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[Josh] Monday, June 11, 2018

#1
Monday, June 11, 2018

Hey everyone. I was, as you know, hoping to post a while back, but I'm afraid my most recent endeavors have found less success than last month's work. Despite my frustration with how long these problems are taking to solve, the work is, nonetheless, highly rewarding.


Multi-Commodity Economies with Productions

It should come as no surprise that I have been working on the expansion of the economy / system development / 'capital expenditure.' As detailed in my last log, my formative ideas on the subject were "you gotta try it." Sadly, a careful scrutiny of that thought process reveals an unfortunate blunder: I was thinking too much in terms of a trivial economy. I kept speaking about trade stations and how to position them. This is a hopelessly difficult problem, and it's no wonder that my only answer was "try it!"

Indeed, as embarrassingly obvious as this is in retrospect, it was only upon writing the code that I began to realize how pointless trade stations (and interesting developments in general) really are in a system where the economy consists of mining ice and selling it to colonies :ghost:

Now, if we were mining ice to take to an ice refinery, which produces water, various minerals, and trace amounts of Talvienium, and water is required as a coolant to nuclear reactors, which pump out the energy cells necessary to power Talvienium Warhead Factories, which of course supply everybody's favorite missiles, but alas, colonies also demand water, etc. -- now here is a setup where we can actually start to reason about new capital assets.

So, my time over the last few weeks has been spent primarily on implementing factories, production mechanics, and on getting the AI to a place where it can make such an economy work smoothly. This work is a great chance to begin scaling up the game content to a representative size/complexity, which is a major goal for the coming months.


Using Net Flow to Make Smart Choices

Now, back to the problem of deciding how to spend money. With a multifaceted economy, the question is actually much easier. With access to flow data, the algorithm becomes more-or-less common sense: we sum the flow values for the entire system ('net flow'), then choose the asset whose contribution to this sum would maximally reduce total pressure.

In my own bizarre terminology this sounds a little obtuse, but a concrete example will make it clear that this is, frankly, just common sense:

Code: Select all

  Gamma Centauri
    Ice Refinery
      - 50 ice/s
      + 100 water/s
      + 5 Talvienium/s
    Nuclear Reactor
      - 1 isotopes/s
      - 10 water/s
      + 100 energy cells/s
    Ballawhalla Prime
      - 50 water/s
      - 200 energy cells/s
    Ice Mining Barge 1
      + 20 ice/s @ Ice Refinery
    Ice Mining Barge 2
      + 20 ice/s @ Ice Refinery
    Water Trader 1
      - 10 water/s @ Ice Refinery
      + 10 water/s @ Nuclear Reactor

    TOTAL
      - 10 ice/s
      + 40 water/s
      - 1 isotopes/s
      + 5 Talvienium/s
      - 100 energy cells/s
(It is interesting to note, by the way, how the 'flexibility' of a mobile asset is represented above by the fact that we can use it to create a flow 'at' a specific location or between two locations, whereas a static asset like a factory is inherently its own sink/source location. Thinking about the economy in general as a graph, and mobile assets as allocable to edges in that graph, is a fruitful line of thinking :geek:)

Clearly, Gamma Centauri has several net flow problems that we could address: there's a slight ice shortage, but that's not nearly as pressing as the isotope shortage, since the nuclear reactor is going to be stalled indefinitely if we don't address that problem. We could use more energy cells, but building another nuclear reactor is out of the question unless we solve that isotope shortage first. Someone should do something with that Talvienium, because right now it's just going to pile up at the ice refinery.

Assuming there's a source of isotopes in the system, the obvious choice is to buy a new mining ship and send it off to go mine isotopes and deliver them to the nuclear reactor. After that, we should consider building another reactor to put that extra water to use and solve the energy shortage. Each of these changes will inevitably reshape parts of the economy, but at the end of the day, we can always take a new sum of flows and get a decent idea of what needs doing in the area.

As demonstrated by this example, flow data is useful for more than just decisions that involve a single node or a connection between two nodes; by summing flow data for all entities in a specific place, we can quickly determine the net flow for the whole, thus enabling reasoning about the global impact of various choices. Naturally, this strategy of hierarchical flow application can be applied more generally to zones, systems, and even entire regions. If we want the AI to think more globally, we can throw a bit of regional flow weighting into the decisions, such that AI players will address shortages/surplusses that aren't localized to a single system.


