[X3TC.Guide] Using Commodity Logistics Software to Automate your TL Storage Solution.

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[X3TC.Guide] Using Commodity Logistics Software to Automate your TL Storage Solution.

Post by EarlHarewood » Wed, 20. Jul 11, 08:50

This is my first guide so any suggestions / corrections would be greatly appreciated, I would really like to hear from new players who have used this guide to know how useful it has been for you and what changes I may need to make.
I will be assuming throughout this guide that people have the full Bonus Pack installed. (quite frankly I never played this game without it lol)
This guide covers a nice wide area about Commodity Logistics, so it is definitely a good read for anybody starting out using CLS!!

Let's get started shall we?

Using Commodity Logistics Software to automate your TL storage solution

I will start off by saying that this can be used for ANY ware, but is most useful when you have a personal weapons factory/complex, or if you want to store a ton of wares for certain plot missions that shall remain un-named :).
By the end of this guide you will have a storage TL that automatically stores any ware you want it to as soon as it becomes available where it is docked, even setting the limit for each ware you want to store!
You will also be able to, using this same process, control whether or not you are selling or buying certain wares by controlling the stock levels, full or empty.

List of things you will need:

1) Your own Equipment Dock (or basically anywhere you own and can dock a TL, but we shall stick with an equipment dock for this tutorial)

2) A TL for Storage. (Ideally a Mammoth for it's high cargo space)
Required Software:
Commodity Logistics Software MK2
Navigation Command Software MK1
Pilot with "Cargo Messenger(Level 4)" Rank or above

3) A few TS's to bring the wares to your Equipment Dock.
Software neccessary will depend on whether you are using Commercial Agents (CAG's) to buy wares or Internal Logistics (CLS1's) to transport wares from your own factories.
Pilot Ranks neccessary will depend on how many wares you are transporting, but I always use the highest rank here for the most flexibility.
Required Software (CAG):
Trade Command Software MK1 & MK2
Fight Command Software MK1 & MK2 (optional but recommended)
Jumpdrive (optional but highly recommended)
Required Software (CLS1):
Commodity Logistics Software MK1
Navigation Command Software MK1
Fight Command Software MK1 & MK2 (optional but recommended for escaping)
Jumpdrive (optional but recommended)

4) If you are producing wares, a few more TS's to sell your excess stock.
These will be CAG's so just use the same software as mentioned previously.
It is recommended that you max these guy's shields or they will most likely die to pirates/xenon/kha'ak (or a combo of all 3!! O_O) More shielding gives them more chance to escape.

5) A few trained CAG pilots. for a guide on how to quickly train these guys and to transfer them to different ships, please click this: http://forum.egosoft.com/viewtopic.php?t=277232

The Method - Part 1, Setting up your TL/Equipment Dock

First of all, you want to build your equipment dock somewhere it will be useful.
This is roughly a 50mill Cr investment and should not be taken lightly!!! If you are storing weapons/shields etc you want this near to the shipyard you use most often.
Next you dock your TL at the Equipment Dock and transfer a CAG pilot over to it; don't forget, this one needs to be Cargo Messenger (Level 4) or higher.

Then you bring up the command console/Orders for the equipment dock, (click it in your property menu[R]) select any slot 1 - 10, then select Dock Ware Manager.
Here you can add any ware to be listed at your Equipment Dock that you want; you don't have to store them in the TL if you don't want to either :).
Go ahead and add your wares now.

We are now going to set up your TL to automatically load wares as soon as any stock appears in the Equipment Dock.

To do this, open up the command console on the TL and select the following:

-Start External Commodity Logistics

In this screen there are a lot of options, we need to modify only two of these so don't panic!
Before we continue click Restore Defaults at the bottom then click yes, so we are working with a clean slate.
Now let's continue:

-Add Station

Select your equipment dock in the sector where you put it.

Or Unload if you are reversing the process, keeping in mind unloading will be slightly different with regards to the next step.

Now we are presented with all the wares that the dock trades in, you will need to repeat this process for each ware that you want the TL to store, for now just start at the top of your list.
After you have selected your ware:

-Manual input up to
Select the maximum number you wish it to store, or just hit maximum cargospace on the previous screen if you're not bothered.
This step is different for unloading, the "up to" would then refer to the EQ dock NOT the TL!!

