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Planetary Sales

Planetary Sales – everything you need to know

From a game concept point of view (if not currently in the mechanics) Trade Goods are distinct from Life and Drug item types in one fundamental way. They do not change society, insofar as they are not considered an investment into the planetary infrastructure and they do not have any detrimental effect on society.
As it is our intention to change how Life and Drug item types will be dealt with in the not too distant future, this article deals purely with Trade Goods.

Trade Goods are consumable items that are sold to a civilian population through merchandising complexes. The sale, though complex banking transfer mechanics converts payment in local currency into stellars.

It is presumed that the sale of items is based on what the market will tolerate and accounts for all standard methods of ensuring maximum return, i.e. the first batch may be sold for more and the last batch less; there may be loss leaders or bulk discounts and all manner of manipulations. This is a space opera game not a marketing game. While adding all these little features is possible, it is very doubtful it would add anything to the game beyond unnecessary complexity in an already somewhat murky field.


Trade Demand (indicated as Max Income on starbase manifests)
The weekly amount of stellars available to purchase goods is based on the population. The larger the population, the greater the amount of stellars available for the purchase of Trade Goods. The amount is not linear for two reasons:

  • Small populations have few means of creating trade goods internal to their society and as such are prepared to put spend a greater proportion of their wealth/wages/income on importing things.
  • Large populations have greater reserves of wealth however they also produce many trade goods themselves through markets within the society and as such that civilians have a choice of where to spend their money. In other words as the population grows it internalises more of their commercial transactions.

A population of 100,000 will have a trade demand around 12k while increasing the population to 1M only effectively doubles demand to 25k. There is a slow tapering and by 5M the demand has increased to 70k.



The numbers above are under standard conditions which presume steady colonisation of an unpopulated world by a single species using contemporary technology. As such they are not consistent throughout the Peripheries. There are instances where a small population can have a higher demand than a world with a much greater population. The reasons are manifold though include things such as a large native population or social events for instance recent emancipation or liberation and even environmental factors may play a role. Colonising hi-tech ruins or incorporating and uplifting a native population will skew the above progressions.

Sale price of individual Trade Goods
Now that an idea of how much stellars a world has to spend on a weekly basis is known it is necessary to determine how much they are prepared to spend on individual items. This consists of four elements:
  • Base Value of Item
  • Population Affluence and Market Tolerance (Trade Multiplier)
  • Distance from Trade Goods Origin
  • Racial Modifiers


Base Value of Item
Items generally have a unit value between 0.1 and 1.5stellars/mu. There are a few items outside this range, though they are quite unusual. This is in effect the fundamental value of the item when sold between civilians. In the case of Trade Goods produced through resource complexes, it is often related to the yield. For example, resource produced items with a base value of 1stellar/mu generally have yields around 15. For outposts and starbases this equates to roughly breaking even with respect to complex personnel running costs. Profit is therefore dependent on selling items at more than Base Value.

Population Affluence and Market Tolerance (Trade Multiplier)
When a world is colonised, the modest population has to compete with the big worlds and their vast trade demands. Not only are they prepared to pay a greater proportion of their wealth on Trade Goods(as explained in the section above), they are prepared to pay over the odds just to get them. This equates to a starting Trade Multiplier of x2 for newly colonised worlds with populations of around 100,000. As the population grows there is greater internal production of local trade goods and as such the population is able to choose whether to spend their wealth on local goods or purchase from off-world sources. This results in an attenuating decrease in the trade multiplier.

The trade multipliers for the populations in the table below are consistent with the previous section insofar as they are based on colonising a world and ensuring that all technological needs are accounted for as the population has expanded. When a native population is discovered and shown the benefits of trade, it will have a Trade Multiplier of 1. It can be seen that a large technological advanced civilisation is prepared to spend 40% more per person on Trade Goods. This reflects lower living costs and therefore greater disposable income.
Pop Trade Mod
100000 2.00
1,000,000 1.80
5,000,000 1.50
25,000,000 1.44
100,000,000 1.40
Native Population Uplifted to Naplians 1.25
Native Population 1.00


Worlds lacking in certain areas of infrastructure are likely to have reduced trade modifiers as are worlds with cultural slants (xenophobic etc.)

Distance from Trade Goods Origin
In simple terms less accessible items are perceived as more exotic. In basic terms it is presumed that items brought from the other end of the Peripheries are understandably rarer and as such are sold at a higher premium.
The default multipliers are as follows:
Distance Trade Mod
Same World 1
Same System 3
Same Periphery 8
Adjacent Periphery 12
Separated by a Periphery 14
Separated by 2 Peripheries 16

It is however the case that each system can be independently set with respect to every other system for the purpose of determining its trade multiplier and is capable of being modified both up and down. Generally speaking x16 is considered the maximum trade mod.
Examples of modifying the trade mod include:
  • Proving that an affiliation is only selling goods from distant locations (will reduce distance mod for specified system down from x16 to x14 or even x12).
  • Proving that a source is not the true source (modify item origin appropriately).
  • Selling items brought from warzones or other hostile places (increase mod by one or more steps).
  • Heavily advertising goods from a specific system (increase mod by up to one step).


