Building a CLS energy grid

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Timsup2nothin
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Building a CLS energy grid

Post by Timsup2nothin » Wed, 27. Feb 13, 02:48

In this thread I showed how I use CLS freighters to monopolize transport of a single commodity with a trade network. In this thread I showed how I would adapt the network concept to maintain all the resources to specific factories so you can keep them in constant production of the wares that you want.

This thread is about building a network to distribute energy in a region. It's similar to the monopoly network, because it does create a monopoly in transporting e-cells, providing 5 credits profit on every e-cell consumed. It's a little more expensive and more difficult to set up because of the sheer mass of e-cells that have to be handled. It isn't as profitable as monopolizing a more valuable ware, but once built it gives some useful benefits.

The basics of how I program CLS freighters are covered in the previous threads, so I'm not going into that kind of detail here.
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My energy grids consist of 'buying agent', trap freighters in the SPPs set to buy at 12; 'batteries', trap freighters set in every energy buying fab set to sell at 17, 'distribution freighters', and 'substations'. I'm going to use Terran space in this example because that's where my current game is, but at the end I'll point out some things about other regions.

Terran space is basically linear. In my game at this point there are XL power plants in Mercury, Mars, and Saturn, plus two more at the Moon. There are smaller plants further out and in Titan. I start where the power is, which in this case is the inner solar system so I built a headquarters in Venus (storage for 50,000 cells) and load it with a couple million credits.

The buying agents are in dolphin super-freighter XLs with 12000 cell capacity. The batteries are Mercury Tankers (3000) and the freighters are Baldrics that are expanded to hold 3000 cells after their shielding. In every network I build I match sizes or use even multiples because partial loads slow the system down. In an energy grid it is more important than in any other system to avoid slow downs.

So buying agents in the SPP in Mercury and both SPPs in the Moon. Batteries in place on all users in the Moon, Mercury, and Venus. I set up a distributor for EVERY battery in Mercury, loading from the buying agent, filling the battery, and unloading at HQ in Venus. I set up a distributor for each battery in the Moon, loading from one of the buying agents, unloading to the battery, then unloading at HQ. I set up a distributor for each battery in Venus, loading at the other lunar plant, unloading to the battery, then unloading at HQ.

This is a lot of freighters. Well, actually it's only eight because there are not a lot of stations floating around. In fact probably one or two freighters could keep all the batteries filled even with the huge distances of Terran space. But the object is to fill up the HQ. The freighters make a first run to fill the batteries and most of them on their second run are headed to HQ. Come back in an hour.

Sure enough, all the batteries are full and the HQ is filling up. Station account is in free fall because we are buying a whole lot more than we are selling, but that's the plan. Build a substation in Mars, bring batteries on line on all four of the stations in Mars, start up distributors...again one for each station. Two of them load at the buyer in the SPP, two of them load at HQ. All of them unload at the Mars substation if their assigned battery is full. Come back in an hour.

All the batteries are charged, HQ is more than half full, the Mars substation is half full and rising fast, and the station account is REALLY in free fall. All is well. Build a substation in Astroid Belt. Bring the four batteries on line and start up four more freighters, loading at Mars and unloading at the new substation once their assigned battery is full. Come back in an hour.

Now we are getting somewhere. The HQ is full, so the buying frenzy is slowed down in the innermost system. Mars substation is almost full. The number of batteries has accumulated enough that we're getting a reasonable number of sales, and every time a battery discharges our profit is 15,000 credits. The station account seems to have almost stabilized. So build a substation in Jupiter, bring the four batteries on line and set up four more freighters.

A pause here to point out that I actually didn't build the substation. The headquarters of the ice and water monopoly is in Jupiter sector. A couple of the docking ports are used for their tanks, and a couple for their freighters that come and go. The station account is used for their money. But there's plenty of docking and the storage space wasn't being used so it makes a fine substation. Also note that the 'front end' of the other substations can be used as well since the power grid only uses the storage and about half of the docking.

Anyway, come back in an hour.

Sure enough. Things are filling up. Sales are picking up due to the number of batteries on line. The station account at HQ is actually growing even though HQ is still the only substation that is actually full. Since it is full add another freighter just 'milk running' from HQ to the Mars substation.

Add another substation in Jupiter 2. Bring the batteries on line in Jupiter 2 AND Jupiter 3. Set up three freighters with one or two batteries each in Jupiter 2 and unloading to the substation. Set up two freighters loading in Jupiter 2 and divide the batteries in Jupiter 3 between them. Jupiter 3 doesn't get a substation because it is a dead end.

And we're done. There's a lot of Solar System left, but the network is self sustaining. It will make enough profits as it goes to fill to capacity without needing anything from me. Once it is full it will only buy as many cells as are sold. It will sell every e-cell used from Mercury to Jupiter and make 5 credits on every one of them.

It will make enough credits in a game day to expand it through the four sectors of Saturn, and maybe the three sectors of Uranus at the same time. Neptune and the outer sectors shortly after. My investment was 30 million credits in ships, stations, and start up capital to the station account. It will grow on it's own reinvestment to control all of Terran space, forcing out all NPC energy haulers.

