A large proportion of the most important pieces of equipment and hardware you can use against the alien threat is manufactured rather than bought. As soon as you take over command of your brand new base you have a Workshop and some Engineers to man it. The one thing you lack is something to build, and to start your list of items you can produce you will need to research one of a number of technologies.
How to Manufacture Items
To manufacture items in a selected base you will need a number of things
- A completed Workshop, you start with one in your first base, but for other bases you will need to add one if you intend to produce items there
- One, or preferably quite a few, engineers stationed at that base
- One or more technologies researched that result in being able to produce items
- Enough money and raw materials to build at least one copy of the item you are aiming to produce
When you have these things select the base management screen from the Geoscape, select the base you want and enter the manufacturing department. Here you will be able to choose either to Start Production to begin a new production run, or if you have an existing item being produced you can click on it which will allow you to modify the orders regarding it.
When you select the New Production option you will be shown a list of any items you can build that you do not already have being built in this particular workshop. Later in the game you may need to scroll down to see some of the items using the arrow keys.
Once you have selected the appropriate item to build you will be shown an information screen that shows you the requirements, costs and timescales for that particular item. Based on the number of engineers you have available you will be able to tell how long the production of each item will take by referring to the number of engineer hours per unit.
The workspace required is taken out of the 50 space you have available per workspace, and each engineer assigned uses another slot, so an item that requires 8 workspace can have up to 42 engineers working on it if you only have a single workshop, as long as you have no other items in production.
Also listed is the cost, both in terms of the amount of money it will take, and also any special materials that it will use up in production, some of which are very valuable in themselves. If you have the requisite money and materials to produce at least one of the item then the option to Start Production will be present, if not you will only be able to cancel the run.
At this point you should be shown how many engineers you have available, and how much workspace. Normally you will want to assign all your engineers to the task, as long as they can all fit into the workshop, as normally it is not efficient to produce two different types of item at once. Next select the number of units to produce, remembering that every one of them will take the monetary and raw materials cost from your account and stores when the engineers get around to starting producing it. Note that you can order as many as you like at this point, it does not check you have the resources for it, but you will have to have to ensure you transfer or recover the necessary items or money before they are needed before the engineers or the production run will stop.
Note that items become available to you as soon as the individual item is finished, you dont have to wait until the production run ends and then get a lot at once, they trickle through as they are completed. You only get notified when the entire run is complete though, not when each individual item is done.
Also as a warning - as soon as you press Ok to start production your engineers will immediately order all the necessary parts and bring the required special materials from your stores, even if you cancel the run immediately these will all be used up - only for the first item of course, but it pays to be sure you are making the right thing before you press ok, you don't want to be caught making Heavy Plasma guns when you meant to be making Plasma Beams, for instance.
Modifying an existing Production Run
Once you have one or more manufacturing projects in progress you will see the details of it on the main manufacturing screen. It shows the number of engineers assigned, the amount produced so far, how many are left to go, the cost per unit (but not the special materials needed), and the amount of days and hours until the entire batch will be completed.
If you want to change the details of a production run, simply click on it to show a screen similar to when you started production that allows you to reassign engineers, shorten or lengthen the production run, or stop production altogether. Note that if you stop production it will lose the money and materials used in the currently in progress item, so you might want to finish the last one, or just reassign all the engineers and leave the project to be continued later - note that this takes up extra workshop space, so you might not always want to do this and just take the loss.
What to Produce?
Obviously you are limited is what you have researched, so what you want to produce at any time changes rapidly as new technologies become available to you. Before you get hold of some alien technology and research it you have three main choices that you can get into production in the first week or so, Medi-Kits can be important to stop your soldiers dying of their wounds on the battlefield, Motion Scanners can be useful to avoid your soldiers getting wounded on the battlefield in the first place, and Laser Weapons such as the Pistol and Rifle can help you wound the enemy much more effectively, so they all must be considered.
If your scientists are being very effective, or you have just hired loads of them, then you will often find a backlog of demands coming from your soldiers, pilots and base personnel for all sorts of items, and you may need to look at expanding your production facilities with more workshops and engineers, either at the same base or another. At this point you may regret it if you haven't planned ahead for this moment as a new Workshops take 32 days to build, as well as the $800k it costs, plus an extra 50 Engineers come in at $2.5 million. It is a good idea to get ahead of the curve and plan for this time lag and expenditure spike as soon as you scientists start building up a large list of items you can produce.
Show me the Money
One key thing to be aware of, particularly later on in your struggle, is that there are a number of items in the production list that can be produced for a potentially significant amount of profit when sold to various shady private individuals that approach you. Once you are at this stage, you may wish to consider which items you can make most profitably.