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The near useless Planetary Cargo Gate


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After much hard work and research, your scientists rush into your throne room to proclaim they now know how to build gates which can be used to transfer goods between worlds. With dreams of diverting resources from shipping needs into other pursuits, you ask them for details. And they happily tell you that:


1) Each world needs a Planetary Cargo Gate (makes sense).

2) Each gate costs 5,000,000 Advanced Construction Material to build (ouch, a but expensive, but maybe it pays for itself).

3) These gates only work within a star system, not across systsm (ok, they could replace cargo ships then).

4) Each gate required 500,000 power per turn that it will use no matter if used or not. (WHAT!!!)


Your rage subsides after personally beheading the horrified scientists. As their remains are dragged to the feeding pits, you turn to designing you newest cargo ship, ignoring this technical achievement.



Lets be honest here folks. By the time you research the Planetary Cargo Gate, you can probably build various high end engines like MK I Antimatter or better (at the least). And due to the costs involved, the Planetary Cargo Gate is mostly a waste of time and resources.


Lets look at this design. A simple cargo ship, 125,000 Cargo Bay, 140 Mk III Antimatter engines. Total AP of 32. This means the ship can easily move 2,000,000 resources in a cargo route every turn. In effect, unless you've been dropping ICE on worlds for fun to boost them, one of these ships can pretty much handle almost all the output you can produce from most colony worlds (with a few exceptions). Build one of these for each settled moon or planet and a system, and you're set. And even if you have used ICE, you can always build multiple to cover the added resources .. unless the numbers are really, really high.


On the other side is the Gate. Now where in the world are you going to get 500,000 Power? Unless you've used ICE on a world with Hydro or Geothermal power, you build it. Antimatter complexes produce 25,000 power for 500,000 construction materials. So to power one gate you need 20 Antimatter power plants. So now the total cost for this gate is 5,000,000 Advanced CM, + 10,000,000 CM. Sure maybe you have the CM laying around on the Homeworld from upgrading to Advanced Industrial Complexes and such. But you still have to move it via cargo ship to the new location. And if you can easily move 15,000,000 total CM to a new location just to build an Planetary Cargo Gate, you have the cargo capacity in system to mean the gate isn't really needed.


If this isn't enough, lets look at the Wormhole Generator. Something powerful enough to pierce time and space for huge fleets to move from one star to the next. And the power source is -- 100,000 Caldaran Crystals. A quick build of 1,000,000 Raw to create the crystals if you do not have a mine. Talk about cheap power! It is quite clear that the power requirements of the Planetary Cargo Gate are vastly out of whack with potential uses.


And even worse, if you build the gate, it LOSES some of the resources you transfer. All that time and effort spent building and powering it, and it loses resources in transit. The numbers are not large, and do drop with further research. But why lose anything when a cargo ship can transport it safely with 0 in loses?


This is not to say the Gate is useless in it's current power hog form. For example I have dropped a lot of ICE onto a Gas Giant. The resulting boosts put many resources into the low 2000's, including the Geothermal. I can pretty much power one gate on the Gas Giant with 10 Geothermal Power plants. And that cost is reasonable. Once the gate is up you can easily send through the materials, which includes Colonists, to build up all the mines. And then start shipping back the tens of millions in resources through the gate (even with loses). In such a case it's a big time saver and worth the expense. There are other specific uses and conditions which make the gate useful. But most of the time, it's a wonderful technical advancement that you won't find a need to use.

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We like ours. We've been able to dismantle huge numbers of in-system cargo ships (that have been running since we rediscovered space travel) and rebuild them as transwarp-capable freighters to startup our out-system colonies. This is good because our first in-system colony (with no ICE and no DCS yet) was producing more crystals per cycle than we could ship home, even AFTER refining them. That doesn't even mention the radioactive materials that our homeworld is sorely lacking. When we first powered up the gate it shipped through literally decades of stockpiled production.

Power is cheap in our neighborhood. Every planet worth colonizing has respectable hydro yields.

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I believe that this tech is intended for advanced empires. Not every tech/discovery is intended to be useful throughout the complete spectrum of the game. If you do not find these useful then clearly your empire is not advanced enough yet or does not find itself in the right circumstances. Stick with the cargo ships until you grow a bit more.

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You must also consider the strategic values of the PCG:


1) If you are using fast cargo ships, then they get blowed up when a hostile enemy fleet gets control of your high orbitals. If you are using PCGs, then you can't be cut off from your colony resources.


2) PCGs are also stealthy. If an enemy comes across one of your in-system cargo routes, that is a big clue that there is some sort of development of yours nearby. The PCGs are undetectable by enemy ships flying around. Granted they are discovered once a fleet does an ORB or PMAP.


3) Rapid reinforcement of Colonies and the Home World. If you have garrisons on your colonies and someone is getting ready to invade your HW, then simply TR the garrisons back to the HW for "instant" reinforcements that can't be intercepted. The same works in reverse.


Sakarissa :drunk:

The Circle

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I was initially turned off the PG's because of the power requirement, but that is no longer the case. There is significant investment involved in building PG's and you wouldn't do it for every piddling colony. This all changes when you start to develop your colonies using ICE-X or Deep Core Surveyors. As the yields increase you will find that freighters are just able to keep up with the growth of products that need transport. You will find that 500,000 power is a paltry amount compared to the power required to run a decent group of DCS's. Also as your yields increase you will get increases in Geo and Hydro yields which will eventually solve your power problems.


This should lead one to the inevitable conclusion that only colonies that have required yields including Geo/Hydo yields as well as the right atmospheric and climatic factors are worth serious development. Anything else should just be relegated to freighters.


There are also other uses for PG's that I will not go into here, but rest assured the power requirements are quite trivial in the end. You only need 10M CM's for them and that is nothing these days.




btw - one of the biggest benefits that I see is the reduction in turn length. For each high AP ( 200+) freighter I can take out of action I reduce my turn length by 50+ pages. I would love to see my turn back under 1000 pages instead of climbing over 2000 pages.

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I concur with most of the posters on this thread, in that Planetary Cargo Gates are only worthwhile for a certain subset of Empires in the game.


1) You have to have a colonizable planet, or moon, in system. ICE will not change the habitability of planet or moon.


2) You have to be a reasonably advanced Empire. For me, this means the ability to create ICE-1, or better; build Deep Core Surveyors; and build Improved or Advanced Industrial Complexes, as a minimum.


I disagree that PCGs are "stealthy". They light up pretty well when you use a System Probe. :ranting:



-SK :drunk:

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In a region, where PCGs are deployed on colonies, System Probes should be available as well.


I had them much earlier than PCGs anyway.


The system probes blurb says something about detecting power unless it's shielded. Has anyone tried out a probe where you have a shield on the planet? I'm not sure what would block the probes detection ability, if anything.


As to the PCG's, I agree that can be useful on planets that have high Geo/Hydro to offset the power cost, and, where the resource production due to using various methods to increase yield means you are producing a lot (so replacing the cargo ship makes sense). Such a big producer would also be a big colony, and you then have the strategic ability to move troops in our out. But, this usefulness is limited to some degree by what resources you have on the home world.


If you have lots of DCS's going on the HW, and have yet to hit the maxes / decreasing yield impact hinted at by Pete, building the mines and such on the HW have a much better payout. For resources the HW lacks, you can build a colony on a world, juiced up by ICE first, to mine those specific resources (reducing you need for Raw Resources on the HW). With a little luck, only one such colony is required, maybe two if it's a couple key resources. All the small stuff from early colony efforts is still left for cargo ships. So the PCG is still limited in use (even if valuable in that use when you hit it).

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