The first thing you need to do when running a station is to build it. To do this, you first need to acquire a station kit and have access to a large transporter (TL).
At the beginning of the game you wont be able to afford or buy a TL, so instead you can hire one from one of the races. Its best to hire one close to where you plan to build the station so it doesn't have to travel too far.
To hire a TL, you need to find any of the Supply TLs flying around the universe then comm the captain. If the ship is available, the option to hire will be available, if not, then the TL is currently busy so you need to either wait or find another one.
The TL will charge a small fee for every gate they travel through, so hiring one a long way away will not only take a lot of time but also cost more money.
Most idle TL's will be found in faction core sectors where there are shipyards, most shipyard sectors will have 2 TLs available.
Once hired, you will need to comm the TL's Captain to give it orders.
The hired ship will be displayed in your Property Owned menu, and you will be able to see where it is on the sector map. You can comm the ship directly from here.
Once you have a TL (either hired or owned) you need to send it to the place to buy or pickup the station kit. Station kits can be bought at most faction shipyards, or produced at your own Headquarters once you have unlocked the blueprint.
Therefore, if you are fairly early in the game, you will most likely have to buy it from a faction shipyard.
To buy the station kit, first dock your TL, either via the ships command console if you own it, or via comm's if you have hired it.
Once its docked, access the trade menu of the shipyard, and the station kits should now be available to buy (assuming you have the required notoriety).
Notice some of the stations are in Red, where as some just have the "ST" in Red.
The Red station name indicates you do not have enough notoriety with the station owner to buy it.
This will be displayed at the bottom of the Trade menu for the currently selected item
The Left side is your Current Notoriety and the Right side is what you need, so to buy the Computer Plant, you will need to increase your rank 1 more level.
If just the "ST" value is red, which is your Transport Class, this indicates that it will not fit in your current ship because its too small. For station, it means you dont currently have an available TL docked (either yours or hired).
NOTE: if you are in space, you will require your ship to be equipped with the Trading Systems Extension, otherwise you will need to be docked at the shipyard as well as the TL.
Instead of buying a station kit from a shipyard, you can also build them from resources at your Headquarters.
First of all, you need to use Diplomacy to obtain the blueprint so its available to build.
To start building the station, you need to open the Station Parameters menu
In the "Adjust Production Queue" section, you will find the option to select a blueprint.
This displays the Blueprints menu, where you can select the blueprint you wish to add to the queue.
The tabs at the top allow you to filter the list by type and race to make it easier to find what you are looking for if you have alot of blueprints.
NOTE: you can also use the search bar (SHIFT+F) to search for a specific item.
On the right of your screen you will also see the list of resources required to built the item
This includes how long it'll take to build (Cycle time). Any wares in red indicate you do not currently have enough resources in your Headquarters.
Once added to the queue, you can change the quantity to build, setting this to 0 will remove it from the queue. Once there are enough resources available, and the production queue is empty, it'll start to produce it. Once it starts production, you can not cancel it.
With the item in the queue select, it will also display the resource menu to the right, so you can see what else you might be missing if it doesn't start
NOTE: there is a delay before it starts producing, so if you have all the resources and its not started production, you may just need to wait a short time.
Once its producing, you can see it displayed along with the program and remaining time.
You can also view the production in the station info menu.
the "Reserved" section is for when a station is being built, the Headquarters will reserve enough space to put the station kit once its built. This prevents you from filling the Headquarters and then not having enough room once the station is produced.
Once its produced, it will appear in the Stations section in your headquarters. Here you can transfer it to a docked TL.
To transfer it, first select the TL you want to transfer it to (IE via your Property Owned Menu) then select "Adjust Station Parameters" like above. When you do this via your TL, then the TL becomes the target ship for transferring wares too. This can also be done on a Hired TL as well.
Once you have the station kit on a TL you can then build it. You need to move the TL to the sector you wish to build in, and you must also be present in the same sector.
You both you and your TL are in the Target sector, you can then build the station
To Build the station, you simply need to comm the captain and order him to drop your freight here.
This option will only display if you are personally in the same sector as the TL
Next, select the station you wish to build. All stations you have bought will display in this list. You can build multiple stations with the same hired TL.
