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Posted: Mon Mar 08, 2004 3:25 pm
by emrys
utilae wrote: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:
Yep. That's exactly what it means. You and your people are in competition, each of them wants to use as much of the mineral, production and research capacity of the empire as they can control to improve their lives as much as possible (e.g. TV's, nice food, cars, improved habitats on the planet, a private police force, their own StarCruiser if they're millionaires etc.). You want to use it to improve their lives the way you see fit (e.g. the same stuff, or maybe other things like a fleet, or interstellar bribery or espionage.).

The spending of money on one thing or another is really just saying what things should get done.

The more you think the government makes a better job of this choice for everyone than you'll get from the sum of everyones individual choices, the more you should tax them, and make the decision with that bit for them.

None of which economic phillosphy really gets us much closer to a workable economic system (though I have to say I preferred the one Krikkitone and EntropyAvatar were bashing around a while ago, but unfortunately it was probably WAY too complicated to actually use).

Posted: Mon Mar 08, 2004 3:40 pm
by Aquitaine
I think we need to start with a very basic economic system that satisfied the immediate need, and then develop it as required; this is one case where I think planning ahead too much might cause us to over-design it.

Think of MOO2's econ system: for every X amount of production units your colonists made, you got some tax value off of them. You could get a racial bonus to this tax value, and discover things that would inrease it.

Contrast this with MOO3, where you had an enormous hodgepodge of money going every which way and no real idea of how it all came together; you had to deal with local, system, and Imperial money systems.

I think of something like EU2's system as a nice happy medium, except I don't think EU2 did a good job of conveying to the user how everything comes together - having to check ledgers, tooltips that didn't get updated with the patches. But there is one thing I'd like to think about stealing from EU2, and that is the combination of basic tax value plus resources.

This isn't 'resources' in the sense of minerals or food - resources in the sense that a planet has a primary resource which can be sold. The only real game effect is that it affects the amount of money generated by a planet (essentially a 'trade income' as well as a 'production tax' like MOO2) but I think it will add immeasurably to the immersion factor: this differentiates planets from one another and creates a lot of strategic value on top of mineral-rich or important agricultural or science worlds (think of provinces like Flandren, Venice, or Thrace in EU2).

I can develop this idea a little bit more, but I wanted to toss it out there for starters. I have to say that I'm not too keen on 'converting' money to other things as a central part of this system; that's something that I think we should wait on.

Posted: Mon Mar 08, 2004 3:40 pm
by krum
Krik, if I understand you porposal well, you are porposing that we:

1) Have worlds generate money instead of PP and RP;
2) You tax the worlds for a fraction of these;
3) The things that would otherwise determine the amount of RP and PP generated would then limit the amount of money you can spend on buying PP or RP before you start getting diminishing results.

I'd prefer that we keep things in nice clear-cut cathegories. Food, Research, Mining, Production. At least for now. Just so that it wouldn't get disproportionalyl complicated compared to the other stuff.

Posted: Mon Mar 08, 2004 3:53 pm
by krum
Aquitaine wrote: This isn't 'resources' in the sense of minerals or food - resources in the sense that a planet has a primary resource which can be sold. The only real game effect is that it affects the amount of money generated by a planet (essentially a 'trade income' as well as a 'production tax' like MOO2) but I think it will add immeasurably to the immersion factor: this differentiates planets from one another and creates a lot of strategic value on top of mineral-rich or important agricultural or science worlds (think of provinces like Flandren, Venice, or Thrace in EU2).
I loved that in EU. Something like that adds a nice now dimension to the economy without complicating things. It would be like planetary specials squared :) IIRC there weere trade centre provinces, and your profit depended on the distance of the province to the trade center among other things, and also the owner of the trade center province got a nice fraction of all money transactions there or something like that? Hmm... Some expensive to build and upkeep Trade Center building? This opens up room for dimplomacy too.

Posted: Mon Mar 08, 2004 4:22 pm
by emrys
I'm not totally sure we actually need money in the game, it just seems to be adding annother unit of measure for no truly good reason, just that we are used to it being there. The number of things we are dealing with (Production, minerals, research, food) seems small enough that the player can keep track of theire relative value to him wothout needing to convert them to an intermediary standard, which is all money actually does.

