Space Engineers Beginners Guide And Gameplay Tips

A guide to a speedy start. With fancy tips for the early game.


If you have the basics at hand, or know how to open the help menu(F1), and want a quick run down on how to get started on this game, please read this. This should help New and Old Players quickly get established in a multiplayer game. Im gonna try to explain some things but for the most part Im just gonna list things to do in order. You’ll have to trust me, its the fastest way to get where you want to be in this game… exploring at your leisure instead of panicked paranoia about imaginary hostiles, frustration, explosions, and blackouts as your base doesnt work as you expect it.

Space Pod

Until they patch this out, you should always start in the Large grid Space Pod.

Space Engineers Beginners Guide And Gameplay Tips

Once you start, goto the nearest asteroid, see what ores are on the surface. Make sure to GPS mark any ore you find by typing /gps <name>. Using special naming techniques you can make it easy to sort and find these waypoints, I use the format /gps <SECTOR NAME> <ORE TYPE> you can name things the same exact thing, the system will automatically add a number to the end.

The 2 things you want in the beginning are COBALT and ICE. Everything else is pointless right now. If you find both of those stop searching and move on to the next thing,

Space Engineers Beginners Guide And Gameplay Tips

Grind your space pod. Anything that isnt functional, grind it off. All armor blocks/lights/windows/doors/vents/ramps/etc. Store the parts in the small cargo container. You can do this while drifting between asteroids. You are looking for a bare minimum of cobalt, ice can wait for a while. But if you run across silver, mine a little bit just to have on hand for later. I wouldnt mine to much of anything else, maybe nickel since you get so little from stone, but you need to conserve your inventory space untill you can make large grid cargo containers, which require cobalt and a basic assembler.

When you get it all off start building some small grid blocks and then grind them away, this unlocks more blocks.

  • landing gear
  • light armor
  • small cargo
  • small conveyor

Remember if you ever need to unlock something, you can build the small grid prerequisite version of it to unlock the thing you want. Like small grid small cargo boxs do not cost cobalt.

Space Engineers Beginners Guide And Gameplay Tips

Next build these large grid, if you run out of components to build some of these, mine STONE and refine it in the Survival Kit(Build Ingots option, [ctrl+shft+left click] will add 1000 at a time)

  • Move the survival kit from the front, to under the o2/h2 generator
  • Place 2 small cargo containers in front of it, like the picture. You will not be able to finish these cargo containers, without metal grids, which need cobalt, which needs a refinery and an assembler. Its better to not add components to these till you get metal grids.
  • Move the Flight Seat to the top of the most forward cargo container you just placed.
  • Add a basic refinery, laying sideways on the side of the 2 cargo containers you just place. Make sure it is rotated to have the yellow square(the conveyor port) facing the small cargo container. build it.
  • Add a basic assembler on the opposite side, again make sure the yellow square is facing the cargo container. This has only one yellow square on it.
  • Add Solar Panels on the top, one on the left and right side, I set mine on the batteries and have them end on the rear thrusters
  • Now add an ore detector somewhere, i usually place it in front of the most forward cargo box.(remember to set the range to max in control panel)
  • Last, add a Connector to the bottom of the ship, make sure yellow square is touching the other yellow square.
  • The last thing to build is the Drills, add them to the front of the oxygen tank and conveyor.
Space Engineers Beginners Guide And Gameplay Tips

If you still need cobalt at this point go hand drill it and refine it in the basic refinery. If you havent completed the cargo containers, you will have to manually move ingots around to craft things. Thats ok, once you get your ingots in the assembler, complete the cargo containers asap, and you wont have to manually move things as much.

Finish all the things on large grid list. Also replace the Flight Seat with a Cockpit(in the same spot) so you can get air and power while driving.

Now you have a ship that can mine… not very well, but will work for now. Go fourth and collect, focus on Cobalt, Iron, Ice. Secondary is a tiny bit of Silver for a medical bay and then Nickel, this will be important later as you dont get enough nickel from stone, so it speeds up the process considerably.

Ugly Base

Your first base does not have to look pretty. Its sole purpose is to allow you to log off without losing anything, while also having a place to store and make items. It is completely temporary. This is the biggest mistake people make, they try to design a grand hall, when they still have basic tools. Dont do it. BUILD SIMPLE AND EASY.

Space Engineers Beginners Guide And Gameplay Tips

First thing I do, is find a good asteroid, usually one with ice, and hopefully cobalt as well. But you will want stone too, so dont go for an all ice asteroid if you get lucky enough to find one. Watch the sun, it moves slowly through the sky, try to line a block up with it so it can have be most direct sunlight on three sides, when the sun rotates. If you dont know what Im talking about just skip it. Its not super critical.

Now take a stack of steel plates and build a light armor blocks on the asteroid, start on the “top” of the asteroid, you can tell the “top” because the sun will spin in a circle around you(never above, or below you) with nearly no shadow. If you dont understand skip this.

