Sun-Tzu's Guide To PI (from old forums)

A while ago I paid someone (in ISK) to write this guide to making Robotics. Reposting it because it’s still a useful resource.

“The general who wins the battle makes many calculations in his temple before the battle is fought. The general who loses makes but few calculations beforehand.” - Sun Tzu

Recently I was asked what a pilot would have to do to get started with Planetary Interaction (known from here on as “PI”) and begin producing specialized commodities, and whether this is something that new citizens reasonably could expect to do. After going through the steps, I realized it is something that that new pilots could do relatively easily, and which may open a whole new part of Eve to some of you.

For the purposes of this guide, I will discuss how to produce Robotics. However, this guide should be general enough to be of use to a newer pilot looking to get into PI for the first time, or a pilot who has done PI but would like to produce more advanced (and profitable) products. The skills in this guide will transfer to the production of other products, although the recipes used will differ.

Contents of This Guide
Post #1: Skills needed, Overview of process, Deciding what to produce
Post #2: Choosing which planets to colonize
Post #3: Seting up your colonies, except for routing, which is in…
Post #4: Routes in your colonies, Managing your colonies, and A reward for those who read to the end! Cool

Although some of you already may have done basic PI, I will assume that a pilot is starting from zero as far as PI is concerned. I am assuming relatively new pilots will be using this guide, so we will stick with high sec and close-in low sec. However, the same principles and procedures here apply to wormhole systems and null sec as well.

The skill requirements and initial capital are quite low to begin PI, even for specialized products. It will take only about 25 million ISK for the skill books and to set up the three colonies to produce your specialized product. The skill books are almost half of that cost, so those that already have started PI for basic products need even less of an investment.

Recommended skills:

  • Remote Sensing 3
  • Planetology 4
  • Advanced Planetology 1 or 2
  • Command Center Upgrade 4
  • Interplanetary Consolidation 2
  • These skills are ok to start. Training Advanced Planetology to 4 and then Command Center Upgrade to 5 are worth doing, but not necessary to start profitable PI. Once you have set up your first planets for PI, you will want to train Interplanetary Consolidation to set up more planets for a maximum of six planets at level 5.

Depending upon implants, you can train these required skills in about a week. Although some may disagree with me – I welcome opposing opinions – I feel the Planetology and Advanced Planetology should be trained to at least the levels I have here before starting. In null sec and wormholes you may be able to get away with lesser skills (ironically), but your skills at surveying planets for resources in high and low sec can make the difference between a very profitable and a marginal setup.
Even if you were going to do only basic PI, you would want all these same skills, so if you are just starting out, you may as well start with specialized products. The skill books will cost you around 10 million. You may want to train the skills for Cloaking 3 and/or racial Industrial 1 if you have not done so, although they are not strictly necessary.

As we will see, although the capital and training time are relatively low, you do have to invest some time figuring out what you want to do, how you are gonig to do it, and setting it up. After that, the production should run smoothly without much oversight. This is generally the case with all industrial processes, I suppose. The purpose of this guide is to help you with the planning and setup, so those steps will be much easier for you.

Overview of the PI Process
(1) Decide what product you want to produce, and figure out what planet type(s) have the raw materials to make the product you want.
(2) Locate the planet(s) and
(3) Set up your colony(ies). The colony extracts the resources and (optionally) processes them, and then (optionally) you combine the processed materials into more and more advanced products until you have what you want.
(4) Once your product is produced in quantity, you export it to the customs office and pick it up for use in industry or for the market.

Like other industry and research, most of the setup and processing is done remotely, so you will visit the location only to drop off inputs or pick up finished products. Once the setups have been done, the processing should run with very little work on your part.

Deciding What to Produce
There are 15 resources, which can be processed alone or in combination with other products to produce some 68 products.

Products are classified by the amount of processing it takes to make them. You use one or more materials from a lower level to make higher level products: P0 – Raw Materials found on the planets, P1 – Processed Materials, P2 – Refined Commodities, P3 – Specialized Commodities, and P4 – Advanced Commodities. Today, we will assume you have decided to produce Robotics, a P3 product (aka a Specialized Commodity).

Using a source such as the Eve-Uni Wiki Planetary Commodities, we see that Robotics is produced from two P2 commodities, Mechanical Parts and Consumer Electronics, which in turn are each made from two P1 materials, Precious Metals and Reactive Metals (for Mechanical Parts) and Chiral Structures and Toxic Metals (for Consumer Electronics). Finally, each of these processed materials each come from a single P0 raw material: in this case, Noble Metals, Base Metals, Non-CS Crystals, and Heavy Metals.

