Starter guide

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Space Station 13 is a 2D multiplayer space station simulator with fully destructible environments. More info about the nature of the game can be found here.

It can take some time to get used to the dynamics of the game.

Below is a quick tutorial to get you started on your first visit to FTL13.

If you know how to play SS13, but are new to FTL 13, go to: Guide to FTL13

FTL13, and It's Challenges

So, time to get to the FTL13 part of the guide. You wanted to join, I gave you the ip, the knowledge, the tips. Now for some real things. First thing is first, it is MEDIUM RP. So don't go pissing people off, stealing items, and most importantly, don't fire the damn MAC. Make sure you read the other guides too, this isn't just nothing but /TG/ guides and whatnot. Make sure to not only use this guide, other guides as well. At the beginning of every game, there will be objectives for the crew to complete. You, no matter job you are, you must try and help, unless of course, you're an Antagonist.

What Jobs are the most Useful in this Gamemode?

Basically anyone that ISN'T a civilian job. Chaplains and Clowns and Librarians (oh my!) do not belong in the ship. If you want to be useful and still try to learn the basics, play a job in Medical, or Mining, or Chef/Bartender. If you're new to the game ENTIRELY, play Cargo.

The roles you shouldn't be playing at all as a newbie, are the heads of staff, Science, and DEFINITELY not Engineering. For preference to not play, do not play the top of this list which is the chain of command. Once you read more of our guides, you can start playing the higher authorities if you wish. BEWARE though. If you are easily bored by a job or stressed by it, DO NOT PLAY IT. Rounds in this gamemode can go for HOURS.

Connecting to the Server

Download and install the BYOND client (required to play!), create an account (required to play!), start and login into BYOND and then click on one of the servers below (if just clicking them doesn't work, open up BYOND, click Open from upper left, and copy paste one of the links there and press OK):

The Rules

It isn't really fair to shove the rules straight down your throat already, but it is important that you are at least aware that we have them set in place to ensure an enjoyable experience for all players. Please take a moment and read them.

Character Setup

You'll learn this part by yourself, for the first time follow my instructions so we can get to the game as quickly as possible:

After you join the server, you will be greeted with a window which has "Setup Character", "Join Game!", "Observe" and "Show Player Polls" on it.

Click the Setup Character button and you will get a settings window. Here you can determine what your character looks like. Be sure to "Save Setup"!


Click the Set Occupation Preferences -button.


Click on a job three times so that medical, mining, or a civilian job (that ISN'T a head) is toggled to High.


Click Done.

Click the Save Setup button on Character Setup -screen and you will be an Assistant automatically the next time shift starts at the beginning.

Close the Character Setup -screen, choose Join Game! (if there's no Join Game! -button, it means that the round hasn't started yet, in this case click on "Declare Ready!").


A list of available jobs will pop up, choose anyone you want, as long as it isn't a head, or at the top left.

Trust me, do not pick any other job as you're still only learning the basics and are not ready for them!


Welcome to the Station! You'll join the other players on the Station by spawning into the Arrivals Shuttle - don't get scared if it's been blown to pieces and you spawn into deadly space, it happens from time to time and you'll get to try again soon.

Heads Up Display

Let us introduce to you what you are seeing, starting from the tabs located in the upper right corner:

The Tabs

The tabs.

  • Report Issue: Is self-explanatory, for reporting bugs and what-not.
  • Wiki: Opens the game wiki in your internet browser.
  • Github: Opens a website where you can see FTL13's code.
  • Rules: Opens the rules.
  • Changelog: Opens the changelog.

  • In-game tabs:
    • Status: Lists various points of interest such as current intent, move mode, and oxygen tank statuses (if applicable).
    • Admin: The first option in this tab, 'Adminhelp', is something that should always be remembered, adminhelp sends a direct message for questions pertaining gameplay and/or reporting players breaking the rules. 'Adminnotice' displays admin notices. 'Adminwho', gives a list of in-game admins.
    • IC: Gives a list of In-Character actions that can be done at the moment.
    • OOC: Gives a list of Out-Of-Oharacter actions, which are anything outside of the current game.
    • Object: Actions that can be done with objects current at hand.
    • Preferences: Gives a list of toggleable out-of-character settings.


