I am developing a space ship game (where you fight against enemy space ships) and want to consider which resource should be used as game currency. In comparison to classic fantasy/medieval universe where you can loot from enemy silver or gold coins, I want to find a better idea for a resource which should be looted from enemy space ships. I want to avoid abstracting things to virtual money like „cryptocurrency“ or „galactic credits“. I would much more like to think about some kind of indestructible energy crystals, which are used as fuel to engine or something like that (indestructible because it was the only thing left when you destroyed the enemy ship).

Do you have any ideas?


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    $\begingroup$ Hello and welcome to Worldbuilding. If you are interested in actual game design and balance there might be more suitable forums for the question. If you want to leave in Worldbuilding please add some more information on the background and technological level of your game setting. $\endgroup$ – Alex2006 Oct 16 '18 at 12:56
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    $\begingroup$ In FTL the in-game currency are scraps from salvaged spaceships. $\endgroup$ – Renan Oct 16 '18 at 13:21
  • $\begingroup$ Also, please take a moment to check out the help center & tour for tips on what kinds of questions are welcome here and what kinds of questions are not appropriate here. $\endgroup$ – elemtilas Oct 16 '18 at 19:41

The sciency umbrella term for "stuff with whatever properties I want it to have" would be Exotic matter. Your engines can run on it, it can survive shipwreck (maybe only for given amount of time), and collector fields on your ship can collect it. Or it can do anything else within your universe.



When you destroy a ship, some of the crew might escape in pods. If you have a little bit of finesse, all of them might escape before their ship is destroyed. The pods can move but not quickly. Once they are out you can scoop them up, or if you have a good reputation and give them a chance the crew might surrender to you.

Captives can be ransomed back to their nation of origin, especially high value captives like officers or nobility. That fulfills your need for "a resource looted from enemy ships". If this is a story-based Warcrafty game and not some side-scrolling shootemup, capitves offer other story possibilities. They might choose to join your crew. They might incite your crew to mutiny. They might build you cool tech. They might bring disease. They might improve morale with their sweet tunes.

Plus I like the idea that a player is rewarded for being careful and minimizing loss of life, even in battle. Good karma there.


You may want to have a look at the video game FTL (Faster Than Light), a minimalistic spaceships combat game, where you scavenge wrecked ships to repair or improve your own and survive the next fights.

In this video game, the main currency is SCRAPS. They did not bother to tell which parts of the ship were taken, it's just a pile of metallic or electronic waste you can use to buy stuff, or directly to craft upgrades.

But you can also see there are other "currencies" :

  • Fuel : fuel is quite a rare and valuable ressource need for long distance jumps.
  • Ammunitions : some weapons require ammunitions, like missiles or bombs.
  • Drone parts : this allows you to deploy little drones around your ships to perform various tasks.

If scraps are the only currency you can use "as is" on the market, like money, all these ressources can be traded at one point or another, making them a potential source of inspiration for your galactic currency.

Considering the hostility of, well, space environment, we may also imagine a few more :

  • Food and water.
  • Oxygen bottles.
  • Medicin supplies.

Really, it could be anything valuable enough to be traded. The questions you should ask yourself are :

  • How much worth do I wan't my currency to be ? (=> Do I spend 4 credits or 30000 to buy an new ship).
  • Does my galactic society relies on bartering or does it need to be strictly considered a currency.
  • How serious and plausible do I want my universe to be (=> There's quite a lot of issues, for examples, with a world that relies on bottle caps as a currency, but it didn't prevent Interplay and Black Isle Studio to invent a quite succesful one in 1997)

Perhaps microchips from PDA's and other tech. It's the only thing I can think off most people would have with them.

It also offers a lot of advantages. Depending on the chip you could hack it to read somebody's personal information, sell it for profits, scrap it for parts or use to as a component in various sort of machinery.

When you are talking about an entire ship you will always get plenty of metal, electronics and fuel.

Depends on the game you're making of course. If you're making a 2D indie game energy crystals as sole resource could very well be used.


This question fits more into game design.

But well, I for one would use abstract resources like metals, alloys, energy units, technical hardware, bio-supply, rare metals, ores and whatever comes to mind which could be in spaceships. Now, if you go for some vague realism, you'd want to only collect resources which are relatively much worth compared to their mass, meaning you'd avoid collecting metals for example (or they wouldn't drop in the first place).

Those resources would then have relatively stable values in comparison to each other (or constant if you want). Eventually you can trade them in for actual currency (as of paper money, credit points, cryptocurrency) if you have a civilization around.

Another possibility would be similar to selling "grey" items (for players non-usable items) to NPC vendors, who then give you currency for it.

  • $\begingroup$ You start off your answer saying this question would be better asked somewhere else. Them go along answering it anyway. Please make up your mind.. $\endgroup$ – dot_Sp0T Oct 16 '18 at 13:28
  • $\begingroup$ @dot_Sp0T - So? I made a remark about the place of the question, not the question itself. $\endgroup$ – Battle Oct 16 '18 at 13:35

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