Forums » Suggestions

Station Needs and Prices

Nov 17, 2008 Surbius link
Trade isn't doing so good right now compared to the past. I know the Devs have a tremendous 'cup full' of things to fix and implement, and I would like to put up a suggestion thread for ideas/criticisms to improve economic activity in VO.

Stations have needs or rather resource requirements, to manufacture tools/supplies, refine ore, or produce luxuries/commodities. It would seem logical for a station to have a specified amount of storage space for their resources/produced goods. For example, a station requires premium carbonic ore and premium ferric ore to make steel. The station has a storage capacity of 1,000 cus for premium carbonic ore and 2,000 cus for premium ferric ore, it requires 1 cu of premium carbonic ore and 2 cus of premium ferric ore to manufacturer 1 cu of steel. (I understand that making steel is more complex than just melting iron and mixing in carbon, the above required resources can be more comprehensive but I'm going simple for simplicity's sake.)

Now with the station having a product, they have a goal to produce steel to sell for profit or use their end product from their resources to produce more products from steel, such as silksteel or hull panels.

The station needs premium carbonic ore and premium ferric ore, so it puts out an open order to any miner/trader that can come by and sell ore without a contract. The station has set the price for carbonic ore at 60c/cu up to the first 500 cus and ferric ore at 75c/cu up to the first 1,000 cus (sighting more gain for fulfilling the highest in-demand item).

What this means is that for the first set amount of resources required, the station ensures 75c/cu for premium ferric ore for the first 1,000 cus (first price tier) after that the price drops to 45c/cu for the first cu after the first 1,000 cus (second price tier) and has constant depreciation from there on. Basically a miner/trader can stock the required ore and sell their load at max price in the first price tier, however if they have more than the first price tier requires the remaining ore is sold at the second price tier. If they sell less ore than the set number of the first price tier, the price can either drop between 75c/cu and 45c/cu or stay the same for the first price tier.

A station should not be able to sell its resources but only use them for manufacturing unless the station has a reserve storage space, they can buy ore at extremely low prices and sell the ore for profit until the reserve is depleted. This can be a source of station bought ore so that players are not forced to trade with other players to obtain basic resources or through mining or destroying npcs/players.

The resource prices will rise if the station is running low (higher than average prices pop up if the station is out and requires resources badly) and will plummet if they're fully stocked. This however doesn't mean a miner/trader can constantly sell infinite amounts of the same resources at one station. The station will have a set limit on how much they'd be willing to hold, referencing to the second paragraph example.

The prices of the products from a station will vary as well depending on how much of the product the station holds and how many resources the station has to make more of the desired product. Using steel as an example, the station will only hold 4,000 cus of steel selling at 250c/cu for price tier one (the price is in reference to 2 cus of ferric at 75c/cu and 1 cu of carbonic at 60c/cu at max price). The price of steel can stay at a constant 250c/cu for its first price tier for the first 2,000 cus and jump to 300c/cu for the second price tier for the last 2,000 cus and remain at 300c/cu till there is no more steel to be bought.

If the products of a station are also the resources for other products at the same station the same rules apply to a product/resource item with separate storage spaces. Such as the 4,000 cus storage space for wholesale steel and a 2,000 cus storage space for manufacturing steel.

A fail safe for stations becoming neglected would be npc started convoys, like the convoys at present, that have an impact on the station by bringing much needed supplies for manufacturing and survival, for example water, food, and repair equipment. The station can either rely on npc convoys for resources or have a dedicated mining group consisting of npcs/controlled hive bots. These are to ensure a station wont fall flat and be dependent upon players to stock it. (I am aware about station news items about low reserves and overstocked items which do help notify players.)

One small side note about ore and its various forms. Mining ore from an asteroid should produce basic ore and hauling it to a station to refine it produces premium ore.

Nov 17, 2008 Kierky link
[Stamp of Approval]

No seriously, that is way better, I love it.
Nov 17, 2008 Phish link
What you've got there is starting to sound like an economy!

