Colonists are brave souls who decide to settle Mars and risk death and injury with no possibility of rescue. Colonists begin arriving once you create a colony with domes that can sustain human life and require care and attention. Notably, each colonist has their own personality and distinct set of likes and dislikes, which can evolve over time. Colonists require the resources oxygen, water and food to survive.
Applicants are potential colonists and may be chosen based upon the traits and specializations listed below. The sponsor determines the number of initial applicants available and various technologies and sponsor traits may also influence the number of applicants available. Non-age related colonist deaths reduce the pool of available applicants by 2.
Colonists are completely self-reliant. The player cannot micromanage them, but only provide for the necessary facilities: a place to live in, a place to work at, and places to fulfill their interests. The player can manually re-assign the housing as well as the work place of each an every individual colonist. But the intended way to properly manage the colony is via setting the dome policy per dome, the specialization policy per building, via training the needed specialists at the Martian University, and of course via getting only the right applicants from Earth.
Self-assignment of a home
Upon landing on Mars, colonists will try to find a residential building within walking distance to live in.
When a colonist is born they are immediately considered a child (cf. age groups) and require a place to live. Children will prefer living in a nursery in the same dome they currently reside in and will not relocate to a directly connected dome even if it contains a nursery with an available spot. They can be manually ordered to do so. Only in case a Shuttle Hub is available can they be manually ordered to relocate to an unconnected dome. So the most convenient way to sway children to relocate is via the dome policy.
Unemployed colonists will try to relocate to a dome with a job, even if they already have housing in their current dome.
Self-assignment of a workplace
As soon as a colonist turns 6 sols of age, they will start looking for work. A colonist will try to find work in a building that matches their specialization. If no such job is available, then they will fill spaces depending upon the priorities that have been set.
Colonists will only work within the dome that they live in, or a dome one passage away (at a performance penalty of −10), but they can walk from dome-to-dome or take a shuttle (provided via the Shuttle Hub) to move house from one dome to another.
Colonist work assignments follow these rules, in order:
- The player can manually assign individual workers, ignoring all rules below. It is not normally necessary to do so, unless the player particularly likes to micromanage. A colonist assigned in this way will not change jobs of their own volition in the next 5 sols.
- Buildings with the highest priority are fully staffed if possible
- If there is not enough workforce higher priority buildings will be fully staffed while lower priority buildings will be partially staffed, but the game will try to keep them operational if possible (e.g. all buildings at high priority staffed at 100%, all buildings at the medium priority staffed at roughly 50%, all buildings at low priority staffed at 0%)
- Specialists prefer to work according to their specialization, as long as this doesn't mess up the above rules.
- Since everything depends on the individual simulation, players may have to wait for 1–2 sols until all workers find their desired work spots, so in any current moment there may be a situation where e.g. a Botanist is working in a Bar and a colonist without a specialization is working at a Farm. This is temporary and should be resolved automatically after a while.
A colonist at low health will start seeking the "Medical Checks" service, i.e. try to visit an Infirmary or Medical Center building. They will do so "aggressively", i.e. multiple times in a row until their health is above threshold. Both buildings award a lump sum of Health per visit.
When a colonist is already at low health, they suffer a −10 morale penalty and are unable to work unless they have the "Fit" perk. So, a colonist at middle health will also seek the Medical Checks service, but only if they don't have anything better to do.
Buildings other then the Infirmary and the Medical Center award health as well, but a colonist will not intentionally seek such services when on low health. So, the player needs to provide an adequate capacity of Medical Checks, but is encouraged to think out-of-the-box.
When the Sanity stat of an individual colonist falls below a set threshold, this individual will seek to visit the building(s) which awards sanity (i.e. Infirmary or Medical Center). They will do so "aggressively", i.e. multiple times in a row. Both buildings award a lump sum of Sanity per visit.
The only buildings colonists will attempt to visit on purpose when sanity is below threshold are medical facilities. A colonist will not intentionally seek services that award Sanity other than Medical Checks.
Example: Individuals with the "Gamer" perk gain sanity by visiting a building which services "gaming", but colonists are not programmed do to so on purpose.
Several buildings which award comfort do so on a per visit basis. But comfort is only awarded if the colonist's comfort is less than the Service Comfort rating of the building. And unlike with their Health and Sanity, individuals do not deliberately visit a building to raise their comfort. Instead comfort is raised as a side effect: daily sleep and daily meal and further activities.
Each non-child colonist starts with social, relaxation and shopping as their three default interests, which can be changed (added, removed and/or replaced) by perks, flaws and specializations. The possible interests are social, relaxation, dining, drinking, shopping, exercise, gaming and luxury. Children have playing as their only interest.
