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Starsector 0.95.1a is out! (12/10/21); Blog post: Hyperspace Topography (10/12/22)

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Author Topic: Yet another economy suggestion (long)  (Read 6031 times)

Megas

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Re: Yet another economy suggestion (long)
« Reply #15 on: October 15, 2019, 04:52:00 PM »

@Mages I think the Prometheus should go for the same reason most aircraft carrier battle groups in real life don't have petrol supertankers in their supply fleet. You don't put all your eggs in one basket. You have multiple smaller tankers at enough of a distance from one another and from the main battle group so as too keep them safe from an attack. The Prometheus is realistic as a ship that would exist in game, unrealistic as a ship a fleet would ever make use of.
If all fuel did in the game was be gasoline for spaceships, then sure.  But, in Starsector, fuel can also be used as air-to-ground strategic nukes against a planet.  If player wants to wipe the likes of Chichomoztoc off the map, he will need lots of fuel for multiple sat bombings.  In Starsector, fuel is both space gasoline and nuclear bombs put together, and a supertanker doubles as a strategic bomber.

Related, pleasure cruise liners (i.e., Starliner) are generally the most efficient marine transports when player wants to bring thousands of them to raid planets.  Raiding ships like Valkyrie and Colossus 3 bring a few hundred marines and their Ground Support Packages adds another +100.  Okay for minor leagues like pirates bases and New Maxios, but not enough for large faction capital worlds like Sindria, Kazeron, or Chichomoztoc.  Even an Onslaught or Legion (with Efficiency Overhaul) can double as a raiding ship if player can haul the resources to support them and not lose them in battle.

Fleet cap might prevent multiple small tankers and/or other haulers from being a useful option.
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AlucardNoirsFolly

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Re: Yet another economy suggestion (long)
« Reply #16 on: October 15, 2019, 05:00:20 PM »

Fix the player expectations by calling the tariff a bribe. The market mechanics don't change, but suddenly the conflicts are resolved. Players won't get suddenly surprised when bribing every trade deal kills their profits. They'll be looking for ways to avoid paying the bribe instead, and get naturally drawn into the anticipated conflicts of ticking off local port authorities.  ;)

I have two points of contention here. Firstly, that his is a space combat game. I see this as an open world sandbox game with exploration, combat and trading/smuggling mechanics - and soon colonization (I don't think it's worth talking about that mechanic yet). I see Freespace, Homeworld and Nexus as space combat games. And secondly,I take umbrage at the bribe renaming thing, that's also not how bribes work. And a universal 30% bribe is probably the only thing more ridiculous then a 30% universal tariff. Calling it a sales tax would be better, but that would only eliminate the logical inconsistency in regards to the mechanics being called tariffs.

The real problem comes from the fact that the open market system has no depth and as such would end up as a move x units from point A to point B and y units from point B to point A which would indeed risk getting repetitive and boring. Ok, it has some depth, just not enough for that not to happen sooner or later. Personally I'm partial to SCC's suggestion of having pirates attack our merchant convoys should we chose to go that way. Go freighter and tanker only and get wiped by pirates.

@Mordodrukow, I agree with your first part. As for the AI cores, look, if you go to the military market you are probably going through tougher checks then if you were going to the regular open market. The open market if probably just a computer terminal, the military market would probably need some papers and would probably do periodic checks. Ok, maybe automatically is a bit too harsh, but you should probably have to pass the same check you would have if a patrol stopped you, and without the right to resist or attack them afterwords since you're already in port. Hell, without even the right to turn away since that would be even more suspicious. If you get caught with contraband out in space it gets confiscated but nobody checks you or your ships when you buys stuff from the military market, or worse when you sell stuff there?

@Megas ... technically true, but still, it's... you know what? no. I'm blaming the fact that nobody uses nukes on that. we shouldn't have to make our own WMD's, this is supposed to ne a high tec SF world, they should have WMD's for sale at the local grocery store. It sells right about everything else.

