I’m advocating for a balance change to improve the efficacy of the “large” planetary infrastructure buildings. In particular, the Hospital and the Security Drone Post.
Right now, a full SST provides 2500 Safety and a full SDP provides 5000.
However, the upkeep materials for the SDP are so drastically more expensive, it is nearly never wise to use them. And this isn’t just a pricing issue.
DW is commonly sold at 80/u, but the MM will provide an infinite amount of DW at a maximum price of 121/u.
Contrast this is POW, which an NPC MM will buy at 4200/u - that is to say, there is infinite demand at that price and a POW will never be worth less than that.
In an SST, each unit of DW provides 50 safety. At 121 AIC each, that’s 2.4 AIC per unit satisfaction.
In a SDP, each unit of POW provides 750 safety. At the minimum price of 4200 AIC per unit, that’s 5.6 AIC per unit satsfaction.
Thus, in the most egregiously manufactured case, the Security Drone Post is 2x worse than the SST. With realistic prices, it can be much worse. Numbers for the other upkeep materials in the HOS and SDP are similarly bad, or worse.
I’d actually advocate for specialty upkeep items to be more efficient per-cost than the very simple upkeep items of DW (which presents minimal logistic challenge, since people already have DW on their bases for their workforce). The game should allow players to make the tradeoff decision between the convenience of DW vs. the higher efficiency of specialized upkeep items like SUN. SUN is fairly easy to produce, but because it’s an upkeep-only material, I’d expect it to be more efficient than, for example, DW.
Furthermore, more complicated upkeep items like SUD should be more efficient, encouraging those almost-entirely-ignored materials to have a situational use.
I’ve focused primarily on the SST vs SDP and INF vs. HOS comparisons. The issue does occur for the two comfort and culture buildings, but it’s a bit more mixed. At least with 4DA vs. PAR, the most expensive PAR item is only a little more costly than the cheapest 4DA items. LIB and UNI have many exotic options each and UNIs can be run more cheaply than LIBs.
There is only one current use-case I’ll concede for SDPs (and HOS), which is providing extra need satisfaction once you’ve maxed out your SSTs. The largest few planets in PRUN do max out their SST levels, and may need the higher cost SDP items. I don’t think this is a meaningful mechanic, because the limit of 10 SSTs is very high, and even on the largest planets, (eg Promitor) it’s better to let the let the safety drop to 50% and the pioneers will probably be fine.