Surviving “After The End” – my experience spawning in an empire after an aetherophasic engine was activated

When Paradox's April Fools Post was made some of us took it as a personal challenge. Start a game under these circumstances and survive the Endgame Crisis, which inevitably comes regardless.

So I attempted it on vanilla 3.0.2 (might work differently on later versions).

Galaxy Starting Conditions

  • 1000 stars
  • Max number of empires, including fallen, regular and marauders.
  • Tech Cost at x0.25 (otherwise you'll spend too much time just waiting)
  • (In retrospect I should've also pushed the endgame year back to 2500 or something)

Facts about The End to keep in mind

  • All resource deposits are erased
  • Megastructures that have an icosahedron icon on the galaxy map are irreparable, but are not removed
  • All other megastructures, including Habitats and (L-) Gates are erased.
  • Nebulae are unaffected. Take note of where you can build a nebula refinery!
  • Archaeological sites are unaffected! If you're lucky one of them will have a useful relic.
  • Some empires are not properly destroyed. Specifically, the Marauders, the Caravaneers, the Shroud and global_event_country remain.
  • All stellar objects receive a PreventAnomalies = yes flag, so most (but not all!) systems will have no anomalies.

The following anomalies consistently remain

  • The phase-shifting Shrouded/Gaia world "fixes" itself from being destroyed and spawns the appropriate anomaly.
  • Shielded planets are not destroyed and spawn anomalies for lowering the shield.

The Setup

Naturally the console is needed to set this up. Here are the steps I followed ( code implies console command ) :

  1. Start as an empire with "on the shoulders of giants" origin (leaves behind an archaeological site) and research_all_technologies
  2. Spam unity until I can take "Become the Crisis" then do it.
  3. Spam menace until I have enough to clear all 5 tiers.
  4. Wait a few days for an event to trigger. It gives a special project, which can be instantly finished with finish_special_projects .
  5. Repeat step 4 until the Aetherophasic Engine spawns.
  6. max_resources and instant_build
  7. Press the upgrade button, let a day pass, repeat until universe explodes. Go to observe mode.
  8. Pick a system in which some new colonists "from beyond" arrive, ideally a nebula system connected to many other nebula systems.
  9. play 56 to switch over to The Shroud ( or Play 55 for global_event_country, which is probably cleaner. The caravaneers and marauders can be used but you will start knowing them, which can be bad)
  10. Select a shattered world and temporarily make it colonizable for whatever civilization you will spawn on it, for example by doing planet_class pc_gaia.
  11. Spawn a civilization. I used event distar.3014 to spawn the Nivlac , but others should also be doable, for example I successfully tested event anomaly.186 to spawn The Awoken. You can also create rebels for any of the "surviving" factions by play ing as them, own ing any celestial body, and using event unrest.4200 with it selected, but be warned that you will inherit their techs – or lack thereof!
  12. play as the new empire. Turn their habitable world back into a shattered world by selecting it and planet_class pc_shattered .
  13. Wait a bit for them to spawn in a starbase. Give yourself enough alloys to upgrade it (using alloys ### ), build a shipyard, maybe some other stuff for starting out. Then build a construction ship.
  14. research_technology tech_habitat_1 and give yourself enough alloys and influence to a habitat. Use the construction ship to build your starting habitat.
  15. Select your completed habitat and own to colonize it. Transfer all your population from the shattered world to the habitat (Probably requires giving yourself more influence ).
  16. Almost ready! Lets bring ourselves up to normal starting conditions. Give yourself a bit more resources, upgrade your habitat capital, build a few districts and one building, hire a governor, 4 scientists, and build a science ship.
  17. Optionally free_government and other commands to change your ethics and civics. I went with a Fanatic Spiritualist and Pacifist Megacorp with Gospel of the Masses and Free Traders for the extra trade value, but some form of Fanatic Xenophile might work better.
  18. instant_build again to disable it when you're ready to start for real.
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For reference, normal void dwellers start with 100 in every resource except food, as well as 28 pops across 3 habitats – but I recommend sticking to 1 habitat early on for easier resource balancing.

My Strategy

There are no resource nodes in the galaxy, so we'll have to produce everything ourselves. An empire's base production is 20 energy, 20 minerals, 10 food, 10 of each science, 5 alloys and 10 consumer goods. I've no idea which void they're pulling it from but that's enough to get by for a tiny group of people. One thing we can produce plenty of is Trade Value, which can be turned 1-1 into energy or 0.5 energy 0.25 consumer goods, so I start by plopping down commercial zones on my capital. I have no idea how this works RP-wise , since essentially we're creating energy – or even matter! – from the act of buying and selling.
Either way, with enough trade on your capital, your pops will have a net positive energy income. Use that to buy what you can't make from the Shroud entities internal market. When you finish researching hydroponics, colonize a second habitat and will it with them (+ trade districts). Colony designations are important for this playthrough and the Automatic setting picks Trade Station every time for some reason – even though I have no science workers – but I picked Trade Station for my food depot. The hydroponics are powered by Shopping trade value and should put you in the positive when it comes to food for a while – worst case you can build another food-focused habitat later.
The struggle when it comes to minerals, however, is real : yes, you can keep buying them from the Worm in Waiting internal market, but the price for them will only keep going up, as will demand. When you finally research Nebula Refinery you will be able to upgrade your mineral income by +10 per upgraded starbase in a nebula, but that's not much at all considering you need it to build districts/buildings and to create alloys/motes/crystals. Alloys, at the very least, you need lots of so that you can keep building habitats and upgrading them.
Did I mention that playing tall is the way to go? Going wide will lead to a negative resource economy.

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Sometimes around the midgame, around the time I get my 3rd civic, I create a habitat in an isolated system outside my core sector and turn it into a vassal. Soon after I reform my own government into a monarchy with Efficient Bureaucracy, Functional Architecture and Environmentalist. Following that, I release the subsidiary and immediately ask to vassalize them again. This is necessary to prevent them from wasting their resources on expanding into other systems, when they should be opening corporate offices in mine. Hypothetically this will increase my trade value, overall, and also provide more jobs on my otherwise claustrophobic habitats.

In technology, although I cannot spare many people to do science, ideally I'd like to rush genetic engineering so I could get its' relevant ascension perks and turn my population into the most efficient clerks in this region of space, but more than that I'd like to rush megastructures so I can take Galactic Wonders and start building the one building that would allow me to not just survive, but thrive : the Matter Decompressor.

The Matter Decompressor solves my mineral problem, and can be built in literally any system – they're all black holes!
A matter decompressor, when fully built, provides me with 2000 minerals per month. With that, I have a good source of every kind of resource: Energy from trade, food from energy, minerals from the matter decompressor, consumer goods from either trade or minerals, and alloys from minerals. No longer will I be limited to only a handful of systems – I can finally blob! However…

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I feel like one matter decompressor is not enough. And I cannot build a second one. Which leads me to my endgame gambit: the vassal swarm. Whenever I build a matter decompressor, I will build a habitat nearby and turn it into a vassal, allowing me to build another matter decompressor. Heck, I might even release some of these vassals and create a federation! Or spawn the Galactic Community with them!

And, hopefully, survive the endgame crisis, whatever it might be.

Addendum: I've discovered that there's a way to make this challenge even harder. Spawn a construction ship for a marauder empire to establish communications with them. As long as you have them on your contacts screen, they will demand resources and spawn ghost fleets to raid you. Having no systems doesn't stop them!

Lastly, if anyone has any suggestions on how I could've approached this differently, I'd love to hear it!


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