Spacebase Startopia unceremoniously drops you onto a bustling space station and immediately asks you to manage everything from air quality to aesthetics to food production to entertainment — all at the same time. Even if you’re familiar with resource management and simulator games (and especially if you’re not), it’s a daunting task.
It’s easy to spin out of control — even the tutorials made our palms sweaty. It took a few hours, but we eventually learned to be a competent spacebase commander.
In this Spacebase Startopia beginner’s guide, we’ll help you through your first few, sweaty palmed hours with seven tips that steadied our hand. We’ll talk about what you’ll learn from tutorials, how to decide what to build next, managing your employees, and using blueprints to meet your guests’ needs.
Trust the process and play the tutorials
Spacebase Startopia has an hours long onboarding process with tutorials and some simulations to slowly introduce concepts and mechanics. It’ll take several hours before you play a scenario where everything is unlocked and available — this happens in the fifth campaign level “The First Contact.”
Don’t rush the process. The tutorials and the early scenarios teach you how your spacebase (and Spacebase Startopia) works. Starting out with limited options means you learn the basics and understand how each new concept builds on the last. Even if you’re familiar with resource management and simulator games, this’ll give you time to learn how this particular one works.
Check your objectives to decide what’s next
It doesn’t take long playing Spacebase Startopia before your spacebase gets very busy and very complicated. There are aliens running around with needs to meet and jobs to assign, rooms and amenities to build and maintain, and three floors of space station each with their own quirks and purposes.
All of that business … busyness? serves a purpose, though. In any given Spacebase Startopia campaign level, you have objectives helpfully displayed in the upper right corner of your screen. Don’t get caught up in the minutia of the visiting aliens’ lives. You’re here to do a job.
Focus on your next objective, build the next thing, and keep moving forward — “forward,” no matter how vague, is much more directed than allowing yourself to get pulled in every direction at once.
You can’t please everyone
Every few minutes in Spacebase Startopia, all of your visitors will give you feedback (in your station ratings menu) about how nice, clean, entertaining, or pretty the spacebase is. Seeing unhappy visitors is unpleasant and distracting. For basically all of your first several hours in Spacebase Startopia, though, your first priority should be to your objectives, not your rating.
There are basic needs to meet with rooms like berths and medical stations (more on these below), but you’re safe to adopt a much more spartan attitude like your helpful (“helpful”) AI. Yes, you should build an atmosphere filter (air freshener) when aliens complain about the atmosphere, but you shouldn’t devote the resources, time, or floorspace to making sure every inch of your spacebase pristine. Like we said, you’re here to do a job. Your rating is nice (and, to a limited extent, important), but the job comes first.
Use blueprints to build rooms (don’t start from scratch)
When you start a level of Spacebase Startopia, you’re given an empty floor to fill. Some things are standalone structures that serve a function — like a fuzzy charging station to keep your robot workers powered up. Other services like amenities and doctor’s offices have to be built in rooms.
When you choose a room from the construction menu, you’ll have a choice between free build or selecting a blueprint. Free build means you place each individual part — you’ll pick an area to set aside (with walls), place doors so guests can get in and out, and then stock the inside with devices to meet needs (like showers or food dispensers). Choosing blueprints means you just have to place a preplanned room with all the insides already laid out.
You have more important things to focus on than placing every seat in a doctor’s waiting room. Until you’re (much, much) more comfortable with the ins and outs of running a spacebase, just pick the blueprints. Leave the interior design for later.
Watch workloads before you expand
For rooms — especially rooms like berths or medical stations — there’s a workload stat on their information pane. This is a measurement of how full or overfull the room is.
If a room’s workload is low — below 50% or so — you’ll know that you’ve got guests’ needs covered and won’t have to expand for a while. If you start to see long lines outside of rooms or if you see workloads over 100%, you’ll know it’s time to build a second berth or medical station.
Don’t try to anticipate every need and eventuality. Instead, use the information you have — like workloads and aliens standing in long lines — to guide your expansion decisions.
Hire more employees than you need
In Spacebase Startopia, rooms are for visitors. To meet your managerial needs as spacebase commander, you’ll build structures that generate resources — like a recycling center that turns garbage into energy — and hire aliens (in this case, telgors) to work there.
Always hire more aliens for a job than you need. The recycling center, for example, has four workplaces for employees. But your employees are only human … er, only alien?, and have needs of their own like sleeping and eating. That means you’ll need about three (or more) times more employees than workplaces if you want to keep all of those workstations full all the time.
This ties back to our workload advice above — having one recycling center fully staffed is far more efficient than having two running only part of the time. Hiring and paying employees is also far cheaper than building a new structure. And it saves on valuable real estate.
Your goal is to be hands-off
The ideal Spacebase Startopia commander is not a micromanager. Instead, they hire and build so that the spacebase runs on its own. Ideally, aside from the occasional emergency, there’s very little for you to actively manage.
Your job is work toward a goal by building up the spacebase in stages. Those stages correspond to the tutorials and first few campaign levels.
For each of those stages, you’ll get to a point where the station is more or less autonomous. You could roam around manually picking up every piece of trash you spot, or you could build a garbage bot that does it automatically. That garbage bot walks the trash to the recycling center that, if you followed our advice above, has enough staff to run constantly.
Meanwhile, the berths and medical stations — that come predesigned — are running efficiently because you checked in on their workloads, so you don’t have to manage every visitor’s expectations or complaints.
As overwhelming as a bustling spacebase looks and feels, you’ve got all the tools you need to keep it running smoothly. And then, if you’ve got the extra time, energy, and empathy, you can build another atmosphere scrubber so people stop complaining about the lack of oxygen.