SW Economy

From Elite Wiki
Planet Data Sheet from Planetary Systems OXP.
•In the Strangers World suite of OXP's, these figures are tweaked by Habitable Planets OXP to be more sensible.
•This then impacts on planetary production of food etc.

This OXP gives additional flavor to Oolite economy. Whilst this OXP is part of the Strangers World/SW suite of OXPs, it is fully independent of them.


  • More realistic. GDP, Tech Level & planet size now relevant.
  • 3 new commodities: Water, Oxygen & Medicine
  • Quantities of some items depends on GDP!
  • Low-tech small-radius planets (ie with low atmosphere) & Mining stations (ie Rock Hermits/AstroGulags) now form the third pole in the Agricultural - Mining - Industrial trading triad.

Agricultural Goods - more variable as weather dependent; planet size & TL now also relevant

  • Water takes over the role of food (and cheaper in Rock Hermit markets)
  • Food & textiles more expensive
  • Fewer furs with less reliable profits
  • Low TL and small planet size means no food/textiles/wine/furs
  • Oxygen needs moderate TL for production
  • Medicine only produced in high TL agricultural systems (and some space stations) - and bulkless like gold/platinum

Industrial Goods - tech level more important

  • Alloys now need moderate TL for production
  • More machinery with better profit margins (and need moderate TL for production)
  • Fewer computers (and need high tech level for production)
  • Luxuries now bulkless like gold/platinum and need high TL for production
  • Low TL means no machinery, alloys, computers or luxuries for sale
  • Moderate TL means no computers or luxuries for sale

Economic titles of systems redefined (but roles unchanged, except in the case of low TL small "agriculturals" which are now mining extraction planets, despite their name).

Redefined system economy profiles

First, this OXP changes the canonic descriptor of a system's economy. The Vanilla game descriptions seems controversial. Why does a Poor Agricultural system market have more food and soft goods at a lower price than a Rich Agricultural? We have no such controversy at the opposite end of the scale: a Rich Industrial market has more electronics and machinery at a lower price than a Poor Industrial market. It seems that "Poor Agriculture" is a logically flawed definition: it reflects the system's economic specialization, not the productivity level, nor the richness/poverty level!

This OXP implements a new economic classification:

  • Poor Agricultural -> Extreme Agricultural
  • Average Agricultural -> Strong Agricultural
  • Rich Agricultural -> Common Agricultural
  • Mainly Agricultural -> Mainly Agricultural
  • Mainly Industrial -> Mainly Industrial
  • Poor Industrial -> Common Industrial
  • Average Industrial -> Strong Industrial
  • Rich Industrial -> Extreme Industrial

This redefined classification as far as I know will not affect any OXPs dealing with a system's market. The text string "Extreme Agricultural", for example, is used only for display on the F7 system information screen: Oolite prefers "numeric value system.economy = 7" for market calculations. There is one exception: GalCop Galactic Registry (author phkb) will still display the vanilla game descriptions. GalCop Galactic Registry v5.3 is now compatible with SW Economy

Rebalanced prices and qualities of goods

Oolite's economical model was inherited from the good old 8-bit 42 KB Elite. Compared with later space sims which feature hundreds of items in their goods lists, Oolite seems modest. You have only 17 goods – and only 14 goods for legal trade. Moreover, even this humble list is mostly useless. In reality you have an extremely limited subset of the most profitable items for your milk runs. Buy computers in industrial systems, sell in agricultural, buy alcohol & and/or furs, sell in industrial, repeat. Sometimes furs more profitable, sometimes alcohol, that’s all. Well, having 100 credits for start you’ll buy cheap food and sell it with good profit, but it is a very short period. Oolite is definitely NOT about economics. You have no reason to buy textiles if you have more cheap and more profitable food. Similarly, you have no reason to buy machinery if there is enough stock of the more profitable computers. And you have no reason to trade minerals, radioactives and alloys – of course, you can collect these items as bounty (if you have fuel scoops and enough free space in the cargo bay).
I was not ambitious enough to create an economic revolution – despite having a beard, I’m not Karl Marx. I'm just fine-tuning the model to realize its hidden potentials and give players some challenge.
There are at least three basic types of economy in other space sims, not just the Elite industrial/agricultural dichotomy. And, there are actually at least three groups of goods in Oolite, matching these basic types of economy.
Agricultural goods (food, wine, textile, furs) – here production is not limited by TL, but is strongly affected by environment. It will be good to assume dramatic fluctuations of quantity and price for such items due to weather effects and other unpredictable events, affecting harvest.
Raw materials (minerals, radioactives, gold, platinum, gems) – mining is affected by an unpredictable environment too, but to a lesser degree. In any case, industry needs buffer stocks of raw materials to allow uninterrupted production.
Industrial goods (computers, machinery, alloys, luxury, firearms) – industry is a business with long-term planning, so it is the most stable sector of an economy: don’t expect significant fluctuations of quantity and prices. And high-tech goods will require a high enough TL.
Slave and narcotics (and partly firearms of course) are a special case. This is illegal business, criminal, affected by random events, so quantities and prices for such items will be highly variable.

