The “how to” Station & Complex guide
*This Guide is currently under construction, check back every week for more updates and edits!*
The purpose of this guide is to outline the construction and operation of a station complex.
... Humans and aliens wrapped in two million, five hundred thousand tons of spinning metal, all alone in the night...
-Babylon 5 Monologue
So you want to own a space station?
To have the fate of hundreds of thousands of credits resting in your hands...
The path the owning and operating a space station is a long and expensive journey. The first step is to figure out who your friends are.
Availability of stations and the ships that support them depend largely on your relation to the manufacturing faction.
But first let's assume you already have enough money for a station and the rep to buy it. How do you put one down?
Deploying a Station:
At a glance:
Stations can only be purchased from shipyards and only when you have high enough reputation. The first step is to locate a shipyard selling the station you want. This can be done in game using satellites or referring to guides like this wiki. Next acquire the services of a TL to transport the station you're buying. Shipyard sectors typically have a TL on patrol, however, because the GoD engine also deploys stations, this TL may be on assignment and unavailable. As a result you may need to travel to more distant shipyard sectors to acquire TL services. Once you've located an available TL, fly within 30km of the ship and comm him (default key is c). Choose to ‘speak with the captain’ and choose to hire him, agree to his terms (they usually charge you 1000 credits for ever gate they fly though) Afterwards you can now comm him and ask him to fly or dock where you want him too, also he will now show up in highlighted yellow in your property list. Obviously the closer the TL you hire is to the shipyard the faster and cheaper you can deploy your station.
Comm and ask him to dock at the local shipyard (they fly very slowly so seta is your best friend here, in addition to avoid collsion problem you may want to leave the sector) Once he docks you can trade with the station from space if you have a trading system extension and buy whatever station you would be like. When you make your purchase it will prompt you where you would like to load the station (the TL ship should be your only option.) Re-comm the TL ship (if you can’t find him left-click on the station and hit ‘c’ for commands, and then choose landed ships or use the property list menu) ask him to fly to sector and choose which sector to you wish to build your station.
When he arrives comm him and ask him to drop freight here, choose your station and then the map overview will pop up with your station marked in green and you can move it around the map to choose where you want it. (Use the num-key pad 8,4,6,2 to move up ,left, right, down. 7,9 tilts the axis and 1,3 spin the station like a clock hand. 5 will snap the station to whatever object you have highlighted on the map which its importance will be explained in the positioning complex station part of this guide)
When you found the placement you want press enter and pop goes in your station!
Picking a Station
Figuring out what station you're going to buy is when you're starting out is pretty easy; You buy the cheapest thing you can get that makes the most money. However, it's handy to think about things beforehand so you know where you're going with your planning.
The following sections should help you decide on which stations you want which will determine who you want to be friends with, maybe everyone.
Starting station builders will be mostly concerned with individual station profitability vs investment cost ratios, in business economics this is usually evaluated as some sort of break-even time (essentially how fast you get the money invested back). Optimal stations usually make pretty good seeds for small profit oriented complexes, but frequently end up limited by available resources and local demand.
Decide on what type of station and race you wish to start with. There are many areas of the market you can dive into, but start out with something simple because you can build onto it later. There are different tiers of goods, the higher tier you build for the more expensive the station will cost to buy and maintain (if you’re buying resources), but the more profitable it can become.
Guru says: Save the game before you buy or build stations!
Tier 1: Energy
Tier 2: Raw Mineral
Tier 3: Basic Food (Bio)
Tier 4: Complex Food/goods
Tier 5: Technological
Tier 6: Supportive
Tier 7: Military
Consider the following...
-Bill Nye the Science Guy
Optimistic Break Even Time = (Station Cost)/(Net Profit/Time)
Optimistic Net Profit = (Max Unit Val * Batch Size) - (Material Costs per Batch)
|Station||Race||Cost||Max Unit Val||Batch Size||Cycle (s)||Max Gross||Mat. Cost/Batch||Max Net||Break Even Time|
|Teladianium Foundry M||Teladi||325008||255||4||60||1020||360||660||29547s|
|Teladianium Foundry L||Teladi||811548||255||10||60||2550||900||1650||29511s|
|Solar Power Plant XL||Teladi||18594200||20||5530||215||110600||57280||53320||74977|
|Solar Power Plant XL||Boron||17607360||20||5530||215||110600||57280||53320||70998|
Batch cost assumes lowest cost of source wares. Manufacturing your own in a complex may reduce raw material costs.
Another way to look at the break even time is as a measure of profit per credit.
It may be nice to directly analyze income/credit as (max net)/(cycle time)/(cost) which will show you which stations offer up the best bang per credit. These figures are however optimistic and assume maximum sale price, which is very rare.
As you can see...
