So you have made your first million and are now ready to start your manufacturing empire.
But, where do you start? Rome wasn’t built in a day…
Continuing from my last guide: Where to start…? – we are still in the early stages of a Humble Merchant game in Argon space.
A contributing factor to this is your current reputation or “Notoriety” in the area you want to build in. If your notoriety is low with the Race you wish to purchase a station from, your options will be limited.
Over time you will improve your Notoriety with the each of the Races through trade, sector defence from pirates or by taking and completing missions advertised in stations.
At the lower levels only the certain Bio Production & Mineral Mining Stations will be available to you, then with greater Notoriety better stations will become available to you.
In Argon space around Argon Prime I start in Bio Production with Wheat Farms & Cattle Ranches, and Mining Stations for Ore & Silicon. These stations are cheap to purchase, easy to supply with the energy cells that they require and can be incorporated into future complexes by either adding more of the same production stations, or by utilizing these as resource producers to supply your end product.
You could add a Space Fuel Distillery station to a Wheat Farm station with a Complex Hub and still only have to provide E-cells to power the whole operation. The end Product of “Space Fuel” will earn you a greater profit.
Same as adding a Cahoona Bakery to a Cattle Ranch to produce the Food product; Meatsteak Cahoonas.
Adding Tech Production Stations to your Ore & Silicon Mines such as Shield Production plants or Missile / Weapon Stations provides a continuous source of an expensive resource.
For this example I will suggest a Medium Wheat Farm. Placed in the Northern area of Herron’s Nebula, I’ll explain why as I go into detail.
Firstly you will need a way to move a purchased station to the area you wish to deploy it, for this there are “Supply” ships in most sectors that contain a Shipyard. These supply ships are controlled by the resident race and you can Hire them to carry purchases for you.
In Argon Prime; Find, then target, then follow the “Argon Supply Mammoth” – Once you are within 20k of the ship contact it – ‘C’ on keyboard or via the sector map options.
Talk to the captain and request that he “transport something for you”, agree to his prices (usually only a few thousand per gate travelled) then contact the captain again and ask them to move to shipyard – you will be given the mapping system to choose which shipyard or dock to send him to.
These supply ships are ponderously huge and slow to manoeuvre, you can either wait for them to complete their actions or you can go about your other business. Pressing the ‘R’ key will bring up your “Property Owned” menu; the Supply Ship will now appear in your items as a HIRED asset
This menu will also show you each ship & stations current status, in other words, check back into this menu to see when the Supply Mammoth has docked at the ship yard and you can tally up a another trade or two while waiting for it to finish the next instruction. From the Property Owned Menu, you can also communicate, order and control your ships and assets.
Once the Supply Ship has docked, contact the Shipyard Via Sector Map or dock to the station to trade with it. You can now purchase a Medium Wheat farm and place it in the Supply Ships cargo hold once completed, un-dock and contact the Supply Ship via the Property Owned Menu – ” R “, at this stage you can either tell the Mammoth to Follow you, or direct it to ” Move to position ” with the Mapping system.
As mentioned before, we are going to place your first Wheat Farm in the North of Herron’s Nebula. In this location you will have close and easy access to the Solar Power Plants in sector Power Circle, and with 2 Distilleries and 2 Rhimes Facts in Herron’s Nebula you will have a convenient market for you products.
Placement of a station can be a tricky thing, especially later when constructing large complexes of closely packed stations – there is an easy way to “stay neat” in placement of stations with the use of a community made “Script” or “Mod” for the game but that’s another story.
Firstly, always place a satellite in the sector you are building in, not only will it give you remote details of other stations & factory pricing in that sector from anywhere in the verse, but it will give you’re sector map an “advanced view”, in 3d so you can see and manipulate the placement and rotation of stations as you place them.
To do this, purchase a satellite, navigational or advanced – I’ll let you find and purchase one without assistance, its good practice. Place your satellite in Herron’s Nebula – either in the North-Eastern area of the sector, or in the centre of the map.
Position you’re self in the northern area on level with the Jump-gates, facing the area where you would like to deploy the station. Tilt the nose of your ship up & to the right slightly, this will allow you to see the station through your sector map while positioning it.
Contact the Supply ship and ask the Captain to “drop freight here”, the sector map will appear and a flashing station icon will be displayed that you can move around the sector with the directional keys on your keyboards “NumPad” – for those using laptops, you may be able to use the Function button in combination with other keys to move around.
Using the ‘ 5 ‘ key on the numpad will center the un-placed station on your ship, if once pressing the ‘ 5 ‘ key you see the station jump to a different area, use the arrow keys to scroll up the list of ships in the sector map to your ship in the northern area of the sector. The directional keys on the NumPad; 2, 4, 6 & 8 will move the station up, down, left & right, the odd keys will rotate the station on its axis for better placement.
