Any economy geeks?

Post your ideas and suggestions how to improve the game.
THENIRL
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Any economy geeks?

Post by THENIRL »

I want to discuss a possible direction for the game and I would like to know how many of you guys like the general concept (knowing it would not necessarily mean other directions, such as warfare, wouldn't be possible).

I like economic games, challenges and puzzles. I'm sure any SimCity or Tycoon fan does. Factorio seems to be able to offer this side of gaming (as many other sides, the mark of a truly great game). So what about a more economy-focused campaign option? Or multiplayer option? For instance, having to supply a city, planet or colony with specific materials, but having none of other ones (for instance, a power source). The player could have to buy oil in order to run a factory to supply something or someone. So one would need to build a plant that could produce whatever was required to trade for the oil, plus the actual mission objective.

I also believe a whole new universe would be added to the game if some sort of currency, like credits, was introduced. It would, for instance, even allow "PvP" matches where players would compete to supply "X" ammount of items at the lowest cost (of course, one would need these credits to buy something else needed for production - these last items could, or should, have fluctuating prices according to all the players' demand). While currency would improve the experience, it could even be done via a direct trade system. In order to get item "X", which one would then supply, one would first need item "Y", which would not be available unless traded for item "Z". For instance, one needs to provide circuits, but lacks copper cable, which needs to be bought with steel bars. This is a crude example but my proposition is somewhere along these lines.

So there it is. This topic was somewhat spoken of in the "What's the point" thread, but that doesn't seem the propper place for it and I feel there are a few out there that would enjoy discussing it exclusively. This also seems to be a possibility only if the game keeps being continually developped, as I immagine it would be a programming nightmare. But anyway, please post your opinions, praise, flame and all those other internet goodies below!

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Re: Any economy geeks?

Post by Machtl »

Since some days I have an idea of Factorio as a MMO. Every player starts on a planet with limited resources. To get better resources one must settle down on savage planets (this implicates that the game got features like spaceships and a map of the solar system/galaxy) or conquer planets of other players. Players can create alliances and trade with each other, choosing their own currency (which is a far better option than a 'artificial' currency like credits).
This is something I would really enjoy, Factorio with hundreds of players.

I agree with you, an economic campaign would be great and I would enjoy it but we are thinking a bit too fast. Factorio needs to be finished first with a stable multiplayer mode and a good modding API, then we can look further.

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Re: Any economy geeks?

Post by THENIRL »

Well, credits are optional, I agree =) I also like the MMO idea, I think where that comes together is in the fact that we can have a dynamic, living world with a lot of interaction, be it social, economical or beligerant!

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Re: Any economy geeks?

Post by Dylems »

but in a mmo, we need:

- a big map with lot of cities, and lot of things to discover
- Various types of monsters in each zone
- interactions with the non-playing characters
- etc, etc, etc

It would be very long and hard to make a mmo with this game. First try to get the multiplayer, then we will see.
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Re: Any economy geeks?

Post by THENIRL »

Well, it's true the "massive" part has to exist. But I believe that, with a simple premise like the one I suggested, the game could gradually evolve towards that. And even if not, the subject at hand is this economy related stuff, and not the mmo possibility for now. Whatever the case, the ideas and wishes we express now is what might best influence the development of Factorio in the future, so now's the time to state them.

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Re: Any economy geeks?

Post by Nemoder »

I don't think an MMO economy would work out too well for this game, maybe for a sequel though. But custom scenarios with economic goals instead of survival could be really cool. There doesn't seem to be any game mechanic right now that awards effeciency though other than research time so I'm not sure how adding currency could work. Perhaps you could make a custom map similar to SpaceChem with unmovable factories at each end that provide and demand resources at a certain rate and you earn money based on how well you connect them.

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Re: Any economy geeks?

Post by Dylems »

Or maybe a similar system of Simcity 5 ? You build your factory, and can connect it to other's factories, attack them etc
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Re: Any economy geeks?

Post by LoSboccacc »

given the setting the thing that would make most sense would be a supply ship to/from an interplanetary bank, with you having to defend it as it lands and unloads.

everyone just trade with the bank (placing fixed order or supplying to fixed orders - as in no fixed prices, you ask for a resource at a price and wait until someone accepts or you commit a sale at a specific price and wait until someone accepts.)

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Re: Any economy geeks?

Post by EditorRUS »

Always remember important thing - MMO kills games. U can see that with much examples.