Now we are returned to the Waypoints screen; to add another ware click the previous ware on the list in front of you, then click:

-Add Waypoint
This way you can add another ware without having to select the station over again.
Once you have finished adding all the wares go back to the main External Logistics screen where you shall now select Supply Conditions.
We only need to modify two things here, that is the top two options:

-minimum transfer amount on collection / delivery
Set these both to 0%, this will make the TL act like a sponge and just suck up (or spit out) wares as soon as it sees them (or there is space in the EQD).
Now we go back to the External Logistics main screen and click:

-Start External Commodity Logistics (at the top).

Congratulations! Your TL is now all set up and will now automatically store any of the wares you selected as soon as they appear in the equipment dock!

The Method - Part 2, Setting up your CAG / CLS1

We will start with CAG's, I will explain both how to set them up to Sell excess wares or purchase the wares you want.
Please remember to set your prices at the correct levels, even if you aren't open to the public, the CAG's don't sell below your price limit, or buy above it.

First of all select your TS with the correct software upgrades that you wish to use and bring up it's command console[C].
The first thing we need to do before anything else is set it's homebase to the Equipment Dock.
After doing this we then go through the list of settings:

-Start Commercial Representation

Once again, lots of options in here; first things first, Restore Defaults and after going into each menu press ESC once to go back up a level.

-Ware lists
Here you want to set up which wares you want your CAG to deal with, you can either set it up as a blacklist (the default) which means, "trade any wares except these ones" or a trade list which means, "trade these wares only". Select whichever best suits your needs.
Next on the list is:

Most of this is pretty self explanatory, again we have a blacklist and trade list, these apply to the sectors / stations and allow you to manipulate where your CAG will be trading. Useful for making sure they stay clear of stupid sectors like LooMankStrat's Legacy ^^;
Next we have:

-Trade Duties
You will be seeing a lot of this screen in future, get to grips with it early on!
We want the following settings for our CAG if selling excess wares
-Sell Products - CAG will sell wares down to this level, set it to 0% and he will sell sell sell! set it to 100% and you've basically broken him.
-Sell Products Freighter Cargo Bay - Set this to 101% to disable it, it's redundant after you've set "Sell Products" correctly and often causes clashes.
-Sell Intermediate Products - set this to the same as "Sell Products" I can't tell which one is used for docks and I haven't bothered testing it sorry lol.
And for Purchasing required wares:
-Purchase Resources - CAG will buy wares up to this level, set it to 100% to buy buy buy! set it to 0% and you've broken him again.
-Purchase Intermediate Resources - Again duno which one the dock uses, set this to 100%
-Purchase stations credit balance - CAG's only use funds available in their homebase, this option sets a limit of funds below which CAG's will not use to buy things, do with this as you see fit.

Go back up one and next on the list we have:

-Station Settings
Here you can set the trade range of your agent, useful if you want it to stick to a certain part of the universe. This overrides anything set in the homebase and allows you to have different agents with different jump ranges working in the same station.

-Jump Drive Settings
Here you can set your CAG's Jumpdrive settings, these will override what's in use in the command console. Most useful when you save your settings and load them to another agent whom you want to do the same job.

That's CAG's over with now we're moving onto CLS1.
CAG's are used generally to trade with NPC stations but CLS1's are designed to work within your own empire, in a nutshell making sure points A B and C gets what they need from points X Y and Z and not vice versa.
(e.g. Crystals from 3 Crystal fab complexes in Ore Belt to 1 Solar Power Plant complex in Akeela's beacon, OR, Energy cells from SPP in Akeela's to Crystal Fabs in Ore Belt, NOT both)
(e.g. #2: All races food products from one complex delivered to weapons production complex which uses all of them)

First of all select the TS with the correct upgrades that you wish to use and bring up it's command console, then select it's homebase at your factory/complex you wish to keep your equipment dock supplied.
After that select:

-Start Internal Commodity Logistics

Big list of stuff to tinker with again, by now it should be getting easier right? :)

-Home Base Products
These are the wares you want it to supply to the Dock.

-Suppliers and Consumers
In this case, the homebase is the Supplier and is automatically listed for you, select the Equipment Dock as the Consumer, you can select 10 suppliers and 20 consumers with a top rank CLS1, but keep in mind, they will treat each one equally due to the next item on the list.