Food and textiles

Food in Ooniverse is extremely cheap. Listen, growing crops is really hard work, so why do we have such cheap food? So food now has a basic price comparable with minerals.
Textiles were almost useless as trade goods. With increased prices and an enhanced economic gradient, textiles may now be a good choice to start business, in addition to food. Not as profitable as wines and furs, but still quite useful. And, more profitable than vanilla game textiles if you collect it as bounty.

Liquors/wines and furs

This is well balanced pair in the vanilla game economy, so only slight adjusting of settings was done. Furs are more profitable as a whole but more unpredictable, alcohol gives a more stable profit.

Computers and machinery

Unlike the liquors/wines & furs pair in an agricultural market, computers and machinery as industrial goods are not balanced in the vanilla game economy. You have no need for machinery when you have enough stock of more profitable computers.
The quantity of computers is now significantly reduced, the quantity of machinery is increased, and the economic gradient for machinery is increased too. Computers remains as more profitable in absolute terms, but now you have not enough computers for the Cobra Mk III's 20 ton cargo bay. There is good reason to buy machinery now. Moreover, according to new rules there are no longer any computers on the market below some TL thresholds (details will be explained later). So machinery is now the main export good for low-tech industrial worlds.


Alloys are somewhat controversial goods. An industrial-world product, but the agricultural worlds need mechanisms, not alloys. As we can see later, alloys like minerals and other raw materials are mostly for intra-system trading, not inter-system. So the vanilla settings for alloys remain almost unchanged.


Historically luxuries were goods from exotic countries with an agricultural economy: spices from South Asia, silk, tea and chinaware from China, furs, vodka and caviar from Russia, tobacco from America. But in the modern world luxuries now include high-tech gadgets, so there is logic in classifying luxuries as industrial goods.
There are two issues with the vanilla game luxuries, which combine into a major logical problem.

Luxuries have too abundant a stock in industrial worlds. And luxuries are measured in tons! Why are there so many almost useless luxuries for trade – more then machinery in terms of their gross weight?

The quantity of luxuries is now significantly decreased, their economic gradient enhanced and now the quantity of luxuries is measured in kilograms, not tons. So having free money you can buy and sell luxuries for extra profit, rather than having to choose between them and more useful items.

Minerals and radioactives

Like the other raw materials, these goods have a low value for inter-system trade. So in this OXP they retain almost their vanilla game settings.

Gold, platinum, gemstones

Like other raw materials, these items are mostly for intra-system trade, not inter-system. Unlike other raw materials, these items are measured in kilograms and grams, not tons. So it is good idea to extract profit from price fluctuations, not from predictable economic gradients. Use the opportunity to buy such items if their price is below average and wait for an occasion to sell at above average price – this will not affect your cargo capacity. The vanilla game settings are quite suitable, but I slightly enhanced the economy gradient.

