The X3 Economy Guide.
Guide Version 1.7 (X3 V2.02)
The initial fear for X3 was distance, because of the the player needed to travel further to trade anything combined with the extremely high prices of stuff, it was going to be harder to make money. I have found the issue becomes obselete if you think about trading in a new way. So lets look at that new way. Exploring the Universe first allows you to see what markets exist but this is something you will have to do more than once due to the way the God engine adds or removes factories. If you drop satellites in key sectors such as those that contain Equipment docks, you will find it easy to track prices and stocks. That helps solve the problem of wasted travel time over 2 or 3 sectors and helps the player make a profit more often than not. With out exploration it is a long frustrating process of trial and error and not fun at all. The further out in to the universe you go the more you see the need for a jump drive to make money. We will explore this issue more later.
The early game sees the player trading energy and food for between 10,000 credits profit or and 30,0000 profit. Which seems a lot compared to the 5000 to 8000 profits of X2, but since everything is more expensive now because of the price increases and the distance, it all kind of evens out. What has changed though is the economy. Instead of manual trading being a route to getting your first factory, in X3 it is both fun and very very profitable as a sole means of earning money. No 10 factories can make the same kind of profit as the player can in X3. So manual trading is probably something you will do a lot in X3, even in the late game.
A freighter with a jump drive becomes a must and whilst your trading lots of small items like Energy cells, you will find the bigger the freighter the better. You can get freighters with cargo holds that are upgradeable to 14,000 in size, making your first Mercury's 3000 cargo hold look rather small, we will talk about these in greater detail later. The biggest Mercury has a max cargo hold of 11,000 cargo units and the only thing more scary than docking one of those babies is undocking next to another large freighter. We are talking brown trouser time here, good fun though. :)
Trouble is, those freighters, especially the big ones are sitting ducks for pirates. So you really need to upgrade them all the way and perhaps even have an escort of fighters if you can afford them. Definitely take some fighter drones. Never assume 5x 25MJ shields offer protection for more than 20 seconds. They do not, even a small group of Pirate Harriers can easily take care of your shields. The surviving the first strafing run is the hardest part because the enemy fighters have full power for shooting. After that, if your still alive, you stand a chance of escaping. So think about taking missiles and drones for protection and do not rely on your freighters weapons for anything other than missile defense. Especially any PSG based weapons, I found even a Harrier carries weapons that have a greater range than PSGs.
A good change in X3 is that you do feel like your getting somewhere trading manually now, the long boring start of game phase has been replaced by a new system that allows you to earn money much faster and get embroiled in the best side of X3 earlier, the factory ownership side. Yet because manual trading is actually very profitable, it remains lots of fun and the primary source of income for the player even in the mid game. It more or less makes using seta to earn money over night a poor substitute for doing it your self. Which is as it should be. Capturing is also a poor substitute for trading too, which makes a nice change. Despite this, the big ships still require you to work hard to get the money for them, so nothing has really changed except the player is having more fun in the mean time.
Once your game says you have played for a day or so, the economy starts to change. It stabilizes and food and energy stocks begin to rise and fall normally. But the Free Traders still leave massive holes where very little trade is conducted and one of those holes is centered on paranid prime. Hardly a minor sector. This info comes as a result of playing the same game for over a year, the current version is 2.02 as I write this section and has never been fixed nor is it likely too be fixed at this stage.
The other issue that involves the god engine and its long term effects. What changes is the God engine groups up similar factories after a while so you will find 7 raster refinies in the same sector after an extended period of play (1 year in my case) and very little else. Same goes for other factories including high tech factories. Its not usual to find 2 or even 3 computer fabs in the same sector for example. This leads to shortages which you can exploit and it gets worse as time goes on. You may even notice sectors with nothing in them except for an equipement dock. But this works to the players advantage if he is a factory own. If your a Mk3 universe trader lover it works to your disadvantage since jump fuel comes from SPPs and SPPs also get grouped up.
This means the holes in the energy supply chain that exist at the start of the game just get bigger as time goes on and sooner or later your own MK3 universe trader will make that trip through a xenon sector because it does not have enougth jump fuel. When that happens you will lose your MK3.
You First Freighter.
