Star Atlas 101 — I have $20, what can I do?

Galia Crafters
9 min readFeb 2, 2024

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As Star Atlas continues to grow and new players join, the question often comes up around how to get started with a specific amount of funds. In the Star Atlas ecosystem, there is something for everyone, and in this brief guide, we’d like to outline some of the options available today and associated prices.

This guide is for educational purposes, and is not financial advice. Prices can change quickly in a fluid market, so please do your own research and calculations before making any decisions. This guide also assumes familiarity with blockchain and cryptocurrency basics such as having a wallet.

Current Game Loop Options

If you haven’t already, we encourage you to take a look at our guide covering the overall gameplay loops available today in Star Atlas. This will help you understand what loop is most appealing to you.

You can find the guide here.

Option 1: Free Ships in the Star Atlas Game on Epic Games

Total Cost for Option 1: $0

For those of you who want to load right into flying, racing, shooting, the showroom and more, this is the fastest option for gameplay at the moment. Currently, you’ll need a game code for this, so head on over to the Star Atlas Discord and request one; someone in the community will have one for you.

The game currently includes a free flyable ship, the Floyd Line Aerospace One. This is a medium freighter that can give you a feel for this class.

The game also features a rotation of ships you can test fly for free, which means you can try out ships before buying them!

For example, currently we see that in addition to the Floyd Line ship, you can also try out the Fimbul Airbike and the Fimbul Lowbie.

Total Cost for Option 1: $0

Option 2: Paid Ships in the Star Atlas Game on Epic Games

Total Cost for Option 2: ~$9

If you would prefer to buy a ship so that you can fly it permanently, you can do so from the Star Atlas Marketplace.

Galia Crafters does not use referral links. If you are interacting with links on other sites, be mindful that a referral link permanently binds to your wallet.

In keeping with our topic of looking at total spend of less than $20, currently the main options will be in the XX-Small ship class. In the market, we can see several options in this class:

At the time of writing, here are the market costs for each of the ships in this class (keep in mind that prices can fluctuate quickly on the dynamic market):

Fimbul Airbike: $8.80
Opal Jet: $9.25
Pearce X4: $11.40
VZUS solos: $11.67
Fimbul ECOS Unibomba: $18.90

While these ships are all of the XX-Small class, the prices are quite different. This is more due to their different stats affecting things such as scanning, which is a gameplay loop we’ll cover later on in the SAGE portion.

For the Star Atlas game, pick the ship that appeals to you the most. For racing and light combat, the Pearce X4 is a popular choice. Regardless of what you pick, all of the XX-Small ships are great, so don’t worry about the choices too much!

In addition to the cost of the ship, we also want to consider the SOL it costs for the actions. Like any other project built on Solana, the main costs here are:

Rent: A ‘deposit’ collected by Solana when receiving an asset for the first time.

Network Fees: The fee to complete the transaction.

While rent may be seemingly minor for some, we recognize that we have players from all over the world and all walks of life. Thus, we want to cover this briefly for transparency on costs.

Rent is charged once, the first time you receive a new asset (such as a ship). This rent is generally the same amount regardless of the ship. For example, we can take a look at a couple of purchases with a new wallet. First, let’s look at buying a VZUS solos for $11.67:

Rent of 0.00204 SOL is collected here

We can see from the above that the rent is 0.00204 SOL, the cost of the ship is $11.67 USDC, and we would receive one VZUS solos. The network fee is 0.00007 SOL. Now let’s look at a ship with a different price:

The same rent is collected for a different ship

Here, we are buying the Unibomba for a higher price, but the rent is the same. You may notice that the network fee is different; this is simply due to costs on the Solana network at the time of the transaction.

Once you have an asset in your wallet, rent is no longer charged if you are adding more quantities (such as another ship) of that same type. For example, in this test wallet, we already have a Fimbul Airbike. If we buy another Airbike, we see that no rent is charged:

No rent is charged when you already have an asset

Ultimately, all of the rent that you have ‘deposited’ can be claimed back. For example, if you sell the last remaining ship you have of a certain type, you can receive your rent back. There are also community sites such as Step Finance or Hedgehog Markets that have tools to help you reclaim rent.

Total Cost for Option 2: ~$9 (Fimbul Airbike)

Breakdown: ~$8.80+ (Ship) and ~$0.20 (Rent) and ~$0.01 (Network Fee)

Option 3: Faction Fleet (Semi-Passive Staking)

Total Cost for Option 3: $19.05
Total Net Return for Option 3: 0.28538 ATLAS Per Day

For those looking to generate a return from their ship, the first option might be Faction Fleet. Please keep in mind that some of these game loops such as Faction Fleet and SAGE will have some thresholds for economies of scale. At just 1 or 2 XX-Small ships, the rewards might be extremely small. However, that is up for you to decide; we’ll lay out the numbers here.

