Friday, September 7, 2012

‘P’reoccupied with ‘I’ncome..

or~  How To Get Space Poor in W-Space Without Even Trying …

The poor demented few who actually read this blog may have noticed a slight drop in my usual posting infrequency… blame Mabrick, I do… loudly and often.

If you already know all about PI, please do yourself a favor and go read Jester’s or The Mitten’s… I am sure no matter how long winded they get you will enjoy it more than this. But… if you have never run a Planet scan, or better, if you have but have no idea what’s involved after that… I hope you might get something useful from…

“TurAmarth’s PI for Dummies”

All I want to do here is (1) ‘splain where I been and why I been quiet ‘bout it… and (B) give a” Really Super Quick Noob Users Guide” to the bare bones basics of PI “stuff”. Plus I am not going to setup weblinks to all the PI specific stuff in this guide as I started to and it quickly got completely out of hand, if you wanna know more about ‘Felsic Magma’, copy & paste to Google…

There are a lot of guides and sites and software out there that explain the skills needed, how to scan planets, how to interpret the data and the logistics of starting with some Free Crap Lying Around on Planets; A and B( and C and D etc., etc.) and how to use them to create Thing of Great Value; X. What I had not found was something that tells you what it should LOOK like see below.  =]

The above is one simple PI setup. This one is on a Lava planet and is for Resource Collection only. I am extracting “Felsic Magma”, “Non-CS Crystals” & “Heavy Metals”. The Magma is converted into “Silicon” and the Crystals are converted into “Chiral Structures”. These 2 are combined here to create “Miniature Electronics”. The Hvy Metals are converted into “Toxic Metals”. Both the Tox Metals and the Min Electronics are then exported to another planet to go into the production line for the final product, “Biotech Research Reports” which are currently valued around ISK 60,000 each plus or minus… and they are ‘small’ so you can carry a LOT of them in a cloaky Blockade Runner…  =]

I am a mechanic, an engineer, I ‘see’ the world as a physical place and all concepts must be related to me in that way… esoteric, grey area, purely mental, non-physically representable stuff is all just ‘magic’ to me. If I can’t “see” it in my mind as a 3 dimensional thing, I can’t get it… it is with this basic mental disability in mind I wrote the following guide.

In all my research I not yet found any graphics like the above (I assume they are out there, I just haven’t found em…) I have been following and discussing Mabrick’s PI work in our hole (obviously) and also reading his blog (again obviously) but it’s all so DEEP and DETAILED and ADVANCED… to me. In one ‘to him’ simple conversation we had about PI he lost me in the first 5 words… He understands it SO well it’s hard for him to dumb-down to the noob level. This is very common especially in IT types (such as Mab and I).

Then my CEO and son said something last night that rang very, very true to me… he said, “Tur wants to always be a noob.” … and he’s right. I don’t ever want to lose that sense of wonder, my sense of adventure and awe and discovery… Discovery made ON MY OWN… so I made this guide for my inner nooblet.  =]

First, it should be made clear that PI in EVE is highly complex and very challenging to master… It was obviously created by deeply disturbed and mentally overactive Devs with WAYYYYYYYYY too much time on dey hands.  Successful PI can be, at least initially, as absorbing as crack… mental crack for those of us of with OCD/ADHD proclivities… SO I have been logged on quite a bit, but nary a ship do I see anymore unless it’s my cloaky hauler as I warp from POCO to POCO collecting and delivering products.

I have spend nearly ALL of my time in the last few weeks staring intently at PI screens of the various planets in our hole… running scans, checking requirements and ore/product yields against incoming extractions… moving numbers around in an… Excel Spreadsheet (go figger huh?)… that I made (not for ME, the plebian products of others, I must my own to make…). So I ‘have’ been logged on and playing EVE… just the solitaire version.

But I have, somewhat reluctantly, closed the PI screens occasionally… like last night when I joined my corpmates in yet another of the long list of interminable IBCO bashes we are doing to rid our hole of the Interbus Scourge of Taxation… (so we can PI tax FREE!!!!!!) It was not a planet I had anything running on but Mab was overjoyed as he as deeply involved in that particular one and we just saved him a decent amount of ISK… now, of course, I will be taking a long hard scan at that planet too… hmmmm…

Okay ‘nough of that… attention class…

“PI” is the EVE acronym for “Planetary Interaction”. PI is Semi-Passive Industrial PvE Content. IE, you can make ISK playing with the game mechanics only. It involves gathering resources from various planets and, as in RL, setting up and managing Extractors, Storage Facilities, Launchpads and a variety of ‘Processors” manufactories in point of fact… Basic, Advanced and High Tech. Plus you have to setup “Links”, roads in point of fact as they are measured in KM and they even use the term ‘trucks’ in several error messages regarding ‘links’. You then have to setup and manage ‘Routes’, which are exactly what they appear to be, the ‘routes’ your ‘drivers’ use to move freight around from the various facilities on the roads you build.