Players start off trading energy and food and them move on to Hi tech goods. After that you can move on to weapons and very expensive goods. Trading food is nothing like trading Hi Tech goods and trading Hi tech goods is nothing like trading weapons. For starts you can make a living out of trading solely in any one of those areas, which was impossible in X2. But the requirements and the funding needed to do it increases when you start trading in new types of goods. So lets look at the basic requirements for each of those areas.
Idiots guide to buying and selling prices.
If your not good at figures, always buy from factories that are fully stocked and always sell to factories that are empty. This will give you maximum profits with every trade run you make.
Food and Energy Trader Requirements.
Starting Freighter, 20,000 Credits to get a good first load of energy.
Hi Tech Trader Requirements.
Starting Freighter 500,000 credits to buy a good load of Hi tech wares plus 1 jump drive
Arms Dealer Requirements.
Starting Freighter, 1 million Credits plus a jump drive and a very good knowledge of the universes Equipment Docks. Idealy 20 million and buy all the deals you see then sell them all.
Path to Profit.
When new players start playing X3 they will naturally begin to exploit holes in the economy and their profits will increase rapidly. Soon they will have enough to buy weapons on mass and at that point they will need to leave Argon space and trade around the universe. Effectively becoming Universal Arms Dealers. Whilst making 30k from the sale of Food and Energy (including costs) seems good at first, to an Arms dealer that's the profit he gets from selling 1 weapon. Considering most weapons take up less than 10 units of your cargo hold. Can you imagine how many weapons would be needed to fill it up completely and how much your cargo would be worth ?
I know what your thinking, why bother with food, why not go for weapons first. Well you do not have cash for starters and your reputation is too low as well. But once you have a high enough reputation with one race to buy high priced weapons, you should be able to sell them any where you can dock.
Just so you know, its extremely easy to spend over 16 million credits buying weapons to sell on. Such cargos usually hold a mixture of weapons, shields and ammo to fill your hold. That way you can usually sell several different types of weapons at each and every Equipment dock you visit. Making your profits per stop run in to the millions, but you cannot do this by sticking to the central Argon sectors. You must get out there and map out all the factories, all the sectors and all the Equipment docks.
When buying Weapons I personally would avoid IONs and Mass Drivers because they flood the universe without the players help far too easily. Various Photon based weapons are hard to sell to races that want them too, so sell to races that do not want them since you can sell any weapon they do not ask for to their Equipement docks with ease.
Food and Energy Trader.
Tradable Goods = Energy and most food types.
Profits = between 10,000 and 300,000 per full cargo hold.
Type of Market = Local usually.
Hi Tech Trader.
Tradable Goods = Microchips, Satellites, Computer components, drones, crystals etc.
Profits = between 50,000 and 1000,000 per full cargo hold.
Type of Market = Universal Market for most products.
Tradable Goods = Weapons, Shields, Ammo
Profits = between 200,000 and 5000,000 per full cargo hold.
Type of Market = Universal Market for most products.
Available Freighters and Locations.
Argon Freighters, Location, Max Speed, Max Cargo Capacity.
Mercury = Argon Prime, 100m/s, 4000.
Mercury Tanker = Argon Prime, 65m/s, 7600.
Mercury Hauler = Light of Heart, 80m/s, 8000.
Mercury Super Freighter = Light of Heart, 77m/s, 7400.
Mercury Tanker = Omicro Lyrae, 100m/s, 4000.
Mercury Super Freighter = Omicro Lyrae, 72m/s, 11800.
Split Freighters, Location, Max Speed, Max Cargo Capacity.
Caiman = Family Pride, 124.99m/s, 3500.
Caiman Tanker = Cho's Defeat, 81m/s, 6650.
Caiman Super Freighter = Family Tkr, 96m/s, 6475.
Caiman Tanker = Family Njy, 124.99m/s, 3500.
Caiman Super Freighter = Family Njy, 89.99m/s, 10325.
Boron Freighters, Location, Max Speed, Max Cargo Capacity.
Dolphin Hauler = Kingdom End, 59.99m/s, 10000.
Dolphin Super Freighter = Kingdom End, 5 3,98m/s, 14000.
Dolphin = Great Reef, 74,98m/s, 5000.
Dolphin Super Freighter = Depths of Silence, 57.74m/s, 9250.
Dolpin Tanker = Lucky Planets, 48.74m/s, 9500.
Dolpin Tanker = Ocean of Fantasy, 74.98m/s, 5000.
Teladi Freighters, Location, Max Speed, Max Cargo Capacity.
