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Friday, January 28, 2011

Innovation in Planetary Interaction

  The expansion of Incursions has brought many changes to Eve. Some hailed as good, some not so much. One of the good ones, at least relative to its old state, is the nature of planetary interaction. When PI was introduced in Tyrannis, it was a strange beast that to many was nothing but a massive series of clicks. Well that era has ended. Perhaps it is a little late in coming, but it has nonetheless.

  So, for those that have already had their fingers in PI, you most likely already know these things. But for those of you that have been thinking of getting into it and waited for this change, perhaps I can shed a little light to help ease you into the logistics of the process.

  As with the previous iteration, one must have the appropriate skill levels to start. These being Command Center Upgrades, Interplanetary Consolidation, Planetology and Remote Sensing. The last two are less vital, but can be handy when selecting your target planet. The higher the first two, the better off you will be in the long run.

  First, you will want to decide what you intend to build. Organizing this information will be very important if you have a lot of logistics to do or to make the most informed decision on the planets you want for your operations. To this end, this PI material guide has done me worlds of good for tracking what I need and where I can get it. Many thanks goes to Korai for this.

  Now, it used to be that you had to purchase the right CC for your level of skills. ie. Basic CC for level 1 Command Center Upgrades and so on. Well that has been done away with, thank goodness, and now you simply need the right CC for the planet you wish to colonize. So grab it, stick it in your hold and make your way to the system you're using. You only have to be in the system, not at the planet, to set up. So if you can sit safely inside POS shields, go ahead by all means. Next, you will want to select your planet and hop into planet view mode.
Simply named Gas Command Center now. Ignore the dancers :P

  This is where the Planetology skill comes in handy for scanning for resources. For our purposes, I shall set up a Gas planet. The better the skills, easier it is to find better resources. So here, I am looking for Noble Gas and Aqueous Liquids. These will later refine into water and oxygen. Placing your CC can be crucial, especially with lower skills. The farther your setups are spread across a world, the more powergrid and cpu it will need. So when I scan a planet, I play around.

Scanning itself can be confusing. When you first see it, it'll look like this:

  This bar is what will allow you to change and see varying degrees of resource deposits. Cooler colors mean less and hotter colors like red and white are the richest. The left most side is the lower limits and the right the upper limits of your scan. If the left shows 50 of resource X, bringing the slider farther to the right will bring that up. Thus, when you see blue on the planet, instead of only being 50 it is 150 of that resource. It is hard to find resources so rich that you can see white on the planet when the slider is left in this position. So I bring mine more toward the middle, meaning I find plenty of the resource I want in sustainable quantities. So it will look something close to this:

  After you do so, you want to switch between resources you plan to harvest on the planet and plan your CC placement accordingly. So on my gas planet I have noble gases and liquids as so:

  It seems I am in luck and the resources are very close to each other, nearly in the same place. I place the CC closer to the lesser resource, since the more abundant one is usually close by or there's enough to make the placement satisfactory. Switch over to the build tab and click on your CC, placing it where you deem best.

  So, now we don't use different types of CC's, but what does that leave us with now? Upgradeable command centers. I love it.
The green upgrade level is an indication of how awesome you are
Your skills will apply now in a different way. You can, for a sizable amount of isk, upgrade your CC to the appropriate level that your skills allow. For me, I can get up to all but the highest.

 As you can see, the change in PG and CPU is enormous. This allows me to have a lot more flexibility with my building. Of course, the millions you spend up front will be remade in the long run, so if you can float this you're fine. Hit the submit button when you are ready and we can move into setting up the rest of the colony. 

My first placement is always a spaceport. Why? A couple reasons. I route everything into it and it allows import/export. I stopped using the CC as a launcher after my first day of PI, I hated it. I also tend to use it as an anchor point for routes, etc. and it means there's need to link anything to your CC. After this, you can build the extractors. These are now called Extractor Control Units, because they use "heads" for the actual extraction and are quite handy. They also had a wide diameter of operation, so setting them down can be quite a bit easier too.  

The ECUs now cover a larger area than before

  Go ahead and set them down and link them back to the spaceport. I do as much in the edit mode as possible just in case I need to fix something and not waste ISK. So here we go:

The start to our production line.

  If you notice, these two ECUs take up a sizable amount of grid and cpu, so be wary of how many you use and how far they are. Linking things together, while relatively cheaper, still adds up. Hit submit and click on an ECU. Click the survey button and you will be presented with a new type of window. It can be rather confusing too. 

