X3AP Alternate trading solution

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J.I.Gorkij
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X3AP Alternate trading solution

Post by J.I.Gorkij » Mon, 30. Apr 18, 23:58

Hi, I've returned back to AP recently (god i love this strategy game :-)) and I am thinking of new approach at trading. I googled up some opinions about that but still I am not convinced. Did not find any solid result...

I am thinking of using CAGs and specialized stations (Boron EQ docks) instead of ST, LT and UT. I had been thinking EQ Dock doesn't have enough capacity to be viable, however now I found they can hold 15k ecells, 8 or 4k of minerals etc.

What do you think, guys? I would be glad for any opinions. Or for "Your idea is stupidity of year because..." feedback :P
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modernrocko
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Post by modernrocko » Tue, 1. May 18, 00:13

I've never used a CAG for equipment docks specifically, but back in Reunion days when I had the CAG/CLS software scripts installed I used CAGs as my primary means of making money. Back then I actually used ST's/UT's initially, to earn enough credits to afford a few mines and SPP's in various sectors. After that I converted my UT's into CAG's and assigned them to my stations.

Back then I did this because I didn't have the sector blacklist script installed (or maybe I hadn't discovered it yet, can't remember) and was having a lot of trouble keeping UT's alive as they'd wander off into hostile sectors. As the game progressed and I eventually explored all sectors in the game I struggled more and more with keeping them alive, so converting them over to something more stationary was way more effective.

I should mention that I've only recently started playing X3 again, this time I'm playing through AP. I have not yet done any CAG or CLS stuff, just finished building two fully self-sufficient complexes which are generating all of the products the PHQ needs to build ships, so these complexes aren't selling or buying any wares and everything they produce goes into storage. Similarly, with the blacklist software that's available in the Bonus Pack (meaning your game stays unmodified/vanilla), I find that it's incredibly easy to keep my UT's alive now so I haven't felt the need to convert any of them over to "safer" trading methods.

All this is to say that while I'm not doing it myself, I think it should still be just as profitable as it was back when I was doing it in the X3R days. I hope others will correct me if I'm mistaken on any of this, though.

Timsup2nothin
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Post by Timsup2nothin » Tue, 1. May 18, 00:48

I'm more of a CLS operator than a CAG operator myself, and even the CAG fans around here I think are really hybrid CAG/CLS operators. That said, CAG/CLS systems can make orders of magnitude more transactions than ST/UT systems can, so will make far more profit. Basing them in docks is an expense I'd personally steer away from, but that doesn't make it a bad option.
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jlehtone
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Post by jlehtone » Tue, 1. May 18, 01:02

:thumb_up:


There are three special "Docks" that might fall to your possession: Xenon Hub, Player Headquarter, and Corporate Headquarter. Hence buying "regular" Docks is not compulsory.

If I'd have to buy, I'd choose either the cheapest, or the one with best docking capacity. (I haven't looked at AP Dock models.)


CAG is much more configurable than Trade Mk3. My first station in X3R[*] was a Trading Station in Friar's Retreat. For CAGs, although back then CAG configuration was not as easy/versatile.



[*]Disclaimer: My recipe for becoming wealthy trader:
1. Be a billionaire
2. Trade for fun
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SirNukes
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Post by SirNukes » Tue, 1. May 18, 01:18

It somewhat depends on how you want to approach things. I did get some good performance out of CLS and CAG ships in my most recent game (which includes a prohibition on free roaming trader scripts, as well as disallowing most easy money makers or multi-station-type complexes).

Early on, I used CLS ships to both buy and sell on some trade routes, then moved into having separate buyers and sellers with a common handoff point (npc trading docks that stock the selected ware), then set up my own stations for CLS to drop off at while CAGs handled selling. It works pretty well, for relatively low startup cost (medium bio factories and ore mines and such are really cheap).

