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Starfield ship building explained – tips and tricks

Rule the stars by finding out all the secrets of the Starfield ship building process, from how to start building a ship, to all the best parts, crew, and more.

Starfield ship building: A Ship Services Technician standing in front of a blurred menu of the ship building system.

How do you build ships in Starfield? You can’t travel to all the planets in the galaxy without the perfect vessel, so that’s where Starfield ship building comes in. You’re given your first ship, the Frontier, in the introduction to the game, but after that you can explore ship building by inventing wild and wacky methods of transportation. In fact, the options are so expansive that ship building could be a whole game in itself!

It’s impressive that there’s this much customization in Starfield, truly showing off the power of the newer Xbox consoles, and testing those older PC components. However, to get everything out of the game, you’ll need to know how to actually build Starfield ships and unlock the modules to get the job done, as we’ve experienced for our Starfield review. Below, we’ll teach you all you need to know, to help demystify and simplify the whole process so you can make the best Starfield ships in the universe. We’ve also got an in-depth guide covering the Starfield outpost building process if you’re looking for more ways to be creative and be rewarded for your efforts.

How to build a Starfield ship from scratch

To begin building Starfield ships, head to a Ship Services Technician and select to modify your ships. Here, you can enter the ship building editor that lets you add, move, remove, and modify parts of your ship. Depending on what you’re changing, this process will likely cost you a hefty sum of credits.

The easiest Ship Services Technicians can be found near the landing pad in the following locations:

  • New Atlantis – Jemison, Alpha Centauri
  • Akila City – Akila, Cheyenne
  • Neon – Volii Alpha, Volii
  • The Key – Suvorov orbit, Kryx

Starfield ship building: The player talking to a Ship Services Technician to begin building a ship.

While there are lots of potential locations for Ship Services Technicians to begin building your own ship, you’re best off going to one of the four main Starfield cities above, as these will have everything you need.

If you’re looking to build a ship from scratch, rather than altering an existing vessel, then it gets slightly more complicated. To build a ship from scratch, modify your ship as normal but delete all of its parts so that you can build a ship from scratch. This will give you a blank slate to build a ship however you wish, so long as it meets the basic requirements.

Starfield ship building: A blank ship building canvas.

If you do choose to completely wipe your current ship and start anew, there are some rules you need to follow in order for it to be operational. For example you can only have one cockpit, one reactor, and one grav drive – and each of these must be present – so keep an eye out on what you can and can’t do before going out and wasting a bunch of time trying to make an absolute monstrosity.

However, you’ll want to ensure that your ship is also effective as there’s eight stats you’ll need to monitor when flexing your ship building muscles:

  • Hull – ship health
  • Shield – rechargeable protective shields
  • Cargo – ship inventory capacity
  • Max crew – the maximum number of assignable crew members
  • Jump range – grav jump distance before refueling
  • Mobility – your ship’s ability to turn and maneuver
  • Top speed – your ship’s maximum speed
  • Mass – affects your ship’s speed and mobility

The most important stats when it comes to combat are shields and mobility. Your ship’s hull will naturally increase as you add and upgrade parts, so that’s not too big of an issue, but your shield is worth upgrading right away to avoid an untimely death. Similarly, you’ll want to keep your mobility high, carefully balancing mass and speed so that you can stay agile in combat to better track enemies and avoid damage.

Starfield ship building: A ship being constructed in the menus, glowing red.

While the sheer number of ship components and categories at your disposal might sometimes feel overwhelming, on top of the various stats, you can spend as much time as you like perfecting your spacecraft. Test different modules out in different places, get the right look and, most importantly, make sure you have enough utility to defend yourself.

Finally, use the flight check button to see if there are any errors with your ship. You could end up with several, but they can be easily sorted out. The most common error will inform you that not all of the parts have been attached properly. To fix this, do a scan all the way around the ship and make sure all the components are properly in place.

Starfield ship building: The player browsing ship modules.

