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Population is a crucial element of Alpha Centauri, as in other Civilization games. Population is intrinsically tied to cities, and every unit is represented by a single "citizen" (roughly equivalent to 1000 people) that can be assigned to exploit resources in the city area. Each field can be worked by a single population unit, and the output depends on tech, terrain improvements, faction modifiers, and colony buildings.

Growth[ | ]

Population grows depending on nutrients. Every population unit consumes two nutrient units per turn. Surplus is stockpiled and an additional population unit is gained once it is maxed out. The surplus necessary to gain a population unit grows with the total population, according to the following formula:

10 + 10 * current_population

For example, a newly founded city with 1 population will need 20 (10 + 10*1) nutrients to grow. A large city with 7 population will need 80 (10 + 10*7).

As such, maximizing growth requires investing in infrastructure (farms or kelp farms, condenser) to increase nutrient yield per square, increasing growth in social engineering, and of course, settling new colonies to accommodate the burgeoning population. Every colony pod requires one unit of population to produce. Having multiple smaller colonies (a strategy called smallpoxing in Civ player lingo) is better in the long term, as it maximizes growth and supercharges the faction once Orbital Spaceflight comes into play with unlimited ability to manufacture sky hydroponics labs, orbital power transmitters, and Nessus mining stations that give +1 to nutrients, energy, and minerals each.

Note that the population boom special event will override the above and generate an extra population unit every turn until the colony cannot sustain any more population (i.e. people begin eating more than they consume). The Planetary Transit System will also start all new colonies at 3 population units, while The Cloning Vats will introduce a permanent population boom faction-wide.

Hunger[ | ]

If a colony cannot provide nutrients, starving workers will abandon factories (halting production) and will consume stockpiled food instead. If the stocks run out and hunger is not alleviated, a population unit is lost.

Limits[ | ]

Population growth is limited. The basic limits are:

These are hard requirements at first, but can be relaxed with the right technologies and secret projects:

The true upper limit on population growth is nutrients: Bases can only grow as big as their nutrient supply, and eventually they will stagnate, even with sky hydroponics lab spam.

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