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Author Topic: Economy Revamp  (Read 40807 times)

kazi

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Re: Economy Revamp
« Reply #60 on: May 08, 2016, 08:24:09 PM »

To me, something like this feels much more informative than a mass of icons- it's very easy to see how much the supply/demand is and how much of a shortfall/surplus there is for a given resource. The lazy person in me doesn't want to have to mouseover anything.



Solid bar = demand met through imports or supply exported.
Black bar = demand unmet or supply that couldn't be sold (and was stockpiled). Values of unmet demand/stockpiled goods are in the -red/+green text respectively.

Negative values (left side) are a net demand, positive values are net supply. Perfectly met supply/demand through local production/consumption is a bar length of zero. We don't really care where the import or exports are from.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Too many icons/bars to fit on the screen? Have the graph scroll down. Perhaps put higher volume icons at the top- so the player immediately knows what the top produced/demanded items are, the less important stuff is out of sight.

Still have space for more information? Maybe add a number that represents how much each commodity's market price is above or below sector average. In this example, drugs might be +78CR and metals are -15CR. The player can then determine that they actually might be able to make a profit by selling metal from a -15CR to a +7CR market.

*edit - added some labels that I shouldn't have left out
« Last Edit: May 08, 2016, 08:57:39 PM by kazi »
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Alex

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Re: Economy Revamp
« Reply #61 on: May 08, 2016, 08:35:46 PM »

What's the black bar on the inside of some of the bars? Would I need to mouseover to find that out? :)

This seems like it'd work nicely if you were only concerned with stockpiles, and how far the stockpile is from... well, it's not exactly clear what - I'd say "demand level", but that's not entirely applicable to markets that produce the commodity but don't have demand for it. Still, "neutral price point" or whatever.

It doesn't show what the market is doing, though. Is it importing or exporting organics? Is it producing or consuming them? That's going to be of primary importance.
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kazi

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Re: Economy Revamp
« Reply #62 on: May 08, 2016, 08:47:18 PM »

Solid bar = demand met through imports or supply exported.
Black bar = demand unmet or supply that couldn't be sold (and was stockpiled). Values of unmet demand/stockpiled goods are in the -red/+green text respectively.

Negative values (left side) are a net demand, positive values are net supply. Perfectly met supply/demand through local production/consumption is a bar length of zero. We don't really care where the import or exports are from.

I think.  ;)

*added some labels that I shouldn't have left out on the graph above
« Last Edit: May 08, 2016, 08:54:19 PM by kazi »
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Alex

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Re: Economy Revamp
« Reply #63 on: May 08, 2016, 10:50:13 PM »

Hmm. I see what you're saying, but I think I have the same reaction to it that you have to the screenshots in the blog posts :)

Cases not handled, as far as I can see: market having both supply and demand of the same commodity (just showing the net isn't enough); market having both imports and exports of a commodity, but no local production or demand, because everything is shown in terms of supply and demand, which doesn't necessarily apply; higher-than-demand stockpiles of a commodity that's in demand.

Also doesn't differentiate between imports/production, and exports/consumption. E.G. are the organics that are being consumed produced locally, or imported?

It also feels, at least to me, considerably more difficult to parse at a glance. Say I look down the left side to see what the demand of the market is. That's already more eye movement than looking at a smaller area dedicated to demand.

Then, all I see are colored bars. If I want to figure out what all the commodities the market needs, I've got to, for each bar that points to the left, either read text or look at an icon to the right. Or remember what color is associated with the commodity, which is another requirement (each commodity having a unique color), which would be rather mod-unfriendly. Plus this isn't going to be good if one is color-blind.

So just to figure out what a market needs, it's not a glance, it's a bunch of looking at it closely and trying to remember what's what, because the info is spread out.

The point I'm trying to make is even if it looks cleaner, it feels a lot harder to actually use to answer some of questions the player might have when looking at this screen. They are "what does this market consume/produce/export/import", and "what demand is met/exceeded/etc" and the UI is built for those.

There may be other questions that turn out to be important, and if they turn out to be hard to answer with the UI, then it'll need to be adjusted accordingly. This actually brings up another point: which set of questions did you have in mind when designing that one? It doesn't seem to be the same ones - rather, it seems to be about answering the "demand met/stockpiles built up" questions, but not the other ones. It might then be useful for a pure "do I buy/sell this here or not" use case.

Which, fair enough, is just about what matters right now, but not in a (not too distant) future where markets are something the player has a direct hand in.

Edit: I do also want to say that I appreciate the feedback and the suggestions, and the time you've taken to mock this up. It's interesting to think about these things!
« Last Edit: May 08, 2016, 11:25:29 PM by Alex »
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kazi

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Re: Economy Revamp
« Reply #64 on: May 09, 2016, 06:51:38 PM »

All valid points- after all, it only took me about an hour to whip that up, can't expect it to be a perfect job the first time around.  ;)

Anyhow, you're not forced to use my little graph idea- I just think that the way you display economic information could use a significant rework. Displaying masses of icons is really "busy" on the eyes and it's near impossible to tell what's going on.

