but i thought:
i want the detail, i want 200 different kinds of missles and bullets to distribute in my fleet and have it manageable
i want dozends of ores i refine into even more metals and process them to platings and such
but usually that means i have to take the burden of micromanagement,
babysitting every single factory and carrier for its stocks
that must change
so i built Pipelines.
Pipelines are functional constructs intended to visualise streams of commodities and even produced ships between stations and ships and to make the streams easy manipulable and scalable.
They visualise the ware streams with colored lines that span between ships and stations, each ware has its own pipeline and this small lines can be grouped to bigger lines to encompass multiple wares.
The wares are transported by freighters that are allocated to the pipelines and distributed based on cofigruable values.
New Stations and Ships can simply be added to the pipeline by dragging its respective node on the pipeline.
Settings can also be copied by dragging an docked node over another, the dragged node then copies the settings of the non-dragged node.
non-player assets can also be added to build automated trading routes served by the player
in this image are 4 stations, a mine, a refinery, a factory and a storage station.
all are connected to the grouped "Randomium Pipeline", an grouped pipeline which contains the three smaller Randomium Ore, Randomium (Metal) and Randomium Plates Pipelines.
All stations have input and output connections to the pipeline, indicating that they exchange wares via the pipeline.
if one of them gets outside its allocated "comfort zone" of stored resources one of the freighters that's assigned to the pipeline is tasked to correct that state.
either by delivering or carrying away goods.
Edit: Grouped pipelines collapse into a single larger line representing all contained lines, the contained lines get shown when zooming in on the line
[Single as well as grouped Pipelines will be adressed as "Pipelines", as the mechanics do not change]
Pipelines are abstract objects that symbolise "standing orders" for assigned freighters to transfer wares between "docked" stations and ships.
they transfer wares from stations that are overfilled to stations that do not have enough resources.
they do so by ordering their assigned freighters to transport wares from one station to another.
also they can contract external transporters if allowed to do so via a simple checkbox.
they have an "cloud storage" composed of the combined allocated storage of all connected stations and ships, this storage will be used to store resources until they are demanded.
freighters can be assigned to the pipeline as single ships or as groups of ships as described in Gazz' Joint Nodes,
to build convoys which can be everything from a single freighter to an armored battlegroup protecting an resupply convoy.
also there should be "blueprints" of Joint nodes that can also be attached to the freighter node.
when such an blueprint gets assigned freighters will be ordered at an shipyard to be assigned to the pipeline.
such groups will be treated identical to single ships.
stations can be coupled to a pipeline and attach automatically relevant inputs and outputs to the pipeline.
Edit: Joint Nodes and JN Blueprints store their Pipeline structure, so that groups of ships and stations can be built with them and do not have to be micromanaged again
for example the refinery shown above imports randomium ore and exports randomium
this links automatically connect to the pipeline and start im/exporting according to their settings.
Edit: storage space of nodes can be allocated to different wares and pipelines,
for example one can allocate 60% of the factories storage for imported wares and 40% for exported wares and only so much would at max get filled with imported or exporting wares
Edit: nodes with the same inputs, outputs and settings collapse into a single node representing any number of nodes.
(for example: if one adds another Randomium Ore mine to the Pipeline, the two get merged into one node saying 2xRandomium Mine)
nodes have essentially 2 different kinds of option bars, which also serve as displays
- First there are the export/import confugurations (the green/red arrows in the illustration)
- on the top of the bar is the total storage allocated to the ware thats im-/exported
- The orange box is the "comfort zone" of the respective ware
it can be changed by dragging the upper or lower bounds
the node tries to stay in the comfort zone
if it gets out of the comfort zone it either exports or imports wares.
export goods get exported when the current amount is over the upper bound.
the station tries to keep some minimum amount of export ware "in house", controlled by the lower bound.
Edit: this "in house" storage gets tapped if the ware is nowhere else on the pipeline available
import goods get requested if the current store is lower than the comfort zone.
if it imports the station fills to its upper bound.
it only fills above the upper bound of the "cloud storage" is otherwise full
- The same-colored bar represents the current stored amount of wares
- the bar on the far right shows the allocation of the whole storage space of the station or ship.
the allocation values can be changed by dragging the upper or lower bounds or by typing the wanted amounts in the procentual or absolute textlabels
the topmost (blue) allocation box denotes storage space occupied by another pipeline not shown in the graphics, this storage can also be partitioned
wares not used by any production process can be added to any node as imports, exports or storage endpoints.
that makes it possible to set fleets (or more precise their fleet tenders) as imports for ammunitions.
