Hardspace: Shipbreaker econ info

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Hardspace: Shipbreaker was in Early Access for years, then released May 24, 2022 on PC (Wikipedia, Metacritic, Steam). It's a fun little game where you salvage space ships in a ship yard.

Here is a small collection of analyses and factoids I made for my play.

These are from the final release (v. 1.2.1.1260301, last game update 8/31/2022; autoupdated by Steam, for a Windows PC).

Daily Fees and Equipment Purchase Table

This is two tables in one:

  • The daily fees list you see when you get up each morning. Sort on "Fee Number" for the order they're display there.
(This is the default sort order, when you first load this wiki page.)
  • The equipment list in the Workbench. Sort on "Equipment Number" for the order they're display there.
This also lists the Rank you can purchase them, and the number of LTs (LYNX tokens) needed.
Newbies note that you can see these values long before you'll be able to buy them... just look at the upgrades. The Purchase ones are on a single line item near the bottom of the list of upgrades for each piece of equipment.

Fee

No.

Daily

Fee

Name in Daily Fees Eq.

No.

Name in Workbench Buy at

Rank

LT

Cost

Fee /

LT

1 varies Interest
2 10,000 Nightly Genetic Backup
3 50,000 Bay Lease
4 10,000 Salvage Transport
5 12,500 Hab Rent
6 2,500 Hab Utilities
7 120,000 Cutting Tool 1 Modular Laser Cutter 19 255 470.6
8 90,000 Grapple Tool 2 Handheld Utility Grapple 18 207 434.8
9 25,000 Helmet 5 Helmet 19 159 157.2
10 30,000 Scanner 4 Cross-Spectrum Scanner 20 137 219.0
11 45,000 Suit 6 Work Suit 19 175 257.1
12 15,000 Thruster 3 Thrusters 18 133 112.8
13 100,000 Demo Charge 7 Demo Charges 20 205 487.8

To see which equipment you should buy first if you want to pay off the most expensive ones first:

  • Click twice on the little Sort diamond for the "Fee / LT" column to make the most expensive stuff per LYNX Token be first, then
  • Sort on the "Buy at Rank" column.

Now the most-expensive ones are listed first, for each Rank. Buy these first, to make your LTs go the farthest the fastest.

In actuality, this is kind of overkill... once you reach Rank 18, you can start buying most everything pretty quickly (if you want to), and ultimately get everything within a handful of work days. Still, here's this little table if you want to do it in the most cost-effective manner.

FWIW: The Daily Fee for Salvage Transport sounds like it might only be charged when you start a new ship. But actually, it's charged every day, period.

Monetary Savings from Tethers and Demo Charges

In the section below called Costs per Day versus 15 Minutes, I show how you are charged roughly $600k for 15 minutes in Standard play. This works out to $40k per minute or $667 per second. So,

How much time does a tether or demo charge have to save you, to recoup their purchase cost at the Master Jack?

Tool Upgrade Amount Refill

Cost

Cost

Each

Worth in

seconds

Grapple Tether Amount 0 20 18,000 900 1.35
Grapple Tether Amount 1 30 18,000 600 0.90
Grapple Tether Amount 2 40 18,000 450 0.68
Grapple Tether Amount 2 50 18,000 360 0.54
Demo Charges Capacity 0 5 50,000 10,000 15.00
Demo Charges Capacity 1 10 50,000 5,000 7.50
Demo Charges Capacity 2 15 50,000 3,333 5.00
Demo Charges Capacity 3 20 50,000 2,500 3.75
Demo Charges Capacity 4 25 50,000 2,000 3.00
Demo Charges Capacity 5 30 50,000 1,667 2.50

Let me explain it using the first row (Tether Amount 0), when you have not yet upgraded Tethers:

  • With the beginning configuration, you can hold 20 tethers.
  • Refilling your Tethers always costs $18k regardless of your capacity. (See Master Jack Prices, below.)
  • Okay then. So $18,000 divided by 20 means that tethers cost you $900 each.
  • If you are being charged about $600k for a 15-minute day ($40k per minute or $667 per second),
  • If a tether saves you 1.35 seconds (900 / 667), its cost breaks even.
  • If it saves you more than that amount of time, it's more than worth it... it's making you money to use it.

As you can readily see, tethers are ridiculously worth it. In my play up to this point, I thought I was being frugal by using my grapple to manhandle things into their salvage bin by hand. This process usually took at least 5 seconds, and sometimes 10, 15, or even far more (if it got away from me).

Now I can see, I should've made my life much simpler and just tethered most anything I could. The cost of the tether is pretty insignificant compared to the fact that you lose about $667 a second in Standard play, when tethers cost $900 or less each.

