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Walkthroughs of Jumpgate Trading Guide

Jumpgate Trading Guide Walkthroughs

Jumpgate Trading Guide

v1.02, 1 October 2003

___ ___
\ / --------- \ /
'.'. ___ .'.'
\ ' \ / ' /
\ ' /
\ | / JumpGate
\ | / Trading Guide
\ /



1. Introduction
2. Credits and Legal
3. Markets and Stations
4. Rank, Political Rating and Taxation
5. Price Basics
6. Cargo Missions
7. Demand and Supply
8. Production
9. Advanced Production
10. Transport and Meeting Demand
11. Self Training
12. What Now?
A1. Appendix: Newbie Tips
A2. Appendix: Further Reading
A3. Appendix: Trading Tools


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

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.

Version 1.02, 1 October 2003. Updated information on Custom Producers and


2. Credits and Legal

This guide was written by Tim (timski) Howgego, copyright 2002-2003. Errors
and suggestions should be reported to tim (at) capsu (dot) org . Please put
"Jumpgate" somewhere in the email subject field. 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 (
http://www.jumpgateweb.com/MarketLister/ ), 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

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

| |
| 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

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

| |
| 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. |

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