This guide is designed for ease of use for first time players, so non-essential information is segregated to expandable text boxes. Reading these isn't necessary to get into the game, but it's recommended.
- 1 What is SS13?
- 2 Before Playing
- 3 Playing the Game
|Tuterr, the Private Eye says:|
"Hmph. Fresh off the boat from Nanotrasen's recruitment office, huh? Let me tell you something, kid. You won't last five minutes on this floating deathtrap without help. You're as likely to be left for dead in a dark maintenance tunnel riddled with bullet holes as you are to get out of here alive. Lucky for you, I'm in a helpful mood today."
Space Station 13 is a multiplayer sandbox that has a heavy focus on player interaction. In the year 2560, the megacorporation Nanotrasen has employed you as a staff member onboard their latest state of the art research station. Nanotrasen claims to be researching plasma, a mysterious new substance, but rumors are abound that the station is little more than a twisted social experiment...
At the start of each round, each player is assigned a role onboard the station. There are many jobs, such as the scientist performing research and development of new technologies, the medical doctor trying to keep people alive, or the simple janitor. There are many different ways to play. The game also randomly chooses a a round type, ranging from an all out assault on the station by nuclear operatives, a sinister cult sacrificing crewmembers to summon their god, or more commonly, good ol' fashioned traitors. Every round on Space Station 13 is different.
It's important to read the rules before connecting for the first time. There's a lot on the page, but for now you only need to concern yourself with the Main Rules. Some common new player mistakes to avoid include:
- Being violent towards other crew members without any reason. This is only okay if you're an antagonist, and you will be notified if you're chosen to be one. If they grab you by your butt and try to space you, feel free to robust them. (Telling the admins you were "roleplaying an insane person" will get a couple laughs, but you'll still get banned.)
- Asking questions in OOC (out-of-character) chat that are directly related to anything happening in the round. For example, "Why did I just get killed by the clown?". It's okay to discuss this in deadchat or after the round is over. These questions are also alright if asked in adminhelps (press F1).
- Not following the name format of "Firstname Lastname" when creating a human character. Other races such as lizards, plasmamen, ethereals and mothpeople have their own naming conventions. Mimes and clowns are other exceptions.
The admin team generally tries to give players benefit of the doubt, so it's okay to mess up. As long as you're polite and willing to learn from your mistakes, you won't be in trouble. You can press F1/the adminhelp button at any time to send a message directly to the admin team if you have any questions.
One last point: please, remember the human. Everyone is here to play a game they enjoy, so keep that in mind before you bash someone's brain in with a toolbox because they took your multitool.
Make your way to the BYOND download page and download the client. Once you've downloaded, installed, and logged into the client, feel free to close it - we won't be needing to use it directly anymore. Once you're set up, click a server link and choose to open it with BYOND to join a game. The /tg/ servers, which our wiki is based around, are:
- Basil (US-West): byond://bagil.tgstation13.org:2337
- Sybil (US-West): byond://sybil.tgstation13.org:1337
- Terry (EU): byond://terry.tgstation13.org:3336
- Manuel (Roleplay/US-West): byond://manuel.tgstation13.org:1447
- Campbell (Roleplay/EU): byond://campbell.tgstation13.org:6337
- Events Hall (EU): byond://events.tgstation13.org:4337
- Terra-Gov Marine Corps: byond://tgmc.tgstation13.org:5337
Links to all current servers and their player counts are available at https://tgstation13.org. If joining by clicking a link doesn't work, open the BYOND client, open location with Ctrl and O, and paste the link to the server you want to join.
If this is your first time playing on /tg/station, you'll need to create a character. Click on the Setup Character button, and the character creation menu will open.
You don't need to worry about Special Names, Custom job preferences, Uplink Spawn Location, Quirks, or Species - for now, make sure you're a human, and edit your appearance as you see fit. Satchels and backpacks have identical stats, while duffelbags can hold more items but slow you down heavily. Other clothing options are just cosmetic.
