Author Topic: Economy  (Read 5816 times)

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Hyper

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Economy
« on: August 07, 2013, 09:20:59 AM »
Here we go... mars bucks ? Credits ?
If we go too far down this path then the game is about money and not Mars

Credits for resources seems to be a easy way to dive the users. Credits for work even.. set up a radio tower for 100 creds kinda thing.

chat.....

rditto48801

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Re: Economy
« Reply #1 on: August 07, 2013, 02:45:10 PM »
Economy ideas?
I think I have a whole can of worms for this... (or a six pack of cans of worms... or flood gates)

A flat out currency system doesn't seem right to me.
Don't need money to have an economy. Just an exchange of goods and services, of barter, and perhaps through in some other stuff like merit.


Anyways, here's my 2 (thousand) cents.

Resources
Types of 'resources' that come to mind for the basis of the 'economy'.
Construction/Work Teams: The people who do all the work. (not enough slows work down. After each use, there is a cool down time until available again, for them to have R&R between work orders.)
Building Materials: (self explanatory, made as proper resources are provided)
Refined Materials: (materials used for making assorted bits of equipment, produced as proper resources are provided)
Rovers: Needed to move personnel and materials. (not enough slows down transport of of stuff requested/traded/bought/sold. After each use, there is a cool down time until available again, time for refueling it and doing maintenance/repairs. Player 'could' allocate their own rovers to pick up the slack, but only after a work crew has arrived to provide someone to 'borrow' the rover')
Expedition Supplies (food, water, oxygen, needed to sustain crews. Also includes rover fuel)
Rover Fuel (if kept separate from Expedition Supplies. Always being made and used, to reflect the main base doing stuff)
Sometimes Work Crews and Rovers are 'used' at random, to reflect them being used for/at other bases. Could also mean other resources being used. To keep it from feeling like the player's base is the only one besides the main base.

For the Resources, the Main base has two values.
Amount Available: Self explanatory.
Request Limit:  How much they are willing to provide to the player. Considers the existence of other bases that also need stuff from the main base.


Main Base Resource Production.
Raw materials would be stored and tracked by the main base. These would slowly be converted into usable materials/resources..
Food, water, and oxygen used to make Expedition Supplies, for example.
The main base would have a slow trickle of resources, to reflect their own operations and resources from other (off screen) bases.
There could already be one or two bases operating 'in the background'. Maybe a start option could be how many secondary bases exist from the start, affecting how fast or how slow things will start in a new game.

Resource Allocation
Different things can affect how much the player is allowed to request at once.
Providing resources, providing 'finished' resources (like Expedition Resources, or rover fuel), completing missions, etc. For resources, the type provided improves allocation limits for related materials a bit, and other resources by a smaller amount. There could be an overall 'point' system to limit how much could be requested at once.

Resource allocation exchange: Exchanging one type of allocated resource for another (maybe for a minor loss), like exchanging allocation points from building resources to refined resources. Alternative, a trade with another base, to provide them what they need for what they have plenty of to spare.
Investing and gifting: Of 'giving' resources (or transferring an amount of allocated resources) to another base. They might (or might not) be able to repay (even if partially) the favor in the (near) future. Just 'giving' stuff to the main base (or other bases) makes them happy, as it means  they have more to provide to other bases. Could result in being paid back (by another base) in some form in the near future.

Rank Effects on Resources
Player rank would not be just from skills, but also from helping to establish successful bases, completing missions, and overall being a 'good team player' that helps to support or otherwise improve the colonizing efforts in general.
The rank itself could effect how many resources are allocated. E.g., at Rank 1, 100 might be allowed for request for a resource, but at Rank 2, this is modified to 125. After 4 promotions (Rank 5), it becomes 200. Of course, the base can only provide what they actually have at the time.
Rank can also affect the player's influence over other factors.
Perhaps it might also allow for the occasional 'special request'. Such as requesting an extra rover, or even just using that request to increase how much of a resources is allocated to the player's (present) base. Again, it is a factor of the player having helped a great deal with the colonizing efforts, and so being 'rewarded' in some way for said efforts.

