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[Josh] Monday, April 30, 2018

#1
Monday, April 30, 2018

Hi :wave:

I had so much progress last week that I felt it would be unwise to wait until this Friday to share. To that end, I started writing a log last Friday. Sadly for me, happily for you, it was too long to finish, so I finished it today! Hope you enjoy :)


Flow-Based Economic Simulation

Last time, I discussed economic volatility, and how simplistic models & AI can (and do) cause instability and constant cycles of overshooting, correction, over-correction, and on and on. Since then, I've implemented historical data tracking for market items, which allows AI agents to see and act on data aggregated over various time scales.

However, while giving more thought to colony dynamics and their relationship to LOD economy simulation (as mentioned last time, they are really the same problem), I began to see the whole problem in a new light. A day later, the economy was humming along with a stability and robustness never-before-seen in LT's history!

The insight is simple: it's easier to balance rates than absolute quantities. If you're watching the food supply of a colony, you'll need to observe it for a while to know whether there's a net surplus or deficit, especially if food is subject to lots of noisy processes happening on lots of different timescales (and almost everything interesting is). If, on the other hand, you could see all of those processes listed out with their 'average rate' (in food/day, for example), all you would need to do is sum those rates and you'd know whether, in the long run, there would be a surplus or deficit.

But it gets much better than that. Let's think of the entire economy as a flow network -- for a concrete analogy, a system of water pipes (or a circuit, whichever you prefer). At each 'node' (a colony, a station, ...), we can keep track of the flow of economic quantities. Perhaps colony A -- a densely-populated urban capital -- requires 300 tons of grain/day. So we keep track of a flow of grain, at A it has value -300. Think of this like a 'negative pressure' at A (a drain/sink). 10 different traders, each capable of moving (round-trip) 20 tons of grain/day, decide to haul grain from colony B -- a rural and primarily agricultural establishment -- which has a surplus of +200 tons grain/day, to A. Now we update net flow values: at A, we go from -300 to -100. At B, we go from +200 to 0. Obviously, this is a 'good decision' on the traders' part, because they have significantly reduced the total pressure in the economy, bringing it closer to perfect supply/demand equilibrium. Just like current flows naturally between voltage gradients, just as water flows naturally between pressure gradients, so too do economic quantities flow naturally between supply/demand pressure gradients. This whole analogy borders on common sense. And common sense tends to work well when one can find it :)

The most obvious concern that we might raise about this technique is that it heavily depends on accurate estimation of the result of various economic activities. If traders compute a flow value of +100 per unit time but are only able to deliver +10 in reality, the economy will settle into a wildly-inefficient equilibrium wherein markets are constantly understocked due to what we might playfully interpret as a 'pervasive overoptimism concerning how much can be delivered in a certain amount of time' on the part of the AI. ([clairvoyance] 'Joke' about Josh being a flow-based AI with this very issue :roll: [/clairvoyance]) The solution to this is two-fold: first, use real math to estimate things. The AI in LT is already quite accurate in its ability to estimate job impacts. It will virtually never get things wrong by more than a factor of 2, much less by an order of magnitude. Second, to refine accuracy even further, we can compute a corrective term for the calculated flow value based on market data! We can split the supply/demand terms in our flow calculations and use them as follows: suppose a market has computed flow of 15 supply of death sticks, 10 demand for death sticks (per day). Then we expect, on average, for market data to show about 10 trade volume per day, and about +5 total supply volume. If market data tells us that the average trade volume is 50 sticks/day with 0 change in total supply, we can guess that our flow calculation is probably wrong and that ~50 supply / ~50 demand is a better estimate for death sticks. Also, with that many death sticks trading per day, the folks at this market clearly need to go home and rethink their lives.

It's worth noting that, even with 100% accurate AI estimates, calculating flow corrections is still necessary since the player can have a sustained impact on the economy, but does not report this impact to market nodes like the AI does.

