Titan Economics 101

Itís possible to make a fair amount of money just by piracy and scavenging but to hit the big time, youíll need to know a bit about how Mis-Op works.

With some notable exceptions, Mis-Opís economic activity is divided into primary (e.g. mines), secondary (e.g. ore processors) and tertiary sectors (e.g. weapon shops). Primary businesses produce the essential raw materials, which the secondary businesses then process into things such as sheet metal and machine parts. For more complicated secondary products, like computer components, there will be several businesses involved. Tertiary businesses produce finished products which they sell directly to the public. For something as sophisticated as a pack of groundbase maybe six or seven businesses will be involved before Dr Jobeís assembles the final missiles, to say nothing of the pilots who ferried the stuff around. Titanís manufacturing economy is a complex web, but the most important point to remember is that everyone is trying to turn a buck and each stage adds value.
 

 

Manufacturing

Manufacturing is how you make real money on Titan -  itís the heart of The K-plan. Itís possible to make a living running alcohol from Waterfront Booze to The Slum, but hellís teeth, life ainít long enough to make your pile that way. Itís small beer - literally - a case of a few percent (profit, not ABV). Now, if youíre making the booze yourself, then selling it at a reasonable market rate you can get a markup of about 700%. And thatís just booze. With narcotics you can get a profit of over 6000%! Thereís a similar markup with machine parts if youíve got a vertically integrated operation with an ore processor and components machinery working in tandem and thatís assuming youíre buying the only raw material you need - scrap. If you scavenge the scrap, itís money for old rope.

Manufacturing is the way to wealth beyond the dreams of avarice (and I donít know about you, but Captain Kronos has some pretty wild dreams of avarice), but it isnít quite the lazy manís way to riches. It needs a bit of planning to succeed, and a reasonable chunk of capital to even get going. The first decision to make is what to start manufacturing - though if youíre a cunning and skilled pilot, youíll want your finger in all the industrial pies sooner or later. Youíve also got to think about where youíre going to locate your businesses, and this can be quite tricky, because once youíve installed the machinery you canít move it to another hangar.

So, youíve got to get your real estate strategy straight before you begin installing machinery. I canít look past Downtown - itís handy for the raw materials youíll need, busy and vibrant (ie violent). Those of a more retiring disposition might choose Riverside, but basing yourself in any other crater will most likely be a struggle. Thereís an awful lot to say about which hangars to get and where to locate your machinery, and Iíll say some of it later.

Before that though, letís take a look in more detail at the profits itís possible to make and the machinery you need.

 

Raw Materials
The six basic primary materials necessary for manufacturing on Titan are:
               Gems
               Ore
               Pure Water
               Chemicals
               Plastics
               Explosives

The presence of Plastics & Explosives on a list of basic goods is perhaps surprising, but due to Titanís polluted nature the chemical industry is considered to be a primary one.
There are a couple of other basic ingredients which I havenít included on the list: scrap metal and fusion parts. Scrap can be used to replace ore in the production of sheet metal and fusion parts are the key to producing fusion cells. I havenít included them because theyíre not produced the same way as the others. Scrap is the ubiquitous result of Titanís violence and I said a bit about Fusion Parts in the Basics Section of this guide.

Captain Kronosí Trade & Manufacturing Tables

Iíve mentioned some examples of the profits possible to manufacturers and it ainít just moonshine. The hard facts are in an Excel spreadsheet.

 

 

View Manufacturing & Trade Table online.

 

 

Download Manufacturing & Trade Table.

(51 kB)

The map at the bottom of this page shows the location of selected producers of raw materials as well as other businesses and trading posts.

 

The tables perhaps deserve some explanation. The costs and sale prices used are based upon Captain Kronosí experience of trading as Kronos Industries - please feel free to alter them as you see fit. Iíve included two columns for sales - the complete one is for the prices you should get if youíre loading the stuff up and selling to an appropriate customer, the incomplete one is for sales from your hangar - which generally works best at a much lower markup. The prices Iíve quoted here should see the goods flying out of you hangar.

