Questions about economy.

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nponoBegHuk
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Questions about economy.

Post by nponoBegHuk » Wed, 13. Mar 19, 08:49

It's times like this that make me feel bad for playing a 10 year old game. Finding useful information is a nightmare and even if there are some posts looking relevant, you can't just ask for more details because it's too long since they've been posted and the players are no longer there for you...

Everything in here refers to to TC, however I'm determined on revisiting the other games of the franchise starting in a couple of weeks, so if you have relevant info on the other games in trilogy, don't hesitate to post either.

Anyway, I'm interested in building closed-loop unattended complexes only. What I mean is, I want to build a complex, assign a freighter, set a selling price and let the thing go. Vanilla, non-bonus pack operation only. Filling a freighter's cargo bay with excess goods and selling it on a shipyard doesn't interest me in this particular scenario. This is why I'd like to ask the community, is there any reliable information on how many factories of each type should I build to match the trading station / equipment dock / secondary resource drain rate in the universe.

Comments I've read so far.
  • One factory per three equipment docks / trading stations that trade with that ware.
  • One factory per 3 / 4 / 8 npc stations that use the product as a secondary resource (different sources state different numbers)
Any observations regarding these ratios? Maybe you can share your own experiences like "I've built 30x 1MJ shield fabs and they are always empty" or "My Mosquito Missile Fab never sells anything".

Alternatively, any methods you might think of to measure the universe drain rate? Maybe a script or manual monitoring?
For example, I've set my shield complex to sell 200, 25 and 5 MJ shields and observed an average of 10 factories' production of 200MJ shields sold per hour, along with 8x 25MJ factories and around 16x 5MJ factories (after around 16 SETA hours of observation, the actual consumption might be greater, since I used only 1 freighter for each category). https://i.imgur.com/bJSwVcG.png

If anyone has any data on the subject, don't hesitate to share.

Regards,
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Red-Spot
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Re: Questions about economy.

Post by Red-Spot » Wed, 13. Mar 19, 18:04

Good one!

I have a huge weapons hub, just weapons, shields, missiles. Stock goes to 2 TL's and overflow goes to a 'seller TL' that simply keeps up stock in an EQ with 10 CAGs attached. Not to mention 4 Trade Stations that sell via a CLS2-trader keeping them stocked and AI traders come to buy goods.
In the end I know little of the actual balance, i.o.w. how long it takes for weapons to disappear from a Dock.
I have for instance 10 PAC forges, not using them myself, and I just can not keep them in stock.
I have 10 MD forges, not using them myself, keep selling overflow when the seller-TL fills up.

Mostly added weapons sell poorly or not at all. Flak Artillery and 1GJ shielding, great for personally purposes, but it simply does not sell, no buyers in the entire Uni.
EBC's and their ammo. It sells, that is about it, it sells. MD Ammo on the other hand, I have iirc 18 forges and need to keep 3 CAGs on selling it (and some other minor stuff like mosquito's) and am always dry on MD-ammo.
Mosquito's, lovely little critters, you'll want them, but never more than 2 forges in an entire empire. You'll easily outproduce your needs and what you can sell to the entire Uni with just 2 forges, unless you like killing M3's with them. :)
15 Fighter Drone forges, can not get enough of them. Mk2's are not to be produced for sales, they do not sell.
Only 2 lasertower forges, seems like a wasted potential on my side as late game they are hard to find anywhere and many places willing to buy them.
10 Adv Sat forges, like drones, seems you just can not build enough of these.
10 Hept forges = overkill
10 PRG = overkill
38 PPC forges and stripping the entire uni of PPC's ... barely enough to equip new Borias' with the 32 they need :D


A bit of info I can give which makes me believe you should try to take it on a per ware basis with a lot of if's and but's. Not that interested in prolonging my TC playthrough otherwise I would absolutely have been willing to help you crunch the numbers.
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Re: Questions about economy.

Post by Altruist » Wed, 13. Mar 19, 21:07

Finding useful information is a nightmare
# lots of good stuff in the old wiki (most of it hasn't been ported to the new wiki yet):
https://web.archive.org/web/20180103123 ... /Main_Page

# Ships, weapons, guides: https://roguey.co.uk/x3tc/ships/

# Good map, factory and asteroid data: https://eng.x3tc.net/
reliable information on how many factories of each type should I build
Don't know. What I do is using the
a) Universal Best Buys/Sells Locator for a very easy overview of who is buying a specific ware and how much (all in one page for the whole universe), the option to send transporters from the page directly is either broken or I don't get it
and
b) the ingame Encyclopedia to look up a specific ware and to see who is buying it (which is usually shown as who is selling it)
and
c) also keeping an eye on how much of a ware is typically bought eg firestorm torpedos can be only sold in max 2 which makes it a definite hassle when using your own ships.

