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Ascent to Transcendence[edit]

Build this and win a Transcendence Victory. A no-brainer unless you have a faster way to win.

Ascetic Virtues[edit]

Handy for everyone, of course, but Lal gets a real booster out of it, enabling him to get obscenely large bases well before Hab-Domes. For Morgan, it's a kicker too, all but eliminating his small base problem. The Spartans too, benefit greatly, as it enhances their existing police rating. Everybody else benefits, but not as much as these three.

In Alien Crossfire, this plus a Brood Pit brings you to the magic +3 Police rating where police effect is doubled (unless your faction has an inherent police penalty). However, Brood Pits come fairly late at Centauri Genetics.

Bulk Matter Transmitter[edit]

Despite its in-game description, the Bulk Matter Transmitter seems to increase every base's production by 50%. By the time you can build this, ecodamage will be a serious problem. An unexpected 50% jump in your production will cause rampant fungal pops and global warming. If you anticipate its effect, however, the boost in production can be very nice, though of course it comes very late in the game.

Citizen's Defense Force[edit]

If Perimeter Defenses had an upkeep cost, this project would rank right up there with the others that provided free facilities, but since Perimeter Defense works are free (no maintenance cost), the value of this project is somewhat reduced. Still, it does save you time, especially if you have a large number of exposed bases, and so is fairly important, but non-critical, though you might expect a Momentum player to run for it as part of a denial strategy. Yang also doesn't need this because he already has its benefits, so for him it is useful mostly as a pre-build or for denial.

Clinical Immortality[edit]

  • Prerequisite: Matter Editation
  • +1 talent at every base. Doubles your votes in elections for Planetary Governor and Supreme Leader.

Talents = Drone control, and at this point in the game, you've probably got a sprawling empire and this is just the thing! It's certainly not crucial (not even for Zakharov by this stage), but very nice to have if you can free up a base for it. The boost it gives in elections doesn't hurt either.

Cloning Vats[edit]

  • Prerequisite: Biomachinery
  • All bases are in a state of population boom.
  • The negative effects of the Power and Thought Control social engineering choices are eliminated.

We can't think of a single reason not to build this project, except perhaps for the fact that it will make you the target of envy and, in all probability, attack...but hey, enjoy it while you got it!

Cloudbase Academy[edit]

If you want to get and keep air superiority, get this project! If you plan to make use of satellites in your game, get this project! If someone else gets this project, get that base! If you can't do that, nuke it. It's that important. Note though, that if you get this project, people will gang up on you, and if they don't, you almost can't help but win. Not only do you get two extra points of movement for all your aircraft, but you get a morale boost, make it harder for people to use drop teams on you, and your satellites automatically have their maximum impact at all your bases. Simply too good to pass on.

Cyborg Factory[edit]

In the Alien Crossfire world, Mind/Machine Interface is probably the most desired tech in the game. Not only does it give you choppers and thinkers, but it also gives you TWO secret projects! Awesome ones at that! Bio-enhancement centers are expensive from an upkeep standpoint, and they improve morale of ALL your units, making this project a must have, no matter who you are!

Command Nexus[edit]

Another project that provides free facilities, this too, will be highly sought after by a number of players, regardless of style. Builders will likely spend long periods of time running Wealth, and the presence of this project will enable them to perfectly counter Wealth's singular negative. Also, Builders will want this project badly as part of a denial strategy against Momentum players, forcing the Momentum gang to take the time to build Command Centers if they want those morale upgrades. Momentum and Hybrid folk will also count this as a high priority, for obvious reasons. Their standing forces become 25% more lethal with its completion. More bang for your buck!


Even if you have no intention of making use of Psi attackers, you need this project so that the Worm lovers don't come over and pay you an unwelcome visit. About the only time you don't need this one is if you have the Neural Amplifier, but even then, it might be good to pick it up for denial. Also, if you're into Navy at all, grab this one! Your Isles of the Deep, which are already awesome, will be all but unbeatable! Combine this with the Spartans already +2 morale bonus, and any worms you make will be ultimate death machines!

