Jumpgate Trading 101

This document is a guide to playing the economy aspects of Jumpgate. The content has not been updated since 2003, so is probably now inaccurate. On this page:

1. Introduction

This document is intended to give a basic introduction to trading and the economy in Jumpgate.

It aims to introduce newer pilots to the most basic concepts, and encourages more experienced pilots to think beyond the obvious trading features in the game. This guide does not cover more advanced strategies, piloting or ship equipment, nor provide a robust mathematical analysis of ‘the economy’. It does not explicitly tell you ‘how to do it’, although it does include some examples.

It starts by examining price/profit based trading and cargo missions, then looks further at demand, supply and production based trading. Boxed text indicates an example or more detailed explanation of a concept. Like many aspects of the game, trading and the economy are complex: far more complex than it may at first seem. Consequently, nobody has a perfect understanding of the subject – including the author.

2. Credits and Legal

This guide was written by Tim (timski) Howgego, copyright 2001-2003. Contributors are noted with the relevant text. Special thanks to baadf00d and Xindaan. This document is in the public domain: You may copy and repost this guide, but the content of the document, including the credits, must remain unchanged. Jumpgate copyright (c) 1999-2003 NetDevil Ltd. Other trademarks and copyright are owned by their respective trademark and copyright holders.

3. Markets and Stations

Every station has a public market screen. This screen lists items in the station’s public inventory, with quantities and prices. These items are available for purchase by any pilot with the required rank, political rating and cash.

Items are divided into categories – the important split is between commodities and ship equipment. Commodities are materials produced by stations which cannot be equipped to ships.

Different stations have different volumes of different items available. Prices vary between certain stations. Stations will always buy an item, but not always at a profit.

That is the basis of a simple trading system: Pilots purchase an item at one station, transport it to another station where they expect the price is higher, and hopefully sell for a profit. Such a concept should be familiar to anyone with previous experience of ‘Elite style’ space simulation games.

Simple Trading Example

A relatively new Solrain Premia pilot has 7,000 credits available, and four cargo spaces. They buy four units of Water from the Wake station market for about 1,550 credits each. They launch and fly to Outpost station. On docking they sell the four units of Water to the station market for about 2,100 credits each. They have made a total profit of 2,200 credits.

Most stations have two other markets: (1) A private hidden inventory, used by the station to store certain commodities. (2) Inventory held by other pilots that are docked – in their ships, on the station floor, or (in the case of storage depots) in store. The private hidden inventory cannot be seen, nor can items be purchased from it. Inventory held by other pilots cannot be seen, but can normally be traded between consenting pilots.

4. Rank, Political Rating and Taxation

Every item has a minimum rank and political rating that must be met in order for the item to be purchased by a pilot.

Rank is constant through the galaxy. Rank is gained by gaining experience. Experience is gained by completing missions, killing conflux, collecting medals, holding beacons, retrieving artifacts, and a few other things.

Political rating varies by faction. The rating used is that for the faction owning the station where you are purchasing items. Political rating is not relevant at neutral (unregulated) stations. Political rating is gained by completing missions for a faction. Each successful mission adds 3 political rating for that faction, regardless of the type or difficulty of the mission. Political rating over 100 decays by about one point per hour online. Unlawful hostile acts reduce political rating dramatically, potentially to -100.

All commodities have a minimum of rank 0 and political rating 0. All new pilots may purchase any commodity if they have the cash to do so. Equipment varies greatly. Only half of all equipment can be purchased at 0 rank and political rating, and that’s mostly the worst stuff.

Items can always be sold, regardless of rank and political rating.

Know Your Political Rating and Tax Rate

Political rating can be seen on your JOSSH profile. In game, it can be seen whilst docked at a station: Click the slider bar at the bottom of the screen.

Tax rate can be calculated in-game by comparing the price displayed below an item on the main market screen, with the price shown when you click on the item prior to purchasing it. The difference is the tax paid, from which you can calculate the tax rate.

Political rating is important initially because it is the main factor affecting taxation.

All purchases from station markets are taxed. Sales are not taxed. Commodities have a base tax rate of 1%. Equipment has a base tax rate of 10%.

At 0 political rating, the base rate is modified by +2%: Pilots with 0 political rating pay 3% tax of commodities and 12% on equipment. At political rating 125 (the highest), the base rate is modified by -0.5%: Pilots with 125 political rating pay just 0.5% on commodities.

Tax rate is modified by other factors, not all of which are fully understood. The most obvious other factor is the number of beacons held by your faction. Each beacon counts for a 0.01% reduction in the tax paid. So, a pilot with political rating 125, whose faction holds 50 beacons typically pays no tax on commodities. It is not (currently) possible to have a negative tax rate.

