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A player can take ownership of a planet not owned by another player by colonizing it. A planet already owned by another player cannot be colonized, but could still be taken by force. Surface resources can be transferred away from any planet, but a planet must be owned by a player to be able to mine for its resources.

Some planets not owned by another player may have a native population. The native population will not prevent the planet from being colonized and will integrate with that colony to some degree. Only with a ship in a planet's orbit is it possible to know for sure if a populated planet is owned by another player (can't be colonized) or just has a native population (can be colonized).

Selecting a planet

Suitability of a planet for colonization can depend on many factors:

  • Environment: the planet's temperature and land mass will determine if a colony will thrive or perish.
  • Resource deposits: whether the planet has a valuable resource deposit worth mining (mines can only be constructed on planets owned by a player).
  • Native population: will contribute to a colony's workforce and can be taxed, but their happiness will have an affect on the colony.
  • Location: the planet could be strategically beneficial. Planets close to another player could forge an alliance or spark a feud.
  • Population Cap: Planet size and Land mass determine the planet's total population it can support with farms. Planets with small caps can be limiting in terms of how developed they can get.

Temperature tolerance

Civilization Optimal temp Tolerance
Mankind 22℃ Low (-1℃ to 45℃)
Ripchee 28℃ Low
Syntis 0℃ High (-99℃ to 99℃)
The People's Realm 20℃ Mid

Each civilization has their own optimal temperature and tolerance of other temperatures. The optimal temperature is the temperature at which population growth is most likely to thrive. The temperature tolerance determines how growth rate will behave the further a planet's temperature is from the civilization's optimal temperature (a civilization with low tolerance needs a planet temperature close to their optimal, while a high tolerance civilization will be compatible with a wider range of planet temperatures).

While viewing a planet, clicking the info icon next to its name will open up the environment and resources panel.

Info hover.png

Based on the planet's temperature and the player's civilization, the environment panel will recommend whether the planet is suitable for colonization or not. The images below show the environmental info for two planets in the same system; Phoenix 166 Z is suitable for colonization whereas 166 D is not.

Planet Temperatures.jpg

Climate stations (terraforming)

Planets that are either too hot or too cold can be terraformed to become hospitable for a civilization. Terraforming is achieved by constructing Climate Stations. To be able to construct a climate station, efficient terraforming must first be researched. Depending on the gap between a planet's temperature and the civilization's optimal temperature, multiple climate stations may be needed.

Populated planets

When viewing a planet there will often be a population established. In the image below, the planet info on the left shows a planet with no population, while the image on the right shows a Syntis population.

Planet Populations.jpg

Planet ownership

To determine whether a populated planet is owned by another player (can't be colonized, can only be taken by force) or is home to a native population (can be colonized), a player must have a ship in orbit of the planet.

The image below on the right shows a planet that is owned by another player - identified by the player's name and civilization emblem both in red. If a player doesn't have a ship in a planet's orbit, or does but the planet isn't owned by a player, the planet name will look similar to the image below on the left (no red player name or civilization emblem).

Planet Names.jpg

Native populations

A native population on a planet can be a valuable asset and will not prevent or hinder colonization. They can be taxed and will contribute to a colony's workforce effectively doubling it if not more. If the population is the same as yours, it will provide an initial benefit to your growth, merging with the colonizing pops. If it is a different race than yours, it will grow alongside your own, doubling the benefit of any happiness generating structures and farms, as they provide their benefits to both populations. They each have their own caps, so a planet with two small farms providing 80,000 population support, will in fact support 160,000 total (80k per pop).

Some key points on having populations beside your own: If the native population is from a civilization affected by happiness, their level of happiness will affect the colony.

This can hinder Synthis players who do not have access to Entertainment Centers.

The opposite is true for the other races if the second pop is Synthis, as their indifference towards happiness means they can be taxed 100% right away. The second pops will also carry over their temperature preferences, labor shortage limits and so forth, and will be affected by them accordingly. The accelerated growth of dual populations can lead to rampant unemployment if left unchecked.