Now finally, select the location in the sector you wish to build it. If the border of the icon turns red, it means it will potentially collide with something, and therefore can not be built at that location. So move it until the border is Green.
There are 2 ways to build the station via your own TL. Both ways require you to be in the same sector as the TL
First, you can use the ships command console.
Special Command submenu
then Drop Station...
Now select the station you wish to place
The other method is to build via the freight bay
Then select the station to build
Placing the station from either method:
Now finally, select the location in the sector you wish to build it. If the border of the icon turns red, it means it will potentially collide with something, and therefore can not be built at that location. So move it until the border is Green.
Now you have your factory built, you are ready to start using it to produce your wares.
All factories have a single primary ware, and require Resources to build.
They also come in different sizes, and can be upgraded in size later.
You can view the production rate of your factory via its info menu
At he top of have some basic information about your station, like its Sector Location, Owner (You), ID, Shield, Hull.
The Production rate is based on the size/upgrade level of your factory
The Upgrade shows the current upgrade progress (see below)
Then the Docking bays available with the number of slots, and which ship classes can dock at them.
Some stations will have multiple docking bays, Internal bays at stations can hold Infinite Ships
The Incoming amount shows how many ships have reserved a docking slot but are not currently docked.
The Production Cycle Info shows your current production.
The Products section shows the list of products being produced, for single factories, this will be a single entry. This displays the current stock level
Primary Resources section shows all the resources needed for production and their current stock level. The number underneath in [Brackets] is the required amount per cycle. If its red, it means there are not enough resources available to start production
The Secondary Resources section is mainly for NPC factories only, Player factories do not use secondary resources
Fund Transfer section shows the current amount of money available in the Factory. The credits are require if the factory needs to buy resources, selling produces will be credited this credits total
There are 3 tiers of Factories.
Tier 1 Factories will produce the raw wares, these include minerals and raw food. All Tier 1 factories will have a single Resource of Energy Cells.
Examples: Cattle Ranch, Mines
Tier 2 Factories will produce the middle wares, these include the Processed Food. All Tier 2 factories will have 2 resources, Energy Cells and a raw ware (Tier 1)
Tier 3 Factories are the end produce wares, these include most of the tech wares like weapons/shields. All Tier 3 factories will have 3 resources, Energy Cells, a produced ware (Tier 2) and a Mineral (Mine).
Each Tier has a higher profit margin per product, but requires additional factories to produce the resources.
The exception is the Solar Power Plants for Energy Cell Production, which require a single Tier 3 resource.
The factories come in different sizes which determines the production rate of the factory. The sizes are S, M, L, XL and XXL
The higher the production rate, the more products are produced per cycle, and the more resources are used per cycle. But the cycle time will remain the same.
So an M factory with a 2x production, will be the same as if you have 2 S factories working together. So instead of adding another factory to produce the same ware, you could just upgrade its production compacity instead.
You can upgrade factories production instead of building new factories to produce more wares.
To upgrade a factory, it first needs to produce enough wares to unlock the upgrade.
When the bar is fully, it will display its Ready for an Upgrade. The letter in front of the bar "M" is the size of upgrade kit required for the upgrade.
The progress bar will increase each time a production cycle finishes. You can view how many cycles are left before the bar is full in the Production Cycle Info.
The higher the factory level, the long it takes before the next level is ready.
Once its ready to upgrade then you can apply the correct upgrade kit.
The upgrade kits can be acquire in the same way as other station kits (bought at shipyards, or built at Headquarters).
You must use the correct size of upgrade, and upgrades are applied 1 level at a time.
So if the factory is currently at the "M" level, you need to use the "M" upgrade kit which will upgrade to the next level "L". If the factory or upgrade kit does not display a size, then it is size "S".
NOTE: The TL requires the Build Command Software MK2 installed before you can use it to upgrade a factory, NPC hired TL's should have it installed already.
Station Kits are build from the ships Freight bay of your own TL (not via the Drop Station... command).
Above shows if you dont have the Build Command Software installed, as you can see, the Upgrade option is disabled, and the menu displays the equipment that is required.