If you haven’t already, we recommend you read the previously mentioned article which covers some of the terminology used here. Also, note that Faction Fleet (also referred to as SCORE) will gradually transition over to SAGE game loops, so please check the Star Atlas Discord for any announced updates on this.

For Faction Fleet, the ship acquisition costs are the same as for the game above. Sticking to our $20 limit, it means that we will be able to get at most 2x Fimbul Airbikes. With a single rent deposit, this comes out to ~$17.80.

We will need the rest to procure resources to use in Faction Fleet. Each ship staked in Faction Fleet consumes R4, and in return produces ATLAS. For one Airbike, these are the current Faction Fleet stats:

ATLAS Produced Per Day: 0.492 ATLAS

Fuel Burned Per Day: 43.2
Ammunition Burned Per Day: 28.8
Food Burned Per Day: 28.8
Toolkits Burned Per Day: 43.2

Resupply Period: 21 Hours

The resupply period is how often the ship needs to be filled with resources before it runs out and stops producing ATLAS. This can be done manually in the Faction Fleet interface, or you can choose to leverage community tools (please do your own research on these tools for safety).

In order to supply your ship, you’ll need the R4 mentioned above. R4 can be purchased on the Star Atlas Marketplace using ATLAS. If we go with a single 24 hour supply for one Airbike, the following are the costs of the R4 at current market rates (R4 rounded up to the nearest whole number):

Fuel: 0.08263 ATLAS
Ammunition: 0.07801 ATLAS
Food: 0.05245 ATLAS
Toolkits: 0.13595 ATLAS

Let’s take a pause and look at the return in ATLAS from this single Airbike.

ATLAS Produced Per Day: 0.492 ATLAS
ATLAS Burned Per Day: 0.34904 ATLAS
Net ATLAS Gain Per Day: 0.14269 ATLAS

Rent is also something we need to keep in mind here. Each of the R4 you buy will require a rent deposit. For example, if this is your first time buying Fuel, there will be the price of the Fuel itself:

In the transaction, you will also see the rent deposit:

Finally, there is also a similar rent deposit when you stake in Faction Fleet:

Let’s take a quick tally of the prices, and to help us see a single cost, we’ll look at everything in USDC equivalent.

2x Airbikes + Rent: ~$17.80
1 Day of R4 for 2x Airbikes + Rent: ~$0.8028
Faction Fleet Rent: ~$0.444

The total cost of staking 2x Airbikes into Faction Fleet, along with a 1 day supply of R4, is ~$19.05, and this earns a net of 0.28538 ATLAS per day when fully supplied.

Total Cost for Option 3: $19.05
Total Net Return for Option 3: 0.28538 ATLAS Per Day

Option 4: Star Atlas Golden Era (SAGE)

Total Cost for Option 4: $20
Total Net Return for Option 4: Variable

As we mentioned in our companion game loops article, the other main aspect of Star Atlas right now is SAGE. Currently, within SAGE, there are several game loops including scanning, mining, logistics and manufacturing.

To be transparent upfront, for those who are looking at a total spend of the $20 that we’ve been using for this guide, it may be a challenge at the moment on this scale to find a steady return. SAGE rewards economies of scale, and due to the many actions necessary in SAGE (which are all network transactions with network fees), this can quickly add up.

For players in the $20 range, you may want to put a ship into SAGE to give it a try and get a feel for the basic mechanics. Beyond that, we would suggest that your main focus be on the Star Atlas game as mentioned above, and potentially Faction Fleet.

However, if you do want to try to get a net return in SAGE, our recommendation would be to try scanning. Scanning is a chance-based activity, and could potentially provide returns in the form of Survey Data Units (SDUs)that you can sell on the Marketplace.

A good onboarding guide into the SAGE user experience is this one from the Aephia Guild.

The rough costs of putting a ship into SAGE are similar to Faction Fleet above, though the resources used are different. In SAGE, for scanning, the primary resource used (burned) are Toolkits. Your fleet will also require Fuel to move.

Due to the network fees, with our $20 price target, it would be prudent to only get one Airbike, which provides you plenty of funds to pay for the R4, rent and associated network costs in SAGE. You might think about leveraging community tools such as Eveeye which can help you optimize scanning locations and increase your chances of finding SDUs.

Total Cost for Option 4: $20
Total Net Return for Option 4: Variable

We hope that this overview helps those new to the ecosystem get a sense of some of the aspects around price, especially for those looking to stay within a certain cost. Above all else, there are many options for enjoyment within Star Atlas, starting for free, so our advice is to find something that you enjoy!

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Galia Crafters

Manufacturing in the Star Atlas universe and bringing power to the people.