Vulture = Seizewell, 79.99m/s, 4500.
Vulture Hauler = Seizewell, 63.99m/s, 9000.
Vulture Super Freighter = Grand Exchange, 61.59m/s, 8325.
Vulture Miner = Ianamus Z ura, 85,59m/s, 5175.
Vulture Super Freighter = Ministry of finance, 57,59m/s, 13275.
Paranid Freighters, Location, Max Speed, Max Cargo Capacity.
Thanks to Dual Nihil and Executor for taking the time to complete this next part for me. Much appricated guys.
Demeter Tanker = Paranid Prime, 110.00 m/s, 3800.
Demeter Miner = Paranid Prime, 117.70 m/s, 4370.
Demeter = Cardinals Domain, 110.00 m/s, 3800.
Demeter Super Freighter = Cardinals Domain, 79.20 m/s, 11210
Demeter Hauler = Trinity Sanctum, 88 m/s, 7600.
Trade Command Software MK3: Some Tips and Warnings.
Like a lot of people I made a lot of money in X2 by using the Universe Trader option of the Trade Command Software Mk3. So it is very easy to think it will work again in X3 and not consider the side effects the new universe has on this software. The MK3 will earn you a lot of money and increase your reputation with any race it trades with. Trouble is, it uses a jump drive later on and that needs energy. Guess what factory is not so common in X3 ?
Yup you guessed it, Solar Power Plants. Which is a problem that gets worse as your game goes on because God groups SPPs together in common sectors and that leaves large distances between refueling points. This in turn leads to a lot of MK3 loses when your Universe trader tries to travel though xenon sectors.
Solar Power Plants are restricted to a couple of sectors in each of the races primary areas. So your MK3 will spend most of its time in a sector without energy. This leads to a lot of annoying messages about no jump fuel being found. It did not take me long to sell my MK3 for the sake of a peaceful life but before I did I got a good idea of the kind of profits it can earn and to be honest, the player can double anything the MK3 can earn simply by trading manually. Mk3s only trade in 1 type of item at a time, players can buy all bargins and sell all bargins at the same time. That makes a huge difference, especially when your dealing in weapons.
Requirements of the MK3s Universe Trader Feature.
Pilot reaches level 8.
Flight Command Software Mk1
Flight Command Software Mk2
One 25MJ Shield
Where to buy.
Most Teladi Equipment Docks and The Terra Corp HQ in Home of Light.
So you think manual trading is one long boring endless cargo run and capturing pays more anyway because its always been like that. Well it may have been like that in previous X games, but in X3 the Freighter Pilot is now the rich big brother of the Fighter Pilot. He can make more money trading each hour than the Fighter pilot can Capturing ships.
In this section I will go into detail on how this can be achieved, tell you the requirements and what to look out for and even how to think in some cases.
So lets make some Rules of Acquisition shall we.:)
Rule 1: Explore.
There is no way you can buy and sell goods if you cannot find a supplier or a customer. Its simply a none starter of an idea to choose the traders life if your not willing to explore. So buy your self a M5 or a fast M4. If your going for an M4 try the Paranid M4, a Boron M4 Mako or the Split M4 Scorpion (with mass drivers, nice) and then explore as much of the universe as you can. If you chose an M4, try killing pirates in Boron space until they will sell you a Triplex scanner. Once you have that exploring becomes much easier.
There are usually ways around Xenon sectors so if your afraid you cannot make it through any Xenon Sector, just enter the Xenon gate and turn back right away. This will make the sector appear on your universe map.
As you go you might want to drop Satellites in any sector containing a Shipyard, Equipment Dock or a lot of Weapon or Hi Tech goods factories.
Rule 2: The Mighty Mercury.
Your first freighter should be cheap, do not worry about fitting it out at this stage. Just make sure you dock at stations on a regular basis and that Autosave is turned on. You will find your self trading in items your freighter needs so you can easily pick up parts in your travels. Also if you later upgrade to another bigger Mercury then you can often dock at the same station with your old and new ship just transfer all the parts and cargo before selling your old freighter.
Rule 3: Bigger is Better even if its Slower.
They say its not the size that counts but what you do with it that matters. Well with a big one you have to do a lot less work than the guy with a small one, small freighter that is :) Spending up to your limit on a new yet bigger freighter is fine as long as you have about 20,000 credits left. But its often cheaper to make the upgrade once rather than trying out every freighter you come across. So whilst your trading in sectors containing Shipyards, do a little research on the available freighters and make some notes for later. Eventually you will want a Super Freighter but be warned, even the argon have 2 different Super Freighters. One is not so super as you might think.