The Upgrade Station menu will display a list of factories in the current sector that can be upgraded with the current upgrade kit. Only valid factories will be displayed here. So if the factory you want to upgrade is not displayed, either the TL is not in the same sector, or your have the wrong upgrade kit, or the factory is currently not ready to be upgraded.
You can upgrade factories in complexes directly, you do not have to remove them from the complex first.
The Upgrade will take time to apply. First the upgrade will be Queued up. This will wait for the current production cycle to finish, once its finished, the factory will be disabled and the upgrading process will start.
The upgrade progress will then be displayed with the remaining time left. The factory will not produce anything while the upgrade is in progress. Once the upgrade is complete, the factory production will start again
You have a number of options available to run your station, the options available will depend on the type of station, ie if its a Factory, Complex, Dock or your Headquarters.
The Adjust Station Parameters menu is used to control your factories settings as well as transferring wares between factories and docked ships.
To Transfer wares to a ship, you need to access the "Adjust station parameters" menu via a docked ship. If you access it directly from the station, it will only transfer to your own ship, if you are docked, or wont give the option to transfer at all if you are not docked.
The Top of the Menu will display the products/resources stock, this is where you transfer between the selected ship
The "Stock" level is the amount of wares currently in the stations hold, and the "Ship" level is the amount in the Ship
The Transfer Bar will be displayed at the bottom
Here we are transferring 37 units to the ship. You can transfer wares back and forth between the ship and station.
The Products and Primary Resources section shows the stock level and allows transferring to a ship. These only appear if you have a selected ship.
This displays the product (only 1 for single factories).
"Avg Cr" is the Average Cost of the ware, all wares have an average cost, generally its best to buy wares below its average, and sell them above.
"Cr" is the current price you are selling at. Any ships that dock to buy your product will pay this price. You ships working for the factory will use this price as the minimum value (although will attempt to get a higher price if possible)
"Jumps" this is the number of jumps where a station is available to buy at the price you set. Showing "None" means there are no stations in range willing to pay the price.
NOTE: the Jumps will only include stations known to you, and doesn't take into account stations that might be blocked via the Blacklist.
The Trade bar at the bottom is used to change the current price between its minimum and maximum price
The number in [Brackets] shows the current production cost. This is how much it costs to produced, based on the current price of your resources. So setting a price above this will make a profit.
Similar to the Product Selling price (above), this is the price that resources are bought at. And ships docking to sell their wares will receive this price per ware.
The Minimum Storage value is used to keep a certain amount of products. If the amount of available products is below the minimum storage, then they will not be sold. They will however be used by your own ships when they want to resupply, but not if they are trading.
So if you set the value to "100", and you have 110 stock level, only 10 items will be buyable.
This allows you keep some wares, like Energy Cells, available for when your ships need to resupply, or if you want to keep a certain amount of wares and only sell the excess
This allows you to transfer funds between the station and your personal account. This allows you to give the station money so it can buy its resources, or take the profit so you can use it for something else.
All ships working for the station will used the stations account instead of your personal ones, so you may want to make sure it always has money available if it needs to buy things
The 2 jump range options allow you to set a range that ships working for the station will trade at. This only applies to your ships working for the station, and doesn't include NPC ships that are coming to buy/sell wares.
You can set a different range for buying and selling, and allows you to keep your ships away from hostile sectors by limiting their range
When disabled, this prevents any trade ships from docking and trading with the station, this includes some of your own ships like the Trade Command Software MK3. But any ships assigned to the station will continue to work
You can also build your own Trade and Equipment docks, that allow buying and selling of wares, as well as for storage.
Unlike factories, these stations do not produce any wares
They also allow you to transfer any wares from your ship to the station, which will then be added to the stations available list. Transferring is done in the same ware as factories, only they are displayed in different categories.
The common options work the same as for factories, so see above for more info.
As well as storing wares, you can also get upgrades and equipment (Equipment Docks only)
These do cost money to apply however, the same cost as if you bought them at NPC docks, and are purchased in the same way.
NOTE: Equipment needs to be unlocked via Diplomacy before they are available.
The main difference between docks and factories, is that you have control over the individual wares. This is found in the "Tradable Settings"
Select the ware and open the settings to apply to each ware.