Empath Guild[edit]

  • Prerequisite: Centauri Empathy
  • Builder gets commlinks for and infiltration of every faction.
  • Builder gets 50% more votes in Council elections

From a defensive perspective, the most important element of the game is to take what steps you can to ensure that your datalinks are not infiltrated, and as this project grants infiltration access to whomever completes it, it is easily one of the most despised projects in the game. I have seen coalitions formed solely on the basis of eliminating the player who builds this project, which speaks volumes about the scope of its power. Build it if at all possible, just to deny anyone else access to it, and, if it appears later that someone will take it from you, don't hesitate to burn the base to the ground to prevent it from falling into enemy hands! It really is that important!

Human Genome Project[edit]

  • Prerequisite: Biogenetics
  • +1 talents in every base. Prevents Prometheus Virus outbreaks.

Another fantastic early game project! Talents are so vital to drone control, and this puts an extra talent at each base. If you favor Domai or Lal, with their fewer drones or higher number of talents, this project alone will enable you to forego the building of drone control facilities almost to the middle game, and if you're playing a drone-sensitive faction like Zak's researchers, the project will go a long way in undoing your chronic drone problems. Other factions will benefit greatly from it as well, though some may want it purely as part of a denial strategy (I'm specifically thinking Yang and Santiago here, who can easily control all their drones via police), still, no matter what the reasonings behind it, the fact is, this is a project that will be quite high on a number of people's lists!

Hunter-Seeker Algorithm[edit]

Even in the Alien Crossfire world, where the power of this project has been weakened, it should still be considered critical to every player in the game. Even those factions who have probe-immunity will want it from a purely denial standpoint, making this one of the most sought after secret projects out there.

Living Refinery[edit]

At this point in the game, support is usually only an issue if you're running Thought Control, and even then, with Clean Reactors it's not that big a deal. Nonetheless, clean reactors are expensive, and if you're running Social Engineering choices that lend you support anyway, this is a good way to be able to build large numbers of "non-clean" troops — which means that the ability slot formerly occupied by "clean" can be filled in with something else. For that reason alone it's quite handy, and if you're playing Miriam, mark it down as a must-have!

Longevity Vaccine[edit]

  • Prerequisite: Bioengineering
  • +50% Economy at this base for Free Market economics
  • -2 Drones at every base for Planned economics
  • -1 Drone at every base for Simple or Green economics

The Clean Reactor tech also gives you a cash cow. If you have the Merchant Exchange someplace, toss this onto the pile as well, and you'll have a base that can single-handedly pay for the infrastructure at a lot of your bases. If not, it's fairly useful, but certainly not critical, though for Zak (when he's not running Market) the Drone control is nice.

Manifold Harmonics[edit]

  • Prerequisite: Secrets of the Manifolds
  • Increases monolith and fungus production according to your Planet rating:
    • 0 Planet: +1 energy
    • 1 Planet: +1 nutrient, +1 energy
    • 2 Planet: +1 nutrient, +1 mineral, +1 energy
    • 3+ Planet: +1 nutrient, +1 mineral, +2 energy

Alien Crossfire only

This project makes fungus the best terrain in the game. Unfortunately, if you're like most players, you've just spent the entire game minimizing the amount of fungus in your empire. It's a good project, don't get me wrong, but unless you're playing one of the Native lovers, it's not a great project.

Maritime Control Center[edit]

Comes a bit later in the early game, and is another project that provides free facilities. It's importance is directly tied to two things: What other factions are in the game (if the Pirates are playing, then you need this!), and how important a strong Naval presence is to your game. If Naval power is relatively unimportant to you, then skip this project, but note that whoever builds it will have ships with two (2) extra movement points, making Marine strikes of coastal bases that much harder to spot!

Merchant Exchange[edit]

A good project, but not a great project. For certain factions, it can be a godsend (Yang, Deirdre, and Cha'Dawn especially) but for others, it's almost a waste of time until energy restrictions come off (Example: Morgan: Running wealth gives him +1 energy per square anyway, and with a maximum of 2r pre-restriction lifting, a good portion of the power of the ME will be lost in the early game). Combine that with the fact that its impact is limited to one base, and you have a project which is useful in the early game, extremely useful in the middle game, but non-critical at any point.

side-note: it is truly amazing how powerful this wonder can be combined with the research enhancement wonders. You can create cities that generate research matching most of some other empires. This of course depends on your strategy, if playing with few cities, a must have.


