This section of 'Getting Started' assumes you have read the Overview and understand the basic game mechanics. In this section, you will establish a small empire capable of expansion. Restart the scenario if you were just now playing with the overview section. This gives you a clean slate to work with.
From an empirical standpoint, you have the core of your future dominion, nothing more. You have a factory to produce structures, and a shipyard to produce ships. You are lacking, however, in raw materials. These materials can be provided to you at the beginning of the game if you start in a scenario such as Kill 'em All, Part 2. In the average game, however, you must build your infrastructure, so this is a useful skill to have.
Before you go, click on your starport. Load your ship up with structures. One cargo bay can only carry 76, so don't be worried when a few are left behind. Now that your ship is ready to explore, begin exploring.
You need two materials to build more structures: steel and aluminum. Steel comes from foundries, which are placed on Volcanic or Cratered worlds. These planets are rather abundant. Check your home system for some of these planets. If you have some, don't waste flight time looking for some other planet to use. If not, search other stars.
When you find a cratered or volcanic planet, move your fleet to it and click on 'Resource Colony.' You should remember that a resource colony is in charge of mining operations. Check and see what resources this planet has. If it is cratered, it will only have iron. If it is volcanic, it might have a little diamond to go with the iron. Do not let the diamond interfere with your judgment; it has little use in this stage of the game. You want a planet with either 'Lots' of iron or 'Plenty' of iron (plenty being preferable). This allows you to mine more iron per turn, and you will need a lot of it to meet your needs. When you find a planet with enough iron on it, build the resource colony.
You now have some iron being produced. Iron, however, is not used directly in making structures. You need steel, which is found in a foundry. If you try to build a foundry here, however, it says that you need a solar plant first! If you're the logical type, you would build a solar plant and a foundry. If not, you should do so anyway. You now have a resource colony, a solar plant, and a foundry. Letting steel accumulate on the planet is not enough, however. Build a starport to export your steel to your homeworld.
You are now able to produce steel. Or are you? The production tree says that you need coal. Where can you find coal? Your homeworld is producing some, but not enough to meet your long-term demands for it. The tradepost can sell some to you, but that would be expensive. The easiest method would be to go mine it. But where? Many planets provide coal, but there is a cheap solution that is actually automatic.
Go find aluminum. Aluminum oxide can be found on Jungles and Wetlands. These planets aren't too abundant, but you only need one for now. When you click on 'Resource Colony' for one of these planets, you will invariably find at least three items: Aluminum Oxide, Germanium Oxide, and Coal. Don't worry about germanium oxide for now; it isn't needed in the earliest stages of the game. Still, you will always find a supply of coal wherever you find your aluminum oxide. Go to a Jungle or Wetlands planet and build a resource colony. Preferably, you have 'Lots' of aluminum oxide and an average amount of coal. Because the aluminum planets are rarer, however, you should not be too picky.
Along with your resource colony, you want a starport and a solar plant. Then, build an electrolysis plant. An electrolysis plant uses solar energy to turn aluminum oxide into aluminum. Now, you have all the buildings you need for the beginning of the game.
Right now, however, there are some infrastructure problems. You have coal, but it is accumulating with your aluminum. Export the coal by double-clicking on it anywhere in the left boxes. The coal will then be sent to the Tradepost. Go to your foundry. Import the coal with the same procedure. This will draw coal out of the Tradepost.
Next, export aluminum from your Jungle planet and import it to your Plains homeworld. Do the same with steel. You have now set up the connections needed to ferry materials around your empire.
You aren't finished yet! You can still streamline your processes. Click on the factory on your homeworld. It is trying to produce ship structures and component structures, but it doesn't have the materials for either one. Delete both of them from the queue. At the foundry, you don't have the titanium needed to build a superconductor. In the electrolysis plant, you need aluminum, not germanium. You can delete all of these from the queues as you build them, but it would have been confusing to do it then in a tutorial.
There is only one other thing left to do: go back to your shipyard. You have three ship structures. The first one should go towards building a probe, and the other two should become freighters. Add a probe and two freighters to the queue. You should know how to do that form the overview.
Finally, you can end your turn. Wait a few more turns, and you'll be building structures. Have your fleet return to the homeworld and pick them up. It is then free to establish new colonies for new resources. That, however, is more advanced than the tutorial is willing to cover. For more information, click here for a list of StarKnights fan sites. Many players and alliances have rather efficient strategies for everything; these players have won countless times! The StarKnights BBS can also provide information, if you are willing to wait a few days for a reply. Finally, playing the game itself gives you the best possible experience. Go play!