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This article has been verified for the current console version (3.4) of the game.
Fleet task colonize 2.png

Colonization is the process of establishing control over an uninhabited, habitable planet with a Colony Ship.

The first time an empire colonizes another world, it gains Engineering Research.png 12x engineering output (between 250 ~ 100000)

Humanoid empire colonizing a new world

Habitability[edit source]

Mod habitability.png Habitability is the measure of how comfortably a species can live on a planet. Most species have a climate preference for one of the primary habitable planet types, although more exotic preferences are possible. A planet's habitability for a given species is determined by how closely its climate matches that species' preference. The 9 regular habitable world types are divided into 3 climate categories: dry, frozen, and wet. Planet ringworld.png Ring Worlds, Planet gaia.png Gaia Worlds, and Planet city.png Ecumenopolises have maximum habitability for all species, while Planet nuked.png Tomb Worlds, Planet ai.png Machine Worlds, and Planet infested.png Hive Worlds (except for Hive-minded.png Hive-Minded species) normally have Mod habitability.png 0% habitability for biological species.

Tier Base
Gaia World, Ecumenopolis, and Ring World 100%
Hive World for Hive-minded.png Hive-Minded species 100%
Exact match 80%
Habitat 70%
Climate category match 60%
Climate category mismatch 20%
Tomb World, Machine World, and Hive World 0%
  • Every 1% reduction of habitability below 100% increases pops' Upkeep upkeep and Mod pop amenities usage mult.png amenities usage by +1% and reduces their Mod pop resource output.png job output and Mod pop growth speed.png species growth by −0.5%. It floors at 0% Habitability, giving +100% pop upkeep and amenities usage, and −50% job output and pop growth.
  • Homeworlds have +30% habitability for the species originating from them.
  • Robot pops have 200% habitability for each planet type, but empires that aren't Auth machine intelligence.png Machine Intelligences require the Droids Droids technology to build colony ships using robots.
  • Low Habitability can trigger various events.

Visual cues[edit source]

Systems containing habitable worlds will have one or more planet icons that are either green, yellow, orange, red, or blue – depending on the habitability percentage and/or status of the planet(s) in question. Planets with the Pm planet from space.pngPm frame 1.png Terraforming Candidate modifier don't create planet icons unless they are being Terraform planet 2.png terraformed.

Icon color Mod habitability.png Habitability
Colonizability green.png Green The world is ≥ 70% habitable for at least one species in the player's empire.
Colonizability yellow.png Yellow The world is 40–69% habitable for at least one species in the player's empire.
Colonizability red.png Red The world is < 40% habitable for all species in the player's empire.
Colonizability orange.png Orange The world is habitable but not surveyed.
Colonizability blue.png Blue The world is currently being terraformed.

Planets with an anomaly or a pre-FTL species cannot be colonized.

Habitability strategies[edit source]

As only about ⅓ of planets will match the primary species preferred climate category, to fully and efficiently utilize all habitable planets in their own systems, an empire may want to populate its worlds with alien species, genetically-engineered subspecies, or even robots.

It is also possible to Terraform planet 2.png terraform habitable worlds, though this is a costly and time-consuming process and requires the Tech terrestrial sculpting.png Terrestrial Sculpting technology to be researched. Only habitable planets and barren worlds with the Pm planet from space.pngPm frame 1.png Terraforming Candidate modifier can be terraformed.

Genetic Modification[edit source]

Using genetic modification, it is possible to create a subspecies of the empire's primary species with a different climate preference. However, as genetic modification targets all pops of the same subspecies on a planet, this needs either a first-in approach, requiring suffering through low habitability until the project is completed, or modifiying the pops on an existing colony, preferably one with increased habitability regardless of current climate preference (Ringworld, Habitat, Homeworld, beneficial modifiers). In either case, the cost of modifying pops will delay researching Society research society technologies.

Changing a habitability trait costs the equivalent of adding a trait worth 3 trait-points and requires the Tech glandular acclimation.png Glandular Acclimation technology.

Xenos[edit source]

With all the possible climate preferences, it is likely that some alien species can live comfortably on planets which are unsuitable to the empire's primary species. The main disadvantage is that xeno pops might not have favorable traits. There may also be unwanted Xenophile.png Xenophile attraction or faction interactions from this path.

Xeno pops can be added to an empire to use as colonists via Diplomacy war.png conquest, Diplomacy migration pact.png migration treaties, or – with the MegaCorp.png MegaCorp DLC – the slave market. Empires can colonize with any species that has migration access to the empire, even if no pops of that species live on the empire's worlds.