Anywho, that's a lot of theory talk, but...does it work? You bet! It works really, really well. In my simulations, the flow technique quickly finds optimal equilibria, even in complex systems where the optimal economic structure is quite complicated. What's more, since the AI is always thinking about how to optimize the flow / minimize the 'pressure' of the economy, we actually see some interesting dynamics play out as we change the number of assets operating in a system. Watch!

In the following simulation, 1000 ships is simply not enough to saturate the total water demand of 8 colonies (their demand is kept constant for the purposes of this simulation; in the real simulation some of those colonies would die out since the economy can't support them all). Still, the AI applies some fluid-dynamics-like reasoning to try to make sure that the colonies are each 'minimally undersupplied.' The resulting equilibrium is quite nontrivial, with some colonies being supplied exclusively through trade, while those in proximity to ice mining locations are supplied directly:

Image

(Note: I have a colony selected, and you can see the market EMAs (exponential moving averages) for water there; notice how the price has settled nicely to the 5-6 credit range and has remained fairly stable through most of history. Just as one would expect, the stability of these flow-based economies is crushingly-superior to my previous methodology!)

Notice how the AI totally ignores two entire ice fields, which it has (correctly) determined are essentially wastes of time in this system. Of course, when we apply more factors to the simulation, like diminishing returns for overpopulated fields, piracy, AI personality, and the like, we will see more interesting dynamics.

I've also introduced variation in size, speed, and cargo capacity to the simulation. The AI correctly takes things like top speed & cargo capacity into account when computing speculative flow values for activities like mining or trading, so in some cases you can actually see interesting patterns emerge from these considerations. In fact, in this shot, you can see one such pattern! Look at the four trade hubs, and the three trade routes connecting them. The traders are basically all tiny! Look at the miners. On average, the trade ships are smaller than the mining ships. Almost all of the trade ships are the minimum size, whereas we see a large variance in miners. I did not code anything that would directly cause or even suggest this behavior. So why does it happen? Given the various constants of this simulation, the AI has reasoned that certain ship properties are more important for trading, while others are more important for mining. Mining ships must sit idly as they extract water from ice. For them, speed is less important than cargo capacity...at least, that's my spot-analysis of what's going on. Note that this isn't indicative of any objective truth -- given different 'universal constants' in the simulation, I would expect the situation to change entirely. The point, though, is that the AI has taken the specifics of the simulation and figured out how to craft optimal behavior with them. Nice.

Now, if we crank up to 2000 ships, the situation changes:

Image

The colonies can now be supplied adequately, so there is less pressure on the AI to choose optimal water-supplying jobs. In fact, remember that the goal is to minimize differences in supply/demand (net flow) -- so the AI is going to (again, correctly!) select 'bad' jobs for some ships, because doing so ensures that colonies are not flooded with surpluses! This is the only reason for choosing to mine in the far ice fields, which you can see some ships are now doing. It's actually interesting to note that the AI is not applying 'rational capitalist' behavior here, but rather 'rational collectivist' behavior; some units are performing intentionally-suboptimal work in order that the whole can be optimal. Philosophical arguments aside, this works out well for our purposes of simulating a predominantly-AI-driven economy :geek:

Finally, in a 10,000-ship simulation, the economy is completely over-saturated:

Image

Every possible job is seeing heavy activity. Trade develops along most potential trade routes; mining is in full swing at every location. The analogy to a network of water pipes with way too much water flowing in is apt. We can see the spray of ships here saturating the bursting economy in a very literal way.

In summary: economic volatility is gone, equilibrium is here, and the AI is generally much more capable of setting up well-structured economies that take into account all of the nuances of the star system and game constants. Long live flow-based economics \o/ As I finish more game mechanics and implement the corresponding AI jobs for them, we will continue to see a richer and richer spectrum of emergent behaviors and economic configurations.


