DESIGN: Money Money Money

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luckless666
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#31 Post by luckless666 »

utilae wrote:I think if we could hide all of the inflation and other complex stuff from the player, it would be cool. I don't want to deal with inflation or even want to know what it does (as a player). Maybe knowing that your actions will result in the enemies economy rating decreasing, that will be enough. Of course we could still have things like income and expenses visible to the player...
I agree and heres a way around it. Bare with me, I know what i want to say and its in my head but what comes out might be incomprehensible(sp?)!!:

Well, inflation is only (really) gonna have two effects to the player: one is an increase in the price of doing something (such as speeding up the build time) and in trade with other cultures. So, when it comes to the speed increase, just say that this turn its 2AU to 1PP, but when the player does the same to a similarly sized planet in 10 turns, its 3AU to 1PP. no explaination as to why, it just is. On the trade side, its a two player game (so we can see what happens on both sides) and player1(P1) has money worth double that of P2. P1 offers to buy item X for 500AU in the trade screen, but what P2 sees in the trade screen is an offer of 1000AU for item X. The calculation for the excahnge rate is done automatically and behind the scenes by the computer, the players none the wiser. similarly, if P2 offers 500AU for something, P1 will only see an offer of 250AU. It sounds complicated BUT ONLY from the programming point of view. the player will see none of this. There should be a screen that contains exchange rates though, for the advanced users who can deal with that and want value for their trade creds :wink:
As for that idea of saving penalties. I don't like it, saving should be aloud. Just don't alllow instant buying and don't allow increased production as a result of money invested, to be too great. So if you put all of your money into building a super capital ship, then diminishing returns will not be enough. There should also be a minimum number of turns that a ship will be built in. So if you have the money, you can't just invest it all and make a doomstar in 1 turn, maybe 10 turns.
Of course there should be saving penalties. Got to pay the Galatic Bank for admin charges and there not cheap :P But seriuosly, there should be some sort of measure to limit the money saving. Make it very difficult to get a surplus, but allow governments to run in the red for long spaces in time. I'll think on this more and come up with a concrete idea, a mix of those already suggested.

I agree on minimum turns idea, but they shouldn't be TOO HIGH. Doomstar = 8-10turns is a good idea.
Chris Walker
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Ablaze
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#32 Post by Ablaze »

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I don’t think that inflation rates will ever be understandable enough to the player to be included as a part of this game. One of the things it comes down to is the cost/benefit ratio. Without inflation the player might ask themselves, “Can I save enough money to overdrive my battleship production and get it twice as fast?” This is a complex enough question for someone who would rather spend their time on diplomacy, spying, war, ect. but with inflation rates in the picture it becomes a whole other matter: “Can I save enough money to overdrive my battleship production and get it twice as fast? If I do how much will that increase or decrease my inflation rate? How will that inflation rate affect my diplomacy (since I would have to give out more or less money in exchange for tech)? Is there a danger of that causing a revolt? What about a rebellion? Will saving money now negatively or positively affect my ability to save money later?”

I think that for the average joe, just learning the subtleties of an inflation system would take months of gameplay. An inflation system is only possible if the economic system is one of the main focuses of the game. I figure that 4 focuses is about the maximum number a game can have and still be accessible to the general public.. and that may be pushing it. I think an inflation model would be a great addition to, say, simcity.. but I have serious doubts about making the economy a focus of this game. Personally, I would rather it focus on spying or diplomacy.
utilae wrote:I think if we could hide all of the inflation and other complex stuff from the player, it would be cool.
Let me look at it from another angle.

One of the basic ways to keep it simple (KISS) is to keep cost/benefit ratios to a minimum. Every time there is a cost/benefit ratio there is a danger that the player could not understand it and therefore run their empire in a non-optimal way. Even when a player understands a cost/benefit ratio it often takes a great deal of micromanagement to keep it at optimal levels.

An example I have used before is with Galactic Civilizations. Many of the buildings in that game cost upkeep every turn.. anywhere between 0 and 3 credits. This information is not made apparent to the player (it is not one of the focuses of the game), in fact the only way to get to it is by pressing a little advanced button on the bottom left of the planet screen and paying close attention to each of the buildings listed on the left.

