There are many megastructures in Stellaris with powerful benefits. However they are expensive to build or repair. Crucially, they also rely on rare and late game technologies. This makes it hard to secure their benefits early enough in the game for them to matter. This guide will help you to get there as early as possible.
The absolutely critical tech to acquire is the rare late game technology Mega Engineering.
This is because it is the prerequisite for unlocking the Galactic Wonders perk and is a prerequisite for specific Megastructure technologies. Mega Engineering is also needed for repairing the various ruined megastructures.
Most of this article is about how to get Mega Engineering through honest grind without banking on the whimsy of RNG. However it would be remiss of me not to mention the absolutely shortest path to Mega Engineering, so here goes.
If you are lucky enough to RNG or replay your way into getting the Cybrex precursor and you complete it to find and claim the Cybrex home system. Then you can drop some relics on gaining the Secrets of Cybrex project. The project costs 12k in engineering research and once complete will divvy up Mega Engineering as a research option.
If you did not roll the Cybrex then you will have to grind through Mega Engineering’s prerequisites.
Mega Engineering is a tier 5 engineering technology within the voidcraft specialism. It has the Citadel, Battleship and Zero-point techs as prerequisites. Citadel and Battleship techs are also engineering techs in the voidcraft specialism. Zero-point energy is in physics with particles specialism.
Consequently besides just having general good research power we particularly want extra engineering research points. The species traits Natural Engineers, Masterful Crafters and Introspective are good for this.
Research options are a random draw but the odds are stacked by different weighting.
Having a voidcraft specialist will increase the chances of drawing the techs needed to reach Citadels (Starhold > Starfortress > Citadel) and Battleships (Destroyers > Cruiser > Battleships).
Also adopting the Supremacy tradition tree helps the chance of drawing the ship progression of techs. Adopting the Unyielding tradition tree helps draw the starbase progression.
It is only needed to adopt the respective tradition trees to increase these chances.
If you are playing with the Overlord DLC you can get non-random access to the starbase techs through acquiring a bulwark vassal.
Having a particles specialist in Physics will increase the chances of drawing Zero Point tech tree (Fusion Power > Cold Fusion Power > Antimatter Power > Zero). These techs are also more likely to come up if you already have the relevant tier techs in the Battleship line.
Once you have the prerequisite technologies for the Mega Engineering tech your chances of drawing that option are increased by the following situations:
For this reasons the Shattered Ring (Ring World) and Galactic Doorstep (Gateway) origins are the most reliable for gaining Mega Engineering early.
Void Dwellers is also fair. Void Dwellers only guarantees early habitats but since Gateways are fairly common it should not be hard to get one no matter what your origin.
Besides needing specific prerequisites, technologies have a general prerequisite that at least six technologies of a lower tier must be held in the respective domain of research before it can be drawn.
For example, even if you have Battleships (tier 4 Engineering), Citadels (tier 4 Engineering) and Zero-point Power (tier 4 Physics) you can not draw Mega-Engineering until you also hold four other (to make six) tier 4 Engineering techs.
In game, the research cards do not explicitly state their tier. However in general techs cost more in research points the higher their tier. So the most expensive cards in your regular draw will be the highest tier technologies available to you in that area of research.
Consequently the fastest way to unlock higher tiers is to always prefer researching the most expensive techs in your regular draw. By regular draw I am referring to tech options that are not highlighted in gold at the bottom of a selection technology options.
Occasionally certain special events or origins (such as Void Dwellers in the example above) can allow research options from a higher tier than has been unlocked by regular research.
These techs do count towards tier requirements but if they are very much more expensive than your current set of options then they will not help unlock your next tier yet.
Once you have Mega-Engineering you can unlock the Galactic Wonders perk. It is wise to save a perk point for that event. You can begin repairing ruined megastructures with only Mega-Engineering. To build other megastructures there are more technologies to research.
Besides the technology requirement, you will also need huge amounts of alloys and a lot of time to build or repair them. The following help to speed up build times:
The following are various empire qualities, from origins to civics that are particularly useful for a beeline to megastructures
Origin: Shattered Ring, Galactic Doorstep or Void Dwellers
Traits: Natural Engineers, Intelligent, Industrious (to help with stacking alloys)
Ethics: Fanatical Materialist (for the research bonus), Egalitarian or Authoritarian (for the production bonus).
Government Type: Any, although the unity bonus from Oligarchical and Mega Corps may be marginally more useful than the others.
Regular civics: Technocracy, Masterful Crafters and Mining Guilds (for bonus materials)
Megacorp civics: Mastercraft Inc
Machine Intelligence civics: Introspective, Static Research Analysis, Rockbreakers
Organic Hivemind civics: nothing good here really
Hire research leaders until voidcraft and particles specialists are found and put into research.
Adopt Supremacy for first tradition to increase chance of getting the ship techs. Adopt Unyielding for second tradition to increase chance of starhold techs. Then take the Discovery tradition at least for Research Alternatives.
Ideally you will get ships before starholds because it will help get the power techs too.
Once you have both ships and starhold techs you can switch your research specialism for Industry and Materials to help get important productivity techs.
Once you have zero point power you can switch your physics research leader for computing to help draw techs for general bonuses to research.
First Ascension Perk should be Technological Ascendency.
While doing this make sure to have plenty of starholds to maximise the chance of drawing Mega Engineering as a research option.
If possible make the second perk Galactic Wonders. Third can be Master Builders.
None of this will do much good if your resources are too anemic to build anything so stack up the alloys too. Repairing a ruined mega-structure costs a minimum of 10,000 alloys. Multi-stage mega-structures require many thousands of alloys for each stage.
What this guide helpful? What is the earliest you were able to get Mega-Engineering?