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Populations refers to the presence of Major and/or Minor Factions on a planet.


The population(s) on a player's planets are the life blood of an empire's operation. Considering individual planets, the population size will determine how many structures can be supported at any one time, as well as the size of the Home Guard that planet can muster in the face of invasion. Taxing the populations of the player's planets is the only form of credit income currently in the game. Hence, keeping populations happy and growing is a matter of primary importance.

The total population across a player's empire, as well as the empire-wide growth rate is displayed under the Colonies tab of the Main UI. Individual populations can be accessed through the Planet Management and Population Management screens, as seen in the panels above.

Primary Populations

The first population on any given planet is always considered the primary population. If the player colonizes a planet with an existing population, and their chosen Major Faction becomes more numerous than the existing faction, the original will remain listed as the primary in the Galactic Overview screen.

Players may increase the population of their Major Faction that a colony can support by building Farms. City Centers may also be constructed to increase the population growth rate on a planet. Planets can support a fixed maximum number of each Faction's population, which is independent of the number of Farms built and can be calculated using the formula given at the end of this page. Once this population cap is reached, growth will stop, but will restart if the population should decrease (through being transported, killed in an invasion, etc.).

Secondary Populations

A planet with both a Primary (Mankind) and Secondary (Syntis) population.

Each planet can support up to two separate Populations. There is currently no restriction on which types of race share the planet, provided they can both tolerate the planet's land/water balance and temperature. Climate and Hydro Adjustment Stations may be constructed to terraform planets, in order to allow two populations to survive and grow. Bio-farms can be built to support two organic populations living on the same planet.

If the second population is of a different race to the player's chosen Major Faction, then it will generally grow happily alongside a colonizing player's race. The secondary population can be taxed independently of the primary population, and will automatically add to the planet's Home Guard. They will be affected by structures the player builds, such as Entertainment Centers. If the player colonizes a world that already has a population of their own Major Faction, then they will simply be absorbed into the main population upon colonization, becoming part of the now-primary population.

Some world are occupied by a (non-playable) Minor Faction. A full listing of these is detailed at the Minor Factions Category page, and each typically grants some unique advantages to the owning player. Beyond this, they behave as any other population detailed previously. For the pros and cons of colonising a planet with an existing population, see the Colonization page.

If a planet with two existing Populations is conquered by a third Faction (or colonized, if defences are stood down), the smallest of the two populations will be completely replaced by the new Faction, which will then become the secondary population from that point onward. This can lead to irreplaceable Minor Factions being wiped out, so players should be wary of this.

Transporting Populations

Colonists and troops belonging to the player's chosen Major Faction may be freely transported using ships fitted with the Personnel Transport and Assault Troop Carrier ship modules respectively. There is no restriction in moving populations of the player's own Faction from a planet under their control, but a player cannot ship in more Population than the planet itself can support (the limit dictated by its size and land fraction).

Populations of Factions other than the player's chosen Major Faction are not currently transportable by any means (e.g a Mankind player may not transport populations of The People's Realm, and vice versa).

Overpopulated Planets

If the player transports in more colonists than can be supported by the Farms built on that planet, the planet will become overpopulated, and the excess colonists will begin to die off at a rate of -792/h until the overpopulation is corrected. This state may also be inadvertently triggered by taking Farm structures offline in order to upgrade them.

The number of overpopulated planets in the player's empire is tracked under the Colonies tab in the Main UI. In order to resolve this situation, the player can either build more Farms, cancel any Farm upgrades that might be in progress, or transport the excess population away.

Abandoning Planets

If the player removes all of the population belonging to their chosen Major Faction from a planet, the colony will immediately leave their control and all structures built will be lost. This is colloquially referred to as "dropping" a planet, and is used when a planet has been fully mined and is no longer useful, or by an invader in order to enact a "scorched earth" policy. To conduct a phased withdrawal, structures can be dismantled to recover some of the resources used to build them, and colonists and troops withdrawn gradually alongside this.

Formulae for Initial and Maximum Population Size

Initial Size

Each planet has some initial population size it can support, without needing the construction of Farms. This initial size is calculated as follows:

Initial Population Size = Planet Diameter (KM) * 3 (for populations of the player's Major Faction)

Initial Population Size = Planet Diameter (KM) * 6 (for populations of all other Factions under the player's control)

Example: A newly colonized world with a diameter of 12,000 KM may support a population of 36,000 colonists of the player's Major Faction.

Maximum Size

The maximum population size that a planet can support for a particular Faction is calculated using the following formula:

Maximum Population Size = PlanetDiameter * PlanetUsableSurface * MaxPopMultiplier * GlobConst

  • PlanetDiameter: The planet's diameter, in KM.
  • PlanetUsableSurface: The land or water fraction of the planet (in percent), expressed as a decimal between 0.0 and 1.0. Which one is used is dependent on the land/water affinity of the Faction in question.
  • MaxPopMultiplier: The maximum living density for that Faction. These values are detailed on the respective Faction pages.
  • GlobConst: A constant for all planets, currently set at 75 (this may change in future or on a per galaxy basis).

Example: For a planet of size 15,000 KM, a 50:50 split between land and water and with a Mankind population (Land affinity):

15,000 (planet size in KM) * 0.5 (50% land mass) * 1.0 (Mankind population multiplier) * 75 = 562,500 max. population.

Population Growth Rate Equation

The growth rate of a population is governed by the following equation:

Growth (/hr) = (-1.425*T^2 + c) * Happiness * Centre Bonus

  • T: The distance away from the population's optimal temperature in °C.
  • c: A positive constant giving the maximum growth at the optimal temperature and the (potentially non-optimal) planet’s land mass fraction.
  • Happiness: The population's Happiness, expressed as a decimal between 0.0 (0% Happiness) and 1.0 (100% Happiness). This multiplier only applies if the bracketed term before it is positive, i.e. the planet's environment allows a positive growth rate. For Syntis populations, this parameter is always set as 0.99.
  • Centre Bonus: The cumulative growth bonus for any City Center structures built. A single Tier 1 City Center with a 3% boost would make this value 1.03, while five City Center Megalopolises (each with a 9% boost) would give a multiplier of 1.45. (Note that Syntis Depositors have different boost values.)

The constant c is given by:

c = (792*G) - |(7.11*LD)|

  • G: Growth Multiplier of the Faction.
  • LD: Difference between optimal landmass and the planet’s current land fraction (for factions with a Land affinity). For factions with a Water affinity, the optimal and current water fractions are used instead.

This assumes there is a non-zero land mass percentage; 100% water worlds are always hostile to Factions with a Land affinity, and will cause such populations to die off as if they were overpopulated (see previous).

From this, it is apparent that a hostile temperature (which has a quadratic relation to growth rate) has a greater effect on population growth than an unsuitable land/water fraction, which obeys a linear relation (panel 5 below). If the land mass fraction is far from the Faction's ideal, it can have the observed effect of reducing the range of possible temperatures for growth, by shifting the whole quadratic function downwards such that the growth rate is still negative even within the stated range of tolerable temperatures (see panels 3 and 4 below).

Maximum Growth Rates

For optimum environments and 100% Happiness, the maximum growth rates for each Faction are: