Shortage of small cargo contracts

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Shortage of small cargo contracts

Post by ffutures »

I'm trying my hand at the fast passenger / parcel / small cargo business using a DTT Planet Express ship, which currently has 35 tons cargo capacity and 2 passenger berths. I'm trying to build up my reputation as a cargo hauler, and it's noticeable that there are very few cargo contracts on offer under 35 tons. I'm not asking for valuable cargoes at this stage, though I can afford the deposit, but there don't seem to be many cargoes at all. Not sure I've seen more than three or four in several passages across galaxy 8

I'm sure that when I was flying a Cobra Mk 3 there were plenty of cargoes around that fitted its tonnage - is this some sort of glitch because the Planet Express isn't one of the core ships in the game? Would I be better off shoving in more passenger berths and forgetting about cargo contracts altogether?

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Re: Shortage of small cargo contracts

Post by Cody »

I don't think Cobras and such were ever really suitable for cargo contracts (except for 'stones and metal contracts, which I believe you have to work up to).

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Re: Shortage of small cargo contracts

Post by Norby »

I suggest to create a new "Artifact" contract type which is similar than cargo but need 1/10 space for the same payment, so works from 1t to 50t as the existing 10-500t cargo contracts. These are more valuable things than common cargo but less valuable than precious metals, like antiques, statues, painting collections or a container of communicators with gold frame and usable by new pilots in a stock cobra also.

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Re: Shortage of small cargo contracts

Post by ffutures »

Cody wrote:I don't think Cobras and such were ever really suitable for cargo contracts (except for 'stones and metal contracts, which I believe you have to work up to).
This is exactly the problem - as it happens I'd never carried any cargo when I briefly tried the Planet Express ship a while ago. Now I'm trying to work up to the valuable small cargoes, but it's well-nigh impossible with so few cargo contracts that suit a smaller ship.
Norby wrote:I suggest to create a new "Artifact" contract type which is similar than cargo but need 1/10 space for the same payment, so works from 1t to 50t as the existing 10-500t cargo contracts. These are more valuable things than common cargo but less valuable than precious metals, like antiques, statues, painting collections or a container of communicators with gold frame and usable by new pilots in a stock cobra also.
Don't want any special favours - the whole point of this is to try to get rich with a smaller and more vulnerable ship than my usual Boa Cruiser using the usual cargo, passenger and parcel contracts, adding more passenger accommodation once I've got a good cargo rep. But without occasional small low-value cargoes it's impossible to get to the point where you're trusted with gems, gold, etc.

I could have done this very easily by starting out with my more experienced persona, selling the Boa and trading on my existing reputation there, but that's not what I'm trying to do here.

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Re: Shortage of small cargo contracts

Post by Disembodied »

ffutures wrote:Don't want any special favours - the whole point of this is to try to get rich with a smaller and more vulnerable ship than my usual Boa Cruiser using the usual cargo, passenger and parcel contracts, adding more passenger accommodation once I've got a good cargo rep. But without occasional small low-value cargoes it's impossible to get to the point where you're trusted with gems, gold, etc.
I think you're right - but another problem is that the gold, gems etc. contracts are so blindingly profitable that once you get into them you're on a pretty much unstoppable escalator to becoming a multimillionaire. Currently, because a player really has to trade in their Cobra III for a big ship before they can start building a cargo-contract reputation, that puts a bit of a brake on things: if Cobra IIIs could get in on the small-and-shinies game, then it would greatly reduce the amount of time it takes for a player to go from C*100 to C*1,000,000+.

It's part of the whole broken economy model, I think, and it would be a good idea to try to fix it. I'm definitely in favour of letting smaller ships play the cargo contracts game: there should be small deliveries available, from 5t up. And we should probably cut back on the gold, platinum and gems contracts: make them a lot smaller, a lot rarer (to where they're the sort of thing where the player says, "Whoa! Drop everything, and take this on board!"), and make them either a lot less humongously profitable, or a lot more challenging (or both). At the moment, starting cargo contracts are barely worth doing at all; the only reason for sticking with them is to work towards the mega-credit rewards that come with a high reputation. The thing is, a high reputation isn't hugely hard to achieve, with a big ship: it just takes a little bit of patience.

Personally, I'd vote for a fairly radical overhaul. I'd reduce the amount of goods available for the player to buy on the open market - especially the amounts of high-profit commodities - to the point where it's often a struggle to fill a Cobra III in one port without buying everything on offer. Currently, the game suggests an economic model where players are buying and selling goods; I'd try to push things more towards a system where the players are selling their services as transporters, for goods that belong to other people. I'd leave enough food, textiles and minerals around on the open market so that starting players can begin to make some money on their own account (this would probably also mean shifting textiles from being an Agricultural commodity to being an Industrial one - it makes more sense, and would provide a cheap-end Industrial trade item), but most earning would be done via contracts: take 12t of this to there for that much money, and so on. Maybe even have single contracts with more than one destination: here's 30t of Liquor and Wines; take 15t to A, 10 to B and 5 to C. Payment could be graded on speed: rather than having one fixed deadline which players can either meet or fail to meet (which is more appropriate for a courier), have a few bonus (or penalty) clauses where the player can make more money by getting to their destination faster, or choose a safer/easier route and take less profit. There would need to be a system of bonds, to prevent players selling the goods at some other port (which system could be subverted, too, for those who want), and some point in time where the contract becomes void. The best thing to do though would be to make the reward for even slow delivery worth more than the value of the goods themselves - that, and the development of a reputation allowing players to start shipping more high-end cargoes for larger profits, should keep most people honest.

That's a huge overhaul, and probably best left to any notional Oolite 2.0. A saner and more practical suggestion is just to make a few more small contracts available, for Cobra III-sized ships, and tone down the precious metals and gems contracts too. Although I do like the idea of single contracts with multiple destinations ... could something like this be implemented without having to crack the Travelling Salesman problem?

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Re: Shortage of small cargo contracts

Post by Diziet Sma »

ffutures wrote:
Cody wrote:I don't think Cobras and such were ever really suitable for cargo contracts (except for 'stones and metal contracts, which I believe you have to work up to).
This is exactly the problem - as it happens I'd never carried any cargo when I briefly tried the Planet Express ship a while ago. Now I'm trying to work up to the valuable small cargoes, but it's well-nigh impossible with so few cargo contracts that suit a smaller ship.
Whilst Cobras are not ideal for it, it's entirely possible to get enough sub-35TC contracts to build your rep to the point where you can take on the gem and metal contracts. It just takes rather more effort (and perhaps a little luck) to find them.

I've managed to do it a number of times.
ffutures wrote:there don't seem to be many cargoes at all. Not sure I've seen more than three or four in several passages across galaxy 8
I'm sure that when I was flying a Cobra Mk 3 there were plenty of cargoes around that fitted its tonnage - is this some sort of glitch because the Planet Express isn't one of the core ships in the game? Would I be better off shoving in more passenger berths and forgetting about cargo contracts altogether?
I'm wondering if perhaps it's more to do with what galaxy you're in, than what ship you're in. Some galaxies have a less than optimum spread of political types/economies/tech-levels, and so forth (it's part of what gives 'em their charm) and perhaps that also has an influence on the contracts that are available.
Most games have some sort of paddling-pool-and-water-wings beginning to ease you in: Oolite takes the rather more Darwinian approach of heaving you straight into the ocean, often with a brick or two in your pockets for luck. ~ Disembodied

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Re: Shortage of small cargo contracts

Post by ffutures »

Diziet Sma wrote:
ffutures wrote:
Cody wrote:I don't think Cobras and such were ever really suitable for cargo contracts (except for 'stones and metal contracts, which I believe you have to work up to).
This is exactly the problem - as it happens I'd never carried any cargo when I briefly tried the Planet Express ship a while ago. Now I'm trying to work up to the valuable small cargoes, but it's well-nigh impossible with so few cargo contracts that suit a smaller ship.
Whilst Cobras are not ideal for it, it's entirely possible to get enough sub-35TC contracts to build your rep to the point where you can take on the gem and metal contracts. It just takes rather more effort (and perhaps a little luck) to find them.