Timsup2nothin
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Post by Timsup2nothin » Wed, 27. Feb 13, 03:13

So Terran space is very linear. The growth of the network in a less linear area, like the Argon region around Argon Prime, is more like a web. I'd start with a substation in the NW corner of The Hole fed by the plants in Antigone Memorial and the two monsters in The Hole. Feed into Herron's Nebula from there while Feeding from Power Circle into Three Worlds, CBNW, and Ringo Moon. Tie them together at Argon Prime and run south, feeding Red Light and CBSW as 'dead ends' to avoid putting substations in harm's way. Same thing with Elena's Fortune, which I would power from a substation in President's End fed by the Plants in The Wall.
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BUT WHY!?!?

With all these ships I could corner transportation of half a dozen valuable wares and make ten times the profits.

BECAUSE, when you control the energy supply you have the region by the b...er...throat. You can build any factory you want and tie it into the grid at any substation knowing that it will always have power and that wherever the power came from it was bought at minimum price. If you want to monopolize manufacturing any product you can prepare by shutting off power to the users of that product. Long before energy haulers get to the buyers the producers will fill up, go idle, and be removed by the GD algorithm. Start your plants, turn power back on to the buyers, sell at near maximum prices.

The possibilities are endless. Create shortages. Create surpluses. If food or minerals are scarce and you want the natives to use what is available' wisely', ie to make things that you need, just shut off the power to fabs that are making superfluous missiles you never use anyway.

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Energy CLS2 problems and solution

Post by Fun-X » Thu, 28. Feb 13, 05:28

I have enjoyed reading this post and the others you referred to at the top.

Perhaps these three can be added to the guides sticky....

Anyway, one of the problems I have had previously with cls2 energy grids is that you send a cls freighter to a destination, and then it unloads, and then it limps back, because there are no energy cells to fuel the jump drive.

There are three options to deal with this problem.

One option is to use no jumpdrive (JD) at all, and just add more transfer ships. Ships are cheaper, because no JD, but you need much more.

Another is to use the jumpdrive in one direction, and then limp back. Still need more ships.

The problem with these options is that if there are hostile sectors between the source and the destination it ends badly for the transfer ships. And if you are supplying EC from akeelas Beacon to Argon Prime, the ship will limp back through pirate alley.

The third option is to get complicated.

Here is an example of option three.

What I did:

1 Trapper Ship at NPC SPP XL
1 Transfer Ship to go between NPC SPP XL and my sector distribution center
1 local Sales Ship to go between sector distribution center and end consumers
1 shunt ship

Obviously you can add additional transfer ships and/or make them bigger to meet your needs. Same with local sales ship.

The Trapper Ship CLS2 script
1) fly to station NPC SPPXL
2) buy [max cargo] Energy Cells at [12 or whatever fits your goals]

The Transfer Ship's CLS2 script
1) fly to station NPC SPPXL
2) Load [max cargo] Energy Cells from Trapper Ship.
3) unload 100 Energy Cells at [sector distribution center]
4) unload [max cargo] Energy Cells at Shunt
5) unload [max cargo] at [sector distribution center]
6) load [enough jump energy] energy Cells at Shunt
(if is very important that the option of Dock with ship only in the same sector is set to yes to avoid the ship wandering between the NPC SPPXL and the sector distribution center and also select to with use Jumpdrive.)

The Local Sales Ship CLS2 script
1) fly to station [sector distribution center]
2) load [max cargo] energy Cells at [sector distribution center]
3) Sell [max cargo] Energy Cells for [19] at [consumer]
4) through x) (one for every consumer in sector and possibly adjacent sectors) (same as 3))

The Shunt Ship CLS2 Script
1) fly to station [sector distribution center]

The trapper ship can be any size, but bigger is more effective. And as you have suggested, it should be a multiple of the transfer ship. (3000, 6000, 9000, 12000)

The transfer ship can be a regular mercury 3000 at 100 m/s. Otas Mistral is better because it is faster, but generally not worth the extra money. Demeter 2800 at 110 m/s with an upgrade of 200 cargo would be good. Mercury Hauler/Tanker 6000 at 80 m/s would be good too. It should have CLS2, Speed, Nav1 and JD.

The sales ship can be the same as the transfer ships. It should have CLS2, Speed, and Nav1. JD is not necessary, except as to transport the TS to the station originally, and as a possible defense to being attacked.

As for the shunt, just go with cheap. Mercury 3000 or Demeter 2800 (no cargo upgrade) would work fine.

As to to the local distribution center, I like your idea for 2 cattle ranches in a complex with the cattle ranches turned off.

Arguably, you can not include the local sector distribution center and the local sales ship and just have the transfer ships sell directly to the consumers. But then, the transfer ships will have to meet up with the shunt to drop off cells, and pickup jump fuel to return, and that takes a lot of time. The shunt ship could be sitting in the NPC Trade Station. If it is sitting in space, it can be destroyed, and it would need a transporter.

Also, having a Distribution Center (DC) near the jump gate makes it easier for the transfer ships, but makes the trip longer on the sales ship. So you would have to decide what is best for your situation as to where to place the DC. If the transfer ship is really slow, and the sales ship(s) fast, then put it near the gate. If you have lots of consumer station, then having a central DC might be better.

