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Never Wave to the Traveling Man

“He’s already taken three kids, but the cops don’t believe he exists” A captivated audience of pre-teens hung on Billy Davitt’s every word. Like a preacher delivering a sermon, he stood on top of the monkey bars warning all those that would listen about the Traveling Man.
“What does he look like Billy?” a bubbly fourth-grader asked nervously
Billy had the spirit of a showman, waving his hands dramatically as he spoke, “The Traveling Man rides around in a rusted old sedan, black as a starless night. He wears a bright red suit with a matching fedora, caked in blood and grime. But the only way to really know if it’s the Traveling Man is if you can catch a glimpse of his face,” pausing dramatically, the audience drew closer, “His nose curves downwards, drooping below his chin; his eyes sit precariously below his hairline, beady pupils darting in opposite directions; and most terrifying of all, his mouth reaches from ear to ear, filled with razor-sharp teeth!”
The older kids gasped, while some of the younger ones burst into tears, likely to be plagued by nightmares for weeks. Billy didn’t care what happened to them, as long as he was the center of attention -- he loved that.
“You’re a damn liar. There’s no such thing as The Traveling Man,” Hank Reynolds, a burly thirteen-year-old who’d been held back at least once, meandered into the fray.
Billy’s face grew stone-cold, his arms falling to his slide. “I’m a liar? Well, then I suppose no one here wants to know how to keep the Traveling Man from taking them, since he doesn’t exist. That’s fine, I got stuff to do anyway.” Despite his age, he knew how to work a crowd like a seasoned veteran.
A chorus of boos rained down on Hank, followed by anxious pleas for Billy to continue. He demurred for a moment, milking it as long as he could. Finally, once the kids had reached a fevered pitch, he continued.
“If you encounter him, look away and keep walking, that’s your only chance. It sounds simple, but it’s so much harder than you think. The Traveling Man is as crafty as they come, and he can lure you in unexpected ways. If you wave, smile, or acknowledge him in any way, you’re already dead,” the playground was deathly silent, Billy soaked it in, “Here’s the thing, he will take one of us. The question is, will it be you?”
Rain slid down the classroom windows, weaving elegant trails through water droplets and bird poop. Billy was absent again, he was absent a lot. He’d show up to class maybe half the time, and when he did come to school, he’d come late.
You’d think such egregious levels of truancy would raise some eyebrows, but we lived in a tight-knit community that didn’t take kindly to intrusions from outsiders, especially the government. It also didn’t hurt that Billy was a holy terror that teachers despised, so in their eyes when it came to Billy, less was more.
I was Billy’s only friend, although that label was probably too familiar for him. For someone who loved attention, he sure hated people, most people that is. Billy was full of contradictions, embodied by his self-christened slogan, ‘the smartest, dumbest, most humble kid who ever lived.’
“Maybe he got him,” Anytime Billy was absent for more than a day, the whispers would start.
The Traveling Man had become a verifiable urban legend, spreading far beyond the walls of the school. Rumors bounced around the town with frightening speed, and soon, the Traveling Man had taken on an identity all his own.
Descriptions changed, accounts varied, and the lore began to grow. The Traveling Man owns a pet monkey possessed by a demon, he’s the product of a secret government experiment gone awry, he’s a cosmic entity who traveled to earth to unleash a thousand-year dark reign -- the stories kept getting more outlandish. When Billy was in school, and we had a chance to talk, it was clear that he loved what the Traveling Man had become.
“They’re saying what?” He’d exclaim, feigning surprise. Billy kept closer tabs on the rumors than I did, but he loved hearing it from me. In fact, it was practically the only thing we’d talk about.
Billy continued his ‘sermons’, pouring gasoline on an already raging fire. His eyes burned with that same fire as he spoke, the crowds growing larger each time. Even the teachers would stand on the periphery, listening closely to what Billy had to say. Grinning like a madman, his descriptions of the Traveling Man grew increasingly violent and morbid.
Eventually, it got too much for me. The whole damn town was buzzing and people started to change their behavior. Most notably, you didn’t see kids on the streets at night anymore, probably cowering behind locked doors and drawn blinds. Billy didn’t care how scared or anxious the town became, as long as people listened to him.
“Please, for once, can we not talk about him. I’m sick of hearing about the Traveling Man,” exasperated with Billy’s incessant talking, the words just slipped out.