Your inventory is along the bottom and lower left of the screen (yellow area on the first picture).

Commands are to the lower right corner, and your personal status is on the right edge of the screen (pink area on the first picture).

1 Hud-inventory.png Inventory - These are the various equipment slots you have. Can be collapsed and expanded by clicking the backpack icon.
Hud-Headwear.png Headwear slot - For hats, helmets and flowers.
Hud-Eyewear.png Eyewear slot - For glasses, goggles, eyepatches and other eyewear.
Hud-Mask.png Mask slot - For masks, either for your mouth or for your whole face.
Hud-Earwear.png Earwear slot - For headsets (radio) or pens.
Hud-Uniform.png Uniform slot - For jumpsuits or shorts.
Hud-Exosuit.png Exosuit slot - For space suits, jackets, armor, etc.
Hud-Handwear.png Handwear slot - For gloves.
Hud-Footwear.png Footwear slot - For shoes and boots.
Hud-Exosuitslot.png Exosuit container slot - For big or small things, like oxygen tanks or guns, depending on your exosuit.
Hud-ID.png ID slot - For your ID, wallet or PDA.
Hud-Belt.png Belt slot - For belt-wearable items like a toolbelt, PDA, oxygen tank, gun, etc.
Hud-Back.png Back slot - For a backpack, satchel or huge items like a fireaxe, big oxygen tank.
Hud-Pocket.png Pocket slots - For all small items.
Picture of the game with the HUD parts numbered.
2 Hud-hands.gif Hands - Shows you what you are currently holding, and which hand you will interact with. This is also where you can switch between which hand you're currently using.
3 Hud-intent.gif Intent Switch - This is your intent. Decides how you will interact towards another person when you click on them.
Intent Help.png Help - Help, well, helps people. This can mean you're trying to wake someone up, help them stand (both of which require an empty hand), give them CPR (to keep them alive if their status is critical) or medication, if you're compassionately inclined. As stated earlier, trying to help someone with an item equipped will usually just make you beat them with the object, and then have you possibly be beaten by security - also known as being passive-aggressive.

Clicking yourself with the Help Intent gives you a brief self-diagnosis--if you don't have a health analyzer handy, at least you know what parts of your body to target when healing yourself.

Help intent also allows you to walk through other people instead of bumping into them.

Intent Disarm.png Disarm - Disarm has the highest chance to disable your target by either stunning, weakening or even knocking them unconscious. Disarm tends to be the most useful for ensuring that you survive and come out in top in a duel and it has plenty of offensive use in larger brawls and is used most often. As goes a popular saying, "disarm intent is best intent."

Many actions can be resisted by spamming the resist action, but if they're floored then they can't do shit. Trying to disarm someone with an empty hand will either push them down for about five seconds - buying you precious time to secure your escape, or make them drop their weapon which WILL make them a lot less dangerous and turn the tables if they were carrying something particularly robust, like a circular saw.

Intent Grab.png Grab - Grabbing someone will place a hold on them. Grabbing them again will cause to put them in progressively more advanced holds: passive, aggressive, hands, and neck.

Passive is used to make people follow you but they can break free by simply moving in another direction. Aggressive is essentially the same thing, But the targeted person must try to resist to weaken your hold to a less advanced stage (provided they're not disabled) and escape.

Hands is similar to aggressive, but you can throw them onto tables or across the room. Neck will move them onto the same tile as you, knock them to the ground and cause you to move much slower. While you've placed a hold on someone's neck, they will slowly lose oxygen, but you can press "kill" to speed up the process. You must have an empty hand slot to try and grab someone (try right clicking them and selecting "pull" to get them to follow you)!

