Document planetary improvement strategies here.

Initial Build Order

Which improvements in which order? And do you build, or buy?

On the first turn I buy a factory on my home planet and purchase another colony ship (or a faster colony ship that I create in the shipyard). On every empty planet I take over I buy a Starport, then build two factories and a research lab. After that it varies based on current needs I often follow up with another research lab, an economic center, and/or an influence building. The goal is to make all of the planets consistently useful and control most of the details through the civilization manager or domestic spending sliders. --Dinny 15:53, 10 March 2006 (UTC)

I don't build a starport on every planet, just my industrial-specialized planets. Personally, I think the AI is foolish for putting a starport on every planet. -- Someone.

Does no-one but me invest in recruitment centres first? Seems like a good investment at the price when your starting population is so low... --Irrevenant 02:26, August 28, 2011 (UTC)

Strategy often depends on your tech tree and who you can trade with for techs.  I *do* try to build a starport on every planet so I can mass produce troop transports, colony ships, and constructors, even if it takes 80 weeks per planet.  I am not static with recruitment centers, however.  I will use them more the worse my economy is early on, and I will use them on planets that are producing colony ships quickly.  Eventually you will be replacing them.  --Someone.

Bonus Tiles: Get the full effect!

A tile is a tile is a tile. Any old square will do. Wait what's this colored icon?

Try to take full advantage of bonus tiles by building the right improvement on the bonus square. You'll be more efficient on the planet and it may free up a tile or two. --Supreme Shogun 06:05, 17 March 2006 (UTC)

A planet with bonus approval tiles is much more suitable for a large population planet.

  • In V1.1 this is toned down and approval does not fall as quickly with population as in V1.0.

Also, beware the precursor mine. Actually, it's a wonderful tile if you can find it (+700% industrial bonus), but don't build on it until you a ready to start a massive shipbuilding program. A factory on that tile (especially combined with an industrial capital) can really drain your resources in early game, and you don't want it sitting there idling while your social spending is up finishing improvements on other worlds.

  • Not true in v1.1, where unused social spending is rerouted to military spending or returned to your treasury. There, you can afford to have lots of unused social spending on planets without draining your treasury.
  • If a planet has a 700% industry bonus, don't build your Manufacturing Capital on it! Save that for a planet with 300% or 100% bonuses, or one with a bonus to production from an ethical choice.
  • Inversely, if a planet has a 700% research bonus, consider building your technological capital on it - unless you have another planet with a few bonuses and lots of space for more research centres, it's a perfect choice (think like this - a 700% bonus is effectively eight labs, but on a class 4 planet this leaves a max of 10 labs and the tech capital. A 300% and a 100% one one planet makes six labs and can happen, but if that's on a class 16 you can get more than 10 labs worth, plus your tech capital, plus factories to make upping those labs faster).
    • Can you please confirm this? My understanding is that: (a) the Research Bonus square multiplies the TP production of the building on that square and (b) the Technological Capital does not directly generate any TP so (c) a Technological Capital on a Research Bonus square gains no benefit for it. --Irrevenant 02:54, August 28, 2011 (UTC)
      • I think Irrevenant is correct. --Gramarye
    • What is meant is you can put the Tech Capital on the planet, but not on that square specifically. A research building should go on the square.

To Specialize or Not to Specialize

Consider how many planets are available or what size galaxy you are playing on. If you are in a small/tiny map (I'd even throw in med. ) where you're going to be able to colonize 1-2 planets and then its war on neighbors... It's hard to specialize. Specializing you generally have the three types of worlds (manufacturing, research, and the econ/farm ) and generally need a couple/several econ/farms to keep the credits flow positive. Its not prudent to specialize on the smaller galaxy types is what I'm saying. The larger ones it's your call and strategies are laid out below. --Supreme Shogun 06:16, 17 March 2006 (UTC)

Generalized Planets

To specialize a planet or general mix?

I often find that specialization isn't very useful unless the planet calls for it by having large specials and/or colonization events. If so I build the planet up according to the special bonuses available. Always start with 1-2 factories even for non-production worlds as you'll need them to produce the social production points to build everything else.

However, on general worlds of decent size I build a little of everything- production, tech, farms, banks, culture, entertainment...I feel this works better than specializing every planet for several reasons.

1. Your empire might be in serious trouble if you happen to lose a large specialized world, losing an economy world can heavily disrupt even a large empire's economy, while with a general world strategy, losing any given world won't hurt nearly as much.

2. Specialization on worlds is also generally wasteful of space. In smaller galaxy maps where there aren't that many planets, you need every tile. Generalized planets allow you to do this by not forcing you to build many factories/labs and still have massive production with the use of economy starbase bonuses which stack- its often faster to build 4-5 economy starbases around a cluster of planets then it is for the planet to build all the factories on the surface. You must then defend those bases but you free up a lot of planet tiles for other things.

3. Generalization also gives you strategic flexibility. For example, with many decent production worlds rather than a couple super production worlds, you can more easily produce a spread of ships of various types. On average you can produce more overall ships of equal power than a player focused on only a couple worlds.