Two things: First off, no tiers. It doesn't work like that in real life, why should it in VO? In real life, people buy/sell x amount at y price, and because of the supply and demand the price of the remaining items go up or down. Therefore, if you buy/sell in bulk you should be able to negotiate the price because of how much you're buying/selling.

Secondly: Stations should be able to "generate" missions if they desperately need something. If these missions aren't taken by x time (defined by how badly the station needs it), the mission is taken by a convoy. This would also bolster the idea of randomly generated missions, and keep the game more fluid, as well as being relatively easy to implement. I say that not knowing anything of the difficulty of programming it in, so take that with a grain of salt.

Other then that, what I read sounds pretty good.
Nov 17, 2008 Surbius link
Negotiating prices with a computer... that's new.

I thought I forgot something about missions.

Thanks for bringing those points to light.
Nov 18, 2008 Rejected link
Randomly generated time limited missions would be a most excellent idea. it would actually give the news channel some real use if desperately needed items were broadcast over that nations news channel, maybe only to players of established status. it would also establish the more lucrative routes, hopefully creating traffic..
Nov 18, 2008 Surbius link
Randomly generated wouldn't make any sense, the missions would be generated based off stations that require resources or are over stocked with a product.
Nov 18, 2008 Spedy link
On the "Negotiating with a computer" thing:

On one of the space games I used to play you could "Haggle" the price of commodities with an AI 'merchant.' You could go from 5-15% price/sell price changed, and if you hit the higher discounts too many times you'd get stuck with a higher price or the AI just wouldn't sell to you for so many hours.

I suggest something like this, only with 'merchants' being more willing to haggle with people of high standing, less likely to give a discount to someone with less standing.

How does this sound?
Nov 18, 2008 SuperMegaMynt link
I strongly suggest that any computer based decision making be based on soft borders. Humans are nastily adept at finding those chinks in programs where functions instantly change. An example would be how VO traders will stockpile a large amount of goods, and then unrealistically sell a great number for additional profit. If they were to sell them one by one, the price would gradually increase for each sale, but because the programming does not gradually increase the price based on the size of the sale, like any logical human would, the actual human gets to do something sometimes referred as "exploiting" the game. This breaks the immersion factor.

The key to creating what I mean when I say "soft borders", which admittedly is a term I completely made up, is to make everything into variables, and functions of those variables. Instead of selling for 60/cu for the first 500, and 75 cu for the next 1000, the function for the price might be something like 60+Number of CU's sold/500 each. Except that those numbers 60, and 500 are still randomly derived "hard" numbers. The price should really be something like (Number of Credits Needed to Produce One Unit of Steel)+(Number of Ore available)*(Period of Time Needed to Produce One Unit of Steel)/(Number of Ore Sold), until what actually determines the price is the availability of ore in the sector, and how frequently purchases are made. The environment effectively shapes the decisions that the computer makes. How realistic is that? And as a bonus, functions never break. At the very worst, they merely reach 0, or infinity. (Ore is so available it's given away for free, or so necessary that it's not sold at any price.)
Nov 18, 2008 Surbius link
That's why I suggested price tiers, less exploitable, from what I understand, than bartering with a computer. It also makes trading more clear cut and quick if you're presented with the price without negotiating. Of course this limits the player's options with trading. A second option could be interconnected station markets where players can set the price for their goods and other players can either buy the item at the given price or barter their way down. A third option can also be an auction house.
Nov 19, 2008 stackman122 link
I'm sure this is in the back of somebody's mind, but I will say it all the same:

There will still of course be stations that do not manufacture ships/weapons/widgets, and they will have said items delivered. One of the things that always mystified me was that I could buy as many of 'x' item as I wanted. Should there not be a limit to total station storage of weapons/widgets/ships? This could be used to create 'true demand' instead of the programed demand, could it not?

