This article has been verified for the current PC version (2.7) of the game.
There are two types of pre-FTL species in the game: primitive civilizations and pre-sapient species.
Primitive civilizations are civilizations that have yet to develop the technology necessary for interstellar space travel. They advance through multiple ages as their history is written. Primitive civilizations can become full-fledged interstellar empires if they are technologically enlightened by another spacefaring empire and can either be incorporated into said empire or given independence. If left alone, however, primitive civilizations will develop on their own and may eventually become spacefaring themselves, at which point they become a regular empire. Primitive civilizations can be made plentiful or outright disabled via the galaxy generation options.
Pre-sapient species are animal species that show particular promise. They would likely evolve some degree and manner of intelligence on their own if they were left alone for a few million years, but spacefaring empires can accelerate this process, turning the pre-sapients into productive galactic citizens within the span of just a few decades.
Primitive civilizations exist in various ages of development they slowly go through.
Primitive civilizations can advance through ages by themselves as their history is written. The mean time for this to happen is 160 years for all advancements up to the Steam Age, and 100 years for all advancements after that. There is a minimum 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 that don't have an observation post built in orbit will eventually develop basic hyperdrives, turning them into a normal empire. If a Starbase was built around the star the new empire will ask the owner for control of it. Should the request be accepted they will be granted control of the Starbase and all colonized planets in the system and gain a temporary +100 Opinion towards the former owner. If the request is refused the civilization will be annexed. Annexing the civilization will cost 200 Influence if Xenophile or Fanatic Xenophile while granting it control of the system will cost 200 Influence if Xenophobe or Fanatic Xenophobe. Genocidal empires only have the option to annex the civilization.
There is no catch-up mechanism for these empires. Unless they advance very early in the game, they will likely be quickly conquered or turned into a Protectorate, especially as a Primitive civilization cannot develop FTL in the first 25 years of a game.
Atomic Age and Early Space Age primitives have a small chance of starting a nuclear war. This can happen randomly but can also occur as a result of failed Covert Infiltration although those wars can be prevented via an intervention through a special event. Should a nuclear war happen the primitive civilization will be destroyed and the planet will turn into either a Tomb World or a Toxic World. Empires with an observation post is in orbit will be notified of the event.
Nuclear wars are 10 times less likely to happen during Early Space Age. The primitive civilizations in the Sanctuary system cannot start a nuclear war.
Note: A primitive civilization's ethics have no effect on their history and progress. A spiritualist civilization advances just as fast as a materialist one and a pacifist civilization is just as likely to start a nuclear war as a militarist one.
Primitive civilizations can always be invaded and conquered as long as their system has been claimed and the Native Interference policy is set to Unrestricted. Primitive civilizations have no means to resist a technologically superior invader, although Industrial and especially Post-Atomic civilizations can be harder to conquer early game. The prize one can obtain from an invasion is the planet itself, any and all resources and buildings on it along with the primitives that can be used as a source of cheap labor once enslaved or integrated as citizens.
Conquered worlds will get the Stellar Culture Shock modifier for 10 years, which locks out the former primitive pops from using colony ships, joining Factions or being released as a Vassal. It also brings -20% Stability, -33% Resources from Jobs, and -50% Empire Sprawl from Pops. This modifier can be avoided if the primitive pops are resettled.
|Available only with the Apocalypse DLC enabled.|
Empires might prefer the construction of hidden Observation Posts in high orbit over primitive worlds. This allows for the safe study and, if one so desires, influencing the primitive civilization. Observation posts typically have a number of exclusive missions that can be undertaken. Each mission can trigger various events.
Pre-sapient species can be discovered on each planet type after investigating certain anomalies. Genocidal empires cannot discover them through anomalies but can encounter those discovered by other empires.
As opposed to primitives, planets of pre-sapient species can be colonized. The pre-sapient pops do not require either Housing or Amenities. The Pre-Sapients policy determines their status. Unlike sapient species, pre-sapients can be purged without diplomatic repercussions from any empire.
For pre-sapient species the option to create templates is replaced with the option to Uplift them. The planet must be colonized and within the player empire's borders. Uplifting a species requires the Epigenetic Triggers technology and costs 3000 society Research. Uplifted species become part of the empire that uplifted them and get a +10% happiness bonus when inhabiting that empire's planets due to getting the Uplifted trait. Finishing an uplift also grants 500 influence.
When an uplift is complete, the pre-sapient species receive the default species rights according to the host empire, even if it is displacement from their own home. Most uplift processes tend to be rocky (70% chance of -5% planet mineral output).