Dangers of Trading at High Tax Rates

Our Solrain Premia pilot has received a donation of 400,000 credits from a passing veteran. They decide to buy four units of Radium at Outpost and transport them to Hyperial. The market price to Outpost is 81,300 credits a unit, and Hyperial pays 84,000 credits. Great – a profit of 2,700 each. However, our new trader has a 0 political rating with Octavius. This means they are paying about 3% taxation on the purchase of Radium at Outpost. So, the actual price they pay is around 83,700 credits a unit, which gives less profit overall than the Water they shipped in earlier, but for a lot more effort.

Rule of thumb: Generally, the cheaper the commodity, the greater the profit margin, the safer it is to trade with low political rating.

Equipment is rarely profitable when sold via station markets. In addition, equipment is not insured whilst being transported as cargo, so deaths are very expensive. Inexperienced pilots should avoid the transport of equipment.

Rank is primarily relevant to commodity traders because it restricts the availability of ships, and to a lesser extent, equipment. Lower ranking pilots can only access shuttles, which have small cargo capacities, as well as other disadvantages such as slow speed and poor defences. This varies slightly by faction, but generally: A level 21 pilot can potentially purchase a ship with ten times the capacity of the best ship available to pilots below level 10. Level 26 pilots can purchase a ship with ten times the capacity of the level 21 ship.

Largest Available Cargo Ships by Rank
Rank Class Solrain Quantar Octavius
Ship Capacity Ship Capacity Ship Capacity
0 Shuttle Premia 4 Storm 2 Apteryx 1
3 Shuttle Albatross 3
6 Large Shuttle Premia SC 6 Breeze 7 Buzzard 8
9 Light Fighter Interceptor 6
12 Fast Transport Vedetta 15 Whirlwind 14 Hawk 12
21 Transport Traveler 60 Hurricane 52 Wyvern 48
21 Light Miner Quarrier 62 Harmattan 65 Simurgh 60
26 Tow Pioneer 500 Thunder 500 Condor 500
38 Freighter Viceroy 750 Chinook 735 Roc 740

Light Miners are primarily mining ships. While having larger cargo capacities than Transports, their lack of speed and poor handling tend to make them inferior craft for trading.

Trading in shuttles tends to be relatively inefficient. If done carefully, shuttle pilots can make modest profits trading, but they cannot expect to compete with whose able to fly larger vessels, with more cash and higher political ratings.

5. Price Basics

The price of a specific item may vary between different stations. These variations are a combination of fixed differences and variable differences.

Fixed differences primarily reflect long term demand and supply. Stations that demand or require an item, but do not produce it, tend to pay more than stations that produce it. The value of the fixed difference is commonly used as a profit margin on an item.

Variable differences reflect short term shortages or surpluses of an item at the station. Shortage will raise the price, surplus will lower it. It takes about half a day for a complete adjustment in price, for example, from a situation where there is a shortage to large surplus. Price will gradually change, reducing slightly every six minutes. Since the station’s inventory is in constant flux (pilots keep on buying and selling), prices also tend to be in a state of constant adjustment. Variable price differences are relatively small – typically less than 5%. Clearly on large shipments of high value items, such small percentages can account for a lot of cash. Recent changes mean that variable differences tend to only be significant when stocks are low – typically less than 2000 units.

Pricing Water

Earlier we transported Water from Wake to Outpost for a fairly good (in percentage terms) profit. Why was there a price difference?

Wake produces water, while Outpost does not. Outpost requires water to sustain the population of the station and nearby planet, and to produce manufactured food and beer.

Water tends to be in shortage at Outpost because it gets used up quickly.

So, we have a strong demand but no supply at Outpost, with a natural supply at Wake, which gives a fixed price difference. A tendency towards shortage of Water at Outpost is probably leading to a higher variable price difference. The profit margin is so high a percentage that variable price differences will account for a small proportion of total price difference.

Price differences are commonly identified using data made available from JOSSH, http://www.jossh.com/ .

Most pilots use third party utilities that process dynamic price/inventory data. Commonly used utilities include Slopey’s WebTracker ( http://www.slopey.com/ ) and Gossip’s Market Lister (now offline), but there are various others listed at the bottom. These sum fixed and variable price differences to give the same sort of value that would be displayed in-station. They tend to report data that is 5-30 minutes out of date, so often miss profitable runs. Most such utilities allow the calculation of a single commodity that appears to give the best profit when transported between a pair of stations specified. Careful analysis of options may reveal the true best profit to be a combination of different commodities.

