PSS – New Player FAQ

By Battleship Cobra



This is a compilation of common questions I get from hanging around the PSS public chat. My goal is to help new players get oriented (also to not have to type out the answers over and over).

Contact me in-game for more questions. Click the chat bubble in the upper right corner. Click the “Friends” tab. Click “+ Add Friends” and then search for me, name is Battleship Cobra.

Once I accept your friend request you can friendly battle me. See the question about friendly battles to learn more.

If you find this guide useful, scan my ship to give me a tip! You can scan once you add me as a friend. Click me in the “Friends” tab, click the two fists facing each other and then click “Scan”. You can friendly battle me as well for fun.

What Should You Do First?

Follow the tutorials and build all of your rooms, upgrade them all to maximum level. Once all rooms and armour blocks are purchased and upgraded you will trigger your hull upgrade (also part of the tutorial). Keep doing draws for crew, throw away all one and two star crew (you can fire them by clicking the crew drawer and dragging them into space).

Buy ALL armour blocks and look at other ships for examples of good armour setup. You can visit and search for players to see their setup. This will give you good examples per ship type (pirate, fed, QT).

PixyShip is an essential resource for playing Pixel Starships

Armour blocks need to be adjacent to critical rooms. Each side the armour blocks touch will add to the total armour protection provided. Bolters and single-power rooms need the most armour. Armour shields, don’t worry too much about armouring reactors.

Get your lift setup right. You want lifts on the ends of decks, not all over the middle. The more lifts you have to take the more you traffic jam your ship. You want quick lanes of repair for all your critical rooms. You don’t want crew sitting at the lift getting smoked.

Crew your rooms! Do NOT put crew in reactors. Look at the details of the room you want to improve and then add crew with that skill. IE, if you have a mining laser, it’s boosted by the WPN skill. This means you need to put the highest level gunner you have in this room (view your crew profiles to see their skill traits). This will increase the firing speed because a gunner is operating the room. Shields need SCI crew to make them reload faster, etc. This becomes the basis of your crew selection, you need to support your strategy with the most appropriate crew.

And finally in this tutorial, you need to join a fleet. A fleet will help you grow and learn and will let you borrow crew. This means you can literally add TWO (or three later on) crew to your ship at all times by borrowing. This is the addition of two crew. But most importantly is the ability to ask questions and to learn.

I would suggest starting with Trek Trainer. It is the starter fleet in the Trek Alliance. You can work your way up to a top five fleet through Trek Trainer. To join you need a fleet council. Then you just click the fleet council. Join and search for “Trek Trainer” and apply.

Basic AI Guide

AI is critically important to your success. Without it your crew would be just living sandbags, not repairing anything, not defending, etc. And your weapons would just be firing randomly.

So the first step is to buy a Command Center. This room only needs to be onboard when actually editing your AI. Once done editing remove it if you need the space. Your AI will still function 100%.

Second step is to keep doing your lab researches and upgrading your lab. You need to get Python 1 (Level 4), Python 2 (Level 7) and Python 3 (Level 9). Each successive version of Python (aka PY1, PY2, PY3) will give you more and better commands.

AI commands are processed from top to bottom until whichever condition with a “true” result is met, then that command will be carried out. So here is a super simple example for a laser (click the room or crew, then click “AI” when the Command Center is placed on your ship):

  • None –> Set Maximum Power
  • Enemy Ship has Full Shield –> Target Enemy Lasers

So you have a power setting (usually first) and then a single target (enemy lasers). The first command is evaluated, because “None” is the condition it’s automatically true and the ship tries to power the room to full power. If the room is damaged it can’t power to full, if the ship doesn’t have enough power to divert to the room then you can’t power it. See the bar on the left side during a battle to see your power levels. Then at the bottom of the screen yo will see where the power is allocated:

Power bar and system power user interface during a battle

During the tutorial you should have learned to hold a room and swipe up to power it or swipe down to remove power. You have only so much power from your reactors so you need to plan your rooms and your power schemes with this in mind.