Possibly even more important on large maps is the fact that it allows you to build a steady stream of troop transports. With specialized worlds, you often find you have a few large population worlds good for making transports and a majority of base worlds with low populations. The worlds most able to build will have too few people to make many transports while the high population worlds are non-production centers, with a generalized layout, most worlds will have a decent population and allow you to make a large number of transports on any planet closest to the fighting giving you much greater flexibility. This can be circumvented by producing transports and launching them without soldiers and picking up troops elsewhere, but this strategy has the disadvantage of using up the ship's first few turns with getting troops elsewhere.

It's also worth noting that farms are not useful on planets of PQ 5 and smaller. For details see discussion about population.

4. Once you research several levels of expensive improvements, it is difficult to create specialized planets, because it will take a very long time for a highly specialized colony devoted solely to research (say) or economy to build more research related improvements or even upgrade existing improvements. A way around this problem is to channel research to social production by focus , but this is wasteful and involves a lot of micromanagement as you have to remember to turn off the focus once the improvements are done. Balanced planets with at least 2 factories each won't face this problem.

This problem is worse with new colonized planets, since you cannot build lower level improvements. Trying to build a invention matrix from the scratch is not advisable.

Specialize Everything - by fsk+

I disagree with what the poster wrote above. I find specialization to be *EXTREMELY* useful. I am playing on "gigantic" sized galaxies, but it applies to medium or better; basically on any setting where you expect to grab several decent planets.

First, consider economics. A good economics planet needs 3 types of improvements: farms for population and tax base, morale boosters to keep them happy, and stock markets to boost revenue. Your high PQ planets are therefore best dedicated to economics.

Now, industrial production and research production is *INDEPENDENT* of population. Therefore, you don't need any farms or entertainment improvements on planets dedicated to industry or research! Now, industry and research being independent of population is counter-intuitive, but that's how GC2's economy works.

Second, consider factories. A good industrial planet needs only 1 type of improvement: factories. It also should have a starport. A medium PQ planet (10-14) makes a good industrial planet. You can't have too many of them or they'll drain your treasury. It doesn't do any good to have a super-high-PQ planet dedicated to industry; after all, you can only produce one ship per planet per turn anyway.

Third, consider research. Unlike economics or industry, there is no benefit to clumping research points on the same planet. Therefore, low-PQ planets should be dedicated to research. However, your technological capital should be a high PQ planet, as you will have the capital boosting all your research centers, and your tech capital will be surrounded by economics starbases.

You will have a problem that your industrial planets will be building nothing and wasting social spending. Your solution to this problem is to set your social spend rate to 0% and set "focus social" on the rest of your planets. This only wastes 1-2 bc per colony, which is clearly better than wasting 200 bc on each of your industrial colonies.

  • In v1.1, you can afford to have unused social spending, as it will be rerouted to military or your treasury. Therefore, in v1.1, you can afford to have a nonzero social spend rate and have idle worlds. I don't bother to "set focus" on every planet in v1.1.

Planetary Improvement techs to avoid (with 1.1 patch) - by p22

Xeno Bank Construction - Bad on its own

It replaces:

  • Trade Center that gives +20% economic boost and cost 90 hammers
  • with Banking Center that gives 24% economic boost and cost 250 hammers

Not very cost effective. Still, if you do research Xeno Bank Construction, research Galactic Stock Exchanges as soon as possible, since:

  • Stock Market gives 30% economic boost, 10% morale boost and costs just 150 hammers

Yes, it's cheaper than Banks.

Manufacturing Centers - Bad, but useful for starbases

It replaces:

  • Enhanced Factory that gives 14 industry points and cost 100 hammers
  • with Manufacturing Center that gives 16 industry points and cost 200 hammers

Twice the cost for very small gain. Still, tech also unlocks one economy and two mining modules, so it could be useful if you focus on starbases, especially resource mining.

Industrial Sector - Very bad

It replaces:

  • Manufacturing Center that gives 16 industry points and cost 200 hammers
  • with Industrial Sector that gives 20 industry points and cost 400 hammers

Very ineffective. And makes developing of new worlds very painful.

Xeno Entertainment - Only bad if taken too early

It replaces:

  • Entertainment Network that gives 25 morale bonus and cost 55 hammers
  • with Multimedia Center that gives 30 morale bonus and cost 100 hammers

Twice the cost, small bonus. Still, Xeno Entertainment on its own gives 10 moral bonus, and cost of 100 hammers is not much, so you do want to research this, but only after you build Entertainment Networks where you planned.

Extreme Entertainment - Bad early, useful later

It replaces:

  • Multimedia Center that gives 30 morale bonus and cost 100 hammers
  • with Extreme Stadium that gives 45 morale bonus and cost 250 hammers

Now it does make things +50% more effective, but in early game 250 hammers is really prohibitive. Also, tech gives access to Ultra Spices that give +15% moral boost. So you do want to research this, but only after your worlds get a bit advanced.

