In the EvE universe, most items are manufactured by player characters and traded in a relatively free way in the marketplace. Students of economics will note that these markets are neither perfect nor efficient in the technical senses; volumes of many items are low enough that the market can be manipulated (and is), and supply of materials and modules is partly provided by loot drops in missions, which can be adjusted without warning by the game developers. Similarly, the developers may adjust the requirements for a manufacturing process, or increase the availability of ore, or otherwise mess in the sandbox. So it's not a bad proxy for real life at that. (All these interventions have happened within the 90 days prior to this writing.)
Nonetheless, manufacturing and selling items can provide interest and ISK profit for the careful and canny player. The player must be aware, however, that there are plenty of items which actually destroy value -- that is, there are a great number of T1 items, modules especially, that are worth less than the cost of manufacture. There are many more items which can be sold at a profit, but only in a limited volume in certain markets. Manufacture in these cases may simply be an alternative to hauling stuff between markets.
The following skills are useful or required for T1 production. Most or all of these will be needed for T2/T3 production as well. Recommended minimum skills are Industry 3 and Production Efficiency 4. Supply Chain Management 1 is required to use the Uni POS service.
Production skills are found in the Industry category.
- Industry - 4% reduction in manufacturing time per skill level.
- At least level 1 is required to use most blueprints, and level 3 is required for further manufacturing skills. The speed bonus increases the rate at which you can produce items (and therefore, produce profit) and reduces installation costs slightly.
Increase number of concurrent jobs:
- Mass Production - Allows 1 additional job per level.
- By default, all characters can run 1 manufacturing job at a time. Training this skill lets you run additional jobs simultaneously from 2 jobs at level I up to 6 jobs at level V. Any industrialist who wants to create things will need to train this to IV or V fairly early in their plans. Level 5 is required for:
- Advanced Mass Production - Allows 1 additional job per level.
- The current NPC price for this skill is 20M ISK. So if you invest, train it to level IV quickly. At level I you'll be able to use a total of 7 job slots (1 base + 5 from mass production + 1 from this skill) up to a total of 11 slots at level V. Most people stop training after level IV and instead choose to roll up a new production alt.
Reduce materials needed:
- Production Efficiency - 4% reduction per skill level to the material requirements needed for production.
- If you are just producing ammo for your own use, training this skill to level III or IV is all that is needed as you won't care about an extra 8-12% waste. But for the profit-minded industrialist, training this skill to level V is a very strong recommendation.
Allow remote management of jobs:
- Supply Chain Management - Proficiency at starting manufacturing jobs remotely. Each level increases the distance at which jobs can be created. Level 1 allows for range within the same solar system, Level 2 extends that range to systems within 5 jumps, and each subsequent level then doubles it. Level 5 allows for full regional range.
- This skill is more of a convenience skill than a must-have for a budding industrialist. The current NPC cost is 6.75M ISK, but it allows you to manage your production lines for a distance. If you invest in this skill, training to level III or maybe level IV would offer the most flexibility. Note that you still have to haul the materials and blueprint to the relevant station.
Research skills are found in the Science category.
- Science – 5% Bonus to blueprint copying speed per level.
- Basic skill, reduces time needed to create BPCs. Level 3 is required for Research.
- Research – 5% bonus to blueprint manufacturing time research per skill level.
- Metallurgy - 5% Bonus to material efficiency research speed per skill level.
Increase number of concurrent jobs:
- Laboratory Operation – allows you to run a research operation, either ME or PL, per level.
- Basically equivalent to the Mass Production skills. Level 5 is required for:
- Advanced Laboratory Operation – allows you to run a research operation, either ME or PL, per level.
Allow remote management of jobs:
- Scientific Networking - Skill at running research operations remotely. Each level increases the distance at which research projects can be started. Level 1 allows for range within the same solar system, Level 2 extends that range to systems within 5 jumps, and each subsequent level then doubles it. Level 5 allows for full regional range.
- Basically the Laboratory equivalent of Supply Chain Management.
- Buy and Sell orders will most often be the main way of acquiring materials and selling manufactured products, and increasing the number of available orders beyond the base 5 will help greatly.
- These skills will allow you to manipulate market orders without being present in the relevant station. Level 2, or 5 jumps, allows management of Hek from Aldrat and Rens from Eystur.
- These skills will reduce some extra costs from installation and market orders, increasing profit margins.
All manufacturing jobs require a blueprint. These come in two forms: originals (BPOs) with infinite runs and copies (BPCs) that can only be run a limited number of times. For most blueprints, a single run of a blueprint will produce a single item, but there are some exceptions including ammo, which produces 100 ammo per run. BPCs are produced through copying (T1) and invention (T2).
T1 BPOs are seeded by various NPC traders, with costs varying from 100,000 to 72 billion ISK.
Blueprints have a "Bill of Materials": this is a list of the materials and skills that a single run of the blueprint requires. Most simple blueprints require Industry 1 to run, although more advanced blueprints will require more advanced skills, probably increasing the total cost of owning the blueprint.
Blueprints have a number of attributes that affect the efficiency of the BPO. All newly purchased BPOs have a degree of wastage associated with them. These are split into:
- Material Level
- New BPOs will always use 10% or 25% more material than ideal, independent of character skill. The level of material waste is controlled by the Material Efficiency (ME) level, and can be reduced by performing Material Research at a laboratory slot. With no skills, blueprints will have an additional 20% material waste, which is reduced with the Production Efficiency skill.
- Productivity Level
- As with ME, the amount of time needed to produce the item will take x% longer than ideal. The level of time waste is controlled by the PE level, and performing Time Efficiency Research at a laboratory slot will reduce the wasted time during manufacture.
