DESIGN: Money Money Money

Past public reviews and discussions.
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Sandlapper
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#136 Post by Sandlapper » Mon Mar 15, 2004 2:32 am

LOL skdiw, so your saying it's okay for FO to "not feel right" during play, just as long as we don't include money in the game. :)

Using money because it "feels right" seems a valid reason to me; but not necessarily "the" reason to use it.

Virtually everyone on the face of the planet is familiar with money. If you ask anyone to show you some money, most can produce some; ask for food, many have some; ask for mineral, a few should have some, ask for RP, and virtually all will scratch their head and say "huh?", I not going to ask anyone to show me PP. :wink:

Suffice to say, money is universally understood. I think there would be a much easier learning curve for a novice player.

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Krikkitone
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#137 Post by Krikkitone » Mon Mar 15, 2004 6:05 am

The problem with money is what you use it for.

The average person in the real world understands money as what you lose when you buy and get when you sell.

This means a couple of things
1.. You have money but for you to use it (to get one of the four resources that 'Does something') you must be able to buy from someone who is willing to sell [This can work if your people have control of your untaxed resources] However, this means the 'Value' of that 1,000,000 AU in your treasury can fluctuate wildly .. It also means you should not have any money 'produced' (since none will ever be consumed, just shifted from one owner to another)

2.. You can use money to buy and sell things from a shadowy 'market' that has fixed prices (ala MOO2)... In this case, money is just a substitute for other resources (in MOO2 it was a substitute for Production, because that was the only thing you could buy with it.).. but if it is going to be a substitute for a resource... why have that resource, why not go all Money like MOO1 did. Lab buildings don't Generate research, they generate money and let you buy research.

3.. you don't have money because we only have 4 resources,

Research.. you can't stockpile, at least not in any normal sense, and so you will be trading it on a per turn basis (I'll give you 5 RP per turn for 5 Food per turn)
Food/Minerals.. You will only trade these if you (or someone else is running a non self ufficient operation... a Very risky thing to do in an empire game) although they can definitely be stockpiled (you might trade to beef up your stockpiles to offset blockades before going to war.)
Production... since it isn't labor but the fruit of labor (in other word it is unwasted labor + non idle capital goods+ resources which means it is goods produced and services Given, not potentially given) it is definitely tradable (and since it include everything from computers, to video games, to ad campaigns, to starships, etc. then it includes everything people would pay money For.





I CAN see money working through number 1, ie you Only get money by buying or selling things, the prices of which float (all empires and their home planet's people could start off with 100 AUs, (perhaps add 1% growth rate to keep the numbers reasonable).

Your planets then generate the four resources, you then determine how much those resources are worth (current price levels) and take the relevant tax money from your people. (all handled automatically) Then you are free to buy those resources off of your people by giving them money.

Unpurchased resources the people stockpile or trade amongst themselves as the stockpile grows (relative to consumption) the price for that good goes down (since research is not stockpiled, any unused research drives the price down)

If an empire or a planet goes into Negative money (through some combination of circumstances) then it cannot buy ANYTHING from ANYONE (payment will not be accepted)

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Daveybaby
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#138 Post by Daveybaby » Mon Mar 15, 2004 10:01 am

Gah. I'm going to bow out of this conversation, the same arguments are being rehashed over and over again, and the overcomplexity (and intellectual elitism) of some of the arguments being put forward is actually starting to make me angry :roll:

Well, it is monday morning :wink:
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skdiw
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#139 Post by skdiw » Mon Mar 15, 2004 8:01 pm

1.. You have money but for you to use it (to get one of the four resources that 'Does something') you must be able to buy from someone who is willing to sell [This can work if your people have control of your untaxed resources] However, this means the 'Value' of that 1,000,000 AU in your treasury can fluctuate wildly .. It also means you should not have any money 'produced' (since none will ever be consumed, just shifted from one owner to another)
I think that might work. I don't know about the 1% growth that you proposed because that's just adding inflation.

I can see how each empire get a certain money in the beginning of the game for inter-empire trades, but I don't see how that will quite work for intra-empire trade if there is one, since they are part of your own. It's a whole new topic for planetary economy and how prices are set for government purchases. And then you got to balance it ><

If we are going to use money for paying leader's salary, fleet maintain... and since they grow over time, either the value of those money have to increase, or the empire needs to get more money.

If you are going do a taxing scheme to get more money, you gonna tax on something like the four resources that colonies produce, which your moneys will grow along with your resource economy. My point is, if you are going to introduce money and ultimately use money to get back resources or whatever, why not just use the resources themselves as "money" like
2.. You can use money to buy and sell things from a shadowy 'market' that has fixed prices (ala MOO2)... In this case, money is just a substitute for other resources (in MOO2 it was a substitute for Production, because that was the only thing you could buy with it.).. but if it is going to be a substitute for a resource... why have that resource, why not go all Money like MOO1 did. Lab buildings don't Generate research, they generate money and let you buy research.
I believe one of the reason why this money topic started is because it's a way to solve the excess rp problem. There is a loophole here because you can generate as much rp as you can and turn the remainder into money, if we do add in that extra money variable rather from taxations.

