Shipyards are the manufacturing location for an empire's starships in Galactic Civilizations III.
Shipyards are critical because they are the only method for constructing starships for combat, scouting, surveying, trading, and so forth. You are provided a shipyard at your home planet at the start of a game. Since a colony can only sponsor a single shipyard, it is important to know that building additional shipyards for a planet that already has one is a waste of resources. If you lose a shipyard to an enemy attack, it is impossible for that shipyard’s colony to build additional ships for defenses, which leaves it helpless. Because of this, shipyards are a high priority target when you go to war with your enemies. Conversely, defending your shipyards is also a major priority.
Shipyards can be constructed in two ways. First, the colony can put a shipyard in its build queue as if it was any other building. Secondly, if an existing shipyard builds a constructor, the constructor can then be sailed to a location near another colony and converted into a shipyard. This is often a good plan early in the game since shipyard building is expensive. It is not required to build a shipyard for every colony; certain colonies dedicated to wealth or research may not find them useful.
To manufacture ships, Shipyards must be sponsored by one or more colonies. Select a shipyard, then click "manage" in the box that appears in the lower left corner of the screen. You will see a list of ships to build. At the bottom of the column on the left is a box labelled "Edit Sponsors". Click this to get a list of potential sponsors for the shipyard. In this display, you will see two columns of colony listings, one for currently sponsoring colonies and one for colonies that are not currently sponsoring. Each box showing a colony will give information about the amount of manufacturing available. In particular, note the number in the lower right hand corner of each colony's box - the color of this number will indicate whether the shipyard will receive the full manufacturing benefit from that colony. Green means the shipyard will get 100% while white means the shipyard will receive less.
Multiple planets can sponsor a single shipyard, but each planet can only sponsor one shipyard. Sponsorship can be changed freely and without penalty.
Any colony can sponsor any shipyard, but if they are far away from each other, the effectiveness is reduced. Terrans receive less of a penalty than other races to long-distance sponsoring.
How much manufacturing support a shipyard receives from a colony is dependent entirely upon the distance between the colony and the shipyard. For up to a distance of six hexes, this percentage will be 100%; shipyards farther away will "waste" some production. There is a racial trait called "Engineers" that affords no loss of production to a shipyard with distance. In addition, there is an Ideology trait in the Pragmatic/Builder line which reduces the effect of the distance of the shipyard from the colony.
Shipyards can be sponsored by multiple colonies; this means that you can avoid building some shipyards, and that a single shipyard can potentially build ships much more quickly. Ideally, the shipyard will be placed so that it receives 100% support from all of its sponsors, or as close to 100% as possible. Although a shipyard may not be placed in the best area when created, it is possible to click on a shipyard, and then click in the box in the lower lefthand corner "Unanchor". Doing this will free the shipyard to move. It can then be directed to a better location. Note that it can only move one hex per turn and that it cannot build any ships while in transit. Once it reaches the desired location, clicking on it to get the shipyard box allow one to click "Anchor" so that the shipyard will begin producing once more. If you direct a shipyard to a new location, the game will alert you when the shipyard arrives at that location so you can decide whether to "Anchor" it.
The amount of manufacturing support that a shipyard receives depends on how much manufacturing a sponsoring colony produces and also how that manufacturing is divided between social and military construction. Only military production is used for building ships. It may therefore be reasonable to set a colony's manufacturing level to a maximum and to set the social/manufacturing slider to 100% military if it is necessary to produce a ship as fast as possible, such as during wartime.
Effect on Economy
If a colony is sponsoring a shipyard, the military/social slider becomes active automatically. Initially the slider will be positioned at 50% so that half of the manufacturing output of the colony will go to the shipyard, and half to constructing buildings on the colony ("social"). Obviously this may not be the ideal setting desired, and if not it will need to be adjusted.