Tobold's Blog
Thursday, May 26, 2022
PrUn Log - Stardate 2022-05-26

I built a third food processor on Verdant, which pushed my need for pioneers up to 420. As I only have 400 housing for them, a fifth pioneer habitation will be next. Not having enough housing gives you a proportional reduction in efficiency, so right now everything I do is only 95% as efficient as it will be when I add more housing. The big advantage I have now is that because I built a prefab plant, I can produce all the prefabs needed for new buildings myself.

Previously I was in the habit of producing goods, flying them to the closest commodity exchange (Moria), selling my goods, buying building materials and prefabs, and flying those back home. The sooner I got my building materials shipped home, the sooner I could expand my production. So obviously I was interested in selling my goods fast, and buying goods fast, because sitting in the commodity exchange with cash or unsold goods means capital that isn't working. My prefab plant has taken away some of that time pressure, and that has advantages too.

In Prosperous Universe the commodity exchanges work like a stock market: People put in buy and sell orders. If somebody who is trying to sell offers his goods at a price equal or lower to the highest bidder, the sale happens immediately. Same if somebody is trying to buy and offers to pay equal or more than the lowest asking price. But you frequently have a "spread", a difference between the lowest ask and the highest bid. For example, currently in Moria, people are willing to pay around 70 for oxygen, while sellers are willing to sell oxygen for around 90.

So if I arrive at Moria with a cargo of my oxygen production, I could sell that oxygen immediately for 70. Or I could post it for a cent lower than the lowest ask, 89.99, and hope that somebody comes and buys it before somebody else underbids me. Or I could post it for 80, hoping that other oxygen sellers are unwilling to lower their prices that low. The more money I ask, the longer it will probably take to sell my oxygen, but up to 20 credits more per unit of oxygen means significantly better profits.

One useful tip in PrUn is to rent a warehouse, because at just 100 credits per week rent that is rather cheap. And with a warehouse, you can sell goods with no ship present. That dead capital held in cash might come in useful after all, because just like I can sell oxygen possible for more if I wait a bit, I can also wait for the things I am buying. For example limestone has been moving a lot lately, going up from 120 to over 150, then falling to 100. I haven't gone as far as trying to speculate, just buying and selling the same goods to and from the warehouse. But I sure am taking a bit more time now, waiting for the goods that I am selling to be relatively high, and the goods that I am buying relatively low.


I was doing some research into this game, and came across this comment from a (negative) steam review:

Every item has a "market maker" selling and buying infinite units. These define the approximate cost of goods, not the players. If there is infinite supply and infinite demand, why bother? That's not "player driven economics".

Is this a valid criticism?
First of all, "every item" having a market maker is objectively wrong. Some items have neither a selling nor a buying market maker. Some items have just one or the other. Some very essential items like fuel have both.

Second, for most items the market makers don't play any role at all in the game. For example for drinking water, there is a market maker selling infinite amounts for 121, and a market maker buying infinite amounts for 19. There are 43,786 units of drinking water for sale for between 99.50 and 68.98, and there are 21,876 demands for drinking water to buy for between 20 and 60. Looking at the price chart of the last 180 days, it seems that nobody ever bought from or sold to a drinking water market maker.

Basically the market makers serve to "seed" the market at the start of the game. And they serve as a source of cash into the economy in some cases. It can happen that prices of a good shoot up or crash down so much that they reach market maker level, but for most items that rarely to never happens.
Thanks for explaining that. I was pretty sure that player was misrepresenting reality, but I'd specifically searched for reviews with people who had at least 10 hours played, and he had over 19 hrs, so presumably he had put in a good chunk of time to learn it.
I remember the EVE adage of never buying the ask. I feel guilty but I do as I am in a hurry to get some more buildings. But I had a few extra NC1 left over last time so was able to buy a bit at bid prices. Capital could be profitable. Some day...

But the opportunity cost of 14000 credits in the market is one less building. Or waiting a day to sell then buy costs a day of output.
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