erebrus

Modelling passenger flow in space transport game

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erebrus    165

Hi all,

I've had ( what I think is ) an interesting idea for game about passenger transport in space. However, I'm trying to come up with a model for passenger traffic, meaning, how to generate passengers in the different locations in a way that each passenger wants to go somewhere.

The old TTD just assumed passengers just wanted to go anywhere and you would get the most money just based on how far and fast you would transport them. I don't want that. I want them to have specific destinations in mind, because the whole mechanic revolves around that.

Other games like TrainFever, generates industrial, residential and commercial areas and plays with that. I don't dislike that, but that is basically about commute and doesn't translate well into space transport.

I've tried modelling something considering tourism & migration, but it just ended up being overly complex. I'm trying to simplify the mechanics.

Any ideas?

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Tom Sloper    16040

People travel for business - to sell goods or services to other businesses, to find/purchase raw materials, to form business partnerships and alliances, and to facilitate processes and solve production problems.

People travel to see family - to look for missing family members - to find a potential spouse.

People travel for education, to broaden their horizons by studying outside the sphere of one's upbringing.

People travel for scientific research, for political alliances, for espionage.

It's not all just tourism and migration.

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Polama    1105

Assuming there are fixed routes and you're looking for something simple:

Each star is connected to a finite set of other stars, each link has a weight (randomly or based on factors like distance, relative wealth, scientific interest, etc.)

Each star has a base number of travelers based on local conditions, and a bonus % based on the links (quantity, quality, variety). Essentially each month a fixed number of people will definitely travel and some additional might travel if there's a convenient, cheap option. From a gameplay perspective, adding more routes grows the travel pool creating an inherent profit instead of just dividing the pool.

A fixed percentage of travelers are divided up based on the link weights (so more people are going to Earth than a backwater). The rest are put in a general "going somewhere pool", approximating an averaging out of people with multiple choices (It'll take multiple hops to get to my destination, I don't care where I stop in the interim, or I'm going on vacation and any of these 3 planets would be fine).

When a ship is leaving, you first draw from the fixed travelers going there, then from the general pool (possibly to an upper limit, like 50% over baseline). If it's turn-based-y, these are monthly travelers or whatever, if this is realtime use the total to calculate the interval to add a new traveler.

Edited by Polama

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erebrus    165

Thanks for the answers.

Sometimes a solution is terribly simple. The gameplay is supposed to be more focused on players making plays and counter-plays, than the simulation of traffic itself. As such, the idea of just randomly attributing weights to the links seems perfect.

 

Thanks

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LorenzoGatti    4442

You might want to refine random link weights with some variations and additions, for example:

  • The length of the stay of the travellers before leaving could be modelled (with some easily integrated PDF); apart from in-fiction marketing utility for your airlines you'd be able to compute how many transient visitors are on each planet, and consider their transition from and to permanent residence.
  • Different statistics for different traveler types, who correspond to different transport types: rich people in first class go to luxury vacation planets and stay for weekends or several weeks, white collars make mostly quick business class visits to economically developed locations, forced labor travels one-way to mining penal colonies, aquatic aliens travel in special water-filled pool ships between a handful of ocean planets, and so on.
  • Statistics can vary temporarily and seasonally: for example tourists or pilgrims attending some ceremony are going to arrive just before it starts and leave just after it ends, wherever they come from, or there could be large flows of refugees leaving some place (steadily increasing if there's an ongoing ecological collapse, sudden after a war or coup, etc.)

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