With Update 3.2, with mining the second major profession has finally arrived in the game after trading and transport. Our tips & tricks will help you get the most out of this profession.
The german version of this guide can be found behind the link.
In this article you will find out
- how to handle your MISC Prospector perfectly
- how to distinguish between good and bad resource deposits
- which materials are particularly worth it
- what you need to be aware of when extracting resources
- what the future of the mining profession in Star Citizen looks like
- which production chains should one day be possible in Star Citizen
Please note: This article may contain wording errors. We apologize for any inconvenience. SPACE4GAMES will be completely available in English later this year following a relaunch.
In order to have complete production chains in a player-driven economy in Star Citizen at some point in the future, a lot of basic work is still needed. That means in plain language: Professions, which cover different branches of industry such as raw material extraction and logistics. The foundations for logistics have already been laid since Update 3.0.
With ships like the Freelancer or the Caterpillar we load the freight rooms at trading kiosks and ship our goods to another place in the persistent universe, where we hope to achieve a sufficiently high price in order not only to recoup purchasing and transport costs (fuel and possibly also ammunition and repair costs), but also to make a decent profit.
Mining is the first rather “active” profession in the game since Update 3.2. Mining in Star Citizen requires not only a suitable spaceship, but also a great deal of skill and sensitivity. We now present you the first and basic version of mining in detail and show you which tips & tricks you can use to become a professional miner. We will also explain what is planned for mining in Star Citizen in the future and what an extensive production chains could look like in Star Citizen in the (somewhat more distant) future.
Attention: Star Citizen is still in its alpha phase. Changes are normal with every patch. Therefore, data in this guide may sometimes differ from practice. We try to incorporate changes immediately and keep the guide up to date at all times, but if you notice significant differences, please let us know in the comments.
- 1 Mining and Performance
- 2 Guide to Mining on Planets and Moons
- 3 Find resources: Surface scan
- 3.1 Find resources: Depth scan
- 3.2 Where can I find the best rocks?
- 3.3 Which resources are worthwhile?
- 3.4 What should I pay particular attention to when it comes to minerals?
- 3.5 Mining Resource Priority List
- 3.6 Alignment of the spaceship before mining
- 3.7 Professional fragmentation of rocks
- 3.8 Exit Strategy
- 3.9 Cracking particularly tough stones
- 3.10 Loading the material into the freight containers
- 4 The future of mining in Star Citizen
- 5 Mining-Plattform Orion: From miner to industrial magnate
- 6 Production chains in Star Citizen: The road ahead
Mining and Performance
Star Citizen is in the alpha phase and Update 3.2 is still far from performing perfectly. Although the performance has greatly improved since Update 3.0 and the FPS on a PC with the specifications i7-4770K, 32 GB RAM, GTX 1080 Ti ( the bottleneck here is the CPU) averages 25-30, the regularly occurring, short frame drops can make a mining run a test of patience. The fine adjustment of the mining laser requires sensitivity and frame drops can be quite annoying.
Keep that in mind if you want to mine. Performance optimizations are a regular part of the next updates. If the performance is not enough for you at the moment, we recommend to come back for Update 3.3 (approx. 10 October 2018). Tips on performance can also be found in our performance guide.
Guide to Mining on Planets and Moons
The spaceship: MISC Prospector
To be able to mine, you must own the appropriate spaceship. Currently there is only one ship that can mine: the Prospector. We present this single-seater industrial ship in detail in a separate article.
The Prospector can currently be purchased for 185 $ on the official website of developer Cloud Imperium Games (CIG). If, on the other hand, you bought the concept of the recycling ship Vulture some time ago, you will receive a Prospector on loan until the Drake ship is completed and published.
Find resources: Surface scan
In Alpha 3.2 of Star Citizen we find different resources in rocks on moons. We enter the Prospector and fly to a moon, like Daymar. We can jump up to a few kilometres to outposts on the moons surface using Quantum Travel (align the ship with “B” to target location, charge Quantum Drive and keep key “B” pressed to trigger the Quantum Jump). Then turn directly to the nearby surface. Press the “TAB” key to switch to scanning mode. Hold down the left mouse button to fully load the scan and release the button to trigger the ping.
Attention: The scan mechanics will be significantly extended in the future. While at the moment a scan is only used with the Prospector for basic information gain, it should also influence the visibility of spaceships at a later stage of the development of Star Citizen. That means: Who sends out a Ping, will light up on the radar of other ships like a Christmas tree. To prevent this, we can limit the radius of the scan. This function is already available (turn the mouse wheel up or down in scanning mode), but scans currently (update 3.2) do not directly affect the visibility of a ship.
Fun Fact: If you scan another ship with the Prospector, you already get some information about the respective ship. With update 3.3 this will be extended even further.
