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by arbysee

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FAQ/Strategy Guide by arbysee

Version: 1.11 | Updated: 05/15/17

Table of Contents

  1. Master of Orion: Conquer the Stars (MOO 4) Guide
  2. Copyright
  3. Overview
  4. How to Win
    1. Antarian
    2. Conquest
    3. Economic
    4. Excellence
    5. Technological
    6. Vote
    7. Achievements
  5. Walk Through
  6. Pre-Built Civilizations
    1. Alkari (11)
    2. Bulrathi (10+)
    3. Darlok (12)
    4. Elarian (16)
    5. Gnolam (18)
    6. Human (12-)
    7. Klackon (8)
    8. Meklar (12)
    9. Mrrshan (10+)
    10. Psilons (7-)
    11. Sakkra (6)
    12. Silicoid (18)
    13. Terran (13+)
    14. Trilarian (6)
  7. Custom Civilizations
    1. Recommended Economic / Vote Custom Civilization
    2. Population Growth
    3. Food from Population
    4. Production from Population
    5. Research from Population
    6. Credits from Population
    7. Pollution Tolerance
    8. Home World Size
    9. Home World Minerals
    10. Beam Defense
    11. Beam Attack
    12. Ship Improvements
    13. Ship Cost
    14. Command Points
    15. Home World Specials
    16. Special Abilities
  8. Build Strategies
    1. Home World Building and Start Up
    2. New Planet Building
    3. Overall Build Strategy
  9. Colony Research and Technologies
    1. Colony Basics
    2. Food
    3. Population
    4. Morale Structures
    5. Production
    6. Pollution
    7. Research
    8. Basic Credits
    9. Planet Defense
    10. Colony Development Research Strategy
  10. Ship Technologies
    1. Command Points and Number of Ships
    2. Ship Size
    3. Engines
    4. Armor
    5. Shields
    6. Ship Computers and Scanners
    7. Energy Weapons
    8. Missiles
    9. Torpedoes
    10. Carrier Ships
    11. Bombs
  11. Leaders
  12. Minor Civilizations
  13. Diplomacy and Espionage
    1. Diplomacy Structures
    2. Diplomacy Options
    3. Espionage
  14. Combat
    1. Space Combat
    2. Ground Combat
  15. Technology Choices
    1. Advanced Magnetism
    2. Electronics
    3. Xenobiotics
    4. Genetic Engineering
    5. Fusion Weapons
    6. Xenology
    7. Artificial Gravity
    8. Tachyon Physics
    9. Robotics
    10. Genetic Mutations
    11. Advanced Construction
    12. Super Alloys
    13. Optronics
    14. Cybertechnics
    15. Molecular Compression
    16. Electromagnetic Refraction
    17. Cybertronics
    18. Astro Biology
    19. Anti-Matter Fission
    20. Advanced Robotics
    21. Advanced Tactics
    22. Multi-phased Physics
    23. Subspace Fields
    24. Warp Fields
    25. Positronics
    26. Artificial Life
    27. High Energy Distribution
    28. Galactic Economics
    29. Plasma Physics
    30. Distortion Fields
    31. Artificial Intelligence
    32. Molecular Control
    33. Techtonic Engineering
    34. Hyper Dimensional Fission
    35. Quantum Fields
    36. Moleculartronics
    37. Interphased Fission
    38. Galactic Networking
    39. Temporal Physics
    40. Artificial Consciousness
    41. Temporal Fields
  16. Contact Information

Custom Civilizations (Continued)

Beam Defense

  • *Beam Defense -25%: -1
  • Beam Defense +25%: 2
  • Beam Defense +50%: 4

Beam defense only happens during space combat when enemy ships are carrying beams. Computer generated ships have beams, missiles or torpedoes and bombs. Beams generally also have the shortest range of the space combat weapons until late in the game. Beams are a combat style countered by staying out of range and firing missiles or torpedoes. The penalty is recommended if you need 1 more penalty point.

Beam Attack

  • *Beam Attack -25%: -1
  • Beam Attack +25%: 2
  • Beam Attack +50%: 4

The beam attack penalty work around is to primarily use fast ships firing longer range missiles and torpedoes. Beams can shoot down incoming missiles, so there is benefit to beam based ships. Beam ships need to be fast enough to get close to enemy ships and fire. The beam attack penalty is one to avoid because the most powerful weapons in the game are beam weapons. The penalty can be worked around by using a lot of torpedoes or missiles which are more effective early in the game.

Ship Improvements

  • Auto Repair: 3
  • Stealth: 2

Ship auto repair occurs less often than space combat, and is only needed in close space battles. One sided space battles that are won or lost do not need ship auto repair. Use the benefit points somewhere else. Stealth can also be achieved by adding a cloaking device or phasing cloak to ships in the mid to late game. Stealth or Stealthy are the only ways to hide colony ships, civil transports and transport ships. Stealth is more useful in a multiplayer game.

