Expanded logistics and waste/by-product management

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.

Waste and By-products

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.

Palletisation and Containerisation

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.

Dynamic Materials (Material Properties)

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.

Production Order Properties

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.

Pre-packaging Consumables

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.

New Materials


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.

Packaging Materials

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.

Pre-packaged Provisions

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]

New Facilities

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.


The waste recycling idea sounds really cool, but the main problem with it is that:

  • either the ability to recycle has to be underpowered, in which case it’s not worth using,
  • or it will massively reduce demand for fresh products.

For example, if bases produced an amount of organic waste (WSO) every consumable tick, then in theory you could have a self-sustaining base. WSO is turned into H2O and fertilizer (FRT). You can then use FRT to grow crops on a non-fertile planet (if that feature were to be added). This sounds great, except that the whole point of having a distinction between fertile and non-fertile, or indeed the presence/absence of any resource, is to encourage trade between the planets.

Similarly, if you can now create PE/PG out of plastic waste (WSP) then once a certain amount of H and C has been turned into PE and PG, there would no longer be much need to create new H and C. Just turn used OVE into new ones every tick.

This wouldn’t completely break the need to inject new products into the system, since if the recipes are proportioned correctly then it won’t be possible to create DW/RAT/OVE out of nothing. So a planet would still have to bring in new DW/RAT/OVE in order for bases to expand, otherwise there won’t be enough to go around. But it would still seriously wound the market.

Alternatively, if there is no concept of recycling as such, then the waste products are more like bonus materials. e.g. from your proposals - mine FEO, turn it into FE. Now you also get some MCG for free. This reduces the demand for LST and SIO, for no real gameplay benefit as far as I can see.

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You’ve raised some valid oppositions and questions around my ideas. Thankyou.

The main purpose of the waste mechanic is to provide increased logistics complexity. Secondary to this is the recycling which is meant to provide incentive to spend resources to recover materials. Often times, it’s likely going to be cheaper to simply create new resources. If the waste processing facility needs 100 pioneers, it’s going to be far cheaper just mining new stuff.

As it stands, colonies can be configured so that you bring consumables in, and your desired product out. Montem turns consumables into prefabs. As long as consumables flow in, this can persist into perpetuity.

I want to disrupt this. If your colony fills up with waste, production stops. You can’t sell waste that hasn’t been processed, so it just builds up. Someone will need to be shipping waste, someone processing it - the galaxy will stop otherwise.

Maybe you can get your waste taken away for free, but you could also charge for it, moreso if there’s demand for it.

Ultimately, we need more things to consider for shipping, we need more use for ships. We shouldn’t be able to support 30 colonies on 2 ships like we did last galaxy.

Making more things to move around is one way to do that.

Whilst this is a major feature of ISRU, it wouldn’t make for great game play. As. I envisage it, Organic Waste [WSO] would be framed as mostly carbon and water, which would make it far more suited to being converted to C, perhaps as 12 WSO > 4 C. Of course, there’s nothing stopping it being used as an input in an alternative NS recipe in a manner similar to FLX in FEO and ALO processing.

I don’t envisage that all materials can be recycled or reclaimed. Most waste coming out of colonies should be general waste [WST] which isn’t really reclaimable.

Another option is to have things like pallets and containers have a chance to break (and thus become WST) when materials are depalletised.

It’s not really free per se, slag would still need to be processed, and the recipe could take longer. Instead of 4x LST + 2x SIO for y hours, we could use 3x LST, 1 SIO, 2x Slag for 1.2y hours.

This would allow a competing recipe to MCG that is somewhat volatile because it’s price is very dependent on availability, oversupply etc…

What will montem do with its slag? It would be drowning in slag fairly quickly. Either slag gets basically given away, or it gets processed to general waste, then processed away.

Perhaps the contract system could have a new “service” type contract where one party provides the materials and the payment, whilst the other receives both.

Reminds me of Feedback ramble and some ideas to improve gameplay


Try to get it to 300 Words and send it to Nick for the 300th Devblog!

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I’m not sure I could haha. Brevity is most definitely not my forte

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Would Containers and Package Material be multiuse or one-time use?
this is not clear.

Also why would Electronic Waste turn back into SIO? SI, LI, etc makes more sense.

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Containers and pallets should be multi use, but perhaps with a chance to break when being “opened/unpacked”. Instead of returning the pallet or container, return equivalent WST volume.

Some packaging could be single use, such as pallet wrap - though it’s recycled here on Earth.

Silicon boards are quite different to silicon metal. That’s what I was considering, though I’m not well versed in electronics recycling.

I think the potential problem with waste is that for some waste, one would need to pay someone to remove it or dispose of it, and the game mechanics simply do not support that at this time.

I always love the idea of recycling production lines, and its something trade type games never put in. A circular economy of organic waste going back into the farms is very sound (I would not have WSO → H2O + C though, I’d make it H20+ Fertiliser which can be used to improve or speed farm production).

As for paying people to take it away, this shouldn’t be a problem if you have limited space to store the byproduct then paying for its removal should be a given, however, if the game mechanism can’t handle negative values, then the alternative is to provide subsidies from government, such that the waste suddenly becomes worth something (even 1cr) because the recycler will be paid for the products by the gov (even if 2cr). Its a way round the limitation but I would assume in a space game most items would be designed to be recycled in some form.

But maybe having your waste products be worth something is a good thing, the economy should be fine simply because most of the production will cost in terms of recycling facilities so digging up new is nearly always cheaper - but it provides an alternative in resource-constrained areas.

And its just nice to see recycling implemented in games.

You can add metal scrap: Used Fe / Used Al / … => could be added in an alternative recipe to produce the fine goods
Now you need 7.8t of Fe to produce 0.3t of BSE. Balancing this to 0.3t of BSE and 7.5t of scrap metal would make more physical sense.

Effect of this would be an incentive to make everything where the FeO is extracted, but that might be solved by balancing the recipes better. Making 3t of BSE out of 7.8t of Fe seems a lot more reasonable to me

I have been thinking about this for a while;

I disagree with the waste plant, i think all byproduct should be have a use especially if has more steps to make it useful. low value but useful enough for player to dump on the CX if local market and other players could by it.

I was think for containers they could could damage, more damage they take form packing and unpacking and space flight, More likely they break. I understand smart stacking is hard so could even do name variants, So when a ‘barrel’ takes damage it changes stacks.

this will the game a 2nd hand market, will need to add a filter On CX for condition filter. I

I was also think named variants for most natural resources, E.G. water have different varieties based on where it was extracted, different varieties have different byproduct/effectives depending on the recipes.

Here are some water ideas.

“bioactive water” which makes drinking water slower with small amount byproduct of ammonia but speeds up farming.

“Hard water” speed up drinking water, Slow down framing.

“reverse osmosis” speeds up chemistry recipes, but slows down farming and drinking water.

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I love the idea of waste. Tie waste to the consumables that the workforce demands. Make waste from all industry. Make waste take up inventory space. Make sure it makes no sense for someone to keep their own waste. It must be handled elsewhere. Encourage waste removal industry. Tax large players by using waste as a monkey-wrench. I envision space garbage collectors who piece together recyclables and treasure hunt through the waste stream.

There are at most a few hundred thousand people on a large planet. It’s not like pollution is going to be a problem. I say just dump it all in a pile a short distance from the factory.

Ethics aside - couldn’t you just launch waste in to space or dump it out of an airlock rather than process it if your planet filled up with waste?