Feature Request: Starting Package - Space Cowboy / Animals in Space!

Funny package name aside, I wanted to make the case for the inclusion of animals and ranchers in PrUn.

TL;DR - WE LEFT THE ANIMALS BEHIND! I think there’s a good argument for bringing them back.

Everywhere humanity has gone, we’ve brought animals with us or tamed the ones we found. Then we set about making them useful or profitable. Yet, there are technically NO animals anywhere in PrUn, we can make FOD to feed animals, and go to the PAR to see animals, but when we build that PAR, animals are not an input. They are also not mentioned as being included in the generation ships that flee the planetkiller. Animals are not listed on the Planned or Future segments of the roadmap. The Quality Meat Meal production line mentions ‘The days of industrial livestock farming have long gone by.’

My takeaway from these data points is that even though the FOD exists and the PAR needs it, there’s no animals anywhere in space. They all died with Earth. And those PARs are doing the best they can with what they have left:

But I really hope the devs change their minds on this. I’m making an assumption here that the abysmal reputation of modern day industrial livestock farming led to it being ‘written off’ either in the lore or the dev discussions when planning what a future space economy looks like, but it’s important to remember we’re looking at a young industry. By the time the planetkiller arrives, industrial livestock farming will have grown so much (From roughly 1840 to 2146). One need only look at automobiles in 1960 vs today to see what kind of maturation happens when an industry nearly doubles in age.

Lastly, a purely anthropocentric universe feels like a more desolate and inhospitable place than the alternative.

So, that’s the lore case for why I think we should be stinking up space with our terrestrial varmints, but I think there’s a gameplay case to consider as well.

Essentially the comparison is this:

Livestock = The Agricultural Products family of materials, but for animals
Space Cowboy = Victualler/Carbon Farmer of Livestock
(Can also be split into a Processor and a Renderer to more closely mirror the VICT/CFRM split)

To me it’s important that the Space Cowboy ‘play different’ than the farmers, otherwise why not just collapse Livestock into a single Material and leave it to the farmers (or cut Livestock entirely).

Here’s how I think they play similar:

  • Just rename Fertility to Hospitability, and hey presto, that metric can apply to Livestock as well
  • There’s many different recipes to arrive at the same output
  • Both can use Agri Experts
  • The outputs of their production lines run the gamut from Workforce and Infrastructure Upkeep, to Textiles, Chemistry, and Manufacturing inputs.

Here’s where some really interesting differences crop up:

  • Just by having a Space Cowboy, you create synergies with the farmers that don’t currently exist. You can double down on this by having outputs from the Space Cowboy that benefit the farmers.
  • You have to simulate the acts of keeping animals alive and breeding. This could be done by treating them as something like a workforce category, but from the outside looking in, that seems like way more work than treating them as materials than can input into their own recipes. This opens all kinds of doors for recipes that ‘sustain’ the population vs recipes that grow the population. (The big argument in favor of having a livestock workforce tier is that it’s the cleanest way to handle daily consumption, but I think this can be sidestepped using the Livestock as Material setup.)
  • Crops don’t require seeds as input, but Livestock requires an initial population. The collection, storage, and reconstitution of genetic material from livestock allows for a ENG/SCI tier production that creates initial populations and interesting decisions regarding shipping the whole animal or footing the bill to transport just the genes and then reconstitute it at the desired system.
  • The farmers lean towards being combinatorial. Meaning they input 3 materials and get 1 and at best input 1 and get 1 different one. Whereas the Space Cowboy leans divisive, especially as a Renderer where you can input a livestock and render it into EPO, DEC, Genetics to be reconstituted, etc.
  • Byproducts! You raise corn, you get corn. You raise cattle, you get cattle and PFE.
  • There’s more to this list but this post and my brain are pretty full at the moment.

Thank you for reading! Hope to see you all proudly surveying your space herds in the future!

– TyG | Luceria Mersail

Below is some scratch about details.

