Terraforming is the act of making large-scale changes to the environment of a planet.
Terraforming is primarily accomplished using terraformers and microformers, placeable objects which change the primary biome of a planet or add a mini-biome to an area of a planet. These objects are not available to players until after they've cleared the main story.
Once placed, terraformers and microformers will slowly change the area around them to the biome type suggested by their name. These items only function if they are placed far enough away from regions being actively terraformed - if they are placed too close, they will not be able to begin terraforming.
Terraformers are reusable devices which are assembled using a Terraforge, a powerful assembly station only found at the end of Ancient Vaults. Each Terraformer requires 3000 Ancient Essence, collected from the vault, as well as 50 of either Venom Samples, Static Cells, Scorched Cores or Cryonic Extracts, depending on the dominant element of the terraformer's biome.
After placing the terraformer on the planet surface (it will not work if placed underground or in the atmosphere or space layers), players can interact with it to see a slider UI. This interface allows players to use Ancient Essence collected from Ancient Vaults to terraform the planet's primary biome. An indicator on the slider will show at what point the background layer (parallax) will change over to the new biome type. Terraforming an entire planet must be done in stages - every time a Terraformer completes its "cycle," you must move the slider once more to make it extend its reach. A total of 50% of the planet's entire surface must be terraformed to the desired biome before the planet type will convert to that of the desired biome.
After terraforming the planet it will take on all the attributes of the new biome - monsters, weather, and natural objects. Including removing a moons spooked effect when terraforming a moon. The planet's gravity, Tier and underground composition will remain unchanged, and outpost gates will not be removed. The planet description in the navigation panel on the player's ship will indicate that it's been radically changed through terraforming. It is not known whether terraforming *to* a biome that *can* have meteors will result in the resultant planet having meteors, nor is it known whether this can be controlled.
The planet appearance in the nav console and from the ship will match whatever the biome has been changed to.
Microformers won't change the entire biome of a planet, but rather lay down a mini biome in the area around where it's activated. Unlike terraformers, these can be placed almost anywhere on a planet, including underground and on asteroids above the planet. They do not change the background of the planets or moons on which they are activated.
Microformers are single-use devices - once they have been used to terraform an area, they will deactivate. Attempting to harvest a deactivated microformer will cause it to break without dropping anything.
Microformers are not crafted using a Terraforge, but instead have a 50% chance to drop off the guardian bosses at the end of Ancient Vaults. When a microformer does drop, the type is randomly selected, so players may need to kill a few guardians to find a specific one. Also, Essence bursts spawned by opening Ancient Essence Chests (which normally drop 10 drops' worth of Ancient Essence at once) have a very small chance (approximately 0.2% chance for each of 10 chances) of awarding a random microformer instead of one of their drops of Ancient Essence.