So now I had a plan and the required skills to perform it. The next step was to setup a glorious chain of Planetary Infrastructure to extract all the PI goods I needed for the Raitaru. This stretched my brain a little more than usual.
To begin I went back to my spreadsheet and noted down what sort of planets you could source each of the P0/P1 goods on.
I then repeated that step to identify what P2 goods you could create on just the one planet.
(In future when building P4 goods I don’t think I will bother with exporting P2 goods. I will instead export P1 goods, then do all the P2, P3 and P4 goods on factory planets. This time around however I exported both P1 and P2.)
Next, I looked at what planets I had available to my Alt with low tax rates.
I have four Empire based POCO, anchored under my Main Character’s Corporation. Each has the 10% NPC tax rate, plus an additional Tax based on standings.
Pilots in my Corporation, Alliance or with positive Standings are charged a 0.1% Tax. I’ve left it at the minimum (aside 0%) so that I can see via my Wallet Journal who is using the POCO. Neutrals are charged 2%, those with poor standings 3.5%, and those with bad standings at 5%.
My Alt has Customs Code Expertise at Rank 5 and positive standings with my Main’s Corporation. As a result, the base Tax Rate is 5.1% on those four Planets. There are also another three POCO in the system where the Owner (who I am friendly with) has set the tax at 0%.
That gave me a starting point of 3 Barren, 3 Gas and 1 Lava planet I could use with minimal additional tax.
Now an example of the impact these Taxes have. I want to move 1,000 units of Bacteria off one of the planets I have a 5.1% tax on.
I can move the Bacteria into a Launch Pad and shift it up to the Orbiting Customs Office. The game currently values each unit of Bacteria at 4,000 ISK. So, 4,000 ISK x 1,000 Units x 5.1% tax means it costs my Alt 20,400 ISK in tax to do the transfer. 20,000 ISK goes to some mystical NPC, and 400 ISK goes to my Main’s Corporation.
If I want to avoid giving any ISK to the POCO owner, I can move the Bacteria into a Command Centre, and launch it into space where I can pick it up from a container. There are two limitations for doing this – the first is you can only launch 500m3 at a time with delays between them, and second it costs a flat 15% NPC tax. In this case it would cost me 60,000 ISK, which would all go to the NPCs.
If I need to move Bacteria from space down to the Planet Surface, I only have one choice. I must go through the Customs Office. The tax however is calculated at half the export cost. In my example, importing 1,000 units of Bacteria costs 10,200 ISK – 10,000 to the NPCs, 200 to my Main’s Corporation.
In the 3-jump range I was willing to travel to find planets to work on, most Player Owned Customs Offices charged an additional Tax of between 5 and 10%. (The 10% likely set to equate the cost of exporting via the Command Centre.)
The maximum extra player Tax I was willing to pay was 5% – so I only used other POCO with total taxes of 10% or less. At that rate exporting my 1,000 units of Bacteria would cost me 40,000 ISK, half going to the NPCs, half to the POCO owner.
At these volumes that might not seem like much – but I had to extract 34,880 units of Bacteria for my Raitaru. That meant a cost of:
7.11M ISK at 5.1% Tax
13.95M ISK at 10% Tax
20.92M ISK at 15% Tax
With no skills in Customs Code Expertise, that would have been:
14.09M ISK at 10.1% Tax
20.92M ISK at 15% Tax
27.90M ISK at 20% Tax
Factor that across 400,000 plus units of P1 materials, and add in Import Taxes, and it gets bloody expensive. (It can be a sizeable proportion of the overall build cost and can make it very difficult to complete against players using low tax POCO out of Empire Space.)
This was why I paid close attention to the Tax rate on the POCO I was using and tried to carefully consider and limit the times I exported and imported goods. It was also why I cared so much about the number of units I was extracting. Sure – I appreciate the efficiency and timeliness, but mostly I didn’t want to end up paying taxes for things I didn’t have immediate use for
Just to add to all this – you must remember that the POCO owner could block my access to the Customs Office or set the tax rate up to 100% at any time they wanted!