If you have problems accepting rp or pp as possible form of money, then you still don't understand the nature of money. You can go out and buy paper for $1 for a stack in real life, or you can go into the bank with 4 $5 paper bills and trade it for a single piece of paper, which is not even a full size 8 x 11! Money can be ANYTHING that is valued, be it service or products or paper. In terms of the game, like Krit pointed out, moo1 did just fine with pp.
:mrgreen:

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Daveybaby
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#140 Post by Daveybaby » Tue Mar 16, 2004 9:01 am

Gaaaaah. I cant help myself. I'm not going to make any more arguments for/against money in FO, but i'm not going to let this pass.

Edit : Yes i am.
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utilae
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#141 Post by utilae » Tue Mar 16, 2004 7:02 pm

NO, I don't think PP and RP will do at all for money. One problem that I have seen mentioned, is that you cannot stockpile PP and RP. You can stockpile (save) money.

It would be nice to have all the resources as our money, like Warcraft II has wood, gold and oil, but not all of our resources are able to be stockpiled. We would have to either make them all stockpileable or not stockpileable.

Though we could just have an extra resource, money. Each race would have a value stating the economic value of their money. So exchange rates would come into effect.

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Krikkitone
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#142 Post by Krikkitone » Wed Mar 17, 2004 12:11 am

Exchange rates start getting WAY too complicated.

Also
1. There is nothing wrong with some resources be stockpiled ond others not.

2. Production (as well as Minerals and Food) all make sense for being stockpiled (Food the most since we are not abstracting too many different things into food...but minerals, and pp both have the disadvantage of being abstractions of a diverse set of things, so what you save now may not be useful in the future)

3. Research could be stockpiled for the same reason (I have my scientists looking at a bunch of things when I want to start looking at it I review thier work in that subject)

However, Research probably is best Not stockpiling because it is something you would want to use immediately (and there is nothing stopping you from using it.

PP and RP are probably the best things to trade with because you can always use more of them. (Excess Mineral and Excess Food are only good if you're running a shortage.. which means you are in big trouble, so there probably won't be too many empires doing that)

The Only advantage to money I can see is providing a simplified, single resource to manage, and Production works well enough for that (the functions of Food, Minerals, and Research are so limited they should be handled automatically.. ie
you use your Food to Feed People automatically,
you use your Minerals to Fuel Factories automatically,
you allocate your Research among your Research Projects automatically,
and You allocate Production to Military, Economic, or Social Spending.. and Then you allocate it to particular ships, planetary buildings, or planets, etc.

Production is the one you are going to need the most control over, the others you only have to watch to make sure you are getting as much as you want.

So that even if you don't stockpile production, you do need to manage it most closely, and it therefore, would be something to trade with (even if on a rate basis.. I give 10 turns of 2 Production/Turn for that tech.)


I think I'm back in the 'No Money Camp'

Starports and Trade Agreements should be mostly good at boosting consumer goods ie happiness, with a small boost in Productive output.

You want extra Minerals, Food, Research or Production from someone give up some of your Research or Production (or if you are lucky you have extra Minerals or Food and they Need it)

You have extra Minerals or Food?.. hopefully someone else can use it and they might give you some Production or Research in return (or if they have extra of the Other And you are short, then you could exchange that.)

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PowerCrazy
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#143 Post by PowerCrazy » Wed Mar 17, 2004 6:09 am

Money can be used to pay for starships, and fund research. If you have too many starships then your research will suffer etc. As your infastructure gets better you can do more research for less money, and thus have a bigger fleet. So to have a giant technological fleet your empire must make lots of money.

This seems like a simple thing to do. Think of money as the HFoG from MoO3 but MUCH more simple and MUCH less artificial. Also a racial advantage to get more trade collected from other races/your own populaiton would allow you to fund more science and have a bigger fleet at the same time.

Also taxes would work simliar to MoO2 they would take a % off of your production. 10% tax rate 10% less production on all planets.

Simple, and a built in limiter as well.
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emrys
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#144 Post by emrys » Wed Mar 17, 2004 1:57 pm

Tyreth wrote:
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
ah, now here is a point I need to get sorted. Are more minerals always worthwhile? i.e. if I have an empire that produces 100 Minerals and 100 PP a turn, would I then actually be better off I suddenly produced 200 Minerals a turn, or would that spare 100 Minerals just pile up somewhere and not be usuable until I improved my (potential) PP output.

