esd's X² guide to loops

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jlehtone
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Post by jlehtone » Fri, 19. Aug 05, 10:33

DeathAndPain wrote:Wait a minute... what did you just say:
NavaCorp wrote:open loops (I have one in PE)
PE like in "Presidents End"? You set up a loop that is designed to intensely trade with NPC stations and you place it into the only sector where there are no NPC stations :?
As NavaCorp says, the trading can be fine. However, that may not necessarily be as secure and efficient as when the potential NPC producers/customers are sitting next to player fabs. A closed loop is likely to have jumps set to 0, and minimal transportation distance is good for open loops, too.

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Agifem
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Post by Agifem » Fri, 19. Aug 05, 10:41

Just a quick thanks to esd for this very clear and nicely illustrated guide. I have such loops in Rhy's Desire, which produce alpha and beta HEPTs for free. Using best buy instructions require me to inject credits in my factories, especially in the HEPT forges since i don't sell the canons. I intend to follow your advice and use the "0 credit" extension.
Sorry about my poor english, i'm french.

Dans tout mensonge gît une part de vérité.

jlehtone
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Post by jlehtone » Fri, 19. Aug 05, 11:46

DeathAndPain wrote:Not exactly. I set up an ... open loop. :D You did notice that I pointed out that no stations are missing in the open loop, did you :?: For your closed loop, you would have to set up all stations that you need in order to produce your 1MW shield, including the most basic stuff like an spp and a cattle ranch. Well, I do just the same. So I do not draw in more from the NPC, because for every resource that one of my stations buys from an NPC station, another of my stations is selling exactly that resource back to another NPC station. The "foreign trade balance" is zero! You could also say that any shortage one of my station causes by buying a NPC resource is remedied by another of my stations selling exactly that resource back to a NPC station that needs it (so that this NPC station no longer needs to buy it from the NPC source where I bought my stuff from).
And that is the beauty of it. The closed loop (well done esd, clear guide) is cheap, secure and simple. The open loop has higher investment, potentially higher running cost, higher risk, higher complexity and higher profitsss.

There is no need for money in the closed loop fabs. Multi-loop systems may work with only a few high level CLS freighters, but the savings in initial investment are slowly eaten by pilot fees. And a loss of such transport will really hurt. Demeters are rather good transports can be fully equipped (CLS) already at the shipyard.

The open loop requires investment of float cash into each fab. The ATC pilots (and SMS) will require fees - a running cost - but that is the only reason why money does dissapper from the system. The fabs never sell for less than what they payed for their resources. One could of course use Mk1 and Mk2 traders instead of ATC, but too many ships is too many. What a pain to ferry each new (non-Boron) transport first to Boronian EQ Dock just to get ATC fitted.

There is only one end product, both in open and in closed loop. To make any money and keep the system running at top speed, there must be a constant demand for that product. Thus, the product must be soldable to trading docks, equipment docks, or as secondary resource to NPC fabs. Those are the product sinks of the system. ECells is an another easily soldable product, since the universe/economy does not have enough SPPs in the beginning. That market is limited, but still huge.

The closed loop trades also intermediate products, when profitable. That has a slight risk if the local sectors have a huge demand for a particular resource: the NPCs may buy out the resource and not provide enough in return. Similarly, the Trade docks may discard products, if our buyer is too slow. It is just fine to store stuff in a trash can, but occasionally that may turn out to be a lossy solution. I think that the most often quoted open loop trick is to sell passively the crystals at max and buy them back from the Trade dock. I tried that, but probably too early, since and my SPP ran out of crystals, and thus I closed the loop for now. However, there is no reason not to try open loops with most wares free for trade, except the added complexity.

As for NPC fabs consuming all your products and not producing the same ware enough, well that is an inbalance of the NPC economy. Thus, to make open loop reliable is to fix the holes of the NPC production lines. Babysitting. But those extra 'stopgap' fabs cannot sell for more than the same type 'in the loop'. That would be unnecessary inbalance. Still making money, though.

JMCorp has a nice approach for those 'babysitters' here.

There is one more difference between open and closed loop, not really strongly pointed by any of the quides: the race of closed loop is of no significance, but the race of open loop should be the same of NPC fabs or their secondary resources. The closed loop can be build from the cheapest fabs (transportation cost included). Since the middleproducts are not traded, their type is irrelevant.

