Greedy Goblin

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Planetary interaction for beginners

Planetary interaction isn't a really profitable enterprise. However the "newbie-version" is a "printing money" scheme more or less. You set it up, you let it run, you collect money. It need very few skills, so it's something I'd happily suggest to a real newbie, one who just finished the career agents:
  • Remote sensing 3 (x1 int/mem)
  • Planetology 3 (x3 int/mem)
  • Command center upgrades 3 (x4 cha/int)
  • Interplanetary consolidation 3 (x4 cha/int)
All these skills take 192K points which can be gained in 4 days. Even they are not necessary, as the last one allows creation of 4 colonies, you can run with 3 if you only have rank 2 and with a bit lower output you can run with command center rank 2. The official video tutorial shows very well how the colony UI works. You should watch it or you'll have problems with scanning, placing the items and so on. The price of creating a full colony is below 5M ISK.

In short: you build command center to produce energy and CPU. You build the extractor to get raw materials. You build basic factory to refine the raw to level 1 product. You build advanced factory ...

Except you don't. The problem is on the following graph:
As you can see on low level command centers you have relatively more power than CPU. So you shouldn't build items that eat your little CPU. You must build one, the launchpad to be able to get your products. Therefore you are better off building just an extractor and basic factories, despite the pro guides all advice for high quality products. They are right, except they use top level command center. You simply can't follow their advice. Instead use a colony like this:
It features one extractor (the top), which is connected to a storage (the box icon). The raw material comes here. The storage is connected to the basic factories (the yellow ones) which refine it. They are connected to the spaceport that collect the product. So you set this up, let it run for a few days (make sure that the extractor program is longer than your expected return) and you collect the product.

Don't jump on the first planet! The planets differ in material availability a lot. Scan several planets. Also the prices of the P1 products differ a lot:
Bacteria 160
Biofuels 150
Biomass 460
Chiral structures 400
Electrolytes 500
Industrial fibers 500
Oxidizing compound 350
Oxygen 200
Plasmoids 320
Precious metals 400
Proteins 450
Reactive metals 180
Silicon 500
Toxic metals 320
Water 250
Note: the above are Jita prices from Monday, they are just for guidance, check the prices before you make your choice!

So make your choice, scan planets, find the one with a good hotspot featuring your material and build your colony. Low maintenance, low profit. The colony pictured above creates 2.5M income every day (2 more factories were placed after making the screenshot). Since you can have 4 colonies with Interplanetary consolidation 3, it's 10M/day. 300M/month, so this beginner colony pays more than half of you subscription.

One more thing: the spaceports I mentioned. You can get your products by approaching the customs office of the planet and interacting with it. At first you have to move the items from the launchpad to the office, you have to pay tax for that, then simply move the item to your cargo like you'd loot a box.

The beginner colony is not just a free money print, it's also an introductory for the "pro" PI. We will get to that soon.

EVE Business report: Wednesday morning 17.9B (2 PLEX behind for second account, 0.3B spent on Titan project)
Remember that you can participate in our EVE conversations on the "goblinworks" channel (60-80 people on peak time) and your UI suggestions are welcomed.


Babar said...

Usually you want to place your buildings as close as possible to each other, to use less connectors and thus spend less power. With only a single PI, this doesn't make a huge difference since everything is at the same place, but when doing P2, you need 2 resources, and then connectors make a huge impact.

ariantes said...

One thing: don't place your extractor heads like in the picture, it will do only one thing and that is depleting the ressource deposit in that area really fast. Spread them out, best over multiple deposits.

Gevlon said...

@Ariantes: in this setup the only expensive modules are the command center and the launchpad. So I happily deplete the resource, then demolish everything but these units and rebuild the same somewhere else in the planet.

MoxNix said...

There's an awful lot of redundant unnecessary links in that screenshot. It's no big deal with a compact little colony like that but it'd be a real problem with a colony extracting more than one type of resource.

Babar said...

You don't even have to demolish the command center. It doesn't have to be connected to anything, it only needs to be on the planet.

The biggest problem with P1 production is that it requires a lot of hauling, which is the main reason for people doing P2 instead. It only takes a few hours to fly a Bestower, which gives you around 20k m3 with rigs. With a launchpad and a storage, your planet can hold 22k m3, so a Bestower matches pretty well.