Tech epigenetic triggers.png Uplifting, Fleet task technological enlightenment action.png Enlightening, or Fleet task covert infiltration action.png Infiltrating a pre-sapient or pre-FTL species is another way to acquire xeno pops. With the first, it's possible to get a rare climate preference trait like Trait pc nuked preference.png Tomb World Preference. Species native to Planet nuked.png Tomb Worlds are extremely adaptive and can thrive on any planet – they have 60% habitability on every normal planet class. The usual way to obtain pops of these species is uplifting pre-sapients found on Tomb Worlds. The Horizon Signal event chain can also create a subspecies of the empire's main species with this trait. Alternatively, pops of the main species on Tomb Worlds may Trait cybernetic.png Self-Modify via the A New Species event and develop into their own species native to Tomb Worlds.

It is also possible to purchase pops with the Trait pc nuked preference.png Tomb World Preference trait from Flag caravaneer 03.png Racket Industrial Enterprise caravaneers.

Improving habitability[edit source]

Aside from changing climate preference, there are also various other methods for improving habitability:

Species habitability modifiers
Mod pop environment tolerance.png Source
−10% Nonadaptive.png Nonadaptive
+5% Bioadaptability.png Bioadaptability
+10% Trait primitive.png Starborn
+10% Adaptive.png Adaptive
+20% Extremely Adaptive.png Extremely Adaptive
+20% Trait cybernetic.png Cybernetic
+20% Trait clone soldier ascendant.png Clone Soldier Ascendant
+30% Robust.png Robust
+50% Trait lithoid.png Lithoid
+50% Leader trait resilient.png Nivlac
Min 50% Cave Dweller Cave Dweller
Empire habitability modifiers
Mod habitability.png Source
–2% Resolution industrial development.png Industrial Development 1: Regulatory Facilitation
–5% Resolution industrial development.png Industrial Development 2: Collective Waste Management
–10% Resolution industrial development.png Industrial Development 3: Building a Better Tomorrow
–20% Resolution industrial development.png Industrial Development 4: Environmental Ordinance Waivers
–25% Resolution industrial development.png Industrial Development 5: Project Cornucopia
+5% Civic ascetic.png Ascetic civic
+10% Environmental Diversification Environmental Diversification tradition
+5% Tech colonization 2.png Atmospheric Filtering technology
+5% Tech colonization 3.png Hostile Environment Adaptation technology
+5% Tech colonization 4.png Foreign Soil Enrichment technology
+5% Tech colonization 5.png Eco-Integration Studies technology
+5% Resolution ecological protection.png Ecological Protection 3: Integrated Gardens
+10% Resolution ecological protection.png Ecological Protection 4: Environmental Control Board
+15% Resolution ecological protection.png Ecological Protection 5: Paradise Initiative
Planet habitability modifiers
Mod habitability.png Source
−20% D mining tunnels.png Project Cornucopia feature
−10% D gaseous eruption.png Lithoid Devastation blocker, each
Varies Planet modifiers
+2.5% Job healthcare.png Medical Worker, each
+10% Holding tree of life sapling.png Tree of Life Sapling
+10% Building gaiaseeders 2.png Gaia Seeder phase 2
+20% Building gaiaseeders 3.png Gaia Seeder phase 3
+20% Building gaiaseeders 4.png Gaia Seeder Outpost
Restricted habitability modifiers
Where Mod habitability.png Source
Planet habitat.png Habitats +20% Ap voidborn.png Voidborne ascension perk
Planet nuked.png Tomb Worlds +10% Trait plantoid radiotrophic.png Radiotrophic trait
+20% Tech tomb world adaption.png Tomb World Adaptation technology
+70% Trait survivor.png Survivor trait
+100% Irradiated Irradiated trait
Planet ocean.png Ocean Worlds +20% Trait aquatic.png Aquatic
Homeword +30% Species originating on planet

Colony ships[edit source]

Colony ships allow an empire to settle habitable planets or megastructures in owned systems. When ordering the construction of a colony ship, the player is given the option of choosing the species or sub-species of the Pop.png pop(s) that will be sent to the new colony. Species require the Species right colonization rights.png Colonization Allowed species rights to be selected for new colony ships. Pops are neither consumed nor transported in this process. Once constructed, the colony ship may be sent to any habitable world within an owned system to start a colony. Colony ships take one year to build and their upkeep cost is maintained throughout the whole colonization process. Colony ships can also be built through the interface of the planet to be colonized, which automatically queues the colonization order as long as the path is not blocked.

