Station and complex building tutorial - A guide for aspiring manufacturers

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kotekzot
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Station and complex building tutorial - A guide for aspiring manufacturers

Post by kotekzot » Mon, 10. Mar 08, 17:28

Introduction

Complexes are a great way to cut down on logistics costs, dangers to supply freighters and amount of effort required to micromanage your production.

In this guide i will explain how to make complexes that aren't repulsive to the eye and work well enough.

Part 1 - Planning

A station's size determines how much produce it will manufacture. You can determine a station's size by its name. Stations bigger than small will have a size letter code:

Small - most high-tech stations are of that size. Those stations will have x1 yield.
Medium - x2 yield, most stations come in that size.
Large - x5 yield, most stations come in that size.
XL - x10 yield, only solar power plants come in that size.

Knowing a station's yield is useful for planning your complex. A medium-sized factory can supply with resources 2 small ones or 1 medium one, even though their cycle time and produce per cycle numbers are different.

It's always a good idea to make a list of stations you have placed and still need to place when building a complex, because it can get confusing.

Asteroids have different yield, determining how fast production will go. Yield will not change how much produce you get per resources spent. A basic yield level is 25, and a mine placed on such asteroids will give you 'factory default' values. A level 50 asteroid will be able to produce twice as fast, so, for example, a medium silicon mine placed on a yield 50 asteroid will be able to supply 2 medium crystal fabs instead of one, but will consume twice as much energy at the same time.

PROTIP: you can make closed loop complexes that will supply themselves with energy and all required resources, because solar power plants will give much more energy than their size would suggest. To make a closed loop base you will need a silicon mine, crystal fab, bio fab (argon cattle ranch, bogas factory, etc), food fab (cahoona bakery, bofu, etc) and a solar power plant. Don't forget to take factory sizes and asteroid yields into account when planning!

Part 2 - Advanced Planning

Now that you have a list of factories for your complex you need to think how you are going to arrange them. Take another sheet and draw your complex blueprint. Leave factory squares (circles, ellipses, whatever) blank and fill them in as you place the factories.

A complex can grow quite large, so it's recommended to make it layered, with multiple stations aligned over the y axis. Some basic forms to try out are grids and circles. If it's your first complex you might want to do a 3d grid, as it is simple to plan and expand without worrying about how it will look too much.

Another thing to think of when building your complex is how accessible it will be. It's usually a good idea to put your stations below the eclyptic plane so that ships don't have to maneuver between them, while having the hub on the eclyptic plane to minimize travel time. Mind that your complex hub will aways face north, regardless of how you rotate it before deploying, which means putting it south of a gate your ships are going to be using the most is usually a good idea.

Part 3 - Factory placement

Time to start dropping those stations. You can use your numpad to move and rotate your stations.
4, 8, 6 and 2 are responsible for moving your station along horizontal and vertical coordinates (you can switch your vertical coordinates by pressing insert)
1, 7, 9 and 3 are responsible for rotating your stations. In 9 cases out of 18 it will only add to confusion and make your complex look more bizarre than it needs to.

5 allows you to center your station on the closest object. Very useful if you want to have perfect intervals between your stations.

When you are satisfied with your staion's placement press enter to drop your station. I recommend you put your stations below the ecliptic to make navigating your systems easier.

You can use a tractor beam to move stations and mines. Moving stations is quite easy, but you probably wouldn't need to do it very often because you can place them wherever you like. Mines, however, are a different matter. You will have to move them most of the time (unless you build your complex around that juicy asteroid) and you will hate the experience. In 9 out of 10 tries your mine will start spinning when being towed, resulting in your ship loosing the "grip" on it. You should note the axis around which it turns and shoot your beem there. It's also useful to limit your speed to about 30m/s before the mine stedies itself and you are sure it will hold.

If you are going to add mines to your complex you may want to move them in place first so that the stations don't get in the way.

Another thing to be aware of is that the mines are so large, that if their docking facilities are pointing away from the hub they may very well be outside the complex range. You will learn how to overcome this obstacle later in the guide, but it's best to simply avoid it by rotating the mine to face the complex.

