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Economy system for interstellar trade.

Discussion in 'Game Design' started by rmorph, Sep 15, 2019.

  1. haonan62


    Sep 9, 2020
    Hi, I am researching into the field of interstellar trading for my dissertation. I guess apart from the obvious technical programming challenges, complexities in time and space present a huge barrier, the economic model, even sociological model would be completely changed with the introduction of the two. May I ask are you introducing time and space elements in your game?
  2. rmorph


    Apr 3, 2012
    The challenge with the time aspect is: realistically even with superduper scifi tech, most travel distances *should be* measured in years and centuries. For the sake of reasonable gameplay we reduce that to seconds and minutes but then realism goes out the window. Therefore its not really about the delay caused by distances in time and space any more - but rather the delay caused by *effort* in traversing that space. We need to make the journey interesting and create a few timesinks within it.

    I think Separation of systems is vital: That is that what occurs in one system might not be known to another. Information sharing becomes extremely important. I would like the various systems to feel pretty isolated: Kind of like mid 19th century colonial times where it would take weeks before news of what was occurring in the colonies reached Europe.

    The system I want to replicate is kind of modeled on mid-19th century trade before the telegraph system: that is that there is an enormous sense of distance between civilized locations, with long perilous voyages between them. For example to get from System A to System B should require navigating a complex route of wormholes and intermediate lawless systems. Most space games just make *trading* a jump 9 times from system A to System J and add a random risk of pirates, but I would like to add other risk factors such as navigating unstable worm holes, black hole event horizons and other high gravity bodies.

    There should be a real risk of failure the further you journey. For example: No ship has enough fuel to make the direct route between system A and system J: You MUST find shortcuts to do it.

    In such a universe information therefore travels slowly and local system affairs are compartmentalized. Space exploration and inter-system trading becomes a heroic career path.

    We also want to replicate this in game: NPCS doing these runs in convoys and caravans.

    Practically from a game engine perspective the way this would work is: The persistent universe runs according to a universal clock. Trading between systems occurs according to a cyclical pattern to replicate the time it would take NPCs to run trade goods via interstellar travel, and more importantly the delay in information reaching across systems. This background pattern is slower than the time it would take a player to perform the same function (travel from System A to System C for example).
    These latencies are timesinks that allow a player to take advantage of information (for example: war has broken out in system A), and play the markets in other systems as they react more slowly (buy certain trade goods such as weapons in system B to deliver to system A). These system events will occur randomly but the universe will be constantly active with them: Every system and every planet will have some factors influencing trade and commerce to some degree. Information itself also becomes valuable (informing the Markets in System B that there is a war in system A would probably grant favour with a trade guild). Info-Courier missions could be quite interesting in that regard.

    This is the idea anyway :)
    JoeStrout likes this.
  3. sommmen


    Jan 7, 2016
    Hi @rmorph I'll hopefully have some time to answer you in more details, however inbetween have you heard/seen starsector (formerly starfarer)?
    Check out the game and especially the dev blogs. There is also a good one about in game mechanics between planets. Also this 'effort' you talk about comes alive beatifully in startsector.