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Microeconomics in video games?


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#1 Ark3typ3   Members   -  Reputation: 129

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Posted 23 November 2013 - 08:24 PM

I was reading an article on 17 rules for a sustainable economy http://ukiahcommunityblog.wordpress.com/contact/wendell-berrys-17-rules-for-a-sustainable-economy/ and it got me thinking about how granular people expect a game to get in terms of its economy and crafting systems. 

 

I would like to develop a game that focuses on the idea of Mendo Island with a potential multiplayer component (dunno, we'll see).

 

What do you feel the strengths and weaknesses of games that focus purely on microeconomics are? I would like to focus on medieval level agriculture with distribution and tool creation and work my way up from there around a fully survival based game (you don't eat, you die). 

 

Has anyone seen a healthy balance between "second job" tedium and fulfilling achievement?


Edited by Ark3typ3, 23 November 2013 - 09:08 PM.


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#2 JayneSmitty   Members   -  Reputation: 101

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Posted 04 December 2013 - 02:25 AM

Most probably there could be the inclusion of micro economics in gaming. At first, it used to sound a bit weird to me, but I have seen many games implementing such strategies. However, I am still not clear on how it works, but would certainly give a marginal boost to the gaming community as a whole.

#3 sunandshadow   Moderators   -  Reputation: 5699

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Posted 04 December 2013 - 02:59 AM

I don't agree with all of those rules, but that aside, it sounds like a natural candidate for a SimCity type game.  As far as weaknesses of games focusing on economics, usually the problem is that economics in reality are intertwined with culture, reproduction, medicine, religion... all things that games are rarely good at handling with depth, verisimilitude, or understanding of human nature.


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I want to help design a "sandpark" MMO. Optional interactive story with quests and deeply characterized NPCs, plus sandbox elements like player-craftable housing and lots of other crafting. If you are starting a design of this type, please PM me. I also love pet-breeding games.


#4 J. Faraday   Members   -  Reputation: 464

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Posted 09 December 2013 - 09:33 PM

RuneScape implemented a tight run Grand Exchange with microeconomics and also a stock market. Check it out if you'd like. It limited maximum trade for items based on trends of the RuneScape trading prices overall. Essentially what it did was annoy most of the players because they had set a limit on trades because they wanted to tread through uncharted territory. Free economy, respectively, is a better choice, unless of course the game is based completely on some type of trading system or economy. It would have to be a special type of game to include microeconomics, in my personal opinion.



#5 Adam Moore   Members   -  Reputation: 326

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Posted 10 December 2013 - 09:41 AM

Persistent worlds are an interesting study in game economies. I've been particularly interested in Entropia and how having an exchange rate with real-currency has affected the design of the game. In the case of Entropia, there are many more drains than usual to the game's economy and the game feels much more like a casino.



#6 Legendre   Members   -  Reputation: 977

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Posted 15 December 2013 - 10:50 AM

Persistent worlds are an interesting study in game economies. I've been particularly interested in Entropia and how having an exchange rate with real-currency has affected the design of the game. In the case of Entropia, there are many more drains than usual to the game's economy and the game feels much more like a casino.

 

I experimented with Entropia for a while. The game is basically a giant slot machine: for every $1 you put in, you're most likely getting 95 cents back in the long run. Like in real life, they let a few people (not sure if they are planted by the company) win big from time to time to keep people motivated in pulling the lever.



#7 Adam Moore   Members   -  Reputation: 326

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Posted 15 December 2013 - 11:35 AM

 

Persistent worlds are an interesting study in game economies. I've been particularly interested in Entropia and how having an exchange rate with real-currency has affected the design of the game. In the case of Entropia, there are many more drains than usual to the game's economy and the game feels much more like a casino.

 

I experimented with Entropia for a while. The game is basically a giant slot machine: for every $1 you put in, you're most likely getting 95 cents back in the long run. Like in real life, they let a few people (not sure if they are planted by the company) win big from time to time to keep people motivated in pulling the lever.

 

 

They're probably not plants. Like any casino, the house always wins...even when someone hits the jackpot.

 

its-easy-to-win-at-roulette.gif



#8 Ark3typ3   Members   -  Reputation: 129

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Posted 28 December 2013 - 12:59 PM


Persistent worlds are an interesting study in game economies. I've been particularly interested in Entropia and how having an exchange rate with real-currency has affected the design of the game. In the case of Entropia, there are many more drains than usual to the game's economy and the game feels much more like a casino.

 

I agree, it did interesting things with EVE Online when people were suddenly able to play the game to pay for the game. My focus was making the pieces of an economy ready for players to pick up and sandbox their brains out with whatever they wanted to do. However, it's quite monumental to develop the game with enough content to not restrict the market. 



#9 polyfrag   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2170

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Posted 29 December 2013 - 09:50 AM

Making sure natural resources industries are supplanted by other small value-adding businesses so that your economy doesn't become a pawn of other economies, sounds like macro.

I hope you will consider using my economics engine I might develop. Haven't gotten around to it because its got no concrete use cases. Are you interesting in simulating the workers individually, preoccupied with their daily activities? Farming seasons would have to be speeded up for the player to enjoy the game.

#10 powerneg   Members   -  Reputation: 1551

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Posted 29 December 2013 - 06:10 PM

There are no micro-economics in games, there are levels of detail.

More levels of detail are a way of keeping the attention of some players.

Take for example starcraft, new players can easily learn a simple strategy to win against the AI,

experienced players play matches where they manage to accumulate up to 200 mouse-clicks in a minute,
that's three individual selections/orders/interfacerepositions every second.

 

A game like simcity starts small, simple as well, but, when the player has managed to make a decent community,

it grows and the player gets more funds and has the option to expand.

(notice that the initial smaller community the player has is basically a "micro-economics"-version of the bigger community,

also notice the player doesn't need to keep on growing if he doesn't want to)

 

Basically, if you're going to focus on micro economics i fear you 'll just create a game in which very little happens,

and when something happens it will be something the player doesn't understand why it happens.



#11 agemO   Members   -  Reputation: 171

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Posted 01 January 2014 - 05:10 PM

I think that something can be done about the levels of details : a system of orders and plans : imagine you start with a factory or a farm, at first you have to make it works, to build a system to give food to the animal or ressources to the production chain, then when the level of detail decrease -that is to say when you are able to build many factories or farms- , you can reuse the plans you made for your first factories (or make new plans).

 

If you have a town to rule maybe a system of order can be used : if such event happens do this then that

 

 

That would give to the player the satisfaction to rule every details without being bored by repetitive tasks






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