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The Basics

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Congratulations on your employment by NanoTrasen. Make sure to check out the other guides.

Space Station 13 is a multiplayer roleplaying game developed using the BYOND engine. In Space Station 13 (from here on to be referred to as SS13), players take the role of workers on a space station. There are many different jobs available, and each player chooses and plays a role in the space station.

The Rules

Yes, there are rules set in place to ensure an enjoyable experience for all players. Please take a moment and read them.

Joining the Server

To join the server you'll need to follow a couple of steps:

  1. Download the BYOND client from here. You'll need it to start playing
  2. Register for a BYOND account here.
  3. Add this server to your bookmarks, or just join manually using the BYOND client: byond://

If all has gone well, congratulations! You're on the server! Before you can jump in and start playing, we strongly recommend you set up your character first.

NOTE: When you join the server you will be unable to click on any html button for 5-10 seconds. Blame BYOND.

Character Setup

Character Settings.png

Character Settings

Here's where you'll set up your character's name, appearance, race, and other misc attributes, such as their languages or handicaps.

  • You may have both a first name and a last name but no one should bother you if you only have one. You WILL be bothered however if you choose some annoying and immersion breaking name on purpose. Just be smart about it, okay?
  • Gender has no impact on the gameplay, mostly
  • Age has no impact at all on the gameplay currently. It'll appear in your medical and security records.

There are currently 6 5 selectable species on vgstation:

  • Humans, the average spessman
  • Greys, gifted with telepathy but highly allergic to water
  • Vox, scaly birds allergic to oxygen
  • Diona, plant people, heal extremely fast when exposed to light and immune to toxins, but moves insanely slowly
  • Skellingtons, basically skeletons, supposedly past victims of spells of the Wizard Federation WE BARELY KNEW YE (You can still become one through genetics) ACK ACK
  • Plasmamen, humans mutated by plasma, they breath plasma and catch fire when in contact with oxygen, so do not remove your suit! Additionally resistant to fire.

There are more playable species, such as Slime People and Adamantine Golems, entirely different races such as Slimes and Xenomorphs, and subspecies such as Monkeys and Nymphs. Some species such as Tajaran (a.k.a. Catbeasts) or Unathi are in the code but can only be played by exploiting some shenanigans (hint: Genetics). (They are also valid to kill with impunity, so don't try to become one on purpose.)

  • Secondary languages let you communicate with other players who've learned that same language, without letting other players understand them. The available languages will depend on the chosen race. All races have Sol Common as the default language.
  • As for handicaps, your character may either require prescription glasses, be obese, have seizures, or be deaf. Note that Medbay can easily cure all of these, but if you pick them you probably want to keep them right?
  • You may then set your limbs to be either normal, assisted, or mechanics should you want to go full Adam Jensen.
  • Lastly, Nanotrasen Relation will indicate to syndicate agents that you might be willing to help them in their notes, should it be Opposed or Skeptical. A Loyal or Supportive relation doesn't have any effects.

Occupation Preferences

This is an important option and will be covered in more detail below.

UI Settings

UI Settings.png

This menu lets you set the color and transparency of your User Interface.

General Settings

General Settings.png

In this menu you'll find various settings that you can change later on ingame, such as whether or not listen to admin midis or hear the lobby music.

  • You may write a short Flavor Text that people will read when they examine you (only if they can identify you though)
  • You may also write your Medical, Security, and Employment records, which have no gameplay impact whatsoever, and are rather Heavy RP oriented, and thus are rarely if ever brought up during rounds on vgstation.

What really interests us on this page is the right column: the Antagonist Settings. If you set a role to "Yes", you'll be among the pool of potentially selected players when the game tries to create corresponding roles on the station, which mostly happens at the beginning of the round when the game chooses the antagonists, but may also happen later in the round during Autotraitor. Note also that "special" roles (Dionaea, Borers, pAIs, and Posibrains) are non-antag roles (by default). Note also that Space Ninjas don't actually ever spawn anymore. See the Game Modes page for more information on the various type of antagonists.

Occupations, Revisited

Occupation Preferences.png

Your occupation is, by far, one of the most important settings in the game. It affects your station access, rank, authority, equipment, and purpose in life. These range from civilian jobs such as Chefs or Janitors, all the way up to the Head of Personnel or the Captain.