If you know the enemy and you know yourself, your victory will not be imperiled; if you know Heaven and you know Earth, your victory can be complete. - Sun Tzu

Locate Your Planets
You are going to build three colonies, which means you will need three planets (only one colony per planet).You will have one colony to extract and process the first pair of raw materials, a second colony to extract and process the second pair, and a third colony to process the resulting P1 materials into P3 commodities.

The colonies may be all in the same system or in different systems anywhere in New Eden – your choice. However, since you will have to travel to the planets occasionally (perhaps once a week), location is a consideration – both how close your planets are to each other, and how close they are to where you plan to use/sell the finished products. A secondary consideration is the amount and location of raw materials available on the planet. The other important consideration is the customs office – each planet has one, and you will want to see the tax rate and who owns it.

Turning again to the Wiki, we see that these raw materials we need (previous post) can be found on six types of planets (there are eight types in total). However, for reasons that will become apparent in a moment, we would prefer a planet where we can find both of the pair of raw materials needed to make one of the two refined commodities. Thus, we would like to find (if possible) what planet type(s) has both Noble and Base Metals, and what planet type(s) has both Non-CS Crystals and Heavy Metals. It turns out that either a Barren or Plasma planet has both of the first pair, and either a Lava or Plasma planet has both of the second pair of raw materials. Even though a Plasma planet will work for either pair, you put only one colony on each planet, and you will want to extract one pair of raw materials per colony.

You may “show info” for any known system in New Eden while docked (or while in space, of course) and see the planet types in that system. Additionally, you may scan them for resources, although your ability to scan and your accuracy will depend upon your distance from that system. Since you will have to go to the system to find out about the customs offices anyway, I recommend you select a few likely systems based on planet types and system location and then fly to them to do the planet scans. Since low sec planets will have significantly better resources and significantly lower customs duties in most cases, you may want to find a few low sec systems near hi-sec and investigate them for suitable locations for your colonies. In this case, you may want to have trained Cloaking skill and have fit an appropriate module. However, if you feel more comfortable in hi-sec, go ahead and follow these same

Once in the system, while undocked and cloaked, you may look at each of the customs offices for the planets of interest. You find them in your overview and “open” or show info on the office. In particular, note the tax rate and the owner of the office. You may then dock anywhere in the system (or remain undocked) and scan each planet of interest. You do not need to fly to each planet to scan it, nor in order to check its customs office.

Scanning Planets
In order to scan a planet you look at info on the solar system and right click on the planet you want to scan. Then select “view in planet mode.” When the planet view screen comes up, click on “scan” and then click on the raw material of interest. In our case, we are looking at a Plasma planet, and we are looking for Noble and Base Metals. After we click “scan” we see a list of raw materials that exist on this planet. For Plasma planets, we will see Base Metals, Heavy Metals, Noble Metals, Non-CS Crystals, and Suspended Plasma. Since Noble Metals is one of the two raw materials we want, we click on that and see a heat map of the planet. Now take the color slider at the top and move it left until we get some white spots on the planet, which indicate the richest spots for that raw material. You may rotate the planet to see where the largest white spots are and make a note. Then select the other raw material in the pair (Base Metals in this case) and see where it has white spots.

Protip: while scanning, right click the planet and select “show other characters’ networks.” Rarely is there one, but it is good to know if a particular spot already is taken. Sad

Note that you will need a colony on a third planet, so be sure you have checked all of the customs offices in the system. The raw materials are not important for this colony, but go ahead and look in case you later decide later to extract raw materials. For future expansion, I recommend this “factory colony” be placed on a Barren or Temperate planet. However, the most important feature for this planet (other than location) will be a low tax rate at the customs office. Tax rates in low sec typically run from 5% to 10%. In high sec, there is an additional 10% tax in addition to the tax charged by the customs office owner.

Repeat until you have checked all planets and systems you want to check.

Based on all you have seen, select your three preferred planets. Before moving into the neighborhood, I suggest you contact your future business partner(s) – the people who own the customs offices for your prospective planets. It’s not required, but would be a nice gesture. Who knows – perhaps you can negotiate a lower tax rate?

