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polyfrag

Economics engine

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I have a unique idea for how to simulate economics. I will eventually write a free RTS with a moddable economics engine, the first of its kind.

What would you like to see in an agent-based economics simulator?

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Like the new SimCity, an agent-based approach simulates units instead of using statistics/formulas.

I plan to make resources moddable. You choose their name, icon, whether they're a capacity (like housing) that is uneconomical to store (like electricity) or whether they accumulate (like ore), whether they're physical and must be transported (like metal) or whether they require a conduit (like pipelines or powerlines).

Buildings too. Their models, inputs, outputs/economic process. And units.

Labourers would have demand elasticity curves and propensity for consumption for different commodities and differentiated products. Still figuring out how I'll handle differentiated products though.

Transportation would work on an auction model. Demanders bid on the lowest-cost transport of their resources (taking the path/fuel cost and the price of the resource to be transported from the available supplier) and trucks choose the most profitable use of their time (taking into account fuel, driver cost and expected earnings).

You can build private homes to sell to labourers. It's a trade-off for them, to pay rent each cycle (apartments owned by players) or pay a one-time fee to own a house.

You can build cars to sell too. It's an investment if the money spent on the car and fuel is made up for by the time saved and better job opportunities available. Interest of loan would also be factored in. The player can start bank branches to give loans to labourers and other players. He can do a background check on where the labourer lives, works, before giving the loan.

Having multiple currencies (perhaps user-created) and printing money is another possibility. And stock markets and owning shares in other players' corporations, and vice-versa.

Maybe you can own and sell land. And sell/buy buildings/businesses owned by other players.

The modding of buildings would include adding to aspects of the economy that I didn't think of yet, like different kinda of farming, ranching, entertainment industries. That might require making the game open source though. Or making it moddable through dll files, but I don't know how I'd expose enough and which parts for it to truly be able to grow.

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Could you explain a few things? What is the player doing in the game world, or whom does he incarnate, and what does he have control over exactly? It looks like he's some kind of central bank/half-god that does not control the agents' actions but still controls offer of certain goods like cars and buildings; but then will AI control the labourers' choices? In an auction, for example, the player obviously can't be the seller and the bidder, there has to be an AI involved.

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madshogo, he already explained what the players are - corporations competing with each other.

 

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.

 

If the idea is for the game to show a physically growing city/region like Simcity or Transport Tycoon do, you might want some kind of government AI to automatically build basic road connectivity everywhere, perhaps regulate zoning and do other things.

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madshogo, he already explained what the players are - corporations competing with each other.

 

Well the only mention he makes of "corporations" (at least in this thread) is

owning shares in other players' corporations

and while I see that players can *have* corporations, I don't see that they are corporations. Also, since when do modern corporations build homes and cars for their workers? I think that instead, polyfrag meant his game as a kind of SimCity where you are some kind of powerful mayor who rules the economy of a city/region.

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The game takes place in an alternate universe where corporations have grown so large that they wield armies and hold responsibilities held by governments. These "corporation-states" are the next stage after city-stated and nation-states.

The player doesn't own labourers but merely offers them jobs where a chosen amount of currency (resource) is exchanged for a set amount of labour (resource). Labourers are AI controlled and choose the most profitable use of their time. They need housing to regenerate their labour power and consumer goods to survive.

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An economics engine would really be nothing more than a bunch of people with desires for different things and simulating supply and demand. All a real economy consists of is people with desires and different priorities who trade things for other things, creating supply and demand, which in turn creates prices. A lot of trappings of modern economies only serve to break them in reality (especially things like central banks).

 

Simulating this process as minutely as possible would be the main goal of an 'economics' engine IMO, because that is what a real economy is. Every actor in the economy would have to make decisions on an individual level based on their own individual values as well as their means and capabilities to actually act on their values.

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Farms complicate things. Is a farm one 'building' or is it made of grain silos, beehives, etc.?

 

55405_106138866122458_100001790351286_4355405_106138869455791_100001790351286_43

 

What else is there?

 

- vineyard

- ranch

- cotton plantation

- tobacco plantation

- coffee plantation

- sugar cane plantation

 

And the associated businesses - cereal factory, etc.

 

- pulp and paper mill

- textiles plant

- apparel plant

- plastic plant

- rubber plant

 

Also, how to handle wholesale/retail? Stores purchase produce, apparel, electronics, etc. wholesale and sell it to the end consumer. 

 

And what about education? I was thinking of making 'engineering' a resource required in construction and maybe 'skilled labour' for operating a nuclear powerplant. Colleges are privately run, because corporations own everything in the game. How is the hiring of instructors handled. And primary/secondary schools, kindergardens. Labourers should be simulated getting married, having children, growing older, retiring. Maybe pension is a job benefit players could offer to employees.

 

Since this is an alternate universe, resources and buildings/economic processes can also be made up.

 

resourceticker_zpsa015b7e7.png

 

There's a scrolling ticker at the top showing resources.

 

Capacities show usage / total availability:

 

rescap_zpsf5d21d0b.png

 

Cumulatives show stock and +/- projected change per cycle:

 

resacum_zpsf314f3e4.png

 

A cycle is the economic equivalent of a month:

 

rescycle_zps0d894426.png

 

Rent is paid cyclically.

 

Resources are localized and must be transported.

 

Potential 'buildings':

 

55805_106147559454922_100001790351286_43

If I add ships to the game,

 

52549_106158189453859_100001790351286_4352549_106158192787192_100001790351286_43

 

52267_106147799454898_100001790351286_4352267_106147802788231_100001790351286_43

 

I could make mining really complicated and somehow tie into the heightmap/terrain:

 

52543_106147196121625_100001790351286_43

 

Underground mining too. What would be the difference?

 

55805_106147546121590_100001790351286_4355805_106147549454923_100001790351286_43

 

 

55805_106147556121589_100001790351286_4355805_106147552788256_100001790351286_43

 

Prinz Eugn posted this in another topic: http://comtrade.un.org/db/mr/rfCommoditiesList.aspx

 

I started this years ago:

 

54525_108195952583416_100001790351286_54

BTW,

 

city.jpg

Edited by polyfrag

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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.

 

I can break construction down into

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Construction_equipment#Types

 

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

 

That would require making a special architectural editor/engine too.

 

 

If the idea is for the game to show a physically growing city/region like Simcity or Transport Tycoon do, you might want some kind of government AI to automatically build basic road connectivity everywhere, perhaps regulate zoning and do other things.

 

I'll be programming an AI for corporations that does that.

 

Also, mercenaries (to be soldiers, tank/mech operators) must be recruited from among labourers and they need to be fed, housed, and paid.

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