There is a lot of trading going on in the Starpeace Online worlds. In order to make it simple, contracts are not used in the game. If you want one of your stores to buy products from a specific player's warehouse, you need only include that warehouse in your store's List of suppliers. Along with a list of suppliers, factories and warehouses also have a list of clients.
Having a certain facility listed as a supplier doesn't oblige that facility to supply you. It is only an indication of your desire to buy production from that facility if it is needed and there is enough production available.
The game will automatically buy from the best supplier in the list. The choice is always based on price, which includes transportation costs. If it unable to get all the supplies necessary from the "best buy" supplier in the list, then it will try to buy from the second best, and so on.
Having your facilities well supplied is as important as having enough customers. So how do you get those lists started? We list several ways below.
When a facility is built
When a new facility is built, the game will automatically list all the warehouses set in Export mode as suppliers. (See the section entitled "How to organize your Company".) This is very useful, particularly in mature worlds, where there are many organized companies.
It is important to note that client lists are not modified by this method.
This is an option some advanced players can't live without. After a new facility is built, and after the procedure described above is completed, the new facility will automatically be connected to your "favorite" suppliers' list. You can direct the game to them by editing the Initial Suppliers section in your Profile Page.
Unless you decide otherwise, all your factories and warehouses get listed there as soon as they are built. This enables all your facilities to automatically connect to one another.
The Connect Button
Every facility with a supplier list will display a Connect button when inspected. When you click on connect, the mouse cursor will turn into a bulls-eye. Move the cursor over the building you want to start trading with (a factory or a warehouse) and click on it again. Then the game will "connect" both buildings. For example, if you connected a food store and a food warehouse, the warehouse will appear in the food store's supplier's list.
Once both buildings' supply and client lists have been modified, you will receive a brief report detailing the result of this action.
Sell to All buttons
Factories and warehouses display the following buttons in the Inspect panel:
Sell to all Stores: It will connect the inspected facility to all the stores you own, and it will add it to your Initial Suppliers list.
Sell to all Factories: It will connect the inspected facility to all the factories you own, and it will add it to your Initial Suppliers list.
Sell to all Warehouses: It will connect the inspected facility to all the warehouses you own, and it will add it to your Initial Suppliers list.
The Search for Suppliers/Clients page
In Starpeace Online all merchants are registered in a sort of global directory. You can search for suppliers in the same manner you would search Yahoo for something.
Let's say you built a new food warehouse, and you need suppliers for it. Do the following:
Select your food warehouse on the map and inspect it.
Go to the Suppliers Tab. You will see the supplier list there.
Click on the "Hire" button. The Supplies Search Page will appear, now you can set the options you want in order to narrow your search. Press the "Search" button, a list of results will appear.
Note: this list is ranked according to Price, from cheapest to most expensive. Therefore, the supplier with the best price will be listed first.
Select the suppliers you want and click on "Buy from selected suppliers".
As it will be explained later, every building has a Trade setting. It allows the owner to decide with whom that building can trade. It could be with anyone, allies only (see the Strategy section for explanation) or same company only. In the first list, the one obtained pressing the "Search" button, all the buildings that sell the product you are looking for will appear, regardless of their trade setting.
When you click "Buy from selected suppliers" though, only the ones with the correct settings will appear in the list on the Inspect panel. If only a few or none make the cut to your actual suppliers list, it means you have to find another way to obtain what you need. If possible, producing it yourself could be an option, or it might be time for you to lobby other players and start an alliance in order to broaden your possible suppliers.
The search for Clients works exactly in the same manner, but the list that result from the search is ranked according to distance from the building.