Construction is the general term for the act of building structures away from your planet surface, other than spaceports. Constructions are built by ships specialized for this kind of engineering. Each construction has prerequisites for its location.
Constructions are primarily built using minerals and impose a steady drain on an empire's income of energy credits. Over-extension of constructions beyond the empire's ability to pay for them is tempting, since station-constructing is a major source of an empire's power, but it can also spiral it into potentially game-ruining debt.
Construction ships are civilian vessels specializing in constructions and the primary and sole means of an empire to construct stellar emplacements in space. Though they seem small next to a battleship or cruiser, in absolute human terms, these are huge ships that have a small living quarters and a huge cargo bay that holds materials and an army of robotic workers.
Every empire (not pre-sentients and primitives) starts the game able to build construction ships. No additional research is required. Construction ships are defenseless against aggressors and will seek to escape confrontations from hostile forces by default.
With the exception of Frontier Outposts and Wormhole Stations, construction can only be done within the borders of your empire.
Outposts and Orbital Stations
The most common job for construction ships is to build mining stations around planets that generate the two major resources in the game economy: energy credits and minerals. These stations will be the earliest priorities in the game for construction. Some anomalies, when successfully investigated, reveal resources at a celestial object that previously lacked them.
Each mining station costs 90 minerals to construct. In addition, they require 1 energy credit per month to maintain unless built on top of an energy source. Both these numbers can be increased or decreased by various other factors.
Mining stations built around planets or asteroids that are discovered to have reserves of special strategic resources will automatically harvest those resources once they have been discovered.
Mining stations that are built around habitable planets will cease operation if the planet is ever colonized, their purpose being usurped by the population below.
Mining stations aren't defenseless. They have a hull robust enough to prevent easy immediate destruction from small fleets of warships, allowing a rescue mission to be sent. They also have a basic set of weapons at their disposal to fend off smaller detachments of attackers, but they are easily destroyed by large fleets of capital ships.
Research stations can be built around planets, stars and asteroids that generate the materials necessary for the advancement of science and technology. Planets can produce the research materials for each of the fields of science - physics, society and engineering. Some anomalies, when successfully investigated, reveal scientific potential at a celestial object that previously lacked it.
(Don't think too hard about how lifeless rocks produce society research. Think of it as a spin-off from hard science that affects quality of life for your citizens.)
Research stations built around planets or asteroids that are discovered to have reserves of special strategic resources will automatically harvest those resources once they have been discovered.
Research stations that are built around habitable planets will cease operation if the planet is ever colonized, their purpose being usurped by the population below.
Research stations aren't defenseless. They have a hull robust enough to prevent easy immediate destruction from small fleets of warships, allowing a rescue mission to be sent. They also have a basic set of weapons at their disposal to fend off smaller detachments of attackers, but they are easily destroyed by large fleets of capital ships.
Frontier outposts are built around stars to extend the empire's borders. They can be built around any star not already claimed by another empire. These outposts are especially useful for rich fringe systems that cannot be colonized or which the empire has not colonized yet. They are seen as an aggressive action by neighboring empires. They cost 170 minerals and (30 base + distance) influence, subject to bonuses and penalties. They also cost 1 influence and 3 energy credits per month to maintain. A frontier outpost will also gather any resources on the star it orbits; there is no need to build outposts on nearby stars and construct mining stations or research stations to harvest the desired resources in return. This feature is extremely useful for empires looking for dark matter or neutronium ore neutronium without black holes or neutron stars in border range.
Empires generally only gain about 4 influence per month. This means the initial influence outlay is very large, so they usually can't be constructed in rapid succession, and an empire can only directly control about 4 outposts at once.
There are three levels of defense platform that can be built in the empire's star systems, the larger ones able to exert more power and destructive energies than the smaller ones. As implied, defense platforms are intended to defend important planets and systems against invaders. They are mostly immobile, but have a wide range of weaponry that makes a well-placed defense platform a sensible and cost-effective security measure for those locations that are far from a major fleet. They cannot be upgraded.
Defense platforms come in three sizes; Platform, Station, and Fortress.
- Platforms are the smallest, and offer two sections that fit 4 small, 2 medium, 1 large, or 1 hangar slot. Each section also offers 1 small, 1 medium, and 1 large utility slot. They provide space for 1 support module.
- Stations are medium-sized, and offer four sections of the same size as Platforms, with the same layouts and limits as Platforms.
- Fortresses are the largest, and offer four sections that offer twice as many offensive and defensive components (8 small, 4 medium, 2 large, or 2 hangar slots, plus 2 small, 2 medium, and 2 large utility slots) as their smaller kin. They also allow for the installation of 2 support modules.
There are, however, placement limits on platforms; they cannot be built within a set radius of other platforms. The exclusion radius depends upon the size of the station being built and its position relative to other stations. For example, a Fortress must be placed at least 110 units away from another Fortress, but a Station can be placed within 90 units of a Fortress and vice versa. This limits how many defensive stations can be concentrated into an area, making them more of a delaying measure that can slow down an attacking enemy fleet so that a defending fleet can assist than a fully independent defense system.
The support modules of Defense stations do not require additional power and do not cost any minerals, unlike the support modules mounted to battleships.