Off World Resupply
At (usually) regular intervals, a supply mission would be launched from Earth.
The game looks at different factors to decide what to include in the supply mission.
If the player is at least Rank 2, they can also 'vote' on what to include (or not include)
The player can also take a 'supply request' side mission at this time. The game will consider the requested resources to be much lower priority (unless the player has yet to actually find/produce the resource).
A supply mission has limited space and weight capacity. Any 'leftover' space/weight capacity will be used to partially fill any remaining lower priority requests (if possible).
There are several supply mission types.  Manned. Carries a work crew, moderate cargo. Unmanned. No crew, much higher cargo. Heavy. Not initially available. Can handle 'big'
 stuff (like MMEVs), or multi-stage landers that have an ascent stage to allow some resources and personnel to be returned to Earth. (crew rotation and rare elements might have positive effects on Earth and positively affect future supply missions). A Heavy lander might also transport large, purpose built base modules, giving the main base (or a lucky player) access to a 'pre made' structure (with lander legs) not (initially) available for construction locally on Mars.

Supply missions would of course take some time to actually arrive, which is one factor to consider.
One optional perk, if the player is lucky, or has high enough rank (or influence), is to find out the supply lander will be landing close to the player's (present) base.
This in effect means a 'free' structure at the (present) base. The Lander will be able to act as a shelter (even if unmanned, but if manned it will be equipped with life support storage), be able to re-deploy its solar arrays after landing to be another source of power, and of course act as a comm. relay and possibly also an extra weather monitoring system. For a 'bonus' with the main base, the player can use their own resources and rovers to transport the newly arrived crew and supplies to the main base. If construction is in progress, the newly arrived crew might even stick around to help a short while, speeding things up a bit.


Secondary Player Contributions
When a player completes a base, and is 'done' with it (it is handed off to the new base staff) the game will take into account everything the player has found and produced. This will add to the trickle rate at which the main base gets supplies. So, a well setup base would provide more to the main base than the original bases that exist in the 'background'.
The down side is that a work crew will be 'removed', as they are assigned to take over the base.

This could allow a sort of campaign setup, or maybe more like a sort of strategy game, where the player first has to help setup a few basic bases to help supply the main base with enough steady resource income for the main base to 'allow' larger projects to be started. A new base could have more initial resources allocated than previous bases.

Knowledge, Another Resource
On a sort of related idea, research efforts.
The base could do research over time, along with improvements designed on Earth, etc. These would initially take a long time to occur. If the player provides some rare materials, it adds to that research efforts the main base does. For example, the main base might start providing an alternative to the RSG system if the player has provided the main base with enough thorium and sodium. Or some other improvement or 'new tech' might be created.
If the player's efforts aid research enough,, or if they are of high enough rank, they can help 'choose' what is researched next. This would prompt a side mission indicating what resources to provide. The focus might not be completed, some other research that requires the same resources could also occur.
This, in turn, could allow the base to 'reward' the player with additional allocated resources, on top of the effects of the improvements.


Starting Slow
Initially, some supplies could be finite, and only be resupplied by Earth until the needed production chains are setup on Mars.
The main base itself could also improve itself with the proper amounts of different materials being provided. For example, an improved 3D Printer that allows them to convert resources into building/refined materials more quickly, or even to accept 'requests' to build another rover (or perhaps replace ones lost due to random events). As could be expected, if a new base is built, it means rovers must be 'removed' from the supply as they are assigned to the new base. So, if the player makes to many bases without getting to where the main base can effectively create new rovers, it could bottleneck things. (the main base always keeping a spare rover on hand)
Another example. Maybe there is an ample but finite supply of GPR charges. This means they could eventually run out if the player is unable to supply the main base with the materials needed to make more. With delivery times of many months, and limited transport space for supply missions, it again brings into play of choosing carefully of what the initial supply missions from Earth might carry, and  further encourage a player to help make the local economy more self sufficient.

