Production (a.k.a. crafting) of blocks in StarMade is accomplished using specialized blocks or (in a limited fashion) the player's inventory. Things produced in this way may be later used for building structures and ships using Build Mode.
Production involves placing required resources in the factory or refinery inventory, setting a recipe, and then waiting a short time for the production cycle to complete. Production runs continuously producing one recipe output per cycle until the supplied resources are exhausted. Depending on the factory, running a production cycle may require power, with more power being required by more advanced factories or factories which have been enhanced.
Kinds of factories and refineries
There are three basic kinds of factories:
- Player Inventory
- There are three specialized crafting sections in the player inventory, accessed by the Craft Generics, Craft Micro and Craft Factory buttons. These can only produce Alloyed Metal Mesh and Crystal Composite for the first two, and the Basic Factory in the third one.
- These are used to convert raw resources or Scrap into Alloyed Metal Mesh, Crystal Composites and Capsules.
- Blocks: Capsule Refinery, Micro Assembler
- These are used to build the remainder of the blocks in the game.
- Blocks: Basic Factory, Standard Factory, Advanced Factory
Each factory has a standard 7x5 inventory, except for the Player Inventory ones which have only two slots each. When the factory or refinery is activated withthe lower half of the player inventory is replaced with a window showing the first three rows of the factory or refinery inventory and a scroll bar to the right side used to see the other rows. Additionally the player inventory gets a scroll bar of its own.
Factories, but not refineries or the player inventory, have a Change Production button above their inventories. This opens up a dialog used to select what the factory will produce each cycle while the factory is active. Factories can only produce one kind of thing at a time. See the Factory block pages for details on supported recipes. Next to the Change Production button is a Graph button which becomes active when a recipe has been selected. This will show what the material requirements are for the item, including the precursor items all the way down to basic materials.
Refineries and the player inventory have a Production button above their inventories. This opens up a window describing what the refinery or player factory will produce. There is no selection as with factories.
Factories and refineries - but not the player inventory - may be activated or deactivated by toggling the Active/Inactive button above their inventory. Active blocks will consume power even if they do not have enough resources to produce anything.
Factory and refinery blocks may be linked to one or more Factory Enhancers in order to increase their production multiplier, thereby improving the rate as which they produce outputs. See Factory Enhancer for details on this process.
Factories and refineries can be linked together along with Storage to create automated assembly lines capable of producing complex recipes with little or no user interaction. When a factory is linked as a master to one or more other blocks with inventories, the factory will pull from the linked inventory or inventory as many resources as are necessary to run one cycle of production. If the linked inventories do not have enough resources for one production run, the cycle will be skipped and the process re-tried on the next cycle.
As both Storage and factories have the same cycle times, it's possible to also link Storage as a master to factories in the assembly line and siphon off outputs into those inventories. Careful setting of the filter values on the Storage blocks will help keep everything in sync.
Place a Storage with several Alloyed Metal Mesh and Crystal Composites in it, then link a Basic Factory as master to the storage. In the factory select Grey Hull from the production drop down. Ensure the factory is active. As long as there are enough meshes and circuits in the storage, the factory will continue to produce hull pieces until it is deactivated.
Factories may also be chained together to produce recipes that have more than one stage. Starting with the above example, place a second Basic Factory and link it as master to the first factory. Set it's production to Grey Hull Wedge, then activate it. Now by merely supplying the Storage with mesh and circuits, the second factory will produce wedges from the hulls produced by the first factory.
Note than unlike Storage, there are no filters or other methods to control how many items are pulled from linked inventories, so in the above example the player would not be able to get both Grey Hull and Grey Hull Wedge because the second factory would consume the input from the first at the same rate it was produced. This can be solved by either having separate production lines for each final output, or clever use of factory enhancers to change the proportions of outputs. In the above example, linking one Factory Enhancer as a slave to the first factory would cause it to produce 2 hull each cycle, while the second factory only consumes a single hull to produce a wedge. The end result would be that each cycle one hull and one wedge is produced.