Some of these building’s only benefit is to give a % boost to that planet’s economy. It might seem like a no-brainer to build that building unless you are aware of the (ill-advertised) fact that that building also takes 3 credits of upkeep every turn. This means that if your economy isn’t strong enough the building will actually cost you more then it adds. The only way to get optimal use out of your empire is to get out your calculator, go to the advanced tab for every planet, and destroy all the buildings that are costing more then they are getting you. I doubt anyone actually does this, and most people aren’t even aware that there is a need. The issue becomes even more complicated when you consider research or culture buildings.

What happens to most people is that as their technology grows and they get more and more buildings their economy slowly gets harder and harder to keep out of the red. It can grow to the point where the only apparent option is to decrease spending to virtually zero. The average player won’t understand why this happens, only that it does. Many people would quit playing at this point.

The way I see it your inflation idea would produce a similar phenomenon. Players would have a tendency to focus on the obvious effects of things like saving money without realizing that it had effects which went beyond the immediate. After a while the inflation could easily reach a point where they would have to offer the entire GNP of their empire for 10 turns in exchange for one scout ship.

The only way to make the average player aware of the effects of this economic system would be to explain it very well in either the documentation or the UI. This is why I say that the game can have only a small number of focuses and still be understandable. Too many focuses and one (or more) of three things would happen: The documentation would have to be so large that few people would want to read through it all, the UI would have to be so complicated that it took hours to complete a single turn, or the game would behave in a way that the user doesn’t expect and/or has no control over.
Time flies like the wind, fruit flies like bananas.

luckless666
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#33 Post by luckless666 »

I can see where your coming from and can now understand how complex it could become. I, for one, enjoy controlling the economy and would love to see inflation play a role in a game like this. However, I am also aware that most other people do not enjoy this, and can accept that FO will need focuses that are more action orientated.

However, I at least would like to see a framework for inflation implemented at its most basic form into the FO sourcecode, so that it could be modded in at a later date (this isn't the place for this, but I have the perfect MOD in mind, and am drawing up a design doc presently).

I therefore say that 2:1 AU to PP, with a 2X (maybe 3X) production speed cap (as mentioned earlier). Also, a system where it takes a minimum amount of turns to build something (like the research system) should also be implemented for the later on stages of the game. I'm presently undecided on whether there should be a saving charge (maybe 20%) though we shouldn't now need it as everything except for trade is balanced in this system (more or less)
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utilae
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#34 Post by utilae »

luckless666 wrote:
utilae wrote:I think if we could hide all of the inflation and other complex stuff from the player, it would be cool. I don't want to deal with inflation or even want to know what it does (as a player). Maybe knowing that your actions will result in the enemies economy rating decreasing, that will be enough. Of course we could still have things like income and expenses visible to the player...
I agree and heres a way around it. Bare with me, I know what i want to say and its in my head but what comes out might be incomprehensible(sp?)!!:

Well, inflation is only (really) gonna have two effects to the player: one is an increase in the price of doing something (such as speeding up the build time) and in trade with other cultures. So, when it comes to the speed increase, just say that this turn its 2AU to 1PP, but when the player does the same to a similarly sized planet in 10 turns, its 3AU to 1PP. no explaination as to why, it just is. On the trade side, its a two player game (so we can see what happens on both sides) and player1(P1) has money worth double that of P2. P1 offers to buy item X for 500AU in the trade screen, but what P2 sees in the trade screen is an offer of 1000AU for item X. The calculation for the excahnge rate is done automatically and behind the scenes by the computer, the players none the wiser. similarly, if P2 offers 500AU for something, P1 will only see an offer of 250AU. It sounds complicated BUT ONLY from the programming point of view. the player will see none of this. There should be a screen that contains exchange rates though, for the advanced users who can deal with that and want value for their trade creds :wink:
That would work. Though, I think P1 should see an offer of 500 and 200, and a message saying something about the exchange rate. Otherwise P1 is going to go, only 200. And P2 will go, but I offered you 500. Then P1 will and P2 will go ?????????????????????? :lol:

luckless666
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#35 Post by luckless666 »

utilae wrote:
luckless666 wrote:
utilae wrote:I think if we could hide all of the inflation and other complex stuff from the player, it would be cool. I don't want to deal with inflation or even want to know what it does (as a player). Maybe knowing that your actions will result in the enemies economy rating decreasing, that will be enough. Of course we could still have things like income and expenses visible to the player...
I agree and heres a way around it. Bare with me, I know what i want to say and its in my head but what comes out might be incomprehensible(sp?)!!:

Well, inflation is only (really) gonna have two effects to the player: one is an increase in the price of doing something (such as speeding up the build time) and in trade with other cultures. So, when it comes to the speed increase, just say that this turn its 2AU to 1PP, but when the player does the same to a similarly sized planet in 10 turns, its 3AU to 1PP. no explaination as to why, it just is. On the trade side, its a two player game (so we can see what happens on both sides) and player1(P1) has money worth double that of P2. P1 offers to buy item X for 500AU in the trade screen, but what P2 sees in the trade screen is an offer of 1000AU for item X. The calculation for the excahnge rate is done automatically and behind the scenes by the computer, the players none the wiser. similarly, if P2 offers 500AU for something, P1 will only see an offer of 250AU. It sounds complicated BUT ONLY from the programming point of view. the player will see none of this. There should be a screen that contains exchange rates though, for the advanced users who can deal with that and want value for their trade creds :wink:
That would work. Though, I think P1 should see an offer of 500 and 200, and a message saying something about the exchange rate. Otherwise P1 is going to go, only 200. And P2 will go, but I offered you 500. Then P1 will and P2 will go ?????????????????????? :lol:
Yes i can see that becoming a problem :D :lol:
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Tyreth
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#36 Post by Tyreth »

Seems to me that there are two separate issues being discussed here. First is whether we include money, which I think we should.

The second is: how complex a system do we want? One thing I loved doing in Railroad Tycoon 2 was playing the stockmarket. That had a more complicated economy. However, I'm not sure that's suited to a game like FreeOrion where we have added dimensions that a game like RT2 didn't have.

First of all, though, I don't believe that wealth should deteriorate when stockpiled. It's counter-intuitive. Nor should people rebel if wealth increased. It is far more likely that citizens will think "Look at how rich our glorious emperor and his mighty galaxy empire are, who could beat us?" Unless, of course, he's starving them for wealth, in which the rebellion will be a natural consequence anyway without rules for excessive wealth.

Second, I don't see the point of discussing anything like exchange rates, inflation, etc, unless we decide first off that we want a full economics system. This woud be one more system in addition to research and others that the player would need to manage. If we decide we don't want a full economics system, then the question of exchange rates and other things becomes easy - no.

Currently the player will probably have to handle:
* colonisation and empire management
* research
* ship design
* strategy and tactics of battle
much more. Do we want to add economics as another full system? If not, then money could perform simple functions:
* used for purchasing ships from empires selling them (ie, no instant army unless the ships are available for sale from another empire)
* speeding (but not completing) production
* paying maintenance on ships
* giving a fixed per turn tribute to another nation
* giving a fixed per turn payment in exchange for a fixed return (RP, PP, minerals, etc)
* purchasing tech

Just all the simple things that have obvious ramifications.
If we have a full system then we can consider more complex things, like exchange rates, but personally I don't see the benefit.

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#37 Post by Underling »

Tyreth wrote: Currently the player will probably have to handle:
* colonisation and empire management
* research
* ship design
* strategy and tactics of battle
much more. Do we want to add economics as another full system? If not, then money could perform simple functions:
* used for purchasing ships from empires selling them (ie, no instant army unless the ships are available for sale from another empire)
* speeding (but not completing) production
* paying maintenance on ships
* giving a fixed per turn tribute to another nation
* giving a fixed per turn payment in exchange for a fixed return (RP, PP, minerals, etc)
* purchasing tech

