Humans in Outer Colony consume and produce media, like news reports and fictional stories. Interaction with media constitutes a very important part of NPCs’ leisure activities, and the media that a person consumes can have a significant effect on their value systems, views of other cultures, and general behavior patterns. Manipulating the content of the media available to your population plays a large role in controlling their thoughts and promoting the sort of local culture you want.


“The Violent Probotorin Who Would Nap”, a popular, new children’s story by Dav Stoneforge. Considered degenerate by the local culture for its concurrent promotion of aggression and light heartedness. Note: a probotorin is a type of flightless bird.


  • Media is an important part of life for all humans in Outer Colony.
  • Media can exist on physical items, like books, or it can exist in a virtual state on the planetary datanet.
    • The datanet is Outer Colony’s analog for the internet. Virtual media is created here and disseminated across the world. It’s very useful for introducing media to foreign audiences, as the whole datanet is available to every colony on a world.
    • A portal of some kind is required to consume or create virtual media. Datanet terminals and technovision sets fill this role.
    • Physical books have many limitations, but are preferred to virtual media when available, as humans are somewhat tactile creatures.
  • When a human consumes media, the human’s own value system and culture views are influenced by that media. Controlling media content can help to promote desirable belief systems among your population.
  • You can control the content of media produced by professional authors. NPCs with activities under the author profession enabled will produce media during their work shifts.
    • Professional authors can produce media specifically intended to be consumed by your population. The content of this media is controlled by your colony’s culture policy.
    • Professional authors can produce media specifically intended to be consumed by foreign populations. The content of this media is controlled by your colony’s propaganda policy.
    • Professional authors can produce media specifically intended to be consumed by your prison population. The content if this media is controlled by your colony’s prison culture policy.
  • You can’t directly control the content of media produced by NPCs during their leisure shifts. This sort of media is of a more personal nature, and authors will express their own thoughts here.
    • Personal media is naturally more powerful than media that’s created as a job.
  • You can enact laws to control the production and consumption of media that runs counter to your own culture policy.
    • You can prohibit the consumption of degenerate media. This can cause negative feelings in a large portion of your population, as intellectual, rebellious, and other sorts of NPCs won’t readily accept these laws.
    • You can constrain freedom of expression by prohibiting the production of degenerate media. This can cause even more serious problems with highly intellectual and creative NPCs.
  • All media has some content associated with it. In the case of written works, the content is the procedurally generated writing of the author. This can take the form of a treatise, a fictional work, a news report, a children’s story, or other sort of material. The content itself can be useful.

Physical and Virtual Media


A view of media entries on the planetary Data Net.

Media in Outer Colony can exist in both physical and virtual forms. Physical media is conveyed via tangible items, like writing in books or notebooks. Virtual media exists as entries on the DataNet, which is a planetary information network that’s accessible via DataNet terminals. Media content itself does not differ based on format, but the different conveyances of that content present their own advantages.

Virtual Media and the DataNet

Virtual media exists independently of any individual item, and it’s accessible all across a planet via DataNet terminals. DataNet terminals are special items (found under the furniture category) that can be used to access all media on the DataNet. This gives virtual entries a variety of advantages over physical ones:

  • Any media created on the DataNet has a global reach. It’s available wherever a DataNet terminal exists, both in your colony and in others.  This makes it an extremely useful mechanism for creating propaganda for enemy consumption.
  • Media can be created on the DataNet without consuming physical items. Books and notebooks require paper to produce, which must either be acquired via trade or paper industry.

The downside of the DataNet is that it requires terminals to view. Terminals, while fairly easy to manufacture, require more of an investment in material and manufacturing capacity than books. Additionally, just as your broadcasts on the DataNet can reach others, so too can other colonies’ DataNet broadcasts reach your population. Without laws to regulate media consumption, your population can be manipulated by foreign propaganda. With laws to regulate media, elements of your population may experience negative feelings from being constrained.

Physical Media (Books, Notebooks, etc.)


A physical copy of the book “City State”, one of the great works of the Core.

Physical media exists on tangible items, like books and notebooks. Its advantages are the inverse of virtual media’s benefits. If you create a system of only physical media in your colony, you can satisfy your population’s media requirements without exposing them to the foreign material of the DataNet. Building the industry required for producing paper and books is more work than deploying DataNet terminals, but physical media isn’t dependent on your power grid.

Remember, though, that a system with only physical media isn’t a surefire safeguard against subversive ideas. Dissident elements within your own colony will still create any media they feel like in a law system with free expression.

Finally, humans tend to prefer physical media to its virtual counterpart, and when all other things are equal, they’ll consume physical media first.

Media Consumption and Production Requirements for a Colony


Media requested states from an entire colony that has no access to media.

Access to new media is a near-requirement for your NPCs. While not as necessary as food and water (NPCs can live without media), humans will experience frustration if there’s no media to consume during their leisure shifts, resulting in worse moods.


Negative feelings from inadequate media access.

There are different ways to make media available to your NPCs. You can import physical media, like books, via trade. Books will usually contain great archetypical works of literature of your offworld trade partner’s parent culture, so importing literature from a particular trade partner can be a way to move your local culture closer to a desired state.