For planning complexes here a splendid and very easy to use calculator:
# https://joelbfant.bitbucket.io/x3/x3tco ... 2,17,false
Vanilla, non-bonus pack operation only.
Everybody as he likes to... but many scripts are really wonderful additions to the game and really really make your life easier and the game much more fun (instead of a grind), so one script I have already mentioned above, the Universal Best Buys/Sells Locator, other scripts specific for complex building and handling:
# Complex Cleaner v4.09 / Modular Complexes:
http://forum.egosoft.com/viewtopic.php?t=225042

# Ok-Trader: http://forum.egosoft.com/viewtopic.php?t=336509
Last edited by Altruist on Sun, 17. Mar 19, 00:31, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Questions about economy.

Post by nponoBegHuk » Thu, 14. Mar 19, 11:18

Thanks for your input guys. Both provided valuable input!

To Red-Spot: very good examples, just what I needed. I will try to investigate more on satellites and MD/EBC guns/ammo. EBC ammo is of particular interest, since is the most profitable ware for production in the whole universe. Of course, for making money it would be the best to build as many EBC ammo forges as the universe can support. https://i.imgur.com/H8TV1ok.png

Satellites, Microchips and other tech wares that directly use silicon for production are the worst kind of wares in terms of credits earned per silicon mined, but still, if it sells, there is profit to be made. I'll post updates here.

To Altruist: wow, that's a lot of resources, it will take some time for me to check them all. The "old wiki" page looks very detailed, I wonder why was it taken down...

Regarding the complex calculator, I use my own complex calculator to build any complex within few clicks of a mouse, I doubt I can go back to using one of the publicly available tools ever again. I wonder if I should polish and share it with the community, certainly doesn't look like there is much interest lately.

In any case, I'll try a couple of ideas I got thanks to you and I'll post some updates later.

Cheers,
nponoBegHuk.
Fast sector selection on the Universe Map | Rock locations for Mobile/OOS mining | Botting for max speed Hyperion | Complete list of ship sources | Capturing smaller ships

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Re: Questions about economy.

Post by Red-Spot » Thu, 14. Mar 19, 17:56

If you like I can send you an excel sheet with my empire in overview and Xadrian templates which will give you exact details.
Xadrian templates would get down to pretty much 4. Weapons/Shield-hub // Missile-hub // Drone-hub // 'Defense'-hub (early game hub with 5 drone forges, 2 adv sat, 2 lasertower and 2 mosquito forges). The rest is just pretty much the support for the tech hubs and some independent weed/teladianium hubs.
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Re: Questions about economy.

Post by nponoBegHuk » Fri, 15. Mar 19, 02:47

Red-Spot wrote:
Thu, 14. Mar 19, 17:56
If you like I can send you an excel sheet with my empire in overview and Xadrian templates which will give you exact details.
Sure, but only if it doesn't take you a lot of time to put the info together. I don't personally use XAdrian that much for anything other than checking universe map colored by silicon/ore, but still I'm rather interested in complex building practices of other players, so go ahead!
Fast sector selection on the Universe Map | Rock locations for Mobile/OOS mining | Botting for max speed Hyperion | Complete list of ship sources | Capturing smaller ships

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Re: Questions about economy.

Post by Red-Spot » Fri, 15. Mar 19, 06:47

I'll make some screenshots of the Xadrian templates so you wont have to actually use the tool, pack it with the excel sheet and contact you for an email address to send it to later today :)
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Re: Questions about economy.

Post by zazie » Fri, 15. Mar 19, 15:32

nponoBegHuk:
Be aware of:
  • Red-Spot's concept is relaying heavily on CAG/CLS = Bonus Pack. What you excluded in opening post.
  • Altruist proposals will modify your game != Vanilla
  • iirc EBC-ammunition does not make profit as the market is easily saturated (but my memory could be mixed here with XTC-experience)
I understand that you want to build systematically the maximum of stations to learn the limits of the X3TC-Universe. But there are so many parameters influencing this universe that probably not two of those player's universe will work exactly the same.
Main reason for this behavior is the almighty G.O.D., managing vanishing stations, Xenon patrolling, Kha'ak invading and so on. One missing weapon producing station (e.g.) can cause the economic decline of more than one sector.
Even worse: if your economy is based exclusively on closed-loop-production then the NPC economy will (partially) collapse on long terms. You will only sell your production at Trading Stations and EQ-Docks (well, that's exaggerated, but gives you the direction).

