Stellaris Dev Diary #192 : Perfectly Balanced, As All Things Should Be...

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Stellaris Game Designer
Apr 4, 2019

This week we’re going to look at some more changes we're planning, as well as a review of how some of the experiments mentioned in the last few dev diaries have evolved.

Thank you for the massive amount of feedback in those threads.

Reduction in Pops

Due to the effects on performance and a desire to reduce the micromanagement burden in the mid to late game, some of the things we’ve been deeply looking into are different ways of dramatically reducing the number of pops in the galaxy.

These experiments have generally revolved around modifying the growth (or assembly required) for pops as an empire’s population grows, with some variants trying a logistic pop growth (where growth follows an S-shaped curve as planets develop, based on a carrying capacity of a planet). These experiments have reduced the end date pop count to somewhere around one half of the old numbers with the expected performance improvements.

Organic pops will follow a curve where they begin at standard population growth, increase growth as the approach a midpoint between population and the planetary carrying capacity, then slow down to zero as they reach the top of the curve. Pop Assembly, on the other hand, is generally slow but consistent. The biggest change is that producing a new pop no longer costs a static amount of pop growth - it increases as the empire population does.

A significant reduction in pops has a cascade of major implications for the overall economy, production, and other gameplay effects. As such, these also require a pass on buildings, technologies, and even seemingly minor ripple effects like what the value should be for the trade value generated by pops.

There will be a lot of patch notes.

Most buildings have been standardized to now give 2 jobs per tier rather than the old 2/5/8 progression.


Just one example of many.

We’ve also changed a few buildings to have new or additional features, such as the Spawning Pool and Clone Vats, which have had their Pop Growth modifiers replaced with the new Organic Pop Assembly. This fills the same slot on the planet as Robotic Pop Assembly, so generally you’ll want to pick one or the other. (Clone Vats also picked up a food upkeep cost to represent simple materials to break down.)


Pops is Soylent Green!

A few other jobs got minor perks added to them, like the Medical Workers from Gene Clinics making it a little easier to live on less hospitable worlds.


Doesn't normally produce exotic gas, this one happens to be a lithoid.

And a few new techs have been added to help compensate for lost productivity. One tech line increases both the job production of a planet as well as job upkeep - those fewer pops are still capable of producing the work of more on a developed planet.

Ring Worlds

As part of the balance pass, Ring Worlds have been bumped up to 10 segments from 5, and the jobs per segment have been adjusted.


The Shattered Ring origin now possesses a warning that it may be a Challenging Origin for Lithoids due to a scarcity of minerals, and now also applies the Ring World Habitability Preference to your pops. We’re considering adding a similar warning for Hives selecting the origin, since the habitability preference change puts a serious crimp in their expansion.


Put a ring on it?

Their starting blockers have also been adjusted to give a more balanced spread of jobs.


Like the Ring Worlds, these start with all building slots open. As mentioned before, you can now use the Arcology Project decision on a planet that has a mix of City and Industrial Districts.

Note: Empire has all technologies but no traditions active.

The ecumenopolis has a unique distinction of being able to have both the Factory and Foundry building lines on the same planet.


The changes to Habitat modules are much smaller in scope, but here’s the list of their districts.


Void Dwellers have gotten a bit of attention as well with some tradition swaps for those that had minimal or no beneficial effects for them.



Replacing Public Works Division:

And for Void Dwellers with the Adaptability tree:

Interstellar Franchising and Imperious Architecture now also function for Habitats.

Updates to Dev Diary 190

Some of these updates may not be new to people following the forum threads, but it's easy to miss things so I figured we should go over them.

Many people requested the ability to fully specialize their foundry and factory worlds. We've modified the Forge and Industrial World planet designations to shift one pop on each Industrial District to the appropriate job if possible.


We've also upgraded the Food Processing Center, Mineral Purification Hub, and Energy Nexus to provide an extra job to each of their associated resource production districts. (The Food Processing Center will also improve Hydroponics Farms.)


One of the suggestions made in the thread was to add a civic that increases unlocked Building Slots. Sounded like a great addition to Functional Architecture.


Functionality increased!

Updates to Dev Diary 191

We’ve explored some additional options regarding the resettlement system we outlined in Dev Diary 191, and after trying a few things, and have settled on some extensive modifications to the system.

All planets with free sapient unemployed pops that are not locked down by migration controls will have a small chance every month of moving one to another planet within their empire that has jobs that they are willing and able to work, housing, and habitability of 40% or higher. This chance is increased if there are multiple unemployed pops that meet the criteria.

