A guide to trade cluster construction for the civilized emperor

General discussion for the game Anacreon
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L.W., Windsor wrote:
Fri Apr 06, 2018 9:22 pm
There is no reading on these things as of yet. Please make some by responding to me. It will please the Scientists.
A guide to trade cluster construction for the civilized emperor


Step 1: The Core Worlds. Locate a group of 3 worlds close together with lots of space around them, like this:

Capture 2.PNG
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Step 2: Setting up the administration. Designate them as sector capital, trade hub and foundation respectively. You will need to wait 24 hours while the sector capital is established before continuing. In the meantime...

Step 3: Conquest. Capture all the worlds within a 200 light year radius of those 3 worlds. Once the SC is online: designate them to produce resources as follows:

a) Consumer goods: Earth-like, ocean and underground worlds.
b) Trillum: inhospitable worlds (everything except the above) with "abundant" deposits, if none are available "major" is also OK.
c) Hexacarbide: barren worlds with "abundant" deposits.

Leave anything with "minor" or "trace" deposits for now. If they aren't at TL5+, temporarily designate them to anything to allow them to reach TL5 so a spaceport can be built.

Step 4: Setting up trade routes. Ensure all those worlds are at or above TL5 and have a spaceport built. Now select your trade hub (from Step 2), right click on one of those worlds. A trade route should have been formed between the two worlds, with an arrow pointing towards the hub. Select the world you just right-clicked on, and right-click on the hub. The trade route should have an arrow pointing back towards the selected world.

Repeat this procedure for every single world you conquered. Make sure you don't miss any worlds! If you forget to right click once on the hub and once on the world, it will be only importing or only exporting, not both. And that's really bad.

Do the same thing for the 3 core worlds! They should all be importing from, and exporting to, each other. If a world doesn't have a trade route connected to it, you've done it wrong.

Step 5: Increasing tech levels. If your foundation is at or above TL8, select every single one of those worlds and right click on the foundation. If your foundation is at TL9 or 10, you need to click on the center of the trade route, click on the "tech level improvement" button in the bottom panel and manually set the tech level to uplift to 8 (antimatter).

If you don't do this every single world will be uplifted to TL 9 or 10, which is very hard to sustain for an inexperienced player.

Step 6: Increasing population. Leave your empire alone for a few hours. When you come back, all the worlds in that "cluster" will be at a high TL. Now click on each of them, go to the "Structures" tab and build a "habitat structure". This will be named something like "subtropolis", "planetary arcology" etc. Anything that has a description hinting towards increasing population. They will take anything from 2-4 days to build. There are often multiple "levels" of upgrades, so check back after the first tier is built.


If you have done everything correctly up to this point, your cluster on the zoomed out map will look like this:

Capture.PNG
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Step 7: Building units. Remember the worlds with "minor" and "trace" deposits? Click on them and redesignate to a unit-producing world of your choice (jumpship yard, starship yard or infantry academy). For every unit-producing world you should aim to have at least one matching "autofac" world (jumpship/starship parts autofac, infantry equipment autofac), also preferably built on worlds with poor deposits.

For worlds with "major" and "abundant" chronimium deposits (rare), designate them as chronimium refineries and connect them to the network. You'll need this to produce high tech units.

Step 8: Fixing underproduction. Click on the trade hub, go to "Production" tab:

Capture 5.PNG
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This is probably the most important screen: it shows you if any shortages are present in the trade network with brackets around the required amount. As you can see, this cluster is slightly underproducing chronimum, and as a result: advanced jumpdrives, which requires chronimium to make. To fix this, simply designate more worlds to produce the resource that has a shortage.

Continued in next post, due to the 3 attachment limit.
Last edited by --Imperator-- on Sat Apr 07, 2018 2:24 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Step 9: Fixing overproduction. Click on each of the worlds in the cluster individually. Go to their "Production" tab:

Capture.PNG
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In this example, hexacarbide is being vastly overproduced by almost 1000 units per minute, leading to a surplus stockpile of 35 million. You're free to redesignate this world to produce something else, provided there is another hex world producing enough to make up the difference.

Step 10 (for advanced players!): Changing import/export percentages. Let's say we have 2 major trillum worlds and 1 abundant. The abundant world overproduces and the 2 major underproduce. We can force the hub to import more trillum from the abundant world. Usually, production is split evenly, so each world supplies 33.33% of the cluster's requirement. But let's make it 50/25/25:

Capture 2.PNG
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Now we still have a surplus of trillum, but the produced/exported ratio is much closer.

After all this, you need to play with the import/export percentages to find the perfect balance. When you find this balance your cluster is complete and is producing at maximum efficiency. Keep in mind that world efficiencies change as their tech levels and populations fluctuate during the initial setup phase, so leave this after the cluster has been in place for a few weeks.


Now everyone has the knowledge necessary to transition from a messy, sprawling mesh trade network to a beautifully organized trade cluster.