There is only one limit to the size of the empire and that is the sum of the yield of the silicon and ore asteroids. Every fab, except NPC SPPs (and they do it too as secondary), uses silicon.

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Post by chovy » Fri, 19. Aug 05, 12:34

@esd: I've had a sudden thought about your loop.
You could train up the CLS in the SPP to the second level. The cost is so minimal and it comes out of the player account, it doesn't affect the loop. Then after training the pilot to the second level, remove the Trading extension so they can't learn any further... that way you'll have one single low cost ship supplying the SPP loop with energy. Of course this might need adjustment for a double/product loop. :) what do yahs think?
Unfortunatly this doesn't work with CLS. When you remove the trade extension, the pilot's level goes back from courier to assistant. It doesn't keep its levels.

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Re: esd's guide to loops

Post by Shanjaq » Sun, 21. Aug 05, 15:40

esd wrote:Now I use the Logistics Software, but do not allow it to learn. this keeps it free, and identical to the SDS.

It's not free even without learning, I have this 126930c bill after a supplier has accumulated 72 flight hours!
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NavaCorp
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Post by NavaCorp » Sun, 21. Aug 05, 17:02

I prefer the good old and free SDS.

I don't see this new CLS useful for closed loops but for open loops spared in different sectors and to deliver wares beetween trading docks using a corvette.

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DeathAndPain
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Post by DeathAndPain » Mon, 22. Aug 05, 14:20

NavaCorp wrote:If you read my post I don't "watch my account going up", I use the SMS log to check how much my factories earn. So I did with the two final fabs in my loops. Besides before that I'd already done my calculations.
Yes. You calculated how much profit your closed loop would make. But from what you wrote, I see no indication that you actually calculated the profit an open loop would have given you and compared the two outcomes.

As a matter of fact the open loop gives you the same final product as your closed loop, so any profit you make with your closed loop is also made with the open loop. But you make the additional trading profit from the open loop on top of that! The tradeoff is that you need some more freighters and to give your factories some money to play with, which can be regarded as additional investition. 400000 credits seems much exaggerated to me though, for my factories do nicely with a fraction of that amount.
NavaCorp wrote:In my PE (1 trading station + 19 factories) the NPC traffic it's so high that sometimes it causes FPS problems (and my PC is quite powerful) due the high number of TS of all races running to my factories (apart Khaak and Xenon Mr. Green ).
The fact that the AI goes through the hassle to travel to your system does not mean that it is wise to place the open loop into a system without NPC stations that could trade with you easier due to less distance. I suppose the main reason while freighters are flocking for your open loop from all directions is that the NPC economy itself is messy and in recession, so they need your stations to get what they need.
jlehtone wrote:As for NPC fabs consuming all your products and not producing the same ware enough, well that is an inbalance of the NPC economy. Thus, to make open loop reliable is to fix the holes of the NPC production lines. Babysitting. But those extra 'stopgap' fabs cannot sell for more than the same type 'in the loop'. That would be unnecessary inbalance. Still making money, though.
It is correct that you may end up needing such stopgap fabs in order to avoid production pauses in your open loop. However, it is not correct that your stopgap fabs cannot sell for the max.

The reason is that the only resources (besides e-cells) that are so scarce that they require you to make stopgap fabs are those resources that the trading stations buy and burn. That especially goes for crystals, but also for race-dependent food (meatsteak cahoonas, rastar oil, nostrip oil). The trading stations buy and burn so much of those that they are often sitting at zero stocks although there is decent production nearby. However, this means that your stopgap fabs can sell all their output at max price and do not even need any freighters to sell them, as the trading stations will struggle for the privilege to get them from you for max price. The only exception is the raw material required to make the food. You will need to add some chelts aquaria if you make lots of rastar refineries, and yes, these chelts aquaria cannot sell for more than the competition. But in return, you are making huge profitz at your rastar refineries. Of course you could also opt to SDS the chelts from your aquarium to your refinery, since there is little gain in openly trading that particular resource.
jlehtone wrote:There is only one limit to the size of the empire and that is the sum of the yield of the silicon and ore asteroids. Every fab, except NPC SPPs (and they do it too as secondary), uses silicon.
Nope. SPPs use crystals, to be more precise, which are made from silicon and energy. Most other factories use neither crystals nor silicon (e.g. cattle ranches). They indirectly depend on it as they all require e-cells though.

