by: Jason Cawley

Scott Moore wrote:

>

> Is it better to select "Low Starting Population" which gives you 60

> advantage points and then bump your growth rate up 1% (-69 advantage

> points) or just start with your normal population and keep the

> starting 15% growth rate?

Of course it depends...

Just in raw pop terms, yes 1% extra growth will eventually make up for the 30% lower starting level. If space where unlimited (all 100% hab) this would take 26 years. Since it isn't, it takes rather longer. But by midgame you would have more pop, if say you were alone in a testbed or something.

But the lower pop curve along the way means fewer resources to spend, thus fewer factories built. So the time it takes to catch up in total econ will be considerably longer than the time it takes to catch up simply in pop. Also, the smaller economy from the start through the midgame makes it relatively more difficult to get planets, so you may never make up the ground - depending one how pressured you are/how much you have to fight for space.

There is another issue here, though. Especially in Acc BBS starts and for races that don't take expensive and start at 3 construction (or JOATs, ITs which start with construction), there is early on an intense pressure to move pop off the homeworld. This is especially true for races with high pop growth. Before you get con 3 for medium freighters, it is virtually impossible to move meaningful quantities of pop (especially if iron is tight as well). If you find in testing that your homeworld gets significantly bigger than 1/4 or 1/3 of capacity before you can move the people, you can deduce that LSP wouldn't really hurt you so much. Because the 30% lower start gives you more room to grow at the best rates and more time to get things like con 3 tech and mines for iron for shipping. If you find yourself in this situation, you might find that taking LSP for 1% higher pop growth eases the moving crisis, and that the lower pop is made up (the higher start losing more pop growth to crowding before pop can move), leaving the longer-run advantage of faster pop growth.

It also depends on your overall strategy, of course. If your race is designed to be fastest out of the gate (a quickstarter), you usually don't want LSP. If you plan on coming from behind in econ, with strongest growth 10-15 years later than the quickstarting races and some other race advantages being the key to your strategy, LSP won't hurt you so much. Examples of the latter are - using the defensive abilities of IT or SD races, perhaps with total terraforming or an HP economic approach. Or an SS designed to win the tech race rather than the resource race (while still being competitive in that department, of course).

> On the same note, what is the formula used to calculate the growth

> rate for a planet after it reaches 25% of capacity?

I don't have the actual formula for you, though several people here know it.

Someone actually did all this work and even plotted the second derivative of pop vs. planet capacity. :-) It is a little complicated, but the second derivative/1st derivative issues work something like this-

This leads to the following maximization rules -

Useful bottom-line rules of thumb are -

Anyway, lots of stuff and maybe not to the point of your question, but I hope at least some of it is useful to some people.

Sincerely,

Jason Cawley