Changes made PAR and LAB to include Livestock
Changes to MEA line to include and make use of animals
Haven’t figured out PETs yet, maybe put them in a Kennel Building?
Rebalancing to account for Livestock impact
New Starting Package Space Cowboy.
Rec Buildings: LPN, RNDx2

Example Production Line
Livestock family of materials:

  • Bird BRD (Chicken, Duck, etc.)
  • Pig SUI (Pigs, Hogs, Boars, Warthogs, etc.)
  • Cattle BOV ( Cow, Bison, Wildebeest, Gazelle, etc.)
  • Horse EQU (Horse, Donkey, Zebra - see above, etc.)
  • Goat CAP (Sheep, Goat, Ram, Antelope, etc.)
  • Llama TYL (Llama, Alpaca, Camel, etc.)
  • Deer CER (Deer, Reindeer, Elk, etc.)
  • Microlivestock MLV (Fish, Rabbit, Squirrel, Rat, miniature subspecies of larger livestock, etc.)
  • Pet PET ( Dog, Cat, any animal not to be processed or rendered)

Building: Livestock Pen (LPN) - Analogous to FRM, runs on the idea of constant production. If you want to grow your livestock, choose the recipe that takes additional inputs. If you want to shrink your herd take the recipe that requires only livestock as an input, but outputs fewer livestock than it received as input.
Inputs:

  • BRD, SUI, BOV, EQU, CAP, TYL, CER, MLV, PET
  • FOD,GRN,MAI,NUT,VEG,HCP,MUS,PIB,ALG,BEA,PPA
  • BAC,NS,OLF
  • CA
  • ADR, BND, PK, SEQ
  • DW

Outputs:

  • BRD, SUI, BOV, EQU, CAP, TYL, CER, MLV, PET

Building: Rendering Lot (RND) - Analogous to INC, but the recipes mostly take in fewer types of materials than they output.

Inputs:

  • BRD, SUI, BOV, EQU, CAP, TYL, CER, MLV

Outputs:

  • RCO, MTP, PPA, RSI
  • BAC, REA, NS, PFE,
  • EPO
  • DEC
  • CA, C, CL, I, MG, NA, S, ZR
  • AMM, FL, H, N, O
  • H2O
  • AL, CU
  • BOR, HAL, LST
5 Likes

This is a cool idea, and I like all the details that you have added here, but I suspect that in practice, animals are too controversial a subject to include. Different religions have various rules about which animals can be farmed, and then you have vegans and vegetarians and pescetarians and so on. I think the devs made a wise choice just to steer clear of the whole subject and make all the in game farming be plant or in-vitro based.

1 Like

Thank you Ficks, These are valid points that will require overcoming for livestock to move forward, but I feel like removing livestock wholecloth due to potential controversy is throwing the baby out with the bathwater. I resist the idea of a groups preferences/tenets being used as just cause to eliminate any material from the marketplace on the grounds that:

NOTE: When specifically referencing planned features that are not yet implemented, I will use the Future-Feature Name or Planned-Feature Name convention for clarity.

  1. In the real world all these groups exist and exert influence on the market, but they usually don’t control it. And in cases where they do control the market, if you want the blacklisted goods bad enough, you can get them. Think beef bootlegging in India. The upcoming Future-Private Trade and Future-Information Trade seem like a good way to implement the cat and mouse game of bootlegging. If I Private Trade my space beef in Vegan turf, why can’t the Vegan Police post an offer for crazy money to anyone with data that shows anyone is conducting Beef sales in a certain system(s). What would that do to the Future-Stock Market? Would that result in some Planned-Conflict to shut down the dirty beefeaters?