Ship Cost

  • Ship Cost -20%: 3

The ship cost benefit helps produce colony ships at a discount. Later in the game, troop transports, civilian transports and other ships are produced at a discount. Unfortunately, there is a limit to how many ships can be controlled at a time set by the command points. The ship cost benefit works well with a command points benefit.

Command Points

  • Command Points +10%: 2
  • Command Points +20%: 4
  • Command Points +30%: 6

Command points are useful throughout the entire game, and are not as expensive as other benefits. The question becomes what penalties to take that are work having additional ships available. They are not recommended for the build presented, but when combined with lower ship cost, the benefit has potential.

Home World Specials

  • Artifacts: 1
  • Low Gravity Homeworld: -3
  • High Gravity Homeworld: 4

The artifacts benefit is nice. However, the benefit does not last long enough to justify taking penalties for artifacts. The low gravity penalty affects all production on planets which are not low gravity.

Special Abilities

Special abilities bundle other attributes into fewer points, or enable abilities not available on their own. For each special ability, the ability provides all listed benefits. The first five special abilities that provide starting technologies are mutually exclusive of each other. In a pre-warp game the starting technologies are not immediately available, and technology benefits become available after researching space travel.

Diplomat: 3

  • Starting Technology: Government (research lab, government support facilities
  • Morale +5%

Not a bad combination. The government technology is usually researched after biology to establish research labs and to enable researching civil transports. Prefer starting technology abilities that include biology

Militarist: 3

  • Starting Technology: Engineering (destroyers, anti-missile rockets)
  • Ground Units: Marine Training Rate

Not the most recommended benefits. The starting technology will allow building destroyers early when we should be building colony ships and space factories. The marine training rate is useful late in the game when invading planets. Invading planets starts mid to late game. The technology does not promote a fast start which would be needed to start a military campaign.

Technologist: 2

  • Starting Technology: Physics (automated factory, neutron blaster)
  • Home World Specials: Artifacts

For one more point than the Artifacts benefit, the physics starting technology provides the ability to build automated factories from the beginning. The benefit is not compatible with the artifacts home world, as the benefit is already included. There are not "double artifact" home worlds. Not bad. Recommend something else instead.

Ecologist: 1

  • Starting technology: Biology (hydroponics farm, biospheres)

In previous editions of MOO4, starting technology abilities were not recommended. However, now that the first colonist needs a food source as well, the biology starting technology allows colonizing planets sooner by purchasing a hydroponics lab, and then building a biosphere for more food and to start research from a building.

Industrialist: 4

  • Starting technology: Physics (automated factory, neutron blaster)
  • Production from Population +25%

Industrialist is not compatible with the Production from Population, so choosing this ability limits the fastest production when combined with pollution control. Physics is nice early in the game and only costs one more than the production 25% bonus alone.

Expansionist: 3

  • Starting Technology: Engineering (destroyers, anti-missile rockets)
  • Starting Technology: Biology (hydroponics farm, biospheres)

The expansionist ability is tempting. The biology starting technology allows building biospheres and hydroponic farms. The engineering starting technology is not as useful initially, however, expansionist costs less ability points, and does not restrict using a higher pollution tolerance.

Aquatic: 2

  • Homeworld Biome: Ocean
  • Uber Planet: Ocean

The uber planet abilities are not compatible with each other, as a civilization can only have one ultimate planet type. The uber planet abilities allow improving a planet from the home world biome to the uber planet. Most of the uber planet updates can be achieved through terraforming later in the game except the volcanic to inferno transformation. All of the specialized transformations are useful on the home planet. Use outside the home planet depends on the randomly generated map, so in general, these abilities are not recommended.

Subterranean: 2

  • Uber Planet: Cavernous
  • Homeworld Biome: Arid

Arid homeworlds provide decent food. Better choices are available.

Plains Dweller: 2

  • Uber Planet: Grassland
  • Homeworld Biome: Arid

Arid home worlds are good to begin with. This is an average ability with better choices available

Jungle Creature: 3

  • Uber Planet: Tropical
  • Homeworld Biome: Swamp

Swamp is not bad, Tropical is better. Similar to Plains Dweller

Lava Breather: 2

  • Uber Planet: Inferno
  • Homeworld Biome: Volcanic

Probably the best of the uber planet transformations due to improving an otherwise not improvable planet. Needs to be combined with a biology starting technology or Lithovore so that we can live on our home planet

Lithovor: 8

  • Food Consumption: None

Lithovor is great in theory. Population will grow at a slow but steady pace. No food dependency means no need to create food structures and colonists can concentrate on research and production. No food dependency also means that rich and ultra rich planets with no food are desirable planets to populate. Recommend using a population growth bonus if trying Lithovor. Lithovor is not compatible with the food from population benefit and penalties. Worth playing at least once as the game dynamics are changed significantly. Not recommended.

