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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 in game.

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. 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 player base. 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:

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

The rank level itself is defined by the accumulated total time spent in game.

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

The progress bar "Level XXX" shows your rank level. It is also dependent on total time spent in game.

The progress bar below it shows your position with respect to the next cosmic object (in other words, how far you are from the next color, which is 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 in game. What can I do?

Further information: Performance Optimizations

Try to reduce your graphics settings. To do so, go to the Settings Tab on Zero-K Lobby and click Graphics Settings. Some system-intensive elements that you could tone down/disable are shadows, anti-aliasing, and water type. There is also a '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 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, 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 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 in-game abbreviations mean?

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

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

Please include diagnostic logs as appropriate. You can automatically upload the log from in-game through Main MenuHelpReport 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.

How can I change my Username?

Follow the guide on namechange.

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 in-game to get help.