Fitting Prices to Flow and Vice-Versa

In all this talk of flow, we seem to have mostly sidestepped money and prices. But money is clearly a crucial piece of the economic puzzle. At the end of the day, everybody needs to get paid. How do we make sure that everyone gets paid when decisions and balancing are performed on the basis of resource flow rather than dollar bills? Moreover, how do we ensure that the flow of money 'conforms' to the flow-based model? The problem is harder than it may at first sound, because it involves bridging the gap between rates and instantaneous events.

Let's think about the initial decision to create a water trader for linking the ice refinery to the nuclear reactor (from our above scenario). Obviously it's a good decision that needs to happen in order for our economy to work. In flow terms, water flow at the refinery goes from +100 to +90, and at the reactor from -10 to 0. At both endpoints, flow is pushed toward 0 (a net flow of 0 is the ultimate goal), so the decision is a win-win. It's important to recognize the monetary implication here: water can be bought at the refinery for a lower price than the reactor will pay for it. Otherwise, the decision isn't profitable (which contradicts both common sense and our flow data). Evidently, resource flow shapes prices. Moreover, it is obvious from this thought experiment that pricing must be proportional to resource flow in order for price-based decisions and flow-based decisions to be equivalent. To be even more precise, since flow is a rate but prices are instantaneous, what this actually means is that average price must be proportional to resource flow. Price fluctuations that balance one another out are permissible.

Sadly, I am now reaching the end of that which I've actually worked out thus far. I'm not yet confident in my pricing algorithms, although I do know, generally-speaking, how to resolve the sustained / instantaneous dichotomy with a temporal pricing model, such that average price agrees with resource flow. With regard to the specifics, I am still developing ideas and watching how the (now significantly more-involved) economy reacts to new AI algorithms. Ultimately, I'm trying to get it all to a point where things stabilize to a good equilibrium. For my purposes, 'good' means that factories are achieving close to 100% uptime by stocking enough supplies and setting prices correctly to ensure regular supply deliveries, traders are continuously choosing profitable trade routes that alleviate demand, AI players are continuously monitoring the economy to change how assets are allocated/switch jobs when necessary, and so on. Interestingly, it is completely obvious when flow-based reasoning doesn't match price-based reasoning, because the AI will quickly go broke due to making trades that are flow-favorable yet not profitable :ghost: Again, with a correct pricing model, that should not happen (at least, never in the long run).

---

I apologize for not having pulled through with enough brainpower this time, but such is life. I am really hoping to have some better insights this week (but even if I don't, the brute-force method of trying a lot of things and seeing what works is close to completion, so perhaps it will all be resolved by sheer force of will...).

Until next time :wave:
“Whether you think you can, or you think you can't--you're right.” ~ Henry Ford
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Re: [Josh] Monday, June 11, 2018

#2
Well, this sounds eerily familiar to many of the discussions and suggestions you haven't had time to read :ghost:

Considering your example: First off, why are nuclear reactors requiring a constant supply of coolant when they can just radiate their heat through coolant loops into space? Also, fission? neanderthal :ghost:

More seriously, I'm glad you're looking at asteroids and such containing various levels of different resources which then need to be refined before their pure constituents can be used. I think this is definitely the right direction, especially if you have multistage processing and different requirements for processing different materials.

For factories and production mechanics, I think Cornflakes would like to have a word with you.

As for your flow mechanics, the real world is just a flow of energy towards greater entropy so it makes sense to go with the flow :monkey: It might even be useful to consider entities as temporary patterns by which energy flows (Not to get too philosophical, but you are in reality just a pattern of energy interacting with other patterns within patterns [/Buddhism]) This principle can also be applied to economies, in that everything in the game is flowing from blackbox resource sources through multiple temporary phases and patterns with variable stability on its way towards destruction or blackbox sinks.

Consider now that water flows downhill by the path of least resistance, starting as precipitation (raw materials) down a mountain (mining and transport of ore), sometimes it accumulates in lakes (factories, ships, stations, etc) before finally flowing into the oceans (sinks/explosions). However, as humans we build infrastructure to divert and alter these flows (dams, canals, aqueducts). You can thus consider these diversions as similar to purchases, adjusting the path of least resistance to favor your own purposes. You can have a continuous diversion, like a contract for a constant supply, or discrete purchases, like filling a bucket.

Yes, rather abstract, but if you have artificial lakes(factories/ships) that want to have different compositions in different quantities, you can have multiple resource "rivers" with canals/aqueducts/buckets supplying these lakes until they achieve their desired composition. Hopefully the AI can understand that constructing these artificial lakes and supplying them with the required resources can enable them to achieve their goals and that some lakes need to be in a higher elevation (pre-requisites for further economic flow).

