Station traders filling up - Explained.

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Lord Crc
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Station traders filling up - Explained.

Post by Lord Crc » Thu, 3. Dec 20, 23:34

I've got some station traders that keep getting filled up with one of the wares the station is selling.

I caught one in action yesterday, where the ship was empty and idle, and then got a trade run. Checking the new trade run out I could see that it bought 90 chelt meat from the station but the sale order was for only 53.

I presume this is how the other traders I've found got filled up as well.

The only commonality I've noticed between the instances is that the station storage is full of the offending ware, and likely has been full for some time.

Known issue? Workarounds? It's causing serious logistical inefficiencies between certain stations.

Imperial Good
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Re: Station traders filling up

Post by Imperial Good » Mon, 7. Dec 20, 10:44

Intentional behaviour. Trade subordinates will try to buy at least half their container storage when buying from their assigned station. This is to minimize the number of buy orders generated for some ware types and make L traders a lot more efficient.

The problem with this approach is if the station is selling more than one ware and one of those wares is extremely low demand. For example anti-matter cells which are used in small quantities in the universe for engines and claytronics. The ship will try to use this approach and end up sitting on a half load of anti-matter cells for many hours during which time it cannot trade other wares efficiently. Worse is that when a trade offer for anti-matter cells is finally available, another subordinate might fulfil it and as such also end up blocked up half full with them.

Currently the solution is to restrict trade of these problem wares so they do not get sold, making sure that only high demand wares get sold. High demand wares suffer from this but to a much lesser extent since due to the demand they usually only end up sitting in the ship hold for a few dozen minutes before they get sold off and the trader resumes efficient operation.

This is not an issue for dedicated production stations, stations making only 1 type of ware. Since there is only 1 ware to sell it does not matter if it sits inside the ship cargo for a long time since the ships have nothing else they could be selling anyway. The remaining half capacity is usually enough to help keep the station supplied should it start to run low on consumed wares.

Lord Crc
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Re: Station traders filling up

Post by Lord Crc » Tue, 8. Dec 20, 09:06

Thank you for the explanation.

So just to be clear, each "buy/sell decision cycle" they will then first try to get rid of whatever they have in their hold, picked up from this 50% rule, and otherwise do a regular buy/sell run?

Wish I had known about this before making my stations, as it kinda ruins my factory setup.

BardicHeart
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Re: Station traders filling up - Explained.

Post by BardicHeart » Thu, 24. Dec 20, 06:29

I hope the Devs will consider removing it, it doesn't increase efficiency but rather actually reduces it. Traders are not just selling stuff, they also often need to buy wares a station may need.

Example: Say you have a station with just one production module Scanning Arrays. That station will sell one ware, sure. But it needs to BUY three types of wares, Energy, Refined Metals and Silicon Wafers; and that assumes an automated station with no population, otherwise add in the need to buy Food and Medical supplies. So in all, even with just one production module, a station trader may be dealing in six wares. If it constantly has half its cargo bay filled with one of those wares, its ability to efficiently trade the other 5 is reduced.

I would rather they replace this behavior by returning to the previous method of only loading what it has a trade order for, then add to that that when it finishes a trade order (assuming it is selling) that it automatically return to its home station and dock. This could be overridden IF it finds a new trade order enroute, otherwise if it has no trade orders it goes home and parks rather than floating in a combat area (because it was delivering drone components to a station under attack and then decides to hang out as a Xenon K is pounding the station... scratch one station trader pointlessly blown up) or ends up pirate bait because its floating in space with a load of Smart Chips it can't sell and it just hangs there in the open.

The only way loading up on cargo would be more efficient was IF the captain found two or more trade orders in the same destination sector for the same ware and then loaded up with enough to do both (or all of one and part of a second trade order). But the condition there is both trade orders must be within the same sector (otherwise you'll end up with ships making long trips trying to complete a second order and likely wasting more time than they save). Just loading up and hoping to find a second buy order will never be more efficient.

Imperial Good
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Re: Station traders filling up - Explained.

Post by Imperial Good » Thu, 24. Dec 20, 09:29

BardicHeart wrote:
Thu, 24. Dec 20, 06:29
Just loading up and hoping to find a second buy order will never be more efficient.
It saves on the docking and trade time at the leader station. For stations only selling 1 ware with their inputs supplied by other traders this is the most efficient way for them to operate.

sh1pman
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Re: Station traders filling up - Explained.