Alternatively, production patterns can be examined to reveal where there are likely to be fixed price differences. Again, there are utilities available to assist in processing JOSSH database data.

Precisely how much do prices change?

Here is Baadf00d’s current price range theory (this aggregates fixed and variable differences):

  • Stations that produce an item: Base Price — Base Price * 103%
  • Stations that neither produce nor demand: Base Price + 200 — ( Base Price * 105% ) + 200
  • Station that demand but don’t produce: Base Price + 500 — ( Base Price * 107% ) + 500

Note that price changes are most obvious where stocks are small (below ‘full stock’ of 2000 units). Where high value items are over-stocked at demanding stations and under-stocked at production stations, it is theoretically possible for prices to be highest at producing stations. This accounts for many apparent oddities on the US server at the time of writing.

Xindaan offers precise way of determining price based on stock:

  • Producer: (Base_Price) * (1+ (1 – Stock/2000)*0.03)
  • Neutral: (Base_Price) * (1 + (1 – Stock/2000)*0.05) + 200
  • Consumer: (Base_Price) * (1 + (1 – Stock/2000)*0.07) + 500

6. Cargo Missions

Cargo missions involve finding a specific commodity, purchasing it, taking it to another station, and selling it onto that station’s market to complete the mission.

Only one unit of the commodity must be sold to complete the mission. Additional experience and credits are paid for additional units (the maximum number of additional units that may count towards the mission are shown in the mission description – this varies by rank). Sell everything at once to maximise bonuses.

It will not always be profitable to undertake the mission. Evaluate the cost involved carefully before taking a cargo mission, particularly one for a high value commodity.

Cargo missions are made available from a station producing a commodity and with more than one unit of that commodity in stock, to a station that demands that commodity but does not produce it and currently has less than 2000 units available (later condition may not apply to US server). Most stations make demands based on economic needs (see Demand and Supply below). Depots and neutral stations make some irrational demands. Cargo missions can never be taken from Depots (no production) or neutral stations (no mission computer).

Brokering may be used to for fill a cargo mission. This involves taking the mission and flying to the destination without the cargo. On arrival, another pilot trades the commodity to you. You then sell to complete the mission. While in the station, you can place cargo on the floor, which effectively increases cargo space by 25 units. This increases the volume that small ships can sell to complete the mission above what they could have transported there themselves: Particularly useful for lower ranking pilots. Unfortunately brokering of cargo is difficult to organise for conventional cargo missions, mostly because the commodity is not available at the destination.

Faction missions are often missions involving the delivery of cargo. They encourage organisation and brokering. Commodities sold as part of a faction mission are not immediately placed in the station’s hidden inventory. Missions often request commodities that are available at the destination station. Brokering is therefore easier for faction missions. Faction missions are conventionally organised across f5 channels – first letter of faction, followed by bld – for example qbld for the Quantar faction mission.

Faction Mission Brokering

Faction missions are often designed to undertake reconstruction projects – often new buildings, equipment, or technology. Brokerage speeds up the completion of these projects by rewarding teamwork. Faction mission brokerage schemes have three main components: (1) A broker, who stays at the faction mission station buying and selling commodities; (2) Suppliers, who find or produce the commodities required for missions and supply them to the broker; and (3) Runners, who continually take faction missions. The later role is probably the easiest way to start, and below is a short set of instructions for ‘runners’:

  1. Fly to any station other than the faction mission station.
  2. Check the ‘Faction Mission’ on the mission screen. Remember what commodity the mission is asking for, but do not take it.
  3. Ask the broker over the public mission channel if they have the commodity from step 2 available.
  4. If the commodity is available, accept the mission and proceed to step 5. If it is not return to step 1 by flying to another station.
  5. Having taken the mission, launch and fly empty to the faction mission station.
  6. Dock and ask the broker over the local channel for the commodity you need. Note that the broker may only be prepared to sell you 50 units, since this is all that is needed to maximise progress on the project.
  7. The broker initiates trade. You (normally) pay for the commodities at this stage.
  8. Once trade is complete go straight to the market screen and sell everything at once to complete the mission.
  9. If the commodity is in shortage and/or is likely to be used quickly by the station, it is polite to inform the broker that you have sold, so that they may attempt to re-purchase the commodity.
  10. Return to step 1. You can take another mission such as a transport on the ‘dead’ return run.

If done as part of an organised system, faction missions can provide exceptionally good experience for lower ranking pilots.

7.Demand and Supply

So far, trading has been in response to a price difference or a server generated mission. These primarily reflect demand and supply. So where do these demands come from, and how are they met?

Pilots demand equipment. Stations demand staple life sources (food and drink), luxuries, repair materials for ships and pilots, and materials to build reconstruction projects. Most such items have to be produced. Production in turn demands other commodities.