"on the other side" of the node that represents the fleet tender can storage endpoints for the ammunitions be added, that any fleet member can order resupply from the tender.
Storage Nodes only provide storage space for the Pipeline, they only start to fill up if no node needs resources to fill up its comfort zone.
they also provide means of separating pipelines from each other, for example to separate the production and delivery of munitions.
they can also be configured to sell surplus resources or buy undersupplied wares by configuring its comfort zone.
Edit: maybe add some checkboxes for allowing/disallowing external trade
[currently dont know how to word an TL;DR, maybe added later]
i've lately thought in the X:Rebirth esque cargo drones thread that there is a need for handing of the micromanagement in transferring large batches of cargo between entities which are not repeated.
for example a big purchase from an NPC station, or a transfer from a player station to the players capital ship.
from the current knowledge there would be 3 possibillities:
- docking the 2 entities and transfer the cargo directly
- make a contract to have your wares transferred
- micromanage your smaller freighters to carry the cargo to your ship
so i propose now an addition to the pipeline system to make the third option much easier to handle
Single run Orders
a single run order is in theory just a pipeline like any else but it does not specify desired, permanent storage states but allocations on how a limited contingent of wares should get transported.
it starts with something like i proposed in quick orders (and thymine expanded upon).
you take a ware (or a bunch of wares), and assemle it into a package.
this package only contains number of type of wares you want to transfer, but no target.
the target of the transfer gets determined by a dragging action, drawing a line from start to end.
this line is now the single run order and behaves like an usual pipeline, you can assign freighters to it, add inputs or outputs to it and distribute the wares on percentages or absolute values.
but it has some special conditions:
- nodes which are "done" get removed from the pipeline.
once the ship or station has received its share of the wares it disconnects from the pipeline and does not interact with it anymore.
this effectively removes the pipeline automatically after its work is done
- freighters can get automatically assigned.
freighters which have the start/endpoint as their homebase and have no orders on them (like serving another pipeline) allocate themself to the pipeline as needed to transfer the cargo as fast as possible.
there could also be a special roster for "on demand" freighters as a special state.
whose sole purpose is to wait for such single-run orders and execute them if no other freighters are there to serve them. (this should happen on somewhat intelligent conditions, distance, other freighter wihtout order that is closer etc).
- it does not get executed continually but only once
- cargo drones (if implemented) get used automatically inside their range
i think pipelines can now cater for any kind of ware transfer
pipelines didnt care about money, until now.
for every player (executive AI or gamer) there is a "main bank account" this account isnt bound to any object but to the player
you can draw pipelines like usual for money, it also gets handled like any other ware regarding to comfort zones.
altough it doesnt have to be transported physically
(because a non-executive NPC cannot have money, as they arent part of the economy as per josh
the money always stays at your immediate disposal, but the allocated funds should be marked somehow
for example 10000 credits(20000 credits allocated))
setting the comfort zone creates a budget for the ship/station/whatever.
this budget gets drawn upon when the object buys something from any source, also from your own assets.
when the object comes out of the comfort zone it transferrs the money like any other ware, to a regional headquarters for example.
for example a few mines could be positioned under the regional headquarters and you can see the money flow from your regional headquarter if the mines produce income or not
but why does it reshuffle the money between your assets?
you probably want to know if it would be cheaper to just buy the stuff you need instead of producing it yourself, or vice versa
so you follow the flow of the money, and see where it comes from and where it goes to
and for this is the second new idea:
for every ware thats moved by a pipeline theres a record of it for the relevant node.
so when your mine exports 20 iron ore, your bilance for this station says +20 iron ore.
this could and should work and look like the trading price screen from one of the earlier updates
with positive/negative bilances for certain timeframes and such.
as an example you could take a simple corporate structure
a factory which produces supplies for your military.
so you set a budget for your fleet and the fleet gets its supplies from your factories.
so your factory's bilance turns positive, because it "sells" its supplies to your military, and your militaries bilance turns negative because it has no income and buys from your factory.
this also works with external transactions, for example when you buy or sell wares to NPC's, the bilance for the sold ware is negative, because wares get exported, and for bought wares its positive, because wares get imported
for money there should also always be a pipeline between the player and the main account, to make it easier to see if you spend too much money