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Blueprint research

Although players cannot research 'new items' themselves, research still plays an important part in the tradeskill chain. This article explains the use of blueprints, gives some tips on efficient research, lists the related skills and points to some useful resources for researchers.

Blueprints, originals and copies

Patents in the world of EVE are protected by limiting the number 'runs' a blueprint has left on it. A manufacturer of any item will need a blueprint with free licensed runs to be able to produce, using up one run per batch. For some items one run will yield a batch of items (ammo), for most one run will yield one item (ships, turrets, modules etc.).

There are two types of blueprints in EVE, you can tell the difference between them by the number of runs remaining.

Blueprint originals (BPOs) have an infinite number of licenced runs. A BPO can be researched in a laboratory, by renting the lab, installing the BPO and selecting either to copy it, improve material efficiency or improve production effiency 1.

Blueprint copies (BPCs) have a limited number of licensed runs. A BPC cannot be copied or researched to improve ME or PE, they are intended solely for production. Every time you produce a batch from a BPC the number of licensed runs left will decrease.

Material efficiency (ME)

Without any ME researched a BPO isn't as good as it can be: using it in production will result in the waste of some needed minerals. By adding levels of ME, this waste is reduced by a part of the remaining waste for every level (i.e. diminishing returns, never 'perfect'). The more levels of ME that are on a BPO, the closer the material cost will get to the cost as quoted in the item database.

Generally, producers agree that more than 10-15 levels of ME is a waste, depending on the original material cost. Remember you're also paying for the laboratory where your blueprint is researched. To determine whether increasing ME is worth it, look a the formula for determining waste:

mineral cost = base cost * (1 + 0.1 / (ME + 1)) * (1.25 - 0.05 * ProdEff)

for a negative blueprint efficiency, the formula is:

mineral cost = base cost * (1 + 0.1 - ME / 10) * (1.25 - 0.05 * ProdEff)

The 'base cost' is the minimum cost, as it is given in the item database on eve-online.comleaving this site. The two terms after that show the effect of blueprint ME and your production effiency skill 2.

With no ME, you need 10% extra wasted minerals, for every level of ME the fraction gets smaller. At ME 1, it's 5%. At ME 2, it's 3.33%. At ME 3, it's 2.5%, etc. Going from ME 10 to ME 11 reduces waste from 0.91% 0.83%. So, for instance, on a Thorax that would mean saving about 397 tritanium, 99 pyerite, 26 mexallon, 6 isogen and 1 nocxium. Going from ME 15 to ME 16 reduces waste from 0.63% to 0.59%. On a Thorax that would mean saving about 192 tritanium, 48 pyerite, 13 mexallon and 3 isogen.

With no production effiency skill, you waste 25% extra minerals. If you get Production Efficiency to level 5, waste from skill is reduced to 0%. These wastes are multiplied, not added. So, for example, if you would get 5% waste from ME (*1.05) and 20% from lack of Production Efficiency skill (*1.20), the total waste would not be 25%, but 26% (1.05 * 1.20 = 1.26).

Production Efficiency (PE)

Without any PE researched a BPO in production doesn't go as fast as it could. By adding levels of PE, the production speed for the BPO will get closer to 'perfect', similar to ME. For every level of PE a portion of the remaining 'waste of time' is shaved off. This amount can be calculated as:

Manufacturing time = original time * (.8 + .2/(1+PE))

An alternative way to write that formula would be (equivalent):

Manufacturing time = original time * ((5 + 4*PE) / (5 + 5*PE))

This reduction is in addition to what is provided from Industry skill,

Time = time above * (1 - .04 * Industry)

The two times are reported on any blueprint as "Manufacturing Time" (the first number) and "Manufacturing Time (You)" (the second number, with Industry factored in).

Most researched BPs you run into on escrow or in your corporation's collection won't have a lot of PE on it though. Most manufacturers feel the payoff is very low, since they only rarely have factories running the same BP all the time. The only practical use of PE is when you need 1 run fast and even in those case, the difference isn't so big as to actually matter much. Note that the first level of Productivity research cuts 10% off the manufacturing time, and that additional levels cut a diminishing amount up to only another 10%. Industry skill can cut time further, but it will do that with or without productivity research.

Copying the BPO

If you choose to copy a BPO you will get a blueprint copy (BPC) with a fixed number of runs. The BPC will have the same ME and PE as the BPO it is copied from, but you choose the number of runs to allow on the BPC and how many copies to make.

Related Skills

If you plan on researching blueprints and related on the skills needed, there are a couple of skills that make things easier. The Science skill improves the speed at which you can produce copies from originals. The Research skill improves the speed at which you can research PE. The Metallurgy skill improves the speed at which you can research ME and the Laboratory Operation skill increases the number of laboratories you can operate at any one time.

The other Science skills are not related to blueprint research, but to the use of research agents and Tech II Production.

1 the other available options, like reverse engineering, are not active and serve no purpose in the current client version.
2 note that Production Efficiency for blueprints is not the same as the Production Efficiency skill. The former applies to production speed and the latter to waste reduction.

Current EVE version: 2.08.3582 (Exodus)
 Comments [Hide comments/form]
Suggested additions to the "Material efficiency (ME)" section:
A simple division by 5 (rounded down) of the "base cost" of your blueprint for a given material gives you the optimal ME (0 units waste) for that material. This provides a quick way to assess the optimal ME for a blueprint by figuring what ME would ensure zero waste (assuming a lvl5 PE skill) on the most valuable materials.

Sometimes, blueprints are missing from the item database, yet show in-game on the market, which helps to assess a blueprint before acquiring it. Just remember to divide material quantities by 1.1 in this case, to remove the displayed ME0 waste.

Suggested addition to the "Production efficiency (PE)" section:
Many people dismiss PE research on their BPOs, but when it comes to high-demand, high profit margin goods like some T2 equipment and ships, the extra 10-15% productivity from ME1-3 may prove more profitable than shaving another percent of waste from ME.
-- DonTemujin (2006-11-18 15:38:28)
WARNING if you research a BPO and then decide to cancel it CCP have a new update which keeps that assembly line occupied for the time that the research was going to take. I just set one to ME 100 9 days it would take and then read this guide where it says 20 is enough. So I canceled it and now one of the assembly lines is clogged up in our POS.
-- AmarrHM (2008-01-22 18:32:56)
When you already have production efficiency at level 5 then here is a little rough calculation for you:
The ME level reduces costs by (ME level / ME value+1) of the difference between ME 0 and optimum.
So: ME 1 = 1/2 , ME 2 = 2/3, ME 3 = 3/4 ...
-- GregVaganza (2009-09-23 01:27:20)

I started a research job at my POS lab that was going to take 10 days but it messed with my research plan so i cancelled it and it WAS going to keep the lab occupied for the 10 days....... However rather than wait the 10 days I offlined the lab -> Unachored the lab -> re-anchored the lab -> onlined the lab and the slots were available again. A hassel but beats waiting 10 days :P
-- CwnJ (2010-12-14 10:03:56)
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