manufacture space rockets. Build any additional industries needed to manufacture the space rocket. It will require a large rocket motor, which your city is probably not manufacturing yet.

The space rocket and all spacecraft will require hydrogen for fuel. Build a refinery to make hydrogen.

Harsh conditions exist in space and on other worlds. An EV suit will be needed to survive. Build an armorer to make EV suits and EV helmets.

Once these things are finished, the rocket training mission starts automatically. The rocket training mission will start if your city has a new unused rocket, hydrogen, EV suits, and EV helmets. The mission provides the player with an EV suit and helmet if the character has never possessed them.

Launch Me Now Tutorial

You can skip the rocket training mission if you are in a hurry to get into space. However, the training mission isn't very long and it does have some valuable things to teach, and you get a free space suit just by starting the mission. You will find that EVA suits are expensive.

When the space rocket is manufactured, it spawns on the road slab next to the aircraft factory. Look at the space rocket and press E to enter it. Once inside, E will exit the rocket. While sitting in the rocket on the road slab, the K key will request service, which will refuel the rocket if the city has hydrogen in its inventory, and it will repair a portion of any damage to the rocket.

The space rocket is the most challenging space vehicle to fly, due to its inertial movement physics. When you enter the cockpit, you will initially be facing the sky ahead of the rocket. For a "Buggs Bunny" blast-off, turn around to face the ground behind you. Press Shift+PageUp to maximize the throttle. Press P to turn on the power. Once outside the atmosphere, press Delete to kill the throttle. The rocket drifts with inertia. Steer the rocket using the A, D, W, and S keys. Roll the rocket with Z and C. Arrow keys provide weak lateral movement thrust. Space bar applies brakes along the forward/reverse axis of the rocket. Q applies brakes laterally. Hold space bar and Q together until the rocket stops completely.

The rocket holds its position in space as long as the engine is on. EVA from the rocket by pressing E. Maneuver EVA in the EV suit using W A S D Z and C keys. Space bar applies brakes. Without an EV suit, you cannot control your body's acceleration or braking while EVA; you will plummet to the world below.

Space Age

The space rocket enables you to explore your solar system. You must find eludium and lumenite. Eludium is needed to manufacture grav couplings, an essential component of gravity drive units. Lumenite is an essential component of wormhole drive units.

Lumenite will be the hardest to find as it is very rare. When you find it, there will likely be an abundance of eludium in the area. Search the smallest coldest darkest moons for lumenite, that is where it is most prevalent. It is also found on the colder planets but eludium is unlikely to be found nearby on a planet that has an atmosphere. Lumenite glows bright blue in the dark. Eludium is most prevalent where there is little to no atmosphere. Lumenite and eludium are mineral resources so top-down view will show them along with stone and other rocks. Eludium tends to be so prevalent that it is shown on the overlay that shows stone.

When you find lumenite and eludium, read Building Your First Moon Colony.

Your first solar system is guaranteed to have eludium and lumenite. However, due to the way rock resources are distributed, it is remotely possible that the only lumenite in the system is in a location that cannot be mined. Here are some suggestions if you find yourself in this rare "stuck" situation:

  • If you find lumenite but can't build a mine there, forage the lumenite you need by hand. Go to a retail store and use the Comm to sell the lumenite to the town. It will be stored in the town's inventory, where it can be fetched by the spacecraft factory. It doesn't take much lumenite to build a small spacecraft with wormhole drives.
  • Design a spacecraft that does not require lumenite. Lumenite is only needed for wormhole drives. You could then deadhead to the nearest star in that ship and cross your fingers. Plan ahead. Take everything you need, including colonists.
  • Fly the space rocket to another solar system. This sounds insane but it has been done many times. Carry extra cans of hydrogen with you; the K key will refuel your vehicle using items in your inventory. The + shaped stars can be reached directly. Size is based on distance; the larger the +, the closer the star is to you. The rocket takes about 6 minutes to reach light speed at maximum throttle; the speed reading on the HUD will stop increasing at light speed. Turn off the engine and coast until you are near enough to the destination to begin braking; as with accelerating, it takes about 6 minutes to decelerate from light speed.