So my advice for long-term-prosperity of the X3TC-economy:
  • "Buy local" your basic resources (EC, Food, Minerals)
  • Sell 1MJ and 25MJ-shields, MicroChips and small weapons (IRE, PAC) to the local communities (including pirates)
  • Set satellites everywhere (you will need about 800) to have a permanent view on the economic development in the whole X3TC-universe. Sooner or later you will notice prospering and declining regions. Invest heavily in declining regions by selling ECs at lowest price and by delivering Food and Mineral until the local economy recovers.

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Re: Questions about economy.

Post by Red-Spot » Fri, 15. Mar 19, 16:37

You can pretty much not go around having some 'elements' in your game. Build a few stations, allow a few to be destroyed, cause rumble in border-sectors (Paranid nearly cleared out EF in my game if I had not 'triggered' them to move on). You will simply not get exact numbers, and using CAG/CLS or a default trader will not make a big difference. Modifying the game can be a huge difference but it does not have to be. Anyway, the numbers I am providing are probably no more than a reference and by far anything absolute, imo.
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Re: Questions about economy.

Post by jlehtone » Fri, 15. Mar 19, 17:44

An another question is: "Does it matter?"

You build a Forge.
  • If it is "too small", then it can sell all its products immediately. You lose profits because you could produce&sell more.
  • If it is "too big", then part of your assets will be "tied down" in underused factories and in stock of unsold products. However, you will grab every credit that the NPC have to offer.
Price of weaponry is fixed; surplus won't ruin the profits.

Misinvestment of couple Forges too many is small credits if you can already build Complexes. Adding more stations to existing Complex is probably a greater challenge.


You can stop production on stations, although full product stock will do that too. It should not matter that there are more end product Forges in a Complex than resource production, if all the Forges cannot run non-stop.

Personally, I like to at least mentally distinguish "energy loops" from "production lines" and preferably split the loop into SPP(s) and "Crystal production line" (converts ECells and Asteroids into Crystals). Such "disconnected complexes" are feasible with CAG/CLS, but perhaps not with Trade Mk1/Mk2.

Imagine a closed loop complex that produces Energy, Food, and Minerals in (almost) right proportions sufficient for X Forges and Y Forges built in the vicinity of that complex. It is up to the logistics to keep at least X of the Y Forges running. Alas, if the house rules limit logistic options ...
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Re: Questions about economy.

Post by SirNukes » Sat, 16. Mar 19, 02:59

nponoBegHuk wrote:
Wed, 13. Mar 19, 08:49
Comments I've read so far.
  • One factory per three equipment docks / trading stations that trade with that ware.
  • One factory per 3 / 4 / 8 npc stations that use the product as a secondary resource (different sources state different numbers)
The egosoft TC faq gives a 1/3 figure for secondaries, which seems to be roughly accurate in my experience. NPCs compete with you for the 1/3, of course.
https://www.egosoft.com/support/faq/faq ... &version=9

The dock issue is complex, if this thread is accurate (from X3 Reunion):
viewtopic.php?t=113932
In my personal notes, after going through that bit of code, I came to the conclusion that wares are consumed at a 5% rate for low value goods, 50% for mid value, and back down to 5% for extremely high value. The 'low value' cutoff is anything that takes less than 9 second to produce if a tech ware, or 18s if another ware, at 1x npc production rate.

Extremely high value wares suffer from the RNG aspect slurping them up 16 at a time (at 300s intervals), and a dock can't hold that many of some wares. So PPCs, for instance, might be around a 6% consumption rate (2/16*50%). But if you check the dock regularly, the consumption code will run on a smaller time interval and consume them in smaller chunks, raising the average rate. I don't know the mechanics that cause early updates, beyond when opening a dock trade screen (eg. when you go to buy a couple CIGs and see them vanish almost immediately).

RNG dry spells could also cause problems, if a dock and its factories hit max storage while waiting for the RNG to consume wares and make room. But sufficient buffering should bypass that issue.

Another thing to watch out for: player factories often use different production rates than the NPC factories that consumption is based on. The most extreme is missiles, where players get a 2x boost, but other notables are shields at -40% penalty and lasers at -25% penalty. This helps explain why you can build a lot of IRE and 1MJ factories, but 1 Mosquito factory will just about saturate the universe. (Mosquitos also suffer from a low production value of 6, and so have the lower consumption rate.)

Someone could potentially make a table of calculated consumption rates based on ware value, based on that code.