Job Assignment

With the exception of Assistant, all job preferences have four levels: Never, Low, Medium, and High. These change how likely the server is to assign you that job when it compares your preferences with those of the other players.

Because of the diversity and range of jobs available, there are many ways to roleplay. A lot of these jobs, however, require a good knowledge of the game mechanics, the layout of the station, and how to use in-game tools and machinery. Because of this, the following jobs are recommended for new players:

  • Assistant: The most basic of all occupations, the assistant has no authority and, generally speaking, no responsibilities. It's an excellent opportunity to learn the game mechanics — but your access is limited, so feel free to ask other people if you can help, and they'll usually be happy to show you around their department and help you learn the ropes. It also lets you practice roleplaying, if you're still unsure about it.
  • Janitor: A simple, if menial, job that involves replacing lightbulbs, cleaning up messes, putting out wet floor signs, and then pointing them out to people who've slipped on the floor you just finished mopping. Your only responsibilities are to keep the station clean and well-lit, and it'll help you learn your way around the station and its various departments.
  • Chef: A fairly simple job that gives you a good introduction to mixing ingredients, and there's even the possibility of cake into the bargain. Recipes are available here, to help kickstart a budding Chef's career.
  • Bartender: Like the Chef, but with more alcohol. The Barman's job is primarily mixing and serving drinks to a thirsty crew. The recipes are also available here. You'd be surprised at some of the stuff you can make, so try it out!

If you're interested in other jobs, feel free to browse the Jobs. Try to avoid any Security, Engineering, or Command positions until you get a hang of the game. (Jumping into a position you're not prepared to do is a guaranteed way of making people angry at you.)

Playing the Game

If all has gone well, you should be just about ready to play your first round, and you'll be entering one of two ways:

Starting the Round

The joining and setup panel.

Each round starts with a 5-minute delay while players chat and set up their characters. If you're lucky enough to join at this point, the first thing to do is set up your character's appearance and job preferences, then click Ready.

More than likely, however, you'll arrive halfway through a game in progress. Clicking View Crew Manifest will give you a list of who's on the station, and what position they have filled. When you join the game, you'll have the opportunity to choose from a list of available positions.

When joining a game in progress, you'll spawn on the Arrivals Shuttle and will be introduced to the crew by the Arrivals Announcement Computer. From there, you can either try to find your workplace and get started, or just explore the station a bit.


The User Interface

The Space Station 13 user interface, and a view of the arrivals shuttle.

This is a general guide to the game interface; note that it won't be accurate to all UI styles, nor are all the elements shown in the image at right.

  • 1. Clothing: Anything your character is wearing. Clicking the backpack icon on the bottom left will hide this menu.
  • 2. Hands: The items you're holding in your hands. The hand you're currently using will be highlighted, and you can switch hands by clicking the appropriate hand or clicking 'Swap'. (Keyboard shortcut: Page-Up. You can also use the middle mouse (scrollwheel) button.)
  • 3. Pockets: Your jumpsuit has pockets, and anything in them is displayed here. You won't be able to use them if you're naked.
  • 4. Actions: (from left to right)
    • Bite / Kick: Toggles to select whether you will bite or kick instead of using your hands where possible.
    • Let Go: You can pull people and some items by control-clicking on them; if you're pulling something, click this button to release it. This button is only visible if you are pulling something. (Keyboard shortcut: Delete)
    • Resist: This button allows you to 'resist' something. Resisting is fully context sensitive; resisting in a locked locker will allow you to break out, while resisting while handcuffed will make you start removing your handcuffs.
    • Drop: Immediately let go of the item you're holding. (Keyboard shortcut: Home)
    • Throw: Toggle throwing; you can then throw the item in your active hand by clicking something to throw it at. (Keyboard shortcut: End)
  • 5. Movement Speed: This will toggle whether you run or walk. Walking is slower but safer, and you won't slip as easily.
  • 6. Intent: This selects how you will interact with an object or a person when you make an action. Blue is Disarm, green is Help, yellow is Grab, and red is Harm. (Keyboard shortcut: Insert to cycle to the next)
  • 7. Body Target: Shows which part of the body you will interact with, whether helping or harming. To change this, click on the different parts of the body.
  • 8. Weapon Mode: When you use a ranged weapon, this determines whether you shoot where you click, or take targets captive and fire automatically if they make a move.
  • 9. Status Icons: In the new, lighter UI styles, most of these are only visible if something's out-of-the-ordinary.
    • HUD-Heat.png Heat Warning: Appears if the air you're breathing is superheated. Usually shows up near fires.
    • HUD-Oxygen.gif Oxygen Warning: Appears if the air you're breathing has too little oxygen. If you linger too long, you'll eventually pass out and slowly asphyxiate.
    • HUD-Pressure.gif Pressure Warning: Appears if air pressure is too high or too low.
    • HUD-Plasma.gif Plasma Warning: You are breathing plasma, a toxic and flammable gas!
    • HUD-Internals-Off.png Internals: Shows whether you are running on internals (an oxygen tank and breath mask). If you have them equipped, clicking this will switch them on or off.
    • HUD-Health.png Health: Fades to red as you take more damage. If it flashes with the word CRIT, it means you are close to death and require immediate medical attention.
    • HUD-Temperature.png Temperature Warning: Appears if your surroundings are too hot or too cold.
    • HUD-Hunger.png Hunger: Appears and gradually fades to red as you get hungrier. (It'll take a while to disappear after you eat something, though.)