While energy cells make good trading material, Solar Power plants which produce Energy (better known as E-cells) are not a good starting station for buying. They typically cost 5-20 million depending on size and still require Crystals & Complex food to produce E-cells…those stations can cost 3-6 million as well.
The primary limitation of SPPs is the high station cost. In a closed loop complex, having your own SPP is critical as your E-cell materials cost can drop to around 8 credits. In addition, adding a SPP to a complex provides a reliable source of ECells, nothing stops a complex faster than running out of Energy. The high price is deliberate design as in earlier games the price of a SPP was fairly low making the primary problems delivery of goods and creation of demand for product.
The best starting stations or mini-complexes stem from Bio basic food, they only require e-cells to run which are relatively cheap to buy (12-19 credits ea. unit) and light weight to haul (1 unit small container). Delexian Wheat or Argnu Beef can both be sold to a Cahoona Bakery. Argnu Beef station will make more credits however wheat farm can also be sold at Rimes Fact and Space Fuel Distillery’s.
See also: Ranks
Making friends with a given faction can pretty much be summed up by doing things they like. The most universally available is to blow up their enemies, this works even when you're enemies with them. Xenon and Kha'ak don't respect this however and will always be hostile towards you.
Once your friends enough to land at their stations, even simple things like trading Energy Cells can improve your relations with a given faction. Selling captured ships also works.
To buy a station you need a lot of cash and not just for the station. Resource supply ships, resources, and transportation all cost a bit of money. Additionally, serious station builders will probably want to invest in a TL class ship to improve deployment speed. Starting resources are one of the biggest expenses of a starting station. Typical methods for getting enough money include:
- High value missions
- Sector and Universe Traders
- Manual Trading
- Captured Ship Sales
- Mobile Mining
One of the high value missions available is constructing stations. Taking these grants you good experience with the process while eliminating your exposure to the problems that immediately follow constructing a station. In fact one of the side benefits of constructing a station on commission is you can provide the first loads of resources at maximum price, provided you have shipping available to handle that.
Most station builders will at some point take control of a freighter and trade in resources. Energy Cells are excellent starting out due to their low cost and ubiquitous trade value, finding optimum deals however is sometimes challenging. Ore and Silicon also do well.
At some point you'll want to operate assets remotely, for which you'll need a Trading System Extension. You'll only be able to see details from systems you have assets in (be it ships, stations, or satellites). A jumpdrive and the various control software also help by allowing you to automate functions and move ships to distant sectors quickly.
Location Location Location!
One of the most important factors for manufacturing and selling goods is location. Every location will have a certain supply and demand for goods which is up to you to find and capitalize on. For example if you find a sector that has two or more Meatsteak Cahoonas Bakery’s that might be a good area to start a small Delexian wheat and Argnu beef complex. Before you plop down stations, check this list:
- How will the station get resources? (Are there nearby SPPs and raw materials?)
- How do I sell the product?
- Do you see lots of trade ships in the area? (The more traffic the more your product is likely to get bought!)
- Is their competition for the same products I’m selling in that sector or nearby sectors?
- Is the station I’m buying producing an in demand good/ware that won’t saturate the local economy?
- How secure are the sectors nearby? Do I have to worry about ships getting destroyed trying to buy resources?
Jumpdrive UTs can suppress local demand by providing access to distant sources of goods.
Nearby Xenon sectors can oddly enough drive up demand as traders transiting the Xenon sector get destroyed. However, the risk of Xenon invasion/patrols destroying station/complex asset balances this 'reward'.
Large self sufficient complexes are usually geared to the production of high tech gear such as capital ship weaponry and shields. These items usually have long production times and are rarely available on the open market.
Large scale complexes are typically concerned with only one thing: availability of resources, primarily silicon and ore.
Other things to specifically consider when positioning your stations:
- How do my ships get here?
- Clustering stations around jump gates allows your jump drive freighters to use those drives to get close to your station. It does however expose you to danger if enemies arrive at the gate. You're likely to be the first thing they see if they're spoiling for a fight. However, by the same token reinforcements can be quickly be deployed to your station the same way.
- NPC factories will buy tertiary goods (which do not help out its production speed but will still be used) Setting up small complexes that create these goods can give you an edge in the market as NPC traders generally don’t trade these goods.
- Building a race’s stations in a different races controlled sectors is mainly a bad idea, very little NPC buyers for those goods & your own sellers have to travel far to sell the wares/goods.
- Exception to the above: tertiary goods. Many factories have tertiary goods that are from other races, most notably Teladianium.
- Medium stations typically feed a medium higher-tier station and thusly large for large. (Rule of thumb: One 'M' size Argnu beef will almost perfectly feed one "M' sized Cahoona bakery.)
- Building Solar Power Plants near your Silicon Mines (if you’re making a closed loop) is a good idea. You can use tractor beam to move your mines around the sector for better positioning.
