DESIGN: Money Money Money

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Daveybaby
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#106 Post by Daveybaby » Thu Mar 11, 2004 10:18 am

I dont think any of us are putting money forward as an idea because we are all rampant western captitalists or anything (well, at least, i know thats not why i'm doing it), just because its the easiest and most intuitive way to represent abstract stockpiled production/raw materials/goods.

Because thats exactly what money *is*.

The regrettable situation in Bulgaria over the last decade is, unfortunately, a vivid example of this, and it proves that money is not in and of itself any use. Its a *promise* of future reimbursement with some tangible benefit. When an economy becomes unable to fulfil that reimbursement promise (for whatever reason) the money loses value, and thus you get inflation. But youre obviously aware of this.

All i'm saying is that if we're going to have some form if stockpiled, spendable productivity in the game, then stop fannying around and just have money in there full stop.
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#107 Post by krum » Thu Mar 11, 2004 10:27 am

Daveybaby wrote:I dont think any of us are putting money forward as an idea because we are all rampant western captitalists or anything (well, at least, i know thats not why i'm doing it), just because its the easiest and most intuitive way to represent abstract stockpiled production/raw materials/goods.
??? Umm... "I dont think any of us are putting money forward as an idea because we are all rampant western captitalists or anything " What was that? :) I mean, for god's sake, I live in Bulgaria, not in China or Notrth Korea. :)

You want money because you are used to it. You simply complicate things this way, you don't make it more simple. Period. :)

In Real Life you have thousand different kinds of food and electronic devices, real estate, internet access, hairstylists, and what not, plus seven billion people. In the game you have: food, minerals, pp, rp, ships and eventually buildings, and a handful players.

P.S. I have a real bad headache from this thread already :) I want to apologise to everyone that I got so worked up over nothing. I should've been more diplomatic in the discussion.

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#108 Post by Daveybaby » Thu Mar 11, 2004 12:18 pm

Sorry, but in your previous post you seemed to be arguing against having money in the game because it can go horribly wrong in real life. Maybe i misread that (i have been up all night working). My reation was more of declaration that my economic arguments dont (and shouldnt) come from any particular ideology, which is one of the criticisms that was levelled at the Moo3 economic system.
In Real Life you have thousand different kinds of food and electronic devices, real estate, internet access, hairstylists, and what not, plus seven billion people. In the game you have: food, minerals, pp, rp, ships and eventually buildings, and a handful players.
Thats fine. Either relocate these things separately, or abstract them into one relocatable generalisation (money) i dont care which it is to be honest.

What i dont like is taking just one of the resources (invariably PP for some reason) and pretending that its the only one of value, and pretending that its somehow not money even though thats exactly what it is.
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#109 Post by drek » Thu Mar 11, 2004 12:50 pm

I like the idea of tieing functions of money into a pre-existing resource. I can recall making the same suggestion myself. To me Minerals make more sense as a currency than Industry (PP) or Research (RP). For one thing, chances are Minerals will be stockpiled.

In other news, am I back? Hell, I dunno.

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#110 Post by Aquitaine » Thu Mar 11, 2004 1:53 pm

Guys, stay on-topic. Next person who brings up cultural prejudices or mentions 'Iraq' gets a ban sandwich. :)

(just kidding. I always wanted to say 'ban sandwich' though.)

and anyway I'm off on vacation as of this evening, so I look forward to where this thread goes over the next week and a half until I return. But what my idea of money is as an American versus somebody else's does not seem to me relevant to what we need to discuss.

At the moment, I find the 'no money' arguments quite convincing, just not the 'some other resource = money' arguments.

