Shields are designed in Starmade to absorb damage and wear out before your ships starts taking damage and subsequently losing blocks. As a result, shields are near essential in combat.
In the current version (0.19174) of Starmade, there are only three factors in shields.
-- capacity: (shieldBlocks*3.5)^0.66666)*350
-- recharge: (shieldBlocks*5)^0.5)*50
-- Recovery when hit (by shield blocks used). This value is shown in build mode and determines the time in seconds the shields will start to recharge after a hit. This value depends on the amount of shield blocks placed on a structure.
Shield Capacity and Shield Recharge Rate can be upgraded by simply adding to your ship. However, keep in mind the way you place these, as they are to the normal grouping method that Starmade relies on.
Shields play a big part in combat. When your shots hit your opponent (or they hit you) they will normally do damage and so subsequently break blocks on your ship. However, with shields, you will instead see part of the ship glow a colour reflective of the condition of the shields (Blue for above 50% shields, red for below 50% shields). To penetrate shields, use any weapons you have until your shots no longer make the enemy ship glow. When this happens, their shield power is depleted and you can do real damage to their ship and (hopefully) take out their core.
Monitoring your Shields
Monitoring your shields in Starmade is quite simple. When you have shields, blue bars will appear above your health bar. This signifies your shield level. As you get shot, the bars will disappear. When all of them disappear, your shield power is depleted and a message will appear in the top right of your screen telling you so. Once your shieldpower is depleted, you must wait 10 seconds before they will start to recharge again.