Including money just seems to put us in the position of feeling we need to work out all sorts of nasty issues such as what to do when you have negative balances (which come essentially from directing what is to be done with more of the economy that you have said you would (i.e. spending more than your tax rate)), what to do to allow a player to spend their money but not too fast, what to do to prevent illogical conversion of resources etc.

If on the other hand we treat everything in terms of production point stockpiles then things become a bit clearer, because the stockpile is clearly a pile of the physical stuff that you didn't use last turn (five million self sealing stem bolts for example). For example negative balances don't make sense, because you can't build more things than you have bits for, because there is nowhere to get them from. Equally a natural wastage rate of the stockpile makes sense (parts rust, need well maintained storage space, or simply get out of date).

Equally the rediculous possibility of a badly designed economy system allowing you to get rich from constantly making more food than anyone wants goes out the window, because who is making all these miracle parts you're getting in exchange for your unwanted food?

Similar points could be made about money conversion of research and mineral stockpiles.

In fact the general idea of converting one resource to money, then by a sight of hand buying, or making up for, another resource with that money disappears, and has to be replaced by justifiable ways of converting lead into gold, if that's what you're really doing. Trade agreements with other empires, the deal you get being dependant on their demand for the goods as well as yours, or actually trying to adapt your economy to your real needs would then appear to be the only sensible way of doing this 'Alchemy'.

However the positive benefits of money are still there, but even more so. Need to get a fledgling colony up and running quickly, well ship over the 2 million stem bolts, two hundred generators and 100 miles of cabling you have in storage to give them a head start then (or 100PP in game terms). This would also naturally explain why there is an overdriving limit, prefab stuff will only be suitable for some of the jobs, some stuff will need to be made to order, and the pre fab stuff and parts all have to be put together, so the local industrial base will still limit the maximum output.

So to sum up, I think we should not have money, but non-interconvertable stockpiles of food, minerals and production points, which we would probably have anyway, and essentially use the production points stockpile wherever we would otherwise use money.

You would still want a 'tax rate' to divert some of the production points from all planets to the central pool from where they would be allocated to the things which are not built at planet (or shipyard if we go with independant ship yards) level.

In other words, there is only a limited difference between a money based system and one where PP is used directly, that being mostly increased clarity and fewer pitfalls.

Posted: Mon Mar 08, 2004 4:38 pm
by Daveybaby
Aquitaine wrote:I think of something like EU2's system as a nice happy medium, except I don't think EU2 did a good job of conveying to the user how everything comes together - having to check ledgers, tooltips that didn't get updated with the patches. But there is one thing I'd like to think about stealing from EU2, and that is the combination of basic tax value plus resources.

This isn't 'resources' in the sense of minerals or food - resources in the sense that a planet has a primary resource which can be sold. The only real game effect is that it affects the amount of money generated by a planet (essentially a 'trade income' as well as a 'production tax' like MOO2)
This sounds similar to what i've planned for COW. My model is based on the Moo1 paradigm of sliders to determine the percentage of the planet which is devoted to each economic activity, but ive added a slowdown factor (you cant instantly switch from 100% production to 100% research in 1 turn, it takes time and money to refocus). I've also got a different set of economic activities:

Farming - produces food (duh)
Mining - produces minerals (double duh)
Industry - produces PP
Commerce - produces MONEY (requires
Research - produces RP
Government - quells unrest (among other things)
Military - determines number of ground troops in empire

Most of that is irrelevant to FO - but the way commerce works is this:
Any excess PP, food or minerals produced by your empire (i.e. any PP which arent going towards building ships etc, any food not being eaten) would, in Moo1, be converted into cash and placed in your reserve. I've got the same thing going on, but the spare industry has to be converted to cash via commerce. If you dont have enough commerce, all of that overproduction will be wasted (although i may allow minerals (and possibly food) to be stockpiled).

So, within your empire you will have to balance commercial activity with everything else. You would still have income without commerce, since everybody gets taxed anyway, but i'm hoping to balance it so that you will need a certain amount of commerce if you dont want money to be tight (although this may vary based on Government type).

[Edit : oh i forgot to add why it was similar] :oops:
I'm also hoping to have stuff like high biodiversity planets in there (this was in Moo3) which increase the value of commerce derived from food, planets with rare minerals (which increase the value of commerce derived from minerals) etc. So its similar. Kinda. :P

Posted: Mon Mar 08, 2004 4:39 pm
by Aquitaine
I have been thinking about a 'no money' solution as well, but it leaves some significant gaps.