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#111 Post by luckless666 » Thu Mar 11, 2004 3:09 pm

han_krum wrote:You want money because you are used to it. You simply complicate things this way, you don't make it more simple. Period. :)

In Real Life you have thousand different kinds of food and electronic devices, real estate, internet access, hairstylists, and what not, plus seven billion people. In the game you have: food, minerals, pp, rp, ships and eventually buildings, and a handful players.
However, how are the worth of all these measured? They have a price (in money) put on them, even the people (called GDP per captia in that case). Its very well someone saying 'i own 12 houses'. People are going to say 'whoa, how much is it all worth?'
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Underling
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#112 Post by Underling » Thu Mar 11, 2004 4:15 pm

han_krum wrote:I don't mean to sound offensive, and I hpe I don't, that's just what I think. I'd like to thank all participants for this discussion which was somewhat enlightening for all of us, I hope.
I apologize as well in case I did offend anyone, as that was not my intention. It would be difficult to offend me in a debate of this nature. I know that everyone is just putting their own thoughts/opinions on the matter forward. We don't have to agree, and if we don't, that actually makes a discussion more interesting. :) Now, if you had said that I was short, fat, and ugly and dated a goat........ :P

My entire purpose in supporting money in a more traditional 4x sense (Moo2, Civ1-3, etc...) was that it would be easily recognizeable to the end user. An abstraction tied to real world concepts (again for familiarity) would IMO shorten the learning curve for a new player. I just keep seeing joe-strategy fan eagerly booting up FO 1.0 and deciding to tax the bejesus out of his people and thinking "wait a minute, they're paying me in toasters & other consumer goods?!? WHERE's my money!"

However, as I've made my points several times already, I think I'll sit back on this topic for awhile ( or at least try to). Maybe some "new blood" can infuse this discussion and introduce a couple of priorly unconsidered posibilities.

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#113 Post by krum » Thu Mar 11, 2004 5:34 pm

Underling wrote: However, as I've made my points several times already, I think I'll sit back on this topic for awhile ( or at least try to). Maybe some "new blood" can infuse this discussion and introduce a couple of priorly unconsidered posibilities.
Well, I guess I'll do the same.

Just a funny thing:
Underling wrote: I just keep seeing joe-strategy fan eagerly booting up FO 1.0 and deciding to tax the bejesus out of his people and thinking "wait a minute, they're paying me in toasters & other consumer goods?!? WHERE's my money!"
Most poeple around here wouldn't be surprised the least to hear they're going to pay them in whatever they're producing :)

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#114 Post by Ablaze » Thu Mar 11, 2004 6:32 pm

I’ve been thinking about it and I don’t see any compelling reasons not to include money considering all the problems it would cause. Sure, things like interplanetary trade work quite well without involving money in the picture, and it may be a good idea not to involve money in that sort of activity. However, some aspects of the game require a collective pool of effort.. one that is not located at any planet in particular. I’m talking about things like spies, diplomats (if included), diplomatic exchanges with other empires, bribing pirates (if included), ect.

If it’s PP, and especially if it’s minerals it must have a location. Now, lets say I go to my diplomacy screen and decide to trade 1000 units of whatever for “Uber Tech Level 1.” Where do those whatevers come from? The nearest planet? The planet with the largest stockpile? What if a spy network has a salary.. lets say 3 whatever units a turn. Is each spy funded by a specific planet? Does that mean they have to go back to that planet to get their funding?

This brings up the question: What if we have an empire-wide stockpile of production (or minerals) that is put into an empire-wide pool which isn't located anywhere in particular? Well.. I have to wonder: What does this really mean? It certainly doesn’t mean that you have gathered the work up into a little ball that can be tossed into an empty field with the orders, “Make me a farm, boy!” It might mean that you (as the government) have dedicated a few of your high precision, guided missile lens factories to some high profile gem cutters in exchange for a few cut gems at some undetermined time in the future when you may need them. You can call them promissory notes, perhaps you could even call it “energy,” but I only know of one thing the exists in our present society that is both location independent and time independent and can be used in an economic system. That is, of course, money.

Money would fit perfectly into the definition of what we need, to use anything else would be to stretch the capacity of that other thing beyond its natural state. Personally, I don’t see why this is even an issue.
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#115 Post by Krikkitone » Thu Mar 11, 2004 7:14 pm

I think that a 'delocalized' production pool works easier.. if you are concerned about the fact that production in real life is never delocalized then put in a cost (either some production is lost in the process of delocalization, or some production is lost whenever it is 'relocalized').. The same can be applied to moving it throughout time, a simple decay factor (5% of all stockpiled PPs are eliminated each turn) could work for the cost of 'detemporalization' or a penalty depending on how much of the current production you are 'retemporalizing.'