Slaves, firearms, narcotics

These items shares the common status of being illegal goods, but at a closer look they are a heterogenous group.
Slaves are definitely the product of poor agricultural worlds with an archaic economy. These cheap human resources can be used in mining worlds and in low-tech industrial worlds. A high-tech robotized industry has no pressing need for cheap unqualified workers. This issue can be solved using additional filters (more details later). But slaves in the Ooniverse are incredibly cheap. It is hard to explain the very existence of such a risky business where there are so many legal opportunities to get a comparable profit without such risk. Thus, the slave price has been drastically increased. Not enough maybe to transform slave trade into a temptation – this task is beyond my intentions – but to give more reliable background.
Firearms, on the contrary, are industrial goods. The production of firearms is not an illegal business per se, so firearm stocks can be stable like other industrial goods. You just can’t legally trade firearms without a proper license (again, this is a matter for some other OXPs - try Weapon Laws OXP for example). The vanilla game settings looks fine.
Narcobusiness in reality is associated with poverty and most narcotics are refined extracts from raw material of plant origin – so narcotics are goods of agricultural origin. On the other hand, some narcotics are products of chemical synthesis and there will be more exotic high-tech solutions in the future (brain implants for example). Narcotics are thus defined as independent of the economy, but their stock is very volatile due to the risky nature of their business – well, maybe. But tons of narcotics ... really? Narcodealers really transport unprocessed raw narcotics instead of a refined, finished product? The narcotic quantity has been redefined in kilograms, not tons.

Alien Items

You can’t acquire these goods on the regular market – the only way to obtain them is to win a battle with thargoids and collect their inactivated drones. But why are alien items most valuable in agricultural worlds? It seems logical that industrial worlds with well equipped high-tech laboratories will have more demand for such goods. The economic gradient for alien items is therefore inverted.

New items

It is an enigma – why we have a pair of precious metals with similar value (gold and platinum) and lack the most necessary goods for a space-based economy?

Fresh water

Water is an abundant material in our known Universe. Water/ice can exist in such unexpected places as the polar regions of our Moon and Mercury, so there can’t be a shortage of water in our fictional Ooniverses, right?
Ironically (and sadly) there are too many places with a deficiency of fresh water on our blue and green Earth. It seems reasonable that water will be deficient on remote space objects, such as orbital stations. On the other hand, water is cheap if you have an agricultural planet with plenty of water. Distillation and bottling are not very expensive and you have no need for a high TL to do it. So fresh water can be a valuable export product in addition to other agricultural goods. Industrial systems with harsh living conditions will have a demand for fresh water.
Cheap fresh water in my economy is similar to cheap food in the vanilla economy – you can trade it for an initial profit when you are too poor to trade in more expensive goods. And you can take some cheap fresh water to eject in battle, fooling the pirates until you have enough cash to purchase fuel injectors.


Like water, oxygen is vital for life support in space. In modern space technology, oxygen is widely used as a component of rocket fuel and to produce energy in fuel cells. On the other hand, you can produce oxygen if you have enough water and energy.
In an Ooniverse with quirium-based technology using oxygen as rocket fuel will be obsolescent, so presumably the life-supporting role of oxygen will be predominant. Oxygen production in situ cannot be available in all cases, due to water and/or energy deficiencies. Oxygen storage and delivery is essential for emergency reasons. Definitely, gentlemen, there is good reason to have oxygen in our trade goods list.
Oxygen can be obtained directly from oxygen-rich air. Advanced agricultural worlds have dense oxygen-rich atmospheres. Of course, trade in oxygen is based on more advanced technology than the mere bottling of pure fresh water. This issue can be solved using additional filters to define system market.
Oxygen is more costly than fresh water and even more costly than food. Not due to manufacturing costs per se, rather due to issues with the storage and transportation of liquid oxygen. But like water there is large-scale production with negligible price fluctuation.


There is a large illegal trade in narcotics in our Ooniverse - just for fun - and there is no trade in medicine at all!

OK, medicine trade can be regulated. You can’t trade medicine without a proper license. Just like you can’t trade firearms for the same reason. And, listen, some narcotics CAN be medicine, but most of medicine goods are NOT narcotics. And we already have alcohol trading without any license.

There are two possible opposite assumptions setting the economy gradient for medicine.
  • A. Medicines are formulated from plants, so they are an agricultural product.
  • B. Modern pharmacology is based mostly on chemical synthesis, so it is high TL industry.
In reality we have a mixed approach – we have a pharmaceutical industry, using raw plants, synthetic drugs and biotechnology.

Option B seems highly probable for our Ooniverse's futuristic setting, but I prefer option A. It gives a nice symmetry. Industrial worlds trade luxury for medicine. Medicine is an agricultural item, but it is high tech agriculture. Don’t expect to find medicine exported from low tech agricultural worlds (specific filter again). Like redefined luxuries, medicine is measured in kilograms, so it is a nice addition to the regular goods in the cargo hold. And, the market for Medicine is volatile not due to unpredictable harvests, but due to unpredictable demand.

