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My economy - not - 1/19/2012 1:02:40 PM   
onomastikon

 

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In my previous 2 games, I had no economic troubles whatsoever. Probably because I started a bit cheaty to get my feet wet (homeworld was "good quality" and I started "young" instead of starting).
Now, I have been in the red for a very long time. I do not understand 2 things.
Thing 1: I have negative income because my upkeep is more than my tax income. Understand that. What I don't understand is the "bonus" income I get. Trying to find out, I study the f6 empire overview screen: Sometimes it says my "spaceport income" is 70k. A week later it is 1k. Sometimes I have 50k resort income, sometimes it is 5k. I have no idea where "tourism" income is listed, I don't believe it is there on the f6 screen, but my governors and leaders have bonuses to tourism, so maybe that is something. Anyhow, the numbers here seem totally random, and sometimes I make money (cash on hand increases) despite me being in the red, and sometimes I lose money (cash drops into the negative so I have to sell tech to stay alive). What's going on?
Thing 2: How can I make more money? I mean, the only planet earning me any relevant revenue is my homeworld. The other planets earn me either 0 or as a few notable exceptions 5 or 10k. Colonizing doesnt seem to actually GAIN me anything besides access to resources. My spaceports don't actually seem to get built despite my access to strategic resources as far as I can see (WHY? Why are they stuck at 0% for so long, or, in most cases, indefinately?), so if they don't gain me anything but territory, why colonize? But how am I to make money?

Thank you for your tips and advice
Post #: 1
RE: My economy - not - 1/19/2012 4:58:47 PM   
Arcatus


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Thing 1: I believe spaceport income and tourism is related to chargoships and passenger ships docking, and with what cargo. Some months you have many ships, with perhaps valuable cargo, other months there can be fewer ships.
Thing 2: Small colonies don't provide any income, but once they grow they will.

Another way to gain money is to encourage your private sector; build resorts at scenic locations, and mining stations at luxury resources.  

(in reply to onomastikon)
Post #: 2
RE: My economy - not - 1/19/2012 7:38:43 PM   
feelotraveller


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1) Your bonus income is logged for the year. It resets at the beginning of each year. 30.12.xx quite a lot... 1.1.xx+1 zero (probably). Most of your spaceport income will be from selling ships and this comes in bursts. I am not sure about tourism but suspect that it is accounted under resort income. Building private bases also causes your total to fluctuate...

2) Most of your tax income comes from your homeworld until late in the game (if ever). Max it out by getting access to ten luxuries plus an ultra-rare. Resorts can provide a fair bit of income and so can trading with other empires if you have lots to sell (will need free trade agreement or mutual defense pact to profit) and they want/need to buy. You can also make heaps by selling technology... I reckon it's gamey but that's just me... or bases. There are a couple of wonders which increase revenue but you will probably not get them until late game. Of course certain races have either income bonuses, or happiness bonuses which allow you to tax a lot more. Since you are probably in the middle of a game this won't help... Try to minimize your expenses, disband some troops, scrap some state bases, retire some ships, research better command tech. Or alternatively go capture some of those high population alien worlds so that you have some viable worlds to tax.

(in reply to Arcatus)
Post #: 3
RE: My economy - not - 1/19/2012 9:19:06 PM   
onomastikon

 

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Hmn thank you! I didnt realize that with the spaceport income, I thought that had something to do with trade or trading.
I am currently playing Ackdarian, they don't seem to be wizards at economy, but they sure to build fast.
The only income I have is from selling tech.

Is this right? I get spaceport income from private sector buying ships from me, so colonizing will lose me resources (private sector gets mine "for free" when they build the freighters they order when we colonize) but gain me money (when they buy the freighters from me). However, I have to pay money for colony upkeep? I don't understand that. In the manual it says that colonizing planets under 50% quality will cost more to upkeep than income I would get from them, but I do not see where money for upkeep is going. I have one planet at 51% quality colonized, and it earns me nothing (like all of my colonies do), but it doesn't appear to be costing anything either.