Most things start out as raw materials, sometimes called ‘1st tier commodities’. Most raw materials are produced by planets and made available at a small number of stations. Asteroid mining (of regular and pure ‘roids) produces some raw materials, but rarely in large quantities.

Sometimes the raw material can be used immediately to satisfy a demand: Textiles are a good example.

Textile Demand and Supply

The planet Hypsos produces Textiles as a raw material. A fixed amount is supplied to Hyperial station market at regular intervals. Textiles have no specific uses in production, but are required at most stations to cloth pilots and planetary populations.

Our Premia pilot, having finally dropped off that Radium, sees an opportunity to cloth his fellow pilots. He buys up Textiles and transports them to Solrain Core. On arrival and sale, he’ll not only be benefiting the station, but because he has shipped from a production point to a demand point, he’ll see some profit as well.

If the demand for textiles was not met, the only consequence is a Role-Play one – Solrains begin to get known across the galaxy for their outdated dress sense. Many of the demands shown below have far more noticeable consequences for other pilots.

In most cases raw materials need to be fed into production processes. In some cases the result of one production process is needed for another process, and so on. The production dependencies of certain items are long and complex.

8. Production

Every production process requires some combination of specific commodities.

These commodities must be present at a producing station, either on the public market or in the hidden inventory, for production to occur.

On the EU server production is restricted to a small number of stations for any one item. On the US server ‘trickle’ production allows the production of many items at many stations, in addition to the main production stations.

Stations produce things in regular cycles. These ‘production cycles’ last just over six minutes. (There is currently a double production cycle every tenth cycle – the reason for this is not clear.)

Each station has a production capacity per cycle for each item it can produce. This is often referred to as the ‘production index’. This is the maximum number of an item that will be produced if all the commodities required for production are present. It varies by item and station: Two stations that notionally produce the same thing may have different production indices. Production of large quantities at one may be quicker than at the other.

Electronics Part I

Electronics are made using a combination of Aluminum, Chemicals, Copper, Gold and Silicon.

Amananth produces Electronics.

If all five required commodities are present at Amananth station, production will start. Up to 27 units (the station’s production index for Electronics – subject to change) may be produced each cycle. At the end of each cycle, the additional units of Electronics will be placed on the station market. Production will continue until one or more of the required commodities runs out.

Note that the required commodities may be present in the station’s hidden inventory, and not visible from the public market. For example, Amananth stores up to about 200 units of Silicon in its hidden inventory.

Also note that cycles do not start the moment commodities are sold to the market – they are already running. The first batch of finished product may therefore take anywhere between a few seconds and six minutes to be produced.

One unit of finished product is made using different volumes of each required commodity. On average 0.1 of each required commodity is used to make one unit of finished product. However, that average varies greatly.

Certain stations are more efficient in their use of commodities in production than other stations.

Electronics Part II

One unit of Electronics is made from: 0.1 Aluminum, 0.1 Copper, 0.05 Gold, 0.2 Silicon, and 0.05 Chemicals.

If Amananth had a Tooling Center (see http://www.jossh.com/database/buildings/tooling_center.html ), production efficiency would increase, so the same volume of required commodities originally used to make 1 unit of Electronics would now make about 1.1 units.

Non-station buildings are becoming increasingly important as sources of commodities and equipment. There are three that are particularly relevant – Nano Assemblers, Custom Producers, and Science Factories.

Nano Assemblers dispense ‘recycled’ raw materials. Simply fly through the tunnel on the building and a unit of the relevant commodity will be added to your cargo.

Custom Producers and Science Factories manufacture a specific item if you deliver all the relevant commodities required for production. Fly through the building’s tunnel with at least one of each required component. Each set of components will be exchanged for one of a finished product.

The use of such buildings is less efficient than production at stations because they use a whole unit of each required commodity. They also make a 10-15% loss if the finished product is sold straight to a station (see the Custom Producer Money Transfers box below). Production can however be controlled by the pilot, and increasingly high-demand items on EU server are only produced via Custom Producers.

Custom Producer Money Transfers

Post v1.0077, when you use a Custom Producer or Science Factory an amount of money is transferred to or from your account. This reflects the difference between the cost of the raw materials and the value of the finished product, thus preventing mindless ‘cash-printing’.

