There are two types of pre-FTL species in the game: primitive civilizations and pre-sentient species.
Primitive civilizations are civilizations that have yet to develop the technology necessary for space travel. They advance through multiple ages as their history is written.
Pre-sentient species are animal species that show particular promise. They would likely evolve some manner of intelligence on their own if they were left alone for a few million years, but space faring empires can instead accelerate this process, turning the pre-sentients into productive galactic citizens within the span of just a few decades.
A spacefaring empire that has discovered a primitive civilization can deal with it in a number of different ways.
- Conquest: Primitive civilizations can always be invaded and conquered as long as the policy for native interference is set to Unrestricted. Primitive civilizations have no means to resist a technologically advanced invader, although Industrial and especially Post-Atomic civilizations can be harder to conquer. The prize of an invasion is the planet itself, and the primitives that can also be a source of cheap labor once enslaved or integrated. They will, however, be subject to an additional culture shock modifier to Happiness. They will also lack a capital building, allowing the player to place one freely. Annexing a primitive civilization this way also gives a relationship penalty with all AI empires that are not tagged as Dominators.
Culture shock locks out using the pops for colony ships and is applied to every existing pop. Newly grown pops will get a reduced-duration version of the modifier as long as there is at least one pop with the modifier on the planet.
|Civilisation Age||Minerals/Energy penalty||Research penalty||Duration (existing Pops)||Duration (new Pops)|
|Stone Age||−50%||−100%||115 years||23 years|
|Bronze Age||−50%||−100%||100 years||20 years|
|Iron Age||−45%||−100%||85 years||17 years|
|Late medieval Age||−40%||−100%||70 years||14 years|
|Renaissance||−35%||−100%||60 years||12 years|
|Steam Age||−30%||−100%||50 years||10 years|
|Industrial Age||−25%||−80%||35 years||7 years|
|Machine Age||−20%||−60%||25 years||5 years|
|Atomic Age||−15%||−40%||20 years||4 years|
|Early Space Age||−10%||−20%||10 years||2 years|
- Observation: Empires might prefer the construction of hidden Observation Posts in high orbit over primitive worlds. This allows for the safe study as well as influencing the primitive civilization. The exact options available depend on Interference Policy and Government Ethos.
Observation posts typically have a number of exclusive missions that can be undertaken. Each mission can trigger various events.
- Passive Observation: The scientific staff of an Observation Post operating under the Passive Observation mission will make every effort to conceal their presence from the primitives, in order to avoid detrimental effects caused by interfering with their natural development. The primary directive of the scientists is to safeguard the natives from any cultural or technological contamination, while studying them in secret. Grants +3 society research. This is the initial mission for any new observation post and always available.
- Aggressive Observation: This mission calls for regular abductions from among the primitive population for a more up close observation. This approach is obvious to the population and is known to cause Xenophobic tendencies. Grants +6 society research. The empire's Native Interference policy must be Active or Unrestricted.
- Technological Enlightenment: This mission consists of bringing the primitives up to the level of technology a space-faring empire enjoys. This can be a monumental effort and will require a significant investment of time and a monthly cost of 5 energy and 5 society research. The speed at which technological enlightenment proceeds depends on which level of technology the primitive civilization has — Machine Age primitives take 50 months to enlighten, while Steam Age primitives take 100 months to enlighten. Enlightenment goes directly to the space age in one step. Once the primitives have achieved space flight, they will be turned into a Protectorate of their benefactors - or, if the benefactor is itself a subject nation, a Protectorate of the benefactor's overlord. Fanatic Xenophobe primitives cannot be enlightened.
- Covert Infiltration: Agents that have been surgically altered to resemble individuals from a primitive species are sent to infiltrate their society. Political and military leaders are gradually replaced, until the primitives can be made to willingly accept an offer of annexation. This spares the need of a messy ground invasion, and the primitives will gain a temporary happiness bonus since they will believe that they willingly accepted their rule. Covert Infiltration requires the Unrestricted Studies policy and the Gene Tailoring technology. The primitives must have industrial or higher level of civilization to become a valid target. The infiltration happens in 4 phases (every 25% is the next). During the infiltration phase negative events have a chance to trigger, which could lead to loss in progress or special projects. After infiltration is complete, the planet becomes part of the empire directly and several buildings are placed for free. This option lacks the Culture Shock and Diplomacy penalties of Conquest. However the civilization may still need to be converted to the empire's ethics.