My biggest income drain is ship maintance. I switched from democracy to republic to try to cut down a bit, but it doesn't seem to help that much. My leader is also a drunken something-or-other which costs extra maintanence. Maybe firing him would help? I earn about 130k in tax revenue and need to spend 335k in upkeep (!!). I can build ships very quickly, but I don't have money to pay for them, although I have the resources.

I have access to luxuries, and I think more than 10, but I am not sure what "access" means -- does that mean "a lot", or does it need to be a particular sum per population?

I do not know how to go about trading better, but I do have trade pacts with 5 friendly empires, I thought that would be more than enough... I think I am not getting something however!

< Message edited by onomastikon -- 1/19/2012 9:22:03 PM >

(in reply to feelotraveller)
Post #: 4
RE: My economy - not - 1/19/2012 11:45:08 PM   
feelotraveller


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You have the ship sales bit right.

It seems that each colony costs 1k upkeep in Legends. Not seen this noted anywhere but have seen it in my games. The formula for colony income uses planet quality minus 50% as a multiplier. So at 50% quality you get no income and any less you make a loss. (So if you must have a below 50% quality planet keep its population as low as possible.) Most colonies you will have a spaceport which costs upkeep and maybe some defending ships, which also cost...

I forgot to mention government types. Democracy has a big maintenance penalty, republic a lesser maintenance penalty... some of the more military governments have maintenance reductions. Changing governments costs both population (anywhere from 1-10% I have seen) and development (seen 4-20% loss). Don't do it often! I usually only change from my starting government to one of the 'Ways' when I can and leave it at that. Your leader won't be helping but your call if you want to get rid of him. The replacement might be good, bad, or even... ugly.

By access to luxuries I meant having your colonies (capital in particular) with at least 10 different ones and an ultra-rare in their cargo. Your citizens consume them (though slowly) so you do need an ongoing supply. This raises development. I forgot to mention that having a wonder can be great to, an extra 30 or 50 development bonus... you do need the money to build them to start with though and have to beat the computer to them.

If you have high rates of corruption researching for regional capitals may work a charm.

You can increase trade by building spaceports at locations close to your trading partners. You obviously need the resources to sell them. I always think the more the merrier but don't go selling stuff to the empire building a fleet designed to smash you into a pulp! Also try some resorts close to other empires major centers of population.

Without seeing your game it is hard to say, but I would guess that maybe you have too many ships/troops or have overdone building massively armoured, impressively gun-toting spaceports. If it is the case that you have overdone the military having a war or two may both prune it back and gain you some taxable worlds...

(in reply to onomastikon)
Post #: 5
RE: My economy - not - 1/20/2012 9:12:19 AM   
onomastikon

 

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Thank you very much, this is very helpful to me.
In this game, I have disabled the "storyline" events (took of the checkboxes) because I wanted to see what happens then -- I think I cannot access one of the "Ways" then, I think?
I checked f3 (expansion planner) and I have at least 1 source of all luxuries except the 3 ultra-rare ones, and of those I have 1 source each. So I think I must have at least 10.
I have set my options to automatically build a small spaceport at each colonized planet. Some of these eventually get built, eventually, but most of these don't seem to get built at all, although my empire seems to have enough strategic resources (hard for me to tell however, even with expansion planner). Why is it that at some colonies the spaceport status remains at 0% for years or forever?
In any case, I set this option because it appeared to me (wrongly?) that more spaceports = more trade = more trade income for me, which I need because I get not nearly enough from my taxed population. But you seem to be saying that spaceports don't necessarily give me more trade income, only help get trade going?
Yes, I think I militarized my spaceports and (gas-)mining stations too much because early-game conflicts and pirate harassments were bothering me. I am not sure I have the design right, I think I am too heavy on the guns. My troop upkeep is only 19k, it is my ships upkeep which is bogging me down.
But the private citizens pay for upkeep on (gas-)mining ships and (gas-)mining stations, right? I only pay upkeep on state things like constructors, colonizers, and spaceports? So I can go ahead and pack the private stations full of guns (only private ships have a demilitarized rule, interestingly enough)?
I can redesign many of my overly-militarized stations and retrofit them to less maintanence heavy designs, maybe that will help?
I have also heavily militarized my resort bases and research stations. But I cannot seem to retrofit these because they are not at colonies. Is there a way I can retrofit them using a construction ship?