PROTIP: A safe distance to put between stations is 2 km (along x-, y- and z-axis) for most stations, however, if you are going to place huge stations like a solar power plant xl you may want to make it 4 km or even place them separately from the main complex body.

PROTIP: After you've placed your factories, check their shields to make sure that they don't collide, as it will eventually lead to destruction of both your stations and all connections between them, as well as any ships docked at the complex hub. The best way to check their shields is to press "Enter" in the sector view so you will see the precise numbers instead of a small colored bar. If their shields are below 100% you've done somethng wrong.

Part 4 - Connecting stations into a complex

You will need n - 1 (where n is the number of stations) complex constructions kit to construct a complex.

First, connect 2 stations that are going to be closest to your complex hub, so you have more freedom in placing it. Then, connect your other stations to your hub. This part should be very straightforward if you've done everything correctly in the previous steps.

To make sure your complex runs smoothly you should let your stations build up a small stock of their produce before connecting stations that will use it as resources. Stations and complexes will flash white if they don't have 100% of resources required to start the next cycle. You should make sure that is not going to happen so that white flashing will notify you of real problems only.

Stations can be connected if they are within reasonable distance (about 15 km).

PROTIP: If your stations are too far from the hub to be connected you can make a secondary hub, which will then be connected to your main hub. To do that, connect 2 of your outlying stations and put your secondary hub as close to the primary hub as possible. Then, connect your primary hub to the secondary hub with an additional complex construction kit (The first hub to be chosen for connection will remain, the other will disappear).

Part 5 - Conclusion

You now should have a working complex. Assign freighers to bring in resources (or bring initial crystals/energy cells if your complex is a closed loop) and set its settings much like with any other station.

Part 6 - Useful links

Complex Calculator - Useful excel sheet to assist in your complex planning.
Factory Complex Calculator: StandAlone - For those who don't like to use excel, same functionality in a neatly compiled package.
How to make sexier complexes - For those who have too much time and experience on their hands.
Factory Complex Constructor - EN DE RU
Online Complex Calculator
Advanced Tractor Beam - Useful for fine-tuning your station placement.
Complex Buy/Sellpoints - For advanced complex building.
Factory Complex Constructor
Asteroid Creator
Nividium Asteroid Relocator
[Mod] Ashleys Factories L + XL + XXL
Der Komplexprüfer - German complex planning tool
DodaFus Universalkomplextool - German complex planning tool

Part 7 - Pilot tips

To spice up your 3d grid complex and make it more appealing you can also use offsets on the x-axis between layers, as well as put bulky structures like spp xl and mines below the complex body.

Example:

Code: Select all

F F F F F F F F F F F F F 
 F F F F F F F F F F F F F 
F F F F F F F F F F F F F 
 F F F F F F F F F F F F F 
SPP SPP SPP SPP SPP SPP

M     M     M     M     M

Some stations with shorter production cycle may start to lag behind stations that rely on them for resources over time. If you add 1 S-sized stations of the same type to the complex it will prevent that and not consume additional resources once the intermediate product stock has been built up.

Thank-yous

I'd like to thank everybody who has spent their time replying to this guide and making it better.
silenced, Carlo the Curious, em3e3, apricotslice, NeonSamurai, g.koster, exogenesis, MadKelt, jlehtone, Lyth, your input is important to me.

Also, people who have produced the great tools and resources listed here:
Merroc, Dave Toome, em3e3, Ryuujin, triple81, Lt. Ford [KBG], Dusty, ChemODun, CitizenCuts, Bunny, SymTec ltd., fud, Saint-Ashley, Nividium, DodaFu, X-Freak Cartman.
Last edited by kotekzot on Thu, 13. Mar 08, 09:08, edited 14 times in total.

silenced
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Post by silenced » Mon, 10. Mar 08, 17:37

wasn't XL = 10x yield instead of 18 ? =)

and maybe add the FCC (factory complex constructor) into the links aswell

english: http://forum.egosoft.com/viewtopic.php?t=172015
russian: http://forum.egosoft.com/viewtopic.php?t=172614

this thing is so helpful and it's fun to use, not frustration as vanilla-building
... what is a drop of rain, compared to the storm? ... what is a thought, compared to the mind? ... our unity is full of wonder which your tiny individualism cannot even conceive ... I've heard it all before ... you're saying nothing new ... I thought I saw a rainbow ... but I guess it wasn't true ... you cannot make me listen ... I cannot make you hear ... you find your way to heaven ... I'll meet you when you're there ...

