Commodity Prices

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This page tries to collect what we want, and where we want to go with the next version of economy system in pioneer. An ideal case would be to have a dynamical economy. Perhaps a smaller version of the Star citizen economy or similar.

Other sources of interest might be:

Agent based computational economy

At a first glance, there seems to be a lot of high level research on ACE, perhaps this is something we could use?

What affects a market, and how?

This section aims at basically brainstorming all ideas for how markets and their commodities should be affected for the future new market system in pioneer. The prices will fluctuate in time with prices going down if a good becomes abundant, and becoming expensive if in demand. This will be modeled through a set of coupled ordinary differential equations (if there isn't some cheaper way to do it?).

  • Every planet / station? produces and consumes goods, proportional to population, and other factors, like listed here below.
  • Production and consumption rates depend on what kind of planet/station, population size, what other goods are available, etc. E.g if there is a shortage of grain, then price of grapes and other food goes up.
  • Price is relative to the amount offered for sale
  • This price drives AI/NPC to trade, taking goods from where it is cheap (abundant) to where it is in need. -> model through stochastic differential equations?
  • Goods are consumed when producing other stuff?
  • Is production seasonal? The trade between northern and southern hemisphere (if axis tilted), seems to not at all be worth it, and break space travel.
  • Government? Will communist government lead to flat prices, due to planned economy? Or will they fluctuate more due to not being in sync with true demand? what effect will the different systems have?
    • Democracy
    • Corporate
    • dictatorship
    • anarchy
  • Only trade with closest neighbors. Could be done like so: expand a sphere out from the system until with radius r_min, and if found inhabited systems are below some value (10?) keep expanding sphere until r_max. This generates a list of closest neighbors for all systems.
  • On the star map, one can see which systems a market is trading with? Why would this be useful? It would be all within some distance.
  • In the market (if player subscribes?) we show for the selected commodity its price over the past months? Zoom in/ out from 1 to 3 months? Show system index average, "galaxy index" (based on nearby systems or all systems in the game?).
  • How will the dynamics from the market lead to ships with those actual items coming in? Somehow c++ engine must tell TradeShip.lua how many shipped units of each item is being sold / bought / shipped?
  • If I kill off trade ships carrying something, then I should be able to create a shortage of some goods. Mission: Drive up price of grain: attack all grain carrying ships?
  • Will a system like Mu Herculis, with very far between jump point and station, have much higher prices for everything, making the long transit worth while
  • Faction specific: Distance to faction home world? Trading over faction borders?
  • Tech level?



Many goods are traded, ranging from simple H2O (water), all the way up to farming equipment. In order to keep exchanges simple, a standard unit is used for trading; the metric ton. There are a total of 31 commodities used on the standard stock market, encompassing all major aspects of life.



Goods Descriptions


Average Price: 1 Credit

Used as fuel for hyperdrives and propellant for starships, hydrogen is an extremely important element. Fortunately it is also the most common element in the universe, although storing it isn't trivial. It is usually among the cheapest commodities on the stock market. Starports are well supplied at any given time.

Liquid oxygen

Average Price: 1.5 Credits

Liquid oxygen has many purposes, most commonly in medical and industrial applications and sometimes also used in waste treatment. It is very affordable, as oxygen is easy to obtain from water.


Average Price: 1.2 Credits

Essential for life as we know it, an often overlooked commodity, water is needed wherever humanity roams. As such, the vast majority of off-world colonies import water from comets or planets like Earth. Water is used on a massive scale for hydrogen and oxygen production.

Carbon ore

Average Price: 5 Credits

Carbon is one of the most diverse elements we know of. Used in almost everything from plastics to alloys and sometimes even power production, carbon is an inexpensive, but important commodity. As such, almost all industrial settlements import carbon ore.

Metal ore

Average Price: 3 Credits

Many colonies mine metal ores for export, to be refined and used in industrial manufacturing. Used in everything from small toys to spaceships, metal in all its forms is essential to modern civilization.

Metal alloys

Average Price: 8 Credits

After metal ore is extracted and refined, it is processed and ends up as various alloys. An alloy is an amalgamation of metals, rather than a single pure element, combined in exact proportions to gain specific desirable traits. Therefore, most consumer metals are alloys.

Precious metals

Average Price: 180 Credits

Precious metals are, generally, less reactive, more difficult to mine, and more scarce, resulting in a considerable economic value. This often includes gold, silver, platinum, and rare earths. Certain elements such as gold and silicon, or rare earths, are crucial for the construction of computers and other electronics.


Average Price: 12 Credits

Synthetical and semi-synthetical materials used in everything from everyday items to spaceship construction. They are relatively easy to use in manufacture, versatile and cheap to make, thus an important part of our civilization.

Fruits and vegetables

Average Price: 12 Credits

While there are lots of synthetic alternatives, real fruits and vegetables are still an important part of our cuisine and nutrition. Grown on agricultural worlds or as part of the life support of habitats, and exported to systems in which growing plants is not feasible.

Animal meat

Average Price: 18 Credits

A major point of controversy, meat is the flesh of animals. With synthetic protein readily available, most people believe that animals should not be killed. While meats are illegal in most core systems, live animals and their meat is an important part of the lives of people on more traditional worlds.

