How to Design and Build Starships From Scratch in Starfield

  • Understand the different ship components and their functions
  • Utilize the Ship Builder interface to customize your vessel
  • Balance your ship’s stats based on your intended playstyle
  • Unlock higher-tier parts by leveling up relevant skills
  • Experiment with different designs to create your dream spacecraft

In the vast expanse of Starfield’s universe, your starship is more than just a means of transportation – it’s a reflection of your playstyle, a canvas for your creativity, and a symbol of your journey. While you can’t create a ship entirely from scratch, Bethesda’s latest RPG offers an extensive Ship Builder system that allows you to customize and modify existing vessels to suit your needs.

Understanding Ship Components

Before you dive into the Ship Builder, it’s essential to familiarize yourself with the various components that make up a starship. Each component serves a specific purpose, and understanding their functions will help you design a vessel that aligns with your gameplay goals.

Reactor: The heart of your ship, the reactor powers all its systems and components. Choosing the right reactor is crucial, as it determines the amount of energy available for other modules.

Cockpit: This is where you’ll pilot your ship. Different cockpit designs offer varying crew capacities and additional features like cargo space.

Engines and Grav Drive: These components determine your ship’s speed, maneuverability, and ability to navigate through space.

Shield Generator: As the name suggests, this module protects your ship from incoming threats and hazards.

Weapons: From ballistic cannons to laser beams, equipping your ship with the right weapons is essential for combat situations.

Hab (Habitation Module): These modules provide living quarters for your crew, ensuring their comfort during long journeys.

Cargo Hold: Increase your ship’s storage capacity with larger cargo holds, allowing you to carry more resources and loot.

Landing Bay: This is where you’ll dock your ship and disembark onto planets or space stations.

Mastering the Ship Builder

Once you’ve grasped the basics of ship components, it’s time to dive into the Ship Builder interface. This powerful tool allows you to customize and modify your existing ships, giving you the freedom to create a vessel that suits your playstyle.

To access the Ship Builder, simply visit a Ship Services Technician at any spaceport or outpost with a landing pad. From there, select the “I’d like to view and modify my ships” option, and you’ll be transported to the Ship Builder interface.

The Ship Builder presents you with a grid-like workspace where you can add, remove, or rearrange modules. Each component has specific attachment points, indicated by circles or squares, allowing you to snap them together like building blocks.

Pro Tip: Press the “G” key while hovering over an attachment point to filter the available modules that can be attached to that specific point.

Balancing Your Ship’s Stats

As you build your ship, you’ll notice various stats displayed on the interface. These stats represent your vessel’s capabilities, such as speed, maneuverability, cargo capacity, and combat prowess. Striking the right balance between these stats is crucial to ensure your ship performs optimally for your intended playstyle.

For example, if you plan on engaging in space combat frequently, you’ll want to prioritize weapons, shields, and maneuverability over cargo capacity. Conversely, if you’re aiming for a more exploration-focused playstyle, you’ll want to invest in larger cargo holds and fuel tanks for extended journeys.

Unlocking Higher-Tier Parts

While the Ship Builder offers a wide range of components from the start, the truly advanced and powerful parts are locked behind specific skill levels. To gain access to these higher-tier modules, you’ll need to invest skill points in the relevant areas, such as Starship Design and Piloting.

As you level up these skills, new and improved components will become available, allowing you to further enhance your ship’s capabilities. For instance, reaching higher levels in Piloting will unlock access to Class B and Class C ships, which are more powerful and customizable than their Class A counterparts.

Experimenting and Refining Your Design

Ship building in Starfield is an iterative process, and it’s essential to embrace experimentation and refinement. Don’t be afraid to try out different configurations, swap out components, and tweak your ship’s stats until you find the perfect balance.

One of the beauties of the Ship Builder is that it allows you to undo changes or even delete entire sections of your ship with a few simple keystrokes. This flexibility encourages you to explore various design possibilities without fear of permanently altering your vessel.

Pro Tip: Use the “Ctrl+Z” and “Ctrl+G” keyboard shortcuts to undo and copy changes, respectively, making it easier to experiment with different designs.


Q: Can I rotate or flip ship components?

A: While you can’t rotate components, some structural elements like cargo holds and landing bays can be flipped horizontally or vertically to better suit your design.

Q: Do I need to worry about symmetry or balance?

A: No, Starfield doesn’t enforce strict symmetry or balance requirements. As long as you have enough attachment points, you can place components wherever you like, even if it results in an asymmetrical or lopsided design.

Q: Can I build a ship from absolute scratch?

A: Unfortunately, no. You can’t create a ship entirely from scratch in Starfield. Instead, you’ll need to start with an existing ship and modify it to your liking using the Ship Builder.

Q: How do I fix errors or incompatible modules?

A: If you encounter errors or incompatible modules during the ship building process, the Ship Builder will display a message indicating the issue. Common problems include insufficient power, unattached modules, or conflicting components. Resolve these issues by adjusting your design or removing the problematic modules.

Q: Can I save my progress in the Ship Builder?

A: No, there is currently no option to save your progress within the Ship Builder. If you need to exit the interface before completing your design, you’ll have to start over from the beginning.

Building and customizing your dream starship in Starfield is a rewarding and engaging experience. By understanding the various components, mastering the Ship Builder interface, and balancing your ship’s stats, you can create a vessel that not only looks impressive but also performs exceptionally well in the vast expanse of space. Embrace experimentation, refine your design, and let your creativity soar as you embark on an unforgettable journey through the stars.