This includes several complex operations such as Research, Copying, Invention and Reverse Engineering. New Eden is a massive world with a huge population forming a capitalistic market. This means there is very limited state controlled production(NPC) of any kind. Most items are manufactured by players, with certain important exceptions:
- Skillbooks (seeded daily to school stations or through LP stores)
- T1 BPOs (similar to skillbooks)
- Datacores (used for T2 and T3 research; obtained in a time-limited way from R&D agents/missions).
- Named/Officer/Deadspace modules (loot from missions).
Faction items (Caldari Navy Raven, etc.) are a mix of player and NPC production -- some items can be purchased through LP stores as blueprints.
Note that the supply of the last 4 items on the list is generally constrained by two factors: (a) how many missions are run, and (b) how often the item is provided as mission loot. Skillbooks and blueprints appear to be sold in a manner that maintains price stability and high availability.
The wide availability of meta-1 through meta-4 modules is viewed by many as a major economic problem in EvE, since any of these are superior substitutes to T1 manufacture, which produces Meta-0 items. Indeed, many meta-4 modules are superior to the T2 variants.
T2 manufacture is a more complex venture, requiring more skills, different materials, increased infrastructure, and good luck. Individual items are worth more, but costs are much higher as well.
T3 manufacture is more complex yet, with a different set of inputs and months of skill training to do the whole process -- but again, the potential for profit is higher. It also rates its own article, Tech 3 Production.