Moving away from the underlying code mechanics, the other major consumers of goods in the X3 universe are dying traders. This is a big reason why space weed and fuel sell so well, since pirates get killed regularly. Wares with high value per cargo space, eg. microchips, allow trade ships to stock up on a ton of value before eventually wandering through a Xenon sector and getting killed.

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Re: Questions about economy.

Post by nponoBegHuk » Sat, 16. Mar 19, 21:31

Amazing replys guys. I really appreciate you all taking time to provide your input.

I figured I should explain my reasons behind this research. I hope the long post and usage of colors doesn't put you off reading it :oops:

First I'll explain my overview of how the different kinds of the factories work.
  • Bio Factories: These use only Energy Cells to produce some kind of "bio" category ware, such as Argnu Beef or Teladianium
  • Food Factories: These use one of the "bio" wares produced by one of the factories above plus energy, and produces a "food" category product
  • Military Factories: these use energy, food (produced above) and Ore to produce Weapons, Missiles, Shields and Ammo.
  • Tech Factories: these use energy, food and Silicon to operate. They produce stuff like Microchips, Crystals, Satellites.
  • Solar Power Plants: Put crystals, get energy, you need silicon for crystals, thus you need silicon for energy.
If we order factories from least to most profitable (considering you source all of the resources yourself and don't resort to buying them), we'll get roughly the following picture:

Energy = Tech(*) < Bio < Food < Military

* Tech is profitable in itself, but if we consider the fact the factory consumes Silicon Wafers in raw form, which we could put through SPP loop and power another 5 factories instead of this one, there is just no way a single factory can compete with that.

Say you have some spare Energy Cells on your hands. If you decide to feed them to a Bio Factory of your choice, you will have two options: sell the product to the NPC factory, or feed it into a complementary Food Factory. Selling the resulting food will be more profitable than selling just the bio ware obtained above. But why stop there? Try to also gather some Ore and feed it along with the food and energy you already have to one of the military factories of that race, to get even more profit. What do you do with such a product? Sell it to equipment dock of your choice. It will disappear over time and you'll be able to sell more. What would happen if you decided selling food and energy to NPCs instead of using them yourself to craft your weapons? Well, the NPCs would use that resources to produce the weapons of their own, and reap that juicy profit for themselves. The wares treated as secondary resources are somewhat different, since NPC factories will consume them even when not actually producing, which makes them a great product to sell even if you are deliberately letting NPC factories stall because of resource shortage.

So, finally, here come my considerations for complex building. So far it's 90% theoretical, and if you disagree with some/all of these points please provide your insight:
  1. Source every needed recurse myself instead of buying from NPC factories. Mine/factory cost is one time fee and buying from NPCs is not 100% reliable and is less profitable in the long run.
  2. Since you'll be building your mines, instead of relying on open loops and CAG/CLS(*), just build a well-balanced closed loop complex in a sector with enough Ore/Silicon for your application, and let them jumpdrives on the traders do their thing.
    * I don't hate bonus pack, I used it extensively in all my playthoughs except the last one. I just want to avoid unnecessary complicated logistics schemes where a bunch of Complex Construction Kits can do the job with similar results and much less micromanagement.
  3. Don't sell food or energy to NPCs. They will use it to make their weapons and compete with you for that share of the market. And selling weapons is more credits than selling food. Drugs (and teladianium, explained below) are exceptions and can be sold.
  4. Sell wares treated as secondary resources, such as Quantum Tubes, Teladianum, Warheads, etc. Selling these won't affect balance between your own and NPC factory production.
  5. Monopolize military sector first, for best profits, followed by Drugs/Teladianium, and finally the silicon-consuming tech sector, which is least efficient in terms of $ per silicon.
So what do you think? Any reason to keep NPC economy alive by letting them use your food and thus reducing your profits? Also would it be a good idea to buy NPC resources for any reason? Any tweak in production priority you might think of? Anything you disagree with in this wall of text? - I'll gladly accept any criticism.
SirNukes wrote:
Sat, 16. Mar 19, 02:59
The dock issue is complex
I stumbled upon the post you referenced before, but I'm ashamed to admit I have some (lot of) trouble interpreting the code. What does rate % mean? Chance to get consumed? I don't mind making such per-ware consumption table myself but I don't really get how it works. If you could provide a little more detail for me, it would be greatly appreciated!
Last edited by nponoBegHuk on Sun, 17. Mar 19, 00:53, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Questions about economy.