The cost of a colony ship depends mainly on the empire's primary species class and governing authority.

Primary species Auth democratic.pngAuth oligarchic.pngAuth dictatorial.pngImperialAuth corporate.png Auth hive mind.png Origins tree of life.png
  • Alloys.png 200 Alloys
  • Food.png 200 Food
  • Consumer goods.png 200 Consumer Goods
  • Alloys.png 200 Alloys
  • Food.png 500 Food
  • Alloys.png 50 Alloys
  • Food.png 1000 Food
Trait lithoid.png Lithoid
  • Alloys.png 200 Alloys
  • Minerals.png 200 Minerals
  • Consumer goods.png 200 Consumer Goods
  • Alloys.png 200 Alloys
  • Minerals.png 500 Minerals
  • Alloys.png 50 Alloys
  • Minerals.png 500 Minerals
  • Food.png 500 Food
Trait mechanical.pngMachine unit.png Robot Alloys.png 400 Alloys No.png No.png

The Trait ruler frontier spirit.png Frontier Spirit ruler trait reduces the cost of colony ships by −35%.

Alternate colony ships[edit source]

Meteorite Colony Ship

In addition to regular colony ships, empires with the Civic corporate dominion.png Corporate Dominion or Civic private prospectors.png Private Prospectors civics can also construct Private Colony Ships, which cost Energy.png 500 energy instead. However, the starting pops on a new colony founded by a private colony ship will have random ethics, rather than one of the empire's governing ethics.

Similarly, empires with the Origins lithoid.png Calamitous Birth origin can also construct Lithoid Meteorites, which cost Minerals.png 500 minerals instead, have no upkeep cost, and take only 150 days to build. Lithoid Meteorites also have a much faster sublight speed than regular colony ships. A planet colonized by a lithoid meteorite gains two Buried Lithoids blockers and the Pm asteroid impacts.pngPm frame 3.png Lithoid Crater modifier, which adds Mod habitability.png −50% habitability.

Colony development[edit source]

When a Colony Ship lands on a planet, it will be converted into a tier 1 capital building, which can be upgraded further as the population grows. After landing, a period of initial development will occur. The period lasts about 2 years and 10 months at 0 pops, and grows with increasing number of pops. It can also be reduced by the following:

Mod planet colony development speed.png Colony Development Speed Source Modifier
Planet habitat.png Habitat +200%
Menu icon edicts.png Evacuation Protocols edict +100%
Tech cryostasis 1.png AI-controlled Colony Ships technology +50%
Tech cryostasis 2.png Self-Aware Colony Ships technology +50%
Tech planetary infrastructure 1.png Ceramo-Metal Infrastructure technology +25%
Tech planetary infrastructure 2.png Durasteel Infrastructure technology +25%
Expansion Adopting the Expansion tradition tree +25%
Trait ruler frontier spirit.png Frontier Spirit ruler trait +25%
Diplomatic stance expansionist.png Expansionist diplomatic stance +15%

While the colony is being established, it is extremely vulnerable: just a few days of orbital bombardment will wipe it out completely. During this period, the new colony does not produce anything and consumes Energy.png 8 energy. It is possible to remove Tile Blocker.png blockers while the colony is developing, however their clearance cannot be cancelled or reordered until the colony is fully established. Once the colony has been successfully established, a single pop of the species selected for the colony ship will appear on the planet. It is then possible to develop the planet by constructing District.png districts and Building buildings.

The Colonization Fever Colonization Fever tradition and the R cryo core.png Yuht Cryo Core relic each increase the number of initial pops on a new colony by +1. Auth machine intelligence.png Machine Intelligence empires' colonies also start with +1 initial pop.

References[edit source]

Game concepts
Exploration ExplorationFTLAnomalyArchaeological siteRelicsPre-FTL speciesFallen empireEventsSpaceborne aliensGuardiansMaraudersCaravaneers
Celestial bodies Celestial bodyColonizationTerraformingPlanetary featuresPlanet modifiers
Species SpeciesTraitsPopulationPop modificationSpecies rightsEthics
Governance EmpireGovernmentCivicsPoliciesEdictsLeaderFactionsTechnologyTraditionsSituations
Economy EconomyPlanetary managementDistrictsBuildingsHoldingsJobsDesignationTradeMegastructures
Diplomacy DiplomacyRelationsGalactic communityFederationsSubject empiresIntelligenceAI personalities
Warfare WarfareSpace warfareLand warfareStarbaseShipShip designerCrisis
Others The ShroudL-ClusterUnique systemsPreset empiresAI playersEaster eggs