As for the Starliner... I refuse to even engage, if tariffs annoy me, the Starliner class outright angers me. Then again, SF authors have no sense of scale, why should Alex be any different?
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Mordodrukow

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Re: Yet another economy suggestion (long)
« Reply #17 on: October 15, 2019, 05:29:21 PM »

Man, checks are made automatically, it is not about gameplay. Gameplay is when i m playing Age of Empires and choose between building more spearmans and rushing to the next age (rough example). And you are talking about realism. Who needs realism? I have enough realism outside of my room. In game i wanna be able to perform rocket jumps or burn enemy's buildings down, by shooting arrows (hello, Warcraft 2).

More to say: it is much easier to "invent" some realism-based gameplay, because you have examples in real life. Making game, which has nothing to do with realism is way harder, but way better, if you did well.

On the other hand: basic logics and market laws. All in the world aims toward balance, regardless of whether it's realistic game or not. Good math imitation will balance itself. If you will change something - there will be another points of equilibrium. It will not be worse or better. It will be just different. The problem is: it is not MMO like EVE, or at least Time Zero. And there is no neural network to replace thousands of players. So, dont demand miracles from it.
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Goumindong

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Re: Yet another economy suggestion (long)
« Reply #18 on: October 15, 2019, 05:34:23 PM »

Fuel is anti-matter fuel. Its already super WMD. No need for nukes
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Histidine

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Re: Yet another economy suggestion (long)
« Reply #19 on: October 16, 2019, 04:52:07 AM »

Quick comments on the specific proposals in the OP:

- 1-3: No tariff for buying from a surplus or selling into a deficit would be nice, if nothing else, to fix the case where tariffs eat all the margins even on surplus/deficit trading.
Adding a tariff for the reverse direction isn't strictly needed, since the prices would make it unfavorable anyway (but isn't wrong either).

- 6+7: Most ship weapons (anything with tier >0 in the weapon defs CSV) already don't appear on open market. It would be desirable to apply a degree of such restriction for ships, too.
That said, I'd advise against a complete removal of ship weapons or excessive restrictions on combat ship availability in the open market, especially if combined with a no-transponder rule for black markets. It'd mean a trader/explorer has little or no way to purchase escorts or self-defense weapons, without tying themselves to a specific faction or having to sneak around for black market access.

- 5: No. Taking high-value items out of the player inventory without a prompt and/or giving them a chance to do something about it is bad. Doing it without an explanation of how the authorities would even find out about the items makes it worse.
(As for selling AI cores on the open market: that's already forbidden at markets where the faction bans it)
« Last Edit: October 16, 2019, 06:38:53 AM by Histidine »
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AlucardNoirsFolly

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Re: Yet another economy suggestion (long)
« Reply #20 on: October 16, 2019, 07:04:11 AM »

On the other hand: basic logics and market laws. All in the world aims toward balance, regardless of whether it's realistic game or not. Good math imitation will balance itself. If you will change something - there will be another points of equilibrium. It will not be worse or better. It will be just different. The problem is: it is not MMO like EVE, or at least Time Zero. And there is no neural network to replace thousands of players. So, dont demand miracles from it.

Have you even played Starsector? the game already has a basic market simulation that balances itself out. No need for server farms and neural networks. The only thing the game doesn't have is a way for the player to interact with the open market in a meaningful and legal way.

You're comment reminded me of another post I read in a related thread on here about tariffs. The poster was claiming that what we as the player do when it comes to trade is the equivalent of filling out car's trunk and then going to another country and selling the content. He was wrong. We can attack convoys and see exactly what ship composition they have. We can acquire said ships on the open market. We can man and supply said ships. The only thing that we as the player can't do is make a profit on the open market. Why? because Alex was lazy and when he realized just faring cargo from one location to another could turn into a grind and be boring he just slapped a universal 30% tariff on all open market transactions to disincentive us from trading.

