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Resource pricing and game economy

 
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Resource pricing and game economy - 2/11/2012 7:03:20 AM   
feelotraveller


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This thread is an ideas response to the problem raised in the My empire earns too much money thread.

The scope of the problem is that although money availability can be interestingly set at the beginning of the game with the current settings after the early game it becomes too readily available. One way to offset this is through raising costs and maintenance through increasing resource prices. The major problem with this is that it can effect struggling empires as much as dominating ones.

A three part solution to cope with this:

1) Introduce an inflation rate for the base minimum and maximum strategic resource prices. This would lead to an increase to build and maintenance costs across the galaxy. Effects all players by the amount of resources they have invested in ships/bases and increments build costs over time. Hits ship/base heavy empires harder.

A slider for this could be very useful. Players wanting things as they are now could turn inflation to zero. People wanting an exhilarating challenge could see how high they can turn up inflation and still beat the game before price rises bankrupt their empire.

This could also be applied to luxury resources but I have not considered the ramifications.

2) Apply a modification to the base prices according to the number of colonies an empire has. Once an empire has more colonies than galactic average, plus a certain amount, they have their resource costs raised by this excess. The mechanics of this would need careful consideration and gameplay testing. Idea would be to have a zone of neutrality around the galactic average where modifier is x1. Outside of this costs would be increased for large empires and decreased for small empires.

Too rapid expansion (in terms of galactic rates) would be penalised. The dominant empire(s) pay more, struggling empires less.

This may need adjustment for different numbers of empires in startup game and/or scaling for size of galaxy.

3) Apply discounts and penalties to each resource price for numbers of sources controlled by the empire. Number of mines needed scales with number of colonieis. This provides the player some control over their internal resource prices and forces the consideration of acquistion of more sources of each resource. The number required would vary with different resources - more steel mines would be needed to make a difference than dilithium mines given their relative usage. Having extra steel mines would only reduce empire steel prices and only (potentially) down to the base galactic price. On the other hand a struggling empire lacking sufficient steel mines would have their empire price increased to the galactice price at a maximum.

Ideally this mechanism would use the actual mining capacity of each resource (% of resource availability mulitiplied by extraction rate, considering extraction cap, summed over all sources empire wide). I suspect this is too code/cpu intensive (although perhaps could be used if these values were stored and updated every time a mine is added/subtracted or the mining rate varies from bonues or technology). The simplified version used above uses the count of each resource already listed in the expansion planner.
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RE: Resource pricing and game economy - 2/11/2012 10:05:02 AM   
Sithuk

 

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quote:

2) Apply a modification to the base prices according to the number of colonies an empire has.


Consider changing to the population of an empire rather than the number of colonies. Few larger pop colonies will be a stronger empire than multiple tiny pop colonies.

(in reply to feelotraveller)
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RE: Resource pricing and game economy - 2/11/2012 11:54:47 AM   
feelotraveller


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I considered this.  Reasons not to go this way include:
- Players starting with harsher homeworld settings than the computer will get bonuses
-Players starting with better homeworld settings than the computer will get penalties
-Colony spam (not including independent/lost colonies) would not be penalised at all, at least initially, since population gain = zero.

The first two points are decisive in my opinion.  Further it would be nice to promote a turtling strategic possibility of having a couple, or few, large colonies.  I don't think anyone plays this way now.

(in reply to Sithuk)
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RE: Resource pricing and game economy - 2/11/2012 1:43:06 PM   
Theluin


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I do

I never spam colonies as it requires too much micro managment at once. (Ordering 20 troops per colony, building a spaceport and defensive base, assigning defence fleets and so on for 20 colonies gained in 15 minutes is way too time consuming [Tried once, never again ])

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RE: Resource pricing and game economy - 2/11/2012 3:23:59 PM   
WiZz

 

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I don't understand, why propose some improvements, which totally illogical, artificial or hard to implement?

1) Inflation. Idea is good, but mechanism of economics in DW is not so complex and developed for this feature.
2) Honestly, don't understand this proposition. Just listen - expansion for large empire is more difficult than small empires. Nothing strange?
3) Agree, but I think, this is difficult to implement.

What are my propositions?
1) First of all, remove huge bonuses for money which provided by leaders/governors. Or just make them very rare.
2) Greatly raise prices for every new technology component. After couple of years reduce it, because industry set up their production.
3) Set development costs for new founded colonies. It is good implemented in Sword of the stars. This feature really slows expansion. When colony becomes enough developed this cost = 0.
4) Set payments for serving ground facilities.
5) Set hire price for ground troops on some governments (Republic/Democracy).
6) Set salaries for all characters.
7) Set payments for intelligence missions.



