When this current test began, we were limited primarily by our ability to produce things. There was very little established infrastructure and most everyone had only a few production facilities.
As time has passed, our production capabilities have massively increased. We are able to utilize all Pioneer and (most) Settler facilities and these facilities are still being planted in vast numbers.
We are now primarily limited by our capital. Technician, Engineer, and Scientist facilities are much more expensive to plant and staff than Pioneer and Settler facilities. Gas giants are being settled at great cost.
Whilst our overall wealth is increasing, the capital available for investment is not increasing at the same rate. More colonies are being founded, and we are heading towards our next limitation.
Our fundamental limitation is our paltry fleets. Trade and growth will severely hindered by our ability to move things to the places we want it, when we want it there. The introduction of local markets has temporarily alleviated this and slightly pushed back the encroaching limitation.
Even so, we will soon reach the point where we cannot grow any more because we cannot move things around.
We may never beat this limitation, but we can push its limits.
To this end a far greater degree of cooperation will be required. Colonies will be pushed to specialization. There will be no such thing as an independent colony - indeed, new colonies will need to coordinated with other players. Entire supply chains must be planted together.
These are daunting words, and reflect a paradigm shift in how we view our economy. We can use words such as these all day, yet they ultimately need to be transferred into practice to have meaning.
Currently, a play may have FRM, and INC on Promitor to grow their GRN and convert it to C. The C is then shipped to another colony 177 units at a time to Montem where a player has an EXT for FEO and LST, an SME for making FE, then a PP1 to make BSE. Now, this works. We know it works precisely because this is what we are already doing!
Bearing in mind that logistics (shipping capacity) will be our primary limitation, how can we improve on the current model?
Lets get the first player to only have FRM on their Promitor colony. Why? Fertile worlds are limited - there are only 10! As such, GRN and MAI are fundamentally limited by this. If we truly want to exploit the galaxy, we must recognize our scarcities.
This player then can ship 400 GRN to Montem. Another player can purchase this GRN and convert it to C on Montem. Now, with the addition of a single colony we have more than doubled the amount of C that is getting to Montem. 177 units of C has been increased to 400 units and the amount of ships required has stayed the same. This represents a 125% increase in efficiency - achieved simply by thinking differently.
With specialization of colonies, we can achieve up to 28.4% increase in production efficiency by utilizing the full expert bonus. Further, by specializing planets and placing a player-built COGC there, we could gain a further 25% efficiency of production.
PE requires 2.39t and 3m^3 of inputs to produce 2t and 2m^3 of outputs per cycle? So where is it most efficient to produce under the new model?
On a rocky world, very close by to a gas giant producing H.
H can be produced and shipped in quantities of 400 - enough for 200 cycles. If we were to ship C to this processing facility, we could bring in 177 units - the H and C shipments are not in a nice ratio.
Alternatively, we could work together, and C could be produced on-location. Now 400 GRN can be bought in and converted to 400 C - we now need 2 H shipments per GRN shipment. This is not ideal, because we want things to be in balance (as all things should).
So, we bring in 200 GRN to make the 200 C we need to fill the 200 cycles we get from each H shipment. The remaining 200t space we have can be filled with consumables and prefabs for growth.
This ship will then travel from the GRN source to the INC/BMP colony, then on to the H colony. Flying GRN, prefabs, and consumables on this leg. On its return, H can be taken to the INC/BMP colony, then PE on to wherever it needs to go.
We now have 4 colonies which are involved in this process, gaining expert efficiency bonuses and all being supplied and maintained by a single vessel.
Fundamentally, we wish to move the most possible per trip and minimize the distance and time traveled without any meaningful cargo.