The RTSC Guide to Startopia
Part 5: Cargo Cult

Scuzzers load a Cargo HoldEverything in Startopia - except Peeps - can come in a Supply Crate. Some buildings and rooms consume Supply Crates, such as Medical Supplies for Sick Bays and Food and Mineral Ores for the Dine-O-Mat. Each crate only holds one item, and if left out on the deck for too long, eventually spoils to become a useless Damaged Good. A few Cargo Holds are necessary to store crates safely in stasis and prevent spoilage. Your Scuzzer Droids will automatically pick up any stray boxes they find and deposit them to the nearest Hold, but this depends a lot on Scuzzer availability and numbers - more often you'll be packing Cargo Holds yourself in really big stations since it can sometimes take a long while for your droid packs to get around to clearing them up. Scuzzers completely ignore any Damaged Goods, and these crates have to be recycled by hand as you find them.

Right clicking on a Cargo Hold brings up its menu, where you can quickly grab a Pattern Buffer's worth of cargo from everything that's stored any of the Station Holds. This is useful for unpacking large numbers Scuzzers, Furniture and Hardplan Crates in one hit when you need to use them without having to hunt them down on foot. You can also beam goods directly to or from the Hold itself without the menu.

Just a small note: any cargo crates that are "in transit", that is, erither being manipulated by the Cargo droid in the Hold or carried by a Scuzzer become temporarily unavailable to your right click menu and trading menus. You have to wait until the Cargo droid has finished with the crate before it becomes available again. With Scuzzers, you can at least beam the crate out of their claws - often grabbing the Scuzzer as well.

I've also noticed Scuzzers can get stuck in the cargo delivery doorway if you have a building, room, or a small Corridor Item parked right in front of it. I keep the doorway clear of any other facilities myself, and this helps prevent any "blocked" Scuzzers and stalled cargo. I've even seen cargo decay waiting in a stalled Scuzzer queue, so a little vigilance might be required on your larger stations.

Know your Crate Types
Each of these crate types opens to reveal a single item.
Hardplan Crate
Hardplan Crates contain the holographic blueprints of revisable rooms and rigid buildings that your Scuzzers build. Some Hardplans can only be opened on the right deck: working facilities like Factories, Energy Collectors, Berths, Sick Bays, etc. belong on the Engineering Deck, while entertainment facilities like Space Bars, Motels, Shops, and other tourist traps go on the Entertainment Deck. Some items can go anywhere: Lavatrons, Dine-O-Mats, Energy Boosters, and Security Turrets can be built anywhere but on the Bio-Deck.
Furniture Crate
This opens to yield either a piece of furniture that goes into a room, or a Corridor Item that can be planted outside on the deck. Only the right furniture items can be placed in the right rooms: for example, medical equipment can only be placed in a Sick Bay. Some items, like Image Projectors and Chronometers can go anywhere. While you may not be able to make them some types of rooms (like space bars, for instance) you can still beam them there. Corridor Items, once planted, can be beamed up again and then dropped anywhere on the Station, even in the Bio-Deck! A few statues and litter bins in the Bio-Deck never go astray.
Technology Crate
Opening one of these awards you the tech that lurked inside it, which then appears in your Build and Factory menus. Its one way to avoid the involved process of researching something, but these green crates cost an arm and a leg.
Scuzzer Crate
Contains: 1x Scuzzer droid of any kind. Hope I didn't lose you then! In some custom missions, these yellow boxes contain cute Memaus or even deadly Skrashers.

Know your Supply Crates
These crates are consumables and can't be opened. They hold a set number of serves for each Station facility that uses them. If you run out of a type of cargo, e will be subtracted instead, biting into your profit margins. Some cargo is only used for trading and can't be used by your Station. Practically every item can be manufactured (some may require research first) and most can be cultivated on the Bio-Deck.
Food Supplies Food Supplies
Consumed by Dine-O-Mats (although you have to set them to use it first) and General Stores.
  Medical Supplies Medical Supplies
Consumed exclusively by the Sick Bay.
Mineral Ores Mineral Ores
Consumed exclusively by the Dine-O-Mat (when told). Mineral Ores are the only things you can't cultivate in the Bio-Deck or make in a Factory.
Hardware Items Hardware Items
Consumed by Computer Shop. Can't be grown on the Bio-Deck.
Industrial Items Industrial Items
Usually derived from most trees in the Bio-Deck, this item is only useful for trading.
Luxury Goods Luxury Goods
Lucrative trading commodity, and consumed by the Leisure Store and Music Shop. Default Bio-Deck settings produce many plants that yield Luxury Items.
Black Market Goods Black Market Goods
Fairly easy to obtain in post war space, and fairly reasonable for trade. Consumed by Combat Stores.
Alien Items Alien Artifacts
Harder to obtain, slow to grow, and expensive to buy, Alien Items are consumed by the Curiosity Shop.

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Last polished Mon, Jan 7 2008 by Lindsay Fleay.