Where to buy Starfield ship modules

If you want to buy new ship modules to get deep into the Starfield ship building mechanics, you can do so at a plethora of different vendors, as each shop sells different parts. We recommend visiting the staryard locations below:

  • Deimos – Deimos orbit, moon of Mars, Sol system
  • Hopetech – Hopetown, Polvo, Valo
  • Nova Galactic – Luna orbit, Earth’s moon, Sol system
  • Stroud-Eklund – Dalvik orbit, moon of Deepala, Narion system
  • Taiyo – Ryujin building, Neon, Volii Alpha, Volii system

Unfortunately, this means that you can’t just stick to the Ship Services Technician in New Atlantis if you want the best of the best, despite how convenient it is. Rather, brave the journey to the various staryards in search of unique parts, modules, and even ships you can’t purchase at any other vendors. Doing so will expand the limits of the Starfield ship building system significantly.

Starfield ship building: A player placing a cockpit in the building menu.

Best Starfield ship modules

The best ship modules to use when building your Starfield ships are:

  • SF30 Sheared Flow Reactor
  • Atiati 280C Missile Launcher
  • Firebolt 4000 Suppressor
  • Marauder 115N Railgun Turret
  • Dragon 261 SX Laser Turret
  • Assurance SG-1800 Shield Generator
  • M50 Ulysses He3 Tank
  • Poseidon DT220 Engine
  • J-52 Gamma Grav Drive
  • Comm Spike
  • Scan Jammer – Muli-Frequency
  • Da Gama Shielded Cargo Hold

All of the above are top of the class in our opinion when it comes to power, speed, and more, but this doesn’t take into account the weight and the amount of space you have available to you. Because of how ship building works, this means you might not be able to choose literally all best modules at one.

You’ll also notice that we haven’t selected any Habs, Gear, Dockers, Cockpits, or Landing Bays for the list as this is a matter of personal preference, depending on how large you want the ship to be, what you want it to look like, or how many crew you want aboard.

Now, unfortunately, the best ship modules don’t appear early on. Instead, they’ll require you to do a bunch of leveling to even unlock them. To be more precise, you’re going to want to be around level 60 to have the ability to get your hands on them. This might seem a pretty daunting task, but if you’re completing Starfield missions, whether that be main or side, and defeating enemies, you will be gaining that much needed XP for leveling. Alternatively, you can utilize the methods in our Starfield XP farm guide to really accelerate the process.

You’ll also need to dive into your skills at look to add some points into Starship Design and Piloting. This enables you to actually attach the best ship modules, as otherwise you can acquire them but not use them at all, as well as being able to pilot higher class ships.

Starfield ship building: The player assigning a crew member in the menus.

How to assign crew to ships in Starfield

While it’s not strictly a part of the Starfield ship building process, you’ll want to assign crew to your vessel to make it the best it can be. To do this, simply need to open the Crew Roster within the Ship section of the menu and assign a crew member to your ship. If they have a current assignment, such as at one of your Starfield outposts, this new one will overwrite it.

The number of crew members is extremely limited at the start though, similar to your outposts. Check out our guide on how to increase your crew size in Starfield to learn more, though you’re going to want to upgrade the Ship Command skill, as well as your cockpit and habitat modules.

When it comes to assigning Starfield crew members look for ones with skills beneficial to space combat, such as Ballistic Weapon Systems or Starship Engineering. These will give your ship the boost it needs to take it to the next level. After all, there’s no point assigning a crew member adept in everything outposts to work on your ship.

In terms of getting more crew when building your perfect ship in Starfield, we’d recommend heading to various cities such as New Atlantis where you can pick up some new crew in spaceports. You’d be surprised how quickly you can strike up a new allegiance.

Starfield ship building: Barrett talking to the player with a weapon in their hands.

Best Starfield ship crew members

The best Starfield ship crew members are:

  • Andreja
  • Barrett
  • Vasco
  • Amelia Earhart
  • Gideon Aker
  • Sam Coe
  • Omari Hassan
  • Sarah Morgan

Having the right crew onboard will significantly boost your ship’s effectiveness in space combat and exploration thanks to the various skills they offer.

Vasco is the best starting place if you’re engaging with the Starfield ship building mechanics early on simply because he’s the first Starfield companions you’ll gain access to. With two points in Shield Systems and one in EM Weapon Systems, Vasco is an effective ship crew member well past the early game.

Likewise, Andreja, Barrett, Sam Coe, and Sarah Morgan – the four main companions – are all also great options. Andreja offers two points in Energy Weapon Systems; Barrett provides four points in Starship Engineering and three in Particle Beam Weapon Systems; Sam has four points in Pilot and two in Payloads; and Sarah Morgan has four points in Astrodynamics. In fact, if you increase your crew size enough, you could assign each of the main companions to your ship and have an excellent crew with little extra work.