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Re: Any economy geeks?

Post by THENIRL »

I think there were some good points made so far. I don't think this economy stuff needs an MMO setting to take place. Ad hoc custom scenarios in a multiplayer environment would more than suffice in providing the economic experience. That being said, it doesn't have to be the only goal in the scenario, it can perfectly take place within a warring scenario.
Also, it was pointed out that currency is unnecessary. Although I'd like to see it implemented, I have to agree it is just an intermediate means to material trading, which can be perfectly achieved through direct trading and still involve a supply/demand cost variation. I am unsure as to the system though. The "bank" system would remove the lack of realism (I love using those words in sci-fi video games XD) in having players that are trying to destroy each other trading with each other. However, the alternative, where players do trade with each other, really calls out to me, since I believe it would add a very rich dynamic to the game.

The efficiency problem/challenge, I think, solves itself with a price fluctuation system. With this, there is never a perfect factory setting, as you will need to pump out more or less of a given resource depending on demand and the price of other resources you may need. This would force players to plan their factories for versatility and would also serve as encouragement to trade agreements between players (in the setting where they would trade with each other) that could ultimately affect the outcome of, let's say, a six player free-for-all.

Please do keep 'em comming!

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Re: Any economy geeks?

Post by Xisuma »

I can't remember a gaming experience where ive been drawn into the economics but imo currency would steer this game in a different direction, not saying thats a bad thing but it could become wildly different when u can trade for resources. idk it could be implemented in a clever way to its not really an area i can offer much thoughts, allthough i think it would work well in multiplayer :-)

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Re: Any economy geeks?

Post by THENIRL »

Ok, so I guess so far currency isn't very attractive. That being said, it still presents itself as unnecessary, since the core idea is to have an added supply and demand challenge, perfectly achievable through direct trading.
Now I wonder if it would be too big a project in the short term to have a trading option in multiplayer, just to get a feel for it... along with war machines, if the resources are very spread apart in a map, it would add a big element to teamwork to have players focus more on certain minerals and then just ship them off to their teammates.

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Re: Any economy geeks?

Post by kovarex »

The problem with currency is, that it could ruin the whole game pretty easily if it was done wrong.
I believe that the main concept is that the the player has to create everything, now he could just make tons of one thing (iron wheels) and trade it for everything else instead of making factories.

What I could imagine, is to have currency, player could sell some stuff, but he could buy something that can't be created otherwise.
(Upgrades, special items, bribing creepers to not attack or even to help the player etc.)

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Re: Any economy geeks?

Post by THENIRL »

I like that concept. The better a player could manage its resources, the higher the advantage in production times, or firepower, or all the other possible goodies!

However, in order to prevent the problem kovarex mentioned, I think the value of given merchandises should fluctuate according to supply, in the scenario he described. That way, if one focused exclusively on iron, for example, eventually the price for it would become 0. This would be in the case in which the player would be supplying a "bank". In eventual inter-player exchanges one could set the price oneself.

So we can immagine that the value for goods produced from something that could be leftover from, let's say, producing ammunition, would constantly be low (because players will probably be investing a lot in this product and getting some raw material surplus), while, let's say, blue science packs would be highly profitable to sell (taking for granted that they would be in short supply).

I have to say, while currency doesn't really come to me as a necessary addition to the game, a supply/demand cost fluctuation for some sort of trading does seem to be something that would add a very captivating dynamic to it. It will even come naturally in inter-player exchanges, as no one will pay a lot (either in money or in materials) for something they don't need. When trading with the A.I., I strongly feel that there should be a formula, no matter how simple it may be, to define merchandise value. In X2 and X3 (the space simulators), commodity prices fluctuate according to the ammount of that commodity available in the space station's cargo holds, for instance. Maximum capacity means negative price (the absolute price isn't 0 but it's below production cost, so it's even worse =P). There seems to be a very simple formula that dictates these fluctuations, so it shouldn't be too nightmarish to program (says the guy who understands less of programming than nuclear physics).

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Re: Any economy geeks?