Billy’s face dropped, he looked as if I’d slapped him repeatedly. Without saying a word, he stood up from the lunch table and walked to the bathroom. I didn’t get a chance to speak to Billy again until the final bell rang. I was feeling guilty, and with the weekend rapidly approaching, I wouldn’t have a chance to see him until next week.
“I’m sorry man, I didn’t mean to offend you.” He was already halfway across the parking lot by the time I’d finished. He leaped into his stepdad's barely running pickup, a gas station cigar stuck between his chapped lips. Billy didn’t even glance back as they revved onto the street, a plume of thick smoke and gravel left in their wake.
Billy was absent the following week, and then the next, and then the next as well. The school was bursting with gossip, every student had their own theory about what had happened to him. All of them involved the Traveling Man, of course, but each story had its own spin or variation.
I was one of the few who didn’t believe in the Traveling Man, I was there when Billy birthed him from his twisted imagination. Silently, I watched the legend grow into something sinister. Although the Traveling Man wasn’t real, the terror he inspired very much was. Lost in the fear and speculation was the truth about Billy’s disappearance, and it seemed I was the only one concerned with that truth.
When I approached teachers and administrators to inquire, they’d pat me on the head and say something like, “You’re a kind boy, far too kind for that Billy Davitt. Either way, we can’t divulge personal information to students.”
It was obvious that they didn’t give a shit, Billy’s prolonged absence was a blessing to them. Truant or not, they weren’t going to investigate a thing. It didn’t hurt that most people in town were immensely intimidated by Billy’s alcoholic, gun-toting stepdad. The man had more tattoos than brain cells, and probably just as many weapons.
The school was derelict in its duty and that wasn’t going to change. Feeling the weight of the world on my shoulders, guilt weighing me down, I made a bold decision -- something I never did. If no one else would investigate, then that duty was my own. Mind on fire, I walked out of school that day with one goal in mind, to find Billy.
With a backpack stuffed with snacks, a flashlight, and a BB gun, I snuck out of my bedroom window around 10:30 pm. My parents were early risers, so they’d been asleep for almost an hour by the time I tip-toed into the darkened streets. I was the good kid, the one who never misbehaved, so I knew my parents would never check on me. Until about 6am, I was in the clear
It took almost an hour to arrive at Billy’s house, skulking through alleys and tree-lined paths. His family lived on a dirt-filled acre, littered with junked cars and rusted tools. The house itself was in complete disrepair, rotted trim and shingles hanging on for dear life.
Carefully stepping around the trash, I approached from the back. A light buzzed on the porch, a faint glow illuminating the splintered wood. The rest of the house remained dark, ominously looming over the filthy fiefdom.
What am I doing here? As my anxiety grew, I began to second guess my decision. I wasn’t sure what I even expected to accomplish by ‘investigating’, what clues could I hope to find? I clearly wasn’t being driven by logic, my reasoning was much more base.
I stood there silently, an internal civil war raging. Two parts of my brain delivered two completely different opinions. Should I stay or should I go? The simplest questions often have the most difficult answers.
Before I could snap myself out of my indecisive trance, the sound of a car engine and gravel crunching did it for me. A pair of yellow-headlights appeared at the end of the roadway leading to Billy’s house, moving at a slight crawl. Jumping behind a mound of asphalt, I watched as the car cut its light and continued down the drive.
A rusted, black sedan drifted to a halt in front of Billy’s garage. It idled momentarily before the engine sputtered into silence. Trembling, and not from the cold, I peered cautiously from my hiding place.
A bulky man, in a bright red suit with a matching hat, stepped out of the car. He walked towards the front of the home, but his movements were disjointed and inhuman. Swaying like a sapling in the wind, he veered in an uneven pattern with each step he took. With his massive arms, the man violently knocked over a row of empty paint cans. Bending down, he picked one of the cans up and charged a decaying truck sitting on cinder blocks. With a forceful swing, he smashed the back windows, sending shards of glass flying across the yard.
Holy shit, he’s real, I muttered to myself.
A light snapped on inside Billy’s house on the second floor. Much paler than the last time I’d seen him, I saw Billy appear at the window, staring intently into the yard. The Traveling Man noticed the light, tilting his head towards the source.