Intent Harm.png Harm - Harm does the most damage and will crit them more quickly than disarm. It's most useful when your victim is already disabled somehow.
4 Hud-walkrun.gif Run Switch - A button that toggles between running and walking. Running over wet floors will cause you to slip.
5 Hud-target.gif Body Target - Shows what part of someone's body you will interact with. Interacting with different parts can do different things. To change this, click on the different parts of the body.
6 Commands:

Hud-pull.png Stop Pull - Right-clicking some objects gives you the option to pull them. When you want to stop pulling, hit this button.

Hud-resist.png Resist - Used to free yourself if you've been restrained by something.
The resist button is used to... resist, or break free from these kinds of situations:
  • Someone else's grab
  • Chair of bed you're buckled on to
  • Handcuffs
  • Space vines
  • Welded or locked Lockers
  • Stop, Drop, and Rolling when you're on fire

Hud-drop.png Drop - Hitting this will drop whatever you have in your currently active hand.

Hud-throw.png Throw - Toggles Throw mode. Clicking anywhere on the screen with this active will throw the object in your active hand in that direction. It also lets you catch things thrown at you.

7 Hud-health.gif Health - Fades to orange, then red as you take more damage. The letters CRIT means you are currently dying. You may be saved if someone administers medical treatment in time. Performing CPR on someone in critical condition can prolong their death long enough to get them to medical treatment.
8 Hud-internals.gif Internals Status - Shows whether or not you have internals running. Internals consist of an oxygen tank and a breath mask. Internals are required in areas exposed to space or hazardous gases. Clicking this will toggle it on/off if you have them equipped.

Useful shortcuts for using most of the HUD commands can be found here.

Status Alerts

These icons are normally not seen on the screen. They will only appear if something is wrong.

Hud-oxy.gif Oxygen warning - The air you breath in does not have enough oxygen.

Hud-pressure.gif Pressure warning - Pressure levels are too high (red) or too low (black). Low and high pressures can kill you.

Tox in air.gif Toxin warning - You are breathing in toxic gases.

Hud-fire.png Fire warning - The air is hot enough to burn you.

Hud-freeze.gif Freeze warning - The air is cold enough to freeze you.

Hud-temp.gif Temperature warning - You get too cold or too hot.

Hud-hunger.gif Hunger warning - You're starting to get hungry, starting from yellow to red, gray means you're bloated. You cannot die from hunger, but the longer you go without food, the slower you will be able to run.

Doing Things

The game uses a point-and-click system. You select which hand you wish to use with the Hud-hands.gif hand buttons and by clicking on the item you wish to interact with.

E.g. if you want to heal someone's bruise damage with a bruisepack, you first click on the bruisepack with an empty hand to pick it up and then click on the patient with the bruise pack in your active hand.

Some items can hold more items, such as a backpack. To open it, simply click on it. If you wish to remove your backpack from your back (or any other wearable container item), click and drag it to an empty hand.

To drop an item, simply hit the Drop button with the item in your active hand.

Learn as You Play -Exercises

Here we come to the first sign of of whether you'll be a good player or not:

If you're bored already and can't be assed to do these exercises then you're probably not going to like Space Station 13.

If you are eager to learn, however, you will become a good player.

These exercises are not mandatory, but they will make you "get" the user interface much more quickly, and teach you how to communicate with others, which is extremely important. You can try to learn it by yourself, but DON'T JUST GRAB AN ITEM AND START HITTING PEOPLE WITH IT, or your existence on SS13 will be very short indeed. We highly recommend following through the short tutorial which is followed by this.