The "Ware Type" is how the station handles the ware.
The Price Settings works the same as for Factories, and controls the price your buy/sell at
The Minimum Storage only applies to wares set to "Tradeable" and "Product" and is the same for Factories
Due to how the Headquarters stores its wares, it will have an additional option called "Maximum Storage". This is because for normal docks, each ware has an independent storage, that is limited, and not effected by the storage of anything else.
The Headquarters on the other hand has a shared storage space, so when you add wares, it will reduces the available storage for all other wares. The Maximum Storage limits the maximum capacity so it works more like a normal dock (although the storage is still shared).
This can prevent the station filling up with just one ware leaving no room for anything else.
Some additional control of the station is available via the ships command console. This includes some additional settings and the ability to run certain commands on the station.
This is found in the Advanced Submenu
The command slots allow you to select additional commands to run on the station. Each command needs a separate slot, and are mainly used to automate certain areas of the station. This includes things like the Station Manager, Automatic Money Transfer and Automatic Pricing.
The Configuration Options will depend on the type of station
The Factory Serial simply changes the name of the factory, so if you have multiple factories of the same type in the sector, you can tell them apart.
Don't show warnings will remove the flashing yellow warnings you receive when the factory is unable to produce anything
Add/Remove Available wares is only available on docks, and allow you to control the wares list on the factory, here you can add a new ware, or remove an existing one if the stock is empty.
The Property Configuration is used to configure how the station is used in the Property Owned Menu, this allows you to Hide the station, set it to favourite so it appears in the Favourites Tab, or change the custom grouping. The custom grouping is only used when the Property Owned Menu is set to group via the Custom Groups.
Station Manager/Supply Stations
These are the settings used by the station manager (see Station Manager for more info)
This is the Friend/Foe settings, of how the station sees any faction ships.
While you can manually transfer wares, or rely on the NPC traders to buy/sell at the your stations, its often best to run your own ships instead and automatic the buying and selling of wares.
If you prefer, you can hand control over the station to the Station Manager, who will take control of the ships and buy/sell wares where needed. This however costs you wages for the station manager, and reduces the control you have over the station and ships.
If you prefer to maintain control yourself, you can assign ships and issue commands individually to keep the station running.
To assign a ship to the station, you need to set its homebase option in the ships command console.
Most of the Station Ship commands require a Homebase to be set before they can be used.
The Buy and Sell ware commands are simply commands where you define the ware and the destination station to buy or sell at. These commands simply follow you orders and don't make any actual decisions themselves.
The ships requires the Trade Command Software MK1 to make use of these commands, and are found in the Trade Submenu in the ships command console
When selecting the command you need to choose the ware you wish to trade with, when using Buy Ware, only the resources/tradeable wares will display, and Sell ware only the products/tradeable wares will display
The Buy Ware section contains the options for the command.
The ship will only buy/sell if it meets the price set in the station options. So if its buying a resource, it will only buy if the price is at or below the value set in your stations settings. If its too expensive, it will either return, or wait until the price drops, depending on if you set the Wait until Full option.
Finally, the Destination Sectors shows all the know stations where the ware is available. Simply select the one you want it to goto and the command will start.
The stations highlighted in red are either not dockable, or are being blocked by you Global Blacklist
Unlike the basic Buy/Sell commands, the Best Price commands dont require you to set the destination station, instead they will search the universe and select the best station themselves based on their Homebase's settings.
These commands require the Trade Command Software MK2 to be installed. These commands are easier to setup, and will generally work better, but gives you less control about where they will go.
If the Command is not available, then you dont have the required Software installed. You can view what each command needs in your Encyclopaedia.
You simple have to select the ware you want it to trade with. You can only trade with 1 ware per ship. So if you want to trade with all the wares in the station, you need a separate ship for each one.
If you assign multiple ships to the same ware, they will coordinate with each other so they dont end up all going to the same station. This cooridnation also extends to all your ships, regardless of what command they are running, this includes the Local/Universe Trader and Station Managed ships.
