Wednesday 8 August 2012

1 ISK/1Copper undercutting and high frequency trading

One trading style is frequent, very small undercutting for buy orders (0.1 ISK in Eve, 0.1 Copper in WoW), and it's equivalent 'overcut' for Eve sell orders.

There are traders who do this and are traditionally tied to their auction house, and swear by the method.  I dislike it; but accept that it happens.  (Losec ganking happens too - it doesn't stop me from going to low security systems though).  I do have a variation (below) that I am comfortable with.

If you are curious about small over/undercutting; it is worth looking at how the professionals do it in first life.  It is called High Frequency Trading.

This article at slashdot has some 'interesting' discussion and links, largely negative.

If you are interested in this approach, It is worth reading this Wikipedia article for a less emotional (hysterical?) article on the topic.

From the Wikipedia article:
High-frequency trading (HFT) is the use of sophisticated technological tools to trade securities like stocks or options, and is typically characterized by several distinguishing features:
  • It is highly quantitative, employing computerized algorithms to analyze incoming market data and implement proprietary trading strategies;
  • An investment position is held only for very brief periods of time - from seconds to hours - and rapidly trades into and out of those positions, sometimes thousands or tens of thousands of times a day;
  • At the end of a trading day there is no net investment position;
  • It is mostly employed by proprietary firms or on proprietary trading desks in larger, diversified firms;
  • It is very sensitive to the processing speed of markets and of their own access to the market;
  • Many high-frequency traders provide liquidity and price discovery to the markets through market-making and arbitrage trading; high-frequency traders also take liquidity to manage risk or lock in profits.

In online games; there is a slightly simpler approach because the games (claim to) 'protect' you from some automation. 
  • Find a product that you know is bought and sold regularly
  • Your chosen product should have a buy/sell difference greater than your market costs (buy brokerage, sell brokerage, sales tax)
  • Reduce your costs by learning accounting and grinding both faction and corporation standing.
  • Place your bid orders so you get the product.
  • When your buys are fulfilled, set a sell price so it sells quickly.  A low time to sell is as (or more) important as a high sale price.

Tuesday 7 August 2012

Extraction PI with screenshots

This post on a basic PI extraction planet with one stage of processing.  It has lots of pictures; and hopefully less walls of text.  The character that I did this on had Command Center Upgrades 3; Planetology 3.

Other players have created youtube videos; and Eve Uni has a mix of out of date and current information.  I am not much for videos; preferring something static to review later.

Some pictures are overly optimised to reduce page loading time (i.e. it looks much nicer in game).  You can also click on any picture to show a larger image (reducing eystrain, stress, and possibly being podkilled while trying to read miniscule writing).

Select the planet, then "View in Planet Mode".  One way to do this is via the overview but there are other ways of viewing the planet.
 This brings up your planet that you can star to do things with.

Initially we are going to scan the planet (1); choose base metals (2) and 'tweak' the slider (3).  The slider can be adjusted from both the right hand side (maximum resources) and the left hand side (minimum resources)

You want a good range of colours on your planet view; white is maximum; blue/back is minimum.  I like to adjust the slider until I see variations of red on my planet.
This image has the 'maximum' slider set too low; and I have lost the ability to see resource density in a sea of white.
Similarly, this image has the 'maximum' slider set too high; I can see that there is some resource but the detail is lost in a sea of green.
I may decide to swap my extraction to another resource; so in this image chose a possible second resource to extract
Finally putting my command center down somewhere between these two resources.  Note it is not necessary to have your command center anywhere near your extractors, factories or launchpads.  I like to because there have been times I have mismanaged on planet storage and it gives me just a little 'wriggle room'.  Not much, but enough to justify a link.

The other reason to put your command center somewhere near your usable buildings is that when you first open your planet, it centers on your command center.

Other authors have not cared either way.

After you have placed your command center - click "submit" PI.  Changes are not 'permanent' until submitted.

 I chose that small back dot just up and right of the red eye on the center of the screen.
 The first thing to do is upgrade your command center.  While it theoretically is possible to do PI with a basic command center; you are incredibly restricted in what you can do.  Choose the left hand circle with the plus.