- Special names are names specific to certain roles - for example, if you're the clown, you may want a funny name instead of your regular one. The name policy is relaxed on these, so if you have a funny idea for a name, go nuts (within reason - this is at admin discretion).
- The first custom job preference allows you to set what your AI core will look like by default, and the second allows you to choose preferred department designation for when you play as security officer.
- The Uplink spawn location is specific to the traitor role, and determines the item you can access your uplink from, where you can purchase different tools to accomplish your goals.
- The various species options have some effects on gameplay - you can browse the articles for lizards, flypeople, and plasmamen for more info.
- Quirks are minor traits you can give your character. New players automatically get a "Navigationally Challenged" quirk, which makes them start with a wayfinding pinpointer for finding locations.
Once you've finished editing your appearance, be sure to press the Save Setup button at the bottom of the window. Next, press the Set Occupation Preferences button.
|Tuterr, the Private Eye says:|
"You're brand new here so consider signing up as an Assistant. If you happen to be lucky enough to get here shift-start, being a Prisoner is also an option since you'll be in an isolated area. Nanotrasen usually has checks to make sure fresh meat doesn't get to be the Captain, but if you manage to end up in that position, you'll probably become another case for me to solve."
If you wish to be an assistant (job without duties), make sure it says Yes next to assistant. If you want to try to get another role, click the "yes" next to assistant so it says "no". Then you can click the Never button next to another job (such as Prisoner) until it says HIGH in blue text.
Next, click the text bar near bottom which by default says "Get random job if preferences unavailable". Keep clicking it until it either says "Return to lobby if preferences unavailable" or "Be an Assistant if preferences unavailable". Else you can later end up as roles you have not enabled.
After that, press Done, then, Save Setup. Then click on Game Preferences at the top of the character creation screen. The menu will change and have a big list of options.
Make sure all of the Special Role Settings are set to No (These control optional settings, like choosing if you'd like to roll for a traitor role. They assume you know how to play the game and are important to the round, so we want them off for now. More importantly, change the Keybindings option to "Hotkeys". This guide will assume you're using the "Hoykeys" control scheme, as it provides quicker functions for actions than the default controls.
Then change the FPS setting (framerate). 0 defaults to 20 FPS. Try a setting such as 60 or 120, depending on your monitor.
Most of the other options here are relatively self explanatory. Once you're done, click Save Setup one last time and close the window.
Joining the Game
Now that you've created your character, you're ready to join the game. (You may want to continue to read the guide before jumping in.)
There's two possible menus here - the lobby screen will either display a list that has Join Game! or a Ready/Not Ready toggle.
Click on the button, and a window will pop up asking you to choose a profession. The jobs available will vary, but Assistant is always available. The numbers in the brackets next to the job title show the current number of players who have been assigned that job for the round, if there is a zero inside the brackets, no one has been assigned to that job for the round. When you click on the job you want, you'll be brought to the station via the arrival shuttle. You'll start out on a transit shuttle that will dock at the station in a few seconds. You'll also be strapped into a chair, so don't forget to unbuckle yourself (click your seat, the Buckled HUD icon or press the resist hotkey if enabled).
This is ideal, because you'll be playing the round from the beginning, when things are the going to be calm and allow you to get your bearings in a relatively safe environment. Toggle the button to Ready, then wait for the game to begin. (You can see the time until the game begins on the Lobby tab, on the top right of the game window.)
Pressing Observe will spawn you as a ghost, which is essentially a spectator - you won't be able to spawn normally until the next round if you select this option!
Before you do anything else, take a look at the top right of the game window. You'll see some tabs labelled Status, Lobby, Admin, IC, OOC, Object, and Preferences. The most important tabs are the Status and Admin tabs. If you're using internals (an oxygen tank and mask), the Status tab tells you the remaining air pressure - useful for avoiding death by suffocation. The Admin tab contains the Adminhelp button, used to contact admins directly if you have a question or believe someone is breaking the rules.
- Displays important info such as your ping, the current map, pressure remaining in airtanks, etc.
