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Swamp and forest tiles require a nearby source of water. It seems that creating a larger ocean than the range of the Ocean Giant's ability can extend the number of hydrated tiles next to the ocean.

Desert tiles require a mountain to be nearby (there doesn't even need to be a source of water on the planet). I haven't noticed an increased number of desert tiles due to having a larger mountain.

You can also create a large Desert, Forest, or Swamp region by placing two oceans/mountains far enough away from each other to not overlap.

What is the best way to create a large unbroken habitable region, and how many tiles will that region cover?

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Dune

Desert: 100 patches (the whole planet)

Deserts don't need mountains to exist. After a mountain has been created it can be leveled with The Ocean Giant and the desert will remain. This way you can cover the whole planet in one big desert.

Endor

Forest or Swamp: 69 patches

Forests and swamps has to be placed on hydrated land. The default ocean of 9 patches will hydrate 13 patches of land on either side of the ocean. Bigger oceans hydrates more patches. The formula is:

hydrated patches = 2 * ocean patches + 8

By making an ocean that is 31 patches we can hydrate 2 * 31 + 8 = 70 patches of land which will cover the rest of the planet. We lose one patch due to overlap, hence 69 is the best we can do.

Dagobah

Broken Forest or Swamp: 76 patches

The smallest I have been able to make an ocean is 6 patches. If we want to maximize the number of hydrated patches on the planet we could use four oceans of 6 patches each which will hydrate 80 patches (of which we lose 4 patches from overlap). But this area would not be unbroken.

Another interesting option is two oceans of 14 patches each which will hydrate the rest of the planet (72 patches) with no overlap.

All this is based on a planet with 100 patches which is currently the only one in the game.

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Great answer! Just want to add one clarification: If you interrupt the mountain giant with a move command, he can create desert without creating mountains, saving the need to use the ocean giant. –  MeditationError Jul 20 '13 at 0:43
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There was a Reus patch today which added new planet sizes. The Large planet has 150 patches. –  Raven Dreamer Jul 30 '13 at 1:37
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