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Old 07-12-2010, 10:42 PM   #11
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Vermont, USA
Default Re: [Spaceships] Antimatter Factory

Okay, I only naively compared fabrication/production rates to the facility's construction cost. Let's see what else there might be.

GURPS Spaceships 2 has some sections on operating costs, though they are mainly geared at traveling spaceships rather than installations. Operating expenses for an industrial facility might include:
  • Bank Payments (p. SS2:29) -- SIGNIFICANT. If you paid for construction with a loan then your final cost will be higher (because of interest) and it will thus take longer to break even. The "quick-and-dirty" interest calculations on p. SS2:27 mean your final cost will be 144% of the basic cost (1 to 2% of the facility's cost per month, for 12 or 6 years respectively).
  • Crew Salaries (p. SS2:29) -- NOT SIGNIFICANT. I'm not sure how factory workers work with GURPS Spaceships. Can a non-automated factory (such as a Fabricator) be run by someone in a Control Room control station, or does it require additional actual bodies in the factory? If the latter, how many machinists are required to operate, say, an SM+15 factory at full capacity? The Work Shack and Space Industrial Park both mention construction and factory workers (p. SS6:7-8), who are in addition to the crew needed to run the ships; the Space Factory and Class III and Class IV Orbital Spaceports only mention technicians (who are already required to maintain the systems); and the Class V Spaceport mentions that its technicians double as factory workers when needed (is that when additional workers are needed, or when any workers are needed?). Despite the questions above, even if all the occupants of the entire ship are being paid to work in the factory, crew salary won't be a significant expense compared to the fabrication rate. At TL9, most crew will earn $3,600 per month (p. SS2:30) or $20.45/hr at 22 days/month, 8 hours/day. If a Class V Orbital Spaceport employed all of its potential 31,000 occupants, at $698K/hr (90% workers at $20.45K/hr, 10% supervisors at $40.91/hr), that would be only 0.5% of the factory's production capacity ($150M/hr). If we assume a factory requires as many workers as workspaces, then it's only $6.7K/hr.
  • Consumables (Fuel and Provisions, p. SS2:30) -- NOT SIGNIFICANT. If the factory is powered by a fueled power plant, you'll have to pay for more fuel on some regular basis. Unless you're running a chemical power plant, this is unlikely to be a significant expense compared to fabrication rate. Anyway, all of the factories use Solar Panel Arrays.
  • Repair and Maintenance (p. SS2:31) -- NOT SIGNIFICANT. The rules for maintenance in the Basic Set (p. B485) produce maintenance costs greater than GURPS Spaceships 2 lists for cheap or very cheap ships (pp. SS2:27-28), so I'm going to assume those aren't the correct rules to use and that there are no maintenance costs for a spaceship in good condition.
  • Taxes (p. SS2:32) -- SIGNIFICANT. Taxes are 10% of profits for most businesses, 5% for government-subsidized businesses.
  • Insurance (p. SS2:32) -- MODERATELY SIGNIFICANT. Hull and Machinery Insurance is 0.1% of the ship's cost per month, doubled if it has volatile systems (and I realize now that an Antimatter Factory should be considered a volatile system -- I'll add a mention of that above).
So a Class V Orbital Spaceport (p. SS6:10) costs $180.32B and its factory has a production capacity of $150M/hr (minus 40% input cost). It can generate a gross profit of $64.8B/month worth of small items ($/hr rate), +$2.7B/month on its in-factory production lines ($/day rate), or less than $270M/month assembling ships off of the production line ($/day rate, 1/10). With a 2%/month loan payment, the spaceport runs in the red for the first 6 years ($2.7B - $3.6B loans - $1.2M salaries - $270M taxes - $180M insurance = -$1.36B per month), but makes $2.25B/month after that (16.6%/year ROI), breaking even in its tenth year. With a 1%/month loan payment, the spaceport makes a profit from year one: $445M/month for the first 12 years, $2.25B/month after that. If the spaceport is financed in-house (no loan payments), then it simply takes 6.7 years to break even. Once the spaceport has paid off its loan (or construction cost) it can choose to make only $61.5M/month profit (1/36th of in-factory profit) assembling ships off of the production line (0.41%/year ROI).

The Antimatter Production Facility can make a $106M/month profit for the first 6 years with a 2%/month loan payment (31%/year ROI) or $147M/month for 12 years with a 1%/month loan payment (43%/year ROI), then $189M/month after that (55%/year ROI). Financed in-house, it takes 1.8 years to break even. Those ROIs do seem high. Dividing antimatter production rates by 2 or 3 produces ROIs more in line with the spaceport, but maybe high ROIs are not inappropriate for a facility composed 25% of volatile systems which might cause the whole thing to explode!

Last edited by munin; 07-13-2010 at 08:35 AM.
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