Since money is something only supported by a reasonably stable society, then it probably doesn't apply to drastically differeent organisms that cary on centuries long wars of xenocide/conquest with each other.

Because of the fact we only have four resources, a barter system works fine.. there are only 6 'trade prices' to worry about (food for production, research for minerals, etc.).. The point is those 'trade prices' would be based off of movement of Production, Research, Food, and Minerals from one stockpile to another rather than a 'promise' to do so which is what money is... and the problem of money is what to do when those promises fail... The simple solution is a 'pay as you go' economic system where you can't promise someone production or minerals or research by giving them electric credits, you have to give it to them right there.

With regards to the inside of your empire, its a bit more complicated, but not in anyway that money would simplify.
Last edited by Krikkitone on Thu Mar 11, 2004 7:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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#116 Post by miu » Thu Mar 11, 2004 7:25 pm

My peaceloving capitalistic merchant race certainly would have a concept for something like money. ;) But without really taking part to discussion about the pro/cons, I do like having money. The nice little golden icon with big number next to it makes me feel much wealthier than knowing that I have huge pile of minerals. And mainly, people are used to concept of money, they know how it works in issues like this. I think It would feel very strange and uncivilized if we wouldn't have monetary units. Not userfriendly.
Yes, the game mechanics might be easier without it, but it would still be a mistake not have it.
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#117 Post by Krikkitone » Thu Mar 11, 2004 7:55 pm

Well if you do have money, then it shouldn't be something that is 'made'. The NET amount of 'money' in the game would have to be constant.

Money is only added to your treasury when you sell something, and it is only subtracted when you buy something... Given that, then prices would have to float freely (1 PP could cost 3 AU this turn 4 the next and 2 the next... although hopefully not that much)

*Note: Money could also be added to your treasury if you break a promise, ie cancelling a debt moves you from more positive to more negative.


I think it would be simpler to base it on promises of the four resources, ie I'll promise you 10 PP 20 turns from now for 5 PP now (or 1 Mineral a turn for 20 turns, or indefinitely, for 10 Food Now, etc.)

Your 'trustworthiness' would then be the means of keeping an exchange rate. (I'd say fix promises as a X PP 20* turns from now, with amount able to be paid off any time between now and then... automatically if the time runs out and you have a surplus and you don't break the treaty.)
*Or some other fixed across the game number of turns.

Another option is to have 'Promissory notes' come due every fixed number of game turns...which means that the amount turns until they 'came due would be figured... that would mean If A owed B 3 Minerals, and B owed C 4 minerals, Then B could have a mineral counter saying 30 stock + 45 from taxes, +3 from other empires, -4 to other empires.) When they all came due, then you would automatically try to negotiate for any you weren't able to make yourself. (and any time you promised a resource to someone who had promised it to you, the two amounts cancel.)

'Promissory Notes' for one of the four Resources (since there are only four) instead of money I think is a good idea, especially since most of our trade here is between empires. There could also be trade between the empire and planets (or your public at large) and that would add an interesting portion of the game making sure you had good 'credit' with your own people.

There then would simply be a 'relocalization fee' for sending PPs to a world in excess of its current PP production. (either like MOO1's doubling only limit, or like MOO3's where the more PP's you put into a world the fewer PP's it actually got... or some method of figuring shipping costs and working longer hours.)

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#118 Post by Aquitaine » Thu Mar 11, 2004 8:49 pm

The NET amount of 'money' in the game would have to be constant.
This seems to me a completely unfounded assumption. We are not talking about a real economic model. This is not true for any game I can think of. Even Victoria, which tries to have a real model, doesn't do this.
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#119 Post by Sandlapper » Fri Mar 12, 2004 3:09 am

Ouch, Krikkitone's last post made my head hurt. :?

I think that part of the problem is the conversion factor. The argument that Money=Resources is only partially true. Actually x amount Money= Y amount of Z resource. Money is a pre-converted value. It is a common denominator between resources.

