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Economics engine


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#21 invutil   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1924

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 04:01 AM

Listening to the audiobook of "Basic Economics".

 

So much of a city is not refineries and mines but apartments, houses, office buildings and skyscrapers. To make it visually realistic, most of the city has to consist of these buildings. This is the SimCity approach.

 

If I lean more towards RTS though, it's more about resource extraction and manufacturing. It's a caricature.

 

If I make it like SimCity, I have to do a lot of pathfinding optimizing to make it able to run in real-time. This is probably impossible.

 

georgiabasin_zpsc5923de4.jpg

 

What I want is fun gameplay, so it will be a caricature of a whole country. Maybe even planets.

 

I was thinking of calling it "States and Corporations". And "in Space" maybe?

 

Now I've hardly played simulation games myself--other than Roller Coaster Tycoon, which I have practically memorized--so I don't know if any of the concepts I could touch on here have already been done in earlier games, but here I go:


>The density of the population effects the way people react to various situations and the politics they support. The population in big cities will tend to think more collectively.
>The people also have an acute sense of whether or not they feel they're being taken advantage of. They will be hesitant if they feel they are losing their freedom. The player might have to find the right balance between ordering her citizens around to maximize productivity, and leaving the simulated people to their own devices to maximize morale.
>I know sim games have disasters that can have natural disasters that wipe out coastlines, and monsters that knock down buildings, but has there ever been a game where revolutions can pop up under the right circumstances? Occupy Wall Street comes down the streets and breaks stuff, or full-on rebels try to tear the city apart altogether.

 

That seems too marginal to simulate.



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#22 madshogo   Members   -  Reputation: 126

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 01:17 PM

Yes I'm going to read them. Why not. 

This guy has the spirit.



#23 Arhim   Members   -  Reputation: 223

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 02:11 PM

Don't know how much this helps, but I played a game called Capitalism II,

 

it features a pretty extensive economy system with corporations that compete for certain goals (highest market share in electronics, etc.). You can mine resources, build factories to craft the resources into goods, build retails to sell the goods (you can also sell your competitions goods if they allow it). You can set prices on pretty much everything, buy shares of company, take over companies, etc.

 

This is just if you need some more inspiration ;), cheers


Edited by Arhim, 08 May 2013 - 02:12 PM.


#24 invutil   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1924

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Posted 14 May 2013 - 05:08 PM

Thanks.

 

I'm interested in how extensive control the players would have over physical topology, land ownership, construction, etc. These come with high potential for degenerate strategies.

 

Don't know what kind of degenerate strategies there could be.

 

 

Listening to Basic Economics over again to make sure I get all of it.

 

I had some ideas for how to do quick pathfinding on a street level. The hard part is the rules for how roads are formed. You should be able to place them in any orientation and be curved, like in SimCity 5.

 

Here is Google Earth.

 



#25 invutil   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1924

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Posted 14 May 2013 - 05:14 PM

I'm tempted to add the ability to go inside buildings and up/down stairs.

 

The paths between the different rooms could be precomputed in a building editor.

 

It could be a small city block. I can't create all the content so I'd leave it up to other people to use my tools.



#26 invutil   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1924

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Posted 14 May 2013 - 05:37 PM

The terrain might need to be represented by a mesh instead of a heightmap. That way, you can add detail where it's needed. I'd need to make an editor though cuz I only have MilkShape 3D.

 

[ed] You could then make mountains and ridges. But you'd need some fast way to determine heights/collisions for each unit without having to check for collisions with each map face.

 

If deformable, you could even dig bunkers and stuff.


Edited by polyfrag, 14 May 2013 - 05:44 PM.


#27 invutil   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1924

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Posted 19 May 2013 - 11:37 PM

Thoughts on Chapter 1 of Basic Economics: States should have control over which businesses are private and which state-run.



#28 invutil   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1924

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Posted 20 May 2013 - 12:35 AM

This is a looong book. Anyway. I'll finish the Applied Economics audiobook and don't think I'll post any more thoughts.



