Resource Production (SEIV)
Resources (SEIV) are the materials, food, information, and other trade goods that are the lifeblood of a thriving empire. In Space Empire IV, there are five of these Resources that you must manage: Minerals, Organics, Radioactives, Research, and Intelligence.
- Minerals are possibly the most valuable resource, and will be in short supply MUCH more commonly than Organics and Radioactives. Due to how construction works, Minerals will also tend to be the limiting factor on how long a ship, facility, or unit takes to build.
- Organics are undoubtedly the least-needed resource, and it is easy to keep supply well ahead of demand. The one exception to this is races with the Organic Manipulation racial trait, who, unsurprisingly, need significant amounts of Organics to build their Organic technology...though still nowhere near as much as Minerals.
- Radioactives fall somewhere between Minerals and Organics in terms of demand. While they will rarely fall short the way Minerals constantly do, an empire must still actually pay attention to them to insure that it stays that way, especially later in the game when high-radioactive components (such as many Stellar Manipulation components) become available. Crystalline and Temporal races tend to have a somewhat higher Radioactives requirement than other races.
- Research is, of course, the Resource that fuels your technological research. Without enough Research, an empire's technology will lag behind that of their rivals. While a slight technological gap can be overcome, being significantly outteched or facing an enemy with technology you cannot yet counter (such as Fighters) can be devastating.
- Intelligence is different from the other four Resources in that it is not available at the start of the game. For that matter, depending on what options are taken in pre-game setup, it may not be available at any point. If and when it does come into play though, Intelligence is used to carry out Intelligence Projects.
Each turn, an empire will produce 200 Minerals, Organics, and Radioactives simply for existing. However, this is far too small an amount to run an empire, so other sources must be found or built.
Facilities are the primary means of producing Minerals, Organics, and Radioactives, and are one of only two ways to produce Research and Intelligence. The basic concept is simple: have one of your colonies build one of the resource-producing facilities, and when it's done building, that facility will produce an amount of its resource that depends on the facility's level. This amount is then modified by several factors before being added to the empire's treasury.
Minerals are produced by Mineral Miner Facilities, Organics are produced by Organic Farm Facilities, and Radioactives are produced by Radioactives Extraction Facilities. More advanced facilities, such as the Monolith Facility, will produce all three. Their output is modified as follows:
- Total Facility Output = (total facility production)*(planet value)*(population modifier + happiness modifier + racial characteristics)*(planet bonus facility)*(system bonus facility)
The Planet Value modifier is significant in choosing what Facilities to put where. For example, no matter how many Mineral Miner Facilities are on a planet, if its Planet Value for Minerals is 5%, you won't get many Minerals out of it. If its Planet Value for Radioactives is 150% though, even just a handful of Radioactives Extraction Facilities can provide all the Radioactives that three or four Space Yards need.
Research is produced by Research Facilities, and Intelligence is produced by Intelligence Facilities. These slightly differ in how their output is modified before being added to the treasury:
- Total Facility Output = (total facility production)*(population modifier + happiness modifier + racial characteristics)*(planet bonus facility)*(system bonus facility)
Because neither of these is affected by any sort of Planet Value, the best sites for Research- or Intelligence-oriented colonies is on worlds with terrible Planet Values for all three resources.
Two important things to note are that Intelligence Facilities cannot be constructed until Applied Intelligence is researched (and can be disabled altogether before the game), and that to get resources from a planet's facilities, there must be a Space Port somewhere in the same system. The only exception is an empire's homeworld, which will give 25% of its production to the treasury even when there is no Space Port for it to use.
Thanks to the differing importance of the various Resources (as described above), a good ratio of Minerals:Organics:Radioactives production facilities is roughly 10:1:3, with Organics increasing significantly for Organic races, and Radioactives increasing as the endgame approaches.