As they made eye contact, the color from Billy’s face drained until he was ashen white. He ran to turn off the light to his room, but he’d already been spotted. Bolting through the back porch, the man charged through the screened door, skidding into Billy’s kitchen.
Paralyzed with fear, I remained hidden and motionless, but still able to see and hear everything. The light in Billy’s room flickered to life once more and the Traveling Man swayed in the doorframe, his face covered in shadows. Although I couldn’t see Billy, the Traveling Man was clearly staring at something. Then, with sickening speed, he pounced.
From there, all I could hear were the screams -- agonized, tortured screams. I begged my body to move, to get out of there, but it wouldn’t listen. Planted like a statue, I heard it all, until the silence grew deafening and the lights were extinguished.
As soon as the cries ceased, a switch went off in my head. It was an out of body experience fleeing the scene, I felt as if I was being controlled by a wireless remote. My movements were not conscious, neither were my thoughts -- it was pure survival mode.
My legs burned to the point I thought they’d disappear in wisps of smoke. Collapsing on my front stoop, I pounded on the door until my terrified parents found me. I rambled incoherently, spit dripping from my mouth.
“He - he - he got Billy. He - he - he’s coming.” I stuttered through chattering teeth.
That’s about as much as my parents could get from me. Overwhelmed by shame, fear, and morbidity, I wrapped my arms around my legs and wouldn’t say another word.
Shortly after the incident, we moved. I distinctly remember my mom whispering on the phone, “My son is traumatized enough as it is, I won’t make him relive that nightmare another day longer.”
It took another two years to discover the truth of that night, my parents kept that under lock and key for some time. I’m not sure why they eventually relented, but on a frigid winter night, my dad took me into his study and firmly shut the door. Whiskey in hand, he let it all out.
Billy’s stepdad was a serial abuser, the whole town knew it. He’d been a cop for many years before the bottle got the best of him, but he still had many close friends on the force. No one dared mess with him, between his hair-trigger fuse and police connections, he was practically untouchable.
After years of torment, Bily’s mom finally got sick of him and kicked him out. She was met with threats of violence, against her and Billy, but she remained steadfast in her decision -- for a little while that is. The night she let him move back, he got rip-roaringly drunk and flew into a rage when she turned down his sexual advances. Billy tried to get in his way to defend his mother, but ended up becoming the target of his wrath.
“Billy didn’t make it kiddo, but he’s a real hero, and because of his actions, his mother lived,” Dad choked back tears as he told me about Billy’s passing.
Jaw agape, tears streamed down my cheeks. Billy hadn’t invented a monster, he’d just changed its name. I’d always thought of Billy as an attention hound, but in reality, he was just a scared boy hoping someone, anyone, would listen to his cries for help.
“Dad, I saw everything. I saw his stepdad drive up, with his horrible red suit, and I didn’t do anything as he scrambled up those stairs and beat Billy to death.” The trickle of tears became a torrent, a flood carrying away my innocence.
“Wow, wow, wow -- slow down. I think you may have some details mixed up bud, you couldn’t have seen it happen.” Dad replied reassuringly.
“What do you mean, couldn’t?” I asked perplexed, the tears slowing down.
“I didn’t want to get into this level of detail with you, but Billy was shot, and he wasn’t shot at night -- this happened in the middle of the day. There’s also another detail I didn’t get a chance to say yet, they found Billy’s stepdad dead at the scene. He did have bruises on him, but that was from falling down the stairs after having a stroke,” Dad took a deep swig of his glass, “Sometimes when we’re scared, and especially if it’s dark, our mind plays tricks on us. You probably saw his stepdad, at the end of an extreme bender, and your brain filled in the rest of the details after the fact.”
“I need to lay down for a bit, can I be excused?” It’s all I could think to say.
My brain was a fog of confusion, piecing together fuzzy and repressed memories. There was something from that night that I had never mentioned, a key detail that to this day leaves me in a cold sweat.
As I fled the scene, running as fast as my chubby legs could take me, I felt an intense urge to look back at the house. Unable to fight that urge, I glanced back just before I reached the treeline surrounding Billy’s property.
In the second-story window, waving emphatically and staring as I went, was a man in a red, grime-covered suit.
submitted by SpookBrain to nosleep

