Age of Wonders: Planetfall – Dev Diary #16: Colony Development Part I

Age of Wonders: Planetfall – Dev Diary #16: Colony Development Part I

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Hi there, welcome to this week’s Planetfall Journal! Today we’ll take a deeper look at Colonies; This is Part, dealing with Colony structure and development.

Colonies

Colonies contain the population of one of the main races and are the main source of economic wealth for your empire, proving energy, knowledge, food and production. Colonies can cover up to five sectors; the Colony Center and a maximum of four annexed Province Sectors.

KirkoColony+Colonizer.jpg

Kir'ko Hive Colony with a Colonizer beetle

Acquiring Colonies

Your starting colony is placed in the sector where your ship makes planetfall. Additional Colonies can be founded using a colonizer, or taken from enemies. At the start of the game Various independent outposts may be found scattered on the planet.

Independent Outposts

Independent Outposts can be taken through force or by spending influence. When you acquire an outpost you have the option to:

  • Turn into a proper colony
  • Move it to a new location (a colonizer will appear)
  • the population can be absorbed into an existing colony


Note to AoW3 Players: Independent Colonies play a smaller role in Planetfall. This is due to the interaction and prevalence of NPC Factions and more developed empire building mechanics. Still, conquering an Independent outpost is a great boost for your empire.

Outpost.jpg

Approaching an Assembly Outpost

Colony Center

The Colony Center is the heart of the colony.

  • Here is where your colonists live, and the income from all annexed province sectors is gathered
  • The Colony Center has a number of inherent economic upgrades to get your economy started independent of annexed sectors.
  • All Units and Structures are produced at the Colony Center.
  • Military Structures built at the Colony Core enable the production of higher tier units along with the associated research.
  • Hold Colony Defense Upgrades
  • When the Colony Center is taken over by an enemy, all annexed sectors are lost with it.
ProductionList.jpg

Production options for the Colony Center

Colony Growth


To exploit the environment around your Colony Center, you need to Annex sectors as a Provinces. Annexing a sector will attach it to a Colony. The number of Sectors a Colony can administer is dependent on the number of Colonists.

Colonists Sectors

1-5 2
6-10 3
11-15 4
16+ 5

Sectors can only be annexed by a colony if they are within two sectors of the Colony Center,

as well as being adjacent to another sector of that same colony. Once attached to a colony, the economic potential of a sector can be harnessed.

Some sectors can contain a dominant structure, like a landmark or spawner which will need to be taken over by force or diplomacy before the sector can be annexed.

Annexing a sector is done by moving a unit onto the sector flag and choosing the ‘Annex Sector as Province to Colony’ button.



Sectors Features

There are many types of sectors, with different features that affect how they can be used

  • A Clime (Arcadian, Fungal, Arid, Arctic and Ocean)
  • A main Terrain Feature (Mountain, Forest, plains, etc). Both affect Resource yields and future exploitation possibilities.
  • Locations: Landmarks, Dwellings, and Resource Nodes provide flat income, while other structures like visit sites, hazards, spawners have more strategic effects.
  • Sectors can be owned by both Player Factions as well as by Non-Player Factions and marauders.
For more about the Sector System see this Development Diary.


Sector Exploitation

After a Sector has been annexed as a Province, it needs be Exploited by selecting one of the four economic types: Energy, Food, Production or Research.

  • Sector Exploitation adds one Colonist Slot of the selected type immediately.
  • Sectors containing Landmarks have a pre-set exploitation type.
  • Increasing Sector Level through Research will increase sector yield and colonist slots pending matching Clime and Sector Features.
  • Exploited Sectors can contain Sector Specialization Structures for additional economic bonuses.
SectorExploiltation.jpg

Selecting an Exploitation Type for a Province Sector

Sector Level

The Sector Level increases the output of an Exploited Sector and makes the effects of any Sector Specialization Structures within it stronger.
  • Sector Level is increased by researching the associated tech in the Society Research Tab, and subsequently building a Level Boost Structure in a Colony Center.
  • Level Boost Structures upgrade the level of all Sectors with a particular feature within a Colony
  • For example, one structure may upgrade all mountain sectors, while another upgrades all energy type sectors.
Tip: Focusing individual colonies on a particular resource type by giving multiple sectors the same Exploitation type is a valid strategy mid game. You only need to build the Level Boost Structures once per colony and also, the sectors themselves boost each other through percentage bonusses. However, don’t over specialize, since part your economy may collapse when losing a Colony.

