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Example of in-game pollution (red squares) in the map
Pollution tab in the production GUI.

Pollution is represented as an abstract "cloud", updated per chunk every 64 ticks (which is 4 ticks more than a game-second), and visible on the map, when "alt-view" is on (default Alt-Key). It appears as a red colored blocky cloud.

It is produced by many buildings involved in processing items and spreads outwards at a steady rate.

The evolution factor is not increased by the spreading/absorbed pollution, but by the pollution produced by all the player's machinery at every tick. This means that no matter how hard the player tries to contain the pollution, enemies will still evolve at the same rate. They just won't attack the player as frequently. The pollution cloud is used to trigger biter attacks and determines the size of the attacks.

Pollution settings can be changed via map generation settings, or can be disabled entirely.

Pollution spread

As soon as a chunk has reached 15.0 pollution it starts spreading in all four cardinal directions at a rate of 2% per 64 ticks. Pollution can generate new chunks if it needs to spread to them.

For example, a chunk with 400.0 pollution and 4 adjacent chunks with 100.0 pollution each, raises the pollution in all adjacent chunks by 8.0 while reducing its own pollution by 32.0. But every one of the 4 surrounding spreads 2.0 pollution "back" to the center chunk, so it only loses 24.0 + absorbed value.

Pollution dissipation

  • Every chunk (32x32) of map slowly reduces the pollution it covers (See #Chunks). So the more the pollution spreads, the more is absorbed.
  • Trees also absorb some pollution (See #Trees).
  • Spawners absorb a great amount of pollution, and use this to assign enemies to attacks.

Native life

Pollution attracts biters to the Player's factory. Biters who find themselves in a polluted area will attempt to reach the source of pollution and destroy it. Any water near the source of pollution will turn green, which is a visual-only effect. The effect can be turned off by disabling animated water in the graphics settings.

If a chunk's pollution is greater than 20, each enemy spawner absorbs 20 + 0.01 * [chunk's pollution] every 64 ticks, otherwise it absorbs 3 times the amount of pollution needed for the most expensive unit it can spawn for the current evolution factor.

Higher pollution values decrease the time it takes for biters to join the attack force. After a certain amount of pollution is absorbed the spawner sends one of its biters/spitters to a rendezvous point. Every 1 to 10 minutes (random) the mustered biters launch an attack. If not all biters have arrived at the rendezvous point by that time, they will wait up to an additional 2 minutes for stragglers.

Required pollution to add an additional biter/spitter to the attack wave:

Pollution  Type 
Small biter 
20  Medium biter 
80  Big biter 
400  Behemoth biter 
Small spitter 
12  Medium spitter 
30  Big spitter 
200  Behemoth spitter 


Modules that list "+x% pollution" increase pollution multiplier, not a flat pollution rate. Final pollution value is (pollution multiplier * energy usage multiplier * base pollution), meaning heavily boosted buildings are likely to account for most of the pollution produced in a factory.


These tables contain information about the levels of pollution produced/absorbed by items in the game.


Structure Pollution per minute at full power
Stone furnace.png
Stone furnace
Steel furnace.png
Steel furnace
Electric furnace.png
Electric furnace
Burner mining drill.png
Burner mining drill
Electric mining drill.png
Electric mining drill
Assembling machine 1.png
Assembling machine 1
Assembling machine 2.png
Assembling machine 2
Assembling machine 3.png
Assembling machine 3
Oil refinery.png
Oil refinery
Chemical plant.png
Chemical plant

Fire on the ground and burning trees produce 0.3 pollution per minute.



Every 64 ticks, spawners absorb pollution until they have absorbed more than 3 times the amount needed to send the most expensive unit at the current evolution level.

If they have not absorbed more than that threshold, they will absorb 20 + 0.01 * [chunk's pollution] and check the threshold again.

Note that absorbing pollution is not for spawning biters, but for sending biters to an attack group. Spawners will spawn enemies regardless of pollution absorption until they reach their spawn limit.


Every chunk has a natural absorption rate per second which is determined by the sum of the pollution absorption of its floor tiles.

Tile Pollution per tile per second Pollution per chunk per minute Absorption rating
Grass 1-4 -0.0000075 -0.4608 10
Dirt 1-7, dry dirt -0.0000066 -0.405504 9
Red desert 0-3 -0.0000066 -0.405504 9
Sand 1-3 -0.0000058 -0.356352 8
Water, green water, deep water, deep green water, shallow water, mud water -0.000005 -0.3072 7
Nuclear ground -0.0000025 -0.1536 3
Path tiles (Stone bricks, concrete etc), landfill 0 0 0
Special tiles (Lab tiles, tutorial grid, Water Wube) 0 0 0
Out of map -0.00001 -0.6144 13


Every single tree absorbs a small amount of pollution in its chunk per second. If the total pollution in a chunk is above 60 units, once per second some of the trees in that chunk each have a chance to either lose one stage of leaves or have their leaves become one stage more gray. Regardless of whether the tree loses leaves or gets grayer, 10 pollution are absorbed by the tree.
A tree stops losing leaves/becoming more gray once the sum of its gray percentage and its leaves lost percentage is above 120%. 50% of trees stop their leaf progression one stage earlier. As the grayness and leaf stage are then locked for that tree forever, it is possible for trees to keep some leaves in heavily polluted chunks but in turn be very gray, or the other way around.
The less dense the leaves, the slower the tree absorbs pollution, however tree grayness does not affect pollution absorption.

Object Stage Pollution per second
Green tree.png Tree, red tree, brown tree 0 (Max leaf density) -0.001
1 -0.00067
2 -0.00033
3 (Min leaf density) 0
Dead dry hairy tree.png Dead dry hairy tree No stages -0.0001
Dead grey trunk.png Dead gray trunk No stages -0.0001
Dead tree desert.png Dead tree - desert No stages -0.0001
Dry hairy tree.png Dry hairy tree No stages -0.0001
Dry tree.png Dry tree No stages -0.0001


Pollution is directly connected to the following achievement:

It-stinks-and-they-dont-like-it-achievement.png It stinks and they dont like it

Trigger an alien attack by pollution.


  • 0.17.12:
    • Added pollution tab to the production statistics.
    • Spawner tooltip (including the pollution statistics), shows distribution of biters spawn for the current evolution factor with the pollution costs.
    • Pollution generation is now shown in the x/s format both on the entity and in the item/crafting slot.
    • Internal pollution values have been normalized, and they are now roughly 60 times less compared to what they were.
  • 0.17.0:
    • Rebalanced assembling machine 1,2 and 3 power consumption and pollution - higher tiers eat more power, but produce less pollution.
    • Changed spawner pollution absorption logic so that all the pollution on a chunk doesn't build up un-spent in a single spawner.
  • 0.13.2:
    • Optimized rendering of huge pollution clouds on the map.
  • 0.13.0:
    • Large amounts of pollution is created when burning fires.
    • Pollution creation of the productivity module was reduced drastically.
    • Optimized pollution rendering on map and minimap.
  • 0.12.0:
    • Trees degenerate slowly when exposed to pollution at high levels.
  • 0.8.0:
    • Added option to turn off pollution visibility even when detailed info is on.
  • 0.7.1:
    • Speed modules no longer produce extra pollution.
    • Added missing pollution descriptions.
    • Pollution is only shown on the minimap with alt mode on.
  • 0.7.0:
    • Introduced concept of pollution.

See also