One of the things that slightly disappointed me about the original Elite was that you couldn't really follow in the footsteps of the fictional traders. There's a bit in the Dark Wheel where Alex Ryder is at Xezaor looking for cargo, notices that Durassion ore is available at a good price, and might sell well at Lave. But it's a long journey, and the travel would be worthless if a better deposit was found. He decides it's too risky and looks elsewhere. Later fiction has continued much the same idea that your basic Agri-Ind pair of planets won't generally cover a trader's expenses, and so longer and riskier trade routes develop.
In Elite, though, you could only buy general Minerals. And even if Xezaor has minerals at a good price, there's probably somewhere much closer than Lave to sell them for profit. Oolite - while a little more flexible in the cargo department - has much the same limitations ... but is extensible enough to work around them.
So, introducing the New Cargoes OXP. Any cargo you can imagine - provided it can reasonably be described under one of the 14 generic headings of 1TC cargo - can be offered for sale at some main stations and some OXP stations, and be sold for profit at others. Market collapses and variation are included, so the trading involves a degree of risk. Any OXP can define cargo and other functionality for the New Cargoes framework
There are two releases now available - one for Oolite 1.76, and one for Oolite 1.77:
For 1.76, download New Cargoes 1.1.0
For 1.77, download New Cargoes 1.2.3
Documentation is now available on the wiki: [wiki]New_Cargoes[/wiki]
This adds over 90 fixed cargo types (all 1TC categories except Alien Items included) to the eight charts, based on the information in planetinfo, Famous Planets OXP, the Elite and Oolite manual, various bits of Oolite fiction, and a few other OXPs. Once you've listened to a bit of trader gossip, you may be able to start deducing where other trade routes might exist, too.
It also adds 20 dynamic cargo types to all galaxies. These are short-lived trade routes with higher profit than the regular ones. You'll need to buy the TraderNet subscription from the shipyard to have much chance at these.
Other options for lucrative deals can be found on the trade floor, including delivery contracts, auctions, and collectors of rare goods.
How to use it.
1) Start Oolite, and wait 10 seconds after loading your game for it to do first-time market initialisation (once you've saved and reloaded this is no longer needed)
2a) In 1.76, F8 F8 F8 (i.e. F8 from contract offers) in any main station will take you to the specialist goods market. Look at the offers, buy and sell cargo, visit the trade floor for special deals, and listen to the mostly-accurate gossip at the trade bar to find good trade routes.
2b) In 1.77, use F4 to get to the Interfaces screen, then select "Speciality Cargo Trading"
3) Take cargo from the place that sells it to the place that buys it for massive profits. (Massive profits not guaranteed)
The cargo will take up space in your hold as if it were normal generic cargo of that type - and you can sell it like that if you need the money, it can get blown up if your shields are breached, and you can dump it to shake off pirates. Similarly, if you scoop up cargo along your journey, there's a (small) chance that it will be special cargo.
1.2.3: Fix bug with fetch contract pricing and regional data load/save. Thanks to Solonar and Keeper for reports.
1.2.2: Fix serious bug with cargo being lost on launch. Thanks to Solonar for patient diagnostic work.
1.2.1: Fix bug preventing permits from being offered
1.2.0: Requires 1.77, moved access to interfaces screen, minor upgrades.
1.1.0: Various upgrades and bug fixes; removal of dependency on Snoopers.
1.0.6: Fix bugs with the handling of permits, Kiota stations, and open contracts found by Capt. Murphy, BuggyBY and XLA
1.0.5: Fix world script loading order bug found by Eric Walch
1.0.4: Fix open contract and Ore Processor bugs found by Wardy and BuggyBY
1.0.3: Fix for handling of legal controls at some OXP stations; additional API functions
1.0.2: Fix for permit plus misjump bug found by Capt. Murphy
1.0.1: Additional API function for HyperCargo compatibility.
1.0.0: Initial release