Thank you so much!

(in reply to feelotraveller)
Post #: 6
RE: My economy - not - 1/20/2012 12:14:24 PM   
feelotraveller


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Without the storyline on you can still find the advanced governments in ruins. Maybe you just got unlucky with exploration?

Sounds like you could have your luxuries covered. Check each colony by looking at its cargo tab (from colonies screen or contruction yards). Make sure each colony has at least 10 and 'amt' is greater than 'rsvd'. If you have lots of colonies and/or low quality sources you may need more than one mine for each luxury. With time to develop this should ensure each of your colonies reaches 100 development, 130 with an ultra-rare in stock, maybe more with wonders, specials like ruins or race specific bonuses.

Your spaceports will only build if the colony has all the required resources. Stuck at 0% means that not a single component has been built which means you are lacking most or all of the required resources (at that colony). Sounds like either you don't have enough mines or your transport network is not great. Although it could be a bottleneck of one particular required resource (steel, polymer spring to mind...) It can take a few years to get the resources there but it should happen eventually. I like building a minimal spaceport at each colony too. You have it right about spaceports effects on trade but perhaps more importantly the medical and recreation facilities markedly increase happiness, meaning either more growth or more tax...

You got the private/state upkeep bit down. Gun packed mining stations will not be sending your empire (that is state) income down the drain but if you overdo it (pretty hard actually) you may find you have to reduce tax so the private sector has enough money. You can't retrofit bases which are not at colonies. If essential you can scrap them and rebuild.

Retrofitting your spaceports, especially those in 'safe' territory will help. You could also retire some of your military ships, you will get the resources used back (but not the money). But given your situation I would look at researching the upgrades to the command centre technology which gives a maintenance reduction for ships. It's in the Hi-Tech tree, one of the blue branches towards the bottom.


(in reply to onomastikon)
Post #: 7
RE: My economy - not - 1/20/2012 1:09:13 PM   
onomastikon

 

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Thank you very much sir! I am embarrassed at my ignorance, but am not below stooping to ask you yet one last round of questions.

- If I research that command upgrade thingy (and I think I already got one of them, the 4% mark), I will need to retrofit all of my ships in order to get that bonus, right? Is that really worth it?
- How can I increase my transport network so as to facilitate building? It seems that I cannot purchase state-run freighters at all; there appears to be NO method of transporting senstitive cargo you would not trust greedy capitalist I mean civilians with. I tried to build a military "frigate" and just stock it full of cargo holds to transport stuff by myself -- but unlike Space Empires, there is no "load cargo" option. Am I missing something?
- I am confused regarding my lack of resources. During most of the early game, I made it a priority to go after steel, then polymer and carbon fibre, etc. I find it hard to understand the F3 screen, because "demand" seems to mean NOT "how much I need in my current building projects" but RATHER "how much I need somewhere else in my empire", so that if my stock is 50k, and 20k are currently needed to build stuff in my empire, and that 20k is all at the right place (need not be transported), my demand is zero. At least that what appears to be the situation. But now, where things are not getting built, I would imagine that my demand is MUCH higher than my stock. Rather, my demand seems to be just slightly under my stock. That means I have it, but it is not at the right place and is waiting for a freighter?
- My military fleets do not *feel* like they are too big or too much, and while my mining stations are probably over-militarized, my constructers are not, so I wonder why my upkeep is so huge. Or my income so small. Having over-militarized civilian mining stations doesn't keep my citizens from paying taxes, right?

(in reply to feelotraveller)
Post #: 8
RE: My economy - not - 1/20/2012 1:55:24 PM   
feelotraveller


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As long as you don't call me 'sir' again you can ask all the questions you like.

There will be no need to retrofit your command centres. Where you see a red arrow pointing up on the tech trees it means that existing components benefit from the upgrade. If there is an icon without an arrow it means you need to change the components to get any benefit. I think the next level is 7%... Since all bases and ships have a command centre it means an additional 3% saving empire wide.

