Starbases have the ability to build new starships. Before the ship limit is reached, this takes place relatively freely; afterwards, either the Production Queue or the Priority Build Queue will take effect, depending on the style of game you're playing.
In order to build a ship, go to your starbase and press the Build Ship button. This will open up an interface called the Space Dock . On it, under Ship Assembly , you will see a series of pictures, each representing a type of ship hull that you may construct. Some of these pictures may be greyed out, indicating that you lack the technology to build these vessels at present. If one of the greyed hull designs is selected, the starbase will attempt to automatically pay to upgrade the starbase technology while building the vessel.
Once a hull type is selected, the Ship Assembly display will open to the right of Space Dock. On it will appear, at the top, the name and stats of the chosen hull. In the center is a picture of the ship; one to three boxes are connected to this picture with lines. The boxes are labeled Engines , Beam Weapons , and either Torpedo Launchers or Fighter Bays , and they can be clicked on to select ship components (more on this later). Below this display is a tally sheet containing the cost estimate of the vessel and the total wealth of the planet, which will be used to pay for the construction. To the right of the tally sheet is the Build button, to be used only once you are certain of the details of construction. At the very bottom is an Exit button and (for some ships) a short description of special features particular to the chosen hull.
In order to complete your ship, you will need to select engines and any weapons components (beam weapons and torpedo tubes, but not fighter launch bays, as those come pre-installed) you want to add. The tally sheet will automatically update itself to track the price as you add or remove items. Bear in mind, once the ship is constructed, there is no way to change the design, so take your time. (Exception: the Federation has the Super Refit mission.) Please note that it is possible, though not necessarily desirable, to fit fewer than the maximum number of weapons or tubes to your ship; it is not possible, however, to fit fewer than the maximum number of engines to a viable build.
Once you are finished selecting, if you have enough materials available on the surface of the planet, you can hit the Build button. (If not, the numbers where you lack will be shown in red and pressing the button will cause the interface to tell you that there is, for example, "Not enough Molybdenum".)
If the Ship Limit has not yet hit (or if you're spending Priority Points of some sort or another), your new ship will be produced during the Host run after the turn is complete. It will appear in orbit without fuel, ammunition, or cargo (unless other steps are taken, for instance Starbase missions or ship Friendly Codes such as BTT or BTF ).
For further information on component construction, see the individual pages at: