Refineries are kind of like autofactories (which you can read about here), with the chief difference being that they're available for anyone to use, unlike autofactories, where only the owner produces things with them.
As a refinery owner, the game charges you a certain amount for every resource you produce, differing by resource. You then set the price others pay to refine at your refinery, and the difference between the two is money in your pocket.
As with autofactories, tax rates will come into play, with more successful economies charging higher taxes on autofactories and refineries.
If you haven't read the Economy page, you should definitely do so now.
Autofactories are where goods get produced, using resources and/or other goods. These are player-owned and operated.
Say you're an aspiring manufacturing mogul looking to acquire your first autofactory and build some goods. Here's how you'd go about it:
- Decide what economy to acquire an autofactory in.
- Decide what type of autofactory you want. Each autofactory can produce a particular category of goods, such as Missiles & Mines, Alloys, Nonmetals, Light Cores, Weapon Batteries, and so on.
- Check the commsphere listings to see what the going prices are for an autofactory of that category in that economy. You can purchase a previously-used one from another player, or a brand-new one.
- Now that you own your autofactory, you're ready to start manufacturing. You need to have the required resources/goods in storage in that economy first. Then you add the desired goods to the manufacturing queue for that autofactory.
- You'll have to have enough Marks in your account to pay the manufacturing tax in that economy which, as previously mentioned, varies.
- The manufacturing then commences. Each type of good takes a different amount of time to manufacture, from six seconds to much longer. Upon completion, each good will go into storage in that economy automatically for you.
How do you then sell the goods you've manufactured? You need Marks after all. You've got your eye on that shiny new supercruiser...