You cannot directly increase your transport network. Probably the best way to do it indirectly is to ensure needed resources are mined as close to where they are demanded as possible. Sometimes it is better having a low quality source close by than a high quality source a long way away. You can also redesign your freighters so they better suit your requirements, or, if you play with ship design on auto research upgrades/new components for them to use. One early tech increases the size of your cargo bays and fuel cells for example (advanced storage?). Meaning your freighters stock more fuel (greater range) and can carry bigger loads. Of course drives and engines also increase transport efficiency by getting stuff there quicker.

That is how I understand the stock/demand figures. But they do seem a little weird at times. Perhaps with an overestimation of demand? Note that demand is also created when spaceports have less than their own desired stockpile of resources even if they have nothing required for their currently queued builds.

As to your last question it never 'feels' like I have enough military fleets. On the bigger picture I can only guess... Your highly armed research stations and resorts will be something of a drain. Playing Ackdarian will certainly have contributed to your problem. They build fast so if you go on building you end up with more, perhaps leading to too much? (They build bigger military ships too if I remember correctly?) If you are used to easier settings part of the deal is learning what you need rather than what you are used to. Sure 100 ships is nice, but the real question is can you make do with 10? Finally it could be due to the components your ships are made of (if you are designing yourself). Some things cost a lot more than others (e.g. maintaining 10 armor costs a lot more than 1 shield even though both may be size 10).

The other thing that could be effecting your maintenance costs are the galactic price for resources. Have any of these gone up over their 0.8 starting cost? (Look in the expansion screen.) If, for example, the steel price rises then maintenance of all components using steel will rise according to how much steel they use. If this is the case the best you can do is to keep building mines of that resource in order to try and balance galactic supply/demand. This can be hard early on if it is not your own demand you are dealing with.

(in reply to onomastikon)
Post #: 9
RE: My economy - not - 1/20/2012 2:10:42 PM   
onomastikon

 

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Thank you exceptionally. Excellent tips and advice! (And I won't call you sir - I thought someone refered to you as "he", and I assumed therefore that your gender is male, sorry. Surely you can't be serious. I am serious, and stop calling me Shirley.)

Yes, the price of some strategic resources is at 2.5. In fact, quite a few of them. I did not realize that this increases maintenance!!! Aha! (So theoretically, I can all by myself increase my own maintance costs by queuing up lots of ships to build and thus increasing the demand on those resources, and without even having built a single one of those ships yet have increased the maintanence on all the stuff I have!!??!)
How can I see how much maintance for a component is? I mean, I understand how to figure out how many resources they cost (it's in the F8 designer screen), but how did you know that 10 armor costs more (money) than 1 shield?

My gratitude to you.

(in reply to feelotraveller)
Post #: 10
RE: My economy - not - 1/20/2012 2:56:48 PM   
feelotraveller


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Ah, okay, it all begins to make sense now. Should have thought of it before.

As far as I know you cannot directly see the cost for a component directly. But...

1) Part of the calculation is (resource cost) x (number of resources).

2) I usually estimate current costs by going to the ship design details screen (where you add or delete components from designs) and adding or deleting a component. You will see the maintenance cost (as well as construction cost) vary at the top centre of the screen. Note costs are rounded and there is some effect from size but it gives a quick and pretty accurate figure.

3) I don't know if any changes have been made to the formula but have a look at this thread for how it was with RotS 1.5.0.8 and earlier vanilla 1.6.0.0
http://www.matrixgames.com/forums/tm.asp?m=2717671

Finally I 'know' about shield vs. armour from experience. Actually it is because 10 armour uses 80 steel whereas 1 (corvidian) shield uses 15 resources helium/lead/gold. Even with their prices maxed (2.5) and steel minimized (0.8) the shield will still be cheaper...