Some thoughts about non-linear markets: how to trade

We have an extremely simplified vanilla market model in Oolite with a linear gradient between the industrial and the agricultural poles.
It seems hard to create a more interesting economy without complex coding, but it is actually quite possible whenever we have more than the one orbital station market in a solar system. We already have rock hermits in the vanilla game which offer cheap mining products and sometimes demand consumable items. Usually it is a matter of luck to locate a rock hermit – not suitable for a predictable logistic loop. But this is a good starting point to develop unique secondary markets. Indeed, we also have plenty of OXPs which provide secondary ports – some with really interesting markets.
Using such secondary ports we can transform the vanilla game's linear agricultural-industrial economy model into a classic raw goods-industrial-agricultural triangular economy model.
Instead of milk runs between agricultural and industrial systems we can now realize a more complex logistics pattern. Remote mining needs consumables.
(i) Buy fresh water, oxygen, food, & alcohol on the market of the main orbital station in an agricultural system.
(ii) Go to an industrial system and instead of the main station, travel to and sell at a remote mine complex – you’ll get more profit.
(iii) Then take the cheap raw mined materials and sell them at the main station or maybe even at a space factory in the same system. Buy high-tech equipment, revisit your agricultural system, sell it, rinse and repeat.
  • There are no useless goods now – some goods will be nice for inter-system trade, some for intra-system. We have imported an extra dimension into our game.

Rearranged goods list

The vanilla goods list layout was inherited from the Classic Elite interface. There is space for only 17 items on the F8 screen. Adding 3 extra items to the 17 original ones will need to scroll the list to access these extra items. It is not a good decision to force players to take additional actions to access these extra items.
The Goods list has been rearranged: agricultural goods first, next industrial goods, then raw materials and illegal goods placed last. Only illegal goods will be displaced onto second page of F8 screen – no issue for a law-abiding player, I hope. The ? (toggle filter) and / (toggle sort) work as usual, of course.

Spara's In-System Market Restore script has been included (and modified) to allow saving the market's additional items (fresh water, oxygen and medicine). Modifications includes adding extra items and changing item order in commodity array.

System-specific filters

We have only 8 variants of vanilla market depending only on 8 possible values of system economy. There is no tech level relevance. It’s a bit strange, isn’t it? Well, there are no low tech AND extremely industrial (rich industrial in vanilla) systems in Ooniverse. But you’ll find exactly the same market in TL 9 and TL 12 rich industrial systems! The availability of ship upgrades will be the only difference. SW Economy sets a system market with system-specific filters:

• Computers, machinery and alloys are not available in agricultural systems
• Food, textiles, wines and furs are not available in industrial systems
• Food, textiles, wines and furs are not available in agricultural systems with archaic TL AND main planet radius below 5425 km (too small for dense atmosphere: they produce mining products)
• Computers, medicine and luxuries are available only in systems above median tech level, quantity is limited
• Machinery, alloys and oxygen are available only in systems above low tech level
• Minerals and radioactives are available only in low-tech OR industrial systems
• Quantity of some items depends on the system's gross productivity
• Illegal items are available only in low-tech unstable systems

Examples: Riedquat, Diso & Isinor vs Leesti, Oresqu & Orerve

Riedquat. Extremely agricultural system, TL 4, anarchy. A poor agricultural system in the vanilla game classification. Industrial goods (machinery and computers) are totally unavailable for sale. Goods requiring more advanced TL for manufacturing (medicine and liquid oxygen) are unavailable too. The main export items – food, textile, fresh water, minerals and radioactives. Agricultural goods with high value (alcohol, furs) available in limited quantities comparing with more advanced agricultural systems. Developed black market of illegal goods. A typical half-criminal economy for such a poor, low tech, agricultural and raw export world.

Diso for contrast. Strong agricultural system, TL 8, democracy. Industrial goods unavailable too, but the main export goods are wines, furs and medicine. Food, textile, fresh water and oxygen are also export goods. Mining is prohibited due to environmental regulations, so Diso has no raw materials for export. Illegal goods are prohibited too. A typical advanced agricultural economy.

