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Updated for version 5.10


Custom Game Starts were introduced in the 4.10 update and allow for greater flexibility in getting into X4. Custom game starts can be broken down into two types: Budgeted and Creative Custom gamestarts with the former allowing players to create a start with a few restrictions and will not incur a modified tag. The latter is, as its name implies, far more creative and unrestricted but will incur a modified tag (preventing online functionality). If players are running mods they will not be able to access the budgeted custom game start and will instead have to play through one of the starting scenarios or the creative custom start.

Budgeted Custom Game Starts

Budgeted Custom Game Starts require the player to load an existing unmodified save before becoming functional, this requirement is based on the need for the budget limits to be calculated on game progress. Budget areas include:

  • Monetary Budget
  • Knowledge
  • Personnel
  • Relations
  • Research and Plot outcomes

How the budgets are calculated and how to optimise them is outlined below

Custom Game Start Editor Menu

Creative Custom Game Starts

Creative Custom Gamestarts do not require the player to load an existing save and players can experiment from the outset. Creative custom game starts permit the creation of a game start in the exact same way as a budgeted one but without any of the budgetary restrictions (although the player still has a 10,000,000Cr limit). The player also has full control over which plots and research items are completed even if they have not been completed in an un-modified game. Additionally, the player can adjust their faction relations with otherwise locked factions like the Xenon, Kha'ak and Scale Plate Pact (although this can often have unintended and undesirable consequences). Finally, players can choose whether or not they want highways enabled or disabled and can enable and disable local and ring highways separately.

Custom Start Metrics

Monetary Budget Factors

VariableExplanationScore perLimitNumber


Base budget

300,000 Cr

300,000 Cr



Has production modules

500,000 Cr

6,500,000 Cr



Has pier modules

600,000 Cr

4,200,000 Cr



Has dock modules

80,000 Cr

1,680,000 Cr



Has a luxury dock module

150,000 Cr

150,000 Cr1


Has S and M storage modules

90,000 Cr

810,000 Cr



Has L storage modules

150,000 Cr

1,050,000 Cr



Has S ship build modules

21,000,000 Cr

21,000,000 Cr1


Sold > 100k worth of goods at once

20,000 Cr

1,400,000 Cr



Sold > 1mil worth of goods at once

200,000 Cr

7,000,000 Cr



Bought an M ship400,000 Cr

5,200,000 Cr



Bought an L ship1,800,000 Cr

12,600,000 Cr



Bought an XL ship20,000,000 Cr20,000,000 Cr1


Bought a carrier27,000,000 Cr27,000,000 Cr1


Bought a supply ship25,000,000 Cr25,000,000 Cr1
Sum133,890,000 Cr 

Monetary Costs

Increasing the financial budget would intuitively increase the player's starting balance, however, it becomes quickly apparent that that is not the case. This is evidenced by the restriction of the player's starting balance to 10,000,000Cr which leaves a massive 123,890,000Cr left over when the maximum budget has been reached. Instead the overwhelming majority of the monetary budget is consumed by inventory items (limited to a select range that excludes paintmods, and technology modification components), ships and starting stations. Prices of stations and ships are taken to be that of the average cost and the player cannot select the Syn or the Asgard for their starting ship or other property. Finally, having any pre-built stations will require funds for the blueprint cost on top of the cost of the station's built components.

Knowledge Budget Factors

VariableExplanationScore per LimitNumber


Base budget





Opened a normal lockbox (1 lock)10010,000100
known_lockbox_rareOpened a rare lockbox (4 or more locks)50030,00060
known_aqueductTarget an aqueduct2,0002,0001
known_khaak_hiveTarget a Kha'ak Hive3,0003,0001
known_sectorEnter a new sector20039,000


(As of CoH and SV v4.10)

known_sector_xenonEnter a Xenon sector2,0002,0001
known_datavaultTarget a Data Vault3,0003,0001
known_timeline_unlockUnlock a timeline entry1,00030,00030

Knowledge Costs

The Knowledge component of the Budget determines whether or not a faction or a sector is initially known to a player and in the case of sectors if all stations are known. Knowledge of a faction is a fixed value of 2,000 points per faction but the cost of knowing a sector is variable with more remote sectors having a greater cost (this is important as players can only start in known sectors). Finally, the cost of whether or not all stations in a given sector is also a fixed cost like faction knowledge and is set at 1,800 points per sector.

