The objective is to increase the relevance of CXs. The way to achieve it would be to create a new type of inefficiency in the form of ship repair costs and shift a significant amount of the production chain consumption to repair costs.
Space stations have a big logistical advantage because the are not at the bottom of a gravity well. CX-CX transport is highly efficient because it doesn’t damage ships and wastes fuel getting all that mass in and out of the gravity well. My thoughts is this inefficiency isn’t strong enough until you get to extreme planets and even then barely justify it. By making it inefficient for a ship to go from a planet to another planet, the most efficient path will be to go from a planet to a CX, then transfer goods to another ship and have that ship go from the CX to the destination planet. Since you’re already doing a Planet-CX leg, your goods touch the CX and trading there carries no additional cost.
It’s important that planets have different optimal ship configurations or this wouldn’t work. Simply slapping a Stability Support System shouldn’t be enough, because once you have that, you can go to all gravity planets without any loss. It’s also important that even starter planets have their own requirements although these could be satisfied with lower tier materials. Since these planets have lower resource output, then the math should work out.
For example, we have Planet A which can pump out H2O like there’s no tomorrow and Planet B which has fertile grounds. A ship that isn’t suited to either would be taking 1% damage for every takeoff and landing. A suitable ship would be taking 0.1% damage.
There are 3 options at this point :
- Take the 2% hit per flight and repair some cheap ship every week
- Build a ship for either planet and take 1.1% damage per flight
- Build 2 ships and have them exchange goods at the CX taking 0.2% damage
The transportation value of a ton of cargo is then equal to the damage the ship takes. If 1% costs 5K and a ship carries 500 tons, then it added :
- 20 per ton
- 11 per ton
- 2 per ton + fuel + time
New players would have a starter ship based on their chosen starter planet. This means that settling a base on a starter planet would require you to build another ship and the low resources on starter planets wouldn’t justify it.
Players would be incentivized to colonize other planets because it would be more cost efficient to do it that way. Let’s say a non-starter planet can produce twice the materials and cause a damage increase from 0.8% to 1% compared to a starter planet. On top of requiring twice the amount of consumables and prefabs, the end product will have a higher damage cost per ton because you’re effectively damaging your ship by 1.6% for the same tonnage since you need to land twice as often.
It would also create a healthy transportation market because players will typically have less ships than they have bases. They could have a ship per base, but that’s going to slow down growth and they might fly empty most of the time, so might as well pay someone who built that ship every few days and increase turnover.