Colonists will visit a Dome Service building only if the provided services match that colonist's interests. If a colonist cannot pursue their interest, because such buildings are either non-existent or occupied, their comfort will drop.
Each colonist has four stats: health, sanity, comfort and morale. These stats have a value between 0 and 100 and are modified by various factors and events (traits, quality of life, workplace, disasters, etc).
|Stat||Effects||Increased by||Lowered by|
Colonists are divided into five age groups. This is done for the sole purpose of filtering (when filtering the applicants or setting the dome policy). Somebody's actual age is never shown to the player. For colonists with the Martianborn trait, it can be deduced from the "time on Mars" stat.
|Age group||Age range (in sol)||Notes|
|Child||0–5||Children are too young to work and use many of the buildings in the Colony. They can go to School and use certain buildings such as the Playground and Nursery.
A child's only interest is "Playing".
|Youth||6–10||A young Colonist, able to work in all buildings.|
|Adult||11–30||An adult Colonist, able to work in all buildings.|
|Middle Aged||31–60 without Stem Reconstruction technology
31–80 with Stem Reconstruction technology
|A middle aged Colonist, approaching retirement, but still able to work in all buildings.|
|Senior||61+ without Stem Reconstruction technology
81+ with Stem Reconstruction technology
|A senior Colonist, too old to work.
Seniors have a random chance each sol to die of old age. They also cannot have children. The Forever Young tech allows seniors to work and have children.
For Martianborn children to be born, there should be fertile male/female couples in the dome. Children, seniors (except with the Forever Young tech), and colonists with the Other gender are not fertile. The chance for each couple to have a baby each Sol is the following: ((comfort−30)/10)%
Without accounting for technologies, considering a 55 sol fertile life and an ideal men/women ratio, it can expect these population trends based on comfort:
|Average comfort||Sols per child||Children per couple per 55 sols||Trend|
|55 (minimally fertile with Medical Checks)||40||1.375||inevitable extinction (−1.1%/Sol)|
|70 (minimum without Medical Checks)||22.2||2.475||steady growth (+0.85%/Sol)|
|100 (max)||13.3||4.125||rapid overpopulation (+7.5%/Sol)|
The birth rate is reduced by 50% if there is any homeless colonist in the dome and by 100% if 1/4 of the dome's population is homeless.
Citizens perform better at workplaces that match their specialization. Colonists working in a building for which they do not have the correct specialization receive a hefty performance penalty; however, there is no penalty for a specialist working a non-specialised job. Colonists with no specialization can learn one after studying (like working) at a Martian University for a number of sols dependent on individual performance and some technologies. Specializations also determine a colonist's main interests.
|Child||white||none||Playing||One of the youngest residents of the colony.|
|No Specialization||teal||Non-specialized work (Diner, etc.)||Social, Relaxation, Shopping||Colonists with no specialization will perform worse at jobs that require specialized workers.|
|Botanist||green||Farms (not including Ranches)||Relaxation, Shopping, Luxury||A botany specialist trained to work on farms.|
|Engineer||orange||Factories||Relaxation, Shopping, Dining||An engineer trained to work in factories.|
|Geologist||brown||Extractors||Social, Shopping, Drinking||A geology specialist trained to work in extractor buildings.|
|Medic||blue||Infirmary, Medical Center||Social, Shopping, Luxury||A medical specialist trained to work in medical buildings.|
|Scientist||white||Research Lab, Hawking Institute||Social, Relaxation, Gaming||A science specialist trained to work in research buildings.|
|Officer||red||Security Station||Social, Relaxation, Exercise||A security officer trained to work in security buildings.|
|Tourist||black||none||Safari||An excited Tourist, looking for a holiday experience that is out of this world.|
Each building which requires people to function has a specialization policy. The policy can be either No Restrictions (the default for all buildings) or Enforce Specialists. The latter is called Reject Specialists for buildings that don't benefit from a specialization.
Traits are the defining characteristics of a colonist and can give various bonuses or penalties. Some traits will also add an additional interest to colonists unless their specialization includes it already.
|Celebrity||Normal sources||Generates 30M funding every Sol when at 70 or more Comfort.|
|Composed||Normal sources and
|All sanity losses are halved.|
|Empath||Neural Empathy (Breakthrough)||Raises the morale of all colonists in the dome. The effects of multiple Empaths stack.|
|Enthusiast||Normal sources and
|Increased performance boost when at high morale.
