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Starfield Settlement Building and Spaceship customization explained

Starfield brings back the settlement system from Fallout 4 and adds the option to build a spaceship, here's a guide for the new customization features.
Starfield Settlement Building and Spaceship customization explained

At Xbox Games Showcase 2022, Bethesda finally lifted the curtains for the upcoming sci-fi RPG, Starfield, and showed us a huge chunk of the game. From combat to space exploration, crafting, and the Settlement Building, Bethesda's Todd Howard walked us through some of the crucial aspects of the studio's incredibly ambitious sci-fi epic.

In this article, we will be breaking down every little information available on the Settlement Building and spaceship customization aspect of Starfield.

First introduced in Skyrim's Hearthfire DLC, Settlement Building went on to become one of the most immersive and engaging gameplay attributes of subsequent BGS games. Starfield seems to be pushing itself in the same direction by allowing players to craft and customize their own spaceships. With that said, here's everything you need to know about the game's overhauled Settlement Building mechanic.

How Settlement Building works in Starfield

Starfield Settlement Building guide
The fundamentals of settlement building in Starfield remain the same as in Fallout 4 and Fallout 76. (Picture: Bethesda)

Fallout 4 and Fallout 76 players who toyed around with those games' base building systems should find themselves right at home in Starfield since the fundamentals remain the same. It begins by entering the build mode, where players can see the various base building attributes, which in Starfield's case are Cargo, Crew, Power, and Production.

Resource hunting seems to be an integral part of gameplay in Starfield, and with over a thousand planets to explore, players should expect to spend a lot of time hunting and mining various crafting resources.

Different planets will be home to different resources, and players can survey every region and set outposts accordingly to scavenge those resources. Players can also hire various characters they meet along their journey to aid and run these outposts, similar to how it works in Fallout 4.

Once players have gathered enough resources, they can start and track various Pharmacology projects, more Outpost developments, Weapon developments, etc from the Research Laboratory.

Starfield outpost scavenge resources
Players can establish outposts and scavenge resources on any of the thousands of planets in Starfield. (Picture: Bethesda)

It's very reminiscent of the Mother base building in Metal Gear Solid 5 The Phantom Pain though the unlike the former, Starfield is an RPG, which means, the state of a player's settlement could depend on various factors like the factions they side with, the decisions they make, the background and traits they choose, and more.

At the time of this writing, Bethesda hasn't confirmed whether a player's settlement could be attacked by members of opposing factions or animals in the vicinity, but given how it was possible in Fallout 4 and Fallout 76, players should expect something similar, if not more dynamic and dangerous encounters in Starfield.

How spaceship customization works in Starfield

spaceship customization starfield
Players can customize both intrinsic and extrinsic attributes of their spaceship in Starfield. (Picture: Bethesda)

Crafting and customization in Starfield don't end at settlements. Players can also build and customize their own spaceship. Players can't just craft and customize extrinsic attributes of their spaceships like hull and color but also intrinsic ones like engines and masses. Choosing what to equip and what not to equip is essential since it would affect the pace of exploration and space combat.

As evident in the gameplay trailer, players can explore the galaxy in their spaceships and engage in combat with other rogue spaceships they may encounter in the wild. Hence, they have to be diligent when customizing its various aspect.

For instance, mass affects the performance of the ships. Engines, as one would expect, increases speed and acceleration. Adding a fuel tank would increase the fuel carrying capacity, which in return would allow players to perform a jump while traversing the space.

Some items will require players to unlock specific skills before they can equip those items. For instance, to equip the NG-15 landing gear, players would need the Starship Design skill.

Starfield ship manufacturer
Players can choose items to install and equip from a wide array of ship manufacturers. (Picture: Bethesda)

Players can equip items from various ship manufacturers like Nova Galatic, Reladyne, Nautilus, Xiang, etc. Outside of visual implications, we do not know whether equipping items from specific ship manufacturers will have any narrative or gameplay implications or not.

It would be interesting to see how a player character whose ship is made up of only Nova Galatic manufacturers gets treated on a planet that's dominated by a rival corporation.

Players can also manage the crew on the ship. Upgrading the spaceship will increase its cargo and crew-carrying capacity. We don't know whether carrying more cargo and or having a larger crew on deck would affect the performance of the ship or not, but if it does, it would be a worthy and believable addition.

Having the freedom to customize attributes like the ship's mass, top speed, mobility, jump range, crew, cargo, shield, hull, and more, would allow players to fulfill their space exploring fantasies. We will have to wait for a more extended demonstration of the Settlement Building and spaceship customization in Starfield, but for now, it seems like the perfect evolution of the systems and mechanics introduced in past BGS titles.

That's everything you need to know about Settlement Building and spaceship customization in Starfield.

For more on the game, and video games in general, why not check our dedicated video game section for news, guides, and features.


Featured image courtesy of Bethesda.