- Contains buttons that allow you if any admins are online, and most importantly, to send a message directly to the admins (the Adminhelp button). If no admins are online, the message will be forwarded to the admin IRC channel.
- Stands for "In Character". Usually won't use this. (The Pray button allows you to send a message to any admins online in character - often used for "communicating with the gods". Another useful button is Rest, which lets you go prone at will.)
- Stands for "Out of Character". Again, rarely needs to be used. Various functions that are related to the game, but not something your character does (eg. seeing the number of players online).
- Never used. Contains buttons to manipulate objects (eg. drag/stop dragging an object), but there are hotkeys to do these things much faster.
- Self explanatory - contains various options you can toggle on and off.
In the Status tab, take note of the map currently being played on the server. It'll be used later in the guide.
|Tuterr, the Private Eye says:|
""Interface"? What the hell are you talking about, kid? "Blue buttons?" Geez, you've been here for five minutes and you're already cracking. Hmmm... *recorder crackles* Note to self - check atmospherics. Gas might be poisoned."
The biggest barrier to entry in Space Station 13 is the controls. The UI is, at a glance, complex, and the controls are unintuitive. Thankfully, once it clicks, you'll never have an issue with it again. Don't let it overwhelm you - after a round or two of practice, you should be fine.
The top right of the screen contains the action tabs mentioned previously, and the bottom right is the text log. This is where you can see what people are saying, what's happening around you, and chat such as OOC or adminhelps. The bar along the bottom of the screen is the input bar, but since we're on Hotkey mode we won't need to use it. There's quite a few HUD elements on the main screen, so let's break them down into sections. Don't worry if you can't memorize what everything does at once - you can always come back to this guide.
The drop and throw icons do what the name implies. Dropping is self explanatory, but the throw button is a toggle - if it's on and you click somewhere, you'll throw the item in your hand at where you clicked. (You can also press R to enable throwing and Q to drop your held item.)
The pull icon only appears when dragging something, and can be pressed to stop dragging an object. Hotkey: "del".
The resist icon can be pressed to break out of grabs, restraints, and if you're on fire, is the "stop drop and roll" button. Hotkey: "B".
The run/walk toggle icon can be pressed to switch between running and walking. Running is faster, but walking has benefits, such as being able to walk over water without slipping - useful for when the janitor doesn't put wet floor signs down. Hotkey: Hold "alt" to walk.
The body selector icon is used to choose which body part you want to target. This is used for both targeting specific sections to heal, or targeting specific sections when attacking someone. Click a limb to target it. (You can target individual arms, legs, the head, the upper torso, the groin, the eyes, or the mouth.) Hotkeys: "numpad keys".Last but not least is the intent selector - this will be explained in detail later. It has four modes: Help, Disarm, Grab, and Harm, in clockwise order. Hotkeys: "1-4".
There might seem like quite a few controls, but don't worry - you'll only be using a few the majority of the time. There's a lot of edge cases in SS13, due to the sheer nature of features and content available. You can check this page for a list of every keybinding. Although your control scheme was changed to Hotkeys in the Game Preferences menu, it may not have applied itself - if there is a large red bar going across the bottom of the screen, click somewhere on the game window and press Tab. This is the manual toggle for hotkey mode - if the bar changes to white, you're good to go.
- Use WASD to move.
- Press T to talk.
- If you add a semicolon before anything else, you'll transmit your message to the general chat radio.
- You can speak on department specific radio channels - the format is the same for each, just with a different letter. To speak on the medical channel, for example, type .m before your message. (You can also use :m or #m)
- Press O for OOC chat.
- Be careful not to mix the two chat buttons up - your cry for help might end up going in OOC, where anyone can see it at any time.
- Press M to write an emote.
- This is for nonverbal actions - for example, writing "sighs." in the text box would show as "[Character Name] sighs."
- Click on objects in the game world to interact with them. For most, you'll need to be next to or on top of the object.
- This is used for things such as interacting with computer terminals, picking up items, using an item on something, or attacking someone.
- Right-click on something to open the context menu.
