Author Topic: Which mining combo is better: autos and mass drivers or orbitals and freighters?  (Read 1500 times)

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Offline Iestwyn (OP)

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When I played Aurora ages ago, I set up unmanned mining bases by shipping automatic mines and mass drivers to the body and shooting them at the biggest base in the system. Looking at the C# AARs, it looks like most people are towing large orbital mining platforms to the body and using freighters to ship the materials where they're needed. In fact, I'm not seeing reference to mass drivers in any of the threads.

Are there advantages/disadvantages to either tactic? Do people even use mass drivers anymore?

Thanks in advance!
 

Offline nuclearslurpee

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Behold!

Code: [Select]
Obsidian class Orbital Mining Platform      150,000 tons       1,225 Crew       3,621.7 BP       TCS 3,000    TH 300    EM 0
100 km/s      Armour 1-251       Shields 0-0       HTK 195      Sensors 6/6/0/0      DCR 1      PPV 0
MSP 15    Max Repair 120 MSP
Cargo 25,000    Cargo Shuttle Multiplier 2   
Lieutenant Commander    Control Rating 1   BRG   
Intended Deployment Time: 3 months   
Orbital Miner: 23 modules producing 276 tons per mineral per annum

Fokin Drive Systems NPE-100 Skywalker (3)    Power 300    Fuel Use 8.94%    Signature 100    Explosion 5%
Fuel Capacity 1,184,000 Litres    Range 15.9 billion km (1838 days at full power)

Arslangiin-Damdinsuryn AD-6100K Mark 6 Waveform Detector (1)     Sensitivity 6     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  19.4m km
Angulo-Guindo AG-6M T6 Series Infrared Scanner (1)     Sensitivity 6     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  19.4m km

This design is classed as a Commercial Vessel for maintenance purposes

Designed to be completely self-sufficient for an almost indefinite length of time, the Obsidian-class orbital mining platform comes equipped with a 25,000-ton cargo bay expressly for the purpose of lugging around a Mass Driver as it lumbers from asteroid to asteroid mining up minerals for my empire.

Is this optimal? Probably not, but it was fun to build and now you know that at least one person uses mass drivers.  ;D

More seriously I suspect there's a few reasons that most people use the platform/tug/freighter setup instead:
  • Large orbital platforms without engines can be build as space stations using planetside construction, which notably means you don't need a shipyard big enough to build a 150,000-ton monster ship. Personally I don't see this as a big hindrance since 150,000 tons of commercial shipyard is the same as 15,000 tons of naval shipyard and nobody would call the latter excessive.
  • Using tugs means you don't have to put engines on your mining platform, which once you've built the platform it's good forever assuming all you put on it were OM modules. The tug is the only thing that needs replacing as tech advances and you only need a couple of tugs to manage your mining platforms since they are park-and-forget installations.
  • Freighters over mass drivers makes sense since most asteroids only have one freighter-load of minerals anyways (depending how big your freighters are), so if you have to make one trip either way why not ship the minerals instead of the mass driver not to mention having to spend money building the things? Of course, mass drivers give you the minerals as soon as you mine them, which can be very useful if you're experiencing a crunch

That said, my setup is perfectly fine, as the only issues are needing a "big" shipyard (eh) and "wasting" tonnage on engines and cargo handling, but the logistics are a lot simpler with only one ship instead of three (please ignore the fact that I then promptly complicate things by having my tugs fly around the galaxy towing sensor platforms into place...ah, simplicity...  :P )

EDIT: I do also use the AM + Mass Driver setup early in the game, mostly to mine comets. It works in the early game, but AMs are more expensive than both regular mines and OM modules (240 corundium versus 120 for the others) so it's better once you get going to conserve AMs for use on worlds where conventional colonies are too expensive but the body is too big for orbital mining. In those cases you can either use AMs or use normal Mines plus habitat modules if you're scraping the bottom of your corundium barrels or just want to build more big space stations.
« Last Edit: November 20, 2020, 08:25:56 PM by nuclearslurpee »
 
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Offline froggiest1982

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I always use a combination of both as it depends on the situation.

There are systems where u need a unique centre to stockpile minerals and so you will use Mass Drivers to ship them there to pick them up later.

On the other hand, sometimes you need to exploit only tgat particular mineral at that location and so Orbital solutions are the way to go.
 
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Online misanthropope

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automines are so expensive, it's worth going pretty far out of your way to minimize your construction of the things.  in the same vein, CF are expensive and should really only be built for, and used for, critical tasks like building more research facilities.  a lot of commercial SY capacity can be had for cheap, so using that to build orbital miners and terraforming just seems like the winning option, to me. 

theres going to be the occasional rich venusian hellworld you have to pass over, but a little conquest and/ or excavation will net you a decent number of automines to go back and exploit those.
 
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Offline Iestwyn (OP)

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Makes a lot of sense. Thanks guys!
 

Offline Malorn

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Uhhh... both?

You park orbitals over a comet/asteroid to mine it, and build the space station with one cargo bay to hold a single mass driver. It drops off the mass driver, which ships out the ore, then picks it back up when it's done to be moved by tugs to a new location. Upside is ease of management and not using any freighters at all. Downside is that it can be blown to hell easily by hostile aliens.
 
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Offline Iestwyn (OP)

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Uhhh... both?

You park orbitals over a comet/asteroid to mine it, and build the space station with one cargo bay to hold a single mass driver. It drops off the mass driver, which ships out the ore, then picks it back up when it's done to be moved by tugs to a new location. Upside is ease of management and not using any freighters at all. Downside is that it can be blown to hell easily by hostile aliens.