Lastly, at all planets in EVE that have ever had any PI done on them, the Interbus Corp has and/or will build an IBCO, or an “Interbus Customs Office” run by the Interbus NPC Corp which sets and collects tariffs and taxes on imports and exports with the planets in question. Now, with the advent of the, POCO, the “Privately Operated Customs Office”, New Eden corporations can remove the IBCO (shoot it until it is dead, dead, dead…) and replace with it their own “Customs Office” setting and collecting import and export tariffs and taxes that go into that corps coffers… =]   I will not go any further into POCOs in this hopefully not to tl;dr guide…

So… the basic mechanics of PI are thus…

Lets say you have decided on the product ‘Enriched Uranium’ as it is needed for POS fuels. OK it turns out you can find all the necessary resources, just two, ‘Nobel Metals’ [NbM] and ‘Heavy Metals’ [HvyM] to make it on just one planet, a ‘Plasma’, cool… plus Plasma planets are one of the coolest looking things you have ever seen hangin around a star…  =]

The following screen caps show you that the “EVE Planetary Planner” can give you the ‘schematic’ for ALL the PI producible products in EVE, including Enriched Uranium… and using the “Reverse Lookup” feature you can determine what level of product can be made on what planets etc., etc. …

Now you need to find the 2 best ‘hot spots’ from your scans for NbM and HvyM… here is what I found out the hard way… they all ‘tell you’ keep your links as short as possible they cost you “Grid”, grid is exactly the same as your ships CPU & CAP. To give you an idea, the shortest link I could make, with the two facilities practically touching each other, was 22 km long, it cost 20 tf in CPU and 14 MW in Power. I tested a longer run, 497 km, for 115 tf\85 MW. This may not seem to be a steep consumption curve, and it’s not… but it is not the ’one’ link… it is that there are SO MANY of them. It adds up pretty fast and you NEED the Grid more for your other buildings, eating it up with long links will cause you a lot of grief. There are, that I have found, two way around this.

(1)   Very carefully choose your planets (or just use what’s available)…. Spend a lot of time refining your scans and try to make optimal tradeoffs for resource density vs. distance. The best solution is one that puts your Extractor Control Units [ECUs] as close together as possible while still able to set your extractor Heads in at least a 60% or better yield area. On my Plasma planet, my NbM extractors, 2 Heads, sit inside a very nice70+% yield while my HvyM extractors, 2 Heads, sit inside 80+% yield area… the best part is the two Extractor Control Units are only 444 km (77 tf\104 MW) apart.

(2)   The other method is using multiple Launchpads. Launchpads also use Grid, but you can make tests and see if the link cost is greater or lesser than a launchpad. If a launchpad has a lower grid cost than a direct link, build an ECU and smack a Launchpad right snug up against it, link em and route all the product into the launchpad and then you can use the Customs Office to move your produce… (this is ONLY a truly ‘optimal’ solution if you own the POCO and have 0% tax…) if you are still paying Interbus, then it can cut into profits… But, with some worlds, on some occasions, it can allow you to make a profitable product you could not do so otherwise… just less profitable than you would like.

OK, let’s get back to setting up your Get Rich Glacially Scheme…

(3)   Both of your ECUs are ‘linked’ to a Storage Facility [Warehouse] halfway between them and have all of thier produce ‘routed’ into the Warehouse.

NOTE: I can only assume that directly connecting various facs to each other, if done correctly for resource to product flow, might reduce the total number of ‘links’ freeing grid for other uses… but (1) I prefer for everything to run through the Warehouse as a buffer, and (B) I’m not at Mab’s level yet… =]
Also, There may be them as might disagree with my methods… all I can say is, sod off, it’s how I play my game and I’m learnin' here!

(4)   One Plasma Advanced Industrial Facility [AdvFac] can make 5 units of Enriched Uranium [EUr] in one cycle from 40 units of Toxic Metals [TxM] and 40 units of Precious Metals [PrM].

(5)   One Plasma Basic Industrial Facility [BasFac] can make 20 units of TxM per cycle from 3000 units of Heavy Metals [HvyM].

(6)   One Plasma Basic Industrial Facility [BasFac] can make 20 units of NbM per cycle from 3000 units of Precious Metals [PrM].

OK, so now we do a little math… if you want to make one run, 5 units of EUr every cycle, you need 40 units of each TxM & PrM. You can wait for your BasFacs to complete 2 cycles or double up and run 4 BasFacs making 40 units total per cycle. Let’s say you decide to double-down with 4 BasFacs (I did). Let’s look at that “EVE Planetary Planner” schema again…

Notice the ‘3000.00’ NbM > PrM and the ’40.00’ ea = PrM + TxM > EUr = 5.
That’s 2 ECUs @ 3000 ea, feeding 2 BasFacs @ 20 ea, feeding 1 AdvFac ½ required per cycle.