Tip: A sector that doesn’t match with its clime or terrain will produce the same as one that is at the start of the game, however has less economic potential as the game progresses. Some of the faction have terraforming abilities. Plan ahead.

Sector Specialization Structures (SSS)

After an Exploitation type has been chosen, a Sector can be further specialized by building Sector Specialization Structures (SSS). E.g. a Production Sector can be specialized to provide benefits to Unit Production or Infrastructure Production.
  • All SSSs are unlocked through Research. There are four per Exploitation type; two get unlocked at Tier 2, the second batch is found at Tier 8 in the Society Tree.
  • An Exploited Sector can only contain one Specialization Structure. To build additional Specialization structures of the same exploitation type, you will need to add an additional sector of the that type.
  • The bonus of an SSS scales up with the Sector Level of the sector they are in.
  • An individual SSS can be built once per colony.
Research_CivilEngineering.jpg

Civil Engineering is an Production SSS, as seen in the Production Development I tech group in Society Research

Founding a New Colony

Expanding a new Colony will keep you busy for a while, but it is important to start looking for new land to build new colonies in. New Colonies require the production of a Colonizer Unit, which costs population.

Colonizers.jpg


Colonizers are now faction specific. Can you tell which is which?

New Colonies can’t be founded adjacent to another Colony Center, and you’ll need to be careful not to setting on areas where other’s have claims on, as this might lead to war!

In Colonies Part II We’ll be looking at: Food, Production, Colonist Management, Happiness, , The HQ and City Defenses
 

Fenraellis

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I spy...:
- An Amazon scout unit looking at that Assembly outpost.
- A Tech Victory structure for a different Secret Tech.
- A new T3 Economy and T4 Doctrine tech compared to before (once again, lovely icons, by the way for the tech tree redesign!).

Dvar - Amazon - Kir'Ko - Vanguard - Assembly - Syndicate, for those Colonizers, I'm sure. I love how visually distinct each of the Colonizers are. Likewise, the Kir'Ko city, and even what can be seen of the Assembly outpost, are massively different in aesthetic to the Vanguard city seen here and before.

This blurb in the Assembly outpost screenshot really sells the idea of the average Assembly 'people' being a hodgepodge mix of parts:
"The motley citizenry scurry away into their hovels as you approach. The air stinks of ozone and badly maintained implants. Flanked by a few ragged soldiers[...]"


Also this part was quite the divergence from past games:
"When you acquire an outpost you have the option to:

Turn into a proper colony
Move it to a new location (a colonizer will appear)
the population can be absorbed into an existing colony
"

Huh, so we can choose to remove pre-existing settlements and pull them back to a safer region instead(or simply redirect the population if we don't want to risk moving the Colonizer).

Also, based on what you said and the available pictures, it appears the T3 enhancing Advanced Military Engineering Guild and the Cosmite Extractors won't be available until T8 research. Quite fitting.
 
Last edited:

Fo Ren G

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Oof, I guess it's Dvar, Amazon, Kir'ko, Vanguard, Assembly and Syndicate?
I hope cost of Sector Exploitaition zones doesn't scale with the number of already built zones, because that dumb mechanic properly ruined Civ VI.

E: And that Assembly hoverspider thing looks terrifying (on 2nd screenshot), I guess it shoot an AoE of electricity out of its spikes.
 

BTAxis

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Does the landscape inform what you can build in a colony at all, like the special upgrades seen in Golden Realms?
 