To allow ships to get to their destinations quicker, they can make use of the Jumpdrive and to as close as possible to the destination and back again. They can only jump to actual gates (Not Trans-Orbital Accelerators), so they will just the closest sector with a gate and travel the rest of the way
To make use of Jumpdrives in the trade commands, you first need to install them along with the Navigation Command Software MK1 to your ships. You can make use of the TerraCorp Jumpdrive Installation Kits, which will install both the Jumpdrive and the Software to your ship.
Then you need to set the Advanced Jump Settings in your ships command console to enabled Auto Jump.
Setting Autojump to "Yes" will automatically use the jumpdrive to jump to the destination sector as long as there are enough energy cells
The Minimum Jump Range determines when the jumpdrive will be used, the sector must be at least as far as this otherwise the ship will fly instead. This is to allow faster ships to simply fly short distance rather than waste energy cells.
Setting it to 1 will jump to all but the current sector, and setting it to 0 will also jump in the same sector if another gate is closer.
You will also need to setup the Fuel Resupply settings so the ship can refuel itself. The buy/sell commands do refuel themselves automatically if the Autojump setting is enabled, but you can override the amount they will load if you want them to keep extra on board just incase (IE to used emergency jump, or if they need to change destination mid flight).
Setting this value to at least twice the jump radius of the Homebase, so they have enough fuel to get there and back. However, if the price changes before they arrive, they may find another station to goto before returning, therefore using extra energy.
As well buying and sell wares, you can also move goods between your own stations, and essentially connect multiple stations together via ships rather than relying on NPC stations.
You can do this by assigning ships to your station and using either the basic Fetch/Deliver commands, or the more complex Trade Distribution Run.
The Fetch/Deliver commands work in the same way as the Buy/Sell ware commands, except they will use your own stations as the destination, and they will not use money, just loading and unloading wares between stations
These commands are also limited to 1 ware per ship.
The Trade Destruction Run command can setup a trade route between your stations, its more complex to setup, but allows you to moving multiple wares, between multiple stations without only a single ship.
To help you run your stations, there are a number of reports and graphs available to see how your station is doing
The Account Transaction Report will display all the money coming into and going out of the station account, so you can see where the money might be going to.
Trade Reports can be found in the Reports Menu
Every trade made by the station will be added to reports depending on the settings.
There is the Global report that contains all the trades, and individual reports, that will contain a separate report for each trade that's made
Automatically use homebased ship reports: When this is set on, then any ships that are homebased to the station will add to the stations reports, instead of to their own reports.
This option allows you to combine all the trading into the same report regardless if its the station, or the ships that made the trade
Enabled Reporting: This option will allow you to enable the various reports:
The Global Report option will open the current global report.
All the individual reports will then display in the Reports section, where you can select each one to view or delete.
The Report will show all the wares bought, and their price, as well as all the wares sold.
If its the global report, then each trade will add to the existing report
And individual reports will create a new report for each trade, so will only list the wares bought/sold in a single trade
NOTE: selecting each ware allows you to jump to the ware page in the encyclopedia
The Combined price combines the bought and sold wares together to display the profit of each ware
The options allow you to choose what will actually be included in the report display. This does not remove the wares from the report itself, it only filters what is being displayed.
But the total profit is based on what's currently being displayed rather than the whole report. So you can exclude certain things to see what the profit is like without them included.
The Exclude option will exclude a number of special wares, and the Filter options can filter different types of wares.
Your Empire Trade report works in the same way, but includes everything across your whole empire, so all ships and stations will report to the Empire trade report as well as their own. Even if the reports are disabled for the station, they will still add to your overall empire report.
There are a number of graphs available to display
The options under "Compare Stations" allow you to select multiple stations and plot them on a graph together so you can compare things like profit over time.
The Station Net Worth graph displays the worth of the station overtime, this includes the cost of the all the wares currently in the station/ships as well as the amount in the account.
You can select the individual key elements to show/hide each of the data lines. The axis will also adjust based on whats currently showing.
The Adjust Time Axis parameter can adjust how it display the time for the station, either the stations age, where 0 is time the station was created, or the Playing time, which shows with respect to the current ingame time. This allows you to switch between them to compare against different stations.
Most of the items in the Graph show the cumulative values over time. The Profit line however shows the profit per hour and the Total Profit shows the current amount of profit made including the initial cost of the station.