|Age||Monthly progress||Enlightenment time||Description|
|Stone Age||0.1%||1000 Months||This civilization is currently in the equivalent of a Stone Age. They have mastered fire and developed a rudimentary spoken language, but we have yet to see any evidence of metallurgy or written communication.|
|Bronze Age||0.2%||500 Months||This civilization is currently in the equivalent of a Bronze Age. Primitive metalworking and the first written languages have appeared, while cities and larger communities are taking shape.|
|Iron Age||0.3%||334 Months||This civilization is currently in the equivalent of an Iron Age. They have spread across most of their homeworld, while iron smelting and forging techniques have enabled them to forge crude but effective tools and weaponry.|
|Late Medieval Age||0.4%||250 Months||This civilization is currently experiencing the equivalent of a Late Medieval Age. They have a firm grasp of metallurgy, and the invention of the printed press has started to benefit the spread of knowledge.|
|Renaissance Age||0.5%||200 Months||This civilization is currently experiencing the equivalent of a Renaissance Age. Scientific knowledge is increasing at a rapid rate, and the invention of gunpowder has revolutionized warfare.|
|Steam Age||1%||100 Months||This civilization is currently in the equivalent of a Steam Age. The invention of the steam engine has had far-reaching effects on their society and they stand on the cusp of an industrial revolution.|
|Industrial Age||1.5%||67 Months||This civilization has advanced into the equivalent of an early Industrial Age. Electricity and internal combustion engines are gradually coming into widespread use, while urbanization increases at a rapid pace.|
|Machine Age||2%||50 Months||This civilization has advanced into the equivalent of a Machine Age, considered a later part of the Industrial Age. Their factories are mass-producing goods and vehicles, and air travel is becoming commonplace.|
|Atomic Age||2.5%||40 Months||This civilization has advanced into the equivalent of an Atomic Age. They have harnessed the power of the atom, but not yet made it into space. Nuclear weapons may be prolific, and could result in a sudden extinction event.|
|Early Space Age||2.5%||40 Months||This civilization has entered an Early Space Age. Primitive satellites are orbiting their homeworld, and the first manned space missions have been concluded in low orbit. They will soon be ready to leave their world.|
Native empires can advance ages by themselves. The mean time to happen is 160 years for advancements up to the Steam Age, and 100 years for later advancements. There is a cooldown of 60 years after advancing ages before further advances are possible. Having an observation post built will notify you of every age advancement.
Early Space Age civilizations will eventually develop one of the three basic FTL drives, turning them into a normal empire. If another planet was colonized in the same system or a frontier outpost was built around the star the new empire will become an enclave within the larger empire. There is no catch-up mechanism for these empires so unless they advance very early in the game they will likely be quickly conquered or turned into a protectorate, especially as this cannot happen in the first 25 years of a game.
Atomic Age and, to a lesser extent, Early Space Age primitives have a small chance of starting a nuclear war. It can also happen as a result of failed covert infiltrations. There are three possible outcomes after the war. Either the existing civilization regress to an earlier age, the civilization will be destroyed and the planet turned into a tomb world and or the planet will be purged of all life and turned into a toxic world. If an observation post is in orbit you will be notified of the event.
Pre-sentient species and Uplifting
As opposed to primitives, planets of pre-sentient species can be colonized, and offer several different event chains. The pre-sentient pop will act as an unmovable tile blocker of sorts. They are pops, but can not be moved by the player and will not produce anything. The colony ship shelter can not be placed on a tile with a pre-sentient pop.
They can also be uplifted given the proper technological development. The planet does not need to be colonized in order to uplift the native pre-sentient species. Uplifting a species requires Epigenetic Triggers and costs 5000 society research points. Uplifted species become part of the empire that uplifted them and get a +20% happiness bonus when inhabiting that empire's planets due to getting the Uplifted trait. Finishing an uplift also grants 500 influence.
Pre-sentient species can be uplifted by going to the Species page and selecting them, then clicking the "Uplift" button.
While extremely rare, it is possible for a pre-sentient species and a pre-FTL one to spawn on the same planet.
Technological Enlightenment Strategy
Technologically enlightening primitives results in establishing a protectorate which can be very beneficial due to a monthly +0.25 influence bonus. However, enlightenment will also mean a certain loss of territory to the new protectorate government. A border is drawn that obviously contains the space within the species' own system and may extend to a few neighboring systems.
Most overlords will agree upon minimizing territorial losses to their new beneficiaries. Control of exploitable space objects can be retained if mineral and research stations are built preemptively to enlightenment. Also, all colonies established within the protectorate border will remain in direct control of the overlord or one of his governing sectors.
Be wary that uncolonized habitable planets of neighboring systems may fall within the borders of the protectorate. If none are preemptively colonized, a frontier outpost is necessary to reestablish rights to colonize. Furthermore, the protectorate can expand via colonies and frontier outposts, potentially taking valuable expansion opportunities from their overlord. It is possible to Integrate Protectorates directly, without having to wait for them to catch up technologically.