Information, Discovery, and Non-Omniscient AI

With one problem solved, I moved on to the next and began implementing information and discovery mechanics. I've already written quite a bit, so I won't go as deeply into this work, but I'm certain there will be more to come. At this point, I've implemented the fundamentals: entities can be made 'discoverable,' and if they are, a list of players that know about the entity is tracked. Furthermore, for the first time ever, the high-level AI is respecting this limitation on information, which means that an AI agent must know about a zone before it can begin mining there, must know about a market before it can trade there, must know about a wormhole before it can compute a course that uses said wormhole, etc!

This is a very exciting step toward delivering on one of the promises that's near and dear to my heart: exploration as a real, profitable job. With AI players restricted and only able to use known information in their high-level planning, the ability to profit from discoveries becomes a natural (even essential) game mechanic.

When discussing information mechanics in LT, I am frequently asked the question: "so that means that if you discover a new wormhole and sell the location to AI, the major trade routes, maybe even the entire economy, could change completely?" and of course my answer is: "You bet" :) Indeed, we're so deprived of this lovely dynamic behavior in single player games that something as simple as AI responding to new information seems downright magical. Like so many things, it is, in truth, far simpler to implement than people imagine :nerd:

So let's have some proof of that answer, yes? Here we have a 1500 agent simulation in the same system shown above. This time, however, restricted information is turned on. AI players are initially given information of all colonies, but only one ice field. Obviously, this makes the initial equilibrium very, very different from the one shown above, in which the AI knew about all fields.

Image

As expected, we see a completely new structure arise due to the information constraints. Again, the structure consists of some colonies being directly-supplied mining hubs, while others are connected through a trade network.

Now, I hit a button to give the AI information of all fields in the system. I have been a very busy explorer, mapping out these 5 other fields, which I now sell all at once to have maximal impact on the economy :) Shortly after the new information has been revealed to the AI, the economy begins to break down and disperse. It is preparing to change shape....

Image

And after a while, as expected, it comes back to the equilibrium shown in the previous section, since the two simulations are now operating with the same information:

Image

Voila! As desired, the discovery of new information can completely re-shape the economy! There's a lot more to talk about when it comes to this mechanic: what information does the AI have to begin with? How often does it discover new information without player interference? Will there be anything new under the sun by the time I arrive? It's too much to discuss at the moment. But I have given much thought to these questions this week and have solid plans for how most of this is going to work.

---

Just for fun, let's have one final shot with 100 tiny planets. You could imagine that they're stations instead of planets. Let's just see what the AI can come up with in an unrepresentatively-complex system:

Image

Amazing :shock: The AI creates a network not unlike several little hearts pumping blood through arteries, forming a mining 'core' around each ice field, then developing trade routes that fan out to reach the far colonies. All of this behavior is emergent and self-organizing. Why does each colony 'belong' to one and only one 'core'? Why do cores structure themselves like little spanning trees? Why do we sometimes see a far colony supplied by both a trade route to a near colony and direct mining from the core (and why do these 'far' mining operations always seem to be conducted by only the largest ships?) In each case, I'm sure we could spend quite some effort analyzing the situation and uncover why the choice makes sense, which pieces of the simulation have contributed to it being optimal, and so on. For me it is already enough to see this behavior and be happy that we have Real Stuff™ driving the game :geek: :thumbup:

Capital expenditure was my final todo item from last time, and, while I've developed some theory that I think will work nicely, I haven't yet implemented it and thus won't talk about it in this log. After all, I've already gone on for quite some time. But I will give you a little teaser and say: flow-based economics makes capital expenditure much more tractable and even affords a formulaic way to compute the best investment -- be it weapon upgrades, a new research project, or the construction of a new station -- at any point in time. It's still a challenging problem, but is much easier with flow information.

Given that I've spent a fair bit of time on this log, I'm not certain that I'll be posting as early as this Friday. We'll see; if I have lots of exciting developments then you'll hear from me again this week, otherwise count on next week (EDIT: bah, I need another week...apologies). In the mean time, I'm also going to be getting a KS update out this week (but it won't really be exciting for those who have followed the logs).