Interacting With the World

Interacting with your surroundings in Space Station 13 is mostly done by the mouse. You can click with an empty hand active to pick up items or open containers, click on something with an item in your active hand to use the item on it, click on a computer or device to view its display, and so on. Once you get the hang of managing your character's hands, things will make more sense: you can't, for example, open a toolbox in your left hand if your right hand is full.

A good way of interpreting the interaction system in Space Station 13 is to think of each click as 'using' the object (or hand) on whatever you're clicking on. For instance, to use a computer in real life, you'd essentially 'use' an empty hand on it to start typing. Using an empty hand on an object will pick it up, if you can hold it. Holding an item in your hand and clicking on something can result in three things:

  • If the object in hand is meant to be used with the object you're clicking on, the desired effect should occur. In the case of containers, such as drink bottles or beakers, you'll transfer a certain amount of units (usually 10) of the liquid from the container in your hand, to the container you're clicking on. For things like crowbarring the floor, you'll pry off a floor tile.
  • If the object in hand is not meant to be used with the object you're clicking on, more often than not (and very annoyingly, sometimes) you'll attack the target with the object. This can result in rather funny cases of hitting people with first aid kits, hitting your drinks machine with a bottle of vodka, etc. Or more dangerously, hitting someone with a crowbar, scalpel, toolbox, etc. This happens to be the essence of Robusting, as well (which we do not recommend you to try on unsuspecting crewmembers for no reason), which is basically clicking on someone, but with a weapon or very damaging object in hand.
  • If what you're clicking on is something that stores objects, the object will be taken out of your hand and placed in or on the target. This can be something like a table, opened locker or crate, which will place the object on top of the target, such that drinks will be placed on tables and jumpsuits will be placed in (technically, on) lockers. Objects like boxes and backpacks/satchels, which can be opened to reveal more slots for storing objects, will remove the item from your hand when clicked on, placing it in a slot inside.

It's okay to memorize those, but playing jobs that involve more object handling, such as Chef, Barman or Cargo Tech, will really help you understand how the system interprets clicks, and what to expect when trying to use something.

Interacting with Other People

/vg/station13 is a roleplay-light server, and so your interactions with those around you are going to vary, some people may be doing the bare minimum of roleplaying, and some may be roleplaying throughout every moment of the round. You won't get very far with pointing-and-clicking alone, so there are several basic commands to remember when dealing with other characters on the station:

  • Say:, Speak to those in sight. You can prefix your message a semicolon (;) to talk on the general radio channel, if you have a headset, or a colon and a letter (i.e. :h or :s) to talk on your department radio channel. (You can examine headsets to see which channels they can access.)
  • Whisper: Speak quietly, only audible to those right next to you. Anyone farther away will be told that you're whispering something.
  • Me: Lets you narrate your character's actions in an emote. This will have your character's make in front of the text.
  • OOC: Speak to everyone currently playing, in an Out-Of-Character way. This can be used to ask about game mechanics and other things not concerning the game. Try not to mention events happening in the game in OOC, as everyone can see it.