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antman112
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Post by antman112 » Mon, 22. Aug 05, 14:22

how about you just use X2 system planer
sorry of any spelling mistakes

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Post by Shanjaq » Mon, 22. Aug 05, 15:45

Hey just got my first double loop running after 2 nights of preparation!

It started as a single energy loop in Herron's Nebula, Silicon mine on a 25-yield asteroid and Argon stations. It was fun to watch all 5 stations go from flashing yellow to solid green as the system spun up into full production with only a small input of energy at the right places. Soon excess energy was pouring directly into storage via docked Maintain Product Quantity freighters at the SPP.

While I built up an excess of energy I flew over to Family Pride and picked up some Split stations to assemble a 25mw Shield loop(minus the energy component.) Once they were set up back in Herron's Nebula I pulled all the stored energy over into the new stations and got them started immediately. Now production was in full swing but still I had a little excess energy, so I built a Wheat Farm to siphon it off into a Rimes Fact in Home of Light(free wheat, yippie!!)

This worked out nicely because there were now 3 energy suppliers at the SPP supplying 3 stations each. I wrote my own script as a variant to the Maintain Product Quantity which accumulates and then delivers wares to a single player-owned consumer station. I still use the CLS software for freighters supplying more than 1 station, but my own script works quite well for direct transportation of goods from one station to the other.

Thanks for the advice ESD, you've made my weekend!
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jlehtone
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Post by jlehtone » Mon, 22. Aug 05, 20:35

DeathAndPain wrote:
I wrote:Babysitting. But those extra 'stopgap' fabs cannot sell for more than the same type 'in the loop'.
It is correct that you may end up needing such stopgap fabs in order to avoid production pauses in your open loop. However, it is not correct that your stopgap fabs cannot sell for the max. ... The trading stations buy and burn so much of those that they are often sitting at zero stocks although there is decent production nearby. However, this means that your stopgap fabs can sell all their output at max price and do not even need any freighters to sell them, as the trading stations will struggle for the privilege to get them from you for max price.
True, it is not possible to sell to Trade Dock actively at any other than average price. Selling at max works only passively. That also implies that the fabs 'in the loop' sell passively to the Trade Dock at max price and thus completes the proof that the 'stopgaps' cannot sell for more :)
DeathAndPain wrote:
I wrote:There is only one limit to the size of the empire and that is the sum of the yield of the silicon and ore asteroids. Every fab, except NPC SPPs (and they do it too as secondary), uses silicon.
Nope. SPPs use crystals, to be more precise, which are made from silicon and energy. Most other factories use neither crystals nor silicon (e.g. cattle ranches). They indirectly depend on it as they all require e-cells though.
Every station (save SPP, Shipyards, and Trade/EQ Docks) requires energy. Therefore, the maximal number of those stations is limited by the energy production. Energy production is the sum of NPC SPPs' and player SPPs' production. The number of NPC SPPs is fixed (or decreased by gunnery practice). The number of player SPPs is limited by crystal production, which in turn is limited by silicon production. The practical maxima of player SPPs is less than the theoretical, since some of the desirable high end products require silicon too. Anyways, energy is produced from silicon. For the basic SPP loop of (SiMine, Bio, Food, Xtal Fab, SPP) the only real requirement is the silicon asteroid.
The ore asteroids are for mines, which (with energy) support product factories. Since Trade docks consume Food products, the food chains can be added to consume the left-over energy. But the amount of silicon is the only true limitation (unless integer overflows and RAM runs out).

@antman112: Who says we don't? That is one handy tool that helps the implementation of our plans. The plan, however, is based on solid theory.

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DeathAndPain
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Post by DeathAndPain » Tue, 23. Aug 05, 08:06

Do I sound arrogant if I say that I do not feel the need for such a tool, or written loop diagrams, for I have no problem planning my loops using only my brain? That does not mean that there is something wrong with anybody else using such help if so desired. I just do not have the impression that it is necessary, not even for my complex open loops.
Shanjaq wrote:Hey just got my first double loop running after 2 nights of preparation!