  • Prerequisite: Industrial Nanorobotics
  • Allows units to be fully repaired when not in a base.
  • Halves the cost of upgrading units.

Anybody who has a standing army of any size at all (and you'd better, by this point in the game) will want this project! Not only does it dramatically lower your upgrade costs, but it also (and more importantly) allows your forces to fully recover in the field in a single turn. You just can't get any better than that!

Net-Hack Terminus[edit]

  • Prerequisite: Self-Aware Machines
  • +1 morale to all Probe Teams.
  • -25% cost of Probe Team actions.
  • Probe teams with Fusion Reactor or higher automatically have Algorithmic Enhancement.

Alien Crossfire only

Again, the probe bonus comes too late in the game to do you much good, as you would really have to try hard not to have elite Probe Teams, but if you missed the Hunter-Seeker Algorithm, this one's not bad to get.

(As a side note: what's with the name of this Project? Have your Probe Teams ascended so often in NetHack that they consider enemy security measures to be below their skills?)

Network Backbone[edit]

  • Prerequisite: Digital Sentience
  • Eliminates penalties for Cybernetic model
  • +1 research for each point of Commerce at this base.
  • +1 research for every Network Node in the game.

For the money, it's not as good as it should be, because its value is too much tied to world size, which in turn, helps determine overall number of bases. Nonetheless, because it helps research, it should be fairly high on your list. Cyborgs don't need it, because they're already immune to the negatives of Cybernetic society, but it's still nice for the research kick.

Neural Amplifier[edit]

Another project that comes later on in the early game, and one of the best defensive projects in the entire game. Essentially, this gives every unit you ever build the equivalent of "Trance" ability, and can be further enhanced by actually building "Trance" units. For Marketeers, this one is highly prized, and for players pursuing a heavy Native strategy, it's equally highly prized as part of a denial strategy. Non-native based Momentum players (and some Hybrids) will generally consider this project of only secondary importance and will seldom pursue it with much vigor.

Pholus Mutagen[edit]

  • Prerequisite: Centauri Genetics
  • +1 Ecology at every base
  • Your units gain combat advantages in fungus normally reserved for native life.
  • +1 lifecycle for any native units you breed

Unless you're one of the "Native" factions (and to a lesser extent, Morgan), this one's only marginally useful, though the ecology bonus will help you jack your mineral counts up slightly higher, but once you hit somewhere around 40, you really don't need that. Still, if you're playing Gaian, Cult, or Morgan, I'd put it fairly high on the list, and if you're playing against one of them, you'll want to pick it up just so they can't.

Planetary Datalinks[edit]

  • Prerequisite: Cyberethics
  • You automatically learn any tech discovered by three factions you have contact with.

Seldom even built in multiplayer games, unless it's a free-for-all with six players. Good one to deny the AI though.

Planetary Energy Grid[edit]

Alien Crossfire only

Even if you never plan to stockpile energy at any of your bases, the fact that it gives you a cash enhancing facility for free (no maintenance cost) at every base is an enormous boon. This project is everything that the Merchant Exchange is not, and is much more valuable because of it.

Planetary Transit System[edit]

  • Prerequisite: Industrial Automation
  • -1 Drones at all bases size 3 and under
  • Any bases you found start at size 3
  • Upon completion, bases size 2 or smaller immediately grow to size 3.

Even if you have no immediate plans to expand, this project is a must have from a denial standpoint! If you don't snag it, someone could quite easily "Borg" their way to dominance!

Beeline for the Industrial Automation tech that enables this and get it as early as possible, and you can easily double your population. The increase in population will translate to an early boost in production and energy, letting you get more units to defend yourself and more research bulbs to advance your tech.

This is the most important Secret Project in the game if you are doing a "smallpox" / "infinite city sprawl" expansion doctrine. All those little 1-population and 2-population bases will suddenly become 3-population bases on completion of this project. Leverage the extra production and research to cement any lead you form and you can dominate the rest of the game.

Self-Aware Colony[edit]

  • Prerequisite: Self-Aware Machines
  • Halves maintenance costs for facilities
  • If your Police rating allows use of police, counts as an extra police unit in every base.

The influx of cash you get when your maintenance costs are halved makes this project one of the fastest to pay for itself. If you're going for the economic win, this is crucial, and it's pretty important in general, because by this stage of the game, you've got a lot of maintenance every turn. A good investment, no matter how you slice it.