While facilities are the most obvious means of increasing Resources income, there are other ways to do so. Minerals, Organics, and Radioactives can be generated by Remote Mining, scrapping ships, units, and facilities, gifts from other empires, and passively through the benefits of a Trade Alliance (or higher) treaty. Research can be generated by a Trade and Research (or higher) treaty, and indirectly though analyzing captured enemy ships. Finally, Intelligence can be generated by a Partnership treaty.
Additionally, many facilities increase Resource production without actually producing anything themselves. Facilities like the Robotoid Factory and Mineral Scanner will increase the output of a planet's facilities, and each such "improvement" has a system-wide version that stacks with it, as well. Increasing Happiness and Population will increase the multiplier applied to the planet's production. Some facilities, like the Value Improvement Plant, will also increase the Planet Value of a planet, which, like improving Happiness and Population, will increase the multipliers modifying the planet's Resource production.
A major factor in an empire's success is how well it manages its resources. This involves not just avoiding deficits, but avoiding surplusses as well.
The downsides to having a resource shortfall are straightforward: if you can't pay to build something, you won't build it. Should the shortfall become bad enough for an empire to no longer afford its Maintenence costs as well, it may find its ships literally falling apart!
The first step to overcoming a deficit is prevention. When setting up an empire, increasing the Maintenance Aptitude characteristic or selecting the Merchants or Engineers cultures will reduce the maintenance that your ships and bases require. Increasing the Mining Aptitude racial characteristic will increase the amount of Minerals - and thus how much of the Resource that empire is most likely to run out of - that are produced. Increasing the Happiness, Reproduction, or Environmental Resistance characteristics will also indirectly increase the Resources brought in by increasing the population and happiness of planets with Resource facilities on them.
Once in game, there will inevitably come some point where your need for ships, units, and facilities overcomes your economic infrastructure. Once again though, prevention goes a long ways towards mitigating this as, by checking the Empire Status page (F11) on a regular basis and seeing if you are spending more than you are bringing in, you can see a shortfall coming before your treasury is completely dry. By taking steps to increase Resource production or reduce maintenance while you still have Resources to spare, the duration and severity of the shortfall can be lessened somewhat, or even prevented altogether if caught early enough.
When - not if - a shortfall hits and your empire runs out of Resources despite these measures, any production queues you cannot afford will automatically stop, so check on your production to manually place the least-essential ones on hold, shutting down the most expensive ones (which are not building resource-increasing items) first. If you have plenty of a different resource, you should also activate any Resource Converters you have, turning something you have and don't need into something you need and otherwise don't have. Resources can also be 'converted' through by trading your excess recourses to other empires, in exchange for the resource you need. Be careful not to tip your hand to potential enemies though- an astute human player may recognise your trade offer as a sign of economic troubles and decide to take advantage.
Should a budget crisis become bad enough, it may be necessary to reduce maintenance costs by Mothballing ships, starting with those that are not immediately needed. When all else fails, ships can be scrapped as a last resort, both reducing maintenance and giving back a bit of badly-needed Resources at the same time.
Surplusses, in their own way, can be nearly as damaging as deficits. While it's all well and good to top off the empire's treasury, any point of Minerals, Organics, and Radioactives beyond what can be stored is one less point going into ships, units, and facilities. An empire letting too large an amount of resources go to waste each turn can find itself out-produced by one that stays nearer to just breaking even.
When your empire is running a surplus, first check to make sure that no production queues are on hold. If there are, take some off hold until your costs are as close to even with your income as you can get them. If there is still a surplus after all queues are back off hold, there are other things you can spend your resources on:
- Unmothball ships.
- Build more ships. It's hard to go wrong adding a few more warships to your forces, especially when they're practically "free"
- Build extra Bases with Space Yards so that you can increase ship production later if need be
- Build Units, which have no maintenance costs
- Build more Storage Facilities to save some of the surplus for later
- You can combine this with #2 by building insanely expensive ships and bases, then mothballing them for later scrapping
- Give gifts to your allies
| Manual (SEIV)