Rule 4: Seta x10 is your friend.
Some of those super freighters are so slow that you will find the jerky game play at Seta x10 is acceptable. So do not be afraid to increase the seta slightly to allow for the loss of speed.
Rule 5: Jumping makes you money faster.
A Jump Drive should be amongst the first things you fit to your cheap freighter. Then carry a sizable stock of energy (around 800 Energy Cells in your first freighter, 2000 in the super freighters) for use as jump fuel.
Rule 6: Keep your Float above 2 Million.
The Float is the credits used for trading. Always try and keep at least 2 million (Do I hear "2 Million, I do not have that, OMG how I can win.....". Fear not for 2 million is merely small drop in the ocean in X3) in credits or goods handy for trading. 4 Million is handy if you can manage it. 20 million will mean you can clear out entire sectors of all bargains
About the Universe your trading in.
Time to explain what's going on around you.
X3 uses free traders to trade goods around the universe. They go from one sector to another and clear it of any bargains that may exist.
Now there are 4 basic types of Free trader.
Hi Tech Traders.
Unless your very unlucky, a sector will usually have only been visited by one of those types of traders. So either there will be no good sources of energy, no good source of food, no good sources of Hi tech wares or no good sources of weapons. You will find at least 1 of those areas provides good trade in most sectors. So the trick is, is to buy the Trading extension from an equipment dock (not a Split Equipment dock) and jump in to a sector and check the prices in each of those areas. Find the type of goods that the AI has not traded in and buy it ALL up your self.
Now jump to a sector where the goods you brought are in demand and sell your stock there, e.g. food and energy are needed by Hi tech and weapon factories. With luck, the Hi Tech or Weapons will be available for you to buy, so your next jump will be to a sector containing an Equipment dock to sell weapons too or a Trading Station that demands your Hi Tech goods.
About now I should explain what Equipment Docks and Trading Stations do.
These 2 types of stations are your best friend because they do 3 things.
1) They always buy at the Average Price, so any products you got cheap will always be sold at a profit at these stations.
2) They eat up goods that other factories do not actually use. So once you sell to one of these stations, the goods will slowly vanish allowing you to sell there again later.
3) They offer you a place to buy those goods if you want too, e.g. should need a few laser towers or missiles for defense. But best not buy from these if your going to sell the goods later. You cannot make a profit buying from Trading Stations or Equipment Docks. Its impossible because you can only sell to other Trading Stations or Equipment Docks and there prices will be average prices too.
Time to talk about factories. You have been trading all over the universe and have seen what products sell but for the life of you, you cannot sell the same items and are wondering why.
Well there are some rules here. First you need to consider where you where not able to trade manually, e.g. where the AI had already been and brought up all the goods. You can see its a sector that sells its goods too fast. So whilst it is no good for manual trading, it is a very good place for your factories. If you see a 25mw shield factory for example that's always fully stocked with resources but empty of all products, then build a 25mw shield factory of your own right next to it. This is the safest way to ensure the AI will buy from you despite any Free trader issues that may exist.
Selling prices in X3 must be as low as possible to attract the AI Free Traders. The old sell at max price simply does not work too well in X3, unlike X2. So you cannot get greedy. If you want to be greedy, use selling freighters to sell your own products directly to other stations. This is the best way to earn maximum profits from your factories stock.
Low level factories such as cattle ranches and other similar factories never make much money because you have to sell their stock extremely cheaply. Its pocket money really and a not good foundation for an empire. However, once you add a second level food factory such as a Cahoona Bakery, they suddenly start making money for you that could be considered better pocket money. Still not great but at least you can see a return on your investment.
Solar Power Plants may need selling freighters before they start making a decent amount of money. Even with these, the mighty SPP is not what it once was. It is at best slightly better than the Cahoona Bakery.
Rimes Facs and Teladianium Foundries sell pretty well to the AI Free Traders. You do not really need Selling Freighters for these factories.
Cheap missiles often flood the market too quickly and make a lot of money early on but then it slows down to a crawl. More expensive missiles require selling freighters to sell them to Equipment docks but sell more often and at a huge profit too.