The apparent formula for determining money transfers from Custom Producers and Science Factories = (Sum of the Base Price of 1 of each component commodity) – (Base Price of item produced * 115%)

For example:

Thorn is made from:
+ Laser Components @ 114000c base price
+ Optics @ 24000c base price
+ Xenon @ 2100c base price
= Sum of base prices = 140100c

Thorn base price = 161000c

Thorn base price * 115% = 161000c * 115% = 188150c

Custom Producer/Science Factory transfer = Sum of base price of components – (Base Price of Thorn * 115%) = 140100c – 185150c = -45050c

9. Advanced Production

Any one commodity may potentially be used for between none and many production processes at the same station.

Each of those production processes conforms to the same rules in the previous section: all the required commodities need to be present at the station.

If multiple production processes are running, a specific required commodity may be used up more quickly than was expected.

Electronics Part III

Aluminum is used to produce both Electronics and Construction Materials at Amananth.

The requirements for Construction Materials are Aluminum, Lumber, Machined Parts, and Titanium.

If all the requirements for both Electronics and Construction Materials are present at the station, both production processes will run. The initial supply of Aluminum will be used by both processes, and hence will be used up more quickly and result in fewer units of Electronics than would have been produced had Construction Materials not also been produced.

It is often possible to manipulate the public market to target scarce resources towards a specific production process. For example, removing Lumber from the market by buying it all up will eventually stop all production of Construction Materials. Note that production will not stop immediately because it is likely some Lumber will have already been stockpiled in the station’s hidden inventory.

Note that many of the other requirements for Electronics production are also in part requirements of other production processes. These are not all avoidable using the method above. For example, RAM is produced at Amananth and requires only Copper and Silicon. Both commodities are required for Electronics, so it is impossible to prevent the production of RAM alongside Electronics.

Information Sources

By now you are probably asking how we know what makes what where and what-have-you.

Basic production information (locations and requirements) is shown by JOSSH’s database – http://www.jossh.com/database/ . For example, Electronics http://www.jossh.com/database/commodities/electronics.html .

JOSSH does not show the production index, the size of the hidden inventory, the precise proportion of required commodities used to make a unit of finished product, or the station’s overall efficiency. Watching markets change in response to the delivery of commodities will give you a basic understanding of the magnitude of these variables.

JOSSH can be used to reveal multiple uses of the same commodity at a station, but it’s awkward to use. This widget, http://www.capsu.org/jumpgate/ (shameless plug) should help identify such uses quickly.

Every production process is capped: There is a fixed level of stock at the station, beyond which production will cease. This is equal to the production index * 1000.

However, it is possible that production almost never stops, because of the interaction of decay and production.

Decay

Items on the public market decay by 1% (subject to change) of stock per hour when stocks are over a certain level.

The decay threshold varies for commodities and equipment, and between servers. It has been anywhere between 100 and 20,000. On EU server it was 2,000 for commodities and 2,200 for equipment (but it changes…).

If the decay threshold is at or below the production cap, and the item being produced is not well used, it is easy for production to eventually exceed the decay threshold. Once over the decay threshold, each hour 1% decays. That is then produced again in the next 10 cycles, before the next decay occurs. That wipes out almost precisely everything that had been produced in the previous hour.

10. Transport and Meeting Demand

In most cases, production occurs at different stations to those supplying the required commodities for production. Demand for the finished product is often at another station.

This creates a requirement for transport, which forms the basis of all trading.

Electronics Part IV

Electronics are made at Amananth using Aluminum, Chemicals, Copper, Gold and Silicon:

Aluminum can be mined (common or pure Aluminum ‘roids), but mostly is supplied by Octavius stations. Chemicals are only supplied by Octavius Great Pillars and Outpost. Copper can again be mined (from common or pure ‘roids), but is mostly supplied by Evenings End and GBS. Gold can be mined (precious or pure ‘roids), but is mainly supplied by Solrain stations. Lastly Silicon can be mined (semifluxor or pure ‘roids), but is commonly supplied by GBS and Klatsches Hold.

Mining aside, that’s quite a large requirement for transport.

Also note there are a large number of different stations involved, and in this case the requirement to pass through several areas of unregulated space with heavy cargo. There are many advantages to involving other pilots.

Every faction station that produces items requires Electronics for something, so once Electronics have been produced, there are plenty of places to take them.

Most commodities are ultimately used in the production of equipment which pilots then use and (inevitably) lose. This theoretically creates a balanced universe, where traders are genuinely needed to maintain the operations of combat orientated pilots. In strategic terms there is a purpose to trading, beyond just moving things for the fun of it. That can create a lot of depth of gameplay, which is why some of us like Jumpgate 😉 .

Electronics Part V

Electronics are used directly to produce a few high-end guns (such as Barraks, Featherfires and Hitmen), all missiles, targeting computers, scanners and cameras.

Electronics are used indirectly in other items of equipment, since Electronics are required to make RF Transceivers. RF Transceivers are primarily required for radars and Beacon Control Units.

