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Example of in-game pollution (red squares) in the map

Pollution is represented as an abstract "cloud", updated per chunk every game second (60 ticks) 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 game-second (60 ticks).

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 Pollution#Chunks). So the more the pollution spreads, the more is absorbed.
  • Trees also absorb some pollution (See Pollution#Trees).
  • Spawners absorb a great amount of pollution, and use this to produce enemies.

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.

Each spawner absorbs 20 + 0.01 * [chunk's pollution] every game second (60 ticks) if the chunk's pollution is greater than 20. If there is 20 or less pollution in the chunk, the spawner absorbs all the pollution.

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 
200  Small biter 
1,000  Medium biter 
4,000  Big biter 
20,000  Behemoth biter 
200  Small spitter 
600  Medium spitter 
1,500  Big spitter 
10,000  Behemoth spitter 

With 1350 absorbed pollution at the time of attack the following wave consists of 6 small biters and 1 medium biter OR 6 small spitters and 2 medium spitters depending on the spawner's type and evolution factor.


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.


Object Pollution per KW per game second (60 ticks) Pollution per game second at full power
Stone furnace.png
Stone furnace
0.01/KW 1.8
Steel furnace.png
Steel furnace
0.02/KW 3.6
Electric furnace.png
Electric furnace
0.005/KW 0.9
Burner mining drill.png
Burner mining drill
0.03333/KW 10
Electric mining drill.png
Electric mining drill
0.1/KW 9
0.1/KW 9
Assembling machine 1.png
Assembling machine 1
0.03333/KW 3
Assembling machine 2.png
Assembling machine 2
0.016/KW 2.4
Assembling machine 3.png
Assembling machine 3
0.00857/KW 1.8
0.004/KW 0.12
0.01538/KW 27.6923
Oil refinery.png
Oil refinery
0.00857/KW 3.6
Chemical plant.png
Chemical plant
0.00857/KW 1.8
0.016/KW 5.6

Fire on the ground and burning trees produce 0.005 pollution per tick.



If a chunk's pollution is greater than 20, each enemy spawner absorbs 20 + 0.01 * [chunk's pollution] every game second (60 ticks), otherwise it absorbs the chunk's total pollution.


Every chunk has a natural absorption rate per tick which is determined by the weighted average of its floor tiles.

Following numbers are the pollution reduction for a full chunk (32x32 tiles) composed of the same floor tiles per tick.

Tile Pollution per tick Pollution per second
Grass 1-4 -0.00045 -0.027
Dirt 1 -0.0004 -0.024
Dirt 2-7 -0.00045 -0.027
Dry dirt -0.00039 -0.0234
Sand 1-3 -0.00039 -0.0234
Red desert 0 -0.00045 -0.027
Red desert 1-3 -0.0004 -0.024
Water, Green water, Deep water, Deep green water -0.0003 -0.018
Path tiles (Stone bricks, concrete etc) 0.0 0.0
Special tiles (Lab tiles, out of map, tutorial grid) -0.0006 -0.036


Every single tree absorbs a small amount of pollution in its chunk per tick if the total pollution in that chunk is above 3500 units. By absorbing pollution, trees lose their leaves for every 500 pollution absorbed. The less dense the leaves, the slower the tree absorbs pollution.

Object Stage Pollution per tick Pollution per second
Green tree.png Tree, red tree, brown tree 0 (Max leaf density) -0.001 -0.06
1 -0.00067 -0.04
2 -0.00033 -0.02
3 (Min leaf density) 0 0
Dead dry hairy tree.png Dead dry hairy tree No stages -0.0001 -0.006
Dead grey trunk.png Dead grey trunk No stages -0.0001 -0.006
Dead tree desert.png Dead tree - desert No stages -0.0001 -0.006
Dry hairy tree.png Dry hairy tree No stages -0.0001 -0.006
Dry tree.png Dry tree No stages -0.0001 -0.006


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.


  • 0.13.2:
    • 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