Local Culture

As in the real world, cultures aren’t strictly the domain of nation states. Just as companies, military units, and cliques can have their own local cultures, each colony has its own culture that can grow and evolve independent of its parent organization’s culture. On some level, a culture is just an amalgamation of the views and behavior patterns of a group’s individual members, and that’s precisely how local cultures are modeled in Outer Colony.


A view of local culture changing its esteem of personality traits over time. This culture regards loyalty, inventiveness, and compassion highly, making it ideal for practicing medicine.


  • Each colony has its own local culture that can change from its parent organization’s cultural archetype.
  • A local culture’s values are a reflection of the average values of all its individuals.
  • As individuals within a population change their thoughts and feelings, so, too, does a local culture change.
  • Forming the right sort of local culture is just as important to your colony as it is to any organization. Local culture is what separates a fierce, militaristic colony from an eclectic clique of bohemian artists.
  • While local culture is useful as a measurement of your population’s progress toward your established ideals, it also factors into individuals’ decision making processes. For example, a person’s fear of dishonor depends heavily on local culture values.
  • A local culture encompasses nearly all the sorts of feelings and behavioral tendencies that an individual can have in their personal preferences.
  • Since local cultures are really just a summation of individual values, a local culture is changed by influencing many individuals over time.  As such, media production and guiding a population’s experiences are the keys to promoting a local culture, just as they are the keys to shaping individuals.

What Local Culture Encompasses

A local culture has values for most of the thoughts and feelings that individual NPCs can have. Local culture includes:

  • How the group values personality traits. Valuing traits highly will make individuals strive toward them in behavior. It will also make individuals that exhibit these traits more attractive, increasing their occurrence in populations over time.
  • How the group values physical traits.
  • What sorts of things the group considers attractive.
  • What sort of stats the group finds desirable on items. This helps to promote a particular sort of consumer culture.
  • What sort of items the group finds desirable.
  • How the group views other cultures.

Some of the influence of local culture occurs at a population, in guiding which NPCs are seen as most attractive, which helps to determine which produce most prolifically. If you play a colony for many generations, you should see the genetically inherited characteristics gradually fall into line with the attractiveness and other preferences of your local culture.


After an extensive propaganda campaign, females in this colony find combat experience highly attractive, while expert engineers (producers of top-flight items) are not seen as being attractive. This will result in more reproduction for tough, soldierly guys.

Local culture also influences individual NPC behaviors, as most NPCs strive toward behavior that exemplifies your society’s valued traits. This factors into how NPCs select goals and choose actions to achieve those goals. It’s worth noting, however, that not all NPCs respond to local culture in the same way. For example, the conformist-rebel personality trait largely determines how NPCs weigh local culture in their decision making processes. Rebellious NPCs might act in the opposite way of what you’d expect, given the local culture.

Viewing Local Culture Data

To view data about your local culture, check the colony metrics dialog. Historical data can be seen there, too, which helps to identify whether your colony is trending in the direction you want or not.

Manipulating Your Local Culture

Local culture, especially in larger colonies, takes time to manipulate. Since it’s an expression of the views of all your individuals, you’ll have to change average ways of thinking across most of the individual NPCs in your society. This is most directly accomplished through directed media campaigns, governed by your colony’s cultural policy. You can also produce propaganda for external consumption in order to subvert enemy cultures and push them toward destructive tendencies. Finally, creating an environment that promotes particular experiences that are in line with your objective (like developing esprit de corps in a widespread military training regimen) can help to promote the local culture you want.

Posted in Game Design, NPCs