Post by sh1pman » Thu, 14. Jan 21, 02:23

Imperial Good wrote:
Thu, 24. Dec 20, 09:29
BardicHeart wrote:
Thu, 24. Dec 20, 06:29
Just loading up and hoping to find a second buy order will never be more efficient.
It saves on the docking and trade time at the leader station. For stations only selling 1 ware with their inputs supplied by other traders this is the most efficient way for them to operate.
So, this one bit of “smart” behaviour makes them slightly better in one particular station setup (with one product and no inputs), but vastly worse, potentially unusable in every other setup. That’s a great game design. Maybe there needs to be a warning for players not to assign traders to a station if it has more than one product or more than zero inputs.

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Re: Station traders filling up - Explained.

Post by Imperial Good » Thu, 14. Jan 21, 02:41

sh1pman wrote:
Thu, 14. Jan 21, 02:23
So, this one bit of “smart” behaviour makes them slightly better in one particular station setup (with one product and no inputs), but vastly worse, potentially unusable in every other setup. That’s a great game design. Maybe there needs to be a warning for players not to assign traders to a station if it has more than one product or more than zero inputs.
Many people have requested that behaviour like this be toggleable. Until then getting traders to work efficiently can be a bit hit and miss. Generally I recommend staying away from minimum sell price since from personal experience that is when I notice traders acting the least efficiently. In 4.00 it will also possible to set up repeat orders for some types of trade which can also help avoid any such issues in appropriate cases.

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Re: Station traders filling up - Explained.

Post by sh1pman » Thu, 14. Jan 21, 14:35

Imperial Good wrote:
Thu, 14. Jan 21, 02:41
Many people have requested that behaviour like this be toggleable. Until then getting traders to work efficiently can be a bit hit and miss.
Well, it’s even impressive how maybe a single line of code (telling station traders to fill more cargo space than they can sell) can so royally screw up their performance in a wide range of station setups. Probably, most of them. Personally, I stay away from station-assigned traders for this very reason, I see no other options. “Our station needs silicon wafers? Well, too bad, because my cargo is filled up with advanced composites that I’m going to be trying to sell for the next in-game month!”

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Re: Station traders filling up - Explained.

Post by Imperial Good » Fri, 15. Jan 21, 00:14

sh1pman wrote:
Thu, 14. Jan 21, 14:35
Well, it’s even impressive how maybe a single line of code (telling station traders to fill more cargo space than they can sell) can so royally screw up their performance in a wide range of station setups.
I doubt it is a single line of code. The logic is likely quite a bit more complicated, which might also be why it gives problems at times (more complex, more cases that need to be considered that are easy to overlook).

For people having issues with trader logic I recommend trying the 4.00 beta and seeing if the issues still exist. If they do still exist then making a bug report with an unmodified save showing the issues might be useful for the developers to help debug and fix problems like these.

sh1pman
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Re: Station traders filling up - Explained.

Post by sh1pman » Fri, 15. Jan 21, 00:37

Imperial Good wrote:
Fri, 15. Jan 21, 00:14
I doubt it is a single line of code. The logic is likely quite a bit more complicated, which might also be why it gives problems at times (more complex, more cases that need to be considered that are easy to overlook).
The only exception to the rule “one product, no container-type inputs” that for some reason seems to work well with station traders in my game is a food station. It makes Soja Husk and Medical Supplies from Ice, and somehow the assigned traders never take more wares than they can sell in trade. I don’t know why. Everywhere else if there’s more than one product, they will eventually fill up with lower-demand ware and stop functioning. Or at least they will do trades with only a fraction of their cargo space available.
Imperial Good wrote:
Fri, 15. Jan 21, 00:14
For people having issues with trader logic I recommend trying the 4.00 beta and seeing if the issues still exist. If they do still exist then making a bug report with an unmodified save showing the issues might be useful for the developers to help debug and fix problems like these.
Well, I’m having philosophical issues with their logic. In practice I just use auto-traders instead, because large combat fleets produce a never-ending stream of 3-star pilots, so trading works for me just fine. And I don’t think it’s a “bug” that needs to be debugged and fixed, things are working precisely as designed, but the design decision itself is, well, not great.

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