  2. The same arguments for removing this or that material can be made by ‘carnivores’ or ‘naturalists/Non-GMOtypes’ for the total elimination of plants, industrial farming, or in-vitro production. It becomes a sort of weathervane, whatever group finds themselves with a loud and large enough population can start exerting pressure for the devs to reverse course again and again as player populations fluctuate. In my opinion, better to sidestep that entirely and just have them all in the game and then let player agency, the Future-Politics update, the Future-Flexible Contracts update, and maybe a few other coming updates be the mechanisms that implement the preferences you mentioned. Faction-wide ban on Cattle Rendering anyone? What about a Future-Tariffs policy or a flexible contract, that through exclusively profit-based motivation, drives companies to conduct vegan-friendly business in that region?

  3. I think the types of questions and decisions mentioned in the previous bullet points are hugely important to making PrUn feel vibrant. If we’re all purely motivated by profit and expansion, it becomes so impersonal, just go from point A to B and click the things because profit this, optimal that, and maximize the thing in the back.

Don’t get me wrong, we all have aspirations for our company, and I’m certainly not advocating for full-time RP from everyone. But, if I want to make less money and grow more slowly, all so I can spread the good word about space cows in a game designed around making more money and growing more quickly, that’s an extremely interesting and compelling decision I’ve made to pursue a suboptimal strategy for the sake of ‘living’ in the game. If I as a new player am choosing between corps and I choose an obviously less beneficial-for-me corporation because they’re the only one that enforces pro-vegan policies corporation-wide, that is an extremely interesting and compelling decision too. In a world where player actions and decisions are the environment and the lore, these player decision points become the levers of history, the more robust the choices, the more vibrant the tapestry.

If the history of PrUn is to read like a ledger then so be it, but I’d really rather a story.

There is more to this topic regarding the Sisyphean task of pleasing the most austere believers, but it gets really longwinded (and political, yikes) really quick.

Thank you!
– TyG | Luceria Mersail

I love your passion for the subject and I think that Animal farming is a super interesting industry to work with. Byproducts is also something I would love to see since having “waste” industries that deal with the outputs that require additional capital to use (take NA for example).
With animals though I see why they wouldn’t include them in this universe and it’s probably because if we had the technology we probably wouldn’t be doing livestock because of it’s efficiency. While I may sound like an environmentalist here, the science is pretty sound that raising a full animal just for it’s meat is a pretty wasteful process that takes a long time.
Think of it like reusable vs single use rockets. Right now we use a whole rocket to launch maybe a 1000 meat patties into our mouths but if we have a reusable rocket (which in this analogy refers to the reproducing stem cells within in-virto meat) we can launch a whole lot more meat without needing to have so many rocket factories. Although, yes this is a fictional game about throwing hydrogen and carbon together and getting plastic. So this point may not stand strongly.

Essentially if PrUN was using colony ships there simply wouldn’t be enough space for diversified animal farming since the space used is better suited for advanced items which might not be possible to produce on the future planets.

On the topic of bringing them to space, I totally agree with you that we couldn’t bring functioning animals into space with us outside of an extremely limited capacity (at least not without some paradigm shifting technological advancements). My ‘workaround’ for that is the idea that part of the process of building the ships to escape the planetkiller is rendering thousands or millions of native and domesticated flora and fauna down to their genetic information to later be cloned on the future home. Humans are the stewards of the earth, leaving behind everything that is not obviously profitable is a massive shirking of that duty. Also, modern corporations constantly do things that are not obviously profitable from the outside to improve their public image and improve their employees satisfaction.

“the science is pretty sound that raising a full animal just for it’s meat is a pretty wasteful process that takes a long time.”