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kotekzot
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Post by kotekzot » Mon, 10. Mar 08, 17:39

thanks, corrected that already :)

i'll add those links now.

if you have more comments/suggestions/critique - please post it.

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Carlo the Curious
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Post by Carlo the Curious » Mon, 10. Mar 08, 19:46

Is 'xbox hueg' a typo, or something I don't understand?

Might want to note that the hub always faces north, and maybe emphasize that 2km separation applies to vertical as well as horizontal.

Something about orientation/size issues with joining mines to a complex (and tractoring them) could be useful.

'PROTIP' would be better as just 'TIP, but that's just my opinion :p.

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em3e3
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Post by em3e3 » Mon, 10. Mar 08, 21:32

Good info, concise and clear to understand, at least for non-newb like me. Feel free to link directly to my online complex calculator:

http://www.altanetworks.com/x3occ.html

I would agree that rotating stations is generally a bad idea, unless it is a mine. In that case, it would be good to point out which way the numbers rotate the station. I think 1/3 is along the model's Y axis, 7/9 along the X axis. I'll verify this in a few hours, and update the info.
8^)

Online Complex Calculators - X3:TC • X3:R • X2
Online Ship Compurator - X3:TC

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kotekzot
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Post by kotekzot » Mon, 10. Mar 08, 22:21

Carlo the Curious wrote:Is 'xbox hueg' a typo, or something I don't understand?
you see, xbox is large. so large, in fact, that it has become a minor meme.
Carlo the Curious wrote:emphasize that 2km separation applies to vertical as well as horizontal.

Something about orientation/size issues with joining mines to a complex (and tractoring them) could be useful.
thank you, i'll add that to the guide :)
Carlo the Curious wrote:'PROTIP' would be better as just 'TIP, but that's just my opinion :p.
i wanted to lulz it up a bit. not to the point of where it's hindering the perception but enough to make that long read more bearable.
em3e3 wrote:Good info, concise and clear to understand, at least for non-newb like me. Feel free to link directly to my online complex calculator:

http://www.altanetworks.com/x3occ.html

I would agree that rotating stations is generally a bad idea, unless it is a mine. In that case, it would be good to point out which way the numbers rotate the station. I think 1/3 is along the model's Y axis, 7/9 along the X axis. I'll verify this in a few hours, and update the info.
thanks, i'll add that link. any chance of opera compatibility, btw?

i've never had to rotate the mines because they always were too far to be put into a complex, but i can add a "Pilots' tips" for things i haven't experienced.

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Post by apricotslice » Tue, 11. Mar 08, 02:25

Nice guide, can I use it in the next version of the X3 Handbook ?

Btw, the joining limit for hubs is 15kms on any axis. So if the factory is 14.9kms x and z, but 15.1kms on the y, then it wont join.

Another tip :

Always build the complex in a plane. So all stations go alongside each other in a 2d grid along one of the planes. You can add layers to that if you need to, but its all still in the one plane.

The hub however, you place a good 10km either up or down of the plane of the stations, well away from any object, and preferrably a direct line to the gates, so ships can exit a gate and fly direct to the dock without having to change direction again.

This ensures that ships do not go anywhere near the spagetti of your complex in order to dock with it.

So I would put the stations of a new complex 10km below the nearest gate, and the hub at the same level.

Another thing to mention is that the hub always faces north when places, no matter how you turn it while placing it. Program bug imo, but its designed that way. This means to be a direct line to a gate, you should place the hub to the south of the gates most likely to be used to jump in from. If you place it north of the gates, ships always have to fly around the hub to reach the docks, and a lot of them end up head butting the tubing instead.