Iíve covered quite a few ďroutesĒ to each particular product - though there are more. Iíve omitted recipes for some the more complicated products that involve producing your sheet metal from ore - recycling scrap is much the preferred option.

Please feel free to download the spreadsheet and play around with it.

 

Other Commodities
There are other primary products to trade that donít need raw materials, yet canít be processed into anything else: Food, Furs, Huskar Cigars & Bodyparts. They can sometimes be reasonably profitable to run from producer to consumer - sometimes a difficult relationship to deduce. Food is rarely worth buying to trade though it can commonly be salvaged and is easy to sell from your hangar, or to any manufacturing outfit - they need it to operate properly. If Downtown Moths isnít building the Police L2000 you set your heart on, and theyíve got everything else they need, supplying a bit of food might help.  Bodyparts arenít worth buying either. They have a special role, as explained in the Basics Section of this guide. salvaged Bodyparts sell well from a hangar along a gang route

Machinery

There are five different types of manufacturing machinery available from Central Industrial in Downtown - Mis-Opís only supplier. Whatís available depends upon Central Industrialís level of supply. In general, this situation will improve as the game progresses but it can be well worth helping Central Industrial on itís way with a few shipments. not suprisingly, they tend to need lots of sheet metal and machine parts.

With a full stock, CI should be able to supply you with:

 

Ore Processor
Cost: $21375

  • Produces:
  • Ex-metal from ore
  • Sheet Metal from either scrap of ore.
  •  

    Components Machinery
    Cost: $31500

    Produces:

  • Machine parts & computer components
  • Cells
  • Drones
  • Chaff
  •  

    Munitions Machinery
    Cost: $46125

    Produces:

  • Missiles
  • Holograms
  • Trojans
  •  

    Distillery
    Cost: $28125

    Produces:

  • Alcohol from pure water and chemicals
  •  

    Seven traders queue outside Kronos Recreational Chemicals (Downtown 05). Theyíre attracted by the Captainís very cheap booze and drugs. Having demand for your products is always good, but just like the Captainís recreational chemicals you can have too much of a good thing. Thereís a limit to the number of people you can serve in a day, so a queue like this is the cue to increase prices, or perhaps move some of the business to another hangar.

    Narcotron
    Cost: $65250

    Produces:

  • Narcotics from chemicals
  •  

    The ore processor is a very good machine to start with. Not only is it the cheapest and has the cheapest (or free) raw materials, but the metal you produce will prove invaluable when you get into components and munitions manufacturing. Itís also worth noting that no-one bothers pirating you if youíre just carrying scrap metal. Even if you buy the scrap, you can still get a 1700% markup  when you sell the sheet metal to one of the many hangars that consume it. The ore processor isnít available at the start of the game, though UglyAngel informs me you can get Central Industrial to make one by selling them just one each of sheet metal and machine parts.

    In fact, the ore-processor is so good, that Iíll get two in separate hangars - one for ex-metal and one for sheet metal. If you try and do both in the same hangar, youíll often end up with your difficult to obtain ore being converted into sheet metal and thatís a terrible waste.

    Components machinery can also be very profitable and is a wise second machine to go for. Financially, the star product is machine parts which can be produced from the sheet metal made by your ore processor. Computer components are also profitable and very useful for later efforts with munitions manufacturing. Computer components, machine parts and sheet metal all sell well from your hangar if you offer a good price. Other components machinery products donít tend to sell as well from a hangar, though cells are sometimes in demand. Being able to produce cells for your own use can save a lot of money, particularly fusion cells. Fusion cells are so valuable that if you manage to get hold of any spare fusion parts, building the cells and selling them at trading posts and breaker makers can make you a lot of money (maybe $13500 per unit) very quickly.