- After deploying a few stations relying on hired TL services you'll probably be ready to buy your own TL.
- Owned TLs are always available for service
- Owned TLs don't charge delivery per gate
- Owned TL speed and manuevering can be upgraded
- Owned TLs can be equipped with jumpdrives
- TLs are the cheapest major capital ships
You will need to fill the station with resources in order to produce the ware you bought the station for. There are 3 ways to do this:
- Adjust the station parameters
- Assign a ship to buy resources
- Manually supply the station
The first two will handle things automatically, the last requires user input to schedule purchase and delivery.
Example: Argnu Beef station needs Energy to produce Argnu beef. Change the station parameters to buy energy at 17. Make sure you have at least $25,000 funds in your station as well since a station will NOT pull money out of your wallet so you have to inject money whenever it is low (but as long as you’re selling it should never run out of money) That’s pretty much it, sit outside your station on Seta and you should see NPC traders docking to sell energy and others to buy beef.
Go to a nearby shipyard and buy a hauler class ship (usually have more than 4000 freight holds or larger) that fits your budget. Try to buy max shields for the ship and a weapon to defend against pirate ships that can sometimes happen so they can protect themselves or if they bump into other ships/asteroids/station by accident they shouldn’t blow up right away. In the command menu set their home base to your station, turn on notify when order complete in case anything get tied up you will know about it, and in the trade menu select ‘buy ware for best price.’ Select energy or whatever ware you need and you’re done! Note that the station does have to have funds in order for the hauler to buy and you need to set the max limit to how many sectors away your haulers will fly…usually 3-5 is good.
Station not running?
Will have a yellow flashing ! with a triangle around it. This means your station can't access a resource it needs to make another batch. If you use different sized stations consumption may outpace production. When you replenish with more goods give it about 20 seconds real time to start manufacturing, there is a delay involved (possibly the game checking to see if you have the right amount of all the wares required).
The number in square brackets under each station's resources bar is the resource level required before production can begin. Some stations (e.g. Tractor Beam Factory) require a very high level of resources before production will begin. This can confuse some players as stations with every resource bar nearly full can still be flashing (check the numbers in the square brackets are met).
There are several possible reasons you want to create a complex. Since many stations share common resources like Ore, Silicon, and Energy Cells complexing may allow you to reduce the total number of ships you need to keep things running, instead of having 5 ships running the same resource to 5 stations you have perhaps just 1. The main reason however is to keep it all together, and do away with the need for traders: complex a Cattle Ranch and a Cahoona Bakery, and you are converting Energy into Meatsteak Cahoonas directly, with no need to trade Argnu Beef. Complex enough stations together, and you can end up not needing to buy anything, and just worry about final products.
How Do I Create a Complex
The key component is the Complex Construction Kit, they're pretty cheap as far as stations go. They are purchased just like other stations, but when you deploy them, it'll have a dialog asking which stations you want to complex (which may be complex hubs) and a final one asking where to place the hub. See the CCK article for more details.
One thing to consider when deploying your station hub is alignment. When CCKs deploy they run tubes through space connecting the complexed stations. They snake from station accesspoint to accesspoint and are a hazard to navigation. It is possible to orient your hub so ships can't safely enter and exit. This leads to scenarios IS where your traders impact your complex eventually getting destroyed, or are unable to dock.
Example of a self-sustaining Complex
Just as a quick example of a simple complex to create that produces something from nothing:
Silicon Mine L (might need several of these: calculations assume yield 26) Cattle Ranch L Cahoona Bakery L Crystal Fab L (Make sure it matches your food/bio production. I assume Argon here) Solar Power Plant L
Other than the potential of needing several Silicon Mines to take care of the Crystal Fab, this complex will over time generate Energy for nothing: the Cattle Ranch supplies the Cahoona Bakery, which supplies the Crystal Fab, which supplies the Solar Power Plant, which supplies everything, and leaves you with a fair amount of energy (about 8/second).
Technically, this complex will consume crystals over time, since a Crystal Fab doesn't produce enough to keep up with a Solar Power Plant. However, if you don't supply it with Crystals, you just have to deal with some downtime for the Solar Power Plant, and slightly less energy being produced. It does take a fair bit of money to set up (About 20 million credits, more if you need more than one Silicon Mine); however once set up, you don't have to worry about it again, and it will keep producing energy indefinitely.
As a side note, use Boron Solar Power Plants and Teladi Silicon Mines, since they cost less and aren't dependent on food.
|Software||Trade Command Software Mks 1, 2 &3 | Commodity Logistics Software Mks 1 & 2|
|Stations and Economy||Complexes | Wares | Stations | Economy | Traders | Races and Factions|
|Trading Guides||Universe Traders Guide | Complex Building Guide | CLS Guide|