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Post by kotekzot » Tue, 11. Mar 08, 07:06

apricotslice wrote:Nice guide, can I use it in the next version of the X3 Handbook ?
i'd be happy if more people could benefit from it.
apricotslice wrote:Btw, the joining limit for hubs is 15kms on any axis. So if the factory is 14.9kms x and z, but 15.1kms on the y, then it wont join.
that didn't work for me. i've put 2 test stations at the following coordinates: (-30,0,0), (-16,14,14) and they wouldn't join.
however, when i put 2 stations at coordinates (-30,0,0) and (-30,-16,0) they would, which makes me think the actual join distance is over 15. another of my tests suggested at least 17,5 km, but don't quote me on that.
apricotslice wrote:Always build the complex in a plane. So all stations go alongside each other in a 2d grid along one of the planes. You can add layers to that if you need to, but its all still in the one plane.

The hub however, you place a good 10km either up or down of the plane of the stations, well away from any object, and preferrably a direct line to the gates, so ships can exit a gate and fly direct to the dock without having to change direction again.

This ensures that ships do not go anywhere near the spagetti of your complex in order to dock with it.

So I would put the stations of a new complex 10km below the nearest gate, and the hub at the same level.

Another thing to mention is that the hub always faces north when places, no matter how you turn it while placing it. Program bug imo, but its designed that way. This means to be a direct line to a gate, you should place the hub to the south of the gates most likely to be used to jump in from. If you place it north of the gates, ships always have to fly around the hub to reach the docks, and a lot of them end up head butting the tubing instead.
thanks, i'll add that.

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Post by apricotslice » Tue, 11. Mar 08, 07:20

The Handbook averages about 800 downloads a month off my site, I dont know how many off Giskards. So it reaches a few people. I only wish I got a dollar a download, I could really use it ! :) Not sure when I'll be doing a version 3. I started one a while back and never finished it. Might get one done soon to include some XTM stuff, but otherwise it will be after the next game release.

The distance for stations to hub may have changed. I have to admit that 15km was v1.4 and I'm not exactly sure I've really tested it since. So your "about" could be the more accurate :) They do tend to tweak these things in each version and never tell anyone. I've gotten so good at joining hubs, I can get a complex to span an entire sector, so the distance is just an inconvenience on where you put each strategicly located hub. As such, the only thing that matters is the placement of a station where you want it and how many hubs you need to make to get it all to join up, and which order you do it in to get the last hub where you want it. :D

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Post by NeonSamurai » Tue, 11. Mar 08, 19:02

Couple of Tips

1. Usually a good idea to wait a bit and check all the shields of the stations in the complex before connecting them together. This is just in case the shields are touching. It's much easier to move the stations if they are touching, then blowing one of them up to sever the connection.

2. Personally I prefer to put solar arrays and anything else with an awkward shape, at the bottom or top of the stack (depending on if your building above or below the horizontal plane) opposite to the complex hub.

3. I also like getting the mines the complex will be using in position first before placing factories, since they can be the biggest pain to deal with, and its easier trying to position them with out having factories in the way.


Also
kotekzot wrote:place xbox hueg stations
doesn't make any sense. I assume you meen huge/bulky stations.

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kotekzot
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Post by kotekzot » Tue, 11. Mar 08, 19:38

NeonSamurai wrote:Couple of Tips

1. Usually a good idea to wait a bit and check all the shields of the stations in the complex before connecting them together. This is just in case the shields are touching. It's much easier to move the stations if they are touching, then blowing one of them up to sever the connection.

3. I also like getting the mines the complex will be using in position first before placing factories, since they can be the biggest pain to deal with, and its easier trying to position them with out having factories in the way.
a+ tips. will add asap.
NeonSamurai wrote:Also
kotekzot wrote:place xbox hueg stations
doesn't make any sense. I assume you meen huge/bulky stations.
since i've had 2 comments on it already i'll remove it. such a shame though, it's going to get so dry without such little touches.

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Post by apricotslice » Wed, 12. Mar 08, 03:12

I had to make that decision when doing the X3 Handbook. All sorts of different ways of putting things all around the world that only part of the world understood. In the end, I left most of them, since it added to the character of the writing :)

But in this case, it meant nothing to me either. Must be some way of saying the same thing that achieves the same writing goal, and yet is understandable by most.