Edit: But I forgot to include the most important step:

DEFENSE. When push comes to shove, everything in the galaxy is finite... especially the number of worlds. You'll inevitably find yourself in conflict with another player and the first thing they'll be coming for is those nice clusters you've built.

When a sector capital is captured, a random number of worlds will "defect" and flip over to the attacker's control. This may or may not include worlds with fleets stationed on top of them, if so then those will defect as well. Long story short, you'll end up fighting your own ships and troops if you leave capitals undefended. More importantly: if all sector capitals AND the main capital is captured, your empire is destroyed and you lose the game.

Station as many ships and troops as possible at capitals. Like this:

Capture.PNG
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This is a good example.

Your trade hubs should also be defended heavily. If they fall, expect the entire cluster to fall into civil war as people die from resource shortages. They actually produce nothing, just import/export, so you can use their labor to produce 100% planetary defenses (set them to 100% manually in the Structures tab). Send some ships here too, but they might defect if the capital falls first, so weigh up the benefits/risks. Usually an attacker will make a beeline for the capital, but if the hub is inadequately defended they will knock it out first. Don't bother defending the foundation.

I'll update/clean this up as I think of more stuff...

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Sat Apr 07, 2018 6:53 am

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Mon Apr 09, 2018 10:14 pm

This is a good guide.

I think that it is also worth discussing planet placement relative to other players: If your neighbors are well-established, try to keep your capitals and hubs outside their maximum achievable jumpship range. Remember that any planet they control within range of a capital can become a jumpbeacon instantaneously. I think this should be changed, but right now any commandable enemy planet is a jumpship threat.

You own jumpship yards coverage is also a consideration, it's a good idea to keep them outside beacon range of one another so that the enemy can't daisy-chain if you get attacked by jumpship fleets. It's fine to have them near one another within clusters that are deep inside your own territory, so long as there is no easy avenue of ingress for an enemy jumpfleet or minotaur fleet escorting jumpships. A small nebula is ideal if you have one.

Clusters are cosmetically attractive and are powerful engines of ship construction, but I think it's a shame that the cluster strategy ends up creating large homogeneous regions of space. Clustered empires have a certain "sameness" to them and methodically conquering every single planet in a region is tedious.

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Tue Apr 10, 2018 4:43 am

Watch TV, Do Nothing wrote:
Mon Apr 09, 2018 10:14 pm
I think that it is also worth discussing planet placement relative to other players: If your neighbors are well-established, try to keep your capitals and hubs outside their maximum achievable jumpship range. Remember that any planet they control within range of a capital can become a jumpbeacon instantaneously. I think this should be changed, but right now any commandable enemy planet is a jumpship threat.

Good point. What would be useful is bring able to see a "preview" of the beacon range before designating, instead of trying to guesstimate how far it will reach or (worst case scenario) holding up a ruler to the monitor...

Something similar to view sector capital and trade hub range would be great too. Perhaps something for Era 4.

An alternative solution to neighbors' capitals and yards being too close for comfort is to cleanse their worlds with holy fire engage in peaceful diplomacy to form alliances with them.

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Tue Apr 10, 2018 9:05 pm

I've just read through this in full (it's excellent of course) but do you not use the 100% on all import method? I've always found that leaving the %s as they are/trying to match them to world production causes all kinds inefficiencies, especially with things like jumpfacs that need to import multiple products to supply further products. Plus, 100% import makes it really easy to work out exactly how much extra capacity you have instead of just how much you need and is all round less fiddly and annoying. Or is it just me?
--Imperator-- wrote:
Tue Apr 10, 2018 4:43 am
holding up a ruler to the monitor...
All the old traditions and skills may be dying but in the Auroran Hegemony this work is still done by hand. Well, by finger. But UI stuff like this is really high on my wishlist, along with the ability to choose empire colour, a message log and the ability to dismiss all messages about shortages and deaths.

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Wayward Device wrote:
Tue Apr 10, 2018 9:05 pm
I've just read through this in full (it's excellent of course) but do you not use the 100% on all import method?
Huh. Learn something new every day. I've honestly just discovered this was possible. Thanks... I actually thought the percentages had to add up to 100% and was sitting around with a calculator figuring out how to get exactly 1:1 produced : exported ratio. Feels less of a 4X game and more like spreadsheet simulator, but whatever.

It seems you can even set import percentages to be MORE than 100%, to create a stockpile on the hub for emergencies in case some other player comes along and poaches resource worlds. I'm testing this out now, setting the Centauri hub to import 200% of trillum from 5 worlds - 3 abundant, 2 major.

When I set import to 100% or more, every minute when the game updates it seems the amount imported fluctuates wildly. Sometimes it imports 60k+ from one world, and 0 from the others. Other times it imports an even amount from each world. I've tried resetting the trade route, removing all trillum from a world and putting back, but nothing seems to work. Right now there's enough stockpiles on each world to keep this going for a while, but I guess we'll see if the main cluster falls apart in a week's time. Any ideas?

If this works I'll put it into the guide, credit to Wayward Device. Also WTV for the jumpbeacons thing.

