Tutorial [GUIDE] How to Build a very effective Pixel Farm

Discussion in 'Starbound FAQs, Q&A, and General Help' started by janovick, Jun 5, 2015.

  1. janovick

    janovick Scruffy Nerf-Herder

    1. BASIC

    With the recent announcements that merchants will buy stuff from us, it may sound appealing to just farm crops or other items and sell them. But we still know that the greastest source of pixels are creatures. Creatures that you kill and then drop, among other stuff, pixels.

    I've seen some designs of some pixels farms, but they were somewhat limited to a single place, which limited their spawning. So I tought of a design that would ensure a high spawn rate, easy mob killing system and easy access to loot.


    So, how to get all this in one place? Here's what I tought. :idea:


    You'll just walk in one direction, no need to turn back. :kitten2: This way, mobs will have time to respawn back on the places you just left. This also makes it easier to build a skyrail system to transport you fast and easily across the entire system. The obvious tought was to make this farm across an entire planet, from on point to the other. Yes, notice this will be resource heavy and time consuming.

    However, I imagine it's pretty possible to build this like a giant enclosed circle (or other shape) in the middle of the air, but I'm positive it will be much harder to build.


    One key point of this farm is to minimize all the other spawning places other than the ones you want your mobs to. I'll explain this further. Look items 3.1 and beyond.

    2.3 - AUTO KILLING

    There are several ways you can think of how to automatically kill mobs. Poison or lava, guards, defense turrets, etc. :mad:

    2.3.1 - HARMFUL LIQUIDS (POISON OR LAVA) :cancel:

    You could use one of these (or even both) two liquids, according to the biome you're in, but these would harm you too. :fireball: You can build a killing level with, for example, a pool of lava and below a platform level for you to walk an automatically collect the loot. This, however, bring one other problem. Mobs would probably spawn in the platform level too. :fishbowl:

    2.3.2 - GUARDS :cancel:

    Other option is to make a bazillion guards and spread them all other the place. Perhaps place them in a giant pool of healing water. But lets face it, guards are expensive and even with a healing structure (which would heal mobs too) they die quite often. Lets not mention that any aditional structure to support them (like a healing water pool) could reduce your mobility. :lod: And they're glitchy too. They'll probably form an union, go and strike and muder you someday.

    2.3.3 - TRAPS :cancel:

    Be careful. Traps (Tesla Spikes, Avian Saw Traps, etc) will kill you.... and your NPCs and even summoned creatures, but not Mobs. :whaaat::whaaat::whaaat:

    2.3.4 - DEFENSE TURRETS :confirm:

    Somewhat expensive? Yes! But their ores are easily farmable if you focus on doing it in the right planets. They bring great advantages.
    - They do not harm you, even if they shoot you accidently (except for only some explosive projectiles).
    - They have a nice range and seek for targets automatically. Their range is about a screen wide (in normal - 2x - zoom level)
    - You can chose the weapon. :viking:
    - Mobs just cannot damage them, at all. It's just like having a personal Chuck Norris, wearing Kevlar, inside a Main Batte Tank, shooting things for you. :spider:
    - They do not require ammo of any sort. They have a self replenishing energy pool.
    - They aggro stuff from you. When they hit a mob, that mob will ignore you and attack the Defense Turret.:zombie:

    Here are some drawbacks I've noticed:
    - Some non-aggressive mobs, when attacked by turrets and after leaving their range and losing aggro, may attack you.
    - Mobs that shoot projectiles my end up shooting you, specially when from the back, when they try to attack the turret.

    2.3.5 - NEW UPGRADES

    Lets just all remember that new stuff are being added so my farm could become absolutely obsolete in some months or even be complemented with new items, etc.



    First, we need to understand some basic stuff about monster spawning.

    If you've played for a while, you've noticed monsters spawn on surface, inside caves... everywhere. And since there are caves and empty spaces and... pretty much all conditions for mobs to spawn in pretty much everywhere, it makes it a bit hard to find a special place to build your farm as these undesired spawning spots will "steal" creatures from your farm.

    But there are three great exceptions: Ocean Biome, Toxic Biome and Magma Biome. These three biomes have wide open spaces filled with liquid, which do not allow for ground mods to spawn in and the few land portions of it do not have caves either.

    Since you'd be looking for a pixel farm, you'll want to chose the Biome where mobs drop more of it, right? So our biome of choice is... MAGMA BIOME. :fireball: Ocean Biome and Toxic Biome just come with the disadvantage of a lower pixel rate.