Similar to how Mass Effect isn't just an FPS game, so too Starsector isn't just a combat game. We know there is an open market. We can see prices go up as we buy ever increasing units of cargo. We can see prices go down as we sell ever increasing units of cargo. We can see trade fleets move across the map. We can attack said trade fleets and see exactly what kind of ships they're made off. We can reclaim some such ships and we can buy such ships from the open market. For all intents and purpose Starsector has an inbuilt trading system that self corrects and a trade minigame the player is designed to play with. And then Alex realized that like every single other space game with a trading system that came before, the trading system in Starsector can be abused by just faring goods between just two places so he slapped a 30% tariff on all transactions to disincentive us from interacting with the system in the first place. AND because the black market was already there players just moved to the black market like nothing happened.

Trade is broken in this game. Making money isn't. TRADE IS. This is one thing most people don't want to admit on here. We say trade they counter we smugling, we say trade they counter with missions, we say trade they counter with piracy, we say trade they counter with bounties to make money. The game has a trade mechanic that has been intentionally gimped so as to disincentive it's usage.

@Histidine I actually added the idea of punitive tariffs for when prices go to low or too high so as to disincentive players from trading too much and from making trade too profitable. Basically, I took into account Alex's initial objection in regards to trading, faring cargo between two points in boring and repetitive, but trading onto itself can be fun and entertaining - there are entire games built around the idea of trade after all. (some even set in space) When a game tries to do too much we end up with No man's ... Spore, when a game tries to do too much we end up with Spore. With the exception of the first stage that to my knowledge only has one counterpart in Flow, all other stages have had multiple games set in just that one stage that outclass spore in every way. I don't think Starsectors trade system should compete with Elite, X, The Guild or The Patrician series, but Alex can give us at least the same level of trade as Port Royale, Sid Mayers Pirates or the old EV games. And considering going to economy.json and editing the "defaultTariff":0.3, to "defaultTariff":0.0, is all it takes to make trade as engaging as it was in those latter games... That's why I made the proposals I have, I don't just want the artificial limit on trade removed, I can do that myself, I apreciate Alex and agree with the thoughts behind tariffs. Trade can be boring, if all you do is hold the mouse bottom to get to your next location it is boring, I just don't agree with his solution, at all.

As for AI, the way I see it, If I buy weapons I'm probably going with the ship inside a military base/hangar to get the ship retrofitted, the chance of having an AI core found under such conditions should be grater then 0%. Maybe not 100%, but still, greater then 0%, similarly for other illegal goods like organs and drugs maybe... even if they're high value, think of it as the relative of a patrol inspection. They're not actually inspecting my hold, but if the people retrofitting my ship happen to stumble over a few crates of illegal narcotics, or organs, or ai cores... 
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Mordodrukow

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Re: Yet another economy suggestion (long)
« Reply #21 on: October 16, 2019, 07:21:17 AM »

Quote
the game already has a basic market simulation that balances itself out.
"Kinda..."

So, basically you dont like 30% tariff, you can fix it, but you wanna occupy other's time instead, complaining about things which are fine for 99% players. Great...
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AlucardNoirsFolly

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Re: Yet another economy suggestion (long)
« Reply #22 on: October 16, 2019, 07:28:46 AM »

Quote
the game already has a basic market simulation that balances itself out.
"Kinda..."

So, basically you dont like 30% tariff, you can fix it, but you wanna occupy other's time instead, complaining about things which are fine for 99% players. Great...

Modding the game isn't fixing it, it's modding the game. And yes, this is a post made in the suggestion section of the oficial SS forum, I have a problem with a core mechanics found in game and I offered a suggestion to fix it. If you don't like the suggestion, say so, but if you don't like me pointing out the problem in the first place because 99% of players are ok with it, then that's your problem.
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bobucles

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Re: Yet another economy suggestion (long)
« Reply #23 on: October 16, 2019, 07:54:52 AM »

Quote
Trade is broken
I dunno about that. I can make millions off the market just fine. It's by no means an excellent or optimal play style, but there is good money to be had if you play the cards right. The profit does taper off, but at that point you're better off making your own market.

The game takes place in a post-collapse society, with a bunch of antagonizing factions who all hate each other. The sector is unstable and "safe comfy trade" is something that simply doesn't exist. You can't rake in millions on trade while staying 100% outside all the local sector drama, and that's exactly as intended. The moment you introduce pure safe comfy infinite trade money, the whole point of the sector being unstable and dangerous becomes moot.

