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Frequently Asked Questions—Zero-K

I'm new to Zero-K. Where should I start?

First, you should read the Newbie Guide and try some practice games against the AI. You should definitely try the tutorial, play some or all of the campaign, and/or the more detailed tutorial set available in the Help menu in the game's lobby.

You can also spectate some online games to see which things are significant.

How can I unlock Commander modules?

Visit the Zero-K Homepage and log in with your account. You can easily reach this page from the lobby through the "Welcome" tab. From here, you scroll down until you see "You can unlock technology" and click on this link. The link may not be there for you. That's because you do not have to unlock anything from this page; all modules are currently unlocked for all players.

You can see the list of unlocked technologies if you're logged in. Unlocking technology during single-player campaign does not affect anything on this page.

How do I gain rating?

You can gain rating if you're winning multiplayer games. You will gain or lose more or less rating based on the skill of your opponent(s).

Instead of relying on fixed thresholds, rating is defined by gaming skill (calculated by a specific algorithm called WHR, similar to Elo) expressed as a percentile of the player base. Rating can be gained or lost only after holding position in the new percentile for multiple games.

The color of the icon next to a player's name indicates a rating (calculated skill) range:

Examples Color Theme Percentile
Gamma ray Singularity Top 1%
X-ray Neutron star Top 5%
Blue white Supergiant Top 10%
Bright yellow Giant Top 20%
Orange Subgiant Top 40%
Red Red dwarf Top 60%
Dark red Brown dwarf Top 80%
Infrared Nebula Everyone

Level is based on the time spent playing the game. Rank is the player's level indicated by the shape of the icon. Here is the list of ranks with color Orange:

  • Single chevron: A new player gets one chevron just for joining. As the system is still trying to figure out the player's skill level, a single chevron is often drawn with color Infrared.
  • Two chevrons: At level 5, the player gains another chevron.
  • Three chevrons: Level 10 is rewarded with yet another chevron.
  • Single chevron with rocker: Level 20 is marked with a chevron and a rocker.
  • Two chevrons with rocker: Level 35 adds another chevron.
  • Star with rocker: Level 50 retains the rocker and shows a star.
  • Star with chevron and rocker: Level 75 adds a chevron.
  • Star: Level 100 and above proudly displays a big star.

How much XP do I need to reach the next level?

Mouse over the XP bar on the home page; the XP needed is displayed in the tooltip.

How do I un-clump my units to make a decent firing line?

Read up on micromanaging units with line move, an easy way to make your units form a line whenever you need them to.

How do I remove a structure that I built?

Among the best options are:

  1. Reclaim it. You get back some resources at the expense of time.
  2. Destroy it. Quick, but the explosion may damage nearby units and buildings.

This works with mobile units, too.

My FPS is low after some time have passed in game. What can I do?

Further information: Performance Optimizations

Try to reduce your graphics settings. To do so, go to the Settings tab in Zero-K lobby and click Graphics Settings. Some work-intensive elements that you could tone down or disable are shadows, anti-aliasing, and water type. There is also the Lowest preset you can try for maximum performance. Trying higher presets can help you find the performance and graphic level that works best on your system.

If you're playing on Steam, disable the Steam Overlay, as it negatively affects performance:

  • Right-click on Zero-K in your Steam library.
  • Select Properties from the drop-down menu.
  • Untick "Enable the Steam Overlay while in-game" in General.

I'm on Linux and my game hangs/crashes the second time I launch it

This may be an issue with certain versions of Mono. You might be able to work around it by deleting one or both files in Zero-K/games directory and letting the game rebuild them.

If the game is launched through Steam, you can also try setting the Steam Linux Runtime as compatibility tool for Zero-K.

I get ugly bubbles in the minimap/the whole screen flashbangs.

Do you get bubbles like this?

FAQ bg.jpg

This is a bug somewhere in Lua drawing with ATI/AMD and OpenGL.

Disable widgets that draw via F11 menu to find the problematic widget.

This should largely be fixed. If it still happens, send a bug report, please.

I have some game ideas. Where can I post them?

Visit the Zero-K forum and pose your ideas in the appropriate section. You can also create a new issue on our development site.

What do all the in-game abbreviations mean?

You can look up some abbreviations and acronyms used in the game in our list of abbreviations. Some abbreviations unrelated to the game can be looked up on wiktionary. Another way is to ask other players.

How can I support the game? Donations?

On the one hand, you can donate some coins so we can pay the server costs. You can also support Zero-K through one of the donation packs available on Steam. On the other hand, you can support us by simply playing the game and spreading the word. Feel free to use our advertisement material on your site. Thanks a lot! :-)

How can I change my Username?

Follow the guide on name change.

How do I change my password?

On your home/account page, click Account maintenance and enter your new password.

I forgot my password/username. Help me pls!

If you forgot your password or username, please contact the server administrators. They will reset it to something and communicate it to you.

Steam won't log me in anymore!

The Steam service and its login servers experience occasional maintenance downtime (usually on Tuesday) that can cause your Zero-K account to fail to connect. First you should check if steam is down in your region. If Steam services in your region are showing as OK, try the next step.

In the lobby client, go to "Settings > Lobby > Login with Steam" and make sure this and "Login automatically" are checked on. If you want to set a password and unlink your account from steam, see Account Management.

My mouse cursor in game has disappeared

This can be caused by driver updates. If it happens, this can be fixed by adding a line to a file in your Zero-K folder that will tell the game to draw the mouse cursor with an alternate method. Under the LuaMenu/Config folder, look for the IGL_data.lua file and open in a text editor. Look for the section called game_settings.

Adding the line HardwareCursor = 1, (including the comma) in the middle of this section and saving the file should have your cursor appear the next time you load Zero-K.

Hardware cursor can also be toggled in the settings menu during a game.

My game crashes/has graphical glitches. How do I fix it?

First, check the troubleshooting FAQ on the Spring engine wiki and see if your issue is covered there. If you can't find a solution to the problem, you can file a bug report on our forum or Github development site.

I have a bug report!

You can post in the Help and Bugs sub-forum or make an issue report on ZeroK-RTS Github (more technical). There is also a #support channel on Discord you can post to.

Please include diagnostic logs as appropriate. You can automatically upload the log from the game's lobby by pressing the Help button, then Report A Bug. During this step, a webpage should open with your diagnostic log. Be sure to make note of the address before closing it.

Otherwise, look for infolog.txt and infolog_full.txt in your installation folder. Use pastebin to show the contents of your infolog files and give the resulting link instead of posting the whole thing on the forum or github.

My question isn't answered here. Where can I ask my question?

As above, you can visit the forum and ask your question in one of the listed sections.

You can also ask other players to get help.