I tried the moving roids thing and gave up on it.

Firstly, its takes real balls to run a M6 so close up to another huge object so as you get the next roid in just the right position. :)

Second, it takes too damn long. It was interesting for a while, but while your sitting there chugging away with a roid in tow, your missing out on so many other things to do. Its basically a time waster operation. imo

Personally, moving roids is never something I'd do myself, I'd always get an employee to do it for me, but scripting isnt up to doing that in real time.

I just complex the whole sector now and just not go back there when its finished :)

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Post by g.koster » Wed, 12. Mar 08, 18:17

Idees about setting up 3d station complexes.

PLacement of the hole complex. I prefer to put it to the south. as I will put the complex hub sticking out to the north the hole complex and in this way you reduce colision acetdents.

place the all the mines first to reduce acedents by pulling them into faqturies etc. I normaly put them below the main planned complex. you can use an extra hub to connect them up to the main complex.

placement witin the complex. first put out a grid in a plane. using standart factories and standart distances. I use normaly crystalfabs for this as you have to use a lot of them. then for the next layer of set it compaired to first layer. example:

layer 1 cristalfabs (C) next layer foodfabs (f)
Code:

Code: Select all

[size=12]
 in xz                                           in xy
C   C   C   C                                  F   F   F   F
   F   F   F   F

C   C   C   C                               C   C   C   C
   F   F   F   F  

etc.
 [/size]
 
for the next layer we put in more but a gain afset to the first and also to the second layer.

In this way you can check if position have been taken while keeping an eye on were things go. you can even use it to give certain layer maining
like crystal fab layer primairy food layer and secondairy food layer.

keep the of sets symple like 1 or 0.5
also it help if you keep the primairy set of seperate from the rest so don't use an ofset of 0 like 0,0.5 or 1,0

be carefull with the flat facturie as solarpower plants and weat farms as they take more distance then the 2 km but a small ofset can help here a lot.

(exuse my for spelling mistakes, im dislectic)
(edit reformated diagram)
Last edited by g.koster on Wed, 12. Mar 08, 18:47, edited 4 times in total.

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Post by NeonSamurai » Wed, 12. Mar 08, 18:30

Ya roid wrangling can certainly be dangerous and frustrating at times. Personally I tend to use the default tractor to get it in basic position then I use the Advanced Tractor Beam by Bunny script for final positioning and orientation. I have to admit that I've never been much of a fan of sector complexing, they look like a twisted nightmare if large enough (plus I like being able to go into any sector).

As for tip 2, ill draw a simple horizontal diagram to demonstrate how I typically arrange large complexes.


F=Factory, SPP=Solar Plant, CH=Complex Hub, M=Mine

Code: Select all

            CH

F F F F F F F F F F F F F
F F F F F F F F F F F F F
F F F F F F F F F F F F F
 SPP SPP SPP SPP SPP SPP

M     M     M     M     M  
Basically a layer cake design with mines on the bottom, SPPs (XXL) just above them, then 1+ factory layers, and the Complex Hub sitting at the top. Order I build things is from the bottom mines, and go layer by layer upwards. I find its best to keep the big SPPs in their own layer, or together with the roids if there is room due to their bulk and shape.

Style is perfectly fine in writing, provided most can understand it. "Xbox Hueg" just looks like an ugly typo to me though which is why I pointed it out :) I figure its a reference to the old XBox controller. (People spelling turret as "turrent" really drives me nuts, there isn't even an an "n" sound in that word, but I'm not a language/spelling fascist, honest) ;)

Anyhow good guide :) (ditto for your handbook too apricotslice, very handy reference to have when I return to x3 after a break and need to brush up, much easier then digging through the forum for the threads)

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Post by kotekzot » Wed, 12. Mar 08, 18:55

i must admit i'm suffering from the 'turrent' syndrome. after being a programmer of a torrent tracker for a year my fingers type 'rrent' on autopilot.

thanks for the suggestions, i'll make a pilot tips section now.

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