Extreme Difficulty tips

Since my other post became excessively large and the title increasingly misleading, I've decided to post a separate guide.


  1. Economy & Empire
  2. Resources
  3. Military
  4. Design
  5. Miscellaneous

1. Economy & Empire

  • Never tax early on, keep it at 0% until either the planet maxes out or you have no choice and need the funds. Population increases exponentially and you'll benefit from the increased early population growth through migration until the endgame. For reference, a top-quality max population planet can be taxed up to 100% for absurd income.
  • Your private economy will pay a percentage of their total income as "tax" to the state, then aim to fulfill all utility demands, filling out the remaining cashflow with maintenance costs.
    • In detail: First the taxes are deducted from private finances. Then, civs purchase ships and auto-build mining stations through your construction ships if there is utility demand. Thus tax reduces the amount of civ ships available in some cases yet frees up these funds for state matters like research and military. This also means the old argument "let your civs pay the bill" is partially true but only in case of surplus private spending or profit. Check the F6 screen to find out, but also look at spaceports to check if transports are gathering around doing nothing - a clear indication of a surplus. Increasing either civ maintenance costs or taxes will directly lower the amount of civ ships available (not existing mining stations). If there's no surplus to take this hit a deficit will form; hampering migration, tourism and resource transport (also mining if the stations fill up).
    • In conclusion: Only in case of surplus private spending or profit you'll want to militarize mining stations and civ ships. The opposite is also true - you can over-tax the private economy given enough happiness bonuses (else colonies will rebel anyway). Also, low-maintenance civ ships and stations means more civ ships - bigger isn't necessarily better.
  • While you should play as whichever race and government you enjoy most, wealth determines the size of your military and can be used to speed up research. Thus, economical bonuses are incredibly valuable (growth, happiness and colony income are excellent).
    • The "change cycle" is very effective due to the exponential nature of population growth (earlier is better), allowing the Gizureans and Securans to expand very rapidly combined with their high base reproduction; to a lesser degree the Dhayut as well.
    • Slowly reproducing races take more time to flourish, making the early to mid game more difficult but don't draw as much envy from other empires. Thus they have more freedom to choose their wars while the larger empires duke it out.
  • Resorts are a deceptively good source of income. Proximity is more important than quality. Passengers tend to be ferried to resorts in small amounts, so passenger transports only require large holds for migration purposes.
  • A few great empire-wide boosts: Firstly, Wonders. The Trade Guild (income) is incredibly powerful, especially if combined with the Holographic Universe (happiness). Growth is also useful though less near the endgame. The "Way of the Ancients" government type (from a ruin) is a boost in stats not unlike an empire-wide wonder while removing the Democracy's downsides. The "Way of Darkness" is a similarly powerful militant government type, including negative diplomatic fallout with non-militant empires, but may still be worth using as a relatively peaceful player.
  • Wonders' development bonuses don't stack, though their unique bonuses do. Thus, one wonder at each colony is ideal for income with possible exception of the Holographic Network and Trader's Bazaar, which combine well if the Bazaar alone isn't enough to get tax up to 100% on your best colony (max population-wise) while maintaining 15-20 happiness. All in one place is more defensible though the development bonus can pay for protection.
  • Buy a few empire contacts from pirates if you start in pre-warp. You'll likely get periodic monetary gifts to refund the costs and can trade your map for bonus income, ensuring you don't need to resort to taxation. You might be able to set up a few trade agreements early.
  • Mutual defense pacts cause major alliances to be formed; galaxy-wide war is not uncommon if you join them. It can be fun but also dangerous by lessening your empire's ability to pick its battles. Neutrality (only trade agreements) is generally easier.
  • When threatened with war at an inopportune moment consider trading trade sanctions aimed at a friendly empire. You can then end the sanctions immediately. Note that this is an exploit which can be used for trading even if you're not threatened.
    • Another way to gain millions worth of "trade value" is to build mining stations in enemy territory. Beware that this will cause a temporary relationship penalty.

2. Resources

  • Gas stations are often picked for automated refueling missions and thus benefit from a handful of docking ports, though manual spaceport selection for fleet refueling lowers this necessity.
  • Rare luxury resources can be shared for a significant diplomacy boost, making the entire galaxy more friendly towards you using a single colony or mining station.
  • Caslon/Hydrogen are the two fuel types and you'll likely want to use both to avoid shortages. Caslon engines provide more power and energy capacity per size and are thus ideal for military vessels, while Hydrogen is very fuel-efficient and thus ideal for civ/base use. The top-tier engine uses Hydrogen, at which point it may be useful to swap Caslon to civs and Hydrogen to military use.
  • Spaceports are best used as construction yards as freighters will prioritize them to offload or centralize resources. Thus, you don't need many unless there's a freighter deficit. Colonies can be serviced with medical, recreational and defensive facilities through the Defensive Base instead.
  • Different freighter sizes are useful simply because having designs for them causes your civs to buy more (they don't adapt to having less options), but otherwise don't seem to behave any differently. You can use one design and copy it. This understanding also provides the option of reducing the amount of freighters when desired by marking a freighter design as obsolete.