Farewell o/

~Josh
“Whether you think you can, or you think you can't--you're right.” ~ Henry Ford
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Re: [Josh] Monday, April 30, 2018

#2
That's really very cool. It seems to me that the underlying mechanism is defined by a differential equation system. This is in line with the discussion about rates of change rather than quantities. It would be interesting to see if one could derive a generic set of equations from this, and determine the stability of that system along with equilibrium points.

On a separate but related note, the way the AI ensures stability seems to be, ultimately, with a proportionality controller, operating on rates. I wonder if you could make it a full controller with integral (oh man, they've been producing at surplus for a really long time now...) or derivative (that surplus is dropping fast!) capabilities... unless you've already put them in!
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Re: [Josh] Monday, April 30, 2018

#3
And I remember we discussed flows many, many years ago. It seems that some suggestions are finding their way into LT, one way or the other :lol:

As a side note, those simulations make me think that LT can be a basis for a really, really detailed and well-simulated 4X real-time strategy. Like Stellaris, but with actual economy driving your empire :lol:

Great work, I'm happy to see some gameplay starting to come back into the game! :wave:

Edit: I can practically see how well-travelled trade routes will be getting navigation buoys first, and full-blown trade lanes later, and the impact it'd have on the system!
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Survivor of the Josh Parnell Blackout of 2015.
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Re: [Josh] Monday, April 30, 2018

#5
Scytale wrote:
Mon Apr 30, 2018 2:18 pm
That's really very cool. It seems to me that the underlying mechanism is defined by a differential equation system. This is in line with the discussion about rates of change rather than quantities. It would be interesting to see if one could derive a generic set of equations from this, and determine the stability of that system along with equilibrium points.

On a separate but related note, the way the AI ensures stability seems to be, ultimately, with a proportionality controller, operating on rates. I wonder if you could make it a full controller with integral (oh man, they've been producing at surplus for a really long time now...) or derivative (that surplus is dropping fast!) capabilities... unless you've already put them in!
You're absolutely right, the whole idea is just solving at differential level rather than explicitly :D

That's interesting, I did not think about it in full generality (integral and d2dt). The integral term is kind of what I was getting at with using market data to compute a correction. I'm skeptical that other terms would provide much benefit in full generality -- the whole framework is designed with 'constant expected d/dt' in mind to ensure stability with rates alone. But this is an interesting idea, nonetheless, to keep in mind as I add more jobs and economic processes. It will be interesting to see if there are some processes that simply cannot be adequately framed in constant (expected) rates. Thanks for bringing it up in any case :thumbup:

0111narwhalz wrote:
Mon Apr 30, 2018 2:27 pm
I should've known oscillations would be damped with derivatives. And you seem to also have an integral term in there (flow adjustments).
Very nice to see information mechanics in as well. Any plans for AI appraisal of information value?
Yes, information value I am rolling in with capital expenditure. It's of the exact same nature and can use the same general reasoning framework: "if I spend X, Y will happen, and I estimate that this will let me extract Z additional pressure from the total economy." Z is the difficult part: the hard problem of large, one-time expenditures is trying to work out what the net result will be in a complicated economy (hard in real-life too!) This is the main thrust of the capital expenditure reasoning problem. it's all about predicting gains when we make a (major) change to the economic system. Whether that change is having knowledge about something or introducing a new asset, it's the same problem for the AI. I do not have a full solution for this yet...give it time :nerd:

outlander wrote:
Mon Apr 30, 2018 2:22 pm
Edit: I can practically see how well-travelled trade routes will be getting navigation buoys first, and full-blown trade lanes later, and the impact it'd have on the system!
Yes! It is already interesting to watch the economy 'interpolate' between equilibria when something like a discovery happens. It will be very, very interesting to watch it develop over time when todo item #3 is implemented and the AI can introduce major new piece to the system.
“Whether you think you can, or you think you can't--you're right.” ~ Henry Ford
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Re: [Josh] Monday, April 30, 2018

#7
You sunk my battleship. :ghost:

This looks great Josh, flow rate of goods is definitely the way to go. Especially if you can provide the flow rate over different time scales all at once.
Eg: Capital ship parts might not be used per day, but per year they would. So an AI could look at the average over a yearly period and dedicate a small amount of production off for it. But only look to keep a small stockpile since it'll likely last a year.

