zolobolo wrote:1. Are we sure that colonization will take place first before Outpost building?
It should almost always work out that way. (In the rare case that an AI has dispatched an outpost transport before researching habitat domes, but then completed habitat domes when the transport arrives, it might not, but, that should be very unusual.)
zolobolo wrote:Meaning: If only one habitable planet (with environmental hazard) is available in a system, will the AI establish a colony there or build an outpost and ignore the planet altogether due to its penalty...
If the AI has the ability to colonize at least one planet in a system, it should always do so. The outpost case should only come up if the AI currently finds colonizing any world to be impossible. And the hostile env avoidance logic is only triggered if the AI already has control of the star system. (Because of either an outpost or, more likely, another colony.)
2. The overall idea then is to have several AI empires occupy most system with multiple planets...is this a preparation for a diplomacy penalty on contested systems to get the Galaxy all riled up?
Well, no, actually
The AI's respect one another's territory; they won't settle in a system that either the player or another AI has already claimed. The intent of the hostile env + AI colonization changes is to reduce the amount of 'colony spamming' done by the AI. More specifically, the AI should no longer end up maintaining dozens of low-value colonies on planets inside territory it already controls. (And because of the hostile env upkeep costs, the player might want to consider doing the same.) I'm hoping this will make the mid/late game less of a grid, as it should mean that there are less unimportant planets inside everyone's empires; which ought to imply both less planet micro for the player, and fewer attacks / invasions / bombardments necessary to absorb an enemy empire.