Culture is generated from the Culture Center logistical structure. These are Temples of Communion, Broadcast Centers, and Media Hubs. Culture is represented in game by phase lanes turning the color of the player whose culture is being spread down that phase lane.
- Main article: Allegiance
Each planet has an allegiance value, represented as a percentage. When the planet is selected, this value is displayed on the main HUD in a panel to the left of the planet portrait. You can hover over the value to get details on the allegiance of the planet. Allegiance is a percentage modifier of all the income rates of that planet (credits, metal, crystal). So a planet with 50% allegiance is only returning 50% of its harvest to you. The allegiance of planets drops off very quickly based on how many jumps the planet is from your homeworld.
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Allegiance is also affected by culture.
When a planet is affected by friendly culture, the allegiance slowly begins to rise. Allegiance can rise to 10 points above its default value (determined by the number of jumps from Homeworld). When a planet is affected by enemy culture, the allegiance will slowly begin to fall. When the allegiance hits zero the planet will become neutral, unless it is an empire's capital. Advent can research the "Allure" ability which allows a planets allegiance to rise 20 points above its Base value when in friendly culture.
Culture Spread Rate
This is the rate at which cultures move down the phase lanes, and the primary way in which opposing cultures compete. People will sometimes say "Culture Strength." They mean the same thing, don't be confused.
More info than you needed
When allegiance is affected by culture, the rate of allegiance change slowly climbs to .7% per second. It maxes out at .7% per second. The speed at which it climbs to .7% is due to a variety of unknown factors, but may have something to do with the strength of the culture affecting the planet. Either way, this is so minute it doesn't really matter.
Planet A is yours, B is your opponent's.
Building a culture production center will start passing culture down the phase lane at a rate of 1 per tick.
+ represents your culture's influence along the phase lane.
Allegiance at planet B immediately starts shifting in your favor. The rate of change gradually increases from 0 to .7/tick. However, if an opponent builds a culture center at Planet B eventually cultures collide.
* = your opponent's culture
If you are advent and have upgraded your culture to 1.3 spread rate and your TEC or Vasari opponent hasn't upgraded their culture at all your culture will still push towards your opponent at a rate of .3, thus the allegiance continues to drop at B.
And eventually the situation will become:
Whenever culture crosses a gravity well its spread rate is cut in half. For example, A is your planet with a single un-upgraded culture center, and B is under no other culture effects:
The spread rate between A and B will be 1; it will be .5 between B and C, and .25 between C and D, etc. Allegiance begins shifting as soon as culture begins spreading towards the planet, so you can still get the full effect of your culture out to the fringe of your empire, it will just take a long time to get there. In addition, spread rates do stack, so you can speed things up by building another culture center at A. Then, you can have a spread rate of 1 on the other side of B. .5 from C to D, etc
A neutral planet is uncolonizable if enemy culture is moving through that gravity well and down the next phase lane.
Planet A is yours. Planet B is neutral and Planet C is an opponent.
Your culture looks like this (signified by +).
Your opponent can still colonize planet B.
However, as soon as it looks like this:
B can no longer be colonized by an opponent. In order to colonize B your opponent needs to begin repelling your culture from C and fight back your influence until it is no longer present in the next phase lane.
Capital Ships and Culture Repulsion
Capital ships repel culture at a rate of .3 at level 1, and an additional .05 for each level up to .75 at level 10. This has no effect on the allegiance of any planet; This repulsion only applies to phase lanes immediately touching the gravity well the capital ship is in. Capital ship culture repulsion does not cross gravity wells, is halved at neutral planets and reduced to zero at hostile planets.