I continue exploring the gaps and crevices in Eve Lore. This time I was asked to build a Caldari shuttle by an industry career agent and noticed that its material list contained only tritanium. Obviously, shuttle production needs many more other materials but, on the surface, it looks like the ship is made from just one mineral. I couldn’t find any explanation in the lore so I invented my own. I’d appreciate if you could point out any inconsistencies with the official/prime fiction or any existing headcanons/player fiction.
"…the real material list for even a primitive shuttle contains thousands of parts. Almost all of those parts are standardised and are used in production of any ship, from shuttle to Titan. They can be easily premanufactured and stocked by the factory – that’s why you don’t need to procure them yourself. On the other hand, more than 90 percent of parts by volume are produced from minerals like tritanium. The parts manufactured from tritanium are varied and are bulky to store. Even raw minerals storage requires a lot of space which is extremely expensive at space stations. For that reason, factories ask industrialists to provide their own minerals and storage, like a personal item hangar, each time they hire a production facility.
“…I still don’t understand who pays for all those other materials and parts…”
“You pay for everything, Vladimir. You see, the amount of tritanium specified in the blueprint is actually excessive for the shuttle production. This is done on purpose; the factory will use the surplus to cover the cost of procuring all other parts.”
“Why don’t they simply ask for cash payment?” wondered I.
“This arrangement started very long ago, when first capsuleers had more ore and minerals than cash. It was convenient to barter at that time, and now no one wants to break the status quo.”
You know, that’s actually a fairly interesting take on it. Not sure how close to accurate it falls, but I find it neat.
It makes quite a bit of sense actually…
I concur, that does make sense. More advanced ships start requiring more advanced materials like specialized CPUs and so on as per blueprints.
One thing though, minerals are of course just the very base form of components, for example from salvaging we learn that ships aren’t made of pure tritanium but it is alloyed with something. And similarly other minerals are like “rare earths”, infused in components for some kind of desired property like room temperature superconductivity or resistance for corrosion, etc. So yes, most likely a whole lot more goes into ships than just minerals and other components we provide.
In the case of NPC station there are of course manufacturing fees as well, while relatively small numbers for a capsuleer, who rake it in by the millions in an hour, ISK is always big money. So imagine the fee being like paying at least 10 million USD for all the rest of the materials and other expenses.
Yeah, I considered the idea of the job cost covering all other expenses but I thought it might be insufficient. I don’t have a strong opinion on the relative value of ISK but in another post I made an attempt to map it to planetside wages using Vodka Index. It gave me an average programmer’s yearly salary of 25,000 ISK. If this exchange rate is correct then the job cost for a shuttle, 249 ISK, is equal to 2-3 days’ wages. It doesn’t look like a lot of money but may still be a reasonable amount depending on the efficiency of mass production of standardised parts. At the same time, 3 days’ planetside salary seems like a reasonable fee for 5-minute rental of a space-based manufacturing line.
So, on the balance of these considerations, I thought that it would be reasonable to assume that part of the costs was covered by surplus mineral requirements. If you have any other arguments regarding the real value of ISK planetside, I’ll be very interested to hear.
This also makes sense from the view of a new pilot that seldom have the funds to pay for a brand new ship or even a used one. Cause lets face it, before one gets ones bearings. The isk involved may be too steep, so just getting the trit is faster and simpler…
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