A couple of people have questioned this recommendation, so let me illustrate with an experiment. Starting games on extreme difficulty, pre-warp, medium galaxy, 6 opponents. The Silicoid get their next colonist in 24 turns. The custom race recommended when putting all colonists on food until full get their next colonist in 3 turns. A full growth rate (remove telepathic, add food at 50% and take a beam attack penalty) can get their second colonist in 2 turns. When the Silicoid get their fourth colonist on turn 24, the custom race will have a full planet of 10 with only one colonist on food.

*Cybernetic: 8

  • Food Consumption: -50%
  • Ship Improvements: Auto Repair

Cybernetic is the same cost as Lithovore. However, we have half the food consumption, which enables food structures and farming to accelerate growth. The accelerated growth is why cybernetic is recommended over Lithovor. Cybernetic was underestimated in previous FAQs. Thanks to Thierry Giguere for recommending ways to run cybernetic using production and pollution. The benefit costs 1 more than the +50% food bonus, but now food structures feed twice as many colonists. Ship repair eventually becomes a special we can add to ships, but takes a ship special slot that we could use for other specials. Cybernetic is the best benefit for the cost and the reason that the Meklar are the best pre-built race.

Charismatic: 5

  • Diplomacy: Improved Negotiations
  • Diplomacy: Improved Disposition

Diplomacy is generally limited to the middle of the game. Improved disposition can extend how long diplomacy is useful. The charismatic benefits are not recommended due to their limited time usefulness.

*Repulsive: -2

  • Diplomacy: Worsen Negotiations
  • Diplomacy: Worsen Disposition

Repulsive is the opposite of charismatic. Diplomacy is still limited to the middle of the game, making this penalty easier to live with. Worsened diplomacy does not mean that diplomacy is cut off entirely. Generally, we will need to ask what will make the proposal work. Many times proposals such as setting up embassies now require paying some credits to get started. The time window for diplomacy is shortened with this penalty.

Creative: 10

  • Technology: Creative (acquire all technologies where other have to choose)
  • Research from Population: +50%

Each version of MOO4 adds more decision technologies. The creative technology acquires all of the technologies at the decision points. The later into the game, the more valuable this technology becomes. Research from Population provides a boost in the technological victory path. However, the benefit also disables using the research from population and Uncreative penalties limiting options. Research is important, but after eating and building. There are a few times when getting all choices such as Telepathic Training AND Heightened Intelligence would be nice. Now recommended for the research / conquer build. Try the ability at least once.

Uncreative: -5

  • Technology: Uncreative (do not get to choose which technology is acquired)
  • Research from Population: -25%

The uncreative technology is the largest point penalty available. The research from population is not difficult to overcome as research from buildings is not affected. When the normal tree has a choice of technologies, uncreative civilizations get a technology chosen at random. There are a few technology choices that are too critical to leave to chance. One choice is Battle Pods vs Fighter Bays at research level 320 advanced construction. Battle Pods is when 50% capacity is added to ships, where fighter bays are replace later if used at all. Another key decision point is with Galactic Economics at level 3000. Without a stock exchange an economic victory is not possible until someone else researches the stock exchange. The penalty is not compatible with research from population nor creative. Not recommended due to relying on chance or spying to get the ship and economic victory condition technologies needed.

Lucky: 4

  • Negative events never happen and attacked less frequently by outside forces

Lucky is a nice to have bonus, but for four points seems difficult to justify spending the points.

Omniscient: 6

  • See all stars, planets and opponents colonies and ships

Omniscient is highly recommended while learning the game because we can see what the AI is building and how fast the AI is expanding. Omniscient also counters the stealthy ability. Once the AI game play is understood, then NOT picking Omniscient is highly recommended to keep the explore game dimension.

*Telepathic: 6

  • Mind Control - invade planets using mind control (battleships or larger)
  • Diplomacy: Improved Negotiations
  • Security +10%
  • Assimilation Power: Immediate

The diplomacy and security are the early game benefits from the ability. Even without the diplomacy and security, telepathic is worth the six points. The benefit does not kick in until we have battleship technology. Without telepathic, we bomb the planet to reduce the number of marines to a reasonable number, and then hopefully we have a troop transport ship or two to pull off an invasion. While bombing, we will destroy a building or two. After conquering the planet, we must then assimilate the colonists to get full production. With telepathic, we don't need transport ships, we don't destroy buildings when we bomb, and the population is immediately up to full production. If two civilizations are at war and one civilization has telepathic and the other does not, the telepathic civilization will turn around planets much faster than the civilization without telepathic. If we are going the telepathic route, the pre-built Elarian civilization is a very strong build.