Personnel Budget Factors

VariableExplanationScore perLimitNumber
base_budgetBase Budget1,0001,0001
people_pilot_2starPromoted a 2 star pilot to 3 stars with a seminar50025,00050
people_pilot_3starPromoted a 3 star pilot to 4 stars with a seminar2,50075,00030
people_pilot_4starPromoted a 4 star pilot to 5 stars with a seminar5,000100,00020
people_manager_2starPromoted a 2 star manager to 3 stars with a seminar50025,00050
people_manager_3starPromoted a 3 star manager to 4 stars with a seminar2,50075,00030
people_manager_4starPromoted a 4 star manager to 5 stars with a seminar5,000100,00020
people_pilot_4star_onloadHas a 4 star pilot1,50030,00020
people_pilot_5star_onloadHas a 5 star pilot3,000 60,000 20
people_manager_4star_onloadHas a 4 star manager1,50030,00020
people_manager_5star_onloadHas a 5 star manager3,000 60,000 20
people_crew_countTotal number of crew2060,0003000

Personnel Costs

The personnel budget affects the quality of the crew on ships and managers on stations. If a crew level is not set in the custom game start editor a random level crew will be generated. Crew cost factors in both the quantity of crew and the quality, quantity is considered linearly but the cost of quality crew grows exponentially. The cost of crew is roughly equal to ((star level)/3)^3.5 for levels over 1/3, this means a five star crew member will cost 13,070 points.

Relations Budget Factors

VariableExplanationScore perLimitNumber
base_budgetBase budget10101
relation_war_joinedfactionJoined a war effort10101
relation_war_joinedoppositionJoined a war effort opposing another one20201
relation_tradeguildJoined a trade guild20201
relation_pirateguildJoined a pirate guild (currently only offered by the Scale Plate Pact)30301
relation_leak_mission_easyCompleted an easy leak mission10101
relation_leak_mission_hardCompleted a hard leak mission30301
relation_ceremony_10First level 10 reputation ceremony bonus20201
relation_ceremony_10Subsequent level 10 reputation ceremonies57515
relation_ceremony_20First level 20 reputation ceremony bonus1001001
relation_ceremony_20Subsequent level 20 reputation ceremonies2525010
relation_27Reached +27 with one faction5005001
relation_27Reached +27 with subsequent factions755257



  • Change: In Money Has S and M storage modules →  Has S or M storage modules?
  • Where are the variables stored and how exactly are they updated?
    • userdata.xml contains all variables needed for a budgeted game start, but some personnel budget-related ones are named *_onload with the comment Crew status, checked on loading,

    • Test by starting the game and screenshotting the budget screen. Then load a saved game and compare the values. Tested by Manoeuvring with Difficulty, Peteran and V3T

Relations Costs

Relations points exclusively affect relations with factions and can only be used to manipulate how the player interacts with the amicable factions. The default relations in the editor is identical to the 'Young gun' starting scenario with most factions preset and a value of 0 with the exception of the Free FamiliesFallen Families, Terran Protectorate, Yaki and Zyarth Patriarchy which are set at -5, -5, -15, -25 and -15 respectively.

Changing relations comes at a cost of 1 point per reputation level between 1 and 10 (raising negative reputation levels up to 0 currently incurs no cost). Between 11 and 20 inclusive raising reputation by 1 level costs 10 points. Between 21 and 26 inclusive costs 100 points per level, the jump between 26 and 27 costs 300 points and for every level over 27 it costs 200 points. The total cost of maximising a factions reputation is hence 1,610 points and is impossible to do.



  • libraries/gamestarts.xml

1 Comment

  1. Anonymous

    You can have more than 10,000,000 in the creative custom start, you just have to click on the number and type in a value.  Doing this and holding down the "9" key will max the cash at 1,000,000,000,000.  The light blue bar signifying how full it is will only be ~3/4 of the way, but it can't be dragged any further for more than 1 trillion credits.  This is as of ToA 5.0 on April 20th, 2022. 

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