Diversification of Trade Commodities, and other ideas.

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MeanSurray
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Diversification of Trade Commodities, and other ideas.

Post by MeanSurray » Fri Oct 14, 2016 1:14 pm

Currently, the amount of commodities is quite low, making trading not very interesting. Some of the most interesting possibilities offered by a procedural generated galaxy are being limited by this. There must be at least an illusion of variety in this galaxy.
To remedy this, I believe commodities should be split into subcategories, with a couple extra's added.

Metal Ores and Precious Metals should be split into new categories -> Base Metal Ores, Base Metals, Precious Metal Ores, Precious Metals, Gemstone Ores, Gemstones.
Fruits & Vegetables, Grain, Live Animals, Meat -> Fruit, Vegetables, Grains, Live Animals, Meats, Fungi.

Each category would then be assigned 2-4 items from master tables specific to that category. Some numbers of items per list I have come up with (all should be real life things)

Meats, and Corresponding Live animals (32 meats, 32 animals)
Vegetables (32)
Fruit (32)
Grains (16-24)
Fungi (16-32)
Ores and Metals (16-24, no alloys)
Gemstones and Minerals (16-32)
Alloys (32-64 kinds, all combinations of the non-alloys)

Examples: Carrots (Vegetable), Broccoli (Vegetable), Apples (Fruit), Grapes (Fruit), Truffles (Fungi), White Mushrooms (Fungi), Rice (Grain), Wheat (Grain), Beef (Meat), Chicken (Meat), Cow (Live Animal), Sheep (Live Animal)

For food items like those in the above example, each system would have a list of meats, fruits, vegetables, fungi, and grains produces. They would all be in their own categories, but where they are produced would determine their value.

Example: Earth produces Apples, and Oranges for it's fruit output. You buy some there. You then fly over to Mars, which grows Grapes, and Raspberries. You are able to sell the Apples and Oranges for a higher amount than the base price just knowing that they are not produced there. Selling those apples and oranges in another system that does not grow them at all would give you an even higher amount of money.

Earth colonized worlds could all draw from master lists of fruits, vegetables, meats (and live animals), fungi, and grains made up of real life foods. Later on, procedural food names could possibly be added for alien worlds.

Split precious metals into their own category. Add Gemstones to their own categories. Draw from lists just like fruit and vegetables. gold, silver, platinum, diamonds, “and many others” are listed in the game. More could be added, such as copper, which could possibly used to manufacture computer parts.

Unlike fruits and vegetables, since this is a smaller category, each entry (silver, gold, diamonds, sapphires) would have their own separate values. However, the same rules would stay true for trading, with metals and gems fetching higher sell prices in systems where they are not being mined (or cannot be mined by the player.

Examples: Gold (Precious Metal $1200/tn), Silver (Precious Metal $200/tn), Platinum (Precious Metal $1000/tn), Palladium (Precious Metal $650/tn), Copper (Base Metal 20/tn), Aluminum (Base Metal 5$/tn), Nickel (Base Metal $50/tn) Diamonds (Precious Gem $1200/tn), Sapphires (Precious Gem $500/tn)

Ores would obviously have to match the added metals. Alloys would now be named as well, being combinations of the metals.

More individual ore types, including sulfur, and silicon. Those could be used in crafting/manufacturing needs for economy system.

These two things alone, with foods, and ores being separated into slightly more complex systems would do a lot towards making the game world feel immersive, and diverse, as well as making trading more dynamic feeling.

Narcotics are another thing that could be separated down into subcategories, with individual drugs available in certain places. The reason for doing this is to make the criminal underworld more interesting, as well as the culture differences between factions. In real life, different cultures ban certain specific types of drugs, while allowing others.

In the future, these systems could possibly even be augmented with procedural alien plants, and animals, used as foods. Those could be discovered and recovered by away teams, or even herded/farmed if the player sets up a base there.


Edit:

Each category would have it's own set of properties, effecting where that specific commodity can possibly appear. Things that come from plants would take into account the average temperature, and atmosphere. Metals and gems would be distributed based on star type. Some animals would have varying levels of lawlessness, which would then be interpreted by the faction/religion rules.

A list of 32 animals:
Cows
Chickens
Pigs
Ducks
Sheep
Deer
Rabbit
Goose
Turkey
Goat
Horse
Hippopotamus
Elephant
Rhinoceros
Salmon
Carp
Tilapia
Catfish
Cod
Tuna
Trout
Bass
Sturgeon
Lobster
Crab
Shrimp
Oysters
Clams
Mussels
Turtles
Dolphin
Chimpanzee

Possibilities of this system combined with systems proposed by other players:

Alloy factory on a player base. Player runs between two systems to harvest the two required metals.

Buying some Chimpanzee's in a far out system, return flight to sell in an illegal system.

Carrot crops fail due to cold winter.
Last edited by MeanSurray on Fri Oct 14, 2016 2:03 pm, edited 3 times in total.