The system now prefers to move higher strata pops first, so rulers and specialists will move before workers, and this system also functions for gestalt empires. It will not relocate non-sapient robots or slaves. It will generally prefer to move pops to the planets with the most free jobs.

After some experimentation we’ve chosen to keep the Transit Hubs as Starbase Buildings that provide a system wide buff to the chance of auto-resettlement occurring. (Rather than being essential to have it occur in the first place.)


Doubles the chance the pops choose to resettle themselves.

Greater Than Ourselves has been rewritten to also massively increase this chance when the edict is active, with a +200% bonus.

We initially had these pops considering destinations available through Migration Pacts as well, but decided against keeping that since it introduced a new Migration Controls micromanagement element that we didn’t find desirable.

We’ve also done a minor update to the Authority bonuses that seemed a little bit weak.



Democracies now have a bonus encouraging their pops to seek their dreams, and Dictatorships have a bit of an easier time holding things together when they’re a bit overstretched.

Closing Thoughts

One other little quality of life improvement that was just added is this filter on the colonization interface.

Colonisation QoL.gif

That’s probably long enough for today. We’re looking forward to your feedback on these as well.

Next week w̷e̵'̸l̸l̴ ̴b̸e̴t̵̮̄ǎ̸͈l̷̠̈k̴͔͂i̴̞͒n̷̪͊g̸̳͗ ̸͚̎a̵͉̐b̵̤̿ȯ̴̲ṵ̵̀t̸͇͂ ҈҂▒©╛⅜

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Stellaris Game Designer
Apr 4, 2019
I like that the transit hub stay as a starbase building but why a "chance to resettle"? Especially the habitability restriction concern me o_O. Will this block of even a high resettlement chance later on with more unemployed pops if the habitability is to low?
We want the unemployed pops to naturally drift over time to the places where there are jobs. They won't voluntarily move to a place with habitability of 40% or lower.

Are these mutually exclusive with robot assembly plants?
They're not mutually exclusive, but only one pop can be assembled at a time, so you'll generally want to build one or the other.

So if you upgrade the building, that's 4% additional habitability only, which isn't very strong. Maybe 2 or 3%?
We'll keep an eye on it and make further adjustments if necessary.

So gestalts yet have to stick to APM, got it.
Gestalt drones will automatically migrate, they count as "free and sapient". They also have access to the transit hub building.

So, just to check I'm reading this right... the growth rate (currently 3.0 unmodified) now changes depending on how much free space the planet has (defined by housing?), and the amount of growth (currently 100) required for a new pop scales with the total empire population?

And this is a pretty much what you're going with... or just the latest in a series of experiments?
Yes, that's accurate. I'm fairly confident that we'll be going with something similar to this, though numbers haven't been finalized. (Despite the cheeky title of the Dev Diary.)

Because less pops means less resource output.
There are some things, like technologies, that mitigate the production reduction to some degree.

Is it just me or does Organic Pop Assembly feel inherently wrong?
Pretty gross, huh?
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Stellaris Game Designer
Apr 4, 2019
Any news on how the various districts have been adjusted for Gestalts as well?
They're fairly similar. For Industrial things, change all the consumer goods jobs into alloy jobs. If it's a tier 1 resource generating job, hives get more of them.

What's the base chance of pop migration?
Because if it's very small, the double of nearly nothing is not much
10% currently, but the overall chance is multiplied by the number of unemployed pops.

At these numbers, here's the quick chart of "what is the chance that a single unemployed pop will have migrated within x months?"
Base Empire10.00%19.00%27.10%34.39%40.95%46.86%52.17%56.95%61.26%65.13%68.62%71.76%
Base Empire + Hub20.00%36.00%48.80%59.04%67.23%73.79%79.03%83.22%86.58%89.26%91.41%93.13%
Base Empire + GTO30.00%51.00%65.70%75.99%83.19%88.24%91.76%94.24%95.96%97.18%98.02%98.62%
Base Empire + Hub + GTO40.00%64.00%78.40%87.04%92.22%95.33%97.20%98.32%98.99%99.40%99.64%99.78%
Democracy + Hub25.00%43.75%57.81%68.36%76.27%82.20%86.65%89.99%92.49%94.37%95.78%96.83%
Democracy + GTO35.00%57.75%72.54%82.15%88.40%92.46%95.10%96.81%97.93%98.65%99.12%99.43%
Democracy + Hub + GTO45.00%69.75%83.36%90.85%94.97%97.23%98.48%99.16%99.54%99.75%99.86%99.92%

This also affects every planet now, and as noted above, if you have two unemployed pops on a planet, double these numbers.

