Home > X4: Foundations > X4: Foundations – Purchasing and Upgrading Ships

X4: Foundations – Purchasing and Upgrading Ships

Wharfs, Shipyards and Equipment Docks

Interacting with a Ship Trader (usually found in Maintenance Bay and Fabrication modules or right-clicking on the Wharf/Shipyard station on the map) and selecting Buy Ship opens the Ship Builder UI.

Other X4: Foundations Guides:

The Ship Builder UI

In the image below you can see:

1. Choice of ship class, type, semi-random default loadouts, save option for loadouts, and view controls along the top-middle.

2. A menu on the far left with purchase options:

  • Main engines
  • Thrusters
  • Shields
  • Turrets (if available for the ship)
  • Software
  • Consumables
  • Crew
  • Repair (if damaged)
  • If a tab has a red icon, it contains compulsory items (marked red within)

3. A shopping list of selected purchase options in the top-right.

4. Ship stats, based on selected purchase options in the bottom middle.

5. Info on your existing wallet balance and on missing components in the bottom-right.

Select a ship size first and then a ship type to display the ship on the screen. Surface elements able to mount equipment are highlighted in pale blue and the currently selected slow in the upper left window is highlighted in pale green.

It is possible to determine what is equipped to a surface element by right clicking the surface element or selecting a piece of equipment in the upper left window. Software, Consumables and Crew can only be adjusted in the upper left window. Once happy with the ship design select Add to shopping list before adjusting the number of ships with that design to purchase and finally clicking Confirm Order. The ships will then be built over the next few minutes if the station has enough resources.

Certain ships require appropriate licences to be purchased. Wharfs, Shipyards and Equipment Docks can also upgrade or repair docked existing ships using the Upgrade/Repair docked ships option to enter the same Ship Builder UI. They can also be used to restock on consumables and hire additional crew for a fee. Just make sure that the station has enough resources or the player may be left without a ship for a time.

See also:  X4: Foundations - Station Construction

Loadout Options

Main engines (determines ship max linear speed and acceleration):

  • All-Round: Available for all ships with no weaknesses
  • Combat: Available for S and M ships, sacrificing Travel Mode speed for improved Standard and Boost speed
  • Travel: Available for S and M ships, sacrificing Boost speed for Travel Mode speed

Thrusters (determines how fast a ship yaws/turns, pitches, rolls and strafes):

  • All-Round: Available for all ships with no weaknesses
  • Combat: Available for S and M ships, sacrificing yaw/turning for better pitching and rolling

Shield Generators (determine the shield capacity and regeneration rate for protecting the hull damage):

  • Some Engines, Weapons and Turrets may be grouped with shields that protect them

Main Guns and Gun Turrets (main weapons come in S and M variants, while Turrets come in M and L):

  • Beam: Low damage damage but accurate beam
  • Bolt Repeater: Rapid fire weapon that does high burst damage but has poor heat management
  • Ion Blaster: Argon weapon for removing shields without causing a lot of hull damage
  • Plasma Cannon: Long range weapon with a slow projectile speed
  • Pulse Laser: All rounder with a good balance of damage, range, fire rate, accuracy and heat management
  • Shard Battery: Launches a short range burst of multiple high damage projectiles which moderately scatter at longer distances

Missile Turrets (M and L size)

  • Dumbfire Launcher: Launches Dumbfire and Cluster consumables as missile projectiles
  • Torpedo Launcher: Launches Torpedo consumables as missile projectiles
  • Tracking Launcher: Launches EMP, Guided, Heatseeker, Smart and Swarm consumables as missile projectiles

Other weapons

  • Mining Drill: Weak beam that does bonus damage to Asteroids (main gun and turret)
  • Destroyer Main Battery: Only available to destroyers and are locked to the ship type