You will now see rocks with resources that can be extracted. Fly towards the marked stones (due to the procedural generation, the rocks can sometimes pop up a bit late; if a rock is not shown, you have to fly a bit closer) and choose a point from which you can target several resource deposits. Now point the target cursor at a rock.
Find resources: Depth scan
Once you have aligned your ship to a rock, switch to mining mode (default key “M). Depth scan begins now. The following data is obtained:
On the top right of the mining interface of the Prospector you will find the mass of the rock. The higher the mass, the more energy you need to crack the rock.
For the most part, the rocks consist of so-called “inert materials”, i.e. worthless components of the stone (rock, dust, etc.). We also find more valuable materials such as Agricium, quartz, gold or diamond. The composition is presented to us below the mass display of the rock. The material quantity is given as a percentage.
The instability of the rock is displayed to the left below the energy transfer graph. The higher the instability, the faster the rock tends to overload and explode uncontrollably.
The resistance of a rock (the value is displayed in the user interface below the instability value) indicates how hard it is for our mining laser to crack it. The closer the value aproaches 1, the more resistant the stone is and the more difficult will the injection of energy be.
Where can I find the best rocks?
You can of course search for mining resources anywhere on the moon’s surface. However, the most lucrative rocks have been found near mining outposts. In a relatively large radius around outposts (such as ArcCorp Mining 141 on Daymar) there are often rocks with above-average material compositions.
Which resources are worthwhile?
If you always immediately attack the first resource depot with your mining laser, you will soon find that you are wasting a lot of time for extremely little money. It is therefore good to know which depots contain which materials. An official list does not yet exist, but below we have prepared an overview of the currently known deposits and the materials they contain for you. Please note that minerals can occur in different deposits and do not have to be restricted to one deposit only. A prioritization suggestion for the material search can be found later in this article.
If you have further information on minerals and deposits, please let us know in the comments so that we can expand this list.
|Granite||Agricium, Corundum, Diamond, Laranite|
|Igneous||Gold, Titanium, Tungsten|
|Quartzite||Beryl, Diamond, Gold, Quartz|
|Shale||Agricium, Aluminium, Gold, Titanium|
Now you can quickly preselect the deposits you want to look at – which saves you a lot of time because you don’t have to do the depth scan first.
What should I pay particular attention to when it comes to minerals?
If you take a closer look at a deposit, pay particular attention to the percentages. The higher the percentage, the more profit! For example, an 18% quartz deposit is more lucrative than a 0.4% diamond deposit. However, one percent Laranite is worth more than 18 percent Quartz.
In the following table we have compiled some empirical values. Please note that these figures may fluctuate due to changes by the developers or dynamic price adjustments. But you get a good picture of what you need to look for to get maximum return in minimum time.
If you have further data on percentages in deposits and the following yield, please let us know in the comments so that we can expand this list.
Take your time to find a lucrative resource depot. You will ultimately save time and earn more money. Beyond that you can remember as a rule of thumb: The further back the green area in the Rock Energy Level display (bottom left in the user interface) and the smaller this area is, the more profitable this rock most likely is.
Mining Resource Priority List
Last updated: 29.07.2018
We have compiled the following priority list for resources from all current information. If a rock contains several materials, you evaluate them together, of course. Please note that these figures are only approximate and may change. We will update if necessary. We have highlighted the top 5.
|Material||Pays off at|
|Aluminium||Only as a side-product|
Pro tip: Mining depots currently don’t spawn completely by chance. When you find a high percentage rock, remember its position. It is very likely that at your next visit (rocks will spawn again a few minutes after mining) you will find a high percentage (or even the same) deposit again. This may change as development progresses (for example, CIG has already mentioned that the composition may change gradually), but until then, remember the approach route to make fast bucks.
Alignment of the spaceship before mining
Before you shoot at a rock with the mining laser, position the Prospector reasonably. If you are too far away from the rock, you may not be able to inject enough energy into rocks with a high resistance level. You can fly relatively close to rocks. But beware: The closer you are to a rock, the more damage the stone causes when you blow it up by overloading. This could lead to the destruction of your spaceship.
Pro tip: Mining takes a while in Star Citizen. Although a floating Prospector remains quite still in the air, there is still a certain amount of self-movement. This can lead to the laser slipping off the target in the middle of the battle, especially in case of rock fragments. This is especially annoying if you were just about to crack the stone. You can prevent that by landing the prospector. If you also switch off the ship’s engines, you’ll save a lot of fuel, which reduces your expenses and increases your profit.
