Logistics lies at the heart of Prosperous Universe, however, it appears to have taken a back seat to the more alluring production aspects of the game. In the real world, we have numerous mechanisms and packaging processes to allow us to quickly and efficiently process inventory and shipping. I’d like to see our underlying logistics mechanics given a little bit more love.
Our colonies are likely covered with an ever-growing carpet of waste materials - which provides plenty of opportunities for expanding the inter-connectedness of our economy. There is also a good opportunity to create a money faucet that automatically scales with the production capacity of the galaxy.
A form of waste should be included in (almost) every recipe. The output waste type should be chosen based on the inputs of the recipe.
Waste can be processed in a Waste Processing Facility which can sort some types of waste and process general waste. A “token” system (think carbon credits) can be used in order to provide payment to the player processing the general waste. Waste processing tokens can be sold to a faction via the new quest system, or via a market maker.
Unwanted materials can be converted into a form of waste by a Waste Processing Facility (via production order properties) in order to provide a method to remove unwanted materials from the galaxy. This mechanic can replace the market makers that exist only to provide “waste removal” for certain products such as NA.
In order to simulate the efficiencies gained via standardised pallets and containers, we can give them the effect of reducing the shipping volume.
A standard size pallet could be 2m x 2m at the base and allow products to be stacked 2m high. This gives a volume of 8m3. Palletising products could fit 9m3 of loose volume into 8m3 thereby providing a reduction in shipping volume of 12.5%. Standard pallets are made from PG, and may be combined with bulk goods totes, liquid goods tanks, or high pressure tanks to produce the more specialised pallets.
A standard size container could be 4m x 10m x 4m for a total volume of 160m3. Containerising products could fit 192m3 of loose volume into 160m3, thereby providing a reduction in shipping volume of 20%. Standard containers are made from STL, and may be combined with bulk goods totes, liquid goods tanks, or high pressure tanks to produce the more specialised containers.
When goods that are in a container, or on a pallet are needed in a recipe, they will be automatically “opened” and the relevant packaging materials are returned to the inventory with any unused materials. Pallets should be “opened” before containers.
In order for materials to be palletised and containerised, there must be a system where the materials can be “tagged” as such. Material icons could have a small overlay image applied (eg… a pallet, or container), and a prefix applied to the name (“Palletised”, “Containerised”…). This would imply that materials in an inventory would have a composite index consisting of their base code and properties.
When a property is applied or removed the quantity is adjusted accordingly. For instance, 1 unit of “Palletised PE” would transform into 900 units of “PE” and 1 unit of “Standard Pallet” when the “Palletised” property is removed.
Materials that have properties applied may not be directly traded on the CX. When attempting to list materials with properties applied on the CX, all properties are removed and they are transformed back into a fungible form - when this occurs, the relevant materials (eg… standard pallet) is returned to the inventory of the player.
Materials with properties applied can be traded on the LM without restriction, and may be included in contracts. This should assist in providing another incentive for users to subscribe to a PRO license.
This mechanic would allow for the introduction of non-fungible goods (eg, RAT with varying quality; ores with varying purity; prefabs with varying quality) at a later date.
When we select a recipe, we should be able to modify some properties of the production order. As it stands, we already have this feature in the “batch size”, and “repeating” mechanics. If we had a few other check-boxes, we could modify the recipe time, input materials, or output materials on the fly.
In effect, we would be using a “recipe base” and modifying it to produce our production order. For instance, rather than having two recipes to produce FE in the SME, we could have a single “recipe base” and a production order property such as “Use FLX” which adds FLX to the input, adds a bit more to the output, and increases the time efficiency.
Other properties could be “Palletise” or “Containerise” - both of which would lock the “batch size” to their relevant volumes, add the relevant inputs (pallets/wraps/containers) to the recipe, and increase the processing time slightly.
Resupplying our colonies is a tedious task, often involving many items being transferred between inventories and spreadsheet to calculate the ratios of the consumables that we need. In order to ease this burden a little, we should have the capability to pre-package our consumables.
Using a Provisions Packaging Facility, we could create “Provisions Packs” that would supply 1000 (or more) worker days of consumables. A “basic” provisions package would consist of all basic consumables for that worker class, whilst a “luxury” provisions package would consist of all basic consumables and all luxury consumables.
As an example, a “Basic Provisions Package - Pioneer” would be produced with 40 RAT, 40 DW, 5 OVE in “Provisions Packaging Facility” and could supply 1000 pioneer days. A “Luxury Provisions Package - Pioneer” would be produced with 40 RAT, 40 DW, 5 OVE, 2 PWO, 5 COF.
Slag [SLG]: Slag is produced as a by-product of smelting. Slag should be added as an output to recipes producing things such as FE, AL, CU, TI… Slag can be processed into general waste and MCG.
Waste Processing Token [WSK]: A “token” produced by processing general waste.
Waste [WST] : General waste may be disposed of in a waste processing facility via a recipe that produces a waste processing token.
Organic Waste [WSO]: Waste with a high carbon content. Can be burnt in the incinerator to make C. Agricultural production should produce the bulk of organic waste
Plastic Waste [WSP]: Plastic waste could be processed back into PG.
Electronic Waste [WSE]: Electronic waste could be processed into SIO and metallic waste.
Metallic Waste [WSM]: Metallic waste could be processed back into a mix of various metals such as Slag, FE, CU, AU…
Liquid Waste [WSL]: Liquid waste must be dehydrated into organic waste and general waste.
Plastic Wrap [PWP]: Plastic wrap is used in conjunction with standard pallets to package things.
Bulk Goods Tote [PLT]: Bulk goods totes are used in the production of bulk goods pallets and containers.
Liquid Goods Tank [LGT]: Liquid goods tanks are used in the production of liquid goods pallets and liquid goods containers.
High Pressure Tank [HPT]: High pressure tanks are used in the production of pressurised goods pallets and pressurised goods containers.
Standard Pallet [PLS]: Generic pallet, used when the other categories do not fit.
Bulk Goods Pallet [PLB]: Carries things like agricultural goods, ores, minerals.
Liquid Goods Pallet [PLL]: Carries liquids and fuels.
Pressurised Goods Pallet [PLP]: Carries gasses.
Standard Container [CTS]: Generic container, used when the other categories do not fit.
Bulk Goods Container [CTB]: Carries things like agricultural goods, ores, minerals.
Liquid Goods Container [CTL]: Carries liquids and fuels.
Pressurised Goods Container [CTP]: Carries liquids and fuels.
Basic Provisions Package - Pioneer [BRP]
Luxury Provisions Package - Pioneer [LRP]
Basic Provisions Package - Settler [BRS]
Luxury Provisions Package - Settler [LRS]
Basic Provisions Package - Technician [BRT]
Luxury Provisions Package - Technician [LRT]
Basic Provisions Package - Engineer [BRE]
Luxury Provisions Package - Engineer [LRE]
Basic Provisions Package - Scientist [BRP]
Luxury Provisions Package - Scientist [LRP]
Waste Processing Facility [WPF]: Sorts and processes waste.
Provisions Packaging Facility [PRF]: Packages consumables into provisions packages.
Palletising and Containerising Facility [PCF]: Takes input materials (specified by production order properties), and produces output materials with the relevant properties.