Your proposed method seems designed to solve the problem of 'how can you get a new colony off the ground fastest,' or, more generally, 'how can you direct outside production to a new location.'

Personally, I don't think this is a problem that needs solving.

In terms of 'what does money allow us to do' - it means we have a metric to handle transactions, really, and nothing else. So we can have events that cost money, trade money for other things in other empires, have one Empire pay tribute to another, have a cost associated with fleet maintenance, and so on.

Some of these things we could do with a 'national PP stockpile' as well, though; fleet maintenance could be measured in terms of PPs required, and this is intuitive in the sense that you pay PPs and not cash to build a ship, so why not also to maintain them.

So long as we keep the monetary system fairly straightforward (maybe even less complicated than EU2's) then I'm still on the side of having one, but I guess that's the discussion I was hoping to have here, rather than the 'how can we design a really interesting and complex economic model.' In MOO2 it is an interesting resource that differentiates some races from others; but we already have strategic resources MOO2 doesn't. I guess the question is, is it worth the trouble to design a system for it? EU2 does have other strategic resources, of course; grain, gold, cotton, naval supplies, et cetera, but they aren't really central to the game (except maybe grain) like food and minerals are to the MOO universe; most of those resources are just money pits, and few of them have an effect on anything else.

So - I'm not totally sure we need money either. I think we can make a case for not having it, but then we have to kludge PPs or something else to fill the two or three necessary functions that a money system was supposed to provide. I guess the question that I'd want to see answered is: if it's really that unnecessary, can we think of some games that don't use it for the reasons emrys suggests not using it?

Off the top of my head, I can think of only HoI, but that's really more of a military simulator than an Empire-simulator.

Posted: Mon Mar 08, 2004 4:52 pm
by Daveybaby
emrys wrote:So to sum up, I think we should not have money, but non-interconvertable stockpiles of food, minerals and production points, which we would probably have anyway, and essentially use the production points stockpile wherever we would otherwise use money.
This would allow you to have specific trade agreements with other empires, instead of the more vague ones in Moo1/2/3.

e.g:
Empire 1: "I will trade you 100 food/turn in exchange for 50 minerals/turn"
Empire 2: "Cant afford that many minerals, but how about 25 minerals and 50PP"?
Empire 1: "Oh never mind i just had a better offer from empire 3. Bye"
Empire 2: "Gah!!"
Empire 3: "hehe, i dont even NEED the food, i just wanted to mess with empire 2"

Alternatively you could have all trading out in the open, and have a kind of intergalactic stock exchange, with a market value for goods automatically determined by the CPU based on the amount being placed on there by empires. But thats probably a step too far.

Posted: Mon Mar 08, 2004 5:00 pm
by emrys
Aquitaine wrote:I can develop this idea a little bit more
Please do. It sounds interesting, but I think I'd need to see a bit more of the flesh on the bones before it'd be clear what is being talked about.

Posted: Mon Mar 08, 2004 5:10 pm
by krum
emrys wrote:
Aquitaine wrote:I can develop this idea a little bit more
Please do. It sounds interesting, but I think I'd need to see a bit more of the flesh on the bones before it'd be clear what is being talked about.
Each province has a resource that is in abundance and can be sold. Resources also possibly give some bonus. They are sold at provinces that are trade centers, where merchants from different empires compete for the trade of these resources. The more merchants the empire has, the bigger percentage of the trade it controls = more money. So from the trade, three parties get money -- the seller, depending on the price of the resource and the distance to the trade center, the merchants get a percentage, and the owner of the trade center also. That's about how it works in EU. I don't know if I explained it well enoguh.

Posted: Mon Mar 08, 2004 5:11 pm
by emrys
Aquitaine wrote:In terms of 'what does money allow us to do' - it means we have a metric to handle transactions, really, and nothing else. So we can have events that cost money, trade money for other things in other empires, have one Empire pay tribute to another, have a cost associated with fleet maintenance, and so on.

Some of these things we could do with a 'national PP stockpile' as well, though; fleet maintenance could be measured in terms of PPs required, and this is intuitive in the sense that you pay PPs and not cash to build a ship, so why not also to maintain them.