Money and Trade.
Allow for multiple 'modes' for the economy type.
There could be a 'Frontier' system (the wall of text collection above, player needs to 'earn' what they use), or a 'Currency' system, in which there is just money, for just buying and selling stuff.
But those who like a challenge can go with the 'Frontier' type system, where they will really have to work for things.
Or a hybrid system. Have the 'Frontier' system in place, but also allow the player to buy and sell stuff. Different bases could be built with different strategies. Maybe secondary (off screen) bases responsible for secondary supplies respond to different things. One might demand 'trade credits' for stuff acquired from them, others might want to stick to the basic barter system.
Bases that specialize in one thing might regularly need other things. A mining base might need regular food deliveries, and trade resources to a base with spare food.
Biosolids. Yes, I am going there. If that mining base above doesn't have stuff for NPK fertilizer, then 'something' will have to be used to fertilize the plants at the farming focused base... Nothing must go to waste, nothing... One man's trash is... um... onto the next thing...
It might even bring into factor of other bases run by selfish people, who think 'their' base needs to be the main base, and so withhold materials from the main base, requiring the player to trade their own resources to get other resources needed for the main base.
On the flip side, if there are other bases 'behind the scenes', it could complicate things if a successful player 'buys up' all of the available resources of a specific type, which could lead to issues if other bases suffer problems due to not being able to get such resources themselves. This could result in a player that is to selfish or who does not plan ahead to actually cause another base to fail and have to be abandoned (even if temporarily). Such an effect might lead to a major loss of allocated resources and even demotion. On Mars, greed could very well prove to be deadly.


 ::)
Um.... okay, that is a lot...

tl;dr semi-abridged sort of trimmed version
*Main Base would have Resources like... Work Crews (reusable, they do stuff), Rovers (reusable, move people/stuff), Construction Materials (for constructing buildings), Refined Materials (for items/equipment), Expedition Supplies (needed for more or less everything, life support stuff and rover fuel to get people places to do stuff)
*More the player does to help the main base, the more the main base is willing to allocate to the player
*Secondary (not important for immediate survival) stuff sent to the main base helps the main base improve/develop things *cough*Molten Sodium based Thorium reactor*cough*
*Rank for skills and doing stuff, higher rank means more influence. Have influence over what the main base works on next or what might be on the next supply mission from Earth, and increasing how much resources the player can request.
*Supply Landers! They show up on occasion at the main with new stuff, and people. Players who do well 'might' get one landed at their (present) base. Landers double as shelters, comm relays, have solar panels to deploy after landing, etc. Main Base will send a rover for the new arrivals (unless they brought their own... or unless the player uses their own stuff to ship the new arrivals/supplies to the main base)
*Trade/Barter preferred for 'off screen' bases, money optional. Be greedy, buy up all the stuff, get reprimanded because off screen bases fail and have to be abandoned because 'someone' horded stuff they need, harming the main base's efforts. Also, as food is important, so biosolids are likely to be traded at some point...
*Trade spare food for spare building materials (or vice versa), get perks for playing nice with other bases. (main base lets player have access to more stuff, win-win for everyone.)
« Last Edit: August 07, 2013, 02:46:51 PM by rditto48801 »
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profit004

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Re: Economy
« Reply #2 on: August 08, 2013, 11:23:52 PM »
Actually Credits are not bad in my opinion.    They just need a name change...

We also have to define their place in the world..  After reading rditto48801's post I think he can see a lot of the factors and how they would interact.   But here I will go tossing my few cents in.   

First I will toss in a name change.   How about we have a metric an call it "Success" These success points can be anything from just existing for a time on mars, to building the radio towers, to mining and conducting research and surveys.     "Success" points can not be spent and instead they are in a way your score... That is how much your mission has benefited the mars exploration in a numeric form.

The Second metric would be called "Enthusiasm"  and these points would be what you could actually spend to purchase things from earth or other locations.   Enthusiasm points would naturally decay over time so if you do not spend them constantly you will lose some (but not a lot unless you have a huge surplus) and you would get an "Enthusiasm" point every time you generate a "Success" point.   These are a tangible way to spend the support that people on earth would have for a successful mars mission.   Obviously if people are dying and nothing was getting done people on earth would care less for building the mars economy than if it was growing by leaps and bounds bringing tangible results back to them.