With an understanding of the taxes and what Planets I needed to extract resources off, the next step was to start scanning. I began with the 7 planets I had cheap access too, looking at their resource levels.
(32% is high for Empire space.) I then looked at how the resources were distributed, and if I wanted to extract P2 goods, eyeballed where this distributions overlaid.
Picking the best option for each PI good that I had available, I used the same basic layout on most of my extraction planets. (Setting up PI infrastructure can get expensive, so I wanted a flexible layout I would not have to keep changing.) (This is not an optimal setup!)
I would put down and upgrade to level 5 a Command Center. Next to it I would place a Launchpad, which I would also use for storage. On planets I was extracting P2 goods from, I put down 4 Basic Industry Facilities. The first pair would process one lot of P0 goods into their corresponding P1, the second pair would process the second P0 good. I then put down one or two Advanced Industry Facilities to combine the two P1 goods into the P2. Finally, I laid two Extractor Control Units with as many heads as I could manage, on 24 hour cycles. I tried to match the total amount they extracted by allocating different numbers of heads between them so there was minimal stockpiling of one good or the other.
I reused these planets as much as I could, but there were resources I had to gather through other player owned Customs Offices, including on Temperate and Oceanic planets. There were also some planets that had 0% resources for some of the P0 goods they were meant to contain.
I visited all systems with the planets I needed and noted the total Tax rates on each of their POCO. Approximately half the planets were taxed above 10% so I did not use them on principle.
Working away at half a dozen resources at a time, I managed – across two alts and with lots of extraction schema changes, to obtain and export all the P1/P2 goods I needed for the Raitaru build. It probably took almost a month, although would be quicker the next time around!
The last stage was processing all this into P4 goods, ready for use with the Raitaru Component Blueprint Copies. I did this on a very sub-optimal Factory planet.
I used two Launch Pads, 4 storage containers (1 or maybe 2 too many), 8 Advanced Industry Facilities (for creating P2 goods), 8 Advanced Industry Facilities (for creating P3 goods), and 4 High-Tech Production Facilities (for creating P4 goods).
This meant however I had to continually change the schema being used and to be careful to only route the exact amount of goods to each set of industry facilities. On that last subject, I mistakenly left routing in place at times that grabbed new resources I would transfer to the planet and place them into facilities I did not want them to go.
For example – when I was building the P4 Organic Mortar Applicators, I moved 1,560 Bacteria down to the Factory to be used. The Launch Pad already had a route configured for Bacteria and moved 40 units x 8 to Idle Industry Facilities previously configured to build Fertilizer. You can’t remove those goods once transferred into a facility. You can either fulfil the needs of the Facilities current schema or change to a different schema that also needs that ingredient, otherwise it is lost. In this case I needed the Bacteria in a High-Tech Facility. Because I was so careful to only extract and store the amounts of materials I needed, I then had to go extract more Micro Organisms to convert into Bacteria, export it and then re-import it onto the Factory planet. I made this mistake more than once – so had to get into a habit of removing routing once I had finished.
As I write this, I am finalising the processing of the last required P2 and have three P3 and three P4 goods to complete. It is about a day or two effort. After that I will be able to complete this series – with the notes around the actual manufacturing step.
Assuming I move into building an Astrahus (or another Raitaru), there are some changes I will make to these set ups. First, I will only extract P1 goods. That will cut down on the number of facilities I will need to build on those planets and increase the number of extractor head units I have available. Second – I will set up several Factory planets with as much permanently set schema and routing as I can manage. As Red Neckromonger suggested, I’d like to be able to dump a set amount of P1 goods into a Launch pad and have it all automatically routed through facilities and built into P2 / P3 and finally a P4. That would save a great deal of time (and mistakes) if I can manage it.
It has been quite a complex and interesting process to do solo, which I hope is apparent for non-industrial types. For those who do industry, sorry for all my mistakes!