Weapons, Drones, Satellites, Crystals, Microchips, Computer Components all make money fairly quickly and are good choices for the player looking to make some money from his factories.
The illegal warez market is a little different in X3 than it was in X2. In X3 discreet couriers and frozen food freighters buy and sell the wares for Pirate bases. Until you deal in any illegal warez its hard to see just how big the market really is. So we will look at a complex that produces illegal goods and sells well, even without selling freighters.
You will need.
1 x Dream Farm.
1 x Bliss Place.
1 x Space Fuel Distillery.
1 x Wheat Farm.
Ideally you will need to use a complex construction kit to connect either the Bliss Place and the Dream Farm or the Space Fuel Distillery and the Wheat Farm. I actually made the lot in to 1 big complex using Large versions of all factories and demand was still higher than production. Making all 4 factories in to 1 complex means you can feed the entire complex energy using just 2 freighters.
Location to build these is important and the best location is also one of the safest as it is a defended Argon sector with in trading range of at least 5 pirate bases, possibly more depending on your game. I am of course referring to Elenas Fortune. At the time of writing, other Egosoft forum users have started to notice Elena's fortune is a prime spot for these too, so this is not a recommendation coming from just me. Others think so too.
You will only need to buy in energy so selling freighters will not be needed, mainly because there is such a high demand in this area that the product sells it self pretty well.
Pricing your goods.
I found the following prices work rather well.
Sell Space Fuel at 550c
Sell Space Weed = 1990c
Buy Energy Cells at 14c
The return on your investment, depending on whether you went for large versions or not, should be a small but regular income. Much better than Cahoona Bakeries, Wheat farms or Cattle Ranches on their own but not as good as most Hi tech factories. You should see your factory remains empty most of the time as products are snapped up before you have chance to stock pile anything. Its fairly cheap to setup a smaller starter complex to sell either one of these products and easy to upgrade it to sell the other product later.
Factories and Complexes.
The Complexities of Complexes.
The Complexes in X3 have a few issues that come up due to bad placement. So its important you understand these issues now.
1) Docking for the AI is difficult if not impossible.
2) Autopilot causes the players ship to ram the complex due to bad docking positions and badly placed complex tubing..
3) Yoyo style docking occurs after the complex is extended to include more factories. Meaning even though your freighters can dock. It takes them many attempts before they actually do dock.
4) Factories in the complex make a constant banging sound because they where placed so close to each other that they are actually touching.
5) You can either buy or sell intrime products, not both.
Those are the kind of things I am hoping to help you avoid in this section by helping the reader understand the mechanics of X3 Complexes.
Complexes, produces, resources and intrim goods.
Complexes allow you to sell all goods produced at that complex by default, there is a menu setting in the adjust parameters that allows you to buy and/or sell intrim goods too. Resources are goods you buy in that are not produced by the factory. Resources cannot be sold since they are needed by the complex and thus the complex would stop working without them.
Now I have seen players complaining that complexes do not allow you to set a separate buy and sell price for intrim goods so lets answer that complaint now shall we. Intrim goods are like products, they are made at the complex but they are also used at the complex. Any shortfall in supply will naturally lead to the complex needing to buy in those goods. But selling a required product is not generally a good idea because the end product could run out of supplies it needs. You see, you have very little control over who buys what or how often and since some freighters can buy up to 13,000 units of your stock. Selling an intrim product could lead to problems.
But that still is no reason for not having a separate buy and sell price for them is it ?
Well try this reason.
Why would factory buy in a product it makes ?
Thats a job for Trading Stations and they cost a lot of money. So if you did have a buy and sell price for complexes, why would you need a hugely expensive Trading Station or even an Equipement Dock ?
So the only important use of the price you can set is to set the selling price because once you add a buying and selling price to a complex you suddenly render 2 important game features totally useless.
Factory Placements for Complexes.
Now you know about products and interim products, lets take a look at how to connect factories together. I will assume you have 4 factories named A, B, C, D.
Connect A to B and then choose a good spot for the docking part of the complex. Since this will be used for the entire complex from this moment on. You do not want it too close to the factories or in any area your likely to expand your Complex in. I usually place it far below my factory complex and try not to build below the current factory complex line. So the docking area (Complex Hub) seems to hang down below the complex like a spider on a thread.
Now we need to connect C and D and this presents us with our first design problem.
Do we connect A to C and then A to D ?