-Supply Conditions
These ones are going to get a little bit confusing, but stick with it we're almost there now :)
-Minimum Storage Space filled - For the Supplier, the CLS1 will not take wares below this % marker. e.g. if set to 10% and if your supplier can store 100 items and has 10 left, the CLS1 will not touch them.
For the Consumer, this % marker is reversed, so the same as before but on the consumer's side if it has 90/100 in stock the CLS1 does not serve it.
Do not worry if you are confused, it's taken me months to get this right in my head lol! If you are still wondering, set it to 0% or 100% and see which one gets it to move. (When doing this, restart the script by selecting Start Internal Commodity Logistics in the main script menu)
-Freighter Cargo Bay - 101% again to disable, can cause clashes and you should have set your Minimum and maximum storage space at good levels to avoid needing this.
-Fly to Supplier Only - If checked yes, the CLS1 will visit SUPPLIERS in order of which has the most stock, helps to keep stock levels evened out in multiple suppliers. Remember, CLS1 always flies to consumers in order of need.

Okay now let's go back up a level to the next setting; last one!:

-Jumpdrive Settings
Same as before :) set as you require.

We are now finished! you should now have 3 or 4 things!

An equipment Dock with all the wares you want added to it.
A TL docked at it sucking down wares that you want to store.
A CAG set up to either purchase wares for your EQ dock or to sell excess wares delivered from your complexes.
And maybe a CLS1 set up to deliver wares from your complex/complexes to your equipment dock for storage/sale.

Thank you for reading, I hope this was informative for you!

Earl Harewood.

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Post by cmdnenad » Wed, 20. Jul 11, 15:44

Good guide, thank you. :)

One note - if someone doesn't want to spend 50 millions for an EQ dock, and has the HUB, it can also be used for the storage. The only difference is that the TL would be better to be parked near the HUB (to leave the docking space free) and use additional CLS1 ship to transport wares from HUB to TL.

That's how I do it. I keep the HUB 75% full of each missile/gun/whatever, and the rest goes to the TL.

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Post by EarlHarewood » Wed, 20. Jul 11, 17:51

That seems a bit of a pain to me tbh xD
Wouldn't it be better to use a CLS2 in that instance? That way you could control exactly how much of each ware you have in the TL.
Not sure though if the CLS2 would stop running back and forth once it had filled up the TL, and that would cost you wages (albeit not much).

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Post by Infekted » Tue, 26. Jul 11, 12:44

This is kinda old news no?

For true TL storage you can use CLS1 and 2 to create "active" storage.
You use CLS2 on the TL to unload into the dock, up to X amount as you've stated.
You then use a small CLS1 ship homebased to the EQ dock, that takes everything beyond a certain point from the dock and loads it into the TL.
This means stock in the EQ dock is always maintained between two levels, regardless of whether you are buying or selling to/from that dock.

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Post by EarlHarewood » Wed, 27. Jul 11, 01:00

Probably old news to a veteran/bubble burster like yourself, but I remember having to struggle on my own to figure out how to use this stuff and there isn't another guide like this one around. Sure everyone can tell you if you ask, but most people don't want to create an account just to ask. Thought I would pass on what I have learned in a simple and easy walkthrough for newbies.

You can tell i figured this out myself as I hadn't figured out that active storage solution, might have to add that onto the end of the guide. It's like having a spring loaded pez dispenser xD

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Interesting issue

Post by Dathnic » Tue, 20. Sep 11, 21:20

Having something interesting happen after setting this up. Followed the guide to a exacting instructions and everything seems to be working alright except for one problem. For Some reason the TL that I have docked that the EQD after a few minutes of collecting wares decides its board or something and flys of to buy Fighter Drones... I have no orders for it to do that. So thinking as I sometimes do I rest the script and it flies back to the EQD but again after a few minutes of sitting there wants fighter drones and flies of to buy them.

Anyone have this same problem?

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Post by rwhiteruff » Tue, 20. Sep 11, 21:26

It's not a bug, it's a feature. :D Commodity Logistics Software pilots automatically buy certain upgrades for their ships, and always get 20 mosquito missiles (if useable) and 10 fighter drones for a minimum defense.