It started as a single energy loop in Herron's Nebula
[...snip...]
While I built up an excess of energy I flew over to Family Pride and picked up some Split stations to assemble a 25mw Shield loop(minus the energy component.) Once they were set up back in Herron's Nebula I pulled all the stored energy over into the new stations and got them started immediately.
Question remains why you did not set up your energy loop where you would later need the energy. Or, if your plans developed step-by-step, why you did not put the 25MW shield fab into Herron's Nebula. If you are going to do everything by closed loop, it would not have mattered that it consumes Split food. You can hire a cheap Boron or Teladi station transporter. A few thousand credits for the jumps of the hired transporter do not really make a difference.
Shanjaq wrote:I wrote my own script as a variant to the Maintain Product Quantity which accumulates and then delivers wares to a single player-owned consumer station.
You know that this is cheating unless you also implemented excessive pilot fees like in the original scripts. :twisted:

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Post by Shanjaq » Tue, 23. Aug 05, 09:46

DeathAndPain wrote:why you did not put the 25MW shield fab into Herron's Nebula. If you are going to do everything by closed loop, it would not have mattered that it consumes Split food. You can hire a cheap Boron or Teladi station transporter. A few thousand credits for the jumps of the hired transporter do not really make a difference.

Yes, it is all in Herron's Nebula, all 8 factories powered by a single SPP, plus a Wheat Farm to siphon off the slight excess of energy.

DeathAndPain wrote:You know that this is cheating unless you also implemented excessive pilot fees like in the original scripts. :twisted:
To me, cheating is spawning resources and items out of thin air(or empty space...) I only built a cut-down version of Trade Command MK2 which is also limited to delivering only to player-owned stations that can use the homebases product. if Trade Command MK2 operates for free(it's just software, no pilot involved, hence no fee) then something half as useful and not to mention unprofitable should be free as well.

I still use the SDS/CLS to supply multiple factories with the same ship, I'm willing to pay for that sort of intelligent resource management. You might contest that Loops in general is cheating, but then why haven't the devs nerfed the SPPs so they can only supply a single station?


The idea for this loop was to provide 25MW shields for all of my freighters, I'm sick of them getting eaten by KM5s when my sector patrols are looking the other way!
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DeathAndPain
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Post by DeathAndPain » Tue, 23. Aug 05, 14:07

You might contest that Loops in general is cheating
To the contrary. When you invest money and set up a factory, you can well expect that it generates some value (and not just compensates for its own expenses). A chain of factories is an even bigger investition. I even think that the value generation per factory in X2 is far too low, so you need to exploit the foolishness of AI stations for the real profit.
The idea for this loop was to provide 25MW shields for all of my freighters, I'm sick of them getting eaten by KM5s when my sector patrols are looking the other way!
I have done a similar thing by setting up lots of factories for food and energy in Split space, so that their economy works better and their 25MW fabs actually produce shield for me to buy. Since demand for my products is high, my supporting fabs make a fortune in gold and silver to pay for the shields. :-)

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Post by xria » Tue, 23. Aug 05, 14:44

Do I sound arrogant if I say that I do not feel the need for such a tool, or written loop diagrams, for I have no problem planning my loops using only my brain? That does not mean that there is something wrong with anybody else using such help if so desired. I just do not have the impression that it is necessary, not even for my complex open loops.
Sector Planner isnt really a tool designed to help design a loop, its power is the ability to aggregate the demand from a local area, which of course isnt really needed for closed loops, but if you want to have open loops then knowing if there is a large net drain on a particular good, whether it be crystals or argnu beef, in a region is a powerful thing to help you plan to avoid having all your goods in a sector nabbed from halfway up your production line whatever price you set, leaving any downstream factories you built unprofitable.
I even think that the value generation per factory in X2 is far too low, so you need to exploit the foolishness of AI stations for the real profit.
Hmm so a 240k power plant that can make back the money it was bought for within 2.5 hours in a good spot isnt profitable enough for you?

I could certainly agree if you said that some of the stations werent profitable enough, certainly if compared to others, but it is fairly fast already imo (even for a game which has to be relatively fast and profitable compared to how any real situation would be).

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DeathAndPain
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Post by DeathAndPain » Wed, 24. Aug 05, 15:10

Hmm so a 240k power plant that can make back the money it was bought for within 2.5 hours in a good spot isnt profitable enough for you?

I could certainly agree if you said that some of the stations werent profitable enough
Okay. Everything except SPPs is not profitable enough...

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