Upgrade your command center to the best you can for maximum flexibility.  This character has Command Center 3 so can upgrade to a level 4 command center.
Place your Extractor Control unit.  Notice the darker circle.  This defines the area your extractors can reach.
Choose the resource you want to extract from the top right of the popup form.  Click on the left hand side radio buttons to turn on the number of extraction heads you want;  The more heads means the more extracted but the more power consumed.

I like to max out the extractors 'heads' for an extractor. This is part of the reason for upgrading our command center above.

If anything is controversial so far - it is the number of heads to put on an extractor.  For the purposes of this guide I am recommending maximum extraction possible my chosen resource.  Conventional wisdom will have you extracting less and doing additional processing.  I will discuss this further in later posts.

As you can see from the power usage above; I have used up a significant portion of the command center's power with these 10 heads, but not much CPU.

Choose how long you wish to leave your PI planet unattended for, by sliding the 'Extraction area size' on the bottom left of the popup control.

Your extraction is generally most efficient for the first few time segments, and falls off over time;  However many players don't like to be tied to their PI.  You will also notice that the 'heads' get bigger the longer the timeframe meaning that you can't get as many into the best spots.

The time can be be as little as 1 hour; as much as 14 days. I have chosen a week in this installation.

Note the current time, and the cycle time;  for my example above it is 2 hours;  for a default maximum extraction time of 2 hours; it is 15 minutes.  In a couple of steps time; I will tell you to have a cup of coffee, or go mission/shoot something/participate in first life for this duration.

Next, I have put down a (optional for many worlds) storage facility and sufficient basic factories and a launchpad.  In low or null, you may need to upgrade the link to the storage unit so I keep this link as short as possible.

At some stage you may want to move your extraction head (actually deleting it and putting a new one up).

In high security systems; the first storage facility is optional, and you could pipe both raw and finished product through a lauchpad.  I find it easier to see what is happening at a glance.  In null, a close storage unit is almost required.

Once you have your extractors working, route the output to a storage unit or launchpad.  click on the circle with two arrows (2nd from the left); choose the item, and the storage/lauchpad you want to send the output (and yes; I took the screenshots slightly out of sequence)

To work out how many basic factories we need, look at the extractor head details again, and note how many units you will extract in what time; in this instance just under 1,600,000 units in 7 days.

Acknowledging a higher extraction / hour at the start rather than at the end; we still want to process the entire amount.

A single basic factory processes 3,000 units every 1/2 hour; (6,000 units/hour becomes 144,000 units/day; becomes 1,008,000 units/week).  So for this extractor setup on this planet, I want 2 basic factories.  This leaves me a small amount of basic factory capacity, but I prefer this to a slow build up of  raw material.

Other planets will require significantly more basic factories.

Chose the schematic.

As this planet is only processing once, route the output to a launchpad.

Remember above that I told you that you would need a break?  Now is the time for that break  You need some raw material in your storage facility and that will not happen until your first extraction cycle completes.  Once your storage holds a few units of raw items, route these to your basic factories.

After all of this was finished; I still had nearly 25% of Power and lots of CPU left;  This planet probably could have one Command Center upgrade less, but I will consume that in another post.

Go away for hours, days or 2 weeks - depending on how long

Finally - you need to take the stuff from your launchpad and haul it to a market.  Lauchpads can hold 10,000 m3. Update Epithal is the preferred PI hauler.  A deep space transport is also suitable.

Go to the system and access your customs office.  You can be anywhere in space and cloaked if you want.

Move stuff from right hand side to left hand side; wince if you are paying lots of tax. (apparently I harp a lot about PI tax)

Go to your customs office (if you are not already there); and drag your loot from the customs office and onto your ship.

And finally; haul it to your selling station.

2M isn't a whole lot - especially after paying 1/4 in high sec taxes.  It is low stress and can be 'when you get around to it'. 

However this is PI basics, this post has extracted raw mats and processed once; There are potentially another 3 levels of processing to do.

Minor updates 1 Sept 2015. Use an Epithal plus a few typo corrections.