Second part of the AI is targeting. So once the room is powered, what is it doing? Well the above command is a really basic focus fire (FF) “hack” to keep a room targeted at a specific room and firing. If you use something like Enemy Laser > 0% –> Target Enemy Lasers then it’s going to shoot at the first laser, then when that laser room is knocked down it will switch to the next full power laser and focus on it until that gets knocked down, etc. This is counter productive to what you want to do (in MOST cases). Because as you know, to win you need to do hull damage, which means you need to break the room (system) and then keep pounding on the busted room to do damage.

So Enemy Ship has Full Shield –> Target Enemy Lasers is a nice little trick, it targets one laser and then because the enemy will never have full shield again, it continues to FF the first room until the hull is destroyed. Just this trick alone at a low level will give you a massive advantage, just set your rooms like this and fire away. Your lasers and missiles will just target the first laser room (randomly) and keep firing at it forever. This is known as an FF strategy (Focus Fire).

Unfinished section, more coming soon!

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Need to add a question summary block. Coming soon!

Why does my crew walk by enemy boarders?

Until level nine, you will not have the AI commands required to target boarders. BUT, if you join a fleet you will be able to borrow crew from them through the fleet council room that have the “Hunter AI”. The hunter ai will allow you to set AI for offensive crew to attack boarders like “Friendly Room Has Enemy Crew” >> “Target Condition Room”.

The research to get this level of AI commands is called Python 3. Commonly referred to as PY3. Any good fleet will have crew ready to lend you with the hunter AI. Another great reason to join a fleet!

How do I get the hunter AI?

See above question for description. Join a good fleet, you can then request crew through the fleet council room. Click the AI commands of the borrowed crew and click “Copy AI” then click to the AI of one of your crew and click “Paste AI”. You can edit the commands or save the hunter AI and mix it with your commands. I would recommend keeping a spare crew with the hunter AI so you don’t have to get it again. Just leave a one star crew in your drawer with it to copy and paste whenever you want.

Are mines single use?

No, once placed, mines will trigger once per battle (usually when a boarder steps on them). When you return from battle you can click on each mine or module (sandbags, etc.) then click “Repair”. This is so tedious that it’s almost not worth using modules until you have done the “Supply Chain Automation” research at level six.

Supply chain automation adds a button to the user interface to reload all modules at once which is very handy. You can get this at laboratory level four. More Information Here

Minigun or Photon Phaser (MG or PP)

I would recommend using minigun up until level seven. Then switch to photon phaser at level eight. Once you get to level eight you will encounter tougher shields and you can get the medium weapons platform (RG or LB) for DPS while using the PP to drop shields. Below level eight the volley of the minigun is enough to take down shields and also do a bit of extra DPS.

Photon Phaser (PP) – Level 1

  • Volley: 1
  • System Damage: 0.3
  • Shiled Damage: 2
  • EMP Length: 1s
  • Reload Time: 6s
  • Effective DPS: 0.383 (heavy on shields)

Minigun (MG) – Level 1

  • Volley: 50
  • System Damage: 0.1
  • Shiled Damage: 0.1
  • Crew Damage: 0.1
  • Reload Time: 15s
  • Effective DPS: 0.375 (normal type damage)

Stats are from PixelStarships Wiki here: Stats are from PixelStarships Wiki here

So at level 1 you can see the PP does a tad more DPS but it’s heavily focused on shields. The MG does a little less but has a really nice volley. My issue here is that once you get to level eight or so you will not be able to cut shields as effectively with the MG and you will waste many laser / ballistic shots / plasma. So using the PP starts to make sense.

This is my recommendation but feel free to experiment with your own setup.

An alternative way to bring down shields is with EMP missiles (which I’ve experimented with). But EMPs are expensive (take more time to build and cost gas) to use and sacrifice a missile bay. PP is the simplest way to keep shields down and I’m still using it at level nine.

When do I get the Med Bay?

The first “Med Bay” is available at level eight. But you can always buy the “Washroom” or the “Flower Gardens” which are special rooms (purchased with bux or doves) at any time.