Fenraellis

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Does the landscape inform what you can build in a colony at all, like the special upgrades seen in Golden Realms?
I wouldn't be entirely surprised if this building is only available if you have a Ruins sector in your controlled sectors for that colony, as otherwise it costs production and energy for no yield:


Same principal for the High Altitude Wind Farms, I would say. Probably related to having Mountains.

[EDIT]
I noticed that the tooltip still states "Tome of Wonders". I vaguely thought I heard something about it being referred to as the "Star Union Archives" this time around? Is that simply a change yet to happen, or was it decided to keep the Tome of Wonders wording as a nod to the previous game?
 
Last edited:

BloodyBattleBrain

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Good stuff, and some serious changes from AoW3.

I am curious to know if Kir'ko reproduce like ants/termites or like other insects?

And are all colonisers unlocked at the same tier and are they all roughly the same?
 

Jean-Luc

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So, for example, if one colony can cover a total of 5 sectors, why is it better to have one colony with 5 sectors than 2 colonies with 1 and 2 sectors? Or why not just put a colony in every single "empty" sector that allows for one? It's more of a rhetorical question, I assume you've taken measures like economic buildings being very dependent on sector exploitation and not giving much on their own but I'm still curious how this is balanced.

Edit.
New Colonies can’t be founded adjacent to another Colony Center
Oh, nevermind I guess. :p

Love the Kir'ko colonizer, it's like a combination of an armadillo and earwhig. Disgusting but cute.
 
Last edited:

Alex646

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New Colonies can’t be founded adjacent to another Colony Center,
Question: is 1 colony with 4 sectors (for example) more profitable than 2 colonies with 2 sectors? If 2 colonies are much more profitable, then city spam is inevitable...
At least you blocked brand new city spam strategy like numerous colonies with 1 sector only.
 

Fenraellis

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To quote the Dev Diary itself:
"Tip: Focusing individual colonies on a particular resource type by giving multiple sectors the same Exploitation type is a valid strategy mid game. You only need to build the Level Boost Structures once per colony and also, the sectors themselves boost each other through percentage bonusses. However, don’t over specialize, since part your economy may collapse when losing a Colony."

While having multiple colonies is great for covering a large area, there are certainly advantages when having fewer larger colonies as well:
- Sector Specialization is easier, as directly related to the above Tip, saving on overall developmental costs in your empire.

- Compounding resource output for type-specialized colonies. Sector focuses, and special structures, will increase income values by not just flat, but also percentage amounts at the highest end. Meaning that one colony with four sectors of the same type at the highest level, would be pulling in +60 flat income, +8 per colonist assigned to that income type, and +40% income. Compare that with with two smaller colonies each with two fully developed sectors, at +30/+4/+20%, respectively.
Assuming 5 Colonists assigned to the selected income type, the larger colony would, ignoring other sources, yield 140 of the given resource. Each of the smaller colonies would only produce 60 each, for a total of 120, about a 14% lower total output. That, and any other sources of income for that resource would scale better on the larger colony as well.

- Consolidated production power, as above, and localized force projection. More so than other types of resource output, Production can more easily yield rapid military buildup on demand. As an example, it might be better to have one T3 per turn from a larger colony, rather than two T3s each taking two turns, let alone the opportunity cost of building an Advanced Military Engineering Guild in two smaller colonies to optimize those T3s for Armor bonus and production speed.

- Consolidated territory control, such that while you might lose more at once from losing a larger colony, it is also easier to hold. After all, it is generally easier to protect fewer better-defended locations, than more, less-defended ones(maintaining the same level of defenses in more locations would cost more infrastructure and potentially unit upkeep).

-----

As for raw profit income of other factors, one must consider the buildup costs of each sector, relative to the base income values of a colony. Also, the opportunity cost of potentially 'needing' to build the same limited sector buildings in multiple colonies just to make them effective, when a single colony could select a greater variety within the same type of focus.

With the example I used above, with smaller colonies, for Production sectors, one must choose between the Civil Engineering Guild for faster colony development and bonus production for even greater output, the Military and Advanced Military Engineering Guilds to enhance particular categories of units, and the Cosmite Extractors. The larger colony might simply have all of them, without worrying about choosing which to get in that specific colony.

