Beginning a Starsector Colony can be a huge endeavor. It’s a massively expensive project in every way. Not only do you need to hunt down planets to colonize; but you also need to constantly feed commodities and credits into them to upgrade and maintain them, it’s not something for noobies. So with this guide, we’re going to help you lay out a plan for building a powerful colony.
The Basics of a Starsector Colony
There are many different things to worry about when managing a colony. The three big stats to track are Stability, Hazard Rating and Accessibility. Your Starsector Colony will live and die by these few stats.
The accessibility of a planet affects most factors of the colony’s use as a population center and as a market power. The higher your accessibility, the more income your colonies will generate. The amount of resources that can be exported and imported both in-faction and cross-faction is also tied to accessibility. For every 10% of accessibility a colony has, it can export or import one additional unit of each resource to and from other factions. In-faction trade works the same way, but with a bonus factor of 5. So you really want to set up dedicated planets that can export as many of a resource as you can.
Stability is a measure of how attractive your planet is to live on. This is a measure of all the stats combined, and you want it as close to 10 as possible. The higher your stability, the more likely that your colony can stand against various threats.
Hazard Rating is a percentage that’s applied to your colony costs as a multiplicative penalty. A planet with 100% Hazard Rating will pay the normal amount of Credits in upkeep for its various buildings. A 200% Hazard Rating colony pays double. Spending credits on upgrades that reduce Hazard Rating is always a long-term good idea.
Finding a planet is the first step. There are many uninhabited systems in the game’s universe, but very few habitable planets. When picking your first planet, you want to try and stick close to the core worlds. The further out into remote systems you go, the more your costs increase. Look just to the north or south of the core worlds. Jungle Worlds can be found pretty easily around Yellow and Orange stars, and they’re a great source of early materials. Everyone needs food, and a farming world with rich farmland can be a real boon to your future expansion efforts.
For the reason of maximizing Accessibility, you want to find planets that have resources bonuses. Ultra-rich ore conditions, or rich farmlands, are prize real estate. Here is a breakdown of the levels of abundance found for resources on a planet.
- -1 – Poor/Sparse/Trace
- +0 – Adequate/Moderate/Common/Diffuse
- +1 – Abundant/Rich (farmland)
- +2 – Plentiful/Rich (ores)/Bountiful (farmland)
- +3 – Ultrarich (ores)
Always pick planets with these stats first. If you’re using AI mods like Nexerelin, this will often become prime war targets for other factions. You want to grab and hold them as they will be a huge source of Credits and fleets to fight off other factions with.
You can also pick planets with future upgrades in mind. The Corrupted Nanoforge can be installed into the Heavy Industry and Orbital Works to give them bonus production. It will also give a 20% bonus to Ship Quality on that planet. So plan to drop one in a Heavy Industry planet when you find it. These special items come from Derelict stations and as other rare drops. Each Industry in the colony system has an attached upgrade that offers some bonuses.
Once you have the planet picked out, it’s time to get started. Survey the planet and look at what results you get. The game clues you in when you find a good planet, as you will get Class IV and Class V Survey Data for the best planets. Hold onto these and you can sell them after you set up the colony for quick cash.
You will need to gather up 1,000 Crew, 100 Heavy Machinery and 200 Supplies to first build the colony. These are consumed, so keep that in mind. You also need to have Food and Fuel on standby to feed your colony as it’s growing. Smuggling to make some extra Credits to buy your initial load of materials is a viable way to handle this. You could also take the pirate approach and grind it out through salvaging.
Expanding and Trade
It’s a common fallacy by many new players that your colonies need to be self-sufficient. This is not true. No single planet, without cheating, will have all the resources needed to sustain a full range of resource production. You need multiple planets, and usually, you should specialize colony production according to what’s available.
The best way to have fun with the colony system is to try and make a balanced empire against the chaos of the warring Sector factions.
What industries you build depends on your goals. Heavy industry is great for building fleets of high-quality ships for warfare. But if you’re just trading a cheap bunch of materials, why bother with war machinery? When you’re playing the game, don’t forget to check market conditions with the F1 command on trade windows to see what regions of the sector are lacking. A good colony could help fill those gaps.
Keeping Your Gains
You need some level of defense in this game. Ground Defenses are a good start, but should be later augmented with Patrol HQs and other fleet production. Having a Military Base or High Command is also a good idea for your biggest colonies. The larger your population, the more effective the fleets produced by these structures are. Eventually, you will want to start building High-Tech Orbital Stations to get a much more robust defense.
Ship Quality is another consideration. And without in-faction Ship Hull production, you take a 25% to that score. This makes your fleets less effective in combat. That means getting a Heavy Industry chain setup to produce Fuel, Supplies and Ship Hulls will be vital to any long-term empire building.
That brings up a major hurdle for many players, Credits. The most powerful colony upgrades can collectively cost millions of Creds. Smuggling, privacy and trade are all great for making money, as are running missions. Planning your overall progression through various colonies will make you millions of Creds per month, but that’s going to take time. Do what’s fun for you.