george moromisato wrote:I'm not sure what the fix is, but I'm not 100% happy with the current system either. Any mechanic which tempts the player into getting an advantage via mindless/boring activities seems wrong to me.
Ideally there would be some way for the player to get an advantage in a non-boring way, but I don't know what that is yet.
A dynamic economy would be very cool in an open world game, but I'm not sure it's a good fit for Transcendence.watch tv, do nothing wrote:We already have trade convoys moving stuff between stations to a limited extent (I think black market convoys actually move goods sometimes but I could be wrong). Maybe when the system is generated, the engine could look at what "source stations" like mines and "sink stations" like corporate stations are present. Then a certain number of trade routes could be mapped and a freighter assigned and generated to each trade route, ordered to move between two stations picking up a commodity produced by one and depositing it at the other.
The source station would slowly and continuously generate the commodity and put most of it in the freighter when it arrives, and the hidden stockpile of the commodity at the sink station would continuously dwindle (this already happens). Thus, the sink station would pay less for the commodity immediately after the freighter arrives and pay the most for it immediately before it arrives, when supplies are lowest.
If the freighter is late or mysteriously destroyed, or it doesn't bring enough of the commodity (because the player sneakily bought up the entire supply right before the convoy arrived at the supply station), the player will be able to sell the commodity at an inflated price. If the trade route is unprofitable for the freighter enough times or is too risky (freighter gets attacked by hostile ships a couple of times, even if it survives), the freighter will gate out and the player can exploit the trade route for a little while until a faster and more heavily armed freighter gates in.
If the engine determines that the trade route was disrupted by player actions (direct, witnessed attacks on Commonwealth freighter types already trigger commonwealth justice, so I'm talking about unwitnessed attacks or players buying out the source station/ saturating the sink station leading to unprofitable runs), after a certain period of time Molotoks or other mercenary ships might gate in to administer a Teamsters-style lesson in business ethics. They wouldn't even necessarily have to go after the player directly, just circle the sink station and attack the player whenever they approach to encourage them to seek their fortunes somewhere else.
- Makes trading less mindless
- Makes trading a lot more complicated, and probably not in a fun or beginner-friendly way. You'd have to collect a lot of information about current prices at various stations before getting started, and then know something about how the economic model calculates those prices in order to manipulate them.
- If the model is realistic and there's a competitive market for shipping, price differences between stations should be driven down to the point where traders make a "normal" profit (enough to compensate them for their time and the risk of pirate attacks).
- If the player is able to manipulate prices by a significant amount, trading could become the most efficient means of earning money. George has said he doesn't want other sources of income to take the focus away from combat.
- Requires a continuous flow of goods in and out of a system's economy. This means the player could earn an arbitrary amount of money in a single system, eliminating the part of the game's difficulty that comes from limited resources.
In the current system, the price stations are willing to pay for something is reduced if they already have a lot of it, and eventually they won't buy it at all. This is fairly realistic as a short-run economic model, and helps prevent the player from earning too much money by doing the same thing over and over. However, tvr discovered that these limits also depend significantly on how much of the good the player has in their cargo hold. This is so counterintuitive that it was apparently only discovered recently, despite presumably being the case for years.
Also, the amount of a good that can be sold in a single transaction at the current price is limited only by the amount of money the station has on hand and the size of the player's cargo hold. This gives an extra advantage to larger cargo holds, and encourages the player to hoard goods that they might obtain more of in order to sell as much as possible at once, even when it would be more convenient to sell them in multiple batches.
My suggestion is to calculate the quantities at which stations lower their prices mainly as a function of the good's price and type (commodities > armor > devices), and the size of the station's economy (based on its maximum money and/or replenish rate). Then stations should only offer to buy the difference between the quantity they have and the quantity at which they lower their price or stop buying the good. To avoid shifting the game balance too much, the limits should generally be higher than they are now, at least for items with low value to mass ratios.