Even though it's going to waste some time buying them and waste a little bit of cargo space to store them, it's not that big of a deal and there's nothing you can really do about it. It's true it's not useful at all for a perma-docked tank, but it doesn't really take up that much space.

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Post by Dathnic » Wed, 21. Sep 11, 04:33

MMhmm interesting enough however being supplied to the storage TL are Drones and Missiles. Hmm will let it do its thing and see where it ends up I guess. LOL thanks for the Reply and well done on the guide to the OP.

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Post by cattafett » Wed, 21. Sep 11, 05:03

Dathnic wrote:MMhmm interesting enough however being supplied to the storage TL are Drones and Missiles
if you add the Drones and Missiles your self the won't count towards whats being supplied and the ship can use them for defence

but if the TL will be docked at a equipment dock and not flying around
don't give it the two fight softwares and it won't want the Drones and Missiles
those UFOs you hear about are just what you tried to explaine to me going over my head
Advanced Complex-Hub you know you need it Catta Fett's D.O.G.S Vanilla safe mod collectionyou don't need them but you want them
Friendship is like peeing on yourself: everyone can see it, but only you get the warm feeling that it brings

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Post by Godzii » Wed, 26. Oct 11, 15:46

Infekted wrote:This is kinda old news no?

For true TL storage you can use CLS1 and 2 to create "active" storage.
You use CLS2 on the TL to unload into the dock, up to X amount as you've stated.
You then use a small CLS1 ship homebased to the EQ dock, that takes everything beyond a certain point from the dock and loads it into the TL.
This means stock in the EQ dock is always maintained between two levels, regardless of whether you are buying or selling to/from that dock.
Wow this is so good... I always tried to extend my EQ cargo space with a TL in a dynamic fashion, and it worked.

Actually, it works even better with a CLS2, as it gives you the perfect, customizable EQ cargo extension I had stopped to dream about (from standard 2500 EC to say 12000 EC, or 13500 EC, or whatever amount < 60.000, you get my point, and that for every ware).

I'm so very pleased with that I want to share it :

Objects involved :

- 1 EQ Dock
- 1 TL with CLS2
- 1 TS with CLS2
- 1 TS with CAG (optional)

Objects configuration :

1°) EQ Dock : use the dock ware manager to select your wanted wares. Anything will do, but let's go with MJ shields for the sake of this example.
Regarding shields, EQ Dock can hold :
1 MJ - 124
5 MJ - 30
25 MJ - 6
200 MJ - 4

Don't forget to give EQ Dock some cash too...

2°) TL with CLS2 :

Tip : as said above, preferably do not give fight command software I nor II to this ship.

State : TL is undocked.

Config : Go to external commodity and reset to default.
Then go to waypoint, select your EQ Dock as the station, and select unload, shields, 1MJ, manual input up to, and type 100 (for instance...).
Then do the same for every type of shield, just changing the number according to the EQ Dock cargo space for every ware. The idea here is to ask the TL to unload around 75 % of the EQ Dock cargo space, per ware (the further idea is to let 25% of space free, so that your future ware supplier can be properly triggered).
But we are not working with %, this was just to give the general idea, and since this is not a CLS1, let's put some numbers.
So in my example, the TL CLS2 is commanded to unload up to :

1 MJ - 100
5 MJ - 20
25 MJ - 4
200 MJ - 2

Do not hit the start external commodity button yet, keep the TL CLS2 undocked.

3°) TS with CLS2

Tip : same as above, not fight software (not needed, it will stay docked anyway).

State : doesn't matter here (docked or idled). Homebased to your EQ Dock, although i'm not certain this matters either.

Config : same as above, reset to default.

a) Then waypoints, select station first, your EQ Dock. Load, type of ware (1MJ for instance), manual input up to... here, say 50 (for instance...).
You repeat that with every ware in the EQ Dock, so in my example, the TS CLS2 is commanded to load up to :

1 MJ - 50
5 MJ - 15
25 MJ - 3
200 MJ - 2

b) Now the unload part, your TS CLS2 will unload all that in your TL CLS2 *up to a certain point*, and this is the beauty of the system right there.