    Munitions machinery isnít especially good for making money, though itís very useful to have for your own private uses. Weapons donít tend to sell too well from your own hangar with the exception of sprats, though they sell very well, and without much discounting. The main problem with producing sprats for sale is the continual need to go and buy explosives which are only available in relatively small quantities (Agrochem and Downtown Chemicals only seem to produce about fifteen units at a time). If youíre prepared to carry finished products to the weapons factories though, making devastators is perhaps worth considering.

    The distillery and the narcotron are very similar. Both are very profitable and, if the price is right (and you can afford massive discounts compared to the usual suppliers such as Waterfront Booze and General Industrial), and the location good, the simple souls of Titan will flock to your hangar to numb their pain. These two form the core of my money making strategy and once Iíve got them up and running itís easy street. They are by far the easiest products to sell from a hangar and I tend to put both in the same hangar because a lot of traders will buy alcohol and narcotics on a single visit. Presumably this is because bars tend to buy both drugs and booze, though maybe Mis-Opís traders just have some very serious problems.
     

     

    Macro Economics
    It is possible to have an effect on the overall economy of Titan. The easiest way to boost the manufacturing economy economy is to use an ore processor and components machinery to produce very cheap sheet metal and machine parts (you can make machine parts from scrap using this combination of machines for $12.5 a unit). This has a dramatic effect on the availability of goods at places like Central Industrial and the moth factories - especially exotic moths like the swallow. Of course, it isnít all altruism, because you can still make a very useful profit, even if youíre selling dramatically cheaper than everyone else because no one else bothers to vertically integrate their businesses.

    Iím indebted to UglyAngel (Titanís very own Alan Greenspan) for this very useful gem.

    ďLocation, Location, LocationĒ - Hangar Strategy

    Even on Titan, the real estate agentís old adage holds true. And, unfortunately youíre going to have to deal with them as well assimilate their pearls of wisdom. Dealing with the likes of Downtown Estates is relatively straightforward and compared to the differences in commercial opportunity different hangars offer, the difference in price is negligible. Unfortunately, the property agents donít always list all vacant property in their crater, so you may have to buy a couple of hangars you donít want and then return to see if the hangar you do want is for sale. In the example that follows, I had to do that to obtain Vacant 34 in Downtown like that.

     

    A Hangar Setup - Kronos Industries

    This is an example of a set of hangars which has proved very effective (using the same prices for hangar sales as are used in the my Trade & Manufacturing Tables. The numbers donít indicate the order the hangars were acquired, theyíre merely for reference on the map. How you get to a position like this Iíll leave up to you, but if you want to get into the millions, then this is the sort of setup you need to be aiming at.

     

    Kronos Industries in Action
    At full swing Kronos Industries is very profitable. Itís a compact empire, with a lot of convenient supply runs to keep everything ticking over nicely. My aggressive pricing means Kronos Recreational Chemicals (Downtown 05) is usually very busy indeed and this combined with the two lightwells in the vicinity and the central location of my empireís core results in the most spectacular fights. This boosts my repair businesses and also provides a healthy supply of scrap for Kronos Components & Metals (Downtown 20).

    Because of the volume of business done at Downtown 05 and the number of fights, I frequently salvage booze and narcotics. I often end up selling the same stuff twice.

    I keep an eye out for pirates who patronize my establishments and shoot them down as theyíre leaving with their pods full of merchandise. Iíll scavenge that, too. This is very lucrative, and, in a way, rather public spirited.

    Public Hangars

    1. Downtown 05. Distillery & Narcotron.

    2. Vacant 20. Ore Processing & Components.

    3. Vacant 10. Ore Processing.

    Private Hangars

    4. Vacant 34. Main base. Ore Processing, Components & Munitions.

    5. Vacant 08. Secondary base.

     

    Downtown 5 is the best hangar in the game. Being central it is always very busy. Itís also very handy for Sewage Control - a source of pure water and chemicals. Itís therefore an ideal location for a distillery and a narcotron. Vacant 20 is where I decided to locate my metals and components business. Both hangars are close to light wells which boost their potential for making money from repairs. Between them I located my main private base at Vacant 34. Here I produce goods for my own use, or to sell at trading posts etc. I also sometimes produce sprats here to sell at my public hangars. The hangars are close together and their entrances are aligned so as to be quick to fly between. These hangars are the core of the empire.