Disadvantage: Sometimes rock fragments can drop outside the laser’s range of motion when a rock breaks apart. Then we have to restart the engines and reposition the ship to reap the fruits of our labor. It is also not possible to strafe backwards in order to gain distance to the rock and thereby additionally influence the energy supply.
Professional fragmentation of rocks
Mining Laser, Mining Throttle, Energy Transfer Graph
When you are in mining mode, activate the mining laser with the left mouse button. The goal is to completely fill the fracturing sensor on the right side. To do this, we need to keep the energy level of the stone (Rock Energy Level, the indicator to the left below the laser strength indicator, Laser Throttle) in the green area. This area can be quite small and it takes some practice to keep the laser energy there long enough until the fracturing sensor is completely filled.
You can change the strength of the mining laser by turning the mouse wheel. Alternatively (and this is also our recommendation) you can put the mining laser in the key configurations for HOTAS under Mining –> Mining Throttle on a throttle axis. In the picture you can see our solution, which we like very much.
As a beginner, you should start by slowly injecting energy to get a feel for the laser. Increase the energy supply slowly until the Energy Transfer Graph on the left side of the user interface starts to rise. The higher the energy level of the rock rises, the faster it rises. This means that at a certain point little additional energy is sufficient to significantly increase the energy level. You can imagine it a bit like one of these model cars with swing drive: As soon as you have pushed the car, its swing drive will accelerate it forward by itself.
Constant readjustment of the energy supply
Especially with a very small green area this can lead to difficulties, because when we get into the red area, the overcharge sensor (displayed on the right below the fracturing sensor) rises. At the same time, the fracturing sensor sinks rapidly. When the overcharge sensor is completely filled, the rock explodes and can seriously damage or even destroy our ship.
This means that we have to readjust the energy supply at any time – there is no perfect setting for it. The energy in the rock either rises or it sinks. The trick is to develop a feeling for how much energy we need to supply or take away when we are in the green zone. We can tell you: small steps do not work.
Instead, pay attention to the percentage display on the left above the Rock Energy Level and regulate the energy accordingly, for example from 12 percent with a single turn of the mouse wheel to 5-6 percent and vice versa. Watch the behavior of the energy closely and try to spot regularities. Very helpful here is the sound, which tells a lot about the condition of the stone. So listen carefully.
Also watch the ratio of the rock mass against the energy level increase. The instability and resistance of the rock naturally also play a role here. This ratio quickly shows you, that there are certain percentages or ranges of percentages that you can follow. This is helpful for future mining on rocks of similar or equal mass.
In the following table we have compiled a few empirical values in this regard. We will refine these values in the future. Please consider them only as guidelines, for practice you must absolutely also make your own experiences.
|Mass||Energy supply for initial charging||Energy supply to keep the energy in the green area||Energy supply to keep the energy in the green area|
|3.000-4.000||ca. 70 %||ca. 40 %||ca. 30 %|
|300-400||ca. 18 %||ca. 12 %||ca. 5 %|
So in order to keep the energy supply in the green range, we have to switch between high and low values at the right moments. As soon as we have the feeling that the energy could immediately make a jump into the red range, we have to change to the low value, but then switch back to the high value in time, before the energy sinks from the green range or if it has sunk just below it.
Below the green area the fracturing sensor sinks again, which can make the whole thing a bit hectic. Hectic is the last thing you need right now, though. Keep calm and better start again before you destroy the stone and possibly your spaceship.
If you can’t control the energy and are about to overload the rock completely, switch off the laser with a left click or move it away from the rock. If you do this in time, the energy level will drop slowly and you can try again after a few minutes.
Cracking particularly tough stones
Is your mining laser already at 100 percent, but you still can’t get into the green area? Then you have to fly closer to the stone.
Another (future) possibility is the overclocking of the mining laser. Go to the “Items” menu item on one of the multi function displays (MFD). Look for the entry “Varipuck S2 Gimbal Mount” and click on “Overclock”. At the moment nothing changes in the energy display, so it is likely that this feature is not yet active and will only work properly in a later update. But you already know how and where you can overclock.
A third possibility is to get a buddy with a second Prospector and crack the stone together. However, this requires good communication in order to successfully coordinate the double energy supply.
Loading the material into the freight containers
The Prospector is equipped with four mining containers. Each container can hold eight standard cargo units (SCU, the unit of measurement for cargo in Star Citizen; 1 m³ plus an edge of 125 mm on each side) of material. To transport resources into the containers, right-click to switch from mining mode to extraction mode and start the tractor beam. Rock fragments that can be placed in the containers are shown with a purple border. Align the tractor beam until the chunk has been fully picked up.
Once you have reached the maximum of 32 SCU (see the Cargo Capacity indicator in the middle right in Mining mode), it’s time to fly back and sell your stuff. You can do this in Port Olisar, Levski or Grim HEX at one of the special trading consoles that hang on the wall near the administration.