As for prices, consider each lake to have a dam around it representing the profit margin the owner wants to achieve. The higher the dam relative to the level of the resources in the lake, the higher the resistance to continued flow, meaning that lakes at a lower elevation will try to find a different source for their needs, but will be willing to overcome the height (pricepoint) of the dam if they have no other choice. However owners of lakes need to realize that if they continue to have incoming resources, their dam will overflow and they will be forced to reduce their prices or stop acquiring resources.

Anyways, I hope this is helpful :)
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Challenging your assumptions is good for your health, good for your business, and good for your future. Stay skeptical but never undervalue the importance of a new and unfamiliar perspective.
Imagination Fertilizer
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Re: [Josh] Monday, June 11, 2018

#3
Thanks for sharing this with us, Josh. I know you'd rather be reporting Huge Success, but it really does mean more that you're just keeping in touch.

The difficulty of achieving enjoyable stability when designing a complex closed dynamic system (that's going to be prodded by crazy human beings) is, I think, is why most game developers just throw up their hands and implement a magical faucet/drain economy. That's how they make a game that a) responds enjoyably to the activity of most players, and b) can be released in less than ten years.

Since I gather you're not there yet, some semi-practical questions:

1. How does an NPC distinguish between short-term and long-term goals? And what is the process by which an NPC performs this distinction? Are some NPCs naturally better at short-term versus long-term optimization and vice versa? If so, how do they migrate to roles that allow them to maximally exercise their preference?

2. How perfect (complete & correct) is the information available to an NPC? Can an NPC know everything perfectly, allowing all its decisions to be optimal? If not, what prevents an NPC's perception from being perfect? (Alternately: at what rate does the perfection of information degrade as more and more information is available, and why?)

What I'm curious about here is whether you're imagining a single central-planning "optimizer" NPC or AI function, which is theoretically capable of imposing and maintaining price stability in an area because it's given perfect information about all the resources, producers, consumers, and converters (i.e., all possible flows) in that area. That's what it sounds like you're describing... or is price stability a thing that can emerge naturally from imperfect but mostly rational actors operating within a system of mutual trust?

3. Is LT capable of producing an NPC whose economic optimization abilities are better than those of a really good human player, without "cheating" by letting the NPC have magically perfect knowledge of flows? (Or an actions/second rate substantially higher than the typical human's, which is another way some games increase the level of challenge.)
Post

Re: [Josh] Monday, June 11, 2018

#4
JoshParnell wrote:
Mon Jun 11, 2018 1:07 pm
Hey everyone. I was, as you know, hoping to post a while back, but I'm afraid my most recent endeavors have found less success than last month's work. Despite my frustration with how long these problems are taking to solve, the work is, nonetheless, highly rewarding.

...

I apologize for not having pulled through with enough brainpower this time, but such is life. I am really hoping to have some better insights this week (but even if I don't, the brute-force method of trying a lot of things and seeing what works is close to completion, so perhaps it will all be resolved by sheer force of will...).

Until next time :wave:
This is a great update because it shows both a lot of progress and newly emerging issues. So it feels more real. The only issue is that there was a long gap since your last update 😀

Regards,
Charles
Post

Re: [Josh] Monday, June 11, 2018

#5
charles wrote:
Mon Jun 11, 2018 4:28 pm
JoshParnell wrote:
Mon Jun 11, 2018 1:07 pm
Hey everyone. I was, as you know, hoping to post a while back, but I'm afraid my most recent endeavors have found less success than last month's work. Despite my frustration with how long these problems are taking to solve, the work is, nonetheless, highly rewarding.

...

I apologize for not having pulled through with enough brainpower this time, but such is life. I am really hoping to have some better insights this week (but even if I don't, the brute-force method of trying a lot of things and seeing what works is close to completion, so perhaps it will all be resolved by sheer force of will...).

