In my games there never seems to be any trade between my own and other empires. Usually what happens is that, in the early game when contact with a new empire is made a string of freighters make their way to foreign stations to trade some goods but then the trade volume quickly declines to near zero. Does anyone have any tips/strategies to increase trade volumes?
I looked into this a bit to find out what the problem was and in my opinion it has to do with resource abundance and lack of resource consumption. I'll post my own understanding of resources so far:
Strategic Resources: Primarily consumed during construction, while some are consumed for colony growth as well.
Luxury Resources: Increase Development Level and thereby happiness and GDP. Are constantly consumed by colonists.
Super Luxury Resources: Same as above, but higher bonus to Development Level.
The first problem is that resources are far too abundant. There is simply no need to trade if all the resources you need are at your doorstep. I tend to build 2 - 4 construction ships and set them on auto, I never manually build any mining stations, but the private sector will order as many mining stations as it needs. The only exception to this are fuels where I sometimes experience localized shortages due to demand spikes. With (normal) luxuries it's a similar story, as your empire expands there just seem to be enough sources inside your empire to make trade with other empires unnecessary.
The second problem is lack of demand. Especially with strategic resources there simply isn't enough consumption to overtax local sources. Although, looking through the game files I've found that there are some strategic resources that are required for growth (seven resources to be exact). The description states that these resources are consumed during growth, what happens when the colony has reached it's pop limit?
Luxury resources are supposed to be constantly consumed by the colonists. One would think that might create enough demand to make trade viable, but I'm not seeing any luxuries traded in my games either.
That leaves super luxuries as seemingly the only viable resources to be traded between empires. As a luxury there is constant demand and their scarcity makes them viable to export/import. I have never really played far enough into a game to see if their scarcity allows for surpluses to be traded though.
On the issue of scarcity part of the problem is that most resources are available everywhere, which means that no region is ever really in need for resources from other regions. I understand that strategic resources need to be readily available to everyone as otherwise growth could be choked off at infancy, but the same isn't true for luxuries. If there was a regional distribution bias for luxuries in the galaxy that would create much greater incentive for inter-empire trade.
Finally a quick question that arose from my going through the resource text file.
- ColonyGrowthResourceLevel: numeric value indicating level of resource required for growth at colonies, range from 0 (not required) to 1.0 (lots of this resource required)
' - ColonyManufacturingLevel: numeric value indicating whether resource is a manufactured resource at colonies. When greater than zero then resource is not naturally occurring but rather is manufactured at sufficiently developed colonies. Value indicates required population and development level before resource may randomly appear at a colony: value = population in billions * development level
I understand the first part to mean that every time the population at a colony increases a quantity of this resource is consumed. If the resource isn't present, no growth can occur. Is this correct?
The second part seems to simulate the creation of new resources in form of manufactured goods that can only come from highly developed colonies. Sounds like a great idea that would create trading opportunities as the game progresses. The only problem is this value is zero for every resource, so in fact it seems that this feature is not implemented. Anyone know whats going on here?
Sorry about the wall of text, but I hope some of you can shed some light on the trade mechanics for me, thx!