DESIGN: Money Money Money

Past public reviews and discussions.
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Krikkitone
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#166 Post by Krikkitone » Wed Mar 24, 2004 10:02 pm

As much as I favor Sim Liberation, I'm tempted to agree with drek.

In all 'governments' wait cross that rename 'societies', spending more resources on making the people happy will make them happy. However, In some there will be other effects.

The people in the pure Free Market will be happier if there is full employment...ie the unemployed don't get any of the goodies you give out. On the other hand a pure Socialist system won't care about 'useful employment' (because everyone is employed even if in a useless way) only about the total economy devoted to luxuries.

Of course to keep the people happy you would probably have to maintain a Civ like % spent on luxuries. (effectively an anti-tax rate.. but not quite since it would exclude 'redistributive' taxes)


I'd propose stick with the four resources with the following roles

1. Food (feeding people)... stockpile that decays by ~5% per turn... minimal limits/cost on relocation..produced best in good environment
2. Research (getting techs).. no real stockpile..no limits/cost on relocation..produced best with certain specials
3. Minerals (feed general economy)... stockpile that decays by ~5% per turn...minimal limits/cost on relocation...produced best on rich worlds
4. General Economy(builds and maintains buildings and ships and 'consumer goods')... no real stockpile, any excess goes into consumer goods for that turn (essentially into a 'happiness' stockpile that is continually declining)... significant limits/costs on relocation... produced best with Very rare specials

If your empire (and all your neighbors) are producing more minerals than you can use, then you need to shift some foci away from minerals and/or to general economy. (then you can get some of their excess minerals with some of your new production once you start running a deficit.) That's where the long term planning comes in.

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Aquitaine
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#167 Post by Aquitaine » Wed Mar 24, 2004 11:08 pm

In MOO2 you had taxes but no tax rates. You made a fixed amount based on your population and a racial pick that affected the formula, and then some buildings could affect it further.

The people in the pure Free Market will be happier if there is full employment...ie the unemployed don't get any of the goodies you give out. On the other hand a pure Socialist system won't care about 'useful employment' (because everyone is employed even if in a useless way) only about the total economy devoted to luxuries.


Guys, come on. This is totally unimportant to the conversation we need to be having. Let's quit with the realism stuff.

-Aq
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Krikkitone
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#168 Post by Krikkitone » Thu Mar 25, 2004 4:40 am

The problem was in MOO2 there was No good reason to have Money and Production separate. 'Money' was the mobile form of Production (as well as a way of transforming excess food into production) You could just as easily have said each person produces one bonus production unaffected by factories but affected by starports. (and excess food can be changed into production at a certain ratio)

(Sorry about the FM/Soc tangent, it was basically just agreeing with Drek we don't actually need a separate popular economy)

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#169 Post by Underling » Thu Mar 25, 2004 6:47 am

Krikkitone wrote:The problem was in MOO2 there was No good reason to have Money and Production separate.

how about these for Moo2 or FO:

1- KISS. Not for our game designers, not for our coders, but for the end user. Money is a universally recognizeable, simple concept that models purchase/economic power. Easy Recognition = smaller learning curve.

2- The entire list of imperial actions mentioned above. Paying leaders, fleet maintenance, etc.... Yes, you could use the entire hodge-podge of resource stockpiles to address every issue mentioned by Tyreth and others above. However, money does it in one fell swoop.

3- Wealth is tied to production in the real world, but not exclusively and not necassarily in a linear fashion. In other words, wealth can be generated by means unrelated to production. This negates/counters the wealth is PP by another name arguement.

4- Believeable level of abstraction. Noone ever said your economy in FO or in Moo2 represented the sum total of ALL economic/ industrial activity in your empire. Taxation represents a portion of the non-government related economy being appropriated for the governmnent.

Sigh....However, this has all been said before.

In essence, I think that the positions that have been put forward during this debate have all been well argued and ardently supported by logic and example. I applaud the fervor that all parties have displayed. Regardless of what solution is chosen for the project, this level of interest can only bode well for the future.

Unfortunately, very little movement between the camps has occured since the inception of this thread. It may very well need to come to some sort of ececutive decision here. Perhaps a brief post restating the prime positions of each camp could be made for the sake of clarity?

The groups appear to be:
1- no money
2- PP as money
3- minerals as money
4- money as an independent resource

I apologize if I left out (or oversimplified) any of the main arguements here. I simply saw the circular nature of the discussion in this thread and wanted to suggest a summation of each major point in hopes that a final choice could be made soon. Otherwise deja-vu may become a constant state for me. :wink:

The 'Ling

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Krikkitone
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#170 Post by Krikkitone » Thu Mar 25, 2004 8:47 am

Underling wrote:The groups appear to be:
1- no money
2- PP as money
3- minerals as money
4- money as an independent resource

I apologize if I left out (or oversimplified) any of the main arguements here. I simply saw the circular nature of the discussion in this thread and wanted to suggest a summation of each major point in hopes that a final choice could be made soon. Otherwise deja-vu may become a constant state for me. :wink:

The 'Ling


Well, As I've been in both 1 and 2.