If nothing else, one imagines that eventually a player simply wouldn't want to produce units from colonies which lack the related (Advanced) Military Engineering Guild, and their related +1 to 3 Armor bonus, and reduced production costs. So, support colonies might simply have Civil Engineering Guilds and Cosmite Extractors(if they have double Production sectors, that is), and try to avoid making any units unless absolutely necessary.
 
Last edited:

Ridixo

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Sorry if i get it wrong but i was doing math and i don't get this:
Colonies can cover up to five sectors; the Colony Center and a maximum of four annexed Province Sectors.
So one city four sector...

Colonists Sectors

1-5 2
6-10 3
11-15 4
16+ 5
2, 3, 4, 5... wait a minute...

Is this wrong, or i can't do math?

Anyway great job with the models of the cities, the kir'ko one explain very well why the Star Union invented Pyrex™.
 

LennartGS

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Oof, I guess it's Dvar, Amazon, Kir'ko, Vanguard, Assembly and Syndicate?
Correct!

I wouldn't be entirely surprised if this building is only available if you have a Ruins sector in your controlled sectors for that colony, as otherwise it costs production and energy for no yield:
Yep, the features need to be present within the colony or the option won't be available.

I am curious to know if Kir'ko reproduce like ants/termites or like other insects?
There are clear castes within the Kirko's; workers, warriors, queens.
The Tier 4 carries their eggs
But then the ravenous eats humanoids and poops out an instant larva :)

So, for example, if one colony can cover a total of 5 sectors, why is it better to have one colony with 5 sectors than 2 colonies with 1 and 2 sectors? Or why not just put a colony in every single "empty" sector that allows for one? It's more of a rhetorical question, I assume you've taken measures like economic buildings being very dependent on sector exploitation and not giving much on their own but I'm still curious how this is balanced.
Question: is 1 colony with 4 sectors (for example) more profitable than 2 colonies with 2 sectors? If 2 colonies are much more profitable, then city spam is inevitable...
At least you blocked brand new city spam strategy like numerous colonies with 1 sector only.
The wide vs tall colony building has been on our mind since inception, still it needs constant balancing and evaluation.
Structurally we have addressed sprawl it like this (next to the adjacency rule)

- Economic Sector upgrades within a colony boost multiple sectors at once. When having lots of smaller cities, you need to build multiple.
- Colony defenses cover all sectors in a Colony, when building new colonies you need to start over building defenses.
- Sector Specialization Structure Bonus Stacking: E.g. Large cities build units faster *and* at higher default XP.
- New colonies have a minimal inherent starting income. (your first colony, the HQ, gets a boost)
- Production Carry Over. The greatest advantage of going wide is in AoW3 terms is having multiple production queues, this is lessened by having Production Carry Over to the next Queue item.
 

Jean-Luc

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Sorry if i get it wrong but i was doing math and i don't get this:

So one city four sector...

2, 3, 4, 5... wait a minute...

Is this wrong, or i can't do math?
Got confused as well but the sector where the colony is counts too so 1 + 4 annexed ones.
 

oasisbhrnw

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Nice update. If you get vision on another leaders colony, will it be obvious how they have specialized their sectors? Perhaps by having knowledge of what a certain factions SSS buildings look like? Or does that sort of info require operations research?
 

Fluksen

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- Economic Sector upgrades within a colony boost multiple sectors at once. When having lots of smaller cities, you need to build multiple.
- Colony defenses cover all sectors in a Colony, when building new colonies you need to start over building defenses.
- Sector Specialization Structure Bonus Stacking: E.g. Large cities build units faster *and* at higher default XP.
- New colonies have a minimal inherent starting income. (your first colony, the HQ, gets a boost)
- Production Carry Over. The greatest advantage of going wide is in AoW3 terms is having multiple production queues, this is lessened by having Production Carry Over to the next Queue item.
Really happy to hear about this, with the exception of maybe the defenses covering all sectors. Nearly makes me forget that the planetfall twitter announced a Kir'Ko diary today :p
Anyway looks great again!
Just to extend this question a bit though:
And are all colonisers unlocked at the same tier and are they all roughly the same?
What about the SSS, growth, colonist distribution, happiness, production and buildings are they different only in look or are there very distinct differences between the races in the gameplay mechanic?
 

