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polyfrag

Economics engine

58 posts in this topic

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

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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.

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

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

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

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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

 

942606_483001795102828_1473823197_n_zps1

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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
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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

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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
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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. 
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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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http://www.gamedev.net/blog/1512/entry-2256483-a-history-in-art/

I'm going to try to get States and Corporations published on Steam or Desura or something. I feel like I'm wasting my effort otherwise. I'm going to license my RTS economics engine to other people.

I'm not going to continue with the BSP/inside buildings/terrain mesh effort. I'll start working on States and Corporations now and making it non-grid based like SimCity 5. It will include multiplayer and ability to host your own persistent servers on linux.

I could take a year to release the first States and Corporations and then work on a sequel.

I hope you'll support my IndieGoGo effort. Let me know what you want to see in the game and in the engine for possible perks.

Ideas for multiple currencies: http://www.alanwood.net/unicode/currency_symbols.html

I started on a chart of the economy. You can see how massive it can get. https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/109630018/economy.png

The ultimate strategy game! If I systematically balance it to the end and don't get lazy that is. You can see how I balance in my blog http://www.gamedev.net/blog/1512/entry-2256426-balancing-an-economy/ http://www.gamedev.net/blog/1512/entry-2256439-half-hour-game/ I had an idea for a balancing calculator but that could require an equation solving algorithm.

Thank you for your ongoing support. Edited by polyfrag
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Stoddart Colour-Visual Dictionary.

Also, Infrastructure by Brian Hayes is pretty good for a view on how industries work, in terms of buildings and inputs/outputs.
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Like the new SimCity, an agent-based approach simulates units instead of using statistics/formulas.

As I understood the player will govern a very large ensemble of construction and prices of materials..
Unless in the case with very few constructions, what makes you think the final outcome will be different from a statistical one?

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defining all the entities is the simple part - making them all interact correctly is the part of the simulation which will be 99% of the detail  (real economies interact in complex/diverse/intricate ways with alot of mechanisms to make them stable  (not just the primary production)

 

If you are going for realism you will have to do it with LOTS of entities for the large economy  -- generalizations will only get you so far

 

Tuning it to be stable or retrofitting systems to self stabalize -- that will be alot of your work

 

Once you get into politics and 'effects of'   then it increases a magintude in all the inner workings you will have to simulate

 

And for an evolving simulation there are all the different stages you have to go thru where stability is to be achieved but you only have a growing subset of the stabalizing mechanism available  (and their effectiveness evolves too - many dont scale)

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Yes, it's definitely a complex undertaking.

What this originally was was an improvement to the mechanics of WarCraft 2/Age of Empires 3-era RTS. I think I should stick to that.
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Hi to an old friend and congrats on your game release. Have you considered adding managers to your business model to handle some of the micro-management model of the corporations the player sets up? Give them orders and they carry it out for you... 

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