< Message edited by WiZz -- 2/11/2012 6:12:07 PM >

(in reply to Theluin)
Post #: 5
RE: Resource pricing and game economy - 2/11/2012 3:34:28 PM   
Jeeves


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If you have so much cash that you feel wealthy, then give large gifts to the AI empires until you are poor. Simplest solution of all. You can spend your first 20 million doing crash research on the technologies, which gets you all tech in 15-20 years or so. On another topic, somewhat related, people talk about trillion dollar game economies. There ain't no such a critter. A trillion is a million million, and the most economy I ever had was several thousand k credits, which is millions rather than trillions. That was with 100 colonies...

Lonnie Courtney Clay


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(in reply to WiZz)
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RE: Resource pricing and game economy - 2/11/2012 5:04:13 PM   
ASHBERY76


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quote:

ORIGINAL: WiZz
What are my propositions?
1) First of all, remove huge bonuses for money which provided by leaders/governors. Or just make them very rare.
2) Greatly raise prices for every new technology component. After couple of years reduce it, because industry set up their production.
3) Set development costs for new founded colonies. It is good implemented in Sword of the stars. This feature really slows expansion. When colony becomes enough developed this cost = 0.
4) Set payments for serving ground facilities.
5) Set hire price for ground troops on some governments (Republic/Diplomacy).
6) Set salaries for all characters.
7) Set payments for intelligence missions.


I agree completely with this and it would not be hard to implement.

(in reply to WiZz)
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RE: Resource pricing and game economy - 2/11/2012 5:27:11 PM   
Fishers of Men


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MoO2 had annual salaries for many of its characters. But my main concern still is the resourse system and the lack of real conflict over control of strategic resourses. I do like many things that WiZz has proposed, though. It would be fairly easy to implement but would take a lot of testing to make sure it worked right and was balanced.

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RE: Resource pricing and game economy - 2/11/2012 5:40:29 PM   
feelotraveller


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I can't agree with WiZz's suggestions not because they are bad suggestions in themselves but because they will make the game too easy by further nobbling the computer players since they will bear the same costs.   In fact given the character balances smaller empires would be hit proportionately harder.  Players money stocks may be reduced but the disadvantage of the computer players will be bigger than ever.

(By the way Rome found it very difficult to expand after a certain period... as have nearly all very large empires.  But I propose it mainly as a game mechanic since it is 'invariably'  the human player who becomes the biggest empire by mid to late game.)

(in reply to Fishers of Men)
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RE: Resource pricing and game economy - 2/11/2012 6:06:20 PM   
WiZz

 

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Example with Rome is wrong, because it expanded by conquests, not by colonization.

quote:

they will make the game too easy by further nobbling the computer players since they will bear the same costs.


If I set very hard AI all this costs for AI would be significantly reduced.

< Message edited by WiZz -- 2/11/2012 6:10:37 PM >

(in reply to feelotraveller)
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RE: Resource pricing and game economy - 2/11/2012 6:14:08 PM   
BTJ


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quote:

ORIGINAL: feelotraveller

I can't agree with WiZz's suggestions not because they are bad suggestions in themselves but because they will make the game too easy by further nobbling the computer players since they will bear the same costs.   [...]


But isn't it that the AI empires also swim in money but are not able to use it constructively? From what I've read numerous times, the AI does not profit from being given more money.

I think we must carefully differentiate between the two issues of a) a (perceived) too low difficulty (i.e. "incapability" of the AI) and b) the economy issue.
Making newly researched components more expensive, i.e. increasing costs and maintenance costs linearly with their "punching power" is one solution. Exapnsion and big empires must also come with costs, i.e. there will be a "break even" where further expansion does not do any good. How do you (human players) react to this suggestion? I believe this is a general problem of 4x games.

Now, the other challenge is to make the AI more competitive. I believe it would be no problem to implement some of the changes here, if the AI would be able to exploit its resources better.

(in reply to feelotraveller)
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RE: Resource pricing and game economy - 2/11/2012 8:00:27 PM   
Shuul

 

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Wizz is totally right!!!! Devs, please, take a look at his propositions, thanks

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RE: Resource pricing and game economy - 2/11/2012 10:20:21 PM   
radwyn

 

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I certainly don't feel like I have to much money

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RE: Resource pricing and game economy - 2/11/2012 10:31:08 PM   
Arcatus


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As mentioned previously; Higher tech's should be significantly more expensive, both in credits and resources.