    Vacant 10 is used by me for making ex-metal from ore. Itís close to the Alpha tunnel so itís handy for the trip to the Alpha trading post (where ore can sometimes be obtained), or on to the mines. It has the sales system turned off so that I can stockpile my ex-metal there without fear of it being bought. The repair system is turned on because, lying on trade route to Alpha, it gets quite a bit of passing repair business. I use Vacant 08 mainly for trading with the two nearby moth factories - Downtown Moths and Bargain Moths.

     

    ďAny Port in a StormĒ - Other Craters

    At first itís tempting to obtain hangars in other craters. I used to aspire to spread my empire over all of Titan. Iíve since decided itís wisest just to stick to Downtown. Riverside is OK, and generally safer than Downtown - especially if you havenít annoyed The Klamp. Alpha and Gamma are pretty much hopeless businesswise, though hangars there can be useful as private boltholes. It is very difficult if not impossible to obtain hangars in other craters.
     

     

    Mis-Op Trade Map

    The map, below, gives the location of producers of all the raw materials you might need for your manufacturing and can be used to plot trade routes and decide which hangars to buy. Trading posts and businesses which produce things you canít manufacture, like cannons and software are also included. Itís quite possible to deal only with these hangars and not miss much.

     

    Klamp Crater

    Trading Posts

    Lazarus Crater

    Mines

    Disputed Crater

    Chemicals & Water

    Neutral Crater

    Chemical Products

    Port

    Weapons

    Water

    Software

    Straight Tunnel

    Engines & Pods

    Tunnel

    Manufacturing Machinery

    Economic Limits

    If youíve followed The K-plan so far, you should have a rather nice empire and, unless youíve squandered your dollars on fast women and slow moths you should be well on your way to your first million at least. How far can you take things after that?

    Given enough time, there appears to be no limit (within reason) to the total pile you can make in Hardwar though there are certain very important restrictions as to how quickly you can make this money. The economy appears to keep running due to an eternal pot of money from the police and factions, in the form of bounties, acting as a source and the trading posts, which will buy absolutely anything,  acting as a sink. Of course, none of this would work without the AI pilots respawning so that there are always traders, pirates and scavengers. It would appear that re-spawning occurs at the correct rate so as to keep the numbers constant and I suspect this is the thing which regulates the economy. No matter how much you produce, or how cheaply, there is going to be a maximum rate that you can sell it at. This is most noticeable when selling from a hangar, but it also applies to selling to the trading posts or other businesses - you can temporarily bankrupt them.

    The limited number of traders has an interesting effect. if you totally flood the market with cheap alcohol and narcotics you wonít be able to sell anything else from your hangars, even if youíre practically giving it away because all the traders will be shunting your booze and drugs. There appears to be no end to the demand for mind-altering substances and it is possible to have virtually every moth in Downtown carrying narcotics.


     

    Hardwar Versions
    This guide is written based on Captain Kronosí experiences in offline HW U3B4, Though the majority of the Captainís facts should hold for most of the commonly played versions of the game.

    There are differences between the versions though, so donít take anything as gospel, certainly not on Titan, and certainly not from Captain Kronos.

    As ever, if you want a second opinion, consult the links and in particular Zedoís site and timskiís Hardwar FAQ.

    Conclusion & Finding Out More

      

    Well, thatís the end of the Pilotís Guide, but Iím sure it isnít everything you might possibly want to know about Hardwar. To find out more, you should visit some of my links and especially Captain Zedoís and Hardwar FAQ.

    Best of luck with your flying and trading. I hope to see you in The Afterdark sometime after youíve made your first million. Perhaps then, you could buy me a drink!

     

    Captain Kronosí Swallow returns home too Downtown 05.

     

    If you have any comments or questions about The Pilotís Guide, please email me.

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