Wednesday, December 15, 2021

SunDog: Knowledge equals profit

Rolling a new Zed.

I restarted the galaxy, now a little wiser to its ways. In this new game, I maxed out Zed's luck - the only stat which can't be boosted with drugs - leaving the rest at their default of 30/100. Right away, I completely refueled, repaired, and refit my space ship. That last task is made rather tedious by the drag & drop interface and other quirks.

Buying replacement parts

...and installing them

Controlling what is basically a mouse cursor with a joystick is already kind of annoying just because of a senseless scheme based on the stick's absolute analog position, where if you want to click on something in the upper-left quadrant of the screen, you've got to push the joystick partway up and to the left and wiggle it around in that vicinity to get it where it needs to be, and if you release the stick so that it returns to center, the cursor snaps back to the center of the active window as well. You get used to it eventually, but it's never convenient, and there are further inconveniences.

  • Ship stores are cash-only, so you've got to withdraw from the bank, and whatever you withdraw, you risk losing to muggers.
  • The store view shows you a bunch of arcane icons representing each ship part, and it doesn't tell you what each part is or what they cost until you click on them. Doing this prompts you to buy the component, and if you don't, the shopkeeper gets annoyed and stops talking to you (and gets rude if you re-initiate dialog).
  • You can only carry four objects. And with all that cash you're carrying, you might want one to be a gun. You probably will need multiple trips to the store and back.
  • Why, oh why, does the act of walking require me to fiddle with weird joystick controls to move a cursor and then click when it's pointing in the direction I want to walk? I'm already using a joystick. Just let me walk with the joystick!

Before leaving, I queried prices at the exchange. As I mentioned in the last post, you won't get a complete picture. However, I found that the deals you can view will rotate each time you enter and leave, and by doing this repeatedly, I got prices on ten different commodities at a variety of grades.


Cargo Low High A B C D E
Stimulants 180 200

Furs 145 160

16000 14500
Art objects 140 176
Hand weapons 101 156 15600 13900
11100 10100
Pharmaceuticals 72 91
9100 8000 7200
Stock embryos 68 86

Biochips 65 91 9100 8100 7200 6500
Fruits 23 36 3600 3200 2800
Seeds 21 32 3200 2900 2500 2300 2100
Grain 16 22
2200 1900


Following the advice of commenter MorpheusKitami, I started exploring the planet rather than trying to warp to others. This can be done by leaving the city grounds, and it's best to do this in your pod. I first transferred my food and medicine from the ship stores to the pod - a tedious process that must be done in batches of four items at a time - and then drove off into the wilderness.

I half-expected random encounters, but found none. The world maps are pretty barren. The only threat here is running out of stamina, which you aren't warned about - you just fall asleep in your pod. You've got to eat too, though if you forget, you'll probably pass out well before you starve to death, and this shows your vitals onscreen when it happens, likely reminding you that you need food. It's better to check your stats manually once in awhile and eat before sleeping.

Exploring around, the first town I encountered was Obburg, which seemed to have the same economic properties as Jondd - same general prices, same black market goods, just no starport to buy fuel at. Repeating the exercise at the exchange, I found these prices:

Cargo Low High A B C D E F
Stimulants 144 160

16000 14400

Furs 144 144


Clothing 124 124 12400

Hand weapons 92 156 15600 13900 12300 11100 10000 9200
Art objects 92 144 14400
11300 10200 9200
Droids 58 90 9000 8000
6400 5800
Biochips 47 57
6400 5700 5200 4700
Pharmaceuticals 47 73 7300 6500 5700 5200 4700
Meats 33 52 5200

3300 3100
Stock embryos 29 50
4400 3900

Grain 9 16 1600 1400 1200


Running art objects from Obburg to Drahew seemed like it might have the biggest profit yields, but just because you can get B-grade art objects at Drahew for $17,600 a load doesn't mean they'll sell that much, so I kept exploring the planet.

The next town I discovered was interesting.


Consisting entirely of an exchange-like complex and a nonfunctional building, I figured this must be the lost colony! Still, my initial goal remained to explore the planet, gather commodity prices, and then use them to make money.

I scouted out the remaining cities - Esposito, Darvilton, and Dramming, and found them all to have the same economic factors as Drahew and Obburg. Esposito had a cryogen stashed in its warehouse, which I noted but ignored. After querying commodity prices everywhere, I compiled a list of planetwide prices using grade 'A' values, estimated where exact prices were unavailable.

Darvilton Drahew Dramming Esposito Obburg
20300 20200
22800 20200
Art objects
19800 19900 17500 14400
Hand weapons 13800 15600
21400 15600
Clothing 9300
9300 11300 12400
Droids 9000
10200 6800 6800 7300
Stock embryos 5400 9700 6100 4100 4950
8100 7200
Meats 4700
4700 5300 5200
Seeds 3600 3200 2800 2800
Fruits 3100 3600 2500

2500 1600

From this list, my best bet for making a profit seemed to be running hand weapons from Darvilton to Esposito, so I went there and picked up a load, throwing in some stock embryos for good measure. Then, checking to see what the local sell price was, I was caught by a big surprise - they sold for more than what I paid!