These actions may require agent and operative work to determine trade goods present in a base or interaction with the civilian population (seeing what stuff is available on the street and through which starbase it arrived). There are costs involved in the form of bribes or tech (media for example). The cost is invariably a function of the size of the population. A small population is much easier/cheaper to influence than a big one. Finally the cost is proportional to the current modifier. So increasing a value from x14 to x15 is significantly more expensive than x8 to x9.

Racial Modifiers
It is in the stereotypical nature of specific species to enjoy certain items. As such they are prepared to spend over the base value to attain it. In most circumstances however the base price of the item is such that it is only equivalent to other trade items if it is being sold to a world with a pure population appropriate for the item. For example, grub worms have the same yield and 10% drop are trimple loin though half the base value. They are however flagged as naplian, which means naplians equate them to trimple loins, seeing no obvious difference in their value.




Value Threshold
The final value of an item at the location it is being sold determines whether it is classed as high, medium or low value. This means that what may be classed as low value at its source will invariably fall into the high value category when sold at the other end of the Peripheries. The clear benefit of doing so is that more stellars per mu of the Trade Good can be realised.

The threshold between low and medium value is initially set to 4 times the Trade Multiplier. For a newly colonised world this will invariably be 8 stellars. The threshold between medium and high value is double this (8 times the Trade Multiplier). Which equates to 16 stellars for a newly colonised world.

The weekly trade demand for the civilian population is split between high, medium, low and any, each being assigned a quarter of the demand. For example, a newly colonised world with a trade demand of 12,000 stellars will buy 3,000 stellars worth of high value Trade Goods, the same on medium and low. The final 3,000 will be assigned anywhere. What this means is that if there are still items on starbase markets after the 9,000 has been spent, they will be purchased up to a value of 3,000 stellars.

Care should be taken to ensure that a range of items are being sold to ensure that there isnt a shortfall in any category. This can occur when only items from distant origins are being sold. In these cases even low value at source items, when multiplied up due to distance can end up in the high value category.

It is possible to adjust the thresholds though it is far easier to lower them than increase them and changing them by more than a stellar is highly expensive (and proportional to the trade demand). The reason for doing so would be to try to move items from an oversubscribed category. Typical costs for a trade demand of 50,000 stellars is the exhaustive use of a media tech to increase one of the thresholds by 1 stellar. There may also be a cost in modules reflecting improving trade links with the civilian population and reducing their costs.





 
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***** Inter Galactic News *****

Return of the LiQuans

A close associate of the Baron LiQuan has been haunting the Corewards periphery and like the old Baron it is said he has a meklan connection. It's unclear whether he obtained his meklan nanites via the CIA but there are rumours that the DEN may be helping the Liquan relative in a bid to sow discontent in the Stellar Empire. Exactly why they would start in Corewards is unclear although with DEN allies, the DOM, having strong positions both in the Sol system and the old Harcorp systems of Harlong and Coptuv they may be the linking factor.


 
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Meklan Unleashed on Mobile Bay

Mad Dewiek scientist Dr Kala released a number of Meklan on the busy world of Mobile Bay in the Yank system. Thousands of civilians have been killed in what is treated by DEN warlords as an amusing practical joke. Rather than take any responsibility for their affiliation’s reckless behaviour, a DEN lord rumoured to be half-meklan himself quipped he would nuke the planet whilst another merely saw it as an opportunity to test some of his greener troops in combat. Surprisingly, the KAS planetary defence force was up to the job of repelling the insidious incursion. Questions remain whether further meklan are stored elsewhere on the planet and whether anybody will challenge the Dewiek’s lack of care for the lives of innocents. Probably not, given how even the mighty IMP are now cowering from a fight with the DEN (see inside this edition).


 
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***** Inter Galactic News *****

Who is behind the AFA?

Following the large scale holiday attack by the AFA against the FET the question of who is behind the attacks has been raised once again. What is clear is that the AFA is using ships that were transferred from the GTT to the IMP. The organisation and expertise of the operation also reduces the pool of potential candidates. Few can go from commanding a handful of broadswords to half a thousand warships and significant army logistics without a long stint in one of the more combative affiliations. With the DEN’s allies the HEX in close relations with the FET and no recent history of animosity between the aliens and FET, at least since the departure of former one-eye big-bun Norozov, it would be a bizarre turn of events if they were behind these attacks. Frankly, there’s no point dancing around it. The IMP are clearly behind the AFA. The question is what can anybody do about this move of significant Imperial resources to a black-flag agency?


