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polyfrag

Economic strategy games

5 posts in this topic

Hey guys, does any remember those ideas I had a while ago about creating a strategy game with an economic model? Well, I haven't worked on it since, I've been working on my other project, a zombie-apocalypse survival game. Anyways, I've taken econ 101 at university since the last time I talked about my idea. Is anyone interested in the idea? Now that I think about it, it's actually very complicated and would be hard to make and design all the details (all the resources/structures/processes/whatever that go on in industry/economics). There are a few parts of the economy (mainly the heavy industries, like metallurgical, oil, and gas industries) that are easy to implement, but some others like the News Industry or the Media Industry, or even the car industry, would be harder to work into the design. But there's also some 'theoretical' things I wanted to share, some things I came up with while reflecting on how economies work and how I could model that stuff in a game. There are different categories of resources: Physical: these are resources that must be transported. Think about what if the economy was spread across several planets. Which would have to be transported and which would be instantaneously availible anywhere at an instant? For example, metals must be transported, while money doesn't necessarily have to be (for example, if it's in a bank, and this bank exists on all the different planets, the credit that's availible in the bank would be instantaneously availible on all the planets on demand). Omnipresent: the opposite of physical, e.g., money. Is availible everywhere at once. Another example is electricity, because it is instantaneously availible to every place that is connected to the power grid. Mmm... there were more stuff I was thinking about along those lines, but I can't remember them right now. I've pretty much forgotten these ideas for a while. [edit] "Media" and "news", if we think of them as a resource that is just produced as if by a factory, would also be "omnipresent" resources (availible everywhere instantaneously). [edit] Also, I don't want this to be a boring game where you have to deal with numbers and graphs... I think it would be a lot more fun if it wouldn't be harder to deal with the economy than in any RTS game.
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Have you ever had a look at Capitalism II. Great game, and it probably sets the bar that you would be looking to beat in terms of complexity and features. But it plays like any strategy game.
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Mmmm... I played Capitalism II a while ago very briefly. I briefly played it to see what it was but I didn't really get into it... Mmm... maybe I could play it again to see if there are any interesting ideas in it?

But I don't want the player to have to look at graphs as part of the gameplay (I don't want this to be part of the main gameplay, I don't want the player to have to rely on this, for example, I don't want the player to have to look at graphs to be able to know if he should lower or raise prices... I don't want the player to have to worry about this too much or be required to think a lot to do well... I want the player to be able to just play by 'feeling', like in RTS games...)

Mmm... I think if this model was part of an RTS game, it would be good.

This is what I mean when I'm talking about having to rely on graphs:

http://www.enlight.com/capitalism2/graphics/shot3.jpg


[edit]


What a headache it would be, if the player was basically like an accountant, figuring out the best financial option. I don't want the player to just be a calculator... that would be bad. Mmm....

http://www.enlight.com/capitalism2/graphics/shot5.jpg

[edit]

Has anyone played Emperor of the Fading Suns? If I could make a game like that but with a bigger economic element, that would so cool...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emperor_of_the_Fading_Suns
http://www.the-underdogs.info/game.php?id=367
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Quote:
Original post by polyfrag
But I don't want the player to have to look at graphs as part of the gameplay (I don't want this to be part of the main gameplay, I don't want the player to have to rely on this, for example, I don't want the player to have to look at graphs to be able to know if he should lower or raise prices... I don't want the player to have to worry about this too much or be required to think a lot to do well... I want the player to be able to just play by 'feeling', like in RTS games...)


You might be able to strike some sort of balance, but I imagine that any good economic model would require some visual representation of trends, profits, costs, etc... that's the domain you are working with. When you are playing command and conquer, you're looking at maps, and groups, and factory progress bars, and whatnot, because that's the domain you are working with.

I sort of understand what you are saying, but it seems a bit incoherent. On the one hand, you want a complicated, detailed economic model, but on the other hand, you want to provide the player with an experience that almost completely hides that complexity and doesn't require any knowledge of it... so why have it in the first place?

Quote:

What a headache it would be, if the player was basically like an accountant, figuring out the best financial option. I don't want the player to just be a calculator... that would be bad. Mmm....

I would suggest you go back and play the game again... it isn't unlike Sim City or Zoo Tycoon in terms of looking at graphs, charts, etc. I suppose you could--and probably would--argue that those aren't RTS, though.

In any case, calculating and weighing costs vs. benefit is the essence of any RTS. In C&C or Starcraft, you're thinking about times and costs to build units vs their potential to contribute to a calculated strategy. Business, ultimately, is not much different.

I'll try to think of some ways to move towards that middle ground, though... it's an interesting idea.

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I sort of understand what you are saying, but it seems a bit incoherent. On the one hand, you want a complicated, detailed economic model, but on the other hand, you want to provide the player with an experience that almost completely hides that complexity and doesn't require any knowledge of it... so why have it in the first place?

Well I guess I just want an RTS but with a great variety of stuff to build and resources and processes that change those resources...

Quote:
In any case, calculating and weighing costs vs. benefit is the essence of any RTS. In C&C or Starcraft, you're thinking about times and costs to build units vs their potential to contribute to a calculated strategy. Business, ultimately, is not much different.

Yeah it is. You're weighing the pros and cons in your head on the fly though... But I wouldn't want the best strategy to be to literally do calculations... or something like that.


Quote:
I'll try to think of some ways to move towards that middle ground, though... it's an interesting idea.

Thanks for considering my idea... I'm glad you find something interesting in it.

[edit]

Wow... look at all these cool ideas... just thinking about the stuff I could have in the game...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economics

[edit]

Ooooh... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Industrial_sector
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Think of it this way... My game is just WarCraft or Age of Empires... and all I'm doing is just changing or adding one thing at a time...

To implement a realistic money system how would I change it?

[edit]

That doesn't really have an answer... I'm just thinking about that.

Well, the player represents the government. And instead of using resources the player would deal with money, right? And the resources would belong to the player, and would be used where they were physically required (e.g., construction), but the money would be exchanged to purchase resources from firms or buy the services of the people working for the player...

[edit]

And the physical resources would have a fixed, defined cost wherever they needed to be applied (i.e., to construct a certain building, you need such and such resources in such and such amounts), while the costs in money can change to reflect the situation.. Firms can choose to charge more for their services when they find that they are able to make more profits that way without losing quantity demanded. Now I'm really even sure if I want to simulate firms (companies) or governments... that's why I opted for the idea of some sort of sci-fi futuristic scenario where all the governments have become corporations. That simplified what I was making (or rather... it allowed me to actually make the game about what I wanted, economic strategy, with armies and stuff).

[Edited by - polyfrag on February 6, 2008 7:21:46 PM]
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