If you’re willing to do some traveling, finding and recruiting crew members is also a good option. For example, Gideon Aker, recruited in The Viewport spaceport in New Atlantis, offers two points in both Ballistic Weapon Systems and Missile Weapon Systems, making him great at boosting combat effectiveness.

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Where to buy Starfield ship parts

No matter how well masterful you are at the Starfield ship building process, you’ll undoubtedly take damage and be in need of repair at some point. This is where ship parts come in handy. While Bethesda’s choice of language is a bit confusing, note that ship parts are not required to build or add new components to your ship – they are simply items that heal your ship during battles.

We’ve got a full guide on how to get Starfield ship parts if you’ve run dry, but you’re going to want to head to different vendors across the Settled Systems, where you’ll find the ship parts in the menu under Aid. The earliest place you can do this is by using the Trade Authority Kiosk next to the New Atlantis Ship Technician.

More places to buy ship parts include the Jemison Mercantile store and UC Distribution Center, which are both also in New Atlantis. As you progress through the game, you’ll meet more and more vendors so it’s worth checking the Aid part of their inventory just in case they have a sneaky ship part waiting for you in there.

While you can spend your hard-earned credits on buying ship parts, there are also a couple of other ways you can secure yourself some fancy modules. The first of these is to come to the aid of certain factions in space. By this we mean fighting alongside entities such as the Freestar Collective. If they’re being attacked, they can reward you with ship parts to hold onto or for repairs. This option is given to you once you defeat the enemies but you do sacrifice credits so keep that in mind if you’re saving up for something specific.

The other way you can get ship parts for free is by simply destroying other spacecraft. Once you dispatch any opposing ships, these can be looted and sometimes they contain ship parts for you to scoop up. Naturally, this isn’t a 100% guarantee every time, but if you end up in a dog fight or two, don’t leave the system until you’ve done some looting just in case.

The most important thing to remember is that ship parts are heavy. Weighing in at 10kg each, you’re going to want to make sure you’ve got enough cargo capacity if you’re planning on bringing more than just ship parts with you. For example, you might want to store the best Starfield weapons and Starfield armor in your ship if there are items you’re saving for later. So, head to the Ship Services Technician to enter the Starfield ship building system once again if you’re running out of room.

Starfield ship building: A player standing next to their custom-built ship with their arms out.

Why is ship building important in Starfield?

We’ve talked about a bunch of different aspects of Starfield ship building but why even do it in the first place? Well, if you don’t build a ship of your own then you’re missing out on additional cargo capacity, better weapons, a faster ship, longer grav jump and more.

The initial Frontier is all well and good, but it’s severely lacking as you progress through the game. You won’t be able to reach the further away destinations via the grav drive, meaning instead, you would need to simply hop planet to planet to get close enough. Moreover, as you level, the enemy level also increases so when in space combat, you’ll likely see yourself getting annihilated due to lack of shield and poor weaponry. If you’re looking to join the Starfield Crimson Fleet or Starfield UC Vanguard – two of the Starfield factions – you’ll likely have a hard time, for example.

While getting better ships will go a long way, even the various free Starfield ships, the ship building mechanics lets you upgrade your vessel and tailor it to your specific needs. Given how flexible it is, it can sometimes be a more cost effective way to get a better ship, rather than outright buying a new ship.

Obviously the additional functionality is why you’ll be using ship building for the most part but simply having your own creation is another huge plus for most people. You can craft almost whatever shaped ship you want, making it a truly unique ship that no other explorer will have. Additionally, you can attempt to recreate some of the most iconic spaceships from the sci-fi world including the likes of the Millenium Falcon, X-Wing, Normandy, and even the Planet Express.

Overall, there’s a multitude of reasons why Starfield ship building is a vital part of progressing through the game. Whether you want to bolster the various parts of your ship, or you simply want to create a unique vessel for traversing the galaxy, it’s a great way to take your gameplay to the next level. It’s one of the many reasons why players are considering Starfield to be one of the best RPG games on the market.

Still looking for more? While a good Starfield wiki can be a handy source of information, our new Starfield Database goes further, offering you daily news, searchable databanks, and even interactive tools.