Just so we're clear: When I talk about a tether saving you time, what I mean is, the total time to put a tether on something, versus the total time to manhandle the piece without a tether. Examples:

  • All the little Airlock Consoles are usually grappled off a wall, then you turn yourself and Force Push them straight into the Barge. These little guys would take longer to put on a tether than to just shoot into the Barge. They are not suitable for tethers.
  • Conversely, lots of the outer shell pieces that go into the Processor are big, bulky, and can be hard to manhandle, unless they're relatively small and you happen to be in a good position already. Thus, most (but not necessarily all) of these should be tethered.
Think to yourself: Am I going to have to take 3 or 5 seconds to maneuver around them, to wrangle and Force Push them? If it's longer than a second, just tether. Besides, it's funner and it reduces the chance of a bad aim that winds up taking a dozen seconds to recover from.
  • Finally, there are the real big pieces that would be a real hassle to move by hand (or maybe even impossible). These simply need tethers, period.


A practical truth is that you rarely wait until you're at zero tethers to fill up again. It means that, in fact, each tether usually costs more than what's shown above. I could've tried to address this by, e.g., subtracting 5 from each Amount value if you refill when you have an average of 5 tethers left. But this values depends on lots of factors (your upgrade level, play style, whether you just hit the Jack, etc.).

So I'm just leaving the table simple. Know that the price per tether is higher in real play. But even if it was twice as expensive, it's still a good deal if it saves you even two seconds. In short, use tethers whenever they save you time versus manhandling. Even just a second or two. It's worth it.


FWIW: Getting additional tether capacity not only reduces the price per tether; it also reduces the number of times you need to refill in the middle of a shift. If a trip to the Master Jack takes half a minute, saving a trip saves you ~$20k.


Demo Charges don't benefit from this type of analysis nearly as much. For one thing, there usually isn't a choice of whether to use a demo charge or salvage some other way, especially early in the game. Also, by the time you get to really big ships that might need lots of charges and/or allow for choices, you probably have two or three capacity upgrades already. Which means you almost never run out of charges in the middle of a shift.

Anyway, it was easy to include Demo Charge numbers as long as I was doing it for tethers. So there they are.

Oxygen Upgrades

Level Cap., s Min:sec Δ Cap. Δ m:s
0 400 06:40
1 500 08:20 +100 1:40
2 600 10:00 +100 1:40
3 800 13:20 +200 3:20
4 1,000 16:40 +200 3:20
5 1,250 20:50 +250 4:10

As /u/Takthenomad points out, the "Capacity" you see on the upgrade screen is in units of seconds. (Even though the current UI doesn't say "seconds" anywhere, the Early Access interface did.)

What these values mean is that only the first and fourth upgrades really matter for a Standard 15-minute shift:

  • The first one lets you only need one refill to stay out for 15 minutes. Prior to that, you need two.
  • The fourth one finally lets you stay out a full 15 minutes.

The fifth only matters if, e.g., you're doing Open Shift with Oxygen Drain.

Of course, this doesn't count:

  • Early training, when you're not on the clock and don't use consumables.
  • Any Recharge upgrades, and oxygen you get from a pressurized ship. (These seem pretty worthless to me except theoretically before the first O2 capacity upgrade... but at that point, you definitely want the O2 capacity upgrade instead!)
  • Any helmet damage resulting in leakage.

Don't worry, employee – LYNX is proud to provide an EverWork™ Spare for just $150,000.

Master Jack Prices

For what it's worth, so you can see these consumables' prices when not on the clock.

# Consumable Cost
1 Oxygen 16,000
2 Suit Patch Kit 15,000
3 Thruster Fuel 10,000
4 Medkit 15,000
5 Tethers 18,000
6 Demo Charges 50,000
7 Tool Repair Kit 9,000

You should always have extra Tool Repair Kits. Just buy a bunch when convenient, whenever you're low. Their 9k cost is insignificant in the overall scheme.

Other Numbers and Factoids

Daily Interest

Your daily interest on debt is 0.01%. That's 1 per 10,000.

Your initial debt is 1,252,594,441.92 (lol). So your daily interest is 125,259.44, initially. Not so shabby, considering you can often average maybe a few million a day once you get decent.

Costs per Day versus 15 Minutes

Initially, you are paying:

  • 85k per day for all the fixed items (Fee Numbers 2 to 6 in the table),
  • 325k per day for equipment, which goes up by 100 to 425k/day when you get Demo Charges,
  • and you will have 125k per day for debt interest initially, which will very slowly go down over the coming weeks of work.
  • In summary, your total daily fees are ~$535k per day initially which slowly decreases, but then jumps up 100k more when you get Demo Charges.

Let's call it roughly 600k per day for some general calculations.