It is possible to launch without something made from Electronics, but it’s a brave pilot that does so.

Electronics on their own are of no use to pilots. However, if you can use Electronics to produce an item of equipment which is in constant shortage, you suddenly become useful to other pilots. Understanding that role opens up a number of interesting career paths.

11. Self Training

Time to put all that into practice: I want you to make and sell Purgatory missiles (Purgs).

This exercise presumes that Purgs are not already in production everywhere, and ideally not available on any public market. I cannot foresee the state of your economy: These are popular missiles that tend to be in shortage, but yet they can be produced and purchased by poorer middle-ranking pilots, which is why I suggest using them. On the EU server Purgs are now only made using a Custom Producer, so are no longer a good example. Much of the method outlined below will work as a training exercise regardless of what the item is, although it is ultimately pointless to produce something that is already over-stocked, so try and find something which is poorly stocked but still produced at conventional stations.

For this training, you will need to be at least rank 12, flying a fast transport or larger. Larger cargo capacity ships will give more scope for experimentation. You should have several hundred thousand credits available – preferably a million or more. You must have at least political rating 28 with Quantar. Good political rating everywhere else will help, particularly with Octavius.

1. First, identify what is required to make Purgs, and where they are made. Then find out what is required to make each of those required commodities, and where they are all made. Progressively work backwards through the full production history, until you are familiar with everything that might be needed. Hint: JOSSH is useful for this.

2. Now, examine the current stock of required commodities at producing stations. Do this first for those immediately required to produce Purgs. Do this for all three producing stations. Find out what is available on the station market and what is not, and what size any existing stockpiles are. Discount very small stock levels (under 100 units) since these may not last long enough for you to use them. Hint: You could fly to all the stations in question, but the use of inventory tracking utilities will save time.

3. There are other factors in station choice, but for now, use the station that is missing the smallest number of commodities.

4. Next, find out if any of the missing commodities are stockpiled at any of their production stations. If they are, all you will need to do is fetch them. Note: Normally avoid stripping commodities from non-producing stations. You will be making it harder for someone else to produce another item. You will also probably lose money. A possible exception is where the commodity has no use in production where it is found.

5. If a commodity is not available at a producing station, you will need to first concentrate your efforts on producing that commodity. Again, identify what is missing at the production stations, and fill the smallest set of gaps at one station.

Missing Commodities

Assume that Barium and Fuel Cells are missing from the station we intend to produce Purgs at.

The nearest producing station for Barium is Klatsches Hold, where there is plenty stockpiled. All we need to do is transport it to the Purg production station.

Assume Fuel Cells are not available at any Octavius station. However, Chemicals, Gallium and Phosphorous are available at Octavius Core. So, by shipping Silicon from Klatsches Hold to Octavius Core, we can start the production of Fuel Cells at Octavius Core, which we can then buy up and transport to the station where we are making Purgs.

6. Now assemble all the required commodities for Purgs at the production station, by transporting those that are missing from the current market inventory of the production station to that station. At this stage, assume the same proportion of each commodity is needed to make one Purg. Assemble as much as you can: four or five units of everything is adequate, but a hundred of each will give you more scope for experimentation and will, ultimately, create more missiles. There is scope here to involve other pilots – particularly if you need to bring commodities in from a range of stations, or you need to fly across unregulated space.

7. Sell five or ten units of whatever is missing for Purg production at the producing station. If you only have a small quantity sell everything at this point. Everything you sell should almost immediately be brought up by the station (and placed in its hidden inventory) if Purgs were previously out of production. Now wait until the production cycle ends (up to six minutes). You should eventually see one or more Purgatory missiles on the market. Buy your Purgs quickly before anyone else spots them. Congratulations. You have produced something that was not available before, but is normally in heavy demand.

Cycle Tips

A good method of spotting that the market has cycled is to watch the stock level of a raw material which is produced at the station, but which is often shipped elsewhere (for example Grain or Water). Increased stock normally indicates that a cycle has been completed.

The market inventory will eventually automatically update after a cycle. However, this process lags some time behind. You can force an update by clicking on a different market category, then clicking back on the category you want.

If you are intending to buy a specific item, display all the items in the category, and try and adjust the sort order so that the item is visible in the upper part of the screen. This might save valuable seconds scrolling down the list prior to purchase.

When you spot production has cycled, make a note of the time. Be back in six minutes for the next one.

If you have a large volume of commodities available, follow steps 8 and 9. If not, just read them and jump to step 10 – they are only worth doing if you are trying to create large volumes of Purgs.

