What exactly do the different galaxy age settings change during game generation?

The options are: Young, Normal, Old and Random

The hover text for the settings says this in some way effects the temperature of stars with Young having the hottest stars and Old having the coldest stars.

But what exact effect does this have on the distribution of planets types in the game?

  • According to someone on reddit the setting apparently does nothing. However this is based on configuration files. The game could have the effect hard coded with configuration settings only being a place-holder. – AnnanFay Apr 25 '18 at 20:25

See the wiki.

Summarized, old galaxies have more binary, white and red dwarf systems, while young ones have more white and yellow stars. Planetwise this translates to more terran and jungle in young galaxies (white and red stars have the highest chance of containing those) while older galaxies tend to have more asteriods, gas giants as well as barren and lava planets.

Note, that this wiki entry is for Endless Space 1, the numbers might be a bit different for Endless Space 2, but the general tendencies remain the same.

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