In StarMade, the player (Astronaut) explores an endlessly generated voxel world, in a player created spacecraft. This world contains randomly generated asteroids, shops, spaceships and planets. Each Planet is randomly generated with a planet biome, there are several planet types which include Terran, Ice, Desert, Alien and Red Planets. Players can customise their ships with thrusters, to increase speed to fly around the universe more efficiently.
Players can create multiple ships, with a ship core. They can then proceed to customise their ship in the games ship build mode, or add materials in player mode, outside the ship. Ships can be customised with a variety of materials to enhance performance, add new features or create combat/defense systems. Ships can be of currently 3 different ship starter types, Warrior I, Salvager I or Warvager I. The universe is populated with other astronauts and ships such as Pirates, which can be killed to salvage materials from their destroyed ships. Pirates are hostile entities which will usually attack on sight if ships are equipped with a weapon system, salvage ships are less likely to provoke Pirates. There are a variety of weapon systems, such as missiles, beams and lasers which all require a different weapon CPU type which will be determined on the model.
Crafting is present in the game which is called Manufacturing, players can craft parts with factories. Each factory has its own inventory and specific list of items that only those blocks can manufacture. Factories are required to be powered in order to manufacture other parts. Once a factory has been powered, players can put the ingredients in the right factory block, and it will start producing whatever it is programmed to produce with an interval of roughly 5 seconds. Players can collect materials to craft all over the universe.
Sandbox on StarMade is the primary playing mode, used for singleplayer mode. In this mode, players have to gather natural resources (such as ore, stone, etc.) or salvage ships and shipyards found throughout the universe in order to craft certain parts and items using the manufacturing feature. The mode also features a health bar which is depleted by attacks from pirates, astronauts and eventually being exposed to space outside a ship for too long. Players also have a Power Bar, which is used to display the power of the ship you are piloting. Power is necessary for any technology and can be generated from power generators. There are a wide variety of items and parts that players can craft/manufacture in ‘StarMade‘. Similar to crafting in MineCraft, players can manufacture by purchasing a factory block at a store. The Factory Block acts as the basic generic crafting table. In order to craft items, players place the ingredients in the inventory of the factory and all possible recipes will start to execute on result each in an interval of around 3 seconds. The Factory Block can be used to manufacture more advanced crafting blocks as well. By acquiring better resources, players can craft more effective parts. For example The Schemadyne Advanced can be used to craft more advanced factories which are used for other recipes that neither the Particle Press not the Schemadyne Advanced is able to achieve. Players may also buy parts and recipes in the randomly spawned shops with the credits currency. The game has an inventory system and players are limited to the different number of items they can carry. Upon dying, items in the players’ inventories are dropped, and players respawn at the current spawn point, a shop which is set by default where players begin the game, but can be reset if a player sets their spawn point with a Plex Undeathinator.
Multiplayer on StarMade is available through player-hosted starmade servers and enables multiple players to interact and communicate with each other on a single universe. Players can run their own servers or use a hosting provider, such as the official StarMade host SMProHosting. StarMade multiplayer servers are guided by server admins, who have access to server commands such as spawning items, warping players and ships around, much like MineCraft Operators. Admins can also set up restrictions concerning which usernames or IP addresses are allowed to enter the server. Multiplayer servers offer players a wide range of activities, with some servers having their own unique rules and customs. StarMade Multiplayer is closely related to MineCraft Muliplayer, with many players coming from MineCraft.