  • Docking Computer: MK1 visualises positional corrections required to land at a dock while MK2 makes the corrections automatically
  • Flight Assist Software: Mandatory upgrade (assists by automatically compensating for drift when using Flight Assist Mode)
  • Long-range Scanner Software: Mandatory upgrade (see below)
  • Object Scanner: Mandatory upgrade with Scan Mode (Basic Scanner gains info about ships and modules, and obtain discounts and commissions from data leaks; Police Scanner gains further info about objects, and can obtain Blueprints from some data leaks)
  • Targeting Computer Extension: Allows the targeting of small objects (e.g. debris and containers) via the HUD and radar
  • Trading Computer Extension: Maintains a link to trade info offered by recently-visited stations for a limited period
See also:  X4: Foundations - Tips for Beginners

Long Range Scanning

Simultaneous abilities:

  • Detection of large objects (stations and gates) within 200 km of the playership in any direction
  • Detection of small object (e.g. lockboxes and anomalies) within 200 km of the playership and a ~120o forward arc


  • Mk1 pings found objects and creates a ? at their location on the map
  • Mk2 has increased scan resolution colour coding identified small objects


Some wares collected do not go into the storage of the flown ship but into a separate inventory for the avatar of the player. These wares are used for completing missions, special actions and crafting an assortment of tools to give the player an additional edge. The player inventory can be found under the Inventory tab of the Player Information menu.

Near Traders and Black Marketeers there is usually a Crafting Bench which can be interacted with open a crafting menu. Items to craft only appear once the player has collected one of the components for the recipe. Select a ware to craft and then click the Craft item button before selecting the number to craft with the slider which appears and then confirming by clicking the Craft Item button again. Some crafting components can only be obtained by performing specific tasks like mining or combat.

It is possible to further customise favourite ships by applying Ship Mods to them. To apply a Ship Mod requires the ship to be docked at a station and the player to interact with the panel in front of the landing pad to access the Redesign menu. The Redesign menu will show all available mods for the current ship allowing them to be applied or salvaged. Ship mods however need to first be crafted using a Workbench found near most Ship Dealers using designs which need to be unlocked.


Every ship has a limited capacity to host crew. Crew consists of 3 types of NPC:

  • Captain (Pilot for smaller ships): Enables a ship to be remotely given orders. Skill points contribute most to ship efficiency.
  • Crewman: Skill points contribute slightly to ship efficiency.
  • Marines: Used to claim abandoned ships and board other ships and stations or to repel enemy boarding attempts.
See also:  X4: Foundations - Production Chain Guide

On stations there are also

  • Managers: Give orders to subordinate ships

A skilled captain will unlock more maneuvers, fight and trade better and will unlock new options for the DEFAULT BEHAVIOUR of the ship.

Ship crew management is an essential part of improving your fleets abilities. The skill of Service Crew will also improve the rate of ship actions and the quality of steering, aiming, trading and fighting (Everything gets better with a good crew!) although their skills will not count as much as those of the captain/pilot. The sum quality of a ships crew is increased with the number of people and with the SKILL of each individual.

Passengers from missions also count as temporary crew:

Everybody can be a captain (if he just has to believe in himself)

Every person you hire, whether through the shipyard or wharf “UPGRADE SHIP” interface or by hiring individual people on platforms, can be assigned to any of the three categories. This also means you can assign any marine or crew member to be a captain or manager.


The quality of people in your crew is grouped by skill sets. These skills are always shown with star ratings from 0 to 5 stars. If you open the detail view of an individual crew member, you will find that their total skill is made up from individual types of skills such as:

  • Piloting
  • Morale
  • Management
  • Engineering
  • Boarding

How good an NPC then performs in any duty depends on these skills. While a CAPTAIN’s overall performance depends mostly on PILOTING a marine depends more on his boarding strength.

All NPCs improve through their MORALE however.

Training crew or marines

Crew improve their skills though learning by doing. This they all get better the longer they survive.

Marines improve their main boarding skill the most in actual boarding missions, while ordinary crew gets better in normal ship operations like trading. Surviving a fight can also improve the skills in many areas.

Digital Seminars

Digital seminars may be found as loot and sold at/to Item Traders. At this time (v1.30), they are not able to train crew.

Leave a Comment