A.I is fine, it is at least as clever as the AI in any other 4x game I've played, but a human player will make designs that outperforms all of the AI designs, so there is where some improvements should be made.

Get the AI to make better ships, and the game will be more difficult...

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RE: Resource pricing and game economy - 2/11/2012 11:14:40 PM   
feelotraveller


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quote:

ORIGINAL: WiZz

Example with Rome is wrong, because it expanded by conquests, not by colonization.

quote:

they will make the game too easy by further nobbling the computer players since they will bear the same costs.


If I set very hard AI all this costs for AI would be significantly reduced.



Okay name me one earth civilization which went on expanding? There is not one. Once they get to a certain size, historically, further expansion does not happen whether through conquest or colonisation. I don't understand how you can expect a different outcome in space. In the game colony spam happens as much (or more, especially early on) by conquest.

I agree that the computer player behaviour sorely needs improving and that it is a separate matter to the economic surpluses of human players. What I am wary of is any proposed solution for the latter making the former worse.

(in reply to WiZz)
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RE: Resource pricing and game economy - 2/12/2012 2:40:51 AM   
hEad

 

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quote:



Okay name me one earth civilization which went on expanding? There is not one. Once they get to a certain size, historically, further expansion does not happen whether through conquest or colonisation. I don't understand how you can expect a different outcome in space. In the game colony spam happens as much (or more, especially early on) by conquest.

I agree that the computer player behaviour sorely needs improving and that it is a separate matter to the economic surpluses of human players. What I am wary of is any proposed solution for the latter making the former worse.


I think you will find that expansion is checked more by politics than logistics and economics...

The game just needs more resource and gold sinks - come mid/late game there are just too much of both galaxy wide. An easy fix would be to introduce greater resource consumption by colonies, both luxury and strategic. By limiting the flood of resources, their prices would inflate naturally whcih would lead to cost increases.

< Message edited by hEad -- 2/12/2012 2:42:13 AM >

(in reply to feelotraveller)
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RE: Resource pricing and game economy - 2/12/2012 9:28:18 AM   
WiZz

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: feelotraveller
Okay name me one earth civilization which went on expanding? There is not one. Once they get to a certain size, historically, further expansion does not happen whether through conquest or colonisation. I don't understand how you can expect a different outcome in space. In the game colony spam happens as much (or more, especially early on) by conquest.


In case DW we can't take for example human civilization, galaxy is bigger than Earth greatly.
But I can say 1 example colonization without limitation in our history. This is reclaiming of Syberia and Alaska by Russian colonists and traders. Not weak empire settled big part of whole continent.

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RE: Resource pricing and game economy - 2/12/2012 10:05:22 AM   
Arcatus


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Idea for money sink: Unique race techs can be purchased from Ancient Guardians

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RE: Resource pricing and game economy - 2/12/2012 11:52:03 AM   
WiZz

 

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And we will lose one last difference between races.

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RE: Resource pricing and game economy - 2/12/2012 9:02:09 PM   
feelotraveller


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quote:

ORIGINAL: WiZz

In case DW we can't take for example human civilization, galaxy is bigger than Earth greatly.
But I can say 1 example colonization without limitation in our history. This is reclaiming of Syberia and Alaska by Russian colonists and traders. Not weak empire settled big part of whole continent.


If you go back to my original parethentical comment, you will find that I am more concerned about gameplay than historical accuracy. The historical comments come as surprise that you would find it harder for a large empire to expand. So much so that you seemed to think my proposal 'strange', or perhaps 'artificial' or 'illogical'. I was merely pointing out that in terms of empires as we have known them there is nothing strange, illogical or artifical going on, except maybe in your thinking.

In terms of gameplay, as others have already mentioned, it has been a recurrent problem of the 4x genre of how to deal with the snowballing expansion rates of players. I would like Legends to do something in this regard because although the early game is interesting by mid game I am tempted (and sometimes give in) to put everything on auto and let the computer achieve my victory for me. There is by then too much of everything and it is all far too easy - money and resources are particularly of note in this 'too much'.

Oh, by the way, the Soviet Union stopped expanding quite some time ago. Your example is preposterous.

(in reply to WiZz)
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RE: Resource pricing and game economy - 2/12/2012 9:24:54 PM   
the1sean


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quote:

ORIGINAL: WiZz

I don't understand, why propose some improvements, which totally illogical, artificial or hard to implement?

1) Inflation. Idea is good, but mechanism of economics in DW is not so complex and developed for this feature.
2) Honestly, don't understand this proposition. Just listen - expansion for large empire is more difficult than small empires. Nothing strange?
3) Agree, but I think, this is difficult to implement.