Yeah, that's the same design that Mr Slurpee posted. A little cumbersome, but it looks like it would work.
 

Offline Michael Sandy

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Put at least 1 engine on all your mining stations so they can make use of commercial jump engined jump tender/tugs.
 
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Offline Iestwyn (OP)

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Put at least 1 engine on all your mining stations so they can make use of commercial jump engined jump tender/tugs.

I've been able to move space stations with commercial tugs before, no engines included.
 

Offline TheTalkingMeowth

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Put at least 1 engine on all your mining stations so they can make use of commercial jump engined jump tender/tugs.
I'm pretty sure engineless ships can transit via a (commercial) tender just fine.
 
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Offline alex_g

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On-topic: I use mass drivers to send all the minerals from a system in a single collection point from which my freighters will load them and take them where they need to be.  I never build orbital mining platforms because I have no idea how to automate the process.

Off-topic: The problem I'm confronted with towing orbital stations is that if the tugger tractors the last ship in the fleet the fleet disappears, so the SY or planet production will no longer place new orbital platforms in the default fleet (which just disappeared) and thus the you can no longer cycle turns because that fleet no longer exists.
With automated mines I don't have this problem because even if there are no mines on the planet all I'll get is a log message and the cycle goes on.

Is there a way to make this automation work with orbital stations?
 

Online Jorgen_CAB

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On-topic: I use mass drivers to send all the minerals from a system in a single collection point from which my freighters will load them and take them where they need to be.  I never build orbital mining platforms because I have no idea how to automate the process.

Off-topic: The problem I'm confronted with towing orbital stations is that if the tugger tractors the last ship in the fleet the fleet disappears, so the SY or planet production will no longer place new orbital platforms in the default fleet (which just disappeared) and thus the you can no longer cycle turns because that fleet no longer exists.
With automated mines I don't have this problem because even if there are no mines on the planet all I'll get is a log message and the cycle goes on.

Is there a way to make this automation work with orbital stations?

To be frank this has never been an issue for me because it takes so long to build large orbital miners that I just issue a separate order to each one when they are completed. But I suppose there are no way to really automate this process in the same way you do with standard ground based mines.

I don't tend to put more than one orbital base on each body either so that is one other reason I don't experience this problem. I don't like to strip mine bodies to fast. I want to build up a large network of stable low yield income as much as is possible. It is way easier to balance the production versus income that way. So I rather have low yield income from hundreds of asteroids and comets than strip mine a few and go through the hassle of constantly move them around.

I then either set up a small freighter with a 5000t cargo hold to keep picking up minerals from all the places in a timely fashion or use mass drivers... usually small cargo freighters is enough and I don't meed the mass drivers as they become expensive when you are just mining asteroids.
 
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Offline StarshipCactus

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Off-topic: The problem I'm confronted with towing orbital stations is that if the tugger tractors the last ship in the fleet the fleet disappears, so the SY or planet production will no longer place new orbital platforms in the default fleet (which just disappeared) and thus the you can no longer cycle turns because that fleet no longer exists.
With automated mines I don't have this problem because even if there are no mines on the planet all I'll get is a log message and the cycle goes on.


Do you have some sort of defence fleet in orbit of your shipyard world? If you do, have your orbital miners be built into that fleet. If you're worried about needing to move that fleet elsewhere, you could use an old, obsolete ship to hold the fleet in place after the last orbital miner gets tugged. You could also get a fighter to do that job.

 

Offline liveware

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Off-topic: The problem I'm confronted with towing orbital stations is that if the tugger tractors the last ship in the fleet the fleet disappears, so the SY or planet production will no longer place new orbital platforms in the default fleet (which just disappeared) and thus the you can no longer cycle turns because that fleet no longer exists.
With automated mines I don't have this problem because even if there are no mines on the planet all I'll get is a log message and the cycle goes on.


Do you have some sort of defence fleet in orbit of your shipyard world? If you do, have your orbital miners be built into that fleet. If you're worried about needing to move that fleet elsewhere, you could use an old, obsolete ship to hold the fleet in place after the last orbital miner gets tugged. You could also get a fighter to do that job.

If you constantly have shipyard tasks building new stations into your 'idle station' fleet then the 'idle station' fleet should not disappear even if you tug away all of the stations. That works for me at least. I use a mix of automines and orbital mines as both have niches in which they excel.
Open the pod-bay doors HAL...
 
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Offline alex_g

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Do you have some sort of defence fleet in orbit of your shipyard world? If you do, have your orbital miners be built into that fleet. If you're worried about needing to move that fleet elsewhere, you could use an old, obsolete ship to hold the fleet in place after the last orbital miner gets tugged. You could also get a fighter to do that job.

As far as I know there would be nothing to stop the tuggers from tractoring that obsolete ship as well once there are no orbital miners left in the fleet.

If you constantly have shipyard tasks building new stations into your 'idle station' fleet then the 'idle station' fleet should not disappear even if you tug away all of the stations. That works for me at least. I use a mix of automines and orbital mines as both have niches in which they excel.

Are you sure? I remember when I first started tugging terraformers that if the default fleet for their SY disappeared when I wanted to build the next ones the default fleet would be reset because the original default fleet no longer existed. However, I don't remember if I already had terraformers building when the fleet disappeared and what happens to them, I will give it a try later, if it works the way you say it's huge. Thanks!
 

 

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