Build a pillar straight up, at least 50 blocks long. near the base, about 5-10 blocks up, build some batteries(8 minimum), on the top build solar panels on 2 sides only. More solar = better. Somewhere in the middle, build these.

  • Large Cargo Container, or 3
  • O2/H2 Gen, or 4
  • Basic Refinery, or 4
  • Advanced Assembler
  • hydrogen tank
  • Move your survival kit over also, or build a medical bay if you can
  • Large Refinery(keep the basic ones too)
  • Build a conveyor tub arm, about 4-8 tub long with a connector on top somewhere out of the way, but connected to the base. This will be your dock port.

Once built, collect a lot of stone and fill up cargo container. Gather Ice, as much as you can, fill at least 25% of the h2 tank.

Make sure you have enough stone to build a new ship, shouldn’t take too much since most of the materials can be stolen from your space pod. Then grind down your ship, all of it. Most Official servers will delete this ship if you log off anyhow, so might as well get everything you can from it.

Once you grind the whole thing down, its safe to log off for awhile. Logging off can be beneficial since those solar panels can charge your batteries, and while your online you will probably use a lot of power. I recommend you turn off any refineries/assemblers at this point since they consume a fair amount of power. If you choose to push through you should make sure you have an abundance of solar, or power cells. Dead batteries can be grinded down and removed, and new batteries can be built with 1 kWh of power in them. But you loose 80 power cells in the process.

Ugly Ship

Now that you have the materials you need a new ship. Depending how much you have may depend on your design. I recommend a battery/ion ship, since you have most of the materials anyway. And its hydrogen independent, which can be useful if you do not have ice right away, or if you had to log off asap, so you grinded your space pod down. If you did not grind your space pod down, you really should just restart. I mean you can make it work if you built up the base, but it will take you a long time if you didnt stock it up.

Space Engineers Beginners Guide And Gameplay Tips
Space Engineers Beginners Guide And Gameplay Tips

You just need to build a Large grid,

  • Large Cargo Container
  • Small Ion Thruster(1 in every direction)
  • Gyroscope
  • Cockpit
  • Battery(3-4)
  • Drills on front(may want to place them on a conveyor tub/junction to make them dig deeper)
  • Connector

Arrange these parts in any order you want, it doesnt matter, as long as they are functional. You will be able turn very rapidly when empty, goto control panel and throttle the Gyro to 30-50%. This ship will be very slow when filled with ore, take care and fly with caution.

You can change things up, obviously this is a very loose design just to get you going. But dont add to much dead weight, these small ions are not very powerful.

I wouldnt use all the Thruster Components on thrusters. Take 11 thruster components and place them in your ASSEMBLER, then set the mode to disassemble and take apart 11 thruster components. Now you have platinum. Use that plat to make an elite welder, and elite grinder. Welding and grinding will be much faster. While you can really save some time doing this, it isnt required, all tools work the same, some are just slower.

Now go get some more materials. Gather stone, cobalt, and ice. If you end up exploring in this vessel then you have done something wrong. But hopefully you have fun, and never explore without a Ore Detector, you never know what you will find hiding under the surface of an asteroid.

If you are very ambitious, and stockpile many resources, and have over a few thousand cobalt ingots, then I recommend you start making the Harpie design ship.

If you cant build this ship yet, I recommend you build it by gathering materials in the Ugly Ship. Make sure to have a good source of Ice. Once you have this ship, move on to the next step. Yea you could design one on your own but its a waste of time at this point, The Harpie Design is very efficient, read the information on the workshop page for how to use it. If your clever you can build a better ship, but thats up to you. This is about speed and carry capacity, and not much beats this simple and versatile ship.

Gather and Explore

This is probably the slowest part, and you will need a lot of luck sometimes. Remember these tips, Set a GPS to your base location, you can use the chat command /gps <optionally name it> Once you have GPS, I would go to your GPS tab options, select your new way point and change its color to something bright and check mark Always Visible. This will make it easy to find your home again.

Now look around and find the closest unmarked asteroid and go see what they have. Remember to build and set Ore Detector to max range. This is kind of a dumb decision on the developers part to make it start at half its max range. Remember when traveling around in space, always turn off backward thrusters, or dampners, to save fuel and power, and rotate to have any solar panels face the sun. Nerver aim directly at a target, you can lose control and hit it. I set up all my forward facing, backward thrusters, to its own control group. I add it to hotkey 4, on most hotkey bars. This allows me keep my thrusters and dampners on, and fly in a forward direction, like a airplane would fly. This is the most cost effective way to fly. If you slow down to about 20m/s or whatever you feel is safe for your ship, you can easily hug an asteroid as you make tight turns very close to the surface. This maximizes the penetration of your ore scan as you move around, while not wasting to much energy/fuel.