I think we can reasonably do ALL of these things sensibly with a PP stockpile.
So long as we keep the monetary system fairly straightforward (maybe even less complicated than EU2's) then I'm still on the side of having one
I feel that if we're going to have a simple monetary system, we don't need a moentary system at all. Money's only use is to simplify a complicated system (real life exchange) by providing a layer of abstraction, if your underlying system is sufficiently simple, money actually makes it more complicted.
So - I'm not totally sure we need money either. I think we can make a case for not having it, but then we have to kludge PPs or something else to fill the two or three necessary functions that a money system was supposed to provide.
Which functions were you specifically thinking of that PP's would be poor at fulfiling, perhaps considering them would help us decide if money is the best solution.
I guess the question that I'd want to see answered is: if it's really that unnecessary, can we think of some games that don't use it
That may not be the best question, because, since we live in a world dominated (for very good reasons) by money, it's pretty hard to not make the leap from "we have these four resources" to "and count stuff in another one called money".

Posted: Mon Mar 08, 2004 5:15 pm
by krum
emrys wrote:
I guess the question that I'd want to see answered is: if it's really that unnecessary, can we think of some games that don't use it
That may not be the best question, because, since we live in a world dominated (for very good reasons) by money, it's pretty hard to not make the leap from "we have these four resources" to "and count stuff in another one called money".
That's true. And we can make up something sufficiently comlicated and fun, that is dynamic adn seperate form these four resources, like the resources trade system of EU, to justify having a monetary system, which would make things seem less utalitarian and 5-year-plannish. :) If we want to.

Posted: Mon Mar 08, 2004 5:17 pm
by emrys
han_krum wrote: Each province has a resource that is in abundance and can be sold. Resources also possibly give some bonus. They are sold at provinces that are trade centers, where merchants from different empires compete for the trade of these resources. The more merchants the empire has, the bigger percentage of the trade it controls = more money. So from the trade, three parties get money -- the seller, depending on the price of the resource and the distance to the trade center, the merchants get a percentage, and the owner of the trade center also. That's about how it works in EU. I don't know if I explained it well enoguh.
What determines the price of the resource?
Equally, are there any monopoly effects modelled (if you own all the sources of cotton / oil / something does that have any effect on anything). Is the resource output of each province fixed? (I presume so since I seem to remember the output of provinces in EU was pretty constant in general?)

Posted: Mon Mar 08, 2004 5:17 pm
by Starrh
Aquitaine wrote: I guess the question that I'd want to see answered is: if it's really that unnecessary, can we think of some games that don't use it for the reasons emrys suggests not using it?

Off the top of my head, I can think of only HoI, but that's really more of a military simulator than an Empire-simulator.
Stars does not use money everything is built around the resource and three minerals. Minerals where very apparent in order to build something you had to have them resources where there but it was really based on the population and factories you had. But stars had zero economic system and it seems if you are going to have any form of economic system you are going to have to have some sort of monetary exchange apparatus. I know you do not want to make the economics really compelled but lets set up an example three worlds

LotsofFood wants production and is willing to give up food has no need of minerals
lotsofproduction wants minerals and is willing to give up production has no need for food
lotsofminerals wants food and is willing to give up minerals has no need for production

in this example cash can make this work very simply. lotsofproduction can sell product to lotsoffood for cash lotsoffood can then buy minerals from lotsofminerals. This is a simplistic example and of course the more complexes system will give you more flexibility. In my opinion money will conform to the kiss concept a little better, everyone is familiar with the use and exchange of cash and in the midst of a trading situation you do not have to search out a combination of trades to get what you want.

Posted: Mon Mar 08, 2004 5:21 pm
by krum
emrys wrote: What determines the price of the resource?
Equally, are there any monopoly effects modelled (if you own all the sources of cotton / oil / something does that have any effect on anything). Is the resource output of each province fixed? (I presume so since I seem to remember the output of provinces in EU was pretty constant in general?)
Now the problem is it's been quite a while since I last played EU and I'm not sure I remember correctly. The output is fixed IIRC. I think the price did depend on the quantity of the resource being traded at the same trade center. Also, if I'm not terribly wrong, provinces automatically got assigned to the trade center where you'd get the most money, considering the two factors, distance and availability of the commodity. Monopoly effects, I'm not sure about provider monopoly, but you could have trade monopoly, like you could control 100% of the trade at a given trade center, and I persume it was harder to be outcompeted when you control a larger part of the trade. Nothing stops US from having provider monopoly or anything, though. After all, this is a different game :)