Live animals

Average Price: 32 Credits

Partly due to humanistic, economic and ecological reasons, animal rearing and trade is strictly regulated, or even illegal in many core systems. Going outward, livestock becomes a more important part of the livelihood of the people, both as a source of nutrition and a beast of burden. Exotic zoos and wildlife reserves contribute to the trade of animals around the galaxy, usually under strict state regulations, to combat illegal hunting grounds.


Average Price: 8 Credits

Most outposts have a local brew that outsiders find hard to stomach. Alcohol can be banned in some systems as it is deemed to cloud the mind. Regardless of the law, a shot of scotch is almost always available on the black market, for a price.


Average Price: 10 Credits

The backbone of many peoples' diets. It is used in farming, to feed animals, and as a supplement to synthetic foods. Grain is also used in many other foods, such as oatmeal and baked goods. Most star faring cultures grow and consume at least some grains, that have been adopted to the climate of their habitat.


Average Price: 232 Credits

As machines have replaced slaves as the engine that powers civilization, slavery is now almost universally seen as immoral, and transgression against a ban draws the strictest punishment. However, despite the best efforts of humanitarians, slavery is still prevalent, even in developed worlds.


Average Price: 8.5 Credits

Textiles are simple fabric, woven from either synthetic, plant or animal derived yarn. Usually produced by robots in large factories, it is still possible to find the occasional weaver who makes their own textiles.


Average Price: 4 Credits

Fertilizers are crucial for growing crops at an industrial scale, allowing mono-cultures, yielding higher dividends than possible using plain dirt. This often comes with at an ecological cost, not evident at the onset.


Average Price: 22 Credits

Derived from natural sources, or synthesized artificially, medicines are needed everywhere humans go. From curing the common cold to combat the adverse effects of prolonged space travel, medicines are essential to the prosperity of an interstellar humanity. Carefully watched by customs agents, as it is not uncommon to disguise narcotics as medical drugs.

Consumer goods

Average Price: 140 Credits

The end products ready for the general consumer public, without need for further processing. Everything from toothbrushes, kitchen appliances to hover cars.


Average Price: 80 Credits

From over a thousand years ago, with the Abacus, PDP-11, and Motorola 68k chip, down to our modern HAL 9001 and Multivac line, computers marked the dawn of the information age. Equally essential for entering hyperspace as for sharing videos of cute quibbles over the UniNet.


Average Price: -0.1 Credits

The byproduct of civilization, consisting of industrial waste, household garbage, and worn down equipment. Most waste is reprocessed, recycled or sent to starports for transport off-world. Dumping garbage in inhabited systems is almost always illegal. Starports usually charge a fee for waste disposal, but will also pay you to take it away.

Radioactive waste

Average Price: -3.5 Credits

Created by nuclear reactors, and military hyperdrives, nuclear waste is the hardest and most dangerous commodity to transport and dispose of. For this reason, most starports will pay to get rid of excess stockpile. Dumping nuclear waste is a severe offence.


Average Price: 157 Credits

Natural or synthetic substances that alter the state of mind and body. Although the use of narcotics, both for recreational and medical purposes, is as old as humanity itself, shipping and trading is commonly outlawed.

Nerve gas

Average Price: 265 Credits

It is generally accepted to be a weapon of mass destruction, shunned even by the military in most systems, and thus illegal in most systems.

Military fuel

Average Price: 60 Credits

Used as fuel in the more advanced military drives. These drives produce nuclear waste during operation, which must be disposed of. Because of this, some governments have banned the use of military drives and their fuel. Due to its synthetic nature, military fuel is more expensive and less common than hydrogen, and can not be found occurring naturally.


Average Price: 63 Credits

Robots are often imported into industrial and mining systems, due to their ability to easily perform tasks that would be too difficult, tedious, or unsafe for human workers. They can also serve as politicians and lawyers.

Hand weapons

Average Price: 124 Credits

Providing insurance beyond the long arm of the law, hand weapons are essential for space traders in far-out systems. However, many governments see them as a threat to their own control over their population and strictly control their trade and possession.

Air processors

Average Price: 20 Credits

Clean air is only taken for granted when already abundant. The technique behind air purification is rumoured to come from alien artifacts found on Mars. Many companies produce various types of air processors, capable of turning even the most hostile atmospheres into a workable environment, and governments do not tolerate monopoly on air production.

Farm machinery

Average Price: 11 Credits

Although rare, it is still possible to catch the occasional farmer with an ox-driven plow. But in almost any place where there is agriculture, machines are used in the cultivation of the land, be it the hydroponics of an underground habitat or the endless fields of a garden world.

Mining machinery

Average Price: 12 Credits

The traditionally back breaking work of mining is alleviated by the use of machines that help miners in locating and retrieving various ores, and transporting them to the closest processing facilities.

Battle weapons

Average Price: 220 Credits

Heavy military-grade weapons, like armoured hover tanks, and surface-to-space missiles. Trading in them is usually a governmental monopoly. On the black market, however, these can often fetch a hefty sum of money.

Industrial machinery

Average Price: 13 Credits

Needed for assembly lines, refineries, smelters, and production of machinery that will in turn produce other goods. High competence is needed to produce these advanced machines.