    Also, mind that Magma Biomes are made of not exactly soft blocks: Obsidian, some Ash Blocks, Cobblestone and even just a very few Magmarock. I had to pick over 3.000 Obsidian blocks, in order to make mine the way it is, although you don't really need to go thru all this much trouble.
    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    It's possible to chose other biomes but then make sure you cover as many caves as possible, or build it somewhat high in the air so no mobs spawn on the surface and underground when you're there. Any other option, however, sounds more troublesome and exausting to build.


    Well, you might already have noticed that this is gonna take some work to do... and blocks, lots of blocks. In order to minimize your work, make it on the smallest planet possible. It will not affect the spawning rate. ;)

    3.3 GRAVITY

    I did not consider this when I build my farm but chosing a higher gravity planet, in theory, will be better as it will make easier for Turrets to shoot mobs, specially if they are jumpy ones.:monkey:

    3.4 WEATHER

    Be careful however! Magma biomes host some of the most dangerous weather types there and these you should avoid at all cost:
    METEOR SHOWER - Just destroys pretty much everything. :ssssssssss::ssssssssss::ssssssssss:
    EMBER - Will burn your wooden structures, including platforms. :fireball:


    I haven't paid much attention to this before building this farm, and I'm suffering a bit with it, but avoid planets where there are mobs that shoot projectiles. They will sometimes shoot and hit you in the back, causing you to lose some health. Sure, it's hard to die, but will give you some trouble if you're looking to build a fully automatic design.

    Also, try to avoid planets where there are jumpy mobs (the ones who attack you by jumping on top of your character) as these tend to get stuck in the platform levels.

    3.6.1 BLOCK TYPES

    The Magma Biome is made of small islands in the middle of a huge magma ocean. The first step is to link all those islands with a sort of block that doesn't break in one hit or a couple explosions/shots. I went for simple cobblestone. While it may be considered a weak block, it's harder than wood or dirt and was more than enough for my farm. You can use sturdier blocks, but they may be harder to comeby. Just remember, you're gonna do it around a whole planet. Something that doesn't break in one matter manipulator hit should be good. :rock::rock::rock:

    Also notice you may want to make your farm in a single level, without having to go up or down, so you'll mine A LOT of obsidian, a VERY VERY resistant block. Just saying.... Still, I don't find it necessary.

    3.6.2 HEIGHT

    I built my stone platform 1 level above the lava level. In case some accidental hole is made :oops:, it avoids lava flowing up and flooding your spawning level. :facepalm: Oh... and it's infinite lava, by the way. :facepalm::facepalm::facepalm:

    3.6.3 LEVELING

    One other concern of mine was to level the entire terrain for two reasons:

    - Running on it (yeah, just press left or right button and forget about it). You'll want to make your terrain as flat as possible. As I mentioned, Magma Biomes are made of really hard materials and flattening an entire planet may not come easy. Most of the time I took making my farm was removing Obsidian. Anyway, just make sure you don't keep obstacles that force you to jump over them. So 1 step blocks, that allow you to naturally run them, is ok. All the rest take care of it somehow (either by removing it or by adding more blocks and making a stair you can run on) :kitten::kitten2::kitten::kitten2:

    - Aesthetics, because yes. :proper:


    You can create extra spawning space by making platforms. Simple as that. Do not use solid blocks or Defense Turrets will not shoot thru them.

    I've tested some stuff. I haven't recorded any numbers, but this is what I felt of it:

    - 1 layer of platforms, 5 blocks above ground, adds quite a lot to the spawning rate.
    - 2 layers of platforms, 5 and 10 blocks above ground, add a bit more than the first.
    - 3 layers of platforms, 5, 10 and 50 blocks above ground, doesn't seem to add much more than the 2 layers option, and turrets get a hard time at aiming at some mobs, plus it creates some blind spots, right above the turrets.


    As I said before, I went for a killing system that involved Defense Turrets. Defense turrets have a light on the "tail" of the barrel indicating their status. If it's yellow, they're active but not locked on any target. If red, they're locked on a target. If no light is on (grey), they don't have a weapon inside them, or it's an invalid one, or it is shut off. Be aware, you can place many weapons in there, but only valid ones will fire. For example: melee weapons (even with special ranged attacks) and staves are not valid!

    4.1 PLACING

    Placing the Defense Turrets requires absolutely no effort. Just place them on the platform. Placing them above where monsters will spawn seems counter productive. Also notice they have an angle or around 60 degrees up they can shoot (I'm still testing in a specific chamber I built the exact angle).

