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Frequently Asked Questions - Zero-K (still under construction)

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 ingame.

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

How can I unlock commander modules?

You have to visit the Zero-K Homepage and log in with your account. You can easily reach this page from the lobby through the "Home" tab. From here, scroll down until you see "You can unlock technology" and click on this link. Alternatively you can click here if you're logged in. Note that you do not have to unlock anything from this page; all modules are currently unlocked in-game for all players. Unlocking these just makes them available for preconfigured commanders.

How do I gain rating?

You can gain rating if you're winning multiplayer games. Based on you enemies' skill you will gain/lose more or less rating.

Instead of relying on fixed rating thresholds, rating colors are defined by your gaming skills (calculated by a specific algorithm called WHR, similar to ELO) expressed as a percentiles of the playerbase. Rating colors can only be gained or lost after holding one's position in the new percentile for multiple games.

Here is a list of the rating colors:

Icon 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

The rank level itself is defined by the cumulated total time spent ingame.

Here is a list of the ranks, with color Infrared:

The progress bar "Level XXX" shows your rank level (i.e. dependent on total time spent ingame).

The progress bar below it shows your position in respect to the next cosmic object (in other words, how far you are to the next color, dependent on your gaming skills).

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.

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

See also: Performance Optimizations

Try to reduce your graphics settings. To do so, go to the Settings Tab on Zero-K Lobby and click Graphics Settings -> Run SpringSettings. Some system-intensive elements that you could tone down/disable are shadows and water type. Try a new game and probably change some settings again.

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 dropdown 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 and letting the game rebuild them.

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

Do you get bubbles like this?


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 make a bugreport please.

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

Visit the Zero-K forum and pose your ideas in one of the sections. Furthermore, you can create a new issue on our development site: https://github.com/ZeroK-RTS/Zero-K/issues

What do all the ingame abbreviations mean?

You can look up some abbreviations used ingame here in this list. Some abbreviations unrelated to the game can be looked up on this page. Another way is to ask players ingame.

How can I support the game? Donations?

On the one hand you can donate some coins so we can pay the server costs. 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 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 / username please contact one of the server admins to receive your password / username. They will reset it to something and pm it to you.

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 & Bugs subforum or make an issue report on Github (more technical).

Please include diagnostic logs as appropriate. You can automatically upload the log from ingame through Main Menu -> Help -> Report a Bug.

Otherwise, look for infolog_full.txt in your installation folder. Be sure to pastebin your infolog and give the 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 players ingame to get help.