In other words will how exactly will minerals be used. My understanding was that the output potential of your empire in PP would be capped at the level of your mineral output (ignoring any no stockpile, which would essentially allow for short term smoothing). i.e.

Code: Select all

Minerals       100  200  300 100 200 300 100 200 300
PP potential   100  100  100 200 200 200 300 300 300 
PP output      100  100  100 100 200 200 100 200 300
My thoughts so far have been based around this idea, and also that food produced in excess of the requirement of your population (or some multiple if that affects population growth) has no value "as food, inside your empire". If either of these are not right, could someone explain the actual situation please.

In other words I thought "PP produced" was a measure of the actual industrial output of your empire this turn.

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#145 Post by emrys » Wed Mar 17, 2004 2:20 pm

Aquitaine wrote:Another argument against a 'PP Stockpile' (before I get out of the country..:)

If your excess PP is essentially your money, and you have expenses that require you to use your excess PP to pay for it, your income stream will be extremely unsteady. If you decide to build a lot of things one turn, your income plummets, because it is based on what you aren't doing with your production.

If, however, you tax your total PP, used or not, and get money that way, then your income will remain steady and grow at a reasonable rate.
Sorry, this seems to me to be an argument for PP stockpile and against money, since in the PP version if one turn you put absolutely everything and everybody into building starships, you'll have less to spend on anything else, whereas in the money version whatever you do, even if you leave the factories empty building nothing and employing nobody (which is presumably what taxing unused PP means?) you miraculously get the same money to spend.

In other words I'd see "PP not money" =>

Code: Select all

PP produced       200 200 200 200 200 200 
Tax rate           10  20  30  40  60  90
Work done locally 180 160 140 120  80  20
Taxes to use 
globally (PP)      20  40  60  80 120 180
So the benefit of taxes is flexibility in building location/time (I'd suggest using something based on the local economy size (PP+RP+food+minerals) as some kind of limiter for expenditure rate of a planet), and the drawback would be either inefficient factors (i.e. taxes slightly less than expected when collected or used) or just local unhappiness with high taxes => the net shipping of produce off-world.

Whereas you seem to be advocating the following for money, which I'd assume you don't mean.

Code: Select all

PP produced       200 200 200 200 200 200 
Tax rate           10  20  30  40  60  90
Work done locally 200 200 200 200 200 200
Taxes to spend 
globally (AU)      20  40  60  80 120 180
With presumably the incredible benefit of high taxation being counterbalanced by some kind of dramatic effect on morale, rebellion or somesuch?

drek
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#146 Post by drek » Wed Mar 17, 2004 3:03 pm

You are overthinking this.

Money collected per turn might simply be population * tax rate * building/tech bonuses * Focus benfit (if there's a new Money related focus).

I believe this is what Aquitaine means when he refers to a steady income source. Essentially, it would be based on population and tax rate.


The primary game design uses for money are:
A: limiting the number of ships via imposing a maintaince cost
B: limiting the player's ability to switch Focus via imposing a cost
C: providing a common item that can be used in trade
D: providing a stockpiled valueable that can be influenced by events
E: giving a carrot out (mo' money) in exchange for the player willingly risking rebellion/low moral (high taxes)

With the exception of E, all of these tasks can be performed by stockpiled Minerals.

Anyway, four resources are more than enough. Stockpiling PP and Research is silly. So that leaves Minerals or Nutrients as possible currencies.

Given that we'll have alien critters eatting different things story-wise if not mechanically, that leaves Minerals as the obvious common trade item. Plus, it gives the player something to do with excess minerals--which otherwise remain unspent unless the player raises his Industry expendures over his Mineral income. (which eventually result in a negative mineral stockpile, meaning the player has to juggle his mining/industry again. Sounds annoying to me, especially in a large empire. Better just to say: it's always better to have more mineral income than Industry is spending.)

There are other carrots and sticks we can use for unrest, aside from taxation. For example, empire size could cause unrest. Certain levels of planet population might demand government/entertainment buildings, or suffer unrest.

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#147 Post by tzlaine » Wed Mar 17, 2004 5:10 pm

I think emrys' logic is sound, if there's no morale game concept, and drek is right if there is. Without any morale in the game, it is pretty hard to justify a "tax" setting, as emrys points out. Have we decied anything regarding morale? It seems like we decided against it, but I can't remember if that was done officially or not. We really can't make a decision on taxation without knowing what it affects. Without knowing that, I agree that taxation should take the form emrys suggests.

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#148 Post by drek » Wed Mar 17, 2004 6:26 pm

I'm operating off the Alpha Centari's concept of resources, money, and moral. If I remember correctly, there were no taxes levels in SMAC. Energy was both a resource and money. SMAC's Energy= FO's Minerals, more or less.