- This is slow and clunky, and you can usually perform most actions with hotkeys. There are a few examples of actions that can only be done with a right-click, but they're far and few between.
- Hold Control and click on something to drag it.
- Hold Shift and click on something to examine it.
- Press X or Middle Mouse Button to change your selected hand.
- Your selected hand is the one that will pick up an object (if empty) or use the object in that hand (if holding something). You can tell which is selected by the small box around one of your hands.
- Clickdragging is used for a couple of specific actions.
- For example, to climb onto a table, drag and drop your character to the table.
- To put things on/take things off of someone, drag and drop their character onto yourself. (To put things on them, you'll need to have the item in your selected hand.)
- You can open a container without holding it in your hand by alt-clicking it or clickdragging it onto yourself. This also works for storage items you're wearing, which is useful if your hands are full.
- You can also buckle yourself/other people to chairs using this. It can be tricky, as you have to be on top of the chair, and your mouse has to be on top of the chair's exposed sprite.
Hold Alt and click to perform specific, context sensitive actions. Some functions for alt-clicking include removing an ID from your PDA (or pen if there's no ID in it), toggling the lock on a locker, split a stack of items, crawling into vents (as something small like a monkey) etc.
Hold Shift and press Middle Mouse Button to point at something. This creates a message in the chat and temporarily displays an arrow over the thing you point at.
Press R to enable throwing mode. If you click somewhere in the game world when you have throwing mode on and an item in your selected hand, you'll throw it at that point. If someone throws an item at you, and you have throwing mode on, you'll catch the item.
|Tuterr, the Private Eye says:|
"You know, as much as I like to rib the fresh meat, it doesn't really matter if something happens to them - Nanotrasen thinks death is a waste of money, they'll just get revived or something. What? Oh, shit, I gotta go. *click* You, uh, didn't hear that - right, kid?"
Before getting into anything else, it's important to note that since SS13 is such an open ended game that has other people in it, when you get in game and try to follow the guide, things may go wrong - the station might have been almost entirely consumed by a singularity, a traitor could attack you with a powerful weapon, or something no one could have predicted will kill you. It's important to not let death get to you - Rule 10 exists for a reason! There are multiple ways you can be brought back into the game - don't get frustrated if something happens.
There's a few specific concepts that are often stumbling blocks for newer players, so let's address those first. (These are all in expandable boxes to save space, but it's not a bad idea to read them beforehand.)
The Hands System
One of the things the majority of new players have trouble with is the hands system. It's not complex once you've figured it out, but it can be difficult to understand without help.
You have two hands at your disposal. The bright box around one of your hands is the selected hand. This is the hand that's used whenever you click on something - if it's empty, you'll either pick up an item, or interact with something (like a computer terminal or vending machine).
If you have something in your selected hand, you'll use that item on whatever you click on. This can lead to confusion, because if you have something in your hand, you can't use things such as terminals or vending machines - you'll either hit the object with your item or do nothing.
This is because you're trying to directly use the item on the object - this is why you're able to use a screwdriver to open the panel on a door, use wirecutters on a grille, or similar actions.
This can also cause problems with backpacks, boxes, and other containers - if you want to open a container, alt click it. You can also pick it up, then switch hands and click on the container with an empty hand. Clicking on a container with an object will put it in the container. This also means that if you'd like to take your backpack off, you need to click and drag the bag to an empty hand - a normal click just opens the equipped bag.
The intent selector has four modes: Help, Disarm, Grab, and Harm. These modes decide what happens when you leftclick people and some other things. For most of these interactions you need an empty active hand. Intents can be changed with hotkeys.
The Help intent is used for helpful interactions. For example, if someone is in critical condition, clicking on them (with an empty hand) will have you perform CPR. You'll also apply medication if you're holding any. In addition, if you have your intent on Help, and walk into someone who also has their intent on Help, you'll swap places with each other (instead of just pushing them in the drection you're moving). Be careful - if you have an item in your hand that isn't designed to help someone, you'll still attack them with it!
The Disarm intent is used to non-lethally push people away or against walls. Read more about disarm intent here.