Post by Red-Spot » Sun, 17. Mar 19, 00:01

Point 1 to 5 ... see the data I send you ... fully agree with it.
One exception. I do not (completely) think the same about tech as you do. There is enough silicon to go around, if you'd ever use all of it you'd probably had been bored to death 8000 gameshours before you got there :D
So yes you make a point with tech cause silicon is the 'first' finite resource, but under that rule anything that uses ore should be classified in the same way. Since you in reality will not (realistically) reach that finite limit I would ignore it.
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Re: Questions about economy.

Post by Altruist » Sun, 17. Mar 19, 02:42

@nponoBegHuk, I do appraciate such discussions.
Basically I go along with most of your statements. For the sake of a theoretical approach we have to differ, though, between 3 cases:

1) The discussion, so far, used the not outspoken assumption of a player for whom money isn't really of interest anylonger and has lots of it. Otherwise we'd need to bring in also the variable of return of investment under the condition that cash is a scarce resource, additionally a possible variable would be time under the condition how to accumulate cash in the fastest way.
This stage of playing X3 is, I guess we all agree, the most exciting phase. The joy of making your first deals, buying ore for 50 and selling for 195, or fullfilling a time-restrained contract with much extra profit. And to finally being able to upgrade your ship...

Once cash isn't so scarce anylonger, we strive for further challenges and economic empire building surely is one of those player-set challenges and that's what this discussion is about:

2) What you, @nponoBegHuk, describe above is no less than the (hostile) take-over of the universe economy, quite interesting, with a keen eye on how to starve out the non-player economy. We are probably all aware that there are more factories and more possible production available in the set universe than there are traders to carry around all the stuff. This means, competition from non-player-factories is less than it could be and this supports your "take-over".

There are 2 problems or rather results of what this might include:

a) The very first is, of course, the assumption that cash isn't anylonger a player's problem but rather what to do with all that heaps of credits... which makes hyperoptimizing your economy a bit contradicting, it isn't really necessary anylonger but a task done purely for the task's sake... ahem, actually quite like every capitalist acts. But well, we are nerdish gamers and do in the virtual world what we like (often enough absolutely not what we ever would do in the real world).

b) G.O.D. takes away factories which aren't used. Actually I haven't a clue how fast nor the exact conditions for it. If anybody has numbers for this, I'd be highly curious and interested. Your approach of trying to make all non-player mines, power plants and factories superfluous with the exception of equipment docks, trading stations and military outposts... might make the universe quite empty in the long run. Just to reach that point might be a challenge, afterwards it would be a bit boring.
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3) The 3rd point is the rather exceptional HUB-plot time where especially ore and silicon are needed in such quantities that it is rather unwise to produce them all on your own because your production would by far exceed the demand afterwards.
What I usually do as a compromise is trying to incorporate the non-player production:
1) I build complex loops for the equipment I need to outfit larger numbers of ships to ensure that is available in necessary quantity. Otherwise there is always stuff which is sold out too fast and I hate to wait several prodcution cycles. There is no problem selling this equipment to docks. Having well stuffed docks allows to buy it back in necessary quantities when needed.

2) Setting up such a complex (or several) plus the Hub-plot economy leads to the side-effect of having rather vast store capacities for more or less every ware.

3) With those vast store capacities then I try to take over not the production but the trade in the universe. Every ware gets sold when it reaches a certain max threshold and bought (exception are military wares) when it reaches a defined minimum threshold. For the military wares I use the hub/player-HQ since they have bigger stores. When also setting buy and sell prices to low and high, it ensures quite high profits AND a functioning non-player economy. As a matter of fact the non-player economy funtions much better now and at a higher rate than before because the price settings ensure that the many stalled non-player factories are served first (be they stalled because of lack of resources or of full product stores).

And I lean back in front of my computer and joy fills me because at least a virtual universe I am able to help to a humming economy *grin

PS: As hinted at already above, I am using additional scripts. For the described task mainly the OK-Trader. Probably it can be also set up with the help of the bonus pack. No idea wether it is feasible within a vanilla X3, if yes, I'd be very curious how to set it up.

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Re: Questions about economy.

Post by jlehtone » Sun, 17. Mar 19, 23:11

If the OK-Trader is similar to CAG, then CAG can do what the OK-Trader does.

In addition to the Silicon Asteroids, there are also silicon rocks and mobile mining in TC is practically endless. That is a lot of Wafers.

I, for one, had 0 Mines in TC. Mobile mining all the way (although I had CAGs to buy from NPC too). Only the "couple Chips" made me build Factories, and those did run on NPC and mobile mined resources. One of the benefits of being "a player for whom money isn't really of interest anylonger and has lots of it."
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