However, when you get your Med Bay I would still not use it. It’s a major FF (focus fire) risk and won’t heal that quickly. You are better off with the Combat Medic perk from the Constellation crew but this is still pretty slow.

More information about the Med Bay is available here.

How do I scan ships?

Scanning ships is very useful for attacking in PvP. You can scan an enemy ship and see their setup, rooms and crew.

To scan you first need to do the research for scanning called “X-Ray” which is available in the laboratory at level four. Do this research and you will see a new “Scan” button in the upper right of your PvP matchmaking screen (or friendly battle screen).

Clicking “Scan” costs two starbux but gives you 80 seconds to view the layout. This is very useful at higher levels since it’s difficult to tell from the outside what level of player you are dealing with. And losing trophies (or stars) can be annoying.

Bonus tip: look at the placement of the weapons on the outside BEFORE scanning. If the rooms are too close together then the player likely doesn’t have a good armour setup. You can potential save the scan by using this simple trick.

How do I stop boarders? TLP rushers?

This is a really tough challenge when you start facing ships with the TLP room. My favourite strategy is to use scarlet and jungler missiles targeted at the TLP.

I use a two phase AI approach for my tagreting. I attack the TLP and then when enemy hull < 100% I switch to another target. This ensures that the majority of boarders are dead and then I switch to a softer target for hull damage.

Also, NEVER crew your reactors. They are the most commonly boarded room. Get your lab up to level two and get the “Modularization” research. Then buy some proximity mines (C4, semtex, etc.) and put them in your reactors. When the enemy boards, POP, they will explode. Remember crewing your reactors does NOTHING. Use your crew in rooms you want to boost.

How much do I sell things for?

Easiest way is to go to your inventory drawer (icon in the bottom left area) and click the item, then “sell”. It will give you the average price that the particular item will sell for. If you leave this right at average it might take days to sell. If you adjust the price down, the lower you go the faster it will sell (usually).

You can do the laboratory research called “Day Trader”. This will give you more information on the item you are selling. This includes a price trend graph (if trending up, more likely to sell close to average price for example) as well as recently sold prices and currently for sale prices. So you can see in one place the information you need to sell your items.

This works well for items you own, but if you want to check if a price is in a fair range you can use Their item form pulls directly from the Pixel Starships API and provides the most accurate information. NOTE: Trek Trainer has access to a Discord Both which can search the Pixel Starships API through Discord. Join them to get this benefit.

How do I sell things?

First you need to buy the laboratory and do the research for “Gbay” which is available at level three. Without this you can’t sell.

Then go to your inventory drawer (icon in the bottom left area) and click the item, then “sell”.

Location of inventory drawer, bottom left of your screen

What if I missed a daily sale?

Every day there is an item / crew / sticker / blueprint on sale. If you happened to miss the sale you can still get the item for 30 days in the Pixel Starships late shop. You need to be registered so you can login first though. Late shop is available: Click Here.

What is hull rushing?

Hull rushing in its worst form is upgrading your hull, upgrading your mineral storage and then upgrading again without doing any room / crew upgrades.

You should stay at each level at least as long as you can max out your rooms, buy new rooms and max out your crew (your crew max level is your ship level * four, example level six would be 6*4 = 24. So you can only get your crew up to this level). This gives you time to build your strategy and because you max out your crew you will be as strong as possible for the next level.

You should also do some mineral and gas swaps prior to upgrading. Especially for lvl 7, 8. 9, 10 (Look for the “How do I swap” question for more on swapping).

Rushing your hull means you will be too weak to compete. Especially if you want to be competitive in the tournament you will need to have a strong ship at every level.

When can I prestige?

You need to be level ten to get the laboratory research called “Prestige”. You also need to be level ten because prestiging requires you to combine two level 40 crew into a new, more powerful crew.

To understand the paths and recipes you can use PixyShip’s crew form. Search for your crew and then click their little image. This will open up a list of prestige paths. You can then optimize what crew you keep and level by what legendary crew you want to prestige.

Here is a link to Oliver – Green Ranger with prestige paths (and recipes). Click here.

