After learning the basics of the trade, it is time to increase the size of your business while further refining your skills. More colonies mean more ISKies!

Required skills

  • Interplanetary Consolidation III
  • Customs Code Expertise III

Objective

  • Build some more colonies. At least one should be producing P2 materials. Try to optimize your setups and overall PI production process.

Optimizing colonies

Here are a few general thoughts that should be taken into account when designing colonies:

Buffers

Always use buffers. Any good should be routed into a buffer after each step of production. This hold true especially for the output of extractors since it is highly variable over time. Without a buffer, if any part of your colony produces more of something than the next element in you chain can consume, production will stop there and become inefficient.

Optimal links

When looking at all the installations that players have built on planets, one can very often see layouts with long links between buildings that stand far away from each other. Longer links need more powergrid which is always the limiting factor for squeezing more buildings into a colony.

Always build buildings as close together as possible. Also, try to colonize planets that have a smaller radius (Show Info) – this also affects the length of the links (colonies on gas planets will therefore often have less buildings than e.g. colonies on barren planets).

In the optimum, you need only ONE connection per building and this connection should lead to a directly adjacent building (Extractor control units are an exception since they need to be placed near a ressource).

Minimize taxes

When exporting or importing taxes through a Customs Office, you have to pay taxes. These obviously reduce your profit, so you should try to minimize them. In HiSec there is a NPC portion of the tax that starts at 10% and can be reduced by the skill Customs Code Expertise. Train this skill AT LEAST to III, preferrably higher.

When using Standard Fuel Company Customs Offices, you can get a discount on the tax rate.

But a very simple way to reduce taxes is also to use vertical production chains. Vertical means you do more than one production step on the same planet (e.g. producing P3 from P1). That way you save taxes for exporting and importing P2 intermediate products.

Use the market

Many people try to design production chains that span several planets. Planet A produces material A, planet B produces material B and planet C combines material A and B to material C. While it certainly sounds impressive if you can brag about „my colonies can produce P4 stuff from scratch!“ this is also certainly not optimal regarding your profits. Instead you should view your colonies as INDEPENDENT units that produce seperately. In HiSec, you have in general good markets and you should use these.

You may happen to get some of the input materials for a colony from another of your colonies, that is nice, but you should never try to rely on this entirely.

If you want to build C from A and B, then buy the right amounts of A and B from the market! Assume your setup needs 5000 A and 5000 B to run for 50 hours without attention – but your colony A can only produce 3786 A in 3 days. Then your production of C would stop at some point and not run efficiently. Also you will struggle to produce exactly the same amount of A and B all the time and waste time handling all the small missing or extra amounts of something.

Also, it may be that at some point producing A is less profitable for colony A than switching to D (e.g. because ressource A is depleted).

Optimize logistics

Planetary interaction is not only about the colonies, but there is also stuff around them that needs to be optimized for best results.

Set up your colonies close to your operation basis, trade hubs or trade routes. If possible, put them all in the same system or adjacent systems. You should have short ways to your markets and to all colonies.

3 hops don't seem to be much, but if it is 3 hops one way, 3 hops back, 5 colonies, 4 visits per month each, then we are already talking about several hours of haulering stuff!

Use public courier contracts to save time. In the long run, it is always better to save time than hunting after the last ISK of profit.

Always maximize your convenience!

The lazy P2 extractor

Setup

  • 2 Extractor Control Units with in sum 14 Extractor Heads
  • 3 Basic Industry Facilities
  • 1 Advanced Industry Facility
  • 1 Launchpad

The Lazy Extractor is called lazy, because it is meant for lazy people. It requires only the tiniest bit of attention to function properly. In comparison to the simple P1 extractor, there is an additional Advanced Industry Facility at the cost of an extractor head. The P2 extractor needs to be placed near 2 suitable ressources and refines them into P2. Since you will never get the exact same amount of P0 from the ressources, the third Basic Processor is used to process excess P0 material, so you will get some P1 as a by-product.

P2 goods are much smaller than the equivalent P1 goods. The P2 extractor has therefore a higher compression and you will only have to visit the colony every other week or even less frequently.

P2 extractors are extremely dependant on good spots.

Depending on the ressources, the profit from a P2 extractor colony will be in the same ballpark as from a P1 extractor, but sometimes you will find a spot even in HiSec that supports a colony with 4 Basic Facilities and 2 Advanced Facilities.

Pro

  • minimum attention needed, almost passive income
  • can never generate losses
  • can be restarted remotely
  • only one visit needed every two or three weeks to collect goods

Con

  • you need two good ressources close to each other on the same planet or the profit will be quite low
  • other players can deplete ressources