The future of mining in Star Citizen
With update 3.3 CIG wants to further improve planetary mining. However, it is not yet known exactly what this will look like. The official roadmap states that the user interface and general functionality will be revised.
Mining in space is also planned for the October update. We will then be able to scan asteroids for resources with the Prospector and mine them.
Further down the line, the prospector should be able to drop its containers. Transport ships such as the Caterpillar can load the containers into their cargo holds using tractor beams and haul away the extracted resources, while the Prospector continues to mine rocks in the meantime.
Mining-Plattform Orion: From miner to industrial magnate
According to CIG, the current implementation of the mining profession is only the first and basic version. Back in February 2015, the developers published a detailed design concept for extensive mining gameplay. We will now introduce the concept briefly. Please remember, however, that the gameplay presented here may differ from the final implementation. We will update new information as soon as we receive it.
This concept includes, for example, large-scale scanning of asteroid fields in which the Orion mining platform can poach. This huge industrial ship will be about 170 meters long and capable of carrying over 16,000 SCU. The platform requires a crew of four to seven men to function properly. The most important roles for players (or NPCs, which will cost a lot of money) are planned as follows:
The Orion pilot of course ensures that the platform reaches a place where resources can be mined. Within asteroid fields he is responsible for navigating and positioning the ship without accidents. He will probably be able to somehow stabilize the Orion for the mining process to enable the beam operator to precisely control the mining laser. If necessary, the pilot can adjust the position of the platform so that the crew can find the best angle for the scan or mining process.
In this role, a player tries to find lucrative asteroids. For this purpose, he injects so-called RMAPs (Remote Material Analysis Packages) into the asteroids. The injection process is carried out by special rockets. To find a suitable injection point, the operator has to scan the surface of the asteroid.
Once he has found a suitable point and calculated the correct angle, a rocket is launched, which the scan operator must steer manually to the injection point. The material the asteroid is made of, the angle at which the missile strikes and the speed of impact determine whether or not an injection was successful. Successfully injected RMAPs then provide information about the composition of the asteroid.
The beam operator is responsible for controlling the mining lasers. There are several of them, which are attached to robot arms at the front of the Orion and can disassemble asteroids into handy pieces. Similar to what we know from the Prospector, the beam operator can manipulate the power of the mining lasers and control the energy supply. The player must pay extra attention to the composition of the asteroid: In addition to solid materials such as gold, copper, etc., gas inclusions or liquid resources are also supposed to be hidden in asteroids.
If the beam operator pushes massive amounts of energy into a gas pocket, the consequences can be quite explosive and therefore catastrophic. In addition to monitoring the energy supply, the beam operator also needs to be aware of seismic waves that may be triggered during the mining process and which can also lead to undesired chain reactions.
The cargo operator monitors the so-called entry port via a console on the ship’s bridge. There is a heavy crusher that shreds the fragments extracted from the asteroids and transfers them to the inside of the Orion. The fragments of rock entering the crusher are selected by the cargo operator himself using a special tractor beam system. He can identify the exact composition of the fragment and thus prioritize particularly lucrative fragments. A certain degree of skill is supposed to be necessary for the successful operation of the console and the tractor beam system.
This player serves the ship’s refinery. Raw ore is converted into refined material, which is then stored in Orion’s freight containers. Unwanted elements such as dust or worthless rock, on the other hand, can be blown out into space, which, in contrast to the current mining mechanics with the Prospector, saves considerable space and time.
The refinery operator has to guide the raw ore through a number of different processing plants. Operating errors in the finishing process can lead to equipment failures and the need for maintenance or ultimately to lower yields.
Production chains in Star Citizen: The road ahead
Mining in its small (for example with the Prospector) and large form (as planned with the Orion) should only be part of the economic cycle in Star Citizen in the future. Mining represents the beginning of a (possible!) production chain: This is where the raw material is extracted.
The mining ship itself or a transport ship takes over the first part of the logistics and delivers the material either to a refinery or (if the ship is equipped with a refinery) takes the refined materials directly to a factory that produces intermediate products (spaceship parts, weapon parts, attachments). Materials from refineries would of course also have to be delivered by transport ships to factories.
The intermediate products could then in turn be delivered to factories for end products, these end products in turn to stations or landing zones. This would create a very complex economic system in which demand and supply in each section of the production chain would enable a (at least partially) player-driven economy.
We hope that you enjoyed our guide and above all that it was helpful. If you have further tips, let us know in the comments. If you are also interested in other games, read our report about the fascination of cyberpunk or check out our FAQs about the upcoming space simulation X4: Foundations (german language only, translations will be available soon).