  Your first action will be to select the resource you want on the right hand side. Doing so will bring back your visual scan and show you where the richest deposits are. Next, head over to the left side where you see those columns of circles. Those are your heads. Each one is placed in a different spot in a circle around the ECU itself. Now, before you go extracting anything, you can click on those individual heads and move them where ever you want inside the diameter of the ECU's control range. This is an amazing and useful tool to enable you to balance the resource depletion against extraction rates. These will add more load to your grid, but as long as you have decent skills you should be ok. The cost only comes from adding the heads, not placing them inside the control range. I try to keep it to 3 heads placed in a fan towards the resource, just so I have decent extraction, but room left for other actions I need that cost PG/CPU. When you place the heads, you will see bars jump up in the middle like a graph. This will show you how much you can extract within your overall cycle. If you look in the lower right corner, it will give you the per hour and total output numbers. However, I have found in my work that those are far from accurate and can't be trusted unless CCP decides to actually fix it. They may  have already and I hadn't noticed, but I doubt it. So look at those numbers and take it with a grain of salt. The more the better, either way. Now that you have it all set, what time do you want it to run? The great part about this new stuff is the ability to set the time anywhere from 1 hour to 14 days. You can even do it by 15 min increments.

  The thing you need to worry about now is resource depletion. Play with the time frame and watch your heads. If you notice, the field around them expands outwards the longer you have the cycle set. If you have it set to 14 days, the circle around them looks like it is filled with white noise. Find a setting that works for your schedule most of all, but also allow regeneration time for the resources. I live in wormholes so I barely have to worry about all that. For now, I'll set it to a day and a half, the graph showing that the resources deplete over that timeframe:

  After you are done submitting for both ECUs, don't forget to route the materials into the spaceport. It is likely that you will get denied, though. Don't worry, there is a fix. The culprit is usually the links that bear the load of transport. They default to 250 m3/hour, so I upgrade them to 1000 m3/hour if I have the grid. It'll look something like this:

  Now you can properly route your materials. Hit submit and let them run while you set up the next step. This will let you have the materials to use in the later stages so you don't have to come back to route them later. 

  Next, you will want to set up the basic industry facilities to refine your extractions. If you don't want to refine, then you can stop there and just set up more ECUs more mass extraction. But onward we go. With so many materials coming in, I tend to set up two refineries for each resource to make sure things are running efficiently. You can set up more if you want, it all depends on your needs and your abilities. 

  Now my colony is shaping up nicely:

  When you set them up, set them close to your storage to use as little grid as possbile. If you need additional storage, you can always set it next to the spaceport as well, the layout is entirely up to you. Click on the facilities and choose your needed blueprint and route them back to the spaceport.
 If I wanted to run advanced refineries, I tend to place them at the top, mainly just to look pretty, but also because the basic refineries can link straight to it and route the materials it needs into it. If you have too many basic material refines coming out, just route them to storage and then back into the advanced facility so as to not waste. Now, those extractions you had going? Hopefully you are close to getting the first cycle dumped into storage. If they have already, make sure to route those into the refineries one at a time. However, if they haven't completed yet don't worry. All you have to do to get those materials routed is to use the route you have already established. What do I mean? Click on your storage, then the links button on it. When you find the incoming materials, click on that and create a route with it into the processors and you are good to go. This will take those materials when they get to storage and immediately put them into production. Then hit submit and watch the whole process heave into motion. Soon you will have piles of what you want that you can then export and pick up at your convenience. (Protip: You can use the customs office as extra storage. If you need to import materials to react in advanced refineries, keep spare materials there and import when you need so they don't take up space on your planet)

  There are many needs for PI and thus many different set ups that you could possible need. It could be nothing but extractors routing to storage to launch out or you could have a complex web of links and routes. Play around and tweak as you wish, it's quite customizable and interesting when you get down to it. 
 So there you have it. The new face of PI in all its buggy glory. It's not a perfect system, but people wouldn't play anything if they wanted perfection. It works and that's all that matters I suppose. For me, it is a great tool to help my corp and to satisfy my carebear ways now that I have turned into a death machine. Almost 200 kills as of this writing, woot. :P I'll leave my usual updates on things for the next post, since I intend to link this to people when they need the information. 

  I hope it has helped with your own endeavors. If you find better ways of doing things or have more info, feel free to comment here or shoot me a mail in game. If you need any other pointers or info, feel free to contact me as well.


LuckyLuigi said...

Trying to extract raw material and process it beyong P1 on a single plant will work very badly.

You're much better of making dedicated factory planets for processing P1 to P2 and upwards.

Memoocan said...

Aye, it can get difficult. That's why I run 4 planets and have materials spidering all over the place, running up to P2 and P3 when I can