On this point, I don’t disagree at all. But, the two big counterpoints I have are: 1) That’s not the proper model. Compare the ancient native north american model of using every ounce of the animal for something, vs just the meat. There is a ton of wasted product there, and a ton of downstream opportunities that go unrealized. 2) I’ll refer back to my previous industry maturation argument. I’ll liken this to climate change in that, when we first discovered modern fossil fuels we basically burnt the raw crude unfiltered…For about a week. Then refining began to get more bang for every ounce of oil. And for a long time, no one cared about the emissions. Once focus was put on it, emissions began to drop steadily as technology and regulations marched on. Even if it never materializes in reality, these types of incremental improvements over time are what can take an industry from wastefully chopping T-bone steaks and grinding the excess into the next cullings feed to…
Pig is Efficient.PNG

I’m kidding to an extent with the Cystypigs, but the point stands I think. The math says it doesn’t work today, but there’s no guarantee that it will stay that way forever as technology advances, and the devs mention the very same types of advancements in different industries (Modern Construction is only breaking the surface with prefabs.)

Those are some pretty well developed points and I mostly agree. I think it’s a good point that the genetic information and biodiversity was no doubt brought onboard either digitally or through gametes. So you raise a good point for the possiblity of having access to animals.

Furthermore it’s pretty valid to say that the IVP could clone those animals. However since only technicians would have sufficient tech to produce animals the items would have to be passed down from T3->T2/T1 to get the lifestyle of a rancher/cowboy in a special pastor building. So the problem is that the supply chain would kind of have to work backward in a sense which I don’t think happens anywhere in the game besides luxury consumables. Since it takes high tiers to use low tiers mostly the rich players will have access to the animals.

For the usability argument I definitely see animals having far higher extraction of resources efficiency however the problem is a lack of demand for the largest part of the animal; let me explain.

In the game’s current corporate society/economy only the highest tiers even get access to “quality meat meal”. It’s not that meat can’t be prepared for Settlers and Technicians it’s that it’s not economical not because it’s high tech but because it’s expensive with opportunity cost.
Currently our T1-3 are fed on RAT cause it’s simply efficient since it’s just Crop → FP → Mouth. The FRM and FP use area which is kinda the most limiting resource in the whole game. So what has to be done is somehow make it worth accommodating the Crop → FOD → animal → slaughter/FP → mouth. Each step using the ever so limited area and adding labor costs. The only way it’s better is if it yielded more RATs or was treated as a luxury. But neither would make sense because again somehow more RATs are made despite needing to pass an extra trophic level and luxuries are specific in the current workforce layout (this could change I guess).

Also I can barely keep my workers with full upkeep and Governors have a even harder job doing population infrastructure upkeep. It would be a pretty tough job for new players to keep animals and workers healthy with upkeep.

What I do see however is using animals for biochemistry as we do now. Some interesting examples I remember from YouTube are Horses being used for antibodies and Horseshoe crab blood used for testing contamination. The focus would have to be on how could we use an animal in a novel manner when we essentially have atomic manipulation with how the BMPs, CHPs, and LABs seem to make products from a couple elements.

I’m sure however there’s some niche that could be filled with earth sourced animals. Personally I think the ranch/cowboy “gameplay” (the game has the highest detail of colored boxes lol) would have a focus on GM organisms and maybe even some alien fauna. Sorry to raise points against the idea but I think you give great responses so I’m more curious how you’d develop the idea with considerations.

P.S.:
Maybe organ farming could work for whever we’d need human/animal organs.

Walls of insufoam
No animals included
A lonely future

Cows…Cattle…Bovines.
All I see in space, are cows.
Wait, there goes a dog.

I think this can be solved by having it be a starting package, the initial herd population is provided by apex, but it is very difficult for a beginner to IVP animals to life, this creates an incentive to maintain and grow your herd and helps with populating the market at lower tiers. Basically

‘you gotta be a rancher in space, before you can be a space rancher.’ - Granpappy’s Orbital Headstone.

