Spaceports and Trade

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DarthFreddy
Posts: 6
Joined: Fri Jan 09, 2015 7:36 pm

Spaceports and Trade

Post by DarthFreddy »

Hi, I'm new to the game and I've been busy reading up on the many mechanics, but I'm still confused about one thing:

How do spaceports affect trade?

From what I can tell, transports will ship resources to and from a colony without it having a spaceport. I assume this includes resources brought on mining ships, or shipped directly from mines, please correct me if I'm wrong. So then the only reason, in terms of trade, to build a port over a colony is if the colony's own port facilities can't handle the shipping volume anymore, right?

I also read several times that having too many ports will confuse the freighter AI. However as the colony developes I'll eventually want to build a spaceport on it for the station benefits to happiness, isn't this a catch 22?


Thx for helping a newbie out [:)]
NephilimNexus
Posts: 194
Joined: Tue Sep 02, 2014 1:25 pm

RE: Spaceports and Trade

Post by NephilimNexus »

Well yes, a spaceport with Medical & Recreation gives a happiness bonus, and a happiness bonus gives more compliance with taxes, so that's an income boost. Meanwhile, spaceports & planets freely transfer supplies between each other, this is true. Spaceports have limited capacity, after all, while planets can hold millions of resources.

However, in addition to ship building, repairs, and defense, spaceports also have Commercial Centers, which also give you a tax bonus. Planets do not. So given a choice, you'll want your freighters docking at spaceports for the bonus income. Also construction ships cannot take supplies from planets, so you won't be able to build any mines without a spaceport to pick up from.

It's also a good idea to have your spaceport fitted with generous cargo bays, enough to hold several freighter loads, as a "weigh station" for transfer to planet & back. This is especially important for construction ships, as they need a lot of material, especially late in the game when you're building size 3000+ mines.

Also factor in that space ports can be fitted with Long Range Sensors and detectors for enemy pirate smugglers, too.

All in all, the benefits of spaceports are massive and even just a tiny one is pretty much essential for every planet, IMHO.
Aeson
Posts: 785
Joined: Fri Aug 30, 2013 7:36 pm

RE: Spaceports and Trade

Post by Aeson »

It should be noted that, last I heard, Medical, Recreation, and Commerce Centers do not have to be on spaceports in order to function, so long as they are on a station built over a colony. Spaceports are just the design which both default to having those three components and are commonly built over colonies.

The reason why spaceports can cause "confusion" in the freighters attempting to distribute resources is that spaceports are perhaps more accurately described as shipyards - each and every one of them is required to have some minimum level of shipbuilding capacity, and each and every one of them has the potential to be some kind of megashipyard if you want it to be one. Thus, the freighters have to distribute resources as though each spaceport is a shipyard which shares an approximately-equal portion of the ship construction within your empire (because, assuming you ordered your ships through 'order ships' menu rather than the construction yards menu or by manually selecting the shipyards you wanted to use to build your ships and ordering them through the context buttons, each spaceport will be assigned a roughly equal fraction of any orders your empire places, probably weighted somewhat by spaceport size as determined by role; presumably this is also true of all ship construction undertaken by the computer-controlled factions). Thus, the resources of your empire need to be distributed roughly equitably between all existing spaceports, and each freighter can only take 1 load of cargo to 1 destination from one source (be it a point of production like a mining station, or simply another spaceport which has a significant surplus) at any given time. Moreover, the algorithm used for this needs to do this adequately under a great number of potential circumstances, for potentially huge numbers of origin and destination nodes, for something like 40 different resources, roughly half of which are consumed by the nodes at a constant rate and the other half (the strategic resources, particularly those most commonly used in shipbuilding or as fuel) of which can see incredible spikes in consumption rate at specific destination nodes even while most other destination nodes are unaffected. The 'confusion' of freighters that people refer to when speaking of too many spaceports is simply that the resource distribution algorithm and the players don't always agree on how best to utilize the existing freighter fleet or distribute the resources, and while it may be annoying to see a freighter shipping 1000 tons of steel to the Nowheresberg Spaceport when your home spaceport is facing a construction-stalling shortage of steel and be unable to diver that freighter from Nowheresberg or get other freighters to prioritize bringing steel to the homeworld, just remember that it's probably doing at least as good a job on the whole as you would be were you the one trying to manage the distribution of the ~40 in-game resources between all the colonies, trade partners, and construction yards from all the potential sources for the stuff.

If you were to create a Starbase design with medical, recreational, and commerce centers, however many docking bays and cargo bays you want, and no construction yards, and use that instead of a spaceport design, it would provide you with every benefit of the spaceport aside from the shipbuilding capacity (limited, of course, to the degree to which your starbase was similar to the spaceport design outside of the construction yards), without causing the same kind of 'confusion' in the freighters as the construction-capable spaceports would. The only major drawback to using a Starbase instead of a Spaceport for such is that the game makes it easy to have three distinct types of spaceport which you can relatively easily choose between at the time of construction and then switch between, but it doesn't make it easy to make multiple classes of any other type of station while keeping all of them contemporary and specialized for a given purpose, especially if you want to allow automated retrofitting of the stations.

I'll also add that trade volume is rarely a concern which factors into the decision for whether or not to build a spaceport, at least if you're using a relatively current version of the game. In the recent versions of the game, and possibly since a patch prior to Universe, planets have something like 20 docking slots, meaning that up to 20 ships can simultaneously load or unload cargo and troops or take on fuel at a given world, and this is more than adequate under most (perhaps all) circumstances. If you're using a particularly old version of the game, there was a time when planets only had 3 docking slots and so you were more likely to run into trade volume issues as a result, but that was quite some time ago.
DarthFreddy
Posts: 6
Joined: Fri Jan 09, 2015 7:36 pm

RE: Spaceports and Trade

Post by DarthFreddy »

That was helpful, thx!
Kizucha
Posts: 107
Joined: Mon Jun 03, 2013 10:45 am

RE: Spaceports and Trade

Post by Kizucha »

Its a "bit" late for an answer but i have to say something to this. I dont know if its only on my side but i used the starbase without construction yards to give the bonus to the planet. The only "problem" that i have seen is with the trade bonus from commerce centers, i think the bonus only get used if the freighters trade with the station but i only see that freighters going only to the center of the planet and trade there and not going to the station.[&:]

I dont know exactly if the trade bonus is used even if the freighter trades with a planet that have a station but not with the station.[:)]
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