When can I bio recycle?

Level nine is the first level you can bio recycle. Check out this article on the Fandom Pixel Starships Wiki.

Should I join a fleet?

Absolutely, yes. The greatest tactical reason to join a fleet is the extra crew you get. You will immediately get 2-3 extra crew by joining a fleet. You can request them from the Fleet Council room and keep them up to 24 hrs. You can switch their AI and they can be over your maximum crew level. The only other room that gives you two additional crew is the aquarium!

If your fleet has a starbase, you can get up to four starbux per day from the money printer.

You get to compete in tournaments! Every month you can compete in a seven day tournament for fun and awesome prizes. Depending on the placement of your fleet you will be in different divisions. If you are starting join “Trek Trainer” which will give you immediate access to the monthly tournament.

You can borrow crew with the “Hunter AI” from PY3. See the other question for full details. But essentially you can borrow a crew from the fleet with the commands you want, then copy them from the crew to your crew. Even if you don’t have PY3 you can have your best defender crew attack boarders automatically!

The biggest reason to join a fleet is the wisdom you will get from more experienced players. Join “Trek Trainer” and immediately you have a huge community of people who will answer general questions, give you tips on your layout and AI, trade items with you, etc. Join a fleet today!

Also, as a bonus, if your fleet has a starbase and the cruise missile launcher it will protect you while defending. The CML will launch a missile that does 3% hull damage approximately every 15 seconds (while reloaded). (Trek Trainer has a starbase and the CML)

How do I play in the monthly tournament?

To play in the tournament you have to join a fleet that is ranked in one of the competing divisions. If the fleet you are about to join is not ranked in the top 100 overall fleets you will not be in the tournament.

Every month there is a tournament for the last seven days. Leading up to the tournament you will prepare your ship and grind trophies and resources to build your ship. Then during the tournament you fight intensely to gain the top spot.

Division C and D will be less competitive and not as intense. If you are more casual you could join the “Trek Trainer” fleet to get into the Trek Alliance and then work your way up to Trek Federation.

To check if a fleet you are joining is in the top 100 click the “Trophy” icon on the right side of the screen. Click “Leaderboards”, click the “Fleet” button for the month you are looking at (ie, November: Fleet). Then scroll down and look.

Click the “Mission” button then the little [i] for the tournament details

You will see the various colours for the divisions (gold is Div. A, gray is Div. B, red is Div. C and blue id Div. D).

To see the rewards for winning the tournaments, click the “Mission” button in the bottom right. Then directly under the PVP button is the tournament button. Click this and you will see more information, including the rewards.

What is a min / gas swap?

If you hang around in public chat enough you will see people posting “500K min swap” or “500K gas swap”. The purpose of this is to clear a ships mineral and gas holds. While grinding in PvP you will eventually fill up your storage and additional resources will be lost.

So the solution is to swap with another player and keep the resources (rss) if your inbox for later. This is especially useful if you are about to upgrade. You can bank 10 million minerals and then have it immediately available at any time. While still earning more minerals from PvP and missions.

The reason for 500K swaps is that you can’t store more than 500K at a time in your inbox so this is the “sweet spot” for swapping and storage and by far the most common swap.

The process is as follows:

  • Fill up your holds over 500,000 for minerals or gas. Nobody will really trade under this amount. It’s just not worth it.
  • Check if you have a Gbay spot available to sell BEFORE requesting a swap. If you need additional selling slots, you will need to do the research in the lab.
  • Go to the public chat window and post either “500K min swap” or “500K gas swap”. You can add additional swaps by saying something like “500K min swap x 2” which is useful at level nine + because you will can store more than 1M of each rss.
  • Watch the chat until someone says “post Cobra” or whatever your name is. It’s a courtesy to say “posting” before you go to post so the other player knows you are there and posting. This way they don’t wander away while you are posting.
  • DO NOT POST before you have a match with someone. DO NOT POST and then say “min swap posted”. This is a dumb way to operate and could lead to you sitting on your crate for 24 hours because nobody can find it. Just wait!
  • To post you go to your inventory drawer and innevitably you will have a stack of small crates (both min and gas) and you select one of these, click “Sell” and then click the type of swap. For minerals, select selling in minerals, for gas, select selling in gas. Sell the crate for 500,000 and click “Sell” to list.
  • Go back to the market tab and look for the crate from the person you are swapping with. Some people will post at the same time you post, some will wait until they see your post and then they will buy it and counter-post. Be patient, they will catch your post and buy it.
  • Do NOT collect your minerals or gas from this swap once the sale has completed. This is the whole point, you will store the net 400,000 minerals / gas in your inbox. If you collect it, you will have lost the entire point of swapping. Just leave it there and keep it for later, go back to doing your PvP or missions until you have more to swap.
  • Once the swap has been totally completed (you bought a crate from the swapper, and the swapper has bought your crate) go back to the chat window and say “thank you!” or whatever you want to thank the person for their help.

You will get a net 400,000 because of the 20% Gbay take on all sales. This is totally normal and completely worth it to store millions of minerals / gas in your inbox. Do not panic, it’s the way it works.

Keep in mind that “dumps” are different. Dumps are just a player dumping minerals. Maybe they are done for the day and don’t want to keep any rss in their holds on board. Reducing your holds makes you less of a target for offline PvP attacks. So you want to plan your sessions to end with swaps if you can. Then you will clear your holds and walk away or put on an immunity.

The process of a dump is one side of the swap. You say “I will post for the dump Cobra” (for example) and then I would say back “OK <username>” in order to acknowledge the dump. I will then wait until you post your crate for 500K or either rss and then I will buy it. This helps you out and helps me too.

You do NOT need to be able to store 500K all at once in your ship in order to get a dump. You can keep 500K in your stores and continue to collect it until it’s gone. So don’t be scared of taking 500K dumps if they are offered. Captains are happy to help out new players.

NOTE: When consuming resources, remember to take from the BOTTOM of your stash. Entries in the inbox will expire in four months. If you always take from the top you will eventually start losing the older swaps.

Where is the market?

Click the chat box icon in the upper right corner. Then click the “Market” tab.

In order to sell you need to have done the Gbay research.

By default you get one slot for selling stuff. If you list something and nobody buys it then your listing sits there for 24 hours. No exceptions.

So if you have a single selling slot, you need to make sure you price below the average selling price (this is the automatic price that is recommended when you click “Sell” on an item from your inventory drawer). Price items below their average or risk being without a sell slot for 24 hours.

Can I cancel my sale item in the market?

Nope. If you priced your stuff wrong you are stuck for 24 hours. Unless you can do the additional Gbay research levels. These additional levels let you have up to three slots for selling on the market.

When you click the inventory drawer and then on “Sell” the price that comes up is the average cost. You most likely won’t sell the item immediately at this price. You will want to drop it pretty low if you want an immediate sale.

Try it out, you will get the hand of what sells and what doesn’t.

You can also sell stuff for resources if you need minerals or gas. This is done from the sell menu when you select the price of the item.

Do I need the mineral miner / gas collector?

In my opinion, “NO”. Just a complete waste of space. Do your daily missions and you will get materials (carbon, steel, gold, silicon, etc.). You can always sell these for resources, especially at a lower level.

At a higher level you should be doing swaps all the time. Both mineral and gas to stock your inbox. Don’t rely on those stupid collectors. Waste of space.

You can also PvP to farm mats. You can take easy fights and just grind away but you should always be able to find someone to get resources from.

How do I get starbux?

You can earn them each day by watching the ads. They appear as balloons that go across the screen. If you do not see them, click the hammer icon on the right side. Then click “Settings” and toggle “Ads” to enabled.

You might need to restart the application to see the balloons, especially on iOS.

You can also buy them at the bank with real money (in-app purchase style). Sales happen every day, you get bonus bux, or a special crew or item included when you buy. This adds lots of value to your purchase.

You can get bucks slowly by doing your daily ads and by selling materials and crates for bux but this will be slow.