Tolerant: 6

  • Gravity Tolerance: All

Tolerant sometimes helps depending on gravity of nearby planets. Not worth the cost.

Traders: 5

  • Trading: Trade Treaties Bonus (+25%)
  • Trading: Trade Goods Bonus (+25%)

Traders is only valuable in the middle of the game at most during single player games. Early in the game, there are not many civilizations to trade with. In the late middle of the game, all civilization turn on the player because the player has too many planets. Traders is nice while it lasts, but trading does not last long enough.

Fantastic Traders: 9

  • Trading: Trade Treaties Bonus (+25%)
  • Trading: Trade Goods Bonus (+100%)

High end version of the Traders benefit with better trade goods bonus. For nine points, consider cybertronic, spend one more point for creative, etc. As for a custom build with the ability, consider using the pre-built Gnolam civilization.

Transdimensional: 4

  • Ship Improvements: Travel Speed Bonus +25%
  • Ship Improvements: Combat Speed Bonus +25%

Budget version of the Natural Pilots benefit.

Stealthy: 6

  • Ship Improvements: Stealth
  • (Spy) Experience: +50%

For four more points than the stealth ship improvement alone, spy missions become more successful. Spying can help not creative builds. There are better options.

Shapeshifters: 3

  • Security: +10%
  • Assimilation Power: +25%

Security is important to builds concentrating on faster research so that the faster research is not stolen by spies. Assimilation power helps reduce protesters as planets are conquered. Assimilation is a mid to late game benefit. Overall, there are better options.

Strategists: 7

  • Command Points: +20%
  • Ship Cost: -20%

Costs the same amount of ability points as the abilities cost separately. Not sure why the same benefit is needed two different ways.

Natural Pilots: 8

  • Beam Defense: +50%
  • Beam Attack +25%
  • Ship Improvements: Travel Speed Bonus
  • Ship Improvements: Combat Speed Bonus

For three more points than the beam attach and defense abilities alone, combat at travel speed increases are available. The combat speed will help to close in on enemy ships that are firing missiles and torpedoes from outside our beam ranges. Travel speed will help us get to planets quicker than our opponents. However, the total cost is rather high, so we will have fewer ships and colonies. Interesting to play, but not recommended.

Warlord: 4

  • Ground Combat Rating +50%
  • Ground Units: Extended Barracks (more marines per planet)

Both benefits are nice, but the recommended benefit points are elsewhere.

Build Strategies

One of the enjoyable features of the Master of Orion series is that the map is randomly generated and all civilization locations are unknown assuming that we use the random seed number generator when we start the game. Starting the game with the same number twice in a row takes away some of the fun of the game because we will know where everything was the last time. Starting the game with the number 0 creates a particularly easy game in that the opponents are far away and we can win the game by generating colony ships quickly then voting ourself a victory without any major conflicts. Most games require a little more finesse.

Master of Orion in general works better when a player starts fast and keeps momentum going. Let us start with the home planet, then new planets and finally discuss some overall approaches.

Home World Building and Start Up

The home world is the most critical planet because once a civilization is far ahead or behind, catching up is difficult for those who fall behind. The initial planet system usually includes either an asteroid field or a gas giant planet. Starting pre-warp, there is nothing to build that is more important than starting space travel. Reassign any production colonists to research to start exploring quickly. Once space travel is started, move the researchers to optimize planet output.

The first thing to build after space travel is discovered is a space factory. Not many space factories are needed, but one space factory is needed right away. The space factory should harvest the inert planet in the home system as soon as possible gaining research or credits as long as possible. Usually, a pirate fleet approaches before long, and the space factory should build a military outpost at the warp point the pirate fleet arrives from. When pirates are visible, the time has come to build and purchase a frigate or destroyer depending on if destroyers are available yet.

Click on the planet to see how soon whatever is in progress can be purchased. Saving a few turns in the beginning is more important that watching planets for upgrades in the middle or end of the game. In the middle to end game we will need credits to update ships when discovering new technologies.

The goal in the first few turns is to build quickly. Try to build a ship at least every other thing built. Start generating colony ships as often as possible, and keep enough frigates available to seal off passages to our planet systems. When a new colony is built, create civil transports to balance the size of the planets and to continue benefiting from a growth bonus. A colony is needed in a planet system before a military outpost can be built to seal the area. Once sealed in, use colony ships to fill in the rest of the planets in our systems. civilizations do not like when we build in a system next to where they have planets. Once the first colony ship has colonized a planet clicking the flag button, we get to the new colony build. Clicking enter during the animation will bring up a button to skip the animation after seeing the animation enough times.

