How to be an efficient gamer?

First, minimizing unnecessary diversity is always a good thing. Each race uses different food in their factories. I tried to standardize factories as far as possible to decrease that diversity. This allowed me to plan required production outputs at each step within the cycle more easily. Instead of coordinating production of 8 different foodstuffs (each taking at least 2 steps to produce), I only had to make 2 of them. That’s much easier to control!

Next, I thought on where to locate solar plants and ore mines. When planning geographically, you always have to consider your logistics and safety issues as well!

I wanted to build my main complex in one of the empty sectors, unclaimed by any race. Preferably one, that would not be too close to any of the sectors known for pirate activity. I could have placed it in sector that belonged to one of races that I was on good terms with, but:

  1. What if for some reason we would start fighting? I could not afford to lose that complex if that was the case.
  2. They had their own interracial conflicts, and there was some risk that my factories might get damaged. That was a factor I could not control – and I don’t like this!
  3. I expected high traffic as my complex expanded – and this, combined with eisting traffic would result in crowded sector. Therefore, any capital ships operating in the area would be prone to traffic incidents.

 

I chose a sector that fulfilled these wishes. Moreover, it was extremely close to the best sector in terms of power generation. This meant I nedded less than half of those precious Solar Plants!

The issue of logistics

X3:TC Solar Power Plants

Solar Power Plants in X3:TC – these things are MASSIVE

What Solar Plants need however, are crystals. And in order to make these, I needed lots of silicon – which is fairly hard to get in quantities required for my project. Mind, that the complex was intended not only to supply my large fleet of fighters, but a whole sizeable fleet of both military and commercial space ships. Not only I could not get it in sector, but there was no single sector in the universe, that would supply me with sufficient amount of silicon. And this actually was the most complex part of my process.

In X3:TC logistics is very hard. Transporters are expensive, and you often lose them to pirates. It takes a long time to train your crew, and setting them up takes a lot of micromanagement. Therefore I wanted to use as few transporters, as possible.

Silicon wafers take a lot of cargospace. Crystals you make out of them are much more space-efficient. Therefore I wanted to move silicon around as little as possible, and transport crystals instead. Silicon mines, however, have output dependent on asteroid they are built on, while in case of Crystal Fabs used to process them, the capacity is fixed per module. Therefore, if I wanted to process all silicon on-site, I would need many Crystal Fabs, of which few would work at full capacity. This means waste. Moreover, I would have 6 different factories in different systems, that I would have to collect crystals from. 12 ships going back and forth over ~8 sectors? Makes pirates happy!

What I did instead was that: I built one large silicon processing centre in central sector of silicon-rich area, and mines in nearby sectors. I have used 2 ships travelling to adjacent sectors to gather silicon and deliver power cells. Silicon was processed in a processing centre (simply a lot of Crystal Fabs bundled together), and gathered by 2 ships that took it to my power plants – delivering energy cells for the whole operation on their way back. In this way, I used only 4 ships, that travelled much less. I also had less waste, since it was much easier to adjust output of one central processing centre, than many small fabs. And those saved me approx 1/2 of total costs – even without taking into account transports I would lose to pirates otherwise! I also used the same centre to distribute ore from nearby ore mines in similar manner.

To sum it up

Now you can see, why proper definition of your actual need is crucial. Always remember, that point “B” of your process is satisfying your need. If you make military units, you make them to fight – not to stand around and shine! Know your constraints, know where you are at the beginning (“A”) and try to use everything you have to get from “A” to “B” as easily and efficiently, as possible.

A little bonus – game

Today, I have a little mind game for you to practice on. Below are all the steps you need to take to make yourself a cup o tea. If you do them sequentially, as listed, it would take 7 mins and 15 s. Try to arrange them and parallelize efficiently to cut it down, and post your results. Show me your skills guys!

Step NoActionTime to complete (seconds)
1Saving the game20s
2Get up10s
3Go to kitchen30s
4Decide if you wnat tea or coffe10s
5Fetch the teabag10s
6Turn the kettle on5s
7Water boiling180s
8Find your favourite mug20s
9Put the tea in5s
10Pour the water10s
11Put the sugar in10s
12Stir30s
13Find lemon10s
14Cut lemon10s
15Put lemon in5s
16Take the teabag out10s
17Go to your room30s
18Sit down comfortably10s
19Load the game20s
20Take a sip<-success!

Adam “Fanatyk” Wojciechowski

This article is a part of our series “Gamers, get your suits on!” on application of management skills and common sense in computer games. You can find the rest of articles here.

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About The Author

Adam "Fanatyk" Wojciechowski
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I am a co-founder, admin and manager of this site. From time to time I also write articles here. In real life, I am doing my Masters degree in Mechanical Engineering with Management at the University of Edinburgh. Besides gaming I am an avid cyclist, fountain pen enthusiast and windsurfer.

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