Anyway, just adding a few cents.
Nov 19, 2008 Daare link
SuperMegaMynt obviously hasn't done much trading lately. Power trading is dead - profits now respond to the number of units being sold.
Nov 19, 2008 Surbius link
stackman122: "It would seem logical for a station to have a specified amount of storage space for their resources/produced goods."
Nov 24, 2008 Capoeirista link

I think it's great, this makes total sense. Can't saturate the market and makes paying attention benefit people with more immersion.
Nov 25, 2008 incarnate link
Hi. This is basically what we've been moving towards for.. years (although I appreciate the restatement and feedback :). I can't promise that it's going to be implemented in the immediate future though. There's a hell of lot of "implementation" to all of this, and testing, and dependence on other code (like, say, making sure the NPC convoys are reliable enough to have the economy depending on them). But, this is why we implemented all these things.. like NPC convoys that respond to missions which can theoretically be taken either by players or NPCs (even though they aren't visible to players at present). That's how it works already. NPCs simply aren't tied to actual station demand or contents because we've been focused on making the whole "Kourier" setup reliable. They are triggered by a mission-posting, though, which I believe is actually triggered by demand.
Nov 27, 2008 Rejected link
From my understanding, which might be flawed, manufacturing is going to become the means of production of high end goods (high profit) - i.e. X amount of ore, and X amount of commodity Y = X amount of Manufactured/Luxury Good Z, which can then be purchased and shipped to a station that has demand for said Luxury.

If NPC's are controlled by mission postings, what do you think the implications and consequences would be if we allowed players to post escort missions or procurement missions for certain commodities, which could be theoretically taken by an NPC convoy, and thus vulnerable to the same risk every convoy is subject to - being destroyed in the act. Players should be able to take these escort/procurement missions as well, but the most likely scenario would be enacted thus:

Pilot1 discovers that there is a high demand for luxury goods at Stationě though the news channel, or being part of a trade guild organization*(See Note Below)*. To create low cost Luxury Goods to maximize profit, Pilot1 decides to manufacture said Luxury Good by obtaining X cu of Denic Ore, X cu of Synthetic Diamonds and X cu of Synthetic Gem to manufacture Y cu of Luxury Goods. The pilot would have to be familiar with the needed materials, so hopefully a record book of sorts could be created, making the collection of these 'recipes' an important function of the game. The Pilot then posts 2 missions to retrieve X cu of Synthetic Diamonds, and X cu of Synthetic Gems, paying a premium to the station for posting this mission (higher premium for higher amount of requested commodity, with possibly a cap)*(See Note2 Below)*. The missions are posted to several mission boards *(Also mentioned in Note2)*, and Pilot1 hops into a mining ship to get his required ore.

Meanwhile, Pilot2 docks at an allied station and looking to make some credits takes the player created mission, and brings the required amount of Synthetic Diamonds to Pilot1's station, which gets deposited into Pilot1's station inventory (as long as they are not over cargo limit, in which case it would be transferred to the station until the player either purchases more space or creates some, with a limit on how long the commodity is held until the station confiscates it). Pilot1 returns from mining with his ore, and receives a notice that one of his missions has been completed. Now comes a tricky situation. Should Pilot1 be allowed to take his own mission and procure the necessary material? My answer is yes, because the pilot is paying a premium to post the mission, and to possibly mitigate the possible profit loss, the Pilot should be able to take his own created mission and receives the credit reward that he is therein entitled too, thus mitigating the capital loss Pilot1 took for posting the mission (this is debatable; should the pilot really receive a commission for their own mission, I think so, but i am open to suggestions).

Back to the scenario, Pilot1 takes his own mission, and retrieves X cu of Synthetic Gems, giving him all the necessary materials for to manufacture Luxury Goods. He takes the manufacturing mission, selects the good to be manufactured (possibly depending on which station the pilot is currently at) and presses the manufacture button. This would create a manufacturing mission that Pilot1 would then take and complete, removing the ingredients from his station inventory, and adding the designated amount of Luxury Goods.