Just all the simple things that have obvious ramifications.
If we have a full system then we can consider more complex things, like exchange rates, but personally I don't see the benefit.
I agree with this assessment. While a full blown economic system could be cool, a player already has a pretty full plate in a 4X game. We all know what happened to Moo3 when they added a 5th X :wink:

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#38 Post by Bastian-Bux »

If we do add a full economic system it should be possible to ignore parts of it. As I can't see a way how to do so, I'd suggest using a basic economic system, and keep the "swiss modul" for later :).

luckless666
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#39 Post by luckless666 »

Tyreth wrote:* used for purchasing ships from empires selling them (ie, no instant army unless the ships are available for sale from another empire)
* speeding (but not completing) production
* paying maintenance on ships
* giving a fixed per turn tribute to another nation
* giving a fixed per turn payment in exchange for a fixed return (RP, PP, minerals, etc)
* purchasing tech
As i stated earlier, even though i support a full economics system, i agree with Tyreth that it indeed would add to much to what is essentially an action ortientated 4X game. Therefore we can use the system i compiled from ideas put forward in the rest of the thread:
luckless666 wrote:...2:1 AU to PP, with a 2X (maybe 3X) production speed cap...[A system where it] takes a minimum amount of turns to build something...should also be implemented [to balance] the later on stages of the game. I'm...undecided on whether there should be a saving charge (maybe 20%)...
Of course, the saving charge is still a hotly debated subject, but the rest is both easy and transparent for a player to understand.
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krum
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#40 Post by krum »

I think Tyreth outlined the level of complexity we need well. About the saving penalty, I wanted it because money represents PP, which besides labour and equipment also represents time, and you can't actually save time for later; I know that is a realism argument...
Underling wrote:For example, You need to field a very large fleet to fend off your foes, so you are using your savings to offset your maintenance costs during the war. WHAM! you lose one of your big economic worlds and your income plummets. Either you have to engage in deficit spending (which I don't believe is possible), liquidate your fleet (which is tantamount to losing), or sell buildings/ beg for cash, cheat, etc....
So your point is you'd like to save a lot of money to support your fleet even if you lose most of your planets, for example? That could be annoying for an attacking player, you know. And with a saving penalty you'd still be able to stockpile the money, but IMHO that should be a little harder to do... so if you take the risk to go to war without saving money you'd actually keep some money that would otherwise be wasted; take it as a reward for the risk.

Also, to give you a simple answer to the actual question, you'd raise the taxes.

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#41 Post by Underling »

han_krum wrote:I think Tyreth outlined the level of complexity we need well. About the saving penalty, I wanted it because money represents PP, which besides labour and equipment also represents time, and you can't actually save time for later; I know that is a realism argument...
Underling wrote:For example, You need to field a very large fleet to fend off your foes, so you are using your savings to offset your maintenance costs during the war. WHAM! you lose one of your big economic worlds and your income plummets. Either you have to engage in deficit spending (which I don't believe is possible), liquidate your fleet (which is tantamount to losing), or sell buildings/ beg for cash, cheat, etc....
So your point is you'd like to save a lot of money to support your fleet even if you lose most of your planets, for example? That could be annoying for an attacking player, you know. And with a saving penalty you'd still be able to stockpile the money, but IMHO that should be a little harder to do... so if you take the risk to go to war without saving money you'd actually keep some money that would otherwise be wasted; take it as a reward for the risk.

Also, to give you a simple answer to the actual question, you'd raise the taxes.
Actually, what I'm trying to say here is that under some of the suggested systems discussed earlier in the thread (2AU for each PP conversion, cap applied to speed production spending) The user already faces a "penalty" as their money is halved when transformed into speeded production.

A banking penalty would be fine IMO if and only if speeding production would be all that money could be used for. However, in 4X games you can usually gift money to other players, pay for spying/espionage attacks, buy ships/planets/techs from opponents, etc...

I guess my beef is that money != PP in a 4X game. Money is a resource deserving of equal status to PP and RP in a system. A conversion penalty would be logical, but an inherent penalty for saving the money just doesn't make sense to me. Have the penalties apply only when money is being changed into another form (PPs or RPs). Otherwise, money is money is , well, money. :wink:

PP = abstract representation of industrial production.