“In the practical art of war, the best thing of all is to take the enemy’s country whole and intact; to shatter and destroy it is not so good.” - Sun Tzu

Set up Your Colonies
Time to go to market for three Command Centers – one for each colony. Be sure to get the correct one for each planet. The cost usually is less than 100K and they take 1000 m3 each, so this may be the place to use your industrial ship I mentioned earlier. This is the only item you will need from the market – all other structures will be built on the planet.

If you wish, you might buy several units of Consumer Electronics and Mechanical Parts in order to “seed” your factory colony.

You then fly to the system and while in space open the planet view (you can do this while cloaked). After doing the scan again to find the location for your colony, you click on “Build” and then on “Command Centers.” If you have the appropriate Command Center in your cargo hold, the command center will be lit. Click on it and place your command center on the planet. It doesn’t really matter where it is, but I like to place it near where my colony will go, close to but not on either of the white areas. Click “submit” and your Command Center is placed on the planet.

Once all command centers have been placed, the rest of the building of the colony can be done while docked, and you do not even need to be in system. However, I like to do the initial build while in system in case distance affects my scanning.

You are going to set up one “factory” colony with three Launchpads and five Advanced Industry Facilities (“advanced factories”), and two “resource” colonies, each of which will have two sets of: one Extractor Control Unit (ECU), 6 or 7 extractor heads, two Basic Industry Facilities (“basic factories”) and one Launchpad.

The basic procedure to set up a colony is:

  1. Using planet view mode, upgrade Command Center to desired level.
  2. Use menus to build desired structures and install schematics.
  3. Create links between structures.
  4. Set up the ECU and extractor heads, if any.
  5. Route the products to move along the links.
  6. Click “submit” to finalize your colony setup. Now you can go to next colony.

Upgrade Command Center
Upgrade Command Center for factory colony to level 4. Each level costs some isk, but not much, and increases power and cpu for the colony. The Command Centers for the resource colonies should be upgraded to level 5. Be sure to click the “submit” button, which finalizes your upgrade, so other structures can be built.

Build Structures and Install Schematics
Generally, we will place structures immediately adjacent to a Launchpad. For the factory colony, place all five of the advanced factories in a cluster around one Launchpad and then add the two Launchpads on opposite sides of the cluster. Set up two factories close to one of the outside Launchpads, and two factories at the opposite side with the Mechanical Parts schematic, and the two at the other end with the Consumer Electronics schematic. Finally, install the Robotics schematic in the middle factory.

For the resource colonies, place each “set” close to the best area for the raw material we want to extract. Place the ECU first so that its area of control covers white area. You will want to use the “Scan” to do this. As with all structures, put them close to but not on the white or red resource areas.

Resource Colony Schematics: The ECU that will extract Non-CS Crystals will have two basic factories that use the Chiral Structures schematic, the ECU for Heavy Metals will have two basic factories building Toxic Metals, the ECU for Noble Metals will have two basic factories producing Precious Metals, and the ECU for Base Metals will have factories producing Reactive Metals. Select the schematics for the basic factories accordingly.

Create Links
For the factory colony, create links from the central Launchpad to all five factories. Then create links from each of the two outer Launchpads to the two factories on its side.

You create links by clicking on Planetary Links>Create Link or by clicking on the Launchpad and then clicking the “Links” button and then clicking on “Create New.” Right click to dismiss the link.

For the resource colonies, link each “set” by creating a link from the Launchpad to the ECU and to each of the two factories.

Set up the ECU and Extractor Heads
Now it is time to set up the Extractor Heads (only in the resource colonies). Before we do that, let’s see how we are doing. Click on the command center and look at the power remaining. Although a colony needs both cpu and power, most likely your constraint is power. The upgraded Command Center provides 17,000 MW. The 16 Extractor Heads in each colony will need 8800 MW, so be sure you have that much remaining. If not, move structures closer to each other and shorten some links.

You already have placed the ECU close to the raw material it will extract. Choose “Survey for Deposits” and then click the raw material. Then choose an amount of time you want to let the ECU run in “Extraction area size.” Let’s start with two days – I suggest one to four days, depending upon how often you want to manage your ECUs. Move the slider under “Extraction area size” to two days.

You want eight extractor heads per ECU, so click eight of the little blue buttons on the left of the ECU survey program window. Now you will drag the extractor heads to the white area for the raw material. Our production would be optimized if we were extracting an average of 12,000 (or more) units of raw material per hour, so look at the “Per hour” statistic to see how good the setup is. When the heads are where you want them, click “Install program.”