Singularity Inductor[edit]

Comes too late in the game to really be useful. By this point, you've got more mineral production than you need anyway. This is an average project, at best, and too expensive for the relatively short lifespan it has.

Space Elevator[edit]

  • Prerequisite: Super Tensile Solids
  • Allows units with Drop Pods to perform Orbital Insertions anywhere on the planet.
  • Doubles production in any bases producing orbital improvements.

If you're planning to make heavy use of Satellites to enhance your factors of production, or if you entered the space race late and want to play catch up, this project will be a huge boon; Players making heavy use of drop units will find this invaluable, using it to drop units deep in hostile territory.

One option that this project makes possible is the Drop Colony Pod. The ability to instantly build a base anywhere on the map is a tremendous boon.


If your middle game is not energy based, then it should be. Research and technology are so vital to the middle game, and a project like this – one that doubles lab outputs at a given base – how can you not start drooling over the prospect! No matter what your faction or pre-disposition, build it before someone else does! For maximum effectiveness, build it in a city with an already high lab output, and do the same for the Theory of Everything, giving you a super science city.

Telepathic Matrix[edit]

  • Prerequisite: Eudaimonia
  • Your bases never riot.
  • +2 Probe Team morale.

Most people stopped having drone problems a long time ago, and this project comes too late to really be of outstanding benefit for the money, but it does cut down on the need to micromanage your bases. The probe bonus is an utterly useless feature of this project, as by this point, your probes are elite anyway. They can't get any higher. Average at best, but handy if you're tired of micromanagement.

Theory of Everything[edit]

Another lab-doubler, and every bit as important as the one that comes before it. Get it. You need it. Trust me.

Universal Translator[edit]

  • Prerequisite: Homo Superior
  • Two free technology advances upon completion.
  • Any number of Alien Artifacts may be cashed in at this base.

Did somebody say free techs?! If you don't go for this one, you erode your tech position, allowing others to catch up, and if you're behind in tech, and happen to get to Homo-Superior first (thanks to your path up the tech-tree), this may be just the thing that enables you to catch up!

Virtual World[edit]

Any project that gives you a free facility which would normally require an upkeep cost if you had to actually build the facility it gives is automatically an important project, and even if drone control is not high on your list of concerns, building network nodes probably is, so why not have those net nodes serve two purposes, rather than just one? All in all, this is one of the most powerful early game projects around, both in terms of money saved by not having to build infrastructure, and in terms of control all the way through to the mid-game. Even more important to Zakharov to control his drones and he already has the nodes, for free.

Voice of Planet[edit]

Building this allows you to build the Ascent of Transcendence, although it may sometimes be best to wait for somebody else to build the Voice. Alien lifeforms you breed also get a +1 lifecycle bonus. If you must build the Voice yourself, start building it in your second-most productive base, then a few turns later in the most productive base, making sure it will finish in the former base first. Then when the Voice is built, switch your best base to building the Ascent!

This must also be built before you can build Temple of Planet facilities, but this is nearly inconsequential because the construction of the Voice of Planet marks the beginning of the end — if that hadn't begun already.

Weather Paradigm[edit]

  • Prerequisite: Centauri Ecology
  • Cuts terraforming times in half, and gives you access to all of the advanced terraforming techniques short of Soil Enrichment.

This project will help you enormously no matter what faction you play! The ability to begin construction of Condensers, Mirrors, and Boreholes inside the first hundred turns of play is....simply too huge to pass on! No matter what your style or faction of choice, this project should be very high on your list, and in MP games, whoever gets it will be far ahead of every other player in that game from the moment resource restrictions begin to come off.

Xenoempathy Dome[edit]

  • Prerequisite: Centauri Meditation
  • All fungus squares are treated as roads. The rate at which your formers plant and remove fungus is doubled. All native lifeforms you breed gain a +1 lifecycle bonus.

Anyone who plans on pursuing a "Native" strategy, or anyone who is completely hemmed in by fungus in the early game really, really, really needs this project. Otherwise, skip it for something more essential. Another unstated effect of this project is that units in fungus can fully heal. Another, less obvious use for this project is planting fungus as an offense. If you plant fungus all over your enemies territory, you get free roads to their bases, and they can't move their own units around as quickly.