This guide contains some tips which can be useful after Update 2.6 changes.
Guide to Survive (Update 2.6)
Nexus districts have in fact been buffed, they give more maintenance jobs now. I assume the same has happened to habitats and ringworlds.
Ringworlds are bread and butter for machines now. One nexus segment gives an absolute crapton of amenities. Then you can fill it with buildings to your heart's content. After these tips, I'll post some screenshots of builds for planets, habs and ringworlds.
Also, ringworlds are easy to hit 80 pops on, which is really important now. See tip 3!
What I initially thought was a nerf, they removed some replicator jobs from the main building. From tier 1-4 it went like this: 2 > 3 > 4 > 4. But now, it goes: 2 > 2 > 2 > 4.
This initially seemed like a nerf, but they have in fact given us an upgraded robot assembler! Once you have the 40 pop building, you can upgrade, taking it from one to three replicators!
So, with the robot assembler factored in, old replicators were like this: 3 > 4 > 5 > 5
But now it's like this: 3 > 3 > 4 > 7
So it's less of a nerf and more of a rebalancing. A bit slower at first, but once you get to 80 pops it's faster. And don't forget about habitats! Even with an assembler, habitat pop growth was pretty bad. But now, it's great! The habitat building itself hasn't changed, but their pop growth has doubled by the end, from 2 to 4. And you only need ten pops to upgrade the habitat building- and then the assembler!
The +20% Amenities trait is S tier now. It's absolutely required. It makes maintenance drones give 5 instead of 4 amenities. Trust me, this is a huge effect on the balance of pops-to-amenities ratio.
The prosperity tradition tree! Don't overlook this! It has a new finisher effect that gives 1 maintenance drone per 20 pops, so with the trait that's 5 amenities per 20 pops. Each pop uses 1 amenity. This is huge! This is what lets you fill out your planets. Plus, the other bonuses from this tree are pretty good. Take this one pretty early, 2nd or 3rd tradition.
Resource silos! They give 1 maintenance drone. They did this before, but I never used silos, did you? Why would you when we had maintenance depots? But now you don't. This is your new maintenance building. It's the only building that gives any maintenance.
What is this good for? Mineral/energy planets/habitats! Fill up all those building slots with these things! It's thematically appropriate anyway.
Research consumes energy instead of minerals now. This is excellent! Because energy is the spammable resource, via ringworlds, minerals are more limited. Basically the lategame goal is to alternate energy and research ringworld segments. All your planets and habitats should be focused on minerals.
This isn't specific to this patch, but I'm going to leave this here anyway. Use the manufacturing economy policy! It's the best, no questions asked. If you really want to read through the math and testing I did on this previously, feel free to have a look through this thread. But you should just take my word for it. You should switch to manufacturing just as soon as your economy can handle it, within the first 10 years, and never change it back.
That's it for the tips! Now for some build screenshots. Sorry for the imgur links, I tried to embed the images but they ended up being terrible quality and I don't know how to fix that.
I experimented with trying to have a ringworld with no nexus segment.
One build uses 60 less people, and produces 1k more research! While at first glance it appears to have some problems, actually... it's totally fine. Slight overcrowding, slight amenities shortage, slightly low stability... it's all fine. It all equates to a -3% resources buff. When you're saving 60 pops on the build, I think it's definitely the better way to go.
Sure it doesn't account for its own rare resources as well as the other build, but that's what mineral worlds/habitats are for.
Now for habitats. Here's a screenshot of my maxed out mineral habitat.
Those two tier 4 buildings are (first of all not actually tier 4, that's a mod being outdated) the new unity building. You can swap these out for the admin building instead as desired, they both use crystals. Or you could remove all the extra housing and those buildings if you want a less energy heavy build.
Here's a build that just focuses on the minerals.
You'll notice it actually makes a few more minerals, because the amenities are higher, and it's not making crystals.
These are just rough guidelines to give you something to start with! Tweak them as you see fit! Maybe swap out a resource silo for a crystal refinery or something:
Finally, planets. I've got a couple screenshots.
The first one, I just barely managed to get it to 80 pops to upgrade the main building. The second one, not quite. No big deal, but I went ahead and took screenshots of both examples. What's exciting is that you can in fact go without any city districts! You just really need to spam those resource silos.
Don't pay too much attention to the mineral count on the 73 pop one, I've got a nasty planet modifier that lowers mineral output by 20%.
I would say just take Luxurious as your negative, never remove it, and pick the positives you want. Amenities trait is a must, assembly speed is a must. After that, it's a tossup between learning algorithms and double-jointed. I think learning algorithms is better now, since housing seems to be a bit in excess. Amenities are the issue, not housing. Once you research all 3 of your species points, slap in the efficient processors.
The only other one that I'd consider trying to work in would be the Logic Engines. But I don't really see a way to work it in without losing something else that's kinda more valuable.
Here's an alternative. Instead of the efficient processors once you have your points, take logic engines instead. Then, swap out learning algorithms for streamlined protocols. Because by the late game, your leaders should be maxed thus leader experience gain is worthless, and pops will (at least if you're playing tall) by far be the biggest contributor to empire sprawl.
Rapid replicator is a must. Then, if you aren't doing determined exterminator or assimilator or something, I'd take... static research analysis. Then when you unlock your 3rd civic, slap in OTA Updates (-20% empire sprawl).
Rockbreakers used to be top tier, but not anymore now that science takes energy instead of minerals. Minerals are not a problem in the beginning. Again, for playing tall at least. If you're going alloy heavy, then maybe, but even then... eh. I suppose if you're playing wide you might want it over static research analysis.