So you joined a Sky Nations Server and wonder what's going on! Let's get you on track!
Your first ship
You start out with the basic stuff to build your first ships at spawn. Central part of all ships is the Energy Well. Place your well on the ground, step back and right-click it. A wooden platform is created and you are placed on it. The foundation of your first ship. The well and the core ascends to it's central location on that platform.
Now add your Battered Thruster, Workbench and a Steering Panel. Voilá, your first ship! Thrusters have an on and off state, so you have to left-click them to turn them on. You take control/leave control by right-clicking the Steering Panel.
In case you mess up you will usually find a reset block at spawn, that resets your inventory to the default setup.
Flying your ship
Ship Controls are easy. Your movement keys accelerate/deaccelerate and turn your ship. The space key is for ascending, shift for descending.
Check the map with the “m”-key! The world now consists of single sectors that are linked via portals. Moving through a portal is pretty easy: You just have to move your ship into the blue portal sphere and unpilot your ship. It will be warped a few seconds later.
The sectors consists of different island biomes with different ressources. Most important for the newbie are the pillars for Iron Blocks and Copper, the Skycores for Burntout Cores and the so-called “bubble biomes”, which are full of Molten Rock, the best fuel available!
You can no longer place a respawn on ships but only on terrain/islands. Thats simply done by placing the Spawn Stone and right-clicking it. A blue doll shows up on top of your hud, indicating that you're bound to a Respawn Chamber.
Loosing a ship is easy - get used to it! But there are ways to bring a ship back to your current position by using a recall machine and an escape_drive on your ship.
Also, you will fall. A lot. It's helpful to know that you will not lose the stuff in your inventory. So dying is also a (cheesy) way to teleport back to your spawn stone!
Next steps: More Power!
Your basic ship has a pathetic power surplus of +1 and the horrible max speed of 4 of 10 (snails pace). Each thruster needs 30 power so we need more juice!
Power is generated by Mass generators, so you need to find a Machine Sphere and get 1 Burntout Core and a Pillar biome to get 4 Iron Block to craft your first mass generator. The generator gives you more energy so we can now add more thrusters. You need 2 Iron Blocks per Battered Thruster and you can add 3 more, which should raise your newbie ship's speed to the max of 10. Congrats!
A word of advise: The more mass you add to your ship the more thrust you need. You should'nt build big ships before you can afford the thrusters/generators to hold your max speed at 10 or you will crouch through the world! Rule of thumb: Your newbie ship with speed 4 will loose speed when the weight gets over 99.
Getting into trouble!
The Iron Cannons need power when you fire them. To properly supply a few cannons (2 Iron Blocks per cannon) it's helpful to add 1-3 Battered Power Cells so you need 1 Burntout Core and 8 Copper per Battered Power Cell. This gives an energy buffer for the cannons, but more important is the energy refill rate. So you should use at least another mass generator when you are going into a fight, or you will run out of energy after a few shots.
You also should build a Shotgun (1 Steel, 4 Plank) and copper shells (1 Copper/6 Shells).
Staying out of trouble!
Well, that's not so easy! One way is to disassemble your ship before you log out (or take at least the most valuable stuff off). Another way is to join up with other players and join/found a nation. This allows you to place Copper Defense Guns, which yield some tasty defensive punch. Overall avoid building bases - they give off your presence if not done correctly. They are a top magnet for the resident griefers.
Keep in mind that hiding your ship is tough: Player placed blocks/ships always load first. Hiding inside an island won't always work! Also remember that any active thruster will show up on any radar as blip! No better way to give away the position of your ship!
The easy way to not be targeted is to learn who holds the most power and don't do anything that will anger them or anyone they respect. This may not stop your ship being lost while you are not online but it will not get you hunted constantly.
Try to make friends, get used to the crafing recipes, test ship designs, have a good time!
Also it's very helpful to keep the stuff for at least one Speed-10-ship in your inventory for those worst cases and when you get stranded. (1 energy well, 5 thrusters, 1 control block, 1 generator, molten rock as fuel, 1 spawn stone.) This keeps you mobile all the time.