#29 slicer4ever   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3985

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Posted 20 May 2013 - 12:42 AM

I will eventually write a free RTS with a moddable economics engine, the first of its kind.

I don't have anything to add to this thread, but i'd like to point out that starcraft 2's mod system allows  for complete modification of the resources.


Check out https://www.facebook.com/LiquidGames for some great games made by me on the Playstation Mobile market.

#30 AltarofScience   Members   -  Reputation: 935

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Posted 20 May 2013 - 09:51 AM

I think his plan is a little more indepth that resources with moddable data.



#31 Champloo13   Members   -  Reputation: 152

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Posted 24 May 2013 - 06:08 AM

 Very interesting so far, any specific plans for multiplayer? Could you actually make it a persistent MMO? 



#32 invutil   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1924

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Posted 24 May 2013 - 03:56 PM

There will be multiplayer. I don't have hosting but I'll add a "persistent" mode with player registration so people can host their own MMO servers. The only thing I will host is a matchmaker/game-finding server on AWS. I'll release the source code for linux so people can host their own dedicated servers. But real-time would require too much computing power to be massive.

Edited by polyfrag, 24 May 2013 - 04:08 PM.


#33 invutil   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1924

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Posted 24 May 2013 - 05:11 PM

But I'm not sure I can make it work. I've yet to produce a proof-of-concept working economy.

Edited by polyfrag, 24 May 2013 - 05:36 PM.


#34 Champloo13   Members   -  Reputation: 152

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Posted 25 May 2013 - 05:25 AM

Listening to the audiobook of "Basic Economics".

 

So much of a city is not refineries and mines but apartments, houses, office buildings and skyscrapers. To make it visually realistic, most of the city has to consist of these buildings. This is the SimCity approach.

 

If I lean more towards RTS though, it's more about resource extraction and manufacturing. It's a caricature.

 

If I make it like SimCity, I have to do a lot of pathfinding optimizing to make it able to run in real-time. This is probably impossible.

 

 

   Looks like you're still largely undecided about some aspects, would be nice to hear more about the core gameplay mechanics to get a clearer idea what you have in mind for this game.



#35 invutil   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1924

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Posted 26 May 2013 - 02:43 AM

The differences from most RTS are:

  • workers are AI-controlled
  • buildings have inputs and outputs
  • physical resources must be transported (after global cache is used up)
  • labour is a resource

All exchanges involve money and prices and wages can be adjusted. 

 

It seems like a broken mechanic though because I'm having to calculate default prices so that the economy doesn't break, so that players don't go bankrupt and workers can buy food and pay rent.

 

So much of a city is not refineries and mines but apartments, houses, office buildings and skyscrapers.

 

I need to know what kind of businesses are in office buildings and skyscrapers though, to make them functional.

 

I will not get to fulfill all my ideas at once but I intend to develop my tech incrementally over the next decade and more.

 

This is how I want States and Corporations to look

 

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#36 Champloo13   Members   -  Reputation: 152

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Posted 26 May 2013 - 05:37 AM

The differences from most RTS are:

  • workers are AI-controlled
  • buildings have inputs and outputs
  • physical resources must be transported (after global cache is used up)
  • labour is a resource

All exchanges involve money and prices and wages can be adjusted. 

 

It seems like a broken mechanic though because I'm having to calculate default prices so that the economy doesn't break, so that players don't go bankrupt and workers can buy food and pay rent.

       

    About calculating prices - what about just taking actual prices or approximately realistic values, and then let players to fiddle around and see what to balance from there.

 

  As far as I understand the general concept - players will be able to choose what kind of business they wanna run, like logistics, resource extraction, manufacturing, or purely trading or a combination. 