Post by Dakkanor »

what about a trade station, it could run by having robots ship from one place to another and also act like a market

trade robots are like a big clunky version of logistics robots so they're only use would be for long distance, high capacity hauling, (i would say that they need their own building like a trade station to operate through) basic trade stations could trade resources at a 2:1 ratio (only the base resources at first) but after trading 500 iron ore for 250 copper the ratio would adjust for the demand, maybe 3:1 or 5:2 ect,

this could have upgrades connected like teleportation where the teleport still needs the trade robots to carry resources on the telepad so that the robots don't become obsolete
another upgrade could be ratio factor for out of area trading and others to increase the trade options (each resource would have a weighting of its constituent items + how many build stages starting at 1 for unprocessed, so iron plate would be 2 base ingredients + 1 stage = 3 and gear wheel would be 2 iron plates (3 each) and 1 stage = 7 while items like copper which have multiple output (copper wire, power poles) would be the average rounded up.)

this way there is good reason to trade AND also trade high end products instead of just basic ones as there would be room for Some profit, or at least reclaiming resources
eg with my example each copper wire which is requires 1 resource each (1/2 copper ore 1/2 coal) could be traded for 1 resource each until their price changes down.

by making trade stations expensive and require power PLUS the trade robots which would also be fairly dear the result would be that trade is still useful but the game could easily be played without it being used OR an entire economy be made around making trade goods to make up for having a lack in one resource or other

p.s. ailen artifacts should not be sold in this system and pink research kits should- at the very least- be much more expensive than blue science packs

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Re: Any economy geeks?

Post by THENIRL »

I think Dakkanor's idea has its cool factor. With this sort of system, I'd suggest that the higher the base value of a good (constituent items + build stages seems like an intuitive and simple enough formula), the better the ratio could be (maybe even requiring upgrades for the trade station?). This would certainly encourage building a factory in a way that every single bit of raw material surplus is used up in a "secondary" high-end product line for trading and turn backups in the conveyor belts into an even more serious inefficency. It seems like a good enough alternative to my suggested fluctuating price system, as it does introduce a certain fluctuation factor via the ratio system. What I think should not happen is a rigid system, where eventually competing players would constantly be on the same level, so to speak. While this system is more rigid than fluctuating prices, it does have the research, build and upgrade component.

For an A.I. trading system, I like it. Plus it's got robots :mrgreen: That being said, I really like this kind of stuff, so hearing from someone who's not entirely interested in it would be cool, in order to find out if they feel this would actually subtract to the game.

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Re: Any economy geeks?

Post by MF- »

I wouldn't be happily fabricating what an AI considers most valuable.
I prefer fabricating what I need/want.

I would be glad if everyone avoided measuring any goal in the game by the amount of money.
So far I see no need for trading, everything is rather simple to manufacture.

Perhaps there could be one flat fee for departing the trade shuttle / robot added to each trade's balance?

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Re: Any economy geeks?

Post by THENIRL »

Well, MF, in its current state the game doesn't NEED trading. What we're suggesting here is for scenarios where not all resources are available or where you could get, like kovarex said, special items or buffs not available any other way :)

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Re: Any economy geeks?

Post by MF- »

Francisco wrote:Well, MF, in its current state the game doesn't NEED trading. What we're suggesting here is for scenarios where not all resources are available or where you could get, like kovarex said, special items or buffs not available any other way :)
From my point of view wouldn't trading make much sense in the current state of the game.

I guess I wouldn't mind the goods-for-goods type of trading (without money involved)
Especially if I could obtain otherwise unreachable or special items.

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Re: Any economy geeks?

Post by Dakkanor »

MF- wrote:I wouldn't be happily fabricating what an AI considers most valuable.
I prefer fabricating what I need/want.

I would be glad if everyone avoided measuring any goal in the game by the amount of money.
So far I see no need for trading, everything is rather simple to manufacture.

Perhaps there could be one flat fee for departing the trade shuttle / robot added to each trade's balance?
fair enough, i was trying to think up a setup where you could happily play without the market without a major disadvantage, OR be able to base your entire economy around trading, i.e. you start in a good place with plenty of resources and need no trading market at all. VS being in a limited map and having to trade every unused resource to build further, or even making a basic setup, finding practically no resources later and concentrating entirely on building trade goods which make a decent profit, then running your entire factory from imported goods. i think that an item exchange which runs on a weighted system and bypasses currency would be good, BUT only if its balanced as an alternative play style instead of being required to proceed(or if it is required it wouldn't be a heavy reliance simply shipping in unique material)

on an aside, the system would be useful to remove excessive, unused materials, like the burners for example or useful to trade off something you currently have an excess of (accidentally produced laser turrets but sorely need adv circuits etc)

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