1. Building a Computer

In this section we will construct our first computer and learn what the different components do.

There are many more things you can add to a computer to extend its functionality, but we won’t have a look at them right now, only about the necessities. We will discuss these advanced features in seperated sections.

All you need to do for now is to unlock the Tier 3 Basics Networks Schematic in the hub to be able to build a computer.

Basic Computer Setup

After unlocking the Basics Networks Schematic you are able to build a Computer Case with the build gun. Place it somewhere to your liking.

This computer case is the heart of building computers. Internally it also provides abstract interfaces that are necessary for the different components to communicate and interact with each other. This system als referred as "FicsIt-Kernel".

The computer case has a network connector on the top part of the case that allows you to connect a network cable to the computer case.

The computer case also has a "window" that scrolls up automatically when you approach the computer. This section is like the cover of your real computer and houses something like the motherboard.

In this section you can place computer parts using the build gun.

Many such computer parts are "PCI Devices" and mainly extend the computer’s functionality, like GPUs, Network Cards and such. These PCI Devices can be accessed via a unified API in Lua code. We will have a look at those in a later section.

Some other parts are crucial to the computers function.

Such a part is the CPU.
There can be many types of CPUs and each of them influences the computer heavily. The FicsIt-Kernel’s architecture allows for unified inner workings while being able to highly customize the way you interact with the computer based on the CPU Type. This also means you can only install one CPU at a time.
Right now there is only Lua CPU that allows for running Lua code in the computer.

Another such crucial part is memory.
Depending on the type of CPU, the memory will be calculated and used differently. But one thing is for sure, if you are out of available memory, your program won’t work as intended. So always add enough memory to your computer.
You can add as many memory bars as you want.

The arrangement of the different parts doesn’t matter. You just have to think through which parts you want to prioritize, because you might run out of space.

For our basic computer setup we need for now:

  • 1x Lua CPU

  • 1x Memory T1

That’s it, with regard to computer parts.

Computer Case UI

After building our PC, we want to be able to interact with it.
For this you can simply interact with the computer like any other machine to open its UI.

The UI of the computer can look different based on the type of CPU you have installed. If you have no CPU installed, you will be greeted with a "No CPU Detected" warning sign.

The Computer UI is split into different tabs.

  • Code
    The first tab is defined by the given CPU and allows you to control and interact with the computer.

    The second tab allows you to interact with the computers ports.
    On the left you can find a large floppy drive that allows you to insert a floppy disk into the computer. You can simply drag’n’drop a floppy disk onto the drive or take it out.
    Next to the floppy drive on the right in a thin bar you can find a slot where you can drag’n’drop an eeprom onto or from.

  • Reflection
    The third tab shows the so called reflection viewer which is like an in-game reference for all available classes, functions and properties that are exposed using the reflection system.
    We will discuss this more in-depth in a later section.

The Lua’s code tab is split into four sections.

  • On the left you can find the Component Network Outliner which shows all connected computer network components as well as the name of the connected computer network, this computers UUID and this computers nick.
    We will talk about this in a later section.

  • On the bottom left you can find the power button and status LEDs.
    Pressing the Power button once allows you to start the computer. Pressing it while the computer is already running causes the computer to get killed.
    The power symbol shows the computers run state. Red means the computer is turned off, green means the computer is running.
    The warning sign is unlit by default. If the computer crashed, then it will light up. It’s state will be reset with the next boot of the computer.

  • On the bottom right you can find a rudimentary console log.
    This small window is intended for you to be able to get some basic text output for logging and debugging purposes.

  • The largest section is the coding window
    that allows you to edit the Lua code that is inside the EEPROM you inserted into the computer.
    If no EEPROM is inserted, it will show a "No EEPROM Detected" message.
    This window will be our best friend for the foreseeable future.


There is one last thing we have to talk about before we can start coding.

An EEPROM is a small storage chip that allows you to hold some code.
This is an item you can craft in the work bench and insert into a computer in the EEPROM tab, by dragging and dropping the item onto the EEPROM slot.

After you have inserted such an EEPROM the computer will be able to load a basic program on boot of the computer.
You can view such an EEPROM chip as the storage device that holds the BIOS of your computer.

Different CPUs require different types of EEPROM.
The Lua CPU requires a Lua/Text EEPROM.

The EEPROM items persist their code, that means you can take out an EEPROM of one computer and insert it into another computer to use your program there instead.

You can also copy the contents of an EEPROM to another EEPROM using the Data-Workbench inside a network manager tool.

For this guide at first, you should craft a single EEPROM and insert into the computer you just built.