You can also manufacture DataNet terminals and deploy them inside rooms with power. These devices will allow NPCs to access the DataNet. They can be used to author new media or to consume existing media available on the net. Under most circumstances, deploying several DataNet terminals to a communal room is sufficient for feeding your colony’s media needs.

Media Effects


A political treatise, generally demonizing Iron Gear culture.

All media in Outer Colony conveys some set of ideas. The ideas that can be expressed range from portraying certain activities or physical features as attractive to views on foreign cultures. Whenever a person consumes media, their value system is adjusted to some degree for the media they’re consuming. The effectiveness of the media depends on a variety of factors, including the skill of the author. The intellect of the reader also plays a large role (less intellectual individuals are influenced more readily), as does the consumer’s conformist-rebellious personality trait.

Because of the effect that media has on the thought patterns of its consumers, it plays an integral role in promoting whatever local culture you desire. Producing effective media and encouraging consumption of positive media are keys to success in this regard.

Controlling Media Content

You can control the content of all professionally produced media in your colony. This is accomplished by configuring your colony’s culture policy, propaganda policy, and prison culture policy, which are covered in a supplemental article.

It’s not possible, however, to directly control the media produced by NPCs on their leisure time. All media written by NPCs of their own volition reflects the personal value system of the author. This isn’t a problem at all if the author’s views are generally in line with official colony policy. This can be a problem when the author’s views do not align with policy, as is often the case with rebellious or intellectual NPCs.

To control your population’s relationship with media during leisure time, you can enact media related laws to regulate personal consumption and production of media.

Media Related Laws


The law configuration interface, showing the establishment of punishment for consumption of degenerate media.

Media related laws are used to control your NPCs’ creation and use of media. Media laws are configured just like any other laws for your colony, via the law configuration interface. In general, media related laws work the same as all others. Existence of punishment for prohibited activities will discourage NPCs from undertaking them. Sometimes, however, NPCs will choose to break the law, making them criminals that are subject to the law’s specified punishment. Normal police, prison guards, and a prison infrastructure are required to apprehend criminals and carry out the punishments, and the normal effects of punishment on criminal NPCs and their social networks all apply.

Two specific statutes can be enacted that relate to media. Both revolve around prohibition of degenerate media. Degenerate media is defined as media that deviates too greatly from proscribed norms of your colony’s culture policy. This is the sort of media that leads your NPCs astray, and the sort that one would want to ban as leader of a colony.

The first possible statute is for punishing the production of degenerate media. This will make authoring media that deviates from culture policy a crime. Its effects are generally not as far reaching as punishing consumption of degenerate media, but they are profound. Intellectual and creative NPCs will almost always want to express themselves freely in writings produced during their leisure time. When this law is enacted, all of these NPCs will experience strongly negative feelings from having their freedom of expression constrained.

Furthermore, if aggression is paired with high intellect or creativity, these sorts of NPCs will choose to break this law. This will make some of your most valuable NPCs, in terms of their ability to manufacture excellent goods, into less valuable criminals.

The second possible statue is for punishing the mere consumption of degenerate media. This kind of law can be highly effective in forcing your NPCs to consume only the media that promotes desirable views. It can be a quick path to building the exact sort of local culture you want. However, enacting this law can make a large portion of your population into criminals, as almost anyone with access to a DataNet terminal and a bit of guts can decide to break this law. Additionally, less intellectual NPCs will also experience negative thoughts from living under such a restrictive system.

Media regulation laws can be a very powerful tool in directing the thoughts of your population. They’re a sharply double-edged sword, though, and their indiscriminate use can rob a colony of its best people, or worse.

Media Content


A treatise praising the virtues of Core World culture.


Whenever you view a media entry on the DataNet or media content on a physical item, some of the actual writings of the NPCs are made available. The writings are a sort of procedural generation within procedural generation, as NPCs try to share their actual thoughts, experiences, and views in Outer Colony via natural language. The system is imperfect and can sometimes be a bit funny, but its aim is to provide some interesting and fun insight into the virtual minds of NPCs and their worlds.

NPCs in Outer Colony can write about a variety of topics. These include political and cultural treatises, romantic fiction, memoirs, historical records, periodicals, children’s books, divinely inspired fiction (in rare cases), and others. Samples of some of these sorts of writings are shared below.

Some writings, too, are not procedurally generated. Media archetypes are the great works of prominent cultures, and these are works that provide special insight into the belief system of archetype cultures. These works aren’t written by your NPCs, but can be attained by trading for books with off worlders or NPCs from other colonies.

Writing Samples


A historical record, describing a point in time in the author’s colony.



A news report of a battle that occurred on a nearby world. Other nearby worlds are modeled basically in Outer Colony, and periodicals are a way to learn of the events taking place there.



Another extremely bizarre children’s story about the author’s favorite animal, the Skysail. I’m not sure why these keep turning out so strangely.


A work of fiction promoting the beauty of redheads and acquisition of simple tables.



The laughably inane autobiography of Bel Holme.

Posted in NPCs