   

  • buildings have inputs and outputs

     

  Building and it's functionality could be separate, on a very basic level it was done in "Towns" where you build  building and then choose what it's functionality will be by putting stuff into the building, so building a factory for example means you need to build a a big enough building to fit, say, production line or whtvr.  This might open other possibilities, like planning ahead, say you wanna have a big factory, you can build it big enough to incorporate more equipment later on to avoid building another one, or ability to reequip that factory or upgrade the equipment inside and so on.


Edited by Champloo13, 26 May 2013 - 05:45 AM.


#37 invutil   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1924

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Posted 26 May 2013 - 06:54 AM

About calculating prices - what about just taking actual prices or approximately realistic values, and then let players to fiddle around and see what to balance from there.

 

I'd have to add enough buildings/resources and simulate enough units at a time to make it realistic. You'd need a realistic demand for a supermarket for example to make up for the costs of employing all the people and electricity and filling all the shelves. One other thing is what kind of timescale to use, for collecting rent, harvesting crops, workers attending jobs, resting, shopping.

 

 

I want to use BSP for the insides of buildings. I could precompute it in a building editor and paths between the different areas. What if factories were actually functional, and you could see workers attending to an assembly line? Or running a nuclear powerplant? This game is like a living encyclopedia. Needs a lot of research though.

 

tscvd758_zpse40091fc.jpg tscvd759_zps9ad7dc11.jpg

 

tscvd737_zps67790ac8.jpg

 

tscvd736_zps2c4427f9.jpg

 

Dams aren't even in SimCity

 

p755electricity_zps22f10e90.jpg

 

p752electricity_zpsc7cbfc5d.jpg

 

p751electricity_zpsc05ea8a5.jpg

 

p750electricity_zps5610fd67.jpg

 

p749electricity_zpsf45395b6.jpg

 

p748electricity_zpsfbaaf58d.jpg

 

p747electricity_zps2bdcab29.jpg

 

p746electricity_zpsc3fdbcbf.jpg



#38 invutil   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1924

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Posted 26 May 2013 - 12:18 PM

I'd have to add enough buildings/resources and simulate enough units at a time to make it realistic.


I only have plans for 15 buildings. Anything else would have to be added by other people or wait until after States and Corporations. That's probably 20 years away though. But I don't know. I've been working on Corporation-States since 2011, maybe 2010. 2008 if sketches count as work. I have several other projects planned and most aren't about economics.

Food (consumer goods) is a generic resource and so it can't have a real price. So is factory's "production".

Edited by polyfrag, 26 May 2013 - 12:19 PM.


#39 invutil   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1924

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Posted 26 May 2013 - 12:27 PM

Sure, I could let players fiddle around with prices/wages to see for themselves, but most would probably quit from frustration if I didn't already start them off with a working economy. I'm just thinking what would happen if I just released Corporation-States with the prices/wages as they are and let them fiddle. They wouldn't be able to adjust the prices fast enough on iphone/ipad/android because I only have a plus and minus $0.01 button and in the ratings it would say the game is broken because all the AI's go bankrupt until one remains with all their property, or the workers starve from too high prices or are unable to pay for rent. Sure I guess it's no big deal, just set the prices such that it pays for all the inputs plus some profit, and make sure workers are getting enough per unit of time to be able to afford enough to pay for food and housing.
 
If the essentials are in abundance and what's produced is more than is consumed, then there should be a variety of non-essential goods that workers would want to pursue and pay for. 


#40 Prefect   Members   -  Reputation: 373

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Posted 26 May 2013 - 04:16 PM

You have my respect for trying to tackle such a complicated project. I have been idly thinking about something like this myself, from an edutainment-type angle.

 

As for citizen's behavior and the difficulty of pathfinding, might I suggest a little hack that would make things both more efficient and more realistic at the same time: Let citizens reevaluate their behavior only rarely. Let them use the same path to work, buy the same set of goods over a longer period of time, even when the roads change or the prices change. This can make your simulation more efficient, and it is actually how most people behave in the real world, so it will make things more realistic.


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