“The art of war is of vital importance to the State. It is a matter of life and death, a road either to safety or to ruin.” -Sun Tzu

And now it is time for you to set up the flow of materials to and from your factories.

Go to each factory, click on “Products” and route its product to the companion Launchpad on the resource colonies, and to the central Launchpad in the factory colony. Likewise, route the output raw material from the ECU to the Launchpad. Go to the central Launchpad on the factory colony and route the incoming Mechanical Parts and Consumer Electronics to the factory that is producing Robotics, since it will need these as inputs.

If you brought some P1 Processed Materials, then import the Chiral Structures and Toxic Metals, through the customs office down to the Launchpad that is associated with the advanced factories making Consumer Electronics. And import the Precious Metals and Reactive Metals down to the Launchpad associated with Mechanical Parts.See the section “Managing Your Colonies” for more discussion of importing and exporting. Now create a route from each of the two outside Launchpads to their two factories, moving both P1 materials to each factory.

If you did not bring some P1 as to seed the outside Launchpads, then you will set up these eight routes (four from each Launchpad) the first time you deliver the P1 materials to your factory colony.

Whew! Time to relax after a job well done in setting up your colonies. Within a few hours, products will be flowing steadily.

Managing Your Colonies
After a few hours, each of your resource colonies will have some P1 materials. Once production gets up and running, each of the two colonies should produce 1920 units/day. You will be able to monitor how the colonies are doing from anywhere in New Eden by using the PI icon on the left of your screen. You also will be able to stop and restart the surveys for the ECUs.

However, you will need to enter the system and go to each customs office to load the products from the customs office into your ship.
When you are ready to go to the system, you will fly to the two customs offices where your resource planets are, open the customs office, and move all of the P1 materials from the Launchpads into the customs office. You will have to pay a customs tax at that time on the value of the materials moved. You then will move the products from the customs office into your ship. Since each colony will produce about 730 m3 of P1 materials per day, you will want a larger ship or to make more trips, as you choose. You will carry the P1 products to the customs office at your factory planet, and move them from your ship into the customs office. From there, you will move them to the appropriate Launchpad. Remember, one Launchpad is set up to accept the Precious and Reactive Metals, and the other to accept the Chiral Structures and Toxic Metals. At the same time, you may pick up your Robotics commodity that will be available in the central Launchpad.

Once you have a cargo hold full of Robotics, you may use them for whatever you wish.

Try this specialized PI and let me know how it goes. Good luck and fly fun!


Trying to improve supply again?

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Setting up a PI operation is still a lot of clicks and planning, especially if trying to get the synergy from several accounts, but after that, it’s easy ISK.

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Cool read, thanks for making it available.


No problems, I have a vested interest in people making Robotics, and at the same time this guide may just be useful to someone

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You can ‘Tag’ the OP of your thread with ‘guide’ which will show in a blue marker when people view the threads listed in this ‘Industry Gameplay Center’ category as well as the ‘Science & Industry’ subcategory.

I can’t seem to make that work.

(It’s Sun-Tzu Rollard that deserves the credit)

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Psh. I’m the one that came up with the 3 launcher factory planet schematic. Specifically for production of robotics.

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Can you provide some pictures? It would at least be nice to see the. evolution of my idea. It would also help others visualise the layout better than a wall of text. It is well written though.

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Interest? As in you use robotics in your manufacturing and you need more people making them so it drives the prices of robotics down? Not a bad plan.

I don’t understand why you use 3 launchpads, instead of 1 and 2 storage buildings? Can someone explain the difference?

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This was exactly the reason for commissioning the post.

Well, it’s not just me using Robotics, but they are a significant component of tech 2 blasters, and my good friends in CODE. use a lot of those.

They also go into lots of other things too - T2 drones, the tier 4 PI materials structures and faction capital modules are built from, and more.

So when it comes to CODE, like drugs kids …just say no. Anyone making robotics stop so the prices goes insanely high, so we can help Code spend some of that isk and put something back into the community besides tears.

PI mechanics are changing (you can see the changes here: ) but it seems this guide will still remain accurate into the near future.

would also make Fuel Block prices skyrocket :stuck_out_tongue:

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How long before the newbie realizes that they can make the same ISK or better selling P1 direct to market ? A lot of us know this which is why Jita is inundated with P1 orders. The entire PI market needs a shake-up (and I think it’s coming with the Abyssal expansion) as the profit margins between resource production tiers are slim to none.


sad there is no central pi tread, so i offer discus here

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