Worker performance +20 when at 70 or more morale.
|Fit||Open Air Gym||More health recovered when resting. Can work when health is low.||+Exercise|
|Gamer||Electronics Store||Recovers up to +15 Sanity for each visit to a building with the Gaming service.||+Gaming|
|Genius||Normal sources||Generates +100 Research points every sol when at 70 or more sanity.|
|Hippie||Normal sources and
Interplanetary Learning Breakthrough)
|Gains twice as much comfort in gardens and parks.|
|Nerd||Normal sources and
|Gains +10 morale for when a technology is researched, each boost lasting for 3 sols.|
|Party Animal||Normal sources||Gains +10 comfort when visiting a building with the Social service.||+Social|
|Saint||Normal sources||Raises the morale of all Religious colonists in the dome by +10. Benefits stack with each additional Saint.|
|Sexy||Normal sources||Greatly increases the colonist's birth rate. +50 to their comfort rating when calculating their contribution to the birth rate.|
|Survivor||Normal sources and
|Loses less health without food, water, oxygen, or when living in an unpowered dome.|
|Religious||Normal sources and
|+10 base morale. Low sanity never leads to suicide.|
|Rugged||Normal sources||No comfort penalties when eating unprepared food or having no residence.|
|Workaholic||Normal sources and
Interplanetary Learning Breakthrough)
|Individual performance increased by 20. No penalty for heavy workloads.||-Relaxation|
Flaws are detrimental traits and should be avoided amongst applicants. Every applicant has a 50% chance to lose any 1 flaw when launched to Mars if Space Rehabilitation has been researched. Colonists will lose flaws selected from the following when visiting a Sanatorium spire, as selected at the spire: Alcoholic, Chronic Condition, Coward, Gambler, Glutton, Lazy, Melancholic.
|Alcoholic||Work performance lowered by 10. Can be caused by sanity breakdowns.||+Drinking|
|Chronic Condition||Loses Health each day.|
|Coward||Double sanity loss from disasters. Can be caused by sanity breakdowns.|
|Dust Sickness||Loses Health during dust storms, even when inside a dome.
Caused by the Dust Sickness event.
|Gambler||Has a 50% chance to lose 20 sanity when visiting a Casino. Can be caused by sanity breakdowns.||+Gambling|
|Glutton||Eats double rations. Can be caused by sanity breakdowns.||+Dining|
|Hypochondriac||Will randomly visit medical buildings and take sanity damage if unable to do so.||+Medical|
|Idiot||Can cause a malfunction at their workplace (10% chance). Malfunctioning buildings stop working and require maintenance.|
|Infected||Loses health each day. Spreads to other colonists in the dome.
Caused by the Wildfire mystery.
|Lazy||Individual performance decreased by 20 at all jobs.|
|Loner||Loses comfort every day while living in a dome with population over 30.||-Social|
|Melancholic||Increased performance penalty when at low morale. Can be caused by sanity breakdowns.|
|Renegade||Performance decreased by 50 at all jobs. Can cause crime events when there are not enough Security Stations in the dome.
Caused by low morale.
|Whiner||Loses sanity when low on comfort.|
Quirks are traits that don't fit into other groups or that are generated by events or Mysteries.
|Biorobot||Synthetically created humans that function similarly to us - they breathe, they eat and they sleep. However they do not age and cannot reproduce.||The Positronic Brain|
|Clone||Has half the lifespan of a naturally born human.||Cloning|
|Dreamer||Dreamers make sense of the shared dream but lose 23-ish sanity during Mirages. ( Sanity loses are affected by Coward 200% loss and Composed 50% loss)
Before completing Inner Light, these colonists become unconscious for 1.5 or so sols while dreaming and are unable to work during that time. After completion, these colonists gain Dreamer's Inspiration, which gives +10 performance.
|During and after Inner Light colonists can gain this trait through school, playgrounds(?), Project Morpheus, gurus or being born with it, with one or both parents having the trait.|
|Dreamer||The Dreamers have emerged from the Mirages with renewed hope.
+15 performance from Dreamer's Inspiration. When the mystery is completed all current Dreamers are awarded +15 performance but all future Dreamers only gain +10 performance. Also, colonists are capable of having both. This causes a bug where the colonist no longer get +15 performance and only gets +10 performance.
|Upon completing Inner Light, all current Dreamers gain a permanent one-time +15 buff to production.|
|Founder||One of the first Martian Colonists.||Given to the first colonists (the founder stage).|
|Guru||Randomly spreads other traits of this colonist to persons in the same Dome with less than 3 traits.||Applicants, or "New Messiah" event option(s).|
|Martianborn||Martianborn colonists never become Earthsick. The Martianborn group of techs can improve this trait significantly.
Can become Renegade instead of becoming Earthsick.
|Born on Mars|
|Refugee||Untrained for life on Mars, which results in decreased performance at all jobs. Cannot be Earthsick. High chance to become a Renegade.
Worker performance −50 for 5 sols.
|Tourist||Doesn't work. Grants $10 million funding on arrival. Leaves at first opportunity after 5 sols. More tourists appear when tourists successfully return to Earth. +Gambling||Applicants|