The Spaceship is the primary mode of transportation in Outer Wilds. It is propelled by two banks of multi-directional thrusters, able to propel the craft in any direction. It has room for one pilot, and comes with a variety of high-tech gear - including the generator, oxygen tanks, and main computer - as well as decorative items, such as clothes pegs and windows. It is entered from the bottom via a circular hatch. The hatch will remain open after the pilot exits, and emits a beam of blue light. This beam will tug on the player when under it to allow them to re-enter the vessel.
- 1 Details
- 2 Various Mechanics
- 3 Ship Interior
- 4 Piloting
- 5 Major sections
- 6 Subsystems
- 7 Gallery
The Spaceship features an on-board computer which provides a basic level of information about any planet that the player has visited. It also features a fixed version of the power source that can be seen at the Observatory. Of course "fixed" means "it won't turn 78% of the ship into usable energy".
The Spaceship parts and/or subsystems will take localized damage if the player flies into a hard surface at a high enough velocity. If a section of the hull takes too much damage in a collision it will break off. Less serious localized damage (engines, camera, etc.) will cause the ship to become dysfunctional in different ways, but it will remain mostly flyable. Repairing the ship can only be done from the outside, by pressing the action button while positioned in front of the damaged module (except for the two subsystems situated inside the ship).
Despite its apparent small size, the Spaceship is filled with useful resources and well-thought-out cosmetic details. The ship is divided into four parts:
The central hull contains the entry hatch and links the four sections together. Attached to the inner roof over the hatch is a salvaged Nomai gravity ring which activates when the hatch is opened from the outside, creating a gravity lift to bring the player inside the ship. Once the player enters the hatch, it will close automatically.
The aft hull section contains the Computer, a poster of the solar system, various supplies, and a hatchet.
The starboard hull contains the spacesuit and associated equipment as well as emergency supplies. The spacesuit hanger allows the player to take it on and off, along with the HUD. The emergency supplies cabinet can be used to resupply the jetpack's gas tank, patch any hole in the spacesuit, and heal the player of their wounds. These functions remain available even if the hull section separates from the rest of the ship.
Port hull section
The left hull contains the Generator and a gravity crystal. Both can be repaired from inside the ship when broken.
The cockpit allows the player to pilot the spaceship across the solar system and benefits from a great 180° view thanks to a domed glass windshield. Various utilities are present as physical gauges and screens to help during piloting. Also accessible on the right is the ejection button. Pressing it makes it will eject the cockpit, making the ship's electric systems inaccessible. This will grant an achievement.
The player can seat themselves in the cockpit and control the ship. In the event one or more sections of the hull separate from the ship (including the cockpit itself) the ship will cease being controllable, although the player can still sit in the seat.
The ship is equipped with multiple utilities to help exploration that are available while piloting. Those include:
The autopilot allows the ship to automatically fly to a given celestial body and park in space near it. It is possible to deactivate the autopilot in the options, should the player wish to increase difficulty or fly out of the solar system. After selecting a body and engaging the autopilot, the ship will automatically correct its lateral trajectory, accelerate straight in the direction of the body for half the distance and then decelerate for the other half. It will stop the ship just before the body. The autopilot does not avoid obstacles and distracted pilots may find themselves flying into the sun or planets after activating the autopilot. If the players tries to go out of the solar system the autopilot will automatically target the sun and go back into the solar system, unless the the autopilot is broken or deactivated. When the autopilot is activated, the green indicator light in the cockpit is lit.
The player can press A on the controller to match the velocity of the selected body. This function only reduces the relative velocity to 0 and does not match the orbit of the targeted body.
A quartz screen on the left side of the cockpit shows the state of the ship and indicates which parts and subsystems are in need of repair.
A three dimensional cross indicates in which direction the ship engines are thrusting and with what force.
The main screen indicates updates to the ship or trajectory, including broken systems, the status of the autopilot, headlight status, etc.
Three light bulbs indicate the activation of systems: white for the headlight, green for the autopilot, and orange for velocity matching.
The temperature gauge is not implemented in the game and does not work.
A signalscope is mounted on top of the cockpit and is controllable when piloting. The ship's signalscope works like the player's but is unable to switch to an unknown frequency or zoom in.
The player can switch into landing mode to facilitate landings on bodies. The player's camera rotates downward toward the landing camera screen, which shows what is under the ship via a low-resolution black and white display. Also visible on the left is a navball indicating the ship's position on the targeted body, similar to the minimap in the suit, and on the right is an altimeter that indicates the ship position on the y-axis and the height of the surface underneath the ship. In landing mode the ship will automatically rotate the bottom of the ship toward the targeted body, if there is one, and will stay locked in this axis until landing mode is disabled.
The ship's scout launcher is located on top of the cockpit and works exactly like the player's portable scout launcher, but launches the scout with a lot more speed.
On the right of the cockpit is the eject cockpit button, which is protected by a glass panel that needs to be removed before the button can be pressed. Pressing the button will eject the entirety of the cockpit forward at 50 m/s. This is an emergency feature that breaches the hull and destroys the ship, but can save the player's life in very specific situations.
Using the button will grant an Achievement on the Xbox and Steam versions of the game.
The Spaceship's outer hull is made of several sections that can all take damage separately. Unlike subsystems that will instantly drop to 0% health when damaged, these sections have hit points that will go down depending on the impact force and the part's resistance. Most parts start losing health after an impact at 30m/s or more. If a section's health falls below 30% a flashing red light will illuminate and an alarm sound will start ringing in the ship until all affected parts are fully repaired.