Pilot1 then takes these Luxury Goods to where they are needed most (Stationě), and makes a decent profit for his work. He better hope that the need isn't fulfilled before the finishes manufacturing, or he'll have to just to make a lower profit or hold on to the good until the price rises again or is needed somewhere else.

Oh course, the more complex the good, the higher the possible profits, the higher the risk.

This is an immersive way to create a player driven economy, requiring planning, especially by an organized trade guild (TGFT = teamwork), to make the highest amount of profit in the least amount of time. This makes trading a whole lot more interesting for everyone involved.

Gray Space is an area i've neglected so far. I believe that the highest profits should be possible in grey space, but the manufacturing possibility minimum. Thus a player would manufacture in Nation Space, and brings the good down into unprotected Grey Space (maybe allowing the creation of an escort mission to bring X cu of pilot contributed commodity to Y station, with premiums on distance and amount of defensive ships, and amount of cu being transported). Pirates, being highly regarded in Grey Space, would not need to be part of any trade organization, but still have access to the same list of needs and demands by each station. Possibly, the requirement could be made that POS players have access to the demand lists of the differing conglomerates, so far as that they were POS with all factions in that conglomerate but necessarily their allies, but thus not being able to see needs and demands from allied nations. Pirates and pilots alike would join the local Grey Market to get access to the lists of the most lucrative needed commodities, giving everyone knowledge of the best routes, creating a less secure environment. The Grey Market would allow anyone to join, despite already pre-established entrance into a major factions Trade Organization. Maybe bring back the NPC pirates into grey space, and introduce major faction patrols of fringe grey space, to scan cargoes for certain designated illegal but highly profitable commodities or weapons that players would be attempting to smuggle for their higher profit margin. These goods might be harder to manufacture, and way expensive to buy at major stations. Players caught smuggling these illegals would be punished by a temp KOS that prevented entry into that faction space, and a permanent dock in related faction standings. NPC Pirates and Patrols would engage in random battles when paths crossed, making wormholes more dangerous. Players could enlist to become part of these patrols for either pirates or major factions, and thus become part of a group that would look for opposing ships, and players with offending cargo.

Note: My idea of a trade organization that would be easiest to implement would be a conglomerate of different UIT allied factions, which would share information about various stations needs and demands, requiring a good reputation with all of the factions - this would add a competition aspect to marketing, creating possibly two or three different competing conglomerations that would destroy each others convoys when they crossed in wormhole sectors and the like. Thus escorts would then gain a higher chance for random combat, making an escort more useful though multi-conglomerate systems, and adding some immersion aspects.

Of course, the Serco and the Itani would each be their own separate trade organization, that could have varying alliances with different UIT trade conglomerates. Thus the Itani could have one alliance with a certain group of factions, the Serco would have a similar alliance, and some factions could remain neutral, and have access to trade across both Itani and Serco borders, and periodically going to war with different UIT factions. In this way, UIT who have chosen a side in the war can establish themselves as allies of the Itani/Serco nation, which will become more interesting with impeding FF changes, when a Itani-favored UIT can engage with a Serco-favored UIT, or even fighting between players of different UIT factions based on ongoing wars and competition. Giving players access to see another players entire faction ratings would be essential.

Note2: Along with paying a premium just to post a mission, how about the ability to distinguish between escort missions or procurement missions. The difference being, of course, that escort missions would be posted to the main mission board, and thus costing a higher premium (reasoning being that your convoy is now receiving protection from an escort, and less likely to be compromised by a competing faction. The premium would be determined by the number of defensive ships spawned with the trade ships, no matter if an npc or player takes the mission). Player posted missions should be given a higher pay out to help promote players to actually effect the economy by taking each others missions. The player who posts to the procurement board pays a lower premium, and can request a higher amount of goods to be obtained (for an increasing price however, just a lower per cu constant modifier on the price increase compared to escort missions) but suffers from a possible longer wait time before the mission is taken by either an NPC convoy of just trade ships or a player who sees the mission on the trade mission board under procurement for that station, or delivery from another station with that good. Any station that is part of the conglomerate and its allies that has the required good would add that mission to their boards. The deliveries and procurements for player requested goods should give a higher pay out as well, and thus would need to be distinguishable on the mission board.