8. Next try to determine what other production processes may use up the commodities required to make Purgs at the production station. (Hint: JOSSH can be used, but the usage section of this – http://www.capsu.org/jumpgate/ – may be easier 😉 .) Look at the complete requirements of everything that uses any of the commodities required to make Purgs. See if there is any easy way in which their production can (ultimately) be stopped by removing another commodity from the market. Look specifically for small volumes of other commodities that are relatively cheap. Buy them up and hold them until production of Purgs is complete.

Why are we trying to stop their production?

Those other production processes will use up commodities required for Purgs, and so reduce the final volume of Purgs we can make with the commodities we have shipped in. We are trying to focus our resources specifically on what we are trying to produce.

Most Quantar missiles have the same requirements, so we probably cannot do much about those. But Rubber production could potentially be stopped, perhaps by buying up some Antimony or Chemicals.

Note: This is probably a futile exercise if you are only expecting to produce a few Purgs. Production of other items will take time to finish because required commodities may already be stored in the station’s hidden inventory.

In future attempts, consider the extent of conflicting production processes in your choice of station. Perhaps consider re-distributing troublesome commodities to other stations (although they often come back as other pilots’ cargo missions, so don’t waste too much time… it will drive you mad).

9. Make a note of the public market volume of the commodities used to make Purgs and those other things with conflicting production processes. Now sell all the Purg production commodities you are holding, and watch the market.

The first thing to watch is what volume the station immediately purchased of the commodities you sold. You will start to see how large its hidden inventory is for those items. Note that you do not know what was in the hidden inventory to start with, so you cannot be entirely sure about its size.

Let a few cycles run (remember to buy up the Purgs as they are produced). Watch how the volumes of commodities making Purgs and other production conflict items change. Watch how many Purgs and other production conflict items are produced. Keep an eye out for other pilots buying or selling, and remember that they may sell certain commodities which will go straight into the hidden inventory. The aim here is to start to understand how many Purgs the station produces each cycle, and what approximate proportion of required commodities are used up for each Purg. You should start to see certain patterns, like a consistent number of new purgs each cycle, and an above average use of Explosives. Be aware that much may be happening that is not at first clear. For example, stations tend to buy commodities up faster than they use them. If volumes of a commodity are large, you may experience decay.

In future attempts, consider how to better balance the volumes of required commodities supplied to the station, so they all (eventually) run out at about the same time. Perhaps balance your deliveries so that production of Purgs does not exceed the amount you can buy and store. Experiment with different stations: Quantar Core, for example, may be more convenient and more efficient, but may be found to have a lower rate of production and more pilot activity. More pilot activity may be helpful, but sometimes results in commodities you want to stay on the market being moved elsewhere, the sale onto the market of commodities that somehow hinder Purg production, or other pilots buying up ‘your’ Purgs before you can get to them.

10. You may now be sitting in a Quantar station with some of the last Purgs in the galaxy. This is quite a powerful position. You may be able to trade those Purgs to other pilots in the same station for a 50%, even 100%, mark-up, simply by announcing ‘Purgs for sale’ on the station’s public channel. You may manage a larger profit by transporting them elsewhere and doing the same. You may attempt to identify a squad who will buy a large consignment from you, or an individual pilot who you can sell them to. Alternatively, sell them to one of your faction’s front line home stations, and make your faction a little bit stronger (there is no financial profit in this). Or go out and hunt some big Conflux with them.

Remember, what you have is only a bargaining counter when it is not available on the local market, and even more so, when it is not available on any public market. Unless you are specifically aiming to stock a station with Purgs for the benefit of all, measure your production efforts so that supply does not exceed demand.

12. What Now?

Some players are happy to follow cargo missions or the results of best profit calculators. This is fine to a point, but some will find it misses much of the game’s depth.

You should now know enough to consider meeting other objectives or slightly different careers. The next box gives a few suggestions.

Things to Do

  • Make More Cash – The best overall profits tend to be created by production. This is particularly true when producing a high value shortage item.
  • Market Manipulation for Profit – Aim to create a profitable cargo run by encouraging shortage at one station and over-stocking at another. Farm a commodity for profit. Best done with high value commodities at low tax rates, between two neighbouring stations over a half a day.
  • Reconstruction – Start by running for Faction Missions, but then try brokering and supplying commodities. Few experience points or credits involved in the later roles, but plenty of teamwork and tangible output.
  • Get Focused – Find a specific shortage and take all the measures needed to address it. Find a station and attempt to get everything it makes into production. You will see a real tangible result to your actions.
  • Broker – Supply equipment that other pilots cannot purchase because they have insufficient rank or political rating. Rarely a career, but a good occasional sideline.
  • Support – Produce and supply shortage equipment to your friends or faction. When they get killed they’ll be up and flying again in no time, which will give them an edge over their enemies. Alternatively run small consignments of equipment for individual pilots. If you anticipate a large battle, consider being ready to re-equip pilots as their pods (inevitably) return to the station.
  • Smuggle – Supply one set of pilots without their enemies realising. You can supply their enemies too, so long as the first set of pilots do not know. And all the time you maintain an air of respectability among those who both groups are busy killing.
  • Strip – Hinder the production of equipment or Faction Mission progress by removing certain commodities from stations. Remove carefully stockpiled equipment whilst your enemies are out getting killed, so when they return home it will take them longer than they expected to re-equip.