Don't be afraid to be creative! Writing speech with an accent, or being descriptive with your emotes, will make you a lot more memorable.

For example:

Say ":n Dr. Glass, could you come to Xenobiology, please? I think you should see this...

Whisper "Don' bloody move, yeah, or you're a dead man.

Me "grumbles irritably and kicks his feet up on his desk, glowering at his boss.

And don't forget to type properly! Consistently making typos or forgetting punctuation looks about the same to other players as showing up to a job interview drunk and slurring.

Here's a quick list of the different radio keys: (note: your headset must have the channels to use them. Examine the head to determine whether it does.)

  • :h Will send your message to your department radio directly.
  • :c Will send the message to the Command Channel
  • :s Will send the message to the Security Channel
  • :m Will send the message to the Medical Channel
  • :e Will send the message to the Engineering Channel
  • :n Will send the message to the Research Channel
  • :u Will send the message to the Supply Channel
  • :d Will send the message to the Service Channel

So you've avoided getting banned

Got the hang of basic shit yet? Here is some more advanced topics so you can get a real job and those mean people in red stop arresting you.

  • Start learning how to handle your own with the General Help guide: Sometimes you don't know how to buckle to a chair, or how to stop bashing that crewman with a medical kit
  • Read up on some other guides: Otherwise you will be considered a clueless shit, and everyone will start yelling and you'll start spilling spaghetti everywhere.
  • Be an antagonist: So, game not fun enough for you? Need some shitty green text to validate you? Try being a traitor, or some other evil space horror. This is a very nice place to go and learn about the different antagonists.
  • Help out the game: If you know BYOND, and have little to no time on your hands, go make some shit instead of mouth breathing and asking for things.

Welcome to /vg/station, and good luck.

You're going to need it.

Guides of /vg/station 13
New Player Guides
General Help - The Basics - Rules - A Crash Course In Roleplaying - Guide to Construction - Guide to Combat - Terminology - Shortcuts - Troubleshooting
Service Guides
Guide to Cargo Orders - Guide to Food and Drinks - Guide to Hydroponics - Guide to Beekeeping - Guide to Xenobotany - Guide to Vox Hydroponics - Guide to Cash Registers
Medical Guides
Guide to Medicine - Guide to Surgery/Autopsy - Guide to Chemistry - Guide to Virology - Guide to Genetics - Guide to Cloning
Scientific Research Guides
Guide to Research and Development - Guide to Robotics - Guide to Toxins - Guide to Telescience - Guide to Mechanic - Guide to Xenobiology - Guide To Xenoarchaeology
Engineer Guides
Guide to Engineering - Guide to Wiring - Guide to Construction - Guide to Advanced Construction - Guide to Singularity Engine - Guide to Atmospherics - Guide to Solars - Guide to Antimatter Engine (AME) - Guide to Thermoelectric Generator (TEG) - Guide to Supermatter Engine (SME) - Guide to R-UST - Guide to Space Pods - Guide to Telecommunications - Guide to Hacking - Guide to Assemblies
Security and Command Guides
Space Law - Standard Operating Procedure - Guide to Security - Guide to Forensics - Guide to Command - Chain of Command - Guide to Silicon Laws
Antagonist Guides
Guide to Traitor - Guide to Nuclear Operations - Guide to Revolution - Guide to Xenomorph - Guide to Cult of Nar-Sie - Guide to AI Malfunction - Illicit Access - Random Events
Misc Guides
Guide to Hypothermia - Makeshift weapons - Guide to Ghetto Chemistry - Races - Creatures - Guide to Paperwork - List of Pastebins specific to /vg/station - Reading Material - NTSL (Nanotrasen Scripting Language)
Admin and Coder Guides
Guide to Admin Tools - Understanding SS13 Code - Guide to Git CLI - SS13 for Experienced Programmers - Guide to Spriting - Guide to Mapping - Guide to GitHub/Merging Upstream Changes - Getting Your Pull Accepted - DM/BYOND: Undocumented Stuff