Pixels are the main currency in Starbound and are required for many functions, such as purchasing items from NPC vendors, printing items using the Pixel Printer, and crafting certain classes of objects such as Teleporters.
There are multiple ways of which pixels may be acquired. These include: killing monsters, searching containers and destroying breakables, completing quests, selling crops and other items (see Terramart Shipments), collecting rent, refining ores at a Refinery, harvesting Fish obtained via fishing, buying and selling trading goods between space stations, and rarely by activating Status Pods.
When the player dies in Casual difficulty they'll lose 10% of the pixels they currently have. In Survival Difficulty Mode, 30% of carried pixels are lost instead; in Hardcore, no pixels are lost on death - rather, all pixels are dropped on the ground along with all items being carried at the time of death (allowing someone else to take all the pixels for themselves if they happen upon the death site).
Pixels can't be directly stored in containers, but the player can use a Pixel Compressor to compress pixels into voxels, which can be safely stored. Voxels can then be extracted at a later time for usable pixels.
You can hold 9,999,999 Pixels in your "wallet" maximum; as well, up to 40 stacks of 1000 10k Voxels can be carried at a time, allowing for up to 409,999,999 Pixels value to be carried at once (not including the effective Pixel value of items in other tabs which can be sold, shipped or refined into Pixels).
There are several ways of viably amassing large amount of Pixels:
- If a player can invest 200,000 Pixels into 20 of each elemental Fluffalo egg, the resulting herd will produce 20 each of the elemental items. These can be exchanged at Treasured Trophies for 20 Perfectly Generic Item, which can be crafted into one Perfect Trousers. This sells for 10,000 Pixels--12.5x as much as its raw ingredients. This process can be done once every ~15 minutes, and can be expanded to bigger herds.
- If a player has amassed large quantities of Titanium Ore, Gold Ore, and Silver Ore, they may profit by acquiring and selling a Station Transponder from the quest Your Very Own Space Station. This produces a net 29,000 Pixels--nearly 8x as many Pixels as refining the ore.
- Pixels may be made of some kind of fundamental particle (according to the Hylotl description of the Pixel Printer at least) that is able to form just about anything. The Pixel Printer seems to be making use of this ability in order for it to be able to actually print different objects. This would also explain as to why pixels are dropped from living beings and also found as loot in a manner that suggests that other currencies and precious items of value can be broken down into them.
- The exchange rate in Starbound is very tricky. If we take a royal toilet from the game, which is made of solid gold, and compare its 105 pixel worth to its USD counterpart which is $2,001,232.00, you get 1 pixel = $19,059.35 (or £14723.94). The problem is that the exchange rate is not constant: An average AA Battery in the U.S. is worth $0.81 (or £0.63), but is worth 50 pixels in Starbound which means that 1 pixel also equals about $0.02 (or £0.01). Technically, there is no point to do the exchange rate of it because the only way we'd be able to understand it correctly would be to live in that future where gold is considered so extremely common because of the ability to travel across galaxies in a single bound, and where AA batteries are considered as uncommon because nearly nobody uses them anymore.
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