Your ideas are welcome, please criticize at length, I hope we can create a very realistic economy

EDIT: This is an idea for large scale manufacturing, and thus should be replicable for small scale trading, where it would simply be easier to find the commodity yourself (unless you didnt know where the commodity was currently being sold) and bring the needed amount for the small scale production purposes. The player might create a mission to mine X cu of ore, but transport the base goods himself, hoping in the process, someone or someNPC will fulfill his mission, lest he do it himself. The missions would definitely need a timer on the length of time that it remains posted, probably around 2 hours or so, maybe being able to pay a higher premium for a longer amount of time. The creation of missions that can transport large amounts of goods across the galaxy through convoys should become the backbone of Vendetta's economy. Stations would continue to create missions based on that stations needs, with all the same mechanics that trading works with now. Players would create addition missions alongside these station generated ones, for possibly the same commodity or ore, but maybe for different amounts, and of course a higher credit/cu profit.
Nov 28, 2008 PaKettle link
One way to insure a healthy economy would be to require that all the ships except the busses be built. The goal of the economy would be realistic,usefull and understandable.

A rag would need a bunch of xrite alloy for its armour and steel not to mention targetting systems and so on. In order to actually get the rag, someone or an NPC would have to mine a bunch of xith ore and take it to a station to be processed into the xrite alloy then hauled to a shipyard. only when the shipyard had enough materials would it actually produce a rag which would need to be towed to a station or picked up by the player. The price of the rag would be affected by the cost of the material which would rise and fall according to its availibility and shipping costs. Regular NPC convoys would form naturally and move materials from station to station less what players move on thier own. More player mining would lower prices and more piracy would raise them.

Personally delivering the needed materials would become a way to insure that a given ship is built and delivered. Some NPC mining and other activities would be needed to insure enough ships are availible to everyone But player input would determine the actual price so if noone does the trade or mining then ships would grow very expensive which will remove wealth from the system. If the ship prices drop too much then PVP will grow and reduce ship inventories.

Things needed:
Station inventories to limit/track/control supplies.
Towing for one or more ships. Possibly a large port item
Shipyard stations for final assembly of ships and control over economy.

For the rag you might need
200 cu of xith ore
1000 cu of ferric
20 cu of helios
40 cu of denic ore

5 targetting systems
6 thrusters
2 drive engines
1 warp engine
1 life support system
3 cooling systems

Each station would also have its own basic needs such as
10 cu of coolant per week
3 cu of food per player homed per week

These would be removed from station stores and if a station fell too low then only emergency missions to aquire needed materials would be generated untill stores were replenished.

Example a player could either mine 1000 cu's of aquean which could be converted or procure 100 cu of coolant. Otherwise the station would be shutdown and the players unable to equip thier ships. Basic needs could be most covered by NPC missions but paler intervention could cut short supply. (good long term strategy for player controlled stations ?)

Price would be determined by overall supply and the local percentage of the supply. If there was 10000 cu of xith ore in the entire universe and the local station had 9000 of it then the price would be lower then normal but if there was only a 1000 cu's and the station only had 100 cus then the price would be much higher. Demand should also play a part so that if the shipyard needs 20000 cu's to keep up with demand and only 15000 are availible then the price should really go up. IE 25% shortage inspite of it being availble. Part of this would mean keeping track of how many of each ship was being destroyed each week. Normal prices would be determined at the global level and local prices would be a plus or minus percentage of the global price.

Just a thought.
Dec 22, 2008 blacknet link
this is a super good idea, should not be that hard to structure it either. I think of all the ideas so far on any type of economy this is the best route. Problem is getting there, existing structure may have to be removed and the new put in place for that to work.
Apr 27, 2009 Alex Saule link
It's a good bit more complex in the programming, but this post offers a VERY dynamic barter trade model