This article is for the PC version of Stellaris only.
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 12x engineering output (between 250 ~ 100000)
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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. Ring Worlds, Gaia Worlds, and Ecumenopolises have maximum habitability for all species, while Tomb Worlds, Machine Worlds, and Hive Worlds (except for Hive-Minded species) normally have 0% habitability for biological species.
|Gaia World, Ecumenopolis, and Ring World||100%|
|Hive World for Hive-Minded species||100%|
|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 and amenities usage by +1% and reduces their job output and 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 Machine Intelligences require the Droids technology to build colony ships using robots.
- Low Habitability can trigger various events.
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 Terraforming Candidate modifier don't create planet icons unless they are being terraformed.
Planets with an anomaly or a pre-FTL species cannot be colonized.
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 habitable worlds, though this is a costly and time-consuming process and requires the Terrestrial Sculpting technology to be researched. Only habitable planets and barren worlds with the Terraforming Candidate modifier can be terraformed.
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 technologies.
Changing a habitability trait costs the equivalent of adding a trait worth 3 trait-points and requires the Glandular Acclimation technology.
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 attraction or faction interactions from this path.
Xeno pops can be added to an empire to use as colonists via conquest, migration treaties, or – with the 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.
Uplifting a pre-sapient species or Enlightening or Infiltrating a pre-FTL species is another way to acquire xeno pops. With the first, it's possible to get a rare climate preference trait like Tomb World Preference. Species native to 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 Self-Modify via the A New Species event and develop into their own species native to Tomb Worlds.
|Available only with the MegaCorp DLC enabled.|
It is also possible to purchase pops with the Tomb World Preference trait from Racket Industrial Enterprise caravaneers.
Aside from changing climate preference, there are also various other methods for improving habitability:
|−20%||Project Cornucopia feature|
|−10%||Lithoid Devastation blocker, each|
|−5%||Unpleasant Atmosphere blocker|
|−0.75%|| Permutation Attendance Drone, each|
per Industrial District
|−0.5%|| (Overlord) Mutagenic Spa Attendant, each|
per Industrial District
|−0.25%|| Mutagenic Spa Attendant, each|
per Industrial District
|+2.5%||Medical Worker, each|
|+10%||Tree of Life Sapling|
|+10%||Gaia Seeder phase 2|
|+20%||Gaia Seeder phase 3|
|+20%||Gaia Seeder Outpost|
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(s) that will be sent to the new colony. Species require the 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.
The Frontier Spirit ruler trait reduces the cost of colony ships by −35%.
Alternate colony ships
In addition to regular colony ships, empires with the Corporate Dominion or Private Prospectors civics can also construct Private Colony Ships, which cost 500 energy instead.
Similarly, empires with the Calamitous Birth origin can also construct Lithoid Meteorites, which cost 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 Lithoid Crater modifier, which adds −50% habitability.
When a Colony Ship lands on a planet, a period of initial development will occur during which a colony is extremely vulnerable: just a few days of orbital bombardment will wipe it out completely and the new colony will not produce any resources nor will pops grow on the world. It is possible to remove 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, it will have a tier 1 capital building and a single pop of the species selected for the colony ship. It is then possible to develop the planet by constructing districts and buildings.
The Colonization Fever tradition and the Yuht Cryo Core relic each increase the number of initial pops on a new colony by +1. Machine Intelligence empires' colonies also start with +1 initial pop.
The initial development period lasts about 2 years and 10 months. Colony development speed can also be reduced by the following:
|Exploration||Exploration • FTL • Anomaly • Archaeological site • Relics • Pre-FTL species • Fallen empire • Events • Spaceborne aliens • Guardians • Marauders • Caravaneers|
|Celestial bodies||Celestial body • Colonization • Terraforming • Planetary features • Planet modifiers|
|Species||Species • Traits • Population • Pop modification • Species rights • Ethics|
|Governance||Empire • Government • Civics • Policies • Edicts • Leader • Factions • Technology • Traditions • Situations|
|Economy||Economy • Planetary management • Districts • Buildings • Holdings • Jobs • Designation • Trade • Megastructures|
|Diplomacy||Diplomacy • Relations • Galactic community • Federations • Subject empires • Intelligence • AI personalities|
|Warfare||Warfare • Space warfare • Land warfare • Starbase • Ship • Ship designer • Crisis|
|Others||The Shroud • L-Cluster • Unique systems • Preset empires • AI players • Easter eggs|