The main argument for either of those is what you actually do with money in a 4x game that already has research separated out.
You rush build or maintain things and you pay off enemy/friendly powers. (also you almost always can turn production into money)

Rush building/maintaining is basically turning money into production, and the rest is trading.. which should be doable with anything.. although a generic self sustaining empire would probably prefer production or something that can be directly turned into production.

Under the EUKISS (end user kiss) principle, I'd say those two positions could probably be merged into a 'substitute Money for PP' (just call it money .. that is hard to import/export from worlds)

Finally, the problem with money as 'soft wealth' (wealth that doesn't require the factories necessary for constructing+maintaining ships+buildings) is the "what good is it" problem.
If you can't develop your planets with it, or build ships with it and your people don't need it to live or keep those factories running and it doesn't help you make better ships or factories... there is nothing good to do with it.



To make a possible argument for the fouth position

I can see Money possibly as another Fully developed resource, as a 'happiness good'.. requiring entertainment and trade buildings as 'factories' but
that means you Shouldn't be able to MOO2 rush buy with money...(its not production)... although maybe you could boost output on a world making the population very unhappy which you would have to relieve with money.

I could see that form of money being used for leader/spy recruitment/maintenance and other 'political' actions wheras fleet and building maintenance would still cost production

Actually I think that is the best argument for Money as independent it can be the 'political/psychological' good. (of course keeping your people happy should also require Some Production, and of course Food)
This is good since it makes the choice between happiness/political stability and military/economic growth more of a long term thing. (at the point of Focus)



As for the third position... I never really agreed with it so someone else would have to make the argument for that.

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#171 Post by Underling » Thu Mar 25, 2004 6:30 pm

Thanks, Krikkitone for the concise recap. So if I understand things correctly, each group could be boiled down to <GROSS OVERSIMPLIFICATION TAG>:

No Money - stockpiles of everything would be used where most appropriate. Direct trade of Food/RP/PP/Minerals where needed and one or more type of resources would be needed to maintain ships, or buildings, or leaders, etc...

PP as money - Since production represents the basis of all industry and economic activity in game, PP stockpiles should be used to model money. Some folks want a stockpile decay( 1-5% per turn?), others don't. KISS from a programmer/designer standpoint as no new resource/game mechanic is introduced.

Minerals as money - Since PP is not really a resource but the result of the use of resources, minerals are the best indicator of wealth. Money should nt introduce a new mechanic, and mineral stockpiles could be used as money for purchase/maintenance and diplomacy needs. Also programmer/designer KISS-friendly.

Money as a seperate reource - money should be modeled as a seperate resource or quasi-resource. Money would reprent an abstraction of the economic processes mentioned above. Can be generated by Taxes or a simple formula based off of buildings and population. KISS from the end user standpoint, as $$ is a familiar concept.

</GROSS OVERSIMPLIFICATION TAG>

OK, it seems to me that we can boil the 4 main arguements down even further with a little analysis. There are really only 2 stances mentioned in this entire monster of a thread:

1 - Money modeled with our existing mechanics. ie - we will use the existing mechanics to simulate the uses of money. (options 1, 2 or 3)

2 - Money modeled with a seperate game mechanic. Give it it's own status and keep our existing resources as is. (option 4)


This seems to be the crux of the whole arguement. Perhaps we should examine how folks feel about this underlying issue and let the results guide the rest of the money discussion?

Just my $.02 (or would that be 7 minutes worth of generating PP ? :P )

The 'Ling

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utilae
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#172 Post by utilae » Thu Mar 25, 2004 9:00 pm

Underling wrote:No Money - stockpiles of everything would be used where most appropriate. Direct trade of Food/RP/PP/Minerals where needed and one or more type of resources would be needed to maintain ships, or buildings, or leaders, etc...

This would be quite good. Like how warcraft 2 has gold, lumber and oil. Each of the four resources would be like money. The only problem is if you have tax rates, what would the people pay the government. Since there is no money, would it be a balance of each of the four resources. In this situation money makes itself useful.

Underling wrote: PP as money - Since production represents the basis of all industry and economic activity in game, PP stockpiles should be used to model money. Some folks want a stockpile decay( 1-5% per turn?), others don't. KISS from a programmer/designer standpoint as no new resource/game mechanic is introduced.

I don't think there is any reason why minerals should be money, or why pp should be money. If minerals are to be money or if pp is to be money, then you might as well make all four resources like money, ie option 1.

Underling wrote:Minerals as money - Since PP is not really a resource but the result of the use of resources, minerals are the best indicator of wealth. Money should nt introduce a new mechanic, and mineral stockpiles could be used as money for purchase/maintenance and diplomacy needs. Also programmer/designer KISS-friendly.