RP = abstract representation of research and development.

$$ = abstract representation of economic production either directly gathered through taxes or indirectly gathered through diplomacy, espionage or other means.

just my 2 cents

The 'Ling

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#42 Post by krum »

Underling wrote: I guess my beef is that money != PP in a 4X game. Money is a resource deserving of equal status to PP and RP in a system. A conversion penalty would be logical, but an inherent penalty for saving the money just doesn't make sense to me. Have the penalties apply only when money is being changed into another form (PPs or RPs). Otherwise, money is money is , well, money. :wink:

PP = abstract representation of industrial production.

RP = abstract representation of research and development.

$$ = abstract representation of economic production either directly gathered through taxes or indirectly gathered through diplomacy, espionage or other means.
I think I have to remind you that in the current economic model we have seperate production and mining, and they provide two different resources, raw materials and production points. And although in the current version 1 PP combines with 1 RM to build whatever, in future versions the ratio will probably vary among different types of production.

I don't think we need money as some sort of uber-resource that you can convert anything to and vice versa, why would we want to ruin the resource system with something like that? So we need something like money to pay for upkeep of various stuff and speed up production; we have two options:

1) Since speeding up production and upkeep are basically things that require labour, equipment and time, the combination of which PP represents, we base money on PP.

2) Money be something that is generated in a completely different way. For example based on number of population on the planet.

I'm in favor of 1), it seems more logical. Only that in my proposal it is based on both. But that is there to provide that you get some money even if your tax rate is 0%.

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#43 Post by luckless666 »

1) Since speeding up production and upkeep are basically things that require labour, equipment and time, the combination of which PP represents, we base money on PP.

2) Money be something that is generated in a completely different way. For example based on number of population on the planet.
How is PP derived? isnt it population (labour)? At any rate, 1) does seem more logical. Money is an easy unit to attribute costs to (such as fleet upkeep, leader pay, building upkeep) and even though this could be assigned directly to PP, PP is only locally avaliable (ie to one planet). Also, money is helpful in trade if you lack other resources (such as raw material, technology..). I agree money should not be uber-powerful (such as instant buys), it SHOULD be there. We seem to be stuck on this decision, and we keep going over the same concepts.

I'm in favour of a simple monetary system that has limitation (ie 2X PP coversion cap etc.)
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#44 Post by Krikkitone »

In terms of the 'Working' of Money, The money= PP I think is a basic version, but I'd like to see something more like this.

1. Worlds generate PP, RP, Food P, Mineral P and a corresponding amount of 'Money Points' representing the value of PP and RP.

2. Your 'Taxes' collect a fraction of that money.

3. The remainder of that money is used by the colony

4. Essentially what You (The empire) and what the colony (the people) 'Get' is money. You (and them) then change that money into its various forms

So money can be changed into Production Points or Research Points ... limited by a point of diminishing returns... for Research it would be a MASSIVELY diminishing returns (ie sudden drop off) when you hit your imperial level of total Research production.

For Production it would be more of a slowly diminishing returns if you exceeded your Production capacity on a planet, with more strongly diminishing returns if you exceeded your Imperial production capacity.


The idea is that both you AND the people would use their money for the same things. You and your people would BOTH be buying PPs.. them to get consumer goods and build new infrastructure, you to get new infrastructure, buid ships, and to give to them to make them happy..

You and them would both be buying RPs... the amount you get would be put into the techs You want. (they would go for nice techs.. or you could just consider it 'wasted' research ie figuring out how to make the best movie, etc. that only makes them happier.. or maybe they could not by research at all, all Reseach has to be funded with taxes.. like ship building.)

You could also shift money around so that a world that is producing a surplus of minerals or food gains money, and an equivalent amount is lost by any world producing a deficit.

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utilae
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#45 Post by utilae »

So if me and my people are both buying pps, rps, etc doesn't that mean me and my people will be in competition. And can I expect my people to research techs under my nose. So I go to the research screen and I'm told I can't research lasers, my people already did that. And the thing is, they might beat out of all of the buying of things, there are more of them. :lol:

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