Move the station in front of you and slightly to the left and looking through the sector map rotate it for best position with the docking node facing toward you and thus into the sector for easy docking.
As mentioned earlier another feature of the sector map that can help in advanced station placement is the “Advanced View”. Zooming in on your station on the map, then enable the ” sector camera ” with the default ‘ K ‘ key will give you a top down perspective of the map with detailed models of the stations and ships, using this feather can give you greater control of the placement of the stations and is VERY useful when tightly placing stations for Complexing.
Now, depending on how much money you have available you can either buy a new trading craft from the shipyard in Argon Prime, such as a Mercury TS class ship, or you can use your current trading vessel to “Manually Stock” this factory with the Energy Cells it will need to produce its product.
If you buy a ship, for starters buy one of the cheaper & smaller ships to take advantage of their faster speeds; also upgrade the engine speed as much as possible/affordable. Outfit the vessel with navigation software & Trade 2, I also add special commands and Fight 1 so I can tell it to occasionally collect Crates that may be floating around after other ships get destroyed with special commands, and I give it at least 1 cheap laser to set it to missile defence to shoot down any missiles that pirates may sling at it with the Fight software.
Once its outfitted and free of the shipyard go into its command menu from Property owed and set its home base to your new factory, set missile defence in turret control and select 1:Navigation and tell the vessel to “return home”.
For this vessel to automatically run & supply the factory the station will need its own settings and credits to purchase needed resources. Select the station from the sector map in Herron’s Nebula or via the Property owned menu (“R”). Go into the “Adjust Station parameters”.
In this menu you can set the prices and credits of your station.
The top section is price to sell at, always drop your price by at least $1; this will encourage NPC (non player characters) to purchase at your station because you are selling at under the average. Under the selling price you will notice a figure in squared brackets; this is the cost of “production price” of your product and will vary as you change the “purchase max price” in the next section.
For this station, set the purchase max price of Energy Cells to 14-15. This will drop the maximum price that your stations vessel will pay for that resource. Also limit the “Maximum Jumps” to 3-4, so that the vessel will only stay relatively local to purchase the needed resource. If unchanged, the vessel WILL travel 9 sectors away to get the price.
Give the station some credits to start with, say $100,000, this is to allow the vessel to purchase a stock of Energy Cells to supply the factory.
Also note the “Other races can…” option, at this stage leave as is, let them come, they might even buy some product.
Once all this is completed your station is ready start producing product… & making the money!
Select the stations vessel either via Property owned or from the stations “owned ships” menu. At this point you can order the vessel to purchase needed resources for the station. Goto the vessels Command menu, under the “Trade” option select “Buy ware for best price” and set Energy cells.
This vessel will now seek the best price on Energy cells, within the Maximum Jumps you have set, and continuously go out and fetch that needed resource – suppling the factory with what it needs to produce its product.
If, the station runs out of credits to purchase more resources with, the vessel will sit idle docked to the station, this is a good time to order the vessel to “Sell ware at best price”, so the station can make profit, and have more money to purchase more resources. If you are lucky, and you have set the sale price of your product to a reasonably competitive price, an NPC ship will come along and purchase from your station to supply their own. Allowing the cycle to continue and keep making money.
Tips to get you started:
- Check out the Asteroids in sector: Antigone Memorial, there are 2x Silicon with 61 yield each, and 2x Ore with 91 yield each. The higher the yield the faster they produce. Also, as a bonus, both sets of these asteroids are at a perfect distance to link them with the “Complex Construction Kit” – this means that 2 stations will be connected by 1 docking hub, and will share resources, meaning you only need 1 vessel to supply it.
- Early on find a place to build a 1Mj Shield Factory, or even build a complex of them… these shields are always in high demand, and NPC’s will always buy them.
- Build Crystal Fabs, there are never enough of these around to supply the Solar Power Plants, even set these up so other races cannot buy / trade with them and set your own vessels to sell at best price.
- Use the stock exchange in X3: Albion Prelude to see what items are in high demand in the different groupings of sectors belonging to one race. With this you can figure out what an area is lacking in and build to supply that need, also you can see what not to build if an area is already producing too much of a product.
There are better ways to manage the supply of a station or complex, but being that this example is of a simple, medium Wheat factory, the advice above will get you started. In another guide, I wish to go into detail about the use of the CAG scripts – Commercial Agent, that is supplied on the EGOSOFT website in the “Bonus Package” – I highly recommend the use of this bonus package, as it adds to the game experience and can simplify yet enrich the intelligence of the game.
Terran Conflict: http://www.egosoft.com/download/x3tc/bonus_en.php
Albion Prelude: http://www.egosoft.com/download/x3ap/bonus_en.php
These Bonus packages are supplied by EGOSOFT, and are playable as part of the “Vanilla Game” – as in it won’t bugger up your profile / stats as a “Modified Game”