Starbound Wiki
This page needs improvement, and is lacking information or may contain inaccurate/outdated info due to a recent update. Feel free to edit this page to add or correct information. More pages that need updating can be found in this category.

The Matter Manipulator is  the omni tool that the player starts off with in Starbound. Once enabled, it will permanently be in a slot under your hotbar. It is equipped in both hands, and thus cannot be used along with any other tools or weapons. It has the ability to mine blocks, cut down trees and place blocks(and later on collect and distribute liquid). When compared to Pickaxes and the Stone Axe, the Matter Manipulator is the slowest at harvesting any materials that the aforementioned tools would harvest, however, the Matter Manipulator has no durability.

As of the Unstable/Nightly you now can improve your Matter Manipulator after finishing the first quests.

Upgrade M. M. - Power needs 1 matter module component

Upgrade M. M. - Liquid Collection needs 2 matter module components

Upgrade M. M. - Size needs 3 matter module components

Upgrade M. M. - Power II needs 3 matter module components

Upgrade M. M. - Power III needs 3 matter module components

Upgrade M. M. - Size II needs 4 matter module components

How to use

Blocks can be placed in 2x2 squares or as individual blocks (by holding SHIFT). When operating the Matter Manipulator, an image of the blocks can be seen, indicating where blocks will be placed. (Currently when the player has less than 4 blocks to place and the player overlaps the 2x2 area with already existing blocks it will show the placement guide adjusting the position of the blocks it will place but when clicked it does not actually change to accommodate the used space.)

Blocks can be placed in two layers; the foreground and the background (the player moves around in the foreground). Some objects (such as computers and torches) can be placed in the foreground but do not inhibit the player's movement like blocks in the background, appearing to be attached to (or resting against) the background. To mine the background hold right click with the matter manipulator (or pickaxe), to place blocks in the background right click with your chosen block(s), holding shift to mine or place only one block works while placing or mining background. Similar to the transparent blocks in the foreground the same square locations will give off a bluish glow if there aren't other blocks in the background there.


  • The design is based on the Plasma Cutter from Dead Space, in which it also appears as the player's starting weapon/tool.
  • Its function and beam spirites resemble that of the physics gun from Garry's Mod
  • If you do not have possession of a Matter Manipulator, you are still able to place blocks while your character holds the matter manipulator (suggesting that it is perhaps the only tool with the ability to place blocks)
  • The matter manipulator can act as a "light." Selecting blocks lights up a 2x2 area, and can be used to scan for certain nearby blocks underground during mining operations. However, it does not give off enough light to differentiate between similarly tinted ores.
  • The Matter Manipulator's sprite changes slightly when toggling between normal, paint, wire and scan modes.