Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Making Planetfall, Not Planet Fail

So I jumped into planetside production with both feet and managed to get all 6 of my alts trained in production mostly only with level 3 skills - so improved Command Centers and 4 planets each, but the two 'mains' have gone and trained the skills for advanced command centers. I've made a few mistakes and realised that I needed to nuke a bunch of buildings and redesign my colonies, but each new one is getting more and more efficient.

For example I used to put the command center and launchpad at a spot roughly equidistant from all the hotspots and have everything feeding into it, but now I setup a command center on one hotspot and the launchpad on another hotspot and both of them can be used as buffers for materials prior to processing. Any other hotspots that are required may get a dedicated storage node if there's a decent chance that a 5 hour cycle would overload the link and require an upgrade - even though I aim for 23 hour cycles as the default it's nice to have a buffer for moments when a 5 hour cycle is possible.

And, it appears that there's been an annoying bug which causes cycle times to increase if they cover downtime, it ends up being more like a 36 hour cycle which I then pad out with a couple of 5 hour cycles. It's not the only bug affecting PI, materials get disappeared randomly, sometimes when I'm exporting them off planet. It's mostly annoying, since as far as I can tell everyone is dealing with the same problem, at least if someone has discovered a fix they're not telling. Regardless, the market is so young and chaotic that I expect that the effect of material losses is small compared to other factors driving the prices.
3 of my neutral alts are working together, I've found a pretty nice low-sec system very close to hi-sec - when you're going for low-sec planet harvesting remember that yield goes up as sec status goes down. So like the risk-reward graphs I laid out in my discussion of missions there's this discontinuity that makes the increase in rewards from 0.4 sec planets a whole lot less attractive. No, you really want to look for those 0.1 sec systems to get as close to the yields you expect in 0.0 as you can without having to deal with holding sov or sneaking though warp bubbles. So 2 alts have some extractor dominated setups in a couple of low-sec systems and the 3rd is focussing on building the final product with 4 barren/temperate worlds that are almost exclusively host advanced and hi-tech processors. I just import the products and the whole production chain goes to work pushing out a p4 every few hours, I'm still optimizing the whole thing, and over time I expect changes as some of the NPC goods I have in stock run out and need to be built - but that'll be a long time for some.
My other characters are all out in 0.0 furiously producing POS fuel stuffs, my alliance is going through a rough patch and I don't see a huge internal market for the P4's at this time, but, we'll always have towers to fuel. (and even if we end up leaving our current space, the new residents will have towers too).

Anyway - here's some pictures of my layouts..

One of my first - concentrating on making p2 and p3 materials, I only have 3 advanced processors so I switch them aroung right now, but I think I'm going to settle on a single chain soon. Notice how the command center just sits there like a wart on the side of the network?

So my improved design uses the command center as a secondary storage node - setting it on top of one deposit, and then the spaceport goes on another, on this gas planet I only really needed two locations so I get this layout that resembles a dumbell.

And this is one of those factory planets I mentioned, only 3 extractors but lots of advanced processors fed by imported materials. The local extractors may be nuked in the future to make way for more processors as some NPC stocks start to get used up.

And finally, this is the result of trying to place a command center when a red fleet shows up and made me panic, I put it on top of a deposit which wasn't needed to make POS fuel, so it just sits there completely isolated from the network.

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