First Day on the Job:

Clothing and Internals

Welcome aboard the Space Station 13, chances are you have arrived late in the shift and are currently located on the Arrival Shuttle.
Backpack.png1. Navigation and items:
Firstly you need to learn how to the inventory works. Head over to the blue and pink lockers and open them, pick up a jumpsuit you like and a pair of shoes and place them in your backpack. When you're done close the locker.
  1. Use the movement keys (arrow keys, numpad keys with numlock off or WASD with the in-game hotkeys on) to move.
  2. Click the locker with an empty hand selected to open it.
  3. Right-click the locker and choose a jumpsuit you like, click the 'Move to top' option.
  4. Click the jumpsuit with an empty hand to pick it up.
  5. Switch hands by clicking on the Hud-hands.gif hand button or by pressing Page Up.
  6. Repeat this for shoes and pick them up.
  7. Click the backpack with the hand which has the jumpsuit in order to place it inside the backpack.
  8. Place the shoes inside the backpack.
  9. Click the locker with an empty hand to close it.
Brshoe.png2. Clothing:
Now you'll need to head out of the Arrival Shuttle to a secluded area and change your clothes.
  1. Head out of the Arrival Shuttle to the north.
  2. Go into either of the Escape Pod shaft (red doors).
  3. In your inventory bar on the bottom left, click the gray jumpsuit, that you're wearing, to take it off (notice that your PDA and ID also fall off because the slot availability changes depending on your clothing).
  4. Now open your backpack and take the new jumpsuit out.
  5. Click the now vacant slot (where your jumpsuit used to be, the left side of your inventory) to get dressed.
  6. Pick up your ID and place it back in your ID slot (bottom row, third left slot from your hands).
  7. Pick up your PDA and place it on your belt (bottom row, second left slot from your hands).
  8. Now remove your shoes, take the new ones from your backpack and place the new ones on.
  9. You may leave the old jumpsuit and shoes here as you won't need them anymore.
BreathMask.png3. Internals:
The station has likely been beat up a bit since the beginning of the round and so it is a good idea to put internals on for just in case we come across a place with no breathable atmosphere. The internals can be found ready in a box in your backpack. Take them out of the box and put them on.
  1. Open the backpack and take out the box.
  2. Open the box with your other hand.
  3. Take out the breath mask and place it in your mask slot (upper slot of your inventory).
  4. Pick up your PDA from your belt and place it in your free pocket (bottom row, to the right of your hands).
  5. Take the emergency oxygen tank from the box and put it where your PDA used to be on the belt.
  6. Turn internals on by clicking on the internals status icon (number 8 on the HUD-image above).

Great! Now you're ready to start your first day on Space Station 13!

Writing, radio and PDA's

Let's learn how basic communication works.

Pen.png4. Writing:
It's good to have things written down, so I want you to write your name on the sheet of paper in the Security Checkpoint.
  1. Head out of the maintenance shaft through the same door you came in.
  2. Go south past the arrival shuttle and then to the right.
  3. There is a small office with gray and red floors there with a desk which should have a pen, a sheet of paper and a recharger.
  4. Get to the desk, pick the pen and click on the sheet of paper.
  5. Write "Assistant [your name] arrived on SS13 on [date here]" (example: Assistant Matt Droid arrived on SS13 on 27.11.2010) and hit OK.
  6. Put the pen back on the desk, examine the note (Shift + Click it), and close the window after you're done examining.
Headset.png5. Radio:
Okay, you're an assistant, which means you can theoretically work anywhere and assist with tasks. Practice dictates otherwise, but we won't pay lazy asses round here, so try to get a job now. Try to ask someone if they need assistance.
  1. Using the radio is simple. Instead of using say "Hello" like you would to say things to the people around you, you use say ";Hello". Basically you add a semicolon before your message. Some departments have department radios (e.g. security, engineering, medical). As an assistant, however, you don't belong to a department, and as such don't have a department radio, but when you do, it works by writing say ".h Hello" (or #h, or :h for departmental radio, whichever suits you best).
  2. Be polite and professional when asking. An example of how to ask: say ";This is assistant [your name], I've just arrived on this station and am wondering if anyone needs assistance with any job."
  3. Then you wait for a reply, if someone says they need you, then go to them and learn from them, you can continue these exercises at any times. If the call ends up with you dead on the floor, don't get mad, it happens all the time.
  4. If you don't get a reply, continue with this exercise.
Normalpda.gif6. PDA:
You have been issued with a Portable Data Assistant which you should now have in your pocket. I want you to enable the PDA's flashlight and send a message to some random person.
  1. Your PDA already holds a pen inside, which is removable by right-clicking on the PDA and selecting Remove Pen.
  2. The PDA can also hold an ID card inside it. Take your ID and click the PDA with your ID in active hand to place it in. Your PDA/ID combination can be held in your ID slot to function as an ID card but this way you can also save one inventory slot.
  3. Open your PDA by clicking and dragging the PDA to anywhere you can see on the screen. You can also take it in your hand and use it by clicking it again or pressing Page Down.
  4. The PDA has several tools available. Different department's PDA's have more specific tools like health analyzers and power monitors. Yours is simple however and only has a few basic tools.
  5. To enable the flashlight click the 'enable flashlight' link at the bottom. Note that the flashlight is very weak. You'll see the difference in dark areas such as maintenance shafts.
  6. To send a message, open the Messenger from the main menu.
  7. You'll see a list of detected PDA's, click one at random and send a message to them. Message's content is your choice, if you can't think of anything just say "Hi!", don't get upset if the recipient doesn't answer, they're probably dead or just very busy.
  8. Close the PDA.