Until next time :wave:
This is a great update because it shows both a lot of progress and newly emerging issues. So it feels more real. The only issue is that there was a long gap since your last update 😀

Regards,
Charles
That's a really great point! The days of Toolmaking do truly seem to be behind us, and even if the struggle is real, it's the best struggle I can imagine you tackling right now, and compared to FPLT this shouldnt be too serious an obstacle :geek: :thumbup:

A question I have, if you're willing to talk about it, after getting this economy going, what major aspects are left to tackle before beta? Just a brief list would be more than adequate :)


Flatfingers wrote:What I'm curious about here is whether you're imagining a single central-planning "optimizer" NPC or AI function, which is theoretically capable of imposing and maintaining price stability in an area because it's given perfect information about all the resources, producers, consumers, and converters (i.e., all possible flows) in that area. That's what it sounds like you're describing... or is price stability a thing that can emerge naturally from imperfect but mostly rational actors operating within a system of mutual trust?
Could it not be a mix of both? Having imperfect but mostly rational actors won't necessarily lead to a functioning economy even if they do seem realistic, but if there's an AI with perfect knowledge that's monitoring the region for imbalances and can manipulate the blackbox of material generation as well as the various NPC's economic and pricing habits in a discreet way to restore the balance by making a particular NPC say to itself "There is an imbalance in the force, I should raise prices :lol: ". If handled via multiple small tweaks across numerous NPCs, it would be entirely unnoticeable that The Force is raising the price of Talvienium by 10% because the AI hasn't been able to properly value it. Yes, this is sort of cheaty and gamey, but we were already having the game manipulated by the blackbox.
Thanks for sharing this with us, Josh. I know you'd rather be reporting Huge Success, but it really does mean more that you're just keeping in touch.
I completely agree. When Project Red put a secret message just talking to player and fans with sincerity and openness, a lot of people just said that these sorts of sincere, consumer-friendly business practices and dedication to quality over deadlines is exactly why they love the company so much. It's good to see Procedural Reality is in good company :D
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Challenging your assumptions is good for your health, good for your business, and good for your future. Stay skeptical but never undervalue the importance of a new and unfamiliar perspective.
Imagination Fertilizer
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Re: [Josh] Monday, June 11, 2018

#6
Flatfingers wrote:
Mon Jun 11, 2018 4:05 pm
What I'm curious about here is whether you're imagining a single central-planning "optimizer" NPC or AI function, which is theoretically capable of imposing and maintaining price stability in an area because it's given perfect information about all the resources, producers, consumers, and converters (i.e., all possible flows) in that area. That's what it sounds like you're describing... or is price stability a thing that can emerge naturally from imperfect but mostly rational actors operating within a system of mutual trust?
One of the benefits of all NPC’s having imperfect information is that it makes information a valuable commodity. If you think of each NPC of optimising the flows in their own ‘knowledge system’, then acquiring additional information gives more options to reduce the pressure. This pressure for additional information could fund the explorer lifestyle.

If each AI has different limits on the cross-product of the number of different flows/pressures that they can manage then this could
  • Open up niches for players in areas that NPCs don’t have the capacity to spot;
  • a big limit would indicate a capacity to manage multiple systems, a small would indicate a sole trader AI
  • Set a limit on the maximum value of information
  • Possibly aid in managing the impact of AI calculation performance

In the real world the economy, both macro and micro, generally works through the actions and interactions of less than rational actors with imperfect information. Arguably, governments are formed through (and for) certain economic factors that express a powerful will to manage and/or manipulate the economic system to favour the holders of power. It’s asking a bit much of Josh to build that level of complexity. But I can dream 😜

Regards,
Charles
Post

Re: [Josh] Monday, June 11, 2018

#7
As for your flow mechanics, the real world is just a flow of energy towards greater entropy so it makes sense to go with the flow :monkey: It might even be useful to consider entities as temporary patterns by which energy flows (Not to get too philosophical, but you are in reality just a pattern of energy interacting with other patterns within patterns [/Buddhism])
If you are not familiar with the work of Ilya Prigogine https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ilya_Prigogine, particularly dissipative structures, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dissipative_system, then you are in for a treat! Studying the complexity around us in terms of energy dissipation is an extremely interesting perspective to take. To drastically simplify things: Prigogine posited that self ordering systems arise from thermodynamic non-equilibrium because they make the medium more effective at transferring energy than it would be otherwise. He was a chemist, so that was the angle, but biology was the inspiration.

The wisdom of buddhists man.
Post

Re: [Josh] Monday, June 11, 2018

#8
Hyperion wrote:
Mon Jun 11, 2018 5:45 pm
Flatfingers wrote:What I'm curious about here is whether you're imagining a single central-planning "optimizer" NPC or AI function, which is theoretically capable of imposing and maintaining price stability in an area because it's given perfect information about all the resources, producers, consumers, and converters (i.e., all possible flows) in that area. That's what it sounds like you're describing... or is price stability a thing that can emerge naturally from imperfect but mostly rational actors operating within a system of mutual trust?