I don't think there is any reason why minerals should be money, or why pp should be money. If minerals are to be money or if pp is to be money, then you might as well make all four resources like money, ie option 1.

Underling wrote:Money as a seperate reource - money should be modeled as a seperate resource or quasi-resource. Money would reprent an abstraction of the economic processes mentioned above. Can be generated by Taxes or a simple formula based off of buildings and population. KISS from the end user standpoint, as $$ is a familiar concept.

This is fine, although I am stretched between options 1 and 4. Would no money, ie using four resources as money be simpler than having money as a fifth resource.

Overall I probably like option 1, use all four resources as money. It would be more interesting imo. Though, I do not no if it would be more complex then having money as a fith resource.

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#173 Post by Aquitaine » Fri Mar 26, 2004 1:05 am

The only problem is if you have tax rates, what would the people pay the government. Since there is no money, would it be a balance of each of the four resources. In this situation money makes itself useful.


This is a realism argument. How is 'what do people pay the government' a problem in a 4X game?

I'm starting to sound like a broken record here...

Aq
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#174 Post by Krikkitone » Fri Mar 26, 2004 6:01 am

Aquitaine wrote:This is a realism argument. How is 'what do people pay the government' a problem in a 4X game?

I'm starting to sound like a broken record here...

Aq


It's useful because of the political aspects. Some way for the government to pay their planets' 'political maintenance', ie the thing that keeps them from revolting. This can either be resources 'left' ie untaxed or resources given directly to the population.

With money we can have a 'social' resource that is involved in a trade off with the others (there does definitely need to be a trade of just as there is between Research, Food, Minerals, and Production there should also be some trade off between Money production (political stability) and all the other resources.. general economic productivity)

This allows the concept of overextension, viable rebellions, and another potential prevention of snowballing.

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#175 Post by utilae » Fri Mar 26, 2004 6:48 am

Aquitaine wrote:
The only problem is if you have tax rates, what would the people pay the government. Since there is no money, would it be a balance of each of the four resources. In this situation money makes itself useful.


This is a realism argument. How is 'what do people pay the government' a problem in a 4X game?

I'm starting to sound like a broken record here...

Aq

What I actually mean:

In Moo2 you are basically the government. You set the tax rate and you get the money. So if we don't have money and we have a tax rate, what do we get paid in. All four resources, thats the question.

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#176 Post by bpkri » Fri Mar 26, 2004 7:44 am

Hiya - I am quite new to this game and its planning, and have been away from games alltogether for quite a while. That*s because many modern games tend to be a little complex to play without investing _much_ time (or they go the other way and look great, but are rather simple).
On the money issue:
I think an abstraction layer like money is needed. From my experience with MoO II/Civ it is useful to have money to jumpstart a system or to be able to buy a defense needed _now_.
I do not see the fear about stockpiling there. Buying things with money should be expensive, more expensive than bulding things on your own. Decay of stockpile can make the game very hard if its not properly balanced. If a stockpile can devay if it*s above a certain level, can its worth increase if its below a certain level? (inflation - and deflation)
I would vote to keep the system simple, as in making money a "portable" version of a resource. A resource you turn into money will not available as the resource itself directly. Plus: Converting money into production again means you will probably lose resource in the process (since using the resource, e.g. production itself would be less expensive).
I do not think money only allowing a production boost will suffice.

I am fascinated by the concept of money as its own resource, including in- and deflation, comparing money values of different realms/players, but vote against it. I imagine it is hard to balance correctly and it is quite a complex theme. Hard to realize and hard to learn. :(

Just my 2cent, an old MoO II player returning to games :)

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#177 Post by krum » Fri Mar 26, 2004 10:50 am

OK, I really like how Krik summed up the reasons we'd want one of the two basic points that Ling identified.
Krikkitone wrote:I can see Money possibly as another Fully developed resource, as a 'happiness good'.. requiring entertainment and trade buildings as 'factories' [...]

Actually I think that is the best argument for Money as independent it can be the 'political/psychological' good. (of course keeping your people happy should also require Some Production, and of course Food)
This is good since it makes the choice between happiness/political stability and military/economic growth more of a long term thing. (at the point of Focus)


I think it's as simple as do we want this in the game? Money as described above, I definately like it -- it's an interesting choice to make, if it can be balanced.

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#178 Post by Aquitaine » Fri Mar 26, 2004 2:59 pm

It's useful because of the political aspects. Some way for the government to pay their planets' 'political maintenance', ie the thing that keeps them from revolting. This can either be resources 'left' ie untaxed or resources given directly to the population.


This is all completely beyond the scope of this question. It just creates extra fluff that we have to go through when we do the public review. Please keep the discussion focused on the questions at hand.

-Aq
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#179 Post by Satyagraha » Sat Mar 27, 2004 6:37 pm

what is KISS?

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#180 Post by Sandlapper » Sat Mar 27, 2004 6:57 pm

Keep It Simple, Stupid.

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