Your local MClass planet is suffering high Food prices (making your upkeep costs spiral out of control). You don’t want to let your worker population drop below 30,000 (since you’ll lose a Pylon and the buildings on them).

What can you do to reduce the burden on the MClass planet while you help to get the planet prices and population back on track?

The short answer is to starve the starbase of Food until it’s population drops to a little over 30,000 and then return to feeding it again until the population is restored.

The long answer (and explaination as to why) follows…

Selective starving

Your Starbase will most likely have a current population of 50,083 (this is the highest population you can have that still requires only 150t of Food and 100t of Water per Starbase tick to meet upkeep requirements).

Our article on Starbase Population Management explained:

Failure to supply Food (but supplying adequate Water) will cause the worker population to drop at 3% per tick.

The following table shows the Starbase population and Water upkeep requirements when no Food is supplied (but Water is):

Tick Population Water Upkeep
1 50,083 100t
2 48,624 97t
3 47,208 94t
4 45,833 92t
5 44,498 89t
6 43,202 86t
7 41,944 84t
8 40,722 81t
9 39,536 79t
10 38,384 77t
11 37,266 75t
12 36,181 72t
13 35,127 70t
14 34,104 68t
15 33,111 66t
16 32,146 64t
17 31,210 62t
18 30,301 61t
Total Upkeep 1,419t

As we can see, it will take 18 SB ticks (just over 2 days) for the population to drop from 50,083 to 30,301 – at which point you need to begin supplying both Food and Water to increase the population (back towards 50,083) again.

The amount of Water required per Starbase tick during this period begins at 100t and slowly drops to 61t requiring a total amount of 1,419t Water.

Building up the population

As we saw previously, population gain is less predictable than population decline. It will take between 23 and 43 SB ticks to return to 50,083 population. In practice this comes out at around 27 SB ticks and requires a total of 2,206t of Water and 3,310t of Food to achieve.

By the time population has retunred to 50,083 again you will have used 3,625t of Water and 3,310t of Food over about 5 days.

If you meet the Food and Water upkeep requirements and maintain the population at 50,083 over the same period, you would require at total of 3,900t of Water 5,850t of Food over the same period.

The difference is 2,540t of Food and 275t Water – which ought to give your MClass planet some time to recover.

Why not starve Water instead?

You can achieve the same population reduction and gain by starving Water instead of Food… it just works out more expensive to do so. Let’s take a look at the numbers and see why.

Here is the same table as above, but this time showing the Starbase population and Food requirements when no Water is supplied (but Food is):

Tick Population Food Upkeep
1 50,083 150t
2 48,624 146t
3 47,208 142t
4 45,833 137t
5 44,498 133t
6 43,202 130t
7 41,944 126t
8 40,722 122t
9 39,536 119t
10 38,384 115t
11 37,266 112t
12 36,181 109t
13 35,127 105t
14 34,104 102t
15 33,111 99t
16 32,146 96t
17 31,210 94t
18 30,301 91t
Total Upkeep 2,128t

The total amount of food required to achieve the population drop is 2,128t. Recall that 1,419t of Water is used to achieve the same population drop.

The cost of Food is typically higher than Water, the actualy quantity needed is higher and the APs you will spend moving the extra amount suggests that you are better off starving Food instead of Water.