Will those bonus also affect Ring world segments and habitat districts ?

You mentioned "Planetary Carrying Capacity" but didn't expand upon as this is not in the game. Is this a fixed value as is used and added by several mods, or is it just the current housing? I.e. I build more districts/housing buildings and pop growth increases to match the new S curve. This would make it extremely important to pre-build housing!
This is one of the things that is still in balancing, but currently it's total housing but we include a bonus for undeveloped districts. People living off the land and such. Some planets, like Gaia worlds, get more carrying capacity for their undeveloped districts.

This may change to be a simpler formula largely based on planet size, since there are a couple of quirks I'm not totally happy with right now.

So what the point of Ecumenopolis ?
An Ecumenopolis still has an extremely high carrying capacity so is excellent for population growth, and is also quite effective at producing both jobs and housing from a single district type. It's still borderline OP, don't worry.

I feel like Organic Pop Assembly shouldn't be affected by the s-shape curve stuff, it should be a flat number if there's a lot of space, and the same flat number if there isn't a lot of space. The s-shape curve is because of how living populations live and reproduce. The pop production shouldn't be affected by that.
Pop Assembly doesn't follow the logistic curve, it's (generally) slower but constant.
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Stellaris Game Designer
Apr 4, 2019
More Pops = less Pop growth = I don't understand.
Logistic pop growth is a real formula used to simulate biological growth. Normally growth starts off very slow since the population is low, then it grows faster and faster until resources start to limit growth, at which point it slows down and sometimes even ends up going negative at times. In our experiments we've modified the curve somewhat so new colonies aren't incredibly slow to grow.

Psionic Ascension will now be the only one without pop growth bonus.
Yes, this is true. They'll have some pretty potent bonuses when it comes to R̵Ę̶͐D̵̩̄A̸͙̓C̶̢͝T̶̩̆Ę̸̈D̴ though, we'll talk more about that in a few weeks.

Does this mean I can finally make an origin where the species is completely infertile and relies on cloning to reproduce?
Yeah, should be possible.
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Alfray Stryke

Stellaris QA
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Feb 21, 2014
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Habitats are intended to be cramped. You get two building slots from the capital building, two from technologies, one from tradition (or two with adaptability), and (if you pick them) one from a civic and two from an ascension perk. If you stack all of those, that's 9 building slots. Considering that functional architecture also reduces the alloy upkeep of habitats (as it's attached to the capital building), it's going to be a very powerful synergy.

Note: Not Final Numbers are Not Final

Yup, habitats for normal empires are cramped if they don't stack for bonuses, going by memory they'll start with 1 free building slot and end up with 4 free building slots (+2 if you take Voidborn). Functional Architecture gives another +1, Adaptability (if you're Fanatic Purifiers, Inwards Perfectionist, Barbaric Despoilers, Necrophage or a HIve Mind) gives another +1. So if you aim for it, you could be able to hit 8 building slots on a habitat. However, most of those bonuses (technologies, Functional Architecture, Adaptability) also apply to planets. I don't expect many normal empires will take Voidborn unless they're seriously leaning into expanding on habitats - Life-Seeded or Shattered Ring empires could benefit?

On the other hand, Modular Superstructures (for Void Dwellers) gives +1 building slot to habitats only, so if they stack the same way (Functional Architecture, Voidborn and a civic that grants Adaptability) they could hit 9 free building slots. However the rest of their tradition swaps are geared for them to avoid settling on planets.
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Stellaris Game Designer
Apr 4, 2019
Thinking on it, you guys (PDX) mentioned a tech line that increase both pop job production and upkeep. (So they spend more to make more.). Can you show us an example of this tech [non-final numbers being non-final, of course]?

The line of techs is currently:

The higher bonuses are tied to higher tiers of capital buildings, so resource gathering backwaters are less likely to reach maximized production levels than your heavily populated core worlds.
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Alfray Stryke

Stellaris QA
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Feb 21, 2014
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So, I went through most of the replies, and didn't see an answer. Did Habitats get the Energy/Mineral District removed, or are they unchanged and just not included? Overall, I like pretty much all of these changes, but if they removed Mineral/Energy districts, it would cripple the Voidborn playstyle.
Probably just an oversight, since nothing has changed with them they didn't feel the need to include them. I wouldn't worry about it, no way they removed them.

Just weren't included as we used a science habitat to grab the screenshot. No changes to those districts (aside from the effects of Mineral Purification Hubs/Energy Nexuses)
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