One of the most important activities in the game is designing your ship. This is done in the shipyard, which is available at stations, carriers, and planet cities. Note: Stations and some other objects in space have their own gravity protection field to prevent ships from ramming into them. Your HUD will display a pathway that will help guide you to the docking area. The pathway will be red if your approach is outside of the required docking angle and it will be green when you are approaching correctly. Line up your ship with the flashing docking lights to approach at the correct angle. The 'Landing and Docking' section below will provide more information on descending into planets and docking with stations.

Click image to view a video on how to manage the Shipyard!

To access the shipyard, fly to a docking zone near the top of a station, a carrier hangar, or in the middle of a city with a landing zone on a planet. The automatic tractor beam will engage and your inventory console will be opened. Simply click on 'Enter Station/Carrier/City' then 'Shipyard' to open the menu shown in the image above. Descriptions of each frame and ship component are available on the bottom two displays of the menu. Use the scroll bars to toggle through the available options, then click on one to read its description. To design a ship, select a frame from the right side menu then drag and drop it to the middle display (click and hold the mouse button to move the frame of your choice). If you're designing a civilian ship, the Frame Config menu will open automatically and lets you adjust the available frame's configuration capacities for crew members, equipment hardpoints, countermeasures, and secondary weapon hardpoints. Just click on boxes under the capacity number you want to increase or decrease each limit. Next, select the parts you want for your ship. You can toggle through the 5 different ship components by clicking on each one on the bottom left display. Each frame provides a certain level of assembly resources that you use to design your ship. Larger frames provides more assembly resources and offer better shielding/armor, but aren't as maneuverable or as fast and use more fuel. If you design a ship that exceeds the assembly resources available for the frame you selected, the 'Assembly Left:' value at the top will turn red and you'll need to reconfigure your design to stay within the resource limit. Each component will use a certain amount of the assembly resources and will effect various aspects of your ship. Larger fuel tanks will give you more range, larger cargo bays will let you carry more items, more powerful shield cores provide better protection, more powerful engines provide higher speed, and better wing/thruster systems improve agility. You will need to carefully prioritize your design for the features that are most important to you and the role you want to play in the game.

Once you've selected the frame and components you want, you can further customize your ship's appearance by using the position and scale sliders on the middle display. If you make a change you don't like, simply right click on a slider to reset its value to center. For visual enhancement while editing your ship, you can highlight the component you're editing and paint your ship a different color. You can also stop the rotation, and/or remove the direction planes. Once you've designed your ship the way you want, simply click on 'Trade and Build'. You will be given credit for your current ship, then any additional amount will be deducted from your account. The difference between the value of your current ship and the cost of the ship you want to build will be shown at the top of the middle display. If the ship you are trading in is damaged, the total cost for repairs will be deducted from its trade-in value and the adjusted amount will be displayed in red.

You can save the current ship design with the template option. Click on Templates near the top of the shipyard menu, then click on 'Save Current Design as Template'. You can reload a design later to rebuild it, although you will need to be docked at a station that can build the ship saved in the template. Templates are saved in the game's data folder using the filenames shiptemplateX.sw where X is a number from 1 to 10. All of your profiles will have access to the ship templates and you can even share them with other players.

A Hangar option is also available near the top of the shipyard menu and it lets you store a ship and up to 5 containers of cargo. The option is only available at trade stations and you are required to pay a fee to rent the space. There is a limit of one hangar per pilot at each trade station, but you can rent as many individual hangars from trade stations as you want and can afford. Hangar fees will be charged on a common billing cycle and will apply for any hangars you are storing ships or cargo in (a list of the station names will be displayed in the message system each time you pay the fees). To remove the fees for a hangar, you'll need to either sell or remove its contents. If you want to store the ship you are flying at an empty hangar, you'll need to rebuild your current ship so you are never left without a ship. This will be done automatically for you when you select the Store option in the hangar if you have the funds to build another ship of the same design. You can then change the design as desired once you've stored the original. To recover a stored ship, simply use the Swap option that will appear once a ship is in storage. Your stored ship will then be exchanged with the ship you are currently flying and the contents will attempt to be transferred between the two so you still have the weapons, equipment, crew, and cargo you currently have. If the ship you are swapping to can't carry the same items, they will be discarded or sold. So make sure you sell or store them before you change ships, if you want to recover the credits for them or use them later. If you have crew members and swap to a military ship, they will be dismissed. If you want to keep your crew, make sure you swap to a civilian frame that can carry them. The game will autosave your progress any time you make changes to a hangar.