Isinor. Extremely agricultural system, TL 7, confederation. Economy is almost same as Diso, but Isinor's tech level is below the threshold to produce medicine and oxygen.

The contrast between industrial systems is not so expressed, but the differences are quite remarkable. Taking two neighboring systems for example –

Leesti (common industrial, TL 11, corporate state) and Oresqu (strong industrial, TL 10, multi-government). In the vanilla game economy Oresqu is closer to the industrial end of scale, so its system market has more computers for export. But with SW Economy, due to stable government and a slightly more advanced TL, Leesti has a gross productivity of 35,200 MCr against Oresqu's 17,280 MCr. The quantity of Computers on the market is now affected by a system's gross productivity - and it is now Leesti's market which has more computers for export.

If you visit another system in the Leesti neighborship – Orerve (mainly industrial, TL 6, feudal), you can’t find computers on the system market, only machinery. Orerve is below the tech level threshold to manufacture computers.

Secondary markets

SW Economy also sets new market definitions for secondary ports in external oxp packages:

  • Anarchies
Salvage Gang
Hackers Outpost
Renegade Station
  • Commies
Astrogulag Penal Colony
  • Dictators
  • Galactic Navy
Navy Station
  • Deep Space Dredgers

This feature originally was added to restore external markets ruined as result of the transition from the commodities.plist to the trade-goods.plist with Oolite v.1.82. Now these original packages have scripts, emulating the obsolete market definition. These scripts can override the SW Economy market definitions for secondary ports, but in the worst case you'll merely have emulated the old markets. Not conflicting with the new SW Economy model, just out of balance with my altered prices.

Known issues

Installing this OXP

New economic rules will activate only AFTER the first hyperjump to a new system. Starting as a new pilot on Lave you'll have the F8 screen with the old goods list and with the old price/quantity settings. This is intentional. There are many possible events like departing from station(s) in the Lave system, or docking with station(s) whilse staying in the system, but only the one event of entering this system. So it is safe to set the market for this system at arrival once to avoid recurring loops. New market state will be stored in your first save in new system.
After installing this OXP you can't get the new market rules until you' have left your current system. So playing a customised scenario using a ship not equipped with hyperdrive (such as a Bushmaster in the "Advanced Miner" scenario), you'll have the vanilla game market. Lave is not a suitable system for the mining business - and it is wise to leave Lave as soon as possible, taking advice to use the wormhole created by a friendly trader ship. After arriving at a new system you'll find the new SW Economy. But, if you install this OXP after entering your new system, in a ship without a hyperdrive, you'll get stuck in the vanilla game market until you find a way to leave the system!
Starting a new pilot is a good idea in any case, but I think it is not obligatory. It should be safe to try these new rules with existent saves, but I do recommend to backup your current save.

Uninstalling this OXP

If you decide to uninstall this OXP, it is good to sell all extra OXP goods (fresh water, oxygen and medicine) first. Any extra goods will remain in the system market, generating an error message in the game log, but this issue will be fixed after entering a new system.

Be careful with luxuries and narcotics! Having 50 kg of luxuries on 20-ton Cobra Mk III is safe, but deinstalling this OXP, you'll convert this 50 kg to 50 tons and lose at least extra 30 tons of cargo (and all 50 tons if you have your cargo bay fully loaded with some other goods)!

Secondary ports feedback

As I already mentioned scripts for secondary ports in original OXPs defines goods quantities using vanilla rules, so I'll be grateful to you for feedback.


Version History

This OXZ was originally part of a bundled OXP, containing six main packages:

  • SW Economy
  • SW Equipment
  • SW Shipdata
  • SW Population
  • SW Resident Filter
  • (e)Xternal OXP tweaks

Since version 3.8 these OXPs are separated and presented as individual packages in OXZ format.

