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Important things to know before starting a game

- As of 1.79 ALLIANCES ARE BROKEN. Do NOT use them.

- Setting autosave to each turn in game setup will avoid you many frustrations.

General Info

When was SE5 released?

The game was officially released 16 October 2006, though it was found in some stores (notably various stores in Australia and Gamestop in the United States) somewhat earlier.

What is the current version of SE5?

The current version of the game is 1.79, which was released on 06 May 2009.

What are some of the improvements over SE4?

  • True 3D solar system.
  • 3D space combat.
  • 3D ground combat.
  • Right-click menus to give orders.
  • Government and Society Types.
  • Ship Design with specific hardpoints.
  • Form Alliances of multiple empires.
  • Customizable elements to treaties.
  • Complete game key mapping.
  • Combat with ships emerging from warp points.
  • Task Forces within Fleets.
  • Formations and Strategies for fleets and task forces.
  • SE3 style research.
  • SE3 style intelligence.
  • Planetary Damage.
  • Scriptable AI.
  • Scriptable Intelligence Events.
  • Scriptable External Events.
  • Built in support for Mods.
  • Formulas for data field values.
  • Custom sorting options.
  • Customizable Damage Types.
  • Customizable Planet Atmospheres and Types.
  • Customizable game text and fonts.
  • Customizable score computations.
  • Customizable Victory Conditions.
  • Customizable Unit capabilites.
  • Customizable Ship experience levels.

Demo Version

Does the Demo have everything the full game has?

No, the demo is a limited version of the full game. The full game has 15 full empires, 10 neutral empires, full multiplayer support, more components, more facilities, full modding support, and no 100 turn limit!

Can I continue a game from the demo in the full version?

No, you cannot continue a demo game in the full game. Because the demo is a limited version of the full game, it does not contain the same data files. You need to start a new game when you get the full version

User Interface

Tip: - Remember to check your game options when you first run the game and your empire options at the start of a new game sessions - you may want to change some of them (especially the component sorting in design screen). - Use shift + click to add multiple items in the design screen without going back and forth (you can also try to auto-complete) - You can click on column headers to reduce the size of images in lists

How do I scrap facilities?

In SE5, facilities are treated like cargo (though they cannot be carried aboard ships). To scrap them, you must use the scrap cargo button (Ctrl + K hotkey). You can also scrap enemy units still on surface on the planet when you capture it (mostly used for satellites)


Use shift+click on arrow to add/remove 10% instead of 1% (this also works in the trade screen when giving ressources).



The default AI is considered under developed and does not present much of a challenge for most players. The difficulty settings do not have any known in-game effect, but the AI bonus settings do have a pronounced effect and can improve the challenge to some degree. Further difficulty can be achieve by selecting AI team mode, which bands the AI players together versus human players.

There are several mods available that provide alternative AIs that are more fully developed. See Mods (SEV).

AI Diplomacy

The default AI's diplomacy routines are fairly random. When proposing a treaty, they will select treaty elements randomly based on their anger level towards other players. When receiving a treaty proposal, they will examine each treaty element and try to exclude any elements that exceed their anger level towards the proposing player in a counter offer. However, if the AI is angry enough to start with, they will reject the treaty outright regardless of its contents.

What is the "emergency medical" sharing option for in treaties and alliances?

It allows allies to provide plague treatment assistance to each other.

Why are there no moons?

The short answer is that SE5 does in fact have moons, they just exist in separate hexes from the parent planet. Read this article for a more in-depth explanation.

Why do I have zero Research Points?

There are a few different reasons why you have zero Research Points each turn: a. None of the planets in your empire have Research Center facilities. b. Even if you have Research Center facilities, there is no Spaceport in the same system, so no resources are contributed to your Empire. c. A treaty with another empire specifies that you are not allowed to do research.


Units can be retrofitted. See [[1]] for more information.


Why do my drones flee?

In the standard game, Drones are set to "Seek Towards Target and Ram". If they do not have at least one warhead component, they will not engage any targets. You can change this behavior by removing the "Seek Towards Target and Ram" setting for Drones in VehicleUnitTypes.txt in the data folder. A number of mods already make this change.

Why do my defense bases not fire their weapons?

Unlike previous Space Empires games, bases require supplies to fire weapons or raise shields. Adding supply storage components when designing your bases will solve this issue. Be sure to add ordnance storage as well if you are using weapons that require ordnance.

Game customisation

What is "stock"?

It's the game with no modified files, in other words a game that hadn't been modded. (Some mods choose to change only very specific parts of the game - search for DarkUI, or Unnamed's mod for instance.)

How do I play with a default empire if I don't use quick start?

Either find a empire pack somewhere (forums or wiki), or start a quick game with the empire of your choice, press ESC and save your empire. Warning - you might have to first set the available research points very high to remove the loaded by default planet colonisation tech (you'll still have it at the start of the game). The default empire password is "master". Copy the AI design names text file from the Empires/Your empire/ to Data/DesignNames folder to be able to use their default names.

Game Concepts

Cultural Achievements

They give an immediate bonus to some aspects of your empire (for instance increased war tolerance), allowing you to "customise" it further. To know what bonus each one of them provides, look at the appropriate section in the Help screen (Shift+H).