You've just finished the tutorial and know how basic things works (or at least a little better than just jumping right in without following this through).

But wait! The learning doesn't just stop here, not for a looong time. There's so much to learn on each job on the station, all the tips and tricks of the trade... the learning NEVER ENDS!

Next recommended steps

  1. Explore the station, keep your mouse cursor over doors and check your lower left bar for the room's name. Check the map and get used to the layout, the station is really not as big as it first seems.
  2. Talk to people, ask them what they're doing and if you could be of any assistance. The bar is an excellent place to find bored people who have nothing else to do but socialize.
  3. Go get a rookie-version of some job, (civilian jobs are mostly easy) and join a department mid-shift. Most of these jobs give you no pressure if you join mid-shift. Walk to the Executive Officer (XO)'s desk (if there's no one at the desk you can PDA message the XO asking him/her to come over as soon as possible) and ask the XO a job recommendation or you can recommend a job idea of your own (e.g. Pianist, Space Hobo, Waiter, Test Subject, Boxer)!
  4. Most rounds end with a shuttle call, the Escape Shuttle will arrive to the Escape Shuttle Hallway, which you can find easily if you follow the panicking people, blood trails and hallways leading east. Get on board the shuttle, buckle yourself to a chair and enjoy the ride! When you arrive to CentCom, the round ends and another one starts soon after, such is the circle of life in Space Station 13.
  5. Read the few tips underneath and start your second round by choosing your first "real job" as a Cargo Technician, which you should probably play for at least a few rounds. Don't get greedy, work your way slowly up from civilian jobs to more vital ones. Good luck and have fun!

Basic Controls Summary

  • Arrow keys, numpad keys with numlock off or WASD with hotkeys to move
  • type ooc "Hello" to speak Out-Of-Character (OOC)
  • type say "Hello" to speak In-Character (IC). Clicking the chat button in the lower right corner will automatically place say in the chat bar.
  • type say ";Hello" to speak over the radio (in character)
  • type say ":h Hello" to speak over your department radio (in character), if you have one. See headsets for more details.
  • Left click items to interact with them.
  • Right click items to bring up the context menu.

Keyboard Shortcuts

Check out the list of Keyboard Shortcuts for making your life on the station easier.

General Tips

Some general tips to get you through gameplay:

  • Play your first "real" round as a Cargo Technician - it will let you learn the controls from more experienced players (notably the Quartermaster) in a low stress, low importance job, while being useful. All the info how to do the job (and any job, for that matter) can be found on the job's own page. There's no need to rush into things, read the job page entirely and you've learned more than most at that point.
  • It's perfectly okay and encouraged to tell people you are new in IC chat! Some of your coworkers might even take the time to show you the ropes.
  • Keep a close eye on the chatlog, especially if things are happening fast, you might miss an important big, red, bolded text.
  • Not sure what something is? Shift+click on an object to examine it. If you need more info, search the object from wiki. Every door on the station has a label, so if you're not sure where you are, examine a nearby door and check the map.
  • Didn't understand something someone said? Check Terminology, there's a big chance you'll find your translation there.
  • Some things still seem incomprehensible? Ask away by using Adminhelp (press F1 or type Adminhelp).
  • Join after the round officially starts, so to minimize the risk of being the target of an antagonist.
  • Clicking and dragging your PDA enables hands free usage. Clicking your PDA with an ID places it inside.
  • If OOC chat is too noisy for you you can toggle it off under the Preferences tab in-game.
  • Internals are important in case you find yourself in an area without oxygen. You'll know if this is happening by an O2 indicator flashing and messages in chat that you are gasping for breath. You start with a box with internals in your backpack. To set up an internal gas supply, you need a mask and an oxygen tank. Put the mask on the mask slot and your oxygen tank on your belt, pocket or back. Then click the internals status button to toggle it. Note that they run out of air eventually, the pressure of the gas supply in use can be observed from the info-tab.
  • Space is deadly without a space suit on, and a set of internals running, or proper mutations which enable you to live without air or warmth.
  • Examining your radio headset will list all available channels and how to talk on them.
  • Having your intent on 'help' will let you walk through others with help intent on instead of bumping into them. Always have 'help' on when moving around.
  • If you get contacted by an admin please reply politely and simply tell your side of the story. You reply to admins by clicking on their name.
  • The medi-pen in your internals box will stabilize people who have taken more then 100 points of damage. If you feel at risk of falling into critical health feel free to inject yourself with it. It will slowly heal a minor amount of damage and stave off death. Do note it will not revive someone from critical health, they will still need to receive external aid.


  • Tell anyone about a symbol suddenly appearing over your head. You are (most likely) now part of a cult (black icon above your head), gang (brown G above your head) or revolution (red R above your head) and will get a notification of this.
  • Share any in-character information in the OOC-channel or over IRC (be careful what you say here; it's extremely easy to spoil the roundtype to everyone and doing this can and will result in a ban. See IC in OOC for more information).
  • Play any Heads of Staff jobs until you have some experience as their subordinates. Heads are (ideally) the most competent person in their department and know how to control their subordinates and get things done most efficiently. Joining as one can ruin the whole department, and generally make everyone have a bad time.
  • Play Security roles until you have a very good handle on the game's mechanics. Security staff are mostly needed where things get very hectic and robust. Being extremely non-robust is likely to make you only be in the way of the competent security staff.
  • If you get killed, don't complain in OOC. If you feel the kill was unjust, use Adminhelp (same reason and the first one).

Also, try to resist the urge to press the "be syndicate" buttons when you join the game. Antagonist roles can be excessively hard, and next to impossible to the newest of players! See the requirements next to each antagonist job and train them before applying. Get your space legs for a bit, and hope you get brainwashed in a Revolution or Cultist round to have a watered down traitor experience before taking the plunge.

If you become an antagonist (you can tell by the big red text that appears saying you are a Traitor/Revolutionary Head/Cultist/Space Wizard/Nuclear Operative/Blob), and you didn't want to be one, go to the Admin tab in the top right corner of your screen, and hit the button labeled Adminhelp. Then, in the textbox that appears, politely tell the admins that you're a new guy and want your antagonist status gone. If you DO want to play an antagonist, ignore the last step,and take a read through the Game Modes page and figure out what antagonist you are, and how to play it. Adminhelp if you have any questions, however, and do not say you are an antagonist in the OOC Chat. This will get you banned for spoiling the roundtype.

How to Get Your Favorite Job

Read more about job selection and assignment here.


Keep in mind that the point of this game (like any game) is to have fun! Just follow the rules, don't be a jerk, check the updates and remember a little of how each job works (so you know what department blows up the ship and which one cures you of diseases) and you're well on your way becoming that awesome guy who everyone likes working with.

Need More Help?

Look at the Frequently Asked Questions or ask a question here. We'll answer it.