"IT Race Design" by Dan Bush 1997 v2.6/7

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The Two-Planet PRTs: Reflections on IT and PP race designs

Part Two: The Inter-stellar Traveler Race

Revised and updated 8 March 1998

By Dan Bush (dpvulcan01@aol.com)


This article was quite some time in coming; there's a Real World out there that we all have to deal with sooner or later, and it came sooner for me.  :) But in any case, I managed to take a look at the IT race to follow up on my PP article, and here's what I've come up with. Keep in mind that I consider myself right now an intermediate player at best, and there may be better ways to play the IT; however, you've got to remember that I avoid micromanagement whenever possible, so you could improve your results by spending all afternoon on what I spent an hour doing with a fifty-year testbed.  ;)

Race Design

A good IT race is like most good races; it takes advantages of the strengths and weaknesses of its PRT. In the case of my sample IT race, the Gatekeepers, I went for a lower-hab, higher-growth/higher-production scheme. The wonderful thing about the IT is that, like the JOAT, you start out with the tech to build a Privateer, and there are no time or resources wasted on researching for them. A nice little boost.

Anyway, the design and the rationale:


  1. Leftover points to surface minerals
    • Not a whole lot you can do with 8 points leftover.
  2. PRT: IT
  3. LRTs:
    • IFE and NRSE
      • My favorite engine combo for a quick start; the nice thing about the IT is that you'll get those unlimited stargates, so the finite-fuel ships won't be such a problem. (The 300/500 stargate works OK in between, too.) It could be argued that you don't need the IFE to begin with, but for a quick start and a low hab, I consider it vital to reaching your colonies.
    • CE
      • Helps pay for the IFE. I find the delays to be marginal, and especially so with the use of stargates; however, both CE and IFE can be skipped and you would only be one advantage point less than this design (which does need to be made up for somewhere, incidentally, since the Gatekeepers have no advantage points left).
    • IS
      • Gives you the Space Dock, a vital stepping-stone between the Orbital Fort Porthole to Beyond and your default Starbase; you need to be able to build smaller ships and defend your outer gates more easily. The Ultra Station is an OK thing to have later on, too.
    • LSP
      • With the higher growth rate, you'll end up with a decent number of colonists down the road; this buys a LOT of points, and you've got time to ramp up since there's no research needed to get to Con 4 (Privateer and Space Dock tech).
  4. Habitability and Growth:
    • Grav 0.78 to 6.80g, Temp -172 to 20C, Rad 24 to 76 mR (1 in 6 overall)
      • The IT can afford to be a bit more spread-out; you can transport things farther in the long run. Besides, hopefully you can find a good friend who will use those unoccupied worlds of yours, intersettle, and use your 'gates; you can help each other when that inevitable war comes.  :)
    • 18% growth
      • A decent number; your planets fill up fast, and you can send out more colony ships.
  5. Production:
    • 1 resource/1000 colonists
      • Rarely will I mess with this. It seems fine where it is.
    • 10 factories/13 resources, factories cost 9, 10,000 colonists/16 factories, 1 kT less of Germanium checked
      • Good production for a good-producing race.
    • 10 mines/10 kT, mines cost 5, 10,000 colonists/13 mines
      • I didn't take OBRM, because I'd rather be able to use those red planets nearby for minerals than change this a whole lot. Robotic miners seem to be cost-effective for this type of race; the ease of shipping IT minerals helps too.  :)
  6. Research:
    • Weapons, Propulsion and Construction normal
      • Weapons and stargate tech here.
    • Energy, Electronics, and Biotechnology 75% extra
      • Something needs to be expensive.  :)
    • All "Costs 75% extra" starts at Tech 3 NOT checked
      • This seems a bit obvious; the only starting tech lower than 3 is Weapons, at 0, and they are taken normally.

Maxed-out planetary production for this race is:

  • 100% planet value: 3080 resources
  • 90%: 2772
  • 80%: 2462
  • 70%: 2156

With this you should be able to put out at least 2 capital ships per year from each of your planets, once they max out, and 3 to 4 from your capital worlds.

A note: I do my testbeds in a Medium, Packed universe with only the "No Random Events" box checked, and no opponents. That is what my results are based on.


The big pain in the butt with this race is that you start out with the DLL7 engine; it really isn't any good for long trips. (I was hoping the Jeffs would make all designs default to the Fuel Mizer if possible in the "i" patch, but I guess that's something for "j".  ;D ) Copy the SPT and Santa Maria and create Fuel Mizer versions right away; you don't need to worry about the Swashbuckler and Stalwart Defender, since they'll be scrapped after they explore what their limited range allows. Send off all your DLL 7 ships to explore as far as possible (use that SPT at your secondary planet to get everything in between that world and your homeworld) and then loop back home; set the waypoint at the HW as "Scrap fleet" for the Stalwart Defender and Swashbuckler (every little bit helps :) ) but save your DLL 7 SPTs for colony ship gas tanks.