If you say you need 50 minerals, or 60 PP to sell my 40 food units in a trade. If a counteroffer is made "Sorry, I only have 39 minerals and 9 PP to offer" , then you have to convert to figure what amount of food to sell.

If you use money; I need 80 money units for my 40 food units."Sorry, I only have 60 money units of x amount minerals and y amount PP". "Okay, here's 30 units of food".
I think it would be simpler to base it on promises of the four resources, ie I'll promise you 10 PP 20 turns from now for 5 PP now (or 1 Mineral a turn for 20 turns, or indefinitely, for 10 Food Now, etc.)
This devalues the exchange rate and causes even more converting to determine the actual cost of the deal.

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#120 Post by Tyreth » Fri Mar 12, 2004 5:17 am

drek wrote:I like the idea of tieing functions of money into a pre-existing resource. I can recall making the same suggestion myself. To me Minerals make more sense as a currency than Industry (PP) or Research (RP). For one thing, chances are Minerals will be stockpiled.

In other news, am I back? Hell, I dunno.
That's what I've been thinking. PP is just as arbitrary as minerals in being called "money".

The way I see it, minerals are stockpilable, while PP and RP are not.
I see PP as being production capacity. The labour availble on the planet - it's ability to produce new goods and perform services, given sufficient input. If someone sits on their couch all day watching tv, that lost labour is not stockpilable. That's why I can't envision PP as a stockpilable resource, or as an alternative to money.
Minerals on the other hand reminds me of gold in times gone past. It is something you can lock in a basement, something you can physically hand over, throw, swallow(!) or melt. If you don't use it today, it will be there tomorrow, assuming nobody steals it.

So what is PP - is it your empire's ability to create goods and services, or is it the goods and services themselves?
An analogy of how I currently imagine PP is like CPU cycles on your computer. If you don't use them, they are wasted for all time. You can't "stockpile" unused cycles for when you play a game next. It's potential, not realised, capacity.
The realisation of PP is tangible things like ships, buildings, or contracted work (trading your PP to another empire).

Minerals on the other hand are stockpilable. Gold could be included in the concept of "mineral", but ultimately it means any valuable core material. If there is no money, I think minerals are the better candidate.

As for whether we should include money or not...
emrys wrote: Essentially in the game PP already has all the properties of money. It is divisible, having a bit more is always worthwhile (strictly positive marginal utility), it is substitutable for all the other resources (in the medium to long term, i.e. you can use it to build more mines/farms/labs rather than more factories.). So long as it is possible to choose between consumption of it now or later it is in fact the almost precise equivalent of money anyway. (i.e. If it is stockpileable and later useable in some way, i.e. the boosting output by "use of prefab parts" idea which is the straight equivalent of buying boosted ouput with money)
You can convert minerals into other resources. You can use it to build more mines. PP cannot be used to build mines without minerals, minerals cannot be used to build mines without PP.

If we call minerals "money", then all the things you say above suddenly become true:
* divisible
* a bit more is always worthwhile
* substitute for other resources

But we can make arguments about which is more akin to reality (after all, it takes both minerals and PP in real life to maintain a fleet of ships) but ultimately we want to keep the game simple.
To me it seems simpler if PP aren't stockpilable and minerals are.

Here's examples of things that need to be paid for, and what will happen if we have money/if we don't:
* buy a fleet of ships off another empire - buy with money/buy with minerals
* pay leaders - pay with money/pay with minerals
* maintain a fleet - pay with money/pay with minerals and PP
* speed production - pay with money/pay with minerals
* give a tribute - pay with money/pay with minerals
* purchasing technology - pay with money/pay with minerals

I'm not sure if this helps clear things up or make them more confused. Ultimately I'm making two points:
1. I can't immediately see PP as something stockpilable. My natural tendency is to view it as a capacity, a potential, and I wonder if that's how new players will see it? I can imagine the concept of stockpiling PP confusing. The name "money" far better portrays that concept. Therefore minerals as something tangible and valuable is conceptually easier
2. I suppose my above example shows that minerals are a simple substitute for money, and we can fulfill all functions I can foresee with it easily. But it's all an arbitrary system.

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