Guide to Engineering

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Woah! Slow down there bud, this page isn't finished yet! While there's still some decent information here for new players, it's simply not done, so if you need help with something that's not on here, just ask about it via the mentor help function either in game or in the Discord.

Engineering on a Ship

Engineering as a job is an inherently broad range of duties. The responsibilities and difficulty of this position vary wildly from ship to ship and are further complicated by the fact that an individual engineer can very well go above what is required of them by their job and very well overhaul the ship. The duties put upon you can very well be anything from simply patching holes in the ship's hull left by wayward fauna and setting up machines to grafting entirely new rooms onto the ship and keeping the ship's highly volatile engine from obliterating the entire crew. While this guide will attempt to go over the basics of most of the possible duties which may be given unto an engineer, many will have their own respective guides to consult for further depth. For many of these more complex jobs, it's recommended that you either spend a few rounds apprenticing under someone who is more experienced in that field or at bare minimum be willing to ask for help when you feel unsure about things.

The Basics

On the vast majority of ships, all the information an engineer truly needs falls under this category. This includes things like construction, basic power management, fueling the ship's thrusters, and wiring. While some extreme situations may require you to do more difficult things, these are relatively rare and far between.


Almost everything in this section is covered in much better detail within the guide to construction, but the basics will still be covered here for the purpose of being all a new engineer needs to read. The main form of construction you're most likely to encounter on a ship is that of machines, such as autolathes, and computers. The main starting point for this is the humble circuit board, the backbone of almost every machine on your ship. The circuit board itself should tell you what is required to build it with the type of frame necessary to socket it into being in its name, either a machine design or a computer design, and with the parts requirement for machines being listed upon examining the board itself, even from within a machine frame. Once you've got your circuit board and needed parts you're going to want to place down the board's respective frame, which can be found by using 5 sheets of iron in your hand, and wrench it into place where you want it. For a machine frame, you're going to want to use a roll of cable coils on it to set up the machine's wires. After that, slot in the machine's circuit board and follow it up with the parts required, either by placing them in by hand or using a RPED, or rapid part exchange device, if your ship has one (do note that some parts have different tiers, with higher tiers generally making a machine run better based on what type of part it is). After all's said and done use a screwdriver on it to finish it. Computer frames are slightly simpler and less cumbersome, simply slot the circuit board into the frame, screw it in, add some cables, slap 2 pieces of glass in, and screwdriver it together.

For the sake of building things such as walls and windows, it's advised you check with the guide to construction, but in the event you're in a hurried situation and need to find out how to take apart or put together something like this, you can simply examine said window or wall and the examine text will give you generally obvious hints at what you need to do to progress.

Power Management

Power management is dirt simple in Shiptest! Power in its current state hasn't been rebalanced much for the scale at which a ship uses power, meaning most ships can simply run a few portable pacman generators, regardless of type, and almost never worry about running out of power. The main concern with this is leaving said generator running after the ship's SMES (read: big battery) is full, meaning all newly generated power is simply lost. The simple solution to this is just turning the pacmans off once the all SMES are full. If for some reason you wish to optimize this system further you can upgrade the parts within your ship's pacman(s) or toggle off when not in use the biggest power drain a ship can face; The Lights! Yes, for some reason your ship's lights make up roughly over 60% of all your ship's power consumption, not counting ion thrusters. While more complex methods of power generation do exist, and will be covered later, they are not strictly necessary and mostly used for the sole purpose of being more engaging than pacman generators.

Another important aspect is to make sure to maximize the input on your SMES, you need not worry about managing this at a later point as there's no really tangible down side to leaving them at maximum input.


Thrusters are another simple aspect to how a ship functions. While there are technically 4 types of thrusters, the 2 unmentioned being expulsion and liquid thrusters, you will almost never see these and will instead be tasked with servicing ion and plasma thrusters. Both thruster types include 2 segments: the thruster itself and pre-heater/charger. The only real form of work you'll be tasked with doing in relation to these types is to putting fuel inside them. The way this is done depends on the type of thruster, with ion thrusters simply requiring you to raise their power input rate via the pre-charger to as low as 5KW and with plasma thrusters just requiring some kind of gas pump, usually located in the thruster room, to be turned up to around 1,000kPa or 50L/s depending on the type of pump.

If you intend to construct new thrusters for your ship, there's a few things which are to be considered before hand. The primary of which is that plasma thrusters are noticeably faster than ion thrusters, nearly 3 times faster to be exact, but are a tad less convenient in that they require a rather limited form of fuel. This fuel, plasma gas, is available in great quantities on some ships while others have none whatsoever. There are a few ways to remedy this, however almost none of them are very convenient and are all well outside the scope of this guide. The other consideration is how thrusters must be built, with ion thrusters requiring a cable be run from under the pre-charger to under the thruster itself, while plasma thrusters simply need to be adjacent to their pre-heater.


Cables are the veins by which your ship spreads its electric blood across it's many organs. The vast majority of ships will start with the necessary cables lain, but it's still good practice to know how to do so yourself in the event something severs one of them or a new device which requires them is constructed. Generally speaking cables are just something which you have to learn how to place by experience, as the system for it is rather finicky, but there are three basic things which will drastically help you learn how to lay them; first, always wear insulated gloves when messing with live wires, while the average amount of power going through a wire is usually only enough to stun you and deal a little bit of damage, sometimes someone has decided to "hotwire" their engine that is outputting an obscene amount of power into the very cable you're tinkering with, leading to some nasty burns. Second, you can use a multitool to check the amount of power with a single wire network, which is very helpful if you're trying to troubleshoot why power's not getting to a certain machine. Third, the basic principle for placing wires is that they will be going towards the direction of the tile you're standing on from the one you place it on, this means that to connect two tiles you must first stand on one tile and click onto the second and then stand on the second tile and click onto the first.