I've managed to do it a number of times.
ffutures wrote:there don't seem to be many cargoes at all. Not sure I've seen more than three or four in several passages across galaxy 8
I'm sure that when I was flying a Cobra Mk 3 there were plenty of cargoes around that fitted its tonnage - is this some sort of glitch because the Planet Express isn't one of the core ships in the game? Would I be better off shoving in more passenger berths and forgetting about cargo contracts altogether?
I'm wondering if perhaps it's more to do with what galaxy you're in, than what ship you're in. Some galaxies have a less than optimum spread of political types/economies/tech-levels, and so forth (it's part of what gives 'em their charm) and perhaps that also has an influence on the contracts that are available.
Good point - maybe I'll jump back to galaxy 1 after I get rid of my current passengers and try there.

Incidentally, what happens if you do a galaxy jump with passengers on board? Do they just storm off in a huff at the end of the contracted delivery time?

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Re: Shortage of small cargo contracts

Post by Diziet Sma »

ffutures wrote:Incidentally, what happens if you do a galaxy jump with passengers on board? Do they just storm off in a huff at the end of the contracted delivery time?
I haven't tried that yet.. but I'd imagine that's how it would go.
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Re: Shortage of small cargo contracts

Post by Wildeblood »

ffutures wrote:Incidentally, what happens if you do a galaxy jump with passengers on board? Do they just storm off in a huff at the end of the contracted delivery time?
They storm off the first time you dock if memory serves me right. I tried it once, to see if I could finish a long trip by doing 8 galaxy jumps. It doesn't work.

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Re: Shortage of small cargo contracts

Post by ffutures »

Wildeblood wrote:
ffutures wrote:Incidentally, what happens if you do a galaxy jump with passengers on board? Do they just storm off in a huff at the end of the contracted delivery time?
They storm off the first time you dock if memory serves me right. I tried it once, to see if I could finish a long trip by doing 8 galaxy jumps. It doesn't work.
Wouldn't want to anyway, seems a good way to drop your passenger rating just as you arrive in a new galaxy, I just wondered.

On the same lines, can passengers be killed by e.g. combat damage?

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Re: Shortage of small cargo contracts

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ffutures wrote:On the same lines, can passengers be killed by e.g. combat damage?
Seems like they should have escape pods but I've never seen more than one come from a ship.
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Re: Shortage of small cargo contracts

Post by ffutures »

Well, after all my whining I delivered one more cargo - 30 tons of furs - and suddenly I'm being offered metals etc. So I've upped the passenger space to 4 cabins, leaving 25 tons hold capacity, might eventually make it six with 15 tons cargo, expect to get rich fairly quick now!

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Re: Shortage of small cargo contracts

Post by Diziet Sma »

ffutures wrote:Well, after all my whining I delivered one more cargo - 30 tons of furs - and suddenly I'm being offered metals etc. So I've upped the passenger space to 4 cabins, leaving 25 tons hold capacity, might eventually make it six with 15 tons cargo, expect to get rich fairly quick now!
Be a little cautious with this.. if you don't keep up a steady flow of contract work, or take a small hit to your rep (small random chance this can happen over several jumps) you may find yourself without enough cargo space to build your rep up again.
Most games have some sort of paddling-pool-and-water-wings beginning to ease you in: Oolite takes the rather more Darwinian approach of heaving you straight into the ocean, often with a brick or two in your pockets for luck. ~ Disembodied

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Re: Shortage of small cargo contracts

Post by Imaginos »

I've recently traded in my Cobra MkIII for a Python so that I could start doing cargo hauls. I'm getting the work but it sure is a slow ride.

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Re: Shortage of small cargo contracts

Post by Smivs »

Imaginos wrote:I've recently traded in my Cobra MkIII for a Python ... but it sure is a slow ride.
Ha, yes, generally speaking you learn to live life at a more relaxed pace when you fly a Python, but of course there are times when 'relaxed pace' is not really what you need. 8)
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