So in order to feed 4 BasFacs enough ore to produce 40 units total, you will need a total of 6000 units of HvyM and 6000 units of PrM (3000 units each) per cycle. So you set your extractor Head(s) (select the number of heads and cycle time based on scan results) to produce, under “Program Output” above a minimum of 6000 units per hour. I use 2 Heads per ECU running for 3 days to get 6,250 units per hour, this gives me a small margin over my needs yet keeps Grid use to a minimum. Once you “Install Program” and “Submit Pending Edits” your extractors will begin gathering your basic ores. Only AFTER a cycle is complete will you have any ores to work with. These will be delivered to the Warehouse.

Now build 4 BasFacs, 1 AdvFac and 1 Launchpad as close to the Warehouse as you can to keep your links as short as possible. Basically as each Fac is a round icon so you have the space to fit 6 in a very tight ring around the Warehouse. For 5 units per cycle you need a total of 5 factories and I tend to group them tightly together… ‘cause I’m just anal that way…   =P   Now create a link for each Fac to the Warehouse. So, you end up with a total of 9 Buildings: 2 ECUs; 1 Warehouse; 4 BasFacs; 1 AdvFac and 1 Launchpad.

Select the Schematic for each BasFac, 2 for HvyM > TxM and 2 for PrM > NbM.
(1) route the incoming ores, 3000 units ea, HvyM and PrM to each of the 4 BasFacs that require them;
(2) route their products, 20 units ea TxM & NbM, back to the Warehouse;
(3) route the combined 40 units ea TxM & NbM, to the AdFac to create the 5 units of EUr;
(4) route the EUr directly to the Launchpad for easiest delivery to the POCO…  (remember it is links that cost Grid, not routes)....

Then sit back and.. uh, nope, you should check your PI everyday…

Don’t let your extractor’s shutdown, make sure you have product moving through the system in the correct order. You can let your Final Product, the EUr just build up or pick it up and store it in station or POS… I just give all of mine to corp for fuels… it’s my home you know.

The pic below is my current EUr setup. To max grid use I over extract the ores to the Warehouse where it is buffered until the 4 BasFacs and the 2 AdvFacs request it, producing 10 units of EUr per cycle. If for any reason I miss a few days and my extractors shut down I usually have a half full Warehouse so the Factories just keep on chuggin away… until I can logon and restart the ECUs.

As for the “To Get Space Poor in W-Space Without Even Trying…” thing… I have no real idea of how much ISK I have spent setting up and learning PI by trial and error in the last few weeks. I built my first EUr setup… then I saw something new and better and tore it all down and set it all up again and then saw something new and better and tearing it all down and setting it up again and then seeing something new and better and tearing it all down and setting it up again and…

So I finally found out if you get all OCD and click too fast you miss the fact that building ECUs, Facs, Warehouses, Launchpads all COST ISK, each time… and EUr wasn’t the only PI product I was exploring… I have setups on half of our 10 planets now… I am so deep in the RED I have decided NOT to ever do a spreadsheet on my PI outlay and setup costs… I turn 52 this month, I’m scared I’ll not live long enough to make back my losses on PI alone…   =]

Dig Safe and see you on the ground  =/|)=


  1. In the second to last planet picture, you wasted grid/cpu with needless link length. Put your factories where you have the link from the ECU's to your storage. Link congestion hasn't been an issue since Crucible, and the less link length you have, the chances of squeezing another extractor head goes up.

  2. I agree and have fixed that... sorta. I have to fess up, in the time since I snapped that pic and wrote this post... there have been some changes to that particular setup (including shortened links)... more lost ISK go figger right?

  3. AAGGHHH!! Noooo! My dendrites!

  4. LOL...
    If yer laughing at my piss poor attempts at PI, feel free... I plainly suc at it.

    However, if (and I doubt it) you feel THIS was complex, go read Mabrick's PI posts... OH MY aching dendrites! =]

    1. Hey, I gotta be me! :) This is the every person's PI guide though. Mine is heavy on the calculating. PI doesn't have to be that way. Go with what works best for you is always the first guiding principle. Sometimes you just have to forget optimal and just make something! The ISK spends just the same no matter how it's made.

  5. LOL, you are SUCH a carebear!!! and a TRUE Industrialist. =]
    I 'aspire' to one day punch in the numbers and create a JIT Nanopaste production lne to rival yours... I just haven't had 4 years to larn how yet! I figger (read hope) there are them out there in the black getting good usable info at the level they need from us both... =]


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