Energy as a tactical resource

I haven’t really talked about energy generation, energy storage, and what you’ll be able to do with energy yet, so in this post I’ll throw my current plans out there. Every building requires energy to operate, and if there isn’t enough energy some buildings will switch off until power is restored. There are several types of power plant available:

  • Solar: Basic renewable power source. Twice as effective on Desert and Barren planets. Doesn’t work on Toxic planets.
  • Geothermal: Basic renewable power source. Twice as effective on Molten planets. Doesn’t work on Tundra or Ocean planets.
  • Fossil fuel: Consumes fossil fuels, but outputs more energy than solar or geothermal plants.
  • Nuclear: Consumes uranium, and outputs more energy than a fossil fuel plant.

There’s limited space for buildings in a colony, so you’ll want to waste as few as possible on energy generation. Fossil fuel and nuclear plants will save you a lot of space, but will consume resources. You’ll be able to research technologies to improve power plants, and because we’re using a tree system for research, many of them will be mutually exclusive. You might have to choose between improving solar or geothermal power plants, or choose between renewable sources and fossil fuels.

Stored energy as a resource:

Any energy above the building requirements of the colony will be stored in any energy storage buildings you have. Stored energy will be a currency that is spent to perform tactically important tasks and take gameplay shortcuts. While resources like uranium, ore, and fossil fuels can be transferred between planets, energy can’t. If you need to use a lot of energy on a planet, you have to generate it there. Below are a few ideas for things you can spend energy on once you have researched the appropriate technologies:

  • Spying on enemy planets
  • Firing long-range missiles at enemy planets
  • Scanning planets
  • Firing ground batteries during a battle
  • Absorbing damage to the planetary shield
  • Creating wormholes
  • Destroying planets
  • Cloaking planets
  • Transporting material to other planets
  • Replicating material

Energy as an offensive/defensive tool:

Energy will be used to power offensive and defensive structures like ground batteries and planetary shields. During a battle in orbit of a planet, you will be able to spend stored energy to fire ground batteries at enemy ships, but if you lose the battle that will leave you with less energy for the planetary shield. If your ships are destroyed but you have a planetary shield, every turn the enemy can bomb the shield until it’s down. Once it’s down, they can either continue bombardment or send troops to capture the planet. When the shield absorbs damage, it draws an equal amount of energy from the planet’s reserves.

This siege mechanic will let players hold out for a few turns before their planets are taken over or destroyed, giving them time to mount a defense fleet or perform a counter-attack. It would be theoretically possible to make a planet with ridiculous energy generation capabilities and massive energy stores that could withstand a huge siege for a long time, but such a colony wouldn’t be very effective at anything else as all its building space would be used with energy storage and power plants.


Those are my current plans for energy, but as always they are subject to change as I start implementing the system and see how well it works. If you have any ideas for things you would want to be able to do with stored energy, please leave a comment with your suggestions. Nothing is off-limits right now as I’m still throwing ideas around.

About Brendan Drain

Director @ Brain and Nerd
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