Great point, may have me stumped, here’s my thoughts. I think the fodder will sort itself out as demand rises and Fodder Bases are created to feed the demand, even if you really want to vertically integrate the fodder, I expect you’ll be better off buying it in many cases until you’re at the size where you’ve got spare resources to build a couple ships and a base (lol). Have a culling recipe at the pasture building rather than forcing the building of an FP to slaughter animals, it takes in X animals, puts out X-n animals & X*n Raw Meat (Needs to be a pretty solid amount of meat. I’ll explain why in just a moment.) & some paltry byproducts (Want all the good byproducts to come from a real rendering facility, even down to C and O, etc.). Raw meat can be substituted directly for RAT at a higher consumption rate (One cow today can probably feed 750-1000 people 1 8oz steak. At 800 steaks and 2 meals a day, one modern cow can feed a beginners entire workforce for 2 days.) Also have a recipe in the FP that can input the Raw Meat to RAT. This way, being a rancher provides some of the real-life benefits of living ranch life, farm fresh food, you can survive off your own commodity in a pinch (for a little while anyways), you can sell your raw meat in the event you sort your RAT chain out again, or you can sell the live animals. In ‘hard times,’ careful management of a herds growth and culling can keep a rancher afloat as a semi-contained ecosystem.

Another thought on this, sorta off-topic, for those unfamiliar with farmsteading animal rotation practices, or the milpa farming model, the idea is basically that if one plant needs a lot of nitrogen to grow, you either want to grow it intertwined with a plant that puts nitrogen in the soil as part of it’s lifecycle and wards off common pests, or prep the field with animals that turn and fertilize the soil and eat nitrogen intensive weeds and eat pests, or both. All this to say, maybe the pasture can have recipes that take in plants and animals, and output more plants and more animals. Or possibly, the milpa is a hybridized T2 FRM/PAS that has constraints the FRM and PAS don’t such as missing recipes, higher tier workforce, lower overall input/output, but also is technically more effective/efficient in their niche since they save space and do more with less.

On the trophic level, this kind of relates to the above milpa idea. Passing through a trophic level on a single food chain obviously acts as a funnel without some impossible GMO magic. But when synergies are at play in multiple bonded food chains within a web of food chains, the innate weirdness of highly complex systems can come into play and in rare cases do the opposite of a funnel. When humans arrive we’re usually focused on finding new rare cases, evaluating their merit, and then making them happen all the time.

On the luxuries, I can see an argument for an edit to workforce/luxury resources, right now they feel well-implemented, but almost like robots, every PIO is the same as the next and works (or doesn’t) like clockwork. One potential rework (just top of my head, not a full endorsement) is to link luxuries not to their workforce, but to a building. A FRM and a INC use different luxuries even though they use the same workforce, and their luxury bonus isn’t linked (meaning you can let the FRM go without luxuries, but keep the INC flush and keep the bonus.) You could still have loose tiers of luxuries where a building below a certain tier never requires certain luxuries. I like this idea because as the economy grows, it more readily accommodates a greater total diversity of luxury goods (which I think is coming as new updates create whole new industries and possibly even workforce tiers). Another reason I like it is because it still allows for that phenomenon of localized expertise where I don’t need to know all the luxury goods (much less their production chains), I just need to know what my buildings need.

Have you tried gitting gud? I can’t figure it out myself but the internet says that’s the trick.

But seriously, I’m not advanced enough yet that I can speak from experience on either of these issues. I have heard there’s potentially a governance update in the pipes, so that may sort the governance issue out.

The hope is that technology makes managing the animals closer to managing production, and that the animals help relieve some pressure on the workers upkeep.

Agreed, a good implementation of this idea, to me, would allow space ranchers a role up and down the tiers with renderers focused heavily on making animals into early chain materials, ranchers focused on supplying as many animals as possible, and advanced players in the industry using buildings that take whole animals mixed with other things as inputs for novel and late chain outputs.

Bazinga. In my mind if cows are implemented before the roadmapped Exploration and Conflict updates then conversations around GMOs, alien flora and fauna, and sentient aliens can develop (semi- :wink: ) naturally. But I feel the previously mentioned ‘you’ve gotta be a rancher in space before you can be a space rancher.’ applies here too.