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Wed Apr 11, 2018 1:31 pm

Wayward Device wrote:
Tue Apr 10, 2018 9:05 pm
I've just read through this in full (it's excellent of course) but do you not use the 100% on all import method? I've always found that leaving the %s as they are/trying to match them to world production causes all kinds inefficiencies, especially with things like jumpfacs that need to import multiple products to supply further products. Plus, 100% import makes it really easy to work out exactly how much extra capacity you have instead of just how much you need and is all round less fiddly and annoying. Or is it just me?
--Imperator-- wrote:
Tue Apr 10, 2018 4:43 am
holding up a ruler to the monitor...
All the old traditions and skills may be dying but in the Auroran Hegemony this work is still done by hand. Well, by finger. But UI stuff like this is really high on my wishlist, along with the ability to choose empire colour, a message log and the ability to dismiss all messages about shortages and deaths.
But ... if you get rid of those, what will I do with my ruler? and... my ten mouses that I prepared for clicking all those messages, it is like wake-a-message. They just keep coming for hours of fun. And also, also, I think it is a form of psychological warfare, if I know that attack a semi weak empire will cause them to freak out and quit because they don't want to deal with all of those messages, I'll do it! and I'll enjoy it!
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Wayward Device
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Thu Apr 12, 2018 12:12 am

--Imperator-- wrote:
Wed Apr 11, 2018 6:52 am
It seems you can even set import percentages to be MORE than 100%, to create a stockpile on the hub for emergencies in case some other player comes along and poaches resource worlds. I'm testing this out now, setting the Centauri hub to import 200% of trillum from 5 worlds - 3 abundant, 2 major.

When I set import to 100% or more, every minute when the game updates it seems the amount imported fluctuates wildly. Sometimes it imports 60k+ from one world, and 0 from the others. Other times it imports an even amount from each world. I've tried resetting the trade route, removing all trillum from a world and putting back, but nothing seems to work. Right now there's enough stockpiles on each world to keep this going for a while, but I guess we'll see if the main cluster falls apart in a week's time. Any ideas?

If this works I'll put it into the guide, credit to Wayward Device. Also WTV for the jumpbeacons thing.
Ok, so first of all I can confirm that 100% import definitely works (999% is another thing) because every cluster I've made for the last 2.5 years has been using that method. I do not recommend more than 100%, every time I've tried 999% to try and get a bigger stockpile on the hub it's ended with wild swings causing rebellions, even when the supply chain was well over capacity. From experience, you shouldn't have to redesignate any trade routes, just make sure they are all 100%. Mixing 100% with >100% has always been a bad for me and caused major problems with worlds not exporting, much worse than pure 999%. It''ll be stable for a few days and will have a large stockpile on the hub then bam, trillum tantrum rebellions everywhere.

Now, to try and answer your import fluctuation question. I've tried and failed to experimentally prove exactly how it works but here's my best understanding of what's going on with your stuff. First of all, it seems that 100% hubs have bigger stockpiles that the ones using the split % method. For example, in the screenshot in step 8 you seem to have a hub making either 191 Eldritch or Warphants a minute. It has a stockpile of 1.6 million durable goods, exporting 577k a minute. I have a very similar 100% cluster currently exporting 546k durable goods, it has a stockpile of 6.6 million. So your hub is trying to import enough to go up to to whatever new stockpile limit it is trying to reach.

Normally when I'm in similar situations (say, connecting a CGA world with 150 million stockpiled durable goods to a cluster that had a CGA product shortage) what will typically happen is a couple of hours where the hub alternates between pulling huge amounts from the world (or worlds) with the big stockpile and ignoring the others and then flipping back to pulling from the other worlds because they produced a bunch of products and didn't export any so have a modest stockpile, before switching back to the big stockpile worlds etc. The weird thing is that the hub won't just import like 10 million durable goods from the big stockpile world to get it done in one go. Maybe there is a hard limit on how many goods can move through a hub and we just usually don't hit it with normal production levels, even in the largest clusters.

Anyway, things should settle down soon and you'll have most production worlds with no stockpile exporting the maximum each minute and a few (whatever your total surplus is) exporting nothing or almost nothing with massive stockpiles, making it extremely easy to gauge how much total capacity you have.
TheBugKing wrote:
Wed Apr 11, 2018 1:31 pm
I know that attack a semi weak empire will cause them to freak out and quit because they don't want to deal with all of those messages, I'll do it! and I'll enjoy it!
So I've talked many times about how awful the message spam is, how many thousands of actions it can take to clear them after a big rebellion, how soul destroying it is when server lag causes them to pop right back and how the constant clicking pushed me to finally address the RSI in my index finger. That said, some days I do feel that it acts almost like "fog of war" and that is in it's own way a very cool feature. I mean, the hardest work during the rebuilding after you got in my beacon network and collapsed a bunch of my clusters in the last war wasn't moving the fleets or redesignating the trade routes, it was the clicking. I like the fog of war effect, I just wish there was a better way to clear it.

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