If your feeling spicy you could build a ore detector dumb fire torpedo. I do 3-5(depending on launch speed, I do 15-25m/s launches) light armor blocks in front(you dont need to complete these), 1 battery, 1 beacon(range set to something reasonable, usually 15-25km), and 1 ore detector. Everey thing is in line with each other. Launch it by attaching it from a landing gear by building up speed and release. if done correctly it will smash into the asteroid breaking/damaging only the light armor grids and nothing else, then it will float more or less in a random direction but all the while transmitting anything the ore detector picks up. These cost only stone to build. Could probably put a wheel on the front and it might survive more, or a landing gear, or something, the materials are very easy to come across. The end result is doing a quick scout while not having to travel there on your own. If you spot 2 or more resources, you probably dont need to scout it at all, you’ve likely found everything. If you find nothing, then sadly that just means it might be out of range, fire another or go check it out yourself. Note you will likely fire a few before you get the hang of these, so dont feel bad if you lose a few. If you dont want to take the risk of lost resources just take the time and fly there yourself. Also this does give away your position, but early game its almost irrelevant if someone detects you. Best case scenario they come to help, maybe just see whats up, offer you to join them, maybe they are new as well. Worst case is they raid your base and you start again, which has only happened to me a handful of times. In case of a raid, I’d rather know sooner than later that my neighbor is hostile. At this point you lose a very little.

~108-110 PCU

  • 3-5 Light Armor Block(incomplete)
  • Battery
  • Beacon
  • Ore Detector

I dont recommend mapping every single deposit of ore on an asteroid. Or even every resources, its highly unlikely you will need 18 silicon gps markers. But you should mark every asteroid with something, to prevent you from searching it again. I will typically mark my resources with a unique identifier to make them sorted in the GPS tab, /gps <Sector Name> – <Resource> EX: /gps Sector D-Fe. Sometimes I will distinguish deeper ore veins(>50 meters from surface) with a EX: /gps Sector D-Fe_D. Also I never list multiple resources in one GPS, I always make one for each type I want to make. This makes it easier to pin point the resource I want. use what ever strategy you want, but try to find something that is organized in a way that works for you.

You wont always find what you need. I have spent several hours looking for GOLD(Au) before. It sucks, dont give up. Anywhere you spawn in space, you are 40Km from every resource the game offers. As long as your not on or near a planet. In my unfortunate case gold was 39.8km away from where I called home. Always return to your home point and start your search again, because sometimes you wonder to far off. Also never return home empty handed, bring anything back, iron, nickel, whatever. If you are empty when you are returning, just grab some stone from your home asteroid before docking. Everything is useful in the early game, if you dont have room, build an extra cargo container. You can never have enough ore early on.

The main resource your looking for at this point is GOLD, but anything else is helpful. When you find gold, make that your priority, unless you need power, in which case build a small reactor and refine a small amount of uranium(~100 ingots) then go back to refining gold.

Missing Ships

Many new players have issues with the servers trash clean up, and others simple dont understand the mechanics of the game. It took me a while to learn these quick tips to locating missing grids.

First find out if the server deleted your grid. Without looking at or being inside of a ship or base, goto your control panel and look at your INFO tab. There you will see a bunch of grids like below.

~image not yet available~

If you failed to name you ship or base it will be called Large/Small Grid XXXX, the X’s being four random numbers. Look for the one that has the most CPU used or Blocks. Thats probably your what your looking for. But make sure by naming every grid you can, by going into the control panel of each ship or base around you and going to the INFO tab and at the bottom right there is a name box, type something epic and press the OK button, then check the global INFO tab again.

If the grid your looking for isnt there, then the server sadly deleted it, this is due to the server trying to clean up abandoned grids and make the server run faster, or at least be a little bit less slow. Each server has different clean up settings. Most servers like the official server require a grid to have power, and to be over a certain amount of blocks, usually about 20. If you turn off your ship to save power, it is considered an UN-POWERED GRID, and it will be deleted. Its best to turn off your biggest power drains if you need to save power, add a few solar panels, and batteries. This will ensure you have power at all times.

More coming in this section…


–Grid Tracers—

More to come…

Working on adding more, but Im lazy. Mostly Ive covered everything.

If you did everything up to here, I consider you in the mid game, and you should be working on piling up resources to build up to build your dream base/ship/mech warrior.

Hit me up with any questions on this guide, I’ve likely made a few mistakes, so please point them out. Or ask a question you have, and I might add it to the guide to help other players if its a common enough question.

This is it guys!! I am sure that you will love Space Engineers Beginners Guide And Gameplay Tips that we have shared with you. We are always open to discussion and suggestions from you. Just let us what you thought about the guide in the comment section.

Also, we would like to thank Super.Skirv. He is the one behind this wonderful guide.