No because we know we have 2 factories to join to the complex and each factory that joins directly to the complex requires a tube to touch that complex hub at some point. So we join C and D together first, then join A to C. This gives us a far better complex layout since 1 tube goes from C to D and another goes from A to C Instead of all 3 factories connecting to A like a giant spiders web.
Of course you will probably add more factories later individually so how can you be sure not to make a mess ?
Well you cannot to be honest but you can reduce the risk of a mess by placing all the factories to be in a complex in one long line.
A B C D
Will look like this as a complex
So if we add another factory we need to place it at the end of D like this.
This ensures it connects to D because D is the closest point. Notice I put 3 dashes in between B and C and D and E ?
It means a bigger gap than normal should be left, do not attempt to neatly place all your factories in a tight little group. It just leads to problems mentioned above.
At the time of writing, Trading Stations and Equipment Docks cannot be connected to a Complex.
Designing your own Super Factory AKA Complexes.
Know you know of some of problems associated with Complexes lets lay down some ground rules.
1) All factories to be included in a complex should be placed in a line.
2) If dealing with 4 or more factories. Always connect factories in groups of 2, E.G. A&B, C&D first. Then connect the 2 pairs together to make a bigger complex.
3) Always put the docking bay far out of the way of the primary complex area so docking accidents do not occur.
4) Let any factory you want to sell primary products run for a while before connecting them to your complex.
5) Remember, products not used in your complex will always be primary products e.g. Microchips, Missiles, Weapons, Shields etc.
Now you know the rules lets design our own factory and take in to account some other game features at the same time.
OK we want our first Complex to make missiles, so lets look at what we need.
1 Cattle Ranch.
1 Cahoona Bakery.
1 Wheat Farm.
1 Rimes Fac.
1 Warhead Facility.
1 Missile Factory (you choose what missile you want to make).
1 Solar Power Plant.
1 Crystal Fab.
1 Silicon Mine.
1 Ore Mine.
We will not connect a mine to our Missile Complex at this time since it limits where you can build your complex and introduces a higher chance of error. As you can see, our Complex is entirely self contained except for Ore and Silicon. So we only need 2 Freighters to buy up those goods the ore and silicon and our Complex will work. What is even better is the float you must leave in the complex needs only cover the cost of what your freighters are buying. E.G. you do not need to add 100,000 for every factory in the complex. You need only add enough to buy Ore and Silicon.
OK about now your thinking there's a catch right ?
Yup, your not buying a lot from the AI factories, so your reputation with the races will not go up much except when you sell stuff to them. Trouble is selling is a slow process, so your basically increasing in rank only when you can make a sale. Plus that lot will cost millions. So lets cut it down to just factories that will help make missiles quickly and not include anything the AI can supply us easily.
1 Wheat Farm.
1 Rimes Fac.
1 Warhead Facility.
1 Missile Factory (you choose what missile you want to make).
To actually build the complex we place them in a line like so (checking the sector views horizontal and vertical placement when we place the factories).
Missile Factory, Warhead Facility, Rimes Fac, Wheat Farm.
Then we connect them line this.
Missile Factory--Warhead Facility---- Rimes Fac--Wheat Farm.
And below these we put the docking area.
Complex Hub (Docking area).
Remember, a complex often works best when its a simple complex. E.G. a Crystal Fab and a silicon mine, Or a Crystal Fab, Cattle Range and a Cahoona Bakery.
Now we just need freighters to buy Food, Energy and of course Ore. What's even better is each time your freighters do buy goods, your reputation with the race increases slightly and brings you a little closer to the time when you can buy that M1 or M2, or even your own Equipment Dock.
So what have we learned. Well we know Complexes can become messy fast and we know how to make sure only the products we want to sell actually appear as primary products. We also know how to make sure our Complex helps boost our reputation with the other races. So lets have some fun.
Now its time to look at custom factories. It is possible to get something for free using complexes. You need only inject enough energy to kick start it and the complex will take care of the rest. Now we are going to make an M6 Servicing Facility. A place where you can dock your newly purchased M6 and fit it out with all the weapons it needs.
For this we will buy out factories from the Argon Shipyards.
You will need to place the following factories.
To supply energy we need.
1 Solar Power Plant.
1 Crystal Fab.
1 Silicon Mine.
To make the weapons we need.
1 Alpha HEPT forge.
1 Beta Particle Accelerator forge.
1 125MJ shield Factory.