    So far, this is what it should be looking like.


    4.2 DISTANCE

    Turrets have around a screen wide of range in normal (2x) zoom. For this reason, place them in this exact distance for saving space sake. If you keep the same zoom level when building it, you'll be able o place ALL turrets in the exact same distance without having to count the blocks between and having a full coverage of the spawning area.

    I'M RUNNING ON 1366X768 RESOLUTION, AT 2X ZOOM. This gives a total of 39 blocks between each defense turret. Please mind this, as a difference may occur according to your graphic settings. This is how it looks:


    Please notice that with this distance - 39 blocks - the turret on the right can even target a mob beyond the left turret (notice the red light on). In other words: zero blind spots. The kill zone will cover all mobs.

    4.3 SECTIONS

    For the sake of... sake, lets call the space between one turret and the other by section. You can make it so each section is defended by 1 turret or 2. More than that seems a waste to me. Sometimes, if there's only one turret, it will take a while longer to kill all mobs in that section, specially depending on the weapon you're using, but it will get the job done, eventually.

    4.3.1 ONE TURRET

    If your sections are going to have only 1 turret, make sure you PLACE THEM ALL IN THE SAME DIRECTION. If fact, when you star building your farm, even if it's gonna be a 2 turret/section, start making it this way. Why?

    When your turret shoots the first mob, the creature will want to attack the turret and jump or run into it. For this reason, most times the mob will go to the opposite side of the turret, and it will lose it's target (remember: turrets have a limited aiming position of about 60ยบ up, they cannot shoot something behind their backs). Even worse of the mob loses aggro. When this happens, the other turret will immediatly lock on the mob and shoot it. In other words, BY PLACING ALL TURRETS FACING THE SAME DIRECTION, YOU ENSURE THERE ARE NO BLIND SPOTS, and all mobs will eventually get shot and killed. All bow to my MS Paint skills, in an attempt to demonstrate how it works. :cool::cool::cool:

    The area inside the orange triangle would be the "shooting zone". This pretty much leave zero blind spots. I've tested this, if you place them as I told you (item 4.2) even with one layer of platforms for extra spawning, all ground creatures will pretty much spawn inside the kill zone. Birds that spawn right above the Defense Turrets will not, but as they fly down, they will attempt to settle on the ground (or the platforms) and will get in range.

    4.3.2 TWO TURRETS

    The major difference is a 2 turret section will be cleaned faster than a 1 turret one. So yeah, a considerable increase in the looting rate. Here's how I made mine. I gave it a tought and decided to put both turrets right back on each other, with one one block in the middle of them, to add some lightning or build some aesthetic stuff later.
    (Notice, in this picture, that the central turrets are not targetting the mob as it is on a too higher angle, but BOTH the turrets on the edge of the image are)

    At first, I tought putting the second turret in the middle, but with this patten it creates quite an effective killing technique. Often mobs will be target by one turret and will rush to attack it, as I've said before. When that happens, the other turret of the section starts shooting it, so the mobs starts "dancing" between both turrets, either aggoing one or the other, staying right the middle of both, getting shot from everywhere.


    Oh boy. This one deserves a special chapter, just for it.

    One of the rooms of my ship is full of those prision lockers, all filled with weapons. I have hundreds and hundreds of weapons, not to mention the ones I've stored in my base because they could not fit any longer on the ship. Still, my greatest challenge was to find enough SUITABLE weapons to make my farm. YEAH!


    - No matter the range or projectile of the ammunition the weapon has, turrets will behave the same. They will aim straight and fire as soon as the target gets locked in range. For this reason, weapons with low range, projectives that curve on gravity (such as arrows, grenate launchers) or that ammunition that flies slowly and than sprints after a second, are generally bad. Birds cause extra problem with this sort of weapons/projectile as the turret will discharge all it's energy and not hit a thing.
    - Shotguns do not fire all the bullets as if you were shooting yourself. Instead, they only shoot one pebble. :cry::cry::cry: For this reason, shotguns are, in general, not very good. Shotguns with a slow fire rate or too many pebbles are even worse. The best shotguns I've seen were plasma ones which fire a big bulky high-damaging shot.
    - Turrets ain't very smart either. They will not try to compensate for the mobs' movement. For this reason, low fire rate weapons ain't all that good either as once they miss it will take a long time for them to shoot, hit and aggro the creature. Birds usually troll turrets best in this case.
    - Turrets also target... everything. Other NPCs, fish and even bugs. So, that awesome 1000 dps, 0.3 rate of fire, sniper rifle you have will prove rather annoying when you see it wasting it's energy killing a bug. :mad:
    - Rocket launchers are good, but I've seen some platforms getting destroyed by them, so I avoid them. Plus, they kinda fall in the slow fire rate category.