3. Military

  • Your finances determine the max size of your military, while resources determine how quickly ships are built and whether or not they have fuel available. Tech, size and your design skills (particularly range setup and weapon choice) mostly determine individual ship power.
  • Extreme difficulty demands that you pick fights selectively until the lategame. Diplomacy is the best defense.
  • Sometimes it's a great idea to spend all your funds on an all-out blitz invasion of a friendly neighboring empire, notably when they only have a single or few colonies. Use troop transports and primarily armored ground forces, no weapons, and create an amount of fleets equal to the amount of colonies with troop numbers proportional to their targets - roughly 3x troop power is advised, even 4x if there's a swarm of ships around the colony (they'll likely have troops, which will land almost immediately). Just before invading, position your troop transports directly above the center of the target colony (moving towards a port or vessel is ideal for this), pausing as necessary. When ready, simultaneously invade - they won't be able to retaliate, and everything they owned is now yours.
    • It's best to retrofit bases but retire any ships to assimilate their technology.
  • Pirates are best paid off immediately for a cheap protection arrangement. As your relationship improves over time they'll be less inclined to break it. Thus for a small and manageable price pirates don't need to be much of a bother. Alternatively, destroying them for good by wiping their bases (including any Criminal Networks) and construction ship can be the better option, but only if you achieve a quick victory. Fail, and you've now got a persistent enemy who can only be bought off at a ludicrous price which keeps going up as they periodically break your arrangement.
  • Passive territory defense can globally be done in three ways: Defense fleets using posture to defend key areas, automated non-fleet ships (not escorts/frigates as they'll waste time following civs) and militarizing everything (inefficient). If you're using ships there are a few important considerations to actually make them effective: Response times (range-appropriate hyperdrives), delaying the enemy (armoshields, Gravity Well, shield bypassing damage) and keeping your empire's territory "tight".
  • An Admiral with +attack power will massively increase damage dealt at max range for falloff weapons as damage loss/distance does not increase proportionally, making long-range torps overpowered. Having a good Admiral can in general make your main fleet immensely powerful. Note that +maneuver and +speed apply to fighters to increase their DPS significantly while helping your carriers dictate range.
    • If the F11 screen is correct, which I doubt, Admiral bonuses stack.
  • Explorer ships without weapons are ignored by out-of-range enemies and can thus be used for long-range scanning. Park one in a gas cloud with excess energy collectors (~2x) for sustained operation.

