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Colonies in Aurora take many forms, such as deep space tracking stations, unmanned mining operations, military bases, and up to a full fledged population and manufacturing centers.
Colonies can be established on the surface of almost any system body, with the exception of gas giants.
Almost all aspects are managed from the Population and Production interface.
Note: strictly speaking, 'Colony' refers to every planet (or other system body) that is listed in the Population & Production window. It just means that the game needs a 'container' to track everything that was shipped to or mined or built on the planet. For example, you need to create a colony to send a geo-survey team to the planet. For some actions, a colony is created automatically when you perform them, e.g. begin mining minerals or unload troops.
Sometimes you want to get rid of empty 'containers'. Just click the "Abandon Colony" button after making sure that there is nothing left in it you might want to keep.
Before creating a colony, a player must first decide on a suitable planet. Colony Cost and Mineral content are one of the most important factors to consider.
Setting Up a New Colony
Colonies can be established on the surface of almost any system body, with the exception of gas giants. The 'system view' F9 and 'potential colonies' Ctrl+A views, provided you with pertinent information about known planets. Additional information about the planets mineral deposits and archaeological sites can be made available by conducting surveys.
Once decided either: Right-click the planet on the 'system map', and select "New Colony" from the populations sub-menu; or select the planet from the 'system view' list, and click the "Add Colony" button at the bottom.
Your new colony will now appear in the Population and Production screen F2, although this is initially a purely administrative label. In order to actually have a working economic presence on a world, some installations must be put in place. Cargo ships can be ordered to lift installations from another colony and drop them here.
Note: Colonies can be abandoned at any time. Click the "Abandon Colony" at the bottom of the Population window. Everything you leave behind will be lost and cannot be recovered later.
Whether or not an actual population can easily survive on your colony is a matter that must be considered. While you can put ground bases, troops, sensors etc on any colonize-able world. You will need actual population to run shipyards, factories, etc, for which worlds has to be habitable or at least have enough infrastructure for the inhabitants.
The Suitability of each planet is determined by its gravity, temperature, and atmosphere; and will vary considerably depending on the species tolerances so a world that is ideal for humans may be uninhabitable for some other species and vice versa. The amount of infrastructure required to support the population is measure by colony cost.
A world with inappropriate gravity cannot be settled at all, except through the use of Underground Infrastructure or Orbital Habitats. If a world has zero colony cost, the population is not restricted in any way other than the maximum growth rate. Otherwise, the maximum population is determined by the amount of infrastructure.
Planets suitability and subsequently its colony cost can be improved over time by terraforming, by utilizing terraforming installation on the planet or terraforming modules in orbit.
Main article: Unrest.
Unrest is caused when the inhabitants of a population are in dispute with the central imperial authority. This can cause anything from mild production problems to rebellion and has several different causes. The most immediate effect of unrest is on the productivity of a population. All factory output, research, shipbuilding, wealth creation, trade creation, etc. is reduced by a percentage equal to the number of unrest points. For example, if a population has 25 unrest points, then all production is reduced by 25%. This is in addition to other modifiers such as manufacturing efficiency or political status modifiers.
Once unrest starts to build up, there are two options to deal with it. If you remove the cause of the unrest, the unrest level will slowly fall by itself based on the determination (or rather, lack of determination) of the population. The alternative is to station ground troops on the colony. Beware, if left unattended, there is a possibility the population might declare independence and break away from the Empire.
Population and Workforce
Agriculture and Environmental
The percentage and actual amount of population working to feed the rest of the population and maintain any environmental infrastructure. The required percentage is equal to 5% + (5% x Colony Cost), so a Colony Cost 2.00 world would have 15% of the population in this sector. A colony cost zero world will only have 5% assigned to this sector. This population is assigned automatically by Aurora. Think again about colonizing Venus.
This is the percentage and amount of population working in service industries, which includes everything that is not related to A&E or Manufacturing. The percentage required for SI is based on the total size of the population and is assigned automatically by Aurora. As a population grows, the relative size of the SI sector increases.
The available population after the size of the A&E and SI Sectors has been determined. All factories, mines, shipyards, etc must be manned by this sector of the population.
The higher the total population the more trade goods and wealth the colony generates.
Stability & Efficiency
Economic Production Modifier (EPM)
If a race is using deficit spending (i.e. its wealth is lower than zero), then any installations that use resources operate at a lower output, based on the size of the deficit compared to an Empire’s annual wealth production. The EPM shows the percentage of normal output.
This figure represents the efficiency of the manufacturing sector. If sufficient workers are available to support all industrial installations, the efficiency will be 100%. If insufficient workers are available, this figure represents the percentage of required workers that are available. The production of all facilities such as shipyards, mines, factories, research labs, etc is reduced to this amount. The radiation level of the planet can also reduce this figure by 0.01% per point of radiation. If the radiation level is 10,000 the Manufacturing Efficiency will be 0%, regardless of worker availability, and nothing can be built on the planet.
Political Status Production/Wealth/Trade Modifiers
Some political statuses have an effect on the colony’s production. These modifiers show the effect as a percentage of normal output.
Political Stability Modifier
If a colony is suffering from unrest, its production will suffer. The percentage effect is shown here.
Ruins, and minerals survey.
Government, occupation Political_Status and Independence. If you select a colony and press this, the colony will become a new independent state. For the moment, this can only be done for player races and the new state will also be a player race.
- Colonization for Beginners tutorial.
- Unrest post, by Steve Walmsley, 2010.
- Part 3: Population and Production window: Summary View post by Steve Walmsley, 2010