Edit: edited link so goes to top of thread

< Message edited by feelotraveller -- 1/20/2012 3:13:54 PM >

(in reply to onomastikon)
Post #: 11
RE: My economy - not - 1/21/2012 11:02:11 AM   
Sylian


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Feelo already gave excellent tips here, but i want to add one more longterm strategic thing to consider.

As of patch 1.7.0.7 (or earlier?) the growth rate of colonies has been increased sigificantly. Therefore taxes at colonies can get you quite some income if you do it right.
What you want to do: (or at least thats what i do)
Decrease taxes to as low value as you can manage in your homeworld and everywhere else. (going even in the red with economy). Due to the mechanic that the private sector buys ships and stations one can manage to sustain yourself at zero tax rate if your military is small. (Its a razor thin path between security and helping economy) Emphasize on new colonies early. Every new colony will make the private sector buy another round of freighters getting you money and you can start growing them earlier. The popolation growth at 0% tax is quite good. Check your homeworld from time to time. Once they reached max population there is no point in not taxing them. But again be careful, new colonies will make people leave high taxed planets (e.g. your homeworld) and travel to new low taxed ones. So you may want to decrease your tax at the homeworld again if pop gets lower. After some 10-20 years you can have several colonies that rival your homeworld in population. If you need to go military start taxing them all and build away. You will be suprised how much military you can afford now. Ackdarians are very good for this strategy, because they allow for a quick fleet building.
Oh and techtrading can help get you money too.

Its really the old economy vs. military in 4X games thing, just DW style. Grow eco early, profit later.

< Message edited by Sylian -- 1/21/2012 11:05:16 AM >


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RE: My economy - not - 3/12/2012 8:19:41 PM   
Atlanton

 

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I definitely need to read up more on the formulas behind economics, but I've been following what seems to be the popular advice for building an economy and I'm still struggling.

In a game as Ackdarians vs 7 other Normal AI's, I've been able to colonize over 22 planets and grow a population of around 25 billion people. My closest rival, the ant people (forget their name), have 7 colonies and around 25 billion population also.

Now I've been leaving my tax policy on AI control, but I have been vigilant about building every station that looks special or valuable (i.e. caslon, hydrogen, carbon fibre, aculon, luxury goods, resorts, and labs). Of course, my construction fleet of 10 constructors may be too few to make all of those stations necessary of a 20+ colony empire.

With all of that, my empire has half the GDP of my nearest rival. Any ideas as to why?

(in reply to Sylian)
Post #: 13
RE: My economy - not - 3/12/2012 8:46:22 PM   
Fishers of Men


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I don't know about the other players, but having ten contruction ships seams like way too many for the size of your empire. They cost a lot to build and maintain. For my empire of 30+ planets, I have got along just fine with four. How many troop units have you recruited? Too many can get expensive.

A great way to boost income is to build resort bases.

_____________________________

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Post #: 14
RE: My economy - not - 3/13/2012 1:51:28 AM   
Atlanton

 

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Well, after your advice, I now need to take a look at the maintenance costs for those constructors. That being said, I still had loads and loads of queued things to build, despite the high number of constructors and pretty comfortable resource piles.

As to your suggestion to build resort bases, I built them on every spot that had a scenery bonus as soon as it was discovered.


(in reply to Fishers of Men)
Post #: 15
RE: My economy - not - 3/13/2012 3:29:37 AM   
Shadow Tiger


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Do you at least have a small starport on every planet? Without a starport only one ship can dock at a time, which limits trade big time. I initially had troubles with the economy, then made a stripped down small starport. 8 docking bays, cargo bays, shields, enough power to run and no weapons to speak of. Maintenance around 900-1100ish depending on tech. Set it so those are built as soon as a planet is colonized.

It also helps to have basic infrastructure nearby, such as at least one mine for each of the strategic resources you'll need to build the station. Otherwise you have to wait for freighters to bring everything in. It's easy to expand faster than you can set up infrastructure, which bogs down your economy.

Oh hey, I was looking for a post with tips for building starports and found this post instead. Though I don't do the crash research for tech trading myself.

< Message edited by Shadow Tiger -- 3/13/2012 3:36:42 AM >

(in reply to Atlanton)
Post #: 16
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