The Grab intent allows you to grab people. First click does same thing as ctrl+clicking people, but this intent also lets you upgrade grabs. Read more about grab intent here.
The Harm intent will harm. This lets you punch people, or kick them if they are prone. Read more about harm intent here.
There are a few different damage types in SS13. If you take enough damage, you'll fall unconscious into critical condition, better known as Crit. If left untreated in this state, you'll slowly suffocate until you die.
Brute damage is received from physical attacks - punches, kicks, toolboxes, hatchets - if someone is hitting you over the head with it, it does Brute damage. Extremely high or low pressures (such as plasma fires or the vacuum of space) cause brute damage as well. Treated by medicine, sutures, surgery, and when dealing with low amounts of damage, sleeping or eating healthy food. There are many other methods of healing brute damage; it's generally the easiest damage type to recover from, aside from oxygen or stamina which go away over time.
Burn damage is received from fire and lasers, as well as exposure to extremely hot or cold environments like plasma fires or the vacuum of space. Yes, this means if you're taking brute damage from pressure, you're likely also taking burn damage from temperature at the same time. Harmful environments are VERY harmful. Treated by medicine, regenerative meshes, surgery, and when dealing with low amounts of damage, sleeping or eating healthy food. Burn damage is cured more slowly than brute damage, and it doesn't have nearly as many alternate methods of healing.
Toxin damage is received from breathing in poison gases, attacks from enemies like giant spiders, ingesting poison, drinking too much booze, or generally having any harmful chemical in your blood. A damaged or missing liver will cause you to accumulate a LOT of toxin damage over time. Requires medicine to treat, making it difficult to deal with if you can't get to the medbay.
Oxygen damage is received from being unable to breathe, or while in critical condition. It goes down over time by itself if you're not in crit, but there are a few medicines that help quickly reduce oxygen damage.
Brain damage is received from brute force to the head or other things. Can randomly cause brain traumas. Those suffering from brain damage usually need chemicals or surgery to cure their condition. Note that other organs can be damaged as well, through similar means, but the brain damage is generally the most impactful kind of organ damage you can deal with.
Stamina damage is basically "fake" damage. Inflicted by some security items. Putting people into "stamcrit" is used to temporarily disable people non-harmfully. Very quickly cured on its own, but you can also heal stamina damage faster by consuming stimulants, like coffee or illegal drugs.
Brute and Burn damage are applied to specific limbs. If you've been smacked in the head with a toolbox a few times, you'll have to aim at your head (with numpad keys) when you use a bruise pack. Most medicines can be ingested to heal damage anywhere on your body. If you take enough damage to one limb, you can be dismembered. You will need surgery to replace lost limbs.
If you get into a fight, consider your options - it may be best to try and simply run away. If you think you can disarm your opponent, you could turn the tables by taking their weapon. Combat in SS13 is fast paced and revolves around a lot of back and forth swipes, almost like a strange joust between 2D spacemen.
Getting better at combat in SS13 requires practice - there's only so much you can be taught. The rest is learning how to create and take advantage of opportunities. Hopefully, you won't have to get into many fights as you start out.
To learn more about combat and how to win fights, see the Guide to Combat.
If you end up dying, don't worry, there's a few ways to go from there.
If you try to move, you'll ghost out of your corpse. This is essentially spectator mode - you can communicate with other dead players (and talking about the round out of character is okay in this chat) by talking normally and are able to fly around the entire map. (Note that while it's okay to talk about the round in deadchat, if you're revived, you cannot use any information gained while dead. Anything you saw while alive is fair game.)
If you die, you can be revived, turned into a podperson, have your brain removed and put into a cyborg, or more. There are ghost roles that can be played by dead players - some areas have objects that, when clicked on as a ghost, will spawn you as a new character. (You're a new character, so don't use any information from your past life.) There may even be alerts that pop up while you're dead, asking if you'd like to take control of a xenomorph, a morph, or almost anything else. These are often provided by admins, but can occasionally happen via random event. Please note that if you take on a ghost role you CANNOT be revived or return to your original body!