FluffyFreak
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Re: Diversification of Trade Commodities, and other ideas.

Post by FluffyFreak » Fri Oct 14, 2016 1:45 pm

How is having, to take just one part of your examples, many kinds of fruit to trade with different system better than having one kind of fruit to trade with different systems?
The argument can be made that you're already trading many kinds of fruit, it's just that breaking it down into specific kinds of fruit on the trading page is of no value or fun.

Likewise with banning things, is it interesting that some system ban animal meant, vs banning Dolphin? The ban is the interesting to circumvent, the specific thing being banned is not.
We could add the entire periodic table, and all of the ores and alloys, but that just means now things to trade through the UI, it doesn't actaully make trading any more fun. It might even make it less fun because now you've got hundreds or thousands of items there...

More is not always better.

impaktor
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Re: Diversification of Trade Commodities, and other ideas.

Post by impaktor » Sat Oct 15, 2016 7:59 am

Currently, the amount of commodities is quite low, making trading not very interesting.
I disagree with this. Trading being un-interesting has nothing to do with us not having enough commodities. We have more than anyone of us can list from the top of our heads, and that is enough. What is important is that we have commodities spanning all price ranges, which we do.

The direction we/I want to go with market is:
  • Make it not broken, i.e. make it profitable compared to doing missions, and to actually afford other ships through trade
  • price is correlated with stock
  • price (and stock) is dynamic, coupled with planet production, consumption, inter-planetary/stellar trade, etc. Price fluctuations propagate trough neighbouring systems.
Especially for the last point we don't want to spam the market place with enormous amounts of cruft. Instead keep a reasonable sized market palace, lest simulating the market price for all commodities in all stations will explode to a huge task.

I'm vehemently against making things more complex before balancing the complexity we already have. Complexity is not equal to more fun. Pioneer has a lot of aspects that are un-balanced, or in need of serious re-work. Economy is my favourite thing to complain about (and do nothing about, yet), but what you suggest is making it even more complex, which would make balancing it well completely beyond our scope.

The thing from your suggestions I'm thinking about is having unique commodities to a system e.g. "Earth apples", "Clocks from Sirius". Would they always sell for more in other systems? Seems like a safe trade then, so not that interesting? Not sure it is worth the amount of work that would go into implementing it.

Sorry to sound negative, don't take it personal, and thanks for the suggestions.

nozmajner
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Re: Diversification of Trade Commodities, and other ideas.

Post by nozmajner » Sat Oct 15, 2016 3:42 pm

Yeah, on a first look, more stuff seemed to mean more fun to me, but these guys have a quite important point: More != better.
As impaktor approaches from the top-down perspective: The main question is, what's the intention of trade?
Where do we want to bring that aspect of the game? How much is Pioneer about trading at all?
How many people would be even interested in that kind of finely grained trading? How many of them would want to actually fly the ships, or just manage the things? (X2 and co allowed you to do that, but it felt very bad to me).
For me for example, trading was never really interesting; if I would want to play spreadsheet, I'd open up google docs, and play around with the ship balance, or subscribe to EVE. I traded like two times in E:D, and gave up. I gathered enough money in the Sol-Barnards run in Frontier to get a better ship, and then never traded again. But that's my POV, who never really enjoyed trading at all in like any game. Hmm, there was one game I enjoyed the trading/hauling aspect: OpenTTD/Transport Tycoon. But I liked them mostly because I got to build complex railroad networks I guess.

From my outside pow, a dynamic economy would make it more fun, especially if other events would happen dynamically, that would affect the economy, so tried and true routes might go away after a while. And they could get over-saturated by AI pilots for example, so the player should be on the lookout for more profitable runs/deals all the time. I'd imagine it like the Cut-Me-Own-Throat Dibbler of Discworld: a shady guy who's always on the lookout for some hefty opportunity. Or you could/had to do stuff related to cargo, like avoiding inspections, so you don't have to pay fines/customs fees, or making sure that you don't crush your fragile cargo with to harsh accelerations for example.
From one point, this kind of free trading felt strange to me in games. It feels too easy, you just load up then go. No paperwork, no fees, no nothing. By that logic, everybody would haul stuff in their commute home. The cargo run mission way seems more "logical" to me, and could allow for more varied game-play, if there would be events that could happen, like a late delivery destination change or so.

impaktor
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Re: Diversification of Trade Commodities, and other ideas.

Post by impaktor » Sat Oct 15, 2016 4:05 pm

I enjoy trade, if it works, thus I wouldn't trade in Pioneer, as missions reward me much more money.

I do love trade in other games, like Frontier, and other space games, where I get the feeling of getting "richer", and getting closer to my goal of buying that "cool space ship". Especially if I can play the market, knowing something has happened that will create a lucrative trade opportunity. In Pioneer I would like to have that as well, especially when starting out and you might not get that much doing missions, because you're not trusted, and your ship isn't fast enough or deadly enough to fly the more rewarding missions.