Zero G Sports Arena - Bad, exempt for Gravity Accelerators

It replaces:

  • Extreme Stadium that gives 45 morale bonus and cost 250 hammers
  • with Zero G Sports Arena that gives 50 morale bonus and cost 300 hammers

Not worth the effort. Still, tech gives Gravity Accelerators that increase ship speed, so research it only if you want that benefit.

Virtual Reality Center - Very bad

It replaces:

  • Zero G Sports Arena that gives 50 morale bonus and cost 300 hammers
  • with Virtual Reality Center that gives 60 morale bonus and cost 400 hammers

400 hammers! There is no chance to build something like this on new worlds. On the plus side, this tech does give access to Virtual Reality Modules that increase moral planet wide, but it hardly offsets its problems.

1.2 update notes

With patch 1.2, all factories got their industry benefit reduced. Regarding this article, Enhanced Factories give 11 industry points, Manufacturing Centers 12 and Industrial Sectors 16. Which means that researching Manufacturing Centers is very, very bad, since they are still twice more expensive, but only 9% better.

fsk+ says

The fact that people are saying "don't unlock better buildings" is in fact an indication that the numerical values are wrong/unblalanced/unfair. If the numbers for the "better" buildings were more reasonable, then the more desirable buildings would always be worth having.

I'm not sure I agree. People are saying don't unlock better buildings because of it's effects on new undeveloped colonies.Even if these buildings were more effective, for example, Manufacturing sectors producing more than 2x the production of enhanced factories, it would still not be a good idea to go rapidly for Manufacturing sectors, because new colonies would have to spend a lot of social production before you finished manaufacturing centers.
I'm not sure I agree either.  When playing elaborate, immense games, every bit of production you can eek out of a military starport is worth it.  And if a newly colonized planet is producing infrastructure too slowly, just buy an industrial building.  Also, while the differences may seem small, they are not so small with the terrain bonuses.

I've been working on a mod that addresses these concerns, but for some reason it hasn't been approved yet by the moderators of the GC2 forum.

No one of importance inquires

Could someone post whether upgraded buildings cost the full price if you are upgrading from the old building? If you have the old building does it only cost 50% as much as usual? The difference in price? I don't know, and someone else may ask, so if someone could enter that in that would be great. Feel free to strike this question when it gets answered.

fsk+ says "I think you get some discount for upgrading, but I'm not sure how much. When upgrading, you can compare the cost to rush-build and upgrade vs. rush-building from scratch."
Bystander answers: In Dark Avatar (1.5), the answer is: no, you don't get a discount. However, the building is still there giving you its production, so don't tear it down, just upgrade over it. This also goes for if you need to reassign a tile to do something else.
Dog of Justice answers: Bystander is incorrect. In Dark Avatar, the first time a tile is upgraded, if your new building costs more than the old building, the ENTIRE cost of the old building goes toward reducing the upgrade cost. (If the new building's base cost isn't higher, the upgrade cost is set to a flat rate of 50 production units.) After the first upgrade, however, the discount is small, and occasionally even negative. Decommissioning a building resets the upgrade counter, so it is sometimes worthwhile.
timothy.lucas.jaeger adds: I did some testing on upgrades in dark avatar a while back, not sure which version. A tile's first upgrade works like dog of justice describes. For subsequent upgrades, the discount is equal to the cost paid for the previous upgrade. Suppose a basic factory is built for 50, then upgraded to a (standard) factory which has a total cost of 75. This is the first upgrade so the cost paid is 25. This 25 is the discount for the next upgrade. Say the next upgrade is to an enhanced factory (total cost 100). The upgrade cost is 75 (100 minus 25). For a final upgrade to industrial sector with total cost 400, the buyer pays 325 (400 minus 75). If you do the math, you find that the total cost of the tile is the sum of the costs of the final improvement and every other improvement before. In this example the total cost is the industrial sector plus standard factory (400+75) = 325 + 75 + 25 +50. It doesn't affect the calculation if the upgrade is to a different type of building, e.g. factory could upgrade to research lab or farm etc.. Afaik, the only benefit of decommissioning versus upgrading is to avoid maintenance costs. Timothy.lucas.jaeger 15:58, 21 July 2008 (UTC)

Note On Available Improvements

With the Dark Avatar expansion, you have the option to build older versions of improvements.

By default GC2 hides outdated tech on the colony management screen but you can still uncheck the box and build older versions of improvements on newly colonized worlds. This, along with turning off the colony governor that automatically upgrades tiles, would allow you to manage your colony improvements for the best effect.

For example, building low tech manufacturing tiles on low population worlds with low social construction while using the higher tech versions on worlds that already have reasonable social construction through existing improvements.

Ferrying Population to Speed Things Along

Population growth is 3% of population or 75 million, whichever is greater. Colony ships and Troop ships that land at a planet automatically disembark their load and add it to the local population count.

So, on a new planet to get it's tax base up, use either a colony ship or a troop transport to ferry over a billion citizens from an already capped world to your new world, then launch the ship with 1 million passengers, bring it back to the capped world (which should have already replaced the missing population) rinse and repeat. Doing this, you can bring a brand new colony up to full population (and full taxation) in several turns.

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