The hull is the structure of the ship and is divided in several parts. After a hull section reaches 0% damage, impacts to it will go through it and reach other parts or subsystems. For the port and starboard hull parts an impact at 0% will destroy the hull and the damaged part will detach from the rest of the ship, rendering the entire ship inoperable.
- Starboard hull
- Port hull
- Aft hull
- Upper hull
The landing gear is more durable than the other major parts so that it can handle even heavy handed pilots; it will only start taking damage after impacts at a speed of about 80 m/s or more.
When the landing gear reaches 0% health one of the three landing legs detaches, making the ship land unevenly. The two other legs will not break further and subsequent impacts on the landing gear will not damage the ship hull. Repairing a broken landing gear will not make the lost landing leg come back, but it will make the damaged texture go away on all the legs.
The cockpit is mostly made of a glass dome which is transparent from the inside and an opaque golden color from the outside. As it loses health, cracks will spread through the glass. It is possible to eject the cockpit for emergency reasons by pressing a button situated on the right inside the cockpit, but doing so will destroy the ship.
When it reaches 0% health or is ejected, the cockpit separates from the rest of the ship (which becomes nonfunctional) at 50 m/s. The player will stay in the pilot seat if they were there upon separation.
The spaceship has multiple subsystems that originate from Hearthian or Nomai technology that provide different functions to the ship, from steady landings to artificial gravity. All of the subsystems can be broken by localized damage and will need repairs to be made on them to restore them to functionality.
When broken, subsystems make electrical noises, sparkles, and have a red alarm light to broadcast their location to the player.
The electrical system is situated on the aft hull, and is tasked with distributing electricity from the reactor to the ship. The headlight and the landing cam subsystems need electricity to work, as well as the ship computer and the non-emergency lighting inside the ship.
When broken the ship is dark inside and outside and it is impossible to use the computer or the landing cam.
The oxygen tank is situated on the left side of the ship. Contrary to most established logic oxygen in the spaceship isn't provided by the potted plant in the cockpit, but instead comes from an O2 tank. When broken the tank will slowly leak oxygen and will be empty after about 20 minutes. How much oxygen is left is indicated by a gauge in the cockpit.
The fuel tank is situated on top of the ship and contains fuel for the reactor. Despite appearing to be an infinite resource, fuel is actually limited and it is possible to run out of it. Fuel reserves are tracked on a gauge inside the cockpit.
When broken the ship quickly loses fuel until it runs out after about a minute. Fixing the tank stops the leak but does not refund the lost fuel. Although it is possible to end up stranded, it is still possible to match velocity with objects even with no fuel.
A Nomai gravity crystal situated inside the ship next to the reactor provides artificial gravity with an acceleration of 0.8x normal inside the ship. The crystal takes damage when an impact is located on the left side of the ship. The artificial gravity allows for walking inside the ship when it is in zero-g and reduces the risk of death from bonking the walls when the ship is under acceleration. Unlike all other gravity crystals in the game, the gravity created by the ship's crystal does not erase outside forces but instead adds itself to them. This means that outside acceleration can still be felt and can slowly move a standing player in the direction of the outside force. For example a player in the ship landed on Giant's Deep will feel 2.9x of normal gravity (rather than 2.0x when walking at sea level), but if the ship is sideways the player will be able to stand but will slowly slide towards the center of the planet.
When broken, the player will be subjected to the same forces as if the ship wasn't there, not only meaning that the gravity on planet will be the same as outside the ship but also that if the ship is under acceleration (for example with autopilot activated) the player will fall in the direction of the acceleration and stay stuck there until the end of the acceleration, if they survived the damage caused by impact with the walls of the ship. In free fall the player will be able to use the jetpack inside the ship to move. Without the jetpack the player can experience naked 0g without suffocation, which results in slowly drifting across the ship without any possibility to move themselves or the camera.
The headlight is situated under the ship and provides light in a forward cone which is extremely useful for navigating dark areas. When the ship is in landing mode the light rotates to illuminate the area beneath the ship. The headlight can be toggled by the pilot by clicking the right analog stick. The state of the headlight (on or off) is indicated by the first of the three light bulbs in the cockpit. The headlight is on by default.
When broken the headlight stops working.
The landing cam is situated under the ship and provides a black and white view from under the ship when piloting in landing mode.
When broken, the landing cam screen will only display static, but it is still possible to use the other features of landing mode.
The autopilot is situated under the cockpit and provides assistance to the pilot via the autopilot and match velocity functions.
When broken, the autopilot guidance will be unavailable, as well as the match velocity button of the ship.
The reactor is situated inside the ship and provides the ship with the energy to fly. The reactor can take damage when an impact is located on the left side of the ship but seems to be more resistant than the crystal next to it.
When broken, the reactor will start to overheat and will explode after about 20 seconds if not repaired. The overheating process is displayed on the reactor by a gauge. The explosion does a lot of damage to the player if they are close, but will not instantly kill them. The explosion breaks apart all the hull sections and all three landing legs, which are violently propelled in each direction, along with the player.
Port and starboard thruster banks
The thruster banks are situated on the extremity of each side of the hull and provide thrust to the ship, allowing it to break free from the tyranny of gravity. Each engine has five nozzles, one for each axis except the mounting point, and combined together the two engines are able to push the ship in any direction or induce roll and yaw without needing gimbals. How the ship pitches is a mystery.
When one thruster bank is broken the ship becomes almost uncontrollable since thrust is now asymmetrical. It is still possible to have or more or less centered thrust by moving the ship sideways. Rotating the ship is still possible as normal. The autopilot and velocity match feature are still available, but both attempt to thrust as if both thruster banks were still available. Reaching a destination with the autopilot is possible but requires rotating the ship a lot so that the remaining bank can fire in the right direction.