1 Ore mine.
And to supply food we need.
1 Large Cahoona Bakery.
1 Large Cattle Ranch.
Total Cost = Just under 40 Million.
We need to place all the factories so we can eventually link them together. Because we have 2 mines in the chain we must first choose a sector where a good Silicon Mine and a good Ore mine already exist and made sure both ore mines can be included in the complex without blocking the docking area. Which is hard, I must admit.
Once built you will get AHEPT, BPACs and 125MJ Shields produced for free.
I did not bother with the energy part, I just assigned 3 Freighters to buy energy cells. But you can if you want too. The word from the Egosoft forums is that once you connect over 100 factories, your game may start to crash when you attempt to connect more. The figure players have put figure of around 120 factories before this starts happening so stay below 100 and you should be safe.
As you can see, you can build any number of custom factories this way, its almost possible to make your own shipyard by doing this. The only problem is that standard software your ship uses is not on sale here and you cannot build the ships hulls.
My own M6 Service station does not actually sell anything and the AI never trades with it, despite having rock bottom prices, yet it makes a huge profit. Weird don't you think. The reason it makes a profit is because I have a trading station that buys the goods from it and sells them all over argon space when I do not need them. When I do need them I simply tell the trading stations freighters to stop buying those goods.
Owning your own Trading Station and Equipment Docks.
Trading Stations and Equipment Docks are still being developed in X3 at the time I write this. However X3 has made some pretty huge changes to these already. In X2 any Trading Station or Equipment dock owned by the player could be made to sell any product the player chooses. There are bugs in X3 that prevent some weapons from being sold from a Trading station that would appear to indicate which way the Egosoft wind is blowing here. So it might be worth buying a Trading Station to sell food and hi tech goods and not weapons in the future. Sticking strictly to typical items these huge structures usually sell when owned by the AI. This should future proof you, hopefully.
It appears all Equipment docks are the same but Trading stations are not. The one you buy pretty much decides how useful it will be because any freighters assigned to it that are not trading will occupy 1 freighter bay and if you only have 5 to start with then your going be to extremely limited. Especially since your forced to use selling freighters because the AI does not trade with player owned trading stations.
As a mod maker I see a mod being useful here to fix this part of the game. Anyway, one with the station stats.
Below is a list of stations and the number of docked ships they can support.
All Equipment Docks (And Shipyards) = 10 Ships of the class TS/TP/M6/M5/M4/M3 and 1 ship of the class TL/M1/M2.
Boron Trading Station = 5 Ships of the class TS/TP/M6/M5/M4/M3.
Paranid Trading Station = 5 Ships of the class TS/TP/M6/M5/M4/M3.
Split Trading Station = 10 Ships of the class TS/TP/M6/M5/M4/M3.
Argon Trading Station = 10 Ships of the class TS/TP/M6 and Unlimited Ships of class M5/M4/M3.
Teladi Trading Station = 10 Ships of the class TS/TP/M6 and Unlimited Ships of class M5/M4/M3.
As you can see the Boron and Paranid Trading Stations are only going to support 2 products effectively before ships start queuing because you need a buyer and seller freighter for all products right now. This makes them totally useless to players in the game. Hopefully Egosoft read guides and will fix this. 5 products for Trading Station is not that unreasonable so the Split Trading Station is usable. Though I personally would never buy one with those limitations.
All XL sized cargo need a freighter so Ore, Silicon, Laser Towers are always going to be jobs from TS type ships. L size cargo will need to be carried by M3 Fighters that are capable of carrying that size cargo. A typical cargo hold of an M3 is roughly around 280 units. So it is not bad but it is expensive. Be careful though, the Pirate Falcon Vanguard and the Paranid Perseus have very small cargo holds and will be useless in this roll. The Falcon Hauler though is a totally different matter and according to its stats even comes with a rear turret. For Cargo of M or S sizes I recommend the Boron Mako. These have a very good cargo hold for their size and can do about 200kph too. Average cost of these is around 500,000 credits though. So using them will require a lot of cash.
Trading stations only need freighters to sell the big goods such as ore, the rest can be assigned to fighters if you own a Teladi or Argon Trading Station. You can see the goods sizes at the factory you buy them from. They are either XL, L, M or S.
Default Freighter Scripts.