    I'll be honest with you. Since mobs don't wear armors, DPS ain't exactly the most importat stat in here. Aim for high fire rate weapons whose projectile doesn't curve on gravity. It only takes on shot to aggro the enemy and lure it into the ground and into the kill zone.

    These are the ideal stats for me:
    - Projectile: non-short, not slow, not curvy.
    - Rate of fire: > 3.
    - Shot damage/Shot energy: >= 2/1.
    - At least 200 dps.

    - Pistols
    - Machinepistols
    - Assault Rifles

    - Bows
    - Crossbows
    - Grenade launchers
    - Rocket launchers
    - Shotguns

    - Pulse rifles
    - Avians blasters and guns
    - Uzi's

    - Needler
    - Lightning Coil
    - Flamethrower
    - Gnome gun
    - Alien laser gun
    - Corrosive gun
    - Blizzard Blasters
    - Bone gun and rifle

    Now do you understand why this was the hardes part for me? Equiping an entire planet with this sort of weapons, no matter how many you've looted already, will be hard.

    Amplified. Each complete run on the easily deliver 4-5k pixels. And I don't have all turrets placed, even less all equiped with the weapons I wanted.


    - Just run in the same direction
    - Get a food that gives you extra speed, like sugar rush, or use a green medkit to collect the loot faster. With more than 1 platform level you may have to jump around to collect the loot in all levels.
    - Just building and testing these (which took me around 7 hours), I got over 150.000 pixels.

    - My next project is to build a skyrail system so I can run this fully automatically. In other words, I could just leave my character running all day long, afk, collection pixels, etc. BE CAREFUL: despite all the care, you'll probably take some damage once in a while. For this reason, I've tought of building some small stations with healing water. Perhaps one every 10 sections, in order to automatically heal myself.
    - Also notice that skyrails function as platforms too, which can serve for mobs to spawn.
    - I'm thinking of making a specific meat/leather/raw ribs/poultry farm (as well as a fish fillet one) and may use this circular and linear design. I think I'll have to make it inside a tunnel in the liquid portion of one of those biomes, but I'm just planning some stuff.
    - I'm trying to figure out exactly what is the space necessary for mobs to spawn. I'll need it because I want to make a skyrail system when I can automatically collect all the loot in 2 levels of platforms. If someone can give me a hint in this department, thank you ;)

    - Thank you all for reading this huge wall of text. I'll add some parts later.
    - I hope I've helped the community in some way with this.
    - Please forgive me for any grammar mistakes, I'm not a native english speaker.
    - Also, forgive me if this was proposed before, I didn't see it.
    - PLEASE, provide me with feedback and help me improve this designe.
    - I love you all <3[/spoiler][/spoiler]
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2015
  2. Will Liferider

    Will Liferider Ketchup Robot

    Thanks for the guide. You're awesome!

    One change I'm making in my pixel farm is instead of digging through the obsidian for hours on end, I'm building my floor 20 blocks about lava level, and covering the islands with plated blocks all the way up to floor level. To cover it I'm using plated metal blocks, which I can get from a special type of tree I found.

    Here's me gearing up for construction:
    Starbound Tree Farm.jpg

    Thanks again for the guide!!
    janovick likes this.
  3. janovick

    janovick Scruffy Nerf-Herder

    WOW, very nice. I kinda didn't like the way mine looks, tbh. I'm thinking of adding an extra layer behind the cobblestone I built, plus adding some more details here and there.

    I think yours will look awesome! Show us a picture when you do it ;)
  4. Varixai

    Varixai Hard-To-Destroy Reptile

    Great guide!

    I haven't seen it mentioned here, but if anybody wants to see an alternate design - quiqksilver made one a few months ago that got pretty insane pixel rates:

    janovick likes this.
  5. Will Liferider

    Will Liferider Ketchup Robot

    Here's a picture of what it looks like so far:
    Starbound Pixel Farm.jpg

    The spawn rate seems strangely low. Plenty of monsters spawned up here while I was placing the platforms, but now none of them seem to be spawning.