I think Pioneer culls players based on three main properties:
1. The space nerd: Newtonian physics / focus on realism
2. The nostalgic: Frontier clone heritage
3. The poor/idealist: Low end computer users, GNU/Linux, and FOSS enthusiasts

As long as we only make stuff better than Frontier, (like better UI, more information, more missions, more/nicer ships and buildings), we are not in any risk of angering the "type 2" player.

The same goes for combat. I enjoy it if I can do it, but in pioneer I'm so shit at it I don't ever do any combat. In Frontier I flew a lot of combat missions. Used to do a lot of military missions.

clausimu
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Re: Diversification of Trade Commodities, and other ideas.

Post by clausimu » Mon Oct 17, 2016 7:56 am

As long as we only make stuff better than Frontier, (like better UI, more information, more missions, more/nicer ships and buildings), we are not in any risk of angering the "type 2" player.
I would be disappointed if that is where we'll settle. I know we all nibble at it in our spare time. But I do continue to hope that someone (much smarter than me) will make the market dynamic and will make factions come alive.

MeanSurray - I also have been thinking about your proposal. I tend to agree with the others to some extend. The top priority should be to make the market dynamic and balanced. Beyond that I think you are hitting on a shortcoming that needs to be solved: making systems special/unique. But why not use the commodities we have, understand them as "class names", and turn things around a little? Earth could be famous for its apples (as you said) - but where? Only in Barnard's Star and Wolf 538, where Earth apples are the fad for rich people at the moment. So "fruit" from earth/sol get a big price there. In the same way Gliese 459 tablet computers with holographic displays are the latest thing you have to have on Earth, so "computers" from Gliese 459 get you big bucks if sold on Earth. If you knew those back stories you would not have to have actual apples and holographic tablet computers as separate commodities, I think, to make things unique.

But as impaktor said - don't be discouraged by the resistance to your ideas. You are asking for a major change and that will naturally cause resistance.

FluffyFreak
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Re: Diversification of Trade Commodities, and other ideas.

Post by FluffyFreak » Mon Oct 17, 2016 1:44 pm

You could generate items.
If you use the point of origin (SystemPath) along with the kind of item (technology, industrial machinery, agricultural) and that of the system you're visiting to determine it's worth. Then the distance from it's point of origin would make it more valuable, but only in the kind of economies where they're harder to get and the population is wealthy/large enough for there to be a demand.

An agricultural planet might not care for Earth apples, but an industrial/technological one might. The Factions involved might also have an effect, some might ban all produce from Federation systems making your "Earth Apples" illegal imports.

General items that you can get anywhere will never have much value, like Iron, or metals common in asteroids or airless worlds. They can just be mined in almost any system hence the fairly uniform value of them throughout inhabited space.
Unique items proceduraly generated might be a slightly better option though.

I'm not veto'ing (I can't for one thing) your ideas MeanSurray, just challenging them as I really disagree with the idea of having more of them without some solid reasoning.

kennworl
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Re: Diversification of Trade Commodities, and other ideas.

Post by kennworl » Tue Jul 18, 2017 11:05 am

Just found this and thought I would poke it with a stick.
I loved the original elite for the exploration and trading. Not so much the combat, although that was simple enough for me to cope with. Many moons later, I got on to the X series by Egosoft. The trading was the best bit of that game. Why? There were about the same number of commodities on the market as in Pioneer, and the names didn't even make sense, so that wasn't it. No, I liked it because of the factories that actually consumed the goods I transported to make things that I could then transport somewhere else to make something else. If there was a lack of consumables then production slowed, prices skewed accordingly throughout the sector and maybe neighbouring sectors. What you did made a difference. You could strategize and create your own opportunities for wealth. It was a thinking game. You could ignore all of that if you wanted to, or you could take it to the nth degree with your own factories.

Now I'm not suggesting we turn Pioneer into X3, but a balanced, dynamic market would add immeasurably. I don't know to what extent market forces have been implemented in Pioneer, and given the scale of the procedural universe it would be rather difficult to get right, consistently, but you dont need a lot of fluff to make it interesting. Just implement it like an ecosystem that the player can influence, and a lot of players will be very happy.

As for challenges to ideas put up on this forum, my advice is to embrace it and evaluate it objectively. There is lots of wisdom from the experienced people here. If you still are in love with your idea then pull down the source and make your own version with your ideas. That's the approach I'm taking. My $0.02

FluffyFreak
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Re: Diversification of Trade Commodities, and other ideas.

Post by FluffyFreak » Wed Jul 19, 2017 3:01 pm

Pinging impaktor since he's always been interested in the economy in Pioneer :)

impaktor
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Re: Diversification of Trade Commodities, and other ideas.

Post by impaktor » Thu Jul 20, 2017 6:15 am

Yeah, I saw, and I agree with kennworl,although, my own intention to attack the problem has fallen down my to-do list quite a bit, as are pioneer-stuff in general. But I'm always happy to be a back seat driver, and watch others work for me :).

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