You have 15 minute shifts (at Standard difficulty).

At 600k per day divided into 15 minutes, you're losing:

  • 40k per minute or
  • $667 per second.

Are the little lights worth it?

This means that, e.g., those little lights that reward ~$3,500? You lose that much in about 5 seconds.

Stated another way: If you spend more than 5 seconds on them, you are losing money getting them.

So unless you are lined up just right to click and flick little lights into the Barge, don't bother with them. And maybe even then, don't... aren't there far larger fish to fry?

Forget about the drinks and chips that're only worth $100.

How much a trip to the Master Jack costs

Also, FWIW... another number that could be mentioned...

If it takes you half a minute to get to the Master Jack and then get all the way back to whatever you were doing,

you just lost $20k.

So try to hit it when starting your shift. Or otherwise get everything you need, when you hit it.

Cutting connectors versus a square slab itself

Unrelated to the above:

For the Gecko Transport (and undoubtedly some other situations), you sometimes want to get one of the big square aluminum (Furnace) slabs out of the way. You're faced with the choice:

  • Should you fry away the little connecting beams (or boards or studs) between that big square and other big squares, with the Stinger? This leaves the big slab intact, but vaporizes the interconnecting beams.
  • Or just hack big slices into the big square with the Splitsaw? This leaves the beams intact, but decreases the value of the big slab.

So I tested it:

  • The beams cost $3,352 each, or $13,408 for four.
  • A slab costs $30,164 before being cut, but $27,316 after four cuts near its edges. That's a $2,848 decrease.

So it's 6.6 times cheaper (13408/2848) to cut the big slab with the Splitsaw. And it may well be quicker if you're nimble. (You can use the Splitsaw to get only the beams if you do it just right, but it adds a little time to each cut, to do that.)

YMMV... some of the beams and slabs have differing costs. But in this particular case, the choice was clear.

You will probably make a lot of little decisions like this. There's some math on one such choice.

Costs in the End Game

Once you reach the end game, your debt is almost completely removed. At this point you will mostly have just the Daily Fees:

  • You will now have $510k per day in charges (85k Daily Fees and 425k Equipment Rental).
  • For a 15-minute Standard shift, that's $34k per minute or $567 a second.
  • $510k/day is 85% of the previous ~$600k/day value.

This happened to me at Rank 18. Then, after a few more big ships, I was able to purchase all my equipment.

At this point, you only have:

  • The $85k per day fixed fees (lines 2 to 6 in the Daily Fees table).
  • For a 15-minute Standard shift, that's $5,667 per minute or $94 a second.
  • $85k/day is 16.7% (1/6th) of the previous $510k/day value.

Once you get here, the assumptions based on costs of ~$600k per day break down, on paper. But it is still true that it's more profitable (and fun!) to salvage a ship (and make money) as fast as you can. Viewed this way, the result is the same: It's still much better to use tethers whenever they save you time, etc.

You could even argue it's more important. Because now, instead of comparing it to how you lose over half a million a day, you're comparing it to how you can make millions a day. If something can help you make those millions faster, it's worth it.

(In fact, this argument also holds back when you had all that debt... but anyway. I'll skip over that, ha ha.)

Some Thoughts

A few words on that damned shift timer

It's funny but when I first started playing this game, I thought it was pretty damn rude when I got out of training and suddenly I was on the @#$#$%! 15-minute shift clock. I had been calmly taking my time breaking down a ship nice and easy.

But having that fire lit under me eventually made me enjoy moving quickly and efficiently. And now, in the end-game, I wouldn't have it any other way ... I want to see how much work I can do each day. Whether I can hit another Milestone, or maybe even two! And see just how many millions I can make this shift.

So, it's all good.

A word on speedrunning

Around the time I reached the end game, I happened across this speedrun by Serilia, taking down a Heavy Cargo Javelin in 18 minutes.

That ship takes me 6 or 7 shifts (~100 minutes), and I felt sure I was no slacker.

It's a thing of beauty to see all the large and small tricks being done, sometimes one or more a second... sometimes I can't even tell exactly what's happening, she's doing it so fast!

Don't get me wrong. I personally wouldn't want to speedrun. It takes days – weeks – of RT play to get anywhere near as good as the leaders. And even then, I doubt I'll ever make it to the top 10. Plus it's stressful... one bad move can ruin your whole run. Nah, it's not for me.


Still, after watching that run, all I can say is: OMG. Amazing.

And I'm sure there are lots of other, maybe even better, speedruns out there.

To all you folks high on the leaderboard: Hella well done!

P.S. I would have ignored the lights. Maybe they matter to speedrun scores, or maybe they didn't realize how worthless they were in Early Access (its UI didn't show everything's worth up front).