4. Design

  • Regarding range dictation, "Standoff" will make the AI attempt to stay at the widest equipped weapon range, causing the ship to err in both directions - sometimes too far, sometimes too close. "Evade" is ideal for carriers as this keeps the margin of error closer to safety. "Point Blank" is ideal for any weapon with sharp damage falloff like blasters, gravs, rails and some torps, though mixed weapons on a single ship benefit from "All Weapons". Different ranges against weakestronger opponents are mostly useful in small engagements as the enemy is likely to target closer ships, meaning there's no such thing as a "weaker opponent" in large battles.
    • Tractor beams are amazing: Pulling enemies works well in any situation to close distance including large fleet engagements - your fleet will suck in individual ships and blast them to bits, maintaining range advantage both in offense (hitting a nearby target) and defense (getting shot at from far away). Pushing works well unless outnumbered.
  • For military ships, bigger is better. Firepower housed in a tanky hull stays operational longer as opposed to small ships getting picked off early. They'll have high boarding defense due to hab modules and greater ability to flee before taking fatal damage.
    • Smaller ships are not faster: A ship double the size with double the thrusters will achieve equal speed.
    • Resupply ships are essentially supercapitals, going up to 4500 size at max construction, minus 20% on "resupply parts" (cargo bays/docks/gas extractors) = 3600 usable size (1.6 carriers or 2.4 capitals). Note that: The resupply parts will cost around 10% of the maintenance and slow down the ship somewhat, they can only be built on colonies as opposed to construction yards, while deployed they won't defend themselves actively and they refuse to refuel from their own cargo bays. Despite all that they're incredibly powerful.
  • A good fleet command ship to keep the Admiral and fleet countermeasures/targeting safe is one without hyperdrive. Minimal speed and a single fuel cell ensures it never leaves the homeworld system. If this seems cheesy, use a cowardly tank instead.
  • Though weapons are only as good as the tactics and Admiral they're used with, it's safe to say gravs, rails and blasters (not phasers) show their weakness in Extreme mode. Gravs have a low time-to-kill even if mounted on supercapitals while rails and blasters have poor accuracy in large quantities.
    • However, a single grav will damage a ship's hull to make it flee prematurely - great on defensive ships/stations.
    • Area weapons are very powerful in fleet engagements yet mediocre (not weak) in small engagements. They're bottlenecked by energy capacity and thus combine well with high energy/s modules to get the most out of your reactors. They also combine poorly with tractor beams as you'll want the enemy to swarm together.
    • If you find a superweapon, use it - especially the Devastator. A few supercapitals with Devastators will make even Extreme difficulty easy.
  • There are three possible strategies to ship defense: Capacity (shields/armor), sustain (recharge/repair) and speed/range. It's a good idea to specialize in one or two of these strategies, not all three.
    • Very fast ships set to Evade or long range Standoff don't require much shields/armor, benefit strongly from sustain and rarely get their shields bypassed or boarded.
    • Calculate "armor recharge" when using a repair bot. The base rate at max tech is 13.33/s (40/3) or 20/s (40/2) with an Ikkuro bot, though more in practice due to reactive armor damage reduction (20% against a point blank torp, more against most weapons). In other words, the sustain equivalent of at least 11 top-tech shields or 16 with an Ikkuro bot, without the energy cost.
  • The energy requirement of a ship in combat is simply "sprint + weapons + shield recharge" when compared to "excess energy output" as shown on the design screen.
    • Slightly draining the reactor is permissible as engagements tend to be brief and early damage will take enemies out of the fight sooner (~60 secs is a good aim), unless using area shield recharge (these will not be used if the reactor is drained).
    • Point defenses are used situationally, meaning they're allowed to drain the reactor more rapidly.
    • Fleeing causes a ship to switch to cruise speed, freeing up the reactor significantly. Still, make sure it has enough energy to warp, else it gets stranded.
  • Low delay hyper jumping is better than you might think, particularly on dense maps and with sustain tanking. This allows military ships to flee before taking crippling damage, giving them time to regenerate shields or repair. They'll then get back into the fight or at least avoid destruction. Civs will often take short trips, particularly if you intentionally limit their fuel capacity. However, max speed hyper drives are significantly faster across long distances (1-2+ sectors). The top-tier Torrent Drive is outright better than earlier options, except the Kaldos for hit-and-run tactics (33% longer delay - 3 to 4 seconds).
  • Partially built stations are already functional, meaning component order can be optimized for earlier operation (that includes mining, med/rec facilities, armor etc). Also, you can use a bare-bones design to "plop" down a base quickly and retrofit it afterwards to save construction ship time - particularly useful when pre-building a defensive base on a new colony.
  • A few non-obvious things: Spaceports don't require cargo bays. Damage control and repair bots don't stack. A single component plant (weapon, energy, hitech) each is sufficient unless you want to churn out 30+ large ships at once - good planning makes adding more largely obsolete. More than one construction yard per construction ship is wasted as additional yards will not improve speed (including yards used on stations - these just add more queues). Exploration ships ought to be kept lightweight so you can field more. Mining/Gas stations can extract resources without fuel or energy. The "mining cap" is reached at 4 Mining Engines or 3 Gas Extractors.

5. Miscellaneous

  • Intelligence Agents (spies) can be used to boost research progress tremendously, give access to otherwise expensive or inaccessible race-specific tech and steal particularly large galaxy maps (the latter can be sold to other empires). Particularly the Haakonish "Compressed Fuel Storage" is an amazing steal as this renders two subsequent research options obsolete.
  • Watch your research cap. Too many or too few labs is wasteful, though too few is definitely worse. Always take advantage of location research bonuses as these are applied after the cap. Put your best scientists on these locations to further increase the bonus (only the highest total bonus of any one station+resident scientist applies). A unique "home base" spaceport can house your labs, adding more as you near the cap, using only 3 research stations total for the bonuses throughout the game. A scientist with the "Ultra Genius" trait should be held onto for a +20% bonus to all fields.
Lastly, two off-topic tips:
A great way to test any game mechanic or ship build is to start a game at tech 7, or just backup one of your endgame saves for later use.
Star amount largely governs the drain on your PC's hardware. If you're experiencing stutter, consider playing on a less populated map. You can lower the map size to keep inter-system distances similar, though vast distances add a certain "deep space" charm to gameplay.
submitted by Gessie00 to DistantWorlds