Outer Colony is a game of data. Lots of data. Making sense of all this data is essential for understanding the effects of your policies and ensuring that your colony is moving in the direction you want. Outer Colony makes it easy to understand all the depth and nuance of a world via metrics.
- Much of Outer Colony’s data is easier to understand by way of visuals. Graphs of various kinds are provided to help express large amounts of data in an instant.
- All sorts of metrics are provided to monitor progress of your colony as a whole.
- Many metrics are also available for monitoring the growth and development of individual NPCs.
- Outer Colony provides some specialized views to display current data in as concise a format as possible.
- Outer Colony also provides views to display historical data, making it easy to understand the changes that are taking place over time. OC is constantly gathering data points in the background, and all of this data is made available to players so that they can recognize trends and lead their colony more effectively.
The Importance of Data
Every action you take in Outer Colony can have a great many implications. Issuing an order or changing a single cultural policy value can change many things for many NPCs, over the long term. These changes can affect your NPCs’ personalities, feelings, physical properties, world views and personal preferences, social networks, and more. Fortunately, Outer Colony keeps track of much of this data and presents it to the player in a useful, easily understood, condensed format. All this data is essential to managing your colony, and OC provides a variety of tools to make the data analysis fun and easy.
Viewing Colony Metrics
Some of the metrics that Outer Colony provides describe your colony as a whole. Many of these are average or proportional values that provide insight into your overall population. To view this colony level data, select “Colony Metrics” from the information menu at the top of the interface, as shown below:
Making this selection will load the colony metrics window. All sorts of data views are provided here, and most of these are self explanatory. Selecting an option from the right side of this interface will load appropriate data. Some of these options show historical data (many data points, gathered over the course of time) while others focus on current data (the state of your colony right now).
Let’s look at some historical data for a colony, and let’s pay specific attention to the physical makeup of our population. We’ll focus on something basic, like hair color makeup of your population. Selecting the “Hair Color Distribution” from the right side of the interface, under “Historical Data”, will provide the following sort of view:
Most of this graph should be pretty intuitive. The left side of the graph shows numbers from zero to one. This number represents the portion of the population with a certain hair color. Looking at the line for blonde hair, we can see that at the colony’s start, 50% of its people had blonde hair. The text at the bottom of the graph signifies the world time stamp of the data points. For example, at the left, “D:0 H:1” refers to hour one of day zero of world time, or right around the start of the colony.
If we look over this specific data, we can see some minor fluctuations over the course of the selected time period, but the ratios remain fairly constant. Suppose that we want to focus in on some specific time frame instead of viewing all the historic data available. There’s an interesting jump the proportion of blondes, accompanied by a dip in other hair colors, toward the end of world day 4, so let’s focus on that. If you look at the top right of the interface, there are controls for selecting a date range. Entering min and max times will narrow the data points presented, as shown below:
This graph shows us just a portion of days 4 and 5. We can see that at hour 18, a small change in ratios occurred (this was due to the birth of a single child, with brown hair), and that another small change happened at hour 21 (another birth). Hour 22 sees a larger change across multiple hair colors, and this time stamp corresponds to a migration event. A bunch of new migrants arrived, which caused this particular change.
Historical data views are extremely useful for identifying trends, but sometimes you just want to focus on the state of your colony right now. For this, all sorts of current data options are provided toward the bottom of the data selection controls. For example, let’s suppose that I wanted to see the physical properties of people in my colony, focusing on the dexterity (how coordinated people are) of my population. This is a useful physical property that helps with all sorts of actions, like aiming rifles or performing intricate, manual labor. The selection below shows this data:
Looking at this chart, each bar corresponds to a segment of a population that falls into a category, ranging from one extreme classification to another. Over a huge, randomized population, the distribution of people in these categories should match a normal distribution (it should look like a bell curve if your population is normal). Shapes that don’t look like a bell curve indicate some deviation from normal. In this case, my colony is populated by bumbling clods!
Why is this? Some of it might be genetic, some of it is from education policies and cultural policies that de-emphasize physical prowess and training. I can adjust education policies to try to produce children that are better trained in this skill, or I can try to recruit specific migrants that bring this sort of trait to the population. But right now, my population is uncoordinated by comparison to the universal norm. I probably won’t be able to train many elite snipers, for example, as a result of this problem, and this view of the data makes this immediately apparent.
Viewing Individual Metrics
Sometimes, you might want to view metrics for a specific person in your colony. After all, your colony level data is just the sum total of all your individual data! Remarkable individuals can matter quite a bit, and sometimes you need to pay special attention to your colony’s key personnel.
In order to view individual data, use the inspection tool to bring up detailed data about the person of interest. Next, click on the “View Metrics” button, as shown below:
This will load the individual metrics interface, which works just like the colony metrics interface that’s described above, except that it shows data for one specific person. For example, suppose that we want to see how this specific person’s physical properties have changed over time. Selecting “Physical Property Values” under “Historical Data” will generate a chart like the one below:
What is this graph telling us? Over time, we can see moderate increases in Torle’s strength, stamina, and dexterity. This makes sense, since when we look at Torle’s activity data, we can see that she’s configured to function primarily as a construction worker:
This all meshes with memory data from having done her job over the course of this time, as performing construction jobs will increase a person’s strength, stamina, and dexterity. It all fits together!
Just like for colony level data, we can view all kinds of current data for individuals, too. For example, if we want to see how Torle views foreign cultures, we just need to make the right selections, and a chart like the one below will be provided. Let’s see how Torle currently views Core World culture:
What does Torle, a Surssian, think of Core Worlders? They’re very nice and have something of a coolness to them, but they’re decidedly degenerate. How has she reached these conclusions? From media she’s consumed and socialization with a Core World trade party, this is what she now thinks. This sort of view of Core Worlders is typical for Surssians, as Core World values are fundamentally a bit off from a rigid, disciplined, Surssian perspective.
What does it all mean?
Ultimately, you can have a lot of fun with the metrics, when you view them from the right perspective. Each set of metrics tells an individual NPC’s story, showing how it grows and changes as a result of all its cumulative experiences throughout its life. You can even match up specific experiences from memory data with specific changes in an NPC! In the same way that individual metrics tell the story of a specific person, colony metrics tell the story of your society. The point of all this is to provide as much insight as possible, so that players can understand and enjoy their Outer Colony worlds.