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suliman

Cargo / goods in 17th century pirate game?

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Making a pirate game. You sail around, upgrade your ship, raid convoys and trade in 17th century Caribean. You can manage some towns in lategame but not too much focus on production chains etc. What do you think of my idea for goods-types? Something severely missing? Something I can drop?

This is an open question I know but I ask for some feedback anyway! I think 15 goodstypes is enough, but there could be less as well (old Pirates! only had five, similar in assassins creed black flag. But those games had little focus on trade/economy).

The player can not travel to Europe since it's not a export/shipping game. But likely NPC-ships will travel to Europe.

-

Ship / building goods-----------------------

Lumber
Iron
Cloth
Rope (might skip this)

-
General goods-------------------------------------
sugar (used for rum)
cotton (used for cloth)
tobacco
cacao

tools
luxeries (import from europe)
spice (import from europe. Maybe unnecessary)
silver
-
Crew / town consumables and items-------------------------
food
rum
hand weapons
ammo (round shot, grapeshot etc)
-

Didnt make the cut-------------------------------------
bricks
coffee
hemp (used for rope)
garments
indigo -> dye
 

Edited by suliman

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Well I must disagree:

1. Goods types can give alot of flavor. There is a setting, time and a world. And you want it to make sense.

2. Goods types can have gameplay implications. Such as building plantages to produce crops, food need to be eaten. Weapons help you in fights, cloth will repair your sails etc.

Anyone well versed in the period and setting care to comment? (or others:=)

Edited by suliman

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I think 15 goodstypes is enough,

It's too many in my opinion.

If you have 15 goods and your economy was stationary, meaning that there are places where one good always trades well, then the player will need to remember 15 locations where each one of the goods trade well.

If your economy adapts to seasons and trade then you would have to remember: 15* 4 * amount of conditions* trade points, to understand what can trade where.

 

Space Rangers 1 had this problem. So what players did was bought cargo, traveled with it from planet to planet and traded it whenever they could make a profit as shown by the indicators; it made trading the worst possible way of financing a war.

 

Space Rangers 2 fixed it bay reducing the economy changes, allowing players to search the nearest planet that trades in a product. 

Each race had improved demand for a type of product, so if you went from human(Sold alcohol low and some times drugs) to a Peleng sector(Buys alcohol and drugs) you had a known means of making money. 

Also trade centers where introduced that allowed players to shift the economy and these centers often had demand for expensive trade goods.

Also the effect of enemies in the sector had a larger impact on trade, making dangerous planets more profitable, even allowing players to starve planets as pirates or using a artifact that called enemies.

 

To the developers it looked like the first game's economy was perfect, what they forgot was that players see it from the other end. For a player to learn how trade worked each season they would have to take notes for two or more game years, considering that you can win the game in five years this clearly doesn't work. 

The worst part was that starving planets was in the first game. No one noticed because no one had food or medical goods when entering a attacked sector, why would you even fill your limited hull with products that often only made 1cr-4cr profit each when you could only carry 50-200 at max( a gun sold for over 1000cr and was often at 25-50 in weight).

 

Because large amounts of trade goods makes it harder to trade most games stick with either 4 or 8, the ones that have eight also allows the player to use some goods.

Pirates of the caribbean is a game that has a lot of trade goods. They made it easy on players with four major trade points, each always buying 3 or more goods at a high price.  

This game shows what happens when you allow trade goods to be used, most players stock wood and cloth for repairs while most players never even realize that cannon balls are also a trade good.

Edited by Scouting Ninja

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I think the goods types will be largely irrelevant. You could just as well put daffodils and sand as goods and if the gameplay is... Good, it will be just fine.

I might be alone on this but nothing takes me out of a trading game's world like goofy trade goods. My fav is space trading games and the idea of carting around beanie babies and rubber duckies across the heavens kills it. I just skipped a game on Steam that had this but was a perfect minimalist trading game in every other way.

 

By comparison, this is like playing a hardcore shooter like Rainbow Six armed with whoopee cushions and rubber chickens, nothing else changed. Sure it could work, but I'd think it would lose something.

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If your economy adapts to seasons and trade then you would have to remember: 15* 4 * amount of conditions* trade points, to understand what can trade where.
 

 

I can't help but wonder if the core problem here isn't the number of trade items but a poor user interface that expects you to remember what trades for what at these points. If mapping and writing down dialog clues is out of fashion in modern games, why should the player be expected to memorize trading good locations and differentials across an entire map? 

 

I'm actually surprised at the number of trading games that do this as it creates a somewhat negative experience of having to know the game environment before you play. At the very least the UI should highlight what you've traded where as ports are visited, and for a less hardcore / micromanagement game I don't see a problem of just showing differentials everywhere (Endless Sky, a sci-fi trading game, does once you've visited or bought maps and it makes trade a fun diversion even if it does oversimplify the gameplay bit).

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This is an open question I know but I ask for some feedback anyway! I think 15 goodstypes is enough, but there could be less as well (old Pirates! only had five, similar in assassins creed black flag. But those games had little focus on trade/economy).

 

When considering trade items I think the criteria should be the same as any other choice, namely what the extra choices bring beyond flavor. Just as we'd have to ask in a fighting game that had punches, kicks and jabs, the question would be what's the point if they all function the same way.

 

Does food spoil and thus require the fastest route possible? Do certain ports have to be avoided because of their problems with rats infesting some cargoes but not others? Are some ports experiencing heavy settlement and thus a potential spike in lumber demand? Is the rumor that lords and ladies are flocking to one port so that luxuries might trade better there? Are pirates on the prowl near one port, making trade in silver more likely to attract attack than trade in lower value iron?

 

If none of that is possible, you could easily get away with having 3 items and focus the gameplay elsewhere (the Xbox indie game Ancient Trader does this to nice effect, with trade being secondary to battling sea monsters).

Edited by Wavinator

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If mapping and writing down dialog clues is out of fashion in modern games, why should the player be expected to memorize trading good locations and differentials across an entire map?

Personally I like games like this, it adds exploration to the game.

Remembering what trades are where and looking for patterns amongst the changes, discovering trade routes that yield more profit, the risk of finding your rout blocked and being forced to sell your goods at a low price; I love these kind of trading games.

 

Also knowing where what is going to happen when, knowing that you can buy wood at dock A because dock B will need it in a month is boring. I mean isn't that why active economies where made?

Drug lord, is a game that had lots of goods and provided you with constant feedback on where to sell what. True it's a fun game, for a hour or so then it just gets repetitive.

 

Some thing that could work is a trade license, they actually still exist and did back then. So maybe start the player with only a few goods, as they learn and buy maps, they can increase the trading goods by paying for a license.

Edited by Scouting Ninja

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From South America to Europe you might add:

gold,

gems,

pearls,

allspice,

silk.

 

From Europe to South America you might add:

Textiles,

Books,

Passengers (ransom opportunities).

 

 

Note - You put cocao in your list - I think you meant cocoa

Edited by Stormynature

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Port royale 2 and 3 have 20 goodstypes (it's very tradebased). I dont think 10-15 is too much  but i might have to adjust it along the way.

Players will not need to memorize which port sell/buy what for good prices (it will be viewable from the overhead map).

Also I think it will not be a real demand/supply system, rather ports produce one or two things (which are cheaper to buy there) and from time to time have shortage of one to two goods (which they then buy more expensivly). I wanna keep trading pretty straightforward since the game has many other systems.

Any good examples of simplified trading in games like I describe?

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