 
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Fox Effects Fantastic Turnaround

With his feet barely under the table, Xavier Fox has managed to dramatically turn things around at the GTT. With year-on-year sales figures up by 23%, manufacturing up 42% and ship production increased by 36%, the megacorporation is running at full steam with noticeable impact on local economies across the Stellar Empire. Political analysts also note that after a period of retrenchment following the disastrous leadership of Ike Krieger, investment in defence is at a five-year high. After such bullish growth, the trick will be for Mr. Fox to recruit C-level executives fast enough to match his ambitions. It is notable in temperament, the current crop of GTT politicals do not exhibit the monomaniacal xenophobia of their predecessors and have resisted repeated provocations by the DEN to enter a pointless spar before they have re-established superiority against the foolhardy aliens.


 
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***** Inter Galactic News *****

Felini flounder in Winter against superior Dewiek forces

The FEL have managed to get their asses kicked by the DEN yet again after provoking the definitely “not cute or cuddly” Dewiek in the Crossley system. The furry punching bags had bought a civilian flagged outpost in the system, without permission or under certain conditions depending on who you ask, and then had the gall to reinforce this error by positioning warships in orbit. The famously patient warlord Halvor did not buy the story these heavy hull armed ships were merely transports and sent a pack to clear the orbit. The mouthy yet green Felini fleet commander Pr'prz fancied his chances against what looked like a light complement of DEN warships and ordered his own warships to engage in the neighbouring Winter system. The result was predictably a wipe out of the FEL forces consisting of forty-seven capital warships at no loss to the DEN. Once again, a series of calamitous decision making resulted in Felini lives being wasted by a leadership barely fit to clean a litter tray. The otherwise untested Halvor can now claim some victory ale although with his penchant for picking on creatures as weak as Gracians, it’s not exactly clear how much glory this new breed of Dewiek warrior can claim against the legends of old.


 
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Dastardly Dewiek Disregard Yank Neutrality

The governor of a MRC outpost in the Yank system reports that a 400-hull DEN warship called Grey Hunter Axiom entered orbit of Spritzer and opened fire with weapons of mass destruction (WoMD) against a platform, outpost, ground party and ship. Reports indicate significant casualties to Kastorian personnel both in space and on the ground. The KAS Junta is gruffly warning, with a slightly indifferent air, that everybody better stay out of the sector of the outpost for their own health. It is unclear what measures the KAS have or will take against the DEN on this matter. Such a breach of Yank neutrality has in the past caused the Dewiek to froth at the bit against the Empire for their disregard of ‘civilised’ norms. Their current silence on this matter speaks volumes.


 
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Yenni-bodies Pirates?

A PIR outpost was miraculously discovered by an IMP freighter, of all things, in the Yanni system with several Javelin class warships in orbit. After noticing the IMP freighter and seeing the public post by Jack Jones on subspace, the PIR decided to flee and leave a combined force of IMP and FET forces to capture the outpost. A brain damaged three-year old commentator who still believed in the goodness of people and Santa Claus was quick to commend the IMP on their good work, dismissing those who thought it no more than a convenient clearing up operation signifying* completion of operations in the nearby FET claimed systems of Graydown, Canth and Onissian by IMP puppet Edward Lowe. Meanwhile, the Wolf Lord Lyceum summed up the view of many when he screamed, “What is this amateur b*llshit?” into an uncaring universe.


 
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Crowe Coups Self

The IMP Viceroy Tiberius Crowe has finally achieved something in his unremarkable tenure by relinquishing even the semblance of wearing big boy pants and instead, appointed Jack Jones as Patrol Commissioner, salty spokesperson and policy maker for the Empire. Crowe will now join CIA Director Laton in riding the special bus to work where the two of them will enjoy long pleasant afternoons sipping cups of tea. Actually, just tepid fruit-scented water as neither of them can be fully trusted with a hot kettle. Occasionally, they might be visited by equally dynamic war “veteran” Admiral Bridge to enjoy mimes presenting the latest comics from the Howl. Meanwhile, Jones is putting pressure on the FET and will soon no doubt find a pretext to deploy his vast mercenary forces against anyone else who is seen working too closely with his most hated of enemies, the HEX.


 
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Highlord Aadolf Loses Control As Dewiek Break Peace Treaty

Around one hundred DEN warships have launched an attack on a small GTT destroyer squadron of forty ships in the Daggern system. Two GTT ships were destroyed and another fifteen suffered noticeable damage. CEO Xavier Fox issued a restrained but angry statement demanding the DEN explain themselves. Highlord Aadolf’s buffoon-like response amounted to “Dewiek be Dewiek, let’s drink and forget about it.” Cold comfort for the dead crew onboard the GTT ships and their families. Especially, as seems likely at this time, the Empire will settle for some bloody money instead of retribution.


 

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I’ve played on and off for approximately 10 years, over a 20 year spell. After some interesting debate on the in-game forum, I did wonder what, exactly, has kept drawing me back to the game, when for so many others I’ve generally lost interest after a few months.

Ultimately, I think it is a combination of automation (that allows the game to handle thousands of positions to interact on a daily basis) coupled with Special Actions (that allow the story arc to develop in a way that could not be catered for by a set of predefined list of available orders).
-Zigic