New Planet Building

The home planet started with several workers. New planets have only one. There is not a penalty yet for not feeding the first colonist, but if the penalty is added we will need to have the colonist feed themselves until a second colonist is created. Meanwhile, just start the new colonist as a producer and follow the highly recommended first five things to build in order:

  • Automated Factory (Production +2)
  • Biospheres (Food +1, Research +1)
  • Hydroponics Farm (Food +2)
  • Neutron Collider (Production +1 / cell)
  • Government Support Facility (Morale +10%, Security +20, Tax Collection from Population)

First is the automated factory. When a planet is new there are not enough workers to build things, so the +2 production has a large effect. The next thing to build are biospheres. Biospheres cost less to build and maintain, so they will get the planet moving faster as well as provide some research while no colonists are researching. More population enables more of research, food and production. The hydroponics farm will get the population growing faster. The neutron collider will require some research before building early in the game. Generally, the buildings with a resource bonus are more helpful first, then the per cell bonuses are helpful. The neutron collider as the fourth building assumes that population growth has provided enough colonists to assign at least two production workers. Finally, the government support facility changes the fourth colonist from protester to worker and starts collecting tax from the planet. More population means more of everything faster than civilizations with less population. More planets mean more research labs creating research +2, so more planets generally means more research than a research oriented build pattern.

In the middle of the game when creating a new colony on a poor or ultra poor colony, a crust prospecting (production +2) can be built for less than the cost of an automated factory or neutron collider. If the new planet is new to us because the planet was just conquered, consider adding an atmosphere renewer and assigning workers balanced to get the pollution under control from the recent bombing.

After the first buildings are created, the basics are covered, and what to build next depends on the environment around the planet. if alone with empty planets, add colony ships after the population is two or higher. If in a battle area, planetary defense may be in order.

Overall Build Strategy

The overall build strategy can be broken into phases. The first phase is to explore and seal off as large a set of planet systems that can be defended from the fewest number of warp points while keeping enough military ships to ward off opponents. During the first phase, watching developing planets and purchasing improvements as quickly as possible is important to gain an edge. Another edge comes from never letting planets reach their population limits.When the population limit is reached, then the overall empire growth rate slows as the planet halts growth. Techniques such as building colony ships and civil transports enables moving population to new planets and planets that need the most help and cannot grow as fast as planets that already have population growth help such as cloning centers. An emphasis on population and production will help provide an edge into phase two.

The second phase is concerned with filling the planets in our planet systems, building a large and powerful military, and diplomacy with other civilizations. Planets that do not already have at least a star base need to build a star base even if the planet is not near other civilizations to generate command points. Command points enable supporting more ships on the front lines as well as in the back colonizing planets and transferring population. Diplomacy is about trade and research treaties, and getting other civilizations to help bring the leading civilization back the level where the other civilizations are. Diplomacy changes in the third phase.

Phase three is the battle and voting phase. Diplomacy can be used to try a victory by vote. Allies will vote for you, but will also you declare war on their enemies if you are ready or not. However, diplomacy can also be used to demand technology and systems from other civilizations until the other civilization declares war. In phase 3, new technology is discovered every 2-6 turns making a research based build not practical until a science victory is enabled. Credits will be used to update ships at military outposts and planets. In general, a vote victory is available before a conquest victory because a two thirds majority from our own vote will be presented before the last opponent is defeated. The endings are slightly different for each civilization, and slightly different for different victory types.

Colony Research and Technologies

Colony Basics

Since there is no instruction manual for the game, let us point out some key information about the colony screens and the colony related screens.

Top Bar

Across the top of every screen is an information bar. The top left of every screen shows status across the empire. The top right of every screen are icons to go to another screen. Hovering over the top right icons will show text naming the screen that will show by clicking on the icon. Hovering over the top left symbols will explain some of what the numbers mean.

  • BC (basic credits): stored credits (credits change)
  • Command Points: used / available
  • Research: research points, technology name, turns until discovery at the current research rate

Galaxy Screen

On the galaxy screen, using the mouse wheel on a pc scrolls the view in our out. When scrolled out, the center of the planet systems. When scrolled out, there is a dot above the name corresponding to how many planets are in the system. The dots are colored according to how many planets are occupied by each civilization, with grey dots for unoccupied planets. When scrolled in, each planet has a name above it. If the planet is a capitol, there is a star above the name. If the planet has some kind of penalty such as too much pollution, a gravity mismatch, etc; there is a red dot above the name. The penalty can be seen on the galaxy screen. If the planet has pollution, there is a red bar below the name showing the proportion of the planet that is polluted. To the left of the name is the planet population in green. Below and left of the population is the number of turns until the population increases. To the right of the planet name is the type of production in progress. Below and right of the symbol is the number of turns until production completes. Clicking on a planet will bring up the planet screen

Colony Screen

The colony screen has a bar with planet statistics. The statistics shown are:

  • Population current / max
  • BC balance - difference between generated and used credits
  • Defense (marines / max marines)
  • Security
  • Morale
  • Pollution current pollution / max pollution [pollution change]
  • Colony Focus - how the colonists will distribute among scientists, farmers and workers
  • Colonist distribution - can drag and drop colonists among roles. Above each colonist cell is how much research, food or production the next colonist will create. Each label shows how much is created. Below and to the right is how many turns until the next research breakthrough, population increase, or item is produced.
  • Buy Button - shows how many credits are needed to buy what is in production.
  • Show Queue button - allows planning the next four things produced. Below each picture is how many turns to build the item
  • Use Auto build - allows the computer to decide what to build next. Do not use this, as the auto build usually starts with a marine barracks.
  • Manage structures - opens the planet structures screen. Useful for selling structures when no longer needed such as alien management centers

The colony screen is one of the first screens to implement a game strategy affecting the game outcome. I recommend following the earth pattern of an agriculture age with some production, an industrial revolution with some research and agriculture. Moving colonists around ourself will switch the planet mode to manual. Manual colonist distribution requires checking on the planet occasionally using the empire screen. In general, distribute the colonists where we see the biggest numbers keeping an eye on pollution. When more pollution controls are available, more workers can be dedicated to production. While pushing research early is tempting, technologies advancing faster than the technologies can be built causes falling behind someone able to use what has been researched.

On the right of the screen is planet information

  • Size - bigger is better
  • Biome - Gaia is best
  • Mineral - richer is better
  • Gravity - matching the civilization gravity tolerance is better. Penalties to all colonists production until gravity generators are built. The default gravity tolerance is normal unless specified otherwise
  • Special - any conditions such as bonuses to research or credits

Manage Structures Screen

The manage structures screen shows a big planet. On this screen, structures no longer needed can be clicked on to find the structure effects, and can be scrapped if no longer needed and maintenance costs can be saved.

Empire Screen

The empire screen is a way to quickly see what all of the planets sizes, what they are building, and information from the planet screen overview. Clicking on a planet from this screen will open the planet screen fo that planet. On the left of the screen is some important empire information.

  • Population: number of happy and protester colonists
  • Colonies
  • Credits
  • Tax Rate
  • Research (same as the top bar)
  • Empire Focus

For each colony, we can see

  • Colony name and environment
  • Population and population limit
  • Number of protesters
  • Credit contribution to the empire
  • Ground defenses (marines and maximum number of marines)
  • Security Level
  • Morale
  • Pollution / pollution max
  • Food, research and production
  • Distribution focus
  • Production Queue with buy option
  • Autobuild on or off
  • Flag to restrict the view to only flagged colonies

There are two notable controls on this page. The tax rate across the entire empire is set here. The affect can also be seen in the population and credits portions of the screen. The other interesting control is that clicking on a column header will sort the page by that column. This allows sorting by pollution to see which planets have pollution issues. Sorting by production will sort the planets by how many turns are needed to complete what planets are producing. Clicking on a row shows the production queue for each planet allowing purchases without having to open the colony screen, along with adding items to build queues. Eventually, this is the screen where stock is purchased for an economic victory.


When a planet produces more food than colonists on the planet, the planet population increases. The obvious way to increase food is to dedicate more colonists as farmers. Fortunately, there are also many technologies to increase food output as well. The table below shows how much research is needed to unlock the technology, the technology school, the name of the structure producing food, the cost to produce the structure, the structure maintenance cost, food generated, and notes about other benefits. A farming cell is the location where we put a farmer on the planet screen. The food benefits come in a few flavors. The first structures add to the food production of the planet by themselves. These are helpful throughout the game. The next set add production for each farmer. These provide much more benefit if the colony is using many farmers. While the raw food production is supplying the planet with food, the per farmer bonuses are not helpful. Finally, the specialized structures can have a large impact. When gravity generators are needed, they can negate a 50% penalty to food production for a normal civilization on a high gravity planet. The food technologies also offer some new twists. In this case, the Interplanetary Administration building can be built in each planet system. The planet can collect excess food from other planets in the same system, allowing the colonists to concentrate on building structures while the planets that already have the food structures provide the food and the production. Research refers to which level of the research tree the technologies appears in.