Playing the Game
|C-05-MO, the AI says:|
"Hello! The automatic diagnostic and announcement system welcomes you to Space Station 13. Remember: Have a secure day."
Now that we've gone over the interface and some more important game concepts, let's jump into the game. If you join a game in progress, you'll usually spawn on the arrival shuttle. (You'll start buckled onto a chair as the shuttle docks with the station - press the Resist button on the HUD or the picture of the chair to unbuckle yourself). If you "readied up" roundstart as an assistant you'll be spawned in a random, public area of the station.
/tg/station has multiple maps that the server will occasionally change to. The game can take place on Box Station, Meta Station, Pubby Station, Delta Station, Donut Station and others. You can visit the individual wiki pages to see the layout of a specific map.
Each station has a unique layout, so you'll likely want to use these maps to get your bearings.
- "BoxStation" Click here for a map of BoxStation. Visit the wiki page for BoxStation for more details.
- "MetaStation" Click here for a map of MetaStation. Visit the wiki page for MetaStation for more details.
- "PubbyStation" Click here for a map of PubbyStation. Visit the wiki page for PubbyStation for more details.
- "DeltaStation" Click here for a map of DeltaStation. Visit the wiki page for DeltaStation for more details.
- "DonutStation" Click here for a map of DonutStation. Visit the wiki page for DonutStation for more details.
If you've chosen Assistant or Prisoner as your role, you'll have no responsibilities. This means you can safely attempt to get your bearings without fear of someone telling you that you need to be doing something. It might be awkward at first, but it doesn't take much time to get to grips with how to control your character.
What to do if There's a Breach
If you hear the telltale sound of air being sucked out of a room or see a hole in the station, something's gone wrong and caused a breach. It's wise to avoid being exposed to the vacuum of space for too long, but if you need to pass by, you can put internals on.
- Step 1
- Using an empty hand, click on your backpack, then click + drag the box inside to your character's sprite. This will open the box.
- Step 2
- Take the breath mask and put it on your mask slot (press the equipment icon to see it).
- Step 3
- Take the O2 tank and put it in one of your pockets. This leaves your hands free for other tasks.
- Step 4
- Press the internals icon to turn on your air supply.
This will keep you breathing clean air - make sure to avoid exposure to a vacuum for too long, and watch your air tank's supply in the Status bar!
|1. Inventory Management:
What Jobs to Take After Your First Round
- Prisoner is a great job for new players, as you'll start isolated in a somewhat safer area. If lucky you also have a companion willing to teach you the ropes and provide you with some sense of purpose. At the same time however, it can be rather boring for some people, as the job is designed around you roleplaying and talking to your fellow prisoners. If you want to be more hands-on, it's probably better to be another role.
- Though many say that Assistant is the best starting role, the lack of a focused objective can make learning the game difficult. Many people also will dismiss any Assistant as a "greytider" or something similar. You might be better off trying a role that isn't critical to the game, but still has a job to do, such as Chef, Cargo Technician, or Janitor.
- After you've gotten used to the controls and general idea, you might want to move to a role such as Scientist, Botanist or Station Engineer. These jobs have more depth to them than some other roles.
- Don't play security roles like the Security Officer or Warden until you're proficient with the controls and know enough about the game to treat people fairly. It's very easy to play security poorly, and letting the power get to your head is a bad idea.
- You'll want to avoid round critical roles such as Captain, AI, or any heads of staff until you're well versed in the game and know what's going on. If, by some coincidence, you end up being one of these roles and you aren't prepared, just ahelp (F1) explaining the situation. We'd all much rather someone admits they aren't ready for a role than to do a bad job, or even worse, silently disconnect.
- Avoid joke roles such as the Clown or Mime at first. Many players find harassing the on board entertainment much more fun than any jokes the clown might otherwise have.
- After some time, when you're confident enough in your combat abilities, you should enable antagonists within your game preferences, so that you can roll for antag when the shift starts. A good portion of the game is arguably being an antag and unleashing yourself.