If you use CAGs for both buying and selling, you can run into the issue with a station only having a single price point, resulting in low profits once your traders have evened out the market. A possible workaround is to run your stations in pairs, one buying at a low price while the other sells at a high price, with a ferry ship shuttling the wares across. I plan to eventually try that out myself with some of my stations, since replacing dead CLS ships is much more annoying than dead CAGs.

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Post by Snafu_X3 » Tue, 1. May 18, 03:11

As others have said, CAG/CLS trading is far more profitable than ST/UT trading. Pretty much the only advanntage with the latter is their 'fire & forget' (until destroyed) utility; other than that, the vast fleets needed to make equivalent proffitsss results too quickly in serious game lag IMO

CAGs are not ideal EQD traders in any way: they are designed primarily to keep your stations' recource bins filled at lowest cost, & secondarily to sell off excess wares at highest cost. Due to the single-ware pricing of EQD/trading stations it makes little sense to asign a CAG to a trade station in this role; that's where CLS comes in

CLS is designed to be a designated hauler over a fixed route (like a train on a circular track with any number of stops). You define what happens at each stop & the config options give you the granularity to define the load/unloads pretty precisely to suit your needs. It does, however, take a fair bit of time to fully understand all the options available & how to utilise them to your best advantage

Tim (above) & RAVEN.Myst have both done excellent guides in fully utilising both systems; I highly recommend them!
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Jimmy C
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Post by Jimmy C » Tue, 1. May 18, 13:15

SirNukes wrote:A possible workaround is to run your stations in pairs, one buying at a low price while the other sells at a high price, with a ferry ship shuttling the wares across.
I've already tried this. My only extra advice is, one ferry ship is not enough. It may be best if you used one ferry per product.

I used CLS1 for the transfer between stations and eventually, they piled up on certain products and never got to transfer others.

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Sinxar
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Post by Sinxar » Tue, 1. May 18, 13:53

Yeah CAG trading is incredibly good. I personally recommend just using the xenon hub for it though. What I do is have at least two CAGs per product. dedicated buyer and dedicated seller. Depending on the market you may need more buyers or sellers.

Two things to note here is make absolutely sure you have a lot of energy. Have 2 CAGs always buying energy for your fleet. The second is always maintain a good sector blacklist.

If your CAGs run out of energy they will ignore the blacklist and fly through hostile sectors and die. Balancing your workers is important. If you find you are always full of a product, add another seller, struggling to keep stock? Add another buyer.

Personally I never had an issue with lag while using them. 50+ CAGs is usually what I end up with endgame. They will fight over docking spots if too many are idle so that is something to watchout for.

Also note they are not stupid. They will sell your products at the highest price it can find and buy the cheapest it can find, they are ideal for trade station setups. The price you set in the station acts as the break point for buy/sell worst case pricing.

TheDeliveryMan
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Post by TheDeliveryMan » Tue, 1. May 18, 15:51

jlehtone wrote: If I'd have to buy, I'd choose either the cheapest, or the one with best docking capacity. (I haven't looked at AP Dock models.)
Boron EQ docks have unlimited docking of TS class ships. Makes them ideal for a trade hub.

jlehtone
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Post by jlehtone » Thu, 3. May 18, 00:44

Snafu_X3 wrote:CAGs are not ideal EQD traders in any way: they are designed primarily to keep your stations' recource bins filled at lowest cost, & secondarily to sell off excess wares at highest cost. Due to the single-ware pricing of EQD/trading stations it makes little sense to asign a CAG to a trade station in this role
That depends. There are "resources" and there are "products". Nostrop is resource, while PPC is product.

Resources are traded in bulk, large volumes. Their producers and consumers have dynamic pricing. Even then, with sufficient market area, one should get some profit (unless one is so mindbogglingly efficient that no Station reaches "better than average" price).

Products are a different matter. Low volumes, high price, and the only NPC that accepts them is a Dock with fixed price. You will know exactly how much each sold unit will profit you, every time. There is still matter of choosing more transactions vs higher profit per unit, and the overall volume of product trade tends to be limited.
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