AlucardNoirsFolly

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Re: Yet another economy suggestion (long)
« Reply #24 on: October 16, 2019, 08:30:51 AM »

Quote
Trade is broken
I dunno about that. I can make millions off the market just fine. It's by no means an excellent or optimal play style, but there is good money to be had if you play the cards right. The profit does taper off, but at that point you're better off making your own market.

My claim is that Trade is broken, your is that it's not because you can make money. Ok, let's put that to the test, are we talking trade as in you buy good on one open market and sell them on another? or are we talking trade missions? because that's more related to the RPG side of SS then to the trading side. or smuggling? because again, that's a form of trade but not the trade referenced here. or piracy (destroying trade convoys)? Because up till this point I've only see one other person on the forums claim trade was doable, and they said it took them around two in game years to make 2 million credits with just legal trading. Pretty much everybody else points you towards missions, bounties, smuggling and piracy(ie attacking known trade convoys, causing artificial scarcity and profiting) All of which are profitable, significantly more so then the tariff gimped trade we get in game.

Quote
The game takes place in a post-collapse society, with a bunch of antagonizing factions who all hate each other. The sector is unstable and "safe comfy trade" is something that simply doesn't exist. You can't rake in millions on trade while staying 100% outside all the local sector drama, and that's exactly as intended. The moment you introduce pure safe comfy infinite trade money, the whole point of the sector being unstable and dangerous becomes moot.

It is MY understanding that the game takes place not just in the wake of the collapse of society but two centuries after it: http://fractalsoftworks.com/2017/08/16/a-true-and-accurate-history-of-the-persean-sector/

I'm sorry but if that blog post is still acurate and true then your excuse is nothing more than another point in the SF authors have no sense of scale column for Alex. They might not have gates any longer, but they still have FTL travel and communication. Even in the wake of two AI wars civilizations would have either collapsed as a result of the lack of resources to support terraformin project or it would have continued to thrive. And since we can established multiple colonies ourselves... yeah, that's not really a valid excuse.

If you want to claim the sector is in a state of cold war, sure, I'll buy that, but 200 years after collapse? Especially since Tri-Tachyon seems to actually be one of those big corporations that used to have patents over all the blueprints.... Let's just focus on trade in this thread, let's not bring in the schlock that serves as lore.

That being said, as I've already said before in this thread, I agree with SCC's suggestion regarding pirates raiding us if we try to make large scale trades. Hell, have them always raid us if we try to make just a civilian hulls fleet made just for trade.
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Megas

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Re: Yet another economy suggestion (long)
« Reply #25 on: October 16, 2019, 11:20:18 AM »

Lore does not make sense with current gameplay, with Pirates being the immortal zombie horde while all factions except the player's are cowardly civilians waiting for the zombie pirates to devour all of their worlds.  In other words, the true hegemony of the sector are the pirates and everyone else are minor backstabbing civilians waiting to die.  Only the player can temporarily stop the pirates, and the civilians thank the player by sending expeditions much bigger than their normal defense fleets.  (Why don't they send expeditions at the pirates, pathers, or other hostile factions?)

If pirates were this aggressive before the player starts, there should be no AI wars and no major faction politics because pirates would have eaten everything within a few dozen years after the Collapse.  In other words, sector death.

I would not want more raids.  The game already sends more than enough invaders to try to burn my colonies to the ground.  Only the pirates invade more than the player, and the others often have inadequate defenses that the player needs to defend them or watch some of them decivilize years later.  I want to play exploration or empire expansion, not play super-cop 24/7 because no one else can.