55BiologyBiospheres4511Also 1 research
55BiologyHydroponic Farm6022
110BiotechnologyFungal Farms6021Tundra, Dessert, Barren, Volcanic, Toxic or Radiated only
110Deep Space ExplorationColony Base-21Colony starts with 1 food without farming
215XenobioticsSoil Enrichment11031 / cell Gaia, Grassland, Inferno, Tropical, Cavernous, Terran, Ocean, Swamp, Arid, Tundra, Desert, Barren
425Artificial GravityGravity Generators1603 Removes gravity penalty when civilization and planet gravity do not match
1330Astro BiologySubterranean Farm24042 and 1 / cell Choose between subterranean farm and weather controller
1330Astro BiologyWeather Controller2404+25% Choose between subterranean farm and weather controller
1990Advanced GovernmentInterplanetary Administration1605

Production Excess Food from system planets directed to system planets by need


The population category includes structures and technologies to increase the population growth rate, as well as technologies to increase the maximum population of a planet. Growing population faster than opponents enables building and studying faster than opponents. A large lead in population makes the game difficult for an opponent to recover. The population tree has a couple of new civilization specific technologies. The transformations only work on particular planet types. Population growth is also altered by number of colonists and planet limit. Three colonists will see a significantly faster growth rate than one colonist. When a colony is within one population of the limit, growth is noticeably slower.

110Deep Space ExplorationCivil Transport181 command pointTransports 1 colonist Quickest way to increase new planet population
215Genetic EngineeringCloning Center90325% population growth increase Choose cloning center or microbiotics
215Genetic EngineeringMicrobiotics--15% population growth Choose cloning center or microbiotics
215XenobioticsTropical Transformation350-Swamp to Tropical planetSakra or Custom only
215XenobioticsGrassland Transformation350-Desert to Grassland planet

Mrrshan or Custom only

215XenobioticsCavernous Transformation350-Arid to Cavernous

Klackon or Custom only

215XenobioticsInferno Transformation350-Volcanic to Inferno

Silicoid or Custom only

215XenobioticsToxic Processor1603Toxic to Barren Planet

Also pollution cleanup 5

425Genetic MutationsTerraforming250-Improves planet by one classIncrease max population. Increase cost with each Terraform
795PlanetologyGas Giant Compression80-Gas planet to Barren PlanetSpace Factory only
795PlanetologyArtificial Planet Construction80-Asteroid to Barren PlanetSpace Factory only
795Magneto GraviticsPlanetary Radiation Shield1601Radiated to Barren PlanetAlso defense
1990Trans GeneticsGaia Transformation500-Terran to Gaia Planet Cost increases by planet size
2990Artificial LifeUniversal Antidote--25% population growth increase Replaces Microbiotics
3990Galactic EconomicsAdvanced City Planning--+5 tiles Chose between planning and stock exchange
5980 Quantum FieldsPlanetary Flux Shield3006Radiation to Barren PlanetUpgrade Radiation Shield
11950Temporal FieldsPlanetary Barrier Shield50010Radiation to Barren PlanetUpgrade Flux Shield

Morale Structures

Morale affects how many of the colonists protest rather than work as scientists, farmers or workers. The larger the planet population and higher the tax rate, the higher morale needs to be to reduce or eliminate the number of protesters.

ResearchTechnologyNameBuildMaintenanceMoral BonusNotes
--Marine Barracks4525%Also create marines to defend or attack
55GovernmentGovernment Support Facility40110%
795OptronicsHolo Simulator160415%
5980MoleculartronicsPleasure dome400630% Upgrades Holo Simulator
7980Galactic NetworkingVirtual Reality Network--10% Empire Wide


Once all of the colonists are fed and the colonies are growing, the next task is to create ships and structures as quickly as possible. There are several structures to increase productivity. In addition to the Interplanetary Administration technology, the Space Elevator provides a large discount building ships with high maintenance costs. The technology encourages building up the structures for a planet before taking on the maintenance commitment of the Space Elevator and full time ship building. Another recommendation is the orbital Shipyard offering a 20% ship building discount but requiring a moon. Discounts do not create pollution. Combining the shipyard, elevator and interplanetary administration can build a Doom Star for a 50% discount combining production from all planets in a system. When researching artificial gravity, the orbital shipyard is recommended over the moon laboratory (research) because the ship discount will make building larger ships feasible. The moon laboratory will make creating ships the colony cannot build in a reasonable time available a little sooner.

45Space TravelSpace Factory40 Ship that allows building in space
55PhysicsAutomated Factories5022
215Private FundingCrust Prospecting3022Poor or Ultra Poor planets only
215Neutron PhysicsNeutron Collider11031 / cell
425Artificial GravityOrbital Shipyard804-20% ship costPlanet must have a moon
795CybertechnicsRobo-Miners18052 and 1 / cell
1330Gravitic FieldsGravity Generators1603 Removes penalty when civilization and planet gravity do not match
1330Astro EngineeringSpace Elevator2205-30% ship cost
1990Advanced GovernmentInterplanetary Administration1605 Production Excess Food from system planets with Export directed here
1990Nano TechnologyMicrolite Construction--25% discount all prod
3990Tectonic EngineeringDeep Core Mine360102 / cellChoose between this and core waste dump


Pollution is a mechanism to slow down the build everything as fast as possible approach. To see if the planet is increasing or decreasing pollution, the colony screen has to be open for the planet. When the colony screen number in parenthesis is a positive number, the time has come to research and start building pollution control structures. When the total pollution rises above 50% and climbing, redistributing colonists to produce more food and research will help. If pollution reaches around 90%, our advisor will point out the planet with the really high pollution, and workers will need to stop producing structures and ships to work on pollution cleanup. Ignoring the pollution and reaching 100% pollution will downgrade the planet.