Personally, I think you should focus on net supply or net demand more than production/consumption. Over supply (exports/stockpiling) or market shortfalls (imports/demand not met) are much more important to the player. We don't really care if a market is making tons of something and consuming it locally. Nothing is being bought and sold so it doesn't affect the greater Sector economy. This works the same way as GDP: if a farmer grows their own food and then eats it all, nothing gets contributed to GDP (no transaction occurred). In the same way, if Sindria makes tons of fuel and then consumes it all without it ever entering the market, no one cares. If Sindria makes tons of fuel and then exports it all at a dirt cheap price, that's some really important information with implications for trading and markets elsewhere.

TL;DR: Don't focus on production/consumption/demand/supply/import/export all in one screen (it's too much!). In my mind you should concentrate on displaying the amount of import/export relative to the actual supply/demand. Shortfalls and excesses are the cases where there's the potential for profit or indicate if a market needs player intervention in some way.

(Raw production/consumption should be relegated to mouseover text or a screen for each commodity.)
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Megas

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Re: Economy Revamp
« Reply #65 on: May 10, 2016, 02:08:23 PM »

Production/consumption is kind of important if we can do things that impact that like scorching markets or killing the population... or build our own outposts and a new trade hub, and we need to siphon some of our production to build a war machine.
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Clockwork Owl

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Re: Economy Revamp
« Reply #66 on: May 10, 2016, 05:15:59 PM »

War machines, you mean.  ;D
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pigreko

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Re: Economy Revamp
« Reply #67 on: May 12, 2016, 06:25:06 AM »

OK, this is cool stuff.

I was waiting for something like this to develop. Honestly, I was a bit thrown away from the economic side of things in SS. Now I could finally understand where things go and why, which is awesome to understand the how the sector works... yet I felt sad when you said that those exchanges were not simulated by fleets. I WOULD HAVE LOVED to see those fleets build actual commercial routes, with maybe patrols going along those ways. Frankly I would have loved for the game to have any kind of "route" system somewhere...
Damn the more I see talks about economy and relations between different markets, the more I want to see it represented in in game events. For instance, should I keep raiding a safe trade route, maybe more patrols are spawned from the parent markets to defend it or less and better armed trade fleets are spawned. On the other side, if I disrupt the pirates raiding along a trade route, it could boost the economy of the involved markets.

Damn, the point is that all those relations between markets look interesting as hell, I cannot imagine what is brewing for the future... I just want to have the chance to go hands deep into those features.
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Goumindong

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Re: Economy Revamp
« Reply #68 on: May 23, 2016, 10:47:57 AM »

Credits being a resource... also something I'd given some thought. For me, that feels like an unnecessary complication. I mean, what's the benefit? It's going to be confusing to the player, and my feeling is it would make it much more difficult for the simulation to stabilize. Especially if factions are capable of making more credits on demand, one would have to be careful to ensure there's no runaway inflation, etc. And then you'd need to adjust bounty payouts etc - lots of repercussions for unclear gains.
@Alex

As an economist it definitely is an unnecessary complication. At the end of the day, money must be neutral. So if you're looking for stable prices then simply not using actual money stocks solves that problem easily. The only person who has credits is the player, everyone else is buying on an inverse demand function.

From a certain point of view money debt anyway* so its much easier to just abstract the financial system and suggest that places have enough credits and more over not care when places go into debt/print money.

*Well, more than a certain point of view. But if you actually call money debt nutbars go nubar and i don't want to deal with it. Essentially anything that is zero maturity is debt and so money is functionally debt.

Quote
I think you might mean that factions buy and sell as a unit - i.e. you'd be buying ore from the Hegemony, rather than from a specific market
My thought here was that Markets would go to the global exchange and buy XYZ at whatever XYZ's bid prices were, hit their locally-available Credits, and then draw from the Faction if necessary.  Naturally, that would mean that some Factions would run at a deficit; but perhaps they could increase their tax rates and pay down their debt in exchange for slower economic growth in the short term, like the real world.

I agree about the black-market; that'd require some work to avoid various Bad Things.

Anyhow, I'll keep thinking about the n^2 issues; seems like there really ought to be ways to get it down to n passes without too much distortion, so that it's just not major weightlifting at all.  Probably the biggest issue is treating commodities as commodities, and not as local produce that needs to be re-bid every time a transaction occurs; a futures market would probably simplify things a lot.

n^2 is pretty low all things considered. Graphs (multiplication, solutions, etc) tend to be O(n^3) for a simple algorithm and have a currently limit at O(n^2.373). Economies, even simple ones, are pretty complicated.

It may be possible to get lower, but i would be skeptical. I.E. suppose each planet as an inverse production function and an inverse demand function. This takes in prices and outputs production and consumption. The difference between these is import or export quantity. And this can be done at O(n) where n is the number of markets. But now i have to assign exports to imports, get them to agree on a price, and then (maybe*) set another price. Which means that, almost assuredly, i need to do one calculation set for each planet and each other planet, which puts me at O(n^2)

*Unless you solve the entire system which would generate stable prices and stable trade routes and should be O(n^2.373) to O(n^3)
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