    Woah that's awesome! The spawn rate for that area seems insanely high though. basically every time he turned his back there was another monster. The build in that video was from the Koala series, so I'm not sure if that'll still work. They might have nerfed the monster spawn rate since then. Doesn't mean I'm not gonna try it though.
  6. janovick

    janovick Scruffy Nerf-Herder

    Wow, this seems such a more simple design. I didn't expect it to spawn mobs so well in such a small space.

    Anyway, I've done some tests. I went for 9 full foot runs on the planet. Started with 156.322 pixels

    1st run: 163.272 pixels (+6950) (total: 6950)
    2nd run: 166.372 pixels (+3100) (total: 10050)
    3rd run: 169.222 pixels (+2850) (total: 12900)
    4th run: 173.072 pixels (+3850) (total: 16750)
    5th run: 177.322 pixels (+4250) (total: 21000)
    6th run: 180.072 pixels (+2750) (total: 23750)
    7th run: 184.872 pixels (+4800) (total: 28550)
    8th run: 190.222 pixels (+5350) (total: 33900)
    9th run: 195.172 pixels (+4950) (total: 38850)

    I did each run without any speed booster and I just ran straight, without stoping, just jumping once in a while to get the items/pixels in the 2nd platform level. Each full lap on the planet took 3 minutes and 37 seconds.

    In otherworks, 38.850 pixels in 33 minutes. Roughly 76.000 pixels per hour. Still incomplete, however, as I don't have all the turrets, and not all have weapons, not are all the ideal weapons I wished.

    Yet, I think the video you posted before just shows it's possible to do a much more simple and compact design, even if it's a circular one in the air. Thanks.

    One more thing I kinda forgot to mention (I'll edit it in OP), is that jumpy mobs seem to be a problem. In the planet I've tried there are 3 mobs that spawn there:
    - a quadrupede the fires some red projectiles (and keeps hurting me). When he is shot he "jumps down" to the turret level, which is great.
    - 2 small mobs that jump in the air and try to land on top of the target. These two are diverting too many shots off them as they jump and get stuck in the second layer, constantly. :(
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2015
  7. Will Liferider

    Will Liferider Ketchup Robot

    Hey man I just wanted to let you know that I built both pixel farms and right now it seems like yours is more effective. The design in the video gives a bunch immediately, but the spawn rate instantly plummets as soon as a player enters the farm so the automation part isn't so good
    janovick likes this.
  8. janovick

    janovick Scruffy Nerf-Herder

    Thanks. I've just added a skyrail across mine, but I really found a huge problem: it's good, but if it goes too fast (I added a booster in every section) it lags so badly that projectiles just stop in the air; same occurs with mobs jumping... with items falling.... with everything. Pretty much the farm stops. I kinda also notices that if it is only 5 blocks above ground (rarely) your character will get stuck sometimes. It seems a bug because suddently you just can't even turn off the bloody rail tech.

    So, for a fully automated farm you'd need
    - a rail 6 blocks above ground
    - not very fast speed

    I'm still gonna test it, but I'm not sure if the second set of platforms is worth all that much, to be honest. A lot of turrets miss because of it :/

    I'm kinda testing with leaving all the turrets pointing left with a rifle (rapid fire) and the right one with a sniper rifle (high damage). Looks quite a good combination. The ones pointing left serve to lure the mobs down, and the right one to finish them.

    Oh well, time to mine the hell out of.... everywhere to find more ore to finish my farm :D

    Thanks for the feedback.
  9. dar601

    dar601 Scruffy Nerf-Herder

    how many metal coated wood do you get per harvest? I saw your post, cloned your farm (thanks for the idea), and i get 2100ish per go.
  10. Will Liferider

    Will Liferider Ketchup Robot

    Well my farm is quite large. I get about 6000 per harvest (it's a really big farm)
  11. dar601

    dar601 Scruffy Nerf-Herder

    actually there is now way for me to harvest mine anymore, as a system reset wiped it away COMPLETELY
  12. Will Liferider

    Will Liferider Ketchup Robot

    Dang that sucks. Sorry yo. When you had your farm did you have a way of automatically farming the trees? I've been looking for a way to maximize the efficiency of my farm.
  13. dar601

    dar601 Scruffy Nerf-Herder

    no, i just bunched them all together and used my 4x4 MM to mine 3 at once, and placed saplings until i had no room. waited until they all grew, and went through and chopped them down. (i basically copied your design, barren planet and everything, but with all the trees immediately next of each other)

    Though, if starbound had placing saplings on fine sand, and pistons from minecraft, it would be easier
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2015

Share This Page