Also watch out for taxrate, I have to admit I've never tried highsec PI, so I'm not sure how the taxation works out.

Unknown said...

You don't really need a separate intermediate storage, you can use the spaceport for that as well.

Anonymous said...

You are wrong about it being unprofitable. I turn over around 3b a month for a few hours work each week.

PI on a small scale can easily turn a small profit, but it scales up very well.

Tithian said...

A few tips:

1. The extractor heads shouldn't overlap, you get penalties.
2. There's no need for any storage other than the launchpad, which should be more than enough.

Also, with good skills you can easily set up 2 extractors (about 11 heads total), 4 Basic processors and 2 advanced processors, making good amounts of P2. For P3 and above you'll need to start importing stuff from a second planet and for P4 it is almost always mandatory to commit 1 planet purely to factories.

Gevlon said...

@MoxNix: probably it could be rationalized, did not bother.

@Babar: taxation is indeed a problem in highsec, the advanced planetology post will come.

@Chris K: probably right about the storage, but I was worried about it's running full with raw materials. However it's easily managable if you look at it once a day. However a storage is needed anyway to hold more products. You send it from the launchpad with transfer and when your ship arrived you send it back.

Hivemind said...

1) Since this is a guide for newbies, you can assume it's hisec PI and should be factoring hisec taxes into your profits. I'm pretty sure they take a huge bite out of that 2.5 mil/day profit.

2) Simple method of colony design: Link EVERYTHING to the launchpad, and to nothing else. Build factories as close to the launchpad as possible and keep them there (Yes, you can have a remote setup with a cluster of extractors and factories around a storage unit, but that setup still needs a link to the launchpad to export anything, so all you're doing is adding in costs of moving factories and an unnecessary storage unit). Extractors dump to launchpad, launchpad routes to factories, factories route back to launchpad. Whole thing means a minimum of CPU/PG spent on connections.

3) Don't use storage units. The Launchpad holds more than enough - I used to do PI to provide POS fuel, using 5 day cycles on extractors/factories in hisec and the launchpad was more than sufficient for those. Checking daily means it's definitely not going to be an issue, and the storage pin is CPU and PG that could be going on more extractor heads.

4) Never, ever have extractor areas overlapping - it's always more efficient to space them out enough that they don't overlap.

5) Ignore the command centre completely - Just drop it somewhere on the planet, upgrade it and forget it exists. It provides a tiny amount of storage that you don't need because the launchpad holds more than enough, connecting it to anything is just a waste of CPU/PG.

Gevlon said...

@Hivemind: 2.5M after tax.

After a few days running, I recognized that the launchpad was enough, I'll redesign the colony.

The extractor overlaps are below 1%

The command center is already ignored.

JustinAndrewJohnson said...

When I was a newbie, I did PI just like you're discussing, and you're correct that it was an excellent profit source given my relatively low opportunity cost.

The only thing I would add, however, is that the shipping of resources from the Customs Office to the market hub every week or so does take a fair amount of time, and so the actual profitability (ISK per hour/effort) is somewhat lower than it appears at first glance.

By my rough calculations, shipping p1 products with a Badger Mk2 took approximately 50% of the total time involved (I fastidiously measured time it took to do the daily clicks to restart each extractor). Obviously this ratio would change if you did p2+ products, had more capacity to haul, or had more frequent extraction cycles, but the point remains that it surprised me how much my profitability was affected by shipping time.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the comment about factoring in haulage time.

On the face of it producing P0 in a wormhole is amazing profit, but then you have to get freighters worth of the stuff out in an Itty 5.

The sweet spot, as always, depends how you value your time.

Anonymous said...

I have tried the extraction game, and while it's initially fun, I now prefer a more hands-off value-add processing chain instead.

Jessie-C said...

Resources FLOW.

If you deplete an area, then the surrounding areas resources will FLOW into the hole created by the extractor.

That makes it is extremely non-optimal to put them close together.


That said, PI is "easy money" for new players.

Also, if you start production on an extractor(hit Submit) all resources for the full time the extractor will run are subtracted from that area of the planet IMMEDIATELY.

This makes using "Submit and look at production rate" a very bad way of checking to see if your extractor heads are placed right.

I learned that the hard way.

Then I drove that particular area into the ground to confirm.

That is the way it seems to work.

Note that your heatmap will not update until you leave the Planetary View and reopen it.