  • 16.01.2021 - Version 3.8 Bundled OXP Stranger's Set reassembled in OXZ format as separate packs.
  • 09.07.2020 - Version 3.7 Minimal planet radius for food, textiles, wines and furs production increased from 5200 to 5425 km.
  • 12.02.2019 - Version 3.6 Fixed error in trade-goods.plist, description of firearms. Thanks, Seven!
  • 18.08.2018 - Version 3.5 Food, textiles, wines and furs are not available in agricultural systems with main planet radius below 5200 km.
  • 31.03.2018 - Version 3.4 Pulse laser is excluded from legal census to provide compatibility to Hard Eject OXP.
  • 08.11.2017 - Version 3.3 Forward/aft shield ratio reverted to original 1:1 value.
  • 06.11.2017 - Version 3.2 Improved economic rules.
Fixed conflict with secondary markets.
Description of secondary markets is transferred from obsolete eXternal Market Tweaks onto SW Economy package.
  • 19.08.2017 - Version 3.1 Some readjusted player's ship specs resets to standard again.
SW Shipdata is added as separate module.
Injector speed factor and fuel burn rate readjusting for player and NPS ships transferred from Hard Way to Stranger Set bundle OXP.
  • 06.07.2016 - Version 3.0 Modified In-System Market Restore script integrated into SW Economy package.
  • 12.01.2016 - Version 2.9 Ship hull class hidden on F5 screen.
  • 23.12.2015 - Version 2.8 Orbital Shuttle and Transporter max cargo load decreased to more realistic value.
  • 23.10.2015 - Version 2.7 Equipment availability realised via script. Obsolete condition definitions removed.
Script shipclassequip.js refined. Problem with ships without hyperspace capability fixed.
  • 18.09.2015 - Version 2.6 Dredger market really fixed :-)
  • 16.09.2015 - Version 2.5 Laser upgrade and missile re-arm available on main station only.
  • 15.09.2015 - Version 2.4 Fixed compatibility issue with Ore Processor 2.2.1 OXZ.
Large Cargo Bay price reduced from 5000 to 2500 Cr.
  • 11.09.2015 - Version 2.3 Fixed error in dredger market definition.
  • 08.09.2015 - Version 2.2 Added brief descriptions of goods.
Trumble opinion readjusted.
  • 13.08.2015 - Version 2.1 Luxuries measured in kg, not tons.
Escape Capsule cost reduced to 1000 Cr.
Minor changes in market script.
  • 10.08.2015 - Version 2.0 Equipment.plist moved from SW Economy to new SW Equipment OXP.
Ship classes implemented based on hull size. Some equipment can't be installed on any ship.
Some player's ship specs depends on hull size, max speed and energy recharge rate.
Ship readjustments transferred to SW Equipment. SW TCS removed from bundle.
  • 01.08.2015 - Version 1.9 Rebalanced core ship specs (test version).
  • 04.07.2015 - Version 1.8 External markets adjustments (more realistic profit from metals in case of dredgers for example).
  • 27.06.2015 - Version 1.7 Market filter now covers more items.
  • 19.06.2015 - Version 1.6 Bundle package completely reassembled.
Markets completely redefined and converted onto Oolite 1.82 format.
Yaw damper removed from shipdata-overrides.plist (it is realized via script in Warp Drive OXP!).
  • 16.09.2014 - Version 1.5 Equipment.plist and shipdata-overrides.plist refined.
Asp Mk II max roll speed increased.
  • 05.09.2014 - Version 1.4 Price for standard and ECM-hardened missiles readjusted to improve compatibility with Missile Tweak OXP.
  • 18.06.2014 - Version 1.3 Old readjusted ship roles and most readjusted ship specs (based on Switeck's Shipping OXP) removed from shipdata-overrides plist to accommodate new ship role system in Oolite 1.79.


  • In-System Market Restore (author spara)
  • Anarchies (authors Commander McLane, Killer Wolf, Arexack Heretic, Eric Walch, spara, Norby, phkb and Griff)
  • Commies (authors Amaranth, Dr. Nil, Eric Walch, Norby, phkb)
  • Dictators (authors Ramirez, gsagostinho, phkb, Griff)
  • Galactic Navy (author Nemoricus)
  • Deep Space Dredger (authors Sabre, Eric Walch, Little Bear, Captain Berf)
  • Thanks to Commander Seven from the Roolite community for detecting error in the trade-goods.plist.

Actual version - SW Economy 3.8.0 Uploaded 16.01.2021

Bonus OXP! (Xenon UI SW Economy Addition)

  • XenonUI has an AddOn for SWEconomy using Stranger's nomenclature (Xenon UI SW Economy Addition).


Gameplay and Balance Indicator


This OXP makes trading rather more complex

  • there is now a trading triad (agricultural - mining - industrial)
  • factors such as economic type, GDP, planet size & TL now determine the availability of commodities.