If you are serious about getting far in this game I would recommend the monthly subscription. It’s $4.99 and allows you and four alt accounts to receive scratchies and an additional 50% bonus on resources for all battles.

If you use Gmail for example, you can have your main account be Then your alts can be variations with the periods.,,,, etc. This makes it easier as you will only need one actual email account. Gmail disregards the periods in the middle of the address so this makes it easy. You don’t want to manage four fake Gmail accounts.

You can either sell your scratchies or use them. I’ve gotten some great stuff and nowadays I actually use them. You can sell them pretty easily at 39 bux per so you could make quite a bit extra per month this way.

To move bux from your alt accounts to your main account you can use “Weak Growth Supplement”. These will sell from 1-10 bux but you can reliably sell them from your main account for up to 300 bux, then on your alt accounts you can buy the WGS which will transfer the bux to your main to consolidate. You can then sell the WGS back to your main to repeat the process. Just make sure you click fast enough. I sell them for 1234 gas so it looks like 1234 bux and people generally leave it alone.

Is it worth buying Roborob?

Absolutely, yes. At level nine, I’m still using him. Beast.

Is this game F2P (Free-to-Play)?

Yes, but you will get farther, faster if you pay. You can get the exact crew you want, buy more barriers, buy special rooms. You get doves to shop in the dove shop and more.

But you can still have fun and be competitive in F2P.

What is the point of the small beacons?

The small beacons are armour blocks! Buy them all and place them adjacent to critical rooms to protect them. They are worth every penny. Always buy all armour blocks, and upgrade them to max. They are the first thing I upgrade.

How should I position armour blocks?

Armour blocks need to be placed adjacent to critical rooms. Every armour block touching the room adds a percentage of protection. Ultimately, some rooms can have so much armour they are useless targets. They can soak up so much damage that they are protected.

See an example of armour placement here:

What are lifts for?

I have seen this question asked more than once in public chat. They move you between ship decks. The more you upgrade them the faster they go. Try to stick them at the end of rows so you don’t have to wait for the elevator to go between rooms on the same row.

How does a bridge work?

A bridge allows you to escape a fight if things aren’t going your way. If you have a bridge and your opponent does not. Then you have 100% escape chance. This is very nice because as long as you have one working reactor you will be able to escape at any time, not take any trophy losses and keep moving.

This works in reverse too. If someone attacks you and they are losing, if you don’t have a bridge they can just bounce. If you have a bridge then there is less of a chance (somewhere between 40-60%).

The room can be crewed (with PLT skill) but there isn’t an AI command to send crew there. So if you manually move the crew there or they hang out in the bridge then you will improve your chances.

The best time to use it is during a tournament. It’s essential because you can take on opponents at a higher level. If you manage to pull off some damage then you can keep fighting. If you are getting smashed you can escape and not take any trophy or star losses.

How do you make mineral / gas crates?

It would be nice to be able to make these and then sell them right?

I thought this was the case but alas, you can’t make mineral / gas crates. Early on you will sell these for one starbuck per crate (most days) but then once you hit lvl 7-8 you will realize they are mostly for swaps. See the swap question for more details.

You can sell crates for a little profit early on, but you are better off spending your time doing your daily missions and watching the ads.

What is the synth head for?

The synth head is an early mission for all ship types. Save the head, it can’t be bought later. You will assemble the crew named Dolores which is a great crew (high science and cryo ability). You will need to buy a body, two arms and two legs to finish assembly, but well worth saving for.

Dolores stats available here.

What are “friendly battles”?

When you add someone as a friend you can go back into the “Friend” tab and click them. You can then push the knuckles icon and do a “Friendly Battle”. No ammo is used, no trophies, etc. It’s an awesome way to get better quicker. Try your setup against a similar level opponent and make changes, try again. You will learn faster than anything this way.

Most people will agree and if you are in a fleet, you have a ton of people around your level. Alts from really high level players will help you out, people can friendly fight you and give you feedback.

How long do items stay in your inbox?

If you are storing items or resources in your inbox they will stay there for four months.

If you have suggestions for questions let me know in PSS