Don't colonize with a Privateer until your population is at 200,000 or so; the benchmark I use is the time a planet is producing enough colonists (25k) for one Privateer colonizer. Your pop is low to begin with; use the Santa Maria with Fuel Mizer to begin with. Colonize everything in range; upgrade to the bigger colonizers when possible but it's more likely you'll run into neighbors before then and will be unable to expand further.

Growth of Colonies

At this point, design a Privateer with 3 Fuel Tanks and the FM engine. This will be your standard shuttle freighter to move pop from your growth centers (namely, high-pop planets with Starbases or Space Docks, your HW to begin with). Build enough to keep your colonies growing, while not depleting your HW too fast. Stagger if you must.

The way I like to make setting up colonist runs easy is to do two things. First of all, two of my Custom ZipOrders are "LoadCol" and "DropCol"; each one has only a "Colonists: Load All Available" order programmed in. Secondly, the first thing I do with a ship is to set the destination as a waypoint. I see how much fuel it needs to get there ASAP (usually Warp 9, but occasionally Warp 8); I use that to figure how much I can use for the trip there. I fill up the ship with colonists, reduce speed so I have enough fuel to come blazing home, and set the DropCol order there. Then, I set a waypoint for home and LoadCol (the fuel value will usually be red, but it's not a problem) and check the "Repeat Orders" box. Now your ships will shuttle colonists faster than you can say "That's not William Shatner, is it?"

A couple of notes on that: You may want to include an FM SPT or two for your longer hauls, as fuel boosters. But once you start needing them, it doesn't take much more distance until you need another one or have to slow down. And I guess I shouldn't mention that this won't work without IFE . . . ;)

Let your colonies grow this way until they hit 33% capacity, then let them go on their own. Stop sending your colonists once you hit this point. You may want to send a boatload of Germanium, though.  :)

Also, the nice thing about the Privateer freighter is that it weights 80 kT, and can go safely through your beginning stargate. A wonderful thing for getting to those worlds on the other side of your Porthole to Beyond.


Once you hit 2030, your HW should start researching like crazy. If not, you're not pulling enough people off. Start with Weapons, and keep with Weapons at least until Tech 10. Then go for Construction up to 10, where you'll have the a/300 SG and the Cruiser hull. From there, it's all fun and games.

The Testbed

In my testbed, I used the same timesaving, laissez-faire colonization strategy as listed above. I hit 10k in 2448, and 12k in 2450, with Jug BBs in 2474. Better than I expected of myself.  :)

Sorry, not very much in Section V.


The IT is a very playable race, like the PP, for a specialty role. That's the key, though; it's not an economic PRT. You need to present your unique gifts -- in this case the unlimited Gates -- to your friends and gain tech from them. Don't expect to win against that IS or CA out there. That, I think, is the point of playing the IT, or PP, or SS, or WM. It's not play-to-win there, it's not hours of MM spent maxing your resources, it's letting your allies do that while you have a hell of a good time.  :-)


This article may be distributed freely and without the author's direct knowledge, provided that a) the author is given credit where credit is due, and b) no fee is charged for the use of this article.


Well, after taking your [the regulars on rec.games.computer.stars] suggestions on my IT race, I revised the design and ran another testbed. (I listed my standard testbed incorrectly before; the actual universe is small, packed; not medium.)

Gatekeepers (revised)

  • PRT: IT
  • LRTs: NRSE
  • Hab: 0.40 to 2.48g, -108 to 108C, 56 to 100 mR (1 in 6); 18% growth
  • Prod: 1/1000, Factories 13/9/13, G box checked, Mines 10/3/11
  • Research: Weapons cheap, Construction normal, rest expensive
  • "Costs 75% extra starts at Tech 3" checked
    • When designing my race, I discovered that my starting tech was a LOT lower without the Tech 3 box in the research dialog checked. That helped. :)

My conduct was similar as in the first testbed; however, I did go for the Robo-Maxi-Miner right away and got it in 2425; from that point on I exported all the Germanium I could. The ramp-up on this race was not spectacular -- it only hit 11k at 2450 with 10k the year before -- but there were a couple of excellent points. First of all, by that time I had three truly outstanding capital worlds (I found a 75% hab world on the first turn!) with a/300 gates, and a/300s leading out to my more remote outposts. Secondly, my tech at the time was outstanding, sitting at 7/14/6/10/4/3; I was probably no more than a decade from Juggernaut BBs.

I think that's the main improvement on this design; the focus is on a long-run HP rather than my original shorter-term HG/HP hybrid. And the tech on the revised design is a LOT better. :) All in all, thanks for the help, guys.