When a war starts and Capital production is pumped up, that same AI can now drop even more investment into the manufacture to cover it, and when the war ends, they can shift it away and still keep just a tiny trickle of production afterwards.
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Toba - A Development Dump
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Re: [Josh] Monday, April 30, 2018

#9
Hey Josh - this is very cool and exciting! Although I'm sure implementing this in practice is different from just messing with matrices in classes, I believe that this idea is actually fairly well-explored; in fact, unless I'm misremembering my linear algebra. it sounds like you've done something similar to pagerank; it sounds like the economy is just attempting to find an eigenstate of its Markov process. I don't know if this sort of representation is helpful here, but it's definitely how I'd think about this sort of problem. On the other hand, pagerank mostly exists for finding properties of a static internet rather than a fairly dynamic economy - so this may not be relevant after all. Regardless, there's lots of cool math happening here so this was definitely fun to think about! It would be cool to hear if you do/are planning to use any sorts of fancy variational methods to get everything humming smoothly.

(For those of you who don't know, this boils down to representing the state of the economy as one long vector, and then defining a matrix A such that Av represents one "time-step" in the economy. Then we find a vector v such that Av = v; in other words, the economy doesn't change from time to time)
"The chances of getting picked up by another ship within those thirty seconds are approximately 3,720 to 1."
"Never tell me the odds!"
Intentional misquotes are very exciting.
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Re: [Josh] Monday, April 30, 2018

#10
Couple questions about the discovery mechanic:
When you sell information, every AI and it's dog learns it? Or will we be able to sell information to select AI factions, groups, or individual ships?

Will the AI be capable of exploration and scouting to make discoveries themselves?

If discoveries are "owned" by my faction, and individual AI in my faction can also "own" this information, if I disband the faction, or if there's a way that an AI leaves the faction, will they keep this knowledge and be able to spread it or sell it themselves??

And in regards to the AI economy:
Doesn't it seem a bit unrealistic if the AI is too smart in regards to knowledge of the economy and how to optimize it? It almost seems too perfect and optimized. Or will there be "dumber" AI that won't catch on as quick to changes/discoveries. Right now it seems like every NPC/AI is connected to the same hive mind in regards to knowledge and trade, which kind of puts them all more against player than each other in a way, doesn't it?
Post

Re: [Josh] Monday, April 30, 2018

#11
Ateerix wrote:
Mon Apr 30, 2018 6:07 pm
Couple questions about the discovery mechanic:
1. When you sell information, every AI and it's dog learns it? Or will we be able to sell information to select AI factions, groups, or individual ships?

2. Will the AI be capable of exploration and scouting to make discoveries themselves?

3. If discoveries are "owned" by my faction, and individual AI in my faction can also "own" this information, if I disband the faction, or if there's a way that an AI leaves the faction, will they keep this knowledge and be able to spread it or sell it themselves??

And in regards to the AI economy:
4. Doesn't it seem a bit unrealistic if the AI is too smart in regards to knowledge of the economy and how to optimize it? It almost seems too perfect and optimized. Or will there be "dumber" AI that won't catch on as quick to changes/discoveries. Right now it seems like every NPC/AI is connected to the same hive mind in regards to knowledge and trade, which kind of puts them all more against player than each other in a way, doesn't it?

1. No, information is tracked separately for each AI player. An AI player can control any number of assets. In this simulation, I was testing with only a single AI player who owns all the ships, so when I add/take away information, all ships can respond to it because the same player is controlling them. But separation of knowledge is already implemented and so we can already support faction/group/individual-specific knowledge. In the game, it will work as you expect: selling information to a faction will add it to the leader's information, and so the faction will act on it (but only that faction). Also, dogs are not a planned feature for 1.0 :roll:

2. Yes. I am working out the theory for a scouting job type; it is a planned AI behavior. I have not worked out exactly how it fits into the flow system, but this is one of those "I've given a lot of thought to it this week" bits. Scouting is a lot like patrolling. I think most economic activities will contribute to a 'demand' for things like information discovery and security.