Could it not be a mix of both? Having imperfect but mostly rational actors won't necessarily lead to a functioning economy even if they do seem realistic, but if there's an AI with perfect knowledge that's monitoring the region for imbalances and can manipulate the blackbox of material generation as well as the various NPC's economic and pricing habits in a discreet way to restore the balance by making a particular NPC say to itself "There is an imbalance in the force, I should raise prices :lol: ". If handled via multiple small tweaks across numerous NPCs, it would be entirely unnoticeable that The Force is raising the price of Talvienium by 10% because the AI hasn't been able to properly value it. Yes, this is sort of cheaty and gamey, but we were already having the game manipulated by the blackbox.

Sure -- it could be any mix of those or something else. My question isn't from the position of simulating real-world economics, but from "what's the most fun for the human players of this game?"

So the argument against a single omni-competent AI who knows how to maximize flows isn't "that's not realistic!" or "auggh, central-planning statism!", it's "wait, I thought NPCs in this game were supposed to be equivalent to the player in ability, not demigods." In other words, part of the fun of LT is, I thought, supposed to come from being a fair challenge -- that is, NPCs, where feasible, should have access to the same abilities as the human player. If some NPCs are able to perceive market information more perfectly than any human player could reasonably do, then that breaks this aspect of fairness, and the game becomes less fun.

Which to me means that although Josh certainly could, if he wanted, implement something like what he described in this latest update -- an NPC/AI/function that accurately perceives all relevant market information within an area and operates to maximize all flows within that area using that perfect information -- that doesn't answer the question: should he? Why would something like that be a) needed, and b) fair to the player?

As it happens, I think there actually is a time when a Perfect Maximizer AI is needed, and that's at universe generation time. It seems to me that universe generation actually has two major parts: the physical world, and the social world. The physical world is the cranking out of all the stars and planets and asteroids and natural "stuff." And the social world is the generation of NPCs and all things they create using the resources of the physical world. Creating the physical world is relatively simple since most things don't need to grow to have their necessary forms when the player starts playing -- you can create all the physical world in its exact form when people start changing it.

But the social world of people does need to grow -- at least, if it's to follow Josh's plan that artifacts don't magically appear out of thin air as in other games, but that everything comes from somewhere. If that's the case, then the social universe has to start from something, and then be simulated over time... and (my point, finally) the initial social universe must have a bias toward growth, even if that's not realistic. If NPC economic activity has a 50/50 chance for success or failure once the human player starts playing the game, that's fine; you do sort of want the universe to be in a kind of general steady-state at that point, rather than inflating or collapsing, neither of which is fun as gameplay (unless you want one of those as a simulation to see what happens). But when the game universe is being created, you don't want a stable economy; otherwise no seed colony will ever grow to fill part of the game universe in order to be active when the player jumps in. During this time, you actually do want almost everybody's economy to be amazingly successful most of the time. Maybe not 100% successful everywhere; some failures will help to create interesting pockets of opportunity. But successful enough that NPCs can spread through the stars, and have factions existing at different levels of power operating in much, but not all, of the start-up game universe when the player can begin to take actions.

After that, I think you do want to cap NPC perceptiveness to human player levels, where they can only see the same market information you can see, and in roughly equal quantity. Otherwise it's not a fair contest.

charles wrote:
Mon Jun 11, 2018 10:54 pm
One of the benefits of all NPC’s having imperfect information is that it makes information a valuable commodity. If you think of each NPC of optimising the flows in their own ‘knowledge system’, then acquiring additional information gives more options to reduce the pressure. This pressure for additional information could fund the explorer lifestyle.

Yes. I consider the "information economy" feature to be a strong argument in favor of capping the market perceptiveness of NPCs in addition to the argument from enjoyable fairness.
Post

Re: [Josh] Monday, June 11, 2018

#9
JoshParnell wrote:
Mon Jun 11, 2018 1:07 pm
Interestingly, it is completely obvious when flow-based reasoning doesn't match price-based reasoning, because the AI will quickly go broke due to making trades that are flow-favorable yet not profitable :ghost: Again, with a correct pricing model, that should not happen (at least, never in the long run).
That's where banks can come in. They can offer liquidity to economical entities, that are running low on funds.
As long as those entities can pay back the loan (with interest) over the long term, the transaction is favorable for both sides.

Without banks, economic transactions can quickly seize, up to the point where the economy crashes.