Population Cap

Outdated Info: See Populations for current (Alpha 3) figures

While each farm built increases the population that can grow on a planet by a certain amount, eventually there will be an upper limit determined by the planet's size and landmass where it can not be raised further.

  • For Ripchee, Mankind and People's Realm the formula is: (Plant Size) x (Landmass as a Whole Number) x 2
  • For Synthis players, the 2 at the end changes to 3. (Plant Size) x (Landmass as a Whole Number) x 2

A planet with 13,071 size and 76% landmass would work out as follows:

13,071 x 76 x 2 = 1,986,792 max pop

13,071 x 76 x 3 = 2,980,188 max pop for Synthis.

The cap is per population, so a planet with Mankind and Ripchee will have double the amount in the end. If Synthis is the second population, they will benefit by the increased cap limit for their race.

Colonizing a planet


A player will not have access to colonization technology until colony deployment has been researched (shown in the image below with a number four next to it). Colony deployment cannot be researched until the following preceding technologies have been researched: scout class hulls, cargo transportation standards, and passenger transport support.

Once the research has been completed, colonization hulls and modules will be accessible in the ship designer.

Colonization Research.jpg

Colonization vessel

Each civilization has its own colonizer hull which is the only hull compatible with the colonization module (must first be researched):

  • Mankind: Columbus
  • Ripchee: Litter
  • Syntis: T0
  • The People's Realm: Imperium

Ship design

A colonization ship blueprint must first be designed before a ship itself can be built. The first step of the ship design process involves selecting a hull. The image below shows the hull selection screen with the colonization hull for The People's Realm (Imperium) available.

Colonizer Hull Select.jpg

Once the colonization hull has been selected, the following minimum parts need to be added to the hull in the ship design view:

  • Engine
  • Scanner
  • Colonization module

The following image shows the colonization module ready to be attached to the hull.

Colonizer Ship Design.jpg

Additional modules

Colonization ships are consumed as part of the colonization process - one ship can only colonize one planet - so it is not worth adding anything to a colonization vessel that isn't needed.

Anything a colonization ship is carrying will be transferred to the colony during colonization e.g. cargo, citizens, so it can be useful to equip a colonization vessel with cargo containers to provide the future colony with resources they will be able to make immediate use of e.g. beron.

Ship construction

Once the design for the colonization ship has been researched, its construction can be ordered. Once constructed, it will appear in orbit of the shipyard's planet.

The colonization module is automatically filled with 2,000 citizens from the colony's population. If there are not enough citizens to populate the colonization module a related notification is received, and it will not be possible to colonize a planet until the colonization module has been filled (additional citizens need to be manually transferred when possible).

If the ship contained additional cargo storage, fuel tanks, or personnel transports, these can be filled to be added to the colony once formed. If a planet doesn't have any beron available on the surface, sending it with a colonizer is very useful (as is using the colonizer to transfer any surface resources from nearby planets to the planet to be colonized before the colonizer ship is consumed in the colonization process).

Colonize order

To order a colonizer ship to colonize a planet, first select the ship, and then using the selection pointer click on the planet. A menu should appear with the options explore and colonize (shown in the image below). If it is known that the planet is owned by another player, the colonization order isn't available, likewise if the colonization module doesn't contain at least 2,000 citizens.


After clicking the colonize option the ship will begin moving to the planet's orbit (the explore option will move the ship to the planet's orbit only, where it will remain).

Once the ship reaches the planet, colonization will occur and the ship will disappear (it's consumed in the process). Clicking the planet will show it as owned by the player and any resources that were on the ship are part of the colony.

If it's discovered once the colonization ship enters the planet's orbit that the planet is owned by another player, the ship will not continue and colonization will not take place.

Next steps

Once a colony has been formed, the planet is ready for development: taxing the population(s), ordering construction of structures etc.