3. Information sharing is a difficult point and I've yet to work it out, but my intuition is that they will not keep the information. Information that is given to you as a result of employment, mission contracts, alliances, etc. is likely to be implemented as a 'link' that lasts only as long as the employment/contract/alliance.

4. Yes, but it'll all be less 'perfect' when we introduce things like AI personality vectors (causing the AI to 'irrationally' weight certain jobs higher than others), sampling-based job selection rather than exhaustive search, etc etc. There are plenty of ways to break a perfect system, much harder to get to the perfect system in the first place, so while testing I keep it nice and clean like this.

jokegred wrote:
Mon Apr 30, 2018 4:30 pm
Hey Josh - this is very cool and exciting! Although I'm sure implementing this in practice is different from just messing with matrices in classes, I believe that this idea is actually fairly well-explored; in fact, unless I'm misremembering my linear algebra. it sounds like you've done something similar to pagerank; it sounds like the economy is just attempting to find an eigenstate of its Markov process. I don't know if this sort of representation is helpful here, but it's definitely how I'd think about this sort of problem. On the other hand, pagerank mostly exists for finding properties of a static internet rather than a fairly dynamic economy - so this may not be relevant after all. Regardless, there's lots of cool math happening here so this was definitely fun to think about! It would be cool to hear if you do/are planning to use any sorts of fancy variational methods to get everything humming smoothly.

(For those of you who don't know, this boils down to representing the state of the economy as one long vector, and then defining a matrix A such that Av represents one "time-step" in the economy. Then we find a vector v such that Av = v; in other words, the economy doesn't change from time to time)

That's interesting! I have never encountered this in my studies but I can see immediately that economic equilibrium is an eigenstate of a flow system. For quite a while I was interested in spectral graph theory, and this strikes me as intimately related. This simulation is essentially an iterative solver, circumventing the need for a closed solution. But it could be interesting to have a fast way to solve the system analytically (in fact, a fast approximation of the equilibrium is exactly what I need to get capital expenditure working effectively...). Thanks for the ideas :thumbup:
“Whether you think you can, or you think you can't--you're right.” ~ Henry Ford
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Re: [Josh] Monday, April 30, 2018

#12
Collapsing... under weight of... awesomeness overload -- must... get to... utility belt....

:D

I love this update and want to have its babies. It seems to be right at the sweet spot for everyone involved: we get a progress report on an important/fun feature, and Josh gets to talk about some of the technical fun that went into figuring this out. So much win!

A few quick thoughts:


1. A single resource: water.

I feel like it might be worth pointing out, if I'm correct, that all of these simulations are operating on only a single resource. The only thing these ships are moving around is water. So the connections that form between asteroids and colonies (mining), and between colonies and each other (trade), are emergent effects for satisfying only a single need.

Obviously that makes sense for testing new code. What I'm thinking for later is that these emergent connections should become much less diffuse, and probably much larger across space, once multiple resources (and maybe constructed products?) are being generated. Certainly it's right to focus during development on a single resource; I'm not disagreeing with that at all. I'm just looking forward to seeing how these graphs change -- and the resulting gameplay and storytelling opportunities -- as a wide array of resources and products become available for crafting and trading.


2. Level of goal-seeking -- system vs. faction vs. individual.

JoshParnell wrote:
Mon Apr 30, 2018 1:55 pm
It's actually interesting to note that the AI is not applying 'rational capitalist' behavior here, but rather 'rational collectivist' behavior; some units are performing intentionally-suboptimal work in order that the whole can be optimal. Philosophical arguments aside, this works out well for our purposes of simulating a predominantly-AI-driven economy :geek:

Important philosophical arguments aside, I fully agree with starting here... but whether it emerges from NPC personality implementation or has to be hard-coded, I'd hope that at some point different NPC factions will be capable of preferring different levels of goal-seeking.