Those suggestions become progressively more dangerous (and also fun), the further you go down the list.

It helps if you have a character, with friends and enemies; if you can work with other pilots; and if, every so often, you are prepared to forget about making money and experience.

A1. Appendix: Newbie Tips

Taking a cargo mission that requires an hour of flight to find the commodity, or trying to trade expensive cargo with an appalling tax rate are some of the things that all new pilots do at some stage. They are part of a standard list that includes crashing into stations and asteroids, being killed by Mantas, and selling their engines without enough cash to buy new ones.

Many pilots go through a second stage of newbie-dom when they first load up 500 units of Uranium or Iridium and try and fly it to another station.

New pilots need to address some issues before they can begin serious trading:

  • Rank – Primarily to allow ships with larger cargo capacity. Partly to allow the purchase of equipment.
  • Political Rating with all factions – Primarily to lower tax. Partly to allow the purchase of equipment.
  • Knowledge – Ability to fly main routes safely with reference to navigational hazards such as asteroids and Conflux. Knowledge of station docking approaches. Basic understanding of the markets and trading.
  • Cash – Primarily to allow the purchase of ship loads of most items. Partly to allow the purchase of larger cargo ships.

A good way to do all that is to aim to level by collecting (Super)Nova medals. Muffy’s guide to political rating powerlevelling strategy ( http://umec.oesm.org/phpBB/viewtopic.php?topic=446&forum=25 ) gives an overview of what’s involved.

Consider taking small consignments of cheap (but high profit margin) commodities when flying between stations with another mission. These can be safely traded at high tax rates, and won’t cost you your career should you crash with them.

Octavius space is probably best for finding short local profitable cargo runs for low value commodities, like Grain and Chromium. Solrain has a few good runs within its own space. Quantar space should be avoided since there are few natural internal cargo routes. The best early inter-faction space cargo runs are probably between Octavius and Solrain space: The routes tend to be shorter than visits to other factions, commodities plentiful, and risk of Conflux attack relatively low on most routes. A good start for poor, high tax paying newbie traders (specifically Solrains who have the cash and cargo space to trade at the very start of their careers) is Wake to Outpost with Water and back with Helium – you can double your money after two return trips.

When you buy a new ship, try it out in the simulator with a heavy load (try filling it with Iridium), to see how mass changes how the ship handles.

A2. Appendix: Further Reading

A3. Appendix: Trading Tools

JOSSH (by TRI)

  • Urls: http://www.jossh.com/.
  • Information/Tools: Full list of production requirements and locations by item (under Database). Full list of current inventory, with prices for items in stock, by station (under Database). Introduction to trading (under Flight Academy). Related information covering ships, insurance, taxation, etc.

JGRot Pro (by Pilot_Mogar)

  • Urls: http://www.myrotacol.net/html/jgrotpro.php .
  • Information/Tools: Allows current market information for any station to be displayed in-game. Also includes asteroid and artifact search pattern rotacol command features.

Jumpgate Ship Performance Graph (by baadf00d)

  • Urls: http://jumpgate.greatbelow.de/ .
  • Information/Tools: Download of utility that plots the acceleration of one or two ships for different ship types and masses.

Jumpgate Shipper Widget (by timski)

Jumpgate WebTracker (by Slopey, server by West)

  • Urls: http://www.slopey.com/ .
  • Information/Tools: Download of utility that manipulates data either directly from JOSSH, or via a secondary server. Full inventory/price information, with mass and basic production information. Best profit calculator. Equipment finder. Trucker feature which identifies stocks of commodities required to make specific items. Various other squad lookup and macro features.

New Dawn Flux Threat Map

Joystick Required production lister (by JumpDemon)

Quantar Profit Calculator (by Shylon)

  • Urls: http://jumpgate.greatbelow.de/ .
  • Information/Tools: Download of DOS shell based utility. Combines data on specific ship configurations, with market data, routing data, and Conflux threat level, to provide an ‘intelligent’ best profit calculator.

Index: Jumpgate

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