star citizen starter guide
This Star Citizen starter guide is for new and aspiring Citizens and covers the basics. The beginners guide will take you through the process of creating an account to your first in game flight. You’ll learn the most basic flight and on foot controls and how to start multiplayer and single player games. This manual is up to date for Star Citizen 2.6 alpha. Once 3.0 releases I’ll update this guide so you’l learn how to play Star Citizen when you’re a newbie.

Guide index

  1. Introduction
  2. Create an account
  3. Get a game package
  4. Download and install the game
  5. Star Citizen basics introduction
  6. Basic flight and Star Marine controls
  7. Star Marine guide

Where to begin when you want to play Star Citizen

To help you to get an idea of where to start in Star Citizen it’s important to know that the game is in Alpha. This means you are basically helping to test the early stages of the game and it is by no means complete. Testing an Alpha game like this is quite unique and part of Star Citizens open development.
You will encounter bugs and can help contribute to create the ultimate space game. The community is very helpful and you can always ask for help when you are in multiplayer mode (like Crusader). There’s always someone willing to help you with Star Citizen controls, lend you a ship or answer any questions you might have. Don’t be shy, you can even ask to join multi crew ships and assist the captains.

How to play star citizen: account creation

First you need a Star Citizen account, go to the RSI website and fill in all the requested fields. Your login ID is private and will not be seen by anyone else, this is just for login into your account. Your handle is how other see you on the forums and in game, so people can invite you and become friends. You can change this later if you want.

Your community monicker is your name on the forums. Monicker and handle can be the same but your login should remain private. Next part of this Star Citizen starter guide will go into getting your first ship, awesome!

Get a game package

After you created your account you’ll need a game package, just get a starter combo package  like the Aurora MR or go for the Mustang combo pack.

Go to the RSI website to get a game package. Don’t be alarmed by the number of ships available, read my ship guide to see which ship is for you. You can decide to upgrade at any time at least before the Alpha ends. You are also able to rent ships with REC which you can earn right now. Keep in mind that all the ship swill be available in the final game without the need for money. The starter packages that will contain everything you need.
One thing you should know is that with the latest patch 2.6 it’s become more difficult to kill NPC pirates with starter ships. This is probably a balancing issue which could be addressed in future updates. In addition the starter ships will most likely get an update like many other ships already have. In fact The Aurora is already being reworked.

Game package and squadron42

Star Citizen will consist of 2 games. You will have the multiplayer game also called the Persistent Universe, and the single player game Squadron 42. You can decide to buy them both or just go for the cheapest package which contains only the Persistent Universe. The cheapest package is $ 45,00 excluding taxes (depending on where you live). Pricing of packages may vary in the future. Claim your package and you will have access to the Alpha.

Ship upgrades

There are many packages available and many many ships. You can upgrade your ship in the store if you feel like it. You simply buy an upgrade and apply it to the ship you currently own. You’ll need to logged in, then go to ‘My Hangar’, look for your upgrade and click the upgrade button.
You also have the option to ‘melt’ ships, this will return store credits which you can use to buy a different ship. Be careful though, you always need a game package to be able to play the game. Do not melt your only package and buy a standalone ship! You wouldn’t be the first to make this mistake.

Download & install the game

Grab the installer from the RSI website and your download should start. Make sure you have enough disk space available, you’ll need at least 32 gigabytes! Double click the installer and run the launcher, the download will claim all your bandwidth. You can adjust this by pressing the cog (top right).
screen shot of the download page

Star Citizen beginners guide Alpha 2.6

Assuming you logged into the launcher, click on launch game to start. After some loading time the main menu will appear. There are a couple of game modes which you can choose from. I have put some slides together which guides you to the basics. I can’t cover everything but I can get you in your ship, get you to fly and pick up a mission. Video content will be added later.

Star Citizen basics – the bare minimum

Start with free flight mode to get to know your ship without being attacked. Once you get the hang of it you can move on to game modes like Single player Vanduul swarm and clear some waves. Additionally you could move on to multiplayer modes like racing, coop Vanduul swarm and earn some REC to rent ships and weapons.
Now you are ready to get into combat, for some serious dog fighting you can join Arena commander multiplayer (and probably get your behind kicked). Dog fighting against players will be frustrating as you barely scratched the surface of what your ships is capable of. Get to know the controls and customise them to your liking. You might want to try multiplayer battles once you feel comfortable with your ship.

Star Citizen controls and keybindings

help with star citizen controls

This short list of Star Citizen controls & commands should help you fly and walk, advanced controls can be viewed in the game menu under keybindings. The controls below are update for Star Marine. There are many more controls but these are the basics to get you started.

Flight controls
Lift off/strafe up: spacebar
Strafe left/strafe right: A and D
Roll left/ roll right: Q and E
Increase/decrease speed: W and A
Boost: X
After burner: Left shift
Decoupled mode on/off: C
Increase/decrease speed: W and A
Quantum drive: B to initiate F to jump
Landing gear:N and HOLD N to auto land
Target nearest hostile: T
Cycle all hostiles Y
Landing mode: N

Commands when on foot
Wield sidearm: 1
Wield primary weapon: 2
Wield secondary weapon: 3
Holster weapon: HOLD V
Reload: R
Weapon Stance / Walk: V
Exit Seat / Bed / Turret: HOLD F
Jump: Spacebar
Crouch: CTRL
Prone: HOLD CTRL
Sprint: HOLD Shift
Turn on Suit Light: T

Generic controls
Mobiglass: F1
Suicide: RIGHT ALT + BACKSPACE
Cycle Camera (first person & third person view): F4
Chat: F12 and enter to activate

Star Marine Keybindings
Pistol or sidearm: 1
Primary weapon: 2
Secondary weapon: 3
Reload: R
Aim sights: Right mouse button
Melee: Middle mouse button
Grenade: G Hold to cook
Heal: V
Run: Shift
Lean left/right: QE (While aiming with RMB)
Jump: Spacebar
Use/interact: F
Crouch: Ctrl
Prone: X
Flashlight: T
Scoreboard: F1

Star Citizen 2.6 keybindings controls PDFAll keybindings printable PDF
This PDF contains all the Star Citizen 2.6 Alpha keybindings for keyboard, mouse, joystick and controllers/gamepads. Print it or leave it open on a second screen while you play.