What are my propositions?
1) First of all, remove huge bonuses for money which provided by leaders/governors. Or just make them very rare.
2) Greatly raise prices for every new technology component. After couple of years reduce it, because industry set up their production.
3) Set development costs for new founded colonies. It is good implemented in Sword of the stars. This feature really slows expansion. When colony becomes enough developed this cost = 0.
4) Set payments for serving ground facilities.
5) Set hire price for ground troops on some governments (Republic/Democracy).
6) Set salaries for all characters.
7) Set payments for intelligence missions.



Great suggestions, WiZz, +1!

_____________________________

Check out my GAMEPLAY REDUX MOD (ROTS)

(in reply to WiZz)
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RE: Resource pricing and game economy - 2/12/2012 9:42:19 PM   
WiZz

 

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Omg, reclaiming of Syberia and Alaska was done by Russian Empire, not Soviet Union. And sale of Alaska was mistake, what show geological discoveries in Alaska later...

As for me, I never give full control to AI. I prefer total manual. In most of my games I found, that controlling empire in galaxy with 700 stars is still possible (yes, I like a lot of micromanagement).

For my opinion expansion in DW must be limited only number of available planets, cash for colonizers/availability colonists, distance to enemies/competitors, etc. This factors also useful, when we take for example human history. If you read about expanding some empires by colonizing you may find, that their colonization was only limited by available territory/distance to colonies of other empires. By the way, main reason is that Crimea war began against French/Great Britain, why Alaska was sold. Russians had decided to sale Alaska, because there was threat, that GB troops in Canada could easily conquest it.
But never mind, sorry for small lecture of Russian history.
I sure, that main limitation of expansion should be high costs for development of new colonies like sots. Take a look for this game, this gameplay element fits perfectly for DW colonize concept.

< Message edited by WiZz -- 2/12/2012 9:43:52 PM >

(in reply to feelotraveller)
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RE: Resource pricing and game economy - 2/13/2012 2:58:17 AM   
feelotraveller


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With you there Wizz, I too like full manual control.    It is even possible to do it with 15x15 1400 stars.  I turn control over to the computer only when there is no point/challenge left in the game.  Meaning my empire is so far ahead it will make next to no difference letting the computer finish it.

I've played a couple of SotS games since paradox gave it to me for free - the changing tech tree is its appeal for me.  The reason I am not attracted by the idea of paying for development costs of new colonies is that this is exactly the sort of thing a human player will stretch to accommodate (read anticipate) and the computer does very badly with.  The computer will never run a deficit whereas I tend to always.  Meaning the comparative colonisation rates of the player will go up not down.

(in reply to WiZz)
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RE: Resource pricing and game economy - 2/13/2012 7:37:51 AM   
J HG T


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@WiZz
Very interesting suggestions. Many of these could indeed work nicely. The only problem is to get 'em balanced, so they don't harm the "AI" players while skilled human player finds a way around and reaps the benefits.

The problem with somewhat complicated (by gaming stantards) economies in games is that they always favor human players, as they know how to take necessary risks and how to exploit the mechanics of the system.
That's why I think keeping the economy system in a game relatively simple gives the "AI" more even ground with human players.

Some have may said this before, but I think DWs current problems with the AI are:
- Inferior ship designs compared to human player. This leads to the fact that wars are always more costly to a computer player; The "AI" sends masses of rubbish ships to their deaths while players state-of-the-art ships mop the Grid with 'em without taking any noticeably casulties.
If the computer player would use optimized ships designs it could save loads of money and be real threat for a player, causing them to invest more money on military, thus leading to less excess credits.

- Better exploration AI. The empires trail behind in exploration if you decide to MM your exploration ships. Enhancing the "AI" empires exploration would help them colonize more, find derelict ships and other stuff and form beneficial treaties with other races faster, making them more competitive with the player.

These are just my two interstellar credits, but I think I'm not completely wrong with 'em.

Still, WiZz's an others ideas to nerf late game empires sound good and could fix some of the problems with the overkill economies.
I hope Elliot and Erik at least consider some of these suggestions.



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"And they hurled themselves into the void of space with no fear."

(in reply to feelotraveller)
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RE: Resource pricing and game economy - 2/13/2012 8:04:04 AM   
jpwrunyan


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Just raising the maint cost on some components like life support and hab modules for example would do wonders to make the game more challenging and not introduce any new complexity. Mining comps could also use more maint cost and this would curb empire income. Simple, safe, and easy to implement solution.

(in reply to J HG T)
Post #: 25
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