Maybe once player can order hunter-killer NPC fleets to automate some of the space cop duties (#1 and #2 eliminate those pirate bases, #3 eliminates that pather base, #4 intercepts that expedition from Diktat, #5-9 get sent to sat bomb all of the factions' capital worlds as punishment for never-ending expeditions), then maybe more raids can be fine.  NPCs can be sent to deal with the problem while player can look for more planets to colonize or loot from or do plot important things like find the Red Planet.
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bobucles

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Re: Yet another economy suggestion (long)
« Reply #26 on: October 16, 2019, 03:01:29 PM »

Quote
If you want to claim the sector is in a state of cold war, sure, I'll buy that, but 200 years after collapse?
Your link showed that the sector was shaken by not one but two AI wars. The main game starts just a few years after the end of the second AI war. That's not enough time to forget old grudges. The sector is still in a highly volatile state, filled with vast lost ruins, poor intel outside the core worlds and space wrecks just sitting around for the grabbing. Heck, the great lobster empire is barely old enough to drink. It's not unfair to call the sector a mess. A messy sector is ripe for privateering, seedy trade deals and piracy.

I'm still not seeing the point of why there needs to be perfectly safe, fast, and profitable trade routes. They just wouldn't exist in the sector's current state. The type of space captain that hopes to pay the bills needs to look beyond the norm, glossing over vague details like legality or proper trade channels. Once again, it's about setting up a game lore where doing these "illegal" things is actually the norm and the weirdoes are the ones clawing over their tarrif-only hard mode.
« Last Edit: October 16, 2019, 03:11:43 PM by bobucles »
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DatonKallandor

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Re: Yet another economy suggestion (long)
« Reply #27 on: October 16, 2019, 05:41:58 PM »

The only thing the game doesn't have is a way for the player to interact with the open market in a meaningful and legal way.

Nonsense. Players can and do interact with the open market in a meaningful and legal way all the time.
If you mean that non-shortage or mission based legal open market trade isn't profitable - then yes. Intentionally so. And it makes perfect sense both in terms of fluff (the player is a small-time nobody and the economy is designed by the big players to keep small-time nobodies out) and in terms of game design (standard legal trade is boring as *** and if it's profitable anyway people will do it even if it's boring as ***). For people that do want to play "trader" there is a variety of legal and illegal ways to do that while still making a profit - they just all require you to actually engage with mechanics.
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AlucardNoirsFolly

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Re: Yet another economy suggestion (long)
« Reply #28 on: October 16, 2019, 11:43:55 PM »

@bobucles True, the sector would still be volatile. True, the sector would have a problem with trust. True, the sector would be weary, tired and in the midst of a sector wide reconstruction. But that's not the original argument you originally made, now is it?

@DatonKallandor BS mate, B effing S. I have mentioned that trade is intentionally broken several times already, and I have mentioned what I think about that game design wide. (hint: I think it's BAD game design) As for your "we are nobodies" claim, I read that before in a different thread on the topic but I didn't preempt that argument here so allow me to address it. By late game we own the largest, most well armed, most dangerous fleet in game. We also can have over half a dozen colonies to our name. By late game we aren't just some no named nobody, we are a minor power. Similar to how the game already reacts to us playing with the market so there is no excuse that Alex is a mostly one man band that doesn't have the resources CCP has for their EVE online; or how the fact that we can acquire, man and supply a fleet of comparable size to the in game AI trade fleets indicates we are not hauling cargo in our trunk and hope to make a profit as some have stated in other thread on the trade and tariffs topic; so too your argument crumbles in front of what the game actually is. The ONLY reason trade is not profitable is because Alex was lazy the day he realized as a game designer that going from point A to point B and back again wasn't fun and decided to just cripple the legal trading system by adding a 30% universal tariff in place of making it more engaging. TRADE IS BROKEN, it's broken by design, but it is still broken.

And just so you realize what I mean: http://fractalsoftworks.com/2019/07/08/skills-and-story-points/ Here Alex shows that he can be competent and considerate when designing the game, he shows that as a game designer he can see the potential pitfalls of his decisions and anticipate the players actions. No such considerations were given to the tariff solution. Tariffs are a patchwork solution thrown on top of a working trade system that was too easy to abuse. Players can abuse the system? then make the system itself useless in game - bad game design. Trade is broken, intentionally so, but it its still broken.
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DatonKallandor

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Re: Yet another economy suggestion (long)
« Reply #29 on: October 17, 2019, 06:17:03 AM »

I still can't figure out what you're even trying to say. You want open legal standard trade to be profitable? That's bad game design, pure and simple.
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