Building Your First City

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To read about the old version, go to Building Your First City/OldVersion.

For more information, go to the Building Update page.

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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 make.

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.

Construction

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.

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

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.

Level grade are make 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 City (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 does make planning, placement and organization a lot easier, especially because you can also see the natural resources, helping you to position your buildings.

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

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

Tools

The Building window showing manufacturing lines of a machine shop.

With metal it becomes possible to manufacture metal tools. Tools are required to construct more advanced buildings and vehicles. Some tools also increase the efficiency of manufacturing processes.

Construct a machine shop in order to start producing tools. Each manufacturing line can be set to produce a different tool. The most important tools at this stage are hammers, shovels, and sew needles, but a having all types of tools is 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 the city is ready to become a capital. Build a capitol building and declare the city as both an empire capital and a sector capital. Do this using by standing at the capitol building, open the Building (F10) window and clicking the two buttons in the upper-right corner.

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

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 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. A negative moral causes citizens to emigrate out of the city.

Certain events that occur in a city are carried out at the time the city report is generated. Most importantly, this is when the population of the city changes due to migration of citizens.

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.

Economy

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.

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 of the city increases 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 tool tip showing the amount of each item needed appears if you hold the cursor over the row of Construction Materials icons.

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.

Industrial Age

The first step to make your civilization expand beyond the horizon will be trade connection by air. Your city is a long way from producing everything needed to build an airport terminal. Let's do it anyway, as a way to figure out what is needed.

Build an airport terminal, this will be the landing place for the future spacecraft that your civilization will make.

Look at the City (F10) window to review the requirements for the airport terminal. 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 terminal.

Your town will grow to considerable size by the time you complete this step. As you place each new industry, the City (F10) window will show what is required to build that new industry 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 terminal is being manufactured. It's not hard to figure out now that you have learned the basics of construction and manufacturing.

Trade Connections

Trade routes allow for cities in the same solar system to trade and share commodities with each other.

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.

For more information, see the City Trade page.

Rocket Age

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 environment suit will be needed to survive. Build an armorer to make environment suits and environment suit 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, environment suits, and environment suit helmets. The mission provides the player with an environment 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 environment suit using W A S D Z and C keys. Space bar applies brakes. Without an environment 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.