As far as trading, you should have mars colony's provide some things, and earth provide some things.   Earth would cost a lot of enthusiasm points, other mars bases probably would be cheaper in many instances.   When you send something another mars base needs (they will have need list, maybe water, maybe iron)  You get more success points, which in turn give you more enthusiasm points to spend.

Maybe  you would even send earth something, but it does not necessarily mean by a rocket... Maybe you could send them scans of a region or a certain formation.   Maybe data from an exceptionally long core sample, maybe data on fish or a plant type adapting on mars.   

This way everyone can contribute to a base and every action can feel important. 

Growing a plant?  Success points!
Installing a solar panel?  Success Points!
Sampling a rock? Success Points!
Finding water?  Success Points!
Sending a colony that needs tungsten a few kilograms of it? Success points!
Death? Negative Points!!! (A percentage of the total with a cap somewhere)


Now on to what to buy.. 

Unless it is coming from earth, every base should have an "I offer." list.  It probably will usually be something they produce and will have a price set for it.  You can ask those bases to send you something in exchange for some enthusiasm points.   

From earth, probably everything will be priced in Kilograms or some unit of weight because even gold is fairly cheap compared to the price of getting it to mars.  Probably things like microchips and the like will be relatively less expensive because they are light compared to their numbers and raw materials will be exceedingly expensive because of their bulk.   Yeah... sorry... nothing else really makes sense.    Why we are living off the land ladies and gentlemen... a kilogram bringing two hundred advanced microchips or a kilogram of iron would cost almost the exact same to send to mars.  I am thinking EVA suits and electronics would likely be the big sellers from earth.

Anyhow that is my view of how a..... semi realistic mars economy would work... sorry but I find red mars and that whole series unlikely to say the least.
« Last Edit: August 08, 2013, 11:29:33 PM by profit004 »

Hyper

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Re: Economy
« Reply #3 on: August 09, 2013, 08:47:16 AM »
One of the original design plans was to maintain a database on my server of everything produced and "offered" for sale. As each colony or groups of colonies got developed and produced goods they would go into a global database that all game owners could access. This would require time and space on a server that I couldn't recover unless I charged a recurring fee for the game and no one wants that. I would like to think that me and my group of 4 could communicate somehow with your group of 4 (or more) and we could sell you some food or chemical. I still think some form of that is possible, even able to do that part in a browser.

@profit I like the ideas and might be good to use some form of that for parts of the game but I believe that the basic monetary system still holds the most merit.

Any thoughts on HyperKat selling MarsBucks micro transaction for real dollars and give the game away, free 2 play business models are becoming more prevalent. I dont like the idea myself but business types I associate with think it is a good idea.
 

profit004

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Re: Economy
« Reply #4 on: August 09, 2013, 03:27:21 PM »
Free to play model would work if you think you can get over 500,000 players, anything below that I think you would find it a headache rather than a revenue stream as most players will balk at that.  It is not a really hard target to hit with free to play, a lot of facebook games reach numbers that are in the tens of millions, but, I am concerned with the limited appeal of mars simulators.

  We sadly have to admit there is a lack of female demand for this, and they are the primary drivers of free to play most of the time. 

 We also have to admit that mars colonization is not airy and lend itself to the free to play model.  Unless you had a martian match 3 game or something with a bunch of twists...

 Third, the database size for produced and offered for sale would probably be around 50 mb's  (Estimating by my key database size here for a commercial database I built with the complete records of tens of thousands of keys, including who they were sold to, what they were, time in, time out, UID's, checksums,  and piles of other good information)  They store a lot of information quite efficiently, but free to play means you will have thousands of users who will take up database space for every one paying.   Obviously at the price of a drive that holds terabytes it is not a big issue, but the bandwidth is,  unless you can support  10,000 simultaneous transactions you might as well forget a free to play model.  (EA with their free to play games use to rent amazon server racks until they decided to shutter the sims social, simcity social, and a bunch of other free to play games)

Hyper

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Re: Economy
« Reply #5 on: August 09, 2013, 07:41:27 PM »
So a fixed price for the game.