BloodyBattleBrain

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Really happy to hear about this, with the exception of maybe the defenses covering all sectors. Nearly makes me forget that the planetfall twitter announced a Kir'Ko diary today :p
Anyway looks great again!
Just to extend this question a bit though:
What about the SSS, growth, colonist distribution, happiness, production and buildings are they different only in look or are there very distinct differences between the races in the gameplay mechanic?

All praise Fluksen1
 

The Masked Man

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Correct!
There are clear castes within the Kirko's; workers, warriors, queens.
The Tier 4 carries their eggs
But then the ravenous eats humanoids and poops out an instant larva :)
I find this really interesting, i've been speculating about Kirko for a while and I find their state as a formally enslaved actually-alien race fascinating. Also my obsession with bugs. I'm presuming it'll be kept a secret till the Kirko dev diary but my money is on their T4 being a scary Psychic Queen, or something that carries egg representing the Queen. (If it's anything like real bugs they probably don't want to put their Queen on the frontlines, but it's a lot more fun for battles to imagine they make a good support troop, perhaps producing armies on the go?) Fits the swarm behavior after all.

Anyways, sectors look neato! I hope it discourages city spam because I found it incredibly irritating once you started getting like, 10 separate cities in AoW3
 

HousePet

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Either the Basic Reactor Core produces Cosmite or its an Energy structure that hasn't had its border recoloured.

Will/Can we have the ability to share production with other Colonies (as well as food)? I presume we will still have the 'use energy to rush production' option, but that had other penalties. With futuristic transport options, it doesn't seem out of place for there to be production sharing to boost low production colonies.

How will absorbing population into an existing colony work if its a different faction?
 

The Founder

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Just to make sure I get the termonology right:
The map is split into sectors. Sectors can be claimed, wich is little more then automatic "calling dibs".
A sector that is owned by a Primary Combatant (PC) is called a province. Provicnes are assigned to one specific colony (center). Or are they owned by their colony center directly, making the Empire only a indirect controler?

You build a colony center into a sector, turning it into a province. Colony centers can not be build in adjacent sectors or if there is a "dominant sector landmark" present.
A colony center lays claims into every sector surrounding it and it's provinces, but only up to two steps away Each center can only lay claim to 4 sectors.
A colony center can be given overshipe of a sector, turning that sector into a province
Claimed provinces need to be developed according to one of the 4 specilisation types.
However Sectors with Landmarks are often auto-specialized and that can not be overridden.
Even if you claim a sector, specific resource nodes might still be protected by neutrals/hostiles

Does the Sector mater for the placement of the colony center? i.e., is the centers yield affected by the climate and terrain it is place in?
Will the climate of provinces affect stuff like the colony center happiness?

Can sectors be shifted around between Colony (Centers)? Like a established colony center, upgrading it to a type (maybe building a 3S building) and handing it off to a newly founded center?
Diplomacy said you can trade Provinces around. What happens if the receiving empire has no city with spare capacity nearby? Or no city in range?
What happens to provinces if the owning city is razed?
Can provinces be unclaimed?
Can their specialisation be changed?
Can you loose resource nodes if enemy armies occupy them?
 

Fo Ren G

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Since Colonies can annex Sectors up to 1 Sector away from Colony Center, can a Colony Centre annex a Water Sector and then annex a Land Sector not adjacent to the Colony Center? If so then would a bridge be built over the Water Sector?
 

HousePet

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Sectors can be claimed, wich is little more then automatic "calling dibs".
Not quite. In the Feed it was mentioned that claims are made by building on an adjacent sector. So all sectors adjacent to a Colony, Forward Base and maybe Provinces are automatically claimed.