Stellaris timelapse shows 200 years passing in 5 minutes

Chaos is a lapser

One of my favourite genres of internet video is “Map of the world being rapidly warped by the rising and falling of civilisations as loud and menacing classical music plays in the background”. I like this one and this one and – ooooo – this one. So when confronted with a video suggestion of the same thing being done in interstellar strategy game Stellaris [official site], my heart was filled with a grubby, map-loving glee. Here you can see Volodymyr Valkiv’s game in which a scary red faction called “Chaos” slowly envelops the galaxy over 200 years. But with the magic of YouTube, it only takes 5 minutes. Come see.

Sure, it’s a bit old (from April) and a few of these have been done before (this is the earliest one I’ve found ) but this one caught my eye because there’s something especially compelling about chaos steadily schlepping over everything in existence like a large, crimson puddle. The other ones aren’t as good if, like me, you find it reassuring to know that all things succumb to entropy.

Stellaris recently added multiple playable robot races to its grand space strategy, which I’ve yet to try. Although I did already try out some similar mods, and wrote about my time as a robot dad to the human race, among other slimy species’.

You can sit back and watch empires fight one another yourself by using the console and typing “observe” – but it will take proper hours even at the fastest settings. That’s not a timelapse, that’s just a lapse of time.


  1. elden says:

    Definitely not classical music, orchestral/film music perhaps. Although I’d love to hear some Beethoven under this.

    • Brendan Caldwell says:

      You’re first when the chaos comes.

    • Troubletcat says:

      You are aware that most orchestral music fits under the common-use umbrella of Classical music, yes? In the same way that technical death metal is, very broadly speaking, ‘rock music’. It’s non-specific, but it’s not really ‘wrong’ per-se.

      Only using the term when you specifically mean Western music from the Classical period is important in an academic setting or if you’re actually discussing music theory or history. You come off as a pedant if you insist upon that definition in everyday contexts.

      FWIW, if anyone’s wondering, the music in that video is actually from the game’s soundtrack!

  2. Imperialist says:

    Notice the malignant spread of Chaos.

    This video reeks of heretical propaganda.

    • spamdangled says:

      Plenty of foul Xenos as well, befouling the God Emperor’s stars.

  3. teije says:

    The scary Chaos faction is made up of extremely photogenic starfish aliens.

  4. Premium User Badge

    Drib says:

    Granted I watched this on a tiny phone screen so maybe I missed it, but was there a galactic crisis in this? I didn’t see one.

    Also, looks pretty typical for an easy-difficulty sorta stellaris game.

    Neat with the music though, and the slow spread.

    • Jeremy says:

      I didn’t see it either.. maybe it just popped up and was immediately squashed?

    • svge says:

      Yeah the unbidden show up for about 20 seconds in the very bottom left before they’re quashed. It’s about 3/4 of the way into the video.

  5. Dogahn says:


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      Drib says:

      I really wanted to like Galimulator, but back when I played it, it was pretty weak and nothing to do. Has anything changed with that, or is it still basically just watching colors shift?

      • Dogahn says:

        @Drib from your description I would say they’ve improved the empire mode to be more gamey. It was a kind of an info wall to me, and I struggle to be competitive (eerily similar to my stellaris struggles). I find the family tracker an interesting info line. Really appreciate sandbox mode and being able to send various disasters (monster types vary by experience) into the universe, as well as the influence flags that gift/curse the systems those little empires compete over.

  6. dylan says:

    This was a good video that successfully inoculated me against booting up Stellaris for another month or two.

  7. Asurmen says:

    How? I want to know how you achieve something like that, especially entire civilizations just creasing to exist.

  8. racccoon says:

    If only this sort of time advancement would work with the trumpeted tweeter man :)

  9. stringerdell says:

    Just read Brendan’s turtly Stellaris articles and now I really want this game. I should hold fire though, Total warhammer 2 is out tomorrow

  10. Chirez says:

    Unfortunately I just came out of a game of Stellaris wherein my early demise was baked into the galaxy generation. Playing a fanatical purifier, with a view to purging the galaxy, but the second species I encounter is a fallen empire. Usually they keep to themselves, but apparently this one found my genocidal intentions so abhorrent they immediately decided to wipe me off the map. Nothing I could do about it, nothing I could ever have done about it, just a game in which I am doomed to be eradicated.

  11. InfiniteSubset says:

    It’s interesting that this really shows why I tend not to like these games in practice as much as I think I will. That sort of galactic domination seems really boring to grow and snowball like that. The bigger you become the more you have to manage but you also become more self sufficient so it becomes less dynamic. I would really prefer a game that put strong penalties on growing that large (instability, rebellion, etc) to keep any one (or two even) faction from covering the entire map. Of course this doesn’t work with common victory conditions, so those would have to change, but those rarely seem like the point. It would also be more realistic, as it isn’t common for any one country or group to continually conquer more and more land without any/much loss.