Fixed economy = credits

How about using the enthusiasm / success points to open up levels of purchase? Like you can't get rover 2 unless you own rover 1 and have enough points of success to get it ?


profit004

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Re: Economy
« Reply #6 on: August 09, 2013, 08:27:10 PM »
I do like the idea of opening levels of purchases.   I like that a lot.   It would definitely bring the drive motivations and continual advancement mechanics that would help keep people playing.

rditto48801

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Re: Economy
« Reply #7 on: August 11, 2013, 04:55:42 AM »
I'm not to sure about the naming for success/enthusiasm. They sound sort of... not so inspiring.

One alternative name that comes to mind is Prestige, perhaps as an alternative  name for Enthusiasm or Success.
I can't really think of an alternative for Success, other than Advancement or Progress, which is also not to inspiring.

Do stuff for unlocking other stuff? Count me in.
Two things come to mind.
First, a Supply/Logistics Tree, the stuff that is unlocked to buy. Some things could have multiple levels, which affect how much can be bought/sold at once, or how much can be owned at once. It fits with the one rover example. At first, there could be a Rover rank, each rank increasing the number of rovers that can be owned, and it would start out at 1.
Second, a good old Tech Tree. It is not just unlocking new options for what might be in the Supply/Logistics Tree, but also allow for some things to be improved. It gives a late game goal to further improve effectiveness and efficiency of assorted equipment.  Sign me up for a hybrid electric rover with regenerative  breaks, solar panels and mini ASRG as a backup power source to squeeze a little extra range out of things and make it so lights don't drain fuel.

With the Tech Tree, perhaps some items start out limited in some way, and need plenty of time (and actual usage/operational hours) to be able to improve it.
How fast the upgrades and improvements become available over time could be based on how strong the Mars economy is, and how motivated the people on Earth are to do R&D.

For the 'Enthusiasm' metric, perhaps how high it is could have a secondary effect of increasing possible tech improvements created on Earth. So, one can focus on keeping well supplied, which slows R&D efforts on Earth. However, focusing on stating independent resource wise, means a lot of eager people and bigger budgets on Earth get redirected toward R&D efforts. It also doubles as a secondary reason why 'Enthusiasm' slowly goes down over time. As a secondary option, being able to 'buy' research projects,  for those who want to speed up Earth R&D for a time but don't have a lot of 'Enthusiasm' laying around to do so passively.

I still think some sort of barter system would be nice, allowing exchange of goods based on their values, rather than simply buying or selling. It would make things slightly easier for getting goods if low on credits, without first needing to sell something else first, and allow for the occasional chance to get a better value than just using credits alone.

Shipping stuff from Earth.
Weight is not the only factor, so is size.
There could be different options available, from smaller rockets that, while a little less expensive, cannot deliver as much, perhaps using designs originally meant for just deploying things like small automated rovers. However, a larger craft, while much more expensive to deploy, could carry a lot more, but also drain a lot of resources/'Enthusiasm'.

Of course, one tricky resource to ship would be new personnel.
More tricky would be getting  them back.
The now defunct Mars Constellation manned mission to Mars comes to mind. It could get people to Mars, and get them back... sure, it requires like 8 rocket launches total (2 for a cargo lander, 2 for a manned lander with ascent stage, 3 for the actual Manned Transfer Vehicle, and 1 to get get the crew into orbit) . But still... how much 'Success' and 'Enthusiasm' would be possible from not just completing such an effort as getting people to Mars, but also returning people, along with physical samples, back to Earth?
Of course, rinse and repeat could be possible, with diminishing returns due to a "Been there, done that" effect...