Free flight – the best way to get started

The free flight mode will help you learn to fly your ship without any danger, that is if you use single player free flight. You can also try multiplayer free flight if you want some company. The slider below will guide Star Citizen beginners through selecting different game modes.

Vanduul Swarm

You have the choice to play single or multiplayer, I would start with a few rounds of single player before you go into coop. A nice bonus of coop Vanduul swarm is that you earn REC which you can use to rent ships, weapons, shields and coolers.

You will have a few AI wingmen to assist you in offline mode. Vanduul swarm gets harder with each wave all the way to wave 18. Each third wave you get an elite wave, make sure you get the toughest opponent first!

As of version 2.6 you can pickup drops to restock on fuel, ammo, missiles and repair with each kill. Make sure you pick them up within 30 seconds. If you don’t they’ll disappear after about 30 seconds, but the next drop will be better!

  • You get 3 lives
  • Don’t fly in a straight line, learn to strafe and experiment with decoupled mode
  • Press X to respawn when you die

Racing mode

If you want to learn how to fly and control your ship, racing might be a good next step. There are several maps which you can race and you’ll earn REC in multiplayer mode, even if you don’t finish. Racing is probably the easiest way to earn some cash.

Pirate swarm

Star Citizen pirate swarm is introduced in the 2,6 alpha patch and is basically the same as Vanduul swarm, only you get to fight pirates. You get 18 waves which get increasingly difficult as you progress. The great thing about pirate swarm is that you dog fight all kinds of ships that are currently flight ready.

Multiplayer universe – Crusader

To connect to the Multiplayer Universe you first select Universe from the main menu and after that select Crusader. Once the game is loaded you wake up and you need to head downstairs, open a ship terminal and select your ship. After that you follow the indicator to where your ship is located, get a space suit and open the decompression doors.

Once you are outside you enter your ship (hit F when the blue ‘use indicator’ appears). Press spacebar to take off and be careful not to crash like most citizen to when they begin their first flight.

Crusader is very laggy for everybody due to bad netcode, even with high-end PC’s. Don’t be surprised if you only get 20-25 FPS! When 3.0 comes out we will see great improvements on the FPS part.

Star Marine beginners guide

Star Marine

With Star Citizen 2.6 Alpha comes Star Marine, this guide will teach you the basics. Star Marine is the the first person shooter module of Star Citizen. Basically it’s a game within a game. Just like Arena Commander is a way to practice your pilot skills, Star marine will allow you to learn the FPS part of the main game.

Remember to press and hold V when you are bleeding out!

Last stand and elimination multiplayer

Elimination means you need to get the most kills (free for all death match) at the end of the match. There is a 10 minute default timer.

Last stand is a team effort to get more points then the other team at the end of each round. There are currently four rounds and a 7 minute timer. There are 4 points to capture (A to D) where you need to hack a terminal, press F to start hacking and gain control.

Customize loadout

Loadout customisation

You can either pick marines or outlaws and customize the loadout. Light armor locks the secondary weapon slot but makes you more agile, you only get one grenade. Medium armor allows you  to carry two weapons, a primary and secondary weapon and a grenade.

Perhaps the best choice when you first join Star Marine is to use the Medium armor loadout. It will make you slower but you can take more damage in-game.
There will be more marine classes added in future updates like heavy marine, for now we only have 2. You can find weapons, ammo and health syringes in several locations which you pickup. Interact or use them by hitting F.

Star Marine maps

There are only 2 maps available right now to test the FPS module of Star Citizen. More maps will be added with future updates. OP Station Demien his an vertical and open map where you can EVA (Extra-vehicular_activity, floating through space in your suit) in the center. Echo Eleven is a smaller and darker map.

Star Marine weapons and armor

Just as the lack of maps, weapons and armor are also limited in this first release.

Ballistic Rifle (best choice for now):
The ballistic riffle is currently a safe choice, you can cycle through 3 fire modes by pressing C. Single shot is not recommended for now, burst fire mode is for mid range and long range.

Energy And Ballistic Pistols:
They don’t do much damage so just use your primary weapon.

Energy Rifle:
The energy rifle also has fire modes but lacks in power. The great thing about the weapon is that you don’t have to reload and the recoil is less noticeable compared to the ballistic riffle.

Arrowhead Sniper:
Sniper riffle which probably will be more usable when we get larger maps.

Energy Shotgun:
Excels in close quarter combat but you need to be really close and make sure you kill your component. Aim for the head!

Invite friends

Invite friends to play together, press the invite button and type in a friends name and press add. Make sure you both have each other listed as a friend to be able to see online status.

Summary

Getting started with Star Citizen can be quite a challenge considering the complexity of the game. By using the Star Citizen starter guide and getting a basic package you should be good to go. Play some matches against the AI before you dive into dogfighting and get to know your ship.

Expensive ships are for funding the game and you can upgrade or use REC to rent ships. The basic packages are fine to start with and will give you a good impression of Star Citizen in a very early state. If you like this page, consider using my referral code when you create a new account.

This code gets you 5000 UEC for free on registration.
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