Unearthed #3: Trade Routes

In each post of Unearthed we expose and closely examine a single aspect of Project Automata. Not everything mentioned in this series will necessarily show up in the final game, but we wanted to share our development process with you as we ramp up to Alpha and the eventual release of Project Automata. Feel free to share any of your ideas or concerns with us in the comments!

This week’s post is all about Trading with towns and the Routing of vehicles.


Trucks, trains, boats and airships will all require routes to get anything done. As trucks will be the first vehicle you can route in the game, we’ll use that as our example here.

Truck routes are based out of logistic centres, so the first step is creating a new route is choosing a centre to be the starting waypoint. Logistics centres are where trucks are stored when not in use and the only way to add more vehicles to your road fleet.

Once you’re within the logistics centre’s trade route interface you can add a new route to the list. Each centre will have a limited number of routes it can handle depending in it’s size. Under the route’s details you can now select the next waypoint and the type of resource to be transported. Pick up and drop off locations can be resource extractors, factories, towns, other logistics centres, or any building that has storage.

At these locations there are five possible options for the truck to take:

  • Pick up any available resource then immediately go to next waypoint.
  • Pick up at least half capacity before moving on.
  • Pick up to full capacity before moving on.
  • Pick up any available resource within a specified time before moving on.
  • Unload all resources leaving the truck empty, then go to next waypoint.


Once the route had been created you may select how many trucks will run on the route. Many trucks can be on the route, but not on the same waypoint. If a truck is waiting for a load one location, the next truck in line will idle at the previous waypoint to ensure no more than one truck is on a waypoint at any given time.

Work-In-Progress Trade Route Interface

Work-In-Progress Trade Route Interface


Each town and city will demand up to four different types of products. If you load up your trucks with those products, you can set the town centre to be a waypoint on a route.

If you can meet the demands of a town you’ll be be rewarded higher-tier products or persistent buffs to your industrial capability. Towns only every offer one product in return at a set rate  specified by the town.

For example, let’s say a town wants furniture and clothing while offering concrete in return. If the trade ratio is 2:1 on furniture and 3:1 on clothing, you will get a crate concrete for either every three crates of furniture or for every two crates clothing the town receives.

These ratios will change depending on your reputation with the town, the town’s productivity, and the quantity of products traded recently. The more you flood a market with a certain type of good, the less the town will demand that good, and the less reward you will get from trading it. If feeding our example town with a constant supply of furniture pushes the ratio to 10:1, you might want to consider switching to clothing for trade, or start getting your concrete from somewhere else.

As you meet the needs of the town, it will become more productive and expand. If a town grows large enough to become a city, or if a city blossoms into a metropolitan, it will start demanding new products and offer better rewards.

In Unearthed #4 we’ll dissect the creatures that are towns, cities and metropolitan areas. Each one on a map is unique and acts in it own way.

Till next time!

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