ResearchTechnologyNameBuildMaintenancePollution CleanupNotes
110Molecular ManipulationAtmosphere Renewer6025
215XenobioticsToxic Processor16035Toxic Planet becomes Barren
795Molecullar CompressionPollution Processor140315Upgrades Atmosphere Renewer
3990Tectonic EngineeringCore Waste Dump3005150
  • Upgrades Pollution Processor
  • Choose between waste dump and deep core mine


The key to unlocking new structures is researching technologies. In MOO4, when a new technology is discovered all of the structures and effects usually become available. This section describes the structures that increase the research output.

--Asteroid Laboratory35-2Space Factory on Asteroid only
55GovernmentResearch Laboratory3522
55BiologyBiospheres4511Also 1 food
215Private FundingAdvanced Data Center11031 / cell
215XenobioticsDeep Sea Cooling9033 Gaia, Terran, Ocean
425Genetic MutationsHeightened Intelligence--1 / scientist
425Artificial GravityMoon Laboratory10046Requires moon planet
1330Teaching MethodsAstro University23052 / cellPlanet System unique
2990PositronicsAuto Lab320410Upgrades research lab
7980Artificial ConsciousnessPlanetary Supercomputer380625 Choose between supercomputer and cyber security link
7980Galactic NetworkingGalactic Cybernet4001050%
  • Empire Unique
  • Empire Security +20%
  • Choose between cybernet and currency exchange

Basic Credits

Basic credits is the money system in the Master of Orion series. In MOO4, credits change roles during the game. Early in the game, credits are used to finish building structures and ships quickly. As the game progresses, credits are also used to upgrade ships at bases and outposts.

--Superscaler Gas Harvester25-5Space Factory at Gas planet only
--Asteroid Mine40-2Space Factory at Asteroid only
--Trade GoodsOngoing 50% production converts to BC
110EconomicsColonial Revenue Service60-1 / population
425Macro EconomicsGeosynchronic Warehouse120320% Buyout discount
795Galactic TradingSpace Port210-5
3990Galactic EconomicsStock Exchange300 2 / population
  • System unique.
  • Required to initiate economic victory
7980Galactic NetworkingGalactic Currency Exchange320 100% Empire Wide
  • Empire unique
  • Choose between exchange and cybernet

Planet Defense

There are many structures to help with planet defense. Some structures have benefits beyond planet defense. Most of the structures have a maintenance cost, so keeping defense structures at planets at systems not on the edge of the empire can slow down growth by using resources to maintain unused structures.

--Missile Base601
  • Fires Best Missiles Available
--Marine Barracks602
  • +5 Morale; Creates Marines
--Military Outpost501 command point
  • Space Factory build at warp point with a colony
  • Stops opponent ships from passing through the warp point
  • Ship Self Repair 5% / turn
--Star Base1201
  • Scanner Range +1
  • Command Points +5
  • Ship Repair 5% / turn
425RoboticsOrbital Batteries1802
  • Fires Best Beam Weapons Available
795CybertechnicsArmor Barracks1652
  • Improved ground combat
795Magneto GraviticsPlanetary Radiation Shield1603
  • Shield planet defenses
  • Radiation to Barren Planet
1330Gravitic FieldsJump Gate505
  • System Unique
  • Must have colony in the system
  • Allow ships to travel between jump gates
1990Advanced RoboticsBattle Station3202
  • Upgrade Star Base
  • Scanner Range +2
  • Command Points +7
  • Ship Repair 7% / turn
  • Enables battleship, titan and doom star construction
2990Advanced TacticsAdvanced Military Outpost1503 command points
  • Upgrades Military Outpost.
  • Space Factory at warp point with colony
  • Ship self repair 8% / turn
5080Superscalar ConstructionStar Fortress6008
  • Upgrade Battle Station
  • Scanner Range +3
  • Command Points +10
  • Ship Self Repair 10% / turn
  • Enables battleship, titan and doom star construction
5980Superscalar ConstructionArtemis System Net5005
  • Damages armor and internal systems. Bypasses shields
  • System unique
5980Quantum FieldsPlanetary Flux Shield3006
  • Upgrade Planetary Radiation Shield
  • Shield planet defenses better
  • Radiation to Barren Planet
11950Temporal FieldsPlanetary Barrier Shield50010
  • Upgrade Planetary Flux Shield
  • Shield planet defenses better
  • Radiation to Barren Planet
  • Marines and Biological Weapons Cannot Be Used to Attack the Planet