While it's historically been fairly widely-agreed that gene clinics aren't worth it, I don't believe that's the case. Montu recently did a thing on why he thinks the same (check it out here), and my argument will include some of his points but expound on them with a few additional points.
Most of the arguments against them involve basically nothing but the +10% growth which amounts to an extra pop per 400 months or so (3-4 years in the early game, assuming a pop growth of 3 and an average growth target of 120). Thus the 2 pops you've stuck on the gene clinic will have a return on investment in about 7 years when they could've been doing other shit.
Now this might not sound great on its own, but they do also offer two other things that improve them a little. +5 amenities and +2.5% habitability each.
The habitability bonus adds a further 2.5% pop growth between them (knocking the ROI down to about 6 years) as well as a 2.5% increase in job production and a 5% decrease in pop upkeep and amenities usage (a nice bonus if not massively significant).
It's also worth noting at this point, that the cumulative effect of the earlier new pops isn't insignificant. Remember that you get your first extra pop 12.5% faster, your second 25% and so on. Assuming a baseline growth of 3 and a steady 120 growth requirement (accurate enough while greatly simplifying the maths), each pop on a non-gene clinic planet will be made every 40 months and every 35.556 months. This means that every pop produced will have an extra 4.444 months of production per pop that has already been made since the gene clinic was produced. This means that by the time you gotten ROI, which occurs after 16 pops have been made, not only have you gotten 2 more pops than an equivalent planet without a gene-clinic, but you've also had an extra 604 months of work from the pops you've made on the way through.
Meanwhile the amenities bonus is important to keep happiness, and thus stability and job production, up. +5 might not be a huge amount (in fact it's half of the entertainers that everyone has access to already), but in the early stages it's enough to near max you out and keep you away from the harsher penalty that a lack of amenities produces. More importantly though, all colonies start off with two colonists that also produce +5 amenities and the only other things they produce are 1 food (or mineral for lithoids) and 1 defensive army without the 1 consumer goods job upkeep.
Thus, best play will often be to build a gene clinic on touch down (unless robotic factories are available in which case do it second) and remove the colonist jobs (just before the clinic is finished in order to optimise the employment system). You'll essentially be sacrificing 2 defensive armies (hilariously irrelevant), and 2 food and 2 consumer goods per month (meh), in exchange for an immediate increase of 2.5% colony job production, -5% pop upkeep and amenities usage, and an additional 2 pops and 604 months of production over the next 6 years or so.
I don't think that's bad (especially because I like to look after my people, but that's roleplay not maths). Thoughts?
(If anyone wants any of my maths expanded in any particular area, then give me a holla and I'll stick on an edit, but I didn't want to make this longer than necessary)
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More about StellarisPost: "My Argument for Gene Clinics" specifically for the game Stellaris. Other useful information about this game:
- Stellaris Dev Diary #230 – The Art of Aquatics Ships & the Drake
- New authority idea: Theocracy
- Truces desperately need to be reworked. 10-year long forced open borders is WAY too long.
- After 50 hours and 2 failed attempts, I have finished a campaign. I’m addicted now.
- System Control: a feature suggestion
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