Engineer and Scientist Migration: Game-Breaking

Hello, inside the latest update, Atlas, there is a new feature introduced called government programs. Two examples of government programs are:

  • Engineer Immigration - Attract 50 new engineers to the planet via targeted immigration support efforts. - 80,000 ICA
  • Scientist Immigration - Attract 25 new scientists to the planet via targeted immigration support efforts. 125,000 ICA

These programs break POPI completely. The rest of the programs and other tweaks are a welcome addition, but these two make the rest of POPI useless.

First, an appeal to existing game mechanics: Engineers and Scientists can’t migrate in naturally, so why would incentivizing them with a little cash get them to migrate in?

Second, looking at it from its effects on the universe. The new best way to get Scientists is this: Settle an uninhabited planet, place a PAR, place an ADM, run Scientist migration. You now have 25 scientists for less than 1 million currency. Alternatively with POPI, you would need large population bases, many POPI buildings, and at least a few weeks. Since Scientists stay 45% happy with just Life Support, Safety, and Comfort, there is no need to build any culture or education buildings anywhere in the universe.

Third, an appeal to what’s already been done: If you look around the universe now, only a few planets have SCI. Proxion, Circe, Phobos, Vallis. All 4 planets have put in months of work and coordination, millions of currency, and lots of time analyzing the numbers. While I do think POPI should be slightly faster, adding in this mechanic invalidates their work because it can be done for <1 million currency in 1-2 weeks.

I’m in favor of the rest of the changes put forward in the government programs, they, along with supposed changes to education, should speed up Scientist growth significantly while keeping it non-trivial. The migration changes, however, not only invalidate the rest of the government programs, but invalidate POPI in general.

I ask that the Engineer and Scientist migration programs be removed from the update for these reasons.


another solution can be that this two programms will be more expensive, and have less workers to migrate. Like 25 engineers and 10 scientics, and when you use program, same next one cost 20% more :slight_smile:

Thank you very much for your feedback! Rest assured we take it very seriously, especially since we know you as one of the POPI experts in our community!

Firstly, a late addition to the release notes: We ran some more simulations the last couple days with the new numbers and indeed noticed the decline of unhappy populations being too friendly (especially when they were really unhappy, i.e. 10% happiness or lower). This stems from a time when POPI was new and we didn’t want to punish players for not knowing how it worked yet. We are going to reduce this “stopgap” drastically, especially for higher workforce tiers. So it shouldn’t be possible to easily hold high numbers of scientists without POPI that fulfills their needs. If it is too easy, we will tweak the numbers on those programs (and/or population needs) of course.

Now I also want to explain where we’re coming from regarding the state of the universe (“what’s already been done”): You are of course right that planets had to invest way more to get scientists going at all so far. Indeed the programs were intended as a part of POPI much earlier, but we’re dealing with limited development resources, so we pushed them back. We still want to introduce them to this running universe to a) test the programs concept and b) test the higher-tier gameplay in the first place.

I’m sure you’re aware that this universe isn’t the final one. Any changes we make (or future resets) don’t devalue what players have achieved before, because hopefully all the coordination and analyzing you mentioned was fun in and of itself. In a way, “the journey is the reward” is especially true during early access. And while we of course want the game to be enjoyable at this stage already, it’s also a phase where we want and need to learn as much as possible about an as wide as possible range of gameplay elements we’re considering or already have in the game.

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As I mentioned in discord, I think the issue isn’t so much the new mechanics being broken, but the old POPI mechanics being broken. They should be comparable: one being a long term solution, the other being a quick fix. ENG and SCI buildings currently are prohibitively expensive to build and maintain (as are SDP, HOS and other larger buildings, but that’s another point) and the pop-shift mechanic requiring many SCI/EDU buildings even with minimal inputs makes the whole SCI growth too difficult for 99% of the player base. Similarly, in an established universe it makes building SCI on a non-starter planet not worth trying.

Thank you for the detailed response. It seems like you all have run the numbers and know that this changes the game. If this is the direction y’all want the game to go, that is okay, and I understand the want to test the higher tier mechanics with a wider group of players.

I just wanted to make sure that the implications of the change on how necessary POPI is, are known.

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I think a great compromise here is that these programs should require a Engineer\Scientist population to already exist on the planet. This will yield the growth benefit of dumping cash to grow the population, but also preserve the grind that is necessary to get them in the first place.


I love this idea. It parallels what you see in real life as well: people from a certain group are much more likely to migrate to a new location or country when there is an established population of them already there. The phenomenon is known as chain migration.

This feature already exists: it’s called migration and happens naturally for Pioneer, Settler, and Technician. It does not happen for Engineer or Scientist however.