For purposes of getting this stuff working, a top-level satisfaction goal of globally minimizing surpluses and deficits is fine. What I'm hoping is that this global optimization, whose success depends on the econ AI function having magically perfect knowledge of all assets and needs, exists only (if at all) in very isolated areas of the game universe. Other parts of the game universe should have less global satisfaction functions, where knowledge is less perfect, so that there are pockets of very highly optimized economic activity in a sea of poorly optimized traffic.

The interesting thing to watch here is whether a globally-optimized economy might be effective at a consistent but relatively slow rate of economic progress, while an economy that's free to have pockets of "rational capitalist" activity actually winds up progressing more rapidly as its inventions diffuse into the larger world.


3. "Information, Discovery, and Non-Omniscient AI"

This sounds exactly like a title I would write for a theorycrafting thread. :lol:

JoshParnell wrote:
Mon Apr 30, 2018 1:55 pm
Will there be anything new under the sun by the time I arrive?

YOU'RE READING MY MIND.

That's literally one of the questions I was thinking. I'll guess that enabling suboptimal reasoning will leave room (to different degrees in different places) for creative production by the player. But it'll be interesting to see how this is accomplished in the actual game.


4. Network/Graph Theory

JoshParnell wrote:
Mon Apr 30, 2018 1:55 pm
The AI creates a network not unlike several little hearts pumping blood through arteries, forming a mining 'core' around each ice field, then developing trade routes that fan out to reach the far colonies. All of this behavior is emergent and self-organizing. Why does each colony 'belong' to one and only one 'core'? Why do cores structure themselves like little spanning trees? Why do we sometimes see a far colony supplied by both a trade route to a near colony and direct mining from the core (and why do these 'far' mining operations always seem to be conducted by only the largest ships?) In each case, I'm sure we could spend quite some effort analyzing the situation and uncover why the choice makes sense, which pieces of the simulation have contributed to it being optimal, and so on. For me it is already enough to see this behavior and be happy that we have Real Stuff™ driving the game :geek: :thumbup:

Synchronicity: earlier today I discovered a wonderful little interactive visualization of how information spreads virally -- or not -- through a networked system of nodes, given different connections and rules for activation. The 100-station simulation, and its self-contained "star" networks, reminds me very strongly of the unbridged networks in the visualization: under what conditions can bridges form (and collapse), and how do they affect the spread of information?

(Actually, now that I think about it this might be germane to part of my own game I'm slowly developing, which features multi-star civilizations that need to add and remove political and trade connections as these civs expand, contract, and come into contact with each other. This Internet thing might have some value after all.)


4. Where does the functionality for creating, processing, and ending projects stand?

I think I can see that capital expenditures is some necessary AI for NPCs to be able to figure out which projects to create. My question is more about the mechanics of projects -- is this already done? If not, is it simple enough that it can be left for later? or so vital that it merits prioritization?



As always, no criticisms are implied in any of these questions. I'm just curious.

Thank you again for this update, Josh. Fun!
Post

Re: [Josh] Monday, April 30, 2018

#15
JoshParnell wrote:
Mon Apr 30, 2018 1:55 pm
Monday, April 30, 2018

what we might playfully interpret as a 'pervasive overoptimism concerning how much can be delivered in a certain amount of time' on the part of the AI. ([clairvoyance] 'Joke' about Josh being a flow-based AI with this very issue :roll: [/clairvoyance])

~Josh
Oh Joshy-pooh, fear not, you're doing excellent work now, and we're all loving it. :clap:
(as in Winnie the Pooh, just in case anyone's mind is in the gutter)

It is truly excellent seeing these turn of events, and it is something I have forgotten we used to enjoy (and probably take for granted) all those moons ago.
:geek:

Keep up the great work.. do the AI have names yet? Just a thought, I wonder how many formalmoss's exist and what job role they choose to do :D
YAY PYTHON \o/

In Josh We Trust
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