In this blog post, I’m going to provide an overview of the manufacturing system in Space Station Designer. As I’ve described in the previous entry, players can manufacture goods in space that can then be ferried down to Earth and exchanged for money in the commercial market. We’ll discuss the details associated to the commercial market itself in a future blog post entry.
How does manufacturing work?
In order to manufacture commercial goods, players need to transport raw materials to the space station first. These materials are then processed inside four different types of modules in order to produce ‘IGs’ or ‘intermediate goods’ (Intermediate Good A, Intermediate Good B, Intermediate Good C and Intermediate Good D) according to the following four recipes:
4 x Raw Material => 4 x IG A
4 x Raw Material => 4x IG B
8 x IG B => 4x IG C
4 x IG A + 4x IG C => 4x IG D
As you can see, in order to generate intermediate goods of types A and B we only need raw materials. Whereas for intermediate goods of type C and D we actually need other types of intermediate goods as input.
Notice that intermediate goods cannot be sold in the market as they are. Instead, they must be processed even further according to the following five recipes:
4 x IG A => 1 x Ceramics
3 x IG B => 1 x Chemicals
2 x IG A + 4 x IG C => 1 x Crystals
2 x Chemicals + 4 x IG D => 1 x Pharmaceutical
4 x Crystals + 2 x Ceramics => 1 x Fiber-optics
The individual price of each of these goods is constantly fluctuating but, in general, at any given point in time the price of a unit of ceramics should be smaller than the price of a unit of chemicals, which should be smaller than the price of a unit of crystals, and so on. Variations in the market might cause that, for brief periods of time, a less valuable commercial good becomes more expensive than the one up in the chain, but that should be pretty rare. In other words, your investment in a more expensive Fiber Optics production module should yield better returns than a Crystals production module.
In addition to the five regular commercial goods, the orbital outposts in MEO, HEO and lunar orbit can also produce Super Refined Goods, Ultra Refined and Lunar Goods, respectively.
These goods are way more valuable in the market. The downside is that deploying space station modules in higher orbits is a lot more costly, as is sending resupply spacecrafts all the way there in order to collect the manufactured goods so that they can be ferried down to Earth.
Notice that orbital outposts in higher orbits can feature manufacturing modules available in lower orbits. So, for example, it’s perfectly valid to deploy a module that manufactures ‘Super Refined Goods’ (usually reserved for MEO outposts) in HEO or even Lunar Orbit. The deployment is going to be more expensive than in MEO, but the upside is that players will then be able to collect the manufactured goods with a single resupply spacecraft. As you can see, there’s several factors to take into account and no clear winning strategy.
In the next blog post, I’m going to discuss production lines, an interesting mechanic available in the LEO station only. As always, I’m more than happy to hear any comments and feedback you have, so feel free to leave a comment below or message us via the contact form at the bottom of the Space Station Designer website.