Starsector is an underrated gem in the open-world grand strategy sandbox space. Fans will wax lyrical about how it’s the best $15 they’ve spent on a game and how it’s led to thousands of hours of gameplay, and that is just from the base experience.
Like many other indie games in this genre, Starsector benefits from the existence of mods. These user-created expansions and tweaks take the game’s foundation as intended by its developers and elevate it to new heights.
One of these is called Console Commands, which can be pretty transformative for your Starsector experience.
What Are Console Commands?
In the broader gaming sense, console commands refer to developer-level instructions you can use to make alterations to a video game and its gameplay. From simple options such as unlocking a game’s max frames-per-second to full-blown cheats such as giving yourself infinite ammo, console commands give you a ton of flexibility.
Starsector is not different, and all it simply takes is to activate its dev mode.
Does Starsector Have Console Commands?
In a nutshell, yes. Starsector has console commands like pretty much any other game on PC. However, there’s a fundamental difference in that they’re locked behind the game’s developer mode. The good news is that there are two ways to access console commands, both of which require minimal fiddling.
The first way to activate dev mode is by editing Starsector’s settings file. Locate the game’s installation directory, find the settings.json file, and open it in an app like Notepad. You’ll see a whole bunch of commands that manage the game’s settings. Scroll through until you find one called devMode followed by: false. You need to change this to true, then save the file before closing it. After that, Starsector will run in dev mode.
The more popular way of accessing developer mode in Starsector is through a mod, which is sensibly named Console Commands. A mod manager like Nexus mods is sufficient, search for Console Commands, install it, and then you’re off to the races. The main advantage of using a mod instead of the first method is quality of life. The mod method allows to toggle dev mode on and off by pressing Ctrl and the backspace key together. The mod cannot fully activate dev mode, meaning there are restrictions. An example is that you won’t be able to alter the colonies of other factions.
Whichever method you choose, console commands in Starsector can enable you to do several fun things.
What Can I Do with Console Commands in Starsector?
The primary reason some people want console commands in Starsector is to enable dev mode so that they can build mods. Mod makers – modders – need the game’s internal workings to be wide open so that they can work their magic and create other mods that expand and improve the game’s experience.
For regular players like yourself, console commands can make the game more fun by enabling cheats and in-game adjustments to customize how you play. Here are some cool examples:
Campaign Console Commands
- Ctrl + Left Click to teleport anywhere on the main map or TAB map.
- ESC can close all interactions, even the ones the game wouldn’t typically allow to be skipped.
- G enables you to activate certain fun actions, such as initiating expeditions against you and sending pirate raids into hyperspace.
- Ctrl + Z toggles sensors for a bunch of stuff, including pirates, Luddic Path and Domain-era Cryosleeper.
- K will instantly give you 25,000 Credits.
- L will immediately grant you 50,000 XP and a split of 10,000-20,000 XP to your officers.
- N will spawn a large pirate ship.
- M will spawn a random Derelict ship.
Combat Console Commands
- Ctrl + Left Click on any ship will instantly give you control over it.
- The backspace key will immediately end combat and declare you the winner.
- The F12 key will deal damage randomly to enemies.
- The F10 key will change camera modes.
- I destroys the ship you are currently controlling.
- N will cycle through friendly ships you control.
- P will toggle travel drive on and off.
This is but a taste of what can be accomplished with console commands in Starsector. Now, since this is in some ways a mod for the game, you’re probably wondering if it’s safe to use with other modifications.
Can I Use Console Commands with Other Starsector Mods?
In short, yes. Console Commands, whether installed as a mod or activated through the JSON file will work with any other mods you may be running. This includes but is not limited to:
- Total overhaul/conversion mods
- Graphical mods
- Performance mods
- Campaign mods
You don’t need to run an entirely new game or save in order to take advantage of console commands. Even if you’re in the middle of a campaign, you can still activate dev mode and make use of the commands.