Both forms of research are subject to fairly severe stacking penalties, so while a few levels of research are almost mandatory on most blueprints, it becomes much less worthwhile after that. The lowest ME level that results in a BPO with zero wasted units of materials ("Ideal ME") is determined by the material with the highest unit quantity. For 10% wastage BPOs, Perfect ME = quantity/5.5. For 25% wastage BPOs, Perfect ME = quantity/2.5. Free research slots in public stations are extremely hard to find, and most stations have a queue of two weeks or more to do research. The University provides a service to research BPOs for students who have the [Θ] Theta or Sophomore titles.
This site BPO Research Calculator provides an easy way of finding out the optimal ME and PE research level.
T1 BPCs are produced by copying (running a copy job on) T1 BPOs. The resulting BPCs will inherit the Material and Productivity levels of the respective BPO, but cannot be researched further. Public copy slots are also hard to find, and the University provides a BPO copying service.
Once you have a blueprint and some materials ready, it's time to produce your goods. Most of the time you'll be using an NPC station to manufacture goods, and it's generally a lot easier to find available manufacturing slots than research slots. Most NPC stations will charge 1000ISK + 333ISK/hour to use, and this can often make small runs unprofitable, so be careful. Generally, creating more runs at a time will reduce the impact of the 1000ISK installation fee.
If you have a POS available to manufacture with, then there are a few more options (and no installation costs). Different arrays can be constructed that are able to manufacture different types of modules or ships - at an increased rate compared to a station manufacturing line. A special type of array, the Rapid Equipment Assembly Array, can create modules even faster than a normal POS array, but at an increased mineral cost.
Once you have the minerals and blueprint in the target station, then right-click on the blueprint and select Manufacturing. Pick an installation with the top button, and set the number of runs, and you should be good to go. A confirmation window will pop up with a check that you have enough materials and telling you how much it will cost: press Accept Quote to start the job running.
While the job is running, you can check on its progress using the Science&Industry window on the NeoCom. Select the Jobs tab, and a list of your currently running jobs will be displayed. Clicking on a job will show more details, including the time to completion (TTC). You can cancel the job if you want your blueprint back for some reason, but note that the minerals will be lost and the manufacturing line will stay unavailable until the job would have completed.
Finally, once the job is completed, the Cancel button will be replaced by a Deliver button; press this and the results and blueprint will be returned to the station.
- Electronics 2 / Engineering 2 :
- These are required for a lot of the other skills in this section. Level 5 may be additionally required.
- Electronics Upgrades 3
- Required for Hacking
- Hacking 2
- Required for racial Decryptor skills
- Science 5 / Electronics 5 / Engineering 5 / Mechanic 5
- T2 blueprints will require Science 5 in addition to one or more of Electronics, Engineering or Mechanic for their respective blueprint skills.
Racial Decryptor skills:
- Amarr / Minmatar / Caldari / Gallente Encryption Systems
- These skills are required to use the respective decryptors.
Electronics skills: (These skills require Science and Electronics 5)
- Electromagnetic Physics
- Used for Electronic Warfare, Railguns
- Electronic Engineering
- Used for Electronic Warfare, Webbers, Scramblers and Drones
- Nanite Engineering
- Used for Armor/Hull, Repair Systems
Engineering skills: (These skills require Science and Engineering 5)
- Graviton Physics
- Used for Cloaking, Webbers, Scramblers
- High Energy Physics
- Used for Energy Systems, Laser Weapons
- Hydromagnetic Physics
- Used for Shields
- Laser Physics
- Used for Laser Weapons, Mining Lasers
- Nuclear Physics
- Used for Projectile Weapons
- Plasma Physics
- Used for Blasters
- Quantum Physics
- Used for Cloaking, Energy Systems, Shield Systems
Mechanic skills: (These skills require Science and Mechanic 5)
- Amarrian / Minmatar / Caldari / Gallente Starship Engineering
- Used for Racial Ship Construction
- Capital Ship Production (also requires Production Efficiency 5)
- Used for Capital Ship Production
- Mechanical Engineering
- Used for Repair Systems, Starships, Railguns, Blasters, Projectiles, Mining Lasers, Missile Launchers, Drones
- Molecular Engineering
- Used for Armor/Hull, Propulsion Systems
- Outpost Construction (Also requires Anchoring 5)
- Used for Outpost Construction
- Rocket Science
- Used for Propulsion Systems, Missile Launchers
Currently, T2 blueprints are available through the Invention mechanic, which replaced the old and controversial T2 Lottery. While T2 BPOs still exist, and have much better efficiency than available T2 BPCs, there are not enough to keep up with current demand for T2 items and it is fairly viable for newer players to get into the T2 market.
T2 BPCs are created with the related T1 BPC, a couple of specific datacores, a data interface (which is only needed to start the job and is not consumed), and an optional decryptor. T2 blueprints also require a fairly large number of skills, dependant on the specific blueprint, that are found in the Science category. Notably, T2 Invention jobs do not have a guaranteed chance of success. An approximate formula for the chance of success in T2 invention is implemented in the Invention Chance Calculator.
The success chance can be altered by the type of decryptor used and by adding a named variant of the item you are producing into the mix. Due to the price of decryptors they are typically reserved for expensive inventions so that the invented bpc will have a better ME/PE. For example the Anshar BPC would normally have -4/-4 but by using the Collision Measurements decryptor (~4m) not only does that increase the chance of a successful invention but it will also result in a BPC with -1/-1, ~20m saving and 11D faster production.
Datacores are a consumable used in the invention process. They are gained through NPC Research agents, and can be farmed with a certain set of skills and some good standings.
Blueprints operations that require specific datacores will also require the relevant skill to level 1, listed in the skills section above.