Waypoints, now select ship and your TL CLS2 (this is why the TL CLS2 had to be undocked - note that if the CLS1 software lets you select a ship even when it is docked, the CLS2 software does not, so yeah) and select unload, manual input up to... and that number will be your new limit, your new "extended EQ Dock cargo space".
So, following my example, I command my TS CLS2 to unload up to :

1 MJ - 200
5 MJ - 40
25 MJ - 45
200 MJ - 6

Again, those numbers do not matter at all, you set them as you want as they only represent the exact amount you want to stock in your TL CLS2. You want to stock up to 5.000 1MJ shields in your TL ? sure, just put that number.

Now order both your TS CLS2 and TL CLS2 to dock at your EQ Dock. Once they are docked, start the external commodity on both.
Done with the guts of the system.


The beauty of the system is that if you put 5.000 for instance, it will NOT go over 5.000. If you want to stock up to 40 Iron Shard Railguns, just put that number, and your TL will stock them up to that point, no more.

AND your TL CLS2 will replenish your EQ Dock in real time for every ware concerned. Put 3x25MJ shields on this Freighter you just bought in space, pop there's already 4/6 available on your EQ Dock. Put some 3 more on another freighter, pop 4/6 available again... yeah you get the point.

4°) TS with CAG : (or whatever ship with whatever function, the idea is to feed the system with fresh wares)

So for the little loop to function you need to feed it with wares. I personaly use a CAG for that, default settings, shopper, tradelist, the wanted wares.

I suppose this will work with any form of ware transport, be it CAG, CLS1, CLS2, manual...

So after a while (40 min or so in my game, with shields as ware like in this example), you will find that your TL CLS2 is reaching his set limits, that is to say :

1 MJ - 200
5 MJ - 40
25 MJ - 45
200 MJ - 6

He doesn't have more than that. When the TL CLS2 reaches that point regarding a ware, the TS CLS2 will stop giving him said ware, and will stop sucking it from EQ Dock. The EQ Dock will therefore have the amount the TL CLS2 unloaded last time, that is to say, in my example :

1 MJ - 100 / 124
5 MJ - 20 / 30
25 MJ - 4 / 6
200 MJ - 2 / 4

And since the CAG (or w/e the source of ware income) has been working well, he has filling the gaps, so the EQ Dock, after a while, ends up full.

1 MJ - 124 / 124
5 MJ - 30 / 30
25 MJ - 6 / 6
200 MJ - 4 / 4

All nice and ready to be used on your fleet :D

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Post by Infekted » Wed, 26. Oct 11, 16:17

Novel approach :)

I did try something similar, but found that stock was constantly.. "flickering" in and out if you see what I mean.

These days I just use two EQDs. Each with a storage TL docked. And other CLS2 ships transfering between them.

Then one EQD is the "buying" dock, and the other is the "selling" dock.

It also has the benfit of allowing you to set independant sell and buy prices for your CAGs.

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Post by Godzii » Wed, 26. Oct 11, 16:57

Yeah the stock does flicker in the beginning, I was even thinking of a way to make this graphically appealing... like a christmas tree or something...

Also, on a second thought, the long operation I described above can also be done with only one TL CLS2. Load up each ware up to wanted TL CLS2 limit, then unload each ware up to say, 90% of EQ Dock capacity, translated in number ofc. Done (so much for the wall of text...)

Well this flickers even more, especially in the beginning when the TL CLS2 specified limits are not reached. :fg:

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Post by Infekted » Wed, 26. Oct 11, 17:08

Yeah that flickering does nothing good for my OCD! Plus I have been finding, that if you have too many... Uh how would you put it, script computation cycles?? going at once. Then it can really put a strain on your system.
That kind of open ended CLS going all the time will effect performance a lot if done on a large scale.

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Post by Godzii » Wed, 26. Oct 11, 18:33

Aye I was thinking about it.

Should put some command to slow it down, or pause it at some point. Certainly you can use the fly to station command with TS class ships, but now with TL this would be cumbersome. I have yet to find an opportune command to stop this open loop cycle for TL class ships.

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Post by Bartic » Sun, 5. Jan 14, 15:28

I was trying to use it with my TS, to constantly buying advanced satelites. But I used the 'buy' command, not the 'load' command, since it is not my factory. And he was sitting in Advanced Sat. Factory and waiting, not buying.

Is it possible? Can I use it that way?

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