The default freighter scripts remain the best trading scripts for X3, even now the 2.02 patch has been released. The reason is, all scripts are either too specialised for the job or have unsuitable requirements before they will work that just increase the macro management to unmanagable levels. Setting up an empire is already a complex job and the moment you lose control of it due to its complexity, you lose your empire and your profits vanish. If one of the third party scripts does exactly what you need it to do, then great use it. But think about what you need and choose the script that does exactly what you want on a per station or complex basis. Do no try and use the same script for all stations unless its the default freighter script.
Do not be afraid of third party scripts, most work extremely well. Only the job they do need concern you.
Since the AI does not trade with player owned Trading Stations and Equipment Docks, your going to need 1 buying freighter set to buy at best price and 1 selling freighter set to sell at best price. First though you need add the items you want your Trading Stations or Equipment Docks to sell and the X3 Bonus Pack available from the Egosoft site provides a way of doing this. Once you have done this, it is best to set the price slightly higher than the minimum price for those goods so the Freighter will always buy at minimum price but will never sell at that price or lower, this increases the number of potential sales outlets you have but garrentees your always buying at the lowest prices. Eg you get max profits.
List of goods that sell well from Player owned Trading Stations.
The following foods always sell well from my Trading Station in Argon Prime so its assumed similar goods will always sell well from other races sectors.
Lvl1 Foods (Argon Beef etc).
Lvl2 Foods (Cahoona Meat Steakes etc.)
List of goods that sell ok but may use up a spare dock whilst waiting for goods to become available.
Please be warned, your ability to sell these items depends if there is a local demand for these products. In Argon space all these sell very well.
Products that do not sell well due to the economy or bugs.
One thing an Equipement dock will not sell is products not demanded locally. So if you sell a product to an Equipement dock that it does not normally demand, you should not expect that Equipement dock or your own AI freighters to trade in that item with that Equipement dock. You cannot open up a 25mj shield market in Argon Prime for example if none existed before. But you can sell 25mj shields to an Argon Equipement dock manually. This a feature thats always existed in all previous X games.
Argon Centeral Sectors: A small example Empire.
In Argon Prime you have a Free Argon Trading Station that you built. It has its max jumps set to 4 so it can trade anywhere in any of the centeral Argon sectors. You know there are Equipment Docks in Antigony Memorial, Three Worlds, Red Light, Argon Prime and Cloud Base South East. You also know ever sector has a Trading station that wants something.
So you count up how many Equipment docks and Trading stations demand each product to see which products have the biggest demand.
Once you know you can start building factories to make products that are in the biggest demand. Because your own Trading station can buy and sell anywhere in these centeral argon sectors you do not need any selling freighters at your own factories. Just build the factories, give them some freighters to buy up the goods they need in order to ensure they all get supplied and then tell your trading station to trade in those goods.
Your trading station will then go about buying up the cheap goods either from you or the AI (either way you make a profit from it) and sell them automatically for you.
Now a factory in Three Worlds would need a jump range of 5 or 6 to trade at the other end of Argon central sectors and to set a jump range that high would slow down production. Yet because we use our own Trading station to buy and sell the goods, the factories can get on with gathering the goods it needs from with in 2 or 3 sectors of the factory and let the Trading station that does not actually make anything buy and sell at a much greater range. This way if the local market becomes saturated with some goods you can increase the range for a short time and continue selling those goods.
Now here is a little thats explained in detail in my Trading Networks Guide.
Your Trading Station in Argon Prime buys at your factories cheapest price but the AI does not trade with it (currently), so your lowest price is only used by your selling freighters as a guide as to what price to accept when it tries to sell your stock. It also has a jump range of 4 which means it can reach Kingdom End and Rolks Fate easily. So what if you put another trading station in Kingdom end and another in Rolks Fate. Suddenly you could easily transfer stock from one station to another if the local market becomes saturated and sell local Argon goods to the Borons and even some Teladi stations.
Even if the sell at best price script never sells to other trading stations, the sell ware command should allow you to transfer goods that way.
The advantage of this is you suddenly find you have a mighty network of trading stations that are able to accept goods and sell them locally even if the original trading station could not sell them it self in its area. Also the Sell Ware command ignores the stations jump distance setting. So you could transfer goods over a larger distance than just 4 sectors (or what ever you set yours too).
One word of warning though, if the default trading script does not manage to sell its goods, it returns to the trading station and forgets it is still carrying those goods. EG it has less space for the next cargo run. So check your freighters occasionally.