The hand weapons, at grade A, cost $13,800, and the stock embryos, grade B, cost $4,800. Turning around and selling them right back, they netted $18,200 and $6,400, respectively.

New strategy - buy every offer if it's well below the planetary going rate, and then immediately check the sell price and sell it right back if it turns a profit!

My trade logs over the next session:

Good Grade Buy Sell Profit
Hand weapons A 13800 18200 4400
Stock embryos B 4800 6400 1600
Hand weapons B 15600 16200 600
Stock embryos E 3500 4600 1100
Clothing D 6600 8400 1800
Art B 15600 18300 2700
Hand weapons D 11100 11500 400
Art D 14000 14600 600
Clothing B 10100 12500 2400
Clothing C 7300 10200 2900
Art F 11600 13600 2000
Hand weapons A 15600 20300 4700
Hand weapons C 12300 14400 2100
Stock embryos B 5400 3200 -2200
Hand weapons C 13800 14400 600
Hand weapons C 12300 14400 2100
Furs E 11600 12000 400
Hand weapons A 15600 16200 600
Clothing D 8800 10000 1200
Furs A 18000 8250 -9750

I did not sell the stock embryos or furs at a loss, but held on to them with the expectation that they'd fetch a profit somewhere else. This pirate-free, zero-fuel exercise made me $8,800 richer without having to go anywhere, and I had two loads of cargo potentially worth much more than that. But I also learned something about SunDog's cargo economy, even if it raised more questions than it answered.

The buy and sell prices took a real journey! There doesn't seem to be any connection at all between a good's buy and sell price, but I took a look at price trends, using the assumption that each good's grade is worth 90% of the grade above it.

  • Art's purchase price relative to quality went up, as did its sell price. The value of grade 'F' art was noticeably higher than I expected it to be.
  • Clothing's purchase price spiked twice but ended exactly where it started. The sell price zig-zagged.
  • Fur's value tanked after I bought the second load of it.
  • Hand weapons were the most commonly traded item, and here you can see quite clearly that C-grade weapons' purchase price went up and down while the sell price stayed the same. The overall buy and sell prices crested and dipped seemingly independently of each other, though in all cases I was able to sell for more than I paid.
  • Stock embryos' purchase price went up with each purchase, sharply so after the last one, while the sell price free-fell after my third purchase.
  • Fruit prices, interestingly, dropped a bit even though I never touched the market.

I took one last look at the sell prices of my cargo, and the stock embryos at gone up in price to $6400, the same price that I sold the first load for! But this time I didn't sell, and took my pod on another tour around the planet to check prices.

Darvilton Drahew Dramming Esposito Obburg
Stock embryos B
6400 7700 7000 6300 7000
Fur A
8250 22500 31600 31600 31600

I sold both of my loads on Obburg for a handsome profit, and then repeated the exercise of buying stuff and selling it back, which apart from the cost of buying two C-grade stimulants which would sell at a loss here, earned me $14,400. Sadly, these stimulants, though much cheaper to buy in Obburg than Drahew, turned out not to sell for a profit anywhere on the planet, and I sold them for a combined $6,200 loss. But I learned that stimulants are a market drain, and soon after learned that so are biochips and pharmaceuticals.

Eventually, I racked up $120,000, my last big haul coming from a delivery of two loads of hand weapons to Dramming, and I decided it was time to get on with the game. I picked up the cryogens from Esposito, plus some more hand weapons (see Ferengi rule of acquisition #292), brought them to Banville, and took a look at the exchange ticker to see what else was needed; a list of materials unavailable on the planet.

  • Rare earths
  • Exotic materials
  • Woods
  • Silichips
  • Cadcams
  • Synthesizers
  • Sunsuns

I went back to Dramming to sell my hand weapons for about a $10,000 profit, where I amazingly saw two loads of fur priced at a total of $34,000 which I sold on Obburg for $53,100! With nearly $150,000 in the bank, and the sights of Jondd getting pretty dull, other worlds beckoned.


  1. The mechanics of the economy remind me a bit of the recent indie game "Voyageur", which was in the Racial Justice bundle a few years back, though that added the complication that, because of the way space travel worked in this universe, your journey was strictly one-way, as you could only travel toward the center of the galaxy, not away from it.

  2. Ferengi rule of acquisition #292 is "Only a fool passes up a business opportunity" according to

  3. According to

    Rule #74 is"Knowledge equals profit"

  4. Now I want to play an open universe space trading game ala "Elite" set in the Star Trek universe that has Ferengi as the main characters.


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