It doesn't matter if there's moral in the game or not as far as using the mineral stockpile as currency is concerned. If there really is no moral, there's zero point in having a taxation system.

Emrys's system confuses the issue...it's not really a taxation system, more of an investment system. How many PPs from each planet will you invest in empirewide account?

It's a dodgy way of doing things as far as gameplay is concerned. The player will have to juggle with tax rates too often, lowering them to paradoxically build units faster.

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Krikkitone
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#149 Post by Krikkitone » Thu Mar 18, 2004 5:09 am

drek wrote:The primary game design uses for money are:
A: limiting the number of ships via imposing a maintaince cost
B: limiting the player's ability to switch Focus via imposing a cost
C: providing a common item that can be used in trade
D: providing a stockpiled valueable that can be influenced by events
E: giving a carrot out (mo' money) in exchange for the player willingly risking rebellion/low moral (high taxes)

.
Looking at those ideas
A.. best served by PP, if the ships cost PP to build, they should probably cost PP to maintain
B.. Also best Served by PP (or whatever it is that builds buildings.. the same thing is required to 'reconfigure' buildings.. if nothing else by just tearing down and rebuilding)

so moving those to the PP category we get to some that are more questionable which of the four resources should get used for

C.. Common Currency...can only exist if everyone knows they will be able to use it to trade to get what they want. Because Empires are likely to hoard Research and Production as much as possible, They shouldn't trade those for Minerals/Food unless
1. They have a Mineral Food Shortage
2. They expect someone else with a Mineral/Food Shortage

In other words, if most empires are running Mineral/Food surpluses Most of the time, then they are useless for Trade. (why would I want yours? I have more than enough* of my own.. so does everyone else)
*More than enough never applies to Production, and rarely applies to Research depending on the form of the research mechanism

I don't think there should be a Common Currency, all trades are made by seeing what someone else is willing to give and wants to get (not exclusive) among the four resources

D... a Stockpilable good for events..
for Production, the 'stockpile' can be considered ships and buildings
For Research it is Projects (specifically projects currently in development)
Food and Minerals have a traditional 'stockpile' because they are the only ones that you have a limited use for (the bigger your stockpile is the less you care)

E... Now that is something There, I still think "Money" is unneccessary. if a % of All resources are taxed (read given to the player to control) and the rest are left for the Locals (read Not the player or even player appointed governors) to control then the following uses become available for each resource (for each resource, the player and the 'Locals' may trade so Trade is included as a use for every resource by both parties)

Food
Local Uses: Survival... stops people from being very unhappy or dying
Player Use: Give to starving locals for free.. stops them from being very unhappy or dying

Minerals
Local Uses: Fuel Factories...stops them from being unhappy and unproductive
Player Use: Give to Locals with unfueled factories for free.. stops them from being unhappy and unproductive

Production
Local Uses: Consumer Goods (Makes them Happy), Buildings (More Production)
Player Use: Buildings (More Production), Consumer Goods/Give it Back (Makes them Happy), Ships (actually win the game)

Research
Local Uses: Probably None (maybe some type of Consumer Research that Makes them Happy? I like this idea since Entertainment as a consumer Good is basically created by people thinking up new ideas, not just making things.. it would also include all types of new 'recreational' technologies)
Player Use: New Projects (More Tech)

Essentially, the higher taxes are, the less locals will have to make themselves happy with (they will trade off all their consumer goods to get food and minerals, and if the can't get enough of those they get very unhappy... of course you probably give them the rest of those for free then.. but they still don't get anything but what you give them)

Finally, there is another function of Money
F: Model Trade of Luxury Goods

And That I think can be done by simply having starports, trade posts, etc. instead of generating money, generate local happiness/better consumer goods. Their effectiveness based on the size of your trading empire (and how much money is put into them)


As for extra Minerals/Food, if you have a massive surplus, run a shortage for a short while... someone has to otherwise minerals and food aren't worth anything... or put a % decay into the stockpiles


Basically I'm saying we don't Need Money or any 'Special' Resource (Minerals or Production or Food or Research) to fill its role specifically, any of the potential uses of money can either be
1) allocated specifically and obviously to one resource (maintenance to Production)
2) dealt with by whatever resource is appropriate at the time (trade)
Last edited by Krikkitone on Thu Mar 18, 2004 10:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PowerCrazy
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#150 Post by PowerCrazy » Thu Mar 18, 2004 8:17 am

What it did was take away from your energy that each base produced each turn, and used it to pay for base enhancements. It was a slider though between, psych, research and economy, similiar to Civ.
That's more allocation than taxing, although the fact that it allowed you to allocate to happiness (psych) made it functionally identical to taxing. So point taken.

While I'd prefer that FO just uses Minerals as currency, if there is a fifth resource, SMAC's Energy Money always seemed a good idea to me.

EDIT: Doh, I editted right over PC's post.

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