-----

At any rate: for the pricing model, you need a fundamental value to base the currency on.
That could be something like a fixed labor cost. (wage per time)

For example, Ice Mining Barge 1 produces + 20 ice/s
that would be 1200 ice/min

If the barge requires 20 "workers" to operate, and the (static) wage per worker is 50 credits per minute, operating the barge would cost 1000 credits per minute.
At a production rate of 1200 ice, each ice would cost 0.83 credits.
Accounting for the barge to use around 50% of the time for commuting, one ice would cost 1.66 credits.

So in the long run, the cost of a unit of ice would never fall below 1.66 credits.

-----

A production facility (lets say Hydrogen plant) that requires 400 ice units per "production run", (and only ice as resource) to produce 20 output products, would then have a cost of
400 * 1.66 = 664
664 / 20 = 33.2 credits resource cost per unit of hydrogen.

If one resource run takes 2 minutes, and requires 10 workers, the cost for labor would be 1000 per production-cycle or 50 credits per output unit.

The total cost per produced unit for the factory would be
33.2 + 50 = 83.2 credits

-> now in the economy, the lowest "long term" price of that units would be 83.2 credits for a hydrogen container.

-----
having the production function of all miners/factories, you can calculate the "base" price of any tradable item in the game, stating with pricing the items that only require labor costs.
Also services can be priced by this (proportional labor costs for running service activity by the ship or station)

-----

Now those are just the variable costs.

Each step can include a % of profit margin, that gets added up. The more competitive the economy is, the lower that profit margin will be.
Also the costs of capital (depreciation of the facilities or ships) must be added.
But even when random price fluctuation occur, you know that there is a base-price (variable costs) for each traded item, that must be reached at least to have every actor in the production-chain cover their costs.
Below that, production would directly burn money. (Its better to stop activity then)

Using this system of added costs is a good foundation for determining prices of goods (and services).
But there must be some base value to a price (be it wage, utility, external currencies etc).

----

The actual price in the Market depends only indirectly on the base-price.
Here other events (demand requests for resources , oversupply / unused stockpile) will create market prices by matching demand to supply orders.
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Re: [Josh] Monday, June 11, 2018

#13
Somehow I missed putting this up on the RSS thread :oops: so I'm getting that taken care of now. On that note, I did notice the
Talvienium Warhead Factories, which of course supply everybody's favorite missiles.
:D


Also, yeah, I had wondered what was keeping the miners from "cutting out the middle man", and figured I was missing something. I suppose I have my answer now - it was something you'd skipped over. :D But space refineries make sense. Make ore not something you want to carry down raw to planets, right? Maybe massive refineries are easier to build in space, so space stations get built around either being refineries, their own colonies, or both.

That's something I had to puzzle out when I put together my economy/civilian simulator. :) If I remember right I had it go from "ore" to "processed materials" to "goods". Stations had factories and could produce things like ship parts, but colonies needed resources to remain functioning (processed materials), so they could produce food and "quality of life luxury goods", which everyone needs to stay happy and healthy. Food is much easier to produce on a planet's surface than on a station, as you can imagine. It all worked out in the end.
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Re: [Josh] Monday, June 11, 2018

#14
@Josh

QUOTE: " (a net flow of 0 is the ultimate goal)"

At some point the system may be 100% efficient in using and supplying all of its resources, but that doesn't mean that a flow of zero is ideal. Shouldn't systems be considering when to invest in new infrastructure which will pull flow *away* from zero, but provide new opportunities for growth? Or is anything that pulls away from zero only going to be player-defined (thus determining how much a system evolves without player interaction?)

OR, will you be considering *currently unused resources* as part of the flow. IE, say in your example there's 100 kilotonnes of platinum sitting in an asteroid somewhere unused (and currently unneeded) by anything in-system. This is still a trade or development opportunity which should be considered at some point, though obviously would require substantial investment.

To that end, should system *profitability* be considered in flow? So that, with various tolerances depending on the specific AI NPCs involved, at a certain margin of profitability, some AI entities will consider investing in "growth" production to move away from efficiency but create new value/wealth in a system?

@Talvieno & Josh,

Thanks for letting me know about the RSS, seeing the regular updates makes me less anxious about this project.
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Re: [Josh] Monday, June 11, 2018

#15
kaeroku wrote:
Wed Jun 13, 2018 7:00 pm
@Talvieno & Josh,

Thanks for letting me know about the RSS, seeing the regular updates makes me less anxious about this project.
Regular, yes, but I'd advise against expecting them like clockwork.
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Challenging your assumptions is good for your health, good for your business, and good for your future. Stay skeptical but never undervalue the importance of a new and unfamiliar perspective.
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