In other news, micro transactions make me want to scream...
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Gleipnir

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Re: Economy
« Reply #8 on: September 29, 2013, 10:14:21 PM »


Hm, What about a daily payment of UCC-United Colonial Currency(You know since yeah, Colonizing mars?)- Per person, as you work you earn a %Rating. And when you go up a rank in a specific field like engineering you get requisition orders and may even unlock items pertaining to that. For a Engineer styled player unlocking more reliable tools that require less redoing/adjusting could be bought and traded from one person to the next for whatever else. Deaths or breaking things would also impact the currency as well. Think of it like a salary set for each individual based on rank, playtime,  individual scores, instead of by task. With a salary set in UCC(or Credits) People can't simply farm equipment for money, instead they are forced to work regardless and there is no way around it really. You get paid for doing your job to keep the base going. With rank and skills comes more pay and more req orders. Req order could also be revoked for screwing up as well.

Currency has always been a thing, and I am not the best person to give suggestions on this, But this is how I would feel it could work

Example-

Cadet Jackwagon Earned a rank in Engineering, and Engineering Req Order has been issued.-- Rank one would be say 200UCC after filing in the Req order for credits.  Each rank would double the amount up so rank two would be 400UCC than 800UCC, then 1600UCC.

Ex2

Houston Communications- Weekly Payment will be sent in 10 minutes, Please Access the Commerce Station to order items.
(Granted a new terminal would need to be built, and also for the sake of realism ordering something will also require you to wait till next supply drop.)

Ex3

Technician Blantz has broken the Hercules 0 A payment of 5000UCC Will be subtracted from next pay date. If Blantz is unable to pay the total by next pay period half of future weekly earnings will be cut in half until a total of 5000UCC has been paid off unless Blantz's salary is more than 5000UCC, in which Blant'z will have the 5000CC taken out of the payment.

Ex

CommanderJackwagon Died, Team will pay 2000UCC each to make up total for funeral costs for the family back home.

Ex

DoctorReid has purchased suit upgrade MEDRaD for 1500UCC Please allow item delivery time. Next Bi weekly Equipment delivery will have your cargo.

Hopefully that gives a idea to bloom.

((Side note, I am unable to see the date on this forum and other stuff, If this topic is old then nvm my post, all I can see is the time of the last post not date.))
I do not fear death, for I was dead many times over billions of years before I was a human being, and I will die like everyone else again to ascend to be something more in the universe.~Samuel Blantz

Sigma

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Re: Economy
« Reply #9 on: March 18, 2014, 09:27:47 PM »
(I know I'm necroing a topic, but there isn't many topics here to begin with so I don't want to clutter things up with new topics)
Any thoughts on HyperKat selling MarsBucks micro transaction for real dollars and give the game away, free 2 play business models are becoming more prevalent. I dont like the idea myself but business types I associate with think it is a good idea.

I would advise against it, most of the games that use the F2P systems, as mentioned by posters before me, are casual social-media games and iphone apps. Many of those games are ran by large gaming corporations like Zynga that are able to hire good PR and focus groups to tailor and advertise their games to be as addicting and competitive as possible so that players will spend as much money as possible to reach the top. On top of that they usually have player-bases in the hundreds of thousands to millions. This game doesn't strike me as a competitive game and from the way you're wanting to have players trade with other colonies you could risk a player buying massive amounts of resources with real money, flood the market causing the in-game economy to crash.

So a fixed price for the game.

Fixed economy = credits

How about using the enthusiasm / success points to open up levels of purchase? Like you can't get rover 2 unless you own rover 1 and have enough points of success to get it ?

This idea I do like, a space agency/company would be more likely to sell equipment to a base that has noted successes than to a base that has hardly done anything.
« Last Edit: March 18, 2014, 09:29:51 PM by Sigma »

Hyper

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Re: Economy
« Reply #10 on: November 01, 2014, 09:12:42 AM »
We have incorporated some of rditto ideas for the economy.
Everything will have a dynamic cost value in in game credits.
The main base (Ares) will have supplies at various rates for quantity.
Each item will have a base cost/count to use to alter the prices.
Say the main base has excess copper then the cost will go down. as players buy the copper and cause a shortage then the cost will go up. High copper prices = good time to sell your copper supply to the main base.
The main base will recover from shortages over time and will even offer premium pay missions for various items during the game.
This will hold true for food, medicines and sub assembly as well.
Player made sub assemblies will break less often and produce more and therefore will have more value.
Open trade between players is allowed and encouraged.