Timsup2nothin
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Post by Timsup2nothin » Thu, 28. Feb 13, 08:47

I usually go with the single sector range for energy networks and don't use jump drives for them. Energy is transacted in every sector along the way anyway, so I just use a lot of substations and a lot of ships doing short hauls. When I build a 'pirate's energy grid' and have to connect Bala Gi's Joy to Yaki space the freighters doing the jumping don't do deliveries, they just connect the substations and they refuel at both ends.

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Alareth
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Post by Alareth » Wed, 24. Apr 13, 00:44

I'm proud to announce that Argon Power & Light is now in operation in Argon space.

Here to fill all you power needs, Argon Power & Light has a dedicated fleet of 116 ships working day and night to ensure your e-cell storage never runs dry.

Timsup2nothin
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Post by Timsup2nothin » Wed, 24. Apr 13, 01:02

Alareth wrote:I'm proud to announce that Argon Power & Light is now in operation in Argon space.

Here to fill all you power needs, Argon Power & Light has a dedicated fleet of 116 ships working day and night to ensure your e-cell storage never runs dry.
116 ships!

I'm impressed. Is that the Argon Prime region, or all of Argon space?
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Alareth
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Post by Alareth » Wed, 24. Apr 13, 01:15

Timsup2nothin wrote:
Alareth wrote:I'm proud to announce that Argon Power & Light is now in operation in Argon space.

Here to fill all you power needs, Argon Power & Light has a dedicated fleet of 116 ships working day and night to ensure your e-cell storage never runs dry.
116 ships!

I'm impressed. Is that the Argon Prime region, or all of Argon space?
Just Argon Prime at launch.

1 Cattle Ranch Complex for the corporate HQ
12 Mercury Super Freighter XL's for the traps and substations
10 Mercury's servicing the traps and substations
8 Mercury's running distribution divided into north and south loops
86 Mercury's as batteries

I'm going to some more distributors when I have pilots trained high enough.

There is tweaking to do, but it's operating.

Timsup2nothin
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Post by Timsup2nothin » Wed, 24. Apr 13, 01:47

Alareth wrote:
There is tweaking to do, but it's operating.
Cool. Pricing at 12/17?
Trapper Tim's Guide to CLS 2

On Her Majesty's Secret Service-Dead is Dead, and he is DEAD

Not a DiD, so I guess it's a DiDn't, the story of my first try at AP
Part One, in progress

HEY! AP!! That's new!!!

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Alareth
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Post by Alareth » Wed, 24. Apr 13, 01:52

Timsup2nothin wrote:
Alareth wrote:
There is tweaking to do, but it's operating.
Cool. Pricing at 12/17?
Yes.

I started the traps at the beginning of the process so they were sucking up all the e-cells while I put everything else into position.

The whole region was starting to get a bit power starved when I finally got around to flipping the on switch for distribution..

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Post by Triaxx2 » Wed, 24. Apr 13, 03:40

Why use the slowest available freighter for a buyer, and a low capacity ship as storage?
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Timsup2nothin
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Post by Timsup2nothin » Wed, 24. Apr 13, 03:59

Triaxx2 wrote:Why use the slowest available freighter for a buyer, and a low capacity ship as storage?
The 'traps' which do the buying never actually move so being slow is not a problem for them.
Trapper Tim's Guide to CLS 2

On Her Majesty's Secret Service-Dead is Dead, and he is DEAD

Not a DiD, so I guess it's a DiDn't, the story of my first try at AP
Part One, in progress

HEY! AP!! That's new!!!

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Alareth
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Post by Alareth » Wed, 24. Apr 13, 05:31

Triaxx2 wrote:Why use the slowest available freighter for a buyer, and a low capacity ship as storage?
Speed and capacity are overcome by the economy of scale.

The delivery ships at most have to travel 2 sectors in distance while the acquisition side keeps the substations filled from multiple sources.

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Alareth
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Post by Alareth » Fri, 26. Apr 13, 01:31

Ok, weird thing.

I glanced at my ship list and noticed about half off the substation tenders were sitting on standby with full holds, the traps were full and the substation was was empty.

Checked the waypoints and they were all correct, manually dumped the e-cells and docked at a nearby station and restarted CLS. They went and loaded ... then straight back to standby.

After much digging and hair pulling I discovered that all their transporter devices had disappeared! They weren't unloading because they couldn't.

Anyone else ever see this?

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Kirlack
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Post by Kirlack » Fri, 26. Apr 13, 01:39

A CLS should only ever need a Transporter Device if it's making a delivery to a ship in space, as opposed to one that's docked. If one of your sale ships was in space at the time it would make sense, but shouldn't the next check of your distribution find it re-docked to the station?

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Alareth
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Post by Alareth » Fri, 26. Apr 13, 01:42

Kirlack wrote:A CLS should only ever need a Transporter Device if it's making a delivery to a ship in space, as opposed to one that's docked. If one of your sale ships was in space at the time it would make sense, but shouldn't the next check of your distribution find it re-docked to the station?
My current substations are a pair of undocked Elephants

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